Wolf: Guh…about a thousand apologies for not updating in a while, and then some. X-x;

Consuming

Chapter 3

Just Fine and Dandy


Surprises; surprises were at every twist and turn, every bend and curve of each road in life. There was no direct path, no map to tell you where to go, no guidelines. Trial and error, figure out which way to go or lose yourself in your own footsteps. Natsuki never had it easy; no one ever told her which way to go or what path to take. From the time of childhood to the time of an end at a cliff and the rebirthing in the sea, to the new strength gained in that garden and to the fall in that horrid life; nothing was ever easy. Life just loved throwing surprises at her, harsh ones.

Oh, but why did this one have to be so hard?

Why did she have to stand on the sidelines, inadequate as she watched her dearest fade forever faster each day? The torture, the brutal agony assaulting her heart every morning and every night as she watched that once strong life cripple against its own shackles and mutilation was reckoning to watch.

She bared her soul too late.

Her dearest was spiraling into her doom by her own hands.

- - -

The white halls closed in around her on all sides. The scent of disinfectant was strong and her nostrils flared from the smell. Her throat moved rapidly up and down as she kept reminding herself to breathe. She felt like she was drowning, caught in the waves of a white sea as it tried to pull her down into its depths. Her feet trembled and threatened to stumble. It was only her will and years of trained composure that kept her standing. Her teeth ground softly, nervously as she looked from side to side.

Hospital. She was in a hospital. Shakily trudging through the halls, her dark eyes darted from side to side as beads of anxious sweat began to collect on her forehead. Trying to calm herself, she leaned against one of the abnormally cold walls of the hallway and wiped at her forehead. Breathe breathe breathe. She told herself this over and over again, placing her clammy hand over her racing heart. She'd only been here ten minutes. She couldn't just turn tail and run. Natsuki needed her to be strong.

Oh Natsuki what have you done?

With ragged breath, she stiffly walked down the hall, eyes flicking toward each door to peer at the bold black numbers plastered upon them. The sound of her footsteps on the tiled floor sent echoes thrumming in her eardrums. Her breathing grew raspy and she paused finally near the end of the hallway.

Room 137.

This was it, this was the room. Breathing shakily through her nose, Shizuru clenched her eyes tight and tried to regain her composure. Her fingers gnarled into fists and dug into the skin of her palms, bringing forth a slight stinging pain. She ignored it and dug them in deeper, shoulders hunched and head slightly bowed, chin tucked on her chest. Breathe breathe breathe.

Steeling herself, she lifted her trembling fingers and grasped the handle. Shizuru gave one last shuddering breath and opened the door. Her eyes narrowed into the blinding white light that seemed to emit from the room. Her feet clanged on the floor as she stepped in.

Natsuki…

The figure on the bed was fast asleep, eyelids covering the viridian eyes Shizuru always loved to gaze at. Her cobalt hair was spread about the pillow, gently sweeping down the girl's cheeks and over her shoulders. Shizuru stared at that pale face. The soft features, the dark brow, the small nose, and the pair of lips that parted every now and then, exhaling. She sucked in her breath, turned away. Natsuki was fine. Natsuki was fine. She was alright, she wasn't hurt. She's fine. She's fine. She's fine she's fine she's fine!

The bandages around her head…

She's fine.

The bruises lined along her arms…

She's fine.

The IV just beside her bed…

She's fine!

The sunken, almost death-like look.

SHE'S FINE!

Shizuru clamped her hands over her ears as the blood-curling scream resonated through the room.

Her world swam, whirled, ripped apart as her own wails tried to block out what she didn't want to know. She fought against the nurses swarming through the room, clawed at the hands grabbing her from all sides. Her eyes rolled with the white that reared over her head, screaming endlessly. Even when they brought out the needle and impaled it upon the flesh of her arm she continued wailing, tears scalding her cheeks.

Darkness brought with it temporary reprieve, but the reality she denied continued to hang over her head like a guillotine.

Natsuki wasn't fine.

- - -

"Please…"

"No."

"Please…"

"No."

"Please you must eat!"

"No!"

Natsuki shrunk back, recoiled at the hardened tone.

Her solemn gaze peered forward, pleading, begging. The smell of disinfectant teased her nose, made her throat quiver with the urge to retch. This room was too small. The walls were too white. It was far too empty in here.

Even with her no more than three feet away.

Actually, because of her presence, Natsuki found it all the lonelier. She was here, but then again she wasn't. She was hardly ever here, during this very moment. A far off plane; that's where she was and Natsuki could never reach for her.

"Why…won't you eat?"

"I'm not hungry."

"That's a lie."

It was a lie and she knew it. Her eyes raked up and down that form, narrowing into angry slits. So thin, so frail. Her companion stood facing away from her, by the farthest wall. She stared out the long glass window, eyes glazed, lips moving, but only occasionally did sound escape her. The strange robe she adorned looked awful on her, not at all fitting. It was like a dress, but nothing like the pretty ones Natsuki had seen her wear before. Nothing like the ones Natsuki longed to see her in.

This one was different from all the others.

She wears it because she's…

No! Don't think about it!

She shut her eyes, willing away the words. Her breath sucked in and it almost hurt to do so. Her hands curled on her lap. Her knees were drawn tightly together, legs trembling on the chair she sat on. She was the only source of color in the room, the only source of vibrancy. Even the one before her had lost color.

The life had drained from her face, the cheeks so gaunt and the russet eyes so dull, the hair so pale and ragged. Her skin looked so cold, felt so cold that nothing Natsuki did seemed to warm her up, bring back the blood and life in her.

She turned away, faced the wall and spoke.

"Let's start again… Shizuru are you hungry?"

This time the hostility was gone from her voice, filled with a meager need for human companionship. A friendly tone, a timid tone.

"Yes I am…actually a little bit hungry."

"Good."

Natsuki's eyes warmed as she stood up from her chair and walked the short distance to the other. She placed her hand on a shoulder and gripped it none too softly, but not enough to hurt. Just enough to be felt. A doting glance was spared on the other woman as she murmured kindly.

"Would you like something to eat then?"

Shizuru's lips curled. Her smile was soft, affectionate as she dipped her head in a single nod. Her own hand came up to rest on Natsuki's, long fingers threading themselves into the dark-haired girl's own.

"Yes I would…"

Natsuki's smile grew and she began to turn, heading for the door. She stopped midway turn though, at Shizuru's next words.

"But…"

Green eyes faced her, daring, fearing.

"…who are you?"

A confused look, a lost look.

Then Natsuki smiled, tears in her eyes and pain in her heart.

"I'm Natsuki."

Thoughtfulness passed over the other woman's face and her lips moved.

"Natsuki… A pleasure to meet you Natsuki."

They both smiled, but for Shizuru she could not, for the life that was left in her, figure out why that name felt so familiar on her tongue.


Wolf: End of chapter 3 at last! Again another thousand apologies for having not updated in…a very long time. Apologies also because I can't recall replying to reviews… If I didn't I'm immensely sorry.

Oh and if you're confused so far about the story… Then good you should be:P This is probably my vaguest story yet…