Disclaimer: All characters and likenesses contained herein are the intellectual property of KID. This is a fan piece designed for the sole purpose of entertainment, so please enjoy!
Spoiler Warning: This piece of fanfiction contains spoilers relating to Tsugumi's scenario in EVER 17. It is recommended that you play through her scenario before reading.
by Andrew Glasco
White. That was all I saw.
As I blinked my weary eyes open, the blur of white slowly came into focus. It was a ceiling – a white, unfamiliar ceiling.
'Where am I? How long have I been here?'
I had no idea.
I slowly sat up. My head swam and my limbs felt heavy, but I managed it. The sheets fell from my upper body into my lap as I sat up. Only then did I realize that I was in a bed covered with white sheets. Gathering my wits about me, I took a look around. The room was small, and the walls and floor were the same blinding white as the bed sheets. There were two windows in the room. One window was placed directly above my bed, and the other above the bed next to mine. And sitting up on that bed...
There was a boy. He had short, disheveled brown hair and matching chestnut-colored eyes. His skin was a bit pale; not too different from my own complexion, come to think of it. Judging by his face, he was probably around my age, too. He must have been twelve or thirteen at most. His eyes were locked on me with a look of curiosity. Just how long had he been watching me...? I felt a bit embarrassed, but...I was simply more confused than anything.
"Where am I?" I asked, my tone betraying my uneasiness.
"It's a hospital," the boy smiled, his eyes carrying a glimmer of reassurance.
A hospital? A million questions, all of them unclear, assaulted my jumbled mind. Why? Where? It seemed as though I had the pieces to the puzzle, but I couldn't seem to piece them together.
I simply spoke the first words that came to mind, "Which one?"
"Well...I don't really know, either," came the boy's sheepish reply.
"You don't know?" I repeated, quizzically. Just then, the thought came to me that this boy may not know any more than I did.
"Ha, ha, ha," the boy laughed, though his tone didn't carry much humor. "I don't know why, but I don't know."
Yep. This kid didn't seem to know any more than I did. Taking that to heart, I decided to take another approach. "My name's...Tsugumi. Tsugumi Komachi. You?"
The boy blinked his eyes as though perplexed. "Huh?"
This kid definitely seemed to be confused... In fact, he may have been more confused than I was. "What's your name?" I repeated, my voice falling to just above a whisper. I didn't know why I was speaking so quietly. It wasn't as if I was doing anything wrong.
"Well," the boy began, shifting the covers down his body a bit. "I don't know that either. Sucks, huh?" The boy shot me another smile, as though the notion of not knowing his own name didn't bother him. I understood then. Of course this boy was more confused than me; he couldn't even remember his own identity. What was that called? That's right – amnesia. Even though I didn't know where I was, this boy didn't even know who he was. I felt sorry for him at that moment. He seemed a kind sort, but he was extremely misfortunate.
Then again, I guess I was pretty misfortunate as well. Turning my head away from the boy, my gaze fell to my lap. My hands were folded loosely over the white bed sheets. With the cogs beginning to turn in my own mind, I was beginning to recall just why I must have been brought here. I left the hospital after visiting Julia and went to cross the road. I guess I wasn't paying attention, because I remember a loud horn sounding in my ear, and people's screams from the sides. I remember looking up, and...yes, I remember. I was hit by a car. No. It wasn't even a car. I think it was a semi-trailer. I don't remember anything more about the accident. I don't even remember the pain hitting me. But...how had I survived? It was heading straight for me. I could now recall the terror that gripped me as I saw it. I'm sure that it hit me, but...
I could move. I raised my right arm and turned up my palm, making a fist with my hand. It wasn't hard. I didn't hurt. My legs shifted freely beneath the blankets. My head, though it felt a bit swimmy, didn't hurt either. I was confused. I didn't understand it.
"Hey," the boy's voice snapped me from my reverie, my eyes instinctively raising to acknowledge him. His eyes conveyed concern. This boy was like an open book. "Are you okay?"
I finally realized that I'd never answered him from before. Even though I thought I was thinking straight, maybe I still wasn't completely on the straight and narrow. "I'm fine," I replied quietly. "I'm just a little confused."
"Ah. Why are you here, anyway?" the boy laid back upon his bed pillow as he asked me.
"I," I hesitated, the absurd thought of my survival coming back to gnaw at my mind. "I got hit." I knew that my answer was vague, but I still felt weird about the whole situation.
"Got hit? Someone hit you?" the boy pressed on, interested. But he misunderstood.
"No, I mean," I struggled for the words. "It was...a car. I got hit by a car."
"Really?" he seemed to quickly examine me, probably surveying my condition. "Are you okay? It doesn't look like it was bad."
"I...I don't know," I admitted, turning my eyes from the boy once again. I simply couldn't remember anything else. I must have been knocked unconscious, but...I survived, and didn't seem to be badly hurt at all. It had to have been some kind of miracle.
"Huh," the boy turned his head away from me as well, his eyes turning to stare at the too-white ceiling. Maybe he thought that I was lying. Maybe he just didn't know what to say next.
I didn't have time to think about it any longer as the door to the room suddenly opened. A man in a white lab coat stepped inside and shut the door behind him. Both his eyes and hair were jet black, a stark contrast to his uniform. His eyes were narrow and sharp, and his cheekbones drawn back far, pulling his skin snugly against the bones of his face. A pair of thin spectacles rested upon the bridge of his nose, giving him the look of a middle-aged professor. He wore a small smile on his face as he immediately stepped over to stand at my bedside. A tad frightened, I recoiled a few inches towards the opposite end of the bed.
"Good morning, little lady," the man began. "How are you feeling?"
"Who are you?" came my instant, wary question in reply.
"I'm the physician who will be attending to you," he answered, not missing a beat. He must have been used to this kind of reaction, because his face didn't change at all...like a mask.
"Physician?" I questioned, wading through my still-muddled thoughts. "Oh, you mean you're a doctor."
"Yes," he answered. "I'm going to find a cure for your sickness and make you all better."
"Cure me?" What did he mean? Sickness? I wasn't sick. I was pretty sure of it. I certainly didn't feel sick at all. I felt a bit fatigued, but I attributed that to sleeping for a long time. My dispute, however, was weak in spite of my solid memories. "I got in an accident and got hurt..."
"No," the corner of the doctor's mouth turned up in amusement. "It's a little different than that."
"Different?" I asked in a small voice. What was he talking about? Was I really sick...? Was I wrong about everything? Was that accident just a dream?
"You have a new disease. One that we've never seen before," the doctor told me, placing a hand upon my knee. He didn't seem to be joking. No, a doctor wouldn't joke like this. I knew that, but I didn't want to think about it. I could hear my heart begin to pound louder in my ears. What kind of sickness? And where did I get it? I again found myself with so many questions that I didn't have the answers to.
I'm sure that the fear showed on my face, but the doctor did not acknowledge it. "All right, I'd like to take a little of your blood."
Blood? Though I'd felt fine up until now, I suddenly began to feel a little sick. "Why?"
"Well, it's for research," the doctor answered simply. On second thought, he quickly added, "to find a way to cure you, of course."
"Research?" I repeated thoughtfully. I still didn't understand. What kind of research? What was wrong with me?
"Your illness is very rare."
"Rare?" I repeated after his words again, turning my eyes up towards the white ceiling.
The doctor's eyes still didn't leave me as he spoke. I felt a bit uncomfortable under his gaze, somehow. "There are very few people in the world who have it, and of all those people, you're special."
"Special?" I repeated his words once again as I stared at nothing. I probably sounded like a broken record...but what was he talking about? I understood his words, but not the larger point.
"Your genetic code is being rewritten. It is truly fascinating," the doctor explained, his tone growing considerably more excited. "You're the talk of our whole medical center."
"I don't understand...what you're talking about," I murmured quietly, blinking up at the white ceiling. And I didn't understand. Genetic code? Isn't that something that makes up a person? I had no idea about the details.
"Ha, ha, ha!" the doctor laughed in a good-natured tone...but it felt like he was laughing at me, somehow. "Hey, don't worry about it. We're going to find a way to make you better." The doctor then leaned over the bed so that his face entered my field of vision. "I promise."
All at once, I began to feel a little better. I thought that I might be able to trust this man to help me. After all, he had promised. I managed a small smile at him, deciding to go along with what he wanted. But still, something bothered me. "Um, how are you going to get some blood...?"
"Well, princess...we just..." the doctor seemed to struggle with his words for a moment before finally shaking his head and beginning anew. "Hey, don't you worry yourself about it."
"..." I fell silent. I understood quite well why he wouldn't explain it to me. It was going to hurt. I averted my eyes to the side, catching sight of the boy in the bed next to mine once again. He was looking over at us with curious eyes. He must have been watching the whole thing.
The doctor must have realized that my attention was drifting from him. He didn't relent, but instead pressed on. "Just give me your arm and we'll be done before you know it. It won't hurt."
I was looking into the boy's eyes, and he was looking back into mine. Somehow, without exchanging a word, I believe that we both understood what the other was feeling. I could feel his sympathy. But he was worried, too. In that moment, I was certain that he was a kind boy.
It was then that I felt the doctor gingerly take my arm. "Ah," a slightly startled sound escaped my lips, my eyes turning back to the man. He smiled lightly as he caught my eye.
"Don't worry your little head about it, princess," he coaxed me as he rolled up my sleeve. "It will only take a second." He then reached into his coat pocket and took out a long syringe with a sort of vial attached to it. The needle was so long that my eyes widened all their own.
"Just relax," the doctor tried to assure me, reaching out to take my arm. I flinched. I didn't want to be stuck by such a long needle! I was scared...
The doctor pulled his arm back, maintaining his patience. Looking me dead in the eye, he then told me, "I'm your friend, Tsugumi. I'm going to find a way to make you feel better with this."
I didn't resist again.
EVER 17 -you are in the infinity loop- EVER 17
A couple of hours passed. The doctor took a lot of my blood, asked me lots and lots of questions, and then finally left. I couldn't answer most of his questions, but he didn't seem mad. Still, I'd felt tired and a little dizzy since he took all of that blood, so I had just lain in bed ever since, staring up at the white ceiling. I was tired but I couldn't seem to sleep. I wondered where I was and what exactly was happening to me. Still, there were no answers for me now. I would have to ask the doctor later.
Sighing softly, my head lulled to the side a bit. I then noticed the boy in the bed next to me once again. Lying in his bed, he seemed to be staring up at the ceiling as well. His eyes were open, but he didn't move at all. I must have looked exactly the same up until just a few seconds ago. I decided to call out to him and try to find out a bit more about him...as a roommate, you know.
"Hey, you there next to me," I called out to the boy, having no name to call him by.
The boy turned his head my way, his eyes a bit groggy. "What?"
"You're sick too, aren't you?" I asked. I knew that he had no memory, but I thought that if he was placed in a room with me, he might have something similar to me. But I retained my memories, so I thought that there might be something else wrong with him, too.
"Me?" He appeared caught off-guard by the question, and seemed unsure of how he should answer. "Uh, well, I—"
"The same sickness as me?" I interjected quickly, hoping to confirm my suspicion. If it was, then maybe I could find out more about what was wrong with me.
"No," the boy answered. His initial tone seemed sure, but he was quick to add a disclaimer. "Ummm...I mean, probably not, anyway."
"You mean you aren't sure?" I questioned with a bit of disappointment. Even if he wasn't sure, he had seemed pretty confident about his answer to begin with.
The boy smiled a little. "Yeah, I'm fine. I know. I can..." the boy trailed off, hesitating once again. Was it really something that was so hard to tell me?
After waiting a few moments for his answer, I finally prompted him. "Um, you can?"
The boy met my gaze evenly with a smile and answered in a tone of resignation. "I can see the future."
The future? I blinked a few times, not having expected such a response. It's something that you would expect to read in a fantasy book, not that you would expect to hear from someone you recently met. Immediately, I began to have my doubts about this kid. Was he playing with me, just lying outright, or...was it really true?
"I don't blame you for not believing me," the boy continued, turning his gaze back towards the ceiling. Perhaps he detected the doubt in my eyes. "But it's true."
"I-it's not that I don't believe you," I quickly protested, though it was something of a lie. "It's just that, y'know...it's not something that's easy to accept." On second thought, it was probably a pretty lame excuse.
The boy was silent for a few moments before he suddenly sat up, pulling the sheets off of himself. "Okay then!" he exclaimed, looking my way. "I'll read a little bit of your future for you!"
I blinked at him once again, speechless. I sat up in bed as well, though I simply let the sheets fall about my lap. "My future?"
"Yep," the boy smiled, pushing himself off the side of the bed and standing on his own two feet. "I'll tell you a little bit about your future as it stands now." The boy stepped over to the side of my bed and held out his hand. "Can I see your hand?"
I was still a little surprised, but I didn't see any reason not to at least go along with it. "Um, sure," I answered unenthusiastically, holding out my hand to him. The boy took my hand and turned my palm up, cupping the underside of my hand in his own palm. He turned his eyes down towards my palm, and his eyes narrowed in careful scrutiny. Was he planning to read my future from my palm? It seemed strange, but...I didn't have any reason not to let him finish. As I turned my eyes from our hands to his careful gaze, I began to count the time in my own head. How long would it take him to finish reading my 'future?'
One, two, three, four...
His hand was warm. His grasp was gentle. His eyes...were hard, as though he were straining himself. Was I wrong for going along with this? I went along with it because I thought he wanted to prove himself to me, but if it was causing him to strain himself...
"I understand it now," the boy finally spoke, turning his now serious eyes up to look at me.
"Seventeen," I replied with a little smile.
"Huh?" the boy blundered, not understanding my meaning.
"It took you seventeen seconds to finish. That's all it takes?" I asked, a little surprised by just how quickly the whole process finished.
The boy chuckled a little, breaking his serious expression. "Oh. I didn't pay attention."
"Still," I began, abandoning the lighthearted expression I wore. "It looked like it was really hard. Are...you okay?"
The boy laughed a bit, brushing off my concern. "Ha, ha, ha...don't worry about me. But I told you I'd tell you a little bit about your future, didn't I?"
"Oh yeah," I recalled. "I almost forgot what we were doing!" I laughed at myself. But the boy didn't laugh this time. His expression remained neutral.
"Do you want to hear it?" he asked in a serious tone.
"Um...sure," I gave a noncommittal answer. I wanted to know what he'd seen, but his expression put me off a little. But...there was no way for me to really prepare for what he would tell me.
"You are going to have many tragedies in your life," he began in a soft tone. "But I don't want you to be sad." It was only as I felt his fingers slip through mine that I realized he was still holding my hand. The warmth of his hand was comforting in the midst of the bitterly cold words.
"You...you're..." I stammered a bit, unsure of what to say. I felt my heart pounding more quickly in my chest, but I wasn't sure if it was because I was so aware of his warmth or because of his tense words.
He averted his eyes to the side as he continued. "The first one will be in five years. Then three years. And then another three years..." His words captivated me...and scared me. Five years? Eight years? Eleven years? Was there only tragedy waiting for me in my future? What was going to happen to me in these times?
"But," he continued, looking back to me. "You're going to live through all of them." His eyes seemed to have an air of finality about them...as if his words could leave no room for dispute. In that moment, I felt as if his words were the absolute truth and I could do nothing to change this future. Fear gripped my heart. A chill ran down my spine. And...an all-encompassing warmth surrounded me. The boy...he wrapped his arms around me and held me in his embrace.
"It's okay," the boy whispered. "I can't see the end of your tunnel...but my heart tells me that there must be a bright light waiting for you."
I felt my eyes begin to tear up, and I closed them tightly to fight back the tears. No! Even if there were all of these painful experiences waiting for me in the future, I wouldn't cry now. Maybe I could change things. Yeah, I could stop these bad things from happening...because it was my life.
It was my life, but...
But I cried. Though those brave words echoed in my mind, they didn't reach my heart. My resolution broke so easily as I remembered the boy's eyes. Intensity and sincerity reflected within them. While my eyes shut out the world with bitter tears, his eyes reflected me openly with compassion. Such strong, sure eyes...they were eyes I could never win against. They were eyes I could never have.
For better or worse, they were eyes that would change my life forever
All right! If you're reading this it's hopefully because you're enjoying what you've seen so far. First and foremost I'd like to say that my motivation behind writing this lies in having seen and scrutinized Tsugumi's brief in-game flashback. I felt that there was plenty of room for expansion and some room for a bit of creative freedom as well. Please take note that I tried to stick very closely with the in-game dialogue from the scenes depicted therein, but slight changes were made here and there to fit the context.
Obviously I am taking some liberty with the relationship between the amnesiac kid and Tsugumi, but the fact that she bothers to mention him to Takeshi implies to me that he was someone special to her in one way or another. She doesn't even mention her friend Julia to Takeshi but in passing, after all. Essentially, I hope to present my own interpretation of how things could have gone down in Tsugumi's past.
I didn't originally realize just how long this piece would be and therefore didn't split it into chapters until after the fact. Hopefully it doesn't break the flow of the story! I made a conscious effort to cut during scenes I deemed appropriate, but also had to consider each chapter's length. Coincidentally, each of the four chapters is a bit longer than the last in length. So please read on, enjoy, and leave me a review telling me what you think!