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Mizore couldn't speak.

This had happened already, more on the island than it had ever had before. But here, on the wet tiles, it felt suddenly as though if she opened her mouth, water would come out, the water from the girl's bathroom, the puddle in the cave, the chipped fountain she had arrived by, even the water, hardly potable, she had brushed her teeth with the first night. Lakes of water. Seaweed, urchins, tiny silver fish, salt and stones all in her mouth. She was like a selkie, with a sea inside her, waiting to burst.

She could not open her mouth. The room would fill with water, and then something would die.

Instead she pulled Raidon's face to her chest, clumsily, the years of caring for damaged commune kids kicking in. She pulled his head toward her chest and brushed back his hair, too gentle, silent, because if she spoke something in this room might break. She could feel the veins near where the gun had hit, a steady, stinging pulse. He hissed and pulled back when she got too close to the break in the skin.

And she ran her fingers through his hair, and he was silent, and she was silent.

Time passed.

An hour, maybe.

A minute.

The tightness in the air faded, until it was only air again, and Mizore could breathe (had she not been breathing?), and words stumbled awkwardly, through her mouth, into her chest, how long have I been silent?. Her voice felt creaky when she spoke.

"We should get you an ice pack. Bandages, maybe. You're bleeding."

Don't leave it at that her mind commanded.

Her words were clumsy, slow and soft. "I missed you."
--------


Alice Boucher was a liar.
Liz Polanski played with fire.

And who the hell is Radio Asuka?
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All's Fair · The Residential Area