Chapter 7:

Chapter 7 - Haunting

Blondie (On Hiatus)

Him.Bookmark here

Ayame stood frozen under his piercing stare, blood running cold. Her wide eyes bore into the man who had robbed her of her youth, smiling back at her as if he wasn't the one responsible for those years of pain. Panic began to cloud her mind, but the two children were oblivious to their father's past actions, innocently beaming as they clung to her arms.Bookmark here

The man finally turned away, smiling down at the pair.Bookmark here

“Why don’t you play on the swings while I thank the nice people who found you?” He pointed, his deep voice sickeningly sweet- the same tone he had used on her when she was their age. "I'll come right over to give you a push!"Bookmark here

"Okay!" The young siblings let go of the blonde, dashing towards the swing set, oblivious to his intentions.Bookmark here

Kuroo glanced down at Ayame, his eyes widening at how the color had seemingly drained from her face. He wasn't sure what, but something was going on between them. He stepped in front of the girl, his larger frame blocking her own.Bookmark here

”Hey, I’m Kuroo Tetsuro." His voice was unnaturally polite, a forced tone Ayame had never heard him use before. "I’m glad we were able to find your kids and bring them back safely.” Bookmark here

“Name's Saiko Omani. Thank you for finding my little angels!” He extended his hand to Kuroo, shaking it with an iron grip that matched the rest of his appearance. Bookmark here

Saiko was big and bulky, contrasting most Japanese men. His hair was dark and unruly, visible on his knuckles, and his eyes were black holes that Ayame couldn’t seem to break away from.Bookmark here

Ayame's blonde hair slightly peeked out from Kuroo's shoulder as she clutched at his shirt with a tightly balled fist, a sea of questions filling her thoughts.Bookmark here

What's he doing here- and now of all times? Bookmark here

Are those really even his kids?Bookmark here

Is he doing the same things to them? Bookmark here

“So, little Miss Ayame-chan! How’s your mother~?” His voice was deceptively friendly, feigning innocence that she knew he lacked.Bookmark here

Her mouth went dry.Bookmark here

Ayame couldn’t speak, her tongue feeling like lead and her throat starting to close up. She couldn’t handle the sight of him, the disgusting sound of his voice.Bookmark here

“Are you alright, little Miss Ayame-chan? Cat got your tongue?” Saiko’s patronizing voice rang out once more.Bookmark here

Kuroo stared at the man, his unease and suspicion growing by the moment. He had to get her out of there. Forcing a casual smile, he turned to wrap an arm around the girl's shoulders.Bookmark here

“Sorry Saiko-san, it was nice meeting you, but we've gotta go. I’m glad we were able to help your kids.” Bookmark here

He ignored Kuroo, moving to stand in front of Ayame.Bookmark here

“Aww, there's no need to be so shy! Let me take a look at you- it’s been so long~!“ Bookmark here

“We really need to get going!” Kuroo interrupted, a scowl taking over his expression.Bookmark here

“Kid, this doesn’t concern you.” The man spat, growing annoyed with his attempts to end the interaction. Ayame felt her heart sink to her stomach. Where they stood in the seemingly empty park, there was no one to intervene. Kenma was nowhere to be found, and the two small children were off in their own world. Saiko was still dangerous. He had hurt her plenty of times before, and would probably happily do it again.Bookmark here

But she couldn't let Kuroo get injured on her behalf.Bookmark here

Not after everything he had done for her.Bookmark here

The blonde slowly slipped out from underneath his arm and stepped forward to face Saiko, the familiar fear of her youth quickly returning. It drilled at her brain and body, anxiety coursing through her veins, her skin growing clammy.Bookmark here

Saiko's hand reached towards her, and she flinched- something that alarmed Kuroo.Bookmark here

“Wow, look at you! You've gotten so big! You’re even more beautiful than your mother! You must have to fight off the boys with a stick~!”Bookmark here

She stood rooted to the spot as the man's large calloused hand brushed against her cheek, a gesture he did all too often when he had finished with her. But as quickly as it came, the rough hand left her face, and she was tugged backwards.Bookmark here

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?!“ Kuroo glared at the man, his golden eyes flashing threateningly.Bookmark here

Ayame gasped as she landed against his chest, his warm arms encompassing her like a protective blanket. Her heart seemed to skip a beat. Bookmark here

“Oh, is she your girlfriend? My bad. I was under the impression that you two were just friends- nothing more.” Saiko shrugged, a condescending smirk on his face.Bookmark here

“And I was under the impression that you don't creep on teenage girls- guess I was wrong. My bad." Kuroo retorted. "We'll be leaving now.“ Ayame could hear the pounding of his heart from how close she was to him, her cheek pressed against his chest.Bookmark here

He looked down at her, his eyes gentle.Bookmark here

“Let’s go." Bookmark here

The girl nodded, her eyes downcast as he grabbed her hand. It was warm and comforting, contrasting the disgusting and greedy roughness of the men who had previously touched her.Bookmark here

"You..." Saiko growled.Bookmark here

"Papa! Come push us higher!" Kazusa yelled from the swing set.Bookmark here

"I'll be right there!" He shouted, before turning back, obviously aggravated. "Whatever. You must be feeling pretty damn lucky. Can't wait to see you again and talk one-on-one, little miss Ayame-chan~"Bookmark here

Kuroo didn't look back as he dragged her away from the perverted man, gritting his teeth.Bookmark here

Why didn't he get her out of there sooner? Why did he try to play it cool for as long as he did?Bookmark here

He silently cursed himself for not acting sooner, but now, it was better to find Kenma and get the hell out. Bookmark here

The captain tightly gripped Ayame's hand, who struggled to keep up. He scanned the area for the setter, soon spotting the blond of his hair in the distance. He was playing on his PSP, leaning against the volleyball that he had stuffed into his hood. Ayame's sketchbook was tucked under his arm.Bookmark here

“Kenma! We’re leaving!”Bookmark here

“Finally...” The boy muttered, standing up from a bench, following the two out the park. Glancing up from his PSP, he quickly noticed Ayame's pale, bleak face.Bookmark here

“Ayame? What happened?” His eyebrows knit together in concern, but the girl only grabbed his hand, squeezing it.Bookmark here

“I'll tell you later...” She whispered.Bookmark here

She just wasn't ready yet.Bookmark here

~•~Bookmark here

The walk home was quiet, with Kenma being reserved, Kuroo upset with himself, and Ayame trapped in her own head, drowning in her thoughts.Bookmark here

The girl found herself unable to let go of Kuroo's hand, gripping it tighter then she ever had. He had come to her aid yet again, defending her from one of her past abusers. Who knows what would've happened if she had been alone? Ayame didn't want to think about that, her head pounding and chest tightening.Bookmark here

Kenma approached the house first, pulling out his key and unlocking the front door.Bookmark here

As she staggered inside, the girl's knees finally buckled. Her body felt like lead, growing heavier by the second.Bookmark here

"Woah, Ayame!" Kuroo barely caught her around the waist, his eyes wide. “What happened? Hey! Are you okay!?”Bookmark here

Ayame hyperventilated, horrible memories of that man flashing through her mind, one after the other. Her back seemed to itch and burn as she cried, clawing at her shoulders and wheezing as she struggled to breathe. Bookmark here

Kuroo was frozen in place, staring down at the blonde.Bookmark here

He didn’t know what to do. How could he even help her? It was agonizing to see her in such distress. Bookmark here

Kuroo lowered her to the ground, stepping back as Kenma rushed over to wrap his arms around her. Kneeling in the genkan, he pulled her to his chest. The boy swayed slightly, gently running his fingers through her hair. Bookmark here

“It’s alright, Ayame, he won’t hurt you anymore. I’m here.” Bookmark here

She sobbed into his shoulder, that terrifying memory of the origin of her scars just as vivid as the sound of the belt snapping, just as real as the blood that spilled from her back.Bookmark here

“Ayame, it’s alright, I'm here...we're here.” The setter's voice was quiet and soothing.Bookmark here

Too afraid to touch her again, Kuroo went off to get her a glass of water, standing away from the pair.Bookmark here

The scene before him broke his heart to pieces. The once feisty and standoffish girl was breaking again, utterly hopeless and vulnerable.Bookmark here

Kenma continued to do his best to comfort her as she slowly calmed down. Kuroo handed her the water and she took it, hiccuping while sipping it. Her caramel eyes were bloodshot and red, still watery.Bookmark here

Kenma gently gripped his shoulders, looking right into her eyes. Ayame stared up at him, confused, but his voice was filled with conviction. Bookmark here

“He won't do anything to you ever again, I promise.”Bookmark here

Ayame looked away, shaking her head. Bookmark here

“It’s too late for that, you know…” She rubbed her eyes, pulling away. “I’m sorry you had to see me like this...”Bookmark here

Before Kenma or Kuroo could respond, a loud ringtone echoed throughout the house. It sounded as if it were nearby.Bookmark here

Ayame scrambled to her feet, running into the kitchen, her eyes darting around until they spotted something on the counter. She grabbed her phone, her heart still racing, and her head and throat sore from crying. Bookmark here

The sight of the caller ID made her heart skip a beat. Hurriedly dashing into the bathroom and slamming the door shut, she stared down at her notifications as the ringing momentarily stopped.Bookmark here

5 missed calls Bookmark here

17 unread messagesBookmark here

The girl's hand trembled as the phone rang once again, her mother’s contact flashing across the cracked screen once again. She hesitated, before her thumb weakly pressed the answer button. Bookmark here

“H-Hello..?” She cleared her throat.Bookmark here

“Ayame!" Nadia scolded, causing her to jerk away from the speaker. "Where have you been?! The house is a pigsty! You're due to clean it today!” Bookmark here

“I'm sorry, I’ll be back soon- I’m getting ready to leave now!” Bookmark here

“Are you kidding me?! You think that changes anything?! You run off whenever you feel like it, leaving a fucking mess behind, only to come back with nothing!”Bookmark here

The girl fell silent. The woman on the other end, however, continued ranting.Bookmark here

“You’re lucky to even have a roof over your head- do you understand that much?! When I was your age, if I were to disappear on a whim, I would've been locked out for a week!" Nadia snapped. "Be back before I leave, or I’ll personally ensure that you won’t run off anymore!” Bookmark here

"...Okay." Tears freely flowed down Ayame's face, her legs wobbling as she struggled to keep her composure. Her father's voice suddenly resurfaced.Bookmark here

“Take care of your mother, alright?” Bookmark here

Nadia hung up with a click, the line going dead.Bookmark here

Ayame stood there numbly, her grip slackening, though she did nothing to stop it. Her phone hit the floor just before she did, burying her face in her hands and crying out.Bookmark here

Kuroo threw open the door, seeing her crumpled in a heap. He dropped to the ground, bringing her to his chest, just like Kenma had done before. He allowed her to sob for a moment, soaking his jacket in tears. She suddenly stopped, shoving him away.Bookmark here

Ayame needed to leave- immediately. Bookmark here

“I...I have to go...” The blonde quickly got up, picking up her phone as she tore out the room, tripping by the door. Kenma was there in a flash, helping her up.Bookmark here

“Ayame, what's wrong? What hap-” Bookmark here

“I’m sorry- I have to go, thanks for everything." Her voice was hoarse. "I’ll see you at school.” She was exhausted, looked like a mess, and everything hurt, but she couldn’t stay any longer.Bookmark here

“Wait!" He tried to stop her, reaching for her shoulder.Bookmark here

Kenma's hand only closed around air as Ayame dashed out the door, taking off down the street. Soon, the girl was gone, disappearing around the corner. Bookmark here

"I’m sorry Papa- I couldn’t protect Momma.” Bookmark here

__________________________________________________________________________________________________Bookmark here

Hey uh sorry I haven’t updated in like two months I’ve been going through some stuff and school has been kicking my ass. Bookmark here

But this would not have been made possible without my best friend who really really made this chapter so much better along with all the other ones. Bookmark here

But right now I’m doing my best to write as much as I can. Since I'm rewriting this entire novel from scrap again I hope you all can be patient with me . Bookmark here

Well enough of that I hope you enjoyed this chapter and let me know what you think. Bookmark here

Stay safe loves 💖Bookmark here

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