Prompt: 093 ~ Abducted June 2011©
Fandom: Alice Nine
Focus: Shou x Erika
Word Count: 2,843
Fandom: Alice Nine
Focus: Shou x Erika
Word Count: 2,843
PSC was a great company to work for.
The days were long and the work was hard, and praise was very hard to come by, but every ounce of sweat and blood dripped into gold and platinum disks that were marketed worldwide by the best people in the business. If had enough skill to work for PSC to begin with, they had the muscle to make sure you got famous for it.
And enough to keep you safe once you were.
Fangirls were a crazy lot but PSC security was well trained and could handle anything. Not even the craziest of fans could get through the glass wall that PSC built around its bands. PSC’s rockstars were never in any danger from the crazy and dangerous devotion of any overbearing fan.
The people that the bands were friends with were another story.
The popstars that worked for affiliate companies, the crew members that never got a beat of recognition from the fans who had no idea how much work went into music making, and the regular people that somehow managed to make it into the Bands’ inner circles, they were at risk. Any of them that were recognized by the fans were immediately and continuously accosted by fans that wanted to do something to feel closer to their idols.
For the most part, the friends could put up with the unwelcome attention, happy to connect with people who admired the rockstars as much as they did.
But sometimes, far more often than any of them would care to confess, things didn’t go very amicably. Sometimes the fans in love with the rockstars saw things a little differently.
Sometimes they didn’t see the people who were close to the bands as potential friends or even ways to get closer to the people they really cared about. Sometimes, the fans saw the friends as people in their way. Especially the girlfriends.
The words spluttered from Shou’s mouth as his brain made a desperate bid to rationalize the news into something it could accept. “What do you mean, she’s gone?”
Nao was trying to be gentle, but there really wasn’t any way to break this sort of news gently. “She didn’t show up for work this morning, and she hasn’t been in class since yesterday afternoon, skipping a night class; that music class she was so excited she’d gotten into.”
“She wouldn’t have skipped that class, she’s skipped our concerts not to skip that class,” Shou mentioned anxiously.
“Her economics teacher is the last person to have seen her yesterday,” Tora went on to finish Nao’s explanation. “He said she looked like she was going out with friends. We’ve tried calling her . . . her phone’s been turned off all morning.”
Numb, Shou struggled to pull his phone out of his pocket. He hadn’t looked at it yet this morning and he hadn’t actually gone home last night so this was the first time he’d checked thing since noon yesterday. He’d locked himself up in the studio to hammer out the last of the album and he dropped off the radar like he always did when he got obsessive.
He didn’t have any messages.
Erika always sent him something, at least every few hours. Even when he was in his own little world at the studio, she would send him little notes. When he got stuck he would look at them and the little encouragements always helped him get over the creative block.
He should have noticed that something was wrong.
He should have figured it out hours ago.
Shou’s mind ran out of things to think and spiraled away into snatches of the last time this sort of thing had happened to Alice Nine. It had been more than a year ago, but still it could have been yesterday for how much they had forgotten about it. A crazed fan had kidnapped Namie.
Tora still had nightmares about it.
Namie had a private detachment of bodyguards now. Saga had made Yuuki hire guards, as a model she didn’t have quite the star appeal Namie did but she couldn’t walk down the street without being recognized. But Mira and Chisa and Erika . . . they were just college students. Why anyone would want to get to any of them . . . unless it wasn’t for the girls’ sake . . . if the Erika was just a tool to get to Shou . . . if they hurt her . . .
In silent support, Tora stood beside his friend, a hand on his shoulder in empathy. He remembered the feelings that Shou was just starting to understand. He could never forget them. That awful shock at the impossible news, the weight of realizing that the one person who was always there suddenly wasn’t, the dread that came with the horrible realization that it was real, that she was gone, that she could be hurt and scared and crying.
“How long has she been missing?” Shou’s voice was hollow with the disconnect between an acceptable reality and the one that he was living in.
“At least ten hours, from when she skipped her class, but it could be up to fifteen from when she left economics,” Nao said softly. “Hiroto and Saga have already gotten to her school, Chisa and Mira are there too, to help with crowd control and to see if we can get any real information.”
Saga and Hiroto would cause an uproar, just appearing in public without any disguise. “If they took her to get to us, then making some noise might get a reaction,” Tora explained as Shou’s brain struggled to comprehend the repercussions of having Saga and Hiroto out in public.
Shou nodded listlessly. What else was he supposed to do?
What else could he do?
The police had been called, but since she hadn’t been missing for even a day yet it was hard for the police to concretely determine that she was missing and hadn’t simply wandered off. She was an adult after all, she could do what she pleased. Even if it was unlikely, that she was just taking a day off wasn’t out of the question.
Shou looked to Tora, one of his closest and oldest friends, and the only other person who could understand this clawing fear that was threating to rip Shou to pieces. “Why?”
“I don’t know.”
“But we can be pretty sure that it’s not about her,” Nao said. “They took Eri-chan because of us. Last time . . . “
Last time it had been one of Namie’s fans, trying to ‘free’ her from Tora. But Erika . . . the only reason to kidnap her would be her connection to Alice Nine. It might be a good thing, being that the kidnappers didn’t really care about keeping Erika, they might just let her go for a ransom. Or it might mean that they weren’t taking care of her where they were keeping her.
“We’ll find her,” Tora promised.
Shou had torn between nodding pathetically at Tora’s words and pulling roughly away from his hold. How exactly were they going to find her? She’d either been abducted by hardened criminals who knew how to stay out of the Law’s hands or she’d been taken by crazed fangirls with no sense of shame and could be keeping Erika anywhere.
When someone had taken Namie from him, Tora had been incensed with rage. He’d have torn the world apart to find her. Shou couldn’t even get properly angry. Without Erika, Shou was just empty. It was like when they’d taken Erika, they’d taken all of Shou’s ability to think and feel away with her.
He called her.
It was an unconscious reaction to finding himself lost and helpless. He called her.
And she picked up.
The click of connection shocked Shou. If her phone had been off, it should have gone straight to voicemail. When it didn’t, Shou almost dared to hope.
The was a shrill sound on the other end, a collective of squeals, and the sound of the phone being tossed away and sliding over something hard and smoothe, like a countertop.
Nao was beside Shou in a second. They’d been calling Erika all morning, but her phone had been turned off. If her kidnappers had turned it on now, maybe they had a reason for doing so.
As Shou called Erika’s name again, Nao finagled the phone out of Shou’s hand and hit the speaker button. Tora held his breath as Nao began tapping furiously away on Shou’s screen, using his computer-addict’s incredible mind to do something that might just save Erika’s life. Shou was ignoring both of them as he listened to the hushed, but screechy and excited, murmurs of Erika’s kidnappers.
Fangirls that had hearts so black, Shou was ashamed to have inspired them on any level.
“Please, whoever you are,” Shou pleaded, “Please, just tell me she’s okay.”
There was a long moment of tense silence as no one breathed, except for Noa who was still working away on something to do with the internet connection on Shou’s phone.
With that terse sendoff, the phones abruptly disconnected.
If Tora hadn’t already been halfway to propping Shou up on his feet, the singer would have collapsed. “She’s okay.”
Tora nodded grimly. He wasn’t as confident in the proclamation of a kidnapper as Shou seemed to be. They could have just said she was alive. Tora had watched enough cop shows over the years to know that more than the kidnappers’ word was needed for a valid proof of life.
He prayed that it wouldn’t come to that, but ‘fine’ was an awfully vague descriptor.
“And,” Nao spoke up, triumphantly tapping one final thing into Shou’s phone, “She’s right nearby.”
At Shou’s conflicted confusion, his hopeful and fearful expression, Nao explained, “You and Erika are on the same data connection. A few queries to the phone company, a google map, and a basic triangulation algorithm and you phone will lead us straight to hers, as long as the kidnappers leave it turned on until we get there.”
Nao only took a moment to be proud of himself.
In a few seconds, the information had finished sending a feed to his own phone, which he could take to the police. Now that they had contact from the kidnappers, which Nao had managed to record, it was enough to warrant police involvement.
Shou wasn’t listening as Nao explained that. He was staring at the little read line on his phone, the route that would take him to Erika.
And then suddenly, he was running.
He didn’t know if he had actually made anything like a decision to run, but by the time he’d noticed that his feet were moving at all he was approaching the back door of the residence that was acting as Erika’s prison. He was panting and terrified, but his fear didn’t have a solid shape. He was afraid for Erika, if she was scared or hurt, and for what barging in might make the kidnappers do to her.
Tora suddenly clapped a hand down on Shou’s shoulder, making him jump. “Nao’s calling the cops, and I thought you might want a little back up.”
Shou smiled at him. Tora was a good friend.
Taking a deep breath, Shou tried the door. His heart nearly stopped when it actually opened for him. He stepped inside cautiously and when he heard the twittering sounds of fangirling voices, he made his way towards where they were coming from.
“It was him, it was actually him!”
“I know! I can’t believe it!” Another voice chimed in, adding, “But what are we going to do about her. We can’t just keep her here forever.”
A third girl said, “But we can keep her here for a while. I mean, it’s our apartment, so it’s not like anyone else will be likely to find her. And it might be long enough to convince Shou-sama that she’s nothing compared to him.”
“I want him to sing for us,” the first girl mentioned dreamily. “I want him to break up with her, and I want him to sing for us.”
“He already does that.”
This voice made Shou’s heart stop. It was Erika’s. She didn’t sound ‘fine’. She sounded awful, exhausted and stressed, close to tears. She was in dire need of a bubblegum flavored fizzy drink.
“Shut up.” There was the sound of someone kicking a chair, making its legs scrape across the floor and the person sitting in it grunt harshly.
“Don’t you get it?” Erika said, ignoring the kidnapper’s instruction. “He always sings for you, for the people who love music even half as much as he does!”
“I said, shut. Up.”
This time, instead of the sound of a chair being kicked, there was the sound of someone smacking a hand against skin. The sound was still echoing down the hall when Shou burst onto the scene.
“Stop it! I’ll do whatever you want,” Shou announced looking at the three vicious fangirls that had taken his Erika from him. His voice turned to pleading, “Please. I’ll do anything you want, just please give her back to me.”
The kidnappers were staring at him with wide eyes, shocked into utter speechlessness.
Behind them was Erika, tied tightly to a chair and looking quite rumpled, and very much like she was trying not to cry. She was battered from her ordeal and Shou felt his anger rise and his fists ball. How dare they hurt her?
Erika had a prominent bruise under the right eye and her left cheek was red with the sting of a recent slap. She’d been handled so roughly that her clothes had torn at the seams, a few of the buttons on her shirt had popped off. The shoelaces binding her wrists and ankles together, and her knees and elbows to the chair, were so tight they were digging into her skin and cutting off her circulation.
And still she was bravely fighting back the urge to cry.
The sight of her like this made Shou want to lash out. He suddenly understood every ounce of the aggression Tora had when Namie fainted. As Shou set his jaw and took a step forward, the ringleader suddenly jumped into action.
She darted around to the bedside table and swiped a metal nail file from it, before Shou had managed to take two steps she had the file pressed firmly into the skin at Erika’s throat. Erika’s breathing abruptly stopped and she winced at the pressure, a sort of fear creeping into her eyes that made Shou’s chest fill with ice.
“Why do you want her?” the girl demanded, elaborating, “She’s nothing. She’s just a pathetic and worthless regular girl, just a student like us. She’s not a singer or a dancer or a musician, she’s not even a model! Shou-sama deserves so much better!”
Shou laughed harshly. “I deserve better? Yeah, right.”
He tried to give Erika a smile as she swallowed uncomfortably, the panic still clear in her face. “I’m really nothing much. I’m only even a rockstar because of good luck and hard work. I’ll ignore anything I’m supposed to do unless it’s interesting, and I’m really not very nice to the people I care about. I don’t return phone calls, I make everyone work too hard, I terrorize the crew until everything is my version of perfect. I didn’t finish school. I didn’t even notice that something horrible had happened to my girlfriend because I can’t be bothered to check my messages while I’m working.” Shou’d voice had gained a distinctively bitter edge. “Eri-chan’s the one that deserves better, not me.”
His eyes left Erika’s for the first time since he’d found her to stare imploringly at the fangirl threatening her. “Please,” he begged, “just give her back to me.”
There was an impossibly long moment.
The next thing Shou remembered was the police swarming in, flashes of the fangirls being arrested, and Erika being freed, and then she was lying limp in his lap, held tightly in his arms as she tried to regain some of the feeling in her fingers.
“I knew you would come,” she murmured to him.
“Of course, I came,” Shou whispered to her, his thumb ghosting over the bruise beneath her eye.
Erika was coming down from the high of adrenaline and fear that had sustained her through the night. “You always come for me eventually,” she said sleepily.
“I always come for you.”
Erika frowned at him, closing her eyes and snuggling closer to his chest as she admonished, “You’re making that into a sexual innuendo, aren’t you?”
“Of course, I am,” Shou told her, grinning ear to ear as the relief of having her back sunk in.
“I hate you.”
“I love you, too,” Shou returned with a soft chuckle. He kissed her forehead softly and whispered, “Sleep tight, Eri-chan.”