Disclaimer: I don't own any Weiss Kruez characters.
Author's Note: Did you positively hate the way the Weiss Kruez Gluhen ended? Then this story is for you. Here's my take on how the dang thing SHOULD have ended
Warning: Obviously, there will be spoilers for the Gluhen mini-series since this starts where it ends. Some spoilers for the original TV series as well.
Aya crouched by the mailbox on an anonymous street in New York, the knife the street urchin had thrust into him still in his gut. Through his gloves, he felt his blood pooling around the hilt. His long coat covered the wound somewhat, and besides, the people walking home on the busy street didn't notice anything wrong. The snow fell all around, making them anxious to hurry home. No one had time to bother with a man sitting by a mailbox.
How ironic that a child should be the one to kill him. He guessed the criminal who supplied Butler with homeless people was angry now that Aya had killed the bastard. Butler and his pet researcher from the pharmaceutical company had been conducting human trials on bums kidnapped from off the streets. He'd slaughtered nearly a hundred innocent victims, all in the name of the 'greater good'. Aya saw darkness all around and despaired. Would human beings never learn? Must there be such evil in the world? He'd fought against the beasts of the night for so long, and now he was getting tired.
His breathing grew shallow. It was getting colder, and darker. The last thing he remembered was pink, the tips of a pair of pink rain boots. Someone must want to mail a letter, and there he was in the way. He opened his mouth to apologize, and his hand fell away from his wound. His voice failed him, and everything went dark.
Asuka set down the hotel phone with a soft click, a slight frown of disappointment furrowing the skin between her eyes.
"What is it?" the man called Takeo asked, coming out of the bathroom while rubbing his damp hair with a towel. Takeo Ito wasn't his real name. He didn't remember his name. He'd taken on Asuka's last name when he married her, and she'd chosen the name Takeo for him. His past was still a complete blank from the time he'd woke up in the hospital a year ago. He found out new things about himself all the time, like the fact that he spoke flawless English.
They'd found that out at the airport when the customs agent asked him if he and his wife were in America for business or pleasure, and he'd answered without hesitation that they were there for a business conference then were staying on an extra week so his wife could visit an old college roommate. Asuka had stared, wide-eyed, and that was when Takeo realized that he'd not only understood the man's question, but also answered it in English.
Asuka had laughed it off in the taxi on the way to the hotel and told him that if she'd known he spoke English, she'd have practiced her English on him weeks ago. Takeo smiled back, but it was just another reminder that there was a missing piece of Takeo's life that would probably never be found. He'd accepted that, and Asuka's advice to live in the moment. For the most part he was happy. He didn't worry about his past, but he did worry whenever anything threatened Asuka's happiness.
"That was Hitomi," said Asuka, turning away from the phone. "She can't meet us for dinner. She was called in to the hospital."
"I thought she wasn't on call tonight."
"She wasn't supposed to be. She said the two other doctors who were on call for emergencies were stuck across town because of some traffic pileup. I guess there are a lot of accidents the first snow of the year."
Takeo walked over and put his arms around Asuka. "I'm sorry, darling. I know you wanted to see her tonight."
Asuka giggled. "You're still wet," she told him, snuggling against his chest. She laid her cheek against him and sighed. "It's the last day of your business meetings, and I really wanted her to meet you. She was my best friend in college, and I want you to like each other."
Takeo touched his wife's hair lightly where it lay over her shoulders. She hadn't put it up in her usual ponytail yet, and he loved running his fingers through her hair. "Why don't we go to the hospital and meet her for coffee?"
Asuka reared back a little to look up in his face. "You wouldn't mind?"
"Not at all." He smiled down at her. Making Asuka happy was his first priority.
She grinned. "Let's do it. We might have to wait a while if she's in surgery…"
"Don't worry about it. I'll bring my Wall Street Journal to read."
Asuka wrinkled her nose. "That boring old thing? I'm bringing my manga."
Unable to resist, Takeo kissed the tip of her perfect nose. "You know what they say, when in Rome…"
Takeo supposed that hospitals all over the world looked and smelled roughly the same, but the hospital where Asuka's friend Hitomi worked seemed busier, more bustling. It reminded him of New York itself, brash, busy, and self-important.
It didn't help that the main entrance was packed with ambulances dislodging victims of the multi-car pileup. It was a zoo. He and Asuka fought their way to the information desk and left a message for Hitomi. The busy nurse behind the formica counter directed them to a waiting room upstairs on the surgical floor where Hitomi was working, and told them to wait for her there.
The waiting room was only a little quieter as families sat in tense groups and waited for news of their loved ones. Hitomi, a smooth faced Japanese woman with short, layered hair, dressed in green scrubs, came into the waiting room thirty minutes later.
"Hitomi!" Asuka dropped her manga and came forward at a run. Takeo picked it up and followed after her.
"Asuka!" The reserved expression dropped from the woman's face and she smiled broadly, hugging Asuka back cheerfully. "It's good to see you! I'm so sorry about dinner. I may actually get to leave soon. Dr. Spencer called and it looks like he's coming in after all." She pulled back from Asuka and looked over at Takeo. "And who is this?"
Blushing at her gaffe, Asuka put her hand on Takeo's arm. "This is my husband, Takeo."
Takeo shook Hitomi's hand, smiling. He'd never seen Asuka so girlish before. It gave him a sense of what she'd been like as a young, giggly college student, before she learned the professional but friendly reserve needed in nursing. He could tell that they wanted to chat, so he excused himself to go use the bathroom down the hall, dodging stretchers being pushed to and fro down the long expanse of linoleum.
Coming out of the bathroom, he nearly walked into a girl arguing with an orderly.
"But why can't I see him? You said he was out of surgery."
She was a young, pale blonde with hair so fair that it looked white. Even her eyebrows were blonde, and he suspected that if the faint traces of mascara were washed off, her eyelashes would be blonde as well. The moisture beginning to pool in her eyes was reflected in her voice as she went on tearfully.
"I can't go home until I'm sure he's alright."
Exasperated, the brown haired orderly threw up his hands. "I don't know what else to tell you lady, with all the accident victims coming in and out of surgery, we'll probably have to wheel him out of the recovery room and leave him in the hall to make room for more. Maybe you can see him then." He snorted in disgust and walked away muttering.
The girl turned to go after him, just as Takeo moved out of the way of a stretcher being rushed to a surgical room. This had to be the busiest hallway in the hospital, judging by the amount of stretchers and staff members making their way back and forth down it. Not noticing Takeo's sudden dodge, the girl wheeled around and ran right into him, bouncing off his chest with a surprised 'Uff.'
"Are you alright?" Takeo asked, bending over her.
She'd landed with her back against the wall in a slump, and straightened her knees so that she was standing upright.
"Yes, yes, I'm fine," she stated, then her eyes teared up again. "No, I'm not fine. I found this man on the street bleeding to death. I called an ambulance and I've been waiting here to find out how he's doing, but no one will tell me anything because I'm not family, and they won't let me see him."
"That does sound frustrating." Takeo commiserated. "Do you know the man well?"
"No, at least, I don't think that I do."
Takeo cocked his head and looked at her quizzically.
She blinked to rid her pale blue eyes of any remaining tears. Talking seemed to have calmed her down a little.
"I teach kindergarten at a small Catholic day care center," she explained. "I try to get to services as often as I can after work, and I'm pretty sure I've seen that man there. It's the only reason I went over to him when I saw him sitting on the sidewalk."
She grimaced. "Oh dear, that makes me sound really horrible, doesn't it? Like I only help people that I know." She sighed dispiritedly. "You just have to be so careful these days."
"Yes, it's a dangerous world out there," Takeo agreed. Somehow, he knew it was true, though he didn't know how he knew. Mentally shrugging it off, he gave the girl another encouraging grin. "Which recovery room is the man in?"
Her shoulders slumped. "That's just it. I don't know, and no one will tell me. I can't just go barging into all the recovery rooms looking for him. Though he wouldn't be that tough to find. He has red hair."
A memory, a fragment of a man with a long red braid, and a flash of metal, then it was gone.
Takeo blinked. The doctors told him this would happen, that he'd get flashes sometimes of old memories, but they'd held out no hope that his complete memories would ever come back. Pushing it to the back of his mind, Takeo opened his mouth to say something reassuring, then stopped.
There down the hallway, two doors down, a stretcher was being pulled out of a room as another with a shower capped patient on it waited to be pushed in. The man on the stretcher coming out of the room had red hair. Takeo could only see the top of his head, which was rolling slightly from side to side, as though the man was waking up.
Letting a smile cross his face, Takeo pointed a finger over the girl's shoulder. Her face bunched up in a puzzled frown, but she turned obediently to look at where he was pointing.
The hallway was still bustling with activity, but this time it worked to their advantage. A large black orderly came rushing up to the man pushing the redhead's stretcher. He grabbed his shoulder and said something to him, then they both went hurrying down the hallway, leaving the stretcher next to the wall.
"Looks like now's your chance." Takeo said.
"Oh." The little blonde whirled back to face him and put her hands to her mouth distractedly. "Now that I can talk to him, I don't know what to say."
Takeo smiled down at her. She really was quite pretty in her own way, but he was married now, and Asuka was all that mattered. "I'm sure you'll think of something," he told her, and taking her by the shoulders, he turned her back to face the hallway, and gave her a gentle shove in the right direction.
She nodded, squared her shoulders, and began walking down the hall, stopping by the side of the stretcher. Takeo hung back to watch for a minute. He couldn't see the redhead's face, but he saw the man's hand flop against the stretcher's railing, and saw the blonde girl reach out hesitantly, and take it. Her face softened into a tiny smile.
Feeling the warm glow of satisfaction that comes from a job well done, Takeo set off down the hall, sparing a quick glance at the couple as he walked by. He caught a brief glimpse of the redhead's face, and thought he saw the expression in his dark blue eyes sharpen as he walked by the man.
The blonde's voice murmured something softly, but Takeo wasn't listening. Instead, he was plotting how to wend his way around the hallway traffic coming at him. One stretcher, two orderlies, a nurse, and a civilian, probably a visitor, in a long black coat and unkempt black hair. There was something about the way the black-coated man was walking that pricked at the back of Takeo's mind.
The hairs on the back of his neck stood up, and he could feel himself tensing, but why? Just because the man was walking with his hand jammed down his pocket didn't mean…
Of all the conversations, yells, and whispers going on in the busy hall, why did that one hoarse shout of warning ring so loud in Takeo's ear?
He had only a bare second to wonder about it when he saw the man pulling a dark, metallic gun from out of his coat pocket, and then he reacted.
He was only two steps away from the man, and he covered the distance in one, curling his left hand into a fist, and driving it up into the man's solar plexus as he grabbed his opponent's trench coated shoulder with his right hand, positioning him for the blow.
The man gave a wheeze and crumpled, dropping the gun back into his pocket as he fell.
Takeo shoved him against a laundry cart someone had left standing by the wall, and let go of his trench coat to let the now-unconscious man slump over behind it.
It only took a second or two. Takeo kept expecting one of the orderlies or the nurse coming down the hallway to react, but they walked by without noticing a thing, leaving him standing there staring at his fist bemusedly.
There was that voice again.
He knew before he turned to look, that it was the redhead. There he was, struggling to sit up, the blonde girl trying to support him by wrapping her arms around his back and shoulders.
Those dark, icy blue eyes seemed to be trying to focus past the post-surgical haze of drugs he'd been given. They seemed to bore into his own eyes.
"Yohji. It isn't safe. We've got to get out of here."
"Who are you?" Takeo asked, but that wasn't the real question roiling around in his mind. What he really wanted to know was why the man called him Yohji.
"I'm Aya," answered the redhead.
Yes. That felt right somehow. The name fit him. And what was that other name? The one Aya had called out?
His real name must be Yohji.
Looking into the redheaded man's eyes, Takeo felt the careful little world he'd built for himself start to crumble. A piece of information from the past popped into his mind. He was Yohji. And he was Weiss.
To be continued…
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