Careful What You Wish For – Chapter 01
This wasn’t supposed to happen.
No, no! This wasn’t supposed to happen!
But there had been no choice. He couldn’t move. There was no way to get both out, so you opted for the best, the optimum scenario. You ran.
And even now, your breath burns your esophagus, feels like it’s going to eat through the membranes of your lungs and spread the fire through your body. Your current legs weren’t meant for this, this running and dodging of bullets you’re doing. No, you – no, he – had always flown, and though he had grown stronger over the years, he was never the athletic type. Have never been, will never-
No, mustn’t think in future tense. Forbidden. Jinx.
But it didn’t help that your feet are getting harder to lift, your hands waving unseemingly back and forth as you struggle forward, ducking behind whatever cover you can find. You pant, gasping for breath even as it pains you, and you wipe your sleeve against your forehead when you feel a tickle.
A grimace. Disgusting. Grime mixes with the salty liquid turning your sleeves brown. This shirt is going to the washer’s if – no, when! Always when – you made it back.
Wash your hair too, as it’s limp, the chestnut brown stuck to the sides of your face.
You cannot use the flames – not to fend off the attackers, nor to get away fast. The magnificent fire seemed like a forbidden light, one that would become tainted the moment you touched it. They were never your powers to begin with, and even if you finally managed to somehow tap into it, to graze the gold with your fingertips, you could never grasp it because it was never and will never be yours.
That was all right in future tense. Still signified hope.
For a moment, you worry about what you left behind, but there are more present issues that take precedence in your mind.
Like how your blood is pouring from various wounds – the gunshots, the slashes that decorate your calves, your sides, your neck, your arms, in too many places to count – and even with all that, all you can think about is the thin slice up the side of your face. A small red line that could have been easily mistaken for a paper cut had it not extended from mid-cheek to chin. Deliberately made. Nothing compared to all the other scrapes.
But it is what sticks foremost in your mind.
Light! There, there’s the entrance! The white light that led to escape from the hell that surrounds you. The purgatory filled with gunshots and blood and smoke.
You stumble as you struggle to stand, hop gracelessly on one foot twice to keep yourself from falling as you step forward before wincing from the pain it brings to your leg. So unlike you – surely the others would tease you for this had they seen it. It would completely ruin your carefully-built reputation over the years.
But now’s not the time to worry about that. You must keep running.
And so you run.
And finally, finally, there is a shadow. An ally, his stance indicative of the several sticks of what could only be lit dynamite in his hands. He is shadowed; you can’t see his face. But you don’t really care.
What matter is that you don’t have to run any more.
You collapse, flying forward partially from the force of the explosion behind you and partially from exhaustion. Your eyes close and all you can think about is breathe. Breathe, breathe. It’s no longer burning and for that you are grateful.
There is not a minute’s rest, though, as the Storm grabs you – pulls you up to your feet by the arm and drags you along. The steps come automatically, without thinking, and you keep your eyes closed, uncharacteristically unguarded of you. But you trust this man, albeit reluctantly, the man who promised to keep him safe, and by proxy, you.
Footsteps follow, but yours are faster as the two of you run down the deserted alleyways littered with debris and clouded with dust. And then you duck into a corner and the two of you keep silent as the tapping grows fainter. Tap, tap, tap…
And then it is silent.
The Storm sighs in relief, but he doesn’t pull out a cigarette as he normally would. Instead, he crosses his arms and glares at you.
That’s all right, though, because you’ve done nothing wrong, and since when have his glares ever bothered you? You just glare back.
Despite the fact that your eyes are staring into his, you notice small things. His fists, clenched to whiteness, are shaking minutely, and his scowl deepens, furrowing his brow even more so than usual. You half-expect him to punch, but you know he won’t. Now was neither the time nor the place, and no matter how hot-headed Storm was, he knew.
Instead, he settles for grabbing you by your collar and shoving you into the wall behind you with your feet dangling half a foot off the ground.
“What are you doing in the Tenth’s body, Mukuro?” he ground out, each word separated by a pause that spoke of great restraint.
No need to deny. Lying was rendered moot the moment he saw your eyes, one red a dead giveaway. At this point, acting predictably would get better results. So you did the one thing you knew he’d expect you to do.