Well, a day after seeing episode 20 and I was disappointed that they didn't even touch one another, despite their situation. Although it was fairly realistic and this isn't a romance series, but still, I needed to do something about it.
This is my first Hyouka fic that I literally wrote on a whim (the day after the episode aired), but I do intend to write more in the future. But for now, I kept some of the dialogue from the anime, and also I just addressed the characters by what I call them, so first and last names are a tad mixed. It's also very fast-paced, so, if you can forgive all of this, than please enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own Hyouka :[
"Oreki-san. Is this a shed?" She asked uncertainly, failing to notice the ominous creaking sound behind her as the door fell shut.
"You could say it's a shed or a shack." He rambled, wondering to himself exactly what the differences between the two were. "This is the place right?"
"No, the warehouse." Her voice piped from behind him. "Kaho-san said we have to go to the warehouse."
Her companion gave her a blank look that hid his inner thoughts.
"You could've told me." He sighed in slight annoyance.
"I'm sorry. I wasn't really sure." She apologized, obviously downhearted now in knowing it was mostly her mistake. "There was a warehouse behind the shrine office."
"Then let's go back." He decided logically.
But it was then that the voice that would seal their fate sounded from the other side of the wall.
"Hey, the bar's off. Guess I'll put it back on." There was a slight shuffling of feet, followed by a dull clang.
"Don't tell me..."
The boy could not help but feel that he had read this exact scenario before in countless manga when he was younger. As he groped for the door handle in the darkness and pushed against it, it was almost too unrealistic to believe when it did not budge. Although in his mind he already knew exactly what had happened, he kept trying a few seconds longer until he heard her voice again.
He gave up on the door and gave her an expression that said "Do you really need to ask?"
"We've been locked in."
After discussing other possible ways to exit their freezing prison and deducing that causing damage to the old structure was no good, the pair crouched down against the door and tried to swallow the fact that this was actually happening.
After about 5 minutes had passed and they had gotten all of the unnecessary apologies and failed suggested methods of escape out of the way, the cold finally forced them to start using their heads.
First, Chitanda threw out her white handkerchief, followed by Oreki's wallet, but even after waiting almost thirty minutes, there was still no sign of a rescue team.
By now it was getting much darker and much colder out, and both persons were much more uncomfortable than they let on.
Oreki sat on the ground, hugging his turtleneck sweater as close to his body as possible and trying to grab onto any ounce of inner warmth that he may have left.
Chitanda, on the other hand, seemed to be a bit more refined in hiding her symptoms, aside from the sneezes. He watched her darkened figure out of the corner of his eye as she stood before the wall to his right. White puffs billowed slowly around her lips as she did her best to hide her discomfort, but upon closer inspection he could tell she was shaking just as badly as he was.
Just as he was about to suggest throwing something else out of the hole in the wall, he saw her lift her arms to her head quietly. She fumbled with her hair for a moment before the long, ebony tresses were released from their hold and came cascading down her shoulders, covering the back of her exposed neck. She let out a short sigh as the tiniest bit of warmth found its way through her skin, but it was short-lived, and within thirty seconds, she was trembling once more.
It was getting difficult for him just to look at her anymore; he almost wished she would just shout out that she was freezing to give him an excuse to sit just half an inch closer to her, but he shook the possibility away. Gathering himself, he stood up as cold air rushed to meet his face; he assumed walking around a bit would be more beneficial than huddling in a corner. Chitanda seemed to get the same idea as she turned away from the wall.
"If only we had a bit more space in here..." she murmured.
"Or a light." He added, beginning to pace.
"And I suppose a kotatsu would be far too outrageous to ask for." She smiled a little bitterly but still with good intent to lighten the mood.
As she spoke, she walked past a shelf full of dusty items piled in boxes. She felt a slight tugging as the string of her obi got snagged, but as she turned back, her foot kicked a loose floorboard. The quiet shed was shaken by a yelp, a thud, and several seconds of objects noisily hitting the floor and bouncing in every direction.
"Chitanda?" Oreki immediately turned in the direction the clamor came from, his frozen legs temporarily forgotten as he walked quickly over to her. He squinted in the shadows, stepping carefully until he could make out her disheveled figure lying on the ground before him. "Oy, Chitanda! Are you all right?" Panic lit his voice when he saw the awkward way she had fallen, her body twisted slightly to land all of her weight on her side.
"Oooh.." By the tone of her voice, she sounded more regretful for knocking things over than she sounded hurt.
"Are you okay?" He repeated, kneeling down next to her.
"Ow..." She moaned, slowly pushing herself up, her hair spilling out over her shoulders. "I...I think something may have broken..."
"What?!" Oreki could not help himself from shouting a bit. Oh great. This is just what we need. He began to panic inwardly and decided that he would just start calling out for help until...
"On the floor."
"I mean...something may have broken...when it fell on the floor." She clarified, looking behind her at the scattered items.
Oreki blinked incredulously at her as the fright inside him came crashing to the ground and he sighed.
"Idiot. I asked if you were okay."
"Eh? Oh, I... I'm fine..." She gave a slightly unconvincing smile.
He just realized that she had been speaking strangely, so she had obviously lost her breath when she fell, but there was something else nagging at him.
"You're sure? You didn't hit your head or twist your foot?" He leaned in a bit closer, making her already short breath hitch even more.
"N-no. Nothing like that..." she wheezed. She sounded like she wanted to say more, but was still conflicting whether she should or not. He gave her another moment to catch her breath before he spoke up again.
"Then come on. Let's get away from this spot so we don't step on anything."
Without really thinking too much about it, he took her hand as he stood up.
"Ah, w-wait, Oreki-sa-!" She was cut off by a loud popping sound that Oreki could feel through her wrist that he held. Confusion was plain on his face until he felt her hand slip from his all too quickly, the warmth of her palm vanishing cruelly.
"Ah!" She made a pained sound as she slumped to the ground again, clutching her left shoulder.
"Chitanda?" Concern flared in his tone again as he knelt back down beside her. By the way she was holding her shoulder and the unhidden expression of pain on her face, he immediately knew what had happened. "Don't tell me..." The phrase slipped from his mouth for a second time that evening and he realized the situation. When she fell, she obviously hurt her arm but didn't say anything about it. So, naturally when I tried to pull her up like that, it only made things worse. Judging by that sound earlier, it must be dislocated...
He cut off his thoughts when he realized Chitanda was still in intense pain before him. She was biting her lip and obviously trying to hold back, but an injury was an injury, and he knew this frigid air probably was not helping either.
"What have I done?" He mumbled helplessly. "I'm so sorry..." he stopped himself from saying any more because it just felt forced and insincere.
"Ah...hah...n-no..." she fought for breath, panting white clouds as she opened the eyes she had unknowingly squeezed shut. "It was my fault...for not saying anything..." She turned those dazzling violet eyes on him, still just as captivating as the first time he looked into them, even though now they were trying to hide great discomfort. "I thought it was just sore...but I didn't think this could happen."
"Well, what's done is done." He said regretfully, hating that it sounded like he hardly cared for her injury, so he softened his tone a bit. "Still, we should get away from here. Does anything else hurt?" He asked guiltily.
"No." She shook her head.
"Okay then." This time, instead of blatantly grabbing her hand, he offered her his. She blinked up at him, thankful that the lack of lighting hid the blush that she knew was spreading across her cheeks. Tentatively, she reached up her right hand and grasped his palm, savoring the faint warmth emitting from his presence.
Gently, he helped her to her feet, glancing nervously at her limp left arm. Chitanda noticed his concern and gave him a sheepish smile, desperately biting back a hiss of agony as soreness shot up her shoulder.
Oreki slowly led her back over to the wall near the door of the shed. He peeked through the hole they had been dropping items out of; there were barely any people passing by. He raked his brain for more ideas, but nothing came to him.
"No one's coming..." Chitanda's shaking voice spoke his worries.
"Yeah." He agreed, sitting down, rubbing his hands over his arms. From above him, a petite sneeze sounded, not unlike a kitten's. "Are you okay?" He asked.
"Yes... I wish I'd brought my haori though..." she trailed off. Oreki, too, voiced his regrets for not brining along heavier clothing.
"Sorry, Chitanda. We might not have any other options. Mayaka's got the items now, but I don't think she'll leave her station to come find us." He stated through chattering teeth.
"No, it's my fault for being selfish and dragging you along with me." She replied.
"You're not being selfish. You have your responsibilities." He responded, trying to ease her conscious. "Besides, I'm relieved I did come."
He had no idea what he would do with himself if he had let her be locked in this place alone on such a cold night. She may not have thought of ways to relay her problem to anyone, and might not have been found until morning, but she definitely would have gotten sick. But the worst idea to fathom was that she would hurt herself and be suffering alone out here.
He glanced at her from the corner of his eye. Her left arm still hung at her side as her right clutched her kimono before her chest. He assumed it hurt her too much to lift her arm or try to keep herself warm like he was doing. Even her long, onyx hair that had been released to shield her neck from the cold air had now backfired in purpose as her freezing tresses chilled her exposed skin all the way down her spine.
"There's no excuse for getting you caught up in this." She smiled at him despite the guilt filling her chest. "Let's just call for help. We'll just have to put up with any rumors that spread." She suggested.
Oreki gritted his teeth and turned his face away from her, hating the idea that their only option of escaping meant jeopardizing her image.
"I imagine Fukube-san is already here, too."
Her words hit him like a tidal wave as Oreki jumped to his feet, causing the girl to gasp.
Afterward, he explained his final plan, snatched the string from the banner outside, and dropped Chitanda's bag out into the snow. Chitanda watched in curious silence as Oreki completed the last step to their potential rescue before sitting down beside him to listen to the story of being "trapped like a rat".
"It may take him a little while, but it's guaranteed to work." He finished, hugging his knees to his chest.
"That's brilliant, Oreki-san!" She exclaimed happily, also copying his sitting style. The kept about a 5-inch distance between them, but there was still a faint warmth they could feel from one another.
However, by now, both of them were shaking uncontrollably and their breaths came out heavily. Oreki had lost count of how many times she had sneezed and he was getting colder by the moment as well.
"How's your shoulder?" He wondered.
"Eh, j-just sore." She smiled before bowing her head. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have reacted in such a way. It really didn't hurt that badly. I was probably just overreacting. I didn't mean to make you worry."
"You don't need to apologize." He puffed a breath into his hands.
"Is this your first time dislocating a shoulder?" He wondered.
"Well then of course it will hurt." He reasoned. "Plus, this cold isn't helping, I'm sure."
"I...I guess so..." she trailed off into silence which was promptly broken by another sneeze. She clutched her kimono tighter to her chest with her right hand until her knuckles drained of blood.
That was the last straw for Oreki.
He glared at the 5 inches between them and then back at his shivering classmate and his own pale hands. Satoshi should be here soon...but it should be okay...if it's just for a little while...
"Oy...Chitanda..." he said in a small voice.
"What is it?" She sniffed.
At first, it appeared she assumed he was going to tell her something interesting, therefore she leaned closer. But when Oreki awkwardly lowered his gaze and patted the floor beside him, she realized what he meant and felt her heart rate quicken.
"E-E-Eh? B-But Fukube-san will-"
"We don't know when he'll get here," he mumbled, embarrassed. "But until then, we really need to keep warm. Even just for a bit. It's far too cold now." He glanced at her shuddering shoulders and then his own to prove his point.
"B...But we didn't want people to get the wrong idea..." She whimpered.
"Knowing Satoshi we'll hear him coming long before he gets here." Orkei reasoned. He blinked at her, inviting any further protests, but she seemed to understand that he would rebuke her every time. Despite this knowledge, she still tried.
"B...But..." she was beginning to feel dizzy.
"Chitanda." He said her name insistently, earnestly, as if to say "let's be realistic here". She knew he meant it because they were freezing, but she felt he could read her thoughts and see into her heart, knowing that she had secretly longed for nothing more since the door had been closed.
As she sat, huddled in her inner turmoil, Oreki closed the distance between them. Chitanda could not hold back a small yelp of surprise as he did this, but nonetheless, she did not move away. He did not make eye contact with her as he pressed his left shoulder beside her right. He felt her jump slightly, but within a few seconds, her tense body relaxed against him. She let out a long breath as the ice in her body began to melt, and before she knew it, she was leaning into him.
Oreki could not stop himself from moving as close to her as possible, for both natural and personal reasons.
He realized this was the closest he had ever been to her and for the longest amount of time. Past the thick scent of snow in the air, he could just catch the smell of plums off her person. With her beautiful hair curled over her shoulders and flowing down her back, and her face turned slightly away from him at just the perfect angle, her soft breath billowing mist, she was certainly nothing less than alluring.
The boy blushed and forced the thought away, but allowed himself to latch onto her warmth.
Chitanda as well, snuggled closer to him, unable to stop herself, even though her heart was pounding. She was relieved when she shyly glanced his way to see he had, for the most part, stopped shivering. Oreki too, felt her violent shaking die away into soft trembles, and her panicked breathing slowed to a more controlled pace.
Chitanda's left hand rested limply in her lap, but she tentatively let her right slide down onto the floor to cover his frozen fingers. Oreki stiffened and looked at her in shock, but she avoided his gaze as if nothing had happened. The boy gave the tiniest smile and squeezed her hand, to which she smiled as well.
At last, the two relaxed against one another, and their shaking ceased almost completely.
Silence ensued for the next several moments as they merely shared their body heat. The only sounds were the distant voices of the people at the shrine and one another's breathing.
Since Chitanda still looked away from him, he could not tell if her eyes were still open, and so he thought she may have fallen asleep until he heard her small voice.
"Um... Oreki-san?" She whispered almost inaudibly.
"What is it?"
"T...Thank you...for coming with me..." she said simply.
He blinked once before inhaling through his nose and changing the subject.
"The only thing is, how are you going to explain your shoulder to your father?" He wondered, a bit worried.
"Ah, I'll just tell him I fell. He doesn't need to know where I was or what I was doing, and I won't be lying either." It seemed she had already thought that tidbit through.
By this point, their fingers had already entwined tightly and they had gotten used to one another's warmth, therefore, when they heard the crunching of footsteps in the snow, they both jolted.
"Hotarou! Are you there?" A familiar voice called out past the wall of the shed. In his panic, Oreki quickly let go of her hand.
"Yeah! You're a life saver!" He called back as he stood, realizing that Chitanda looked slightly hurt that he had let go of her so easily. He smiled to himself as he continued to shout to Satoshi. "I was about to freeze to death."
Oreki gingerly took Chitanda's hand again, but her feet were numb and she had difficulty standing, as she could not push off the ground with her other hand. Oreki realized the issue and crouched back down beside her, boldly wrapping his other arm around her back and helping her to her feet. Feeling lightheaded at the sudden action, Chitanda swayed slightly and clutched onto him before she realized what she was doing, blushed madly, and hesitantly let go.
Still smiling slightly, Oreki walked her over to the door, which was just beginning to reveal the light of the outside world as Satoshi opened it.
When the light hit her face, Chitanda seemed to light up brighter than any festival firework, but Oreki kept his thoughts to himself as he repeated Satoshi's joke back through chattering teeth.
"Yo. Sappy New Year."
Although it had been the coldest thing he had ever experienced, it was the first time he had ever been trapped in a shed, let alone pressed closely to the girl who's curiosity he could never seem to silence.
But looking at her smiling face now, he realized it was not as cold as he thought it was.
A/N: Once more, I apologize for the fast-pacing! It was really just something I needed to get done quickly :3 I hope you liked it!