Persistance of Memory:
The smell of the tiger lilies that Omi held in his hands wafted up to his nostrils, drowning out the smell of disinfectant and medicine that accompanied his trip to the hospital. He was there to visit a friend from his Greek Mythology class who was having his appendix taken out. Omi never had liked hospitals that much, but didn’t want to use that as an excuse for not visiting Kyuu, seeing as how Kyuu had done so much for him in the past.
Omi knew he couldn’t stay long, for he had a paper to write on Yellow Fever for his Microbiology class. He checked his shoulder bag for the assignments that Kyuu had missed. Good, he hadn’t forgotten them at his apartment. Lately, he had become such a scatterbrain. He stopped in front of room 10, and smiled when he saw that Kyuu was awake. The small, chestnut-haired man looked up. "Omi!"
"Hey!" Omi’s cerulean eyes danced as he sat beside the bed. "How are you?"
Kyuu frowned. "I’m fine. You shouldn’t worry so much. You’ll get wrinkles."
Omi snorted. "Whatever. These flowers are from Mina. She’s sorry she couldn’t come, but she couldn’t get away from work."
Kyuu’s face lit up at the mention of his girlfriend. "Oh, that’s okay. She’s coming tomorrow, though. She promised to bring me butterscotch ice cream. I can’t wait to be pampered."
Omi sighed, fishing a folder out of his bag. "Here’s the assignments you missed."
"Oi!" Kyuu frowned. "You have got to be the most serious man I know! Act your age, dammit!"
Omi stuck his tongue out at his friend. So, he didn’t act like the typical 21-year-old. Who cared? He didn’t have time for frivolous things, he had to get good grades. Omi had really been pushing himself for the past four years, wanting to throw himself into schooling after Weiß had disbanded. He had left the flower shop, which was now run by Sakura and Aya-chan. He and Ken were probably the only ones that missed working there every day….. Well, Ken had better things to worry about, like if he or Aya was going to be on top. Omi smiled wistfully. He was glad that they had found each other, but every time he thought of his former teammates together, it made him mournful of his own loneliness. With all the concentration on school, Omi’s love life had suffered considerably. There hadn’t been anyone since Ouka, and that had been four years, a lifetime ago…..
"Huh?" Omi asked dreamily.
"Where did you go, Omi?" Kyuu was looking at him funny.
"Oh, sorry. Just daydreaming, I guess."
"About anyone in particular?"
The blonde frowned. "No….."
"Oh, come now. I think it’s about time that you confessed your love for me. Everyone already knows already…." Kyuu joked, his dark eyes glinting with mischief.
"I hope that they botch the operation, you asshole."
"Now, now, is that anyway to treat the object of your affection?"
Omi just sighed, crossing his arms. "Finished?"
The dark-haired boy thought for a moment. "…Yes."
Omi couldn’t help but smirk. Whenever Kyuu would tease him, it reminded the former assassin of Yohji. He actually missed the sexed up man’s taunts, for Yohji was an ocean away, having chased a woman all the way to Canada. Omi could never imagine going that far for someone. What was the point? Omi didn’t even know if Yohji and the mystery woman were together or not. He would write, and Yohji would send short notes, saying that he was too busy with all the sexy Canadian women to write much.
"So, is your doctor good?"
Kyuu shrugged. "Yes, Mother, my doctor is good."
"Well, that’s the last time I worry about you. I can’t stay long. My Yellow Fever paper awaits."
"Oh, blah, blah, blah. You’re such a nerd, Omi!"
"I am not!" Omi swatted at his friend playfully. "I guess I don’t want to have to live in a pizza box, doing the hokey pokey for dimes….."
"Don’t knock it! That’s my future profession!"
"I thought that cocksucker was your future profession…."
"That was last month," Kyuu replied with a wink. "But I don’t think that Mina would appreciate that very much."
"Oh, she may surprise you. She’s got kind of a kinky streak to her."
Kyuu crossed his arms over the starchy hospital gown. "And how exactly would you know that, Omi Tsukiyono?!"
Omi touched the end of his pert nose. "I have my ways, my dear." He stood. "I’d love to continue this highly….. Stimulating conversation, but I must really be going…."
"Oh, no you don’t! I have to defend Mina’s honour against the likes of you!"
Omi laughed. "I figure that her honour will have to be defended from you…"
"Oh, come on, Kyuu! Don’t tell me that you haven’t thought of milking your situation for all it’s worth…" Omi trailed off, tucking shaggy golden bangs behind his ears. "Oh, Mina, my stitches hurt!!! Only sex will make the pain go away….." Omi whined, imitating his classmate perfectly.
"I told you not to do that. It’s eerie."
"Oh, you’re just sore because you realize what a dork you sound like."
"Oi! I don’t know why I’m friends with you….."
"Because who else would you bum money off?" Omi said with a bright smile, turning towards the door.
Omi snorted, waving over his shoulder. "I’ll come by tomorrow, after Mina’s worn you out." He made a jerking off motion with his hand.
"You’re not going to catch any fish that way……" Kyuu muttered.
"Well, that would be a problem if I wanted to sleep with fish, wouldn’t it?"
"Bastard!" Kyuu called playfully as Omi left his room.
The blonde sighed. Maybe Kyuu was right, maybe he was too much of a nerd. Even Aya, the usually cool-hearted redhead, had noticed Omi neglecting his love life. Well, maybe Ken had an effect in that arena…. Omi himself actually didn’t see anything wrong with being alone. Whenever he had gotten close to anyone, he usually wound up getting hurt. But, that had been a different lifestyle. Omi was scared of that hurt, of having everything yanked away from him in one heartbreaking instant. Omi sighed again, shaking away his negative feelings. The windows were open, and Omi could smell the salty smell of the sea hanging in the balmy air. Life was sweet, even if his only nightly companion was his hand. He felt lucky as he casually peeked into the open doors of the hospital rooms as he passed them. There were so many people here who were sick, and would have given all their worldly possessions to have the fact that they lacked a companion be their only worry. His heart went out to the people who weren’t lucky enough to have a friend come and visit them with tiger lilies.
He noticed that one room was empty of visitors, which was rare, considering that it was the peak visiting hours. The figure in the bed was still, unmoving. It was a boy, a man, about Omi’s age, who looked so fragile, so pale, even against the stark whiteness of the sheets. Omi would have kept going, but he felt something holding him in place, something from the deep resources of his memory. Did he know this person? He felt something familiar wash over him. Did he have classes with this man? Actually, he seemed more like a boy, looking so small in his bed. Omi slowly walked to the door, hovering under the doorframe. The boy’s ebony hair looked so black against the white pillows, the bangs falling against his alabaster forehead, gently kissed by the breeze from the open window. The room looked so stark, so empty. There were no get well cards, no flowers, no personal mementos. The ebony of his hair seemed to be the only think that stood out against the barren room. So dark, so black… Schwarz…
Omi gasped. No, it couldn’t be….. He leaned into the bed, peering at the sleeping face. Omi’s breath was taken away by surprise. After all these years…… the face was a little older, but there was no doubt in Omi’s mind.
Omi felt his shoulder bag fall to the ground, making a clattering that caused the blonde to jump. What was Nagi doing here? And if he was here, did that mean that the other members of Schwarz were lurking around, too? Omi blindly reached for the chair that sat beside Nagi’s bed, his legs beginning to fail him. This was just too strange. He hadn’t seen Nagi in four years, and to see him again in such a place….. Omi frowned. Why did his room look so untouched, except by doctors’ hands? What about that Schreient brat, Toto? Nagi and her had been close, so why wasn’t she here by his side, watching him while he slept. Omi’s bright eyes trailed over Nagi. He actually didn’t look like he was sleeping. He looked more comatose. Was Nagi in a coma? Omi closed his eyes, pressing his face into his palms, emotion coming over him.
"Fuck…." Omi trailed off, sighing shakily. He had only recently put all this behind him, Schwarz, Weiß, all of it, and to have it all come crashing down on him again was overwhelming. Why hadn’t he kept going? Why did he have to be so fucking curious? He could have been on the bus back to his comfortable apartment, thoughts of Yellow Fever passing through his mind, but no…. God, Nagi was back. Where were the others? What if Crawford, Schuldich or Farfarello had seen him? What if they were watching him now? He was unarmed, and he wouldn’t be able to defend himself. Oh, fuck, what if Farfarello pounced on him, cutting him open with glee?!
"Damn, damn, damn…." Omi whispered.
"Well, this is a surprise…."
Omi gasped, lifting his head, expecting the golden glare of Farfarello, the cold glasses of Crawford, the emerald, taunting gaze of Schuldich. He sighed in relief as he met the kind eyes of a nurse. Her chocolate gaze was warm.
"Are you okay?"
Omi laughed shakily. "You just kind of scared me…. I was expecting someone else…."
The nurse laughed. Her nametag said ‘Petra’. "Oh, I didn’t mean to scare you. Just here to check for changes. You know, I’m surprised to see you."
"Why?" Omi asked, confused. He still felt shaky.
"Well, not just you… Anyone….."
Omi cocked his head, his shaggy blonde hair cascading over his forehead, a golden curtain. "What do you mean?"
"You’re the first person who’s ever come to visit him."
Omi raised his eyebrows. "Really?"
"Yeah, I was beginning to think you’re friend here was all alone."
Omi laughed at her use of the word ‘friend’. "Yeah, well, I guess I’m not surprised."
"Are you okay? You seem shaken. I didn’t scare you that much, did I?"
Omi waved his hand. "No, no…. I just haven’t seen him for a long time. I didn’t expect him to be here."
"He’s lucky to have you watching out for him."
Omi sighed, his fear disappearing. Confusion set in. Why hadn’t anyone come to see Nagi, not even once? What about Toto? She was supposed to be in love with him. He would have questioned the absence of Nagi’s teammates, but he figured Schwarz weren’t the touchy type. That still wasn’t an excuse. Omi’s heart went out to the small, comatose boy. What a lonely existence Schwarz must have been. Had it stifled Nagi’s youth, stolen it, as Weiß had stolen Omi’s?
"Oh, what’s his name?" Petra asked. "We’ve just been calling him John Doe. It actually seems appropriate…. A doe trapped in headlights…"
Omi furrowed his brow. "Why do you say that?"
"He was in a car accident."
Omi sighed. "His name is Nagi Naoe."
"What a nice name."
"How long has he been here?" Omi asked, looking over to the still form on the bed.
"Oh, about eight months."
Omi raised his eyebrows. "That long? Shit…. Has he been in a coma the entire time?"
Petra smiled sadly. "Yes. That’s the way he was brought in. There were others in the car with him, but we lost track of them. They probably went to different hospitals. I think one of them died…."
Omi’s lips parted in surprise. Eight months of Nagi’s life was gone. How sad…..
"It was a head on collision. I guess Nagi here was in the back, so he was luckier. Well, I’ve rambled on enough. I’ll leave you to have some time with your friend, and tell the doctor that our Sleeping Beauty has a name." She left with a smile.
So, a car accident had left Nagi in this feeble state. The other passengers in the car were probably the rest of Schwarz. Is that why Nagi had had no visitors? Was he the luckiest one of them all? Omi wouldn’t really consider a comatose state to be lucky, but at least he was alive. Omi then wondered what member of Schwarz had died…. If it had even been them at all…..
"Nagi, do you even know that you’re all alone?" Omi asked, feeling something in his own soul mirrored within Nagi’s physical state. Omi then chuckled to himself. "What am I doing? You probably can’t even hear me… You probably don’t even care that I’m here. What’s a former member of Weiß to you, anyway? You know what, I shouldn’t even care. You tried to kill me so many times… You and the others tried to kill Aya-chan….." Omi trailed off, thinking of how this situation seemed familiar. The persistence of his memories kept hitting Omi in gentle waves. He felt like Aya, watching silently over his sister, helpless in her coma. Except that Aya had loved his sister, and Omi didn’t even know why he was there to begin with.
"Sorry, there, but visiting hours are over…"
Omi looked up. Petra the nurse was smiling at him. He looked at his wristwatch. He had totally lost track of time. "Thanks," he muttered.
She nodded, leaving again.
"Now look what you’ve done," Omi muttered, directing his voice at Nagi. "I have to write a paper on Yellow Fever, you know. Life goes on….." He trailed off, knowing that life wouldn’t really go on for Nagi. He was trapped in this state, at a standstill until he woke up. He turned his back to Nagi, leaving the room quickly.
"Shit….." Omi whispered, leaning against the wall, so many memories hitting him at once. He closed his eyes, wanting it to all go away. Why had he stopped?! He began to quickly walk down the hall, practically breaking into a run, his black shoulder bag hitting his hip. He wanted to run away from that room, away from Nagi, away from the past. He wanted to leave it dead and buried, forgotten forever in the annals of his mind. He stopped when he reached the parking lot. The sun was setting over the ocean’s horizon, painting the sky with brilliant strokes of mauve and fiery orange. Omi breathed the cool dusk air, gulping it down. He kept trying to push the past away to where it belonged: The past, but the persistence of memory was staggering, unrelenting.
"Nagi, why did you have to come back?" Omi asked, knowing that the unconscious boy wouldn’t be able to give him the answers he sought. He let out a strangled cry, running as fast as he could, trying to leave his memory behind…..