By popular demand, this is the final chapter to Healing His Wounds. You will find the answer to Hiro's surreal post-death existence here, as well as another surprise. The answer is one you'd probably never expect. Also know there's a litle bit of recapping in the first couple of paragraphs. Please enjoy!
Chapter 20: All The Answers
I felt strange. I didn't want to believe that my beloved friend Hiro had somehow come back from the dead and was walking among the city's inhabitants - it just wasn't possible, was it?! But then, when I woke up to find Hiro's shirt draped over my chest, I just didn't know what to think. Was Hiro trying to tell me something? Was he in the afterlife, attempting to communicate with me? If so, what was he trying to tell me? Or could this have been some kind of sick joke played on me? I was so distraught when my beloved Yuki died, and even now I'm still trying to pick the pieces of my heart up off the floor and mend them as much as possible, but seeing who I believe was Hiro just shattered my heart even further. I don't know what's going on with me right now, but I want it to stop - my heart can't take much more of this pain. I am still very slowly accepting the fact that the two most important people in my life are dead, and I just wish I could be reassured they are resting in peace.
My career has gone, for the most part, rapidly down the slippery slope of no return. Concerts were cancelled, album release dates were postponed, and the lead singer of the once-great band Bad Luck no longer gave a damn. I still didn't care because I was in no way eager to spend my time in a band with just Fujisaki. I was asked to return home, but I just wasn't ready to deal with my family yet. I just wanted to be alone, and I had enough money saved up from past performances to cover the rent for a few more months. Why do people expect me to bounce right back from this experience? They have no fucking idea how traumatized I was after seeing Hiro alive and walking when I was under the assumption that he had died six years ago, and it was likely trauma I will never shake off.
For memory's sake, or for some other crazy reason, I decided to stop by Eiri's old apartment. The building had long since been abandoned and was dilapidated, but I still made my way to the site to look around. On my way to the building, my mind wandered to all the fond memories I held about Yuki. I remember caring for him when he had a fever and not allowing him to get out of bed. I remember celebrating his birthday when we rubbed cake in one another's face. I remember all the nights I snuggled up in his lap and he gently stroked my hair. These wonderful memories brought a tear to my eye - a happy tear. I cracked a smile as I continued to reminisce about all the romantic and silly times he and I had during his six-year lease on life post-surgery. I finally reached the old run-down apartment building, and that's when I noticed something bizarre. I knew Yuki's old room was located in the front side of the building - I knew exactly which window was his. As I stared up at that window, I could have sworn I saw someone standing in the apartment. Someone tall, but someone whose face was obstructed by the darkened glass. Who the hell was that? What were they doing in a run-down apartment complex? Why were they in Yuki's apartment? I decided I had to get myself into that room. I bolted through the doors to the lobby, which had not been locked...even though they were such a few days ago when I walked past. Once inside, I noticed none of the stairwell doors were locked either, which was a shock. I ran like a bat out of hell up seven flights of stairs until I got to Yuki's apartment, which I was both appalled and happy to discover was also open.
I slowly pushed the door open and peeked inside - the apartment was surprisingly clean for having been abandoned for so long. I looked around - the room was illuminated by the light of day piercing through the windows. I slowly made my way through the apartment, cautiously glancing into each room, fearful that I may find something I do not want to see. The kitchen was empty, as was the bedroom and the living room. I realized there was one more room to check...Yuki's study. As I stood outside the door, I could swear I heard someone tapping busily on a keyboard. I shakily extended my hand to the doorknob and grasped it in my fingers. I gave it a small twist, hoping almost that it was locked so I wouldn't need to suffice my curiousities...but it clicked and the door opened. I pushed the door slowly and looked inside, feeling a fright deep in my soul that was unimaginable. I could hardly bear to even open my eyes to look, but I squinted one eye and took a brief glance into the room...
There was nothing there. There was no one in the room.
I pushed the door all the way open and looked around - nothing was in the room but a shelf. I looked from side to side, only to have acquired that which I entered with: nothing. I sighed with relief, knowing I had worked myself up over absolutely nothing. I wiped the thin veneer of perspiration from my brow with my sleeve as I turned to leave the room. I wasn't watching where I was going on my way out, and I felt there was no need to do so when there was a slim chance of anyone else being in the building. But, as luck would have it ("Bad Luck" I guess. Ha ha, I crack me up), I ended up bumping face-first into someone who had decided to stand right behind me. I figured it was a city official coming to tell me to get out of the building because it was dangerous and a construction site, and I was prepared to apologize and vacate myself from the premises. If only...if only that individual I ran into had been an average person. When I looked up at who I had run into, my heart felt like it was going to explode. I stumbled back against the wall, unable to think, breathe, or even blink. Tears began streaming down my face and my heart began to palpitate. I couldn't even bring myself to sob - the tears rolled freely down my face. My entire body was shaking violently like it never had before. As I stared at the figure before me, who had not budged an inch, I could only muster the strength to mutter one word...
No, please tell me this wasn't happening to me. It couldn't be...this wasn't possible. How?! And why?! The figure standing before me wore what appeared to be a brand-new jacket suit. Tall and thin, but with very dirty and very matted hair, and a face covered in shadows to the point where the face could not be discerned. My breathing got loud and rapid, and I felt as though I was having a heart attack. I grasped my chest and collapsed to my knees, feeling an overwhelming sense of every possible negative emotion hitting me at once. It was like having a million daggers thrown into me and torn back out over and over again. Eventually I fell to my side, shaking, hyperventilating, and sobbing. It was the most unbearable sensation I had ever felt, and I just wanted to die right there. I was done being tortured like this and I wanted it to end. Whoever this mysterious person was, I hoped with all my heart they had come to kill me. I began having a severe nervous breakdown, muttering things to this cryptic shadow out of pure paranoia.
I could hardly decipher what I was saying - I was shaking so savagely at this point that even I couldn't understand what in the hell I said. I hadn't even realized I had fallen onto a nail sticking up from the floor and it pierced my side. I began to feel cold as the air hit the wound, but I had no idea the injury was even there because I was so frightened by this whole experience. I wanted my life to be over with...right at that moment. I wanted the building to just collapse and crush me beneath the rubble and put an end to my suffering. As I shook, I felt something against my back - something warm and soft. A gentle hand was resting on my writhing body, caressing me. I don't know why, but this seemed to help calm me down. This gentle touch made me relax to some extent, although I almost couldn't believe it myself that I was relaxing after having the most profound nervous breakdown of my existence. I looked up slowly from the floor, with dust-tainted tears smeared across my face. Looking back down at me was a set of passionate, golden eyes laced with long eyelashes. I knew those eyes, and they belonged to only one man...the man I love.
"Yuki? Is...is it really you, Yuki?"
The figure knelt down beside me and stroked my hair. "I'm here now, Shu."
I managed to get myself up off my stomach and sitting somewhat upright. I stared into those golden orbs and smiled. "Oh Yuki, it is you!"
I lunged forward and embraced him in a hug, but his body felt as cold as ice. I slowly released my grip and gently caressed his face, which was perfectly warm. His hair was messy and dirty, but his face was as soft and pure as porcelain. Tears rolled down my face in rivulets as I tried to find the right words to say. All I could manage was a tearful "I love you".
Yuki held me in his arms and whispered, "I love you too."
He looked at me and wiped away my tears with tender strokes. "Yuki...are we...going to be together again now?"
Yuki looked me right in the eyes with the most tear-jerking expression I had ever seen on him. "Shuichi...I can't."
Before I could say a word, he pulled me into a most passionate kiss. His lips were still as soft and warm as they were six years ago. He still tasted the same, too, and it felt absolutely incredible to have my lover kiss me again. I didn't want to let him go - I wanted our kiss to last forever. I didn't want that moment to end, even if it was in an abandoned building.
When he pulled out of the kiss, I asked him without ever looking up, "Why, Yuki? Why can't we be together again?"
"Because...", he said. With this, he began to unbutton his dark grey shirt. I had no idea what he was doing, but I felt it wise to pay close attention. He loosened the final button and opened his shirt, and what I saw horrified me. Under the shirt was not the warm, clear flesh my Yuki once had. I saw rotted flesh that was riddled with maggots, and his rib cage was exposed through areas where flesh had obviously rotted or been eaten away. His organs were gone, including his heart. He looked like part of the cast from a horror film, except this wasn't special effects - it was real and right in front of me. His fingers lightly graced his chest region and came to rest upon his ribs, as if he needed to try and prove to me that what I was seeing was not some sick illusion.
"...I'm dead, Shuichi."
At that moment, I think I died of a broken heart.
I sat bolt upright, panting ans sweating. My heart and lungs felt like they were about to burst. I was covered head to toe in my own perspiration. When I finally came to, and my heart rate went down a little bit, I looked around. I was in bed...Yuki's bed, more specifically. I was in his apartment, but it wasn't abandoned - it was still clean and furnished. Yuki was nowhere in sight. I crawled out of bed wearing nothing but a pair of boxers and ran out into the kitchen, nearly falling on my way. Tohma was in the kitchen, calmly sipping at a cup of coffee. He was surprised to see me screeching to a halt in the kitchen so unexpectedly.
"Good morning, Mr. Shindo. Is everything alright?"
"Where's Yuki? Is he still dead? Where is he? Where?!!", I screamed in hysterics.
Tohma had the most bewildered look on his face. "Mr. Shindo, are you feeling okay?"
"Please tell me where Yuki is! Please!", I begged with tears rolling down my face.
A voice called out from behind me, "I'm right here, you baka. What's all the screaming for?"
I turned around to see Yuki staring at me with his classic pissed-off expression. I ran at him and tackled him to the floor in the biggest bear hug I've ever given anyone. I cried in his arms and cuddled against him. "Oh Yuki, you're not dead! You're alive! You're alive!"
"What in the hell kind of drugs did you get into? What made you think I was dead?", Yuki asked while trying to push me away slightly.
"But...but you were sick and you needed a heart transplant and then you died...I don't understand what's going on, Yuki. Am I dreaming right now?"
Yuki gave me a blank look and proceeded to give me a hard pinch. I flinched and cried out, "Oww you bastard. What was that for?"
"If you felt that, you're not dreaming. And just so you kow, I never died or got sick or needed heart surgery."
"I...don't understand. Did I get hit in the head or something?"
Yuki lifted me up off the floor with him as he stood up, and he gently set me back down on my feet. "I don't have a fucking clue, but you have been asleep for almost an entire twenty-four hours."
"I have??", I asked in complete bewilderment.
"Oh yes...you stupidly overdosed on the sleeping aid meds, which made you sleep for a whole goddamn day. You were only supposed to take a teaspoon of that stuff."
"Teaspoon? That's what 't-s-p' stands for?", I asked, totally oblivious.
"Um, yeah. What did you think it stood for?"
I looked away with embarrassment, "...ten square pints?"
Yuki slapped his forehead and sighed. "You really are a moron. You're lucky you didn't get really sick from overdosing like that."
"So...all of what happened...it was a dream?"
Tohma piped up, "This explains Mr. Shindo's outburst moments ago. Overdosing on sleep aids is known to cause hallucinations, which probably occurred during the time he was asleep."
"Thanks, doctor Seguchi", Yuki replied in his usual cynical tone.
I looked from Tohma to Yuki and back and forth over and over again. "Is...is Hiro okay too?"
Tohma smiled, "Yes, Mr. Nakano is just fine. He was very worried about you not waking up, but he's perfectly fine."
"It was...it was a dream...I'm gonna faint, Yuki...", and with those famous last words, I collapsed in Yuki's not-so-willing arms.
A few hours later, I awoke to find Yuki in a chair by the bedside, quietly reading. I stirred about in the bed and looked over at him.
Without looking up, he placed a scrap of paper between the pages he had been reading and he closed his book and placed it on the night stand. He proceeded to pull the chair closer to the edge of the bed so he could hold my hand, which felt absolutely heavenly.
"How are you feeling? You took a big fall back there...and I kind of didn't catch you."
"Is that why my butt hurts?"
"No...your butt hurts for another reason", he said with a wink. I blinked at him curiously and he bent forward and kissed me lightly on the forehead. "I was kidding, you baka."
"I can't believe all that was a dream...it felt so real. It was so depressing...Hiro died, you died, then you both came back from the dead. It was horrifying. But...I'm glad it was only a dream. I just couldn't imagine losing you like that. I know you don't like me very much, but you mean so much to me and I can still feel the pain in my heart from that awful nightmare an-"
Yuki silenced me by pulling my face close and kissing me. "You may be a baka and have no talent, but you're still my lover."
I couldn't help smiling at him. Okay sure, his remark wasn't sweet by typical standards, but to me it was.
"To be honest...I was scared when you didn't wake up yesterday. I called every hospital in the city and asked what to do, and they all told me you would be fine. But...I still got scared. I know I was mean to you this morning, but deep down, I was happy to see you walking around and, well...alive."
"I'm sorry I scared you, Yuki. Can you forgive me?"
He grinned evilly at me and slithered onto the bed in such a sexy manner. "Take off your pants and I'll see what I can do."
Oh, Yuki...what would I do without you?
Thank you all very much for reading, and thank you for your wonderful comments. I hope you have enjoyed the story, as I have enjoyed writing it over the past year. I feel I can't wrap up this tale any more than I have in this chapter, so I shall venture to say this is the real end to the story.