- - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
'salvation comes to those who seek for it'
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Land and sky mirrored each other; both of them were busy, with their inhabitants running after one another yelling something and talking so freely. The sky, tinted slightly gray, looked so busy with clouds chasing each other as a trembling voice was sent down to the earth, dividing the stillness with terror. The land, also busy, looked more cheerful rather than ominous. Its citizens crowded out the streets and joked around in mirth, they neither gave a damn about the growling sky nor gloomy clouds.
The clouds, acting as refuge, screened the sun behind their grayish puffs, restraining the fiery ball from bestowing its glimmering glitters upon the land. But it wasn't an obstacle, for people turned their lights on, and every eye could see what had emblazoned the streets.
Standing erectly on solid dark layer were beautifully decorated Christmas trees with multi-hued neon lights, sparkling brightly against the darkness that was taking over the entire town. Every Christmas tree—from the smallest to the biggest ones, from the simplest to the most complex ones, from the poorly decorated to the lavishly adorned ones—dotted throughout the town exquisitely.
Growling sky and gloomy clouds were nothing in their mind. Why would they care about those if they could hide inside their shelter called home? They could keep themselves warm near the fireplace, accompanied with some marshmallows and hot chocolate, maybe. And they would just stare out the window in mild interest, watching the thunders and storm striking the outside world, seeking for preys.
Christmas had apparently become the star of the week; it was shown how people scurried across malls' floors in such a speed to buy the cutest Santa doll ever—only to prettify their huge Christmas tree at home. Or how people spent more than five hours garnishing their tree when during that time they could actually go and get some food so they wouldn't starve to death. With aura of Christmas engulfing everyone, who would care about snowstorm, really? It would pass, though. So no big deal. What mattered now was how to get those adorable deer dolls and bake as many cookies as you could.
But even though euphoria lingered in the air like a poison, getting people addicted to Christmas by injecting their mind and soul, those aquamarine orbs still didn't radiate warmth and happiness. Instead there was boredom and pain coursing in them, dancing and laughing teasingly. And no matter how the owner of those orbs wanted to shoo them away so badly, he just couldn't. He would always fail miserably. In the end, he would learn that he was different—that he was just a sad being rejected by the world.
Fragile fingers, as cold as snow that yet to come, touched what appeared to be a crystal-like windowpane. More chills went into his spine, piercing through his skin as his hand came in contact with the cold surface. His body shivered slightly, lips pressed together, aquamarine eyes rolling over and over observing the sight below. A heavy sigh escaped his trembling lips, forming a vapor on the windowpane and tainting its purity. A moment later, when he traced his fingers across it, the vapor disappeared as abruptly as he'd created it.
For a minute longer, he fixed his look on the magical view below, deep in heart hoping he could be down there—walking between those Christmas trees, between those people and actually feeling happy, like them. But hey, he was obviously caged in a white room. Yeah, everything in here was too white; the curtain, the wallpaper, the sheet, the pillows, the bed—right, everything.
Sick, he mentally thought. He tucked some silver strands of his hair behind his ear, preventing them from falling to his face again. This effort, however, was vain. Those strands seemed very fond of his face that they chose to stay there again. At this, he could only sigh.
The door suddenly creaked open and he jerked his head, now noticing the distinct voices coming from the corridor. Not so long after that the door was fully open, only to reveal some people dressed in white. He arched one of his eyebrows. Noticing one of those people (a brown haired woman with a long braid and green eyes) as the nurse who usually took care of him, a frown etched to his face. He turned around so his profile faced them.
"Mr. Riku…" A middle aged man spoke huskily and he assumed he was the doctor.
"I'm still too young to be called 'Mr', sir." Riku retorted, arms crossed over his chest.
"And you're not in your bed," this time his nurse spoke, brown eyes glancing over to the only bed in that room. Her lips twitched. "How many times should I tell you to rest instead of walking around the room?" She exhaled, tiredness clearly seen upon her face. The task to take care of this silver haired adolescent wasn't easy at all; in fact, it was difficult. His ears were too thick.
Riku just shrugged in response. "So what? I'm going to die, after all. It's not like staying in my bed like a good boy will prevent me from dying."
For a moment, none spoke. The room was suddenly engulfed by silence, and Riku could feel the tension building up around the room, caging them inside an invisible torturing prison. He took this time to study the area, to scrutinize the people that had come into his room. For heaven's sake, why—there were five of them! This was so unusual. Were they planning to inject him with some kind of… anti-virus or something? Were they planning to… rip his body apart and uh, play with his bones or something?
Riku shuddered at his thought. Okay, being isolated like this for a long time did damage his brain.
It was then when he noticed her presence. It was when their gazes locked and for a brief moment, they just stayed like that. Her eyes were so blue—no, not sky-like, but they were more oceanic, and when he stared at them he gasped for breath, drowning into her purity. For another brief moment they stood like statues, wordless and cherishing the silence amongst them. No word was spoken; it's as if the air, as an intermediary, was enough to deliver their thoughts to each other's mind.
But the barrier crumbled. The silence evaporated. And time seemed to move faster.
As the doctor gained his composure back, he walked over to him with unreadable expression on his face. "…" He examined Riku for awhile longer before coming to a conclusion, "…you seem fine, even though you like to walk around like that, instead of staying in your bed. And I assume you only drink your medicine if the nurse tells you to?"
"You're good at reading people, sir."
"But she can't always be around you," the doctor inhaled while Riku tried so hard to prevent his lips from twitching. He was too happy. Oh, this meant no one would tell him to sleep like a good boy or drink the medicine, or whatever. Oh freedom. But his transitory happy thoughts of freedom quickly went away, leaving him without any traces at all as the middle aged man before him nodded towards the door—towards that oceanic eyed girl. "So she'll take the nurse's place. From now on,"
No, this fucking doctor didn't need to continue his words. Riku knew what he was going to say—
"She'll look after you." Which only meant he would still be told to sleep in his bed like a good boy, he would still be told to drink the medicine, he would still be told everything. How exasperating. "Come," the doctor gestured for the girl to come closer and it was when he could look at her fully.
Her light blond hair flowed down past her shoulders gracefully, her blue eyes gazed at him intently, her pale skin seemed to glow in the dim light of the room, and her small figure seemed so fragile that something began to bubble inside him—something queer, something unwanted. And he felt an odd sensation stirring, stirring and stirring inside his stomach.
Who's this girl, actually? He mentally asked.
It was quaint how the atmosphere around her could attract him so badly.
His stomach gave a sudden jolt as she smiled, nodding calmly at him. He gulped.
"Now, now, be a good boy, okay Riku? We have a surgery to attend. We'll check on you later." His former nurse said as she and the others turned around, opening the door and closing it once they were outside. And silence descended upon them again.
Riku finally shifted his look towards the window again. The outside world had become a distant place to him; he couldn't reach it, he couldn't walk amongst the people, he belonged there no more. It hurt how reality struck him as a reminder. He was different, there it reminded him, and his place was here, here where everything started and would end ironically. And he wouldn't expect too much. He wouldn't cast his hopes too high, because how could he get them back, if they were lost in the sky? Only shame awaited him.
And that hurt.
"…Aerith is just worried about you." That girl finally spoke, slashing the lingering silence with her soft voice.
"Yeah. It's good she's off, but now I have you as my...new nurse." He examined her with his piercing aquamarine eyes. "I'm seventeen, and you don't even look older than me, so how do you suppose to take care of me?" He teased, walking over to his bed before slumping into it. Everything peculiar he had felt before—those bubbles or that odd sensation stirring inside his stomach—dissipated into nothingness. He was too upset now. Why did everyone treat him as a little poor boy like that? He didn't need pity, no at all. He hated if people pitied on him, really…
Irritation had quickly changed his mood and anger was boiling inside him now. He had never felt this frustrated before. If he was going to die because of this stupid cancer, so why would everyone care to cure him? Why would they care if he truly died or not? It's not like he had someone who loved him or something.
Right, he was alone.
"…Just remember to take the medicine before you sleep." She spoke again yet Riku didn't reply. He couldn't snap at her. He just couldn't. There was something in her that prevented him to.
Finding silence as a reply, the blond haired girl muttered a quiet 'see you' before going out the room, this time leaving him completely alone. And between the zephyr and the flooding darkness, a single line of water slid down his cheek, falling onto his white t-shirt, moistening it.
Sometimes he wished he were someone else.
That night, when she came back to his room, opening the door so carefully and quietly trying not to wake him up, she found something. As her blue eyes darted around the room scanning everything, she caught a glimpse of something. Walking on tiptoes towards Riku, the girl looked at an empty glass and some scattered pills on the table next to his bed. And then she smiled.
He'd taken his medicine.
The snowstorm had been postponed, it had been forced to cease its performance last night, and look at everything now! The sun, looked jovial as usual, had completely risen to illuminate the chaotic town. Riku had woken up to the sound of birds, and was now staring out the window blankly. Doing this somehow could bring placidity to him, easing his uneasy mind. And later on, he found himself taking this as a habit for it seemed his mind always got troubled lately.
"You drank the medicine last night. That's good." The familiar soft voice spoke as the door swung close and seconds later he could hear footsteps echoing in his ears, drawing closer to him with every pace taken. "I'm glad you've finally decided to—"
"I only drank it to shut your mouth," his words befuddled him; he spoke more rudely than he'd intended to. With his position facing the window, he couldn't see the girl's expression, but he could tell she was quite taken back because the steps suddenly receded. "And I didn't drink it so I could recover—I'm going to die, anyways. The doctor said so. He said it would be… next month, around December or so." He emphasized his previous words in attempt to tell the girl that he actually hadn't obeyed her words.
"…Why do you want to die so badly, if I may ask?"
Riku turned his head, only to see that small figure stepping closer to him. "I am going to die, Ms."
"And my name is Naminé, pleased to meet you. And you won't die if you drink the medicine intently."
He snorted and folded his arms over his chest, looking at her in boredom. "You don't look older than me, so why are you here nursing me?"
"You can call me as a social worker, volunteering for this job because there aren't enough nurses to treat stubborn patients." She cast her look towards him, smiling a bit and he could feel his head heating up. "So yes, I'm younger than you, Mr. Riku."
"And what's this?" Naminé had walked to his table and opened the drawer, taking out a pack of cigarettes under a pile of magazines and books. A frown stretched across her face, her expression that time was what she used to inquire answers from Riku. When moments passed and there was no word coming out from his mouth, she decided to ask again. "How did you get this…inside? And they don't know about this, do they?"
He shrugged. "Oh well, it's between I am a genius or they're lazy cows, y'know. I always keep it safe. And here you are finding it. What a shame."
"You still smoke?" She asked again, in disbelief. It amazed her how a dying boy still had the mood to smoke. Not to mention that his cancer was slowly but surely devouring his whole self—his life. Naminé shook her head, blond strands whipping at her face and blue eyes widening in shock. "In the first day of taking care of you, Mr. Riku, I must say that I'm very impressed."
He didn't answer. Riku interlaced his fingers together, staring at them as if they were a suitcase filled with money or something. Contemplation had become his dear friend so there he was again now, playing with his incessant thoughts. No, this girl had no idea how dark his past was, how morbid it was, how cruel it was—
Blurry images of bottles of beer and alcohol, cigarettes, pubs and their everlasting sparkling lights, beds with so many different young ladies, dark alleys and blood— everything suddenly became vivid and fresh that he gasped for breath, choking out. His eyes, which had showed peace to the world long ago, were now so dim. Fear. Despair. Poignancy. Sorrow. His eyes only had them now.
"Are you alright?" Naminé asked with concern as she approached him, abandoning everything she'd found. "Riku—"
"That sounds better," he suddenly said, a bitter smile glued on his face. "Just 'Riku', without 'Mr'."
The girl stopped on her track. Her eyes became cautious. "Fine."
He laughed bitterly and waved a hand in the air. "You know, uh, Naminé, you… your acts don't represent—well, who are you, actually?"
The question caught her off guard. Her body suddenly stiffened and her face looked even paler than usual. The blond haired girl dragged a chair towards Riku's bed before seating herself there. She looked at him, head cocked slightly. "I'm Naminé, haven't I told you that already?"
"No," he shook his head. "I mean, you may look younger than me, but your acts… don't represent that. You are so uh, what do they call it? Oh yeah, mother-like? And mature. That's it."
Words ascended into thin air as they two locked gaze with each other, speechless. One was waiting for a response, while the other one was considering of what to respond. Eventually, after for what seemed like a long bus ride, Naminé opened her mouth to speak. "What if I say I'm an angel?"
"You are?" Riku said incredulously, skepticism running across his face and eyes going wide.
Naminé chuckled. "You believe me?"
His doubt was gone—now replaced by disappointment. "Bah, I thought so. Angels don't exist."
She tilted her head and became interested. Leaning back into her chair, Naminé tucked some strands of her hair behind her ears as she looked at him in the eye. Her calm face didn't seem to show any emotions; too straight and Riku couldn't understand it, he didn't know how to react so he waited, still. Cherry lips moved upwards before opening slightly. "You don't believe angels exist? What about heaven? And—"
"No." He stated firmly, almost immediately.
"I just don't think they exist. And so does heaven." Riku shrugged, averting his stare from Naminé and staring out the window again. Vigorous yet sweet melodies chimed through the thick walls around him and though vaguely, he could hear them. Christmas songs… Riku closed his eyes and let the tunes playing in his head, whispering gentle words to his ears but bringing a flood of memories to his mind, tearing his heart apart. He winced.
"Ah, Christmas," Naminé's voice snapped him back to reality again. "It's drawing close. You can feel the atmosphere now… Look at the streets," She rose from her chair and headed for the window. Pale hand touched the cold pane and blue eyes flashed joyously. "There are so many Christmas tre—"
"Stop talking about it already."
"Uh? Excuse me?" Naminé turned her head from the window. "What did you just say?"
"Stop talking about Christmas. It makes me sick. Now, go. I want to sleep a little."
No, he wouldn't say anything at all. He wouldn't. He wouldn't tell her how he wanted Christmas to be something precious to him, he wouldn't tell her how he loathed Christmas due to his morbid past, he wouldn't tell her how he wanted to remember Christmas as a good thing instead of…a horrible thing. He wouldn't tell her how Christmas had tortured him. No, he wouldn't. Just remembering those days already made him sick. Just seeing those people laughing together between the trees made him boil in anger, like a kettle. Just listening to those Christmas songs made him want to scream at the top of his lungs in frustration.
This was enough.
"Go." He rasped out, voice sounded unusually like him; it was so weak and distant.
She did, reluctantly. And she didn't say anything at all.
Once the door was close he sank his head deeper to the pillow, muffling his faint, frustrated screams.
The first thought coming to his mind once he was awake the next day was… apologize to Naminé. Riku knew he had been too harsh on her yesterday, but he couldn't help it—every time he looked at those people laughing between the Christmas trees…he couldn't help but feel so envious. He couldn't stand the word 'Christmas'.
So early that morning, still in his bed with fleeting thoughts in his mind, he was determined to apologize to the blonde if she came to check on him. But his notion was abolished as quickly as a stone being thrown into dark water—disappeared, unseen, just like that, so quickly—when she stepped into his room. No, there was nothing wrong with her—it wasn't her, it was just… the box she was embracing and what was in it. He was sure he'd moved some inches backwards.
"Ah, good morning Riku." Naminé greeted, nodding as she smiled at him. She put the box near the window before casting her look upon the silver haired boy. His expression wasn't what she had expected. "Riku? Why are you…giving me that look?" She asked, flustered and shocked at the same time.
"What. The. Hell. Is. That?"
"Inside the box?"
Riku nodded very slowly, grimacing. Disgust and spite was so noticeable on his face that time, and Naminé wondered what had caused him to look…so scary like that. Shrugging off her thoughts, the blonde smiled again as she walked approaching him.
And he still had that expression across his face. "A box with Christmas stuff, you know, to decorate Christmas trees," Naminé explained and he still had that grimace on his face. "I've asked the doctor whether or not we can have an actual Christmas tree here, and he said yes. I also told him this probably could make you happy. But we have to wait for some days till the tree arrives and you should feel glad because the doctor treats you special—"
"I feel so tortured, actually." Riku cut her words off. "This is what I get if I have a younger and strange girl as my nurse, seriously,"
Naminé tilted her head. "What?"
She nodded enthusiastically, seating herself next to his bed and smiling. "And we can exchange presents later, Riku. It'll be fun,"
"No." He stated firmly stopping the flow of Naminé's enthusiasm. The girl's lips pressed together, making a thin line as her blue eyes stopped sparkling; the bliss which had been dancing within them suddenly left without any warn. She dropped her hands to the sides.
"Why?" Naminé bravely asked.
"Because I say so. No."
His reply wasn't satisfying enough. Anyhow, Naminé didn't hunger for further explanations—at least she didn't look like that. Her mask had been set; Riku's aquamarine eyes, despite of how intimidating they might look or how piercing they could be, they definitely couldn't break her mask. She was good at pretending. So then her lips moved upwards, this time to form a wide smile. "Then we'll still have a Christmas tree and exchange—"
His glare was like a spell; it took her words away, making her speechless. "I think I've told you no."
Still smiling and paying no heed to his words, Naminé remained calm and tried to be patient. Patience was something she could hardly tolerate, but now she realized she needed it in this little game with him. Yeah. To win this game, she had to be patient and very careful. "And I think you haven't told me why."
His eyes grew wider in an instant and still, Naminé disregarded this. Riku was shifting in his position awkwardly; face looked tense as he clenched his fists. "I won't tell you anything." He said coldly, words slipping from his mouth like incisive icicles.
At first Naminé didn't speak a word, and for awhile there Riku thought he'd frightened the girl so much that she couldn't speak now, but his assumption was proved wrong. The blonde just gave him a faint smile, walking towards the window and staring up at the clear blue sky. "So there's no reason for not having a Christmas tree here, and oh, exchanging presents, too."
He had no idea why she was so persistent like that, really, he didn't have a clue why. Expelling a heavy sigh, the silver haired boy ran a hand through his hair; never ever did in his life he feel so frustrated and angry when facing a girl. "You'll still get that Christmas tree here even though I tell you the reasons, won't you?" His eyes fixed in her direction. As a reply to that, Naminé just smiled gently and headed for the box, taking a book, a pencil, and a rubber out before seating herself in a sofa, across from his bed.
Riku growled in exasperation. "You're very different from Aerith, you know that?"
Head raised a little from the book, just high enough to meet the boy's stare. "Of course I'm different from Aerith. Our appearances are evidently different, and—"
"I mean, you are so weird, you know that?"
One eye brow arched while the other one stayed still. "Is that a compliment?" She asked.
Riku shrugged. "Figure it out by yourself."
Naminé averted her stare back to the book, this time she took the pencil and began to run it across the white surface of the paper. For a moment, there was no other sound than her pencil brushing against the paper and Riku just stared at her, both absent-mindedly and interestedly. The edge of his mouth turned upwards. "…I've never got an actual Christmas present, nor have I ever felt how the real Christmas is." He almost choked out at his words as he gripped onto the sheet, cold sweats running down his hands.
Naminé stopped for awhile; her pencil halted in the middle of whatever she was creating. However, she didn't move, she didn't roll her eyes to see the boy. She still had her eyes on the book, but Riku knew she was listening to him. He felt a bit relieved at how she didn't look at him; he didn't know why, but that time he really wanted to avoid eye contact. "I don't have a really…nice childhood."
Her pencil was on its track again, moving agilely on the paper as she nodded slightly—almost unseen—as if telling him to go on. Riku gulped, hoping he could swallow fear, uneasiness, and the beats of his heart by doing so. Why… Why did he want to tell her about his past? Why? This girl radiated an extraordinary aura—and sadly he was attracted to it. Hell if he knew why or how. There was something about this girl that…
Who's actually this girl? He mentally asked. Next he found himself repeating the same question in his mind. Yeah. The same question he'd asked himself two days ago. And the question remained unanswerable.
"My parents were always busy," he said, rather huskily, "they rarely stayed at home, always going out for work and stuff, and I was always alone without them during Christmas. Well, I usually stayed with my aunt whenever they weren't home—which happened almost every time. And so… I never got a real present during Christmas. I always felt lonely." He inhaled before he continued telling his story, "but there finally came a time when they could be home during Christmas; they called me to inform everything and I was so happy."
"That day I was told to wait in a café near our house. They said they would come and see me there so we could go together afterwards, buying me presents and stuff. But…" Riku closed his eyes. Reminiscences inundated his mind.
The seven year old Riku ran towards the crowd and tried to have a better look at the people in the car. It was like a dream; a black luxurious car running in top speed and crashing against other cars, before ending up thrown some feet away from the road. Thick smoke, thick smoke everywhere.
He had been told to stay still inside the café, but he couldn't resist the urge to approach the crowd, to see the victims… To see…
And his heart sank.
There lay none other than his mother, with bruises and blood all over her body. What surprised him the most was the man beside her—he wasn't his father. He didn't recognize this man, no at all. Riku could barely hear people shouting "Call 911! Call ambulance!" as he stepped backwards, fear dominating his body.
And between the shouts, he could see his mother's lips twitching. With her last strength she managed to say, "If hell truly exists, I'm going there now." And her eyes fluttered close.
The snow beneath him was bright red…stained with blood…sin…tears…
So much for a Christmas present.
His eyelids opened so slowly as his mouth also did so, letting out words that almost came out as a flood. Riku repeated his memories in his every word, he explained how his mother had been a bitch, how he'd gone out with another man, he also told Naminé his disliking towards his mother—everything, he told her everything. It's as if his deluge of words was everlasting.
Her pencil stopped again in the midst of her work; she was now staring at him in the eye, giving him a quizzical look. "…What about your father?" That was the first time she spoke after what was like…fifteen minutes or so.
Riku let out a bitter laugh. "He was a coward; he wasn't there—I didn't know where he actually was when that accident happened. But after some days, in my mother's funeral, he came, very dirty and so…unlike him." He bit his bottom lip, trying to retain the anger that was gushing out. "He…"
The boy lifted his face, only to meet that familiar stare. "…"
"I-I'm sorry for not…" The man swallowed hard as he rubbed at his temples. "I'm really sorry. Please forgive us both, you should have had better…memories—a better time as a kid, but we…we are always busy, rarely at home, and in the end—" He looked in the tombstone's direction, eyes flickering. A sigh. "We didn't get along very well, and we didn't tell you about this. So all this time…"
"Enough." Riku found himself saying. "Please don't explain—don't say anything. I hate you, dad."
With those last words spoken, the silver haired kid whirled on his heel, leaving his father alone. He looked up at the sky as rain began to fall, pouring upon his body and hiding his tears from sight.
It was the end. His innocence was ripped away. His trust in others was gone. He no longer could look at this world from the same angle anymore.
His hands trembled. His body shivered. A new wall was set around him, barricading the world and its people from entering his inner heart.
This was the new him.
A clumsy smile emerged on his face when he finished his story. "See? Christmas is far from my liking. So painful, you know." Riku paused for awhile. "He has been trying to see me, but I always refuse. The works… Everything was a lie."
"…You won't forgive you father?" Naminé asked, eyes gazing into his aquamarine eyes, searching for answers.
Riku snorted. "How can I forgive him? After everything he's done to me? As if I can." He folded his arms behind his back as he looked up at the ceiling, lost in thoughts. "I just can't believe I was being tricked. I thought their so-called works were true; I thought they were out for works—but no. My mum hung out with another man and my father, hell if I knew where. They were such a mess. And look at their son now! Suffering from a cancer and not to mention he's also into free sex, drugs, and dirty fights." Next his laugh rang bitterly in the air, floating for awhile in mid-air before fading away.
"You know what?"
"What?" Naminé stayed still in her position.
"I'm a fucking bastard and I deserve to die."
She didn't say anything.
The next days were no different; Naminé still came to look after him and when he thought she would mention about their last conversation, he found himself was wrong. The girl apparently didn't mention anything about his past, and Riku felt relieved about that. The bad thing was, she still brought more and more Christmas decorations, clear that she was persistent about this Christmas tree and exchanging presents. And he couldn't do anything, could he?
Riku wasn't as hard as before towards her—he'd become softer and found this a little quaint. Okay, this was quite fast. It astonished him how he could be soft towards a girl he'd just met (he was usually soft towards a girl whom he'd sleep with)—but no, it's not like he was going to sleep with her, hell no. He didn't even have the desire to. And oh yeah, he had a cancer, too. So screw that.
This girl must be something, he kept telling himself that.
In some nights, when he was fast asleep and she came again to check on him, Naminé often found the boy screaming in his sleep. Cold sweats rolled down his face, almost like rain droplets sliding down the clear, crystal-like windowpanes. His brows were drawn, forming a frown between his squeezed eyes. And she walked closer to him before placing a hand on his head, in hopes those macabre nightmares would go away.
Yes. He was definitely having nightmares, and by the look of it, they were so gruesome. A sympathetic look appeared on her face.
She knew, no matter how strong he looked, or how strong his acts might be, Naminé knew that deep down there, in the darkest parts of his heart, Riku yearned for help. He screamed to be saved from the darkness bounded to him. Subconsciously, he wanted to be free from the lingering darkness, he wanted to spread out his wings and cast his fears to the sky—he just wanted freedom.
But little did he know… he wouldn't be free unless he set his past free. Which most likely wouldn't happen that easy.
Dark. Everything was so dark, yet it was funny how he still could see his self. Yeah, his body was still vivid, still in color. He wondered why. If there wasn't any light at all, how did he suppose to see his…body? This was too baffling, he concluded. He then looked around, only to find himself facing the same color, pitch black. Nothing was there, every time his aquamarine eyes rolled, sweeping by like a zephyr, there was only darkness. Every time he took a move, his step would reverberate in his ears.
Encouraging himself that everything would be okay, he stepped forward, eyes wide. But his once unwavering paces quavered when he walked, walked, and walked yet found no end of this. He hoped he would fall off stairs or something—whatever, just, let him know that there was actually something here. Not just endless darkness.
Where am I? He logically, bravely asked himself. And the logical answer to that was, Hell if I know.
Okay, so he felt so stupid now, walking with arms out stretched and paces full of doubt, like a blind man. Maybe he was truly blind. He didn't know. But when hopes seemed dance tauntingly around him, when everything seemed so unpromising, something so bright—so blinding went into his eyes. He raised his hands instantly, shielding his eyes protectively as a reflexive action. When the light started to ebb away, he let his hands down slowly as he blinked several times.
There was no sign of light, still. But he could see a figure standing in a distance, dressed in white. He squinted to have a better look, but failed in attempt to. Then he took more paces, closer to the figure, but he never got there. He couldn't.
That figure, still out of his reach, still he couldn't see who that person was, suddenly spread out wings, so silvery and untainted. So beautiful and sinless. And he let out a gasp of awe. Whoever it was, was now holding out a hand, as if telling him to come closer so he moved forward but—
—his leg was stuck. He turned his head, only to see black hands grip to his legs, sharp claws pricking his skin and tearing his flesh. His aquamarine eyes widened in horror. Those hands wouldn't let him go. The grip became tighter. The pain became unbearable.
And he screamed at the top of his lungs.
His eyes snapped open, his breath was unsteady, and his pajama was a bit soaked. His eyes were greeted by the familiar white, plain ceiling as he tried to collect every puzzle piece in his mind. As he amassed every piece in a place, he began to go through them carefully and slowly, not wanting to miss even a piece. His once stiffened tendons were at ease when the puzzle became whole. He could breathe normally when he realized he was actually still in his room—in the hospital instead of that realm of darkness.
Never ever did he feel so relieved finding himself still in his room like this.
"It was only a dream…" He exhaled, sitting up as he cast his glance out the window. "But it seemed so real." He muttered in a low tone, eyes looked so distant and unattainable. Riku watched morning dews dotting the green leaves in a way that claimed for attention; they shimmered against the light of the sun, flashing like diamonds. Every crystal-like granule, staying on the leaves and calling them as their home, looked so pure, so sinless. He knew he was stupid, but he couldn't bring himself not to envy those dews. Compared to them, he was merely a dusty ground which could never exude such glow.
He was tainted.
And there was no way back, was there…?
The door suddenly opened, slowly and carefully as usual. He shifted his stare and found Naminé standing at the door, as calm as ever. The girl stepped inside, closing the door behind her before approaching the boy with a small box in her arms. Riku stared at the box. "Not Christmas decorations again…"
She smiled. "Again."
He exhaled. Yeah, he could only exhale. Riku had apparently given in; he found out there was no use in arguing about this with Naminé and…yes, he'd become softer and softer towards her. Also, staring at her from the corner of his eye like this, as she walked around his room, he began to feel…strange. There was this bizarre feeling inside him, stirring, stirring and stirring inside his stomach and it wasn't pleasant. He didn't want to know what it was.
"The Christmas tree will arrive tomorrow." Naminé said happily from across the room. A wide smile decorated her face.
"…Yeah." Riku smirked awkwardly; Christmas was still far from his liking, obviously.
The blonde ran a hand through her soft hair and combed it with her fingers, grinning. "You know, how about going to the park next to this hospital? It'll be fun."
His jaw dropped almost immediately. Next he blinked several times, flabbergasted. Once he regained his poise, Riku straightened his position and inhaled, half hoping the air could give him more serenity. This girl never ceased to amaze and surprise him. "You want we—what?" He asked in high pitched and disbelief.
"Going to the park next to this hospital," Naminé answered calmly. "You rarely go outside, no?"
"True, but—" His eyes pierced through hers, asking a question to her mind. "—but will they allow…"
To his surprise, Naminé chuckled and he noticed, her laugh was so pleasant to hear—so celestial, so…calming, so melodious, so—
"Don't worry," she said, reassuring him. "You can consider this as…a phase to your uh, restoration?" She giggled while Riku twitched a bit at the word 'restoration'. "You can reckon on me." The girl emphasized smiling.
Snorting to which Naminé replied with a questioning look, he rubbed at his nose and relaxed a bit. "Reckon on you eh? And you're even younger than me? How ironic." The girl's glare was responded by an amused laugh from Riku. "Fine, fine, you win. We'll go." He conceded, smirking as amusement was running across his eyes.
It felt so good to be able to laugh freely again.
After being incarcerated in that sickening white room and was now lavishly bestowed with warm, pleasant light, he felt so different. It's as if he was born anew. If only these rays of light could wash away his sins…it would be great. So now given such view like this, he wanted to scream in delight. Everything he'd seen in his life before was never this beautiful—it wasn't dark, dirty, fragranced with sex, or smelled alcoholic. He finally noticed the disparity between his previous world and this one. And he liked this world a lot better.
For heaven's sake… How could he miss this? After all this time… He…
Moistures of dawn dripped from some leaves like raindrops, reflected in his clear aquamarine eyes that his orbs resembled small pools of diamonds so badly now. The damp grass beneath him danced slightly in the upcoming breeze, as his feet scuffled against the silky green bed. Multi-hued butterflies played a waltz around flowers, flying from one to another jubilantly in a rhythm. Riku blinked in amazement.
"Like this place?" Naminé suddenly asked.
He snapped out of his trance. "Uh, y-yah."
"I want to go there," she pointed her index finger towards a towering white building in a distance; white birds flew above it, chirping in merriment. Radiance of the sun permeated through the thick, prism glasses of windows, emanating a diffuse glow around the immense structure. Riku didn't need to ask her what that thing was. "You want to come with me to the church? Just for awhile, it won't take long."
"No," The silver haired boy shook his head and refused courteously. "I'll just stay here." He added with a smile. No, he so didn't want to go there—a church, damn it! It'd be a shame going there in a state…like this. He just couldn't. These sins were too much to bear.
"Really? It's okay? Just for awhile,"
"No, it's ok, I'll—" Riku suddenly coughed and Namine, with concern strewn across her face, scurried towards him, placing a hand on his shoulder.
"Riku? Are you alright?"
"Y-yeah, just a norm—" He coughed again, this time harder. His vision was becoming blurry as he stepped backwards, unexpectedly losing his balance. Now, was he actually seeing…stars? "I'm okay," he said hoarsely, slumping to the ground while he drew a hand placing it on his would-explode-head. "Really, Naminé," he let out a weak, queer laugh when the girl before him gave a sharp look. "I am okay, you hear that? Now go, I'll be waiting here."
"Run away or…or…"
"Or what?" He smirked. "You'll kiss me?"
There was a long, awkward silence after that. It's as if someone had pressed the 'stop' button and the play was in a halt. Paused. No sound, no voice, so still. The only things playing that time were their stares, soundlessly penetrating into each other's barrier, hunting for answers, hunting for truths. And then, in a very slow motion, the sound of birds began to echo in their ears again and there was more, more, and more than that. The 'play' button, someone had pressed it! Thank god. But now…buzzing, his ears were filled with buzzing and it was so noisy, so disturbing—
"Kidding." He heard himself saying. His heart thumped against his chest, the beats escalated within every second and he had to stop this, immediately. He had to. "Well yeah, just go there without me. I don't feel like, uh, going there. So s-see you." He managed to say, though the last words trembled slightly. Inside, he cursed to himself, angry and confused because he didn't really know why he'd said that in the first place. Well, thankfully he didn't say something worse like, you'll sleep with me and you'll let me fu—
Okay. That was beyond his will. He was fooling himself now. How incongruous.
Naminé nodded her head and whirled on her heel, quickly strolling away, heading for the church. As the girl's figure began to vanish from his sight, immersed in the light of the sun, he questioned himself whether or not he was imagining. Wings—as white as the clouds above and more luminous than diamonds—popped out of nowhere, gracing her back.
Blink, blink. He rubbed at his eyes. He was still sane, was he not?
He gazed at her back again, and the wings weren't there. Okay, so that was only a mirage? That wasn't real right? There was no way—
"What if I say I'm an angel?"
An odd sensation between fright and wonder took over his body; his lips quavered as his heart, which had decelerated the speed of the beats for some seconds, was now beating so fast again. So fast that he feared it would jump off his chest. Riku murmured something in a low voice.
That was only an illusion.
Or was that…?
In the end he just shook his head and leaned back against the tree, hoping the shadows these wooden pillars had created could hide the questions coming to his mind. Of all questions, he really didn't know how to answer this one. And he didn't know where to find it, either.
When Naminé came back, Riku couldn't take his eyes off the girl. Moreover, he couldn't stop glancing to her back, deep in his heart hoping the same wings would pop out. But no, nothing happened and he concluded he was only imagining. But that didn't prevent him from staring at her or her back, and this flustered the blonde.
Naminé, however, didn't get the chance to ask what those stares were actually for, because Riku started coughing again and she became worried. They finally went back to Riku's room and she told him to rest. "And don't forget to take the medicine, Riku." She added before leaving the room, still had that worried look on her face.
And when the door was fully close, he started coughing again. His vision became blurry.
Days had passed again, so quickly like the fleeting clouds above in the sky. No one noticed when or how they passed—just like that, the moment you looked up at the sky, everything wasn't in where they had been before.
Sometimes, Naminé wondered why time could fly so quickly like that. And she wished there had been more time, more time to do everything she couldn't do.
"I heard Riku's condition is getting worse." The doctor spoke, gazing intently in the blonde's direction.
"He keeps coughing, I heard." Aerith, Riku's former nurse, spoke in monotone. But behind that, also behind that calm, kind face, Naminé knew she was in panic. She knew the young woman was full of doubt. She doubted her.
"He always takes his medicine… doesn't he?" The doctor asked, brows arched.
"…He does. He always does." The blonde answered, eyes cast downwards. Even though her voice sounded strong, sounded so confident like a sword wielded by a warrior to the battle field burning with courage, her heart didn't represent any bravery, any certainty; anything her voice had represented awhile ago. Inside, her heart was trembling with doubts. A moment later she asked herself a question she didn't want to know the answer,
Does he always take his medicine?
Her heart skipped so many beats in what seemed like…ten seconds or so. That, if she still could count the time right at this rate. It was too hard to concentrate right now. She couldn't even focus her gaze on the doctor who was standing in front of her, telling her some things she didn't really get. How could she… How could she…
How could she be so careless?
Even as she walked away from Riku's former nurse and the doctor, her heart was still skipping more and more beats.
The Christmas tree was already there, beautifully decorated and lavishly bestowed with the prettiest ornaments he'd ever seen. The lights, colorful like a box of so many pencil colors, sparkled gleefully lighting up the room with a cheerful atmosphere. He had to admit the tree was beautiful, very beautiful, in fact. And he had to retain himself from gasping too much because of awe.
Being alone in the room, Riku decided to take this time to survey his self more. He ran a hand through his silver hair, and strangely enough, when some strands of his hair fell weakly onto the bed, he wasn't really surprised. Maybe he was expecting this. Maybe he was waiting for this to happen. All he could do was staring at them, indescribable emotions swimming and mixing together inside. Was this… Was this what he was really expecting?
And he noticed, through the velvet drapes of dusk, there lain a defined scene. There lain his foreseen future. He knew it.
The door creaked open only to reveal the familiar blonde. He turned his head to her in an instant. "You decorated the tree…beautifully."
The girl was a bit taken back, simply not expecting him to say that. Or maybe it was only because he suddenly interrupted her thoughts. Naminé inhaled before she gave him a faint smile, walking over to the sofa where she usually seated herself in. "Thank you." She said while her hands reached for a box next to her, and pulled out the same book.
Riku eyed her for awhile. Was it only his stupid feelings, or was Naminé actually acting weird today? He tried not to think about it. "Your artistic talents are showed through this tree." He brought up the conversation again when stillness began to build some more barriers. He didn't know since when he had the urge to talk to someone like this. He usually defended himself with so many walls so no one could enter. But now? He wanted to pull her into his defense, and deeper than that, to his inner heart. To his inner heart, what he had been protecting at all costs. This made no sense.
Naminé lifted her head slightly from the book. "Thank you." And then she stared down at the book again, absorbed. "You know Riku, I want to ask you something." She said out of nowhere.
The boy's head was tilted slightly, an indication that he was flustered. Of course he was. Seriously, what did this sudden seriousness mean? He replied with his casual tone nonetheless, "oh sure, go ahead."
"How do you feel?"
"Eh?" Blankly, he looked at her.
Slowly, she lifted her head to greet the boy's blank stare. "I asked, how do you feel? Your condition."
Unspoken fear coursed in his aquamarine eyes. Unspoken surprise reflected in them. Riku didn't reply her question right away. He looked away from her gaze as a refusal to answer. But seconds couldn't be prolonged and his stillness would demand another question from the blonde. Unwillingly, he opened his mouth to speak, "…fine, of course."
"You don't believe me?" He chuckled.
Naminé smiled, rising from her seat. Though, Riku thought her smile was so…odd. So unusual. And somehow, mysterious. "If I do, then you should have done too, in the first place. If I don't, that'll make us even."
"…What?" His smile had gone from his face. It was clear that he was utterly confused. He didn't have a clue of what her statement meant. Whether this was the side effect of his cancer or he was just too slow, he didn't know; he didn't understand what her words meant. "What do you mean?"
She smiled yet spoke no words. And like usual, he was left with many thoughts, baffled.
Something evil was dancing around him invisibly. Engulfed by the same darkness again, he looked around hopelessly. He never expected to see that figure again, standing not far from where he was. He squinted to have a better look and subconsciously, without a warn, his legs had taken some paces towards the figure.
This time, that figure became closer and closer. This time, he could see that figure fully, only now she was wearing a hood and he couldn't see her face. Yeah, that figure apparently belonged to a girl. His strides halted. His aquamarine eyes fixed on her.
"Who…are you?" His voice came out slightly trembling. There was that sensation again, the sensation between fright and wonder in his heart.
"Someone. Someone you know and don't know."
Silver lithe brows arched. Riku decided to avoid her statement, eluding his self from being perplexed again. "Why? Why are you here in my dream? Or should I say, this realm of darkness. This looks…too real."
Silence for a moment. But some minutes later, as if the girl had had enough time contemplating, she shifted in her position and it happened. Those wings. Those wings appeared out of nowhere, gracing her back. And he thought…he thought he'd seen those wings somewhere before. No, not in his dream, but somewhere before… Somewhere…he couldn't really remember.
That girl suddenly held out a hand and he looked down at it. "If you want to see the light again, come."
He looked unsure for a moment, stepping backwards and staring at her incredulously. "I don't even know you, why should I believe you?"
"I've come to bring the light back to you. Quick, there's no time."
Riku still didn't move. He gazed at her skeptically. Then, reluctantly, he took some steps forward and was about to reach her hand but—
The same black hands gripped his legs, pricking into his skin deeply that he screamed in pain. Looking down at them, Riku gritted his teeth. "Damn it, what the hell?!" He turned his head to look at the girl again, wanting for any necessary explanations.
To his utter surprise, she smiled in dismal. "I knew it," she said, barely above whisper. "You can't be freed unless you set them free."
His eyes snapped open instantly. Gasping for breath, the silver haired boy sat up and glanced around the area, only to find himself in his room, still. And he let out a breath of relief. "That dream again…" He muttered under his breath and shook his head. Those dreams, he wondered what they possibly meant. They seemed like an omen or something and he hoped not something bad.
His stare went to the window and the grayish sky above was reflected in his eyes. Gray sky again. More snow to come. And more painful memories of blood, sins, and tears. Sighing, Riku glanced to the alarm on the table next to his bed and found out it was ten in the morning already. Oddly enough, Naminé hadn't come to check on him, yet. She always came at around nine. So why…?
Pale slender fingers ran agilely across the yellow pages as oceanic blue eyes, warily, examined every word printed on the papers. Anyhow, as her hand ran across the pages, she tried as carefully as she could not to tear them apart. The pages were so old, their glorious years had been eaten by ages and now even a single, a bit too hard and not careful move could take their life away. So now she was trying her best not to make any careless move because every detail on these papers could mean everything for her.
Her index finger suddenly stopped on a certain name. Her eyes rolled following her finger, and caught those numbers. Biting her bottom lip, she took her pen and wrote down those numbers before sighing in exhaustion.
Swiftly she rose from her seat and closed the book before she left the room.
Riku always felt lonely; he already got used to it. It was like his best friend since this white room became his little home. Solitary wasn't an odd, new word to him. So now, as he was staring out the window with longing eyes, all alone by himself, why did he feel even lonelier than usual?
He couldn't even stop glancing around the room, hoping another figure was there accompanying him. But whenever his gaze swept by scrutinizing every space, no one was there. No one. And his heart would beat unusually. This loneliness suddenly became too overwhelming that he thought he could die right away. This was queer. This made no sense. He was always alone, but it was now that he felt hurt the most because of solitude. Why…? How…?
A sigh was expelled again.
Where is she?
His aquamarine eyes locked in the Christmas tree's direction with indescribable emotions building up inside him.
Riku felt like he was transformed into a little kid, with a wide grin that failed to be hid on his face when the door opened revealing none other than the blonde girl. It was what he was feeling right now, extremely ecstatic as if a big box of chocolate had been given to him. As if his father had come with a big box of chocolate and toys. Only in the actual version, neither his father nor mother had left him something better than a cruel past. That was the best his parents could give him, as a present. And the death of her mother was what he'd had as a Christmas present.
He hated reminiscing about what had passed, but somehow he couldn't restrain his memories from flowing out. If only he could confine his past…locking it inside a coffin so it would never resurface to sear his head with torturing fire.
Having managed to stop grinning (he was only smiling now), Riku greeted Naminé almost in an instant, "Hi. Where were you yesterday?" His question was too rushed that she looked quite surprised for awhile. But he couldn't hold it any longer.
Naminé had regained her composure back. She walked slowly to him, smile forced. "I had some things to do, and they were so important so I couldn't check on you. I'm sorry. But I'm sure another nurse was sent here?"
Riku shrugged, not caring even a bit. "You're my nurse."
The blonde smiled a bit. "I guess."
Silence. They just stared at each other intently, studying each other's eyes, trying to see what possibly lied behind the layers surrounding them. After some minutes, Naminé's lips finally turned upwards. "Riku…" She looked at him in the eye. "You don't look so well."
His body stiffened. "What do you mean?" He carefully, slowly asked.
"Your hair." She nodded towards his shoulder.
Riku rolled his eyes and cast them downwards, towards his shoulder and found silver strands there. He gulped before turning his eyes to Naminé again. "What's with that? I m-mean, you know, I'm not healthy—I'm sick, damn it! So it's not something you should worry about—"
"If you drink the medicine intently," her words suddenly cut him, piercing and sounding so intimidating in the awkward and defined moment they were sharing. Riku blinked, half frightened and anxious. "If you drink the medicine intently," the girl repeated again. "Then this won't happen. You won't lose your hair. Or at least, it will still be long till you actually lose your hair. The medicine can prevent any upcoming possibility, even the worst. So if you don't drink it, then yes, your state right now is the proof of that."
Her blue eyes, which usually showed tenderness and calm, no longer looked very kind. They were glaring in his direction and there was no smile on her face. And Riku realized this matter had finally become very serious. He realized everything was being unfolded. "…Naminé,"
"I ask you again, Riku. And if you're truthful to me, I'll be honored. Do you take your medicine intently?"
He looked away from her eyes, gaze glued on his white sheet. He didn't have the power to give any answers. Even so, he knew she got the answer already.
Naminé exhaled. "You don't, do you?"
"…I don't," he finally said, weakly.
She let out a sigh again, sadness and disappointment overtaking her face. "But why? Why? All this time I've always believed you take the medicine intently… But noticing your condition is getting worse instead of better…" She shook her head. "Why Riku? Why don't you—"
"Wanna know the full story?" Riku suddenly lifted his face. No, he didn't look so weak and hopeless anymore, instead he looked so determined and angry right now. When his aquamarine orbs gazed into her eyes, he found something there. The same sympathy. The same look everyone was giving to him. He was tired of it. He didn't need pity. He would gladly end his life instead of living with people who always pitied on him. Only because he was suffering from a cancer, only because he had a morbid past, why did everyone pity on him?
The blonde girl stayed deadly still, but had her eyes examining Riku. She would be lying if she said she wasn't startled by his abrupt act. What now?
"You guys are easy to fool." Riku began; it was evident his voice was taunting her. "I always drink the water, but I throw the medicine out the window. Always. You hear that?" He was now smirking, somehow feeling satisfied when he saw disbelief and shock roosting on Naminé's face. His anger right now was just too much, too much for him to resist. He couldn't hold it any longer. His frustration, fears, doubts, emotions he couldn't even detect or describe, his fright—everything, everything that had been staying inside him, was now gushing out, spouting up into the surface.
"Riku…" Naminé was now glaring at him again. She also felt so angry. Why, why would someone had the will to die? Given the chance to live, why would someone choose to die? She didn't understand. Many people out there, maybe unseen and unrecognized, were suffering—maybe even worse than him—and yearning for help so anyone, whoever, whatever, could save them from despair and sorrow. They dared to do anything just to be able to live longer; they cherished the word 'life'. But this boy…Riku… Why did he want to die so badly? Was it because his sorrow had devoured his ambitions and dreams?
"There are many people out there," Riku spoke again, eyes flashing with anger and poignancy. "Who ought to live, have died. But who ought to die, are still alive. Do you want to know one person for an example?" Naminé didn't give any responses so he decided to continue his statement. "Me. Me. I should have died long ago. I deserve to die but see, I'm still alive. Death doesn't like me; it has always been shunning me. So then, I have no choice right? I chase it."
There was a bitter laugh after that, coming from the silver haired boy's mouth and filling the air menacingly. When it faded into nothingness, Naminé's lips trembled in attempt to say something. He waited. This was a battleground; both wielded their swords of words and fought with each other. And the result of this battle was still a blur.
"In some nights, when you're fast asleep and unaware of your surroundings anymore, you always scream in such a pain, as if someone has just come and thrust your heart with a blade."
His eyes went wide. He was sure he would burst out in no time. This girl… He always respected her, he liked her for being so different, unique, or even mysterious. He even…He even…
But now he chose to ignore his feelings, deeming them as nothing but a breeze. "You…" He gritted his teeth. "You always see me sleeping and screaming like that? How dare you—"
"You always have gruesome nightmares. So macabre that you feel like you can die anytime." The girl continued, paying no attention to what he had just said. "But even though you want to die so badly, somewhere deep in your heart, somewhere you can't reach and understand, you fear death." Pause for a moment. And before Riku could burst out and snarl at her, she had resumed speaking, "deep down there, you just want one thing. You just want to be saved, to be freed from your past, your wrong life as a teenager not long before, everything. You just want freedom. Deep down there, without even aware of another presence, you're seeking for salvation."
Riku froze in his position. He couldn't say anything, it's as if his words had been taken away and sealed inside a cage and the key was nowhere to be found. It's as if someone had cast a spell on him, making him dumb. So he did what he could only do that time, gazing at her in disbelief and at the same time, waiting for her to continue.
"Subconsciously, you've been seeking, seeking, and seeking for it," she looked at him in the eye, unusually serious. Her eyes didn't flicker with her usual gentleness. Every word she said was like a blade stabbing into his chest. "But you can't find it. And then, ironically, you blame yourself for that. The hatred inside yourself builds up more hatred and it grows bigger from time to time, consuming your whole self. You're so frail. What has always been there to support you all this time, is only your hatred. Simple as that, Riku. You live in hatred, regrets, and fears."
Aquamarine eyes burned with fury as they watched her mouth voice more and more words. He clenched his fists. He couldn't comprehend her. How could she say such things? She didn't even know him that well, she didn't even—
"And the hatred towards yourself," This time the anger in Naminé's eyes was dwindling away, soon replaced by sadness. "Also all the nightmares, it's all because you can't forgive your father, you can't forgive your past, you can't forgive yourself."
He finally could burst out.
"How can you say that?! You know nothing about me! You hear that? Nothing! You're just my fucking nurse! You don't know anything, damn it!" After shouting for some more time, he leaned into his pillow, breathless.
"I hate you, Naminé. Go away."
The stillness after that was so uncomfortable. It was when Riku realized something. The words he'd said to her…weren't they…
"I hate you, dad. Go away."
Exactly like that. Whether or not she still remembered about his past, she still looked hurt. Hell, who wouldn't? Naminé's shoulders shook as she took some steps backwards, away from him as if he'd been infected by HIV or something. Some blond strands of her hair whipped at her face as she shook her head. Her bangs fell over her widened eyes. Seeing her like this, Riku really wanted to apologize but swallowed his intention when his dignity whispered evil words to his ears. He wouldn't let his pride down.
So then, with a queer feeling of not wanting to let her go, he had to watch the girl rushing towards the door, speechless. Naminé turned her vision to him while she was turning the doorknob, opening the door. A miserable smile stretched across her face, gawkily looked too forced. "I knew it. Everything is so clear now. And if you think I pity on you because of your condition, then you're wrong. I've only come to save you." With that she went out the room.
As the door closed hiding her figure from his sight, Riku felt something not right. It seemed like he'd seen that thing somewhere… It seemed like he'd seen that rueful smile somewhere. Everything was too familiar.
He had a scowl between his brows, thinking hard. Somewhere… A place… A close place, within reach but beyond sight. Somewhere so near, yet so distant. He'd sunk his head between his fingers, now beginning to growl in frustration. Worse, his head was aching, giving him more torment as if this wasn't painful enough.
Lifting his head again so slowly, Riku laid his eyes on the door and looked at it longingly. There, there, what was he expecting now? He knew she wouldn't come back. He knew he'd told her to leave. He knew he'd hurt her, and he couldn't help it. The solitude became more noticeable now.
"You're just my fucking nurse!"
He closed his eyes as he muttered something under his breath. He'd lied. He'd lied to her. No. She was more than just a fucking nurse to him. She was…
Riku rolled his eyes, now fixed them in the window's direction. "Damn, I need more time to think…"
Shocked, she walked unsteadily before leaning against the wall, breathing faster and faster. She glanced around and spotted the window. Slowly she reached it and placed her hands on the windowpanes.
Blond bangs fell limply over her eyes, shielding them partially as she was casting them upwards, to the sky. She bit her lower lip. What was it? Was she hurt? Was she disappointed? Was she down? Drawing a hand, she placed it on her chest and closed her eyes.
What was it? She shouldn't be feeling this way. She had a task to do. She shouldn't be feeling this way.
With a longing look on her face, she gazed at the sky again and muttered a quiet "forgive me"
Long before, in a hole he called 'cavity of despair and poignancy', every day was always plain and never special. Long before, there was nothing to be enthusiastic about every day. Long before, every day was as ugly as a trash to him. Long before, every day was always filled with bored and heavy sighs. Long before, every day was filled with false hopes and caged ambitions. Long before, there was nothing special. There was no expectation. There was no hope. There was no wish. There was no eager feeling. There was no time when he would look at the door longingly.
But now was so different. While his eyes glued on the dead door of his room, deep inside his heart, there was something perilous, something scary and beyond understandable trying to surface and claim to be seen. What now? Was he hoping for something miraculous to happen while, in the past, the hope itself had abandoned him? What now? Was he depending himself on a miracle, while miracle itself never sent the stairs down for him to step on?
What now? Was he expecting her to come, while he'd hurt her so much yesterday?
He knew he was wrong.
But wait, it wasn't fully his fault, right? That girl had said things that weren't true and of course he was angry, right…? How could she say such things? Those things weren't true at all, hell no.
Or, were they…?
For the seventh time in five minutes and it was still so early, Riku smacked his head and the pain coming to his head afterwards was answered by ignorance. Who would care about pain now, if he had endless thoughts running in his mind? Who would bother to ease it, if he had etched more hurting pain in someone's heart? Who would be able to heal the pain, if not him? One who had planted something on the ground had to pull it out again, at the end.
Gritting his teeth, he glanced to the door again. Another nurse would be sent here if Naminé still hadn't come. That sounded awfully possible. He needed to think. He needed time to think more clearly.
It would be best for him if he looked closely at his heart and welcomed the answers and truths that had been hiding in the darkest shadows of his self. It would be more than good if he cut those layers with his will, and took a closer look at what they called truths.
Hasty paces echoed throughout the corridor. The taller woman with long brown braid exhaled for the twentieth times in ten minutes, exasperated. Her emerald eyes ran from one spot to another as she grumbled under her breath. "This is so irritating…"
"I know," the woman beside her said, still sinking her head to the book and keeping paces with her friend, unaware of her surroundings.
The green eyed woman turned to her, looking more annoyed. "Goddamn it Belle, can you please put that book away and walk more normally?" Grudgingly, Bell lowered her book and stared blankly at her companion.
"Sorry Aer." Belle whispered.
Aerith murmured. "It's just, damn, why did Naminé suddenly say that? Why couldn't she come? I bet Riku was so annoying and Naminé was so tired of him and look at us now, we're sent to look after him!" Her voice rang in hysterics, high pitched tone depicting the frustration and anger within her.
With a quick motion Aerith swung the door that led to Riku's room open, only to be greeted by emptiness. Belle peered over her friend's shoulder and blinked several times. Aerith gulped. "No way…"
"Where's he?" The shorter woman asked, flustered.
Pulling the jacket closer to his body, he nibbled his bottom lip and shoved his hands into his pockets. His eyes rolled vigilantly as he examined the area. Tourists in jackets and sweaters crowded the streets, fully decorated shops looked even more blatant than usual, and inevitable chats filled the air. He swiveled around and laid his gaze on the white towering building that had become distant in his eyes. He'd managed to escape. This should be congratulated, somehow. But he had no time to think about it, because he had more important things to be solved.
Cringing, the silver haired boy turned and resumed walking. He hated to bring up those thoughts, but he had to.
Even now, his past was still far from his liking. It was something taboo. Because of his childhood, he changed and called drugs, women, and dirty fights as his new life. All this time he'd been avoiding anything about his morbid past and his so-called new life became a place to run away. When he was told about his cancer, it was when the thought of dying became more vivid in his mind. He'd always thought death would suit him best because the sins he'd committed would never be cleansed.
But the things Naminé'd said…
Was it true? Was it true that the hatred towards his self had been built because he couldn't forgive his father? He couldn't forgive his past? He couldn't set it free? He couldn't forgive himself?
Riku shook his head. Why could it…?
But he noticed it. He'd been avoiding his past, running away from it, burying it instead of looking at it in the eye, facing it, and letting it go. All this time he'd always been only running, scared. He was only a coward. He feared his past. So he thought death would solve everything, he thought death would make everything less difficult, he thought death would become a nice place to visit. He thought death would be a perfect choice for his pathetic life, without being aware of the cries of his inner self. Truth be told, he also feared it.
He could remember his father trying to meet him and talk, but he'd always refused. Was it also because of fear? A fear of rejection? Was it shame?
He hated himself. He hated himself, so fucking much. And now that he found out what actually was behind the scene; that the cause of this dark drama was only because one simple thing… He couldn't bring himself to forgive. He couldn't.
Right. He just wanted to be free from the darkness bounded to him. That was all. He just wanted to see the light again. He wanted to be bathed by warm radiance again. He just needed one thing. The screams of his heart suddenly became so distinct.
"Simple as that, Riku. You live in hatred, regrets, and fears."
"But even though you want to die so badly, somewhere deep in your heart, somewhere you can't reach and understand, you fear death."
"You just want freedom. Deep down there, without even aware of another presence, you're seeking for salvation."
He closed his eyes, and for the very first time he admired the tranquility the breeze was giving him. Some lines of water rolled down his cheeks as he looked up at the sky. Was he hallucinating, or did the sky actually look a bit grey? What was it? Was the sky sad?
Riku bowed his head. He found the answers. He only wanted to be saved. He also wanted to be forgiven.
It was just a simple matter between forgiveness and salvation.
With a hoarse voice he muttered, "Will you forgive me? Will I be forgiven…?"
The shell had cracked. The pearl inside finally revealed itself.
It was her who'd told her everything he should have known from long ago. It was her who'd made him realize the answers. It was true she was somewhat strange; it was true he felt suspicious about her sometimes, but it didn't really matter right now. He only needed her. He needed her more than anything right now. He had to apologize to her. He had to.
"He still hasn't come back!" Aerith cried in frustration. "We need to send some people to find him, don't you think?" Her eyes were burning in anger.
"People have been sent out to find him, Aer." Said Belle calmly from across the room, eyes glued on the book in her hands. Aerith growled and shook her head.
"Who does he think he is?!"
His breath was becoming faster and faster as he ran, damp grass brushing his legs beneath and making his pants soaked. But he didn't give a damn about it. He didn't care even if he got shot by a psycho or something right now. He didn't even know where his mind was taking him to. The only thing echoed in his head was, find her. Find Naminé.
Propping his weight against the nearest tree, he cast his vision towards the towering building, breath was still unusually fast. He clutched to his chest and winced in pain. His time was near; he had not much left. Forcing himself to stand upright again, he clenched his fists, face looked wasted but determined at the same time. No, he wouldn't allow this exhaustion devour his will. He wouldn't. If people often talked about an inescapable duty that needed to be fulfilled no matter what, then he was doing his right now. Find her.
Breath creating a cloudy mist in the air, he strode down the grassy field heading for the white building he'd always avoided. "No. I'll stay here." He'd always stayed behind, watching from afar, but now? Not anymore.
He went to that church.
That was the first time he faced a church without worried eyes. That was the first time he dared himself opening the door and peeking inside. That was the first time he actually gasped in astonishment seeing such view.
Even though the sky was streaked slightly gray, it didn't lessen the inner beauty this place had. Even though there was hardly a line of light coming through the big windows, the rainbow-like windowpanes themselves devoured all light, filtering it and bestowing what was inside with multi-hued colors, giving everything a soothing aura.
He couldn't believe all this. There he was, standing with mouth almost dropped to the ground, astounded. Blinking his eyes, he looked around. And there she was, near a big cross, her back facing him.
And there he was again, hallucinating. No, he had to be. He had to be hallucinating. But how could it happen two times? How could…those wings pop out from her back? Silvery wings, glimmering luminously like pure diamonds. This had to be wrong. This had to be. There was no way she could be…
Or was she?
"What if I say I'm an angel?"
His hands trembled. His lips were quivering in attempt to say something. But his mind was blank. He could neither bring himself to walk nor move. Everything suddenly became an enormous, empty space to him. Only a single thing filled it; a contemplation—no, maybe it had become a statement now.
He finally could move his weight when Naminé turned around, wings disappearing again. The silver haired boy hid behind some people, looking away and trying to restrain himself from running over to her. No. He needed more time.
When the blonde girl gave no sign of noticing his presence by sauntering out the church, he exhaled, relieved. But as he was about to follow the girl, a hoarse yet gentle voice stopped him on the track. "What is your purpose by coming here, son?" He turned around,
Only to meet an old stare. Riku gulped, twirling to face the aged man fully. He opened his mouth to answer, but found his voice caught in the throat. Mentally he cursed himself for being so dumb. The elder cocked his head to the side slightly, white hair brushing his blue eyes. And then he managed to crack a small smile, just a tiny smile between his wrinkles, as if his tendons were thousand years old beyond repair. "O son, are you here for redemption?"
Riku stayed in silent. After for what seemed like days he finally said, "…I don't really know." Damn, was that the best answer he could come up with? Thinking it was kind of lame, he then added, "and even if I do, I'm not sure I'll be forgiven. I've committed too many sins, your Holiness."
That elder smiled wider. "Ever heard of this? A son beyond control, his father is sad. But whenever the son goes out to show his rebellion to his father, the father never falters. The father never holds grudge towards his son. And when the son comes back, finally admitting defeat and shame after whatever he's done out there, the father always lets him in, with the same warm smile."
Riku stood still, face deadpan. But his thoughts were running so fast, too fast.
"Dear son, you're always welcome."
His heart beats increased as every step he took led him further, further away from the church. His aquamarine eyes rolled over and over, as if he was paranoid about his surroundings, as if the nature loathed him. The deafening noise of the busy city filled his ears again as he stepped on the cobblestone side road. He glanced around again, warily, and almost jumped in delight when a figure was registered in his eyes.
Naminé was walking across the street, bowing her head down, seemingly to be lost in thoughts. A scowl appeared between his brows. Hastily he ran approaching her—yes, yes, he had to speak with her, he had to, because—
Something alarmed him. That horn alerted his senses. Still running towards the girl, he looked to his left and in horror found a car speeding towards them. The horn was still filing the air, menacingly, as if warning them of any upcoming terror.
He looked over to the girl again. Damn, wasn't she too deep in thoughts? Riku inhaled before shouting, "Naminé!! Look out!"
The blonde snapped her head around, meeting his stare for a brief moment before getting what he was trying to tell her. A goddamn car. But it would be too late to make any move right now, she thought. It would be a futile attempt if she tried to dodge this, it would be vain. But she couldn't think anymore—no, no, not because the car crushed her body to bits, no. But because she was thrown away, along with the person who had caught her. In time.
"Dear son, you're always welcome."
He didn't know what had driven him to do that.
They rolled for some seconds on the cold stoned road, feeling wind brushing against their faces, perceiving the horror had flown away. Shouts rang in the air as everyone nearby hurried towards them, worried and scared at the same time. What the hell was he thinking? Was what everyone else was saying. But he didn't care. He really didn't. What mattered that time wasn't his life, but hers.
And he'd done it on time; he'd saved her. Rolling blood? Bruises? Injuries? He didn't give a damn about them.
"Ri—Riku?" Her voice shot through his ears. Slowly he opened his eyes, and locked gaze with her in an instant. Oh how he missed those eyes… That stare… "Riku! Wh-What on earth do you think you're doing?!"
"…Hey Naminé," Riku smiled weakly, speaking casually as though nothing had happened. "Good to…see you again."
The blonde moved away from his stop, squatting right beside him. "Riku! What—just what's gotten into you?" Her gentle voice sounded so demanding, but still the same as the one he'd always heard everyday. That sweet voice…which always calmed his nerves down…was there again. He really wanted to raise his hand and brush those tears and dust away from her face. He really wanted to sweep that worry away from her beautiful face.
"Riku! Answer me!" Tears were sliding down her cheeks, freely, like a rainfall.
"…Naminé, you're safe."
"Stupid," she shook her head. "Why did you do that? You didn't need to, I-I could—"
"You know," he coughed out blood while some people were shouting about 911, calling for ambulance and all in panic. Damn, looks like the stupid car had managed to hurt him. "Why would you give in to death if someone else could save you from it?"
She cried into hysterics. "You…fool…" Her sobs echoed in his ears, just as rain began to fall, pouring everyone, everything with large cold drops, washing away every dust, every taint on the land. He felt he was born anew. He felt so refreshed.
A small smirk, almost unnoticed, came across his dirty face. "I wonder… Is it possible for a mere fool to be in love with an angel?"
Her shocked face was what he last saw, as he was embraced by darkness.
"I've come for you."
"I think I know you," his voice sounded playful, almost flirtatious in a way. He smirked at that hooded figure, stepping closer slowly but surely. "But there's a question in my mind, you know. And you have to answer this, girl."
Silence. He inched closer, closer, and closer. "Why, why did you come to me? Shouldn't have you been there, with untainted people, having happy moments or something? But here you are." He was now right before her. And she still hadn't moved.
"I did not come to call the righteous, but those who are tainted, to repentance. Salvation."
He bent slightly. "Really? So then, should I thank my past for that? Because of it, I can get to know you,"
She still didn't move and he was now removing her hood, revealing her face. "May I say, I'm really glad meeting you,"
When he woke up, he never expected to see the same ceiling; he never expected to be here. No at all. He drew a hand to massage his temples before with a vain effort trying to sit up looking around, only to fall again to his bed, pain scorching his body. He growled, and that growl was what signaled the two nurses in the room to look over their books and presents, fixing their gaze in his direction. Both of them instantly ran to him, as if he had just been revived from his death.
"Oh my GOD! You're awake! Oh my! Belle!" Aerith turned her head to her friend, face looking so bliss. "Go and tell the doctor! Quick!"
The nurse named Belle, grinning so widely, quickly rushed out the room in a speed that made him blink. As the door banged close, Aerith fixed her vision down at him again. She clasped her hands together. "Oh Riku! You're awake, at last! Gee, you made us worried, you know, running off like that…"
He wasn't listening to her babble anymore. His mind apparently had chosen to step backwards, replaying everything of what had happened. Vivid images of church, elder, car, and Naminé were coursing in his mind, like water. And suddenly his head began to ache. He squeezed his eyes shut groaning. Aerith was now frowning, looking so apprehensive.
"Riku? What's wrong with you now?"
"…Naminé…Where is she?"
Taken back by the question, the brunette had her mouth hanging open, which only made her look stupid and idiotic. She blinked in perplexity. "What?"
Riku, despite of his bad condition, shot her a you-heard-what-I-said-damn-it glare. So then she quickly answered his question, even though she still didn't know why he'd asked that. "Uhmm…! Naminé… I think she's out somewhere. Haven't seen her since morning, you know."
He looked away, couldn't help but feel utterly disappointed and somehow, sad. He really needed to see her; this need was beyond insisting. If he didn't see her…If he didn't speak with her… Then…
The door swung open, drawing his attention back to reality again. His eyes went to it almost immediately, expecting her figure standing at the door, hoping she was there, but no. Look, he could die anytime if he had a weak heart, seriously. Maybe this was what they called a heart attack.
There stood at the door between Belle and the doctor was none other than a fragment of his memories, only now closer and more real. Yes, it was none other than his father.
The bitterness of winter was so noticeable at that time; so chilly, killing the warmth and stealing away security around him. At times like this was when he usually exhaled in irritation, finding no serenity in the air, only to be embraced by the feeling of poignancy and sorrow. At times like this was when the Christmas songs that resonated through the door became so hurting in his ears. At times like this was when his sinister past ridiculed him.
But it was funny how everything changed.
There he was, sitting leaning against his comfy pillow and staring at what appeared to be twin pools of sky-like orbs that belonged to none other than his father, who he'd always hated and avoided in dark ages. There he was with his father, a fragment of his memory that had resurfaced and he was now facing it instead of running away. He actually felt stupid for finding a calming atmosphere in those eyes; had he missed that much? Had he even missed the love of a father?
"Riku…It's been a long time, hasn't it?" His father said, auburn hair falling to his eyes. "And just like before, as I always said from time to time; we need to talk."
"Riku, we need to talk—"
He had always refused. But not anymore.
"…Yeah, we do." The silver haired boy said reluctantly, almost too carefully. After years not seeing his father his attitude had changed; he found it awkward talking to a person he barely remembered and knew. But he supposed he should get used to this soon. He tried to smile. And he managed to do that.
Noticing a change within his boy, his father smiled. "Riku… You know, we haven't fully talked about what happened in the past. You haven't grasped what actually happened, we—"
Surprisingly, Riku shook his head, still having that smile on his face. "You know dad? I think I don't really care about it anymore; it is past. I know it's important and there are some things I still don't know or understand, there are some things that hold the answers for our current state now, but I just think I'll let it go. My life has been quite a mess. If you haven't known about it, I'll tell you; I was into drugs, free sex, dirty fights and everything you won't be proud of. But I'm not anymore. I'm…not bounded anymore."
He flickered an intensive gaze at his interlaced fingers, cogitating of what to say next. He looked up at his father again. "What is important now is the present, and how he shape things to make a better future instead of fabricating our hopes and dreams. You know dad?" He stopped for awhile, biting his bottom lip as he struggled with words. His father was still listening. "I think I've let it go, my past. I'm ready to move on."
"You've changed." His father leaned back into his chair, simply amazed.
"Yeah, I think so." Riku's mind was wandering around again, and a certain figure came to his thoughts. That girl. That girl who had… "And dad?"
"Yeah?" The auburn haired man jerked his head towards him, readying his ears to catch whatever his son was going to say.
"Will you…will you forgive me?"
There was a long awkward pause after that, in which Riku felt so anxious of what to come next. Would his father say no? Or would his father say yes? Sure he'd been such a rebel, but that was his past. But then again, at what guarantee his father would forgive him? Forgiving wasn't an easy task, no matter how easy and weightless it sounded.
He could remember convincing himself not to cast his hopes too high, because how could he get them back, if they were lost in the sky? But now he was tossing his hopes higher, higher, and higher into the sky. Because there was nothing wrong with it. Even if you didn't get what you had hoped in the end, it was okay. Sometimes you just needed to cast your fears away, your hopes into the sky, as many as you could.
Hopes were there to give you something to grasp. Hopes existed to stand beside you, accompanying you, and giving a little warmth you'd never had. You were taught to hope, not giving up hope. Because hoping on something wasn't a wrong thing to do. No, it never was.
So there he was hoping…
"Riku…" His father had edged closer to him, smiling so widely, yet his smile still radiated the same aura as before. An aura of care, love. "You needn't ask that son; for I've forgiven you."
He could feel something hot burning his eyes. There was water dancing in his eyes, blurring his vision. And just a second after that he felt something warm running down his cheeks. "Dad," he rasped out. "I'm…I-I'm really sorry. Really, I am."
His father embraced his little boy. And for the very first time, Riku felt so secure, so calm, so safe, without fears of being exposed and intimidated by the weight of the world and his past. For the very first time, he felt so loved.
"And I always welcome you, son. Only you always refused to come."
This was what he called home.
The same darkness, which he no longer feared, engulfed him. He looked around and as expected, that figure was there again, unmoving, unfazed, untainted. A small smile danced across his face. "I've been wondering this. That day, when you crossed the street, what were you thinking? You sure as hell looked deep in thoughts, and I wonder…"
She gave no answer. He snorted and shook his head, crossing his arms over his chest. "Were you thinking about me or something?" Only stillness replied his question, and he was left amused. But the overwhelming silence didn't obstruct him from asking more questions. "Will you pick me up?"
The girl stayed dumbfounded.
He laughed. "Okay, I get it. I won't get any answers, will I? Fine. Then what about a request?" His aquamarine eyes exuded a glow of amusement, even if they were so weary because of the illness preying upon him. "If my time comes, I want you to come and pick me up. Deal?"
The girl still stayed in silent.
…Because I'm running out of time.
He'd found his true self, he'd gained what he had been seeking, he'd met his father again, and eyes could tell his life was perfectly fine right now. But to him, it wasn't. Maybe he'd found every answer to his past, maybe he'd found every answer of why he'd been this or that, but one thing he hadn't found; the bringer of those all. The angel who had represented herself before him as an ordinary girl, with purpose bringing freedom and salvation to him.
But after that incident, he never saw her. He wondered where she was. But she never showed up beside coming to his dreams. But even if he got the chance to meet her in his dreams, she never answered whenever he asked something or talked.
So with a little hope and faith there he was, dying. He cast his hopes far into the sky. He depended on them. And there he was, waiting. If meeting her again and getting the chance to actually talk to her again could be called as a miracle, then he'd wish for a miracle to happen.
A logical question reverberated in his head, reminding himself of a fact he should have asked long ago. With a wrinkled nose and furrowed eyebrows he sent his gaze towards the old man who was sitting right beside his bed. He voiced out what he intended to ask, "How… how do you know I'm here dad? I mean," his scowl deepened. "I'm sure I've never told you I'm being treated here, so, how?"
It was the fifth day after that incident, and finding Riku had just realized about this, his father couldn't stifle his laugh, which he noticed pacifying the ambiance around them. The silver haired boy relaxed a bit as his father began to speak, "oh well, it was this girl…I think. She called and told me everything about you; how you've been kept here, and like, everything. She gave me the address of this hospital so yeah." He shifted in his position a bit, a playful smirk adorning his old yet wise face. "Who was that girl, huh? Someone special?"
Riku evaded his stare, eyes suddenly becoming isolated. True it could be anyone from this hospital…but why did his mind only center on her? Why was he so sure it was actually her?
"Dad…" He slowly lifted his head and stared at his father. The old man only tilted his head a little to the side, still listening intently. "I don't know who that person might be… But I do have someone…special." He finally finished his sentence, though the last word came out too weak and almost impossible to hear. But his father heard it nonetheless.
"But she…" Riku couldn't continue whatever he wanted to say because dry coughs, out of the blue, ran from his mouth; just as red thick liquid flowed out staining his white sheet. Red against white. He always knew… Ever since that incident he always knew his condition wasn't getting any better. No. He always knew he was dying…
His time was drawing closer.
"Riku!" His father had risen from his seat, looking panic, all his placidity had gone into oblivion. "Riku! What the—"
His vision became so fuzzy that he hardly could make out which one his father was, that one…or that…one… . . .
No. Maybe his time was right before him now.
The ground beneath him was shaking violently he could hardly stand on his feet. The ceiling above him was also shaking, roaring and breaking the stillness with terror. Everything around him was crumbling down, clamping him down with utter darkness. He rolled his eyes around, hoping the same figure was there because damn, what the hell was happening now? Was this a calamity?
He whirled on his heel, only to meet that white hooded figure. And there were wings on her back.
With hesitant paces he made his way there, suddenly feeling afraid those black hands would emerge and hold his move—but no. Miraculously, there were no black hands or whatsoever. He could move freely. And when his hand reached hers, he could make out a smile garnishing her pale face.
"You've made it. You've made it, Riku."
And suddenly, he was cuddled by blinding light.
"Riku! Please, hang on—Riku!"
Although his vision was still a haze, he could see it was his father, shouting in panic. And there he also saw a doctor and some nurses running across the room. Why did everything seem so urgent? He didn't understand.
Strange. Why was he feeling so composed?
"Riku!" His father's voice again. "Don't give up yet, son. You—we haven't gone out to buy a Christmas present for you—no, we haven't talked much, we haven't spent so much time, we haven't done anything fun, because all this time—Riku!"
One edge of his mouth turned upwards ever so slightly. Oh how he wanted to say…
"Even those five days mean an eternity for me, dad. Even if it was only for five days, I still cherished it. Five days knowing my father better, what is possibly better than that?"
Poise… Calm… Bright… So bright… So still… Like in…
The wave from a
crashing against the sand,
coming to claim the golden grains.
He felt so lightheaded. His eyes clashed against a pool of swirling vortex, its color was a mixture of grey and blue, yet still dazzling all the same. Was he floating? Because sure as hell he felt like he was. He still felt woozy and all, but weightless at the same time, as if all his fat and flesh had been ripped out from his body. That aroma…was so calming. For awhile there he was tempted to grin and shout at the top of his lungs. He didn't know why, but wasn't he feeling so free now? So free… Without burden…
The wave from a
under the sky, coming to the land,
bringing a present in its bubbles.
Something struck his head like a reminder. He raised his hands and stared at them for long, before coming to an odd conclusion; wasn't this…his soul or something?
The wave from a
the beacons high there can only watch,
sending their luminous light upon the crashing wave.
And then his feet met the grassy ground soundlessly. The wind clapping against his cheek was so gentle and the aromatic scent the flowers beneath him were giving was so soothing. Everything around him was stainless; they were only tainted by purity and perfection. Every single flower was in full bloom, looking so radiant as though each of them was smiling and hailing him with the pulchritude he'd never seen before. Even the grass wasn't damp or too dry.
The wave from a
the beacons cannot touch, they cannot come any closer,
only watch as it comes and takes the sand away,
Away, away into the
away, away to a far-off land where no living soul roots,
away, away, where peacefulness rests for eternity long.
He took some steps forward, into the mystical fog, determined to fathom out what this marvelous realm had actually prepared for him. He was here, so it meant he belonged here, somehow, right?
Away, away where
salvation was born,
away, away where there's only a beginning without ends,
away, away where the sun never sets but only rises.
He stopped. He stared. He smiled.
The wave from a
coming to take the golden grains,
in its roll bringing them to a whole new land.
"Would you please take that hood off?"
The figure behind the fog stepped out as she took her hood off, only to reveal the face he'd longed to see. A smile emerged on her pale face. "Hi again. I've fulfilled your request, have I not?"
He really wanted to laugh that time, and at the same time, cry in happiness. "You have. Thanks so much. So…should we introduce ourselves again?"
She cocked her head to the side. "Okay then. I'm Naminé, an angel."
"I'm Riku, a fool." He grinned and stepped closer to her. "So Naminé, can you explain where on earth I am?"
The blonde turned around as she gestured for him to come closer. And then, as if by magic, the fog evaporated dissipating into nothingness, and there behind her was revealed a large pool. Its surface was so blue but clear like crystal. It's as if it was a minute lake made of floating diamonds and crystals. He blinked several times, flabbergasted.
She pressed a finger against her lips. "Sssh. Come, come and see into the water."
It's as if he was looking into a huge window, and through it he saw the outer world; streets crowded by people, shops, Christmas trees, and buildings. But at the same time, it's as if he was looking at them from high up above; sky.
"Beautiful…" He gasped out. "Have I…have I really left them all?" The girl only gave a slight nod of her head, silenced. Riku frowned. "Wow…And Naminé, I wonder…can you show him to me? For one last time?" His eyes were full of hopes and the girl remembered how some time ago they'd only had sorrow and hatred. Changes were truly working in him.
"Sure," she smiled, squatting before the pool and expelled a breath, giving life into it. Ripples were dancing across the surface; everything in it was suddenly distorted. At first it was a haze, but as seconds ticked away, pictures as solid as the real ones appeared on the surface of the pool. Riku gasped.
"Oh. My. God."
There he saw his father in a room he didn't know, and in his hand was a portrait that made his heart leap. A picture of his five year old self. He really wanted to cry so badly now. Seeing that red nose of his father…those tears appearing on the corners of his blue eyes…
Riku had never felt like this before. He was loved.
"Hey Naminé, I can remember him mentioning about Christmas present," his voice was trembling. "And you know what? Being a pathetic child that I am, I think I still want one." He let out a bitter laugh, which Naminé responded by shaking her head. She looked into his eyes just as she rose to her feet.
"You are not pathetic, Riku. And about the Christmas present," she smiled. "I think you've already got one."
When the silver haired boy arched his eyebrows, flustered, having no idea what it was, her smile just went wider as if she'd just conquered the whole world.
"What?" He asked, befuddled.
The blond haired girl stood on tiptoes and whispered to his ears,
- - - - -
- - - -
- - - - - - - - -
That's why you're here.
hana . furogu . rg .
simply because you are more awesome
than awesome. ilytm ♥ domoo arigatoo, cpoo.
: lol. sokay. This is my first namiku&longest one-shot ever,
and I know, many ppl would probably say "just make this a chaptered!"
but you know, I can't. It would prob turn out to be bad. Beside, if I broke it,
I'm afraid I'd lose the flow of the fict, also the strength. So screw that.
And about that chemo thing, doesn't cancer make you lose your hair too? It's leukemia, isn't it?
Oh well. Let's just stop talking about that.
Anyways, thanks a lot for reading. You guys rock if you read the whole fict
& send me your thoughts at the end. xD