Disclaimer: Noblesse isn't mine.
Awaken (Part 7: Yuna)
Yuna gasped in a breath. How had she fallen to her knees? She slumped forward until her forehead touched the ground, and her body shuttered from the pain as images burned into her eyes. She could see it. It felt so real. Like a memory rather than a dream. Ikhan had gripped a weapon like a baseball bat. Blood had dripped down Shinwoo's face as he delivered hit after hit, but the man wouldn't go down. Two men had stood in the shadows. She had been so scared. She had been so-
"It's okay. It's okay. Ajussi's fine." Shinwoo's arm wrapped around her, helping her into the chair. He misunderstood, but there was a tenderness in his eyes. An expression of uncertainty that she had rarely seen. Immediately, the look moved from her to M-21.
M-21 stood with his back to them. His shoulders hunched, and his forearm pressed against the wall for support as his freehand held the phone to his ear. "Yes, that was Shinwoo just now. He had my phone." He glanced back at them for a second. His face was twisted into in agony, but his voice sounded normal. He turned away again, speaking in hushed tones.
"Shinwoo," Yuna whispered, not turning her gaze from M-21, "do you remember when you fought that man from the alleyway?"
"The guy I threw a trashcan at?"
She nodded, relaxing a little as the pain ebbed. "Yes, the second time."
Confusion clouded his face. "I only fought him once, and we ran for it, remember?"
"I understand." M-21 ended the call as he stumbled out the door, still pushing his hand against the wall to help himself walk. "I'm coming."
"Ajussi, wait!" Shinwoo ran after him. He snatched M-21's arm and yanked it over his shoulder, supporting his weight. "Come on, Ajussi. We're going back to the nurse's office. I think you're having a heart attack. I'll call-"
"You're not fine at all!"
"Let go of me." M-21 stopped, uncomfortable with the closeness, and tried to pull away.
"Not a chance!" Shinwoo struggled to turn him around, but M-21 was still stronger than him. "Ajussi, you can barely walk."
"I said, 'let go.'" His voice sounded firm, marked with authority, but Shinwoo didn't back down. His arms were locked around him, but M-21 easily broke free, holding Shinwoo at arm's length. His hand gripped the boy's jacket, causing it to bunch beneath his fingers.
"Don't!" Her voice sounded so small, but they both instantly turned toward her. She couldn't move. Every muscle in her body tensed. Blood coated Shinwoo's face. M-21's eyes were so fierce. His hands were so close to Shinwoo's neck. So close to becoming a chokehold. Tears rushed to her eyes, and she frantically blinked them back. "Please… don't hurt him… Ajussi."
"I-I wouldn't…" M-21 stuttered, grasping for the right words. His hand fell to his side at once, and he took several steps away from the boy. "I would never…"
"We weren't fighting." Shinwoo interrupted without hesitation. No trace of the blood remained. "I was just worried. I guess I got carried away. Right, Ajussi?"
M-21's hand flew to his headset, switching it on and waiting half a second until a soft buzz told him that someone was listening. "Tao, you'll have to take Shinwoo to class. I have to leave." He ripped the wire from his ear and tossed it to the kids. "Give that to Tao when he comes."
"Ajussi, wait!" Shinwoo started to run after him again, but Yuna touched his arm. He skid to a stop and turned back. "What? We can't let him leave when he's-"
"He's fine. Just let him go."
"How do you…"
Yuna shook her head. "I don't."
"Where is he going in such a hurry?"
She spun around. Tao stood behind her with his hand extended, already waiting for the headset. Yuna gave it to him without delay. "Ajussi was walking us back to class when Principal Lee called. It seemed important."
"He said that he had to leave." Shinwoo followed her lead stride for stride and began to head toward the classroom.
"That's all we know. He didn't tell us anything."
"Well, I guess it can't be helped." Tao grinned, but the smile didn't match his demeanor. He popped his head into the classroom with a wave to Ikhan and then looked back at them. "No more loitering in the halls, okay?"
"Sure." Shinwoo meandered into class with Yuna right behind him. He stopped next to his desk, lowering his voice to a whisper. "I know you can't tell me right now, but I want to know why you lied to him."
Pedro sighed from the front of the classroom. "Shinwoo, sit down."
"Sorry, I was telling Yuna that she forgot her backpack."
"She can get it after class." He picked up a piece of chalk and began to write on the blackboard. "Yuna, share with Ikhan for now."
"You can just take it." Ikhan slid his book over to her desk as she sat down. He closed his eyes, listening to the lecture for once.