Chapter 15: Episode 15 Part 2

I'm depending on Yuto again, thought Yuki as she ran steps behind the boy. Is that really okay?

"Don't worry, Yuki."

Yuki lifted her gaze, startled.

"Feel free to use me," Yuto said without looking over his shoulder. "Yuki, if you just want me for that, then that's fine with me. Just say, 'Help me rescue those two, and, in return, I'll pretend to be your lover again.'"

If Yuto was aware that their dating relationship was simply a hoax and was hurt by it, he didn't let it show; his voice remained cheerfully nonchalant as they raced down the corridor. Despite the flames that ate their way up the wooden pillars and the increasing intensity of the heat, Yuki's eyes never once faltered away from the back of Yuto's head.

She…didn't quite believe that Yuto was actually content with having a fictitious romance. If he did know, why did he allow it so? Her mind shortly drifted back to the time when he would smother her with constant attention, chasing her, and calling out her name; there was even a time when he prepared a bento for her. Yuki couldn't believe that she didn't realize it earlier. If it wasn't Yuto acting out on his obsession, then could it be that he was trying to win over her affections?

No! What am I thinking? Get it together, Yuki, she berated herself with a grimace. You and Yuto are through. Remember that!

But…for the sake of making it out alive today, she had no other choice than to place her life in Yuto's hands.

"We'll test the strength of your love!" declared a male voice. Up ahead at one end, once they entered the open-walled hallways of orange blazes and crackling fire, stood Marco and Ai. With dread, Yuki skidded to a halt as she watched the adults sprint towards them.

Ai's arms were crossed before her chest, and then horizontally scissored the air while producing twin knives that flew onwards. Yuto deflected the attack with the knife in his hand without stopping his run. A wave of flames leapt behind Yuto's disappearing figure and crashed onto the floor, causing the separation of the two teens and her body to lock tight in fear.

"Yuto!" Yuki called out. Behind a screen of smoke, she barely made out what was happening, but she knew that Yuto was battling given the clangs exchanged by metal weapons. There were shouts and growls, words that were incomprehensible because of the roar of the fire.

While standing there helplessly, she imagined Yuto taken down by the Sevenths. Yuki wasn't nearly as strong as Yuto, but her body was on the edge of fatigue from having to run all around the mansion and inhaling smoke, which could mean that Yuto was undergoing similar effects. That was especially worrisome knowing that both Marco and Ai were a force to be reckoned with.

For a split second, Yuki considered running away. Run away while Yuto had them distracted. He did say that she could use him, right? So she should get away from here as far as possible. Get to Nishijima, who hopefully had contacted backup. Get to Hinata and Mao, who must be clinging onto their lives as they swim in their own pools of blood. Get to Akise, who promised to protect her.

Where was Akise?

The fire alarm sprinkler was activated and it rained. A thousand water pellets drummed on the top of her head as she stared apprehensively into the dying fire and thick clouds of gray smoke. When the smoke cleared enough, she saw Yuto lying prone on the floor. Yuki gasped in horror and, without thinking, hurried to his side.

"Yuto!" she cried. She grabbed him by the shoulder, turning him over for him to face up, and cradled his head. "Yuto!"

Suddenly, she became very aware of the close presence of the enemy. With alarmed shock, her eyes trailed up from the toes of their shoes to their eyes. Ai 's lips were pressed into a thin line as her expression was hardened, solemn, a similar way how Marco's read. Large hands seized the front of her shirt, lifting her off the ground, as a slim and dainty one plucked her phone from her grasp.

"You play your part well, First. The damsel in distress," she heard Ai say nonchalantly. Over Marco's shoulder, she could see the woman tossing her phone—her very much intact phone—in the air and catching it. "I remember being the damsel too, but I vowed to never make that mistake ever again."

"You know it's a man's duty to protect his girl, Ai," said Marco, his eyes never leaving Yuki's.

"Then it'd be a woman's duty to assist."

"Please," Yuki choked out, tears prickling from the corners of her eyes. "Please, don't."

She was thrown over the railway before blacking out.


Dear My Name is Alice,

If you want to write an omake or a oneshot, go ahead. As long as it's on your account, I'm fine with anything.