Thus began what I would call yet another downward spiral, of sorts. This man made me laugh, made me smile, made me feel all warm inside. His kindness and gentleness were second to none. It was as if the very air he breathed was necessary for my survival, for I couldn't go a day without "checking in" on the clinic, regardless of whether or not I was supposed to work that day. I'd say hello, just making sure everything is all right, and he would say how kind, thank you…

He was like no one else I had ever met. I wanted, prayed with all my heart to the Harvest Goddess that somehow, my fates would align. Somehow, we would feel the same.

It seldom worked out that way, right?

Oh sure, some people said that you really could make a difference, but when it came down to it, it was your feelings up against another's. How did anyone ever get married or fall in love? How was the combination so perfect that both people, sensing the other's untold feelings for them, confessed in a flurry of hearts and sappy fanfics? This is reality. Things just don't happen that easily.


"Hey there," I cooed, smiling at the child in front of me on the bed. "You know why this has to happen, right?"

The little boy in front of me shook his head, on the verge of crying. "Well," I began again, "Did you know that your body is a castle? With turrets and big walls and towers and everything?"

"Huh?" He asked, confused, but then he marveled, "Like in the mid-nevil times?"

"Yes yes, exactly," I smiled, tussling his hair. "Exactly like that. But there is an enemy attacking, you see," I said quite solemnly. Little Willy, infamous for running away from the Doctor's office to escape a shot, looked so shocked that I had to bite my lip to keep my expression solemn and sagely. "Luckily, Dr. Jin here is the good wizard. That tube he has is filled with little soldiers who will come to defend your castle. He just has to put them in!" I said, and the confused doctor looked away to chuckle.

"So…" I said, my voice soft as I knelt in front of the little boy, "You have to be a brave king and protect the little soldiers on their way to the castle."

"How do I do that?" He asked, a little sob shaking his voice.

I rubbed his hand gently, "Just let them in. Try to be nice and calm and still. Close your eyes, if it helps." He did so. "Are you ready?"

"Mhmmmm…" Said the little boy, tears leaking out of his tightly shut eyes. I took his arm, holding it out, and began to stroke it gently. "Shhhhhh…" I soothed him as the doctor quickly and deftly rubbed the alcohol before gently pressing the needle in. I calmed the boy as the Doctor administered the shot and hummed a little tune to ease his nerves.

The boy opened his eyes, "That was it?"

I nodded and smiled warmly, "Yes, that was it. Good job, King Willy! Here, let me take a look." I beckoned Jin closer and took the stethoscope from about his neck, looking away as I did so. His eyes were upon me, and I couldn't help but smile a little. "Here," I said, putting on the stethoscope and kneeling before the little king. I placed the stethoscope's metal piece upon his heart and looked very, very hard, my expression solemn, before brightening up. "Perfect! The soldiers are all safe and on their way to the castle."

I gave the stethoscope back to Jin before opening the cabinets and withdrawing a little lollypop for the king. "Here you go, Your Majesty. Our gift for a job well done." The little boy practically beamed, and I swear, the lollipop was in his mouth faster than I thought humanly possible.

After the boy was out and Jin could take a break, he looked at me, his normally cool features melting into a warm smile. His dark eyes were soft. "That was amazing work, Akari."

I couldn't help but smile, a little blush coming to my cheeks. "Thanks, Jin." I laughed, absent-mindedly rubbing the back of my head. "I just figured, any kid is going to hate having a shot, no matter how much good it does them. So, it wouldn't be a shot, and little king Willy there would be on a quest." I nodded and crossed my arms, still smiling brightly.

"I wonder," He began, cocking one of those perfectly-formed eyebrows just slightly, "Are you doing all of this from experience? Were you a 'King Willy?'"

I blushed a little, and the doctor looked away a smile tugging at his lips. Finally, after a long silence, I spoke up, "Yeah… they had to send me to the lab to get my blood work done. Fully-grown doctors held me down, and it wasn't a butterfly needle they used." I ran a hand through my hair, "I don't want anyone to have to go through that." When I looked up, Jin was looking at me strangely, his expression serious.

He finally nodded, "No one will, not in my clinic."


I arranged the flowers on Jin's desk, adding a few more that I had grown on my farm for him. I heard that silky-smooth voice from just behind me, "I always thought flowers were the most beautiful just before they began to wilt." I smiled a little turning back towards my work, and replied cryptically, "Hm, a thought. I suppose there is beauty in tragedy. But…" I drew a bud from the flower pot, "I think the most beauty is in a flower just about to bloom." I offered Jin the rose bud, and he took it gently into his hand.

He looked at it for several long moments, the expression on his face unreadable. Finally, he looked up at me, and I was caught in his gaze as a deer before headlights. "Thank you, Akari."

...

That night, I buried my head into my pillow, my thoughts rampant with Jin. This was different from some schoolgirl crush, very different. It wasn't as if I was seeking some sort of thriller relationship to whittle away the time.

I could see my whole life with Jin.

I would wake up in the morning and turn to find him looking at me, his head propped on his hand. His beautiful chest would be bare and his dark black hair free to fall over his neck and shoulders. His eyes, finally free of his glasses, were all at once dark and blue and steel gray and almost violet in the morning light. His gentle smile was for me.

We would eat together, comfortable in the silence of the early morning. Before he left for the clinic, I would drape my arms about his shoulders, my forehead pressed against his. His strong hands would be about my waist, and when we could take it no more, one would slide up to my neck, burrowing in my hair, as I leaned forward and felt him take my mouth in his. All at once it was gentle and sweet and powerful and passionate.

"Goodbye for now, my love," I would breathe and smile, and he would brush the hair from my face, his fingers gracing over my cheek.

"See you in a little while," He would smile warmly, for we would have lunch together, and I would bring lots and lots of tea.