Satoru scrambled up from the ground, his eyes wide and one hand clinging to Drew’s. He had to get up. His knees stung from the grit on the ground but that was the least of his problems. They had to go and now. No time to whine. He ran with a small limp behind Drew. Their hands never letting go of one another. “Hurry up Sat,” Drews voice was rushed as he tugged the smaller boy with him. They could hear the gunshots behind them, it was far but not far enough, not yet. The duo ran into a small street that was nearly hidden by the huge truck in front of it but Drew had seen it nonetheless. They ran in it just in time as a couple of cars drove into the street they were just in. One second later and they would’ve been seen, they both realized that.
“In here,” Drew tugged Satoru in front of him, pushing him inside of an old and abandoned room. Sat crawled into one of the corners hidden behind huge boxes and clothes. With one look over his shoulder just to be sure, Drew sat next to him. They huddled up together, hearing the cars and occasional tank passing in the street. Satoru held his breath, burying his head into the nape of Drew’s neck. The Texan tightened his arms around the smalller boy. His eyes fixated on the closed door, terrified that one of those soldiers would come in and rip Satoru straight out of his arms. But the door didn’t open and after what seemed like forever the sounds of cars faded. Soon all that could be heared was the sound of their own laboured breathing. Drew’s soft breathes moved Sat’s short black hair softly as he spoke. “I-I think they’re gone.”
Satoru lifted his head and stared at the door. “We should wait a bit longer, just to be safe.” Drew simply nodded in agreement.
A good hour later they finally dared to move from their spot. Untangling themselves from one another they stretched their legs. Drew went to look if it was safe enough to go outside. It was, he discovered with relief and went back inside to find Satoru rumaging through cabinets in what looked like a little kitchen.
“Look what I found,” He pointed to the table in front of him.
“Is..Is that bacon?” The blond grinned. “It is.”
“That’s great Sat,” Satoru managed a small smile as Drew looked through what he had put on the table next to the bacon. Some bread, fruit, tinned food and milk. “Not that much but the tinned food will last us a while at least.”
“We still have some food left from before. Maybe we should try to hit a supermarket again..” Sat whispered and bit into an apple quickly. The run had made him quite hungry.
Drew chewed on his lip as he packed the new supplies in their bags, “We should but not here, ok?”
The other boy nodded while nibbling, the taste of an apple had never tasted so sweet before.
“So let’s hit another place.”
“We should stay here til tonight and move then. I mean..there could be more of them left…” The Japanese boy’s eyes glazed over “Sat…” Drew whispered, setting his bag aside to gather him in his arms. “We’ll be fine Sat. We made it this far. The rest of the world won’t allow the Federation to continue this. They can’t, you know that.”
“Then where are they? Drew it’s been three months and eleven days, we don’t even know what’s going on out there, we don’t know where the others are!”
“I know, I know but we can’t give up. We can’t Sat… We owe it to those that didn’t make it as far as we did..to Merril.”
Satoru gazed at him in silence before he sighed. Drew was right, of course he was. They might be very smart, they were still teenagers caught in a meaningless war. “You’re right,” he sighed and gave the blonde a small but genuine smile. Drew quickly pecked his cheek. “C’mon let’s get everything together and rest a little before going.”
They turned back to their bags, filling them with the food and some other supplies they thought could or might come in handy later on.
An hour later they decided to risk moving out of their shelter. Heading opposite of where the cars had gone. The bigger the distance the better. Not wanting to pass the square, they didn’t want to see the bloodbath they knew must’ve happened there, they took the little sideroads and walked through a park in silence. In the cover of then nightfall they briefly dared to hold hands again. It was a small comfort but it reassured them that the other was there and hadn’t somehow suddenly dissapeared. Not a word was said while they walked, ears open for any kind of sound and eyes flashing around warily. The smallest of sounds had them tense and ready to run if it was necessary. A branch snapped on their right, they let go of each others hand fast and stopped walking.
Both boys’ eyes stared at the trees and bushes, they both prayed that it wasn’t a Federation soldier or a sympatizer. For a full two minutes nothing happened and then a small creature ran out of the bush and straight passed them to the tree behind them. A squirrel. Just a tiny squirrel. Satoru closed his eyes briefly, calming his racing heart, as they started to walk again? As much as Drew, and Sat, wanted to take the other’s had again, they didn’t. One try was enough, so they started to walk closely but not too close. They walked for hours, sticking to small roads, parks and small forests. They had more chance of outrunning someone there than in a city. And for once they were greatfull for their gymteacher back at Dalton for assigning them laps at the start of every gymclass.
Just a litte bit further. Drew told himself as tiredness hit hard. Just a bit. There’s a town right there, we can make it. I’ts not that far. With a small burst of energy he grabbed Sat’s hand and walked faster. The Japanese boy didn’t question him, he was looking down at the ground just as tired, and walked with. The town they reached was small, smaller campared to the city they had just left. Once they were in it Drew let go of his boyfriend’s hand and both cautiously looked around. It was something they had agreed on after a small arguement. Satoru didn’t want Drew to be killed for being with a gay “Jap” and being gay himself. So distancing himself for half of it and just appearing as best friends was best. Drew went along with it since he couldn’t deny Sat anything. The houses they passed were all dark and empty. The owners having abandonded it to flee for safety.
“What are you kids doing here.”
The gruff voice came out of nowhere from behind them, startling them both. Out of reflex Drew immediately shoved Satoru behind him in a small attempt to keep him safe, just in case. The man standing a few feet away from them wasn’t that tall and after their eyes had adjusted to the light of his flashlight they saw that it wasn’t a young man either. They felt uncomfortable as the stranger’s eyes flashed from one to the other and hoped desperately he wasn’t in the Federation.
“You kids are nuts. C’mon follow me.” The older man, around his forties, turned around and started to walk away from them. Satoru and Drew glanced at each other, unsure what to do. Was it safe to follow this man, should they take the gamble. They weren’t sure why they did followed him, for all they knew he could be with the enemy but the fact that he wasn’t repulsed that Satoru was Japanese made them hope. The older man lead them to one of the houses. Standing close together they entered it, the scent of a freshly cooked meal slammed into them and made their mouths water. They didn’t dare to move as the man took of his coat, a gentle voice rang through the hallway.
“Eric? Is that you?”
“Of course. Carla I brought some guests with me to.”
“Guests? What do you mean?”
Out of the door on their right a woman appeared, her voice changed from it’s cautious tone the moment she saw them. “Oh.” She looked at them for a second before smiling. “Well then don’t just stand there dears, come on in!”
Drew grabbed Sat’s hand out of reflex as they followed the woman, the man, Eric, followed behind them. Carla grabbed two more plates and extra cutlery, placing it on the table for them. A couple of candles were lit around the kitchen. “Sit down dears.” She smiled kindly at them, gesturing to the chairs in front of them.
Dinner was spend mostly in silence. Once in a while Eric or Carla would say something or ask them a question to which they answered but neither Drew or Satoru spoke up otherwise. Eating dinner with people almost felt alien and they knew, they couldn’t stay here. So when dinner was over and Carla brought them to a room upstairs so they could sleep in decent beds, they told her that it was alright. The meal had been enough help of the couple. “Nonsense, you two look dead on your feet! We don’t mind alright? And don’t you go worrying, we’re helping you two because it’s a decent thing to do. Now off you go, to bed.” She smiled at them before leaving the room. Satoru looked at Drew while taking off his bag and jacket. “One night. Just..One night, I don’t want them to be hurt because of me, because of us.”
“One night,” Drew agreed as they crawled into the same bed, wrapping his arms around his boyfriend. Sleep came instantly as they could finally relax their tired bodies.
They woke up early in the morning, wellrested and for once they didn’t wake up feeling tired still. Drew played with Sat’s hair as they lay in silence, not yet wanting to face the day. Satoru’s hand lay on his chest, Drew’s steady heartbeat was like the rhythm of a lullaby to him. “I love you Sat.” The Japanese boy smiled softly. “I love you Drew.” They remained silent, content to just hold on to eachother for just a little while. After a while soft sounds could be heard from downstairs and they realized that they should go now eventhough they wished they could stay. So they got out of bed and grabbed their stuff, Drew couldn’t help but already miss the bed.
“Carla?” The woman turned around with a freshly made bread in her hands and smiled softly at them. “Goodmorning you two. Did you sleep well?”
“Yes, we did. Thank you for letting us stay the night.” Drew looked at her.
“But you’re going to leave now.” They looked at her in surprise. “It’s alright. We both figured that you would. Although we wouldn’t mind if you stayed.”
Satoru shook his head and spoke up softly. “We don’t want to get you in trouble, if they find us here they might kill you.”
“I know and I know I can’t convince you to stay but I do demand you take this with you.” Carla pointed to the small bag on the table. “It’s some food and water to last you for some days.”
“Thank you Carla.” Drew grabbed the bag, wishing there was something they could do for her, just to repay their kindness.
And just like that they left, with only a small goodbye. They were on the road again but having met Carla and Eric made them hopeful, not everyone was like the Federation. There was still some good left in this country. It was just hard to find.