Hi guys owo its been awhile.
For those who know me, I'm back :D only for a while though. busy schedule is busy.
For those who are wondering "The heck is this?", hi. I'm TwoFacedPierrot, or xMiharuYoite in the past. Stalk my profile if you want more information lol /shot
So. I started writing this after becoming obsessed with Pokemon about.. err... two months ago? Yeah. This took me two months to write. Like i said, busy schedule is busy =u=
This fic was originally based on Miku's Heartbeat #0822, but the plot changed somewhere after the first 'xXx'
Intended to make it some kind of drama one-shot, but ended up making a VERY VERY long meaningless drabble instead. please forgive me qwq
and yes, the heart disease thing doesn't make any sense. welcome to the world of fiction /shot
Excuse my many grammatical errors. Pokemon is not mine. Please do not be too harsh ;w;
I walked out of the hospital, carrying a paperbag filled with medications in my arms.
I tilted my head and gazed towards the bright blue sky. Clouds floated among the blueness, defying the laws of gravity. Birds soared overhead, casting shadows on the ground below.
How am I going to tell them? I wondered to myself, dread building up in my heart with every second passed. I closed my eyes, letting the gentle breeze caress my cheeks, trying to forget what I've been told by the doctor.
A familiar voice called my name and my attention snapped back to the ground. A girl was running towards me, lips curved up into a slight smile. Her long blonde hair was tied into a high ponytail and a big straw hat rested atop her head.
Though she was smiling, I could see anxiety in her big hazel eyes.
"'Sup, Yellow." I tried to sound as casual as possible. She came to a stop before me, her breathing slightly uneven.
"What were you doing in at hospital?" she demanded after catching her breath. "I got worried when your mum told me when I reached your house-"
"Just doing some usual checkups," I said, cutting her off a little abruptly. "It's nothing to worry about, really."
She eyed my package of medicine doubtfully. Ignoring that fact, I grinned and reached out to brush her hair away from her pale face. She grabbed my hand and held on to it, eyes gleaming with a sort of determination as they bore onto me.
I blinked at her with a little surprise. Yellow had been my childhood friend since we were seven years old, which made us pretty close. She knew almost everything about me, and it was the same for me towards her. Years passed and well, you could probably guess the rest from what I've been telling you for the last five minutes. You might think it was just a typical childhood sweetheart love story or something, but trust me. If only it was that easy. Yellow was so shy, it took her forever to gather her courage to say yes or no to my confession. Not that I'm complaining.
Anyway, despite knowing her all these years, the girl never failed to take me by surprise from time to time. Take this situation, for example. Yellow would normally refuse to even let me stay within a radius of a meter from her (yes, and we are still dating), let alone letting me touch her. What's more, she was the one touching me.
Wow. I sounded like some kind of desperate masochist. Sorry about that.
"Let's go home and get something to eat," I said just to change the subject. "I don't' know about you, but I'm starving."
I looked up from the book I was attempting to read. "Yeah, mum?"
My mother entered my messy bedroom, carefully stepping around the stuff lying on the floor, and sat down at the foot of my bed. "Tell me the truth."
"..What do you mean?"
"You were holding back just now," she simply said. "Because Yellow was there."
I kept quiet for a full minute, staring over my book into my mother's dark russet-colored eyes. Finally after a full minute, I sighed and closed the thing. It was hard to hide stuff from the lady who raised me all my life.
"The doctor says I'll be fine as long as I take the medication regularly and refrain from straining myself," I said.
"That doesn't answer my question, Red," Mum took my hand in hers. "That huge bag of medicine. I need to know whether-"
"It got worse," I didn't want to say it, but heck. I knew my mum. She probably wasn't going to stop bugging me about it until I tell her. "Doc. says I'm running out of time. My heart is failing."
My mother looked at me with such a crestfallen expression, it took all my willpower not to break down. Ever since I was born, I was cursed with a very weak heart. The fact that I actually lived to the age of sixteen was considered as a miracle. My mum knew that. And so did I.
"How long..?" she managed to say.
"About… three months."
I lied. I had more or less a month to live. Two, if I'm lucky. Looking at my mother, I couldn't bring myself to tell her the truth. To me, three months were considered a lot of time, but Mum looked as if the weight of the sky had just been dropped onto her shoulders. Her lips quivered and her eyes shone with the tears she was struggling to hold back.
"Red.." Without a warning, she pulled me into a hug. "Oh Red.."
I wanted to tell her I'm alright. I wanted to tell her that three months were plenty of time. I wanted to tell her that I'll do my best to keep on living. But the words got stuck in my throat. My mother's touch was so warm, so tender – so gentle, as if I might break apart if she held me any tighter.
I am not ashamed to say that all that's left of my willpower crumbled on the spot. I let the tears flow freely from my eyes as I buried my face into my mother's shoulder, just like how I used to when I was younger. I hated it. I hated the fate given to me by that being called God. I hated the fact that my health was sustained only by the medication given to me.
I hated the fact that I had to leave the world that I'd come to love so darn much.
I couldn't remember crying that much in my life, not even when I was a kid. It was painful to know that you're living the last months of your life just when everything seems to be perfect. I entered high school. My mum got a promotion in her job. I made awesome friends.
Yellow finally knew of my feelings and accepted them.
"..Promise me, mum," I slowly pulled away and said, my voice hoarse from sobbing. "Promise me to keep this from Yellow."
"What?" Disbelief was obvious in my mum's tone.
"I don't care if she's going to hate me after all this," I said, desperation creeping into my voice. "She can't find out, mum. I can't let her know about this."
My mother must've seen it in my face. She stared at me for what seemed to be a millennia before she sighed and said, "Yellow's not going to be happy, but alright. I won't tell her."
Upon hearing that, I let out a breath of relief that I didn't even know I was holding.
"Thanks so much."
My mother's smile was sad, but I guess it was hard to feel happy after finding out that your son's dying in a few weeks. Without another word, she stood up and exited my room, closing the door behind her. My mother had tried to stay strong when I broke down, but as soon as the door closed behind her – thanks to the silence of our home, I could hear soft sniffles and sobs from outside my bedroom.
I hated a lot of things, but what I hated most was myself. I hated myself for causing other people such pain.
Heaving a long, heavy sigh, I collapsed onto the soft cushions of my bed and raised an arm to cover my eyes, wishing I could just hide from this harsh reality.
I flipped the pages of the photo album Mum bought for me, thinking back of the times that were captured on the pieces of paper.
I used to never understand the reason why my mother bought the thing. All these years I've only thought of it as a waste of money and space.
But maybe, just maybe, I'm slowly starting to understand my mother's intentions. My mother was a nostalgic person, for one thing. Also, Mum – as much as she hated to admit it – knew I was going to have a short life. She frequently took pictures of me (and my friends) so the memory of those precious moments would not fade to white in the future.
I don't really get it. My mother's afraid that when I leave this place, everyone would forget about me? That's not a bad idea, to be frank. At least I wouldn't need to hurt my friends and family even after I'm dead.
My eyes scanned the glossy surfaces of the album pages as my mind automatically recalled every scene when the photo was taken. The first quarter of the thing was filled with pictures of me when I was a kid and when my dad was still around. One showed toddler me crying over… something. Another was my dad carrying me on his shoulders, both of us grinning like madmen. I lightly traced my dad's features with a finger. In the past, I was often frustrated with the fact that I couldn't remember my father that well, except for that crazy smile of his and his warmth when he hugged me, which was often since he was a doting dad – according to Mum. One more must've been taken by my neighbor or something. It was – sadly to say – the only photo of my whole family together we've got. My parents were kneeling down with me standing in the center. Mum and Dad looked like the happiest people in the world. I, on the other hand, had a band-aid on my cheek.
Looking at the pictures was like looking at the records of my whole life. Gradually, my Dad disappeared from the photos, replaced by my friends. The first person who'd first agreed to be captured on camera with me was Green; a tall guy with naturally spiky brown hair and emerald eyes. He'd moved to Pallet Town and became my neighbor about 10 years ago. Through some cruel twist of fate – as he had put it – we had somehow become best friends. And rivals, but nevermind. In the photo, I was attempting to hug him, I think. A goofy look was plastered on my face. Green looked half freaked out and half amused.
I flipped more pages over. Blue started making her appearances in the pictures. She'd moved into town a year after Green. Blue's a girl with brown hair that spilled past her shoulders all the way down her back and bright blue eyes that failed to hide her mischievous personality. Unlike Green who was always calm and almost emotionless, Blue was lively, hyper, and practically acts like a guy some times. Who would've thought those two would be a couple years in the future?
A smile tugged the corners of my lips. I really missed those times when we could be so ignorant. I wanted to go back, to feel as if nothing in the world mattered. To feel like a bird soaring in the skies, weightless and free. To not be bothered by death's threat.
Several more pictures, and Yellow came in. Though we're the same age, she'd always been the tiniest one among us. Yellow looked timid and withdrawn at first, but after a while, she was grinning along with the rest of us. I chuckled as I studied a picture of Blue playing with Yellow's long blond hair, remembering the day when Blue had finally given in to her yearning to touch Yellow's hair. Yellow – being the slow person she is – had let her, not knowing what the outcome would be. Green and I sat at the sidelines, failing to understand why Blue had found something like that so fun. Finally after a long while of fussing over god-knows-what, Blue stepped back to admire her work. Yellow had her hair tied and pinned in the most ridiculous manner. I burst out laughing as soon as I saw her. I knew it was mean, but I seriously couldn't help myself. Even Green failed to suppress his laughter.
I remembered Blue's face as she demanded what was so funny. I remembered Yellow's scarlet face. I remembered how close to tears she'd looked. But thankfully, we boys apparently had one heck of a contagious laughter. Slowly, the girls started laughing along too, quite forgetting what had happened.
Gold, Silver and Crystal – who were one year our junior – came in next. We met when we were in the third year of elementary school. Just like me, Green, Blue and Yellow, those three were inseparable. They still are. Gold was one hell of a hyperactive kid (yes, he's worse than Blue – at least she's becoming more normal as she grew up). Gold has golden orbs and raven black hair so his eyes stood out a lot. He'd never go anywhere without his foldable billiard stick. And trust me; you would not want to be hit by that thing. My bruise did not fade until a month later the last time I got hit.
Silver's a guy with grey eyes and reddish coloured hair that he'd leave growing till it reaches his shoulders. Silver is quiet, for a boy. He usually sits out of our conversations, be it now or then. Apparently, he and Blue knew each other when they were younger. Crystal – or Kris, as she asks us to refer to her as – is a lively girl with clear blue eyes and hair of the same color in a much darker shade. She – from how I see it – acts as the anchor of the trio's friendship. Gold and Silver practically hates each other's guts most of the time so… yeah. Kris's needed to stop the two of them from gutting each other whenever an argument starts. Friendship sure is a weird but beautiful thing.
The next few photos showed the seven of us having a great time together. One was a picture of me with Gold. We had our arms around each other's shoulders and we were both bruised up and smiling widely. Another showed the girls pulling Silver's arms to make him join the game we were playing. Gold was guffawing in the background – probably at Silver's face. Green had his hands in his pocket and was watching them from a corner, looking bored. I was most probably the one holding the camera. The whole picture was crooked.
I reached the very last page. The photo pasted there was one we took just recently. The background was the entrance gate of our school. Gold and I were kneeling at the front. I was holding up my roll of middle school graduation certificate proudly in the air. Gold was doing a peace sign. The rest of the gang stood behind us, all smiling to the camera.
A droplet of water fell on the glossy surface of the album page. I blinked, realizing with a start that I had started tearing up very suddenly. I sniffed and attempted to dry my eyes, but unfortunately, it was hard to fix the broken dam. I could only press my pillow to my face and hope that no one will walk into my room any time soon and see me in this pathetic state.
One month had passed since I went for the checkup. The attacks were getting more frequent and painful. There were times when I couldn't even feel my own body anymore. My chest would feel as if something was trying to rip their way out from the inside.
I never knew that a person was able to drown even without the need of water.
With a lot of effort, I calmed myself down and dried my tears. I lowered my pillow and sighed into it. Since when did I become so weak? I wondered bitterly to myself. I knew there was no point in crying. Crying could only help lessen the dread in my heart. Crying doesn't change the fact that I will die in about two week's time.
I heaved another sigh and got out of bed. I picked the album up before walking out into the hallway and towards our living room. The house was silent except for the cheerful chirping of birds outside. Mum had went out to get some groceries, leaving me to take care of the house. I stepped towards the shelf under our tv and bent down before slipping the album back to where it originally was.
My breathing hitched. I stopped straightening up midway, my hands flying towards the left side of my chest. My fingers dug into the fabric of my shirt as I tried in a hopeless attempt to ease the stabbing pain.
It hurt like never before. My medication was in a tiny bottle hung on my neck – as suggested by the doctor in case of emergency – but I couldn't move my hands away from my chest. My legs lost their strength and I collapsed onto the floor. I lay there, curling up into a ball, desperately fighting for the air my lungs were screaming for.
Praying that someone – anyone – would come and save me.
Through all of it, I heard a voice, followed by hurried footsteps. I wasn't sure why, but everything sounded muffled, as if I was hearing from underwater.
"..Red! Hang in there!"
Spots danced in my vision. Everything seemed to be slowly darkening, but I could make out a mop of spiky brown hair and a pair of green eyes belonging to the figure bending over me. I forgot that I'd invited Green over that afternoon to work on something together. I couldn't talk, but I guess he knew I was having an attack. He was the only person other than my mum who knew about my disease.
I could hear him asking me to bear a while longer. I could make out his silhouette as he fished out his cellphone. I could hear him yelling at the phone, asking whoever on the line to hurry up.
Another stab of pain, and my vision turned dark.
The first thing I saw was pure whiteness. And then the light faded, and I could slowly make out my surroundings.
I was in a hospital ward. Gentle sunlight streamed through the slits of the curtains. Everything was calm and silent except for the beeping of the machine right beside me.
My body was heavy as lead. I could only twitch my fingers, feeling weight on them. I tried my best to tilt my head slightly, curious to see the source of it. I saw a mess of bright blonde hair, and I knew without a doubt that it was Yellow.
I tried to wake her, but my throat felt as if I'd just swallowed a desert. I gulped, and made another attempt.
"Yel..low." I coughed. My voice sounded wrong. "Yellow."
A few seconds later, she slowly stirred. It was a good thing Yellow did not suddenly jolt upright. That would have given me yet another heart attack.
Yellow let out a huge yawn and rubbed her eyes just like a little kid. She then averted her attention towards me, and her eyes widened.
I bit my lip and fought the urge to say "Oh no, this is Jesus."
Instead, I asked the natural thing one would ask after waking up to find himself in the hospital: "How long was I out?"
I guess she was too surprised to see me awake to even hear me.
"..Yellow?" I prompted, my voice gradually sounding stronger and normal. "Helloooo?"
Yellow blinked as if snapping out a trance.
And then she hugged me.
I swear, one day I'll be dying by Yellow's or my mother's arms rather than from heart failure. I struggled to breathe as she crushed the air out of me. I couldn't bring myself to push her away. I knew I almost died from the last attack. Yellow didn't even know anything. She must've been worried sick.
"It's fine, Yellow. I'm okay."
Yellow pulled away and looked at me with teary eyes, relief written all over her face. She dried her eyes and tried hard to look angry.
"Why didn't you tell me about this earlier you idiot?" she asked.
To be scolded by your girlfriend when you'd just barely escaped death. I love my life.
"Eheheh.." I could only laugh goofily as a response. I averted my eyes, not wanting to meet Yellow's hazel ones. "Well… um..how do I say it…"
She crossed her arms and waited, her expression slowly melting from anger to concern.
"…I'm..sorry," I finally said. "I didn't want to worry you guys, so I told my mum and Green to keep this from everyone."
"But why..?" Yellow asked, sounding hurt. "You idiot. Did you think that it's better for us not to know about this than to know and cherish you while we still can?"
"That's exactly why I didn't want to tell all of you," I said. "I don't want to be treated specially. I don't want to be treated like some piece of delicate china that could break anytime just because of a stupid heart disease that's going to kill me."
"And did you think that by not telling us it makes us all feel better?" Yellow demanded, probably not even listening to my rant for the last 15 seconds. "Once you die Red, that's it. The End. Fin. If you'd leave just like that..without telling anyone why.." she sniffled. ".. it'll make us feel really guilty, you know. Each and every one of us..will blame ourselves for not treasuring the moments we have with you earlier. We might even split apart, blaming each other for stupid reasons over your death. Do you want that?"
"..You don't understand," I muttered. "You don't understand at all, Yellow."
"What's there to understand?" Tears once again filled her eyes now. "You're just a selfish idiot, and that's all to it."
I opened my mouth to say more, but I stopped myself before I could. There was no point in arguing anymore. I hated to admit it, but what Yellow said was right. I'm a selfish idiot, trying to play macho when I knew that what I needed most right then were my friends.
Using all the strength I could muster, I lifted my hand to brush off the tears that were starting to overflow from Yellow's eyes. "I'm sorry, Yellow.." I said softly. "I'm so sorry.."
I had her crying into my chest when Mum walked into the ward. I'm here to tell you: if anyone could make me feel any guiltier that moment, it was my mother. The bags under her eyes were insanely prominent. She'd lost so much weight. She looked so exhausted; it seemed to me that she's the one who's supposed to be sleeping in a hospital bed, not me.
The sound of my voice seemed to startle her. Slowly, she turned towards the direction of my voice. And when my mother saw me, she gasped and almost dropped the things she was carrying. She looked as if the weight of the sky had just been lifted off her shoulders. Her eyes sparkled with relief, her signs of tiredness melting away.
Yellow heard me muttering my mother's name and pulled away, wiping her tears with the sleeves of her shirt. She took one look at my mum, made a quick decision, and stood up.
"I'll..go get the doctor," she said and walked off.
My mum did not appear to notice anything other than the fact that I was awake, not even when Yellow brushed past her on her way out. She stared at me, almost disbelievingly. She tried to say something, but apparently her voice failed her.
"..I'm sorry, Mum."
Thankfully, my voice reached her. She blinked, and broke into a wistful smile. "What are you sorry for, silly?"
Please don't be so kind to me, Mum. I've hurt you enough.
I wanted to tell her those words, but I couldn't. I couldn't bear to meet her gaze. Instead, I stared out the window, watching the leaves of the cherry blossom trees dancing in the wind. The weather was beautiful that day; skies blue with just the right number of clouds to shade sunlight. I imagined dozens of healthy kids playing and running around at the parks, enjoying their youth while they still can.
I was very close to breaking into tears again when Mum sat down next to me. I turned to face her as she lovingly stroked my mussed up hair, a small smile still plastered on her aging features. Even without words, I could understand her. She was telling me that everything's okay, that there's no need to put on such an expression.
Maybe it was a mum thing, but her gesture gave me strength. I fought to swallow the lump forming in my throat, and managed to say; "Thanks mum. I love you."
She nodded, not breaking the silence.
Yellow walked in with the doctor a few moments later. Dr. Blaine..how should I describe him? Long story short: He's smart bald guy with a weird moustache and was originally from the town across the sea. He's currently the head of the coronary department in my usual hospital.
And, he became a good friend of mine ever since he took charge of my condition.
His mood became more and more serious everytime he sees me as my condition worsens. He used to smile and joke a lot the first few times we met, but I can tell you that he's anything but smiling now. Even the impossibly thick lens of his spectacles couldn't hide the worry in his eyes when he walked in.
"Hi there, Blaine," I said stupidly. That's what I was told to call him. Never Doctor Blaine, Professor Blaine, or anything silly like that.
My mum barely regarded him as she mumbled a greeting.
Blaine stared at me for almost a full minute, and finally said; "You could've died."
As if I didn't know that already. But I kept my mouth shut.
"We managed to save you this time because of your friend, Green's quick thinking," he continued gravely. "But the next time you get an attack… I'm afraid you won't be as lucky."
I raised an eyebrow at him, wondering why he was stating the obvious.
"How long has it passed since your last appointment with me?" he asked.
I bit my lip. I hated to be reminded of that fact, though it has always been in my mind ever since I was told of it.
"Five weeks," I answered,my voice tight.
"…And that leaves a week more until the estimated time your heart can hold on."
I could hear the sadness in Blaine's voice. I saw the look of horror on Yellow's face and the look of dread on my Mum's. I imagined myself looking really calm about all of it, but I probably seemed otherwise. Knowing that I will be alive for only about a week more isn't exactly the happiest thing in the world.
I turned my attention towards the bald man.
"..I know..that you'll hate this.." Blaine hesitated. "But it's for the best."
I kept my gaze at him.
"For the next few days.. I suggest you stay here in the hospital."
That request might as well be a punch to my gut. I wanted to live the rest of my days as normally as I could, not cooped up in a hospital ward, only able to gaze outside through the window.
"I'm sorry," Blaine said. "But it's for the best. It's easier for us to monitor your condition with you here. We might even be able to help prolong your remaining time."
Might. There was no guarantee to it.
"Your mother and friends are still allowed to come see you," he continued. "And it's not as if we're gonna be locking you up in the ward. As long as your condition's fine, you're free to walk around the hospital grounds as you like."
He must be crazy to think that that'll make up for the lost of my freedom and time.
"The choice is up to you," Blaine said.
I couldn't say anything else but "Give me some time to think about it."
He nodded. "Tell me your decision by tonight."
Yellow walked over and sat down on the other side of my bed when Blaine left. She and my mum held on to both my hands, neither saying a word.
The silence was suffocating. The slow even beeping of the machine beside me did not make things better. It kept reminding me that my heart was slowly coming to a stop.
I longed for someone to say something. Just a stupid joke to lighten the mood. Or just a meaningless conversation. Anything's fine as long as it makes everything feel normal.
I regret to say that I immediately wondered why I ever thought of that in the first place as soon as Gold arrived.
Mum and Yellow had already left when he came. I was staring out the window when I heard footsteps getting louder towards my ward. I turned, not expecting anyone in particular.
And then Gold looked up and saw me.
Remember when I said that one day I will be dying in my mother's or Yellow's arms instead of my disease? Let's add Gold in the list too.
That hyperactive kid practically jumped on me, almost knocking my remaining breath out of me.
"You're alive!" he breathed in obvious relief.
"Yeah, barely," I said, failing to stay angry with him. Gold might be an idiot, but like his name, he has a heart of gold – always deliberately caring for others. Don't tell him I said that though.
Gold calmed down after a while, and took a seat on one of the chairs in my ward. I raised my eyebrows as I looked at him for the first time in.. I don't know – weeks? Gold was always away whenever we plan to do something together. Rather, we could never get the timing right since we're in different grades and all.
The most noticeable change about the boy is the way he dressed. All these years I've known him, and I've only seen him in his cap, baggy t-shirts, hoodies, cargo pants, shorts, and sneakers. During his visit, Gold still wore his hoodie, but he'd taken off his cap and combed his hair to make it look a little more presentable. Instead of his normal cargos and shorts, he wore a pair of dark blue jeans that fitted his thin legs quite well.
"Meeting up with Kris later?" I guessed. Gold blinked, blush rising up his face.
"You finally got her to go out with you?" I asked, unable to stop myself from smiling. "You lucky bastard!"
Gold stood up – still blushing, but looking furious. "Lucky?" he demanded. I stared at him, unable to comprehend.
"One of my best friends who's practically my elder brother is dying," he said, tilting his head towards the floor so his bangs hid his eyes. "I'm about to lose someone irreplaceable, and you're saying I'm a lucky bastard just because I got myself a girlfriend?"
I heard no quaver in his voice, but I could see his shoulders shaking. Why am I doing this to everyone? I wondered exasperatedly to myself.
"..Why didn't you tell us?" Gold asked softly.
Again with that question.
"..I'm sorry," I said, tired of being asked the same thing repeatedly.
"Next time you do something like this," Gold said, finally looking up. His golden eyes shone. "I swear I'm gonna hit you with my stick."
"..Yeah," I smiled wistfully. There won't be a next time. I didn't tell him that. I couldn't.
Gold raked his hands through his hair and sighed heavily – which, I find rather amusing. Gold had always been easily worked up.
"What time's your date?" I asked, trying to dispel the silent forming between us.
"Huh?" Gold thought for a moment. "About 4."
I glanced at the clock hung up on the wall facing my bed. "Shouldn't you be on your way already?" I asked. "It's already three fifty-five."
Gold snorted. "Meh. Kris can wait. You don't really expect me to abandon my brother for a girl, do you?"
"It's not like there anything interesting going on here anyway," I said. "You should go. You know how girls react to tardiness. Go before Kris thinks she'd made a mistake by not choosing Silver over you."
Like I said, Gold's easily excited and that really got to him. He blushed right up to his ears as he jumped off the sofa.
"That Silver!" he swore. "If he dares-"
His rant stopped short when he heard my helpless giggles.
"What?" he demanded, going a deeper shade of red.
"Nothing," I answered, wiping a tear from the corner of my eye. "Just get going already."
Reluctantly, he stepped towards the exit.
"Hey Red," he voiced, stopping just before the door.
"Hmm?" I raised my eyebrows.
"Promise me another thing," he said.
I shrugged. "Sure."
"Promise me that," he turned around, not-so-manly tears spilling from his eyes. "Promise me that you'll still be alive the next time I come to see you."
Knowing Gold, it could take him an entire year or an hour for him to visit again. It was a promise that was almost impossible to keep. Even the doctors have trouble estimating the amount of time left my heart would hold.
I decided not to think about that and forced myself into a smile. "I promise."
Gold ran the sleeve of his hoodie over his eyes, and he stepped out.
I let out a slow long breath as I leaned back against the pillows, listening to the rhythm of my junior's footsteps as he made his way to the elevator. I then averted my attention outside, looking at the scenery and praying that it will not be the last thing I see.
I stepped into the foyer of my home, amazed by the fact that I was still alive and healthy despite being right in front of death's door just a week ago.
"Now you just rest and let me handle everything," my mum said, reaching to take my bag of clothes from me.
"I've been doing nothing but rest for the past week, Mum," I said as I brushed past her and put the thing down. "I'm fine."
My mother's face glowed with relief as she smiled. Even I could hardly believe it. I was - according to earlier calculations - supposed to be dead by now. By some miracle, my heart managed to pull through it all. Blaine's eyes almost popped out of their sockets when he read the report of the final test. My heart, by another miracle, was getting stronger. Recovering.
And now I was allowed to go home.
Okay, I admit that I might have teared up a little in the process, but that's besides the point.
Anyway, I walked towards my bedroom as my mother headed into the kitchen, mumbling something about what she should cook for the party she wanted to have for my homecoming. I sniffed in the familiar musty smell of my room as I stepped in, a feeling to nostalgia welling up within me. I've only been away for a week or so, but it felt as if I'd been away for years. Also, I was getting pretty sick of the smell of disinfectant.
I spent the rest of my afternoon helping Mum with the cooking. I might be the worst cook in the world, but at least my climbing skills come in handy when the things we need are conveniently placed in the higher racks.
My mother cooked up a storm - whipping up all our favourite foods. Even after resting for two hours after that, I could still hear the clanking of kitchen utensils in my ears and smell the scent of a dozen different dishes in my nostrils.
Needless to say, it felt good to be back.
My friends slowly arrived later in the evening. Green and Blue were first, since they practically live next door. Yellow arrived a little later, followed by our junior trio; Gold, Silver and Kris.
Things got a little too lively after that. It was as if we were drunk just by drinking fruit juices. Gold cracked up lame jokes. The rest of us failed to get them, but we laughed hysterically anyway. The noise we made probably could be heard all the way from the next town, but I didn't care. I was alive. I was there, breathing, laughing, having fun.
By midnight, everyone was too exhausted and worn out to even walk home, so Mum insisted that they crash at our place for the night. No one argued. The girls occupied the sofas. Green and Silver gratefully accepted the mattresses offered to them by my mother. Gold passed out right there on the floor.
I failed to stifle a yawn as I helped Mum with the dishwashing. She shot me a worried look and said, "It's been a long day. You should get some sleep."
"And leave all the work for my tired Mum to do?" I scoffed, wiping a plate with a dry cloth. "Sure."
"I'm fine, Mum," I said for the bajillionth time that day. "You've been up and around since morning. You should be the one sleeping first. I'll handle the rest. And no," I stopped her before she could protest. "Your argument is invalid. Now go."
Mum stared at me, lips slowly curving into a slight smile.
"Alright," she said, leaning closer to kiss my forehead as how she usually did when I was still a kid. "I leave the rest to you. Good night, dear."
"Night, Mum," I muttered as my mother disappeared into the hallway.
I was done with my work ten minutes later. I stretched my stiff limbs as I got myself some water to swallow my medication with. Though numerous tests showed improvement in my condition, I still had to be careful.
I paused to gaze at my friends before I stepped into my room. The girls were sleeping soundly, their breathing steady. Gold was murmuring something in his sleep, one leg casually draped on Silver's stomach. Green wisely slept as far away from him as he could.
I couldn't help smiling to myself. Everything seemed so normal it hurt. I wanted that peaceful moment to last forever, but I knew it was impossible. Time doesn't just stop for a person like that.
As if by some kind of magic, an unexplainable exhaustion weighed on me as soon as I stepped into my room. I never knew planning and cleaning up a party - even a small one - would be so tiring.
I staggered towards my bed, not even bothered to change out of my food-smelling clothes. I was about to pass out as soon as I hit the soft cushions, but I didn't. The view of the full moon outside my window caught my eye. It was so mesmerizing, I just had to look at it.
(I know, I know, a stupid reason. But what I do is up to me isn't it?)
I managed to sit up after struggling for a while, which - to my half-awake annoyance - made my head spin. I leaned sideways against the wall as I gazed at the bright orb floating in the sky, the single bright light in a sea of darkness.
I had no idea why, but the best memories of my life flooded into my mind as I gazed at the moon; the times I spent with my friends and family, my first date with Yellow, the first time I met Green.
And my father's warm smile and voice as he shouted a hearty "Welcome home!" every time I returned from school when he's at home for lunch break.
That particular fragment was more vivid than the others, as if I was standing right there in the scene rather than recalling it. I could almost feel his warm arms wrapping around me as he pulled me into a hug in that memory.
My eyelids slowly got heavier, and I stopped resisting the urge to keep my eyes open.
"..I'm home, Dad.." I heard myself whisper very softly.
I then closed my eyes, and heaved one last breath.