There was one thing Genos would never forget in his life.
The crushing weight on him was beyond what he thought possible. Then again, he was very young and very naive. A meek 15 year-old boy, who didn’t know much of just how painful the world can be.
That day reminded him. And it also changed him.
It’s a cruel world out there, and pain was all to be felt.
But right now the pain was all-consuming. Especially...the pain that came from his limbs. His arms, his right leg, and the left side of his chest. There was the despair that was devouring him. His heart had ached with so much grief he had forgotten almost what he was grieving for.
There was such an abundance of it that Genos simply couldn’t tell which came from his body or which came from his mind.
Whatever was left of both.
There were moments when the pain became overwhelming, the boy felt like bursting into tears of anguish. But he didn’t. So in the deep reaches of his mind which hadn’t been clouded by some sort of hurt, he wondered if he had lost the ability.
...Then again, maybe he wasn’t just human anymore.
Humans cry. He heard even some animals cry when they are suffering.
But he didn’t. And Genos wondered if he would be able to anymore.
After all, he was becoming a cyborg. Half-machine. It would only make sense that he also gave up his humanity to exact his revenge.
“-kun...Genos-kun.” He heard a soft voice calling him.
He was surprised he could use his voice. It sounded like a stranger’s voice, like an echo. Genos tried to open his eyes, blinking a few times. It was a miracle, when the colours started flooding in his vision, and kind sounds filled his ears.
Dr. Stench breathed a sigh of relief. He seemed to turn his head around and whisper something with a smile to someone beside him, but Genos wasn’t sure. He squinted his eyes, hoping to catch a clearer glimpse of his saviour. Yet his eyes were still hazy. That was to be expected.
“-signs are stable. He’ll be alright.”
His hearing seemed to be better. He recognised the doctor’s voice. This was quite ironic, because when Dr. Stench found him in the rubbles - saved him, Genos had such difficulty discerning his voice. Dazed and disoriented aside, there’d been a buzzing, uncomfortable ringing in his ears, which he just couldn’t seem to shake off!
It was later that Genos realised he had been deafened by the explosion which had destroyed his hometown. Not only was he mortally injured, he’d also lost his hearing and almost all of his sight. Though Genos barely survived, he would have died soon afterwards had it not been for a passing scientist. And he would have never recovered the ability to see or hear, had it not been for this man.
Dr. Stench suddenly exited Genos’ limited field of vision. A small part of him panicked. What at? At being abandoned? At reliving the experience of nearly dying? There were too many answers.
But then another face came into his line of sight - blurry as it was, it was getting clearer. His surprise momentarily calmed him down.
Despite the dreadful situation he was curious to see who it was.
It was the face of a girl. Who had very soothing features. Starlight hair framed her face and was parted to the side as she leaned in to see him. Like the doctor, she had a gentle presence. She seemed younger than him. But her eyes weren’t. They were kind, and a brightness lingered in them. But the light radiated from a depth which reminded him of the emptiness he felt. Of what he experienced.
That was how he knew she had gone through something just as horrible.
“Nanako, leave Genos alone. The boy needs his rest.” The Doctor’s voice rippled through them.
The girl’s face moved further away from him, although he still watched her. It appeared that her eyes, also, lingered on him. He wondered, did she pity him?
Genos finally looked away. He began to wonder why he was surprised to see someone else. Dr. Stench was clearly talking to another person in the room, he analysed. How many were there? Just him and Nanako? Or were there others?
“When I told Nanako to move away, I do expect you to get some rest, Genos-kun.” Dr. Stench came next to him, smiling. “You have fought well. And you will fight well. But now, have nothing to fear. It is just you and I and Nanako. Sleep.”
His words washed over Genos like a calming wave. Somehow, being next to him and hearing him speak, Genos’ fears dissipated like shadows. He allowed himself to feel the wounds on his soul. The scars would not disappear so easily, but for not the trauma subsided. Slowly, he closed his eyes.
His last thoughts before restful sleep claimed him, was that he no longer felt pain.