Disclaimer: Rurouni Kenshin © 1994 by Nobuhiro Watsuki and SHUEISHA Inc., Tokyo.
Kazeiro No Hitomi
Italics – Thoughts
Bold – Emphasis on words
ORO! – Scene change
Sirens blared as an ambulance raced from the hospital to respond to an emergency call of an unconscious girl found at home by her foster parents, Shirasu Eiji and Miyako. Upon arriving, EMT Takani Megumi rushed into the house and called out to any inside to direct her to the patient. The girl's father met her halfway and proceeded to bring her down a corridor. Megumi spotted the girl lying on the floor of the den with a woman standing close, albeit shakily, next to the still form.
"Move!" Megumi yelled, sliding down to her knees next to the girl, "How long ago did you find her? And how long could she have been in this state?"
"We just got home from a business dinner, less than 20 minutes ago." The woman with brown hair replied as she watched Megumi check Kaoru's vitals, "My husband and I had left two hours ago. Kaoru had a project for school she wanted to finish, so she decided to stay home."
"Did you find anything unusual when you arrived home?" Megumi asked as she helped her partner get the teenaged girl onto the stretcher.
"Well…" The woman's husband began hesitantly.
"If you know something that could help us save this girl, you had better say it now." The
EMT growled out.
"I saw a bottle of aspirin on the counter, and it was half empty. We bought the bottle yesterday."
"Dear Kami-sama!" Megumi turned to her partner. "Radio ahead. Tell them we have a possible painkiller overdose."
The brown haired woman and her husband watched in muted horror as the girl they were supposed to take care of was sped to the local hospital.
ORO! ORO! ORO! ORO!
Beeping. Constant Beeping. Yeah, that's what I was hearing. Voices too. Talking about someone's mental state, brain fluctuations and other junk I didn't understand. Tell me this isn't what Hell is like. If this isn't Hell, and I was sure I wasn't going to Heaven for what I did, I had to wonder where I was. That's when I heard my name mentioned in the conversation and I took the time to listen more intently.
"She is a very troubled child, Shirasu-san. I've seen the reports from her psychiatrist, and we're afraid she'll try something more drastic next time." Who the Hell does this old man think he is, huh?
"Do you truly think she'll do it again?"
"Yes, we do."
I tuned them out and felt anger growing within me. Damn, it didn't work. I was still alive. In that case, yeah…I'd try something worse next time. They continued to talk about me, and I was getting sick of it.
"I'm awake, you know." My voice was laced with the anger I felt. I glared up at the doctor, who is a rather portly old geezer if you ask me, and the woman that constantly tells me to call her mother. "If you have something to say, don't sneak around about it."
"Kaoru, honey…" I had to cringe at the pet name, "We think it's best if you go someplace where you won't hurt yourself anymore."
I let out an un-ladylike snort, "Ooh, lemme guess. An insane asylum!"
My surprise was genuine when she answered me with a three-letter word, "Yes."
"Great, you'd rather send me away than take care of me. Real nice, Miyako."
"Kaoru, how many times-"
"Must you ask me to call you mother? I don't know. Let's count, shall we?"
"Stop patronizing me, young lady."
I was fed up with looking at her, so I shifted my gaze over to the doctor. By now he was looking rather uncomfortable with the situation. Good, he deserves whatever he's feeling right now. He coughed and made as if to calm me, which was far from what I wanted to do.
"Kaoru, your mother-" He began, but I cut him off.
"Right. Your foster mother is only trying to help you. Maybe we can get you to go home for a few weeks and see if things get better." I looked at his nametag at this point. It read Dr. Gensai.
"Well, to be honest. I'd rather be in the asylum Dr. Gensai."
Miyako and Dr. Gensai stared at me with startled expressions. I repeated myself, this time more firmly, and Dr. Gensai agreed to send me there.
ORO! ORO! ORO! ORO!
Here I am, at Aoiya Institute of Metal Health. Or so reads the plaque on the gates out front. The director of this fine establishment was named Kashiwazaki Nenji, and I was promptly informed that I would most likely never see the man. I am under the professional care of a psychiatrist named Shinomori Aoshi and his assistant, Makimachi Misao. That woman gets on my nerves, she's so cheerful all the time. Aoshi, on the other hand, is stern and impassive. He's the exact opposite of Misao. To top it all off, she never seems to ruffle his feathers. I have come to the decision that either he completely ignores her, or he has known her for many years and is used to her enthusiasm by now.
They were leading me to a room so I could 'introduce' myself to the other patients staying in the same section of the asylum as I am.
Misao opened the door to the room, and all too cheerfully greeted the occupants of said room. She turned to me and gave the widest smile I have ever seen someone give. "Go on, tell them about yourself!"
"My name is Kamiya Kaoru. I'm here because I tried to kill myself to rid my so called foster parents of the burden of taking care of me." There, I introduced myself. It sure didn't please Misao though.
Aoshi took a step forward, "Kaoru." And that was all he said, as if I'm supposed to understand him.
"I don't care what you think, Aoshi." I retorted, my temper getting the best of me. "They were never around when I needed them!"
I saw surprise flash in the ice blue eyes of my dark haired psychiatrist. I mentally smirked; he can show emotion after all. He whispered something to Misao an quickly exited the room.
Misao then stepped up on my right and clapped her hands nosily. How annoying. "Okay, I'd like you all to introduce yourselves to Kaoru."
A guy, whom I guessed to be a few years older than I, stood up. His spiky brown hair and lazy grin were almost comical. "Sagara Sanosuke at your service, Jou-chan." He gave a small bow, "Please, do call me Sano."
If this has been any other time and place, I would've smiled back at him and laughed. Not now, and probably never again. Life just wasn't worth it. One by one the others introduced themselves. There was Seta Soujiro, with his seemingly never-ending smile. Tsubame, a meek little girl that probably wasn't even a teenager yet. Myoujin Yahiko, a spunky brat the same age as Tsubame. Omasu, a quiet woman with her hair pulled back into a neat bun. Chou, with his lazy eye, long blonde spiked hair and odd accent. I had thought him to be the last of them when I spotted flaming red locks far in the back. From this vantage point I couldn't make out the person's gender. Now I'm curious.
"Who is that, Misao?" I smiled in satisfaction as the woman jumped at my words.
"That's Himura Kenshin. He didn't introduce himself because he's a mute. Something very traumatic happened to him, but we can't figure out what. He has been here the longest, at least ten years. Someone found him face-down in an alley covered in blood that wasn't his own." Her voice had taken on a solemn quality I wouldn't have guessed was possible for her.
"I see." Boy, that sounded weak.
I watched Misao turn to the other patients, who by now where growing restless. "You're all free to go now. Don't forget, the park is open until 6:45 P.M. Dinner is served at 5 o'clock sharp and curfew is 8:00 P.M. Remember, if you need anything to please contact Seijurou-san or Saitoh-san."
My eyes followed her as she left the room, along with every one else. Everyone except Kenshin. My legs moved on their own and carried me over to the table he had seated himself at. I couldn't believe how starkly his hair contrasted with the dull white uniform that all the patients had to wear. I sat down in the chair opposite his, and it was then that I noticed the cross-shaped scar that marred the left side of his face. It was an old scar, I could tell. On closer inspection I saw his eyes. There stared blankly at the table, completely devoid of the spark of life. It almost frightened me.
He lifted his head suddenly; baby blue tinged with lavender met dark blue bordering on black in that instant. I felt a shiver run down my spine.
"Hello Kenshin." I heard myself said involuntarily. Whoa, hold it! Did I just say something to him? I'm such an idiot, he can't talk.
His right hand moved swiftly in a quick gesture. He must've noticed my confusion because he repeated the motion very slowly. I gathered that he was using some sort of sign language, but the last time I had taken sign language classes was elementary school and I was at a total loss. For a moment I thought I saw something – frustration, maybe? – cross his face before it was replaced once again with that blank look.
Oh well, gotta give a girl points for trying. I stood up from my chair and turned to leave. Then I heard a voice. It was rough and scratchy from disuse, but I'm pretty sure it would've been pleasing to the ears at some point.
"Wait." The voice said again. I turned back a saw the ghost of a smile playing on Kenshin's lips.
"You can talk..?"
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