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Wait for Me

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Satoru is surprised that his elementary school teacher continued to visit him after so many years.

But that's just the sort of person sensei is.

Satoru always felt a strong admiration toward his teacher. He was popular, easy to approach and made lessons that were easy to understand.

He's told that Yashiro-sensei read stories to him and routinely shaved his face. Imagining the intimate act makes Satoru's cheeks burn. He finds that this happens to him often now– when he is with Yashiro or thinks about Yashiro.

Satoru knows many things he should not; major events that happened while he was comatose, kanji that he never learned. He even knows what this new feeling in the pit of his stomach is. His admiration was merely the beginnings of a crush. Since he has been spending time with Yashiro outside of school, often alone, it has come into full bloom.

Then Satoru remembers.

Yashiro wears the face of his grade school teacher as he is led away by police. But his eyes… In his eyes there is the killer Satoru had looked for.

He thinks what a shame it is that Yashiro could not become the person that he pretended to be. Then he feels the familiar pull of Revival.

 

––

 

Gaku Yashiro is eleven when he first meets Satoru Fujinuma.

“Let’s be friends!”

His first impression is that this kid is weird. No matter how dismissive or even blatantly mean Yashiro is, he is insistent about this friendship thing. Not that Yashiro doesn’t have friends. But they are fake friends. They are not like the ones you see on those tv shows or in manga who love and care for each other so dearly. They are merely there to help him appear “normal” or to fill a void in his time. They don’t mean anything.

But Satoru… He’s so strange. He doesn’t go to school, but he meets Yashiro at the gates every afternoon. Yashiro starts to look forward to seeing him there. He starts to mean something.

One day, Satoru sees it. He cries out for him to stop, but, of course, all this does is earn him matching bruises. When his brother has had his fill, he leaves the two lying in the dirt.

“Let me kidnap you.”

Satoru is homeless, that much Yashiro had gathered already. He has set up a nice little place for himself in an old hunting stand not too far into the woods. It’s almost like a clubhouse.

At night, they huddle together under the various blankets and cloth Satoru has gathered and try to stay warm. Yashiro feels something weird in his chest as he becomes accustomed to the other boy’s body heat.

Satoru leaves during the day and comes back with meager amounts of food. He updates Yashiro on what is going on– his parents are looking for him. Yashiro hopes they’re never found.

The blush on Satoru’s face when Yashiro tries to kiss him is cute, he thinks. It’s almost enough to erase his disappointment in not being able to. He can tell Satoru wants to kiss him as well, but he says he doesn’t want to rush things and mess them up.

Yashiro doesn’t really understand, but then Satoru takes his hand and promises they’ll be together someday.

“In the future– I’ll find you.”

 

–– 

 

Without his younger brother around, the eldest Yashiro son looks for another outlet. But there is no one to act as the look-out and no one to convince the girl to stay quiet.

Satoru does not come back to the stand that night. Or in the morning. They find Yashiro alone.

 

–– 

 

Snow crunches beneath Satoru’s feet as he runs toward his elementary school. It’s 1988 and he left young Gaku Yashiro without so much as a goodbye. His eyes screw shut as he musters up all the strength he can to make his legs move faster.

It’s a woman standing behind the teacher’s desk, asking Satoru to take his seat.

Of course. Yashiro never became a teacher. He never even came to Ishikari.

In the future– I’ll find you.

Satoru glances over at Kayo, seeing the same bruises on her legs for the third time.

In the meantime… There may be no killer, but he can still save Kayo from her mother.

Wait for me, Yashiro.

 

––

 

Yashiro waits at the school gates as if he expects Satoru to suddenly show up. He visits the hunting stand, but there are no signs anyone has been there since his stay. Just as his brother was taken away, so was Satoru.

In the future– I’ll find you.

He waits.

 

––

 

Gaku Yashiro is 35 when he meets Satoru Fujinuma again.

He is finally allowed his kiss.