The Boy on Page One

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic


It's been such a long time since Hakuo fell into a coma. Everyone is beginning to wonder if he will ever get out of it.

Chapter 1 (v.1) - Slumber Party

Submitted: September 08, 2019

Reads: 337

Comments: 1

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Submitted: September 08, 2019

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Disclaimers: This here, this story, is a work of fiction. And in no way, shape, or form is it the depicted life of any actual living persons. So, if anyone seems familiar to you it's purely coincidence because there are no new personality types in world, so someone's likely gonna remind you of someone. But trust me, this is not them. I make no money from this- I'd like to, lol. And I don't endorse any mentioned namebrand items, or restaurants, etc. That's just using already known realism in a fictional setting. Ain't no shame in that.

...

Is this what death is like? Tortured by hearing the sorrow of the ones you've left behind. It hardly seems fair. I haven't done anything wrong; I didn't mean to die. …My eyelids are so heavy, it's not as if I don't want to open them, but that I can't seem to. So to my loved ones out there, always with that sentence "Why can't you just open your eyes?" Believe me, I'm trying. My eyes are as heavy as tombstones, maybe even the weight of an entire mausoleum! However…

I'm in here. But nobody can hear me, so nobody can help.

They keep promising me all these lovely things to make me happy- 'if' I wake up. I know they're not saying it from a place of doubt. My family and friends are trying to bribe me out of me coma. They don't realize that I don't want any of that stuff, not even the promise of different things that will make me happy.

Happiness. Hn. Is that the only means of acknowledging that one has a good existence? Can there be no bad? That hardly seems any more fair than my having to listen to their sorrow that I won't wake up. I honestly believe I'd become a serial killer, if I was given nothing but happiness all the time. Not because I don't like it, but because I'm stronger than having just that in my life. I'm not a baby.

Black and white. Night and day. Good and bad. Everything has a push and pull. If I'm to be happy all the time, I probably shouldn't even be standing…

I've thought it before, and I'll likely always think it. We leave this world with even less than we had when we came into it.

Everything you gain is slowly taken away from you as you age, or meet with some accident. Even happinesses, friends, and family, lovers, and haters. All gone. You've experienced them, and whether they came in a form of good or bad, eventually… it's all going away.

However; I'm not done yet. I haven't experienced anything of my life, not really…

Just wait for me a little longer everybody. Not to always play on my name, but, even if my existence is merely a smug of ash, I will continue to rise.

August 1rst, 2016.

"You're doing so well today, Hakuo," Emiko Krenn says to her son's shell of a body.

She and her husband have been massaging him, and helping him to walk about the room- not figuratively either; they've got his arms hung around their shoulders, their nearest arm to Hakuo has him around the waist while the other is placed on the back of his thigh to assist him in the simulation of walking normally. They don't know if it will help, but it certainly doesn't hurt. And none of the nurses have tried to stop them, so that's a good sign that they aren't hurting Hakuo.

"It's okay that you're smiling," Trevor says. "I can smell the brownies from here, too,"

Hakuo isn't actually smiling, but if Pinocchio is to become a real boy, he should be treated like a real boy. Who knows, he may actually be smiling beyond the veil as he appreciates the sweet chocolatey scent lying heavily in the air.

"Let's break," Trevor says straightening up from his slight bend. "My back is killing me,"

"Not mine." Bragged his wife with an impish smile.

"That's because you can walk under a door." Trevor impishly grinned back.

"Oh ho ho, you're so funny."

Trevor hoists his son into his arms bridal style and deposits him back into his bed. "I could use something to eat, too; that smell is driving me insane. Do you want a burger?"

"Sure." For someone who's back is fine, she was caught giving it a stretching. "Get two, I'm hungry and I don't want any fries."

"You dangerous woman," Trevor snickers. "busting up the romance of a burger and fries combo."

"It's cheating on them too, I want a garden salad on the side."

Trevor's mouth dropped in shock, and he snickered as he left the room.

"Well, looks like it's just you and me kid." She removes a book from her purse. "We were on chapter seventeen; that Amelia is in some kind of snit," Taking a seat, she begins to read outloud.

When the Krenns left the hospital for the day, the nurses resumed their jobs treating the patients. Nurse Tony had been beside himself when he saw the new patient under his care was none other than Hakuo Krenn. He felt sick. He felt like he should relinquish his position at work and trade with someone else, take their shifts. But, it's hard to get people to care about the coma ward patients. The only patients less sought after are cadavers who need to be cleaned. Then there's the elderly who've lost control of their bodily functions. Angry patients are a nuisance, but they're easier to deal with than the top tier of "not me" patients.

It isn't because he hates Hakuo for what happened between the Krenn teen and his brother. But because he thought it might look bad if the other staff were to find out and start whispering. He likes his job, unlike others he can come to work and not feel stressed out even when he's stressed to begin with. No sounds, no ill-will towards you. These people are saints. And all he has to do is check their vitals, change this, clean that. Happy, happy.

But… Hakuo. What if people think that he might hurt him because of Ezio? What if they whisper that he's ass kissing- because of Ezio. Good word-of-mouth can be just as stressful as bad. All that praise when you're really not doing anything spectacular but coming to work and performing your duties. And between him and the comatose young man, he isn't trying to kiss his ass- he has no reason to. He didn't do anything wrong to have to repent for it. He's on his brother's side that nothing bad had happened between them, so he doesn't feel he has to kiss his ass to make up for what Ezio did, because Ezio didn't do a thing.

He cleaned the patients, spoke to them, then left the room. Job done.

November 14th, 2016.

"Look at all this great stuff, you've got balloons, and cards, gifts," Tony touched the items left for Hakuo by the Krenn family. "I didn't know your birthday was today," he caught himself swallowing when saying that. He knew that there was something special about today, because for a long time, each year, his brother would make a stink about it: having a piece of cake, lighting a candle, buying a flower and whatnot. He never knew why, though. Ezi' never explained. Not until earlier this year when he'd spoken about having to get the perfect gift now that Hakuo was back at home.

He thought Ezio was joking, but he wasn't. He liked the kid. He explained to him how there was nothing wrong with it. He's a man in the eyes of the law, not old enough to drink but old enough to counted as an adult. He liked him and wanted to date him- if Hakuo would just say, yes. He obviously didn't say "yes", but neither did he tell his brother, "no".

He's not even sure Ezi' ever got around to asking him. No wonder the kid freaked out. Ezio tends to be a little over eager. It probably just freaked the boy out. Yeah, Ezi' did nothing wrong.

He washed the patients and left the room.

December 23rd, 2016.

"We've got a pretty sweet place together," Gev is saying to the sleeping beauty; if only a kiss could wake him. He'd do it forty fold, if he thought it would do the trick.

But, he's not that intrusive to try, if the kisses to the forehead and temple haven't roused the comatose Krenn, why would the lips matter?

"Me and Yakuza have no fucking decorating skills, Ludwig had to do the whole house. He pointed, and we hung up and taped shit in place. But he masterminded the whole thing." Gev stuffed his phone into his pocket. "I'll show you the pictures when you get out of here,"

Yakusoku walked into the room, he and Ludwig were looking for a parking spot and finally just gave up and left the car in the lot of the supermarket next door. "How does he look?"

Most of the time when Gev came to see Hakuo, he'd go it alone. But he and Ludwig wanted to visit him as well. They owe the Krenn their lives, and because of this he's in a coma. How can they not visit him? It would be rude to have just been given this wonderful gift of a second chance and then look at the guy who made it possible as a kiss-off?

"Like a guy who's sleeping," The answer was such a 'haduuh' that it was a small wonder Gev hadn't outright threw it in after his reply. "His color's good, though," He touched Hakuo's pale hair. "I mean, that's good, right? He's not blue or pale, he's got good color..."

Yakusoku shook his head and shrugged his shoulder. Sitting in the chair across from Gev, he looked about the room of human statues, his eye lingering on an especially elderly woman. He felt a wave of sadness as he wondered if anyone came in to see her? They must do, right? Why else keep her alive?

The trio jumped when one of the patients burped. They know it's possible, but that doesn't make it any less creepy to have a sound suddenly coming from someone who usually doesn't make a peep. It reminded Yakusoku of those times when he'd hear Maria sigh with her own voice. He thought that mute was a period, all fields covered to silent kind of a gig. But, she would sigh out loud, make this strange sound that could have been a laugh. She wasn't completely without verbal audio. But, he supposed breaths aren't voice, just air.

"I was telling him about our place," Gev says absently.

"Oh." Ludwig held Hakuo's hand, giving it a pat.

It's so weird seeing him, lying here while across from him is seated the person who he used to associate with the Krenn teen's face. Hakuo looks nothing like Yakusoku, he's actually begun to forget the finer details of what Yakusoku had actually looked like, until he sees a photo.

Yakusoku can't touch the Krenn teen. Not yet. It still feels so damned surreal. But, he cares. And he hopes for the guy to have a full recovery. Sooner than later.

February 28th, 2017.

The coma patient ward in Susquehanna Health Hospital is cemetery impressive with the noise level. The only real sounds are of running water into a plastic tub, before the basin noisily is placed back on top of the push cart that carries it and the other two tubs like it. Antonio Diaz wheeled the cart over to the first patient, greeting her as he does each and every time he bathes her, and the other flesh statues.

It's work that's modest and humbling, as one begins to appreciate their own mortality when caring for someone on the cusp of losing their own.

"There you are, nice and tidy." He slips the gown back into place over her body.

Moving on to the next bed, his dark brown eyes slide over to the bed next to the one he's currently stationed. Who would have thought… Who could have ever imagined that the teen would fall into a coma? And for this long!

'If my brother were alive today,' thought the man.

He could just see Ezio, suddenly more interested in being around the hospital further than the length of the research lab and cafeteria. He'd want to help him with his task of cleaning the patients and changing the bedding. And he would let him help. His brother is not harmful, and he believed him when he'd said that he didn't rape the Krenn teen. They had sex, Hakuo was confused, scared perhaps by living through an episode while he and his brother were supposed to be sharing a tender moment. With Hakuo Krenn's past, it's a highly possible scenario.

'Why did my brother have to like you?'

He rolled the cart over to teen's bed. Sitting him up, he removes the hospital gown and draped it over the back of the bed. He looked, again, at the many scars on the young man's body. None of which were caused by his brother, yet Ezio was painted as a bad guy. Whoever did this, they are evil. They need to be locked up, injured in self defense, and humiliated amongst their peers. This revelation of unfair treatment… He scrubbed Hakuo Krenn maybe a bit too roughly that afternoon. He let the bright pink, over scrubbed young man drop unceremoniously to the bed after dressing him in a new gown.

"Dammit…" he spat in frustration. "I didn't mean to do that, I- I'm sorry. I'll do better next time." Antonio was quite sincere about that, and when the next bath time rolled around, he was tender about doing his job. There. Repentance.

June 14th, 2017.

Antonio is washing the patients, as usual, only this time he has the television on. No, the coma patient's room doesn't have TVs in it- what, they're gonna wake up out of the blue then peacefully start watching television? Don't think so. Tony brought the touch screen in with him.

"I'm not trying to say you're boring me, it's just that I'm curious about something so I brought in this TV. Maybe you guys can hear it where you are," he remained polite by not adding "If they are anyplace in there".

The volume is up loud enough to play from the front of the room to the back. He can hear it and, God willing, so can the patients. He washed them and talked about the action movie that's playing.

"Sorry if you don't like action movies, but I haven't seen Dr. Strange yet," He's washing Anne in bed four as he's saying this. "Is it just me? Or does Cumberbatch's voice make you sleepy? I heard he's supposed to do the voice of the Grinch. How many times are they gonna remake that, huh?" with a shrug in his tone, he adds. "At least it's animated this time."

Hakuo wished the guy would shut up. Why does he have to be able to hear? He thought comas were long-winded quiet time, so then what cruel torture is this? Did he do something wrong to deserve it? He doesn't always hear the nurse, sometimes it really is silent. Cold. Lonesome. Silence. But, he's in there. He made sure to stay. He made sure to be… still here.

"I noticed your family decorated your bed post with Batman stickers," he says as he washes Hakuo. "So you're a Batman fan? I've always been partial to Wonder Woman myself." His hand stilled from its duty; a frown upon his face, he says. "It's sad that I'm learning more about you than my brother. Ezio really did like you. But… to do what he did because of a misunderstanding… He threw himself off the hospital roof- that someone so afraid of heights would do such a thing out of remorse over having you think that he raped you." He threw his hand up in defeat. "I'm baffled! I'm scared… I'm truly scared. I just wish my brother had come to me instead of doing what he did."

Looking around the room, he sighed. Antonio finished cleaning the Krenn teen, laying him gently back onto the bed. He looks down at him with a deep frown.

"You know, it pains me to say this but, your being here… in the state that you are... I guess it's karma for your being a liar."

He finished his rounds then left the room.

October 26th, 2017.

Gev brushed his fingers through Hakuo's pale hair. He comes to visit the Krenn teen in the hospital whenever he can. And today, he can. His army of bracelets flanked against the bed's siding frames. He wondered why they are up, it's not as if he's gonna roll out of bed. He's in a coma for Pete's sake. A coma. A fucking aneurysm! That was a hard phone call to receive. He felt like he was going to have an aneurysm. It wasn't as easy to just go from there. His depression hit him hard. It wasn't the kind that dropped one like a sack that couldn't and wouldn't move due to asking why. His depression walled him in and worked him hard. He worked himself into a clinical exhaustion.

It was humbling. It was also an eye opener having to spend a week in the hospital for malnutrition and anemia. When he was released, he made sure to take care of himself. He doesn't want to check out before Hakuo wakes up. He doesn't want to leave this world, when he finally has two of the three people, outside of his little sister, on this planet that truly bring him happiness.

"Please wake up, Hakuo. Open your eyes for me." Gev begged. "My birthday is tomorrow, don't you wanna swing by my place and party with us? Nothing, huh? You'll regret it. I'm having a big ass chocolate cake, some beers, more pizza than the place can make… I want you there. If you can wake up… please wake up."

I'm trying, Gev. I'm trying.

December 9th, 2017.

"Can you believe how sick some people can be?" Asked Nathen to nurse Tony.

The Small teen was asked to leave, but the squirmy blond said he wasn't going to look, because he's not some hands in his pants, mucky-boxers teen looking to see live nudes. He just wanted to see his friend and had no other time to come than right now.

Antonio slide the curtains over as he washed each patient, listening to the rambling young man as he went on and on about anything either to Hakuo or himself. He was starting to wish that he was in a coma, then maybe he wouldn't have to hear it.

'And they call me chatty,' thinks the nurse. He planned to wash Hakuo later, after Nathen left. He'd have to leave so he could clean him anyway. visiting hours were over in about six minutes. He came in early because he has other work to do because he's filling in for Nina on kid's ward.

"This old lady was found pregnant,"

"How is that strange? Old people still do it,"

"Yeah, but she was a comatose patient at a hospital."

Tony paled. "You're kidding? Who would do something like that?"

"Cops don't know. The staff said no one ever came to visit her, she was like the perfect target for violation, and also a dumb one. No family means it can't be blamed on the husband. So, they're looking for the people in charge of them, because it was likely one of them."

"I hope they're caught."

"Me too." Checking the clock, he stands. "Shoot. I gotta go. Bye Hakuo. I'll come back when I can," He waved to the nurse, saying goodbye to him as well.

"God. Some people can be so disgusting," nurse Tony mumbled as he cleaned Hakuo. He can't imagine someone thinking they could get away with something like that. And who'd even find pleasure in it? They're in a coma! A vegetable. Kissing needs joint work, and he'd like to think sex works in the same.

Cocking his head, he studied Hakuo's unconscious figure. It's so dumb… Looking over his shoulder, he wet his lips, unable to believe himself over what he was about to experiment. But he leaned in then backed severely away. No. What the hell is he about to do! It's disgusting. Dis. Gust. Ting. Sure, the kid is kind of attractive- for a guy. Soft skin, flecked with scars slightly lighter than his skin tone. Long lashes with a darkness that highlighted off his skin. He's not sure why his hair hasn't grown out black yet from the white dye he put in it, but it kind of adds to his attractiveness- maybe a little. He can see how his brother would have a crush on him, if Ezio had to be gay.

Swallowing, he looked at Hakuo's soft lips. Wetting his lips, he again caught himself leaning over, but instead of stopping, he gently pressed his lips against the young man's. Creepy, and weird. Just as he thought. Some people can be so despicable. Doing something like that, and to a degree that he'd impregnated an elderly woman! How sick is that! No. Nope. Nope. How is his brother the one dead, when people like that get to live?

January 23rd, 2018.

Antonio is eating breakfast, and for some reason it made him blush; it looked like pale grey flesh and the raisins are bits of eyelashes. He almost expected them to lift up and expose a blue-green gaze. This whole guilt trip about his brother's death was really getting to him. He just wants to apologize. He really does! For Ezio. So he can rest peacefully. For his brother to commit suicide in such a way... He can't be at peace.

But, all this thinking about the comatose patient has got him… thinking about the guy. Not consciously, just in the back of his mind, he's there… It'll be the first thing he does when the young man wakes from the deeper slumber than sleep. He'll say he's sorry, and he'll be done with the gnawing nag to apologize so his brother can rest. He'll be done with constantly thinking about him.

It had happened ages ago, but the kiss has begun gnawing at him as well. It had been purely experimental, and never should have happened, but it happened… And for some reason, as he's currently at work tending to the patients, he's still thinking about it. Why? Because his Hakuo colored oatmeal made him blush.

'I must be out of my mind,' thinks the nurse. 'It's all because of that kid talking about that pregnant old woman, who's in a coma too. It messed with my mind.' The sponge glides over the boy's semi-smooth, due to the small scatter of scars, arms slowly… lingeringly. "Y'know, you really are good-looking, for a guy," He felt he had to add that part, because when you're straight you have to dispel any homosexuality lest ye be judged a homosexual. "It's not a bad thing, being gay. Ezio was a good guy… I actually understand how it happens, I mean, I didn't at first; but my niece had this poster of some Asian idol group in her room, and of the five I thought that one was a girl. He was… damn, he was pretty. He had this shockingly blond hair, cute little pink lips that made a sort of squished heart when he shut his mouth," the nurse felt embarrassed as he recalled the day of the idol's gender reveal.

Some eighteen year old male named Ren, well, his stage name is Ren. Antonio doesn't know his real name. But, his niece had been playing Wii with him when he asked about the girl in the poster. He said something like "I wonder if she's uncomfortable being the only girl in a group of guys, you don't usually see that sort of thing."

His niece laughed and said that he's a guy. He didn't believe it. Not at first. A vixen- albeit young, but hot all the same- and of age since he was eighteen years old, how could she actually be a man? But, he niece showed him other pictures, and videos. Yup. Definitely a guy. And also no longer eightteen. But, at least he wasn't alone in crushing on the effeminate young man. The host of a show wouldn't stop staring at him and eventually he said he'd met the girl of his dreams. Having to have his hopes dashed when finding out, just as he had, that the hot blond is male.

But, his lips are soft. Soft like a woman's. Hakuo's skin is soft like a woman's, despite the battle scars that are mostly only ever seen on men. Domestic abused women never usually have scars left behind. Not that he's ever seen. Raising the young man's hand up to his mouth, he presses a kiss to it. Soft. The lack of response was... to be honest with himself addicting. Hakuo was like a warm doll that warm things could have deposited into it...

"I'm sorry." He whispered. He washed the kiss away with the damp sponge. He finished up washing the Krenn then moved on, but his gaze kept shifting back to him. Lingering. This was insane! He's not gay! He's not even bi-curious! "I've been doing this for too long, I need a vacation."

March 2nd, 2018.

He moaned quietly into the pillow beneath Hakuo Krenn's head. This was the end result of over thinking things. He'd thought about the young man so much that he became entranced by him. Infatuated. It was shameful- especially after what happened with his brother. Especially because his brother liked Hakuo, maybe even loved him. It was rude of him to be doing something so wrong, something he once spat at a man for after having heard he impregnated an old woman under male staff care. But here he is, cock deep in the young man's ass. Bobbing and slapping his skin against his skin.

And what if he's caught someday? It's unlikely. He never does this before visiting hours, only after. And the Krenn teen gets a revolving door of traffic from visitors. The family is practically camped in the halls waiting for the hours they're allowed to see him, so they can tell him this and that or leave items for him. The guy has a stationary store of letters and well-wishes, a deed to open a Toys-R-Us, and library of books that his mother or sister have been reading to him. He only knows this because he's seen them leaving the book on the side table before he enters and they exit.

They never speak to him; they may not even notice his presence at all. If they do, they're very forgiving people then, because he'd never let the brother of a guy who 'allegedly' violated their loved one near him. Too risky. Too… familiar.

Well, shit. With what he's been doing lately, it's a shame they'd of been right. He would have assured them he's not his brother. He's not into guys. He's a great worker and would never endanger or violate a patient. He'd even prevent someone who's not allowed to see the patient from getting by him. He's trustworthy! This whole sex thing is just a dumb accident. He can stop at any time. He kissed un-co-operative lips lavishly before pulling away. He can stop at any time.

April 5th, 2018.

"I'm sorry," River D'Isidoro was saying to the Krenn family; he just walked into the comatose ward thinking he'd be alone during his visit. "I didn't know anyone would be here; I can wait."

Celes stood from the soft leather chair, calling him back before he could get out of earshot. "It's okay, River. You're close to us as well as Hakuo," but he didn't need to be told that; she knows he just wants to give the family privacy, leaving was not for his benefit.

"You sure?" He is already making his way over to the bed, taking the Krenn girl's offered chair.

"Aww, and who are you?" She asks to a toddler, who looks to be either a tall two or short four. She's short like her father, so height wise it's hard to tell.

"She is my baby girl, Toni," To the girl that he's got seated on his knees, he asks of her. "Tell the nice young lady how old you are,"

Toni scratched her cheek before producing four fingers, to comply to her father's request. "You're pretty, are you a princess like Tiana?"

Celes laughed. "I certainly am," Princess. It could happen. She could easily be a frog kissing bayou woman with restaurant ownership dreams. Her boyfriend is Cajun, she's a quarter of the way there.

"Wow," the little girl's impressed is genuine.

Celes countered the girl's amazement with her own compliment. "You must be a princess, too, all princesses recognize each other,"

Toni's little face brightened. "Really?" her grin was so joyously big on her, even Hakuo would be impressed with the girl's ability to smile beyond what's capable.

"Really."

"So, how's he been," River cut in through the princess parade. "Any changes?"

"You mean besides his life slowly being eaten away from him?" Shuhei shook his head, he's seated across from River. "None."

His brother is thin. His scent of delicious cookies- sometimes sugar sometimes snicker doodle- replaced with a clinical over scrubbed with hospital soap smell. Are they even cleaning the patient's teeth? Or is the body's outer shell the only important thing to maintain? It's not as if the patient's are engaging in conversations or eating anything to scum up their pearly off-whites. But still. To prevent germs.

"This is bullshit, can't they make up some medicine or procedure to wake someone from a coma?" River frowned down at his vegetable friend. "I don't understand it; they can revive popsicles who're a hundred years old, but they can't wake a coma patient from their condition?"

Toni gasped and asked, unaswered. "They can make popsicles alive?"

"No, Riv', that's scientist who cryogenically freeze people, and bring them out, not doctors," explained the alert of the two male Krenns.

"Same difference, join together. United we stand," taking Hakuo's hand he says. "I really hate seeing him like this,"

"You're not the only one; we've barely had him back with us for a year, and he's gone again." His jaw clenched over the reason why.

If his goofy-in-the-head brother hadn't wanted to help those three nit-wits… Hakuo would be done with his training at the police academy by now, and busting with conversation about how cool he thinks being a cop is. But look at him. Shuhei didn't think his brother's blank face could lose anymore expression, but here it is; being looked upon by visitors and hospital staff alike, day in and day out. A blank slate. A semi-living doll with its eyes permanently closed. He's reminded of this doll his sister had as a child. Its eyes close when cold water is pressed to it, like a magic trick. The toy got so thoroughly used as each night its lifeless body was mock put to bed with ice water in the face, the eyes purple eye shadow acting as closed eyes remained in tact regardless the reviving hot water applied the next day.

But, unlike the screwed up doll, Hakuo will open his eyes and wake up.

"You know what gets me?" River says taking his eyes from the sleeping young man to look over at Shuhei. "He looks more like his young self now than he did when he was awake, trying to make expressions and all,"

"Mm. I think we all need to step back from those thoughts and come to realize that he was doing his damndest to not be seen as the kid we kept projecting onto him." And he knows he's guilty of it. He wouldn't allow his brother to try taking on anything bad by himself. He wanted to be the one to save him, and protect the 'child' from danger. "Hakuo wanted to show us who he was as an eighteen year old, but we all treated him like we had when he was younger. He downplayed himself for our benefit."

River thought about that; Celes, playing with Toni but listening to the pair though about that. They both realize that Shuhei may be right. They played with Hakuo like he was a toy and not a boy. And he responded, as any toy would, because it has no choice. The Barbie Girl song by Aqua played in Celes's head, mainly the chorus where she sang about doing whatever you like because Barbie has no choice in the matter, so she's happy to do it.

"It pains me to say it, but I think the only people who ever got to know Hakuo as a teenager were those three jerks in CT and Nathen. They never knew him when he was a kid, so they couldn't project those feelings onto him."

"Yeah, well, when he wakes up I'm gonna treat him as he'd like to be treated. If he wants to be someone else, okay, if he wants to be himself that's cool too." River brushed Hakuo's hair with his fingers as though he was searching for the black. "What happened to his hair? The hospital let you guys dye it?"

Shuhei and Celes shared a look between them. They didn't know whether to laugh because it was a funny thing to suddenly notice, or if they should really consider answering him. Should River know? Maybe. But, maybe Hakuo should be the one to tell him, if he wants to.

December 26th, 2018.

"If you ask me, we're the victims. Good-looking, sexy, cute, candies walking around all doe-eyed and innocent. We're told by society not to touch… it's cruel, because you're all too young- it's cruel!" He had been at home getting ready to come to work when on the news he had to hear about a little girl being taken from her home and put into foster care because her father had been raping her. It made him.. well, angry. Not because the father could do that to his own daughter. But that the media was blowing it up so much. Which is what brought on this tirade. Maybe, like himself with Hakuo, the father couldn't help himself?! Did they ever think of that? "I thought this was a world big on learning and teaching, so why decide the age to start certain subjects?"

He's undressing him with intent to what's going to happen next, it was beginning to be ritualistic. As if he was living this for his brother, doing this because his brother lived through him for it. But, now… now he's just angry. He feels a victim of it. It isn't his fault.

"I'll bet a lot of them hear their parents, just dying to see what they already know is going on- so they can just happen to walk in on it…" The sponge raced roughly up and down Hakuo's torso.

The sponge then cruised over the rest of the teen's limp body. He's turning a bit pink from the roughness the nurse's growing bitter scrubbing. "They need only to see it; so they can mimic and experience it. It's why they 'accidently' walk in on their parents. They want to know. It's instincts for man to be horny and want sex even at a young age."

Through with over cleaning him, he then drained the water and rung out the sponges before returning to the bed. He doesn't dress Hakuo, he instead undresses himself.

"I can see why my brother was so taken with you. Not to a degree that he'd take his own life, but the rest makes sense. I'd be gaga," his hand cruised up Hakuo's inner thigh until his fingertips tucked themselves between his cheeks; a little moisture and soap suds are there from the bath and he used it to slide into the sleeping young man's hole.

He didn't need to worry about being interrupted, just as he hadn't the other five times he's done this. He stroked himself to get hard, and rubbed Hakuo to get him lose. Who knew it could be this good with a guy? So tight. So warm. So that nobody knows of this, he's been bathing him twice. Climbing on top of Hakuo, his weight made the thin bed creak as he lied down and thrust inside.

His eyes closed in bliss, in and out, round and round. The slap of in. Out. In. Out. Attention diverted in indulgence, he doesn't see the hand scrunching the bedsheet, he doesn't notice the forearm elevating up until it touches him on the back. He jumped from start.

"Jesus, Christ! You scared me," he exclaimed, clutching his heart. His… rapidly… beating… heart…

Tony Diaz clutched his chest as he felt a strong pulse, far stronger than it should be from a little jump scare, shaking his very being. Oh God! Is this a heart attack! No. This feels like something else… What is it…?

He screamed in pain as his heart exploded right in his chest. He collapsed onto the glaring young man. The call alarm for the nurse's station went off. Soon the room would be occupied with nurses and doctors all coming in to see the sight of a nurse who'd died after raping a coma patient.

One week later...

'Yes, I'm awake.' Thinks Hakuo. He's lying in bed at the hospital; the recovery ward. 'What does it mean exactly? Another chance to get things right? I thought that's what I had been doing in the first place. How could things have gone so badly?'

Emiko Krenn enters the room. A young boy smiles when seeing her, she smiled back. Quietly she stands beside her son's bed. "I hope I'm not waking you,"

He jolted when her fingers poked into his back. Slowly, ever so slowly he rolled his weight about until with help from his mother and the metal bed siding barriers, he sat upright. Hakuo then shrugs his hand out asking in silence "What the hell"?

"Don't look at me like that," taking a seat, she places a glass Tupperware container onto the bed tray, turning it inward to stand before her son. The container is filled with egg drop soup that has brown rice and other various nutricious: carrots, peas, chicken breast chopped very finely so that it all goes down with little effort put towards chewing and swallowing and digesting. "I'm just making sure that you're still…"

'Awake.'

"…Alive." She smoothed his hair down with her hand, the gentle touch is leaned into. "Eat all of it, please," She kissed his temple. "I know it's hard, but you need to try." Grabbing the book from beside the bed, she opened it to where she'd left off then began reading to him.

Hakuo ate, slowly chewing and carefully swallowing his meal. Another soup of some kind, ultimately them same meal each day. Something easy to eat, easy to chew, easy to digest. His mother and sister would read to him, picking up where the other left off. His father and brother talked about the sport of the season, his dad mentioned getting him a gym membership pass once he's well enough to leave the hospital and begin a workout more vigorous than remaining stable. The first week after waking up from a coma is most crucial for proper care and watching over. He could be awake today then gone tomorrow. It happens that way all them time. Rapid organ failure, doctors term it as.

"I pulled the sword from my walking stick and pointed…" Emiko trailed off from reading and closed the book; marking the place with her finger as a bookmark would, obstructing it from closing and losing her place. "Please talk," she asked softly.

Hakuo parted his lips, but rather than speak he stuffed the spoon into his mouth ingesting another bite of food. Again and again the action is repeated.

"Hakuo?" his mother held his chin to turn his head so that he's facing her. "Can you speak?"

He nods.

"Will you speak to me?"

He shook his head.

"But why?"

Hakuo sighed. Handing her the empty food container; the patient rolls his weight onto his side before lowering himself into the flimsy hospital bedding. Hiding his face, he closed his eyes.

"Are you mad at me?" she then asks, baffled as to why he hasn't said anything since having woken up a week ago. Again, he shakes his head. "I'd understand your reason. We never should have left you in this hospital. Had we known… but this place is ranked number one in neuro care. It was urgent; when you passed out that day, we just wanted you cared for. We wanted you saved."

Hakuo placed his hand over his mother's, giving it a gentle squeeze. "I won't let you..." He swallowed over a lump in his throat. Forming words was easy in his head but hard to convey when the coma left him altered physically. "blame yourselves f- f.. for wanting to sss.. to save my ssstupid ass. I wasn't saying anything..."

Emiko held up her free hand asking that he not speak anymore. It's too trying for him, it seems.

But, Hakuo is stubborn and continued regardless. He won't let this thing beat him. He can't. No matter how difficult his body is making it. He's alive, and if he's alive, he will live. "I'm emm..mmbarrassed about what happened. I'm emmbarrassed because I keep letting all of you down. I'm not saying" He took a moment to catch his breath then pressed on. "anything... because I'm.. afraid."

"Afraid?" How could he be afraid? Of what? Of whom? Surely not of his own family.

"I'm afraid that if I ap- ...ologize none of you will accept it." His chin trembled from tears. "I've blown it so many times; I don't feel ready to hear that you're d-..done with me because you've had enough."

"Dammit, Hakuo," standing, she pulls him up into her arms wrappings them around him. Placing a kiss to the side of his head; she hugs him firmly but also ever so gently in her strong, warm embrace. "Don't you ever sit alone with such horrible thoughts like that. Not ever again. We love you. We love you. So please, be an angel, screw up, be mad, hate us... But don't you ever feel that we don't want you for better or worse."

That did it. His floodgates opened up and he dried himself out by crying.

"Ssshh, ssshhh," Emiko shushed her sweet child. "It's ok, now. Every thing is ok."

"I'm tired of ffffighting," he sniffs. "I'm so ti- tired,"

Emiko could imagine. He's been sleeping that tired off, nearly two long years...


© Copyright 2019 Ruelynn. All rights reserved.

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