Kyong and Guest: Thanks and here you go!
I don't own KHR.
Hayato groaned as he laid in bed, as he tried for the fifth time that night to clear his mind so he could go to sleep. He took a deep breath and tried to think of nothing at all, only for his Father's last words to ring across his head.
"Hayato...I'm so glad that you were born."
At that, tears fell unbidden from his red-rimmed eyes and seven-year-old Hayato decided to just give up the notion of getting a decent night's sleep. His heart ached terribly as he quietly sobbed into his pillow, and the only cure was to see his Father again.
A cure that was never going to happen again.
Before a new wave of tears and grief could wash over him, his door suddenly flew open, revealing his older sister, Bianchi.
"Hayato, get up now!" Bianchi harshly whispered, her young face stricken with fear as she rushed towards him.
"Bianchi, wha..." Hayato responded, geniunely alarmed as he began to get out of bed. But he was apparently moving too slow for Bianchi, since once she reached him, she grabbed his hand and pulled him out of bed.
"You got to get out of here!" Bianchi exclaimed as she pulled him to his dark brown dresser and with one hand opened a drawer and rummaged inside till she took out a black wallet. A black wallet that Hayato was only allowed to use for emergencies.
"But...but why? Are we being attacked?!" Hayato cried, a seed of anger growing at the thought of his famiglia getting attacked on the same day as his father's, the Don of the Ricci famiglia, funeral.
"No, but you will be if you don't leave right now," clarified Bianchi tensely as she pulled him to the tall, dark brown bookcase and pushed the middle of detailed flower carved on the side. The bookcase instantly started sliding over to the right, revealing a well-worn secret passage.
Hayato was familiar with said passage, having gone through it many times whenever a craving of adventure hits him. It has been there ever since the mansion was first built, and Hayato knew it well enough that it connects to several rooms like the dining room and his father's office.
It also leads to hollow tree several feet away from the spear-tip fence surrounding the mansion, his home.
"No!" protested Hayato as he twisted his hand away form Bianchi's tight grip. He knew that this action probably wasn't helping the situation, but he couldn't help it. Hayato needed to know exactly what his sister meant, he needed to know why it was only he that was in danger, and how can he be expected to leave his home when his father just died!
"Hayato! We don't..."
Then suddenly, footsteps. Not the quiet footsteps of the occasional guard patrolling the halls, but heavy, pounding ones. Maybe it was the way Bianchi's face blanched, or just the whole situation in general, but Hayato's breath got caught in his throat.
Because somehow, Hayato couldn't shake the feeling that those footsteps were leaking the essence of an impending doom.
Without a word, Bianchi quickly grabbed Hayato's hand again and tugged him inside the secret passage after her. Once inside, she pushed a button on the right side of the passage, making the bookcase slid shut behind them.
"I'll explain everything, I promise, just follow me okay?" Bianchi whispered as she turned on a flashlight and hurried down the passageway, pulling Hayato behind her. Hayato nodded, even though his older sister wasn't looking at him. His earlier resistance had been quenched by the sound of those footsteps, as well as the hope that he woudn't be running away by himself.
Why else would Bianchi be in the secret passage with him?
"Mom...I mean, Martina," Bianchi uttered with pure disgust. "She...now that Father is gone...she wants you gone too."
Hayato didn't have to ask what she meant by that. He knew ever since he was five that Martina, didn't love him. At first, Hayato was confused and hurt, and desperately tried to figure out why she didn't love him, her child. He tried many things to get her to love him, like being especially good and calm and giving her lots of flowers, but...nothing worked. Finally, he confronted his father and that's when he finally learned the truth.
Martina wasn't his mother. His real mother was Lavina, a famous pianist that died of a disease shortly after he was born. His father then showed him a picture of her. It only took one second of him staring at her green eyes and silver locks for him to believe his father.
After that, he didn't really try to win Martina's love. If she couldn't love the reminder that his father had an affair by now, then why even bother to keep on trying?
Hayato had accepted long ago that Martina will never love but he never thought that she...hated him so much that she actually wants him...to die.
"So I have to run?" asked Hayato as they continued down the passageway, even though he knew the obvious answer. Bianchi nodded anyway, her eyes gettting a little misty as they did so.
"Where...where are we going to go? Because...you're coming with me...right?"
Bianchi didn't answer as they kept on running.
Then suddenly, they stopped running. The two children were in front of a metal door with uneven ridges carved down from top to bottom, much like a tree trunk.
They had reached the hollow tree.
"Bianchi, answer..." Without warning, Bianchi hugged him, and hugged him desperately.
"I can't," she whispered. "If I go with you, the heir to the Ricci famiglia, then they will never stop hunting me, hunting you down. And...you have to live Hayato. Fa...Father wanted you to live, I...I want you to live. So swear to me that you will live alright? Please?"
Hayato wanted to argue, to protest, but...she was right. There was no choice but for him to run away from the only home he ever knew, on the same day as his father's funeral. Alone.
"Alright...I swear. But...but where am I going to go?" Hayato asked her, his voice quivering as tears fell down his cheeks. He has done a lot of crying today, perhaps too much for a seven-year-old boy in his opinion. But honestly...Hayato didn't really care. His world was being torn apart, and he was going to have to pick up the pieces all by himself.
"I don't know," answered Bianchi truthfully as she stopped hugging him and opened the door. "But it's going to be your choice what you do from now on. You're going to be free Hayato."
When the door was all the way opened, Hayato was treated to a sight of a forest standing tall in the middle of the night. If it was any other night, Hayato would have liked the way the moonlight reflected off the green leaves.
But this was definitely the worst night of his life, so there was no way he could appreciate this small beauty.
"Now..." The sound of a stick breaking suddenly echoed through the air, cutting Bianchi off.
Please let it be a squirrel...just a stupid, harmless squirrel...
"I heard the door opened young master...just come out and I swear that I will make this quick and painless." Hayato's heart jumped to his throat as his hopes got dashed to the earth. And to make matters even worse, Hayato knew that voice. It belonged to the gardner who always smiled at him and helped him when he tried to win Martina's love with flowers.
But now even he was going to betray him...
"Of course Martina would send someone to cut him here," muttered Bianchi before suddenly giving Hayato another hug.
"Please young master..." the gardner called out again as the sound of leaves and small sticks being crushed under two feet rang through the air. "I just want to get this awful deed over with."
If killing him is so awful, then why are you going through with it?!
"Run Hayato. I'll distract him, so just run and leave me behind, just like we planned. Alright?"
"Don't worry about me, I'll be fine. I'm the heir remember? The worst they can do is lock me up in my room for a while."
Before Hayato had the chance to say anything else, Bianchi broke the hug and pushed him out of the tree.
"NOW RUN HAYATO! AND DON'T LOOK BACK!"
And...Hayato obeyed her. He instantly ran as fast as he could, knowing that Bianchi was now probably facing the gardner with her poison cooking. As he ran past the trees that surrounded the mansion, a part of Hayato yelled at him to turn back and help Bianchi to take the gardner down. It really wasn't in his nature to run away from a fight after all. And if he was honest with himself...a part of him wanted to confront Martina too.
But...Hayato wasn't dumb. He knew that if he turned back, if he dawdled at all, his chances of surviving Martina's clutches will come closer and closer to zero. And Hayato had the feeling that Martina had order her men to kill him on sight, so his chances of confronting her were pretty much zero. Hayato also knew that he wasn't strong enough to fight his way to her either.
And he promised, he swore to Bianchi that he will live. So onward Hayato ran, past the trees in the middle of the night, even though his heart was a heavy weight in his chest. The only thing that slightly eased that weight was the knowledge that Hayato had made the right decision.
Hayato continued to believe that running was the right choice, right up till two weeks later when he was in a town far, far away from the Ricci Mansion. He was walking on the streets when he happened upon two guys at a street corner talking about his famiglia. Hayato couldn't help but stop and eavesdrop.
But what Hayato heard, what he learned, broke his heart and had him regretting vehemently for not going back that night.
Because as it turns out, Bianchi was not the only eligible heir.
Bianchi had died that night.
And then Hayato reacted violently and a bit later got caught and sent to the orphanage. And it is safe to say any trust issues he has start here. Poor guy...and Martina, you have just been branded with the title of an absolute, bloodthirsty witch. Who unfortunately, is not to be messed with.
Please leave your thoughts on this chapter in a review and I will update shortly. Thanks for reading!