Disclaimer: I do not own Gakuen Alice or its characters.
Chapter 16: Chances
"Is he awake now?" Kaoru softly asked to Ruka who was sitting beside Natsume's bed as she entered the room.
Ruka sighed forlornly then shook his head. "He's still the same, no signs of waking up."
Kaoru took a seat at the couch nearby Ruka and looked at the unconscious body of Natsume. "Are you hungry? I could buy something at the cafeteria." She asked to Ruka
"You know, you're here for hours already. You didn't rest since Natsume came out of the operating room, you didn't even change your uniform. Have some fresh air and take care of yourself. Don't worry about Natsume, I'll keep watch."
Ruka, sensing that arguing with her was useless, obeyed her. He would come back later though. "Fine." He sighed tiredly then bowed in front of her. "Then I'll be going now but I'll return."
She nodded and he proceeded on walking towards the door when he remembered something he had to ask. He stopped on his tracks and turned around. "Can I ask why there are bodyguards outside Natsume's room? What really happened to him?"
She just turned her head away from him. "As I told you earlier, it's best if you don't know a thing about this. I-I'm sorry if I couldn't give you a straight answer."
This fuelled his desire to find about it more. No one would try to get away from hurting his best friend. Someone would pay for this. He knew it wasn't an accident, as if what happened to Natsume was intentional.
Some part of his mind told him it was because of Mikan but the possibility that Natsume saw her was close to zero. Japan was a big place and finding her was a lucky chance.
What exactly happened?
The hospital was swarmed with patients and people stopping by to have check-ups or just visiting their dearest. It was obvious that the hospital was full of busy people; nurses were running around for errands, doctors would enter numerous rooms and so on. Every personnel had some tasks on their hands.
At this mess, there stood a man wearing a facemask and a scrub suit the doctors would often wear if they would operate somebody. The man smirked underneath the accessory across his mouth. He pulled the wheelchair near him and stroll it, dodging incoming people coming his way.
After about some moments, he stopped by to a room where a placard was placed beside the door with 'Natsume Hyuuga' signed as the patient. The area was secluded and only a couple of bodyguards were there, as if guarding the room. The bulky, muscled bodyguards stopped him from going anywhere further by blocking the door with their bodies. "Who are you?"
The scrub-suited man hurriedly wore a gas mask from the bag he carried and pulled out a can. He threw it near the bodyguards. The bodyguards had no time to counterattack because it produced smoke that prevented them from seeing their surroundings. They put their hands up to their mouth and eventually fell from the ground, unconscious.
After the smoke cleared, the man removed the gas mask and kept in on his bag. He then entered the room, not minding the alarms going off around the hospital. In fact, it didn't look like he had heard them at all.
He scanned the room and found his target: Natsume Hyuuga. It wouldn't take a genius to figure out what he would do. After a moment of scanning the room finding another resident, he proceeded on going to the center of the room where Natsume was laid. As he neared the boy, he felt something hit him. Hard.
But it wasn't enough to make him unconscious. He turned around and saw that it was the boy's mother. Her eyes were wide with shock when she recognized him just by looking at his eyes, then it turned to anger. "I knew you were the bad guy all this time. After reviving your company, all you've paid back to us was this?!"
She tried to hit him again but he avoided it just in time by grabbing her hand. He then made her turn around, her back facing him with a twist to her arm. "It's not my fault you and the Yukiharas are too gullible to fall into my trap. You should have remembered why my company failed in the first place."
After making sure that she wouldn't have a chance to escape from him, he knocked her out by hitting her head. He wouldn't worry of her divulging of his identity. She would soon be trapped on his hand anyways. He proceeded on doing his main task like nothing happened.
He realized that getting Natsume out of the room was impossible because of the huge tank that supplied his air. He needed Natsume alive or else he wouldn't get what he wanted. He also needed to act fast before the guards would catch up to him. He fished out his phone and punched in some numbers. After a while, whomever he was calling, answered his call.
"I need your help."
Persona knocked on Reo's car window that sent Reo awake. After realizing his partner came, Reo opened the door and got out of the vehicle to converse with him.
"How long is she out?" Persona asked as he glanced at Mikan's sleeping figure at the back seat.
Reo scratched his head. "Dunno, maybe thirty minutes had passed."
His partner in return nodded and opened the backseat. "What are you planning to do?" Reo asked behind him.
He shrugged as if what he did was normal. "What's it supposed to be like?" He leaned down and scooped up Mikan's body, putting his right hand behind her neck and the other on the part behind her knees. "Hey, what are you doing? I thought we're going to the meeting place to get the ransom and return her to her parents?" Reo reminded when he felt that he wouldn't use the car and looked like he had other plans.
Persona sent him a look over his shoulder as he got out of the car, holding Mikan carefully. "I am returning her to her parents."
Reo furrowed his eyebrows, seemingly confused to his statement but then it changed to shock when he felt someone point a gun behind his back. "Put your hands up where I could see them," an unfamiliar voice said.
He turned to Persona who was still in front of him. "What's this supposed to mean, Persona?"
"I said put your hands up where I could see them!" Reo felt the gun press harder on him and he can't do anything but to obey his words. Reo also noticed the armed men going around him, each pointing their guns at him.
Persona seemed calm about this. "I'm Rei Serio, a Secret Service Agent."
"What the hell?!" Reo exclaimed then made move to lunge towards him. "You bastard!" But before he could even get an inch to Persona, someone shot him that immediately got him rolling on the ground in pain.
"Stay still or one wrong move from you, these guys will not hesitate to shoot you," Persona coldly reminded as he walked past him and carried Mikan inside a black van that was parked near him. Reo flinched again as two of the armed men made him stand up and handcuff him, dragging him towards on a separate vehicle.
He could see the future very clear now and it all involved with that stinky prison bars.
Ruka quickly rushed towards Natsume's room when he heard the alarm going off, not minding the lunch he left behind at the cafeteria. He was with other guards who were trying to make him stay away, but his will to see Natsume was too strong. He found the two guards who were supposed to be guarding his best friend's room lying unconsciously beside the doors.
As he entered the room, he saw Natsume's mother also lying at the bed's foot. He rushed towards her and shook her. "Mrs. Kaoru, please wake up! Your son needs you!" He shook her again in hopes of making her conscious. A medical team arrived and stopped him before he could get irrational. They sent Kaoru outside the room, probably to another separate room to make her rest.
It was unbelievable, just a few minutes ago he was talking to her but now, he saw her there lying, unconscious.
Ruka then glanced at Natsume's bed and the sight of it made his breathing shallow. What Ruka feared the most to happen came: Natsume was nowhere to be found, probably kidnapped by the one who shot him.
"Kid, I told you to stay away from here," one of the officers said that woke him up from his thoughts.
He raised his hand to stop the officer from dragging him. "I know where the exit is, you don't have to show me. Just make sure Mrs. Kaoru to be fine." He exited the room with an irritated look. He then brought out his cell phone and called the person he frequently talked to today. The person answered his call for a few seconds. "Hello Hotaru?"
"It's Imai to you, Nogi." He would have laughed at her response if the situation right now wasn't serious.
After taking a huge intake of breath, he spoke. "Natsume's missing. The guards were taken down and we don't know how the hell it happened." He ran his fingers through his hair and leaned on the wall, putting his arm below the other that was used to hold the phone, supporting it.
"It seems simple to me; the break-in was carefully planned and the perpetrator must have some connections inside the hospital. Wasn't Hyuuga's mother the one monitoring him? Is she okay?"
He looked at the ceiling, as if asking for some guidance. "She was unconscious when I got to the room."
"Do you need help in finding Sakura-san? I want to find who made Natsume suffer like this."
"My parents are on their way to meet the kidnappers and give the ransom money. We could only hope that they would stick to their words." Her words were cut off in mid-sentence that made him curious. "Uh-I have to go."
"Wait; promise me you'll never do something reckless, okay?" He didn't know but he felt like he needed to say it or something bad was going to happen.
"What kind of crap is this? You need to rest, Nogi. This is seriously messing your brain. Well, whatever, I'm hanging up." The line went dead before Ruka could say something, as expected from her. He pocketed his cell phone as he stood there for a moment to think things thoroughly.
He was hungry for justice and he needed it now.
Persona's phone rang. The caller was from an unknown number. He weighed the pros and cons of answering to a stranger before deciding to answer it. The image that appeared on his cell phone screen immediately shocked him. Natsume Hyuuga was unconscious on a bed with the cords attached to his body. Kuonji grinned who was beside Natsume's bed.
Kuonji laughed like a crazed man and quirked his eyebrow. "Bet you didn't expect this, huh? Well, I had to admit; I have to think of a possible plan to counterattack you after I found out you're a secret agent. But don't fret, I have a gift for you after the wonderful deed you did to me."
He kept his cool but inside him; emotions were starting to boil. He must have known or predicted Kuonji would do this. He was supposed to be an agent for goodness' sake!
"What do you want, Kuonji?" he icily replied.
"Is that needed to ask? I want the girl back within four hours and if you didn't comply, this boy beside me will die. Be fast, Persona, the clock's ticking and so is the boy's life. After two hours, I will not hesitate to pull the plugs keeping this boy alive if I still don't have her."
"Why is she so important to you?"
Instead of answering his question, Kuonji indicated that he was ending the conversation. "Good luck, Persona. I hope you understand not messing with me." He smirked before turning off the video call.
Persona sighed frustratingly. Mikan was their subject but he couldn't let a person suffer to save her. He had to do something fast to make both of the teenagers safe. Especially if Natsume just got operated because of a bullet shot. His condition would get worse with Kuonji if possible. He had to save them.
The question was, how?
Author's Note: So I finally updated within a month. That's a record for me, haha. Thank you very much for the reviews you gave me and in spite of how long I update this story, you still wait for my updates. Okay, special mention to angelcheonsa who is the reader I am frequently seeing on reviewing my story. For all the silent readers out there too who still sticks to this story, thank you too. The holiday break is coming up and I know for sure I will start updating regularly. :D