Litanya: Hey, sorry for the long wait between chapters but uni is killing me. I'm sorry again that it has been so long.
Anyway thank you for being so patient. I'd also like to thank everyone who put this fic as one of their favourites- I feel honoured that so many of you like this fic. I'm sorry again for the long wait. I'll try to update faster, but I can't promise anything.
Oh, and as a side note, I am a neuropsychology student. As I'm still studying, I keep on learning new things that are relevant to Traumatic Brain Injuries, so I keep on tossing them into this fic. So if something about Taichi's behaviour is inconsistent with other chapters, it'll be because I learnt something new in class.
This chapter is dedicated again to Steph, as well as to everyone who is enjoying this fic =)
Taichi inwardly cursed for what seemed to be the millionth time that day- and it was only nine a.m. He would have cursed aloud as Tami wasn't present, but he was still having difficulty forming words and in the time it took to get that one curse word out, he could have thought a million others. So he cursed inwardly and tried to pretend that everything was alright on the outside- his usual routine.
The reason behind his irritable mood that morning was simple- he still had no idea why he and Tami were in Japan. He had been told by a doctor- he had seen so many of them since he had awoken that he didn't know who was who anymore- that having retrograde amnesia was normal after a traumatic brain injury. In other words, it was normal to lose memories from up to a year before the accident occurred, if there had been significant trauma to the brain. He was told that he would have flashes of memories that had occurred during the time portion he had lost, and that eventually he would probably remember everything except for possibly the actual accident and a small portion of the time he had spent recovering.
Taichi remembered his entire life up until a month before the accident. He remembered being in Australia and looking after Tami and working and his Australian friends... but he could not for the life of him remember why he was back in Japan. It was seriously annoying him. He knew that he could ask Tami to see if she knew anything, but he didn't want to scare her. He was trying very hard to make sure that she and Hikari knew nothing about his memory loss. They were already so worried about the functions they knew he had lost and he didn't want to add to their worry. But he was going crazy not knowing. He knew that he had something important that he was supposed to do, but without his memories, he couldn't even start it. That made him curse. He hated being unreliable.
"Hey Taichi," he turned to the door at the familiar voice and was surprised to see his first non-medical and non-family visitor. It was actually quite refreshing to see an unexpected face.
"Melissa?" it had taken a little while to say, but he knew that she understood. She crossed the room and gave him a hug, being careful to avoid the IV line still attached to his arm. He had forgotten what the IV was for.
"How're you feeling?" she asked him before perching on the edge of the bed. He shrugged- or at least tried to considering his right arm was still unresponsive most of the time- and focussed his gaze towards the window.
"Fine," he had found that one word answers were the best because he couldn't screw up the grammar. Melissa gave him a small smile.
"I'll bet," she said sarcastically, "I mean, you're stuck in hospital, practically unable to move, you're having trouble speaking, and if Emma and Steph are right about their neurology stuff- and it is highly likely that they are considering one's a doctor and the other is a neuropsychologist- then that means you are probably finding it difficult to orient yourself in time." Taichi blinked at her little explosion, and he found himself wondering how she had managed to breathe during that sentence. He wished that he could get his words out that fluently.
"...not...know...mean" he sighed as he realised that his sentence was pretty much unintelligible. Surprisingly, Melissa seemed to know what he meant. She crossed her arms and raised an eyebrow.
"Alright, if you are so intent on denying that you are having memory problems, what did I ask you during my last visit here, after the accident?" She had dropped by the hospital on the day of the accident. She hadn't been able to see him of course- it was family only, and he was still unconscious besides that- but she hadn't really expected to see him. No, she had visited more to get access to his medical records, so that she could relay all of the details to her medical friends back in Australia. But of course, if Taichi was having memory problems and didn't want her to know, he would panic and assume that she had visited him when he was awake, and that they had had a conversation.
"T-Tami... ark... there.... no... Ask ah... where is... she," he really hated talking and this answer was especially hard, because he had no idea what Melissa had said if or when she had ever visited him here. He just figured that if he said a general question, he had a better chance of being right. Melissa had watched him struggle speaking and he had recognised a flash of pity cross her face before he finished speaking. He looked away from her, settling his eyes on the wall across from his bed. He didn't want to see her pity him- he had had enough of people feeling sorry for him during his life and he didn't want to see any more.
"I visited the day you were still unconscious," he was glad to hear that she sounded normal, "I didn't get to see you at all. I did manage to get them to send your file over to Steph though. Look I know that you hate worrying people, but you should probably let them know about this memory thing. You might find that it could help you to recover your memories faster." In fact, she had no idea if that could happen, but she knew that Taichi was stressing way too much over this memory problem, and Emma had once explained to her the effects of too much stress on the brain. It would not help his memory problems if he continued to worry about it.
"No... troubles," he insisted stubbornly, although he did at least look a little guilty, almost as if he knew that he had been caught out.
"Taichi Kamiya I have known you now for seven years. You may think that you can get away with lying to me, but I'm telling you now that that you're wrong, okay? I know that you haven't exactly had the best of luck in your life, but that doesn't mean that you have to deal with everything by yourself. I'm not going to panic and break down if you say anything that may be an admission of weakness and I will help you in whatever way I can. It is not an annoyance- in fact it annoys me more when you refused to tell me something important like this. Friends don't keep secrets, remember?" he bowed his head and stared at the bed sheets, feeling horrible. No matter how hard he tried, he found it incredibly hard to open up to people. He hated admitting weaknesses, or things he perceived as being weaknesses, and he had trouble whenever anyone caught him out, because he just didn't know how to answer them.
"'Kay... m-maybe some... problems," he admitted after a couple of moments. He felt his left hand curl into a fist. He sounded so pathetic and useless and he hated it. He should have been home with Tami, making sure that she was alright, instead of being curled up in a hospital bed feeling sorry for himself. It sucked how bad things always seemed to happen to him.
"When does your memory disappear?" Melissa asked him in a soft voice, noticing his change in mood.
"Month ago," she nodded thoughtfully.
"I'm guessing you can't remember why you're in Japan then," she said slowly, recalling a conversation she had had with Steph a week before the accident. Taichi slowly shook his head, so she continued, "Steph told me that you had said something about you needed to move back to Japan for work. But she had noticed that you were calling Hikari more, and you seemed a bit upset that you had missed their engagement. She thinks that you wanted to move back here to be with your sister and that the job was just an excuse you were using it to justify your decision to move back home."
Taichi had to admit that a lot of that sounded right. Steph was always a good judge of people. A thought suddenly popped into his head and he vocalised it without thinking.
"Catherine." The name hung in the air of the room uncomfortably for a moment. Catherine had been Taichi's fiancée. She was a French exchange student, doing her undergraduate degree at the University of Melbourne, which is where Taichi was studying at the time. She was also Tami's mother. She and Taichi had hit it off straight away and they had had a fun, easy relationship. They had become engaged two years after Tami was born, but before they had been able to marry, Catherine had become very ill and was diagnosed with cancer. They had pushed away all thoughts of marriage to put her health first, but she had died just before Tami's fourth birthday. He still missed her.
"You wanted to escape the memories," Melissa whispered as she thought it all out, "And there's no place like home to dispel bad memories."
"Bad... recollections...everywhere," he said sadly, thinking about the reasons why he had left Japan in the first place. Melissa had nothing she could say to that. She was about to try to cheer him up when there was a loud knock on the door. She had left the door half-closed when she had entered the room.
"You can come in," she called through the door, knowing that Taichi wasn't really feeling up to saying it. The door swung open slowly to reveal a rather confused looking Yamato.
"Am I in the right room?" she heard him mutter under his breath as he saw her. She sighed. She had never really gotten around to telling anyone that she was friends with Taichi. It had partly been because Taichi had asked her not to, but it was mainly because she was unable to understand why Taichi's Japanese friends had treated him the way they had. She loved Yamato, but she had to admit that she was a bit bitter over the way Taichi had been hurt by him.
"Yama," Taichi should have known that this sort of thing would come. He wasn't an idiot. Hikari had told him many times that Jyou worked at this hospital, and he knew that Jyou would probably mention something to the others. He was surprised that Yamato was the first one to gather up the courage to visit him.
"Taichi," Yamato was shocked to see that Taichi didn't look all that much different from when he had last seen him seven years ago. He looked a little older, yes, but he looked a lot more like his nineteen year old self than Yamato was expecting. Then again, he really didn't know what he had been expecting. He knew that he hadn't anticipated that Melissa would be there though, "Mel... do you know Taichi?" It finally clicked in his brain that Melissa came from Australia, and although he hadn't known much about Taichi's life, he knew what country he had been in.
"Taichi and I are old friends. He went to uni with a high school friend of mine, and so I saw him around a lot before I moved here. He was actually the one who told me that Odaiba was the best part of Japan," she stood from the end of the bed and grabbed her bag, which had fallen to the floor, "Anyway, I'll let you two talk. Yama give me a call when you're ready to leave, okay? And Taichi remember what I said. You know how to reach me if you need my help with anything." And with that she left the room.
"I'm sorry for just visiting with no warning," Yamato said suddenly after a couple minutes of uncomfortable silence.
"It's 'kay... She...talk...too much...anyway," Yama smiled a bit at that and leant back against the wall next to the door. He was really nervous about this visit. He had debated about whether or not he should talk to Taichi for days, until he had finally had enough. He had decided that he had nothing to lose- the way things stood he had no contact with his former best friend anyway. If he screwed this up, practically nothing would change anyway.
"Hikari is glad that you're home... although she wishes that the circumstances were different of course," Taichi was glad that Yamato hadn't seemed to have changed too much in the way that he expressed his emotions. By using Hikari as an example, Yamato was telling him in his own way that he had missed him when he was gone. If Taichi was honest, he had missed his best friend too.
"Good be...Japan," he found himself agreeing, although he looked out the window, away from Yamato as he said this. It was true. Now that he was back in Japan, despite being in hospital, he felt a sort of peace within himself that he hadn't really ever felt when he had been in Australia. He had loved Australia, but there is nothing like the feeling of being at home, even if home was a place that contained memories he'd rather forget.
"I met your daughter the other day. She's really cute and quite...hyper," Yamato knew that he was jumping topics, but he couldn't really get his thoughts straight. There were so many things that he wanted to say, but he couldn't find a logical order for them all, so he was just blurting out whatever came out first, "I was planning on dropping in on Hikari and Takeru to tell them that I was there to help if they needed it, and then Tami just seemed to appear out of thin air." Taichi smiled as he thought of how his daughter would have greeted him. If she had recognised him then she was sure to have been quite excited. Taichi had always had lots of fond stories to tell her about his friends from school, even if the said friends didn't think he would. Contrary to popular belief (or at least contrary to Hikari's beliefs) Taichi had not left Japan because of his friends. There had been much more to it than that.
"She...love...sport. Spend... outside...soccer," he had once been told (jokingly) by friends that he could talk about his daughter for days without stopping and he desperately wished that he had that ability back. He wanted Yamato to know about Tami- he wanted him to know about pretty much everything. But he couldn't tell him for two reasons. The first was because he was frustrated with his speech and couldn't imagine trying to struggle through the telling of his story at this stage.
The second thing that stopped him was his (admittedly irrational) fear of opening himself up to others. Catherine had been the only person he had willingly and easily opened up to in the past seven years. Whilst he had eventually opened up to his other Australian friends, he only did so when he was questioned. Back before it had happened during high school, Taichi had opened up to Sora, Yamato and Hikari. But after it had happened, he had found it almost impossible to do so. It had killed his faith in other people, and even though he was trying very hard to let people in, he found it next to impossible.
"I should have known you'd have taught her to play soccer already," Yamato smiled as he recalled some of his fonder memories of watching Taichi and Sora's soccer games, "I missed watching you play soccer."
Taichi knew that that was the closest thing Yamato could ever bring himself to say "I missed you". Suddenly the uncomfortable atmosphere that had settled in the room with Yamato's arrival seemed to disappear. Taichi knew that he wouldn't be best friends with Yamato overnight, but he hoped that with time, he could explain everything that had happened...
To be continued...
Litanya: I hope you enjoyed this chapter. I'm so sorry again for the delay- I seriously had this chapter open on my computer from about a week after I posted the last one, but whenever I had the time to write, I didn't know what to write. As it is I really should be studying now, but I am just so sick of it so I wrote this instead. I really hope the next chapter won't take this long to write. Hope you enjoyed it and leave a review if you want =).