First of all, for those of you who know nothing about hospitals and such, please note that not all of this is based on knowledge and is unrealistic. Next I'd like to mention that there is Sora/Kairi. That's just part of the drama! Kairi is not a bad character in this fanfic—it's not her fault that Sora lies to her. Oh, there's going to be AkuRoku (Axel/Roxas) too, but that'll happen a bit later. I may also stick in Leon/Cloud, BEG ME FOR IT. MWAHA.
I know many readers are probably unfamiliar with the medical field. Any terms that I find that people may not know I'll mention. I'll avoid medic talk as much as I can to have a nice flow to the story, but since Sora is a diagnositian for heart disease, some terms will come in. I'm not as smart as I sound—I had to research most of this.
Disclaimer: ShimaGenki doesn't own the rights to Kingdom Hearts… but she went and stole all the characters for her own, sick pleasures. Bwahaha.
The study of the heart/one who studies the heart.
Palpitations: When a person feels a sudden irregular or fast heartbeat, either caused by a medical condition or a common thing such as exercise of some form, caffiene, lack of sleep, stress, etc.
Ischemic Cardiomyopathy: A certain heart disorder in which the heart doesn't get enough blood flow from from the arteries, usually from something like CAD (coronary artery disease) or a heart attack.
Coronary Artery Disease: A disease in which the coronary arterties are blocked, not allowing bloodflow to come into the heart.
Lisinopril: An ACE inhibitor, which is used to make it easier for the heart vessels to pump blood.
Metolazone: A diuretic, which helps rid the body of extra fluid and salt.
Carvedilol: A Beta-blocker, which is used to slow the progress of heart failure and possibly improve pumping function.
Digoxin: Medication used to help the heart beat more strongly and regularly.
Heart Diagnosis: Broken
heart's broken Doctor, in more ways than you think.
Fix me before I'm a lifeless doll balanced on strings."
Chapter 1 – Sora
He had been my best friend forever. No matter how the world seemed to change or how we grew inside, our friendship never mutated.
He was so strong, handsome and well… not to be cliché, but perfect. He always made me want to try my hardest to keep up with him, whether or not he was trying his best. He was my role-model for many years—like the big brother I never had.
For some reason though, he was always slightly… enigmatic. Maybe that was just something else that drew me to him though, as I've always been dangerously curious.
But when he kissed me for the first time… I melted. It was wrong, I know, but it just had felt so right at the time. And that friendship—the brotherly love I felt for him—morphed into something he and I called love.
He promised to stop when I thought we went too far… and he did.
He promised he would protect me from another predator, someone waiting to prey on me, while he was there… and he did.
He promised he would never leave me, that no matter which way the world swayed, he would be by my side forever… but…
That was a promise he did not keep.
"Sora, do you know where Riku is? I haven't seen him in a few days now." Kairi caught my distant attention. "No you don't… do you? What's wrong? You look so ill." A pale hand reached to touch my face, and I leaned into the touch.
"I don't know where Riku is. I've been calling the house, but there's no answer. And I haven't had the chance to go over there, I was working the past two days, so I'm going over today after school. It's really odd though…" I heaved a great sigh, pressing my cheek harder into her palm. "Maybe he went on vacation and forgot to tell me about it."
"Forgot to tell you?" Kairi raised an eyebrow. "Sora, the boy always checks to make sure you know he's going to the bathroom."
"I guess you're right…" I mumbled.
"That didn't make you feel any better, did it?" she asked with remorse.
"No, it's okay. I just… I dunno. I'll worry about it after school." And I lifted my head up, giving her hand reason to fall to her lap.
The bell for homeroom rang through the nearly empty halls of the high school. I slumped in my seat as Kairi scrambled for her own. When she was settled, she gave me that look. "You're worrying now."
I grunted. "Shh… class is about to start." But excuses always came in handy to keep a friend quiet. I knew I shouldn't worry about it until afternoon like she said, but I couldn't help it.
After school, I didn't take my usual route home. Instead, I had taken an alternate path to my secret lover's home.
Approaching the house, right away a feeling of dread smacked me in the face. Something wasn't right. At the time, I neglected to notice that none of the cars were parked in the driveway…
Curiousity and worry led me to the front porch. I knocked several times on the wooden door. "Riku?" I called, continuing to rap my knuckles upon the entrance. "Riku!" My anger got the best of me, causing me to grasp the doorknob and twist, expecting nothing. Instead, the door opened a crack. This startled me. The Wilders never had their door unlocked. Fear built up in my gut and created a lump in my throat. What was wrong? When I walked through the door, I become completely numb.
Everything was gone.
The antiques and the dressers they laid upon, the furniture the pictures on the walls… the house had been stripped of absolutely everything.
First, I thought I was dreaming. Then I realized that I wasn't asleep in my bed, but that I was standing right there… "Riku?" I called quietly. Half-heartedly, I expected to hear that sultry voice creep into my ear, whispering my name. But all I heard was my own voice ricochet off the empty walls. Before I could even think of what I was doing, my legs ran towards the stairs, my body tearing towards the room I had come to love after so many years.
It was empty too.
The bed he slept in. The dresser that he had kept his clothes in. The posters he adored. The mirror he would always check himself out in. The CD player that blasted his favorite tunes. The bookshelf with a myriad of novels and magazines.
It was almost as if it was a distant memory, or even a dream that never existed.
He was gone without a word or a way to find him…
I fell to my knees and began to sob quietly.
"Whoa! Geez…" My head throbbed, and I rose a hand to rub my temple gingerly, easing the pain. "Roxas?" I looked to the man who shook me awake. "What time is it?"
"It's 10:58 at night, Bro. Your wife is worried sick, so she sent me to see if you were still at work."
"Why you?" I grumbled, wearily rising from my chair and fishing through my pockets for my phone.
"Well, I'm the only other person she knows that has a key to the cardiologists' office." My twin brother gave me a smug smile… but at least he wasn't trying to pulverize me for the late hour it was. "So… I'll take a guess that you feel asleep at your paperwork. Having a bad dream?"
I blinked at him for a few moments. "How did you know I was—aha!" I swiped my cellphone from the front pocket of my pants, fingering it as I looked up to reask my question. "How did you know I was having a bad dream?"
"You were squirming like you usually do… and you're crying." My eyes widened, and I reached up to feel the wet tears on my face. Flushing, I wiped them away softly. "You're okay?"
"I'm fine," I breathed, not wanting to talk about the situation. "I'm perfectly fine, Roxas."
"You sure?" He crossed his arms and shifted his weight to his left foot. "People don't cry just because."
"It was just a dream, is all," I reassured him, patting his shoulder. "Now if you don't mind, I have a wife to apologize to and a home to get going to. Thanks for coming to get me, Rox."
"No prob. For Christmas, I'm getting you an alarm clock."
"What? But I already have one."
"I meant for your desk," he chuckled, walking out the door. When he was gone, I stood there for a moment in the empty room.
'Riku… where are you now?'
Giving my paperwork a momentary glance, I began to stack the folders up together in two piles, done and unfinished. I would come in earlier than usual the next day just so I could complete the other papers. Patients were counting on me. As I set the last folder on the finished pile, I flipped my phone open with my free hand and pressed the speed-dial.
"Hun? Yeah, it's me. I'm sorry, I fell asleep at my desk. …uh-huh. Well, I'm just leaving now, it'll be about a half an hour before I get back. Okay? Go to sleep, and I'll be there then. I love you too. Bye."
I slipped the little phone back into my pocket. 'I love you too, but not like I once loved him…'
'Oh well, it's nothing but a distant memory now.'
I entered the front door with cautious footsteps, praying that I didn't wake my sleeping spouse. Tiptoeing into the bedroom, I slipped off my shoes and began to pull off my jacket, followed by shirt. I reached into my dresser drawer for a nightshirt when I heard a soft moan behind me.
"Sora? Is that you?"
"Sorry, hun, did I wake you up?" I turned to the lump on the bed, otherwise known as my wife. "I was as quiet as—"
"No, I've been awake. Don't worry, you didn't keep me up."
"You were worried about me and couldn't sleep… right?" She didn't answer, meaning I was correct. I slipped on my shirt and began to undo the hinge on my belt. "I told you I was on my way…"
"I couldn't help it."
"It's all right," I responded, knowing she would attempt to apologize. "But I'm here now, so get some rest." I finished taking off my current pair of pants and pulled up a more cozy pair of pajama bottoms. I crawled next to her in bed, being very thankful that she wasn't one of those wives you smack you upside the head with a wooden spoon had you done anything stupid. "I'm so sorry, Kairi."
"You've said sorry three times now. I get the point." she hummed a chuckle, pressing her lips to my shoulder. God, I loved her. "Now let's both get some sleep before we end up drinking three cups of coffee in the morning just to function."
"You know I don't drink coffee…" I mumbled, feeling the drain of my previous nap pulling me back into dreams.
"Exactly," she chuckled softly, wrapping an arm around my stomach. "Love you."
"Love you, too." I kissed the top of her red head before I closed my blue eyes, forgetting the world around me.
"Sora… can you shut that thing off?" I heard Kairi murmur. There was a fuzzy noise in the background, but I just couldn't make it out. My head began to clear, and it became beep-beep-beep, beep-beep-beep. Finally realizing it was the alarm clock, I smacked the snooze button unnecessarily hard. When I heard the small time-keeper tumble to the floor, I came to my senses and picked it up to see the time.
"IT'S SIX-THIRTY?" Adrenaline gave me new-found energy as I bounded out of bed and began to grab a nice outfit for work, skipping the shower and breakfast as there wasn't even time for that. In reality it was 6:36, which was even worse than six-thirty.
"Sora, what's wrong?" Kairi said, sitting up slowly and yawning like a lazy cat.
"I'm gonna be late for work and I needed to be early to finish my papers!" I let out a string of unreasonable language as I tripped over the leggings of my pants and chucked the lab coat around my torso. "I'll come home as soon as I can Kairi, all right?" I ran over to her and pecked a kiss on her forehead before I raced on out the door. Of course, I didn't leave without shouting a "Goodbye, I love you!" on the way out.
Now, I know you shouldn't make up for lost time by speeding on the road, but my employment was in jeporady and I managed to skip all cops and speeding tickets on the way.
I bustled into Destiny Islands Center of Cardiology faster than the Cocoa Puff bird on crack, rushing to shove the punchcard into the machine. The tape that had the printed the employee number and time in on it told me I was on shift at 7:33, and I sighed a breath of relief. They wouldn't fire me for being three minutes late.
My breathing rate was more like a pant, and I walked back into my own room, facing the desk of papers I had left last night. Should I finish the ones from last night, or should I start looking at the ones today?
I guessed the ones from last night would have to be done during my lunch hour, I couldn't miss my patients that were coming in today.
Speaking of those papers, I had to go get them. I ambled right out to find the secretary, a sweet brunette, hard at work at her computer.
"Excuse me, Olette, do you have the papers for my patients today?"
She paused to look at me and gave me a geniune smile. "Um, yes Blackwell, give me a moment…" She reached over to a filing cabinet and fingered through it. Ms. Brunel, or Ollete, finally pulled out a small stack and handed them to me. "There you go. You have five patients today."
"Only five?" I asked.
"Your one o' clock appointment cancelled," she explained. "You should know from yesterday…"
"Oh, yeah, sorry, I… never got to those…"
"Blackwell, how could you not keep up on your paper work?"
"I'm sorry! I'll get to at lunch, I promise! Thank you!" I turned away to find myself bumping into another man. "Oh, morning Roxas!"
The expression he wore on his face could not mean good. "…eh."
"I'm tired because a certain someone made me get up in the middle of the night to wake him up."
"Oh, that… I'm sorry, Roxas."
"It's all right, I know you didn't mean to." He walked up to the counter and asked Brunel to get his own papers, and then turned back to me. "I've had two cups of java, so I'll be good to go soon."
"Uck, coffee." I stuck out my tongue in disapproval. "It's bitter, but if I put sugar in it it'll taste like crap at the bottom."
"I think it tastes fine, and I can't function without it."
"Well, as long as you're functioning, everything'll be all right. What would Ame(1) do without her assistant?"
"I think she would be just fine," he chuckled. "Speaking of which, I gotta go. I'll see you around, 'kay?"
"Yup," I replied, starting to head back for my own office. I began to look through the files, scanning them over and recalling some familiar patients. The first one was a patient with a heart attack that I saw a couple of weeks back as a check-up to see how she was doing. She was a kind old woman, I hope the medicine I prescribed would keep her alive as long as she could go.
The second name that came up made my entire body freeze over with chills.
Listed in the name slot was Riku Wilder. He was a young man I'd never seen before, at age 27. Apparently he had been having some heart problems and was recommended by a Dr. Shimizu. (2) Dr. Shimizu… oh, her. She was living in Twilight Town in the United States mainland. For some reason the patient moved to the Islands from his current residence and needed new guidance for his health needs, so she recommended him to me. I had met Dr. Shimizu at a conference meeting some years ago, but I never imagined she would remember my name.
He was diagnosed by her with ischemic cardiomyopathy, a serious heart condition. The cause was of lack of blood flow was coronary artery disease, which went back to his grandfather, who had heart failure and died in his late forty's. He was currently taking all the needed medications to give him a comfortable life, and was taught the ways he needed to change his life in order to control his heart disease. The reason he was coming in was for a check-up, though it looked like he would need some blood work done soon.
The name and age had to be pure coincidence. No way could it be the Riku I knew those high school days. He was long gone and out of my life. This was probably a patient with a sullen face and broken dreams, looking for guidance to see how long he could possibly live his life with such a terrible illness.
I tried to block the thoughts that came whirling back out of my head by flipping to another page, and finishing up anything left to do (besides my overdue work) when a knock from Roxas on my office door told me my first patient was ready for her check-up.
Sighing happily, I walked back to my office after my first patient. I loved doing good for other people, especially people who seek it without anger. I even twirled in my spinning chair until I felt sick to my stomach, waking up to a decently good morning.
A few minutes later, it was time for the second check-up. Wondering who the bearer of a long-forgotten name could have been, I never hestitated to jump from my chair and stroll into the small white room.
"Hello, I'm Dr. Blackwell, and I'll be your…" I held out a hand to shake as I did routinely with my patients, but the words I normally spoke escaped me. There in front of me was the ghost of a past I didn't think would ever come to visit.
But the man took my hand and firmly shaked it. "Geez, Sora, you've barely changed. You even look a little boyish like you used to. I just can't believe you're a doctor now."
A decade of the feeling of abandonment, the ache of a bleeding heart, and the anger of a promise broken came rushing back in seconds. But it all melted away when the man in front of me, long silver hair pulled back into a high poiny-tail and bangs strung around his face, beamed at me. "Riku?..." I said quietly, not sure if I was speaking.
I think he could sense my sudden confusion and hurt, because his green eyes lowered a shade and eyelids closed a millimeter. "Sora, I'm sorry. I know I hurt you… but please understand, I did it because—"
I didn't want to hear excuses. I didn't want to listen to reason. I just wanted to do exactly what I did do—I fell into the arms that held me so long ago.
He was startled by this impulse, but quickly settled into it. "I know I broke your heart… but do you think you could fix mine?"
I realized just where we were again, as I pulled back to find the clipboard I had left on the counter on my side. "Mm… that's right. Just sit on the table right there." He turned to see what I was talking about, and jumped onto the ugly green table, the paper crinkling under his rear end. "Let's see, so… it says that you've already been diagnosed with… ischemic cardiomyopathy?" He nodded silently. "Really? How long ago was that?"
"Recently. I'd been having some heart troubles about twelve or so years ago, but when I was talking to Dr. Shimizu about… hmm… I guess it was three years back I started going to her, she said that she'd get me in for a couple tests, and saw it was ischemic cardiomyopathy."
"That's why…" I murmured, remembering the times when Riku would clutch his chest and suddenly pained. It wasn't just palpitations, it was a whole heart disease. He seemed to look at me weird, so I began to speak again. "And you're on… let's see… Lisinopril, Metolazone, Carvedilol and Digoxin?"
He nodded silently.
"All right. So… you've been all right lately then?"
"They seem to be working."
He shook his head this time, still not responding.
"Do you need a refill on your medications then?"
I began to write out the prescriptions. "All right, and there you go. Come back in a few weeks or sooner if anything wrong happens. You can just schedule another appointment at the front desk then." It felt so mechanical. I had never thought about it before, but I went through the same basic process with most of my patients when it came to precautionary check-ups. But now that a person who I've been connected to emotionally was sitting in front of me, I realized just how robotic I really was.
"Thanks." He jumped down from the table and smiled at me. "Um… Sora, you know, if you wanted to get reconnected now that I'm back in town, we could go out for dinner some night, or I could go over to your house—"
"Um, Riku…" I guess he never would have figured the small problem that came up.
"What? You're dating another boy? I'm sorry, I should have known. If you become available, I'll give you my number." He leaned over my clipboard and stole my pen, reaching for my hand. I pulled it away before he could grace it with a single smudge of ink.
"Riku, no, it's not another guy."
"Oh. Then what is it? You still mad at me?"
If we had been stuck in an old cartoon, I swear Riku's jaw would have hit the floor so hard the tiling would have cracked. "Married?" The word didn't sound as happy as it usually did when one said it—but it gave more of a death-sentence ring. "T-to who?"
Then a dismal look graced his features. "Oh… how long?"
"Two years." Normally at this point in this conversation, I beam and begin to chatter about silly moments when we first married, but for some reason, thinking about it made me sad. It wasn't that I didn't love Kairi, but seeing the one I thought I would love forever right in front of me…
It killed me inside. Had I not worn a ring on my left hand, I would have asked if we could go out that same night. But I promised Kairi to be back as soon as I could. I owed her for the previous night's incident.
"But… maybe he could go out just as friends," I piped up, trying to make up for it. But I guess nothing could make up for what either of us did. "Uh, I can't tonight, but I can call you and see about next week. Okay?"
"Um, yeah. That sounds good." He perked up just a bit, but not enough to give me a true-felt smile. "Do you want my number?"
I pointed to my papers. "I'm sure your number is with your name in the registry."
He looked at me for a moment, confused, but then breathed, "Oh," when it clicked. "Okay, then… next week then."
"Next week." There was so many more things I wanted to say, but this wasn't the time and place. There were so many questions that I needed to ask, but I needed time to think. He grasped the doorknob to leave, but I was able to say one thing before he headed out the door. "I thought I'd never see you again."
He paused, staring down at his hand as it turned ever so slowly to unhinge the door. "I'm sorry." And he left before I could even say farewell.
"Sora… your twelve-thirty appointment's here." Roxas peeked his head in the door, but I just kept staring at the wall. "Earth to Sora…"
"That was him," I said, almost to myself. "For ten years he had me wondering where he went, if he hated me or still thought about me, if he never even cared, if he was okay or on his deathbed… and now he's here."
Roxas rose an eyebrow. "What are you babbling about?" The look on my face must have made him realize. "Oh. Him."
"Don't tell me you still hate Riku," I said quietly.
"After the shit he put you through, how could I like him?"
"You never even had a reason to hate him."
He huffed. "He was a cocky ass who was terribly annoying." Riku and I had been friends most of our lives, and for a while Riku and Roxas were friends too, but through-out middle school something seemed to change. They began to fight over stupid stuff, and eventually they flat-out began to hate each other. I tried to balance out the two with my ongoing friendship with both, but they never made up. Soon Kairi made friends with Riku and then myself, never making friendship status with Roxas because of the silver-haired teen.
I once had a theory it was because Roxas was jealous that I looked up to Riku like an older brother, and Riku was jealous because me and Roxas were so interconnected as identical twins. I tried to approach both about it too, but that was a bad day, save the chocolate cake I shared with Riku and the new video game Roxas and I got.
"Anyway, you've got a patient sitting on a table in a freezing room." I jolted to my senses, and rose from my chair.
"I'll just tell them I'm running a few minutes behind," I said. "Most doctors do for some reason."
He chuckled. "Sure, excuses."
"Kairi… I'm home," I said, peeling off my coat and toeing off my shoes. She smiled at me as she walked in, wearing a soft pink sundress and armed with a wooden spoon. "See? Didn't fall asleep this time."
"You're still a bit late," she laughed, lightly hitting me with the spoon on my side and then kissing me on the lips. "I'm gonna have to beat you up."
"So that's what the spoon's for," I laughed, pulling away from the embrace to talk to her. "I thought I smelled dinner and believed you were being a good wife. Silly me."
"Sora!" She smacked me harder on my butt. "Fine! No dinner for you!"
"Oh, thank god. Your cooking could kill the strongest of men."
She giggled. "All the more for me then!"
"What is that smell anyway?" I said, finally dropping the stupid joke. "It's actually making me really hungry."
"Spicy chili, the way you like it. Without the kidney beans."
"You took them out this time? Oh, you are a good wife!" I hugged her. "Kidney beans are mushy and dee-gusting."
"Come on, terrible husband, let's go eat my terrible cooking. I was just making the rice."
"Mmm… sounds good."
We walked together, my arm around her shoulders and hers around my waist into the kitchen. Although Riku was still floating in my mind and made the pit of my stomach ill, I didn't regret marrying Kairi. She was sweet and loving, but capable of taking a good joke. And she was pretty too, a bonus. He had hurt me, it was his fault that I was no longer within reach.
"So, how was your day, hun? Anything interesting?" She always asked me that question, actually ready for some tales about my day at work. Besides Riku, my day had been rather boring, full of routine check-ups. I watched for a moment as she poured the redish-brown chili from the pan on the stove into a serving bowl.
I knew I shouldn't have said anything, but I thought since they were once friends too, she would be more than happy to hear the news that broke me. "Well… I had a rather interesting patient this morning."
"And that would be?"
"Well, his name was Riku Wilder."
She looked bewildered for a moment, setting the pan back down on the stove. "Riku? You're not talking about Riku Riku, are you?"
"None other. Apparently he's back in town."
"Riku…" Her eyes became misty. Apparently I wasn't the only hurt by his sudden leave. "W-well… why was he in your office?"
"Well, he has ischemic cardiomyopathy."
"Which would be?..."
"It's basically when the heart doesn't get enough blood because the blood flow is blocked."
Her eyes were now on the forest green counter. "Did you know?"
"Not until I looked at his file today."
"Riku… did he say why he left?"
"No, we really didn't have that much time to talk. I just refilled his prescriptions."
"Why don't we invite him over?" She said. "Then we can catch-up."
I promised him a private dinner for two next week… but this had the same meaning, right? And if he wanted a separate dinner, I could always arrange that. "Yeah. When does it suit you?"
"It suits me anyday, I'm working at the gift shop the same hours all week. See when the both of you can work it out. I'll cook and we'll talk over dinner."
I nodded. "Sounds good to me." I paused to smell the air. "Uh, Kairi, the chili left in the bowl is burning…"
"What?" She looked to see she had set the pot that was still a quarter full of chili back on the same, hot burner that she forgot to turn off. She lifted it up quickly and finished putting it in the bowl, unable to scrape the burnt substance on the bottom. "Oh, darn it! I'm such an idiot!"
"No you're not," I said, reaching across the stove to turn off the burner. "You didn't know, we were talking. It's my fault."
"It's not your fault," she said, carrying the bowl to the table as I took over the pan of rice with two oven mitts. "Well, whatever, it's done."
"Mmm… even if your food is suicidal, it smells so good I might just have to take my chances."
"Sora!" She laughed, smacking me with an oven mitt I had left on the table.
If only these moments could have lasted a little longer like this.
(1)/(2) - Both of these names were changed for my friends. Danke.
A/N: So how was it? This is only the beginning, give it more time to really take off. The drama level is set on high. Whewt.
I take some time for updates, but if I get a decent amount done and lose inspiration, I may post what I get done thus far in my livejournal. I'll also chatter about the connections from the game to this story there too. The link for that is in my bio.
If no one reviews or if there's not enough, I'll stop caring and make this incredibly short, or drop the whole thing altogether. Sorry, reviews keep me happy. Okay? Good. REVIEW NOW.