[A/N: "para-"- beside, beyond; "physical"- of matter, of physics, of body-- Webster.]["paraphysical"- pertaining to something outside of the body; emotional, mental][What? Don't you make up words?][Also, to answer a question or two about the last chapter: you get cold when you lose blood because circulation gets messed up.]

The Walk Home [19]


Once Nagi, Omi, Schuldig and Yohji managed to gather themselves up, they walked outside to find that Yohji's car had disappeared. Schuldig speculated that Ran probably took the car to drive Ken to the hospital, and everyone seemed satisfied with that explanation. Omi and Nagi volunteered to walk home, as they were the only ones to leave that mission completely unharmed. This left Yohji and Schuldig with Ken's motorcycle. Since Yohji wasn't completely conscious due to the gash across his forehead, it was only logical that Schuldig should drive.

"Have you ever driven a motorcycle before?" Yohji asked as he pulled himself up onto the back of the seat, carefully as not to hurt the gashes on Schuldig's back.

"Of course. What do you take me for?"

Yohji watched him examine the bike like one would examine a new VCR. "A liar."

Schuldig laughed and started the engine. "Never mind that. Where are we going?"

Yohji only had to take one more look at Schuldig's back to answer, "hospital."

"Good choice."

Before Nagi and Omi left the premises of Katoaka Enterprises, Nagi's eye caught the glimmer of something metal in the moonlight. Upon closer examination, he realized that it was the katana Ran dropped during the synthetic typhoon he had conjured up. He decided to drag it with him and leave it at the Koneko. It was the least he could do to make Ran think twice about sending him to hell the next time he sees him.

Nagi and Omi walked a short distance in silence, each too absorbed in his own thoughts to even notice that neither was saying anything. Omi suddenly noticed the paraphysical gap between them and decided to close it by taking his hand.

Nagi didn't object but looked away to the side. "You know," he began, feeling that his voice was too meek to overcome the silence, "I still have to leave."

"You say that, but I don't believe you."

Nagi stopped walking upon hearing the challenge and turned to face Omi with a discontented look smeared across his face. "And why not?"

Omi simply smiled pleasantly. "Because that would be very unfair."

"To who? You?"

"Well, yes" Omi said, seemingly putting serious thought into the answer. He pulled Nagi closer and let his arms hang over his shoulders. "Isn't that enough?"

Nagi had to admit that he certainly did have a point there. His expression softened, and he let his face hide in Omi's neck. "So now what do we do?"

"Hmmm, I think," Omi smiled, "whatever we want."

Ran decided that he had divinely surpassed the natural average of hours spent at a hospital in a lifetime. Then again, that wasn't exactly up to him to decide. He ran his fingers over the bandaged cut across his cheek. By the time he brought Ken in, he had forgotten entirely about the wound on his face, but one of the nurses there insisted that it'd be dressed because it would be a shame if it scarred.

Ken woke up momentarily, but seemed to have no idea about where he was or what was going on. This bothered Ran immensely, but the doctors assured him that Ken didn't lose enough blood to cause any brain damage and that he should be perfectly fine after a few days. The nurses quickly shot some sedatives through his veins, and he was knocked out again.

The electrocardiogram had been the focus of Ran's field of vision for quite some time now as he sat on a chair next to Ken's bed. He was so used to watching them that the damn things had become a sort of meditation focus object for him. Little wave, groove, big wave, groove, pause, little wave, pause, little wave, groove, big wave, groove, pause, little wave and so on. He sighed against Ken's shoulder on which he was then resting his head. He could feel his heart beat along with the EKG.

Groove. When will he wake up? Big wave. What will he say when he does? Groove. Should I even be here right now? Pause. He won't even want to look at me. Little wave. Why should he? Pause. If I had any sense at all, I'd get up and leave right now. Little wave.

Groove. Ran's fingers shifted around Ken's hand, and he sighed into his shoulder again. Big wave. No sense at all. Groove.

Farfarello had finished gluing and finished packing. He only had one bag because he wasn't exactly the type to hoard. He packed a pair of boots, medication, some pieces of clothing, a few of the most favored knives, and a wad of cash from the drawer in Brad's office. It wasn't really Brad's money anyway.

As he stood outside of the Koneko no Sumu Ie, he thought about the conversation between Omi and Nagi, which he overheard at the hospital. Such little brats and yet so wise for their years. He decided not to dwell on it too long; he didn't want to stay around long enough for anyone to come home.

The cab driver honked at him to not waste any more time. Farfarello pulled out the object of his intricate gluing, the bloody pieces of Nagi's bedroom window that he gathered for his collection, glued into a shape rather resembling a heart. The blood, of course, had dried and looked more like stained glass.

Don't ever let it be said that Farfarello had no artistic talent. He placed his good-bye present on the ground in front of the back entrance of the flower shop. He pulled out the note he had written before and let it fall onto his work of art. He turned away and walked back to the impatient taxi driver.

"To the only person who doesn't need another one. Went home. ­Farfarello"

The gash across Yohji's forehead was being treated by a very pretty nurse, every doctor's dream. He and Schuldig got separated into two different rooms, according to their injuries, upon entering the hospital.

"It's funny," Yohji said, his face fixed with a faraway look, "on a regular basis, I'd so be asking your phone number right now."

The nurse laughed pleasantly. "What's so irregular about this basis?"

"Well, I guess I'm kind of seeing someone." He scrunched his eyebrows at the confusion this conversation was creating in his mind. Honestly, he wasn't even sure why he said that in the first place.

"You guess?"

"Yea," Yohji chuckled slightly at his inside joke, "it's kind of complicated."

"I see," the nurse said and finished taping the square of bandage to his head, but Yohji could tell that she really had no idea what he meant at all.

"Have you ever wanted someone so much, but it seemed that the entire world forbade you being together?"

"Of course," she said as she gathered her things, "the one we can't have is always the one we want the most."

Yohji laughed. "Well said."

Schuldig suddenly appeared in the doorway and leaned against the frame. "My ears are burning."

The nurse left Yohji and approached him, distaste shooting at him through her eyes. "You were seriously hurt. Back to bed!" She ordered in a rather motherly way.

"Five minutes?" Schuldig pleaded.

She sighed and let her hands fall from her hips. "Well, I can't very well drag you back." She surrendered, smiling at his childlike plea and left the room.

Yohji adjusted his seat on top of his bed and watched Schuldig contemplatively. He had bandages wrapped around his ribs and small band- aids stuck to random places on his arms. "You look so beat up."

"Look who's talking." Schuldig pulled his hair up out of his face and fastened it with a band he usually kept around his wrist. He walked into the room and made himself comfortable on top the hospital bed, lying down on his side next to Yohji.

A moment of quiet followed in which both considered their current position. Yohji turned his neck to look and him and finally broke the silence, "Do you think we should talk about what just happened?"

"What's there to talk about? I'm a hypocrite for telling you that you shouldn't get attached, and there I go. . ."

"So what do we do now?"

Schuldig snaked an arm around Yohji's waist, pulling him down and laughed. It was the sort of maniac laugh one would expect of an inmate sentenced to death who just escaped from prison. "Whatever the hell we want!"

Yohji knew exactly where this was going. Schuldig pulled him down by his shirt for a well-deserved kiss.

Ken really felt like he wanted to sleep some more, but an odd sense of duty told him to open his eyes. Perhaps it was even curiosity as to where he might be. Beep, beep, beep. He wondered what the hell that was. He also wondered about the unnatural weight over his left shoulder. Warm, he thought. There was something entangling his hand. Only five minutes before, he would've sworn that it wasn't even his hand; it was someone else whom he was watching. He then realized that would be impossible because he didn't even have his eyes open, and the sense of touch began to coincide with his body again.

Beep, beep, beep, and Ken began remembering. The last time he heard that sound was at the hospital. How long ago? Years? No, it had only been a little while ago. His eyes hurt, but he dragged up his eyelids. There weren't any bright lights in the room, but whatever little there had been were more than his eyes were used to, and it hurt.

As soon as Ken was able to make his eyes function, he looked over at his left side to find that Ran had fallen asleep on his shoulder.

"Aya," he said and soon noticed that he was barely louder than the squeak of a mouse. He shifted a little bit to see how moving would go. Not bad, he decided. He felt his fingers entangled in Ran's hand again and moved them around.

Ran felt the slight movements like waves splashing against him. He lifted his head up and smiled down at Ken. "Good morning," he said, obviously relieved that Ken had woken up.

Reasoning returned to Ken next, and he suddenly realized that he should be quite upset with Ran. "Now you're nice," he said and frowned. "I have to almost die before you act human to me?"

Ran sighed, deciding not to be truculent this time. "Would you at least give me a chance to apologize?"

That took Ken by surprise. The infallible Aya, apologizing? "Ok. . ."

"I've been horrible to you so that you hate me," Ran confessed.

"On purpose?" Ken raised his free hand to rub his forehead. He could feel a headache coming on. "If you wanted to get rid of me that bad, why didn't you just say so?"

"No, that's not it. It was because you would be a weakness. I realized that Schwarz might hurt you to hurt me, and they have." Ran looked down and noticed that he still hadn't let go of Ken's hand. "It was too dangerous."

Ken laughed bitterly. "And all the while I thought it was because you just couldn't stand the idea that I had feelings for you."

Ran's eyes shot up to look at him. "Had?"

"You did everything I was always afraid you'd do," Ken answered, shaking his head, "and you've said everything I've prayed to never hear from you." He paused. "Even still, I could never stop thinking about you, and even if you take everything I have, I'll always come back to give you more."

Ran sighed, half with exhaustion and half with relief, and rested his head against Ken's shoulder again. "It's be more dangerous to be apart than to be together. I'm sorry I had to learn the hard way."

Ken seemed to consider this for a moment and finally said, "I think I'll forgive you."

"Thanks." Ran chuckled into his shoulder.


"Start over?"