Netto and Saito were just about 17 months old, give or take a few days. They had been walking for something close to six months, and in Netto's case he had been climbing everywhere for about three. They had a limited vocabulary but seemed to get along with it just fine, as they really didn't seem to need words when it came to conversing with one another. All in all they were both maturing as children should, even if Saito did show a tendency to get quite ill for no reason.
The early November sun set a bit earlier then in previous weeks and the chilled twilight held the promise of a soon to come winter. Haruka shivered, gathered up her things and walked over to the sandbox to collect her children and take them home before anything happened. As if something had been reading her thoughts, Saito doubled over in pain and began to wheeze painfully as his twin waddled over and started to pat him, calling out loudly for his mother.
Haruka saw this happen and it seemed an eternity to her before she could reach her son and cradle him in her arms to see what was happening. "Saito!" she gasped and patted him on the back, unsure if there was something in his throat or if it was his own body betraying him.
Saito began to shiver, then to wail loudly as he fought for air. The frightened Netto stared at him wide eyed for a second, then he too joined his brother, crying loudly for his terrified twin. Haruka shivered again, but this time in fear. With a deft movement she scooped up Netto and dashed across the street to their house where she deposited her wailing son on the couch and dashed for the phone in the living room as she desperately tried to woo Saito into calming down.
"110 emergency," a calm voice asked on the other line.
"Miss," Haruka said while trying to coddle Saito and keep an eye on Netto all at the same time. "My son is having trouble breathing and I don't know what's wrong," she took in a shuddering breath, about to burst into tears herself. "He's not choking on anything and I don't know what to do."
"Do you have a car?" the woman asked gently.
Haruka shook her head, then she realized the woman couldn't hear a shake of the head. "No," she croaked. "I can't drive yet, my husband was going to teach me this summer…" she went on then realized she was babbling. "Please, I don't know what's going on but he's hurting and I can't stop it."
"All right," the woman said soothingly. "What's your address?"
Haruka relayed it as quickly and calmly as she could given the circumstances. Saito continued to wail and draw in breath painfully in her arms and by that time Netto had wandered over and was now clutching her skirt staring wide eyed at his twin and shaking uncontrollably. Haruka looked down at him a figured he was in shock, trying to understand what was going on.
"It's all right sweetie," she cooed, bending down to attend to her other son. Netto's face wrinkled up and he burst into a fresh wail, but Haruka figured it was better then nothing.
"An emergency unit was just dispatched," the woman replied over the phone. "It will be there shortly."
"Thank you," Haruka said and drew in a shuddering breath. Everything had happened so quickly and so sudden that she herself barely had time to wrap her consciousness around the idea.
Haruka stayed on the phone, with the attendant talking to her in a cam voice, keeping the woman from having her own breakdown before the paramedics could arrive. Once the ambulance got there she hung up and dashed to the door with her son in her arms. Netto toddled painfully slow after them, sniffling.
The men took Saito from her and put him on a stretcher where he continued to wail loudly as he drew in ragged breath. Haruka then turned around, scooped up Netto and got into the back of the truck. She watched as men hooked up various pieces of equipment to Saito in an effort to find out what was going wrong. Saito had an oxygen mask on in hopes that it would help him breathe; however as soon as the heart monitor came on it became all to clear what the problem was.
"An erratic heart beat," the man said. "This could be any number of things," he informed Haruka. "Once he's stabilized we'll find out what's wrong."
Haruka nodded and clutched a wide-eyed Netto to her chest. It was then that she herself burst into tears; she cried all the way to the hospital.
Hours later, Yuuichirou burst into the room looking ragged as if he had just jumped out of bed and flew half way across the world in four hours. Haruka greeted him with a sleeping Netto in her arms. Two hours previous she had managed to console the child into sleeping and she herself was beginning to the feel the wear of the past few hours. Yuuichirou touched her puffy, swollen eyes with his thumb and sighed. "I'm so sorry I couldn't have been here sooner. The prime minister gave me his fastest jet."
Haruka shook her head and leaned into Yuuichirou's touch. "It's all right." She nodded at the bed where Saito was sleeping, hooked up to several hospital machines, the most important of while showed his heartbeat. "The doctor said he wanted to see you when you got here," she said gently.
Yuuichirou nodded and patted Saito's head softly, kissed Haruka on the cheek and smiled at Netto before leaving the room. He found the doctor a small ways down the hallway and nodded his head. "Well?" he asked softly.
"We believe your son has a heart condition called HBD," the doctor explained. "There are no treatments available," he frowned a Yuuichirou. "Hakase, I'm very sorry but…" he chewed his lower lip. "There's nothing we can do."
"How long?" Yuuichirou asked.
"A month, or so. If he has another attack like this I doubt he'd make it through. I'm very sorry," the doctor said softly.
Yuuichirou looked at the doctor and frowned. "Are you sure there are no treatments, nothing…"
The doctor shook his head. "If there was anything I'd tell you. There are not even any experimental procedures we could try."
Yuuichirou let a breath of air his through his teeth angrily as he wracked his brain for anything he could do. The doctor patted him on the arm, "You'll tell the Mrs.?" He asked.
Yuuichirou nodded absently and the doctor gave him a sympathetic nod before moving on to the next room. Yuuichirou stood there in the middle of the hall pulling every idea he could think of, anything that might save the life of his precious son. Unfortunately for him, all of his previous experience lay in data building and programming, the human body was just as alien to him as plumbing. However, he did know someone that could help.
"Sweetie," he said softly, walking up behind Haruka and massaging her shoulders.
She took in a shaky breath. "He's not going to make it, is he?" she asked. Yuuichirou's uncomfortable silence was more then enough answer for her and she drew Netto even closer as she bit back painful tears.
"I…" Yuuichirou sighed. "I have a theory but I need to run it by you to see if it's possible."
"Will it save Saito?" she asked softly her voice wavering, threatening to give away her tears.
"Maybe," he replied. When Haruka nodded her head he ploughed on, rambling out the idea as it formed in his head. "Netto and Saito are twins," he stated. "They have the same DNA and so I was wondering if it could be technically possible to link them together with a cybernetic link. If it works the way I would want it to, Netto's immune system could help Saito's and possibly it could help strengthen his heart so when another attack comes Netto's healthy heart could help Saito's weak one through."
Haruka drew in a small breath and Yuuichirou could tell she was mulling it over. "Or… it could backfire and we could loose both of them," she said softly.
"Or that," he realized. "But… if we sit back and do nothing, we're going to loose him."
Haruka gazed at her child, surrounded by the plastic jungle of tubes and wires, untouchable by anyone at the moment. "If you're careful about it, and if you separate the DNA you plan to use just right, it probably will…" she frowned. "It might work," she said finally.
Yuuichirou let his hands rest on her shoulders. "Will you help me then?" he asked.
"To save Saito or to give up Netto?" she asked with a frown. "I don't know," she whispered. "I don't want to loose any more then I have to."
"I won't force you," Yuuichirou said quietly. "But I don't know how to extract DNA so I need you to make this work."
"I'll think about it," she said softly as she looked down at Netto and stroked back his soft hair. He stirred fitfully and cuddled deeper into Haruka's arms. Yuuichirou nodded and left the silent room to see if there were any other plans he could come up with.
"Is it worth it?" she asked herself softly.
Netto opened a sleepy brown eye and gazed up at Haruka. Her face was downcast and he could tell she couldn't see him. He lifted up a small hand and patted her cheek. When she looked at him, startled, he gave her a toothy grin as if to reassure her. "Saioh-nii-'an okay?" he asked.
"He's…" her mouth twisted and she realized that she couldn't lie to her son, so she merely stayed quiet.
Netto frowned and sat up, gazing at Haruka as concerned as a toddler could be. "Fine?" he asked, as if for reassurance.
Haruka pulled Netto closer to herself and held him tightly, not saying a word.
"NO!" Netto said violently. "NO NO NO! Saioh-nii-'an fine!"
Haruka's lips twisted and the tears that threatened earlier came. They poured openly down her cheeks and Netto reached up to feel the wetness that now glistened on her face. "No," he said softly. He leaned forward and buried his face in her chest. "No, mama, no."
Later the next day, Netto was curled up in his own bed and Yuuichirou and Haruka were in Yuuichirou's study pouring over plans to save their son who was currently in emergency surgery at the hospital.
"Are we doing the right thing?" Haruka asked softly as she listened to the test tubes clink around her.
"Only time will tell," Yuuichirou answered and pulled his wife close. "But, I want them to live, both of them."
Haruka nodded and turned, ready to put her four years of Biology study at work for the first and last time.
Yuuichirou worked day and night turning the DNA into data and every consequence that came with it. He knew that Netto and Saito would end up having more side effects then just the desired one if it worked but he also knew that when Haruka agreed to help him that something that Netto had said or done was what made up her mind. He would never let his precious son's get separated, ever.
When it was done three weeks later, Saito was at home and quietly playing with a subdued Netto. Both he and Haruka knew that they were on borrowed time and sure enough just before Yuuichirou was ready to initiate the file he called 'Saito.bat' Saito showed preemptive signs of having another attack.
"Dear!" Haruka gasped.
Yuuichirou nodded grimly and together the couple took the twins to Sci-Labs. As if on a whim, Yuuichirou explained the situation to both twins even though he knew there was no hope at all of them understanding it. Netto looked back at him with concerned eyes and asked, "Then Saioh-nii-'an be fine?"
"Hopefully," Yuuichirou replied with a small scared smile.
Netto nodded and for the first time in his short life he was perfectly still. Yuuichirou then understood that even though Netto had no idea what was going on he understood that whatever was going on it was going to save his doomed brother and to do that he was willing to do anything. That alone gave Yuuichirou the strength to tap the keys on his keyboard and initiate the program.
"Netto, Saito, get up!" Haruka said cheerfully.
Netto groaned and turned over on the top bunk, still tired and sleepy and in no mood to rise. Saito on the other hand jumped out of bed excitedly and climbed into Netto's bed pouncing on his twin energetically. "Come on Netto-kun, it's our first day of school! Aren't you excited?"
"No," Netto answered darkly.
Haruka smiled and left the room, leaving Saito to rouse his grumpy twin.
Yuuichirou waited down stairs with a pale green and bright purple PET in his hands. "Are they excited?" he asked his wife.
"Saito is," she answered with a laugh. "Give Netto a few minutes."
Yuuichirou chuckled. "I'll bet they can't wait to get to school. Especially once they have these," he said glancing at the PET's.
"Are you sure they're old enough?" Haruka asked. "I mean they're only five."
Yuuichirou nodded. "Of course they are. Besides, you can't be everywhere at once."
"Leave it to me!" a loud female voice said proudly. "I'll watch em'!"
"Gem, calm down. We haven't even met our Net Op's yet," a calmer voice said.
"Oh hush Stone, you're excited too, I can tell!" she announced.
Haruka chuckled and gazed at the PET's. "Maybe I was wrong. After all it is their first day of school."
Yuuichirou gazed up at the closed door where Netto and Saito were getting ready. "Yes, their day," he said happily. "Both of them."
Haruka nodded and kissed Yuuichirou lightly on the lips before going into the kitchen to get breakfast.
Awwww, aren't they cute X3 Anywho, AU ficcie here, yes I asked permission from NekoSalosa to use Gem and Stone. Next chappie soon I hope