Secret Butterfly (Oneshot)


[Meiko x Luka]

I've always been scared of love. Especially the kind of love that I have.

Maybe it's because so much of the world is still homophobic, including my dad and stepmom. Including her parents. Maybe it's because the world is going past in a blur, the days going forward and backwards...there's no way to tell.

I lie on my bed, my hands clutched around the red paper butterfly she gave me. Ever since my parents divorced and my mother died, so many things have been replaced. Everything my mother left behind, every shadow of her existence has been erased and replaced with shadows of my younger stepbrother. I feel as though he is Airi and Dad's favorite...everyone seems to ignore me and go to him. It's as if I am a ghost...and Riku has replaced me.

Luka is the only one I feel that I have left. We've been friends since we were in diapers, and her mother was a friend of my mother's. She's been there for me always, every time I needed it. I still remember the time she knocked on my window at 2 AM because I couldn't sleep. I had let her in quietly, and she curled up right next to me on my bed and lay there until I fell asleep.

I know I love her. She knows it too, and she loves me back. However, we aren't officially dating...this town is too full of homophobes.

I sigh softly and roll off the bed, going to my desk and taking out my phone. I see a text from her already waiting- 'Hey Mei! Wanna go into town?'

I respond with a quick 'sure' and get dressed. It's still fairly early, and I'm only wearing my nightshirt and underwear. It only takes a quick peek into my closet to find a set of clothes. A red shirt, black jeans, and a grey sweatshirt will make the day just fine. As I change, I hear my phone buzz again. Picking it up, it's another text from Luka. 'See you at the coffee shop.'

I grin and pull my pants up, then put the sweatshirt on over my shirt. Since it's an October morning, a sweatshirt is always good to have on hand. I tuck my phone in my pocket, tug on my shoes, and head out the door.

I live downtown, and Luka lives down the street. We frequently hang out at the coffee shop called the Butterfly Room, which makes the best iced coffee I've ever tasted. The best part is, the coffee shop is the main place for LGBTQ+ people to hang out, since the majority of the staff is part of the community. There's a special word for if a couple wants to sit alone and have a private conversation, and a staff member will escort them to a small room in the back.

As I open the door, Luka's waiting for me. She's ordered for both of us- iced coffee and a slice of toast. "Morning, Mei!" she calls to me.

I smile and sit in the chair beside hers. "Morning, Luka. Did you sleep well last night?"

"I certainly did, how about you?" She grins at me and pushes my share of the food towards me.

"It was okay. Riku and the dog woke me up this morning..." I take a bite of the toast and then chew for a moment. I can taste honey mixed in with the butter...it's so sweet.

"Oh, oof. That's one of the reasons I don't want a dog." She scoots her chair closer to me and gently takes my hand, then leans her head on my shoulder gently. I lean against her, and for a moment we are silent together.

Whenever we are together, it's not the feeling of freedom and love in my mind. It's the fear.

I never liked boys. At least, not in that way. And Luka hasn't either. It's the reason we're both so scared of someone finding out. When the authorities find out that someone is homosexual, or bisexual...or any of these things...they disappear. We're too scared to find out where they go.

"Meiko. We have to stop meeting here," she says softly.

"Wha- Why? What do you mean?" I reply.

"They're going to close down this place. Someone found out about the secrets here, and they reported it. This place is completely closing down...we'll have to find somewhere else."

"But Luka...There isn't anywhere else..."

"I know." She squeezes her eyes shut, and I see the tears slipping down her cheeks. I wrap my arms as tightly around her as I can, and kiss her gently.

"It's going to be okay. Meet me at my house in an hour." I let go and stand up, taking my coffee and leaving the shop. I return home slowly, thinking about what she said. There really isn't anywhere else we can go, but...

I remember. I have my drivers' license, and so does she. If we're careful, we can get out of this town, and try to find somewhere safer for us. Even if it means becoming hobos...I'd do anything for her.

As I come back inside, I throw the empty coffee cup in the trash. I go back to my room and lie down on the bed, taking off my sweatshirt and flinging it across the room.

It's then that I see it. A red butterfly, fluttering outside my window. It seems almost like it wants me to follow it...

I open the window all the way and climb out, making sure I still have my keys and phone with me. The butterfly starts to fly away, and I shut the window and begin to chase it. I follow it through the vast fields and meadows behind my house, until we get to the huge forest behind my town. At the edge of the forest is a small path, marked by tiny little lamps. The butterfly disappears, and I begin to follow the path. It leads me deep into the woods, until I see something in front of me.

A small sign is tacked onto a wooden post, childishly painted. The words on it are hard to read, but I make out a few of them. 'follow the red tracks', it says.

A glimmer of hope rises in my mind, and I turn and run back home. Luka has to see this.

However, once I reach the house, my heart sinks. Luka is outside my room, curled up against the window. She has her school backpack on, and I can tell something's wrong. Running faster, I catch up to her.

"Luka, what's wrong?" I put my arms around her gently, stroking her pink hair. "Calm down, take deep breaths. I want to know what happened so I know how to help you."

"M-my parents, they-" she gasped. "Th-they found out I l-loved you and they said I could never come back home, I just took whatever I could and left," she sobbed.

"Oh, Luka..." I sighed and hugged her tightly. "It's going to be okay. We'll find a solution. E-even if it means running away..."

She gulped back her tears and clung to me, still crying softly. I felt cold, hard determination grow in my heart...I was going to give her a place to be if it killed me.

"Meiko? What're you doing out here?"

My stepmother is coming towards us, around the corner of the house. I freeze up for a moment, scared.

"Um, Luka tripped out here and I-I just-" I start.

"Oh, Luka's here? That's wonderful, I was going to ask if I could talk to you two." Airi smiles at us. "Riku and your father went to a baseball game. I'd like to talk with you in private."

My heart plummets into my intestines. I'm scared that she knows about us, just as Luka's parents knew. I don't want to be kicked out. I don't want to be lost, with nothing useful around me. But I swallow my fear and help Luka up, then lead her inside.

The three of us sat in the living room. Before I can think, Luka's gripping my hand like there's nothing else she can hold.

"So." Airi takes a deep breath. "You two are dating, correct?"

Luka goes white pale. I give a small nod. "Y-Yes."

Airi smiles. "I'm proud to hear that. I never thought I'd help raise a girl who's rebelling against the stupid culture here."

I'm pretty sure I've heard her wrong, but then she stands up and hands us a piece of paper. "Get out of here tonight. This town isn't going to be safe much longer, not after the Butterfly Room is closing. Follow the directions on this card and you'll get to a safe place, hopefully before anything happens." She leaves the room, and I start to hear a sound in the distance.

The town's emergency siren.

"We gotta go," I gasp to Luka. I pull her up and dash towards my room, yanking my backpack out of the closet. I grab a few items of clothing, a first-aid kit, a pillow and two blankets, and then some canned food from the pantry. Luka takes my keys from their hook, both sets, and stuffs them in my bag as well. I grab my cell phone and we dash out of the house just as I hear the first explosion.

Luka chases me to my car, which is waiting on the driveway. I've never been so scared in my life...why is loving someone so wrong!?

I hop into the driver's seat, throwing my bag into the back. Luka gets in on the passenger side and I can tell how scared she is. Her face is almost white, and she's gripping the edges of her shirt tightly.

"Buckle up," I say grimly. Fastening my own seatbelt, I turn my keys and start the car. We're out on the road, trying to get away from the town, but all I can hear is the siren getting louder. We pass the Butterfly Room and it's been burned. Fire is all over it, a smoking cannonball in the middle of the debris.

My chest tightens. Luka and I were some of the most frequent customers there. That means that...if the authorities really cared about removing LGBTQ+ people, they would have taken the customer log.

I push down on the gas, and Luka screams. She's shaking so hard, and my knuckles are turning white, gripping the wheel tighter. I'm running on pure adrenaline by now.

I guess I never realized how many supporters were in this town...if there weren't, Butterfly Room would have been gone long ago. It was an openly supporting establishment, with pride flags on the walls.

A sound crashes through my thoughts. More explosions behind us, in the street. My chest tightens more and more as I keep driving...

I feel it before I hear it. The impact sends the car into the air, and we crash to the side of the street. I can't breathe. They fired directly behind us, which means the next one will be...

"Luka. Get out of the car. We have to run, now." I bang against the door until it opens, barely getting time to grab our bags. Luka follows me, and we take cover in the woods lining the street. I hear a hiss and another impact comes, sending us into the air. A strangled sob breaks free from Luka's throat, and I pull her up from the ground. We're both shaking so much...

I pull the paper from my pocket. I don't see anything on it. We've been set up. Why did I trust Airi...? She never seemed to care...

Out of the corner of my eye, the butterfly appears. One wing pink, one wing red. I take Luka's arm and run after it, with her following behind.

It seems like hours before we reach the path. My legs are burning and Luka keeps tripping, but we have to keep going. In front of us is the same sign...I sigh and begin to follow the tracks.

When we reach the place, I'm shocked. It's a small cottage, with a little sign in front of it. 'Secret Butterfly'.

Luka gasps behind me, and then falls. I manage to catch her before she hits the floor- she must have fainted.

My heart is pounding as I carry her inside. What if it's a trap? Another set up, because we followed a butterfly?

However, that's not what I see. When I walk in, there are a lot of people in the room. I recognize two of them. My old friend Kaito and his boyfriend, Gakupo.

"Mei," he says softly. "And Luka...are you two okay?" He comes over to us and takes Luka from me, then sits down by the wall. I take a seat beside him. He lays Luka down gently, resting her head on my lap.

Now that the rush of adrenaline is gone, my head and thigh are throbbing with pain. I must have hit something in the car...it was terrifying.

"What is this place?" I asked.

"It's like a refuge for us. For all the LGBTQ community members who got out, it's a safe place. Hidden. Somewhere we can be free."

I closed my eyes, tears welling up in them. I was still scared. Suppose Luka had died on the way here?

"...Meiko."

I felt someone wrap their arms around my torso, and I opened my eyes. Luka was there, her head on my shoulder.

"I love you, Meiko. And it's going to be okay. We're going to be okay. Together."

I hugged her tightly and rested my head on her shoulder, letting the tears flow.

"It's going to be okay."
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0 | Aug 8th 2019 22:52