November 1rst 2014. Saint Grâce Hospital. 3:16 a.m.
Yakusoku’s eyes open to being rushed down a long hall; the rattling of metal is in his ear. Blinding lights rush past his vision, and voices... so many voices hitting his ears. He’s always surprised to hear the sound of voices in his ear when he’s been speaking with his mind and using sign language for so long. And Ludwig. Where the hell did he come from? Why is he here?
November 2nd, 2014. Saint Grâce Hospital. 7:14 p.m.
Yakusoku is having a panic attack! Nurses have surrounded him, the doctor and all strapping him to the bed while shouting to each other over his awakened screaming to inject him with a sedative. He fought tooth and nail hearing that damnable word. But the injection went into his I.V bag and he soon found himself relaxing into a slumber.
November 4th, 2014. Saint Grâce Hospital. 6:44 a.m.
“Honey?” His mother began to cry the moment Yakusoku raised his hand to say that he’s present.
Believing, even while he’s being touched, that it’s a dream... Yakusoku is crying as well.
November 5th, 2014. Saint Grâce Hospital. 5:30 p.m.
Yakusoku is awake, his back to his sleeping Mother. He’s staring angrily at the wall.
November 6th, 2014. Saint Grâce Hospital. 5:30 p.m.
Yakusoku was verbally startled from his medicated slumber when a gentle touch brushed his cheek. Eyes hard to open, he has to force his lids apart and even then they are very heavy and drooped. Fear and disbelief have him exhausted. He suspects that every time he wakes up he’s just going to see that it was all a lie, and the illusion will fade and he’ll find himself bloody and strapped to Maria’s bed. She’ll be laughing over him about how pathetic he looks when hope was on his face, and he thought that he was going to go home.
But so far, it’s turned out not to be the case and anytime his eyes are open and staring wildly around the room, he sees instead white walls, bright fluorescent lights shining down on him. An open door looking into a busy hall filled with doctors, nurses, and civilians. And beside him would always be his weeping Mother, his stern-faced Father- and even with groggy eyes, Yakusoku can tell that Reeve is using a lot of effort to keep it together- Ai didn’t man up, he cried and held his brother’s hand tightly. Off in the corner, a couple times, he’d see a grief-stricken Ludwig.
Yakusoku distinctively recalled the horrors of that night, even after he’d stepped back and let Mamoru take the wheel. Ludwig walked in... He’d shoved the door open and looked at him- well- at Mamoru and his shark eyes that held something odd in them. It wasn’t the surprise he thought it should be... It was something he couldn’t place. But it was startling enough to have Mamoru fleeing to the back so that he could take over again.
Anytime he saw the male he wondered why he would be there. Ludwig told him, through a whisper that the others were coming and would be there soon. And Yakusoku was right back to sleep.
Then there was a time when his parents were gone, Ai was gone, and Ludwig was gone, just one time... But instead of being alone, there was a woman in his room. Older, maybe in her early 40s, but her hair isn’t starting to pepper so it must be late 30s. She’s pretty. A Japanese woman, he could tell. And she looked at him almost with wonder in her eyes. He asked her if she’s a nurse, but she said ‘No’.
“Because you looked lonely.” She replied. “My daughter is here in the next room, but she’s sleeping now. I’m sorry to have bothered you.” Her light touch pats his skeletal hand; it’s strangely comforting to him.
But that was days ago. This time he woke only to Ludwig, who’s withdrawing his hand after having touched him.
“You were crying in your sleep.” He explained. “I was wiping your tears away so you wouldn’t think you were drooling.”
Blinking, Yakusoku’s face contorts into a smile then he begins to laugh. That was the stupidest thing he’s ever heard! But it was funny. He laughed and laughed. Ludwig just sat beside him and watched, but his expression is softer now that Yakusoku seems all right.
‘I’m glad he’s laughing.’ Thought Ludwig. ‘But I know he’s far from happy.’
“What’d you say?” He asks when calming his chortles.
“I didn’t say anything.”
“That’s what I thought.” Yakusoku frowned then.
A silence fell between them.
“Where are my parents?” He rasps. Clearing his throat, it felt like it did no good.
Having poured him a drink of water, while Yakusoku was trying to clear his stuffed throat, he hands it to him then sits back down in the chair beside the hospital bed.
“What’s wrong with my throat?” He rasps.
“Your doctor said that you have bronchitis, you’ve had it for some time.”
Ludwig’s eyes lingered on the darkness around Yakusoku’s neck. He then looks into the male’s uncomfortable eyes, after Yakusoku pulled the blanket up to hide the discoloration. “Sorry.” He lowered his gaze to his lap, then looks out the door. “Your parents are in the cafeteria if you want me to go get them?” He stands.
“No!” He’s got the Canadian by the wrist, and, with great effort, is jerking him back down to sit. When did he become so weak and sickly? He knew he’d been through it, and losing weight, but he didn’t realize how bad off he really was. “Don’t leave me alone.”
Taking Yakusoku’s hand, he gives it a squeeze. “I’ll stay.”
Nodding, he sucks in a breath while removing his hand that was getting a thumbing caress by Ludwig. What’s gotten into him? Breaking what could be a potentially awkward silence, Yakusoku asked. “My mom said that you knew where I was. That it was you who’d found me... Is that true?”
“...I don’t think so.” Ludwig confessed. “Did I know where you were, maybe. But did I look anyway... yes. I had to. There wasn’t anywhere that I wouldn’t look for you.”
“You saved my life.” He coughs violently into his hand. When he quieted, he finishes. “I owe you.”
“You don’t owe me anything,” Ludwig says quickly, shaking his head. “I was slow... I was bothering people... I’m-..”
“My hero. Thank you.”
Ludwig shakes his head. He really doesn’t wanna hear anymore about it. He’s sick and nervous about the whole ordeal. His family is grieving. The Lands are in pain. Yakusoku is in emotional limbo. This whole thing is fucked. He was there, all that time! Right under his nose! And he knows that, eventually, someone or maybe everyone... is going to ask him some very hard questions.
“...Ludwig,” Yakusoku says softly. “Is she... I need to know if she’s..” He trailed off.
“Yes.” He replied, understanding completely. “On arrival.”
“I’m not surprised...” He frowns. “I couldn’t even see her face, the burns were so bad.” His frown deepens. Rubbing his face with his hands, Yakusoku removes them instantly. Then slowly, carefully, he touches his face beside his mouth and over his eyebrow feeling long lumps. “I’m so confused about so many things. I feel like this is all a dream.”
Piping up to cheer Yakusoku from a declining mood, Ludwig smiles for the male. “Don’t be sad! Because things are better... you’ve been found! You’re alive, and oh man- Gev’s gonna shit himself when he gets here, and-..”
“He’s really missed you... Maybe even more than me.” Ludwig confesses without really confessing.
“He’s alive.” Yakusoku began to cry. “She lied,” He whispered. “He’s alive.”
“Of course he is, I mean... he gave us all a scare but, he’s fine.”
It didn’t stop Yakusoku from crying, though. He’s relieved and angry, and he just wants to rest. Just to let his mind cope. Or maybe... somewhere in there, he wants it all to be a dream that he can wake up from. This disorder, all these new acknowledgments, it’s a lot to take in. It isn’t his daily schedule of being around Maria... He’s worried that it’s all too real... And that it’s all very false. Just as she wore a false face that whole time. All that time... She’s been Maria’s Mother... Marissa Ashford. Maria was an illusion, maybe never real at all... And he fell for it. His eyes lied to him by her command.
And he’d always wondered about her weight: when she’d sat on his bike when she’d sat beside him... on him. When he touched her weird breast. Yakusoku’s hand felt the difference between those mosquito bites, to the full chest of Marissa. He felt it... but he refused. And even when the truth was right there... Right in his face in that burning prison of a home, he hid. Again.
“There was a girl with me!” Yakusoku suddenly remembered. The panic snapped into him like a switch was flipped. How could he forget Tsukiko?! “Tsukiko! Where is she?”
“She came to say goodbye to you three nights ago... She’s fine. Her family came and got her, she was released. Don’t you remember?”
He shakes his head.
“You were groggy, you needed a shot to calm you down.”
A fuzzy picture was coming in. Could that woman he’d seen been Tsukiko’s mom? It certainly made sense, she was an Asian woman.
“And she’s really ok?” He asks. “What did she say to me? Does she know that I’m ok?”
“As far as I know.” He nods. “She cried and thanked you... She also said that she had Binks or something under her nightgown. And that she’d take care of him until you’re better. I don’t know sign language so her mother translated for me.”
Nodding, Yakusoku sighs. “I’m so tired, and confused... Is this real, Ludo?” He grabs his hand. “Is it?”
“And Gev’s not dead?”
The broken teen tries to let it sink in. “...I wanna go to sleep.”
“You should.” Ludwig brushes his hair from the tired male’s forehead.
Smiling down at him, when Yakusoku’s eyes closed, Ludwig had to keep his gasps in when seeing that the roots of his auburn-dyed hair have turned white from malnutrition. Not wanting the approaching Lands to see it, he sweeps it back into place, chuckling himself when the bedridden male chuckles- once again- from his odd behavior.
“You’re awake.” Quinn rushes into the room. Snatching her son up, she hugs him close to her. Rocking him slowly, his mother finds that she can’t hold back her tears.
“I’m sorry I worried you.” He apologized.
The few times he remembers being awake, he was very very groggy to the point where he’d wondered if he were awake at all. Not that Yakusoku was holding her in the hug, but he scoots out of it when hearing the murmurs of an infant.
“Heeey, who is this adorable little pile of purple?”
“Fanny.” She says then laughs into Reeve’s shoulder.
Ai watched with a smile on his face that his brother finally gets to meet their sister. “Mom and Dad had her- for real.”
“That’s great!” Yakusoku says while holding onto the little almost one-year-old.
Fanny didn’t wanna be held by the stranger, though, and quickly leaned away and reached for Ai, who snatched her up. “Sorry.” He says to his brother, then to Fanny he says. “This is your brother too, Fan.” But that only caused the girl to hide her face into her brother’s shoulder.
“It’s ok.” Replied the rejected, though deep down he’s a little heart broken. “But look at you, you’ve changed so much! Your hair’s all choppy- how old are you now?”
“Fourteen...” He says as if it confirmed something he’d been wondering, but he disguised it as a simple question to Ai.
Ludwig slipped out when Reeve started asking the boy if he were hungry. ‘He’s alive... And he’s ok... Yakusoku’s gonna be ok.’
But Yakusoku isn’t the only one who needs consoling. Elias hasn’t stopped crying, since finding out that his mother has died...