“They're on their way here,” Sato-sensei said.
Yukio looked at her from his bed. By now he had recovered enough to walk around, but the nurse wanted him lying down as much as possible.
“They?” Yukio wondered.
Sato-sensei looked at him. “The Wakayama twins, and the girlfriend.”
“OK, this is it. Up you go, kiddie.”
Yukio gave her a tired smile. With some luck he didn't look like a monster grinning at her, but with the bruises covering his face that was rather unlikely. At least they didn't hurt any more.
He shifted in his bed, moved his legs outside and stood. He was still a little wobbly, but both legs were comparatively undamaged. A fractured rib and another fracture that kept his left arm in a sling were all the lingering results from the attack. Sato-sensei said they hadn't really tried to inflict damage on him, just to scare the living daylight out of both of them. Then something went horribly wrong.
“Kyoko?” he croaked.
“Yes. Now or never.”
The two of them left the room and entered the corridor. Urufu and Kuri stood waiting for him there, and Yukio nodded his thanks to them.
Two days they had spent here. Two days for him and Kyoko. Who had better friends?
“The doctor should be here soon,” Sato-sensei said.
Yukio could see how both Urufu and Kuri flinched at those words. He had been warned. Kyoko wasn't safe yet, and after her parent received the final verdict he and his friends had been promised to be told as well.
A tall man in a white coat came walking down the corridor towards them. He looked anything but Japanese.
The doctor is a foreigner?
He was, and he approached Yukio. “She'll live.”
Days of fear ran off him in a moment. Yukio sank to his knees. Let me look like a girl. I don't care. She'll live. Kyoko, Kyoko!
“But she'll never bear children. I'm sorry.”
“Who cares, she'll live!”
“Yukio! That's awful!” Kuri rushed to the doctor. “Does she know? Ko-chan I mean.”
The doctor shook his head. Yukio still didn't understand what all the drama was about. Kyoko was saved. Who cared about anything else?
Urufu grabbed his arms. “We're going to have a conversation about what you're allowed to say about women and childbearing.”
Yukio didn't understand what was happening, but both the doctor and Kuri inclined their heads to Urufu. A sure sign of approval.
“For every item you fail to grasp I'll personally use my fist and slug one tooth out of that grinning mouth of yours,” Urufu continued.
Yukio looked around himself for help. It didn't seem to be coming.
“I'd advise against that,” the doctor said.
Finally a sane person!
“Wait until I've called for a dentist.”
Kuri nodded in fervent approval.
What the hell? They just told us Kyoko's going to be all-right and suddenly everyone's going comedy central on me!
“Doctor, what the young lady here just asked,” Sato-sensei said.
“We will, but first we want her to wake up properly. Allow her a day before giving her that kind of shock, OK?”
At his side Kuri gasped and clutched Urufu closer to her. “Poor Kyoko!”
What's the big deal? But Yukio understood that he was being pigheaded one way or another, and watching the stricken looks on all adults present, including Kuri and Urufu, not having children apparently was a bad thing, or possibly 'Bad Thing' with capital letters. He'd ask them properly when the rush of giddiness left him. Kyoko would live. Who cared about anything else?
About the same time as the doctor turned on his heels and returned from whence he came, a door opened behind them and let angry voices into the corridor. Yukio turned to better see the disturbance.
“Where are they?” Ryu's irritated voice carried over the one of an older male who apparently tried to stop him.
“In here,” Sato-sensei said.
Through the door Ryu, Noriko and Ai-chan came running.
“Been a while. How was hatsumode, man?” Yukio asked and hoped he sounded cool.
“Yukio, what have they done to you?” Noriko answered instead, and suddenly he was covered by midget arms and bosom. “Where's Kyoko,” she said, and there was just a hint of accusation in her voice.
Shit, she doesn't know.
“Takeida-san is otherwise occupied,” Sato-sensei said.
Yukio shook his head. He didn't want to downplay it like that. “Noriko, she got hurt. Badly. It was I who couldn't be by her side, not the other way around. This is nothing.” Now when he didn't care about sounding cool any longer, Yukio realised he probably did.
Yukio looked at Noriko and Kuri exchange looks. The three girls had grown so close the last months that he no longer could tell who were best friends with whom.
A few steps further away Ryu and Ai-chan held on to each other, but they didn't try to join the chaos closest to him. Ryu had something guilty in his eyes, but mostly his face showed wrath. Ai-chan looked worried more than anything else, but then she hadn't been involved with everything since the start.
Yukio grimaced. There was one thing he needed to verify. He looked at Kuri and Urufu, then at Ryu and last at Ai-chan. The third time he repeated the sequence Ryu shook his head, and Yukio had to suppose Ai-chan still hadn't been told about the arrivals.
Crap, I'm tired. I want to talk with you guys, but not with her here, he thought and looked at Ryu's girlfriend. And Kyoko's fine, or mostly fine. This time he threw a self-conscious look at Kuri and Urufu. We have to get rid of this Red Rose crap once and for all. I hate those bastards!
Because he had deduced from what Sato-sensei had said earlier. Once again Red Rose had been involved with attacking them. For the first time in his life Yukio agreed fully with Urufu's version of honour. They were going down, and this time forgiveness and redemption was no longer an option. 'While you may occasionally break your promises, never, ever, break your threats' Urufu had said.
I'll see you dead or in prison for this. I'll never rest before I do.