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Don't Mention It

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In the days following the exchange between Shirou and the mutated Yaba, Michiru wasn’t able to look at the color red without feeling sick to her stomach. She left her jacket in the house when she went out to play basketball on the roof. Melissa expressed concern about it one morning when Michiru had come down in nothing but her tank top, but Michiru was unwilling to talk about the abandoned jacket, and the topic had been dropped quickly after it had been brought up.

Experiencing the conditions some of the beastmen in Anima-City lived in was hard enough for her to handle. Jackie’s home in the slums reeked of garbage and filth, but she was able to handle it without puking in order to see her baseball-obsessed friends. Even the place Grand Grandma had been harboring the children had been hard enough to see, especially considering how many kids were being held in such an area. It hurt Michiru’s heart to see this, despite the fact she’d gotten accustomed to the smell and dilapidated buildings.

But there was… something about seeing Shirou ripped apart like that that rubbed her fur the wrong way. It was unbearable to think about. She couldn’t quite explain it. Shirou had always been an asshole, but she trusted him and believed in what he was trying to do for Anima-City and the beastmen that lived there. And yet, he was one of the first people willing to protect her since arriving in Anima-City (other than Marie, but considering Michiru had been charged for that assistance and then conned out of her wallet, she didn’t really count Marie). Nonetheless, he was a protector. A guardian. Not only to Michiru, but to all of the beastmen that resided in Anima-City and beyond.

It would’ve killed her to know he died trying to see that goal through.

He was fine now, of course. No scarring, due to the immortality granted to him by the spirit of the Silver Wolf. But sometimes, when she stopped paying attention to reality and the world around her, all she could see was the gashes and the awful hole that had left his guts exposed and tumbling out into the open air. It left her feeling nauseous for the rest of the day, and sometimes she just… had to avoid looking at him. It was too much for her.

She had never really had nightmares. Even after the bus accident, nothing had ever affected her psyche enough to permeate her usually deep sleep.

Now, when she tried to sleep, it was the flash of fights and blood and the sick crunching of bones that echoed far too loudly in her ears when the adrenaline shut out the rest of her hearing. Her ‘powers’ never seemed like enough, never enough to save the people she cared about, and never, ever enough to help Shirou. Shirou, who gave everything to help his people and avenge his clan. Shirou, who risked himself to save her despite all her stupid, reckless decisions.

Shirou, who got fucking stabbed through the chest right before her eyes and she couldn’t do anything because she was too weak--

She woke up screaming, clawing at the cot and tearing holes in the sheets. The shrill shriek left an ache in her throat and she curled up on the bed, tangling her fingers in her hair.

It was over. It was all a dream. She was fine. Shirou was fine.

The door opened and a shaft of light pierced the darkness of the room. Michiru lifted her head and peered past her tears at the figure in the door.

“What happened.” Shirou’s voice cut through the ringing in her ears, his questions always, always sounding more like commands for information than questions. But his voice was a relief to hear, and she started to laugh, incredulous that she had thought something was wrong. Shirou was fine. He was the Silver Wolf! He couldn’t die!

The laughing turned into hysterics and she buried her face in her hands, shaking like a leaf. There were so many thoughts in her head and none of them made sense and she was still so scared. Scared that something was going to happen to her family without her there. Scared something was going to happen to the friends she’d made here. Scared something was going to happen to Melissa and Gem and Shirou.

The clawed mattress sagged beside her and she hiccuped, looking up at Shirou. He avoided looking her in the eye and was rather tense as he wrapped an arm around her shoulders and pulled her into a side hug. Despite the way his muscles were bunched, it was comforting just to get that small amount of comfort, and she melted into the hug as she cried.

--

Michiru didn’t remember falling back asleep, but her eyes were dry and she had to rub them open. Sunlight was streaming in through the attic windows, and she slowly rose to her feet. The smell of breakfast had grown stale, and she hoped there would be leftovers as she trekked down the stairs.

She paused when she saw Shirou sitting in the library. He was working on his phone, and, as per usual, didn’t look up when Michiru entered the room.

She slowly shuffled across the floor and moved until his eyes flickered to her.

“Morning,” he greeted passively. “How’d you sleep?”

“... fine, I guess.” She didn’t know how long she’d gotten restful sleep. He’d probably know, but she didn’t really want to. “I just wanted to thank you for last night.”

He moved his pale irises back to his phone screen. “Don’t mention it.”

“It was--” She started.

Seriously ,” he cut off, looking up to give her a stern look. “Don’t mention it.”

She raised her hands in sudden surrender, feeling nervous under that look, although she knew deep down he didn’t really mean anything by it. “Alright, jeez. I won’t.”

“Hm.” He watched her as she backed away towards the kitchen to find some food.