Chapter Three: Fear

"I'm so sorry Iku... I'm so sorry..." he whispered as he felt the slightest pressure in his right hand, but dismissed it as being hopeful. Leaning up to kiss her forehead once more before leaving to call Komaki, Dojo felt something in his hand twitch. Confused at first, he pulled away to see Iku's eyes only partcially open, her dark brown orbs gazing at him sleepily. His eyes grew wide with surprise, and she gave a small, weak smile, turning his astonishment in happiness as his lips molded into a relieved smile. "Iku..." he breathed, before feeling her hand squeeze his weakly and her smile begin to strain. "...I'm so sorry..." he whispered once again, his joy dissolving as his expression fell with guilt, and he hung his head. "I-I... I'm s-so... sorry..." The words continued to spill from his mouth as he felt his shoulder shake gently, and his voice caught in his throat. "I-" before he was able to speak again, Iku spoke with a dazed tone.

"I know, but..." She tone became confused and innocent - truly Iku. "...who are you?"

Dojo froze, his eyes wide and his mouth agape, his heart nearly stopping.

She had amnesia.

Sighing, Dojo absently turned the page of the latest issue of Weekly New World. It was obvious that he wasn't reading, the pages could have been blank for all he cared, he just couldn't stay in that room any longer, it was too painful.

The tightness in his chest, the continuous feeling of being punched in the gut, Dojo couldn't compare it to anything he'd ever felt before. It was as if the Fates had decided it wasn't enough to have him watch the EMT's load a bleeding, unconscious Iku into the back of an ambulance, to hold her limp hand as they put her on oxygen and worked to keep her from bleeding out en route to the hospital, to sit for hours outside of the O.R. while she underwent surgery - knowing it was all his fault. No, the Gods wanted him to truly suffer, so they made sure he was there when she woke up.

Just thinking about it, the look of complete confusion and insecurity in her chocolate-colored eyes, it down-right killed him.

So, he got up and left for the waiting room, knowing he'd be unable to hold back his tears if he stayed with her any longer. In the back of his mind, it seemed wrong of him to leave her there without an answer, but he knew it would have been worse if he had stayed. All he could do now was hope she'd gone back to sleep.

However, Dojo knew, sooner or later, he would have to face Iku again. The thought made him lean back in his chair and shut his eyes as the magazine slid closed in his lap. Dojo was only vaguely aware of the footsteps moving in his direction.

"I'm surprised to see you sitting out here, Sergeant Dojo."

Dojo opened his eyes and looked up at the doctor, Iku's doctor, as he approached, clipboard and patient records in-hand.

Dojo lazily waved his cell phone towards the physician, "I had to check-in."

The man nodded slightly before gesturing to the empty seat beside the soldier, "May I?"

Dojo nodded quietly, moving over to make space for the other man. His name was Hiro Kawasumi and, as Dojo noticed off-handily, he was young, maybe a year or two older than Iku. He had short, light-brown hair and espresso-colored eyes, a combination that many women found attractive. However, despite his calm, sociable, and gentle demeanor, the young man held an air about him that reminded Dojo of Tezuka. He was confident, ambitious, and obviously very capable, but there was something about the way he addressed those around him, regardless of whether or not it was a patient or another doctor, suggested that he was wise beyond his years and had experienced at such a young age situations many others probably hadn't.

"Well, the good news is that Kasahara's memory-loss should only be temporary."

Dojo glanced at the man. Despite his words, which should have come as a relief, Dojo felt uneasy. How much would Iku remember? What would she say once she learned it was his fault? Would she hate him? Or worse, would she forgive him?

Dojo could feel his stomach twist painfully as he sat quietly beside the doctor, who was watching the Sergeant curiously.

"You're not going to ask what the bad news is?" he prodded jokingly, hoping to lighten the mood a bit.

"Do I even want to know?" Dojo replied with a small groan, rubbing his face with hands before looking over at the man seated beside him.

Hiro shrugged, "It's up to you."

Dojo resisted the urge to roll his eyes at the man who was obviously jerking his chain in an attempt to cheer him up. "Fine, what is it?"

"Well, you see, 'temporary' is an undefined term, so, unfortunately, I can't tell you when she'll regain her memories."

Dojo deadpanned, before leaning back and sighing, "You had me worried over that? Isn't that to be expected?"

The doctor shrugged again, gathering his things as he moved to stand, his attention drawn to a pair of men entering the waiting room with a particularly anxious-looking woman.

"Worrying over seemingly insignificant things is not always a bad thing, Sergeant Dojo. It simply means you care enough to recognize the importance of minute changes in the world around you."

Dojo looked at the man oddly before following his lead and standing up. The young doctor offered him a small smile and extended his hand.

"Now then, if you'd excuse me, I'm going to check-in on Miss Kasahara, before the rest of your team ambushes her in her room." Dojo chuckled softly in response, shaking the man's hand before setting the magazine aside and making his way over to the receptionist desk, where Shibazaki was already impatiently tapping her foot as the girl behind the desk looked up Iku's room number.

To say that Asako Shibazaki was upset would be an understatement. She livid. Livid, because her supervisor wouldn't let her off early to plan a surprise party for Iku's twenty-third birthday. Livid, that she spent the past four hours throwing together a last-minute party at the Task Force's favorite bar. But most of all, she livid because he, Atsushi Dojo, waited until four in the afternoon to let dorm receptionist inform her that her best friend was in the hospital after being hit by a car during her morning run.

So, when Shibazaki turned to find Dojo approaching them from across the waiting room, she was prepared to spill blood.

However, as the man drew closer, Shibazaki's anger dissolved into concern. He looked exhausted, worse than she'd seen any of the Task Force members after a raid or training. It looked almost as if he had been the one in the accident. Shibazaki opened her mouth, prepared to ask the soldier about her roommate, when Komaki put an arm out and spoke.

"Tezuka, take Shibazaki to go see Kasahara." He hadn't even looked at them, but Shibazaki understood what was happening. If anyone could talk Dojo out of himself, it was Komaki.

"Yes sir."

Shibazaki turned to Tezuka, gently holding onto his arm as he led the way down the hall. She'd admit it, for the first time since the Ibaraki exhibit, she was scared. She had no idea what to expect. So, when Tezuka led her around another corner of the I.C.U. and towards room 0214, Shibazaki held her breath.

Hello, Everyone! Did you miss me? I hope so!

I know this chapter is REALLY REALLY short compared to the others, but I haven't written ANYTHING in a while and this is sort of to test the water in hopes that I've still got it! Anyways, I came back to this story on a whim and realized that it started out fantastically, but I guess I just got side tracked. ANYWHOOOO, I can't guarantee any regular updates, but I'll do my best! I hope everyone continues to read my stories! And don't forget to review!