Author's Note: Hello everyone! As promised, here is the new story. I hope you guys like it better than Bitterness, because this time I really like the plot. This is sort of my version of the cliché of "girl-gets-injured-severely-then-gets-magically-healed-in-One-Piece". Oh no. Faye's going to have to work hard to get any semblance of healing. I'm e~v~i~l. That being said, I won't bother you guys anymore until the end of this chapter. Please enjoy!

Warnings: Swearing, probably a very wrong view of what a hospital is, and overall ANGST.


Shattered Glass

A faint sound.

Footsteps on linoleum.

Soft chatter in the hallway.

The slosh of black hospital coffee in blank white Styrofoam cups.

The creaky rolling of wheelchairs and IV drips.

Scribble of pens on clipboards.

Doctor's orders.

The words, ringing over and over again in my head.

"I'm sorry, but your daughter only has a very small chance of ever walking again. She is a paraplegic."

Cold. Clinical. But a hint of sadness? Had he seen too many cases like my own? Who knows?

The nurse is gentle and quiet. She is very pretty, with dark blue eyes, a curvy body that even turns the doctor's heads, full lips and a soft, musical voice. She smiles often and is cheerful without going to cheesiness. I am grateful to her, even though I am an ugly duckling next to a beautiful sparrow. Her auburn hair is cropped into a modern bob, but my black hair shines dully in its now-longer-than-short, spiky mess. My pancake-flat body next to her curves. My flat, dark grey eyes next to the sapphires of hers. My paper skin next to her pale but still healthy one. I feel like the girl from The Ring, standing next to Angelina Jolie with colored contacts.

But she is kind, and brings me bubble gum and lets me play my iPod. Wheels me around when my arms are too tired to move.
It's been two and a half months. My parents rarely see me, too embarrassed at having to care for a disabled daughter. Sure, Mother can get sympathy on her campaign, but not from my hospital room. Sure, Father can negotiate for more hospital care, but not from my bedside.

I used to have two strong, good legs. I used to swim powerfully, to hike up mountains. To fly without wings. I could get around by myself. I could stand in the shower to sing as loud as I could. I could dance to the music on my iPod. I could run in the rain, the shower of the drops making the air crisper, cooler, easier for me to breathe in that clean, indescribable scent. I could go to dances and dance. I could have snowball fights. I could still astonish everyone at kickball. I could…

"I'm sorry, but your daughter only has a very small chance of ever walking again. She is a paraplegic."

Now I watch out the window at the huge, sprawling city. Try not to look at the people on the sidewalk. Tall people in suits and fashionable winter coats. People with working legs. They use them without even thinking. Just move. Left, right, left, right, left right left right left right …

On good days, days that the pain faded a little (since now it's only a dull throb, although my body is alright I still hurt), Claire helps me into the wheelchair and gives me my beautiful black-silver leather fingerless gloves. My last gift from my father. Mother's gift was the new watch, the one I had kept asking for. It's in the drawer, gathering dust. She sent it by way of Claire. She wouldn't even look at me last time she was here.

She looks to the side, at the blank wall. Not at me. Not at the broken doll that is her biological daughter.

"I'm glad to see that you're doing well…"

Angry tears burn behind my eyes and I blink, willing them to go away. I've cried enough. Crying will not bring her to my side, holding me like she used to. When Claire gave it to me, I took one look at the lovely Omega and told her to take it. When she refused, I shoved it into the drawer with shaking hands and started to cry. Claire hugged me, confused. She doesn't know.

Father's gift was more practical, and I wear it because he brought it to me himself. But his eyes darted restlessly around, standing in his pinstripe suit and blue shirt and beautiful red tie with the little gold-and-blue fleur-de-leis, never meeting mine. His are sea-green and penetrating, perfect for coercing a client into a better deal. For him, only him. But they never meet mine, which have inherited that penetrating look from him, but the color from my mother.

"It's wonderful to see you dear…are they treating you well? Are you in pain?...I brought you something."

I can only forgive him a little bit. Neither of them gave me a hug that day. Both stood to the side, awkward, wrapping them in their numbers and words and long, legal discussions. Away from each other, the partner that they don't love anymore. Away from the daughter. That they don't know what to do with. Not anymore.

That was when I cried. When I knew that I had never penetrated the sickeningly strong ice around either of them.

"I'm sorry, but your daughter only has a very small chance of ever walking again. She is a paraplegic."

I have dim memories of Father and Mother smiling at me, cooing, teaching me words of the world around me. When I wore white Mary Janes and played with Play-Doh and fingerpaints. When I had a sweet, dimpled face and looked like a small cherub, not my parents.

But as I grew up, my parents grew apart and I was the distasteful chain keeping them together. I reminded Mother of Father and vice versa. I was the grimy link. As I turned 10, Mother started her political campaign and Father spent all day in his office…and all night with his secretaries and subordinates. I was the shadow on the stairs, the small intake and outtake of air near them.

"I'm sorry, but your daughter only has a very small chance of ever walking again. She is a paraplegic."

Claire walks beside me, talking like a sweet aunt or a loving older sister. She smiles often and treats me as an adult all the time, except for when I cried. Then she lavished her incredible mothering skills on me.

She is a mother, after all. She sometimes brings in her small twins to see their 'Onee-chan'. A boy and a girl will burst into the room and clamber on my cot, chattering excitedly, their auburn hair and sapphire eyes bursts of color, like their mother. On those days, the pain is unnoticeable. I feel like I am a broken, brittle glass pot trying to hold two bright diamonds. The sun goes right through me and to those small, perfect gems, sparkling and refracting and dancing on them, only leaving sadly, reluctantly.

But I don't want them to be near me, because of the way Claire looks at them. With love in her eyes. With love in her arms, her legs, her fingers, her smile and every last, small movement of that beautiful body. The way I want Mother and Father to look at me, to handle me.

When my arms become lead, she gently takes the handles and pushes me the rest of the way. She tucks me in when it's lights out and wakes me up when the sun is up. She helps me exercise and stretch and encourages me to keep living.

"I'm sorry, but your daughter only has a very small chance of ever walking again. She is a paraplegic."

I really am grateful to her. I don't deserve her, but she acts as if I do. I really will give her that Omega watch. I don't want it anymore. She deserves it. Already, I've gained control of my arms and some of my torso, basically of my entire upper body, including my fingers. I can type and draw and fold tiny origami cranes and balls, to the endless delight of the twins. But when I try to get up (by myself—Claire wouldn't approve) from my cot, my legs sink like jelly. I'm useless, the wheelchair a ball and chain on my unmoving ankle, my wings clipped like the nerve endings in my lower body.

They're much thinner, now. Of course, my entire body is, but they're even thinner than that. Before, they weren't fat but slightly muscular. Now my legs are sticks with a couple inches of meat, fat and skin.

"I'm sorry, but your daughter only has a very small chance of ever walking again. She is a paraplegic."

Sometimes, at night, I dream about what happened. As with most of these kinds of injuries, it was a car accident. A drunk driver collided with the car that had my father driving, who is careful but tense. Even so, we couldn't get out of the way fast enough. I was in the shotgun seat, on our way home from the library, which I'd begged to go to get some books and a movie. I wasn't old enough to drive myself, and Mother had campaigns to plan. So Father did it, reluctantly.

The driver collided with the right headlamp, and the dash crumpled on my legs.

I remember the impact, the screeching of brakes, cursing, white airbags like inflatable marshmallows trying to cover up the scene and not being fast enough. The white-hot screaming agony, the banshee shriek that something was not right never will be right that something irrevocable had just happened in my legs made me black out.

When I woke up, I heard the doctor giving that awful verdict.

"I'm sorry, but your daughter only has a very small chance of ever walking again. She is a paraplegic."

Again. And again. And again. They won't stop, a record forever spinning on a broken turntable.

I'm sitting out in the pouring rain, on the balcony. Claire has confirmed with the doctors that I'm not suicidal enough to throw myself onto the street below. Besides, that would put a kink into Mother and Father's reputations, right? Their beautiful family image has been shattered. Now their only daughter throws herself off the balcony of a hospital.

I look at the iron-wrought railing and think how easy it would be. To get back at them. To maybe, finally break the ice with my falling body weight. I am on the 13th floor (although customarily, it's called the 14th). The unlucky floor.

But I don't want to do it. I want to walk again. Even though another injury will probably never let me out of this fucking wheelchair again.

"I'm sorry, but your daughter only has a very small chance of ever walking again. She is a paraplegic."

The rain comforts me. Each drop touches my face, cooling it and running down like tears. I should probably go inside, but the chill reminds me that parts of me can still feel.

A pendant hangs around my neck. It is a beautifully wrought phoenix. It's coated with sterling silver and a garnet for the eye. Hardly precious, unlike the jewelry Mother and Father get me. But it was given by my wonderful friend Aiko, when we were in the same school. Before both of us moved away. I wore it every day and I still do. Funnily, the black string that holds the pendant hasn't worn away. It seems stronger, as if that was possible. Maybe it is. Who knows? But it was given with love.

"I'm sorry, but your daughter only has a very small chance of ever walking again. She is a paraplegic."

I know that soon Claire will be out here with her gentle ministrations and clucking at me to get inside before I catch my death of cold. Funnily enough, that sounds fine with me. Seems fitting—for an ice-cold girl to die when all warmth forsakes her. Almost fucking poetic. But I will let her guide me in and give me a hot chocolate and bubble gum and recharge my iPod. I've used it non-stop, but she still charges it every day for me. She really is too nice to me.

I just want to stay here longer. The cold wind and rain remind me that I am alive, even going so far as to shyly ruffle some stray pieces of hair that have grown from their shaven state in the two and a half months I've been here.

I just hope that Claire won't ask me why. Then I might have to tell her about my fear that I am slowly fading away. She'll react like any respectable adult, reassure me. But I hope she won't ask why. I don't want to talk right now, just look past the busy city and to the ocean, which moves restlessly, wildly, freely. It's beautiful, even when it's grey-green from all the clouds. That's okay. I can live with everything being grey, sky and sun. That's fine.

I shiver. It really is cold, but that's okay. Shivering means that those muscles function regularly. Means I'm alive. I need to be reminded that I am alive. Because everyday it seems less certain. Alive. I am...alive? Am I?

"Paraplegic. Your daughter is. Paraplegic. She has. A very small chance of ever walking again. Paraplegic."

Slowly, so I don't notice it until after it's started, tears mix with the rain.

I lift my head hopelessly to the dark heavens.

I let them come.


Author's Note: AANNGGSSTT! FEEL IT! XD Anyway, I wanted to take the space down here to say that I hope you guys like this fic, and I have a question for you all: Who should Faye end up with? The options: A) Luffy; B) Zoro; C) No one; D) Someone else!

I think Luffy/Faye would be a good match, seeing that Faye's chock full of good old angst and Luffy practically radiates happiness. He'd balance her out nicely.

Zoro/Faye is also a good match, since Zoro is a rock (figuratively and somewhat literally) and Faye kinda does need someone to hang on to right now.

If Faye gets no one, that means I'll be tossing namakaship around like fairy dust. XD Not that I won't anyway, but it also means that she can bond equally with all the Mugiwaras.

If Faye gets someone else, then…I dunno. *shrugs*

Anyway, please let me know who you think Faye should end up with!

Arigato for reading, everyone! This is Will, signing out!