AN: Ello! Sorry this is so late! I suffered from a horse riding accident and have been studying for exams too so things have been pretty hectic! It feels good to be writing again ^_^ I hope you all enjoy this chapter!
Satou sighed and ran a hand over his face. What was he doing? There was a high school coworker taking a bath in his apartment alone without her parents knowing. It didn't matter the current circumstances, Popura was still a young girl. He felt his shoulders tense and head pound.
"Laundry…" whispering the words to himself reminded Satou of the task at hand. She was just staying until her clothes dried. That was all. Even then, as he scooped the pile of clothing by the bathroom door and a pink strap fell out, he still felt his cheeks flare. He leaned against the doorway to the laundry room. No matter how much he attempted to greaten the distance between himself and Popura, she still crept into his thoughts. It seemed as though the moment he allowed his mind to wander, her face was smiling up at him. What was this? Did he finally crave a human relationship after so long? Satou couldn't remember the last time he ever felt to urge to be around someone in particular. Spending long nights alone, listening to music and reading seemed to suit him more.
He walked back to the small kitchen and turned the stove on. The dull hum of the bath continued in the background. Kitchens always calmed him. Methodic rhythms of chopping and stirring did much more to sooth his nerves than any deep breathing. As be begun to shave chocolate over the pot of hot water, Satou began to feel his mind relax. The sound of running bath water stopped. There were a few moments of silent until the door opened. He turned around to see a pale arm reach out and quickly snatch the spare clothing he had set out earlier. Satou poured hot chocolate from the pot into a cup as light footsteps made their way towards him.
"Here," he said, holding out the mug while paying no mind to the figure behind him. Popura took the hot drink and smiled.
"It's delicious! Do you like cooking, Satou-san?" her doe eyes stared up at him.
"Not particularly. I just read the instruction books." The girl nodded and sipped. "Your clothes should finish drying soon. I'll take you home once they're done," he stated as he poured the remaining hot chocolate down the drain and began to clean the pot. From the corner of his eye, he saw her lips forming a pout.
"Yeah…I guess I should go home…" A sharp, stinging sensation stabbed at his chest. "Do you need any help with the dishes?" He shook his head.
"Just make yourself at home," Satou put the now empty pot away. "Sorry if there isn't really much to do here. I'm a pretty boring guy."
"I don't think so!" Popura chimed. He looked over to her in surprise to see her cheeks grow red. The girl quickly took a sip of hot chocolate to hide her embarrassment. Her eyes quickly scanned the room for something to relieve the awkward tension. She spotted the bass guitar gathering dust in the corner and smiled.
"Do you play?"
"Only a little that my friend taught me. I'm just holding onto it for him."
"Oh…" her voice was laced with slight melancholy that he noticed immediately. Popura began moving throughout the room. She treaded slowly, observing every detail. It put him on edge. He wasn't used to someone paying so much attention to his interests.
"All of these band names are in English…" her thoughts escaped through her lips. The girl turned to look at him. "What kind of music do you listen to, Satou-san?"
"Nothing you would be interested in," he covered quickly. "I'll go check and see if your clothes are dry…" Popura nodded. Satou clenched his jaw. He was doing it again. Running away. Why did it always come to him trying to flee these situations? Just as he reached the dryer, a large crash of thunder was heard and the lights went out.
"Aaah!" a high pitched scream came from the other room. A glass shattered to the floor. Satou spun on his heel and raced down the lightless hallway.
"Popura?" he called out into the darkness.
"S-Satou-san!?" her voice contained a helpless fear that caused his chest to tighten.
"I'm getting a flashlight!" Satou felt along the wall to the kitchen where he opened the familiar drawer and found the emergency flashlight inside. He turned it on and hurried into the main room. The small circle of light darted blindly around the room until landing on a small, cowering form. Popura knelt on the floor, hands clutched tightly to her chest and the broken mug beside her. Satou ran to her side quickly.
"Are you okay? Did you cut yourself?" She shook her head.
"N-No…The thunder scared me a-and I dropped the mug…sorry, Satou-san," she whimpered weakly.
"It's alright as long as you're fine," he reassured. "Here, hold onto the flashlight while I get something to clean up this mess. Be careful not to touch the broken pieces. Popura sniffled in response. Satou blindly stumbled around and found the dustpan and broom. He swept up the accident thoroughly, making sure not to miss any potential dangers.
"The wind probably knocked down a power line or something. I'll light a few candles." Satou looked down at her. She clutched the sleeves of his tattered shirt she wore and winced with the occasional thunder. Her eyes were clamped shut. It amazed him how defenseless she could be. He felt his muscles tense before turning quickly to retrieve the candles. Carefully, the man placed each small candle in different places in the room until most everything was illuminated by a warm, flickering light.
"Do you have a cell phone to call your parents or anything?" Satou asked the quivering girl. Popura shook her head, clutching her knees close to her chest. He let out a heavy sigh and ran a hand over his face. Through fingers, he looked down at the girl. She was so small and childish… Satou sat down, crossing his long legs awkwardly in front of her. A pair of large brown eyes peeked up from behind her knees up at him. He began to stiffen under her gaze. Unsure of what to do, Satou awkwardly reached out and patted her head like how he had seen Takanashi do so many times. The girl smiled and closed her eyes.
"You can, uh….stay here, I guess…" he muttered quickly.
"Thanks, Satou-san," she tilted her head and looked straight towards him "You're really not all that scary, you know.~" Satou let out a cross between a scoff and a chuckle, the first she had ever heard from him. Popura stared up in awe and was just about to comment on it before he spoke quickly.
"I'll get you some blankets and pillows for the couch…" The man said before standing up again. She wondered briefly why it was that Satou never looked at her directly and kept their conversations so short. He returned soon and placed a few pillows and a thick comforter on the couch. "The heating will wear off soon so use that comforter. I'll drop you off in the morning."
"G-Goodnight!" she called after him quickly as he left the room. Satou paused for a moment before muttered a good night and leaving.
Satou Jun awoke to the sound of a frying pan being use. He sat up in bed and stretched. The power seemed to be back on. The streets outside were lines with branches and large pools of water. It seemed that the storm last night had been a long one. With a yawn, the man began to walk slowly down the hall, still waking up himself.
In his usually desolate kitchen stood a young girl, barely 5'2'' with long, chocolate curls wearing his shirt and making eggs and toast. She looked over her shoulder and smiled.
"Good morning, Satou-san. I'll be done making breakfast soon!" her cheery voice filled the apartment. He rubbed at his eyes and stood behind her. The girl stiffened and felt her cheeks grow warm. It seemed that Satou didn't pay attention to his actions in the morning. He wore a pair of sweatpants and a black tank top that revealed much of his torso. Popura felt her hands begin to shake as the chef watched her cook.
"I like my eggs over medium…" he mumbled before moving to pour himself coffee. She let out a small sigh of relief. The toaster let out a small ding just as she finished the eggs. Popura carefully arranged the breakfast on the small coffee table in the living room and stood back with her hands on her hips, proud of herself. Satou seem surprised at the meal for a moment before muttering a quick thanks and beginning to eat.
"You didn't have to do this you know," he said quietly "I would have cooked breakfast for you."
"I know. But you let me stay over here and wear your shirt and break your mug," she giggled at herself "So I wanted to do something nice as thanks." The man was still silent as he ate in response, but Popura was used to it. She didn't mind when Satou never responded because then at least she knew her feelings got across.
"Your clothes are in the dryer. Once you're done getting dressed we can leave," he said as he stood, carrying his dishes to the kitchen. She nodded quickly and hurried down the hall. Popura soon emerged again, fully dressed in her slightly wrinkled school uniform. Satou stood by the door in a jacket, waiting for her.
The drive to her house was silent, as usual. But she looked out the window, smiling as always. This time she gave occasional commentary on the places they passed. Although Satou seemed as despondent as usual, he enjoyed her nonsensical chatter in the background. So much that after he had dropped her off and was driving home, he felt the need to turn the radio on to fill the silence she left.
AN: Okay so because I feel guilty, I decided to give a little gift! It's a folder filled with SatouPopura wondeeeers~ *sparkle sparkle*