I know I'm late. Sorry I'm late. Was given too good of a prompt and wound up overwriting it. After I realized I was going overboard, I cut it down to size.
Victim: FrauPerchta (Insanna)
Prompt: Hisao wakes up the day of Iwanako's confession after experiencing the entirety of a route, if not longer (your choice), with full memory of what has or will happen. What does he do?
Running through an airport. Or in a field of dandelions. Was I in front of a bakery? Maybe in the afterglow of a night of passion? Falling off the roof? Celebrating graduation?
Damn, why is my head so fuzzy?
The beeping comes to me first. Did I mess up and land back in the nurses office? No, the smell is wrong. The old musty smell of a brick office is missing. Instead the old anesthetic of a hospital.
It takes several minutes for my eyes to start working, and even then it's too bright. The room feels familiar, like a memory I'd tried to forget.
I try and remember yesterday, and the answer I get back is almost multiple choice. A girl sitting on some steps, another girl yelling in my face, watching yet someone else walking away in the rain. Nothing makes sense.
Then the itchiness along my sternum draws my attention. Running my hand up, I find bandages under the hospital gown, rather than the scar tissue I'd grown accustomed to. Surgery, again?
An organic sound, barely audible over the machinery, finally pulls my eyes over, and the sight is absolutely impossible.
"I-iwanako?" I get out, my throat dry.
Silently, the girl sits there, her eyes never moving from some spot on the floor. If not for a slight flinch, I'd think she didn't hear me.
Letting my eyes wander, the room finally becomes familiar.
"Back… here?" I say quietly, recognizing the room as the one I was trapped in for months, before everything… which things?
Tea time with a blind girl, chess with a wallflower, running, working on art, sign language with…
For a moment, I try out some signs, remembering them in detail. But then again, was it just a dream?
"What day is it?" I finally ask.
"S-saturday. You had… I asked you… yesterday…" the timid girl next to me stammers out before bolting out of her seat. "I'll go get a nurse…"
Grabbing her hand, I stop her from leaving. "Yesterday? You, in the snow, that was yesterday?"
Not looking at me, she hangs her head and gives a slight nod.
"Wow," I get out, letting her go. "Um… Iwa… y-you can stay. I mean, I'd like you to stay."
She hesitates, clearly unsure, before sitting down again, returning to her previous state.
Was… everything some kind of messed up dream?
A squeaky voiced kid hiding behind cokebottle glasses pops into my mind, with conspiracy and money owed.
The very thought made me break out laughing, causing the timid girl next to me to nearly jump out of her seat.
Finally looking at me, Iwanako's shocked expression only makes me laugh harder. After a few seconds, she stands back up again, saying, "Nurse, right…"
Grabbing her hand again, I stop her from leaving. "No no, I'm fine, it's just… I'm alive. It was a heart attack, wasn't it?"
Unable to speak, the girl just nods, her eyes wide as saucers as she tries to understand what she's looking at.
Then the memory of that room, the room I am now inside again, hits me. The months of solitude, of depression… and then recovery. The knowledge that my life isn't over sinks in, with those fragmented, contradicting memories.
"The nurse will be here soon anyways to check on me, so no need to rush off. I think I need to tell you something, and it's best I get it over with, so please?" I tell the girl whose been next to me for I don't know how long.
Not sitting down, she just turns to face me, clutching her hands awkwardly in front of her.
"What happened, happened. It changes things, okay? Whatever you were about to ask, I understand if this changes it. If this changes things, I understand. Feel free to walk out, no hard feeling, okay?"
Biting her lip, she considers, looking at the door, then at me. Calming herself down, she asks, "Is that what you want?"
"No, but I'm not going to guilt you either. This wasn't your fault," I try and convince her. "It happened, and we have to move forward, alright?"
A flash of red hair, sad eyes, standing there in the rain comes to mind.
"And if I don't want to walk out?"
Surprised, I am lost for words for a moment, before saying, "Then feel free to ask. I'm right here. I can guarantee I'm not going anywhere for awhile."
Memory of romance, heartbreak, and being an idiot, all surge forward.
Behind her eyes, a clear debate wages, before a decision is made. "Hisao, You see... ...I wanted to know... ...if you'd go out with me...”
I expected her to run away. To be mad at me, or be afraid. Instead, I see the resolution in those eyes. While my heart's all a mess, there is one point of certainty. She's waited for me. For her, a day. For me, a lifetime it feels like. A chance to start over, before… what I'm not certain.
"Sure, I'd like that," I tell her.
My memory of solitude is rapidly replaced as friends come to visit. Instead of lonely days by myself with a silent figure who eventually leaves, every day is occupied.
And always there, the girl at the beginning. It takes her a bit to relax, but she eventually does. By the end of the week, a major shift happens.
"Hisao," the doctor tells me. "Going forward we have a few options. Your heart attack exposed an underlying condition, called cardiomyopathy, and caused another issue, a long-qt arrhythmia. We have several options here, from medication to more surgery. Normally, this would be up to your parents, but your father has given me permission to discuss treatments with you."
"But, why?" I ask, confused. This didn't happen before.
The doctor shrugs. "He said something about you being energetic enough to be able to make the decision."
Stunned, I listen to the options. In the end, I elect for the surgery, to install a pacemaker. It will require regular checkups, but I will not need to undergo the pile of drugs I remember from that strange dream or vision after my heart attack.
I also tell Iwanako of it, leaving out the rather embarrassing details and the girls themselves. She checked and discovered that Yamaku is a real school. I guess I'd heard of it somewhere, and filled it into my dream.
By March, my parents arrive, telling me it is time to leave. The whole concept feels weird. No new school, no moving to Sendai, a triumphant return to my old classmates, a girl at my side. Yet, it all feels so surreal at the same time.
High school romances end as they ever do, due to immaturity and inexperience. In our case, Iwanako and I made it halfway through out first year at University before we drifted apart. I suppose it should be expected.
Graduating with a degree in science and my teaching certification, combined with sign language, job hunting was still tough. Few schools nearby needed anyone. On a whim I checked with my university advisor, and had a familiar name appear on my desk.
"Mr. Nakai, glad you could make it. I know it's unusual attending a Christmas party before you start working somewhere, but I figured this would be a good chance to meet your new co-workers," the principal tells me as he guides me into the meeting room it was being held in.
"I understand, Mr. Katayama," I tell him as he proceeds to glance around the room.
Oddly, only two teachers' faces from my dream ever were clear, and neither of them I see in the room. Well, it was just a dream, so what am I expecting.
Being introduced as the "new 1st year science teacher," is certainly exhausting. Within an hour I find myself outside in the hallway, catching my breath.
It takes a few moments to realize I'm not alone. When I glance over, I find myself lost in a pair of blue eyes behind sharp glasses. Without realizing it, I sign out, "[Hello.]"
The blue haired girl blinks in surprise, before a sharp smile sets in, signing back, "[And hello to you too. Are you new here?]"
"[I start next semester,]" I tell her, still in disbelief. "[And you?]"
She smirks a bit. "[Here for a friend, her plus one. We both went to school here, and she thought to drag me along.]"
"[It's good to have friends like that,]" I sign back. "[I'm Hiao Nakai.]"
My heartbeat starts to skyrocket as I read her reply.
In the corner of my eye, a vaguely familiar pair of golden eyes, framed by brown hair, appears in the doorway before vanishing moments later.
In a moment of clarity, the dream comes crashing down on me.
"[Are you okay? You look like you've seen a ghost,]" Shizune says, her features shifting to concern.
I shrug it off. "[Just, something familiar. Hey, want to go do something?]"
"[Oh, and what do you want to do?]" A flash of curiosity strikes her eyes as she looks at me over the rims of those oh so familiar glasses
I consider a moment, and an idea strikes.
"[Know where we could find a game of Risk?]"