Chapter 3

It was late in the afternoon when I walked outside. It was warm out, and the hospital had beautiful flowers in its garden. The garden itself was huge; rows of green blended into rows of pinks and whites and yellows, flowers and grass becoming a myriad of colors. All throughout the garden, people were walking by, most talking quietly. The garden seemed like a still, tranquil place. I liked it. Hell knew I could use some tranquility.

"Ah, Kirihara-kun. When I saw you weren't in your room, I asked myself, 'Now, where would I go?' And the answer, of course, was to the garden."

I turned around, already feeling my sense of peace broken. Standing next to me, in a simple white shirt and jeans, was a slender brunette. He certainly didn't look like a hospital worker. He was staring calmly over the balcony, eyes as clear and calm as my own had been just moments before.

"Can you tell me something, Kirihara-kun?" I looked as blankly as I could into the man's eyes. "Why is it that you're not in the garden? Is it because you don't think you deserve to give yourself the treat of being among the flowers, or is there some other reason?"

I didn't respond. This time, it wasn't by choice.

"I saw the way you were looking at the flowers." The man now looked me directly in the eyes. He pulled himself up straight, walked closer to me. I took a step back. "It's the same look a child has staring at a toy he wants but won't let himself have. It's the look of willpower. But more than that, it's a look of pain."

The only answer I had for him was silence. But anger bit at the back of my throat. This strange guy, who didn't know me, who had never even spoken to me, was comparing me to a child. The last thing I wanted was to be compared to a child.

"I'm sure you're wondering who I am." Now, the man stretched out a hand. "My name is Asakura Yoh. I'll be your psychologist."

***

Niou closed his eyes and sighed, slumping against a park fence. A cool breeze rolled by, gently cooling off his face. Angry, icy eyes flashed open, willing the breeze to stop. Niou knew he deserved the guilt.

"For the love of Tennis, 'Haru!" Niou turned angrily to look at Marui, who had arrived before the rest of the team. His face was slightly red. He had never known how fast Niou could speed walk.

"Don't use the name of Tennis in vain, Bunta." Niou's voice was heavily laced with sarcasm.

"God, why are you in such a bad mood?" Marui shifted slightly, left foot to right. Moving so quickly usually made his muscles cramp and he didn't have any sugar on him.

"That's none of your goddamn business." Before, he had looked angry. Niou now looked furious.

"Now, now, everyone, let's calm down." Walking closer to his teammates was Yukimura, flanked by Sanada. "I've sent the rest of the team to try and see Akaya in person. But, we thought it was important to talk to you."

"If the brat wants to be left alone, then, hell, maybe we should leave him alone." The sarcasm was back.

"Niou, we want to know what happened." Sanada reached up to adjust his cap, causing the shadow of his brim to reflect sunlight over his face.

"I have no need to talk to you. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have important things to do." With that, Niou turned on his heel and stalked off.

"Massa-"

"Marui, don't bother. Let's go meet up with the rest of the team and go see Akaya." Wordlessly, Marui nodded, and the three turned to catch up to the rest of their team.

***

I was sitting with Askakura, listening to him tell me about the flowers. He really knew a lot about them. He was explaining to me why they smelled the way they did - something about ethers - when I saw that nurse coming up.

"Ah, Eliza!" Something I had noticed was that the doctors and nurses never bothered with honorifics. They must all be friends. It kind of reminded me of Rikkai, actually. It hurt a little to think about that. I mean, we called ourselves a family, but I still had too-

"Kirihara-kun!" I looked up quickly.

"Now, as I was saying," Eliza began again, sending Asakura a grateful smile, "you have some visitors."

***

Hahaha, I'm so evil! A cliff hanger! Now, firstly, I'm very sorry this took so long to post, but I lost the outline to this story, and had to remake it. Secondly, the sooner you review and the more reviews I get, the sooner the next chapter is posted. Is that okay with you? It is with me.

-Ducky