Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Chapter four (segment eight), 2016, October, Kyoko

“I'm afraid that's all I know.”

Kyoko tried to wrap her head around those last words. Broken ribs and punctured lungs. How bad is that?

Back at the chairs Kuri-chan had fallen into a fitful sleep with her head in Yukio's lap. Kyoko saw him caressing Kuri-chan's head, but rather than any jealousy she only felt pride of his caring.

It's your best friend. You must be worried sick.

Despite the nurse's advice all three of them decided to stay the night. Not because they could do anything to help Urufu but because Kyoko didn't have it in her to desert Kuri-chan again, and Kuri-chan didn't dare leaving the hospital. Yukio, well he stayed for two reasons Kyoko guessed.

Looking up at the clock she noticed how Sunday had given way to Monday. A school day she was likely to miss or at least sleep through.

“Something to drink?” Kyoko asked.

She didn't wait for an answer but walked down the corridor to where she had seen a vending machine on her way here. A few coins lighter and loaded with an armful of bottles and cans she returned to where Kuri-chan still slept in Yukio's lap.


Yukio nodded in response and looked up at her. “But let her sleep some more,” he said and glanced down at Kuri-chan.

With an effort not to wake her he moved out from under her and replaced his legs with Kyoko's bundled coat. Kuri-chan protested sleepily but didn't wake.

“It's warm,” Kyoko said and handed him a can.

“Thanks.” Yukio took two bottles nestled in her arms and placed them on the seat next to Kuri-chan's head. “Soda or tea?”

“Tea,” Kyoko said. She watched Yukio take the remaining can and put it beside the two bottles.

Yukio broke open his can and tilted it to his lips. His face turned upwards and Kyoko saw him close his eyes as if that would enhance the taste of his coffee.

Do you know how beautiful you are? Kyoko twisted her bottle open and let the taste of cold and bitter run down her throat. She screwed the cork back on again and went to the windows. Outside the glimmering Tokyo night-lights shone their promise of a never sleeping life. An illusion, she knew, but in the capital of capitals an illusion easier to keep alive than anywhere else.

“Want to sleep?” The words came from behind her back just as Yukio threw his arms around her and clasped his hands over her stomach.

Kyoko revelled in his closeness for a few seconds before answering. “No, I'll stay up for a while longer.” She turned in his arms. “I should be awake when Kuri-chan wakes.”

Hissing sounds of elevator doors opening announced a late entry onto their floor and Kyoko tilted her head so she could see past Yukio's shoulder.

“Then I'll stay up with you as well,” he said.

She hugged him closer, but she never stopped peering beside him to catch a glimpse of whoever came to the waiting room at this hour.


Kyoko looked again. It was hard recognising anyone shadowed against the lights in the corridor, but it did look like Urufu's guardian.

“Yukio, I think Sato-sensei has come here.”

The shadowy figure stopped by the chairs where Kuri-chan lay sleeping, hesitated for a moment and moved as if to caress the sleeping figure. At the last moment it stopped and rose again.

“Let her sleep,” Kyoko said. By now she was sure it was indeed Urufu's guardian who had arrived. “Don't you think you've hurt her enough.”

Sato-sensei recoiled as if whipped.

“Kuri-chan told me about your phone call. Of all those who said they care for Urufu she came here first and you last.”

The last words made Yukio flinch in her arms, but Kyoko didn't care.

“It's not that easy,” Sato-sensei murmured.

“It's exactly that easy. When those you profess to love are taken to hospital you drop everything and rush there. That's how easy it is.”

Kyoko prepared herself for a stinging rebuke, but none came.

“How is he?”

Some of her anger ran off her with those words, but far from all of it. “What gives you the right to ask that now?” Kyoko said, and this time Yukio's arms around her tightened to tell her that enough was enough.

“How is my little boy?”

Something in that voice silenced the next stream of angry words from Kyoko before he even had a chance to voice them. She looked at Urufu's guardian. What she saw in Sato-sensei's face was less fear than rage.

“I don't know. Broken ribs and some internal damage,” Kyoko said, suddenly subdued. “The doctor's didn't want to tell me how bad it was. He's in ICU.”

Sato-sensei's mouth was a thin line, and Kyoko found it hard to understand how she managed to voice a reaction.

“They told me on my way here.”

“Why, why didn't you come earlier?” Yukio asked.

From his voice Kyoko knew he was still facing the windows. He never made an attempt to turn and greet Urufu's guardian.

“I was told an hour ago.”

“We called you as soon as we knew,” Yukio protested.

“You called my job. They didn't tell me.”

What kind of awful job do you have? Kyoko knew Sato-sensei worked with the police, but what kind of department kept something like this secret from their employees?

Suddenly Kyoko felt how tired she really was. She glared at Sato-sensei and let go of Yukio. “Promise you wake me up if anything happens,” Kyoko said and walked over to Kuri-chan's side.

“I promise,” she heard from behind her.

That had to suffice. Kyoko moved the drinks to the floor, moved her coat under Kuri-chan's head so there was enough to make a pillow for her as well and lay down to sleep.

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