10/06/2007: I just changed a few things in the first and second chapter, nothing that would affect the storyline though. I just wanted it to flow a little better so that my dear readers wouldn't be scared off :P
- ANGEL OF MINE -
"Today, is a special day. A day that'll make history. Not to say this day IS history! The genetic code of the human being had been deciphered completely! A team of research scientists proclaimed this piece of news at a press conference, only two hours ago. Now, the hard work begins to find the function of the 30000 genes of the human genome. Maybe it'll be possible to heal incurable diseases, in the near future. The biggest fear of the critics was that this knowledge could be abused but the scientists said that the genetic code of the human being wouldn't be used for any kind of unethical experiments..."
CHAPTER 1 Bad News
Her husband was driving her nuts.
"Goau, please, stop it!" Varie was usually very patient and hardly raised her voice but he was annoying her beyond sanity.
He stopped in the middle of his tracks at the sound of her angry voice and looked up. He had paced a ditch into the kitchen floor.
"What's the matter, Varie?" He looked tired, his dark hair dishevelled and the glow of his eyes lost in the shadows that lingered around them.
"Frankly speaking, right now you annoy the crap out of me." Her arms were folded in front of her chest and her right foot tapped the ground impatiently. "Can you please just sit down?"
He ran a hand over his beard and sat down in a chair. "I'm sorry." He placed his elbows on the table and laid his head into his hands. He hadn't slept very well this night. He hadn't slept very well for a lot of nights.
"You're so nervous." Varie placed a gentle hand on his shoulder. "I'm starting to wonder if I'm pregnant or if you are."
A small smile appeared on his handsome face. "You, of course," he replied, putting his left hand on Varie's soft one. "It's just, you know...," his voice trailed off while he massaged his wife's hand.
"The ultrasound pictures," he sighed and looked out of the window.
It was a picture-perfect day with the whole bright blue sky, cheery birds in the trees and spring flower colors going for it. It so completely contradicted his dark mood that he wanted to go outside in the garden and rip out Varie's flowers. It was ridiculous.
"I know. I'm afraid, too," she squeezed his calloused hand. "But the doctor said that stuff like that happens sometimes and mostly disappears again. So, don't worry."
Goau snorted. "It didn't disappear in every case. What if...," he stopped. He didn't want to think about it. He didn't want to imagine what could happen.
Varie's grip tightened around his shoulder but she didn't say anything. The silence between them was filled with their worries, with words unspoken, and all they could do was hold onto each other.
A loud rumble from above suddenly scattered all their thoughts like sheets of paper in a drought.
"FOLKEN LACOUR DE FANEL!" they shouted in unison and looked to the door.
"Aww, all my names," said a young voice and a boy appeared in the doorway, an innocent smile on his face. He wore light blue jeans and a green t-shirt. His aqua-blue hair hung into his mischievously sparkling eyes and his hands were hidden in his pockets. He looked as if he was just about to cook something up.
"How often did I tell you not to run down the stairway?" Varie had a dangerous glow in her eyes.
"A thousand times?" Folken replied and the smile on his face widened.
"Thousand and one!" The anger that had welled up inside her quickly disappeared again. She knew this boy would one day be the death of her with this big eyes and brilliant smile of his. And he knew about the devastating power he had over his mother. "You could break your neck. Sweety, I'm just worried."
The boy sighed. Why were mothers always so overprotective? He wasn't a baby anymore! "I know, mum."
She just looked at him, knowing that he was being honest and knowing that he would have forgotten about it as soon as the front door closed behind him. "Where are you off to?"
"I wanna go to the basketball court at the mall," he answered and rocked impatiently back and forth on his heels, causing his mother to raise her brows and fold her arms in front of her chest again.
"Together with the twins?" his father questioned quickly with an understanding look on his face before Varie could say something. Mothers could be very overprotective.
Folken ran a hand through his hair and nodded. "Yeah, Naria and Eriya asked if I wanted to go with them and I said yes." He gnawed on his lip, hoping his mother wouldn't forbid it.
The fridge hummed in the silence. "I don't know if...," Varie started to say and little Folken immediately threw his father a look that screamed "Hurry up and say something before she can forbid it!"
Goau smiled and stood from the chair. He placed a warm hand on her shoulder. "Varie, just let him go. He'll be fine." Folken nodded his head enthusiastically as if feeling to support his father's words.
"Well, it's just...you know...when the three of them are together, they're getting up to mischiev." Varie had her eyes focused on her child and her look spoke of everything he wished for her to forget about.
"But Mum, it was just one time!" Folken complained. He knew his mother was just about to say no. "And it wasn't that bad. I survived!"
"Not that bad? Not that bad?" Her voice was a little bit louder and a little bit higher than it was healthy for his ears. Just to say it was painful. He should have known that mentioning this incident was a very bad idea. Now, his mother had every reason to forbid him to ever take one step out of the door.
"You fell in a sewer pipe! You could have died!" Varie said, remembering the events.
"I know, Mum." Folken avoided to look his mother in the eye.
"You sat in that dirty and icy cold water for more than three hours until the firemen rescued you!" his mother continued with a shaking voice.
Folken still looked to the ground. "I know, Mum." Yeah, it had been very dangerous and he had been scared out of his wits for probably the first time in his young life but he had survived it. And most of it all, Naria and Eriya weren't the ones to blame!
"And don't-" Goau finally took pity with his poor boy and interrupted his wife carefully.
"Varie, calm down," he said soothingly and squeezed her shoulders softly. "It is in the past. He survived it and we should be grateful. Plus, I think that sitting in that pipe was punishment enough. I do believe the three of them will never play such stupid games again. So, let him go. He'll be very careful, right?" Goau ended, looking at his son.
Folken nodded furiously that his bluish hair went flying and his eyes glowed. Varie looked at him and smiled lightly.
"Well, I can't win against the two of you, can I?" Varie sighed in defeat. "But please, be careful."
"Of course, Mum." Folken grinned happily and gave his mother a peck on the cheek. "Thank you!" he then chanted and hugged his father hard.
"Alright Folken, you're breaking my ribs." Goau tried to free himself from Folken's grip. "Now go!"
The boy released his grip and turned around hastily before his parents could change their mind. He knew them quite well and it wouldn't be the first time they did this. "Good bye!" he said, waving his hand and reached for the doorknob at the back door. It was when his mother's voice stopped him.
"Hey, and what about your little brother?" she asked, raising her brows.
"Ah, I forgot!" Folken turned around. He walked back to his mother and encircled the ball that was her belly. "Good bye, Van. Hurry up, I want you to meet Naria and Eriya," he whispered.
Hearing Folken's words, Varie stopped stroking his silky hair. What did he just say? But before she could open her mouth to reply, Folken stormed out of the door.
Houses and trees flew by like the seconds on her silver watch. Goau had given it to her as a birthday present. Her twentieth birthday. She smiled and leaned her forehead against the cold car window. She remembered that day like it was yesterday. His smile when he stood at her door with the twenty red and yellow balloons in his hand. The mischievous glow in his brown eyes when he saw her jaw fall open. They had known each other for only two months and he had given her this wonderful and so expensive present. She had never bought another watch.
For all the fifteen years since he had given it to her she had always worn this watch. It meant a lot to her. A beautiful memory.
It was as if this simple little watch was a symbol for both of their lives. For the life they shared. They looked ahead, never back. They walked straight into the future like the delicate hands on her watch. Sometimes maybe afraid but always straight. And when it seemed that suddenly everything stopped, that there was no chance, they tried to find a way to live on and they always found a way. They had never given up. It didn't matter if there were parents who were against the marriage or problems concerning a certain blue-haired boy.
It had been the hardest test they ever had to go through. Folken's birth. It had been a difficult birth. The doctors had said that she never would be able to bear a child again. It had been a hard time for her. And then, one day she had reached her limit. At that time there was no more will to live. She had fallen into a hole, pitch-black and inconceivably deep. And when she had thought that she would never be able to leave it ever again, he had been there. He had been at her side all the time and had held her hand with such patience and sympathy. He had pulled her out of that hole with all his strength and had comforted her by saying that as long as the three of them were together, everything would be alright.
And they were indeed alright. She was even pregnant again. It was a miracle that nobody ever believed would happen. Folken would have a little brother. The ultrasound pictures showed that it was a boy. A wonderful little boy. The first clear ultrasound picture appeared in front of her eyes. A small 'thing' curled up, hardly discernible as a human being. But there had been something in this picture that shouldn't have been there. Something that scared her. It seemed that destiny had put another obstacle in their way. It seemed to be the price for the miracle. You don't get anything for nothing in the world. But she would be strong. She wasn't alone. He was at her side together with her little son. And for her unborn son's sake she would be strong.
Suddenly, she felt a gentle touch on her hand which made her snap out of her thoughts. She turned around and spotted her husband smiling at her warmly. He looked as if he knew every thought which had just swirled through her mind. She returned the smile.
"We arrived, Varie," Goau whispered softly.
Varie looked out of the window and saw the huge hospital building directly towering in front of her. Hundreds of windows reflected the sunlight and made her narrow her eyes. Finally, they had reached it. She felt uneasy. The young mother had started to hate hospitals because she had always gotten bad news when she was inside of such a damn building.
The car door to her right swung open slowly and a gentle hand appeared, offering her help. She smiled lightly. As if she wasn't able to get off the car by herself.
"Thank you, Goau. But I can do it myself." Varie pushed his hand softly away.
Goau shrugged, a light grin on his handsome face. He leaned against the car beside him and watched his wife. She held to the frame of the car and tried to pull herself off the seat. She managed half of the way and then her arms gave way. She fell back in the seat. Hell, she weighed a ton.
Hearing her husband chuckle, she threw him her death glare and he was silent at once. She snorted and tried to rise again. And again. And-
"Dammit, you won. Now, help me!" Varie snarled impatiently.
"As you wish, Your Highness." Goau bowed deeply and grabbed her wrist. He pulled her up with no effort and locked the door.
The angry look on Varie's face vanished and was replaced by a look of pure fear. She was afraid of what she would hear. She closed her eyes, feeling the cool spring breeze making her hair fly and the summer-like sun caressing her face.
Goau took her arm and led her to the huge glass doors of the hospital entrance. With a quiet hum they swung open, revealing a long hallway. Reluctantly, they entered the building. At once, they were surrounded by the typical hospital smells and noises. Smells of disinfectant and illness and noises of people talking in the waiting room and medical equipment. She hated it.
When they passed the information stand the nurse just waved them through. "Dr. Nakamura is already awaiting you."
They nodded and continued their way towards Dr. Nakamura's room. Every time, it was the same way. The same way along these endless halls being so damn threatening. White walls which seemed to grow every second. White walls which seemed to move up closer and closer with every step they took. White walls which were just about to crush them. White walls which...Varie shook her head. It was fear, pure fear which caused these hallucinations. She tightened the grip around Goau's arm and tried to ignore the steady sound of their footsteps echoing through the empty halls. She hated that sound. She hated it like she hated this place and these smells.
Fortunately, they soon reached their destination. "Scan" was written on the door with ominous black letters. Today, it seemed that even the letters were harbinger of bad news. Goau knocked hesitantly on the door and the sound echoed through the hall, causing shivers down Varie's spine. It was a cold sound. So damn cold.
Before Goau could reach the door knob the door was pulled open from inside. A man appeared in the doorway, clearly discernible as a doctor. His white coat shone in the bright light of the halogen lamp. His once black hair was now grey and his face had a lot of wrinkles, but his dark-brown eyes were clear and wise. A nameplate at his coat identified him as Dr. Fuma Nakamura.
"Ah, the Fanels!" he said in a good mood, opening the door completely. "Come in."
Goau and Varie entered the room and waited for Dr. Nakamura to close the door. They didn't look around. It was the same room. Nothing had changed since they had been here the last time. White and clean. Sterile. Empty walls. Silver metal equipment on tables and closets. Strange.
"And how are you this morning?" Dr. Nakamura shook at first Varie's and then Goau's hand.
"Fine," Varie answered flatly. How should she feel? He was going to examine her and maybe would tell her something to worry about! How should a mother feel?
"And little Van?" he asked again.
"I hoped you could tell me." Her voice shook and she tried to swallow her nervousness.
Dr. Nakamura patted her hand. "Oh, Mrs. Fanel, don't be afraid. Everything will be alright. Let me see, hm?"
Goau gave her an encouraging smile and she took a deep breath. Everything would be alright. Everthing would be alright.
She was stretched out on the examination bed and stared at the ceiling while the doctor was running the scanner across her round tummy. She heard a strange noise and at once a picture appeared at the screen beside her. It was a mess of black and white. Varie stiffened at the sight of it, her heart beating frantically. What would she see? Would her unborn son be alright? Would it be gone?
"What do you see?" she asked, not able to bear the strain anymore. She had tried to read Dr. Nakamura's face but it was easier to read the feelings of a stone plate.
"Hmm." And this simple 'Hmm' seemed to confirm every single worry, weakening Varie's body. All the fear she had felt during the last weeks was now clasping her heart in a death grip. Crushing it and making her muscles tense so hard that it hurt.
"Ah, Varie," Goau winced. "You're breaking my hand. Please, calm down."
Varie looked at her husband, his eyes full of pain. She had clutched Goau's hand painfully without noticing it. Her nails had dug deep into his hand. His eyes begged her to let go and she did hastily. He rubbed his hand carefully and looked at her.
"Are you okay?" He caressed her soft cheek.
"I don't know," she answered weakly and turned around to face the doctor. His face was still unreadable.
Dr. Nakamura pointd at the screen "Well, over there, you can see at the back of the..."
"The abnormality?" Varie asked in a high voice. "The abnormality is still there?"
"Well, it looks like...," he trailed off, seeing Varie's eyes widen in pure shock.
Varie tried to rise from the bed. "No! No!"
"Varie, please," Goau said quietly and pressed her softly onto the bed again.
She stared at him. "But Goau, didn't you hear? The deformation is still there!"
"I know." Varie stopped trying to free herself from his grip and looked at him. His eyes were sad. "I know, Varie. But we can't change it. The only thing we can do is to accept it. You hear me? We must accept it."
"But...," she tried to protest.
"No, he'll survive it." Goau turned around to look at Dr. Nakamura. "Am I right?"
The doctor remained silent. "Am I right?" Goau repeated his question, a bit louder this time. He hoped with all his heart that the doctor simply hadn't heard what he had just asked. But it seemed Dr. Nakamura had understood quite well.
"Well actually, these deformations aren't rare. A lot of unborn children have bone-abnormalities," Dr. Nakamura explained. "They usually disappear before the seventh month of pregnancy. You have already reached the seventh month so it is highly unlikely that the one of your child will disappear-"
"That's not the answer to my question," Goau interupted him harshly.
"I've never seen something like that before. The foetus has two quite big bone abnormalities," the doctor continued after a short silence and pointed at the picture in front of him. "One at each shoulder blade. It's possible that the umbilical cord will get into a tangle with the unnecessary bones when the foetus shifts his position."
A quiet sob escaped Varie's throat and she put her hands over her mouth. She sobbed again and the tears started to stream down her cheeks. At first several ones but then more and more tears rushed down her face. She grabbed Goau's shirt and pulled him closer towards her. Leaning against his chest, she cried. She dug her fingers into the fabric of his shirt at his back but he didn't care. He encircled her trembling body, trying to comfort her.
Distracted by the turn of events, the two of them didn't notice the small eye which was watching them. It was the small eye of a white camera in the upper corner of the white room.
The camera sent everything it observed via cable through walls, ceilings and floors. The pictures travelled a long distance until they reached an isolated dark room five floors above the scan room. It was a small room that was stuffed with screens and computers standing at several tables. There were no windows, just one metal door. The only light illuminating the room was the flickering white light of the screens. It caused an eerie atmosphere. The camera's view appeared on one of the screens in front of three people. They sat on simple chairs looking at the screen in concentration.
"And Marlene, what do you say?" asked the deep and old voice of a man.
The woman inspected the pile of papers lying in her lap closer. She wore an excellent business dress suit. A black skirt and black shoes with high heels made her well-shaped legs seem longer. A white blouse and a black coat completed her appearance. Her long blond hair was tamed into a ponytail and her ocean-blue eyes scanned the paper she held in her delicate hands.
"Can you please show me the ultrasound picture, Kazuya?" she asked the young technical engineer, sitting in a chair in front of a computer.
He entered some numbers and orders. "Of course, Dr. Aston."
Soon the picture at the computer screen was replaced by the same ultrasound picture Varie and Goau had just seen. Marlene shifted her position to have a better look at the ultrasound picture. When she moved the light emitted from the screen was reflected on something fastened to her coat. It was a small, rectangular identification card. "Dr. Marlene Aston" was written with slim, black letters on the lower part of the card. The whole upper part was occupied by a huge firm logo- "Dornkirk Inc."
"I would say everything seems alright. The foetus has developed quite well since last time I saw him. He looks healthy and strong. A normal foetus at the stage of seven months, apart from the little detail which makes him absolutely unique on this whole planet." She outlined absently the abnormalities clearly visible at the screen with her index finger.
"And you think this time it'll work out?" the man beside her asked again.
"Yes, I'm sure." The young woman nodded enthusiastically. "I know a few of the other embryos reached the seventh month and died later but I have a feeling that this one here is different. He's a lot stronger than the other ones. His parents' genes were perfect. He'll survive."
"That's good to hear," the man said and turned to the TV screen again, his purple eyes glowing in the pale light. "What did Fuma tell them?"
Marlene turned to the screen which showed the camera view. "I think he told them what I recommended...that he hadn't seen something like that before and that it could be dangerous for the unborn child." She shrugged.
"Perfect." A smile lit up his face. "Kazuya, please show me the statistics of the failures."
Kazuya nodded hastily. "Yes, Dr. Dornkirk. As you wish."
A/N: Yeah, that was all. It's just the prologue. The next chapter will be the second and last part of the prologue and then... I won't say anything. Hehe. Read and find out.
Oh hey, don't forget to review, okay? Okay? Okay. I need to know what you think about it. Please, tell me!!!!!
Till next time!!!!