MARS Fan Fiction ❯ Fall of a Broken Angel (Part I of the Angels Series) ❯ Awakened ( Chapter 2 )

[ P - Pre-Teen ]

This is probably gonna be a pretty short fic. Only a few chapters, I think. A few SHORT chapters. So for those of you who don't like my writing, rejoice in the shortness of this fic!
Oh, and by the way, I'm not good with all the medical stuff, so the medical info might not be accurate. Just bear with me, okay?
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Chapter 2—Awakened
Rei walked into the hospital, carrying his jacket over one arm and two giant bouquets of white roses in his hands. The bare, white walls…the reception desk where the woman handed him his good-morning coffee and told him “No change, Rei, I'm sorry”…the people that milled about, some looking sorrowful, some joyful, and all feeling slightly lost and alone…it all had become so familiar. Too familiar. He exchanged greetings with Oruki, the nurse in charge of Kira, as he did every morning. Oruki was middle-aged, but she acted as if she were a teenager.
“Good morning, Rei,” the smiling nurse said. “Off to your rounds?”
“Yup. How's Kira?”
Oruki sighed sadly. “Still there. That's all I can give you, Rei.”
Rei smiled. “It's okay. I'm a patient man. So I guess I'll get off to make my rounds.”
“Yes, you do that. Oh, and you may want to stop by Miaka's room. She could use someone to talk to right now.”
“What happened?”
“Well, she thought she would be able to visit home today—the doctor told her a week ago that she would be able to go home for the day—but last night she had a relapse. She's better today and the danger is over, but she won't take visitors, not even her parents. She'd talk to you, though. I know she would.”
Rei smiled reassuringly. “I'll go see her. I'd be happy to.” He took one of the roses from the bouquet and handed it to the nurse, and headed toward Miaka's room.
It was a private room, the only furniture being a bed and a night table. However, the room was livened up by a beautiful oriental vase that stood on the night table, a picture of Miaka and her parents next to it, and several pictures and a calendar on the walls. Rei saw a picture that Kira herself had painted hanging above the bed, and a lump came into his throat, but he ignored it and smiled at the small girl on the bed. She had obviously been crying, her coal-black eyes red-rimmed and bloodshot. Her long, black hair was tangled, and her face was pale and worn. She had a quilt wrapped around her, but Rei knew that underneath it her frame was thin and weak. He smiled. “Good morning, Miaka.”
Miaka sniffled. “Hi, Rei. How's Kira?”
“Still no change. But I'm here to talk about you. How are you feeling?”
“All right, I guess. I want to go home, though….”
Rei laid his jacket in a chair and set his flowers down on top of it, and sat down on the edge of the bed. “I know. Oruki told me about what happened. You're all right today, though?”
Miaka shrugged. “I feel all right. I just want to go home….”
Sighing, Rei pulled her into a gentle hug. He had grown especially fond of this little girl. “I know, sweets. And you will. But not today. Maybe not for a long time. But I promise that every day you're here, I'll come visit you every single day. Even when you go home, I'll still come see you at least once a week. So cheer up. You still have someone to talk to.” He gave her a squeeze. “Now come on. No more crying, okay?” He wiped her tears away with a tissue and took a hairbrush from the top drawer of the night table. Smiling, he started to brush her hair as he talked to her. “I was supposed to have a daughter, you know.”
“You were?”
“Mm-hmm. I sure was.”
“What happened?”
“The baby died in infancy. Kira and I were devastated, but we know that someday, we'll have a baby of our own. We're going to adopt, though. Kira almost died during her last pregnancy, and I won't let it happen again. I promise, as soon as we adopt, we'll bring the kid right here to meet you. You can be like a big sister. Would you like that?”
Miaka brightened. “Oh, yes! I've always wanted to be a big sister!”
“It's settled, then. Now, tell me about you. How have things been for you?”
The two spent the next hour talking almost nonstop. Rei told Miaka all about Kira, motorcycle racing, Harumi and Tatsuya, and Kyoko and Akitaka. She, in turn, told him about how much she hated her medication and the hospital, and how much she missed home. Then he read the newspaper to her, and read two chapters from her favorite book, Swann's Way. Miaka was an avid reader, and she read books far beyond her grade level. Finally, somewhat reluctantly, Rei announced that he had to leave. Taking a rose from the bouquets, he placed it in the vase and kissed Miaka on the forehead. “See you soon, okay? Keep your spirits up.”
For the better part of the morning, Rei visited the terminally ill patients, giving each one flower, until he had only five left. These he took to Kira's room.
Rei's days had fallen into a routine. Each day, he woke early, ate breakfast alone, and went to the hospital. He devoted each day of the week to a different unit of the hospital. Some days it was the terminally ill patients who stayed full-time at the hospital, some days it was the cancer patients, and some days it was the patients who had no permanent diseases or injuries and just needed someone to talk to while they waited to go home. He kept the vases in the rooms filled with flowers. Every day after he made his rounds, he got lunch in the hospital cafeteria, then went and visited with Kira for an hour before he went to the track until nightfall, and then he went back to the hospital and remained with his wife until visiting hours were over. When he left the hospital, he got take-out from a restaurant, ate it without really tasting it, and then went to bed. And in the morning he woke up and did it all over again.
Kira's accident had wrought a change in Rei. Only the people closest to him noticed it, but he'd changed. He had become closer to people, more in tune with the world. He had become stronger, too. Not physically—physically he was exactly the same—but emotionally, he had become the strongest person anyone, both inside the hospital and out, had ever had the fortune to meet. He was more inclined to comfort the sick and the injured, and he did what he could to help the parents of the hospital patients, as well as the patients themselves. It gave him something to do, and it kept his mind off Kira. But most importantly, by visiting the patients, Rei had learned a lesson he'd never realized he'd learned. By visiting terminally ill children like Miaka, Rei had learned to see the world, to see life, in a whole new light. There were people—children—in that hospital who had just begun to experience freedom—freedom from medicine and sickness, freedom to go outside to see the sun and feel the wind on their face—and others who had forgotten what that freedom felt like. They faced death every day without batting an eye. And all of them—so young and so innocent—spoke of “getting better soon” and believed that, “If I'm good enough, I'll go home soon.” And every time Rei heard them say that, he wanted to cry. Some of them wouldn't ever see home again, and Rei didn't have the courage to tell them so. He began to appreciate the fact that he was alive, and healthy, and that he could always go home.
Sighing, Rei shoved the dismal thoughts out if his head, drew a deep breath, and entered the room. As usual, he stopped in the doorway, and took in the sight before him. His Kira, the love of his life, the one who had taught him how to love, still looked like an angel in her husband's eyes. Her skin was a color that barely contrasted with the snow-white sheets she lay on. Her eyes were closed, and her chest rose gently up and down as she breathed. A scar ran from the corner of her eye down to the edge of her chin, and another ran from her cheekbone down to the corner of her mouth. The quilt that was draped over her still form covered the cast that ran from her foot to her hip. Her knee had been damaged almost beyond repair, and her leg had been broken in three places. She had been through numerous surgeries in the three years since the accident. In fact, she had had her fourth surgery on her knee just two days ago. The doctors had said that, while Kira would eventually be able to walk again, the knee would never fully heal. In addition to the injuries in her knee, she had dislocated her shoulder and broken her left elbow and collarbone. And then there was the head injury, which had resulted in….Rei's new way of life. Everything but the knee had healed, but Kira was still in the coma, and there were no guarantees about when she might wake up, or even if she would wake up at all.
Only the beeping of the heart monitor broke the silence as Rei stared at Kira. Even with the scars, she was still the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen. Laying his jacket down on a chair, he walked slowly across the room. Placing the five roses he still carried in the vase on the night table, he pulled a chair up close to the bed. After a solid fifteen minutes of staring at Kira, he reached out slowly and took her hand in a gentle grip.
There was something….different about today. There was no physical change in her condition, as far as Rei could see, but something in his heart told him that today was different. Perhaps that was why he felt so….nervous. Rei forced himself to take a shaky breath, and began to talk.
“Hey, love. It's me again. I'm back. I hope you aren't getting sick of me yet, but I can't just leave you here all alone. Well, you'll be glad to know that Miaka is in good spirits today. She's become sort of a project of mine, I guess. She was feeling homesick today, but I talked to her and read to her and gave her a flower, and by the time I left she was laughing and smiling with her parents. I can't wait for you to meet her. She's the sweetest thing. She's the kind of girl I want to adopt. We should think about adopting a girl like her, when you…when you wake up.”
Rei blinked back tears, swallowed, and continued.
“I beat my own lap record again. I'm finally back to where I was before. For a while there, after the accident, I couldn't thing of anything but you, and my riding suffered. But then I learned to turn my thoughts to the you that I remembered. The you that smiled, and laughed, and was always so happy. I want that Kira back.” He laughed quietly. “You know what I miss the most? I miss those eyes that you get when you paint. That intense, don't-mess-with-my-concentration look, you know? And that worry line you get right between your eyes, when you're trying to remember the colors of the painting. I miss those eyes more than I've ever missed anything in my life. I miss you, Kira. I want you back. Please…come back. We all miss you, and love you. We're pulling for you. All we ask is that you come back to us. Please…try. For us. If you don't want to do it for you…do it for us.”
It was more of the same; he said varying versions of this to her every day.
Sighing heavily, he leaned forward and kissed her forehead.
“I love you, Kira Kashino. I love you and I miss you, and I want you back. So when you're ready…come on back. We'd all…really love it if you would.”
Sighing again, he kissed her hand and laid his head down on the bed. Before he knew it, his eyes had closed, and sleep pulled him in, wrapping its arms around him and coaxing him into a land of dreams, a land where Kira was well, a land where the accident had never happened. And he embraced that dreamland, as he always had when the last three years had left him with nothing to hold on to.
Kira was floating. She felt nothing—no pain, but nothing else, either. Everything was black, blacker than any night she'd ever experienced. And as she looked around her, she saw that everything around her grew progressively blacker. Sighing, she began to close her eyes, to surrender at last to death's gentle embrace.
It had been long enough. She was ready to go now.
But something kept her there, where she was. A voice floated towards her from somewhere above her. It tickled something in the back of her mind, triggered a memory that existed somewhere inside her. But just as she began to grasp the face of the voice's owner in her mind's eye, it dissolved again. Curiosity began to eat away at her as she grasped at the memory, but it was like trying to hold water in the palm of her hand. Angrily, she gritted her teeth. No. I can remember this. I can. Who is it? Why can't I remember? The curiosity was enough to give her strength that she hadn't felt since…she couldn't remember when.
To Kira, no other life existed except for constant blackness. She had no memories other than lying in the darkness, trying to see….something. Anything. But now…now she had a memory. A memory that was somehow connected to this voice.
But what was it?
The need to know—to remember—penetrated the darkness. Finally, for the first time in this new, black life, she saw light. It was bright and penetrating and it made her eyes hurt, and out of reflex, she got up and walked toward it.
In the hospital room, Kira's hand twitched, and her eyelids fluttered, though they stayed closed.
She was coming back.
In the hospital room, Rei was still asleep, his head resting on the bed, his hand gently grasping Kira's.
A ray of sunshine fell through the window and touched Kira's face, and her eyelids fluttered.
Her return to consciousness was slow. It took nearly ten minutes for her to force her eyes halfway open. She squeezed them closed and opened them again, trying to bring the room into focus. Slowly, her eyes drifted down to rest on her husband's face, and a small smile touched her lips. Very slowly, she raised her hand, ran it through Rei's long hair, and dropped it back onto the bed.
The gentle touch was enough to wake Rei, and he slowly turned his head and opened is eyes. It was several moments before he registered what he was seeing.
Kira's eyes were open, looking at him. There was a tiny smile on her lips as she looked at him.
“K-Kira?” Rei gasped. “You…Kira? You're…” He faltered and stopped to pull himself together, trying to remember how to breathe. “Oh God…Kira…please tell me I'm not dreaming…”
Kira didn't say anything. She just squeezed his hand. After several moments, she opened her mouth. “Rei?” The single syllable turned into a dry cough that wracked her thin, weakened frame. Rei could do nothing but hold her hand. When the spasm passed, Kira settled back onto her pillow and closed her eyes, breathing deeply. Without taking his eyes away from Kira's face, Rei fumbled for a button on the wall, and pressed. “Stay with me, Kira,” he murmured. “Promise me, just don't leave me again.”
Nodding, Kira squeezed his hand in a bone-crushing grip, as if that hold on his hand would keep her anchored to the bed. That kept Kira where she was until Oruki came rushing in. Her eyes widened as she took in the scene before her.
“She's awake, Oruki,” Rei whispered, as though speaking aloud might shatter the glorious reality he'd found himself in. “She's finally awake.”
“I'll go get the doctor,” Oruki said, and she was gone, to return with a doctor minutes later.
“Kira?” Rei inquired quietly, as the nurse and the doctor entered. “Kira, the doctor's going to look at you, all right? I'll be out in the hall. I have a couple of phone calls to make. I'll back as soon as the doctor is finished, all right?”
Not wanting to try talking again just yet, Kira nodded and loosened her grip on Rei's hand. Smiling reassuringly at her, Rei went out into the hall.
He passed a shaky hand over his eyes, brushing away his tears. Then he took out his cell phone and dialed quickly. “Hi, Kyoko? It's Rei. I can't come to the track today, all right? Yeah, I know, but Kira woke up! I know! I'm trying to convince myself that I must be dreaming, but it's all real! Listen, tell Akitaka to call Tatsuya and Harumi. I gave him their number. Okay. Okay, I'll call you when she's up to visitors. Thanks, Kyoko. See you later. Bye.”
Then he started to return to Kira's room, but then he remembered something. And before he knew it, he was heading in the direction of Miaka's room. And before he could stop himself, he's broken into a run. As he passed the nurse's station, he let out a whoop. “WHOOHOO! LIFE IS GOOD! THE WORLD IS A BEAUTIFUL PLACE!”
He stopped in Miaka's doorway, where the girl was sitting on her bed, talking to her parents. Everyone jumped when Rei ran in, grabbed Miaka, and gave her a bone-crushing hug. “She's awake, Miaka! Kira's awake!”
Miaka gasped, and hugged him back. “Oh, I'm so glad! I knew she'd be back! I just knew it! Oh, when can I meet her? Is she all right?”
“The doctor is with her now. I promise you can meet her as soon as she's up to visitors.”
“Really? Oh, yay! Mommy, Daddy, she's awake!”
“It would seem so,” Miaka's mother said, laughing. “That's wonderful, Mr. Kashino.”
Laughing, Rei gave Miaka another squeeze. “Spread the word, okay?”
“Will do. Daddy, can you get me my wheelchair?”
Rei hadn't felt this happy since the day they'd signed the marriage papers. Taking a deep breath to calm himself, he returned to Kira's room, and with another breath, he peeked in.
Oruki had gone back to the nurse's station, and the doctor, who was now on a first-name basis with Rei, was writing on a clipboard. Dr. Ryo Sakuma was a young man, only two years older than Rei, but his hair already showed a few streaks of gray, which Rei guessed had been left with the death of each of his patients. Kira was staring out the window, wearing the look of one who felt lost and incredibly alone.
The doctor looked up, and smiled. “Rei. Just in time. I was just explaining to Kira exactly what's happened to her. I'll leave you two alone, but don't keep her awake too long, all right? She needs rest. And before you leave, come and find me. I need to talk to you before you go.”
“Will do. Thanks, Ryo.”
Kira didn't seem to hear a word of the exchange. After Dr. Sakuma had left, Rei stood and stared at Kira for a long time. Then, slowly, he walked across the room and sat down on the edge of the bed. “Kira?”
Silence. Sighing, Rei took her hand, and waited for her to say something. Finally, she looked at him, and the look in her eyes wasn't one he would soon forget. “Three years, Rei.”
“I know, sweetie. I know. It was hard for both of us.”
“I missed out on three years of my life because of a drunk motorcyclist. Everything from the accident is fuzzy, except for the motorcycle. I even remember what the guy's helmet said. Oh, God, Rei….”
Kira's shoulders began to shake. Swallowing a lump in his throat, Rei reached out and pulled her close. He didn't say anything—he just held her, and kissed her forehead. At last, after half an hour, her shaking subsided, and her sobs died. Rei continued to hold her, whispering to her, telling her that everything would be all right. When he finally let go of her, she leaned back against her pillows and smiled at him. “I'm all right. The doctor told me everything—about my knee injury, and everything. I just…lost it for a minute. I'll be fine. I'm just tired.”
“Oh…okay. I'll go, then. So you can sleep.” Rei started to get up, but Kira grabbed his hand and pulled him back.
“No…please, stay. Just for a little while, until I fall asleep. I want to talk to you. I don't care what you talk about. Just…talk.”
Rei smiled at Kira, stretched out next to her on the bed, and pulled her into his arms. Stroking her hair, he began to talk, about his racing career, and about Tatsuya and Harumi's recent vacation to America. He didn't even stop to think about what he said. The words just came.
Neither of them ever really remembered exactly what time they fell asleep. All they knew was that, when they finally woke up, morning sunshine was falling through the window, and birds were singing and chirping, welcoming the new day.
Sometime during the night, Oruki came in to change Kira's IV, and she found both of them asleep. Knowing is was strictly against the hospital rules, she closed the door and warned the other nurses not to disturb the sleeping couple.
When Rei awoke, the first thing he saw was Kira's sleeping face. Confused, he looked around the room. Why….? He groaned. Must have fallen asleep…. And with that thought came the rest of yesterday's events. It all came rushing back with such clarity that he knew, just knew, that it hadn't been a dream, and Rei felt a small smile touch his face as he looked at Kira. He just lay there, watching her, until she woke up about half an hour later. Her eyes opened slowly, and met his.
He leaned down and kissed her softly. “Morning.”
“Mmm….morning. What time is it?”
“Erm….almost noon,” Rei said, glancing at the clock as he sat up. “I'm sorry….did I fall asleep on you?”
“If you did I didn't notice,” Kira replied. She seemed to be in better spirits today. She sat up, slowly, and Rei propped her pillows at her back. “You'd think that, after sleeping for three years straight, I'd never need or want to sleep again.”
Rei laughed. “You'd think that.” He kissed her forehead, his face once again serious. “It's good to have you back, Kira. I've missed you.”
Kira smiled at him, but didn't comment. After a moment, she said, “I'm starving. Where's Oruki?”
“Probably at the nurses' station. She'll be in soon.”
“I'll be in now, Rei,” a voice said from the door. “Good morning, you two.”
Rei grinned. “Morning, Oruki. Where's Ryo?”
Dr. Sakuma,” Oruki growled, her eyes dancing merrily, “is making his rounds. He'll be in soon to talk to you two. And Rei, didn't Dr. Sakuma say you weren't supposed to keep Kira awake? You were supposed to leave when visiting hours were over and I come here in the middle of the night and find you sleeping in the bed!” She whacked him playfully with a rolled-up newspaper. “We keep the beds for our patients, Rei!”
Kira began to giggle as she watched Rei try to fend off the newspaper. “Ow!” he yelped. “What the hell is wrong with you, old lady?”
“Who are you calling old, Mr. Kashino? I'll have you know that I am forty years young as of yesterday! And you will mind your tongue when you speak to me, boy!” Whack, whack, whack.
“Ouch! Jeez! Okay, fine! You aren't old! Ow!”
“Well, I'm glad to see Kira laughing,” a voice said from the doorway. A deep chuckle accompanied the statement as Dr. Sakuma stepped into the room. “However, I cannot allow you to kill this young lady's husband, Oruki.”
“Morning, Ryo. Ow! Dr. Sakuma! I meant Dr. Sakuma! Ouch! I said Dr. Sakuma! Stop hitting me!” Rei yelped.
Oruki finally obliged, putting the newspaper on the table next to Kira's bed.
Dr. Sakuma, laughing, walked over to the bed. “How are you feeling this morning, Kira?”
Kira took a deep breath as her giggles subsided. “I'll tell you as soon as I can stop laughing at Rei.” She laughed as Rei glared at her. “I feel…okay. Exhausted, and my leg hurts a little, but I'm all right, I guess.”
“Well, all that is to be expected. The fact that you're awake and coherent is enough for all of us just now. Anyway, I just wanted to give you a bit of an idea about what's going to happen now that Sleeping Beauty has awakened.”
Everyone in the room laughed, and Kira blushed.
Dr. Sakuma smiled, and continued. “We'll give you a few days to rest up and get used to everything again. You're probably going to feel like you're on an emotional roller coaster, and that's to be expected. The feeling will pass with time. At the beginning of next week, we'll start your testing.”
“Testing?” Rei asked. “What kind of testing?”
“We need to run some physical and psychological tests, to make sure everything is in order and that you'll recover fully, which I'm sure you will. After you get the test results, you should be able to go home and begin your recovery. The cast on your leg will come off in about two weeks, and we'll put a brace on it. After those two weeks are over, we'll start talking about physical therapy. I think your knee has seen its last surgery, at least for quite a while, and it'll need help healing. Also, your muscles will be severely weakened due to their lack of use. But I foresee no difficulties with your recovery, as long as you cooperate and try your best to get better. Can you do that?”
Kira nodded. “I will, I promise.”
“All right. Now, you have some visitors. Are you ready to see them?”
Smiling, Kira nodded. “You bet I am.”
So Dr. Sakuma opened the door, and Harumi immediately ran in and threw herself at Kira, grabbing her friend in a fierce hug. “You scared me to death, Kira!” she cried.
Kira returned the embrace with a gentle one of her own. “Hi, Harumi.”
“It that all you have to say?” Harumi chided, giggling and pulling back. “You scare me half to death and then sleep for three years and all you can say is `Hi, Harumi'?”
“Erm…hi, Harumi and Tatsuya?”
“That's better,” Tatsuya said, coming forward and hugging Kira gently.
Kira hugged him back. “Hi.”
“Hi yourself, Slee—”
“Don't you dare call me Sleeping Beauty,” Kira said, cutting him off and smiling. There was another burst of laughter, and then Dr. Sakuma and Oruki left, shutting the door behind them.
“Where are Akitaka and Kyoko?” Kira asked. “I want to know what's really been happening with Rei's racing career.”
“Are you calling me a liar?” Rei asked, pretending to be hurt.
“Yes, Rei,” Kira said, her face serious, though her eyes sparkled. “Yes I am.”
Rei grinned and leaned down to kiss her. “Well, okay then.”
Tatsuya and Harumi stayed until a little after two o'clock, and then Akitaka and Kyoko came and stayed for an hour. After they left, Kira took a nap, and Rei sat with her and read a newspaper until she woke up. At six o'clock, one of the nurses came in with a dinner tray and left.
Kira wrinkled her nose as she uncovered the tray. “I am not eating that,” she said, and covered the tray back up. “So who's this Miaka girl?”
Rei stared at her, his eyes wide. “How do you know about Miaka?”
“I heard you talking about her before I woke up. You wanna tell me about her?”
“You….heard me?”
“You talked, I listened. It's marriage, hon. Now spill your guts.”
So Rei sat with her until visiting hours were over, telling Kira all about Miaka and the other patients at the hospital. When Oruki popped in and told them visiting hours were over, Rei almost refused to leave. But Kira saw his look, and smiled. “It's all right. You can't stay here all night, anyway. I'll be fine. Go on.”
“Are you sure?”
“Positive. Go on. I'll see you tomorrow.”
“All right. I'm going.” He glanced at the dinner tray in disgust. “And I'm bringing you real food, too. I'll sneak you in a burger, okay?”
“Oh, God will bless you if you do, and so will I.” She pulled him down for a kiss, and smiled. “Now get going, before Oruki takes the newspaper to you again.”
“Are you making fun of me?”
“Of course I am. See you later.”
But after Rei left, Kira began to feel lost, and alone. Pulling a pillow over her face to muffle her sobs, she cried all the loneliness and despair and fear out of her system, and allowed herself to be pulled into a land of dark nightmares—a land where she floated on a black sea of darkness.
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I almost had myself crying for a while there…. Anyway, review, please!