Chapter 31--Would Things Have Been Different?
"So I've been getting these weird visions before I woke up," you immediately told Hiro and Melanie the moment you entered the room and sat on the bed, Hiro and Melanie plopping down on either side of you. "But they aren't exactly visions. They were more or less...memories. A flashback of the people who hurt me."
Hiro and Melanie glanced at each other quickly, and you didn't fail to register their look of shock.
"What kinds of memories, though?" Melanie asked you. "I mean like—"
"There were only a few," you recalled, looking down. "The first one that came to mind, I was 5 years old—I was racing a friend of mine to my backyard but along the way I tripped and fell on the gutter. My kneecap was bloody. And the moment my mom heard me she came out with a bandage and a few wipes, and told me to be extremely careful. I promised her I would, and kept going after my friend."
Hiro took your hand gently now, toying with your fingers. "That sounds pretty harmless."
"But as time went on, the issues got more and more serious," you recalled. "In another memory, I was 8 years old, being kicked hard in the stomach by a bully in front of the entire grade."
"Was it Trudy?" Melanie asked instantly, eyes widening.
You shook your head. "It was a boy. I don't remember his name." You slowly intertwined your fingers with Hiro's loosely as you took another breath. "Anyway, so in that memory my best friend...her name I also forgot...we went to the school hospital. The nurse told me to be very careful, for something could break me in the end. I...I recalled claiming that I was a strong and tough girl, unafraid of anything, but that was before this whole mess."
You took another shaky breath now, feeling completely afraid. Melanie sensed it quickly and wrapped an arm around you as you let the air loose, feeling it escape your body, your lungs.
"The most recent one, before my parents showed up, was one before I met either of you," you finally said, feeling yourself tense. "Trudy at the time was there. She has already been the classic school bully of San Fransokyo High. We were all doing soccer in PE one day, and then somehow she and some of the other girls, they all kicked a ball at my stomach AND my head."
This caused Melanie to curse loudly.
"OH GOD DAMN HER!" she cried. "I should have known she was like this WAY before I showed up! I could have protected you!"
"Was this after your father's death?" Hiro asked you softly, his grip on your hand growing harder.
You nodded bitterly. "By then all my friends ditched me because of Trudy's 'lies'. I was completely alone before you both came in."
"Did the coach catch her?" Melanie asked.
You considered nodding, but then shook your head. "At first she just noticed me lying on the ground. Then we got into a fight."
"You and Trudy?" Hiro questioned.
Again, you nodded. "Said some mean things about my family, really. But back then I didn't realize the damage—the damage it could cause not only to me but my family. When I finally noticed what's happening...well...it was too late."
"But your mom's in a better place, right?" Melanie asked you. "At least, that's what you said."
You nodded, wiping tears on your sleeve. "At the time, that's what I said. Now, I just don't know. Would things have been different if I have known of this kind of scheme before I lost both of my parents? I would still have them here..."
"But then you wouldn't have known us," Hiro finished.
"That's what's messing my thoughts up!" you shouted now, completely frustrated. "If I still had both of my parents here I would still have my old friends here, and Trudy probably wouldn't hate me! And then I wouldn't be launched into this kind of mess, what with a trial and being shot by Callaghan! But then I wouldn't have either of you here...I wouldn't have had a wonderful boyfriend or a confidant like you, Melanie," you said, not bothering to look at either of them as you bowed your head low, thoroughly confused.
"Still, you would know Callaghan would be on your tail," Hiro pointed out. "Wouldn't you still always be on the lookout for him, or even Trudy for that matter?"
"That is a good point." You sighed in exasperation. "I think I'm overthinking this entire situation, and I don't know why."
"Just be glad for what you have now," Melanie whispered, giving you a side hug. "You have me. You have Hiro. You still have people who care."
You nodded. "You're right."
Suddenly, you heard a loud thump coming from outside the hospital room, and you immediately perked up. Melanie and Hiro also jerked their heads up as well.
"What was that?" Melanie asked fearfully.
You shook your head in confusion. "I have no idea."
Slowly, Melanie got up from the bed and approached the door, opening it just a crack and peering out into the hallways, only to scream and fall back in fright back on the bed.
"What is it?" Hiro asked.
Melanie gaped, then laughed. "You guys have got to see this."
Shrugging, you and Hiro got off the bed and opened the door to see every single member of the gang—Gisele included—dressed like clowns. Their noses were all covered with red balls, their faces painted white, but with no other hint of makeup on whatsoever. They were wearing typical circus clothing too—colourful t-shirts and black dress pants and black shoes. The sight made you giggle hard, and Hiro also fell over back on the bed, laughing his head off.
"What are you guys doing here?" you asked between fits of giggles.
"(Y/N)!" Fred cried, pulling out a bouquet of roses from nowhere. "So glad you can join us."
"Wait, no really, what's going on?" you asked, catching your breath as you took the roses.
Gogo silently cued the others in, and to your surprise, they started singing in a capella.
"(Y/N)? What's happening?" Hiro asked, his eyes widening as he got up from the bed.
You shrugged. "I guess we just have to watch."
Suddenly, Gisele opened her mouth and sang the first line of the song with such a sweet air you were moved close to tears.
Oh, why you look so sad?
Tears are in your eyes
Come on and talk to me now
Don't be ashamed to cry
Let me see you through
'Cause I have seen the dark side too
When the night falls on you, you don't know what to do
Nothing you confess could make me love you less
Suddenly everyone joined in, their voices blending so harmoniously you couldn't believe your ears. To your surprise, Hiro even started singing along softly beside you.
I'll stand by you, I'll stand by you
Won't let nobody hurt you
I'll stand by you
Then Honey Lemon and Tadashi started to sing the next verse in a perfect duet.
So, when you're mad get mad
Don't hold it all inside
Come on and talk to me now
Hey, what you got to hide?
I get angry too
Well I'm a lot like you
When you're standing at the crossroads and don't know which path to choose
Let me come along
'cause even if you're wrong
And then everyone, even you, sang together, all of your voices harmonizing perfectly, echoing through the hospital.
I'll stand by you, I'll stand by you
Won't let nobody hurt you,
I'll stand by you, take me in into your darkest hour
And I'll never desert you
I'll stand by you.
By the end of the song, you were so close to crying. Another memory surfaced in your mind as you sang—the same tune that you remember thinking about when Hiro first confessed that he liked you the day before your mom was to perform assisted suicide—and you held Hiro's hand tighter throughout it all. After, everyone went over and gave you a big hug.
"We missed you so much (Y/N)!" Honey Lemon cried.
"Glad you're finally awake!" Wasabi added happily, and you nodded.
"Guys, thank you all for being here. Really," you smiled. "When did you guys all get here? And how did you know?"
"Mr. Lacitier!" Gisele answered, jumping right on your bed beside Melanie. "We passed him on the way and he said you were awake, so...yeah. We hoped you liked our song!"
"I loved it!" you said, tackling Gisele with a hug, which made her squeal. "But...something's troubling me."
"(Y/N)..." Hiro spoke up.
"I have to tell them," you said to him firmly, turning back to the rest of the group. "What would happen if my parents never died—if I knew of this situation before my father took the poison?"
"Then you wouldn't have met any of us," Tadashi told you gently. "We wouldn't have figured all of this out together."
"But at least I would still have my parents!" you protested.
"STOP over-thinking this, (Y/N)!" Gogo scolded you now, suddenly impatient as she crossed over to you and put a reassuring hand on your shoulder, while Melanie smirked.
"Don't you understand?" Tadashi asked. "We'll take care of you, the same way Hiro promised you, the same way Mr. Lacitier would. Family doesn't have to be bonded by blood, don't they?"
You shrugged. "I guess not," you replied, smiling. "I mean, I'm grateful for all of you. You are all like brothers and sisters to me, and I can't have asked for more."
"THAT'S the spirit!" Hiro cheered, giving you a really tight hug—just about as tight as Honey Lemon's embrace—and you giggled.
"Hiro!" you protested. "Too—tight—air..."
"Sorry." He blushed as he let you go. "But they're right, you know. We'll be here. We all will. We'll be your new family...well, that is, if you want that."
You smiled gently at Hiro. "Of course. What else could I ask for?"
The entire group smiled, and you felt a bond spread through the entire gang, making you smile back in return. Soon, you heard footsteps return and you saw Mr. Lacitier approach your room. You raised your eyebrows immediately in question.
"I'm still your guardian!" he cried happily. "And we got a new lawyer, alright."
You nodded and grinned widely. "I'm so glad. I really am. Who is the new lawyer?"
Mr. Lacitier grinned in excitement. "You know the same guy who interrogated us at the trial, representing the plaintiff party?"
"HE'S our lawyer?!" you cried in amazement. "That's wonderful!"
In that moment you realized. Sometimes in life there are bad moments, but there would always be good moments to follow. Your parents died, but a new guardian showed up—a friend of your mother and father's who meant no harm. And in the process you even got a new best friend and a boyfriend. You got kidnapped, but you realized that Tadashi and Gisele were still alive. You got shot in court, but you still made it out alive with luck. Your parents are gone, but you have new friends by your side.
No one is alone. Truly.
"Thank you so much, guys," you cried in happiness and relief and gratitude, as Melanie gave you another side hug and Hiro kissed you on the cheek. "I would never know what to do without you."