Crying Roses

By: Emmy



He calmly ran his hand through the woman's hair, trying to soothe the pain emanating from her aching skull. She gripped the pale sheets, white-knuckled, leaning over, and clenching her teeth so she didn't cry out with the flares of the continuous pain. Her black nightgown fell over one shoulder, exposing a vast area of her pale breast, but then tumbled over her swollen belly, down to her mid thigh.

The man's other hand was in her own, rubbing in comforting rings along her pearl-like, flawless skin as sweat moistened her brow. She looked up to the man next to her.

"Something's wrong... pregnancy isn't supposed to hurt this much... the pain is coming from somewhere else..." The woman's shrill voice persisted, looking desperately up to the taller man.

He shook his head, "It's all right... do you think they're contractions? You're just about due... should we get to the hospital?"

She squeezed her eyes shut, and before he got an answer, he stood up, and began to lead her to the car upon seeing a tear trickle from her closed eye. If this was hurting a strong woman like her that much, he needed to fix it.

He led her out into the night air, puddles of old rain water splashing up, soaking the bottom of his old, worn jeans every step of the way. He helped her into the passenger's seat, and shut the door behind her. He couldn't remember running faster in his life than what he did to the other side of the car. He hopped into the leather seat and flipped on the air conditioning as he buckled up and sped out of the driveway.

He remembered glancing over to the woman, her face contorted over in pain as he drove, hoping that he wasn't going to be too late...


In the room, the continuous beep of the heart monitor was the thing that helped Sanosuke Sagara through the night. He remembered kneeling at Megumi's bedside with her hand in his, watching over her until he couldn't keep his eyes open any longer. The next morning, he was greeted by his hand being squeezed, and the light of the windows waking him up.

He blinked the sleep out of his eyes as looked at his friend smiling at him and waved him a good morning. He yawned and placed his chin on the edge of the bed, granting her a lazy smile.

"So how are ya feelin'? You look better than ya did last night..." He got out before another yawn involuntarily reared its head.

She nodded, "Yes, they have me so drugged up right now I can barely feel my hand in yours." She commented dryly, and then looked at the ceiling. "Thank god for pain-killers."

"What did they say about your baby?" Sanosuke asked, standing up just long enough to pull a chair over and sit down. The cold tile against his knees all night wasn't the best thing to wake up to.

"They said that the baby was fine, but it wasn't ready to come out quite yet." She stated, patting her tummy lightly. She looked up at Sanosuke. "Thank you so much for being here with me, though. I couldn't have done it without you."

The brunette grinned. "Well you asked me to, and I can't really say no. You've always been there for me, Megumi."

She nodded, and looked to the ceiling. "They were also wondering if I wanted to use a new drug that induces labor and gets it over with."

Sanosuke cocked his head at the words she spoke, and the tone she used when she spoke them. "Well, why don't ya wait? Ya know, let nature take its course and shit? Is the baby even ready?"

Megumi nodded, taking in a deep breath. "They think that... the baby is pushing against my internal organs in such a way that's causing me the pain... they think that if I just get it over with, it would be better for me. The baby is more than ready to come out, but I'm not sure..." Megumi admitted, lulling her head.

Now the man was confused. "Why are you confused? It sounds like a good plan to me."

Megumi carefully sat up in the bed, and took Sanosuke's hand into both of hers, and pulled them up to her chest. "Sanosuke... they think that this baby grew against my organs wrong... and they think that if I have it... when I have it, it might cause more damage than anything and... and I might die from it." Megumi said, shaking slightly, but she looked over to Sanosuke to see just what he was doing.

Those words had stopped the young man's heart in his body. He shook his head, "Well then why can't you just have it surgically removed and do it that way...?" His voice cracked at the mere thought of loosing his friend.

She shook her head. "I couldn't do that... the doctors told me that if I did... I may loose the baby. The baby is in the very best of health, but if we were to do it that way... we could only save one of us. Sanosuke... I came to my decision a while ago." She looked him in the eyes, squeezing his hand, trying to keep eye contact.

"I want to have this baby, no matter what. Even if there's a chance that I might die, I have to. And that's what bring me to what I'm about to say Sanosuke..." Megumi started, speaking carefully, even if Sanosuke had began to shake his head madly.

"Megumi! There is no way that this is going to cost you your life! It can't! It won't! There's n-no way that it--"

"Shhh." Megumi soothed, giving him a look. "You're right. It's going to be all right. But I need to ask you something, just in case that .1% scenario does happen." She spoke to him as if he was a child, but in his current condition, he was as terrified of losing her as a child would have been. And he needed guidance.

Sanosuke nodded, unable to stop shaking.

"Please, Sanosuke, take care of my child."

There. She had said it.

She continued.

"I have no one else to ask, and I want you to, if you could. I know how much I'm asking, and I am so sorry to put you in this situation, but I need to... I need to know that he or she is going to be safe... if I leave." Megumi finished, pleading Sanosuke.

He blinked. "You're not gonna leave... yer gonna keep th-the baby safe yourself! dammit fox, ya don't need me..." Sanosuke said, desperation painted on his face.

Megumi gripped his hands tightly, staring deeply into his eyes, asking in the most serious tone she could give, "Please, Sanosuke. Please."
Sanosuke nodded after a few minutes of thought, carefully and almost incoherently, he stated, "'Course... Megumi. I can never refuse ya anything..."

Her eyes lit up through the tears she was crying. She pulled Sanosuke to her and embraced him, squeezing so tightly as if she was never going to let go. "T-Thank you so much, Sanosuke! Thank you..."

He nodded, not letting her see the tears that were falling freely down his face.

But he was sure that she felt them soaking through her hospital gown...


Sanosuke paced around the waiting room desperately, not allowed to enter the delivery room because he wasn't the husband or immediate family. He was waiting... waiting for news, waiting for anything. He needed to know what happened...

All at once, the door opened and out walked a nurse, smiling at him.

"Congratulations. You have a new baby girl!" She cheered with a glowing smile.

His heart froze. "I have a new baby girl... Megumi doesn't...? What happened to the mother?!" His words were choked, his fists clenched tight enough to draw blood.

She shook her head, "We weren't able to save the mother, sir."

Sanosuke's knees gave out, and he fell to the floor, tears washing over his cheeks as he screamed out in pain. He had lost his best friend... What more could he do...?

"Please, Mr. Sagara, what would you like to name your baby girl?" The nurse said, trying to keep her chipper tone as her eyes revealed how truly sad she was for losing the life of a patient.

Sanosuke looked up, abruptly wiping his cheeks with the sleeve of his shirt. He thought for a moment, as he tried to stop the sobs that kept threatening his throat. He looked at her and then said one word.


The nurse smiled. "Then come in and hold Aya Sagara."

"No. Not Sagara. Takani. I want to keep her last name, please." Sanosuke cut in, looking up at the nurse for confirmation.

She nodded, still smiling and finished sweetly, "Come in and hold Aya Takani, then."