Irreplaceable

Last Chapter

She stood there, wandering in the breezy afternoon. The chilly wind flew by, carried along was the feathers of emptiness. It went inside her, igniting a storm that struck her every senses. Her emotions were stirred, yet, none could be let out.

Her crimson hair danced as she walked closer to the verge of the white-coated building. A building her family owned. Down beneath her was a clean street. Clean, without trace of liveliness.

A cold sensation touched her pale hand, urging her to look up. Cotton-like mist blanketed the vast, edgeless sky. It seemed that the sun was playing hide and seek but it failed as its rounded corner peeked out from the milky cloud like a shy child .

Even though they tried to blend in with the sky, she could see them. White, fluffy and tiny puffs were raining down the town. She lifted her hands up, feeling them as they disappeared upon making contact with her warm palms.

Winter.

It was the time of the year that she loved the most. Every time she sees snow falling from the sky, her heart skips a beat. Despite her growing age, she still couldn't wait to find presents under the huge Christmas tree in the middle of the living room in her mansion. Basically, she will be as happy as a lark whenever this day arrives.

However, it was not the same this year.

She heard a door creaked open behind her. She didn't deign to turn to look at the source as she waited for the footsteps to come near her. After a few padding, the footfall settled beside her.

"Are you not cold, being in the open air?" The calm, polite voice sounded.

"I'm fine, Umi. The rooftop is quiet enough for me. I need some space." breathed the redhead. As she spoke, a puff of cold breath escaped her mouth.

"Ah, I see. Umm...mind if I join you then?" Umi asked.

There's no reason to say no so Maki just nodded.

They stood there for a few minutes, completely flanked by silence. They watched as a flock of sparrows gripped their claws on the wire of the utility pole standing tall on the street.

"Is it over yet?"

"No, she is still inside." replied the archer.

"Hmm...I see... " Maki blew the warm breath into her cupped hands before rubbing them to keep herself warm.

"Hey Umi, what does it feel to be loved by someone else?"

Umi blinked at her junior confusedly for the sudden peculiar question.

"I...uhhh...am not really sure about this..."

Maki turned to look at her senior, "How about I put it this way? How do you feel to be loved by Kotori?"

Umi thought for awhile before see rendered her attention to the misty town ahead.

" I feel bliss because I get to become her special person. To be treasured this way by her, it makes me believe that the world is no longer dull and colorless. Every time we are together, I will always forget about the word 'lonely'. And it makes me realize how important she is to me. She become a part of me that could not be taken away..."

Maki observed as the blunette continued to voice out her opinion. Even someone as dense as Umi can properly define the term 'love', although it is done in her own way.

How about herself? Did Maki knew anything about love?

If it was the 'her' back then when she still hadn't join μ's, this word will be as raw as an unripe tomato to her. However, since she joined the group, this sacred word was slowly brought alive as she spent her time with the members. Being with them opened her eyes to the beautiful view of friendship. They strayed her away from the path of loneliness and led her to a thornless route filled with care and concern.

And there was this one person among them who had Maki set her eyes on.

She was a total opposite of Maki. Cheery smile and radiating aura, something that Maki could never get to possess in her life. Her passion for the idol industry was so strong that it could have won against Maki's love for the piano.

'I've fallen deeply in love with you, Maki-chan.'

Maki was still pondering on that sentence when she heard Rin shouted behind her, calling for her and Umi's attention.

"The light, the red light is finally off-nya!"

Red light? Ahh...she means the emergency light outside the operation room...ehh?

With a twirl of the feet, Maki sprinted inside the building and skipped down the staircase to the operation room. Rin and Umi also followed behind the redhead.

She ran, and ran, knocking a few chairs and potted plants as she dashed along the pathway.

Just as she arrived in front of the room, the doctor came out, visibly tired from all the exhausting surgeries. He removed the gloves and took off the medical mask before asking for the family of the patient.

"Anyone here are the family members of Nico Yazawa?"

A woman with raven hair that resembled Nico immediately stood up from her seat and walked to the doctor. Her tear-stained face shining against the table lamp as her shaky hands reached for his sleeves.

"H-how...is my daughter?"

A streak of regret appeared on his expression for a second before it turned into a small smile, but still ridden with a tinge of sadness.

"Fortunately, the patient survived the critical stage of the surgery, her life is no longer in danger..."

Loud sign filled the hallway as the μ's members including Nico's mother immediately relaxed their tensed body when they heard that Nico was alive. But the following sentences from the doctor struck them harder than lightning.

"However, the possibility for her to carry out daily activities as a normal person is extremely low. In other words, she is paralyzed." He watched sadly as each of them was on the verge of crying. He didn't want to continue, but the prided liability as a doctor made him kept his stance. "The knife that was stabbed to the patient appears to be rusted and full of pseudomonas, which are a type of pathogenic bacteria. We had tried our best to minimize the infection, but to our dismay, it had already spread throughout the area around her abdomen, which in result, causes that part to cease and lose its function entirely."

He gently put his hand on the woman's shoulder. " I'm sorry to say this ma'am, but your daughter can no longer be able to walk."

By now, all of the force she had instantly dispersed as her body slumped to the floor. With a bit of a reflex, Kotori and Hanayo supported the woman. She then asked in a small whisper."Can I see her?"

The doctor nodded. "But you have to keep quiet as the patient is taking a rest right now."

With a silent nod, Nico's mother got inside the room with the help of Kotori and Hanayo. After 7 minutes or so, they walked out. Their eye bags swollen red and wet.

And then in pairs, the members took turn to visit their fellow raven-haired friend.

Maki was the last one as she was still trying to digest the inevitable truth.


"Yo...Maki-chan..." Her weak voice called for her crush. Even though she wanted to sound more cheerful, but the aching pain on her abdomen stole almost every ounce of energy she had to even speak.

Nico furrowed her brows in worry as the redhead just stood there like a wood plank, her head hanging low and some sobbing sound could be heard.

"O-oii! Maki-chan,are you alr-"

"...diot..."

"What? I can't hear you..."

"...pid...diot..."

"Urgh, I-I'm sorry,Maki but...can you repeat agai-"

"STUPID NICO-CHAN, YOU IDIOT!"

Nico blinked. She couldn't believe that the first thing she woke up was to receive a piece of mind from the person she love. "W-why is that?"

Maki slowly stepped towards Nico while wiping off her tears with the back of her hand but the naughty tears kept escaping her eyes. "...you...you could have died...I was so scared...what if I never get to see you again? I don't want that! Why Nico-chan...why did you protect me? I thought you hated me..."

As Maki got closer to her, Nico swiftly picked up her frilly handkerchief and reached for Maki's cheek. She dabbed the tears clean before she spoke. "Thank you for worrying about me. Remember this, I never hated you, even though we always have our bickering. I appreciate every each of them, because every time, I get the chance to talk to you. As for why I protected you, well, I don't think a reason is needed."

"But if you really need one, then," Her eyes smiled.

"it's because I treasure you."

The sun shifted, and its ray shone upon Nico's feature. She was pale, weak and fragile. Her body had thinned down in just a mere two days and her cheekbones...

They were so obvious that made it seemed to have suck up all the essence of the skin under it, creating a hole on the cheek.

Maki heart ached seeing the petite to become this...even more petite. She couldn't take it anymore as she launched herself forward and wrapped Nico into a tight hug. Nico, of course, was surprised by the body contact, and it did made her abdomen burned with every movement, but eventually, she gladly returned the hug. Her hands were smoothing Maki's back in a comforting manner.

"Nico-chan, I've decided." Maki released the hug and rested her hands on her side. She stared at Nico with full determination.

"Please become mine. Let me take care of you. Be my girlfriend, will you?"

Nico wanted to answer her, wanted to say 'yes', but instead, fear got over her and she lashed out.

"No! No...I can't... Look at me! I can't even walk anymore! I cannot dance with you all... I will only become a burden if you stuck with me. This me...is already paralyzed...already...become such a useless piece of junk!" She gritted her teeth as she glanced at the bandaged area around her abdomen.

Maki's hand reached for Nico, " It's alright, I don't-" but they were harshly slapped away.

"It's not alright, Maki-chan! I can't bring you happiness! I'm a girl! How can two women build a family of their own?! They can't even have kids!" She lowered her head and her voice slowly died down. "You are better off with a man. So please, leave, I need some rest."

That's it. I guess this will end things once and for all. Nico thought as she waited for the sound of a door opening and fainting footsteps.

But what she did not expect was a lift to her chin, followed by a soft feeling on her lips. Her ruby orbs widened as she was trying to register the situation.

Maki was kissing her, again.

This time a lot more skilled and passionate. Maki tilted her head slightly to fit perfectly with Nico's small lips, as if doing so can connect their hearts and let every emotions and feelings break through the fears to reach for the core of the petite's secluded heart.

Nico closed her eyes as she deepened the kiss, savouring the warm taste of the other girl's plumpy lips. It lasted for a few more seconds before they parted.

"Listen to me, Nico-chan," Maki firmly said, her amethysts locking with the rubies," It is my business to decide that you are a burden to me or not. It is fine if we don't have any children, I would't mind at all. If you ever want to go to convenience store, I'll accompany you. And if you ever want to take a stroll in the park, I'll carry you on my back. It will take a thousand years for me to even get tired. I mean my words, Nico-chan."

She took Nico's tiny hand in her palm. " Will you let me take care of you? For life?"

"Do...do you really mean it?"

"I swear it on my life." chanted Maki as she placed a light kiss on the hand.

Teardrops left Nico's eyes as she gestured Maki to come closer. Maki moved forward and found herself being hugged. She smiled blissfully, knowing well the answer.

I'm glad you came into my life.

~fin~


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