Hearts at Risk by planet p
Disclaimer I don't own Code Blue or any of its characters.
Kōsaku was well aware of the dangers inherent in too much self-doubt, but the things he'd seen, experienced over the last year and a half of his internship as a flight doctor with Shohoku's Emergency Medical Services, he'd have had to be mad not to feel some trepidation, some worry. There had only three months left on their fellowship programme, after which they'd all have to consider what they would do next, after graduation, and he didn't know if he was ready for that, at all. The only thing that made it bearable, he thought, was the fact that he wasn't alone. Certainly, he was alone - or close enough to alone - in other respects, in almost all other respects, bar two. On the job, he was supported. And, most of all, he had Megumi's support. Most of all, he had her love.
Recently, they'd been talking of marriage, and whilst he didn't doubt that it could - would - happen eventually, he didn't think he was ready to take that plunge, just yet. He didn't feel comfortable, when he was so full of inner turmoil the way he was right now, putting someone else's future - especially that of someone he loved - on the line alongside his. He wanted to be sure he could do his job right and provide for his wife, when the time came, he wanted to be sure he'd be able to come home to her at night, and when he left again in the morning, that he'd be coming back again, at the end of the day, and that it would be with something to show for his efforts, at least.
He could never ask Megumi to believe in him, to put her whole future on the chopping block for him, if he couldn't do that! He could have told her all this, but he just didn't feel comfortable burdening her with that sort of talk, especially after what had happened to Kuroda, and with the guilt she clearly felt over it. He saw it everyday, in her eyes, and it tore him up inside. Ever since they'd been dating, he'd wanted just to take her in his arms and hold her close, for a very, very long time, and tell her that everything would be alright, that he'd be able to protect her. But, as long as there was a grain of doubt within him, he wouldn't. He would promise her the world just to smash it to pieces before her very eyes when he let her down. She didn't need that, not from him. She was already cut up enough, over her own actions. He'd just be fanning the flames, if he did that.
He was damned if he'd let her down like that, or if he'd let himself down. He'd already lost so much, so many people he'd cared for, who had believed in him, who he'd believed he could protect - only to be proven wrong. No, he wasn't going to offer himself up for that sort of easy heartache again. Not again.
He loved Megumi, that was true enough, and he'd had days when he'd doubted the wiseness in that - either of them could meet their untimely end, working in the field that they did - but he just hadn't been strong enough to let her go; to deny them both the thing they truly needed, love and support. But no promises. "I love you", but no promises. He did love her. He loved her so much. Too much to take her love as a give, to take for granted the special gift she was to him, everyday, and throw it carelessly back in her face. No. No, he respected her more than that. She was a damned fine doctor, and a damned fine human being also. No lies.
Simply, the truth.
Kōsaku doesn't know, I haven't told him yet, and, really, it's early days, still, and so much is up in the air, so much is just... hanging there. I... I love him, I do. Deeply so. I'm not just kidding around, whatever else anyone might think. But I... Three months and... and... what if, by telling him, I end up holding him back, somehow; holding him back from his future, his dream? I can't, no matter how hard I try, shake that feeling. I've done it before, I have a track record now, for crushing people's dreams under my foot. I couldn't do that to Kōsaku! It's simply unthinkable!
I... I want to tell him, yet I hold myself back. I... I can't help it. It's not because I feel myself a personal failure, and I'm punishing myself, or anything like that. I'm not waiting for him to realise he's not really ready to marry, and drop me. I can see he loves me greatly, but I'm... I'm scared. I so desperately just want to be here for him, now, now that we've only got three months left to go. I see the doubt in his eyes. Now, more than ever he needs me. He needs me to just get on with the job - and do my job! I mightn't be able to do that with complete and utter confidence, I've seen that I'm fallible and that when I fall, I take others down with me, and I'm trying my best to hold it together for the rest of the team, to remain levelheaded through it all, but I'm starting to crack up.
If I can't just see this thing through, just get this one thing done - if I can't be there for Kōsaku when he most needs me - I don't think I'll ever feel worthy of his love, of anyone's love, ever again. That may very well sound selfish, to other ears, but I just can't face the thought of not being there, of Kōsaku making the same mistake I did, and having to live the rest of his life with the guilt of it weighing on his conscience, weighing him down. Of feeling miserable, even when he should be happy, of having this one thing he can't scrub from the back of his mind, from his thoughts, when that one thing should be something good - should be love, not guilt!
I would die, before I let that happen. And I know that's selfish, because I have more than just myself to be worried about now. But I can't help it! I can't stop myself! I would die first!
I may have failed once before, I may have made a complete mess of my career and failed miserably professionally, but I will not fail again - I will not fail the man I love!
I know I can be a nag, too, at times. Oh, I'm always bringing up the m word, but I've good reason. I just can't bring myself to voice my reasons out loud. I would... Oh, I would! I would dearly, dearly love to! Had the circumstances been different. And I'm not offended that he'd reject me - he's not said we're through yet, has he - and I hate to fluster him, but I've got to keep trying. For the sake of our unborn baby, of not disregarding its existence completely, of not tossing it to the sidelines 'til I'm good and ready to acknowledge it, I can't give up. It's my own self-imposed punishment, I guess you might say.
Every day, I pray Kōsaku will say yes because he sees a life for us, together, in the future, not just because he loves me, now, but because he sees himself as loving me then, too. But if he did say yes because of that, because he loves me too much to bear being apart from me - as I know he does, because I love him just the same way - then I'd be thrilled beyond compare. I wouldn't waste any time feeling guilty, because, as I've said - I love him! To bits! To Hell and back, even! I just love the guy! I am in love with him, and I want to love him for the rest of my life!
I want to.
I want to love him always.
I want to tell him about our unborn child.
I want him to have all of his dreams.
I want him to love me, and, in return, feel my love for him, and, in return, feel how his love elevates me into something more than I was before I met him.
I want a lot of things.
But nobody gets everything they want, no matter what.
I won't stop hoping, still.
I'm starting to feel it, now, the effects of this baby growing inside me, and, everyday, it's a constant battle, a constant war going on inside me, in more ways than one, just to get up in the morning and do what I do everyday. I know it can't go on like this forever, but it's not going to be forever, either. I just want to be there for Kōsaku, for the man I love. It kills me to think that I'll have to choose between the two people I love most in this world, in this way, but, in truth, I've already chosen. I've already chosen Kōsaku.
That other dream I used to have, the one where I was this whizbang legendary flight doctor, rescuer of the ailing, healer of the poorly, looks cold and dead. But not this dream. I know I'm going to have to let Kōsaku go, I feel it. Very soon, I'm going to have to let him go off alone, fend for himself, without me there by his side. I have to take baby's side now, no choice. It kills me, but I don't blame baby for it, either. I love my baby, I love this tiny, little thing growing in me that it a part of us both, as much as I love Kōsaku, just differently, but now I've got to make the hard decision. This baby can't keep taking the flak for me, for my stubborn (sometimes stupid) streak, and it shouldn't have to.
I have to choose baby.
I've seen their looks, very well. I think, if I play my cards right, I might even get away with it. I might even manage it. They don't want me on the team in the state I'm in right now, anyway. I'll only be jeopardising everyone onboard, staff and patients alike. I hope, I pray, I'll be able to make it out alive, smoothly. Please, please, please! Oh please! I've never asked for much, in reality - not for riches or gold, just the chance to be me - and, today, I'm asking for this, just this one thing. Let me go. Let me let Kōsaku go, unhindered. When the time comes, I will not lie to him any longer! It's so close, now, just let me let him get through this!
Earlier, I'd summoned my courage to me like a blanket to a freezing person, but now I feel I won't be able to do it. I won't be able to make it. I've seen the looks, but I've just been too damned stubborn to give in to them.
Somehow, I thought giving myself a breather would give me some of my strength back, but it looks like I haven't lost that overly optimistic streak when it comes to assessing my capabilities and limits. I've done it again.
I can feel it coming on, but, when I faint, I can't do anything to stop it. Nothing at all. And all I can think - pride, be damned! - is, I hope I've not just hurt our baby! For a split second, before it's lights out, I don't even spare a thought for what I may have been doing beforehand, I just think, Please, baby, be okay, and my hearts beat so, so hard, so fast. I'm scared, deathly afraid, so mad at myself - I'm the adult! - I'm not mad at baby, at all. And then-
Of course I've seen her looking less than her best, but I've always believe Megumi to know her limits, to do her best, by everyone. I trust her. I'd have spoken sooner, brought it up with her, if I hadn't felt so much like I'd be crushing her, for doing so. It's just that her self-esteem is in the pits, and I love her, I love her, and I see every little insecurity, every little chink in her armour. I can't attack her when she has no chance of defending herself, when I'd only make that chink into a crack.
Correction, I couldn't. But things have changed, now that I've seen the truth, now that I've examined her and I've learned some things. Anger - sure, it's up there. Indignation, too. Betrayal - certainly. Sadness - yes, by the cartload. But, you know what, what's the worst thing of all? What I feel the most strongly? Disbelief!
Who is this woman I have fallen in love with? This woman I've seen save countless lives, at risk to her own life! This woman I'd have married in a heartbeat, when the time was right for us both! Is she a woman or is she a monster?
Yes, that's a harsh assessment! Perhaps too harsh. But I can't pull myself back from these thoughts, from these feelings - because I love her with every fibre in my being! And I hate to see her betraying herself like this!
I hate it!
But I can't stand idly by. She may be thinking it's time to crack out some leniency, given the circumstances, but, the way I see it, it's not that time at all. It's time to crack out the whip, and lay down the rules.
I know the woman I love - and I am not going to just stand by and allow her to destroy herself out of any ill-conceived notion of loyalty!
She is a brave, brave person, and I have always admired her for that bravery, but there comes a time when you have to take one coat off and try on another, when you have to don another kind of bravery.
That time is now.
For the both of us.
I steel myself, and pray that I can go through with this. For the sake of Megumi's heart and soul, for the sake of the woman I love, for the sake of our unborn child - I pray I can do the right thing. I have to be strong. I have to let Megumi know it's okay to let go, if it's for the right reasons.
I'd had all these valiant intentions, when they'd all just been ideas roaming around in my head, but the second I stepped through that door and saw her sitting there - she'd likely refused to lie - they just hit the floor and slithered away.
My heart is about to break out of my chest, I'm sure, and the fear/horror/anger I feel, coursing through my body at the speed of light, actually frightens me, makes me feel a bit like jelly, inside. Wobbly. Ineffectual. Weak.
But I can't be that! I have to stick up for Megumi right now, because she doesn't seem to be able to do that herself!
I move across the room, to her bedside, almost on autopilot, and that's when she looks away from the window, the light making her eyes seem very bright. Once again, I want to take her in my arms and hold her - hold her and our unborn baby - and tell her, tell them, that it will all be okay, that we'll get through it together. But the look in her eyes, of cool regard, stops me cold. What's going on here?
Suddenly, there's no air left in the room. I can't breathe. I'm choking. My chest is... like a lump of ice, frozen solid.
Why do her eyes look like that?
I'd thought she'd at least have a couple of unshed tears, but there're none. If she feels hurt, at all, mad at herself, at all, I don't see it.
I can't believe it. I can't! My mind refuses to think of her as a "monster". I... I love her! I just can't buy that she'd care so little about our baby, on one hand, and so much about her patients, on the other. It... it can't just be about money, about proving herself. I believe in her! I know her!
I love her!
But her eyes are cold.
I can't help but snap back with the same poison, just as coldly, though I tell myself, M-maybe she didn't know. Th-There's a chance, right? As stupid as it sounds, there's still a chance? My words are like ice, when they emerge, hard, sharp, frozen to the core, "How long have you known?" I want to... to say something consoling, to apologise for my harsh words, but something holds me back.
Surprise. Megumi is surprised. Actually surprised.
Oh, you're kidding me! No! No way! Actually putting it on! I can't buy it, any longer, no matter how much I may want to melt under that gaze of hers, those beautiful eyes of hers that I've witnessed so full of love that it breaks me in two, now, just to feel what I'm feeling, just to stand here and doubt her sincerity! To doubt her, to doubt those eyes!
Th-the baby deserves better than that! I tell myself, skirting around the issue of the deep, cutting betrayal I feel on a very personal level. You just cut my heart out, baby, and you didn't even have the decency to do anything with it! You just took one sparking glance at it, deemed it filth, and threw it away, in the nearest trash can! Can't you see that you've killed me, baby? Can't you see, these eyes are dead eyes?
"I don't... What are you talking about?" she says now. "I don't know what you're talking about. You're... you're scaring me. Say what's on your mind, but don't just accuse me of things I've no hope of defending myself against! What are you talking about?"
"You know very well!" Even I'm surprised by the sneer in my voice, by the waspish way my words cut the air, heading arrow-straight in her direction. I long to leap on them and snatch them back, but they're gone before I can even think to blink. Megumi's upset face isn't going to deter me, though. I have to get to the bottom of this, for the sake of our unborn baby! It's my baby, too, after all! I think fiercely. How can she be so selfish.
It is then that the unsuspecting blow comes, completely out of nowhere. Is it? Is it my baby, though? I push that thought away, venomously, and snap at her, "Why do you bother? Why continue with this pointless charade? I already know. I've examined you myself!"
A note of confusion enters her eyes, the beginnings of... of panic, maybe. Of hysteria. Examined me? What do you mean by that, in that tone of voice? I'm not some kind of... of alien! I'm not diseased! I've done nothing wrong!
Oh, but you have! I want to shout, but I give her time. I want her to shake her head, to try to explain, I need her to! I love her so much! I can't - I won't - give her up! I pray that I won't have to, that she'll step in, and allay my fears. Take my hand warmly in hers. I'll be okay, Kōsaku. It'll all be okay. I'm here. I'm with you. You're not alone.
I'm almost crying, it breaks my heart so. How many times my heart has shattered on the ground today, I don't even care. I wait. I pray. I silently whisper, over and over, hoping she'll hear my thoughts somehow, that I love her.
"I... I don't know why you mean by that," she responds, fighting to keep her cool, or just thinking through her next move, undecided emotion teetering in her wide, intense eyes.
"You're pregnant!" I'm at my wit's end. I want to stamp my foot! I want to grab something and break it! I want to- I want to yell at her like a mad person just so she'll tell me the truth - just so she'll see me as a person again! As someone worthy of that respect, at least!
I've always respected her, damn it! And I still do! It's not about getting back what I sow, but a little bit of common decency wouldn't go astray, either! Can't she see how much I love her - how much I want all this- this fighting, arguing, anger to be done. Over with. Put behind us! Can't she see how much I just want to take her in my arms and tell her I love her, and I'm...
I'm so frickin' happy I'm gonna be a father, that's we're going to have a baby - together! A family! I'm so frickin' happy, it's killing me!
I dart in closer to her, before I can stop myself, and my hands are gripping her arms, my eyes fixed unwaveringly to hers. "Megumi! Tell me now - I demand to know - is the woman I love still in there, or is she not?"
For the first time, Megumi looks truly shaken. Boy, had that been loud. Direct, more so that loud in volume. Right up in her face. Tears are in her eyes, more bubbling up. I long to wipe them away, to kiss her cheeks, streaming with them now. I resist.
"Is there still hope for us? For her? Give me a reason, Megumi! Just say the word, and I'll stay. But I won't go down with this ship, if you're not in it with me - if it's not with the woman I love! Give me a reason! That's all I ask of you!"
A sob escapes her throat, slicing right through me, and she drops her gaze shamefully from mine, to her lap, instead, or perhaps, to the baby. Our baby, I think tenderly. "Yes. I'm so sorry," she breathes, and I can't quite be sure she's not talking to the both of us - baby and me. "I... I just couldn't face the thought of abandoning you, of letting you down, again. I... I know it's selfish of me- but I-! I wanted to tell you! So much!" She was crying in earnest now, and my heart ached for her. I longed for her to look up and see that I wasn't angry with her anymore, to look up and see I still loved her. Bugger everything else! Bugger the reasons! I loved her for her, didn't I!
I let go of her arms and swallowed a sigh. Tears were pooling in her lap, making the material wet, stained dark. I reached out a hand, sure, not shaking as I'd imagined it might be, and lifted her chin gently. Her skin was so soft, so warm. So reassuring.
A sob hitched in her throat and her eyes collided with mine.
I latched onto them and refused to let go. "Shiraishi Megumi, I love you! I have for a long time now. An achingly long time. And I know you've loved me too. Megumi, you don't have to explain yourself to me any longer. I just have one more question, and that's all I'm going to ask. Megumi, swītohāto, will you marry me?" I don't know where that came from, but it just seemed right.
Tears wobbled in Megumi's eyes, and I waited, waited for her to speak, for the woman I loved to speak, my heart beating - boompeddy, boompeddy, boom; I love you, I love you, I love you. She hiccuped. A tear rolled down her cheek. "Yes."
In that moment, I felt like the whole world was mine. Everything and anything that had ever mattered to me in this life, was mine. Megumi, was mine. Our child, mine. Our future together, filled with brightness and laughter, within my grasp.
With fiercely shaking hands, Megumi reached up and slid her hand over mine. Then she stood up, bold as can be - that's my Megumi! - and slid her arms around my neck, pressing her warm, perfect lips to mine in a loving, compassionate kiss.
Yep, I was a made man! And she was my woman! Was there anything more I could possibly ask for, from this world? My hand moved to rest on her stomach. Oh, sorry, I didn't forget you baby. Okay, maybe just for a moment. A nanosecond. But you have no idea how wholly captivating your mum is, little one. Not yet, anyway. Just know this, I love her! I love you both! And I'm going to marry her, I'm going to be her husband, and your father, and we'll pull through whatever life throws at us - together!
"I love you," I whispered, feather-light, against my love's lips. Such warm, enticing lips they were, so close to mine. It was quite a feat to draw away from them, just for second, and find words to express what I was feeling.
But I was glad I'd done so, because, not a second later, Megumi whispered them right back to me, "I love you," and I'd never felt them so real, so true, as I did at that moment, holding the woman I loved in my arms, just so, the warmth of her body mingling with mine, and her lips just a breath away.
I love you, I thought, and it was true, oh so true!