Whats this? A new chapter after a year? :O As stated in my previous post, I had gotten distracted. What I hadn't stated what that my drive for the story had subsided due to lack of response. Here is chapter 11 with 11.9k words.
Chapter 11: Wake Up
I enter my homeroom, my head now thankfully only emitting a dull thud, easily bearable. I see several people already here, including Lilly and Masahiro. I take my seat and greet them both. Lilly greets me in a cheerful tone whereas Masahiro appears to be distracted.
“Is everything alright, Masahiro?”
“Yes. Well, I’m still trying to figure out how my sister managed to trip over something that was very easy for her to see,” he replies.
A thought appears in my head, one I’ll keep at bay for the moment.
“Does she have bad depth perception, like me? I still misjudge things, including pool walls,” I say, thinking of this painful morning.
A confused look crosses Masahiro’s face before quickly disappearing. “No, she doesn’t have any disabilities, she’s perfect. Aside from her Asperger’s that is.” Do I detect some disdain there?
“She’s only here because our mother sent her to keep an eye on me,” Masahiro says, his tone indicating he doesn’t like that. I can’t say I blame him. Isn’t Asperger’s some type of Autism or something?
“Asperger’s? I thought Yamaku didn’t allow those kind of illnesses?” I ask.
Judging from Masahiro’s expression, I accidentally hit a nerve. “First, Asperger’s isn’t an illness, and secondly,” I notice his expression change to a slight frown, “Wakana was allowed to come here due to my mother’s financial support for the school.”
A different thought appears in my head. One I vocalise to him. “Masahiro, are you sure your sister tripped and did not fall?” Some people are against those with disabilities, as I found out at my old school, but could the opposite be true in this school?
“You sound like you are implying that my sister is being bullied.” Masahiro’s tone thankfully does not sound accusatory.
“It is a school after all, even if the students are disabled.”
Masahiro appears to enter a state of thinking for several seconds before saying “Come to think of it, that would explain some other stuff that has happened.”
We are suddenly drawn by a male voice at the classroom entrance “Come on Kirino, you know you want to.”
The girl, Kirino, has long bushy brown hair which goes over the front of her shoulders. She is also wearing an eye patch which has a smiley face on it. She stops, and I notice a smile appear on her face. She turns to face the guy before saying “Moriya, just because you have a camera and copies of Badi and Labrys, it doesn’t mean I want to do that kind of photoshoot. Moriya turns red as the people in the class start laughing. He splutters out something as Kirino faces back to the class with a big smile on her face. She is still wearing the smile as she walks past and takes her seat behind me. Poor guy.
As she walked past me, I was able to see the patch better and noticed the smiley face only has one eye. As I wonder about the eyepatch, I realise that I know very little about my classmates, aside Masahiro and Lilly. I know Kenji but I am far from fond of him.
Japanese is followed by English. Japanese, I’m good at, unlike English. I hope I don’t have to leave the country for any reason, I’d probably end up stuck there, unable to speak the native language. English slowly passes and changes into Mathematics where I am paired with Lilly and Masahiro, the three of us working on quadratic equations. When I say three of us, I mean two as I’m staring at this maths question, struggling to figure out how to do it. We formed a group to do these questions after our teacher, Kobayashi, told the class to make groups. I know that to graph this equation, I need to plot the vertex, but I can’t seem to figure out where the y-intercept goes. This is frustrating as normally I’m good at maths. Each time I try to do my part of it, my mind keeps getting drawn back to the empty pool this morning. During Japanese, I was okay but during English I think I did worse than I normally do, if that was even possible. I haven’t received a text back from Akemi yet.
I hear Masahiro speak to me “Are you alright, Ryuunosuke? You appear to be distracted.” That obvious?
“I can’t focus. Akemi had a seizure, at some point yesterday, and this morning she wasn’t in the pool. I sent a message to her phone asking if she’s okay,” I explain.
“Will she be okay?” Lilly asks, concerned.
I hope so.
“I don’t know. I haven’t got a message back yet,” I reply.
“You must be worried. You’re normally really good at maths, if Miyagi’s mock test was any indication.”
“I normally am. I don’t know why her seizure seems to be on my mind so much.”
“I can think of a reason why,” Masahiro says, a smile appearing on his face. What are you implying?
I also hear a soft giggle escape from Lilly. I sneak a look at her and see a smile on her porcelain face.
*** Akemi’s PoV ***
Why is my body so stiff and sore? I open my eyes and am greeted by a blinding white light from somewhere causing me to squint. As my eyes adjust to the light, I hear two voices, one male, and the other sounding similar to mine. I’m in the nurse’s office, and that male voice belongs to him. Why is he here- no, why am I in the nurse’s office?
I suddenly let out a yawn. Why am I- Oh. I think I know the answer. I had a seizure didn’t I?
I slowly sit up, and I can’t tell if it’s me or my joints groaning as I do so. After managing to sit, I look around and see a mirror. In it I see a girl whose brown hair is really messy and knotted. Oh joy. This will take me ages to sort out, even if Yasuko helps!
I let out a sigh at the thought. Looking closer I see my platinum roots starting to show. I haven’t had my hair back platinum for a while now. I see and hear the curtain divider behind me open, revealing two people; Nurse and a long platinum-haired girl with golden yellow eyes and wearing a purple track top and bottoms. She looks extremely familiar, almost as if she is my tw- Aneko?!
I turn round and my body groans in protest. My mind and memories are still semi-foggy due to the seizure I had. I hate this part of the seizure. Well, I hate all of it really.
Nurse is the first to speak “Welcome back to the land of the living, Sakurai.”
I offer Nurse a weak smile before asking Aneko “Why are you here, Aneko?”
All of a sudden, Aneko rushes forward and pulls me into a tight hug, causing me to let out a small “eep” sound. While her hug is nice, warm and comforting, it isn’t good for someone who’s aching as much as I am. Aneko is still tightly hugging me as the Nurse explains “You had a bad seizure yesterday, another nurse and I brought you here. Because of the extent of your seizure, your guardians were called.” Guardians? Yasuko’s parents, my aunt and uncle?
“This morning your sister here came by. I always think I’m seeing double, except for your eye colour and your dyed hair.” Don’t forget the non-walking part.
“When they got the call, Aunt Yuuki and Uncle Keisuke asked me to come check on you seeing as I live and work in the city,” Aneko tells me, her life draining, tight hug having loosened a bit. Considering we’re both 19, She sure doesn’t mind hugs.
“Now you’ve been reacquainted with your sister, Sakurai, could you let her go, so I can do some tests on her, please.” Nurse asks Sakur- no, Aneko with a slight chuckle. My head is still messed up somewhat.
Aneko lets go of me and looks at Nurse before responding. “Sure.” She turns back to face me “I’ll be outside.” I nod my head weakly, and she smiles. Aneko then leaves the room leaving me with the nurse.
Once the door closes behind her, Nurse turns to me and says “Seeing as you’ll figure it out later even if I don’t tell you, Yasuko came by a short time after you were brought here because you had accidentally hit her during your seizure.” What?! Shit, how’s her neck?!”
My eyes widen as that thought runs through my mind. Obviously noticing my expression, Nurse then says “Don’t worry, Yasuko is well enough. It was her ribs you caught, not her neck. She will be happy that you’re awake and coherent now.”
“Where is she? Can I go see her?” I ask, possibly slightly too quickly.
Nurse smiles. “Worry about yourself first, Akemi. After all, you are the one in my office, not her. If your examination goes well, you can leave today. I’m not sure if you’re aware, but you did wake up earlier and were mildly distressed.”
I… I don’t remember that. I have been told numerous times that that happens to me. I never remember it though. Should I be glad or not?
“By that look on your face, you don’t remember it. At that time, it appeared some of your memories had returned, namely two people; your cousin, and a certain guy who’s been swimming with you.” Nurse finishes with a sly smile.
Ryuunosuke was one of the first people to reappear in my head, right?
I can feel my face warming. I can’t look in Nurse’s direction right now so I look down at my body. That’s when I notice bruise marks on my arms. What will Ryuunosuke think when I see him in the pool? The pool, the one thing I absolutely love and that now I can’t go to for a few days.
I feel my heart sink.
“Worried about your bruises? They should disappear within a few days. Now then, are you feeling weak or sore at all?” Nurse asks.
“A- A little. Mainly my arms and legs,” I say, looking down at where the thin bed cover is covering my legs. Both sets of limbs in question are really aching. How will I wheel myself to my room? Maybe Aneko?
“Okay, as you know, the weakness is be due to the seizure. Now, I have a question; have you been remembering to take your medication?” Nurse asks, his expression becoming stern as if he already knows the answer. Not good.
“N-No,” I stutter “I- I’ve been forgetting recently.” Here it comes. I hope he doesn’t ask me about stress causing some of my seizures.
Nurse raises his eyebrows. He then sighs and shakes his head as he says “Not good, Akemi, not good. You know those tablets allow us to better regulate your seizures to around one a month, and those to a lesser degree. You should know better than anyone that forgetting them increases the chance of you seizing or having a debilitating one.”
four times suddenly appear in my head; the first time I had a seizure, on my mother’s horse, which got spooked and trampled my legs, the time I broke my wrist during a seizure, the time I had a seizure in the sea, thankfully my dad was alive then and nearby, the fourth time I remember was my first year here, and it was a new environment.
“Without those, you would need to lead a stress-free life which is hard for a student. Trust me, I know.”
Please don’t tell me that story again. That’s one of the reasons I swim, even if my dad died at sea.
“Now, you already know this, but whether I let you go now or later, you can’t go swimming for a few days. I would recommend to wait until your strength has returned enough to be able to push yourself in your wheelchair. This will allow your body to recover. We wouldn’t want you to nearly drown, again.”
I reply with a dejected nod. My mind goes back to a seizure I had here in the pool just after I started. I was in the hospital for a short time because of it. My family were worried, but also unhappy that I had ignored the advice. I got the third degree from Nurse for that and the fourth from Aneko. That was much worse. Drowning is one thing I wouldn’t want to happen to me again, either at sea or in the pool.
“You may not swim, but you can still visit it if you want. I’m sure Shibanuma will like that.” Nurse says, finishing with a smile as I feel my face warming up. Why, Nurse, Why?
“Now that you’ve had another seizure, will you remember to take your medication? If not I may end up having to recruit two people to make sure you do.” Kaiya and Yasuko? Just telling them would be bad. Surely he can’t do that anyway, confidentiality and that, right?
Nurse appears to be able to read my mind as he then says “If you’re wondering what I’ll say, it’ll be along the lines of ‘Makes sure Sakurai takes her medication.’” He’s not smiling, meaning he is serious. I don’t like serious Nurse.
“I-I will remember. Please don’t tell them.” I plead.
Nurse smiles, Good
, “I won’t, unless you forget. In the meantime, I’ll keep tabs on you to make sure. If I’m busy then remember I also have spies.” I notice a hint of a smile as he says that.
“Good, I already have enough paperwork.” Smiling, he points to a thick folder on a table. My folder. I feel guilty, even if that wasn’t his intention. “Now that I’ve chastised you, I’ve heard from my spies that you and Shibanuma are getting close. Judging by your redness, I’ll say she is correct. I hope he stays around, unlike your cousin.”
Yasuko likes swimming, but not as much as I do. She only joined me in the pool because her parents and I asked her too. Still, I’m glad she did, as she was there when I nearly drowned. I think that is why she is less fond of the pool now.
“Does Shibanuma know about your epilepsy? Nurse asks.
I nod and say “He knows I have it and that I have an unavoidable trigger.”
Nurse’s smile falters as he says “Unavoidable trigger? I assume he doesn’t know your menstrual cycle causes most of your seizures? Does he know that a lot of stress can cause it too?”
I shake my head. “N-No, neither, it has been such a long time since I had a stress-related one, I think I had actually forgotten about it.” Nurse did not like that.
“I didn’t want to lecture you more, but forgetting your triggers is as bad as forgetting your medication. I feel as though I have lectured you enough now. You’ve ended up here plenty of times anyway. Do you have any questions for me?”
“ I-Is there chance of me regaining some feeling or movement in my legs as I grow a-and get older?” I ask.
“Grow? You’re already nineteen, so I’ll doubt you will grow much more and I doubt you have an overactive growth hormone.” Don’t remind me that I’m two years older than everyone else in my year. I don’t want to be reminded of the reasons either.
Nurse pauses and appears to think for a second “As for feelings and movement, the human body is a complex organism, so it can be possible. I wouldn’t put all my faith in it though, sorry.” He gives an apologetic smile.
That is a shame. I look around the room and spy a familiar wheelchair - my wheelchair. I see something attached to it. “Hey Nurse, that is my wheelchair, right?”
Nurse looks in the direction I’m looking before turning back and replying “Yes, Your cousin took it with her and got Ichimonji to attach the powered unit, at least she said she was going to get Ichimonji too. Ichimonji came by and dropped it off.” Thank you Kaiya and Yasuko.”
“When can I leave?” I ask.
Nurse smiles and says “Not enjoying my company? Normally in this situation I would want you to stay here until you’ve regained your strength but seeing as you seem to be attached by the hip to your cousin and as your sister is outside, you should
be easily looked after. They will be able to help should you need it so you can leave now. Do you want too?” I nod my head.
Without a word, Nurse gets up and manoeuvres my wheelchair so it is next to the bed I’m on. I start to lift myself up but my arms refuse to cooperate properly. Nurse watches me struggle for several seconds before he asks “Do you want some help?”
No. I can do this. I want to do this.
Several times I try to move myself, to no avail or than a few inches. If I keep this up I will get off this bed, but will end up in a mess on the floor.
“Yes.” I reply in a dejected tone. I hate this.
Nurse offers another apologetic smile, not one of pity thankfully, as he manoeuvres himself so he can pick me up under my arms, baby-like. I am glad I am quite light but even so Nurse looks like he is struggling even as I do what I can with my arms. After lowering me into my wheelchair, Nurse lets out a breath of air. “T-Thank you. A-Are you okay?” I timidly ask. Why do I feel timid?
Nurse takes his seat and smiles. “Yes I am. You are okay to move your joystick, right?” Good.
I look to the right arm of my wheelchair where the joystick is and move it to the right to turn away from the bed. As it moves, the motors begin their whirring, or it may have been the motor wheels on the wheels doing that, I’m not quite sure. “Y-Yeah. Am I okay to leave?”
“Almost, hmm.” Nurse thinks for a second while stroking his chin. He then shakes his head. “Never mind.” I tilt my head in confusion, wondering what he was thinking. He doesn’t say what was on his mind as he instead says than I can leave. He walks to the door and opens it. Pushing the joystick on my arm rest, my wheelchair starts moving forward with a semi-loud whirring sound. As I pass Nurse, he says “Have fun with your sister, and remember to get some rest. And to not swim for a couple of days.”
I smile at him as I pass and say “I will.”
“Also, medication, don’t forget.”
Outside the office, I hear nurse close the door. To my left I hear something snap shut. I look that way and see a closed book by the side of my sister. Either I blanked out or Aneko’s gotten faster, but next second I feel her tightly hugging me. I bring my arms to hug her back as tightly as I can, which admittedly, isn’t that strong at the moment.
“I missed you Akemi!” It has been a while since I last saw Aneko, even though she only lives in the city near here. It’s also been a while since she’s deafened one of my ears. She lets me go and easily gets out of my weak grip. She draws back so her hands are on my shoulders. She stares at me for several seconds with her yellow eyes. When I don’t have dyed hair, our eyes are the only way to tell us apart.
“How are you truly feeling Akemi?” my sister asks me.
“W-Weak, and achy. I want to go to my room,” I reply, weakly. She smiles back at me.
“Not with that hair you’re not. You really are a mess Akemi, let me fix that.” Aneko turns to a bag on the seat next to where she was and pulls out a hair brush. Please be gentle, I’m fragile.
She walks back to me and starts pulling at my hair with the brush. “Why are you brushing my hair here and not in my room?” I ask her.
Aneko just blinks at me before she replies “Do you really want to go across the campus looking like a White-Eye has been nesting in that hair? You wouldn’t want any cute guys here to think you don’t take care of yourself, would you?” As I feel myself getting warm and going red, I realise Aneko was baiting me. Dammit!
Judging by Aneko’s laugh, she noticed. “so, who is he? And when do Yasuko and I get to kill him? If she hasn’t already.” She noticed.
“N-No one.” I say too quickly. Aneko just stares at me with her bright yellow eyes which she knows how to pierce me with. After around a minute of trying to avoid her intense, silent staring. I look into her eyes and notice one of them twitch, almost as if she needs to blink. I give in and say “H-His name is R-Ryuunosuke S-Shibanuma.”
After finally blinking, Aneko smiles and says “There, that wasn’t so hard was it? Shibanuma, huh? I don’t know why, but I recognise that name. Maybe it’s on Yasuko’s murdered list? Now, let’s go to your room, never liked being in this sort of area.” Aneko puts her bag on her shoulder before disappearing behind me followed by my wheelchair moving.
With Aneko pushing me, we enter my room. As soon as I enter, I notice something is different, and I’m pretty sure it isn’t because of the temporary retrograde amnesia thing I get. I’m glad that’s only temporary. “Something’s different,” I find myself saying out loud.
“Of course! Can you figure out what?” I hear Aneko say with a slight giggle at the end. It must be something obvious then. Three years later I am still wondering if it was a good idea to give Aneko a key to my room. Looking around my room I spy the obvious stuff; my bed, table, TV, dresser- wait. I’m pretty sure my TV was taken after I broke it in a seizure. I twist round and look at Aneko, who is smiling, “Figured it out now? I was meant to bring it over a while ago but I was too busy with work.”
I would hug you if I could.
“Th-Thank you Aneko.” Now I can watch all those boring programs to fall asleep too.
I look at the TV more closely and see it is very similar to my previous one. Aneko walks round to the front of me, and I move forwards and manage to give her a hug, a weakened one though.
Aneko chuckles and says “Don’t squeeze me too tight, I still need to tell our aunt and uncle you like it.” So they’re the ones who bought it then. Sometimes I feel like they’re too good to me. I give Aneko a look and she says “What? They’re the ones who bought it, I just drove to them and brought it back as well as other reasons. This one comes with a remote so I won’t have to push the button on the TV itself.” Aneko smiles at me. Way to rub that in.
I get an itching feeling on my arm so I start rubbing it. When I do, it starts hurting so I roll my sleeve up and look. I somehow have a bandage wrapped around it. I guess I hit it during my seizure then. “Akemi, are you alright?” Aneko asks me.
“Yeah, I think I hit my arm earlier. Don’t worry about it, it’ll only become another bruise I have.”
I jump as I hear a knock at my door. By the time I face the door, Aneko is already at it, opening it. I watch as the door opens, and I see Yasuko there, with a pained smile on her face. Oh no.
“How’d you know I was here, Yasuko?” I ask.
Aneko answers by turning around and saying “I sent a message to her when we got here.”
“Yea-.” A pained expression appears on Yasuko’s face. How bad did I hit her?!
“I thought I’d come by and check on you.”
Yasuko walks to my bed and carefully sits on it, she normally doesn’t do that carefully. She is joined by Aneko as I ask Yasuko “H-How bad are your ribs?”
“They’re okay, it’s just a scratch.”
“Y-You winced. T-That’s a lie.”
Yasuko looks squarely at me, no expression on her face. I know she isn’t trying to, but it is intimidating. She then says “See, I’m not wincing.”
Yasuko’s sighs and says “Okay, so maybe I was.”
Aneko grabs my attention as she starts making a prodding motion towards Yasuko’s ribs. I smile and Yasuko notices. She swats away Aneko’s hand and immediately hisses and winces. She then says “I can’t win.”
Smiling, Aneko asks “Shall we put in a DVD and test your TV?