Chapter 4

Eyes were barely open, the vision was in a blurry state like it was covered by a thick white fog. When her eyes were already adjusted to its surroundings, the first thing she saw was their wrecked ceiling. She looked around hoping to see the figure of someone she badly wants to see, however, nothing came to her view. Realizing what happened that day was real, it hurts her extremely.

Mizu just regained her consciousness after 3 days. In all those times that she's in her deep slumber, she never visits by a dream with her mom, neither with Shiro. She was only surrounded by cloudiness and all she did was running in a spiral all over again, shouting her favorite name until she was exhausted, wanting to escape from this labyrinth.

Alone in this wrecked house, put her more on grave.

"What should I do now?" made her wonder.

There's no mom who will scold her, there's no Shiro who will comfort her. From now on, she will wake up with no one by her side, with only the memories of the past.

She tried to sit up wanting to go outside to inhale the fresh air, but her body was still heavy. She hardly removed the thick blanket covered her in piles when suddenly a folded towel that almost gray in color drops on her lap. Just then she noticed that these are not just her own blankets she was covered in different ones, someone was taking care of her.

Just then, the cloth that hangs in the house entryway was flung open and this person who just entered, their eyes met. The boy's eyes sparkled with delight seeing her awake. "Mizu!" and hurriedly went to hug her.

"You're awake!"

Kuro's hug was this warm and tight, broad shoulders and long arms were perfectly fit on her. Like it was meant to embrace her. They stay in silence for a few minutes and Kuro seems to have no plan to let her go.

"So it was he who took care of me after I lost consciousness. I still have Kuro." Nevertheless of what she'd thought, the words left in her mouth contradicts, "Dude, It's suffocating." Later on, Kuro chose to let her go.

"How many days did I sleep?" she asked while stretching her stiff body.

"Almost 3 days. I was so afraid you would never wake up," his voice holds sadness. Looking at his anxious and tired face, Mizu smiled in gratefulness knowing she has such a great friend. "Thanks."

Flicking that area between his thick line brows that always furrowed in worrying and seriousness, Mizu chuckled. "You will look older fast enough if you always wrinkled that forehead of yours."

Kuro just looks at her in dumbfounded for feeling nothing out of her flick. Before, it was strong like a stone hitting him, but now it was light as a feather. Mizu acts cool and strong outside but the truth is she was not completely healed yet. Her body is still weak, and she was not fine at all. Her eyes reflect sadness and wanting to cry, but hold it. She doesn't want to cry anymore in front of him.

Arm raised wanting to touch the soft cheek of Mizu, wanting to caress it, wanting to say don't force yourself to smile, don't facade your real emotions, you can cry all you want. I'm here, forget that kid. But he said nothing when his fingertip is already touching Mizu's skin. Mizu just looked at him blankly.

He silently stared at Mizu's dark shade eyes and down to her lips. He unconsciously moved his finger wanting to touch it, however, was stopped when suddenly a group of kids went inside is shouting her name, "Mizu!" and leap over to hug her. Kuro was now staring at his finger while thinking he was glad that he was interrupted.

"Wahh, Mizu, I'm so glad you already awake."

"We thought you'll going to die."

"It's already been 3 days since you never wake up."

"You have a… A high fever!"

"We're so afraid."

They whined while crying. Tears and snot are mixing on their adorable faces while clinging to her tightly. Mizu chuckled, seeing their faces while petting their heads.

"Now, now. I'm completely healed because of you all, thanks."

Then, they uniformly shake their head, "Kuro was the one who did most of the job."

"He did?"

They nod simultaneously.

"Thanks, Kuro." she smiled brightly towards him. Kuro just silently looked at her, that smile even though its widest it has no trace of happiness.

"It's nothing." He then shoved the kids to go outside. "Mizu just wakes up, we should let her rest."

"But!" they complain. However, Kuro forces them to go out.

Before they could completely leave, Kuro heard her mumbled, "Thanks…" head was inclined down, her face was covered completely by her long dark hair. Mizu doesn't want anyone to see her at her weak state, to see her crying.

Days passed, Mizu never appear to their hideout, nor at her house. She starts to avoid her peers. She mourned day and day, sitting in front of her Mother's grave. Growing thinner and weaker.

Crows cawed above the branches of the Sakura tree as if they also mourn with her.

Her peers were undoubtedly worried about her. But she can't still show her face to them at her pitiful state as the Mizu they know is strong, that she never gives up, that she never cries, and that she always smiles. They admired her so much that she was their pillar. As they'd also suffer in their own home too. Some of them are abandoned, and some parents are also work in red districts. If they see her like this, what will happen?

She then suddenly heard footsteps coming towards her. Hearing the rough crunchy sound of the steps on the ground piled with snow, she instantly knows it was Kuro. The steps stop beside her and suddenly a thick scarf wrap gently around her neck. It's warm.

"What are you doing here, Kuro? The group might look for you. You should leave. They need a leader there to take care of them."

Leaving her is the very least that Kuro wants to do, and most likely he doesn't want to see Mizu act like this. Was the root of her sadness was really because of her mom? Or it is mainly about Shiro? Despite this, he can't get angry with this girl. He sighed, and also sit down beside her, leaning his shoulder to Mizu to rest. "Cry, cry all you want. But do not shoulder all your burdens. You're not alone. You still have us. Kaito, Taishi, Akito, Itsuki, Yuuto, Yuuri, Riko, and I are still here. Others might have left you, but I will always stay by your side. Don't keep us at bay."

Mizu just stared down, disheveled hair has covered her face. This pain and loneliness are eating her inside and she was ashamed that Kuro was always worried about her. "What should I do now, Kuro? My heart was aching inside. Like it was squeezing tightly by unknown forces. I felt like I was standing on the edge of a cliff with nothingness on the other side… with no one on me. I don't want to be alone. I hate to be alone." she cried silently.

Kuro taps her back gently. "I'm here Mizu."

The sky was about to turn dark.

"Are you sure about this?" Mizu nod at Kuro without regret and determination, while holding a torch of fire in her hand. Both are looking at the small wrecked house, located away from any neighborhood, it was the house of Mizu.

"Home will only remind me of them. The memories remain, but the person was not. Mom will always stay in my heart and I will never forget Shiro. Me right now is weak, staying here will only sink me into the deep sadness."

"Where will you live then?"

Mizu faces him with her usual smile and then grinning widely, "At our hideout. Where you and the others built!" This time her smile has a trace of true happiness. Face glowing with the light of the fire that aggressively eaten the small house full of pain and happy memories. Black smokes soar up the night sky.


In just a blink of an eye, four months have passed. A blooming spring came. Mizu a 10 years old kid manage to live with the help of her friends and Kuro. Supporting each other each day, like a true family. They'd survive by scrapping in the junkyard, hunting in the woods, and sell it to the town. Sometimes they played the whole day without a care. Enjoying their time as kids. Each day was memorable and amusing.

Until Mizu never imagined that a day will come where she will leave the slum.

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