az: I recovered my muse fast. XD But I needed to finish this part first before proceeding on Second Life. Part two would come later. Yeah... I tend to feel less motivated when I had no reviews to sustain me aside from my own encouragements. Tsunderella managed to survive since at least one person had commented on DW and that kept me going... (Despite that it was still so depressing to get only one review here or scarcely at all. I'm at least glad that at least the girl had continued cheering me indirectly every chapter and one-shots that I've done.)
But well, I'll survive... reviews or not. Even with my cold.
A Light in the Dark: Part one - Shadows
Written by Izzu alias honou-no-izumi
She was worried. She thought after what she had said yesterday, things would be all right. Then again yesterday, after she had told Ryosuke to live and the person kept repeating how sorry he had been; Aoi Ryosuke had fainted again. The man had not regained consciousness for the rest of the day.
She knew it must have been a shock. A great deal of shock. But she never expected it could be this much...
"LET ME GO! HANDS OFF! GET OFF ME, I SAID!"
Nagisa froze as she heard Ryosuke screamed with all his might. She hurried inside as she witnessed two male attendants, nurse and doctor tried to restrain him on his bed. She turned to find Aoi's parents standing not far from her as they watched over their adopted son painfully as Ryosuke continued trashing around.
"Let me go! I don't want to be treated... I don't want—!"
"Ryosuke!" cried the mother as she couldn't help but cry. Her husband held her close beside him to keep her steady. Both parents tried to talk some sense to Ryosuke but he did not even pay attention to it. Then again, Ryosuke himself had been crying...
"Aoi-san..." Nagisa finally spoke as surprisingly, Ryosuke heard her and paused in his actions.
"Hasebe-san! You're here... tell them! Please tell them I don't need this. Tell them—"
"Ryosuke, let the doctors treat you. You're in shock, we understand that," his mother started to say...
"No, you don't—" Ryosuke winced as one of the nurse finally able to insert a needle into his vein and administered general anesthetics to him. He winced. He frowned as he tried to push the nurse as well as the other attendants still holding him away; before noticing that he had started to get drowsy all of the sudden. He cried as he begged them to let him go.
"Let me die! Why can't anyone... he's gone!" Ryosuke's voice grew weaker as the sedative started working. Nagisa couldn't help but felt a stab of pain in her heart as their eyes connected and Ryosuke gave her the most sorrowful look.
"... because of me..." he sobbed again as finally Ryosuke fell back to unconsciousness. The two attendants that had been holding Ryosuke gently lowered him on the bed as they, along with the nurse and doctor; excused themselves.
Ryosuke's adoptive father had followed the doctor outside to discuss about Ryosuke's conditions as Nagisa and the mother remained in the room. Ryosuke's adoptive mother walked by Ryosuke's bedside and gently ran her hand over his forehead.
"Poor child. Why did you want to die so much? Did you not care about us anymore, my dear child...?" said the mother sorrowfully as Nagisa walked closer.
"I guess... he finally manage to grasp fully of what happened yesterday..." she said as the other woman turned towards her.
"That... so what's the news now? Have you found Ryosuke's older brother?"
The older woman appeared concerned, despite she probably only knew about Ryuzaki's relation with Aoi not that long. But then again, she's a mother like her and she should understand how important Ryuzaki was for Aoi. Mothers are like that... aren't they?
"We haven't found him. Not a body, not even a trace. We don't even know whether he's alive or dead..."
"But earlier... Ryosuke said, he killed him. Ryosuke..." Ryosuke's mother paused again as the thought seemed hard to believe. "I can't believe... Ryosuke even dared to—and he had been so remorseful about it..."
"It must be the shock. Aoi-san... must have thought that he did it. There's no telling if Ryuzaki was already dead—and the fact that... the way we've found Aoi earlier—someone could have pulled him out of the water. Perhaps Ryuzaki too... it's too early to tell just yet! I would try my best to look for that man. Even if it took everything that I have—" said Nagisa as Ryosuke's mother nodded to her gratefully.
"Sorry to make you do so much—"
"Ah no!" Nagisa said immediately as she shook her head. "It's no trouble... really. For these few months... I've grown close to both Ryuzaki and your son—there's no way I wouldn't do anything—"
The older woman walked to her and held her hand.
"I understand. I would still like to thank you regardless. For taking care of Ryosuke as well."
Nagisa couldn't say a word. Not sure what hurt her most at the time, the fact that she still could not find Ryuzaki, Aoi's current condition or this plea from a helpless mother who could not do anything to comfort the son that she had so long considered as her very own. She wondered if she could even set out to accomplish the things she thought she could do then.
She couldn't save Shibata-san last time. If she couldn't find or even save Ryuzaki... what hope can she have to even save Aoi-san?
Can she even save anyone that she had cared for?
Nagisa's head dropped suddenly as she was jerked into wakefulness. She shook her head. When did—she glanced around to find herself alone in the room. Okay, not really alone... since Aoi was sleeping beside her.
Aoi's parents most probably had went back home already.
Nagisa turned her attention towards Ryosuke. He was still sleeping but fitfully. Nagisa adjusted the blanket placed over his body as she noticed the straps holding Ryosuke's arm to the bedside. His legs too... last she remembered. It was all to stop him from hurting himself the next time he had woken up. Thinking about that, Nagisa could not help but feel saddened. It had been a first time for her to see Ryosuke being in that kind of state and she supposed the same could be said about his foster parents.
She sighed. Hopefully, things would get better somehow... after this.
It pained her to see Ryosuke like this.
Nagisa mentally scolded herself. Since when had she started referring to Aoi by his first name in her mind? She smiled. Never mind... Ryosuke was a good name...
Nagisa glanced back towards him as she noticed that Ryosuke had started crying. She bit her lips.
From here on, things would not get any easier for sure...
As she had predicted, things had not gotten any better since then. Ryosuke's attitude has not improved any better...
At times, he would start trashing again, or refusing to eat... or started screaming for no reason. Sometimes when he had the chance, he would try to hurt himself or run away... to the point that he had to be kept restrained or sedated most of the time during his stay at the hospital. Nothing that either she or Ryosuke's foster family, or even his visiting former students could do or say would even reach him. To snap him out from this emotional turmoil that he was having.
It saddened her.
At times during her visit, she would accidentally witness the nurses and hospital attendants trying to force Ryosuke to eat because he had adamantly refused to do so. Sometimes, she ended up seeing how Ryosuke had choked on his food or ended up vomiting the food out again because of such forceful treatment.
It hurt her.
It hurt her to see him in such pain, yet unable to help him ease the pain away.
It hurt her that she could do nothing... but watch him from the sidelines.
Wonder what kind of emotion would Ryosuke's foster parents be feeling then?
And then sometime later, all of it stopped.
Not sure if it was because words had finally reached him... or that he had finally give up the fight due to lack of strength or will, Ryosuke had finally calmed down. The restraints did not come off though, as the doctors still feared that he would start hurting himself again. But then, she had noticed. Ryosuke had often seen spacing out, staring emptily towards the nearby window—almost looking as if he had lost even the will to live.
Nagisa sighed. Today as well, everything had been the same. Nothing has changed, Ryosuke still as lifeless as a living corpse.
Still, she took a chair to sit beside him if just to be there for him.
"So you've come to visit again."
Nagisa almost jumped in shock.
It has been a while, since Ryosuke had spoken a word. At least since those random times when she had heard him screaming at the hospital personnel...
His voice had sounded hoarse as well.
"Why are you so quiet? Is it so fun to watch over me like this?"
Ryosuke tilted his head slowly towards her. Nagisa smiled weakly.
"What did you want me to say... Aoi-san?"
Ryosuke looked away, again continued staring towards the window. Nagisa sighed, as she had nothing else to think about, much less to say. They continued on this silence for quite some time before Ryosuke suddenly sighed.
"Can you tell them to release these restraints? I promise I won't fight anymore. I'm tired already..."
Without a word, Nagisa removed the straps and restraints on Ryosuke's arms, wrists and body. The legs would come later; it was not that important to do it right away now. Ryosuke turned his head towards her again, puzzled.
"Don't you have to ask their permissions, first?"
Nagisa shook her head.
"I'll tell them later," she said before looking down, her right hand reaching towards his left hand. She gently lifted it up as she slowly bent herself, kissing the bruised mark on his wrist. Ryosuke stared at her, entranced by the sight as his eyes started to glisten with tears... until it overflowed and streaked past his cheeks.
"Why did you still care about me?" he asked as Nagisa turned her attention towards him, her eyes red as well from tears...
Two months had passed since; Ryosuke's condition seemed to have improved. He had started to eat properly, not as much as one could hope... but at least it was better than not eating and starving himself. He started to take his medicine, but it was more of the fact that he had no say about it. What had not changed though... was the fact that he seldom wanted to talk to people and preferred to be left alone. The occasional times when he did, had mostly been during her visits to the hospital. Wonder why it had been like that... but she had chosen not to ask about it, after a while. At least he was not fully reclusive of others...
Yet, these few weeks recently, she had not been able to visit him because she had been busy with her search for Ryuzaki. Normal people should have given up by now, there was no way that anyone could be found at the dam anymore. But she didn't care. If Ryuzaki was already dead, one of these days... she should be able to find his body. It was not like the lake had piranhas in them...
But if there were still no trace of him, there was that possibility that he is still...
There was no ulterior motive in her decision to keep looking for him. She wanted to find a definite conclusion to her sorrows. Not just herself... but for him.
Yet again, it was mostly for him...
Wonder since when she had decided on that?
It struck her... when she had walked into Ryosuke's hospital room to find him not there. Fear gripped her heart, before she had ran to ask the nurses and the doctors in charge. And then she had heard it.
Ryosuke had been discharged.
She almost thought her heart would have shattered in grief...
She had arrived at his family's house in Hachioji, because his apartment was empty... and she figured that maybe he had stayed with his family for the time being. He did, but she was wrong to have hoped that he did become better. Ryosuke had shut himself inside his room ever since he left the hospital but at least he did not neglect his own well-being.
Nagisa cautiously entered his room, since his foster parents had told her that it was all right for her to do so. She glanced around, the room had been so neat but then again it might be because Ryosuke's foster mother had always come here to keep the room tidy.
She looked around the room again, wondering where Ryosuke was. And then she found him, at one corner of the room that had been the darkest. She slowly approached him as Ryosuke looked up, sensing her presence. She was about to say something as his voice cut her off.
"Why did you still looked for him? Stop it. He's dead. There's no point to keep up the pointless hope. It'll hurt you... and it'll hurt me more. Could you please move on with your life?"
"Could you?" she asked back, not even trying to hide her tears or even the sorrow in her voice. So he knew... on why she had been away these few days. He knew... that both of them were still hurt. Not just him. Could it be the reason why he had decided to leave the hospital? Because he couldn't stand it anymore? Is that why—
Nagisa's thoughts stopped at that point as Ryosuke suddenly reached out towards her and embraced her. It startled her but then she heard him sob and his body was shaking hard. She did not ask what was wrong as she hugged him closer; the warmth between their two bodies seemed not that strange. Nagisa smiled bitterly at how fragile Ryosuke had felt in her arms then. She wondered if both of them could ever overcome this sorrow...
Two days later, Nagisa received a call from Ryosuke's foster mother telling her that Ryosuke had gone missing.