A/N: Hi! This is gonna be multichapter only because posting some stuff ahead of time gives me incentive to actually finish the fic lmao. That being said, I will collapse it into a oneshot kinda fic when I'm done posting all three chapters.

Comments and favourites are appreciated! It's kagepro time :)!

Keeping Hiyori on her toes seemed to be a little game Hibiya liked to make her play, even if he didn't realize it.

She didn't usually hate games, at least, the games she knew she was sure to win. These games included the ones she and Hibiya played on the playground when they were much younger, where she probably smacked his hand off of jungle gym a few too many times, and where those playground victories were only quelled by them pinky promising that she wouldn't do that anymore.

But needless to say, for Hiyori Asahina, the girl on top of both the jungle gym and the world, very few games fit into that category.

But now, even though they've grown up since then, she finds herself on the same type of playground, playing the same kinds of games, except if the jungle gym was replaced by construction beams collapsing, the sound of a truck's wheels screeching, and an overwhelming sense of fear for the future.

And Hibiya, the idiot, still had the nerve to smile awkwardly at her — the same kind of smile he had smiled at her every time she had shoved him down on the jungle gym, with the same kind of determination in his eyes that had kept him at her side for so long.

It was absolutely infuriating.

And maybe, just maybe, if they were back at home, away from the hell they were in, she'd be okay with it. Maybe she'd let him up on the jungle gym, and they could be rulers of the playground together. He could join her at the top of the world. If he didn't mind the fall, at least.

But they're not back at home. They've been stuck in this stupid city for years now. And she's still stuck on this crappy excuse for a playground.

But to reiterate: she didn't usually mind games. However, she did when they were accompanied by screams and the splatter of blood on the asphalt.

She sighed, and out of the corner of her eye, she sees Hibiya stand to attention, ready to assist her if need be, his eyes no longer cast on the mixture of blues that was the midday sky.

Gross. Hiyori rolled her eyes, knowing he'll definitely keep note of the way she's acting.

She liked toying with people, leaving breadcrumbs in her wake to see if people were worthy to be in her presence and if they could really, really figure her out.

And somehow, out of everyone she knew, Hibiya had gotten the closest. She didn't know if that scared her or intrigued her more.

Unlike her, he didn't need to drop hints about himself for her to figure him out. For the most part, he was an open book: overly expressive, and with the vocabulary to match.

It was all in the way his face slightly dropped whenever she asked him to do something strenuous for her (like carry bags or buy silly keychains), tested by her desire to see how much she could test his resolve in her own silly little game. The way he would meet her coy smile with his shy one as she dragged him to another store, another attraction, and another city adventure. And the way he would follow her, so dutifully and so true despite the way she treated him, obedient out of sheer curiosity and wonder.

(And most of all, the way that he's laid his life on the line for her tens of thousands of times. How he does it time and time again with no hesitation — even though he probably didn't know that he had done it the day before).

She knew that he would but didn't quite understand why. Why he's dedicated himself solely to her. Why he tried so damn hard all the time (what does he have to prove?), and how he's somehow managed to become her closest friend.

It's unfair that she knows this much about him in ways he probably didn't even remember. And now, her breadcrumb trail of hints was coming to an end. She's bled her heart out to him in an effort to show him that he didn't need to die for her to get her to care about him. She already did, care. She cared more than she could allow herself to believe. And the idiot, for all he knew about her, should know just how hard that appreciation is to get from someone as undeserving as her.

So why did they keep dying? If this isn't some stupid test from whatever god is out there? Then what is this? Why did she keep having to see her best friend die for her? What things were out there besides the dull hope that maybe, just maybe, tomorrow would be different?

She's so sick and tired of this situation and all the undignified feelings that Hibiya had somehow managed to make her feel. If only she could figure this whole situation out, if only she could figure out the way to get out of there, then maybe, just maybe, everything would be okay.

But it's been years. And she still didn't know what to do. She's supposed to be the smartest kid in their town but she still couldn't figure it out and

"Hey, Hiyori? Are okay?" Hibiya asked awkwardly, breaking her out of her thoughts. He reached out as if to shake her shoulder, and was met with her steely glare, so he retreated his hand.

Hiyori wondered why she couldn't just let herself be vulnerable when anyone else made a move. Why she had to be so cool all the time just to get all the praise she reveled in.

Years worth of being at the top had made it hard for her to own up to any sort of imperfection, and as much as she yearned to have someone who cared and understood her, it was hard to accept anything anyone deemed beneath her.

(And here, she finds herself at a loss, because that perfect girl she had been was slipping away and being replaced by someone who only wanted her and her best friend to survive ).

It's just so hard. And she hated it. Hated how she couldn't even work through that stupid little character flaw of hers that stopped her from allowing herself a moment's worth of comfort — little moments of warmth and support that she so desperately craved but knew she shouldn't tolerate. Because she's Hiyori Asahina. The perfect girl destined for the top of the world. And she'd been dealing with this glorified version of hell alone for years.

Well, not entirely alone. She could still feel Hibiya's gaze on her, and she was tempted to scoff. Jeez, didn't this guy have anything better to stare at?

But, if there was one thing she had learned about Hibiya during this whole thing, was that he was willing to wait for her. To the ends of the earth if need be. She found it to be a little bit endearing, if not creepy.

(So she put up with it. She's selfish enough to give into her imperfections and knows that she'd do the same).

"Yeah, I'm fine," She clenched her fists at her sides and stood up. Even with her back to him, she felt his worried eyes on her, and she gritted her teeth, "let's just go."

She paused for a moment, and relaxed a little when she heard him stand up too.

She looked up at the playground's clock. It read 12:20pm, and without any hesitation, Hiyori grabbed Hibiya's hand. He had run away from her far too many times at this point — at this time — and that had only ended in his premature death sentence.

(She tried not to pay attention to the way his eyes widened at the contact, as if surprised that, after so many years of having his hand slapped away on the playground, he was finally at her level. Finally close to her. Finally her friend).

…It wasn't the first time she had seen that look on him. And she doubted it'd be the last. In any place other than this hell, maybe she could let herself get used to it).

They walked with no clear place in mind. Hiyori did, at least. She knew it didn't matter where they went, because death was simply kind enough to follow them wherever they went, and a reminder that she's failed time and time again.

(And the devil would laugh as they bled out on his personal playground).

There's a sense of foreboding she feels that has worked better than any clock around them. And she knows that whatever it is, it's coming soon.

She looked over at Hibiya, and in an instant, his brown eyes meet her grey ones. She stopped in her tracks, and he did too, only a step behind, watching and waiting for her next move.

(Does he feel it too? Is that what he's waiting for? Or is he waiting for her ?)

He was here, real and breathing, not bleeding out on the pavement. He was safe. Now was a better time for her to ask than never.

(Late is better than never was a saying she always rolled her eyes at. Late can only be better than never if it managed to keep them both alive).

They were still in the street, and Hibiya looked ready to protest. But she spoke first.

"Hey, Hibiya," she told him, her grip on his wrist tight, "listen to me for a second."

"Yeah?" He asked, stopping everything in its tracks like he always did for her. His lack of hesitation made her grit her teeth. "what's up?"

In front of them, the light of the crosswalk stood tall, blinking menacingly as if it knew their cruel, predetermined fate. There was no cat this time, but she knew better than to think that things were finally going to work.

"If you remember this or any of this," Hiyori gritted her teeth, and started moving again, her footsteps quick as they crossed the street, "please, let me know somehow."

"If I remember this…?" Hibiya asked, letting himself be pulled by her, "Hiyori, what are you talking about?"

The streetlight changed colour. Maybe it turned green, or maybe it turned red. Hiyori didn't care. She'd lived through this specific scenario so many times that she's too tired to change anything about it. She knew what's going to happen, and she might as well get this message through before it does.

"Maybe you'll never know. I hope you don't ever have to," she pushed him onto the curb in front of her, just to see if that little change will bring about a different end to this hellish game (she knew it wouldn't), and ignored how Hibiya blinked owlishly at her when she didn't immediately follow him onto the curb, "But if you ever do — even if it's ten of thousands of years from now. Tell me. Tell me that you hate this endless summer as much as I do."

Hibiya looked dazed at her sudden declaration, and she wasn't surprised. He probably had no idea what the hell she was talking about, and his tendency to overthink was probably making it worse.

Hiyori sighed and sucked up her pride.

"Just promise me that you will, okay?" Taking a step onto the curb, Hiyori stuck her pinky out, demanding as ever, just like she used to be. This hellhole hasn't changed that part of her at least. No, she wouldn't let it break her in that way.

"I promise," Hibiya said tentatively, locking his pinky with hers. They hadn't pinky sworn since Hiyori made him promise not to tell on her for making him cry when she pushed him off the jungle gym, and it was almost bittersweet that now, on the precipice of their demise, they were finally doing it again.

Hiyori smiled sweetly, feeling relieved that maybe, just maybe, she could have some solace in this shitty world. She looked at Hibiya's face and saw that his eyes were focused on something behind her. Suddenly, she found herself being shoved back onto the street she had finally stepped out of.

God, it was so stupid how these things always happened. How they could both be on the sidewalk yet still get killed by something that wasn't even supposed to be there.

(The light was red. They had the right of way, but a truck came soaring through the intersection and onto the sidewalk anyways. Like so many times before, Hibiya pushed her out of the way, and the last thing she saw before the car slammed into him was the look of determination in Hibiya's eyes).

A/N: Hibiya chapter up next. Hopefully I'll get it done soon!