Summary: I'm mad at myself, for leaving Amelda alone; I'm mad at Raph, for not being here; and I'm mad at Amelda, because I'm sitting here in this waiting room crying like a baby and he wouldn't even care. Post-Doma, one-shot.
Disclaimer: Valon and friends belong to their respective owners.
Warnings: Suicide attempt (this is NOT a dark-angsty-cutting fic), melodrama, metaphors.
Notes: Umm...yeah. Not feeling so hot myself.
Oh, and the three Doomies live together in Domino in this fic. Originally kind-of-inspired by the U2 song, "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own". Then it was kind-of-inspired by .hack-infection, which I love despite the fact I keep dying. (X.X It wouldn't let me use Data Draaaain-!) Writing this in a first-person, present-tense voice. Might come out kind of interesting.
Cussing goes against my faith. That's why Valon says "dang" a lot in this fic. XD; Feel free to mentally add your own expletives where you deem necessary.
Couple random terms to know –
Oniichan – affectionate term for "big brother"
Neechan – affectionate term for "big sister"
Otousan – Father
Okaachan – Mommy
...On an unrelated note, who here has ever listened to Japan-A-Radio? (Mwuah...)
Amelda was in one of his moods today.
So I thought it'd be better to leave him alone, give him some space, you know. I went out and looked unsuccessfully for the strategy guide to this video game I bought last week. (The game's turned out to be a lot harder than I thought it would be.)
I came back and found Amelda unconscious on the bathroom floor, his arms clutched to his chest. There was blood on his belly shirt, and when I went to examine him I touched his hair, and there was blood there too. At some point I noticed how pale his face was, and that the blood was coming from gashes along his wrists and forearms.
I suddenly realized what had happened and my mind went into a total panic. Should I call an ambulance? Well, of course I should, but what if he got mad at me, when he woke up? If he woke up?
In the end I called an ambulance. Because it wasn't right for him to die... I didn't care if he would hate me afterward. I couldn't let him die.
I have no idea where Raph is. He's been out the whole day and I have no idea how to contact him. See? See? This is why we all need cell phones, and not just me.
I'm not sure which one of the three of us I'm most mad at – I'm mad at myself, for leaving Amelda alone; I'm mad at Raph, for not being here; and I'm mad at Amelda, because I'm sitting here in this waiting room crying like a baby and he wouldn't even care.
I'm also mad at the other people in the waiting room. Everybody keeps giving me looks like, "Oh, poor thing" 'cause I've been sitting here bawling my eyes out for a while. Why isn't anyone else in hysterics? This is the ER...you'd think things would be more dramatic around here or something. Or maybe I'm just too caught up in my own little drama to notice anything else.
I look down at my feet and start counting the blue splotches on the tile. It calms me down somewhat. At least, I'm calm enough to answer my cell phone when I hear it start to ring in my pocket.
It's Raph. He's calling from home and wants to know where Amelda and I are.
I take a deep breath. "I'm at the hospital," I tell him, concentrating on keeping the tears out of my voice.
He sounds concerned. Dang...he heard them anyway.
I lick my lips and my tongue feels like sandpaper. "I went out for a while..." I begin. "I came back, and Amelda was..."
I can't get out the next few words. "There was...a lot of blood, because..."
I lower my voice. For some reason, I don't want anyone around me to hear. "He tried to kill himself, Raph." My voice is quivering again. Dang.
He sucks in his breath and is silent for a moment. "I'm on my way."
And that was the end of the conversation.
A little while later I look up and jump in surprise.
There's Raph, talking with a doctor. Except Raph then proceeds to drive me up the wall, because he has no visible reaction whatsoever. So I have no idea what the doctor is telling him, and whether Amelda's condition is good, bad, or somewhere in between.
He tells the doctor goodbye and approaches me. Raph takes one look at my sorry self and says, "Come on, you need to stretch your legs."
I nod slowly and let him lead me out of the room and the two of us head down to the cafeteria. He orders a coffee, and before I even get out my wallet he's paid for my Cherry Coke. I swear; Raph is so much like an older brother it's kinda weird sometimes.
I'm about to explode. "What'd the doctor say?"
Raph finishes stirring the creamer into his coffee and gingerly takes a sip, checking for – I dunno; flavor, temperature, something. "Basically... It all boils down to his will to live."
I'm still about to explode. Doctors here – are they paid to be vague or something? I ask Raph this and he cocks an eyebrow at me, but he can tell I'm nearly at the end of my rope.
"Well, then, I guess we know what's going to happen," I grind out. Now I'm mostly mad at Amelda.
The cafeteria opens into a courtyard of sorts. Raph takes my arm and steers me outside, before I can start screaming in the middle of a hospital cafeteria.
"J-Just what is he trying to pull, anyway?" I demand. "Doesn't he know he's not the only one who's all messed up? What about our what-ifs, and our doubts? I'm going friggen insane! I never would have left this morning if I'd known this would happen... But then, it's that sort of thinking that had Amelda slitting his wrists, hm? 'I never would have put my brother on that tank had I known this would happen', right? And what about you, Raph? Betcha wish you hadn't gone on that cruise when you were a kid, huh?"
I throw my soda to the ground. "Darnit, I don't CARE how mentally screwed up Amelda is; he belongs here with us!"
I break off. Raph's been letting me rant. We all know each other's idiosyncrasies like our own. For instance, when I'm upset I get loud. Oh, and Amelda's eyes change color depending on his mood. Like, if he's calm it's like watching smoke rising off a fire and dissolving in the sky. When he's sad his eyes take on a bluish hue, and when he's mad it's like staring down an iron wall. And Raph... Well, he's staring off into space with a faraway look, and that means he's thinking very pessimistically right now, 'cept he's not going to share his thoughts for fear of making things worse.
"I'm sorry," I mumble. I nod toward the Coke on the ground. "For wasting your money. And for saying that thing about the cruise."
He nods. "It's alright. I know."
And I can tell by the tone in his voice that he does know. "We're a family, aren't we, Raph? A really, really messed up one, but still a family, right?" Darnit, I hope Amelda knows I'm being this sickeningly schmaltzy over him.
Raph doesn't say anything; he just nods and puts his hand on my shoulder.
It's 8:00 a.m. and I've been up for less than an hour. I hope Amelda knows I got up at such an ungodly hour for him.
I had to go into Raph's room and poke him awake. Kinda funny, considering he's normally the first one up and I'm normally the last.
We're going back to the hospital. I finally got some details out of Raph yesterday, and apparently Amelda took a lot of sleeping pills, so he's not going to wake up until they're out of his system.
I have no idea what I'll do when he wakes up. I...Am I still mad at him? I can't say.
Last night after visiting hours were over, Raph and I went to the fast food place near the hospital for a late dinner. We somehow ended up talking over greasy cheeseburgers, and I told him I was afraid of what Amelda would think of me when we woke up.
We got home around nine p.m., and I took a shower and fell into bed. I think that then it really hit me that for the first time since after we started living together, only two of us were sleeping under the roof that the three of us bought together. I curled up tight and fell asleep like that.
When we get to the hospital we're told he's breathing on his own and everything, which is good; he'll probably wake up fairly soon. And we're told we can go in and see him.
As soon as Raph puts his hand on the doorknob, I take a step back. He looks at me, and I'm shaking my head. Because I'm not in the hospital anymore... It's yesterday afternoon and I'm tearing through the house because as soon as I walked in I felt something was wrong, and everything was silent as the grave... Then I saw the bathroom door ajar and somehow I knew it was the bathroom, so I eased it open and the first thing I saw was blood at my feet...
Raph's looking at me and I can tell he understands. I turn and bolt.
I look up and realize I have no idea where I am, and this is a really big hospital. I slide to the floor, leaning against the wall.
Dang... This sucks.
...And then, of all things, I start thinking about that game, the one I was trying to buy the strategy guide for yesterday. Well, now I know I'll never be able to play that game again. Thanks a lot, Amelda.
But really... I mean, how do they expect you to advance the plot if you keep getting killed in the process?
Wait...Okay, now, it's like 'duh', because you need to level up, don't you? And suddenly, I know exactly how to go about doing that.
And you know what? It's nothing any strategy guide would've told me to do.
Last night, when I confessed to Raph how scared I am, I guess I was kind of expecting him to give me a hint, you know? Tell me what I should say to Amelda. But it's not that easy, is it? Sure, other people can give you advice and stuff, but it's not like you get a strategy guide for life...
Man, I hope Amelda knows I never think this weirdly.
There's a sniffle. Apparently, I'm not alone.
I turn and there's this little kid, who can't be more than three years old. He's holding a powder blue stuffed rabbit in a death grip, chewing one of its ears. He looks up at me with teary green eyes.
"Hello," I say, walking over to him and stooping down to his eye level. He regards me shyly.
"I lost Neechan," he mumbles.
Now, mind you, Japanese is not my native tongue, and this is a little kid who has yet to master the art of speech. So it takes me a minute to figure out what he's telling me.
"I just walked away and now I dunno where she is," he continues.
"Do you want me to help you find her?" I ask him. It's not like I've got anything better to do...
He nods. "I'm Kenji and I'm almost this many," he says, holding up four fingers.
I'm not much of a kid-person, but he's cute, I guess. "I'm Valon," I tell him, straightening up. "Let's go find your sister."
"Otay!" He leans forward and grabs my hand. Dang, he's trusting.
He starts telling me a bunch of stuff, but I can't understand a lot of it. I respond with a noncommittal "mmhm" most of the time.
Then suddenly we hear someone going, "Kenji!"
Kenji whirls around and his eyes light up. "Neechan!" he cries, running over to a little girl who looks about seven or eight. She's got curly dark hair like Kenji's, but instead of green eyes, hers have more of a violet look.
"Kenji, I can't believe you ran off like that..." she scolds. Kenji buries his face in her shirt. He says something and I think he's crying. He snuggles her shirt closer and she gently peels him off.
"Hey, Kenji, don't go wiping your nose on my shirt..." Her tone isn't near as reprimanding as before. She draws a pack of tissues from her pocket and hands him one. She turns to look up at me. "Was he bothering you, Mister?" she asks.
I smile and shake my head. "No way! Kenji-chan and I were having a very deep discussion."
"I see," she says. She seems disconcerted with the familiarity. Jeez, this girl is not like any other kid I've ever met before. "I'm Miyu. Who are you?"
"My name's Valon," I tell her. She scrunches up her nose.
" 'Valon'?" she repeats. "That's a funny name."
"Well, um..." I blink. "Won't somebody be looking for you two? I mean, who brought you here?"
"Otousan's at work," Miyu informs me.
"Okaachan brought us here!" Kenji chirps.
"We'll go back and find her," Miyu nods.
I wonder if they know where they're going in this big huge hospital. I certainly don't. Would they be able to get back to their mother without any problems?
"I'll come with you," I decide.
Miyu looks up at me, brow furrowed. "We'll be fine by ourselves."
It's hard to believe these two are related... Miyu isn't trusting like Kenji at all.
"Oh, I know," I say, trying to reconcile with her. "I'd just like something to do, that's all."
"C'mooon, Neechan!" Kenji begs. "Can he come?"
"Alright, alright, I don't mind," Miyu shrugs.
Kenji grins and grabs my hand again as the three of us start heading down the maze of hallways.
"What's your favorite color?" he asks. "I like red."
"I like red too," I tell him. His grin grows wider. Miyu walks in front of us.
"What about girls? D'you like girls? I don't. They have cooties," Kenji sticks out his tongue.
I chuckle. "You won't think that when you're older, kid."
"What's your favorite animal? I think kitties are the best."
"Kitties?" I raise an eyebrow. Raphael would love this kid. Yeah, that's right; Raph likes cats. I remember one morning when this stray showed up on the back porch. Raph was all for keeping him; I didn't really care whether we kept it or not; and Amelda's allergic. Raph tried not to show it, but he was disappointed. Maybe we'll get some fish or something.
"Valon, can you swim?" Kenji asks. I don't even have a chance to answer because Miyu's suddenly frozen in front of us.
"Miyu-chan?" I ask. She suddenly whirls around and walks over to Kenji. Grabbing his collar she yanks him away from me.
"Go back to Oniichan's room!" she snaps, and Kenji shuffles off fearfully.
'Oniichan'? Uh-oh... What did I do this time?
"Miyu-chan-" I start to protest, and then she whirls around and gives me the scariest glare I've ever seen come off a kid.
Okay...I won't call her "Miyu-chan" anymore...
She breaks into a run, streaking down the hall. I run after her. "Miyu, wait!"
Sure, she's ticked and hates my guts, but I've still got longer legs. It's not long before I catch up to her. I seize her wrist and she stumbles. I grab her around the waist before she can fall, and suddenly she's beating against my stomach with her small hands.
"I don't need your help! I don't, I don't!" I realize her breath is coming in sobs. I let go of her and she sinks to the floor. I kneel next to her. "Don't call me 'Miyu-chan'!" she cries rather suddenly. "Only he can-!"
"Your brother?" I ask. She nods slightly.
"And you're NOT him!" Inexplicably, she takes two fistfuls of my tank top and nestles herself against my chest.
Kind of hesitantly I put my arms around her in reply.
"Don't hug me, either," she protests, before breaking into sobs.
"I'm sure your brother will be okay..." I say slowly.
She shakes her head, sobs dying down. "Even if he wakes up, the doctors said he might not be able to walk anymore...
"A-and Otousan doesn't even care! Because he thinks Oniichan's bad just 'cause he has a motorcycle and has an ear pierced but he's not! Oniichan didn't have a motorbike accident 'cause he's a bad driver...He's really, really good and careful and everything! And now Okaachan doesn't even smile anymore...
"Oniichan promised that this summer he'd teach me and Kenji how to swim. He taught me to dogpaddle last summer, and Kenji was too little last year. But now he's not, so the three of us were supposed to go swimming this summer..."
Oh. So that's why she got upset when Kenji asked me if I could swim.
She sniffles for a few minutes more, and I hold her a little tighter.
"S-so why are you here?" she asks, looking up at me.
"My friend's hurt..."
"What happened to him?" she wants to know. She's a serious kid, but she's still a kid and she's still curious.
"He tried to kill himself."
Weird. I can say it easy to a little kid. Except instantly I regret telling her. I mean...she's a kid. Should she know that things could be so bad you could lose the will to even live?
She scrunches up her nose. "That's silly."
...Never mind. This is Miyu we're talking about, isn't it?
She gives one final sniff and straightens up. She rubs the tip of her nose. "Great, I bet my eyes are all red now..."
I nod thoughtfully. There's a bathroom right down the hall. "Hold on," I tell her, and scoot inside. I return a minute later and she's looking at me strangely.
"You had to pee?" she asks, cocking her head. I snort and shake my head, offering her a wet paper towel.
"Put it over your eyes. It'll feel better." I sit on the floor Indian-style and she sits next to me, stretching out and using my leg as a pillow, paper towel folded over her puffy eyelids.
Suddenly I understand why Amelda likes kids so much. You wouldn't believe how nice he is when it comes to kids... Like once, this boy playing tag crashed right into him and fell back on his behind, looking up at this red-haired, sunglasses-bearing giant in fear. Except Amelda just crouched down and helped the kid back to his feet, smiled slightly, and told him to please watch where he was going in the future. That same day we saw a girl fighting back tears at a dropped ice-cream cone... Yeah, you know what Amelda did? He bought the girl another. He wanted to see that little girl be happy, and I realized I wanted to see Miyu happy too. There's already so much suffering in the world, and it's not like you should have to face it when you're little. We did, and I guess we don't want any other kid to suffer the same fate.
Suddenly I look over and realize Miyu's gotten up and thrown the paper towel away. "I better go back," she says. I nod and get up myself.
"I'm coming with you," I grin, and this time she doesn't protest. And she even accepts it when I offer to chauffeur to her brother's room, piggyback-style.
We'd nearly reached Miyu's brother's room when I heard somebody calling my name. I turned, and there's Raph. He blinks at Miyu, no doubt wondering what the heck I'm doing with a kid on my back.
"He's awake," Raph says simply, recovering from the surprise. I suck in my breath.
"Your friend who hurt himself?" Miyu says quietly into my ear. I nod.
"He wants to talk to you," Raph tells me, and I nod slowly. My hands are starting to shake.
"I'll come with you, if you want," Miyu offers. I have to smile. I shake my head and set her down gently.
"Get back to your family, Miyu. I'll see ya 'round, okay, kid?"
She nods and smiles, and leaves.
As Raph and I head back to Amelda's room I can't help but feel that I'm heading toward my doom. He notices my discomfort and doesn't seem to understand it.
"He's not going to hit you or anything, Valon..."
Hitting me would hurt less than him hating me. But I don't say this aloud.
We enter the hospital room and my pulse is quickening. Amelda looks so fragile over there, though... He looks skinnier than normal and his hair has a darker hue against his pale face. I take a seat in the plastic chair near the bed, and Raph stands in the corner.
I'm hunched over, clutching the fabric of my pants. Guilt starts overwhelming me. Shouldn't I have seen it? Shouldn't I have seen that he wasn't happy? No, because while I was fighting my battles on the PlayStation, he was fighting the biggest boss battle of his life. And what about Raph? What was going through his head during this disaster, while I was too busy worrying about what Amelda'd think of me in the end?
Mother Mary always used to tell me to smile more. Because it takes only seventeen muscles to smile, and 2.5 times that amount to frown. She'd tell me I was lucky and that it was God who led her to take the shortcut that one day and stumble upon the four-year-old boy hiding in the protective shadow of a dumpster. A poor substitute for a mother, dumpsters are.
I think of this because I wish I could smile now, but I can't.
"Are you mad at me?" I ask.
There's a pause. "Half," he says finally.
I wonder vaguely what the other half is, but I don't pursue it.
"Valon wasn't sure at first if he should call the ambulance, you know," Raph speaks up from the back of the room. "But he decided he'd rather have you hate him than let you die."
...Raph, I'm going to kill you when we get out of here...
More silence. "'S that true?"
I nod. "I...I just thought that your mom and your brother wouldn't want you to go like that... I-I know I didn't... want you to go, I mean...s-so..."
Great, I'm babbling.
I glance up at him. He's frozen at the mention of his family. Perfect. I just made things twenty times worse.
"I-I'm sorry," I gasp out. "If you wanted to die it's not like it was any of my business, b-but I didn't want to lose you..." Raph comes up behind me and puts his hands on my shoulders.
"S-so in the future if things aren't right, th-then you can come to one of us, okay? I mean, you'd probably wanna talk to Raph just 'cause you get along better with him..."
Argh, why can't I stop freaking out?
"Valon, please, shut up." He sounds amused. I look up at him.
He's actually kinda smiling...Holy crap.
...Can't you just hear the violin music in the background? I swear; this is the sappiest moment of my life.
And then I made things even way schmaltzier, because I started crying. Raph's hold on my shoulders tightened and Amelda reached out and ruffled my hair.
My status as the little brother: reconfirmed.
It's been three days since the day Amelda first went to the hospital. Well, I guess it's more like two days, 'cause it's only one a.m. on the third day.
I'm turning on my PlayStation2, and loading up my new game. I haven't had much time to employ Valon's Brilliant Level-Up Strategy as of late, so I'm working on it now, at one a.m.
My character is wandering around the town when I hear movement behind me. I pause the game and turn to see Amelda standing in the doorway, glass of chocolate milk in hand. Chocolate milk is like his comfort food. Don't ask me why.
"What are you doing up?" we ask at the same time.
"You first," we say then, simultaneously.
I grin. "Can't sleep. You?"
To my surprise, he smiles back. "Me neither."
To my surprise again, he comes over and sits next to me on the couch. "What's this?" he asks, nodding towards the TV.
"The game I bought last week," I say distractedly, heading towards the item shop.
"You mean the one you kept ranting about, saying it was so hard?"
"Yup..." I smile sheepishly. "I'm getting better, though."
He nods and takes a sip of the chocolate milk.
I run to the town's portal and warp to the area I've dubbed my training ground. I run towards the portal things that the enemies like to come out of, and soon I'm locked in battle with a couple of goblins. No big deal; I beat them easy.
I pick another fight. This one's a bit harder; I end up having to use a couple items to beat them.
Crud, my HP's running low. I warp back to the town, refreshing my hit points and saving while I'm there.
"So, what's the point of this game?"
Amelda's never been interested in my games before. He saw me playing a fighting game once and asked dryly if I was pretending that was him I was beating up.
"It's like a quest-type game," I tell him. "I'm trying to level up, at the moment..."
I head back to my "training ground" and pick a couple fights. After the second fight I level up...Yesss.
I pick a few more fights. I'm getting cocky... I should probably go back and save and all, except I don't.
Sure enough... A few minutes later, I fall to the ground and fade out. The screen turns black, and large, bold red letters inform me that the game is over.
I curse under my breath and flop back on the couch. "Man, why do they have to be so obnoxious about it?" I ask suddenly, and Amelda cocks an eyebrow at me. "You know, with the 'game over' screen? I mean...they might as well be saying 'you suck!'"
Amelda snorts into his glass, understanding what I mean.
We sit in the dark for a moment.
"When we were at the hospital, talking... You said you were half angry. What was the other half?"
He takes one last swig of chocolate milk. "Relieved," he says simply, getting up. "G'night, Valon."
He leaves me sitting there, controller in hand. Then I lean foreward and hit the "reset" button on the PS2. I'm going to try again.
(About six months later...)
About a month after Amelda attempted suicide he had to go back to the hospital so they could take the stitches out of his arms.
They weren't ready for us when we got there, so we were totally bored out of our minds.
And then I decided to look for Miyu and Kenji.
I got lucky, 'cause they were there visiting their brother that day. I introduced Amelda to the two of them. Much to nobody's surprise, he was enamored with them.
It was nearly another month after that that Yuichi Takakura woke up.
Amelda was there with Miyu and Kenji one day, when a rather hysterical Mrs. Takakura came upon them and cried for Miyu and Kenji to come. The four of them headed to Yuichi's room, and Amelda told me afterward that Mrs. Takakura was babbling the whole time and for a while he thought Yuichi had died.
Amelda told Raph and I about it in depth, and that was probably the happiest I'd ever seen him. He told me that Kenji was off like a rocket, bouncing from his mother's arms to his brother's arms to one end of the room to the other end of the room. Miyu had curled up against Yuichi's side, eyes closed and a content smile on her face while assorted nurses repeatedly fussed over her brother.
I met Yuichi after that. He's a great guy... He's funny like you wouldn't believe. Amelda likes him well enough, but amusingly my redheaded friend gets along better with Yuichi's brother and sister.
At first Yuichi needed a wheelchair, but of course he remembered that he'd promised he'd teach Miyu and Kenji to swim, so it wasn't long before he graduated to a walker and after that he only needed to lean on people in order to walk. Nowadays he can go across a room with no help at all. We're all really thrilled.
The Takakuras have invited the three of us to the beach. At first, Raphael wasn't sure he was going to go or not – understandable, why he wouldn't like beaches. In fact, Amelda was a bit hesitant too, and when I thought about it too much I was doubtful myself.
It's something you do as a kid; go to the beach... But us, we don't have those sort of happy childhood memories, y'know? They say, though, that it's never too late to have a happy childhood.
That's a little weird, to me...I can't imagine Raph and Amelda being like kids. It's kind of a scary thought, anyway, if you ask me.
'Cept we can still move on and be happy and stuff. When Amelda said to me 'It's okay' I realized that while life doesn't have a reset button, it's got something even better - second chances.
Ending notes: (Whoo boy, there's a lot)
So I was very hesitant to share the plot points with anyone because there's an attempted suicide and I didn't know how that would go over with potential readers. Overall I'm pleased with how this one came out. I think Amelda was kinda OOC, though. Valon and Raphie were okay, however, I think. Valon's more open and all, so I can see him being upset if he knew someone close to him might die.
Valon's video game – I never actually named it, but it more or less is .hack-infection. (grin)
Ah, I loff the Takakura siblings. I named Kenji after Kenji Himura, and when I gave him a stuffed rabbit I was thinking of Gravitation's Ryuichi Sakuma's stuffed rabbit Kumagoro. (sticks tongue out) Kenji was waaaay fun to write. Daricio, Daisy, and my sister all gave me help with his dialogue. When I gave Kenji a sister I decided I wanted a serious kid – Miyu was born. Mwuah.
Also have to credit Daisy because of that line about Amelda asking if Valon was pretending it was Amelda he was beating up...I should've credited earlier but I was in too much of a rush to get this posted. Sorry, Daisy! (gloom)
Oh, and Daricio-neechan is where I got the "they might as well be saying 'you suck'" thing.
Yeah. So, I had much fun writing this fic. (Valon POVs are oodles of amusement.) I hope you had a good time reading it, too.
Comments? Criticisms? Cheesecake?