Hey everyone! What's up? Well, here's TKS Chapter 14. The first thirteen chapters have gotten 178 reviews between them all and, for someone like me, that totally rocks! Thank you to all those of you who take the time to read and review, and to everyone else who has favorite and/or followed this story! I hope you'll continue to enjoy it as more and more chapters come out!
So there is one thing I want to mention before any of you get started reading: this chapter, like Chapter 4, does stray away from Haru and the main pairing of the fic. You'll see who this one is about. I know some people get mad when the focus isn't solely on the main pairing, but really I'd rather do it this way. The world doesn't revolve around RinHaru, although I will admit mine pretty much does. And Ereri, yum~ Holy hell, no. SnK Episode 21. NO. Ugh, sorry let's not talk about that.
Anyway, I promise the next chap will go back to the main pairing a little bit more and it's actually going to be Rin-centric. So, uh, look forward to it?
Also, to anyone who might be interested in reading a mermaid!au written by me— please know I'll be publishing the first chap on 09/05. Still untitled. K, thanks guys!
Warnings: Sexual content is briefly implied.
Disclaimer: I don't own Free! If I did it would release daily, not weekly. And we'd follow the boys for the rest of their lives.
[CHAPTER FOURTEEN: "THE MORNING AFTER."]
Mhmm. What's going on? Where am I?
Tired pink eyes opened themselves up to world, squinting in the sunlight. Nagisa looked at the ceiling and blinked a few times before daring to turn his head to the left, looking over towards the open window beside him.
It's bright outside today, The blonde thought, trying to get his bearings, before a small squeak on his other side caught his attention, followed by hushed whispers.
"He's awake! What do we do? Go get Onii-chan?" One little voice asked the other. Nagisa turned his head to the right, blinking as two young children came into view.
"Well, duh! He told us to come get him whenever he woke up— what do you think that means, Ren?" The little girl asked, causing the boy — who appeared to be her brother — to frown. The little brunette reached up, rubbing the back of his head.
"Yeah, okay, I know— but you don't have to be so mean about it," The little boy — Ren, was it? — said, turning his attention away from his sister and to the blonde stranger laying before them. Beside him, Ran followed his lead, eyeing Nagisa before, with a soft blush on the apples of her cheeks, she took her brother by the hand, pulling him over towards the door. "Come on," She said as they went, "Onii-chan's not gonna get himself." Ran pulled Ren out of the room, letting the thin wooden door shut behind them. Nagisa stared over at the door for a good few seconds before finally tearing his pink hues away.
He didn't sit up — it felt right to just wait right where he was for the big brother that was supposed to be coming to see him — but Nagisa did take the chance to glance around the room, hoping to be able to recognize his surroundings. He didn't. The floors were wooden and so were the walls, the only pieces of furniture in the room being the bed he was laying on — which was actually pretty comfortable — and a small table by the door, which had a vase filled with some sort of plant resting on top of it. Nagisa eyed the spiky, omnious looking plant and frowned, wondering why someone would grow such a thing.
And then the door beside the table opened back up and a tall brunette entered into the room, his eyebrows raised and the expression on his face clearly giving away just how concerned he was. For me? Nagisa wondered, watching as the male made his way further into the room, stopping at his bedside and stooping down beside him. He had some of the kindest, prettiest eyes Nagisa had ever seen— green and pure, free from all the selfish desires and greedy minds held further within the city, around where he usually hung out. Nagisa felt a small tickle in his stomach.
"Hello," The taller, surely-a-little-older male beside Nagisa smiled, his hands resting on the edge of the bed. "Are you okay? Did you sleep well?" The olive-haired male's face was soft, peaceful— as was his voice.
"Ah, I—" Nagisa moved to sit up, to ask where he was and who the male was and all other sorts of questions, but he could only flinch instead, a hand moving to grip his side as pain prickled across his skin seemingly everywhere. Beside him, the eldest son of the owner of the Firdous Flower Shop frowned, quickly snapping to attention. Makoto placed his hands on Nagisa — one on the boy's chest and the other on his back — and eased him back into a laying position. Nagisa let himself be moved back into his previous position, not sure he had the willpower to object at the moment— and not quite sure why it was he felt that he didn't.
"Hey, don't try to sit up any, okay? You're pretty beaten up." Makoto brought his hands back from Nagisa, effectively catching the blonde off guard with his statement. Beaten up? Nagisa repeated, a deep frown settled into his face. The blonde titled his head slightly, a bit surprised to find his chest and arms bare, but much more surprised to find his skin littered with deep purple and light blue bruises. The male before him offered a smile, trying to silently coax the blonde into smiling, as well.
"I'm Makoto— I'm the eldest son of Tachibana-san, the owner of the flower shop here in town. I found you early this morning out by our shop's door— tell me, are you alright? Can you remember what happpened to you?" Makoto's worried expression was a serious one and Nagisa looked away, shifting a bit under the covers. He recognized the male now that he knew he was connected to the flower shop, or well— he'd seen Tachibana-san around a few times. I can trust these people, Nagisa thought. "Ah..."
Nagisa paused, racking his brain for an answer. What had happened? Raido and one of his friends pulled me into an alleyway... Rai was asking for sex... I didn't wanna do it, but... Haruka flashed through the blonde's mind and Nagisa went rigid. Haru-chan— I got Haru-chan hurt! That other guy was beating him up and I offered up everything I had to get him to stop. I even let them share my body... Nagisa winced, suddenly becoming more and more aware of the stinging pain pressing against his butt, centered around his entrance. That really hurt.
"Hey, what's wrong? Did you remember something?" Makoto asked from beside Nagisa, noting how tense the boy had gotten. The blonde looked over at Makoto and laughed falsely, shaking his head a little. "Oh, no— I don't remember how I got like this, I just know it hurts."
"I bet—" Makoto smiled sympathetically before his hands shot forward, back to trying to gently coax Nagisa back down onto the bed as the short blonde sat up, this time succedding in sitting up straight. The pain in his backside intensified and Nagisa winced. Makoto frowned.
"Hey— what do you think you're doing? I told you to stay laying down, okay? You're hurt!" Makoto exclaimed in high objection to the blonde's movements, his palms pressing against Nagisa's bare chest as he tried to push the boy gently back down. Nagisa frowned and held his ground, refusing to allow himself to be moved this time around and shaking his head.
"I need to be getting on home," Nagisa said, slowly pushing the blankets draped over him away and carefully swinging his legs over the side of the bed, causing Makoto to have to move back to avoid getting kicked. Nagisa blinked, eyeing the white pants he was dressed in. These aren't mine... Where are my clothes? Was I not wearing any when I was found? A shiver surged through Nagisa's body— now that he really didn't know.
"Thank you very much for helping me. I promise I'll come back and repay you, but I need to get going," Nagisa said as he stood up, his legs slightly wobbly at first. Makoto stood off to the side, frowning. He couldn't just let Nagisa go off alone— his kind heart wouldn't allow it. And so he spoke up, asking Nagisa where his home was and offering to take him there if he was really so keen on leaving. Nagisa flinched and frowned.
"Ah, no— that's okay, really." Nagisa stretched out his limbs a bit before turning around. He picked the pillow he'd been resting his head on just previously up off the bed, tucking it under his arm as he began to move the covers around, pulling them up to the top of the bed and smoothening them out, making the bed back up. It was the least he could do for the time being; he really would come back and pay his thanks to Makoto and his family— his words had been genuine. And Makoto knew this, could sense it by the tone Nagisa's voice had held, but his frown still grew sharper, digging ever-deeper into his very being.
"Please," Makoto said, watching Nagisa make their guest bed. "let me take you home. I just want to make sure you get back together with your family and they know you're alright."
He couldn't miss the way the blonde's actions ceased, his fingers going tight around the edges of the pillow under his arm just as he'd reached to fix it back in place on the bed, and suddenly Makoto regretted asking.
"I don't have a family," Nagisa murmured, his head of blonde, curly hair posed to stare straight ahead, his pink hues gazing out the window across the bed from him. Makoto tensed. I shouldn't have asked, He scolded himself.
An awkward, tense silence settled between the two just as a feminine figure with a motherly smile appeared in the doorway. Makoto's mother smiled in at the two boys, her hand resting against the open door.
"Ah, so our guest is awake, after all," The woman said as she entered into the room, moving past her son and taking the pillow in Nagisa's hands away. The blonde blinked and he and the woman's eldest son watched on as she fluffed the pillow a bit before laying it down at the head of the bed, smoothening out it's surface. "How are you feeling, dear? Did you sleep well?" She asked Nagisa as she fixed one of the corners of the pillow before pulling back, turning her soft green gaze — which was a bit lighter but just as kind as Makoto's — to Nagisa and her son. Nagisa shuffled his bare, dirty feet a little.
"Yes, I did. Thank you for your kindness and hospitality, but I think I should take my leave now," Nagisa said quietly, feeling rather strange under the older woman's gaze. She smiled just as Makoto frowned, the olive-haired young adult inwardly wondering if Nagisa thought his mother would let him off the hook that easily. He wasn't surprised in the slightest when she didn't.
"Before breakfast? I don't think so," Makoto's mother said with a laugh, refusing to allow Nagisa to leave. The blonde boy might've frowned and refused, as he had when Makoto had asked him to reconsider leaving and stay, but something about the dark green-haired woman drew him in, anchoring him to her warm smile. She's a mother, Nagisa thought, a soft pink blush springing into his cheeks. And she's asking me to stay for breakfast.
"O-Oh, well, no... I guess I can't deny your kindness. I'll stay— b-but only for breakfast! Then I definitely, positively, absolutely have to go!" Nagisa insisted. Makoto's mother laughed and nodded while her son stared on in awe as the green-haired woman began to usher Nagisa out of the room, talking to him as she lead him a few rooms over and into the kitchen. Makoto stood still, blinking. Why didn't he agree to stay when I asked? He wondered, not sure if he was supposed to feel left out or insulted or what. Needless to say, the olive-haired male soon turned towards the door, exiting out of the room and making his own way to the kitchen.
Minutes later, Nagisa found himself sitting at the kitchen table, surrounded by four green and/or brown-haired members of one big, happy family— perhaps the happiest he had ever seen. The short little blonde sat between the two children that had gossiped and argued over him upon his awakening just a little while before, who he had just been informed were actual twins by Makoto, though fraternal.
"I'm the oldest," Ran said as she giggled, seated to Nagisa's right. The light blush that had graced the girl's small face last the blonde had seen her was gone, in it's place just a big, happy smile. On his other side, Ren whined. "That doesn't make you any better!" The little brunette argued, causing his sister to frown, arguing back, "Does too!"
Before Nagisa knew it, the two children were bickering back and forth and across the table Makoto and his father were shooting apologetic looks and sympathetic smiles his way, like they'd expected the twin's argument. Nagisa sat as still as possible, even as Ren reached around him, attempting rather weak-heartedly to throw a small punch his sister's way. Ran gasped, immediately going on about how he wasn't supposed to hit girls and how she was going to tell, even though their father was right in front of them, watching the scene with an amused smile.
For a second Nagisa was afraid that he would never be rescued, but thankfully the woman of the household swooped in just then, coming up behind him with a white garment in her hands.
"Here you go, dear," Makoto's mother said, holding a white shirt over Nagisa's head. The blonde blinked and, as the woman began pressing the garment over his head, he lifted his arms to help her, allowing the green-haired woman to slip the shirt onto his thin form. He mumbled a quiet word of thanks as she rested her hands on his shoulders just briefly before turning away, moving over to a small woodstove located on the opposite side of the room. "Who's ready for some breakfast?" She exclaimed, inviting everyone in the room to pipe up, eagerly saying, "Me!"
Nagisa smiled as Makoto's mother began to pass out the food, going to everyone's plate and plopping down a variety of different things— pieces of bread, small cuts of ham, and pieces of sausage. He was really having breakfast with a real-live family. I can't believe it, The blonde boy thought, saying thank you as some food was placed onto his plate. He immediately began to eat, finding himself slowly relaxing, becoming content with his surroundings as he and the others around him ate, the twins still arguing back and forth — not that he minded much, anymore. With the way they were shoveling all the food off their plates and into their mouths, they hardly had much time to reach around Nagisa to physically mess with each other, much to the blonde's relief.
The togetherness; the family atmosphere. Being seated at a table with other people, enjoying each other's company and united as one happy little front— it felt nice, even if he was a bit of an outsider looking in. This is what a family is like, Nagisa thought, unable to wipe the ever-persistent smile from his face. Wow, I wish I could've had a life like this. He watched the two adults at the table speak to each other, laughing and having a merry old time, and Nagisa felt his heart sink a little, his mind going back to his current career and what exactly it was he did for a living. I'll never even have a family of my own, with the way things are going. No one would want to marry a prostitute. Nagisa lowered his head, feeling a little discouraged.
"Ah, Nagi-chan, what's wrong?" Ren piped up from beside Nagisa, catching his as well as everyone else's attention. All eyes turned to look at the blonde and he flushed, giving an innocent, nervous little laugh. "It's nothing."
"Homesick?" Makoto's father asked from across the table and Nagisa tensed, his hands suddenly away from the food on his plate — what little was left of it — and buried in his lap, clutching and fisting at his pants. "Ah, not quite..." Nagisa mumbled, face flushing as he looked away. The man seated across the table from him frowned. "Where do you live, might I ask? Where is your family? There are very few people with golden hair here— where are your origins?" The man never picked up on how awkward and uncomfortable he was making Nagisa feel with his questioning, which was a wonder in and of itself. Nagisa wished he would.
"A-Ah, Otou-san..." Makoto spoke up, lifting up a hand as the corner of his mouth twitched. I forgot to tell him not to ask. I knew he would... Makoto scolded himself for forgetting. His mother laughed.
"Come now, dear— he doesn't have to go through an interrogation. He's just a little out of place, that's all. Right, hon?" Makoto's mother looked to Nagisa and gave him that award-winning smile all over again. He felt something in his stomach flutter as he nodded, heat rising to his cheeks. She has such a bright and warm smile... Nagisa thought in reference of the woman, his gaze softening as his heart sank a little deeper in his chest. Would my Okaa-san have smiled at me like that, too— I wonder? Tears pricked at Nagisa's eyes and he blinked them back quickly. I'll never know...
"Hm... So you have nowhere to go then, do you?" Makoto's father held his hand to his chin, appearing to be thinking. The entire table went even quieter than before and rather still— including the twins. Their mother's face flushed. "Dear!" The woman screeched, unable to believe her husband had asked such a thing so bluntly. He looked to her and blinked, lowering his hand a bit. "What? I was going to ask if he wanted to stay here."
A small roar of applause broke out on Nagisa's side of the table, which caused the blonde — as well as everyone else at the table — to blink. The twins were clapping loudly, all the food gone from their plates and some of it's remnants still resting around the corners of their mouths. Nagisa frowned, far less than happy to see that the twins seemed to agree with what their father was saying.
"No, I couldn't... Thank you, though..." Nagisa quietly refused the offer, causing the twins to groan and whine loudly. "But you have to!" Ren exclaimed, Ran backing him up with, "I want a golden-haired older brother!"
Nagisa tried to back away from the twins, finding them very overwhelming, but found that he couldn't go very far in his current position. Just as they were becoming a little too much for him to handle without crying out for help, there was a loud clap. The blonde as well as the twins looked across the table to find the mother of the house standing up, her hands on her hips and a very stern look gracing her usually smiling, happy face.
"Ren, Ran— stop it. If he doesn't want to stay with us, he doesn't want to stay with us. The two of you bothering him about it will only make him want to leave more, do you understand?" The woman said. Her twins nodded, frowning as they quietly apologized. Nagisa blinked and looked at the twins before looking back to their mother. He jumped. She's already smiling again— even so soon after scolding them! How fast! Nagisa shivered.
"Ah, that reminds me!" The green-haired woman remained standing after scolding her two youngest children, stepping away from the table and heading for the kitchen door. She turned back towards the table, smiling. "Makoto, when you finish eating, do you think you can deliver some flowers to the palace for me? I received a message from the Queen earlier this morning asking if I could throw something together for the King and have it delivered— it seems he isn't doing too well."
"Ah, okay, Okaa-san. I'll go right away," Makoto wholeheartedly agreed, excusing himself as he stood from the table. Nagisa watched the male stand and felt something in his become alive, going alert. He stood, as well.
"Um, can I tag along? To the palace with you, I mean," Nagisa shuffled his feet a little and Makoto blinked. The olive-haired male exchanged a look with his mother before he turned back towards Nagisa and they both smiled. "Sure, come with me." Makoto waved his hand, inviting the blonde to follow him and his mother outside and over to the flower shop, then to go with him to the palace.
Nagisa quietly excused himself, thanking Makoto's father for his hospitality and bidding farewell to the twins, who saw him off happily. Nagisa all but ran for the kitchen door, going right out into the sunlight as he moved to quickly follow behind Makoto and his mother. It was then that some of his memories from earlier that morning came flooding back— after his session with Raido and Tsu, but before he'd ever woken up.
I went looking for you, Haru-chan. I wanted to make sure you were safe, especially after what all happened to you because of me— but I never found you. You're at the palace, right, Haru-chan? You're a servant there and you made it back safely last night after we left, right? Right?
His thoughts frantic and feet rushing to get him where he was going, Nagisa knew he could only hope.
Please, Haru-chan. Please be okay. I need to make you understand.
[CHAPTER FOURTEEN: "THE MORNING AFTER." END]
So, come on— this wasn't that bad at all, right? Please agree, because I had some serious fun writing this. I didn't plan on enjoying writing Nagisa so much.
Anyway, look forward to the next chapter update, guys! Thanks for reading this one and Episode 9 is in just three and a half days! We're halfway there!
And yes, I am living on a prayer... Lol I'm just being stupid. PuddinPie out.