I can't really say that I'm surprised. I knew this would be more painful than those guys made it out to be. The sting of having your flesh bitten into by a foreign object was rather excruciating. But I couldn't seem to audibly express my pain. Maybe I was in shock? That very well could be possible, seeing as how I didn't scream or cry out when I was almost killed the first time. But still, this pain felt very different from that time. It was sporadic and it seemed to be everywhere on my body. Like I had been hit more than once. Well, I guess I technically was...
However, the pain didn't seem to matter anymore, because I could slowly feel myself getting lighter. Like I was floating on air, almost. At first, I thought that meant my soul was leaving my body and that I would soon be dead. I inwardly panicked, not really wanting to die yet. I had so many things I wanted to do yet, but most importantly, I didn't want to leave Shito-kun and Chika-kun alone. Sure, they had the rest of Z-Loan, but I still wanted to help them. In an awkward and seemingly implausible way, we were all friends. As a friend, the thought of leaving them made me sad.
Yet I would have no say in this matter. If it was my time to die... if Yuuta-kun or Bekko-san couldn't save me again... if Shito-kun and Chika-kun wouldn't extend their loan again... well that would pretty much force my hand, now wouldn't it? I suppose I'll have to wait and see what happens.
But then, the strangest thing happened. Even though my vision was getting blurry, I saw a tall mass with white hair come racing at me. It certainly wasn't Zarame-san. It was calling my name, loudly and desperately, but I couldn't do anything. I couldn't speak, couldn't reach out my hand, and couldn't even move my head or eyes to acknowledge whoever it was. And behind the man with white hair, I saw another tall mass with green hair. I think he turned around to look at us and then he also called out my name. I faintly heard shots fire in the background, but I couldn't tell if that was Shito-kun or not.
Pretty soon, I felt like I was completely suspended in air and the wind was to my back. It felt cool and comfortable, but it didn't last. I felt a hand reach out and grab mine and it was rather violent. Then I felt my body dangle and my head whipped around and my vision was refocused. It was then that I realized that I wasn't necessarily dying, my soul wasn't ascending to Heaven, and the white haired mass was none other than Chika-kun. I hadn't been floating on air and flying away, I was, in fact, falling off the roof of a building. And then, for a brief moment, I thought I would have much preferred to still think I was dying.
When I looked up, I was slightly taken aback by Chika-kun's desperate looking eyes. His usually energetic and solid golden eyes were overwhelmed with fear and the determination to hold on to me. Even though I didn't see his face, I kind of imagine this is what he looked like when he was holding on to Shiba-kun. All of a sudden, I heard someone frantically calling out my name, and when I snapped back into reality, I saw that it was Chika-kun. He was barking at me, commanding me not to let go, and telling me I had to hold on. He muttered something about if I fell, he'd kill me, but I was more focused on my grip. You see... I didn't really have one.
My whole body felt limp and I was barely able to manage to move my head. I could make my legs and fingers twitch, but that was about it. I tried to tell Chika-kun that I couldn't really move, but the words wouldn't come out. I saw him trying to use his other hand to push himself up, allowing him to pull me along, but it wasn't working. Right now, I was just too much dead weight. After awhile, he gave up, not wanting to waste all of his energy. We waited patiently for the remainder of the fight to be over. It sounded to me like Shito-kun and Shuuji-kun both delivered the final blow, but I wouldn't know till later. Then footsteps approached the edge.
Shito-kun knelt down next to Chika-kun and grabbed my wrist and then they both pulled me up. Shito-kun barked at Shuuji-kun to go get Yuuta-kun for me. I felt my lips curl up into a smile as I saw how worried these two got over me. They acted like they didn't care - like I really was just some tool for them to use to hunt zombies - but this... they always did their best to protect me in battle. Even when I wouldn't be fatally wounded, one of them would make a dive for me, or fire a shot, or swing their sword. I was really happy to see that my friends cared.
Shito-kun let go of my wrist after pulling me up and he told Chika-kun to stay sitting on the ground. Chika-kun let go of my hand as well and let Shito-kun maneuver me around. He placed my head in Chika-kun's lap, causing a small blush to overcome our cheeks. Then he just straightened out my body and my clothes and took a seat next to us.
"Oi! Why does the gopher's head have to be in my lap? Why can't she lay on you?"
"Because, unlike you, Michiru and I are actually injured. You ran out of the battle, so you didn't get hurt. This way, Yuuta will have easy access to everyone he needs to."
"What do you mean I ran out of battle! Gopher was falling off the roof! What was I supposed to do?"
The two bickered back and forth, but I didn't pay much attention to it. I only managed to hear snippets of their argument until the door to the roof flew open and Shuuji-kun came running out with Yuuta-kun trailing behind him. He was cheerful like always and didn't seem to see our injuries as anything major. He went to go tend Shito-kun first, but he refused and told him to look after me. He pouted, of course, but did so anyway. I didn't really pay attention to what he was saying, but I tried to watch as he pulled bullets out of me. He did it like it was no big deal, but I thought I was going to pass out. He pulled out one, two, three... four bullets!
"Hey, where's the fifth one?"
Fifth one? What does he mean?
"Looks like it went right through her."
And so, despite having seen Chika-kun and Shito-kun kill countless zombies, even with all of the gore, blood, and violence, there was something about the fact that bullets were being extracted from my body that made me feel light headed.
"Hey, Yuuta, can you fix her up?"
"Of course! Leave it to me."
I didn't hear much else after that. There was a faint voice asking Chika-kun why we were like that, and right before I could hear his response, I blacked out.
I don't remember anything after that except waking up in my bedroom. My eyes lazily opened and I found myself staring at my ceiling. I lifted up my arm to rub my eyes and was actually surprised that I could move it. I tried to push myself up and get out of bed, but the overwhelming pain that surged through my body didn't allow me to get very far. I unbuttoned the top buttons of my nightshirt, not really bothering to question how I got out of my school uniform, and checked myself. I had bandages around my chest and torso and it looked like there was one wrapped around my shoulder. I knew that Yuuta-kun's method of healing would patch me up instantly, but it didn't mean I wouldn't be sore.
After about ten more minutes of trying, I was finally able to support myself and stagger out of bed. My legs were wobbly and my knees were weak, so as soon as I could, I grabbed on to the wall and used it for support. And so I slowly inched my way down the hall. I could smell something absolutely wonderful floating up from downstairs and I instantly knew it was Koyomi-san's cooking. My stomach then growled and I knew exactly where I was heading. But just as I made it to the top of the stairs, I saw Chika-kun coming up.
"Well look who finally decided to wake up."
I couldn't help but smile and nod at him. Despite being so sore, I actually felt really good this morning. Maybe I was still caught up in my happiness from last night. Not that it really mattered.
"Good morning, Chika-kun."
"Morning? It's three o'clock in the afternoon. You really overslept, gopher. You even missed breakfast."
I didn't realize it was that late! What about school? I slept through an entire day of school! I went into a panicked frenzy, not really knowing what I was doing. I instantly tried to turn around to run back to my room to get dressed, but halfway through I decided to hurry downstairs and eat. Needless to say I lost my balance quickly and ended up falling. Fortunately for me, though, Chika-kun was standing a few steps away from me and caught me with ease. He was just standing there with his eyes closed and an awkward expression on his face. I looked up from my spot in his arms and watched as he finally burst. He was laughing... hysterically. Like it was the most hilarious thing he'd ever seen.
My face turned bright red and all I could do was wait for him to calm down. And it seemed to take him forever, but he finally did. When he finally opened his eyes again, he looked down at me and smiled, causing me to blush again. I was still awkwardly positioned in his arms. You see, when he caught me, he used his arms to hook under mine and my back collided with his chest. My feet were sloppily positioned on the stairs and the whole position was rather... awkward looking. But still, he caught me, so I couldn't really complain.
"Jeez, gopher, I think that's the fastest I've ever seen you try and move. You're pretty clumsy."
"W-Well, it's not like I meant to. I didn't know it was that late. I'm not really sure what I was trying to do, though."
"Either way, thanks for the laugh. You made my day with that!"
It seemed to be unavoidable that my face would be plastered with shades of red and pink today. I just let it happen after awhile.
"But in all seriousness, Yuuta said that because you weren't a zombie, even though your wounds would be completely healed, you'd still be in a lot of pain. You shouldn't be out walking around."
"But I don't want to lay in bed all day. I want to get dressed and eat lunch. I already missed school, I don't want to miss out on the rest of the day."
"First of all, today is Saturday. And second of all, you're injured. It's the perfect excuse to lounge around in your pajamas and stay in bed. Take advantage of it, because thanks to you getting shot, Shito and I aren't going hunting today."
For some reason, hearing that I was shot really confused me. I don't remember most of what happened last night, let alone how I got hurt. All I remember was that feeling of falling, Chika-kun's desperate eyes, and being saved. But just as I was about to ask Chika-kun to fill me in, I felt myself being scooped up. I looked around to see that Chika-kun was carrying me in his arms and we were going up the stairs and down the hall. My face seemed frozen as I gave him probably one of the ugliest confused faces I've ever made. What was he doing? Why?
"Ch-Chi- Chika-kun? What are you doing?"
"Well you weren't listening to me. I told you to pick yourself up and go back to your room, but you wouldn't move. I got tired of standing there waiting for you, so I'm taking you back myself."
"Eh? But what about lunch?"
"Relax, Koyomi will bring yours up soon. I just have to go tell her that you're awake."
Something felt really different. How did Chika-kun go from his usual self to this... serious and... was that worry I saw? Was Chika-kun worried about me? Well even if he was, I would never get him to admit it.
Seeing as how I left my bedroom door open, Chika-kun just waltzed in and set me back on my bed. He moved my feet under the covers and then draped them over me, tucking me in like I was a child. It was sweet, to say the least, but I began to feel strange when I saw him walk away.
"Um... where are you going?"
"To tell Koyomi to bring you something to eat. It might be awhile, though. Yuuta said that because you were shot in the stomach, you had to stay away from spicy food. She made curry."
Damn, I knew that's what I smelled. I wanted some of Koyomi-san's delicious curry. But as I was thinking to myself, I noticed Chika-kun had kept on walking. I still felt strange, and even though I didn't know why, I didn't want him to leave. I was being put in a position where I had to act before I thought. And even though it was embarrassing and made me feel uneasy, I called out to him.
"What is it now, gopher?"
"Uh... um, well..."
Dammit, what was I supposed to say? I don't want you to leave me, please keep me company! He would laugh in my face and walk away, probably saying that he had better things to do than spend all his free time with a bedridden gopher.
"Oi, spit it out!"
Oh, right, I still hadn't said anything.
"I, well... I was just wondering..."
He raised his eyebrow, partly out of curiosity and partly out of annoyance. I better hurry up and speak before he just walks away altogether.
"I was just hoping that maybe, if it wouldn't be too much trouble, you'd... come back."
"Come back? What are you talking about?"
"After you go talk to Koyomi-san. Would you... come back?"
I didn't really know what to say to that. My face lit up again and I tried to hide it behind the covers while my fingers gripped on to the edge of my sheets. Figuring I wasn't going to say anything else, Chika-kun rolled his eyes at me and yelled 'fine!' I felt the strange feeling I had slowly disappear and I smiled to myself at the thought of not spending all day alone. After all, I had nothing to do in this room. I had no books to read, there was no television to watch, I had no homework to do... It was boring.
So after about two minutes, I heard footsteps on the stairs and peered out my door to see Chika-kun. He was irritatedly carrying a tray full of food and he stopped at the edge of my bed.
"Koyomi heard all the commotion up here and had your food ready when I went downstairs. She had me bring it up to you."
I smiled again as I tried to sit back up. Noticing my struggle, Chika-kun set the tray on my nightstand and gave me his hand. He gently pulled me up and I scooted back to have my back rest against my headboard. He handed me the tray and sat down at the end of my bed. I slowly began to pick at my food, sad that it wasn't curry, but I knew that it was still good. Koyomi-san always made the best food. But before I started eating, I asked Chika-kun where his food was. He said he ate before coming upstairs. I just nodded and began to dig into my food. I was really hungry.
The silence that filled the room was pretty awkward, but I was still glad to have company. But speaking of company, where was Zarame-san? He was usually the one to stay with me.
"Um, Chika-kun, where is Zarame-san?"
"He was getting annoying, so we tied him up and threw him out the window."
He said it so casually, like he had been planning to do it all along, and my mouth dropped.
"You did what?"
He snickered before reaching up to scratch his head.
"Of course that's not what happened, I was only kidding. He's been downstairs with Koyomi all morning. She tried telling him to come back up to see you, but he refused. You two have a fight or something?"
A fight? No, of course not! I've never fought with Zarame-san. Why would he rather be downstairs? Chika-kun must have noticed me pondering too much about it, because he reached out and flicked my forehead.
"Don't read too much into it, gopher. Koyomi said he'd come back as soon as I left. So if you'd rather spend time with that pathetic excuse for a Reaper, I'd be happy to leave."
His eyes widened as he stared at me. Guess he wasn't expecting that kind of response. Well, neither was I. As much as I wanted to see Zarame-san, I kept getting that strange feeling whenever Chika-kun tried to leave. It bothered me so much, but I didn't know what else to do. I couldn't keep him here forever and he'd eventually start getting suspicious. He'd tease me, poke and prod me to tell him what was going on, and if I didn't, he'd eventually just leave. But, for now, he just shrugged his shoulders and leant back on my bed. His legs were hanging over the edge and his arms were folded behind his head as he took over the foot of my bed. He just stayed put, staring up at the ceiling, not seeming to care anymore that he was here.
I finished my food quickly, not wanting to let it go to waste, and then I set my tray on my nightstand. I couldn't help but to focus all my attention on Chika-kun. I was curious as to why he was complying with my wishes, but it made me happy all the same. Even if it was only for a little while, I was glad to have Chika-kun's company.
Looking him over, I couldn't help but be glued to his features. His spiky snow white hair with streaks of black fell perfectly on and around his face. His intense, golden eyes were lingering at the ceiling, staring blankly at nothing. And although skinny, his tall, strong body lay stretched out comfortably. The top few buttons if his shirt were undone, exposing bits of skin... I was beginning to feel my face heat up all over again as I wondered why I was staring at him. Why did I care how perfect his hair was, how beautiful his eyes were, and how strong and solid his body was? I didn't! I must be spending way too much time around boys...
But my eyes didn't look away as I thought this, and Chika-kun eventually noticed. He caught me staring at him and immediately accused me of checking him out. He flew up, laughed, and began relentlessly teasing me. Oh, the inappropriate things he said. All I could was blush, deny everything, and retreat further into myself and my headboard. After about fifteen minutes, though, he finally settled down, still laughing slightly and smiling as he gripped the edge of my bed. And that's when I really couldn't stop staring at him. The moment his eyes softened and he smiled like that, I felt a thousand butterflies swirl around in my stomach.
I was vaguely starting to place this feeling I had, but there was part of me that wanted to seriously deny it. Even if I did feel that way, he certainly doesn't. What interest would he have in someone like me? Although friends, I'm just a gopher to him. It would be pointless to cave into an emotion like love around Chika-kun.
Love? Did I seriously just think that? I felt my eyes widen and I was sure my face was going to be permanently stained neon red. Was I really O.K. using that word to describe this? It was too bold, maybe 'like' or 'crush' would be better... but they didn't seem fitting either. Becoming lost in thought again, I didn't notice Chika-kun calling for me. I didn't notice until he was right in face and waving his hand around.
It was different being this close to him. I never really paid much attention, but Chika-kun actually smells really nice. His breath smelled like curry and his face was even more handsome this close- what am I thinking? Stop thinking like this, Michiru! I have to get a hold of myself!
Chika-kun noticed my strange reaction and proceeded to flick me again. I yelped and pressed my hand to my forehead in order to protect it.
"What's up with you today, gopher? First, you make me carry you to bed, then you ask me to stay with you, and now you're making stupid looking faces and spacing out. What gives?"
Normally, I would have been insulted when he called my face stupid, but I figured he was probably right. I was acting far worse than abnormal. But if I was feeling this so-called "love" right now, what was I supposed to do about it? I've kind of already ruled out talking to him about it, but if I can't do that, what are my options? I might have considered talking to Koyomi-san about it, but I had a gut feeling that she would tell everyone. Shito-kun wouldn't care, in fact, he'd probably tease me about it, or he'd be really disgusted and get angry. Yuuta-kun would tell for sure and Bekko-san really didn't care. And nobody in A-Loan... I feel so lonely right now.
It was pretty disheartening to not have anyone I could go to for advice. Well, at least about matters like this. Otsu-san was always too busy, Undertaker-san didn't seem to like us too much, and Sotetsu-san didn't seem like the advice giving type. I was truly on my own with this one.
"Gopher, I said to answer me! What gives?"
I had nothing else prepared. The look on his face said if I didn't tell the truth that he'd kill me. Not wanting that, I tried thinking of a distraction. Maybe if I brought up something else, he'd forget all about this, and we could have an actual conversation. So here goes nothing.
"Well, Chika-kun... I was kind of wondering if you'd be able to tell me what happened last night. I don't remember much before you grabbed me."
"You seriously don't remember?"
Giving him a blank look, I shook my head, and it looked like he was about to fall over. Guess it must have been that bad.
"So there I was...!"
Of course this story would start out dramatically. It's Chika-kun.
"I was going at this guy with everything I had. I kept swinging my sword at him and he kept dodging and blocking. He was pathetic really. Shito and Shuuji pulled out their guns to shoot. Naturally, because Shito is a clown-brained asshole, he purposely shot at me. Lucky for him, he missed. Shuuji kept rapidly shooting, but the zombie took a swing at him. He couldn't move fast enough and he got hit. When that happened, his finger was still on the trigger. Like the idiotic gopher you are, you came running over to help, and he accidentally gripped down on the trigger. That's how you got shot and that's when you were forced backwards by the impact and sent over the roof. You really are lucky that..."
I tuned him out after that. I wonder how Shuuji-kun's doing. I don't know him very well, but I think he's the type of person to feel bad after something like that. Does he feel bad? Oh, I hope he doesn't blame himself. I don't. I know he would never shoot me on purpose, even though we're on different sides. The poor guy-
"Hey! Listen to me when I'm talking to you!"
Chika-kun sat back, clearly irritated. Or maybe that was actually anger. He was using his arms to support himself and it looked like he was trying to bite his tongue. Not literally, of course...
"You're really starting to piss me off. I don't know why I bothered to stay with you. Just tell me why you're acting weird so I can leave."
And my distraction didn't even work. I was hoping that it would. I really didn't want to be put in this position.
"You have three seconds to tell me what's going on before I kill you!"
Clamping my hands together and slamming my eyes shut, I forced myself to quickly spill everything. Hopefully it would all be over soon. He could laugh at me, make fun of me, be angry, and then walk away. Anything would be better than his heated gaze on me.
"I'm sorry, Chika-kun! I promise I'm not trying to upset you! You've just been so nice to me lately and I was really happy that you saved me last night. You took care of me and then today you brought me back to bed, brought me my food, and kept me company. I'm just so happy! I'm sorry I was staring at you, I don't know why I was, I guess I was just-!"
I couldn't do it. I couldn't bring myself to finish that sentence. Chika-kun seemed to be really surprised and he didn't appear to be angry or upset anymore. Now it just looked like he desperately wanted me to continue.
"I like you, O.K.?"
And then my hands flew up to cover my mouth as I buried myself under my covers.
"There, I said it! Laugh, tease me, get upset, do whatever you want! Just please stop staring at me!"
It was quiet for the longest time, and for a moment, I actually thought he just left. I wasn't brave enough to poke my head out, so I just kept waiting for him to do something. The air was extremely thick and the silence was deafening and it actually made me feel sick.
He whispered my name so quietly that I almost didn't hear it. I was waiting for the outburst. The roaring laughter. I was waiting for him to hit the floor and roll around laughing, gripping his sides, and crying because it was so funny. But it never came. I felt something lift off the mattress and I knew it was him. He took two steps and then slowly pulled away my covers. I could feel him staring at me, but I still had my eyes shut. And then he stood there for the longest time.
"You were serious... weren't you?"
I didn't even want to attempt to speak, so I shook my head and covered my face with my hands. I could the tears forming at the brim of my eyes and there was a burning sensation that followed. Now I just wished he would go away. Now he could leave and do whatever he wanted, as long as it was nowhere near me.
Then I felt two hands on the side of my bed and a weight come down with it. I peeked open my eyes just a crack to see Chika-kun kneeling down to my level. He reached out, grabbed my hands, and pulled them away from my face. He brushed strands of my hair out of my face and rested his hand on my head.
"Hey, Michiru... will you look at me?"
I did as he said, hoping that whatever he was going to do would be over soon. We were at eye level and I saw something flicker in his golden orbs. It looked... happy? His gaze held mine for a few seconds before he inched closer to my face. I quickly shut my eyes again, not wanted to see anymore, but then... then I felt something warm. It was warm and soft and it was pressed against my lips. I couldn't help but respond to it. I lazily reopened my eyes to see Chika-kun's lips locked with mine. I was pretty sure my heart stopped beating after that.
He soon pulled away from me, his face a light pinkish color. My mind went blank as I wondered what it all meant. He then ruffled my hair around and stood up, straightening out his shirt. He turned around, but remained standing near me. Incoherent sounds came pouring out of my mouth as I tried to figure out what was going on, but he gave a brief explanation.
"Well, gopher... it looks like that five hundred yen you owe me has increased to one thousand."
He turned his head to look at me, a playful smirk on his face.
"Of course, I had to tack on more to what you owe me. After everything I did for you today, I think it's only fair. But don't worry, after you pay me that, anything else you might owe me will be dropped down to two hundred yen."
I could only stare at him in bewilderment as he talked.
"After all, it would make me look like a jerk if I charged my girlfriend that kind of money."
"What, you take my first kiss and expect me not to consider you my girlfriend? You owe me."
"Eh? But that... that was my first kiss, too."
He smirked again and I immediately knew he was referring to what happened with me and Koyomi-san. My face turned red for the thousandth time that day, but I couldn't help but smile at him when I saw his pink cheeks and cute little half-smile. I suppose I would have to be happy with a two hundred yen payment and settle for being his girlfriend. 'Cause as far as Chika-kun goes, that's a pretty good deal. I'll take that.
"A/N: AHH! THIS TOOK FOREVER! I've been dying to write a Zombie-Loan fic since I saw the anime! I just couldn't do it, though, because it was such a short series and I had nothing to go on. But I was finally able to read the manga and it was beyond amazing! I'm totally in love with this series and I'm a major Chichiru fan! So since this is the first time I've written for this fandom, I'm hoping that you will all leave reviews and let me know if you like my story or not. I tried really hard to keep everyone in character, so please let me know if that didn't happen. I would love to write more Zombie-Loan stories in the future, this was such an awesome manga/anime. So please let me know what you think and I hope you enjoyed."