In His Own World

Note: This version of the Doraemon was originally created by Shogagukan Inc. I merely fleshed it out slightly, and tried to make it into the story that it never was drawn into.

Faint rays of light shone through a fogged-up glass window pane, and slightly illuminated the prone form of a sleeping child. The slumbering boy was slight in form and wore a peaceful facial expression, even as he slept. Curled up under a patchwork quilt sewn together by his mother's laboring hands, he would have seemed like a perfectly normal child to anyone who might have gotten a glimpse of him in this period of time. Littering the weathered quilt were numerous sheets of drawing paper, all bearing images that were more or less similar between all of them.

Soft footsteps could be heard approaching the door of his bedroom, and soon enough, three gentle knocks were heard on the wooden door. He stirred slightly, and his eyes opened ever-so-narrowly, to peek out at the morning light that lit up his bedroom. As he slowly awakened, he heard his bedroom door being opened, and looked up to see his mother standing in the open doorway, holding a tray in her hands.

"Good morning, Nobita," she said, not in an unkind tone of voice, "Did you sleep well last night?"

Nobita looked squarely into his mother's eyes, and for a moment, she realized that he wasn't all right, and probably would never be so. There was just this... look... of simultaneous sadness and happiness in his gentle brown eyes, as though his own mind couldn't make its decision as to what emotions it should display.

He perked up as he finally managed to process her query, looking as though she had promised him a treat, "Oh! Last night was good! We had so many adventures together, Do-"

"I'm glad to hear that," Mrs. Nobi smoothly interrupted, cutting his speech off before he could get on a roll, "Now, could you please take your medicine? It's time to go to school soon."

He froze for a moment, and Mrs. Nobi felt a minor chill run up her spine. But just as abruptly as he had stiffened up, he leaned back on his pillow, and pouted, "Don't wanna take the medicine. Don't wanna go to school."

His mother bit her lip, a small frown creasing her mouth and wrinkling her brow, "But don't you want to meet your friends? They're all at school, waiting for you."

"You always say that, but no one likes me."

"That's not true..."

He sighed, even as he threw his legs of the bed, and sat on the edge of the mattress, "Only he would ever understand me, or be my true friend."

Nobita got up, and walked over to a chest of drawers in the corner of his bedroom. He opened the top-most drawer, and took a glance inside, seeing only several pairs of neatly folded socks and mittens.

"He's not even here anymore," Nobita said, tears welling up in his eyes, "He promised me that he'll be there for me when I wake up..."

Mrs. Nobi put the tray down on his bed, and slowly walked up to him, placing a comforting hand on his shoulder, "But what if he has to go back before the sun rises? Maybe he'll be back tonight, who knows?"

At her words, Nobita's face lit up immediately, "That would be nice!"

"But you wont be seeing him tonight," she reminded him kindly, "If you don't be a good boy and go to school."

His face fell slightly, but a glimmer of hope remained visible in his eyes, "Alright then..."

"And you must take your medicine before you leave for school, too."

Upon hearing the word 'medicine', Nobita's head snapped up to stare at his mother's face. A few seconds later, he looked away, and wordlessly took the pills and water from the tray, eventually getting himself ready to face another long day at school.

Mrs. Nobi felt vaguely nauseous as she realized how she had manipulated him into doing what he was required to do, and wondered briefly if he would ever have the clearness of mind to see how she and everyone else close to him had to act, to make him behave well.

In her mind, as she supervised him dressing up for school, she tried to justify it all as being for his own good, but saw her reasoning sinking like quicksand into a guilt-filled, dark void.

"So he'll be coming tonight?"

"Of course."

She had never told a bigger lie in her life. But then again, this wasn't the first time she had answered that very same question, using those very same words.

Three hours later

"So how was Nobita his morning?" an elderly man in a rumpled suit asked Mrs. Nobi, as she sat in front of his desk.

"He had those delusions again," she said, tears brimming in her eyes, "You said that after six months..."

The man shook his head sadly, shuffling several papers in front of him that had been handed to him by Mrs. Nobi, "His condition is quite unique, and most of the prescription drugs we have on-hand don't seem to be effective. Quite frankly, I'd say that his case is one that cannot be solved medically, or with therapy."

"It's hopeless, then?" Mrs. Nobi asked, her face gaunt and cadaverous. She always put on a hopeful face for her son to see, but in his absence, she would drop the mask, showing her true, depressed expression. The man she was speaking with now wore a defeated look, as though he had just been asked to notify somebody of their mother's passing.

"You should keep him here, just in case anything develops in time to come," the man said, waving a hand around to indicate the school they were in - a school for children with mental disabilities, "Sometimes, these problems might straighten out over time, or, the gods forbid, become more chronic."

Mrs. Nobi broke down into tears, as she digested his words. She got up from her chair, and rushed out of the man's office before he could say anything more. For a minute, the man sat there motionless, behind his cramped desk. He looked up at the wall where his psychiatry degree certificate was hung, and felt a pang of sorrow echo through himself.

'Can't help everybody, I guess,' he admitted to himself, in the privacy of his own mind.

Taking up the papers Nobita's mother had handed to him, he opened a thick folder on his desk, and dropped them in. Nearly the entire folder was filled with drawings with similar shapes as the new ones, and it was clear that some of them were drawn quite a while ago - the crayon marks had become smudged and messy in some of them.

Dr. Kadomatsu walked over to a filing cabinet, then neatly replaced the folder into it's slot within the cabinet's metal belly.

The reference label on the folder read, in the doctor's spidery scrawl, 'Nobita File - Autism, Imaginary friend complex - Doraemon(?)'.