"I can't believe he actually sent me outside!" Mai yelled as she kicked a small rock out of her path then continued to stomp down the school yard. "Stupid Naru! Its not like I meant to spill tea on his keyboard! It was an accident!" Mai mumbled a series of explanations and insults as she continued to make her way around the school for the third time.
"Hey you!" Mai heard someone shout. She quit mumbling to herself to look around for the voice. When she found it, she saw that it was a little girl in overalls, a long sleeve shirt and a pair of skater shoes. When she saw the girl she completely forgot about her anger towards her boss. But what was she doing here? It was a weekend.
"Oh, Hi!" Mai greeted. "What's your name? My name is Mai." She said as she bent down to the childs hight and smiled.
The girl seemed slighty angry but it completely disapated when she saw Mai smile.
"My name is Haruka!" she said and smiled "But my friends call me Haru."
"Haruka." Mai smiled even brighter. "You have a beautiful name. It reminds me of someone else I know, his name is Naru."
The girl smiled. "Naru." then giggled "Thats a funny name."
"It is isnt it? Actually his real name is Kazuya but I call him Naru."
"I went to school here." she said while pointing at the school.
"Yeah. And at break I play over here." Haruka said while pointing into the school field. Not too far into the field was a small building. It seemed to big for a shed but too small for anything else.
'What could that be?' Mai wondered, not realizing that Haruka was talking to her until she felt a small tug at her skirt
"Mai-chan." Haruka said. "Wanna come play with me?"
'I guess I can. Its not like Naru wants my help.'"Okay. But not for too long, I have to go back to work soon."
"Okay!" she said happily. "Come on!" Haruka pulled on Mai's hand towards the building.
Once they were inside Mai noticed how unstable the building really was. Everything rattled and creaked with each step she took causing dust and small debris to fall from the ceiling.
"Are you sure this is safe?" Mai asked.
"Oh, definitely." Haruka replied. "I come here all the time!"
In the middle of the room there was a well-like hole that looked really deep. She could hear the sound of rushing water in the hole. There was a ladder too, but she couldnt see if it went all the way to the bottom but she assumed.
'There must be a sewage down there.'
"Mai!" she heard Naru's voice. 'What does he want now? Maybe he's going to apologize for kicking me outside like a child. No-'"Mai!"
"Over here Naru!" Mai called back.
When Naru looked he saw Mai standing in a small building across the field. It looked dangerously close to collapsing.
"What are you doing?"
"Haru asked me to play with her."
"Haru-" Naru started but didn't finish. "Get out of there now!"
"Huh?" Mai was just about to tell Haruka she had to go when she heard a small scream. When she turned around Haruka was gone.
"No! She must has fallen in!" Mai rushed over to the hole "Haru! Haru are you okay!"
Mai was just going to climb in to help when she heard Naru a few meters from the building.
"Mai! What are you doing?" He asked when he saw Mai trying to climb in the hole.
Mai looked up with worried chocolate brown eyes. "Haruka fell in! I need to help her!"
"Who's Haruka? Never mind. Get out of that building!"
"No! I have to help her!" Mai yelled as she shook the ladder to test it out. Seeing that it was stable she took her first step onto the latter, then continued on. When she was halfway through the hole Naru grabbed her wrist and started to pull her out.
"Mai!" She heard Haru cry. She looked and saw Haruka behind Naru. "I'm sorry." she said, tears falling from her eyes. Then she vanished.
Mai's eyes widened in realization, "She was a spirit."
Then without warning the entire building came down. She barely felt it when Naru pushed her back down the hole just in time to stop any debris from hitting her. Naru covered the hole with his body and the wood crashed down onto him.
"NARU!" Mai yelled as she fell. Her arms scraped against the rough walls of the well as she fell, blood leaked from arms. The cuts weren't that bad but they stung. when she got to the bottom her back came into contact with water, softening her landing, but not enough to prevent any injuries. Her leg was cut by a sharp rock underwater. The water was ice cold. She came up coughing up the water she swallowed and desperately tried to climb back up, ignoring the pain in her arms and leg.
The ladder did not go all the way down and was a good two feet farther than she could reach.
"Naru! are you okay! Naru, answer me!" She yelled, but he did not answer back.
"Naru! please answer me!"
Tears escaped from her eyes, it was all her fault! If she wasn't so stupid and listened to Naru this never would have happened! Why? Why was she so stupid? Naru was right, she was an idiot.
She stopped herself from crying, she couldnt over react, maybe he was too quiet for her to hear. As she calmed down she finally realized how cold the water was and it was all the way up to her hips. The cold numbed the pain in her leg. She began shaking, teeth chattering, lips turning blue. The water was underground no wonder it was so cold. The only warmth she felt were the warm tears sliding down her face, she was calm but couldn't stop the last few tears from gliding down her cheeks.
For almost an hour she stood there shivering and whispering Naru's name, praying to the gods he was alright until,
"Mai?" a whisper came, "Mai?" Then she heard it again. "Mai?"
"Naru?" she called.
"Mai. Are you okay?"
"NARU!" she cried even louder. "NARU YOU IDIOT! I THOUGHT YOU WERE DEAD!" She yelled
"Calm down Mai, do you think I would die from something as small as this?" he joked.
Mai didn't get the joke, he very, very rarely joked, especially in such a serious situation. He must have been trying to comfort her in a sense.
Mai once again tried to climb up the well like hole. She put one leg on one side of the well and one leg on the other, the same with her hands, and pushed both ways while slowly inching herself up. One of her feet slipped and she dropped back down into the water. The current was strong enough to push her a bit down the tunnel. The tunnel at the bottom was the same size as the well and was almost all the way filled with water. When she pulled herself back to the well tunnel she failed to notice the water level has risen.
This time when she tried, she just managed to grab hold of the metal ladder. The water made it slippery but she kept hold of it and climbed up. The metal ladder shook while she climbed, when she was about a quarter of the way up the part of the ladder her feet were on broken off and fell into the water, leaving even less of the ladder still attached to the tunnel. She climbed as fast as she could to the top, where Naru was.
Naru was halfway over the hole with who knows how many pounds of wood and drywall crushing him.
"Naru! Naru are you okay?" Mai shouted worried. She reached out and touched him to feel where he was since it was dark and she couldn't see very well. Her touch was gental and slightly tickled, it felt nice. Not that he would ever admit that to anyone or even himself.
"Mai!" Naru hissed. "What are you doing?"
"Sorry! Did I hurt you?"
"No. Just don't do that again."
"I thought I hurt you, you idiot!"
Naru was in just the right place where if he moved forward a bit he could slide his legs into the well, but he'd need Mai's help.
Mai saw a large piece of plywood on Naru's back and climbed up to pry it off him. She pushed up with all her strength and barely felt a change, but it was enough. She lifted it just enough for him to move and he did. He slid his legs up and then down into the hole and Mai helped move some more wood until he was all the way in. Wood covered the top of the well and no cracks of light could be seen. Oxygen was thin underneath all of the debris and in the well, it was harder to breathe.
It was hard for them both to stand on the ladder but they managed. Mai stood on one bar facing the ladder while Naru stood on the bar just beneath hers holding onto the ladder by Mai's head.
"Mai, you're freezing!" Naru almost gasped when his hand accidentally brushed the side of her face, but didn't because he's Naru.
"Yeah, the water down there is ice cold!"
Mai was soaked to the bone, and it wasn't helping that she was wearing a skirt, otherwise her turtle neck was quite appropriate for the weather seeing how it was December. It was kind of his fault since he did send her outside, she didnt have time to grab a coat.
The adrenaline that coursed through her veins not too long ago was gone and she once again felt the bitter cold. She didn't voice she was cold but Naru could feel her body shivering and her skin felt like ice.
It wasnt the most comfortable position so Naru tried to move. Big Mistake. He slipped and they both fell. As they were falling Naru wrapped his arms around Mai, one around her waist and one around her head, she felt his arm and clutched tightly onto his arm and closed her eyes. He made sure to once again take the brunt of the fall. They splashed into the icy water.
The current once again tried to take Mai with it but Naru pulled her back up. She broke the surface of the water with a gasp. The water had risen so high that the bottom tunnel was completely submerged in water. The water level was up to her armpits.
When she looked at Naru she saw that he had watery blood leaking from his head.
"Oh my god! Your bleeding!" Mai pointed at his head.
"Oh this?" Naru touched his head. "I can barely feel it."
"Oh no! your already losing feeling! What do I do?" Mai frantically looked around as if she was looking for a first aid kit to pop out of thin air.
"Mai. Calm down. I'm fine." Naru tried to calm her down but his attempt was futile.
"You are NOT fine! You're bleeding from a severe injury to your head! You could have died, you're lucky you are still alive after a whole building COLLAPSED on you! Your face is starting to go pale! I have to bandage it!"
Mai reached into the water and Naru raised an eyebrow. She reached her skirt, she grimaced slightly when she accidentally touched her wound but ignored it and ripped off a huge piece of the red fabric.
Naru failed to notice her pained expression.
She folded it then wrapped it around a reluctant Naru's head.
He would have blushed if not for his practiced poker face.
It was a pretty big piece so he assumed her once knee length skirt now went to just bellow her butt- wait stop thinking about how short her skirt was now. Maybe the injury was starting to affect him. The icy waters definitely weren't helping.
The air seemed to get thinner and thinner as time passed, causing them to breathe harder in an attempt to draw more air into their lungs.
Mai began to feel the effects of blood loss, her breath grew ragged and a cold sweat beaded her forehead. She started to get sleepy.
"Naru, I'm tired.." Mai said lazily as she began to drift off.
"You can't sleep Mai. Your body temperature will drop more if you sleep."
"But.. just.. so tired "
Naru saw her begin to fall asleep when he grabbed her shoulders and shook her to keep her awake. That's when he noticed the cold sweat on her forehead. How could she be sweating? not unless...
"Mai." Naru said.
"Huh?" Mai answered lazily. The loss of blood was affecting her brain function.
"Do you have any injuries? From when you fell?" Naru questioned.
"Oh, injuries?" Mai slurred.
"Yes. Any injuries?"
"I think I cut my leg open.?"
Naru furrowed his eyebrows. If she cut her leg the loss of blood would definitely cause her change in behavior. Naru reached down and picked her up, one hand under her butt and one on her knee to bring her leg to where he could see it. Dark crimson red swirled around in the water coming from the gash in her leg.
"Damn it Mai! Why didn't you tell me?" Naru got angry at her.
Mai didnt seem to react to him and just said, " Doesn't hurt anymore."
"You idiot!" Naru put her down as she leaned against the tunnel wall. He then took off his overcoat then ripped a huge piece of his shirt off, his whole sleeve to be exact. He pushed Mai higher up the well and tied the piece of clothe over her wound.
When she was on her own feet again her legs gave out and she went under.
"Damn it!" Naru grabbed her arm and pulled her back up.
"Wake up!" Naru shook her, trying to wake her up. Her body temperature already began to drop significantly. She woke up but the water had risen, she couldnt stand without her head being under water and was too weak to swim. Naru could touch just fine.
Mai held onto Naru's shoulder but got tired so she wrapped her arms around his neck and snuggled her face into the crook of Naru's neck. Her breath tickled his neck and sent a shiver down his spine. Normally any form of physical contact made him uncomfortable but he didn't feel that with Mai. Also what other way could she stay afloat with a wounded leg?
Naru put the overcoat over her shoulders then wrapped his arms around her waist and snuggled his face into the crook of her neck, she smelt of sweet peaches. She was always so sweet, so it wasn't a surprise she smelled sweet too. She was hurt and kept coming in and out of consciousness, there's no way she would remember this.
"You're so warm."
He didnt answer. She wasn't thinking clearly from the loss of blood from her wound on her leg. So why respond? She most likely won't remember much anyway.
"Hmm?" Naru answered, not really listening to his own logic.
"I'm sorry." Mai apologized.
"I'm sorry. This all happened because of me. You're right. I am an idiot." Mai said with a surprisingly sober sounding voice, she was obviously more conscious than not too long ago. He assumed it was because she wasn't losing as much since he wrapped her wound.
Naru didn't answer. He didn't know what to say.
But settled for, "I'm not mad."
He waited for a reply but it didn't come, instead she started crying.
"Why are you crying?" Naru asked, his voice was unusually gental.
"Because." Mai sobbed. "This is all my fault! And you're not even mad at me!" She hugged onto Naru tighter while she cried. Naru also hugged her closer. Unbeknownst to Mai, Naru never really could stay mad at her, even when he seemed mad it didn't last for long, he didn't know why, he just couldn't. He could be mad at her later, when he knew they were safe, but not now.
Naru debated whether to use his Psychic Abilities or not. If he did, they could get out, but he decided the risk was too big. If he lost control he could die and so could Mai. He couldn't risk her life. They would just have to wait and hope Lin, Takigawa, Ayako, John or Masako to find them before the water rises to high or they... They get of hypothermia.
The water level was rising and it was getting hard for Naru to stand. Soon he would have to start swimming to stay up. He could swim with her on his back or if she held on, but how long could he hold out for? He would get too tired. Then they both would go under. Maybe he could hold out until the water had risen to the ladder, then they could hold onto it.
He let go of Mai's waist to help keep his balance. The water was rising fast and he already had to swim to keep their heads out of the water. He could feel Mai kicking her feet to help, but it wasn't enough to stay up on her own.
The water was rising quickly which both was a relief since they would get to the ladder faster, but also greatly worried Naru. Once the water was at the top, they wouldn't be able to go any higher since the collapsed building blocked the top of the well, they would surely drown.
He was also surprised they have been here this long, wouldn't Masako be able to sense the spirit girl over here and find them? There must be a reason they haven't been found yet. Naru was too deep in thought to notice that he was swimming quite easily now, like he wasn't also sporting Mai's weight.
He was right, it was easier since he wasn't sporting Mai's weight, she had let go and sunken.
"Damn it Mai!" Naru hissed. He took a breath and dived down into the well. He could feel the current from the tunnel, it was quite strong, which made him worry she had been swept off into the unknown depths of water.
It was dark, Naru could barely see where he was going, he felt around with his hands hoping to feel out where Mai was, he was starting to panic, his heart beat picked up and he could feel it thumping violently in his chest, until...
He finally felt something. It was the soft skin of her forearm. He grabbed her wrist and pulled, attempting to pull her back to the surface, but she didn't budge. Her shoe was stuck in a crack in the tunnel.
Her eyes were wide in panic as they both desperately tried to free her foot, but it just wouldn't come loose. Her lungs began to burn from the lack of oxygen and she started to get dizzy and her vision blurred.
Mai's eyes began to close and she let out her breath.
'Damn it! why did she have to let go of me?"
What did Naru do? He did the only thing he could do. He cupped her face in his hands, brought his face to hers, pressed his lips against hers and pushed all the air in his lungs into hers. She opened her eyes at the sudden breath of air she got and once again tried to free her foot. She couldn't get it loose but instead her foot slipped out of her shoe. Finally she was free! Naru, grabbed her wrist and pulled her back to the surface despite the lack of oxygen in his lungs.
They both gasped for air and coughed up water when they broke the surface of the water. It took a few moments for them to catch their breath, Mai still holding onto Naru's shoulder.
Naru was about to get mad at her when she threw her arms around his neck and hugged him. He had really just kissed her! Well basically. But her attitude did a 180 as she started to cry.
"You idiot!" Mai sobbed. "You could have died!"
That did it. Naru got mad. "I could have died? You would have died if I didnt!"
"You don't get it!" Mai yelled. "If you died because of me I would never forgive myself!"
"Why are you so worried about me? You were the one in danger! You should be worried about yourself." She really did care about everyone else's well being before her own.
Mai didn't answer.
"Mai? Answer me."
"Its- Its because I love you..." Mai whispered, hugging Naru tighter.
This time it was Naru who didn't answer.
The water has risen all the way up to the ladder and Naru held onto it so he no longer had to swim.
Neither he or Mai had spoken for a while when he snaked his arm around her
waist, his fingers brushed against the soft skin of her back causing her to shiver from the contact.
Just because they got used to the water temperature, it didnt mean the water wasn't still freezing.
"Naru?" Mai broke the silence. "Are we going to die?" she asked.
He was shocked at how pessimistic her question was, she was usually all bubbly and cheerful and had hope even in the most hopeless situations. In these kind of situations Mai usually got depressed, then angry but then would bounce back in no time but it seemed even Mai could lose all hope.
Naru didn't answer but instead he pulled away from Mai and then rested their foreheads together, closing his eyes. Mai just stared shocked at his sudden action. He was being so gental and sweet, did he return her feelings? Or maybe he too thought they were going to die and was trying to comfort her. She assumed the latter. But even so she closed her eyes and relaxed in his embrace.
The water was now only about two meters away from the top of the well and was rising fast, they haven't much time left.
"Mai? Do you feel any better?" Naru asked. "Your leg I mean."
"Mmmh. I don't feel as light headed and dizzy as before." Mai answered.
"That's good. Can I have a look?"
Mai pulled away, looked at Naru and nodded.
"Sit up on that bar." Naru said pointing behind Mai.
Mai turned to climb up the ladder for Naru to have easier access to her leg. As she was climbing, as soon as she tried to use her hurt leg, she slipped. Naru caught her waist with both hands and lifted her onto the bar, she sat down awkwardly since the bars behind her back and head prevented her from sitting up straight.
Naru lifted up her leg out of the water to take a look. He unwrapped the piece of clothe on her leg and what he saw wasn't pretty. True that she indeed did stop bleeding, which was good since she wasn't acting as drowsy and out of it, but the reason she stopped bleeding was quite worrying. Her thigh had swollen up pretty bad, a thick yellow puss was seeping out of it, a dark purple bruise formed around it and a black vein-like substance was coming from her wound. It was definitely infected.
Naru grit his teeth and furrowed his eyebrows as he looked. He then took the clothe and began to wipe the yellow puss from her thigh, Mai winced in pain as he attempted to clean it.
He looked up at Mai, she hadn't even looked down, a feint blush evident on her face, well it would have been feint if her face wasn't so pale and her lips weren't so blue from the cold.
Naru looked back down, then he noticed it, her skirt was so short it just covered her panties. He tried to ignore the fact her skirt was so short as he finished bandaging her leg. Then he helped her down.
When Mai looked at Naru she could see the worry on his face. Was that from her cut? Was it that bad he was actually worried? She decided to ask.
"Is it that bad?"
Naru was surprised by her question, he assumed she didn't even want to know since she looked away when he cleaned it.
"It'll be fine once we clean it." Naru said, not fully answering her question.
"Let me check on your head." Mai said changing the subject.
"There's no need for that." He brushed her off.
"I wasn't asking." Mai said, once again surprising him.
She reached up to his head, untying the fabric, her face was super close to his own as she looked.
"It stopped bleeding." Mai said, "But I think we should keep pressure on it just to be safe. I'll clean it quickly first." She was being calm which was really unlike her, it almost seemed...unnatural?
She dipped the clothe in the water and then squeezed it out and began to gently dab his head. Mai stopped then brought her face down and kissed Naru's forehead softly. When she pulled away, her face lingered right above him, he felt soft warm drops of water on his forehead and he realized she was crying again.
Mai then wrapped her arms around his head and hugged him, her face resting on the top of his head. He could feel her whole body shake, more so than from the cold, but she let out no noises.
Naru didn't move, he was quite comfortable there, and if it was helping Mai calm herself, he would gladly stay there until she felt better. At least a little better.
When Mai stopped crying and shaking so much, that's when he spoke.
"Don't be afraid Mai."
Mai let him go and looked at him intently.
"The others will find us soon. I'm sure Lin is looking everywhere for me. We'll be out and this will just be a distant memory."
"How do you know?" Mai looked away and whispered. "How can you be so sure? We have already been here for two hours and no one has come."
"Mai." Naru said. Mai didn't look.
"Mai, look at me."
Mai slowly turned his way and faced him. She was more calm now then she has been since they were forced into this well when the building collapsed, was it because Naru told her they were going to be okay? Her mouth said otherwise but her words seemed empty, her heart told her to trust Naru.
Because she was more calm she was able to focus more on Naru's face. His face was paler than usual, his hair looked stiff from the water freezing onto it while his lips were blue and if she really focused she could see him slightly trembling from the cold. Mai assumed she looked quite similar.
When she looked him in the eyes, she saw that he was also staring back at her, her heart rate picked up and her breathing quickened. That's when he placed his hand on the side of her face, Mai put her hand over his and closed her eyes until she felt his other hand on her other cheek. Mai moved her face closer to his slightly and he did too, their noses touched and Mai could feel Naru's breath on her lips as they closed their eyes. They were an inch apart when...
"Naru! Naru are you down there?" They heard Lin call.
Surprised by the sudden sound, Mai jumped causing them to knock heads.
"Ouch!" Mai said rubbing her head. "Lin! Yes we're down here." Mai cried. "Please help us! The water is rising fast! We might drown soon!"
"Naru what happened?" Lin asked, you could hear the worry in his voice. "We have been looking for you for two hours!"
"I'll explain later. All you need to know is that we are trapped in a well underneath the ruble and the water seems to be rising quickly." Naru said.
"Right. Takigawa! Ayako! John! Miss Hara! over here!" Lin called
"Mai! Mai, are you okay?" Monk called
"Mai are you hurt?" Ayako asked worried.
"Are you both alright?" John asked.
"We'll have you both out of there soon, hold on." Monk assured.
"Monk! Ayako! John!" Mai called. "Please hurry!"
The water was less than a meter from the top when they all started to move all the ruble from on top of the well and the water was rising fast. From how fast it was rising, Naru assumed they had about 7 minutes until the water reached the top.
The others, especially Lin, were digging as quickly and cautiously as they could. It wasn't easy moving ruble, especially for Ayako and Masako.
And from what Naru said, they didn't have much time until the water level rose and they both drowned.
It felt like they have been digging forever but in reality it was only a few minutes and still they were getting no where. There still seemed to be hundreds of pounds of wood and concrete covering the well.
"Damnit!" Lin yelled as he furiously removed ruble from the pile. There's no way that they are going to finish in time.
Naru and Mai struggled to keep their heads up and out of the water as they came closer to the top, Mai's nose practically touched the wood covering the way out. Her breathing was ragged from strain on her neck, it wasn't the best position to get air to her lungs but she had no other choice.
"Lin!" Naru called, the calm mask he always kept up was falling and Mai could hear it in his voice.
"Naru, before we die, I just wanted you to know-" Mai started but Naru cut her off.
"Don't say another word."
"I just wanted you to know that I-"
"That I love you."
"And I'm so glad I met you."
Tears were in the corners of her eyes as she finished talking. Then she smiled as the water enveloped her and Naru.
Naru pounded on the wood above his head in an attempt to push the wood away but it was futile, it was just too heavy.
He began to struggle saying conscious. The lack of oxygen was starting to hit him hard. That's when he felt it, his lungs filling with air. He snapped his eyes open to see Mai, her eyes closed as she sunk. She had just given her last breath of air to him.
As he watched her sink, something dawned on him. He was going to die. Nonetheless from something so mundane. And another realization hit him and it hit him hard. Mai was going to die.
No. Mai can't die.
No! I will not let this happen!
I will not let her die!
All Naru's logical reasons slipped away. He only had one thing on his mind: Mai. He was going to save Mai, even if it killed him. And with that, he lost all control of his powers and everything went white.