A/N: Hello again everybody! It's my first Tokaru fic 'ere, yay! This is exactly 2,100 words, one of the longest one-shot fics I've ever written in a night. Pffff. I hope that's okay for someone who's getting themselves familiar with writing again.
Inspiration used for this is I Fight Dragons' "Save World, Get Girl." Oh, you don't have to listen to it as you read, not like "All I Want," but please do give it a listen. They're one of my favorite bands :D
* The -XXXX- parts separate the dream from the reality.
Reviews are greatly appreciated! I hope you like this story.
She knew it was all just a dream, but it haunted her for a while. Haru chased it away.
"Tokaku-san, what are we going to do now?" the girl she was defending asked, fear evident in her eyes. "We're outnumbered!"
It was true; everywhere she looked, the 11 assassins who enrolled into Myojo Academy for the sole purpose of killing her were all around. They were waiting for the right time to strike, one by one, as a team against the two girls in the centre of the ring of killers. At this point, for the first time in a long time, she did not know what to do.
Tokaku Azuma, who was almost always so sure of herself, wasn't so sure that they'd make it out alive in this situation.
Tokaku tilted her head to the short brunette, who was standing behind her, almost pathetically holding a shield almost her size. It was up to her to save Haru's life now, something a whole wave of generations gave their lives up for to defend. This is so difficult, having that sorry girl behind her where she couldn't even get a good look at her.
"Ichinose," she said in a low voice. "You have to get out of here."
She felt her room-mate tense at the words, letting them sink in. "Tokaku-san!" she cried. "No one's dying for my sake anymore!"
"Well, if you want to save the life that many sacrificed themselves for, you have to protect it!" Tokaku said a bit harshly. "I don't care if I die, just as long as it's not in vain."
"That puts so much pressure on me and you," she heard Haru say from behind her. "Tokaku-san, you can't—"
"You're going to die a quicker death here, though," the blue-haired assassin warned her. "You have to go!"
"Where to?!" Haru asked, her voice breaking. Tokaku felt a pain in her chest, realizing that there would be nowhere safe for her to run while she was alone. "There's no place safer than with you!"
Everyone was waiting for Tokaku's response. Of all the things she had to think about, why did it have to be this? And here, she thought she had the strength to carry the life of another person in her hands, hands that haven't killed anyone at all.
"If you want to get to her," she threatened, her blue eyes sending piercing glares through everyone else's. "You'll have to come through me!"
"Of course, of course," Isuke Inukai said. "My, how scary. Let's just get this over and done with."
"Use your shield, Ichinose!" Tokaku said as she prepared herself for battle. "If it's not me who can save you now, only you can save yourself!"
It was a little past seven o'clock when Haru woke up from her slumber. She stretched and yawned, and put a smile on that face of hers.
"It's gonna be another good day," she mused to herself. "Well, only if Tokaku san's around… which she is! She's right here in the same room, and no one else is here, and she's…"
No, Tokaku was the one to get up earlier than her. That's strange. Is it because she slept late last night? Did they have homework Haru forgot to do? Haru checked a list of reminders she had put up the previous day… Nope, no homework.
Was someone sending her riddles again, then? There were no blinking lights on Tokaku's cell phone. She's not quite the insomniac or the type of person who would stay up late doing nothing productive.
Haru crept over to her room-mate's side of the room, where she could see Tokaku's face. She looked disturbed, her brows forming creases on her pale forehead. Her grip on the blanket was tight, and she was perspiring a lot.
"Tokaku-san," she called softly. "Tokaku-san, wake up!"
"Tokaku-san, wake up!"
There Haru was, defending herself with the shield as she fought off incoming enemies, bullets, and knives. She didn't look like the type who could defend herself with a shield, much less fend off assassins with it. Tokaku learned that it was best not to underestimate Haru Ichinose despite her looks and cheerful attitude.
And where was she? Oh, right. She was lying on the ground, trying to get up as Haru called her to do. As much as she wanted to, she felt a heavy boot hit her side and she was rolled over so she was facing upward, into the barrel of a shiny gray pistol.
"Seems Haru-chan over here can defend well on her own!" the tall brunette holding the gun above her face said. "Can you?"
Tokaku tried to reach for the gun, but as soon as she lifted her arm up, it was kept down by another heavy boot. Her other arm shared the same fate.
"Tch, she's not even a challenge," she heard Otoya Takechi say from somewhere above her. "She's not worth our time. I think I would've done a better job defending Haru –chan here."
"It's too bad," Isuke Inukai taunted. "Her skills are a waste. She's a virgin assassin, you know."
"Makes me wonder if what Nio-chan said was true," Haruki said. "That Haru actually killed off all her family members."
Another voice said, "She's doing a great job keeping herself alive, Tokaku-san! Aren't you impressed?"
Ah, all the pressure thrown her way was humiliating. She was just glad that Haru wasn't listening to all this while everyone else was firing their guns at her.
"Sure, I am," she finally said. "She's gotten this far with all of you dead or gone. I'm not one to underestimate her for that."
Then Nio approached her as she was lying on the ground. "But what if we take away that human shield that brought her to where she is now?"
She felt a presence looming over her body, though nothing was touching her. It was harder to breathe as it got closer and closer…
There was no response from the skilled assassin, even after several calls of "Tokaku-san!" and a few nudges to the shoulder.
"Are you even still alive?" Haru asked Tokaku, even if she couldn't hear her. "I'll just check for a pulse, okay?"
She carefully removed the blue-eyed assassin's hands from the blanket, crawling over the sleeping girl and taking one of her wrists to check for a pulse there. Haru breathed out a sigh of relief as she felt the steady pumping of the blood under her fingers, signifying that Tokaku-san was still alive. She put the arm down to Tokaku's side and felt for the other wrist, too, just in case.
When she felt a steady pulse there, too, the brunette let go of the wrist and reached up to feel the pulse on Tokaku's neck. She put two fingers on where she felt the pulse strongest, and she heaved a sigh of relief.
"All's good, Tokaku-san," she announced as she sat on Tokaku's thighs, hoping it would rouse the other girl into consciousness. "But your heartbeat is fast, you have to get up!"
The presence reached up to her neck, felt it on a certain spot where her pulse was beating strongly, and it eased almost as soon as it was felt.
"All's good, Tokaku-san!" she heard Haru say from far away. She was still defending herself, it's a miracle she's still alive!
She was snapped back into "reality" when the cocking of a gun was heard from above her face. "She even said she's fine! I'm pretty sure now that she can hold well against us without your presence."
"Time to end your life, Tokaku-san!"
Get up, Tokaku!
This is just a dream!
Tokaku tried to force her eyes open, and she would've, but part of her wanted to know what would happen next.
It won't end well, Tokaku. You know that.
Heck, maybe Haru could be in trouble right now!
Aren't you going to save her?
Aren't you going to keep your promise?
"Haru!" she cried as she heard the boom of a gun so terribly close to her face.
Next thing she knew, she was sitting up on the bed at the speed of lightning. It made her somehow dizzy, but she had to make sure that Haru was safe.
"Haru!" she cried, barely registering her surroundings. Her heart was still beating as fast as a running racehorse, and her breathing was labored. She didn't even notice Haru sitting on her thighs until a few moments later. At the sight of her room-mate, she let out a huge sigh of relief.
"Haru," she breathed, still trying to catch her breath. "You're still alive, oh god."
She just called me "Haru!" Haru thought to herself as a smile appeared on her face. Wow!
"Of course, I still am!" she said cheerfully. "I won't die that easily."
"That's what they all say," the assassin muttered under her breath, and heaved another sigh of relief.
Tokaku finally caught her breath after a few more seconds and she was slowly letting this all sink in. Haru's alive and sitting on her thighs with a more-than-usual cheery look on her face, and she just woke up from the worst dream she's had so far. Despite the fact that she was so glad that Haru was still happy and cheerful and breathing, Tokaku couldn't help but lie down again because of the sudden movement causing her head to spin a bit. Haru's face hovered over hers shortly after.
"Were you having a bad dream, Tokaku-san?" the brunette asked, concern now written all over her face. "Your pulse was really fast – I mean! I mean, I- I- I was trying to feel for a pulse to see if you were still alive and all that, because you weren't responding when –"
"Haru," Tokaku interrupted, effectively silencing the other girl. "I was also hoping you were still alive."
"Wh-what?! 'Course, I am! I just told you—"
"I know, that you don't die so easily."
Tokaku closed her eyes for a few seconds and heaved out another sigh. "I believe you. I really do. My dream's just messing with my head."
Haru let out an "oh" in realization that Tokaku had just woken up from a bad dream, and asked, "Do you want to talk about it?"
She watched as Tokaku hesitated and waited patiently for an answer. She put on a smile as the blue-haired girl lying under her nodded and made space for her on her bed. Haru happily flopped down beside Tokaku, making the bed bounce a bit.
"So, tell me 'bout it, Tokaku-san!" Haru prompted as she turned over to face Tokaku who only spared her a glance before beginning her narration of the dream. Tokaku was surprised that Haru wasn't interrupting her at any point in her story-time, when she usually was the talkative one. She told Haru about the other assassins standing over her, threatening to kill her because she couldn't kill, and to get the act over and done with so that they could proceed to take out the girl with the shield.
"And I was telling them not to underestimate you," she told the attentive girl curled up next to her. "Because you're stronger than they think. Not all of them know about the magic you have, if that's even real."
Tokaku turned to face Haru and sighed. "You know what, Haru, I don't want to fail you. Not ever. I know it's going to cost my life one of these days, but…"
To her, Haru seemed like everything she cared about. There wasn't much to care about in the first place: not the reward, not her future as an assassin, nothing. It would be a huge devastation on her part if she were to throw what few people in her life mattered away.
"I sort of have this feeling you didn't want this in the first place," she heard Haru whisper softly as she broke her eye contact. "You don't know how grateful I am for you, Tokaku-san. I couldn't have gone this far without you."
Tokaku felt Haru's arms wrap around her torso, bringing her closer to the pink-eyed girl. The smell of Haru's shampoo reached her nostrils and she breathed it all in. Their legs intertwined under the blanket, and she couldn't do much but return the embrace, embedding this moment in her memory.
"We'll be around for a long time," Haru said, her words whispered against Tokaku's neck. "I swear upon my life."