Previously, you stumbled away from the beach party and headed on to find yourself at the very lake your father passed away in so long ago. At the same time, the btt grew weary of the party and the people in them and decided to head on home, only to find some unexpected guests already at the apartment...
“What the heck are you doing here!?!?” asked Gilbert, breaking the momentary silence with a startled shout, all three tense in surprise. The three had easily slipped into the kitchen and were now blocking the exit as they stood before it, hands crossed and looking a bit disappointed that the audience wasn’t who they expected it to be.
“Oh! Hi everyone!” Feli turned around, waving a spoon in the air and almost hitting his friend with it- had Ludwig not have quick reflexes he would have had the spoon, hot from the boiling water it had been sitting in, smack against his face. Gilbert snickered at the karma and had to admit that it was amusing to think about how they had mistaken Feli’s high pitched giggles with your own.
“Be careful with that!” Ludwig said, tutting before snatching the spoon away and placing it off to the side where it wouldn’t be able to attack anyone else. “We didn’t expect you to be back so soon-“ he was barely given the opportunity to speak, before being interrupted by Feli.
“So I got hungry and made some pasta!”
“Well, that explains all the clanging,” said Antonio, thinking about the sounds they had been hearing earlier.
It got quiet again as the conversation died down, leaving the only sounds to be the bubbling of water in the pot- before Francis suddenly asked, “What are you doing?”
The two boys near the oven stared at him with puzzlement, “We’re making pasta-“ Feli began to explain, wondering where Francis’s mind had been over the past few seconds of conversation.
“No no,” he interrupted quickly, shaking his head, “I mean, what are you doing in our apartment?”
It seemed to click in the other two’s heads and Antonio asked, “Oh! Wait a second! How did you even get in here?”
“We wanted to drop by,” Ludwig answered the first question matter-of-factly, “But when we got here we realized you weren’t home and I didn’t want to drive back, I don’t think I could have made another five minutes with listening to Feli singing car songs, so we just decided to stay and wait until you all got home.”
“And...” Gilbert motioned for him to go on when it seemed like he was done explaining.
“And? And we didn’t want to wait outside of the house since we didn’t know how long you’d all be, especially if you were all out partying.”
“So I broke in,” Ludwig said this as if it was a normal circumstance, said as calmly as if he was discussing the weather. As if his picklock habits were one well known, and maybe it was fact to the two friends he spent the majority of his time with, but it was definitely news to the three others standing there, and they stared at Ludwig in shock.
“What is wrong with you!? Next time just call or something!” Gilbert shook his head at his little brother, “Would it hurt to tell us in advance? What if we thought you were robbers and tried to hurt you all or something! Heck, at first we thought you were-“
He stopped himself before saying that he had thought that _________ had been home, but by the looks on their faces, it didn’t appear as if they were going to let the slip up slide. Antonio and Francis repressed glaring at their friend, knowing that they’d make the same mistake had they been in his spot. They didn’t want to spend the time retelling the story of all that happened, and it took so long to push it back to a corner of their minds that they didn’t want to spend time digging it back up again.
They heard an odd sound coming from the counter and heads shot up to look at-
Kiku was sitting silently at the counter, and he gave a polite nod to the three who seemed to just notice him, before his face twisted into confusion. “Where’s _________?” he asked, concerned that you weren’t with them. It was odd to find a time when you all weren’t gathered together, and considering that you were supposed to be at the party with them...
He worried about you. He knew that the Bad Touch Trio didn’t have their nickname for nothing, named so for their rash decisions instead, but he hoped that they hadn’t been stupid enough to leave you alone at some party full of inebriated teenagers.
“We left her at the party,” said Francis, sounding more subdued than ever, and Kiku deflated at the words. So they were that stupid.
“Why!?” Ludwig asked, astonished at the foolish actions of his brother and friends. Kiku was glad that he wasn’t alone in these thoughts, that Ludwig and Feli were also aghast. Feli’s head tilted, uncertain of why they’d ever leave you alone.
No one wanted to speak for a moment, until Antonio finally gave in, “We just got into a silly little argument. Nothing big really,” his eyes shifted a bit, and it started to sound more like he was attempting to comfort himself rather than tell what truly happened, “And so she left.”
“We thought she would have gotten home by now but...” Gilberts words trailed off, leaving everyone to their thoughts.
“A little argument?” questioned Feli gently, two fingers squeezed close together to emphasize the word ‘small’. Francis huffed and his gaze shifted away. “Are you sure it was so little?”
The Italian’s words stuck a nerve with them, and brought the conversation to a halt. That is, until they exploded in a furious jumble of words, all three talking over one another, trying to speak at the same time.
“Everyone was getting along with her! Everything was going great! We were all trying so hard!”
“It was fun! Fun until she just had to go and overreact!”
“Well- I mean, we overreacted too, and we said some rude things...”
“Though she did hit that girl and shout at us...”
The anger started to die down along with the loudness of their words, “Maybe we shouldn’t have thrown her off the peir...” mumbled Francis guiltily.
Kiku’s head shot up so fiercely that the action nearly managed to startle Ludwig. “W-What did you say? A pier? At a party?”
“Well yeah...” Gilbert stared at him oddly, hand scratching at the back of his neck, “It was a beach party.”
“A beach. A-A beach pa... party,” Kiku sounded breathless, a hand brought up to his shaking head, “No no no, why would she...?”
This time, it was everyone else that looked puzzled, looking to one another for an explanation to Kiku’s reaction. What was it that he knew that they didn’t?
“Oh it’s just you,” the dry tone of voice only supported the disappointed look on his face to finding you there rather than the one he was looking for, Olivia-
‘Oh, his girlfriend,’ you processed in your head after a moment, ‘not me.’
It took you another moment to process that Olivia’s boyfriend was Al, and that Al was standing before you. ‘My one friend now, I suppose,’ you thought sadly to yourself, attempting to push the thoughts of the trio to the back of your mind before it reeled you into another set of flashbacks. You used Al as a sort of anchor to you being here now, and it made you terribly aware of what you were doing.
Apparently he also grew mindful of this, because he then questioned, “Besides, what are you doing out here?”
You’d almost say his tone held a sort of caring feel, but it was so smothered by what you assumed to be the infamous ‘bad boy’ attitude that you started to doubt that he was worried about you, rather that the worry for his girlfriend carried on in his words as he spoke to you.
Not trusting your voice yet, you just nodded. It almost felt to you as if you had forgotten how to speak, and you thought that it was like trying to speak a foreign language you knew as a child yet forgot as you grew older. The words were there but you didn’t know how to drag them out and apply them- and you most certainly didn’t have the patience for it.
So you just nodded.
And he didn’t push you.
It felt like a millennia before he blew out a harsh take of breath and lowered himself to sit next to you on the grass with a dull thud. Not close enough that it’d look as if you two were dating something inside of you cringed at the thought and the back of your eyelids flashed to the view of inside a locker for a moment, only long enough to make you doubt it happened at all, but close enough. It was a proximity you’d claim to be where ones friends sit next to one another with or, you almost smiled at the thought, literally a friend zone.
His body language was much more open-looking than your own, something born of confidence. He sat with his hands behind his back, legs stretched out in front of him and head tilted to the sky- looking up at the stars, compared to you, where you sat with your hands holding on to your ankles and with your knees tucked in tight. It almost felt as if you were holding yourself together, you thought as you sat next to him in silence.
Unlike silences with others, this one wasn’t awkward. It wasn’t uncomfortable, the silence just was there and it didn’t feel like a wall that had to be crossed for each other to be okay with one another’s presence.
He coughed and the words he spoke tore through the clear cut air, “Is something wrong?”
You had to admire his lack of stuttering.
“I don’t want to talk about it,” you said gruffly, the last words muffled as you buried your face in your knees again in order to steady your breaths. You honestly didn’t want to talk about what just happened- you didn’t want to think about what just happened, even. You didn’t want to worry about what you were going to do after this. You didn’t want to think about having to move out. You didn’t want to say anything at all-
“Alright. Whatever,” he said.
And while it wasn’t much at all, the response still surprised you. All your life, you were used to people questioning your every move and pushing for answers when you lacked one, especially pushing when you didn’t want to give one. But here Al was, simply saying ‘whatever’ and leaving it at that. ‘Something so simple shouldn’t be so astounding,’ you thought.
“Y-You’re not going to ask me about it?” you had pulled your face away from your knees again, now looking at the guy in wonder. He was still supposedly looking up at the sky, whether he was inspecting the stars or avoiding your gaze you didn’t know for sure.
“Whaddya mean? Didn’t I just ask you what was wrong?” You nodded and you supposed that he saw you from his peripheral vision because he went on, “And you said ‘I don’t want to talk about it’,” He mocked you when repeating what you said, voice raising to a sarcastically high pitch that made you blow out air in a light form of a laugh, it was a bit comical, you had to admit, “So then why would I ask more about it, huh? That’s dumb; if you wanted to talk about it then you’d talk about it- whatever it is.”
You nodded along slowly, voice soft, “Fair enough.”
It took another minute or two of each sitting and thinking to their selves before you had the courage to ask, “You were looking for your girlfriend, Olivia?”
“None of your business,” he snapped, tone cold again, “And don’t push to know more either, it doesn’t concern you, and if I don’t ask more from you then you better not ask more of me either-“
“Because I saw her at the party,” you interrupted, and his reaction was instantaneous.
He was upon you in a flash, quickly turning around to face you now. You could compare his expression to one of an excited puppy, or rather; the face of a child gifted that puppy on Christmas day. Or probably both expressions combined. “Really!? How was she? Is she okay? What the fuck was she doing there? That lying little shit said she was just going back to her place, but when I decided to drop by for a surprise visit and she wasn’t home...”
His words wore down into thoughts.
His bipolar attitudes were wearing you out, but you had to admit that it kept you alert on the here-and-now, and you had to admit that whilst most look to swear words as being harsh at times, the way he used them sounded loving. He almost seemed to glow in the night, though that could have very well just been the reflection of the moon on the lake, but you could have sworn that it was simply out of his vast admiration for his Olivia.
‘I wish someone would look at me like that,’ you contemplated breathlessly, ‘It’s almost like something out of a fairy tale.’
You didn’t want to hurt him, but it hurt you just to think of him loving her while it didn’t seem like she gave him a second thought. The way she clung onto Francis at the party wasn’t even something you’d find simply a friend doing.
‘He deserves more.’
“She was with Francis,” you stated bluntly, and almost regretted the way you told him because the way the light of his expression dimmed made you feel terribly dark. You tried to correct yourself, “Or, at least, she was flirting way too much with him. I’m not really all that great with pinpointing whether someone’s flirting with another at all, but if she was being obvious enough for even me to tell...” The more you spoke the more you felt like you were digging a deeper hole, so you stopped.
He looked hurt, to say the least. The very least. It felt as if you decided to take that boy’s Christmas present of a dog, beat it, and left it to starve in an alleyway- you really had to stop with these metaphors. He seemed to be stripped raw, and you couldn’t see a hint of his ‘bad boy’ cover- all you could see was a boy who was feeling very hurt and very betrayed- it doesn’t matter who you are, hearing news like that hurts.
His expression hadn’t changed for a while. The saying ‘set in stone’ started to make more and more sense to you, because it honestly did look like his pained expression wouldn’t change back again. He was staring directly in front of him, at the lake.
The lake. You had completely forgotten about the fact that it was here, and for a moment you remembered your father. A very long moment.
He must have seen you zoned out at the water eventually, because it seemed to break him out of his own trance and he chuckled darkly, “You’d sink faster if I held you, you know?”
You tried not to think of the implications of that sentence, the we could both end it now meaning, and you wondered how a few words could carry a dictionary of implication in them.
“You’ll have to talk to her about it.”
“Drive! Now!” Gilbert shouted as the three flew into the car, Antonio obeying and stepping on the gas once they got on the road.
Kiku had told them everything, and they were worried. As if they weren’t feeling guilty enough earlier, this new knowledge made them feel ashamed. It explained your actions, and they saw you under a new light. The reason why you stayed on the beach instead of going boating or swimming, the way you sat on the edge of the pier, the way you took a bit too long before getting out of the water when they threw you in, the way you supposedly ‘overreacted’ all made sense now- and they couldn’t feel any worse about it.
“What is it Kiku?” Feli was the first to ask, worry worn clear on his face despite the many times Francis told him to not wear his heart on his sleeve, “What’s wrong with a beach party? Beach parties are fun! The food and ladies and flickering lights and-”
Ludwig cut him off with a raised hand, this didn’t seem the time for small talk.
Kiku sighed, and everyone had subconsciously moved to stand around him, not wanting to miss out on whatever he was to say. “It’s not my place to tell you,” He started warily, eyes darting from the clasped hands he had rested on his knees to the tapping of his toes on the floor.
“But...” assisted Gilbert with an impatient hand motion.
Kiku ignored him and stared at the three with an even gaze, as if he had reached some internal decision, “Where is _________?”
They flinched at the unexpected question, before looking away, each tugging at hair or scratching their neck or fiddling with the end of a shirt-
“Well, she left when we finished arguing,” offered Antonio.
“But where is she,” continued Kiku, tone leaving no room for excuses.
“I think I saw her walk into the bathroom,” helped Gilbert.
“But then we decided to go home, we thought she’d have walked home by now,” Francis pointed out; ignoring the looks Kiku, Feli, and Ludwig were giving him.
“You expected her to walk home!?” Ludwig shook his head, “It must have been getting dark at that time, you should have known better-“ Gilbert started to open his mouth to counter but Ludwig went on, “I don’t care how angry you were at her or how close the beach is to this apartment- you don’t just leave a lady on her own.”
He sat back down with a huff that summed everything back to silence.
“You have to go find her,” mumbled Kiku.
“You don’t understand her!” Kiku started, before deflating and repeating, “You have to go find her.”
“Should we? Why? She knows the way back home!” Kiku was no longer paying attention to which of the trio was speaking, they all blended into one and it felt that whoever was talking was speaking for all three anyways.
“Yes she does know the way back home,” Kiku began slowly, trying to find how to get it through their thick skulls that they had to go to you with forgiveness without having to betray the trust of your secret to them without your permission.
‘What is he talking about now?’ thought Francis, ‘One second he doesn’t agree with us and the next he does-?’
It was quickly explained.
Kiku’s voice was quiet, “But does she know what home to make her way back to?”
“Damn it!” Antonio’s hand slammed on the wheel, as they drove down the dark road, looking for any sign of you.
“What if she did decide to go home to her mom?” Panicked Francis, “What if she doesn’t want to come back home with us?” He wasn’t sure when, but they had all somehow found that living without having you in their lives would be terribly monotonous. They didn’t want to lose you due to a silly argument. And now that they understood...
“No, she’ll come back with us,” Gilbert said, voice firm, “And the lake is closer and easier to investigate for now. We have to check it first in case... in case she...”
He couldn’t bring himself to say it, but the worried glances shared with one another showed that everyone understood the underlying meaning- the unsaid words.
He didn’t want to think of you sitting by the lake, wondering whether your father slept as peacefully as you did during the night. He didn’t want to think of you preferring sinking over sitting on a crowded couch, shoving through three pairs of grabby hands to get to the popcorn, or preferring a lungful of water over a handful of the clear cut gem stones they got you for graduation, for what felt like only forever ago.
”Home is where the heart is,” Kiku wisely quoted, “And how can you be too sure that her home isn’t with her father?”
Eyebrows creased, “What do you mean, her father?”
It was Kiku’s turn to be baffled now, “So... you really don’t know then?” The trio’s blank stares spoke plenty. He had thought they hadn’t known, considering they threw you off a pier, but it still surprised him that you hadn’t been able to tell these close friends of yours whilst you had been able to tell him. He didn’t entirely understand why. He sighed, now presented with a difficult decision.
Either to not tell them and hope for the best while also risking your safety, or betray your secret and ensure your safety.
“Please,” whispered Antonio, bringing his hands together in a pleading motion, “We need to understand what’s going on.”
A resigned outtake of breath and, “Her father died...”
“Well, we know that,” Gilbert interrupted, not understanding why this fact was the reason Kiku had acted so-.
“...from drowning in the lake,” Kiku was met with held breaths and the slam of a door- so that when he looked up to see the reactions on their faces; he found they had already ran out of the house.
It was several minutes of small talk with Al later before they could hear screaming in the distance, and you wondered whether everyone was off looking for lost girlfriends.
But when you recognized the voices, you froze.
“_________ please, are you there?”
“_________ we just want to speak to you, we’re sorry!”
Al noticed, but didn’t say anything other than, “Well, guess that’s my cue to go.”
“Yeah...” you mumbled with bated breath.
He noticed how uptight you were and lightly punched your arm, “Be chill.”
You nodded, ‘Alright’, but in turn, it ended up him being the one getting chills up and down his spine, as he was triggered back to the time when
"Just what do you think you're doing?" Al was suddenly interrupted by an annoying shrill voice, and he jumped. It wasn’t that the voice was loud, but the fact that it was so unexpected. Getting money from this kid was usually a simple thing, but today seemed to be different and the fact that Al was startled now made him edgy. He hadn’t gotten caught yet and he didn’t intend to.
"How are you even allowed to carry that thing to school?" the voice asked again, motioning to his bat, and he linked it to the only other figure standing in the hallway. What did she think she was doing?
"U-Uhh...." He faltered just enough for the kid to make a break down the hallway. Damn.
What if the kid snitched?
What if he got caught? Thoughts churned in his head and it only served to increase his anger. He had to release it somewhere... or on someone.
Him and his gang turned to you, glaring. “Wrong move, bitch. You just scared our souse of money away.”
He made a subtle hand motion and it wasn’t long before Matt had her pinned against the locker.
“Seems like you’ll have to be punished.”
He smirked as he watched the girls eyes widen and as she tried to struggle away. He leaned on his bat, “What’s wrong? Nothing to say now?” He started stalking closer to her, before swinging a fist to her face, and another to her gut.
She doubled over and he flexed his hand. He had a nagging at the back of his mind that he should stop, he wasn’t used to giving beatings and was more prone to stand in the background of things, but the almost crazed looks his friends gave him pressured him to go on. They accepted him.
Everyone moved to circle around her as Ivan went to pull her to the middle- there was no escape now.
“Now let me show you what we do with little girls who stick their noses in where they don’t belong,” Al raised his bat, eye meeting the contact with the others surround him. He felt high on the adrenaline pumping through his system and while something told him that this was wrong, that he just wanted to get some money for a snack to share around, that picking on that kid was just to pass the time in a semi-innocent way- he couldn’t stop. He couldn’t risk disappointing his friends and he felt good being in a group. He needed this.
He stumbled away from you, startled. ‘Where did that come from? Just because I lightly punched you?’ he mumbled, clutching his head as he tried to bring his breathing back to a normal rate again. Sitting next to you just now, he had almost forgotten about what he’d done back then. It felt like ages ago. It felt as if it never happened, really, and he wasn’t sure if it was due to the fact that you didn’t remember at all or that he himself wanted to deny that it ever happened. It almost felt as if he was friends with you, just now, until he remembered the day he met you outside of school.
The day after, when you came to school a bit beaten up and claiming to have forgotten all that happened, he found the opportunity to throw the school even more off his trail by claiming that he was simply a friend you had forgotten about. And he almost managed to believe it himself.
“I forgot,” he said dejectedly, sparing you a second glance. He felt the confliction between his emotions of back to that day mix with the ones of now- alongside the ones of Olivia and...
He gave you one last look before shuffling away.