Welcome back to another repost. This original post was essentially me coming to terms with the fact that I am a nerd and like writing fanfiction about all the things. If you’ve been here a while, then, you already know I post fanfiction. If not, welcome! I post fanfiction.
However, most of the fanfiction on here was written around 4 years ago. My writing style has changed, and I feel that I have a much better grasp on writing in general. As such, not only will I continue posting fanfiction, but I will be going back and editing any old fanfiction on here, on my fanfiction.net account, as well as on all the other various fanfic websites.
Let me go ahead and apologize to those who have been following my fanfictions. A lot of them were just left to die without any continuation, and I’m sorry you will be getting no updates until they have been worked over again. Let me assure you, though, I will be working on them again. Future chapters inbound!
Suga’s eyes widened ever so slightly, and his already thin lips pursed tighter together until they were as pale as his face. Shiori couldn’t be sure, but she thought he looked somewhat… disappointed? Even so, she didn’t get a chance to ask as he turned his face away from her view to stare up at the blinking neon sign. It looked like the “B” was about to fade out soon.
Shiori bobbed her head, though Suga wasn’t looking to see it.
“Yes. If you plan on speaking to an entire counsel of strangers, you’re going to have to get used to speaking to at least one stranger, right? What better way than a date?”
Shiori could barely make out the shift in his gaze from the sign to her as his dark eyes lost the reflecting green shimmer.
“I won’t be… dating the counsel… though.”
“Oh, I don’t know. The mayor seemed pretty intent on seeing you this morning.”
Suga let out a terrified gasp before turning away completely. Shiori laughed louder then and poked his shoulder.
“Hey, you know I was just kidding. It’s just a joke.”
He turned his head to peer at her over his shoulder.
“Is… the date a joke?”
Her hand fell away from his back, and she stared into his eyes. They were dimly illuminated from the word “Mountain,” but that only intensified the shadows lurking at their edges. She couldn’t tell if he was being serious or naïve again. She hesitantly took in a breath.
He stared at her a few seconds longer, all in silence except for the occasional laughter escaping the tavern. Finally, he sighed, and turned back to fully face the entrance. She eyed his chest as he took in a long breath.
“Well… let’s get this over with.”
He sounded pained, and she couldn’t help the sudden stinging in her chest.
Upon entering the bar, Suga and Shiori were immediately enveloped by a cloud of smoke. At least five smokers sat at the main bar, taking long drags, as if in long conversation with one another. Shiori fanned her hands and wrinkled her nose in distaste while Suga hacked and turned his face away. One of the smokers, a man with burly arms and a beard eyed the pair from across the room. He stared for a few seconds, then took another long drag.
Shiori swallowed, now suddenly regretting the idea. Then, she looked at Suga, saw the horror in his face, the uncomfortable squirming in his hands and body, and immediately took his hand. Shocked, he jumped, then eyed their clasped hands.
“Dance with me.”
Suga’s eyes widened.
But she didn’t give him a chance to finish.
Already, she was dragging him to the dance floor… if you could call it that. It wasn’t a very large tavern. It had actually once been used for town meetings. Then, the museum was built up, and with it came the tourists. With tourists came money, and with money came a need for more entertainment. So, the town hall was retired, and the tavern was born. The dance floor had once been the waiting area. They knocked the wall down to put in a bar and open up the meeting area for the drinks and the coolers.
There was no place left for a stage, so they simply marked off the performance area with police tape. It gave the entire bar a grungy feel that turned most of the older, more proper folks away. It drew in the young people and the grunge like flies, though. The stage brought in all the dreamers in the town. Of course, most of the dreamers were just kids who brought their guitar to class and liked to tell their friends they would be leaving for the city once they heard back from their “record label.”
Then, there were the real ones. The ones that you’d see once on stage, then gone the next. Little blips of talent that sparked in the small town, only to be swept away by life and responsibility the next. It was just another sad fact of the small town life.
Unfortunately, there would be no dreamers at all tonight. In their place, the tavern owner had set up a stool with a static-y boom box resting on top. It was currently playing an ad for car insurance.
Shiori swallowed as she stood awkwardly holding hands with Suga at the center of an empty dance floor. No one was looking at them. Sure, there was the occasional glance from a questionably young youth at the bar, but it was only with minor curiosity. It wasn’t long before he turned back around to nurse his questionably dark drink.
She looked up to stare at Suga. He was mindlessly tapping his foot, and she wanted nothing more than to drag him off the dance floor. Then, she saw his smile.
He was looking around the bar just smiling. He was just happy to be there, and she barely took note of him squeezing her hand.
Her face was burning. She had never been so happy to be in the dim lighting of a bar. Soon, a song began. The static was too much to make out the words, but there was plenty of beat. She swept in front of Suga, led his held hand to her hip, then wrapped her arms around his neck. His other hand easily found its way to her other hip.
Even with such a natural move, his eyes were so wide they were bugging out of his head. Shiori couldn’t help laughing.
“Calm down. We just have to get the ball rolling. It’s science. Start the pack behavior. We dance, others will come out and dance, and you’ll be dancing with a fine lady in no time.”
She could see his throat working as he swallowed.
“You’re… a pretty fine lady.”
Shiori frowned, but didn’t respond. Instead, she got them moving. With a gradual step forward, their bodies were pressed together. He still stood, lost and frozen. She growled and trailed a hand up his neck, into his hair, and pulled his face down to hers. They weren’t kissing. They wouldn’t be kissing, but you wouldn’t know any better looking on from the outside. Their breath was hot, steaming, and it wasn’t long before Shiori had him moving back and forth along the floor. His steps weren’t fluid, but he was at least moving in step with her.
He didn’t have a choice, Shiori was running the show. They took a few more steps before Shiori whispered,
“Now, dip me… but don’t get too far from me.”
He went to ask her,
But he never got an answer as she jerked back away from him, but kept her hand dug into his hair. They leaned together, his face leaving hers, but his lips and breath trailed down her neck until it heated her collarbone.
There was a low gasp in the crowd, and now Shiori could see a few of the patrons had found their way to the floor and were dancing around them, including the questionably young drinker who was thrashing around in his own corner. Shiori smiled, then Suga pulled her back up so they were face-to-face again.
“W-what… is this?”
His voice was throaty and rough, more of a growl, but still labored by his stutter. She smiled against his mouth,
She could feel him smile back.
They danced around a while longer before they were both sweating due to the sheer amount of body heat surrounding them. Suga begged her to go back to the bar, and she eventually relented. The people around them were absolutely suffocating. She aimlessly wiped at her forehead, trying to keep the sweat from stinging her eyes. Suga held her hand, and they waded through the ocean of bodies to the less inhabited bar.
There, Suga ordered two waters, which earned him a long stare from the bartender. He didn’t notice, and when the bartender met Shiori’s glaring gaze, he apologetically ducked behind the bar to fix their glasses. Suga met her gaze, and she smiled at him. He smiled back and greedily sucked on his water.
Shiori was just beginning to nurse her own drink when a bright voice piped over the crowd.
“Hey! Those were some sexy moves!”
Shiori spluttered when she caught sight of the busty blonde sauntering up to them. She didn’t look to be from the village, much less anywhere in the country. She was a foreign sight to behold, and her accent was strange and only made her that much more alluring.
She smiled brightly at both of them, though when she spoke, she solely focused on Suga.
“What a show, and what a lovely couple. How long have you been dancing together?”
Suga went to speak, but Shiori slammed down her glass, catching both of their attention.
“Not long. We’re not together, actually.”
The woman perked up.
“Oh? I wouldn’t have known. Name’s Charlie- well, Charlotte, but that sounds old, ya know? I prefer Charlie. I’m from the states. No dance partner to speak of… here or there, ya know?”
Shiori smiled while listening, but when she turned away to get a sip of her drink, she couldn’t help rolling her eyes. Suga, on the other hand, seemed intrigued.
“Hello… I’m Suga. This… this is Shiori. Do you… like to dance?”
Charlie released a burst of laughter, which had Shiori spluttering her drink again.
“Do I? I’m no good alone, but I can still cut a rug.”
Suga’s eyes widened.
“You… cut… rugs?”
Shiori reached out to take his attention and explain the expression, but Charlie leaned in and took hold of his shoulder.
“Not literally, duh. It just means I just… ya know, dance pretty well, I guess. If that makes sense?”
Suga’s face was blank, but he nodded anyway. Shiori knew better, but she didn’t say anything and continued to slurp down her water. She bitterly stared at the clear liquid, wishing she had ordered the drinks.
“So, I was wondering… I know you just cut the rug up yourself, already, but I don’t have a dance partner myself, and I’d really like a dance. So, mind if I steal your partner?”
Shiori looked up, shocked to find the pair of them staring at her. Had she just asked Shiori for permission? To dance with Suga? What did it matter what she thought? She met Suga’s eyes, but he was somewhere else. He was there, but it was like he was looking through her, rather than at her. She didn’t know what to say.
So, she nodded.
Charlie squealed and grabbed Suga’s hands, knocking the glass of water to the ground without so much as a thought.
“Come on! I love this song!”
Suga looked back at Shiori to say something, but she couldn’t hear his soft voice over the crowd swallowing them on the dance floor. She tried to catch sight of them and sat for just a few seconds longer at the bar, idly sipping away at her drink.
But eventually, she grew tired over the stale smell and the creeping sense of dread weighing down her chest. She wanted to tell Suga goodbye, but she would never find him in the crowd.
So, alone, she walked in the darkness. The air smelled of rain, and Shiori couldn’t help missing Suga.
While she was pleased to find him avidly searching the racks upon racks of clothing, she found his choices a bit drab. Especially with her vibrant assortment of clothes. So far he had picked up a black turtleneck, black slacks, and even a pair of dreadful black leather gloves. He said he was going for a sophisticated style.
It looked more like something a serial killer would wear.
Plus, she was pretty sure she had seen that exact get up, minus the gloves, before. In fact, she was pretty sure he was wearing it now, though she would never point it out to him. No, she was far too happy watching him, concentrated, as he shuffled through rack after rack of black on black clothes.
But there were only so many racks of black, and every once in a while she caught him wiping at his forehead – nervous sweating. It was time to move on to something a little more out of his comfort zone.
Not wanting to spook him anymore than he already was, she cleared her throat as she approached. Even so, he spun around to face her, dropping all of his treasures to the floor in a heap. Shiori winced, watching as his face crumpled and reddened in embarrassment. She quickly knelt down and began collecting his lost wardrobe, trying her best to move on.
“You’ve gotten a good bit here, but,” and she held up the gloves for emphasis, wagging them in Suga’s direction, “how about I show you a few tricks?”
Suga was still blushing, but a smile did eventually find its way to his lips.
Shiori felt a slight tug at the corner of her lips, an involuntary reaction. It felt good, whatever this was. It felt good to smile with Suga again.
Once his sad pile had been collected and left on a display table, Shiori was coaxing him toward a much more colorful section of the men’s department. But there he remained, staring forlorn at his smudge of a wardrobe.
She held out her hand toward him, grumbling to get his attention. It wasn’t until he met her eyes that she spoke.
“Come on. You need some color.”
He swallowed and shifted his gaze to the world of color behind Shiori. He dabbed at his forehead again, then met her gaze once more.
“Alright… but none of that.” He motioned toward a particularly bright rack with different hues and shades of coral.
Shiori couldn’t hold back a snort as she tugged a shirt off the rack. She held it up as if it might be something she was considering.
“I don’t know. Salmon would probably be a good fit, too.”
Just as quickly as the words left her mouth, all the color drained from Suga’s face.
Another snort tore from her throat before she had a chance to cover her mouth. She hung the shirt back up and shook her head.
“You’re too gullible Suga. It’s just a joke.”
Suga deflated with a sigh, wiping at his forehead one more time before following Shiori into a world of color and “fashion.”
She started with blues, offering him option after option, though all being met with a wrinkled grimace or blank indifference. Positive. Just had to stay positive.
She plucked a turtleneck off the rack, a deep royal blue, the closest to black she could find, and held it up to him. He looked at it, tilted his head to the left, then tilted his head to the right – physically and mentally mulling it over, before smiling.
“I think I can handle color.”
Success. It took everything she had not to dance. Sure, what he chose wasn’t necessarily the most dynamic, but it was different. It showed change, and she would take any little bit she could get.
So, she thrust the article into his hands, demanding, “Change. Now.”
Before he maybe-possibly changed his mind. In the meantime she got him a pair of jeans. No more slacks. Yes, they were more professional, but she really needed him to focus on personable first. If he could prove to be personable, then that would prove he could host the museum. She had a plan, and this was all part of it.
Suga found the nearest fitting room, and when came out, Shiori couldn’t help the purr of approval which left her throat.
The blue sweater, while not an extremely diverse choice, gave him a little more color in his cheeks – something that was always washed out. The jeans, though, made the biggest difference. They were a black wash, putting him in his comfort zone, but the fit was so much better than the standard slacks he always wore that he actually had a figure. A lean, relaxed one, one which anybody would want.
He looked so much more casual. Even his mannerisms, once stiff and awkward, were much more natural and calm. He ran a hand through his hair, eyes trained on Shiori, watching her reaction.
“Well… what do you think?”
What did she think? There were many things she wanted to say. She wanted to tell him he was handsome, that she couldn’t wait to show him off, but all she could manage was light blush with a thumbs up.
The way Suga brightened, someone else might have thought that little motion meant the world to him. Maybe it did, but Shiori would never know, as Suga was already heading toward the counter to purchase his outfit before she had the chance to ask.
Shiori followed close behind, already putting together the next part of her plan.
Once the outfit had been paid for, Shiori and Suga were heading out the door and back toward the smaller shops and restaurants. They were almost back at the mansion by the time Shiori stopped, Suga stumbling to stop beside her.
She peered at the entrance of the Mountain Bar and Tavern. During the day it was a quiet restaurant for all the passerby, but once evening arrived, it lit up with the locals getting off work and the young people ready to drink and party. It was the closest thing to a club this little village had.
Suga’s face scrunched up in obvious distaste.
“What are we doing here?”
Shiori looked up to study his face, a smug grin already finding its way across hers, just as the neon lights of the bar came to life.
I finally made a YouTube video. It’s been years. Years and years since I was on the YouTubez, but I’m back with read-out-loud versions of my fanfiction work. I may put some original work on there, but for the time being, it’s solely fanfiction. Please watch, and enjoy!
She had to get him out of the museum, which, after taking her vow of silence, was much harder than she had anticipated. She tried leading by example, going to her bedroom, putting her hair up, dabbing on a thin layer of makeup, and even switching into public worthy attire, but when she came back to the living room, there Suga sat. He was reclined on the couch, nose buried deep in a book. Shiori couldn’t make out the title, but by the way Suga’s long, slender hands grasped the full length of the spine, it seemed like something short – nothing too time consuming.
It was just like Suga to be reading when the roof over his head was questionably unsound. She shook her head in disapproval, and did her best not to grumble along with the motion, but couldn’t help finding the sight a bit comforting. He was just so comfortable there. She couldn’t imagine anyone else sitting there, with that book, with that smooth face and focused eyes.
Yet, there was a strong possibility there would be someone else. She had to make sure that wouldn’t happen.
So, she marched over to the perfect, little scene and stopped right in front of him, arms crossed. He peered up at her from behind his book. He nodded towards her, then motioned toward her outfit. She shook her head, refusing to respond. It would take much more than an inquiry about her clothes to get her to speak, even if he looked adorable behind a book.
He sighed, then closed his eyes, as if in meditation. Then, finally, opened his mouth.
Shiori couldn’t hold back the smile. She nodded in approval before motioning for the door. Suga followed her motions, but the moment his eyes lighted on the door, he was already shaking his head in refusal.
“… No… where…? Why?”
She shook her head. There wouldn’t be answers, not until they were out the door anyway. This was proving to be a successful tactic, and she couldn’t help feeling a bit smug about it. He opened his mouth again, brows cinched together, preparing for another refusal, but Shiori wouldn’t give him the chance. She plucked the book from his grip, leaving his hand to flail in shock between them. She gripped it in both of her’s to then tug him up from the couch. Suga’s mouth hurriedly tried to form words, but all he could manage were uncomfortable, shocked sounds.
It didn’t take much to drag him to the door, but once there, he managed to regain some form of consciousness. He gripped the door frame and all her efforts came to a halt. Shiori peered back at him, her outside in the lingering mist of rain, him standing firm on the inside. His teeth were clenched, holding back words she was sure he had been forming since she had yanked him up from the couch.
“Why… why are you doing this?”
Shiori thought hard about it, not sure how to answer. The moist air clung to her skin, hot and sticky. It wouldn’t be long before it would start raining again. If they left quick enough, they could be the rain. She was sure of it. Finally, she muttered.
“I want to help you.”
Suga pursed his lips. Shiori could barely make out the way his teeth chewed and worked on his lips as he mulled over her statement. Finally, he dropped his hand from the door frame and stepped out into the mist with her. She couldn’t hold back a small smile as she turned to keep walking, him close behind, hand-in-hand through the mist.
She gave him the choice. Did he want the small shops, with specialty items rather than full racks of every part of an ensemble, or the little department store. The full-sized store was a bit farther away, but it would have more people, and more opportunities to interact, to work on social skills. Plus, if he chose the small shops, that would require them walking through the impending rain to get from shop to shop, just to make sure they had everything to prepare for his interview. Still, the village shops were familiar, and she was sure he would choose them, but, much to her surprise, he walked past all of them.
She was proud, if not a little worried, too. She couldn’t help gazing up at him, wondering how long it had been since he went outside of the village – or even outside of the museum. Her heart ached.
They had just made it to the department store by the time the rain started pouring again, breaking through the hot mist and cooling everything back down to an almost frosty fall day. She shivered from the unfamiliar temperature. For a moment, Suga’s hand seemed to grip her’s tighter, but she couldn’t be sure if it was just her imagination. Shiori didn’t think on it much more as they walked through the doors to enter the lobby of the store. People milled about aimlessly, not really looking at anything, as they waited for the rain to let up. Children were squealing at their parent’s feet, and parents were grimacing in response. It was all so familiar to Shiori, much like her old home in the city. Suga, on the other hand, tensed, awkwardly stiff as he moved about the people.
Shiori, once the one dragging, was now being dragged through the throng. She watched Suga’s muscles tense in his back, rigid and straight, as he tried to find some clear space for them to stand – maybe even just to breathe. He led her all the way to the kitchen ware before the people began to clear and were replaced by shelf after shelf of pots and pans. It was then Suga stopped, took in a deep breathe, and relaxed. It was strange how comfortable he was around so many inanimate objects.
“This… was not such a good idea.” He breathed, dabbing the sweat from his forehead.
Shiori shook her head, not in disagreement, but rather because she had known it herself, and she was already regretting it. While she wanted him to break out of his shell, she didn’t want to give him anxiety attacks. She wanted to help, not hurt.
“You’re right.” She wilted. “Maybe we should head back to the museum.”
Suga’s eyes met her’s, and they held that gaze for a long time, both mulling over what the other might possibly be mulling over. Finally, Suga tugged at her hand.
“There are shirts… over here.”
Shiori smile, a small, proud smile. Maybe there was a chance after all.
He pulled apart another one today. She would have to remember to pick another one up before she left for work, otherwise he would destroy her pillows again.
She picked up piece after piece of rag doll: the button mouth, a piece of raggedy hair, and fragment of dress. She loyally picked up every piece, the same way she had done since the diagnosis. Then she heard him.
“Where is she? Where is she?”
She followed the voice to their bedroom, and there he was, on the floor, running his hands up and down the floorboard as if something might magically materialize if he just rubbed hard enough. It pained her to see him now when she could still see him so clearly before.
The fading purple mane, now a sickly gray color, and even his eyes were stained gray with cataracts he refused to admit were there. Doctors said it didn’t matter. He didn’t have much time left anyway. It wasn’t “worth the trouble.”
Oh, but if only they knew how much he was worth to her.
She walked over to her side of the bed and sat down, just watching. Not too long ago, he would’ve heard her come in. Now, he didn’t even glance up. She’d have to take him to get his hearing checked next.
She patted the bedspread, the one he picked out when they were supposed to be shopping for a mattress. It was red and blue roses, his favorite, though he never could explain why, and she just couldn’t say no.
“Garry? Why don’t you lie down?”
Garry shook his head, his mop of gray covering his eyes.
“I don’t have time. No time. I’ve lost her again. She always runs off. She’s gone… she’s gone…”
He trailed off into more mumbling.
She sighed. She knew this script. She really did need to stock up on more dolls.
“Who are you looking for?”
Finally, he angled his face to look at her and used a shaking hand to move the hair from his eyes. Two blank mirrors reflected back nothing but her. Gray hair, chopped off to her chin, sagging cheeks, and what used to be smooth features were wrinkled and marred with time, nothing like what he remembered. Not anymore.
“Ib. She’s a little girl. Brown, long hair, and red eyes… kind of like yours…” his face lit up at this realization, “Could you be related?”
She shook her head and frowned.
“No, but I know her very well.”
Then he frowned, and for an instant, his eyes seemed to clear, as if he were about to remember something very vital, but just as quick as it appeared, it was gone again. His face went back to the floor, and he once again began his search.
“Where is she? Where is she?”
Her body shook, and her eyes brimmed with tears.
I’m here, she longed to say. I’m here. I’m no longer just a little girl. I’m your wife, and I love you… and at one point, you loved this me, too.
But she couldn’t. She couldn’t bring herself to argue with him again, to watch him break over and over. Instead, she would break. Somehow, that seemed better. It was easier this way. She would just have to remember to buy another doll.
A doll with long, brown hair and red eyes, with a pretty little dress, a doll he loved until he would wake up and realize it really wasn’t her. It was the closest she would ever get to him remembering her, but another doll and he would forget Ib all over again.
Suga was still in the living room when Shiori finally retired to her bedroom. She was sure he was still reading that pink note, over and over and over again, as if something might change if he just kept willing it to. Even he wasn’t confident in his own abilities, and Shiori was already planning on what she would do when they came to take the museum.
Yet, even as she accepted defeat, the note from earlier was still propped up on her nightstand. So, when she turned her head, she was forced to read it over and over again.
‘Please don’t be angry with me.
I have so much I want to say.’
What did he want to say? Why wouldn’t he just say it? Shiori groaned as she covered her face with her hands, trying her best to hide.
“Why won’t you just say it?”
She could just picture him scribbling away in response. Perhaps his next note would have been a sweet, innocent ‘I don’t know how’ or ‘I’m scared of what you’ll think.’ But the more she thought about it, the sillier it all seemed. It would be something cold, probably something short, like ‘Let me think’ or ‘Don’t worry about it.’
Shiori groaned again and scrubbed her face.
And what if he had actually spoken? Her stomach felt just about as knotted as her mind was, and she didn’t think it was all because of the burnt fish. She wished she could go back, relive it, and try again. She wouldn’t have left the table. She would’ve read his notes and responded. There had to be a better way. Something just had to give, and it would have to give fast. Both Shiori and Suga would leave the museum, or… well, she wasn’t quite sure, but if nothing else, Suga would be staying in the museum.
The key was with Suga. He would have to prove that he could be a great host and proprietor, and he would have to interview. Had he ever been in an interview? How did he even get the museum in the first place?
Shiori couldn’t help imagining a silent Suga, alone and having to face life without the basic ability to speak along with the silent, decaying mansion. It was as if they needed each other, really. There probably wasn’t a better match in the world than Suga and the mansion.
Again, a twist in her stomach.
“Of course they’d put him here when no one gave a crap about this place… Why would they need ‘good customer service’ when they had no customers?”
Shiori’s head ached, and she found herself going back and forth between just leaving all together or at least staying to see Suga through. Her heart tugged her closer to the latter, but her mind said run. The problem wasn’t so much his manners, though those could be worked on a bit more, too, but the fact he still wasn’t willing to speak.
No matter how polite his notes were, it was still intimidating to speak to someone who could only write back, especially when you knew he could speak. He just didn’t want to, and that was the most frustrating part.
How could Shiori get him to speak to a bunch of strangers when she couldn’t even get him to speak to her?
Then, she heard it. It was more or less a grunt, but it was a noise, something that usually wasn’t present in the mansion unless she was making it.
Her hands fell from her face, and her eyes immediately went to the door of her room. Was there someone else there, or was it…
Shiori sat up without further thought and rushed out the door, down the hall, and back in the living room where she found Suga, still sitting on the couch. He was hunched over, right shoulder furiously jerking. He had to be writing something. Then he would grunt, his body would freeze, and he’d go right back at it.
Shiori, as silent as she could manage, crept up behind him. Even sitting down, her head barely reached above his. She could scarcely remember as children when she had been just a few inches taller, back when he needed her around to protect him. She physically winced as her heart ached and thrummed in her chest. She pressed a hand, hard against it, hoping Suga hadn’t heard.
Thankfully, he didn’t turn around. So, she took another step forward, then on tip toes, rose up enough to just barely catch the top of a very thorough, haphazardly scratched up letter, addressed to the ‘Mayor and His Committee.’
Shiori didn’t hold back the ‘hmph’ that came up in response.
Suga froze in his writing, then slowly angled his body to face her, hand still poised over the paper.
She crossed her arms, and pursed her lips before asking,
“What are you doing?”
It wasn’t until she asked that question that he took his hand away from the letter and began to dig in his pockets for what she knew was a memo pad. She huffed, then launched herself over the couch, much to the surprise of Suga who even let out a loud grunt.
Her mission was simple: Grab the letter, grab his pen, and make him speak.
Though simple in theory, Suga wouldn’t let that slide without a fight. With surprise on her side, she did manage to grab the letter, simultaneously landing in Suga’s lap, all legs and arms as she struggled to belly slide away. He gripped her by her waist and reached up to grip the other side of the letter. Curse his lanky arms.
She would yank, he would yank. She would yank, he would yank, both crying out in fits of rage and desperation. Ultimately, the paper was the one to give in, ripping until both assailants had an equal piece in their grasps. It was then Suga released Shiori, allowing her to squirm away until she was on the other end of the couch.
Even as she panted and dabbed sweat from her forehead, she was still able to read Suga’s pleas for compassion and understanding. As much as she loved Suga’s kind, gentle nature, it burned her deeply to see him catering to such people.
She shot him a sidelong glance, just quick enough to catch his lip puckered up, and his eyes locked on the ripped, crumbled page in his lap. He might have cried at any moment had he not caught Shiori’s gaze. He pursed his lips, and once again dug out his memo pad. He was going to give her a strong talking-to… or writing-to… or something, but she wasn’t going to have that.
She shook her head.
“Oh no. If you want to talk to me. You’re going to actually do it… you know. Talk.”
Suga’s gaze shot back up to her. He looked surprised and a little betrayed. He took the crumpled note in his hand and shook it at her, as if to ask,
‘Then what the hell was this?’
She sighed and crossed her arms again, that motion growing a bit too comfortable in the past couple of days.
“Do you think they’re going to take your letter seriously?”
He gave her a stern head bob.
“Really? Even though their main problem is that you don’t speak? If you want to beg, at least use your words… prove to them that you can.”
His head shook in response this time, eyes narrowed and lips tucked into a thin line. He was just being stubborn.
Shiori flashed him a smile.
“Fine. If you don’t talk. I don’t talk, and until you do… I won’t be reading, either.”
Suga mimicked her pose, crossing his arms and smiling. If it had been any other time, Shiori might have laughed. If nothing else, she would be making him speak before she left.
It was a rainy day when he finally sat her down to talk. It had been… how long? It had been days, surely, but perhaps even weeks. A month… who knows? She surely didn’t. Just sitting at the kitchen table, burnt fish on her plate and him mindlessly chopping his up across from her, felt like eternity.
When was the last time it had rained?
She couldn’t seem to recall, and it left a lingering bad taste in her mouth whenever she found her memories empty.
Her sense of time had been stunted sometime ago, and if she could, she would be able to pinpoint the exact moment, but no… that memory had long been washed away by the rain outside, down a drain somewhere in town, never to be found again. Damn, when it rained, it poured. The roof whined from above, and Shiori couldn’t help looking up to watch the drops pound against the metal roof. They would never break through, though never stopped trying.
Then there was a sound of scratching, ripping and a silhouette pulled her attention from the roof back to her untouched ash-fish. There, placed carefully by her hand was a little memo with extremely familiar handwriting. Her eyes shifted up to Suga, but he was already shoving a piece of burnt fish in his mouth, too focused on the contents of his fork to meet her gaze.
Sometimes, he was so quiet, she forgot he was there at all. Her heart squeezed in her chest. She was so glad he was there. She just wished she could remember what his voice sounded like, and if she liked it or not. She thought she did.
Shiori plucked the note from the table,
‘What are you looking at?’
Her face flushed, and she pressed a shy hand against her cheek, soaking the heat from her cheek into her hand, hoping he hadn’t noticed.
This time his eyes flashed up to hers, meeting for an instant with a small, tight smile, then even his white skin flushed pink before his eyes quickly returned to his plate. There was so much she wanted to ask him, but it was so strange to reply out loud when all he would do was write in response.
She longed for a pen, but even more so, she just longed for him to speak. She stared down longingly at her lap where her hands rested with his crumpled note. If only she could remember what all she wanted to say, maybe all of this wouldn’t be so hard.
Another scratching sound, ripping, and when she looked up, there was another note.
Her heart thumped in her chest and her face was warming by the second. Then, she remembered the rain. How silly. He wouldn’t be able to read her mind, there was no way he could ask her why she had so much to say and why it would be so hard to say it. In all honesty, she didn’t even know what she would say back. Shiori stared for a long time at the paper, trying to come up with a good response, but only silence felt comfortable. She looked across the table where Suga clutched a pen, poised over a pad of memos. He wasn’t looking at her, but the way he stared at the paper, eyes narrowed, forehead wrinkled, she knew he was waiting on her response. So much for “talking.”
With new found frustration, she slid his note off the table and placed it, balled up, in her lap with the other one before picking up her utensils and digging into her own fish. Her eyes rested solely on her meal, but his gaze on her was like a weight. He was surely confused, or maybe just still curious… there was no telling, and he certainly wouldn’t be telling her unless he could write it down. The ash-fish stuck to the roof of her mouth and coated her tongue in a thin film she didn’t think would go away until tomorrow.
She heard scratching and ripping again, but before he could slide it to her side of the table, Shiori picked up her plate, carried it over to the garbage where she scraped off the rest of the fish and set the black smudged plate on the counter. She would wash it later, she swore to herself, but she was terribly tired.
She made it a point not to look at him as she left the kitchen, and went back to the living room… or museum foyer, depending on whether someone were to actually visit or not. It was rare anyone ever did, even though the town was booming with new excavations and history being dug up in the mountains. New things were being uncovered all the time and brought to the museum for display, yet no one really cared to relive the horrors which made the town what it was today. Shiori surely didn’t, but she longed for someone to just share those memories with… to relay everything to someone who might understand and listen. That’s what she really wanted: someone to just listen.
But for now, she was content just listening to her own thoughts. Shiori shut her eyes, leaned back, and allowed her mind to wander, to remember why she had remained at the museum in the first place, and to decide if it was even worth it.
Until, there was a knock on the front door.
Her eyes shot open. Why would someone knock? Sure, it was a house, but it was also a museum. People could come and go as they pleased as long as they were open. Something didn’t feel right.
Her heart thumped in her chest, rhythmic and quick, not unlike the rain on the roof. It rang so loud in her ears, she could scarcely tell the difference. Her eyes flicked to the hallway where she knew Suga was, waiting in the kitchen. Had he heard the door? Would he be as worried as she was?
She waited a few more seconds before another knock sounded, and she realized Suga wasn’t coming. Hesitantly, she stood up and walked to the door. Sweat was beginning to bead on her forehead, and she unsuccessfully attempted to wipe them away only to have more appear in their place. Her damp hands slid as she gripped the door handle and pulled it open to which she found the mayor of the town, pink slip in one hand, umbrella in the other.
“Mrs. Kanzaki? What a nice surprise. Is Suga in?”
Though she spoke to the mayor, her eyes were stuck on the pink slip where Suga’s name was haphazardly scrawled. Wasn’t pink supposed to be a friendly color?
“No. Can I help you, sir?”
The mayor cleared his throat and thrust the paper out to Shiori which she took with shaking hands, catching a few of the rain droplets on the page as it was transferred from one hand to the other.
“If you will, please see that he gets this. In regards to the museum, since you relinquished your rights as owner to Suga and he established this as a town museum for the public, our council has decided his role as proprietor and host is insufficient with the town’s needs. His contract with the town has been terminated. We will be interviewing for his replacement in the coming weeks.”
The mayor lifted his hat as a farewell before turning and marching out into the rain. Shiori stood frozen, gripping the damp paper in her hands, shaking. She wanted to scream after him, to stop him, to demand answers, but her voice was gone. She was silent. There were steps. Her eyes flicked over to the hallway where Suga stood, his eyes wide and his hands gripping a memo – the one she had left only a few moments ago.
Shiori looked to the paper in her hands again, and noted how the rain looked like tears. Even the sky was in mourning as the rain seemed to increase in strength. She read over all that the mayor had already explained, then noted at the bottom was their deadline.
They had two weeks to prove Suga could handle it. She looked at him again, and found even his eyes were beginning to swell with their own rain… and like rain, his tears fell.
Hello everyone! I’m honestly not sure why I love this fandom and these characters so much, but I am absolutely obsessed. I plan on continuing the future of this couple, but first I feel like we needed some back-story. I want to go back before Say Something and show how they even came together in the first place. I’m hesitant to say this is an official prequel because I’m not sure how well all of these stories will go with one another, but I’d like to think they have some importance when read in a specific timeline.
Regardless, I hope you enjoy. There shall be more!
(In this case, I felt ch. 4 was far too short on its own to post on here. So, they shall be together on my blog, but separate elsewhere.)
She was beginning to dream again. With the heat came the dreams, and with the dream would eventually raise memory. There were bits and pieces, sometimes images, more words. She would see colors – blue, green, shades of pink, possibly the color of cheeks or roses, then she would feel things. There were soft things, hard things, painful things… things she both longed to remember and things she was happy to forget. The words though… the words were of the utmost importance.
Danger was the first word.
It scared her until her body shook her awake, but even in the wakeful hours of bright sunlight and dew, she found the word “danger” still lingered within her. It left a bitter, copper taste in her mouth, which she tried to physically spit out, but to no avail.
The sticky dew was no help, and it had her squirming relentlessly. Then her eyes fell on a mass of darkness, curled on the ground beside her.
There was a thump.
She stopped and pressed a hand to her chest. She couldn’t recall such a feeling, or a word to describe it. It went just as quickly as it had come, and soon her mind was focused back on the mass next to her. It barely moved, and she could scarcely say it moved at all.
But as she reached out to investigate further, a little flash caught her attention. There, attached to the end of what should’ve been fingers, were claws. She made a little gasping noise, and held her hand up to the light, turning and turning the claws until she had investigated every edge and corner of them.
Had she always had these things?
Then, there was a grunt, and the mass on the ground stirred. The Witch shuffled back, claws extended out to put a serrated wall between herself and whatever was rising from the ground. The mass, now a full grown man, shook – an animal shaking off leaves and dirt from where he had slept. His brown hair was sticky with the dew and something crusty and black. Then, his face angled up to meet hers.
The shriek echoed through the forest, erupting into a cacophony of sounds and animals. The Hunter’s brow shot up, and his mouth formed an unpleasant line with the loose, broken lip dangling off the bottom. He shook his head and held a finger to his lips.
“Hush. Quiet, Witch.”
She fell silent and carefully studied his mouth. He could speak, too?
“Who… are you?”
The Hunter sat up, rolling his neck until it made a cracking sound, then he sighed.
The word formed in her mind, cloudy and foggy. There was something attached to it, something very real and very there, but just out of her mind’s grasp. She sat in silence for a long time, just trying to clear the fog and pull that image forward, but to no avail.
The Hunter grunted, his face now tight and accentuating the scars with what looked like annoyance.
The Witch shook her head. That wasn’t right. The name was familiar, but there was something else… something that name seemed to cover up.
“Emily.” She said.
The Hunter froze in his morning ministrations.
She clicked her claws together, trying to form the sounds again… slower.
“… em… Emily. I, Emily.”
The Hunter’s lips broke from their line into what might have once been a smile. He rushed toward her, a crouched creature with an ugly face.
She shuffled back, screeching and slashing claws before he could even get close. The Hunter stopped, and pressed a hand to his chest.
She didn’t move.
He hit his chest more forcefully.
She shook her head this time.
He yelled, raising his voice much louder than he needed,
“Hunter. Remember me?”
Her mind rushed and slowed, rushed and slowed, until it was throbbing in her skull. Why couldn’t she remember that word? Why couldn’t she remember that word? Then another word rose amongst the chaos.
Then she remembered.
He nodded, and the smile returned to his lips, though wrinkles broke the laced pattern of his brow. He was worried, and so was she.
How could she forget so much, and remember so much, all at once? And why?
Her Hunter hadn’t looked at her again since they had woken up. Her memories from the past were still foggy, a thick haze she couldn’t seem to wade through, but while her memories as an infected faded, something else long forgotten was beginning to rise within her.
She had remembered a name, her name. She was no longer just the Witch. She was Emily, and if she remembered nothing else the rest of her life, she would’ve been content with just a name. She had proof that she actually had been a person once. She had felt and carried the warmth she could only imagine now.
Though this new information was satisfying, that lingering haze had her growing more and more curious about the past. Who was she really? Who lingered just below her gray skin? She studied her hands, the palms scarred up and down from what she could only assume were her own claws. How many of these scars were from this life, and how many had she earned in her old one? She wanted to know. Somewhere deep down, there were answers. She just needed to figure out how to access them.
Then, a gruff voice broke through her thoughts,
She looked up to see the Hunter, pacing back and forth on all fours, making much more noise than the Witch deemed necessary.
She shook her head, even though he wasn’t looking at her to see it.
Emily peered over at the Hunter, his pacing was uncoordinated. His hands and feet seemed uncertain of their next fall, hovering in the air much longer than they should’ve been. He was nervous.
Emily then recalled the way he had lunged to her at hearing her name – her actual, human name – as if he was excited, as if he had been waiting for her to remember it.
“Hunter? Your name… only Hunter?”
The Hunter froze in his pacing, giving her a chance to catch the side of his face, and the way his lids and sockets twitched with unused muscles. It looked so painful. She wondered if and how he could see at all, but a little niggling at the back of her mind had her feeling a strange sense of déjà vu. She felt like she knew the answer already, she just couldn’t recall how.
The Hunter said, “No.”
Short, resolute. He didn’t want any more questions, and even if she asked, she probably wouldn’t get an answer anyway. The Hunter was too busy trying to remember how to pace properly to recall a name. His arms were bent at unnatural angles, as if they were contorting on their own. It was separate from what he wanted them to do, which was simply to pace back and forth.
Emily sat, waiting for something more, squirming in anxiousness when nothing did. In the meantime, she let her mind wander and ponder things she still had no answer to.
Why was she remembering, and more importantly, why was she forgetting, too?
She held her arms out in front of her, studying the deep red lines she hadn’t noticed latticing her arms in a beautiful, ugly mixture of purple and gray. They were so in-between, much like a scar, a wound between being there and disappearing. Her eyes flicked back to the Hunter, who was now stopped in his pacing, staring at her, slack-jawed. His sockets were right on her, daunting and angry with their little pulps peeking out at her.
She couldn’t remember ever seeing something or someone so ugly, so animal. Then, another flash of memory: moonlight, rough hands, warmth, and light… bright, bright light in a dark room.
A room in a house she had lived in, in a former life from ages ago.
She had to go back. That would be where the answers were. She stood up, eliciting a growl from the Hunter who crawled up to her feet. She presented her claws, though she knew he wouldn’t hurt her. Something inside her, deep, deep down within her chest, there was a slight twinge. Something was changing inside her, but she just wasn’t sure what.
She looked to the Hunter, and she could see something was changing inside him, too.
He growled again,
“Where are… you going?”
She shook her head and pointed towards a break in the woods where they had walked through before.
The Hunter shook his head before nudging against her knees in the opposite direction, deeper into the woods, and farther away from her goal.
“No… bad. Need to keep… going.”
Bad? How was it bad? Her home was there. She knew it. It was familiar and safe. It might have smelled like vanilla or lavender a long time ago. It was a memory which burned her nose with its strength. There had to be more. She had to remember if it was vanilla or lavender. She pushed against his face, and he pushed back.
He growled, much louder, and pressed his shoulder against her, too, causing her to stumble back a few steps. He wasn’t going to let her pass… at least, not without a fight.
She brandished her finger blades, giving him a hiss of her own. The Hunter sat up until he was simply squatting, quiet and still, a statue. She pointed passed him, back toward the path she knew would lead her back to where she needed to go.
“Home. I need home.”
The Hunter shook his head, resolutely. So, fight it was. The Witch released a screech and stepped forward, not before a loud crackling of gunfire erupted within the woods. Behind the Witch, a tree whined with agony, having taken the shot for her. She turned to investigate, which the Hunter took as his chance. He easily rose from his squat and shot forward, scooping the writhing Witch in his arms.
Emily continued to screech and thrash. She was getting farther and farther from her goal, farther and farther from the chance of her memories. Then, as if on cue, another shot rang close by. A memory surfaced from within the haze.
A man… no. A group of men, with guns and knives, watched them as they ran into the woods. A man at the front of the group, poised with a knife pointed in their direction, not unlike her claws, watched with a promise gracing his lips.
Then all was back to the way it had been. The familiar light from her bedroom window leaking in and warming the sheets she laid beneath, the sound of Suga in the kitchen, burning the breakfast as usual. She rolled her head to his side where a little memo lay – the spot his head should have been.
‘You had another night terror.
Headache medicine in your drawer.
Breakfast will be ready soon.’
She let out a heavy sigh as her head throbbed with the memories of medicine and pills. She scrubbed her palm over her face, then sat up, stared at the little drawer where those numbing pink pills were, then got up and went to him.
‘I don’t need them. There is nothing wrong with me.’
As expected, he was tinkering around in the kitchen, digging through cupboard after cupboard while the pancake in his skillet turned from a golden brown to an ashy black. It wouldn’t be long before the entire kitchen was up in smoke. She debated whether or not she should help him, but ultimately sidled up beside him to take the skillet off the stove.
He let out a light grunt in surprise before absent-mindedly reaching for his pocket where his fingers grasped at a memo pad and pen that were no longer there. He clenched and unclenched his fist a few times before going back to the cupboards.
He was still not used to using his voice, and he probably never would be. It was one of those absolutes Shiori had to just accept, though some things were easier to accept than others. While his silence was understandable, the silence of the mansion was another monster all together. The museum was a lonely place. Shiori was lonely, too.
She stared at the burnt breakfast, no hungrier than she had been before, before slumping to her seat at the table.
Suga peered at her over his shoulder. Shiori pretended he wasn’t or at least that she hadn’t noticed, though she couldn’t help curling into herself, hiding what she thought he might be able to see. His scrutinizing gaze pressed into her for…
Then it stopped, and she was alone again.
Her body expanded back to normal size, her lungs deflated of her held breath, and sounds of Suga’s searching returned. It was so hard to go back to being normal when things certainly weren’t normal. She wasn’t normal. Her mind went back to the pills resting in her drawer.
‘I don’t need them. There is nothing wrong with me.’
Her head pounded as her mind attempted to dredge up so many memories – so many painful memories – all at once. She had spent so long trying to remember. Now, she would kill to forget.
Suga stomped over to the table, balancing two plates of burnt cakes and a tub of syrup in each arm. His eyes were trained on her fully, even as he set the table up:
A plate on his side, a plate on her side, and syrup in the middle, leaving the seats on either side empty, just as they always had been – just as they always would be.
She pressed her face into her hands, tears leaking and making small pools between her fingers.
The mansion was lonely, and so was she.
This kind of thing isn’t easy. It’s not exactly common, but it’s certainly not rare, either. I’ll prescribe you something for the headaches, and maybe something to sleep if you find yourself unable to. You just have to remind yourself to breathe – count if you have to – and remember there is nothing wrong with you. There are other options. I’m sure you’re not up to it right now, but… when you’re ready. You and your husband can come back, and we’ll refer you to a service that can help with these kinds of things.
If there was nothing wrong with her, why could she not do the one thing a woman was born to?
It wasn’t long before she felt the weight of Suga’s arms around her, clutching her tight, as if she might disappear. There were some days, she thought she might. Other days, she felt so very there and grounded, she wished she could.
His warm breath tickled her ear, and his scratchy voice slipped out in broken whispers,
“Please, Shii… just… talk to me.”
What was there to say? The doctor had said it all.
Mrs.… I’m so sorry, but your tests came back. They were worse than we had expected.
“Shii. I’m sorry.”
His counts are perfectly normal for a man his age, but Shiori… for you… there is nothing there.
Her voice was just as hoarse as his and paired along with a painful sob, “No… I’m sorry, Suga…”
Shiori… you will never be able to carry a child.
Her body wilted against his. So many memories mingled together that it was hard to tell the present from the past. Maybe if she hadn’t come back to the village, maybe if the Kotori Obake hadn’t found her child… Maybe, this was punishment. Repentance for all the pain and suffering that woman had gone through. The Kotori Obake had finally met her child, but Shiori would never meet her own.
She suddenly couldn’t breathe. Her eyes were cemented shut. She couldn’t open them. She was barren and blind, a rag doll being shaken until she tore to bits. Shiori had never realized she had wanted a child so much… not until she was told she couldn’t.
But she remained whole, intact, no matter how bad the shaking was. Her eyes flew open of their own accord to see Suga. He shook her gently, repeating her name over and over and over, as if he was still learning to say it again.
She counted how many times he would say it before he stopped.
Then, he stopped. Rather, she stopped him, gripping his forearms so tightly she was scared he might have bruises. His eyes locked on hers, and they just stared for a long time.
Finally, she said, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry I can’t give you what you want.”
He shook his head, then pressed a finger to his lips. He wanted silence. She wanted just the opposite. She wanted screaming kids and noisy footsteps. She wanted pestering, chubby hands and quick, bare feet. She wanted to scold a child for breaking something. She wanted to cuddle one when he cried. She wanted so much at one time, but none of it would ever satisfy her. She was empty, she was barren, and when she met Suga’s eyes, she realized she was selfish, too…
He looked broken, upset, and very much lost. He opened his mouth as if to speak, only to close it again. His silence was uncomfortable and lonely, something which Shiori was tired of feeling.
He could speak. He was able to speak at the doctor’s office. He was able to thank the doctor and tell him good-bye, but when the doctor had read the results and she looked to him for something… just, anything. He remained silent.
Just as he did now.
That was all she wanted, some confirmation that she wasn’t alone in all of this, that maybe he was lonely, too.
“Suga. Say something.”
He shook his head and Shiori released her grip on his arms, instead balling up her hands in to fists and pressing them to his chest.
“Please, say something!”
He just stared. She clenched her eyes shut and screamed.
“Please! Just tell me what you want!”
Her voice echoed through the house, a memory, until fading away completely.
They sat in silence for…
Then Suga opened his mouth and said, “I know… I don’t say… much, but Shii… I have what I want…”
He sighed and ran a hand through his hair.
“I… I don’t know… if I’m saying this right, but… I want you… and I want you to be happy.” He smiled, a firm and embarrassed smile, “Shii, whatever you want to be happy… I want, too.”
What he said and what Shii heard were two totally different things.
‘Shii, I love you. I hear you. I want you to know, I want you, too.’
The tears bloomed at the corners of her eyes again, but this time, she smiled. She reached out to him, and he easily fell into her arms where he nestled himself, warm and safe.
No matter what, they would protect each other… and together, they would be happy.