-Chapter 3-

Before giving Access the okay to go on and storm the building, Fin fluttered down to Maron's lap. She looked deeply into the brunette's darkened, soulless eyes and smiled for the first time in...well, she really didn't remember the last time she'd smiled like this. Her smile had to be the happiest on the planet.

"I told you," Fin whispered. "We're going to be okay. Hang on just a little longer."

She gave Access a look that told him to tell Sinbad to give the signal.

The Kuro-Tenshi quickly got the point and rushed to get out of the building. Fin watched him leave, wondering if Maron would even live long enough to catch a glimpse of her freedom. She'd already endured so much, and even though she wouldn't know what was going on, Fin wanted her to die happy if she had to die here.

She heard a body drop in the stall right next to Maron's. It signaled one of two things; either a girl had died just before she would be saved, or a girl had tried to stand up and failed. It made Fin all the more anxious for her friend's safety. By now, the drug was probably embedded in her DNA. Not literally, of course, but she must have so much of that stuff in her by now that she could drop dead at any given moment. It had been hard, watching her go through this. It had been hard trying to support her when she couldn't respond or even understand. It had been hard urging her to fight the drug, even more so since there was no way she could've won. It had been hard seeing them inject her with needle after needle. It had been hard seeing her go from bad to worse to worst. It had been hard knowing there was nothing she could do to help Maron. But now that was all about to end. Access was probably giving Sinbad his instructions right now.

A loud BAM was soon heard, ringing and echoing throughout the halls.

"GO!" someone shouted. Fin was unable to tell whether it was one of the good guys or one of the bad guys. "GET THE GIRLS!" It might be a bad guy, one of the men dressed in black. They might be trying to tell the others to save their stock. It wouldn't be that hard to believe. They made millions, billions maybe, of dollars from selling the girls.

Soon their was a ton of clamor, and one of the girls who hadn't been drugged as much was somehow thrown into Maron's stall. She pulled herself up and ran out, not giving a second glance to Maron. Fin didn't blame her, nor was she mad at her. That poor girl, just like all the others, wanted to get out of this evil place. She didn't want to waste even a second looking at some girl who was so drugged up she wasn't likely to survive. And it was true; even with medical care, Maron might not make it.

Guns were heard a little ways down the hall, and Fin peeked out to see what was happening. Police officers were everywhere, some carrying half-dead girls in their arms. Others carried lifeless corpses. Still others were helping some of the newer girls, the ones that could still walk, out of the building. The ones that weren't helping the girls were keeping a lookout for any of the men who brought them here. Those cops had their guns raised, finger on the trigger, ready to shoot someone on a second's notice. Some officers were cuffing a few of the men who hadn't gotten away in time. And then there were even more cops; they were putting the girls on stretchers and loading them in who-knows-how-many ambulances. The medical teams were rushing to assist the living girls, hooking them up to a ton of equipment and injecting a clear-ish solution into them.

The injections worried Fin. Maron, as well as most others, was so drugged up that whatever they were injecting might do more harm than good. She reminded herself that these people had most likely dealt with drug addicts before; they had more medical experience than her and they were trying their best to help the girls.

The Jun-Tenshi waited for what seemed like an eternity before Access and Sinbad entered Maron's stall. As soon as he recognized the girl as Maron Kusakabe, Sinbad's heart sank and his gut twisted into a tight knot. He rushed up to her and held her face up, trying to confirm that she was still among the living. He looked slightly relieved when he felt her heartbeat, but her eyes... They didn't look at him; they didn't look at anything. They were glazed over and had dark rings around them. He hadn't yet seen a girl who was this unresponsive. The others he had helped and had seen being helped at least looked at their rescuers.

He patted her cheek, hoping she would give some kind of indication that she felt it. She didn't move; she didn't even blink. He felt tears brimming, threatening to spill. A dead body carried by two officers passed by. Sinbad let go of Maron's head. It dropped back down. Her sweaty locks of hair fell back over her face, shrouding it from the outside world. The meager force of her head dropping to hang down was enough to make her fall forward. She fell down, off the bench. It startled Sinbad, but he quickly gathered his bearings and rolled her over, scooping her gently up in his arms and running out of the stall with Fin and Access close behind him. The angels flew higher above the ground than normal so they wouldn't get in the way of the officers running back and forth with both dead and alive girls.

Sinbad didn't have to worry about avoiding anyone. The officers moved over once they saw the condition of the girl he was carrying. He quickly made it to an ambulance.

One of the medical team members ran up to him, taking Maron from him and nodding to him, as if telling him he was free to go back inside and free another girl. Sinbad nodded back and reluctantly pushed through the crowd of officers to get back into the building.

Fin entered the ambulance right before they closed the doors. There was on other girl, also limp, to Maron's right. The medical team quickly stuck and IV in her and proceeded to immediately inject the clear-ish stuff into her arm.

"She's been drugged at least forty-two times," one of them said as he counted the needle marks on the brunette's arm.

"I don't think she'll make it to the hospital," the driver said as he sat in the driver's seat. "Should we try anyway?"

"Yeah. She looks stable enough for now," a third person chimed. "She still has a chance."

An oxygen mask was placed over Maron's mouth and nose. They secured it by strapping the elastic band around her head. They then put eye-drops in her eyes to keep them from drying out; they closed her eyes afterward. As they tended to her, for some reason sedating her along with the treatment, Fin noticed just how much it looked like she was sleeping. It was actually unclear whether she was asleep, or awake but unable to move because of the drug.

It was much quieter once they got her situated in the hospital. According the the specialist, she wouldn't make it if they tried to take her back to Japan. For now she had to stay at a Cambodian hospital. The specialist said it would take too long to reach Japan, even if taken by plane, and that she would die within the journey's time frame.

Other girls were much luckier. They were able to be loaded onto the plane without worrying that they were going to die on it.

Sinbad stayed in Maron's room, for a reason Fin couldn't figure out. She allowed his presence only because he helped Maron. It was too early to say he saved her life; there was still the chance that her heart could simply give out from drug overdose. Actually, it had already been proven in blood tests that she had, in fact, been overdosed. Not too much for her to die right away, thank goodness, but it was still too much for her body to handle alone. Sinbad and the Jeanne Special Task Force (this included Miyako and her father) had been informed that it could take awhile, maybe two or three days tops, to remove half of the drug, at which point she would snap out of her trance and start to look around. However, she wouldn't be able to understand what anyone was saying, so if they talked to her, they shouldn't expect a response. But at least Fin could finally expect eye contact.

Maron made a pretty fast recovery. Instead of two to three days, she began to look around at one day. It was remarkable said the doctors. It was amazing said the doctors. They thought she wouldn't live. Sinbad had brought her in at just the right time. An hour longer and she would almost certainly have died (that was just how bad her condition was).

Fin was there when she first opened her eyes. It looked like she was inspecting her environment. Her eyes were still dark, and they were just as wide and dilated as they were when she was on the drug. Fin wasn't worried too much about anymore. The drug was still being removed from her body, meaning that there was still remnants of the drug in her body. Apparently there were alot, because at one point they had been informed that the overdose was great on her, and had stressed her body to such a point where it was ready to give up. She, although Fin hadn't noticed since she was with her all the time, hadn't been sweating out as much of the drug as she should have been. She'd probably started out that way, but because the drug was constantly being reintroduced to her, her systems had started to fail and she began to sweat less and less. It was just one of the major complications caused by her stay at that dingy building.

One of the doctors came in (Fin moved aside so as not to get in his way) and checked her monitors. Heart rate was good, respiratory was good, brain function was as normal as it could be with a body filled to the brim with drugs. As she left, Maron looked at him, almost as if she was saying a good-bye.

"Oh, you're a fighter. I'll give you that much," he murmured to the brunette on his way out.

Delighted about her friend's positive reaction to the treatment, Fin hovered above Maron's head and grinned broadly. she was going to be okay. No doubt now. For her to start responding this fast to the medicine? There was just no way she was going to give in now.

"How is she?" Access asked, alighting gently on Sinbad's shoulder (Sinbad was asleep at the time).

"She's doing really good. She's even looking around now!" the Jun-Tenshi squealed.

It took a few days later for the other girls to start sitting up and trying to communicate. It took Maron a little longer to do this, but at last she made it to that step, that huge milestone in her recovery that guaranteed her survival, and she attempted to understand Fin's words. She tried to understand, and she tried to talk back to her friend.

It was a moment of pure joy for Fin, Sinbad, and even Access. They had been getting a little worried when the brunette had stopped getting better (at least that was how it seemed). Now it was over, and now Maron was safe. Her eyes were less dilated now. She could control her body to a certain point and for a certain period of time. She could make sounds, remember phrases, and she could use them to try to communicate with people in the room. She wasn't there just yet, granted, but she was making progress. Unfortunately it was clear that she had yet to understand what they were saying, even if they simply repeated what she said. This proved that she didn't know what she was saying yet. The doctors assured the group that it would be fine and that it would take some time to repair the damage done by the drugs. Especially since those particular drugs affected the brain more than anything else.

"Hey, Maron," Sinbad greeted as he reentered the room with food for both himself and the hungry angels. He had to hand it to those two, they hadn't left her side (except Access's few disappearances for exercise, stretches, and fresh air) since she first arrived here. Well, Fin hadn't left her side since she was relocated from Japan to Cambodia.

Maron's dark eyes followed him as he walked by to sit in a chair. The angels didn't need chairs; they had his shoulders. And frankly, they felt like two little birds, parakeets or canaries or something of the sort, perching on him. Not that he would tell them that, of course. He really didn't mind them sleeping, standing, or sitting on him. It wasn't bothersome. Not to mention that he was used to it with Access living in his apartment anyway.

He opened a box of chicken-fried rice and poured some soy sauce (they came in a little restaurant packet for free at the drive-through Chinese place) on it. He grabbed a plastic fork and pulled out one of the smaller pieces of chicken, handing it to Fin. She gratefully took it and waited a little bit for it to cool down before eating it. Sinbad took out another piece of chicken and gave this one to Access. He didn't wait for it to cool down and ended up with a burnt tongue. The crazy Kuro-Tenshi kept eating it despite the pain. In his mind, he was hungry, and nothing was going to stand between him and his stomach.

He felt guilty for not giving Maron some, but the way she was now, she still couldn't eat. She had to stay hooked up to several IVs, some that helped distribute nutrients into her system. She would be hungry as heck once she could control her body again, but for now she was getting the important stuff. Not that it helped the guilty feeling when she was watching him eat.

A few more days later, and Maron could comprehend at least half of what they were saying. Her eyes were even less dilated than before, to the point where one could see her eye color now. That lovely brown iris had never looked so precious to Fin before. It seemed a long wait for recovery, and a long road to it, but they had been told that it was taking so long only because she had been there (and lived there) longer than most of the other girls, and therefore had been on a higher overdose than most of the others.

The doctors said she was very lucky. They told them that at least five of the girls had died here, two of them had died on the way here, and at least nine of them were on life support (three were only days away from having the plug pulled). All of them (as in, the ones just listed) had been in that place somewhere around the same amount of time Maron had been there. They were also told that it was first thought that Maron would need to be put on life support as well, but as they saw her recovery rate, they decided to leave her alone aside from the necessary medical fields.

Again, she was very lucky.


Not the best place to stop it, but I didn't want it to be too long. Anyways, just know that I'm pushing it with having Maron live. Most girls who end up in those places either don't live or get auctioned off. Also, my reviewer (thank you, by the way, for reviewing and you know exactly who you are) mentioned the movie Taken. They were right. Taken inspired this story (inspired, not based off of) because it deals so much with human trafficking. I got so angry and passionate when I watched. I'm going to spread this awareness to other fandoms, not just of anime but of cartoons too. Maybe even books and TV shows. Point is, did you know EXACTLY what human trafficking was before you read this? Before you saw Taken (if you've seen it)? I can tell you that I've known OF human trafficking, but never truly understood how it worked until I saw the movie.

I'm not asking you to watch the movie, but please spread the word about trafficking. Hopefully it will save lives one day by helping girls to better understand it.