Character(s): Kuchiki Byakuya, OC
Chapter 4 Title: No Justice. Just Us
Rating: T Blood, Gore
Summary: A auto-biographical account detailing the final weeks of the life of a Byakuya fangirl. A month or two of dreams come true before her horrible, gruesome death. (She would argue it was worth it)
Previous chapters to be found here: community.livejournal.com/colorfulgreys/
"Those who are different are cursed. I don't know how it is otherwise, but at least in this world that's how it works."
- Abuelo Sado- Right arm of the giant
After falling off the couch for the fifth time and crashing into the coffee table for the third, it was unanimously decided by all my aching bits that we were getting no more sleep tonight. I hadn't even tried to close my eyes until midnight was long gone--I'd been studying Japanese for at least 4 hours. I kept drifting off mid-sentence then startling myself awake with dreams of blood spattered gore. The mostly had been about Byakuya but the last few had been a disturbing reprise starring yours truly. (And interestingly enough, in Japanese with subtitles. Go figure) Sometime during my short naps, Nicole and Ralynne had come home and gone to bed. I could hear peaceful, nightmare free breathing coming from their room. I hobbled to the kitchen. The more I moved, the more my muscles loosened up, a good if painful sign. The pain in my pancreas area had yet to diminish, though. Since my ice-cream was (sadly) long gone I poured a bowl of cereal crumbs. I needed to go shopping.
I tossed the now empty box towards the trash. Blinded by the fridge light, I grabbed the gallon of milk that was most probably mine. The digital clocks on the microwave and stove, despite being 5 minutes off of each other, both declared it was too early in the morning to even be alive. It was early enough that "Late last night" might still apply. Munching the remains of "part of this complete breakfast" I crept back to the living room. I sat on the floor instead of returning to the couch, setting my cereal on the coffee table, leaving one arm free to press against my burning guts. It didn't do much good. Ow.
In just five hours, there was a bus to Disney's Animal Kingdom with my name on it. (Not really-it actually had a big "J" in the window.) That would take me to a wonderfully magical work day that would last until 6 pm. Just moving the SPOON hurt. How was I going to get through 8 hours of--
Stop whining. I told myself, chewing another mouthful of tasty sludge. Cowboy up. There was a pause in my mental conversation, like my practical side was taking in a breath before speaking again. Think of it as the Game.
There should have been an ominous thunder roll or I should have shivered or at least glanced down at the inside of my left arm, or BLINKED or something. Instead, I just took another bite and agreed with myself. I hadn't played the Game for awhile. Fun times.
For awhile, there was just munchy-crunchy quiet. Then, far too soon, the cereal was gone. Then the milk was gone. The spoon was scraping the clean edges of the bowl. I had to pee. The floor was comfy. The door to my bedroom was closed but if I listened hard, a few wheezes let me know the love-of-my-life-so-far was still among the living--or as close as a Shinigami is to living, anyhow. He needed help. Some delightful butterflies in my stomach batted their wings uselessly against the crampy-burny mess taking up residence there. What if he died while I was at work? Or WORSE, woke up and left!
"No justice in this world." I muttered. After rinsing out my bowl, I crept into my room. I stood there, staring the figure illuminated by strips of moonlight streaming through the blinds. He looked a little different then I'd imagined--more rugged, not as delicate.
Carefully stepping past, I grabbed Japanese to English dictionary, a few more textbooks and a kanji dictionary as well. Nicole, my apartment mate, had a pretty white Mac book sitting on the kitchen table, plugged into the internet. She had said I could use the thing whenever I needed it and there were definitely some things I wanted (My own computer, a lovely HUGE windows 98 pc called Big Bertha was gathering dust at home 2000 miles away) My other roomie, Ralynne, definately hadn't given me permission to have a few of her extra stength Tylenol but I grabbed a few doses of that too.
The next 5 hours were spent alternately flipping through my stack of books, scribbling chickenscratch kanji in my notebook, and googling everything from camping accidents to war medics duirng WWII. Neatly scribing out a paragraph of explanation in the best kanji I could manage, and leaving the note on the small chest of drawers by Byakuya's bed (just in case...just in case) it was 8:15-this left me just enough time to write out a...grocery list. And when the J bus pulled up at 8:30, I was on it, grinning and bearing, ready for a day full of Games.
(And now, we fast forward through a full day of Disney Magic I'm not allowed to talk about! It's not important to the story anyhow--just working on making dreams come true. I'll give you a 3 word summary. 1. Ow. 2. *gasp* 3. Grin. Yeah yeah, fun times)
An eternity after that bus ride, I twitched a hand loaded down with plastic grocery bags in farewell to Cami. I tried to raise it-I really did!- but I couldn't lift it higher then my belt. They were heavy and my guts still burned. Still, I was winning the Game.
"See ya!" I called out. She waved, if not so cheerfully as I, than zoomed off. It was a stroke of luck Cami had the night off AND agreed to drive...too bad now she was probably ticked at me. Thanks to me prowling the aisles looking for the ridiculous and apparently random things I'd listed out early this morning, I'd rushed like a chicken with its head cut off all around the Wal-Mart. She'd had to text me three times and call my phone twice after I disappeared to go after something like fishing line or bananananananas...I never know when to stop spelling that word. I'd fended off her questions and weird looks during check out, and I now set out towards home by the light of the setting sun.
ID around my neck, I smiled at security as I trudged past with an unbearable load for the second night in a row. Behind my grin, I muttered random phrases of Japanese, trying to re-cement a year's worth of college in my blonde-tinged brain. Sleep deprivation was starting to catch up with me and my arms were burning. Still, grocery bags were a lot easier to set down and pick up then a dead body-and I did have to do just that every 20 feet or so.
Progress was slow, but on the bright side it was a beautiful sunset. The sky had rained itself out earlier in the afternoon. I was home earlier then expected, despite my shopping ADD. There was a 17% chance Byakuya might still be alive when I got home, too. My bags jostled, clanked and sloshed as I pondered that happy thought. Pausing to rest for the fifth time, I was pleased to note I'd made it ALL the way to the END of the BLOCK! Hooray! The rest of me was not so happy. In fact, the "Union of Megan's Limbs" were demanding their dues and every check my brain wrote out to them bounced. Like superballs.
Still, I had to get back. Two more clusters of buildings, the mail gazeebo, a few diagonal cuts over the lawns and I'd be there. Taking in my favorite thing (a deep breath) I threaded my rubbery arms through the bag loops one more time. To distract my brain from the "poor and huddled masses" I mentally checked the contents of my bag against the list on my phone for the umpteenth time.
ow. Ow. Aw, dangit I forgot painkillers. How could I have forgotten that?
Just make it to that bush. You can get as far as the bush, right?
Once in the store, I had deleted the second cereal and replaced it with tasty food, followed by weekly indulgences. Those didn't actually have to go on the list-no WAY would I have forgotten those. Every week without fail, I purchased a book,a bag of peanut M&Ms and a bridal magazine. :) Don't judge me.
Instead, purchased 2 sets of white sheets at 4 bucks each. Bargain!
stroke of luck there. Who knew quilting used those? Hey, you made it past the bush! Keep going.
bananananas (I never know when to stop spelling that word)
It had been a Very Respectable Looking list, I thought, with much more detail then I usually go into. AND I'd picked up a few more things that had struck my eye in the pharmacy aisles. (Although I had blasted past a certain few shelves without looking. That part of the Game was something I'd sworn never to touch again.) At this point, the "Union" chose to go on strike. I plopped down on the nearest patch of grass which instantly soaked the seat of my pants. Still, the distraction had worked-I'd made it all the way to the charming mail gazeebo. The bags had left frightful red creases up and down my arms. I stretched my legs straight in front of me and spent lots of effort trying to touch my toes. Normally I could set my forehead on my knees no problem. I left my eyes drift closed and my breath whoosh out trying to deepen the stretch. I was interrupted by an accent tinted voice from above.
"In distress again? What a high demand damsel." Cute Japanese boy from last night strode through the wet grass towards me, laughing. Trying to sit up, look up, stand up, gather up, pick up and cheer up at the same time produced a mass of unpleasant experiences culminating in my face smiling and the rest of me throwing a screaming hissy fit.
What with all the drama, it was understandable that I'd forgotten him. The smile on his face and the heat in my cheeks told me that probably wasn't the case with him. You're dreaming, Megan. He's grinning because you're pants are soaked and you've once again displayed you have the grace of a cat. Blind cat. With three legs. On ice. On fire. Wearing socks. Before my tangent factory could get more out of hand, I steadied my smile and spoke. Yesterday had been an embarrassment-but I had practiced since then.
"Konban wa!" Good evening. Right on the first try. "Genki desu ka?" Are you doing well?
His smile didn't widen, but his eyes crinkled a little more. The sun had gone down, taking color out of the world and his hair. My breath caught slightly, but I'm not sure if that was because he was cute or I hurt.
"Ah! So you do know Japanese? Oh, I mean eh." He replied. "Genki desu. Arigato." That little tilt to his head combined with a suddenly serious deep voice was teasingly adorable. I laughed and he did the same. Then he said lots of Japanese very fast-I caught perhaps three words, including "ka" at the very end. He'd just asked me a question...dangit.
"Ano..." Confusion reigned. He laughed again! Gosh, maybe I was charming after all.
"No, I'm sorry." He switched to English. "I've got a bit of an accent. You probably couldn't understand."
"Don't think it's that." I sheepishly admitted. "I've only been studying for a year. I don't know all that much yet."
"Only a year, huh?" He winked and I about died. "Let me help you with those." He reached out to take half of my bags and then some. "Megan's Union" began to cheer. As a thin, thread-wrapped braid fell over his shoulder the happiness level fell slightly. Also, some metal glinted by his ear. My inner "I am so attracted to you dial" took a twitch towards turning off, although I stubbornly kept it on. Long hair and piercings--two of my biggest turnoffs. But he's JAPANESE, Megan! And it's like a Jedi braid anyway-bet it's a clip in. I tried to get a better look at the earring-a thin gold ring connected to a fine chain that went all the way to his belt. Chains? Aw, come on! This isn't fair!
Noooo...what's not fair is you judging solely on appearance! He's carrying your groceries. Even the NICE boys you know don't do that. Be a little more...Margaret.
"So...do you want me to help you out or not?" He interrupted my train of thought.
"Huh?" I can only be Margaret on dates. I reminded myself. Besides, did you happen to forget you already have a fantasy come true waiting for you at home?
"You've just been standing there staring at me."
Oh! I'm sorry!" I waved my now free hand in the air. "Inner monologue. Never mind."
"Nothing." Following my lead, we set off across the lawn. To my immense pleasure, he resumed our conversation in Japanese.
^Where did you study?^
^Brigham Young University. Far west of here. 2,000 miles.^ There were bare paths cut diagonally across the grass where so many college students took shortcuts nothing grew anymore.
^Have you been to Japan?^
^Not yet. Three years from now, I plan to go. After graduation.^ If I could save up the money, that is. But I didn't add that last thought...I wasn't sure how to say it in Japanese.
^Really? Wonderful! Perhaps we'll meet there!^
^Where in Japan are you from?^
^The south. I'm not sure you would know where.^
I don't know which made me happier-that he was speaking to me in Japanese, or that I could actually reply. Far too soon, we made it to the door. I fished my key from my pocket (Luckily this was yet another day I had remembered to take it with me) Our entry way led straight into the kitchen-I quickly shut the door leading to my bathroom and thence to my bedroom.
With a final crishy-crinkle, the bags were unloaded onto the kitchen counter. As I turned to thank him, and pondered how I would get rid of him from here, I got a good look at him in the light for the first time. Everything he wore screamed money. Everything in my head screamed why is this guy talking to us? His hair was probably supposed to be bleached blonde, but had started out dark--it ended up silver. The tuft of hair at the end of his "jedi" braid was reddish-he probably had a million dye jobs already.
^Again, you're staring.^
^Oh, pardon me!^ I exclaimed. He just nodded. We stood there. "I mean, thank you very much." English now, hoping he would take the hint. More nodding. More standing. I could only let the silence go on so long. I mean, there was something rather important waiting for me in the other room.
"Shall I help you unload the bags?"
"Oh, nope." I waved a hand at the forest of white handles. "I'm sure I can-" Too late. He'd opened the first one. In a flurry, I began to clear away bags before he could get to the Indulgences...but I couldn't find them! Too many bags!
"Is Japanese your major," he asked," or are you going to be a doctor?"
"I'm majoring in animation," I stuffed cereal boxes onto my single pantry shelf. "I...pardon me? Doctor?"
"All of this..." he started pulling out my crazy purchases-the surgical handwash (lucky find), gloves, 6 bottles of saline wound cleanser, alcohol swabs...isn't Walmart the greatest?
"Oh, hurricane season." I blithely replied. "I like to be prepared."
"Prepared for what? Opening a hospital?" He laughed now rummaging through the bag holding the fishing line, anti-inflammatory, and superglue.
"Oh, for anything. Luck favors the prepared." I jammed my food and milk into the pockets of space in the fridge, trying to think of a delicate way to make him leave. Nope. There wasn't one. "Hey, thank you for your help, but I've got things I need to do. Would you mind leaving?"
"Not at all. Oyasumi." He paused only long enough to wave, to pass on one last smile, before he closed the door. That was...fast. I blinked a few times, completely disarmed. I'd had a stack of excuses waiting in the wings that shambled back to their respective green rooms, grumbling the whole way. For a moment, I wondered...
The shock over how quickly he walked out was enough to root my feet to the floor. That's when my sore stomach spasm-ed, cramping so hard it brought me to my knees. Ralynne was at work until 11 tonight, and Nicole until 2am. This gave me the liberty to do the following--
Allowing myself to scream for the first time all day didn't do as much help as I hoped. I slapped my hand against the floor, pressed my forehead to the cold tile, curled into a ball, stretched out flat, clutched at my abs, pulled on my hair, smacked the dishwasher... It took a few minutes of shallow breathing before the thing let up. There were some tears, but not for the pain. I could take the pain. It was the fact that I just didn't know when the pain would STOP.
Well, might as well do something useful while on the floor. I pulled out our huge soup pot and a smaller sauce pan from under the microwave. Staggering to the sink, I flipped the faucet on all the way to start it filling them up. Packaging was ripped open, things were sorted out, banananananana was grabbed, fishing line measured and cut, bags stuffed into the garbage, food put away, pots put on stove, bridal magazine added to the stack in my room, entire bag of M&Ms downed like a shot...and Byakuya's breathing got checked. He was still alive yet STILL bleeding.(and gorgeous)
"Honestly?" I muttered, carefully sliding one of the clean sheets underneath him and ripping up another into what I hoped were uniform strips. "HONESTLY? How much blood does a Shinigami HAVE?"
Back to the kitchen, I took my irritation out on the unlucky banananananananana (sorry) selected to be my cadaver. Grabbing the apartment's only sharp knife, I slashed the rubbery yellow victim open from stem to stern. The water on the stove was boiling-I threw in the roll of fishing line, the pliers, and 2 of the 3 needles into the smaller pot. One of the curved instruments I left out, along with a long string of the line, the thinnest I could buy.
Nicole's laptop still had the window open I needed-a how to for stitching up wounds in case of an emergency. It had been recommended to practice on bananas. I had 20 minutes before the stuff in the pot was sanitized, 20 minutes to learn how to save a life.
Ok. Alright. I could do this. I could do this. I could do this.
...No, Megan, I thought, I don't really think you can.