Friday, 8 January 2016

Chapter four (segment nine), 2016, October, Yukio

Twice a nurse had arrived only to tell him there were no news.

Yukio looked at the rows of chairs where Kyoko lay sleeping head to head with Kuri. By the windows Sato-sensei walked the length of the waiting room. First left to right, stop and turn, and then back again. She had done so for the last half an hour and remained silent throughout the time.

The clock on the wall showed half past two am, and a long day made itself felt in his limbs.

With a sigh Yukio rummaged through the last of his coins. Sato-sensei nodded when he shot her a questioning look and he went to buy two cans of coffee. Come tomorrow his stomach would have him pay for his excess coffee-drinking.

“Black,” Yukio said as he handed over one hot can to Sato-sensei. He didn't have to. She had drunk nothing but black coffee since she arrived, but it was the polite thing to do.

Urufu's guardian nodded her thanks and opened her can. Yukio copied her, turned and walked back to where the undefined zone where waiting room and corridor melded into one. Back at the windows Sato-sensei resumed her walking only broken by taking a sip of more and more lukewarm coffee whenever she reached a wall.

Yukio spent his time standing under a lamp and read the same poster he had read several times since Kyoko fell asleep.

A part of him wanted to shake her awake so he could get some much needed sleep himself. Another adamantly refused anything so unchivalrous, and a third told him he was a stuck up idiot. Kyoko wouldn't thank him for spending the entire night awake and leaving her to sleep through it.

He pushed the thought away and read another poster he by now knew by heart.

From the chairs he heard one of the girls stirring and moaning, and shortly after Kuri groggily sat up. She looked around her with panic in her eyes until she recognised him by the bulletin board.

“Anything?” she asked and rose from her chair.

Yukio shook his head. “I'm sorry. They'll tell us when they know more.”

“What time...” Kuri stared at the clock above his head and smirked. “You let me sleep that long?”

He emptied the last of his tepid coffee and nodded. “No reason to wake you up.” Yukio looked at the windows until Kuri started turning. “Sato-sensei arrived a while ago.” There wasn't much point in telling Kuri Sato-sensei had been here for over two hours.

“You're late,” Kuri said. “I tried to reach you earlier, but they wouldn't let me through. I'm sorry.”

Why are you apologising?

“It's not your fault. You tried.” With those words Urufu's guardian abandoned the windows and walked to Kuri.

In the poor light Kuri looked like the older of the two women. Something in the way she stood showed her true age, and Yukio saw how Sato-sensei momentarily deferred to his fellow student.

I always forget who's the more experienced, he thought. And that she's not from here, he added mentally. What would Urufu have done?

The answer came surprisingly quickly. Yukio resolutely walked to Kuri and hugged her. “He'll be just fine. He always is.”

Sato-sensei glared at him with surprised eyes. She mustn't be too used to Urufu's alien familiarity with his friends no matter their gender. Kuri was the same, hugging people left and right.

“Thanks,” Kuri said and hugged him back. “You know him best so I'm sure you're right.”

I know him best? The very thought was absurd. He's my best friend, but I don't think I've ever gotten to know him. “Yeah, trust me on this,” Yukio said instead.

He let go of her and sat down beside Kyoko's head. Should I wake her and get some sleep? With Kuri awake it didn't seem like as evil an action as it had done earlier. They probably need to talk with each other.

Kuri looked at him, and in her eyes he saw that she had already read his thoughts. She nodded.

“You wake her instead,” he said. “I'll just take a nap.”

“Should I wake you if there are any news?”

“Yeah. Don't want to miss out on any updates.” Yukio could hear how unnaturally cheery his voice sounded. But I promised her Urufu will be fine. Doesn't that require me to be cheery?

He lay down on the seats Kuri had used before him. There was more than ample space for him. Closing his eyes he smelled Kyoko's hair and nudged himself a bit closer. This was the most like sleeping with her as he had ever come.

“Keep your mind out of the gutter,” Kuri's voice admonished him.
Did it show that much?

In response to his thought Kuri laughed as if she had read it.

Whatever the reason Yukio was glad to hear her laughing. There had been preciously little of that as it was. He dug his head even closer to Kyoko in an exaggerated show of affection and was rewarded with another laugh.

“What is he doing? Won't she wake if he continues?” That was Sato-sensei's voice.

For a moment Yukio felt a pang of guilt. She had to be just as worried as Kuri, but he hadn't given her feelings much thought.

“I plan to wake her anyway, so it's OK.”

Yukio wondered if Kyoko would agree with Kuri's statement, but in the end he felt rather certain she would.

Lying down his body slowly took command, and two long days' work made themselves felt. Yukio barely noticed when Kyoko woke, but he drowsily surfaced for a while when he felt her fingers digging through his hair. From a distance he heard her sharing the absence of news with Kuri and Sato-sensei.

I love you Kyoko. Urufu, get well.

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