Falling from the Moon
A "Please Save My Earth" fanfic
By Natalie Baan
The trip to Kyoto passed with silence between them, marked only by station calls, the hum of wheels on tracks, and occasional fidgety glances and coughs from Jinpachi, which never quite became conversation. Dimly Issei realized he should be depressed by that. But there was a dark, slick mirror in his mind, and when he came too close, as now, and touched that empty coolness, his thoughts reflected away to something else--
<Station's coming at last. Oh, good. I hate long train rides. >
He felt the seat shift as Jinpachi got up, and quietly he followed out onto the platform. The hospital was only a short walk away. That silence trailed them all the way down the street, through the main doors, and up the elevator. It was broken only when they came to the intensive care floor, and Jinpachi noticed the slender figure standing in a doorway, bowing to a departing nurse.
"Sakaguchi-san!" Issei caught his breath as his mind suddenly opened, his power flaring into life under the rush of Jinpachi's emotion: <*affection, desire, wonder,*> that same wonder everyone felt in her presence. For a moment, something wild and lost rose up behind the mirror--
The flowers on the counter of the nurses' station caught his eye. So many and so beautiful--they must be responding to Alice. Even cut flowers did.
"How is he?" Jinpachi was saying.
Alice shook her head. "He comes and goes. Sometimes he seems to be awake, but I- I don't think he's really been fully conscious since...."
"Yeah," Jinpachi muttered. "Poor kid. What /is/ it with him and traffic accidents--didn't he already die that way once?"
The hint of tears that had been glimmering in Alice's eyes threatened to spill over, and Issei groaned to himself. "Don't!" she cried. "He's going to be okay. He's not going to die--"
/This time,/ Issei finished silently. Alice wouldn't speak the words, wouldn't bring up their other selves. Well, neither would he, given a choice in the matter. His thoughts began to slip away again, but the soft touch of her emotions was stirring around him--<*grief, grief and longing, fear and love*>--and it caught at him, holding him right at the edge of remembering. He could feel her dread of the past and her heart's deep connection to Rin twining together like--
--like Mokulen's vines, growing down the hallways of the base--
"Sakaguchi-san, I'm sorry." Jinpachi was scuffing at the tile floor in <*embarrassment, dismay, fierce longing, resentment....*>
--Gyokulan turns his head, having lost the train of his thought. His eyes follow Mokulen as she goes. Enju looks up at him, at that quiet, reflective gaze, the flash of the earring--
"Sakaguchi-san!" Issei broke in, with a cheerfulness that surprised himself as much as them. "How long have you been sitting up here? Where are Rin-kun's parents?"
"His father has to go to work tomorrow. Kobayashi-san went home with him, to get some things. I said that I'd stay here until she could get back."
"You must need a break. Jinpachi, why don't you walk down to the cafeteria with her and get a soda? I'll stay with Rin-kun."
"Oh, I couldn't go--"
"Are you sure?"
"Yes, I'm sure!" Laughing, Issei turned them both by the shoulders and pushed them gently away. "Go on!" And as Alice hesitated and Jinpachi started a gesture toward her, Issei smiled brightly at the two of them. <Please, get them out of here!>
Despite her obvious reluctance, Alice was moving with Jinpachi towards the elevator. Issei found himself holding his breath against something, and released it with a sigh. Nothing was safe to think about when both of them were there. He wondered at that thought, and his touch brushed something smooth--
He slipped into the hospital room, closing the door behind him. Bright summer sunlight shone in through the window, but the air conditioning kept the room fairly cool. Issei settled in a chair near the bed and scrubbed at his eyes. He was starting to get a headache. So many thoughts and especially so many feelings in hospitals--they bothered him too much, more than they should. He was worried about that. Couldn't he find some way to block his power? Hadn't he done something similar recently? He was sensitive in ways he didn't want to be, had felt Alice and Jinpachi so clearly.
<I don't want this. All I want is to be normal. >
He gazed down at Rin, unconscious in the hospital bed. <Jinpachi mentioned that you were engaged to Alice, but you broke it off when Shion came along again and told you to get lost. You're caught up in it too, doing what everyone else is doing. You're living it all over again. I wish that you could hear me, because I'd tell you not to do it. I /won't/ do it.>
<You loved Mokulen too, didn't you, Shukaido? That explains so much. You were always quiet about it, though--about everything.>
Rin was so still. Issei reached out and took his hand hesitantly, and to reassure himself he slid his fingers down to the wrist, feeling for the open-close beat of the pulse: /alive, alive, alive./ Amazingly strong and good, for a kid who not so long ago was near death. And with that there was a stirring, a shifting he could feel behind the wall of unconsciousness and suddenly <*a dark strength, a deep strength, restless, surging, rising to the surface, moving, moving--*>
--a crash of metal on metal--a man turning--a storm of anger--
* * * * *
<Shion. Rin is Shion. > Pacing in the hospital corridor, Issei struggled to get his mind in order. Jinpachi had given him a strange look when he excused himself from the room so quickly--<No, not that way!> On instinct he jerked himself away from uncertain mental footing and found himself once more at the thought:
<Rin is Shion.>
He'd fled the room as soon as Alice and Jinpachi had returned. Rin had never awakened, but under his coma there had been a quieting, a sense of rest the moment Alice had walked in the door. So Rin was aware to some extent, but he wasn't a telepath, he couldn't have felt Issei's reactions, couldn't know what he'd let leak out. It was so little, only a sense of that familiar anger, that brooding undercurrent, but the flash of personality had been enough. Rin was not Shukaido.
<Rin is /Shion./>
<So that means...Haruhiko is Shukaido? That makes a lot more sense. But why are they lying to us? They must be in on something together....>
<Shion and Shukaido? How can they /possibly/ be working together? Somebody is going to get hurt--> Issei stopped in a junction of corridors. <No. I can turn away from it. I can let it go. Whatever they're playing at, I don't have to get involved. It's not my problem. Not now.> He drew himself up decisively, looked back down the hallway, and as he turned he caught a glimpse of someone in the side corridor, stepping out of a room and closing the door.
/Tamura-san./ Issei felt the floor drop very distinctly beneath him. Not a coincidence at all.
Tamura noticed him and started. "Issei-kun? What're you doing here?"
"Uh, visiting a friend." He could guess why Tamura was there, why the man was standing protectively in front of the door with his hand hovering over the knob. "It's Kasama-kun, isn't it?" Issei ventured, and wasn't at all surprised to see a remorseful look on Tamura's face. Remorseful and angry.
<Somebody has already gotten hurt.>
<Shion and Mokulen. /Shukaido/ and Mokulen. Gyoku-->
"Are you all right, Issei-kun? What is it?"
"I- I'm sorry. I forgot--what were you saying, sir?"
"Haru-chan's weak, but it looks like he'll be all right." Tamura's expression had turned concerned. "How about you? You look like you need to sit down."
"I'm fine." Not fine, but good enough. Haruhiko was alive and so was Rin, and that was going to have to do. "I need to talk to him, Tamura-san."
The man shook his head. "Not now, I'm afraid. He's been through a lot."
"I really need to--"
"/Please,/ Tamura-san!" The force of that got through the man's denial. It made him look at Issei, let Issei see in turn that the man was pushed to the edge, holding off fear and pain with the only things that could sustain him. Duty. And love.
But he wanted to be able to trust Issei.
"It's very important," Issei murmured, and reached out with the faintest of touches. <*I saved him once.*> "And I have to talk to him alone."
He and Tamura stared at one another, and something crumbled in the man. Something slight, but he bowed his head, and wordlessly stepped away from in front of the door.
<I leaned on him. Oh, no....>
But it had gotten him what he needed and he took that chance, stepping into Haruhiko's room and shutting the door behind him.
* * * * *
"/Shit!/" Tamura Kazuto stuffed his cigarettes into a pocket and glowered at the retreating back of the nurse. Second time this afternoon. Though of course she was right: a responsible man had to admit that smoking in a hospital corridor was a bad idea. He wouldn't really have lit one up anyway, just fondled the package and thought about his day-long nicotine fit and his desire to do serious damage to something, preferably that brat from hell. He was strung tightly enough that he jumped when the door to Haruhiko's room opened, but it was only Issei. The kid looked better than before, though still far from happy. Kazuto raised his eyebrows, and Issei nodded, pulling the door closed. "He's sleeping. Thank you."
Kazuto shrugged. "It's nothing, Issei-kun. Is everything all right?" That was the least of his questions, but he didn't want to push too hard. Something serious had been bothering Issei, it had to do with Haruhiko, and if Issei got scared and bolted he wouldn't find out anything at all. As it was, Issei hesitated with his answer.
"Tamura-san, I'd--" His head snapped around, the words cut off as he locked stares with Mikuro, who'd walked up on them in that soft way the ESPer had. Mikuro froze, a paper cup of coffee in either hand--and Mikuro, whose wary eyes and inexpressive face rarely gave much away, looked surprised as hell. The two of them stood like that just long enough to make Kazuto's nerves start quivering again. Then Mikuro backed off a few polite steps, and Issei slid his gaze back to Kazuto. "I'd like to talk to you sometime," Issei said. "Later."
"Uh, sure. When did you have in mind?"
Issei tipped his head away, thinking, and as his glance shifted Kazuto felt peculiarly relieved. "I've missed a lot of school recently, and this is an awfully long trip. Maybe next weekend? Saturday?"
"Saturday. Right." Issei looked back at him and smiled then, such a pleasant smile that Kazuto started to wonder if he was losing his mind. If he wasn't careful, he'd start believing every kid he ran into was a homicidal psychic.
After he'd given Issei the address and seen him out of the corridor, he turned back to Mikuro. The ESPer was still balancing the coffee cups, grimacing at the heat burning through the thin paper. He handed one off to Kazuto. "Tastes like crap," he warned.
Kazuto took a sip of the coffee anyway, and he studied Mikuro. "So?"
"Friend of Haru-chan's, I think. Kid pulled him out of a river once."
"Mm." Mikuro weighed words. "When I was comin' over, I thought there was something unusual about him. There's that ghost shadow around him, like Kasama-kun and the kid've got. So I tried to check him out. I'm no telepath, but I can get a feel for people sometimes.
"He felt that. Felt me doin' it. Put up some kind of shield, and I couldn't get anything off him at all." Issei's stare was nothing; Mikuro's went right through a man. "He's one of /them./"
For a moment, Kazuto stared right back at him. Then he whirled and was through Haruhiko's doorway in two steps, his heart hammering so hard it ached.
But nothing seemed out of order there. He could see Haruhiko breathing, could hear the occasional beep from medical equipment. The IV seemed all right too. God knew what you looked for with that. Haruhiko was sleeping with, if not a smile, at least the blankness of utter relaxation on his face. Everything was all right. Still all right.
"Tamura-san. Let me come to this meeting." He hadn't heard Mikuro follow him, and he jumped again.
"No. I'm talking to him alone."
"You're being foolish."
Tamura laughed. "Maybe I am. But I think I do trust him, after all." More seriously, he added, "I want to get Haru-chan out of here, though, as soon as they'll release him. Someplace safe--"
"Yeah. Mom won't mind."
"So. Thank you." Then that was settled. He should go, Takashi must be almost frantic--but he lingered a little longer by the bed, looking fondly down at Haruhiko.
<See, Haru-chan? It's all right. I'll watch over you, and if I can't protect you from something, I'll find someone else who can. You'll be safe with Mikuro-kun. You have nothing to be afraid of. >
<So get better, Haru-chan.>
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