Together In The Dark

Chapter 10

"Dammit," hissed Takano. He had been picking the damn lock for who knows how long. He looked over at Onodera. Onodera looked so still and pale. "Ritsu, hey, you're supposed to be keeping me company and telling me what to do," Takano cried worriedly.

"Mmm," Ritsu groaned before shifting and opening his tired eyes. "What… do you… want to know?"

Takano shrugged his shoulders, "Tell me… about your first childhood memory… Ritsu, you gotta stay awake." Onodera opened his eyes again at this.

Onodera took a couple of deep breathes. "I don't know if it's my first memory, but I know it's my favorite…"

"Oh yah? What is it?"

"We decided to… have a family reunion in the country at one of my uncles' hot spring resorts. We… were all eating outside in this garden… my cousins and I were playing… while the adults ate. We got it into our heads to start digging in the earth… We ended up finding a toad… we tried to catch it for a good ten minutes before I finally caught it. I was so excited that… I rushed over to show my mom because she was closest… She was talking to my grandparents along with some of my aunts and uncles… I ran right up and said, "Mommy, mommy look… I caught the toad." She screamed so loud that I ended up dropping the toad into the soup…I bet you could hear her scream in the next prefecture. The toad hopped out and my mom… stood on her chair along with some of my other relatives… Us kids tried to catch the toad again… but we ended up… running around and knocking over a hornets' nest. It was chaos, ha, ha," Onodera chuckled.

Takano smiled, "Did you get stung?"

"Oh yah… people thought I had… the plague. It was fun screwing with them. I kind of acted like I was… a zombie… along with my cousins. Our parents forbade us from… digging in the ground again, but they laughed at our acting. I think they were just happy none of us… were allergic to… the hornets."

"Well yah, if you were out in the boonies, the nearest hospital would have been twenty or thirty minutes away!"

"Mmm."

"Hey, you got to stay awake," Takano cautioned. He had been trying to use the lighter sparingly but it was now getting low on fuel. Takano decided to take a break from picking the lock and check Onodera's wound again. He walked over to Onodera. "Hey, open your eyes," he commanded. "Tell me something else," he said as he unwrapped the wound.

Onodera opened his eyes slightly and took a deep breath. He tried to think of something to say, but found that was hard to do. He was so tired; he just wanted to sleep for a month. His tiredness now was even worse than when it was the end of the cycle.

Seeing that Onodera was not coming up with anything, Takano thought of a question, "Have you ever broken a bone?"

"Mmm, I broke my right wrist when… I was in England."

"Really? How did you do that?"

"I jumped out of a 2nd story window."

Takano stopped what he was doing at this, and looked at Onodera. He pressed his lips together before speaking, "You… jumped out a 2nd story window. Are you stupid? Why? Or better yet, how did you not break the natural area of your body, your legs?"

"What… you never did anything stupid… when you were young? Some friends and I were mucking around… I thought there were some bushes underneath the window… I was wrong."

"How did you break your wrist? Normally it would be legs or paralysis!"

"You know how… some people jump onto a sofa already in a seated position?"

"Yah?"

"I jumped out the window like that… When I was about to land I reached down with my right hand and well… Snap."

"Ow," Takano said as he looked at the wound.

"Yah… I was in a cast for ten weeks… Became ambidextrous because of it."

"Oh, yah, I'm sure that hurt too," Takano said as he flicked off the lighter. "Tell me more."

"Please… can't I just sleep." Onodera's head lolled back against the wall. Takano touched his forehead; it was even warmer than before. Takano closed his eyes briefly before opening them again in the darkness and saying, "Okay, ten minutes, but before you sleep explain to me the gist of lock picking again."


It took Onodera thirty minutes to explain lock picking again to Takano. For the next ten minutes, Takano listened closely to make sure that Onodera's breathing was normal and even. Takano sighed; Ritsu's ten minute nap was over. "Hey," Takano called as he gently shook Ritsu's shoulder, "Hey, Ritsu wake up. Come on wake up."

"Mmm, sempai," Ritsu breathed.

"Hey, Ritsu. Come on."

"Sempai… why's it so dark," Ritsu asked, as he opened his eyes only to see the darkness. That's when Takano realized that Onodera was delirious.

"Shit," Takano breathed as he flipped opened his lighter. Sweat was glistening off of Ritsu's pale skin giving him a sickly hollow glow. He shook Ritsu's shoulder again, "Just… just stay with me okay. Okay?" Takano quickly turned and rushed towards the door to try and unlock it again.

"Dammit," Takano yelled. He looked back at Ritsu. Ritsu was so still and pale that it looked like he was dead. "Ritsu? Ritsu," Takano yelled fearfully as he rushed back towards Ritsu. Takano felt Ritsu's neck to feel for a pulse. He was relieved when he found it faintly pounding, but steady. Takano held Ritsu's face and touched his forehead to Ritsu's, closing his eyes as he remember what Ritsu said about lock picking.

"Those are some of the… techniques. What's most important, is to remember to stay calm… If you get frustrated… you're not going to be able to keep a steady hand… and you'll end up probably breaking the picks." Well Takano was frustrated but luckily had not broken his picks… yet.

Takano opened his eyes again and looked at his precious Ritsu. If he didn't open that door, Ritsu wouldn't make it. He brushed some of Ritsu's hair out of his face, before turning back towards the door. One way or another, it was going to open!


Takano could feel his heart sink. He had just heard a strange noise in the lock. He had broken the picks, he had failed Ritsu. Takano could feel tears starting to prick in his eyes.

"Dammit," he barely audibly whispered. They were stuck. He was about to pull the picks out to see if they could still be used when for some reason, he tried to use the picks to turn the lock. Takano's eyes widened as he saw the lock turn, just as his lighter went out.

The door clicked open, shining bright light from the outside, blinding Takano, who had grown accustomed to the dim to no light of the cell. "Ritsu. RITSU I DID IT!"

As he looked back Ritsu, the smile on his face began to disappear as he knelt down next to the younger man. Takano realized he had a whole other problem to deal with now. Ritsu was in no condition to move. Due to all the times he had to carry Ritsu home, Takano knew that Ritsu was too heavy for him to carry out in secret, in case the kidnappers were still here, or to a hospital. Takano brushed some hair out of Ritsu's face, and realized he had two impossible choices. He could either stay with Ritsu and watch him die, or leave to go get help and Ritsu could die while he was gone.

Takano looked back at the door and then back at Ritsu. Two impossible choices, what could he do. Takano looked at the door and made his decision.

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