The small, red-headed boy blinked and looked wildly around. The enormous pink cloud of smoke that had enveloped him finally cleared and his eyes were met by completely unfamiliar surroundings. Though he was certain that not ten seconds ago he had been in his room, straightening up…this was not his room. It wasn’t even his room messy. It was a library– a library full of people staring at him because of the small explosion that had announced his presence.
He whirled to face forward again and then jumped as far back as the chair he was sitting in allowed. There was a girl in front of him, looking both very confused and very concerned. She had her math book open, and next to it was a piece of paper with equations scrawled all over it. He could see several pencils pointed as if he had been using them to help her.
“Irie-kun,” the girl said again, her forehead wrinkled with worry. “I know this is going to sound absolutely crazy, but–”
He didn’t hear what she had to say. He had just caught sight of the newspaper and now, completely terrified, he stood up, and fled the room, knocking his chair and several of the tutoring papers he had to the floor as he did so.
“–You look younger,” you finished, staring after him.
This time, it was entirely different, in way that was eerily similar.
There was the same puff of smoke, the same small “boom,” but this time, he had done it on purpose. Instead of the library of staring people, he was in a smoky bar of staring people. The people weren’t all studiously working, but were rather covered in piercings and tattoos, and the staring wasn’t even really staring this time.
It was more like they were glaring at him.
“Shou-Chan?” It was just the same. The same whirl, the same jump, the same girl. Though she looked different in this time, in this place, with her piercings and different hair, it still did not escape his mind that she was the same person.
“Uh–Ah…” he stammered. The girl’s eyes were wide.
“Hey! Punk!” Shouichi jumped and turned back again. An enormous thug and his two goons were standing in front of him. The leader cracked his knuckles. “Where’s our money?”
Shouichi gulped, eyeing the massive hand with fear. Then, without another glance back at you, he ran from the bar.
This time he was sure to have got it right.
Except that he hadn’t.
There was nothing around him, just an expanse of broken sky over a never ending wasteland of ruined buildings. As his eyes adjusted to the darkness around him, he spotted shapes moving around the remains of bricks and wood.
He crept closer, cautious and more nervous than he had been so far visiting the future. He was surprised to find out, however the shapes were people. No one in this future seemed to notice him, so he was able to watch silently as they all gathered, looking frightened in their tattered clothing.
“Shouichi. Have you got your sector in place?”
He blinked. He knew that voice. It was familiar to him now. He winced, not wanting to see what your condition in this terrible place was. When he finally got the courage up to ask, however, you were fine, dressed smartly in an outfit of purest white, and with a serious expression on your face. You blinked, but otherwise it stayed the same as you took in his appearance.
“More time travel, I see. Well, just get in line with everyone else.”
Shouichi swallowed, but you had already turned toward the massive, somehow still-intact screen standing in front of the crowd. Two seconds later, a close up of a pretty man with wild white hair blipped onto the screen. With a feeling akin to being punched in the stomach, Shouichi realized he knew this man.
“Ah, good evening everyone," he chirped. “As you all should know by now. as of today, the Millifiore has taken control of the last rebel sector. As such, there will be some changes–”
Shouichi didn’t hear the rest. His time had run out.
Ten years later, Shouichi knew. He understood those alternate futures.
The sky was a deep robin’s egg blue, the clouds floating across were slow and white and fluffy, and the sun was shining like it never had before.
The grave in front of him was decorated with flowers, small and just as cheerful as the sky above.
He could only allow himself a small, almost sarcastic smile as he bent down closer to it.
It figured that the only future everyone else had hope in was the only one where he couldn’t be with you.