Blondie (On Hiatus)
-Autumn, the incident-
A small blonde girl sat alone in her living room, hugging her grey stuffed cat to her chest, caramel eyes glued to the TV screen. She grabbed the remote, clicking it to turn up the volume. Her blonde hair was tied up in neat twin tails, and she was dressed in simple girly clothes. She had started first grade that year, having just turned 7 that summer. She hadn't had a birthday party, but that was the norm for her.
Hearing the click of the front door's lock, she smiled. Her mother was finally home. In one quick movement, she jumped off the couch to greet her.
However, the girl froze at the entrance, where two voices were heard. They were laughing. A woman- her mother- and a man.
He was big like a bear and looked like one too, covered in dark hair. He smelled terrible and so did her mother, who allowed him inside as Ayame peeked at them from around the corner. Her young mind could not seem to comprehend another man in her mother's life.
"Ayame! Come on out, we have a guest!" Her mother called. The girl shyly entered the kitchen, the man instantly staring her down like a hunter with his beady eyes. He gave her a smile- one that made her a bit uneasy.
"So you're little miss Ayame-chan! Its nice to meet you, my name's Saiko~" He extended a large, calloused hand to her. Ayame wondered what he had done for it to look that rough, as her own small, dainty hand shook his.
"It's nice to meet you too..." She looked up at him, feeling almost like she would be eaten any second.
"Nadia-chan, you didn't tell me your daughter was this cute~" He remarked, the woman besides him taking out two wine glasses, filling them.
"If you want, you can have her!" She laughed.
However, the man seriously considered it.
"Can I play a game with her then? I’ll pay you~”
“A game?!” Ayame loved games, her eyes sparkling as she beamed up at him, her nervousness all gone.
“Yes, a game! We can play cops and robbers~”
Nadia drank from her wine glass before giving him an offer.
“A year's worth of rent and you can have her tonight...” Her eyes were downcast as she swirled the liquid. Saiko looked at her, then down at Ayame, a twisted grin on his face.
The woman silently nodded, pouring herself another full glass of wine and walking away. Ayame watched as her mother disappeared into her room, leaving her with the burly man.
He stared down at her with wicked eyes, but the girl had no clue, smiling up at him.
“I wanna be the bad guy!” She announced.
Saiko smirked down at her, crouching to her level.
“Perfect! I’ll be the cop then. I’ll close my eyes, and you hide.”
He then covered his eyes, beginning to count down from ten.
Ayame giggled, running off to hide in her bedroom, shutting the door. She crawled under the bed, covering her mouth to keep from giggling.
“Ready or not, I’m coming to find you~!” Saiko sang, his voice becoming more clear.
His steps were slow and heavy as he walked through the apartment. Noticing the flowery nameplate on Ayame's door, he entered, scanning the room.
“Now where did you go, you little criminal? I'm gonna capture you~!”
From under the bed, Ayame kept a hand over her mouth, but a muffled giggle slipped out.
"Gotcha, little miss Ayame-chan~!" The man crouched, suddenly grabbing her ankles and dragging her out from underneath. She squealed and laughed in surprise, but yelped as her small frame roughly landed atop the bed.
"Hey!" She protested, her playful expression instantly replaced with one of confusion and alarm.
"Shh~" He whispered, beady eyes holding an evil glint as he undid his belt.
"I don't want to play with you anymore, meanie! Go away!" Ayame quickly sat up, the same uneasiness from earlier returning full force. Saiko shoved her back down with one hand. The girl began to strain against him, bursting into tears.
“Stop it! Let me go!”
He quickly pushed her onto her stomach, her face now buried in her sheets, muffling her sounds of protest and obscuring her sight. The girl tried to fight back, but it was no use. The man ripped her shirt off, causing her to shiver and cry.
Before she knew it, his leather belt struck her back, a scream tearing from her throat. He continued, his quick lashes breaking her skin and causing her to bleed. Saiko yanked her blonde hair as he pushed her face into the mattress, continuing to terrorize her with a sick grin on his face.
Eventually, he dropped the belt, surveying the girl's wounded, terrified state. Her back was covered in vertical welts, some spilling blood. She trembled with sobs, her eyes full of tears and horror.
“What a bad girl. I'm gonna take you, so you'd better behave for me~“
Ayame struggled and cried, confused and scared by what he meant. Unable to see or call for help, she could only weakly lay there as she sobbed, her body being stripped of innocence. Her lower half bled, staining her pink blanket and white sheets red.
At seven years old, Ayame wasn’t like other little girls anymore. Her stuffed cat fell to the floor, unable to protect her from that day forward.
Kuroo woke up in Kenma’s living room, his unruly black hair an even bigger mess than it usually was. He yawned, feeling for his phone and turning it on.
His background was a photo of the three of them when they were younger, back in middle school. Kenma was on his DS, with Ayame clinging to his arm. Kuroo was the one taking the picture, his grinning face in the lower corner of the screen. His messy hair took up a lot of room.
He groaned, rubbing his temples. His head hurt. Maybe he should splash some water on his face. Getting up from the couch, he headed upstairs to the second story.
Passing Kenma's room, he noticed a blue glow shining from underneath the door. He was probably binge-gaming again. Yawning, he trudged towards the bathroom, although he stopped in his tracks.
Whines and cries were coming from the guest bedroom.
Remembering who was in there, his sleepiness instantly vanished. He quietly cracked the door open to look inside. Tangled blonde hair covered Ayame's face as she thrashing about, grabbing the sheets. She smelled of sweat, her voice hoarse and muffled with labored breathing.
“Stop it! Let me go!”
Her head flopped from side to side as she kicked at the sheets, as if they were restraining her. Kuroo entered the room, crouching at her bedside.
What should he do? Would she be upset to be seen by him like this?
He decided to try something anyway.
“You're only having a nightmare, Aya-chan. Wake up- you're okay.” He spoke to her in a low, soothing voice, hoping to calm her down as he gently touched her arm. She flinched, but Kuroo wasn't sure if she was still asleep.
Before he could try again to wake her, Ayame's hand suddenly grabbed his arm, gripping it tight- as if her life depended on it. His eyes widened as he froze and held his breath, the girl seeming to relax. Her cries ceased as her breathing slowly returned to normal. Kuroo carefully brushed her hair from her face, cautiously wiping away her tears and sweat with his free hand.
Letting out the breath he had been holding, he tried to get up and pull away, but her grip remained firm.
The bedheaded captain sat down on the edge of the bed next to her, committing the girl's now-restful face to memory. Ayame pulled his arm closer, curling up against his side. The boy's heart beat quickened as he hesitantly laid beside her, careful not to move too much.
The girl had completely calmed down, hugging his torso. She had found a new cat to help her sleep.
Kuroo allowed her to hold him as sat there awake, glad he was able to at least grant her peace of mind through her nightmare.
The sun had finally begun to rise, peeking through the curtains of the guest bedroom, Ayame and Kuroo both asleep, unaware of their closeness. Kuroo laid on his stomach, his arms caging the pillow on either side of his head. Ayame was halfway atop his back, her face buried between his shoulder blades, comfortable against his warm muscles.
The sun trickled into the room, brightly shining onto the bed, causing them both to stir. The first to awaken was Kuroo.
His hazel eyes opened as he moved to roll over, he slowly became aware of the weight of something on his back. Craning his neck, he saw a mess of blonde hair as Ayame slept against his shoulders. Remembering what had happened last night, he sighed, trying to not wake her.
She looked peaceful now. Kuroo was sure to commit her sleeping face to memory once more. A small grin played on his lips at the sight, his heart pounding. Knowing this probably wouldn't happen again, he'd savor it. Unable to turn over, he stared at the wall in front of him, basking in this warm feeling.
Ayame cuddled him as if he was a stuffed toy- the very same one she would sleep with at home- unaware that he was a breathing human. The grey stuffed cat was her safe place, the only thing her father left her with when he disappeared. She usually struggled to sleep without it. But now, even with her security cat being in a different location, she had somehow found another version of it.
Minutes passed before the girl woke up, rubbing her eyes, blissfully unaware of just what she was laying on. She stifled a yawn just as Kuroo spoke up.
“Morning, Aya-chan. How'd you sleep?”
“WHAT THE HELL?!” As quickly as she relaxed last night, her feelings switched in a flash. She bolted up with fists at the ready, going red in the face as she tripped over the sheets, falling off the side of the bed.
“Wh-What? Wh-Why are you h-here?!” She stammered out as Kuroo sat up, looking down at her. He extended a hand for her to take.
“You okay?” His voice was quiet and rough first thing in the morning, something she’d never heard before- another reason to make her blush. Ayame only nodded, hesitating before accepting his hand.
He gently pulled her up as she rubbed the tiredness and dried tear stains from her eyes.
“Let me explain what happened before you freak out and try to punch me.” Kuroo requested.
She did consider it for a split second, but crossed her arms, letting him talk.
“I was heading to the bathroom, but then I heard you making weird noises. I went to check on you, and you were flailing around and crying, so I got kinda worried...“ He sighed, running a hand through his bedhead. “...So I tried to calm you down, but you grabbed my arm. I couldn’t just leave you like that, so I stayed.”
The girl glanced away, recalling the memory- or it appeared last night- the nightmare.
“Sorry I held you here against your will then.”
He shook his head, shrugging.
“Hey, at least you seemed to sleep better.”
“Well then, you can go. Kenma is probably waiting for you downstairs. I’ll be there soon.” She tugged him off the bed, quickly shoving him out of the room.
“But Aya-chan, I was gonna go back to sleep!“ He protested
“Not in my bed you're not, rooster!”
She slammed the door shut, pressing her back against it and sliding down to the floor.
Kuroo stood outside, sighing. Of course she'd get defensive and wouldn’t tell him about her nightmare. He shouldn’t be surprised she reacted the way she did.
But he wanted to see who she was, deep down and under the walls she put up. Just her being her, like when they had first met.
When they were in middle school, he had wanted to practice volleyball with Kenma, not knowing Ayame was already at his house. He busted through the door, startling the girl and causing her to move closer to Kenma. For a while, he had mistaken her as Kenma's secret girlfriend, but later learned that wasn't the case.
Kuroo remembered how shy she used to be, how sweet and gentle she was. But over the years, she seemed to dislike him more and more. Even in the group photo of his lock screen, taken only a year after they had met, she was lightly frowning at him. Now she was older, standoffish, and acted like she’d been to hell and back.
Last night, when she had laughed at he and Kenma gaming together, it was like they'd gone back in time. The old Ayame had come back for just a moment- the shy girl whose eyes lit up when she drew or played games with them- the girl he'd always been crushing on.
Kuroo sighed, deciding to leave her alone and making his way downstairs. All the while, he had a burning question.
What happened to her that made her change?