MARS Fan Fiction ❯ Fall of a Broken Angel (Part I of the Angels Series) ❯ Changes ( Chapter 4 )

[ P - Pre-Teen ]

Chapter 4—Changes
At ten o'clock the next morning, Rei checked Kira out of the hospital with Dr. Sakuma's approval. Harumi was there when he got up to the room, helping Kira throw all of her clothes and books into one of Rei's sports bags. All the flowers she'd been given were tied together with a red ribbon and placed in a large oriental vase.
“I am so glad to be out of that godforsaken hospital gown,” Kira was saying to Harumi. “Those things itch. And they're ugly….”
“You look great,” Rei said, stepping into the room and kissing Kira on the cheek. “Ready to go?”
“Yeah. I just wanna say goodbye to Miaka. Can we go to her room really quick?”
Rei grinned. “Sure. I haven't been to see her as much as I used to, so it'll be good for all of us.” He kissed her on the cheek. “And you've only gotten to see her once, and even then you didn't to get to talk to her much.”
“I'll go get a wheelchair,” Harumi said, and disappeared from the room. However, Kira reached for her crutches.
“What are you doing?” Rei demanded.
“What does it look like I'm doing? I'm going to see Miaka.”
“But….her room's all the way on the other side of the hospital….and this is your first day on crutches….the doctor said you're not even supposed to be on them yet!”
“I don't give a damn what the doctor says,” Kira hissed angrily. “I am not going to let this accident change my life, and I am not going to sit in that wheelchair when these things will get me across the hospital just fine. Exercise will help the knee, the doctor said so, and if anything will help me get better faster then I'm going to start anything right here and now.” And with that, she began to make her way slowly towards the door. In the doorway, she stopped and turned around, the irritated look still on her face. “Are you coming or not?” she snapped.
Rei opened his mouth as she disappeared into the hall. He shut it, then opened it again. After doing so several times, he smiled and shook his head. And she says I haven't rubbed off on her
Miaka was alone when Rei and Kira got to her room. Her parents wouldn't be there until after work, the doctor had just finished his morning rounds, and the nurse wouldn't be in for another hour. She looked up when they entered.
“Hi, Miaka,” Kira said, propping her crutches against the wall and sitting down in a chair by the wall. “How're you feeling?”
“Bored. When did you start using crutches?”
“This morning,” Rei replied, before Kira had even opened her mouth. “She's not supposed to, but she is.”
`I just came to say goodbye before I go home,” Kira said, as though she hadn't heard a word of the exchange.
“…Oh.” Miaka's face fell. “Oh, um…bye.”
“Don't look like that,” Kira said. “I'll come back and see you after every therapy session.”
“And I'll come see you every week,” Rei added. “I promised, remember?”
“Yeah, you did…”
“And haven't I always kept my promises to you so far?”
“Yeah, you have…”
“So what reason could I have for not keeping this one?”
“…No reason that I can think of…”
Rei grinned, satisfied. “Okay, then.”
Miaka smiled. “Okay.” She turned to Kira. “Have you started any more paintings lately?”
Kira shook her head. “No. But I promise I'll tell you as soon as I do, okay?”
“You'd better,” Miaka said. “I love your paintings….I want to be an artist someday, too.” And she was off, explaining about how she was going to try for a scholarship to art school, as soon as she “got out of this place” and got her parents to allow her out of their sight for ten seconds. Smiling slightly, Rei slipped quietly out of the room.
“How's she doing?” Oruki asked, outside the door.
Rei grinned. “Great. She's in there talking Kira's ear off about art school.”
Oruki peeked in. “Good. Let's go get some coffee. Dr. Sakuma wants to talk to you about Kira's therapy schedule.”
“I'm not going to lie to you,” Dr. Sakuma said, taking a sip of his coffee. “This is going to be hard on the both of you. Kira's knee if in bad shape, and her recovery will be long and very difficult. She's only had three therapy sessions so far and they're already taking a toll on her. The only way she'll get through all of this is if you're there for her.”
“I will be,” Rei said without hesitation. “I—”
“I know you'll do your best,” Dr. Sakuma cut in. “But your work takes you away from home sometimes, doesn't it? And you spend up to fifteen hours a day at the track, Kira says. How will you balance all of this and still manage to take care of your wife?”
“Kira is my first priority, you know that,” Rei said angrily. “I've got it all worked out with Akitaka, okay? Just let me handle it. We'll be fine.” He stood up, drained his coffee, and checked his watch. “I'm gonna go see if Kira's ready to go. See you guys next week.” And he walked quickly away.
“I'm sorry, Rei,” Dr. Sakuma called after him. “I didn't mean to make you mad.”
Rei didn't reply, but he waved behind him in a “whatever” gesture. Ryo sighed. “Well, if you aren't angry….”
Miaka's mouth was still going a mile a minute when Rei returned to her room. She stopped talking when Rei came in, and smiled. “Hi!”
“What'd Dr. Sakuma say?” Kira asked.
“Nothing we haven't heard before. Ready to go?”
“Yeah.” Kira grabbed her crutches and stood slowly. “See you next week, Miaka.”
“Bye.” Miaka spoke with a much brighter tone this time. “Take care, Kira.”
Out in the parking lot, Rei threw Kira's bags in the back of his Mercedes helped her into the front seat. He saw her grimace as she shifted her bad leg. “You okay?” he asked as he started the car.
“Hmm? Oh, yeah…I'm fine. Just…therapy's a killer, and yesterday was worse than the other days for some reason. I guess I'm just starting to feel the effects. Did Harumi leave?”
“I ran into her on the way back to Miaka's room. She went to go meet Tatsuya somewhere. Are you sure you're okay?”
Kira smiled at him. “Yeah. I'm fine.” She buckled her seatbelt. “I just need some time to get back to where I was before.”
Just before they pulled onto the highway, Rei leaned over and kissed Kira on the forehead. “I love you. Just keep trying, okay? You'll get there, babe. You'll get there.”
Earlier, at Akitaka's place….
“Kyoko, where's Rei?” Akitaka demanded. “We wanted to get a really early start today because of the race tomorrow and he's not here. We need to get to the track….”
“Kira's coming home today, remember?” Kyoko replied from the depths of the quilt in which she'd shrouded herself in an effort to get a bit more sleep. “I'm sure he'll be here once she's settled in at home.”
“Oh….yeah….she's coming home today, isn't she?”
“Yeah, now go away and lemme sleep….” Kyoko muttered.
Akitaka grinned devilishly and poked his wife in the side. “Nah, why would I do that? You should be up, too.”
“Sweetie? I love ya and all, but….” A hand wandered out from the quilt, snatched the alarm clock from the bedside table, and shoved it in Akitaka's face. “IT'S FIVE-THIRTY IN THE MORNING, DAMN IT!” A foot managed to find it's way off the bed to give its owner's husband a swift kick in the knee.
Akitaka opened his mouth to retort, but his cell phone interrupted him. Sighing, he flipped it open and stepped into the hall. “Yeah?”
“Rei! Where are you? You were supposed to be here at five to drive to the track, remember? Race tomorrow? Early start? We have time for a quick run before you take Kira home, if we leave for the track now—”
“Yeah, about that…” Rei sounded uncomfortable as he spoke.
“What? What's wrong?”
“I'm…thinking about taking a break from racing for a while.”
“What do you mean, take a break?”
“I mean, lay off riding until Kira's back on her feet.”
“Look, it's not permanent. It's not even for a long time. I just…Kira needs me right now, a lot more than the track does. This accident and the therapy have been really tough on her, and I want to be there for her. My riding will go down the tubes anyway, I'll be worrying so much about Kira all the time. So, when her physical therapy is finished and she's fine on her own for a while, I'll come back to the track.” There was genuine regret in his voice. “Sorry, buddy, but Kira's more important to me than anything. So…is it too late to pull out of the race?”
Akitaka sighed. “No. I'll get you out of it. And I understand, okay? Take care of Kira. I'll handle the reporters…they're bound to be at tomorrow's race and they're bound to notice that you aren't there. I'll have to deal with them…thanks a lot, man…some friend you are….”
Rei laughed. “Thanks. See ya later. Drop by tomorrow, if you want.”
“We will. Later.”
Back at the Kashino's after they get home….
“Why would you do that?” Kira demanded. “Stupid!”
“Because you need me more than the track does,” Rei replied, throwing a blanket over Kira and handing her the TV remote. “I think they're showing some of Harumi's newest designs on channel twelve.”
Kira took the remote but didn't take her eyes off her husband's face. “Go call Akitaka back. Tell him you've changed your mind. I…you don't have to adjust your life to mine.”
Rei was silent for a moment. Then he sat down and pulled her close. “Yes I do. And it's not like it's forever. It's only temporary. Once you're back on your feet and you're feeling better, I'll go back to the track. And my riding will be shot, anyway, I'll be so worried about you sitting at home by yourself.”
“But still…” Kira protested into his chest.
“Kira, look at me.” After a moment, Kira obeyed, and Rei returned her gaze with a serious one of his own. “For now, this is my life. You're my first priority, and the only thing I need. So stop saying I'm adjusting my life to yours. If you think I haven't been doing that since we were sixteen years old, you need to get with the program, because it's what I've always done, and I'm happy doing it. You are my life—forever and always, love.”
Kira buried her face in her husband's chest as tears forced their way out of her eyes. Smiling slightly, Rei held her, rocking her slightly. Then, as her tears subsided, he leaned back and looked at her. Reaching up, he gently brushed the last of her tears away, a soft smile on his lips. “How is it that you even manage to look beautiful when you're crying your eyes out?”
He kissed her gently, and stood up, tucking the blanket around her again and giving back the remote. “Now, go to channel twelve and call Harumi and you can spend the next two hours squealing, `Rumi, can you make me a skirt like that? I can't afford the one on TV….'” He grinned at her.
Kira grinned back, sniffling. “I do not talk like that.”
Still grinning, Rei went to the kitchen to make himself some lunch, praying silently that he wouldn't burn the house down in the process.
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Okay, after this, just one more chapter to go, and then it's on to the sequel. Read and review, please!