In a Single Heartbeat

In a Single Heartbeat

Chapter One

He hated the sickening feeling that gripped his heart and felt like a knife ripping through his chest. He felt as if his lungs were no longer able to take in as much air as he needed to breath comfortably and his nerves were on fire as he found himself shaking, no longer having the control he normally possessed. He wanted to punch something, throw something, do something except sit in the small

far too small

room and do something as pointless and effortless as waiting

waiting for what?

The anxiousness that gripped his body and fumbled his normally lucid thoughts in his head was unwanted, and yet he was thriving on it. He knew that if he was no longer anxious, no longer distracted by the shaking and the painful physical reaction to his anxiousness he would have to face the truth and feel far worse things. He wanted to scream at the top of his lungs, yell until his voice would no longer make sound. He wanted to fall asleep; maybe it was all a dream and he would wake up soon to find everything perfect, just as it was. At the same time he wanted to stay wide awake, fearing that if he closed his eyes for just one moment, one fraction of a breath, everything would disappear in front of him.

It was hard to breathe, at times he felt like he was gasping, not because he was unable to but because every breath took effort. It took effort to focus on drawing a breath and not breaking down. He could feel the rage, the worry, the fear that was waiting behind every breath and threatened to let loose as soon as his control wavered. He wanted to cry. For most likely the first time in his entire life he wanted to weep with all of his being, with every part of him. He hated this feeling most of all, this feeling of utter fear and helplessness that gripped him. He was terrified to live through the next moment in fear of only his worst fears coming true. He had never experienced such desperation, such grotesque fear and it was killing him. Every breath, every single heartbeat was an eternity in hell.

He was a doctor, no, the best damn doctor the hospital had and he couldn't do anything. He could always keep his cool, even in most dire situations. He never had an issue covering up whenever he was worried or scared and continuing on with his work because it needed to be done, because his help was needed. But he just stood there in shock, his body shutting down, his mind racing with panic and fear; he was unable to do anything at all. He was worthless. In those moments before he was ushered away he was completely fucking useless. He was trained to handle emergencies, intense and critical situations, to operate well under pressure and when he was needed the most he just stood there. Those few moments could have cost him everything, absolutely everything, and that thought alone devastated him.

He was fine when the nurses grabbed him, notifying him of a horrible accident that had occurred. He was fine when he found out that five victims that had arrived at the hospital four were dead before the ambulance doors were opened and that the final survivor was fading fast. He was fine when he walked in and saw all the blood

far too much blood

on the scrubs of his colleagues, on the floor, on surgical instruments and all over the patient's slender form

familiar form

But when he recognized the clothing they were wearing, the same clothing they were wearing earlier that morning, when he saw the broken and bloodied hand that had the blue heart ring he had slipped on her finger the night before when she was sleeping peacefully by his side, when he recognized the soft, long, red hair he knew had a lightly floral scent from the shampoo she used covered in fresh glistening blood matted to her head, and when he saw her beautiful face bloodstained, scratched, bruised, and looking so deathly pale he feared she would never open her beautiful eyes ever again; when he saw her lying there, dying, he felt as if someone had reached into his chest and ripped out his heart.

His world stopped spinning in those moments, everything slowed down and all he could see was her broken and battered body lying lifeless on the table in front of him. He knew people were yelling to him, asking him to help, to go, to get out of the way, but he couldn't move, he couldn't do anything but stare wide-eyed at his worst fear, his worst nightmare come true. He felt the breath he was holding escape his lips, speaking subconsciously, and in hearing the words from his own lips everything became real.

"No…not…Kotoko…"

And then his world crumbled around him.

To be continued