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Shiny Happy People

By zealousrebelmaker

Action / Drama

Chapter 1

11:31 PM, MARCH 10 XXXX

He hears extremely old music from a very old phonograph. That's the first thing he hears.

His blue eyes flutter open, and he makes no effort to move- the effects of sleep and unconsciousness dulled his senses so much that he doesn't even feel like rousing himself. He's as still as undisturbed waters, stationary and unmoving.

He's mighty lightheaded, he'll give himself that.

Accompanying the recorded jolly-sounding music were the sounds of very ominous beeps akin to sounds coming from a medical monitor. They were horribly off-rhythm- dissonance resounded throughout the dark room, and he slowly figured that it was nighttime, wherever he is. Obviously in a hospital ward, but he doesn't remember landing in a hospital, or getting injured.

But then again, he thought to himself, most hospitalized patients in the inpatient department who regain consciousness wouldn't remember what happened before they got there most of the time, or worse, they wouldn't remember a thing from the day they were born.

If it's night, he really ought to carry on sleeping. There's no point being awake at night unless there's something important to do, like working a night shift or planning to burgle someone's house.

He just wants to sleep again, but something was...off.

Why is there a phonograph in his ward?

He feels too much pressure on his ribs to attempt deep breathing, but he does try and move his right pointer finger.

The way-too-happy music continues droning on, as if someone tried to recreate a bleak scene of idiots with top hats and flappers dancing in a large hall. The music must've been put there by either one of the nurses who seemed way older than their actual age, or maybe by his delirious aunt who dreamed of the old days.

He tries moving his arm, but he feels a certain amount of pressure.

It's an odd moment of wonder when he decided to turn his head to the right, only to see a female doctor sleeping right there with her head rested right at the side of the bed. She's breathing as slowly as he is, and he tries to get his vision all cleared up to properly see her.

And as if she had her own silent, personal alarm clock, she raises her head as she wakes, and the first thing she checks is whether he's awake, and he sees an instant flash of joy reflected in her blue eyes.

He saw something else, and he was particularly vocal about it.

It's the perfect picture of a memory- ridiculous phonograph music playing in the background of a hospital ward for the ambiance, the darkness as a cover, his battered-up condition to keep him grounded, and right before him was the most beautiful person he had ever seen.

And he said it.

"…You're beautiful," he whispered in awe, but his voice sounded as hoarse as sandpaper.

She stared at him for a good while- most probably because she was as awed as he. It's like looking into the mirror- this doctor has his hair, his eyes, his face, but her looking like him wasn't the reason why he called her beautiful in the first place. He'd choose this woman in a heartbeat if someone were to ask him who he'd like to spend the rest of his life with, and this is clearly mad thinking because he has no idea who this woman is in the first place.

To his pleasant surprise, she smiled, and for added amusement, she tried to regain her former professionalism. "Well, it's because we look the same," she laughed softly, brushing away a few strands of blonde hair. "How do you feel?"

"Weak," he responds, but he knew better than to give the stock reply. "...Lightheaded. My brain- was there anything wrong with it?"

At that, she frowned. "...Initially, a lot of things were wrong with it. I'm the neurologist in charge of your treatment. You were bleeding all over the place."

"Is it continuing?" he asked, trying to touch his nose, but the doctor's gently pushed his hand down.

"No. Rest more. Your entire body's been strained from crossing universes," she said, concerned.

"Crossing uni-"

Then it flooded back to him.

His ex-girlfriend. The murders. The banging at the door. His terror. Her hand. Her anxious face, her voice, and he remembered that she shouted along the lines of: "Come with me! Now! Please!"

His body was dead beat, but his mind was shouting at him to bolt out of the room.

"Now I know what you're thinking," the doctor said as if she could read his mind, but as calm as she wanted to present herself to be, she obviously didn't practice what she preached. "I...well, it's a long story. You'd probably run out of the room before I start explaining things to you."

"I would if I could, but we both know I can't," the seemingly invalid patient weakly said.

She held his hand reassuringly. "You'll be fixed. I'll fix you."

"Who are you?" he asked the practical question. "Which hospital am I in?"

"I think the proper question would be 'Whose universe am I in?' actually," the doctor said somberly. "My name is Levia Barisol, and I'm...you."

There was a tense moment of silence.

"It's not a dream," she continued. "I brought you here to my universe from your universe through your mirror. When you crossed through, the atoms and cells that made up your body- I'm sorry, are you well versed in physics? Biology?"

"Both," he admitted. "C-Continue."

"Alright- the atoms and cells that made up your body were compromised. They were badly messed up, and I had to treat you here secretly. I didn't register you- I'll explain more as we go-"

"No, tell me now," he wearily said. "You took a big risk in bringing me here, so I think I need to know."

"I should tell you what matters most then," she said. "Your arrival here is unknown, and only known to me. I've studied on how to access to parallel universes- that's how I found you in the first place, and I'm researching on this thing called Malice. I admit that I pulled you into this without thinking, but..."

"...Thank you for saving me."

She instantly stopped speaking altogether, and she stared at him.

"Excuse me?"

"Thank you for saving me," he repeated. "I mean, I know I'm an unexpected experiment, but-"

"No, no, no! You're not an experiment! I- god, I'm getting across you the wrong way, aren't I…?!" she exclaimed, looking as if she was the one who'd lose her head. She bites one side of her lower lip in a brief moment of low-key hysterics and mental pandemonium, but her patient ended up laughing.

"What?!" Levia demanded.

"You don't have to flood me with information! Calm down!" he laughed. "We'll start with the basics, okay? Like...you haven't asked me for my name. Maybe that's why you couldn't register me."

"I could've made up a name for you if I wanted to register you," she huffily pointed out, but she agreed to mellow down. "...Your name then?"

"Behemo Barisol."

"...Behemo, then," she conceded, tracing nonsensical things on his palm with her finger. "...I guess you can call me Levia. Or anything you want really- since we're the same person…."

"Admittedly," the tired patient said, "...it's a tough fact to swallow."

Levia found herself frowning. "...Is it not...I mean, is it an unpleasant fact to you?"

Was it unpleasant to him?

He looked at Levia- well, at this rate, looking at her was like looking at himself, and she appeared out of nowhere from a parallel universe to bring him to this entirely new life. There's a lot of questions on his mind and there's a lot that she has to answer, but he's not in the perfect condition to have a textbook load of information. But to leave his former life behind- what was he thinking?

"I...think you should give me more time to adjust," he admits.

"I...understand what you mean," Levia nods slowly, looking rather downcast. "I'm sorry. I thought that I should've done something instead of leaving you there-"

"-but it's not unpleasant," Behemo cuts her off. "You're me, I'm you. And that's a start."

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