"P-please… Help me…" Mayu’s voice caught in her dry throat, pain spidering through her palms as she tried in vain to lift herself up from the ground. A large piece of cement was pinning her to the ground, preventing her movements. "Please…" The pair
of shoed feet in front of her paused, the owner bending down to see the cause of the noise. To Mayu’s surprise, the owner of the tattered shoes was none other than Sakutaro Morishige, her classmate and close friend. And if she were true to herself, somewhat of her crush as well.
His cool blue eyes, warm only towards her, widened in shock as Morishige registered the sight of the prostrate girl lying on the ground in front of him, trapped under a large and sharp-looking piece of cement. “Mayu…” He breathed, watching as she coughed, a rivulet of blood trickling from the corner of her mouth. He rushed to her side, lifting the obstructing segment of sidewalk as high as he could. It moved slightly, but Mayu could not find the energy to get up by herself. Pushing his glasses up his nose, Morishige crouched beside her, straining as hard as he could to lift the cement slab with his back. Managing to shift the section a few inches off the ground, he grabbed the brunette off the ground, lifting her in his arms bridal style as the portion of sidewalk slammed to the ground behind him with a thud. She lifted a hand to his face weakly, before letting it fall to her side again. “Shige-nii…” she whispered, voice cracking horribly. The blue-haired boy lifted a finger to her lips. “Don’t speak, he warned, setting her down gently on the ground before turning to rummage through a leather knapsack nearby. Withdrawing an oilskin, he lifted it to her lips, soothing her as she gulped at the water needily. “Is that better?” He stroked her hair gently. Mayu nodded weakly. “Shige-nii… What are you doing here?” she asked, voice still raspy. “Nevermind that right now, Mayu. We need to get you someplace safe. I know Shinohara and Nakashima have made their way to the school, and have set up a sort of shelter alongside Yui-sensei. I’ve been looking all over for you, Mayu.”
“I-I’m sorry, Shige-nii…”
Morishige shook his head.
“It’s alright. Can you stand?”
She shook her head in turn, breathing heavily.
“I-I don’t know if I’m going to make it, Shige-nii… I’ve been under that rock for a few days… my internal organs might even be crushed.”
Morishige shook his head wildly, eyes widening in panic.
“No! I won’t let you die, Mayu. I don’t know what I would do without you.”
She spat up a mouthful of blood, coughing.
“Face it, Shig. I’m not going to make it. Something inside me must have ruptured… I’m having trouble breathing, and you see this blood coming out of my mouth. You see, I’m okay with dying, Shige-nii… I got to make so many wonderful memories with you all… the culture festival… all those times after school when we could hang out at the drama club… every time I would try and succeed to make a smile shine on your face.”
“That was supposed to be MY job… to make you smile…” A single tear trailed its way down Morishige’s dust-covered cheek.
Mayu smiled weakly. “There are only two things I want you to do for me, Shige-nii.”
He got to his knees, taking her small pale hand in his larger rougher one. “Anything.”
She lifted a finger.
“One. I want you to track down my family… And tell them I love them…”
She smiled wistfully.
Morishige nodded vehemently. “Of course.”
“Two.” The brunette shakily raised a second finger.
“Will… will you kiss me?”
The blue-haired boy gulped, before nodding slowly. Gently, he crawled over her practically motionless body, unable to shake the feeling he was taking advantage of her. Stroking her cheek with his thumb, Morishige took Mayu’s head between his hands, finally leaning down to press his thin and chapped lips to her fuller, equally chapped ones. She closed her eyes, tears webbing her long and full eyelashes. He couldn’t help himself from crying either, as he kissed her. Finally they broke apart, as Morishige propped her upper body against his chest.
Mayu sighed, closing her eyes contentedly while listening to his gentle heartbeat.
“Mayu… We can get you to the safe house… The others can take care of you. You can make it.”
The brunette shook her head.
“I-I love you, Shige-nii…” she whispered as the last flicker of life left her body.
“M-Mayu?” Her name left his lips tentatively; he couldn’t believe what his senses were telling him.