~One month later~
Noel got up from the table. Hope glanced up at him. "Where are you going?" Noel paused.
"Out," he replied. "To see Serah." He added in a whisper, walking quickly to the door. Hope watched him walk out the door, getting a suspicious vibe off of him. He was hiding something.
Noel kicked a small clod of mud on the edge of the path he was walking on. It broke into pieces and the pieces kept rolling on. He watched the pieces of mud roll, then quickly started running. He sprinted as quickly as he could, pumping his legs, thinking about Serah the entire way. What he didn't notice was a pair of eyes watching his every move.
When Noel left, Hope wandered out to the path where Noel had stood. He was just about to leave when a glint of silver caught his eye. He followed it to the edge of one of Noel's footprints, half-buried in dirt. He pulled it out and dusted it off. He nodded matter-of-factly, putting Snow's engagement necklace in his pocket.
When Noel got to the hospice, he was flushed and panting. He waited outside the door until he had caught his breath before going in. He nodded at the desk lady, and she nodded back.
When he got to Serah's room, he could see that she was sleeping. He looked at Serah's sleeping form wistfully. Oh, how he wanted to hold her. He snapped his head away and walked out to the waiting room just outside of Serah's room. He looked at the blue curtains drawn over the window.
He wandered over to them, pulling them apart just enough to see the rest of the city. The city had been worked on in the past few weeks, and it almost looked like a city on Cocoon, as he was told. There weren't any tall buildings, really, but it had certainly grown significantly.
"Hey," said Maqui from the doorway. Noel scoffed at him, barely turning his head. He leaned against the window sill. "Look, this is probably a crap time for this, but you need to stop hoping for something that'll never happen. I-I don't think she'll remember."
Noel didn't move for a minute. He slowly turned around. Maqui took in his appearance. His eyes were bloodshot and there were bags underneath them. His lips were taut, his eyes narrow.
"A crap time," he said calmly, then his voice began to rise. "A CRAP TIME? NO FUCKING SHIT. This is the crappiest time you could have possibly chosen. She's only been...like this...for six weeks!"
"Look--I know, but, I just think you should talk to Yuj. He--knows what you're going through." He said, before quickly exiting the room so Noel wouldn't hit him again.
Noel sat down in the chair in the small waiting area, slowly calming down, then turned to the sill again, thinking.
"How in hell could he know what I'm going through?"
"Yuj?" Noel tapped him on the shoulder. Hope had told him that he'd be in this small pub about 2 minutes walk from Hope and Yuj's houses.
"Hm?" Yuj turned around, and smiled halfheartedly at Noel.
"Um, Maqui said something about you knowing what I was going through. What did he mean by that?" He said awkwardly.
"A long time ago, before I even met Snow, before he started NORA, there was this girl. She was beautiful, and I loved her. Even better, she loved me. Then, the accident happened. A ride in Nautilus Park broke with her on it, and she was thrown from a 40 foot tall drop. She almost died. But she didn't. She did, however, lose her memories of us. Ten years. Ten years of memories, 4 of them involving me, just, down the drain." Noel could tell that Yuj could hardly talk around the lump in his throat, but didn't interrupt.
"She left. I don't blame her. I wouldn't have stayed either. It just... It hurt." Yuj was crying now. It was like him to act kind of feminine.
Noel awkwardly patted Yuj's shoulder. Now he knew that his situation was not as bad as Yuj's he felt a bit better, but he felt bad for feeling better because of someone else's pain.