The walls were white. Pure white, and shiny, too, almost like an endless abyss of white nothingness. He'd never seen snow, so there wasn't room for a comparison, but later he remembered the walls as he stared at the snowy blanket of the Paramina Rift. It was all white, or a pale cream color, almost like a symbol for cleanliness. Purity, also, was symbolized by all things white. Even the starched clothes matched the walls.

It was mindless, and Vaan would never dare to intend a pun about such grave things. Reks' room had a window, which was quite the luxury. Luckily for him, he'd been friends with the man who owned the joint, and so Vaan didn't have to worry about paying the expensive bills. Having been a soldier was also quite the task, and special treatment had been in line for him since the day he was admitted.

Reks wore a ring on his finger. It was the same ring he'd given to his old sweetheart, a nice young girl by the name of Aithne, whose heart had been broken when she heard the news. Quietly she'd slipped it back onto his finger with the slightest of kisses. Vaan couldn't help but swallow back the tears as he watched Aithne grip Reks' almost lifeless hand.

She didn't come as often as he, and Vaan didn't blame her. It was heartbreaking, in that white room, kept to such perfection. If Reks had been in his right mind, the small pillows would be in disarray, and at least one wall would have a splash of color. Vaan sat Galbana Lillies at his bedside, hoping that maybe the nostalgia would do him good.

It was the lack of color--he was sure of it. If he could just take Reks out to the desert, so that he could feel the familliar breeze, then there would be no more need for hospitals with painstakingly white rooms and stiff gowns. There would be no more coma, and no more lost nights admist the broken who couldn't breathe on their own. A little color, that was all that he needed.

Penelo came to visit sometimes. She'd told Vaan once that maybe if they talked to Reks then the older boy would hear them. So Vaan put on his loudest, most boisterous voice, and bragged about something or another that he'd done out in the desert last week. Penelo held Reks' hand, stroking his knuckles, and quietly told him about all of the people that missed him, and about how Captain fon Ronsenburg had been sentenced to his death.

Time never seemed to pass in that place. Vaan could have left for months at a time, and Reks would still be sitting in that same spot, fingers not gripping the sides of the chair, almost as if he had fallen asleep staring out of the window. But he wasn't asleep.

"I'm sorry that I've been away so long," Vaan apologized. "But you'll never guess who I met!"

He told Reks his story about sky pirates, dungeons, secret organizations, and traitorous knights who were never really given a chance.

Reks still didn't move and the walls were still white.

"...and it turns out, she's really the Princess! Can you believe that, Reks? Me and Penelo with a Princess! And that's not all--I rode in an airship--more than one, actually! And guess who else I met..."

Vaan almost thought that he saw Reks' eye twitch, but he didn't get his hopes up--it was probably just his imagination. After all, such a lack of hue did that to him.

"...did I tell you that Balthier is going to teach me how to fly his airship? I know, I'm surprised too! Do you think I'll do good? I hope so. Hey, did Aithne stop by? I saw her the other day in the Bazaar..."

Vaan continued to have one-sided conversations, even though now he knew that Reks wasn't coming back, that his eyes didn't twitch, and that color couldn't work miracles.

He had a dream one night, a dream about Reks. He used a Phoenix Down, and Reks stood up and walked towards him. They laughed and hugged, and, dare he say it, even cried; he was back to normal and ready to adventure with Vaan. But when he woke up he was all alone, and so he went to ask Fran how far the limits on healing magicks extended.

"We can't keep him like this forever," they told him. More people needed the rooms, people who might actually recover. They didn't tell him that, but they didn't need to.

When they buried him, the tombstone was plain, white, and shining. The service was nice and quiet, but something was missing, and Vaan wouldn't rest until he figured out what it was.

Vaan stood there with jittery legs and a heavy gut, hands clenching Galbana Lillies so tightly that his knuckles paled. He threw down the flowers, and they stood out brightly, dimming the others in comparison.

A little color, that was all that it needed.

0FIN0

This breaks my poor, sad little heart. Reks is so amazing! He needs more love.

I know that he was dead before the journey started, and that his coma didn't last this long, but who need timelines? Psh, not me!

I wish that I owned this. I can't even take credit for the idea of using a Phoenix Down on him--that belongs to my friend and our wonderful roleplays.

Recommended listening: What Sarah Said by Death Cab for Cutie.

I apologize for any mistakes--I can't get a good spell/grammar check for my computer!

Please review and I promise that I'll get back to you!