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Tide (Chapter 11)

Title: Tide
Band(s)/Artist(s): alice nine
Genre: Drama/Romance/AU (1980s)
Pairing: None in this chapter
Rating: R overall
Warnings: Language, disturbing content, some sexual content
Disclaimer: ALL FICTION. The band members own themselves.
Status: In progress
A/N: I've finally returned after a four-year hiatus from the confinements of school and homework! Took me a while to fine-tune the chapter, but I do hope you enjoy it!


Yoshihiko woke up, finding herself lying down in a warm and comfortable bed inside a small, yet clean, hospital room. She glanced down at the dull blue robe that covered her body. She believed someone had provided it for her while she was unconscious. In her mind she asked herself, “What the hell happened? And why am I wearing this ugly thing?”

Her eyes abruptly dart toward the silver-rimmed clock hanging on the wall, as its sounds nonchalantly echo in her ears. The clock read 11:30, and the skies from the other side of the room's window were almost pitch black. How long had she been out? Her eyes were now focused on the two people sitting and sleeping by her bedside. It was her mother Rumiko and younger sister Aika. It didn't take long for one to wake up.

“Mom?” she asked quietly, watching her mother's sunken brown eyes flutter open.

“You're finally awake,” Rumiko said. Her voice still groggy, she patted her oldest daughter's head in a motherly fashion. “You really worried me, Yoshi.”

Worried? The tomboy wondered in silence. “Why am I in the hospital? Or should I add, which hospital?” she inquired.

Rumiko shushed her before looking down at her youngest daughter, remaining sound asleep. With a softer voice, she answered Yoshihiko's query. “We're inside St. Thomas Hospital. The paramedics had to rush you here when you fainted. I'm so glad that you're okay.”

“I fainted? How?”

“The doctor said you collapsed due to stress. I don't even understand why you acted the way you did back at home.”

Rumiko's concerned voice struck a small nerve inside Yoshihiko's soul. “I'm not so sure if you want to know.”

“As your mother, I have the right to know. The last thing I want you to do is die of a heart attack!”

“Mom,” she sighed. “The reason why I wanted to go to the hospital so late at night is...”

The older woman's face turned into a small frown when she stopped. Now wasn't the time for her to start shutting down. “Tell me.”

A tiny shade of red formed on each side of Yoshihiko's cheek. “I'm very worried about someone I've grown to like. You see, his brother called me to say that something horrible happened to him. That's why I wanted to come here after hanging up.”

Her mother understood after seeing the bigger picture when it came to her daughter's own love life. “I never knew you were falling in love again.” She tried not to smile, but a diminutive one decided to make its display. “How long has it been since your first love passed? About three years or so?”

Yoshihiko did not respond to the painful memory of her ex, nor did she want her mother to bring it up. That was the last thing she wanted to think about.

“Sorry, sweetheart,” Rumiko apologized sincerely. “So what's his name?”

“Hiroto Ogata. He's a really nice boy--”

“Wait...” Rumiko interrupted. “Boy?!”

Yoshihiko simpered. “Yes. He's a high school student. I've never expected a college student like me to fall for someone younger. You'd like him, just as much as you liked Tooru back then.”

For Yoshihiko to fall for a younger man, this was a bit of a hard pill to swallow. If she were to...no. That kind of thinking could be a little too pessimistic, Rumiko thought to herself. We must be strong for each other.

“He must be a fine gentleman,” she pondered out loud. “I would like to meet him one day.”

“You will...once I find out his condition from Nao...” Yoshihiko's voice trailed into nothingness.

The older woman breathed, still sensing the anxiety within her daughter. She moved away from Aika silently and placed her hand on her shoulder. She gave her a fond smile, “There is really nothing to worry about. Have a little faith.”

Yoshihiko was now eye to eye with Rumiko, believing the earnestness in her words. “I believe you're right, Mom.”

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Nao was unable to sleep due to the heinous scene he walked into earlier. His eyes hung open like heavy luggage while staring at the partial emptiness of the waiting room. Whoever did this to his only surviving family member not only gave him nightmares, but wanted to deliver his own sense of justice.

He had to calm himself down and think broadly. The last thing he wanted to do was go crazy and kill the wrong person. It wasn't worth it, especially going to prison and awaiting execution for it.

A male figure walked over to the sleepless Nao, anticipating on delivering the news. Nao feared for the worst. Was his nightmare going to come true after all?

“Nao Ogata?” he spoke.

“Is he okay?” was the immediate response.

“Hiroto is now in stable condition,” he stated. “Despite a nasty bump on his head and losing a lot of blood from being sodomized with a butcher knife, he will be okay. He just needs lots of rest and fiber to complete his recovery.”

Nao held his tears back, wanting to thank the gods for sparing Hiroto's soul. He took a deep breath, letting it go as if a huge burden was lifted off his shoulders. “Thank goodness,” he smiled. The eager temptation of wanting to hug the doctor was almost too great. But he refrained from doing so and kept his eyes on the older and taller professional. “May I see him?” he later asked.

“You may see him in a few hours,” he responded. “Right now he is sleeping in his room.”

That answer disappointed Nao, but there was nothing he could do at the moment. He later nodded to the doctor. “Thank you for everything, Doctor...” He glanced down at his name tag. “Doctor Iwamoto. Thank you.”

Iwamoto smiled at Nao. “You are more than welcome. If you want to stay here for the night, you can. I'll have my nursing assistant bring you some blankets. Whenever you're hungry, feel free to get some food from the public cafeteria.” He added just a bit more light into the information. “Don't worry about the food. It's not as nasty as a lot of the patients make it out to be.”

Nao chuckled at the tidbit. “I'll keep that in mind.”

With that, Doctor Iwamoto left with a heartfelt nod. Nao returned to his seat, not exclusively minding the idea of staying in the building, but coping with the fact of how stiff the chair felt for his entire body. However, his appetite was long lost from being too wary about Hiroto's life. Now that he was still alive, eating a big breakfast in the morning would have to come first before the scheduled visiting hours. He knew his stomach was going to growl like mad when the next morning would make its next arrival.

A couple of females, an adult and a young girl, caught Nao's eye when they walk in his direction. His curiosity began to hit him instantly.

“I wonder what they're here for,” he asked himself.

Once they got closer, he called out to them. “Excuse me?” he spoke.

“Yes?” she answered, her voice almost a whisper.

“I apologize for bothering you, but may I ask why you're in the hospital at this time of night?” He also took notice of the younger girl staring at him. He flashed a warm smile at her, but dropped once she hid behind her mother in a shy matter. What was up with her?

The mother chuckled at her daughter before she answered him. “We came to visit my oldest daughter. She had one heck of a fainting spell after having some sort of freakout over a boy she liked.”

“Oh? What boy?” he pondered.

“His name was..Hiroto Ogata I believe it was?”

Nao's eyes began to widen. The woman she was talking about happened to be Yoshihiko. “You know my brother?”

A double take was her only physical and facial reaction. “Yoshihiko told me about him. Are you really his brother?” She was growing a bit suspicious. It was easy for her to read into people, even if it meant assuming things in order to follow her own instincts.

“Yes, ma'am. My name is Naoyuki Ogata. Hiroto and I met her through Shou, who is one of my best friends. Please feel free to call me Nao.”

The introduction was quite long-winded in Nao's mind. But after getting a small notice of her suspicion, he felt it was necessary to do so.

“Ah!” she gasped. “So you're the Nao Ogata Shou has told me so much about. It's nice to finally meet you! I'm Rumiko Mays, Yoshihiko's mother and Shou's aunt. The little girl hiding behind me is my youngest daughter Aika. Say hello to the nice man, Aika.”

Aika peeked out from behind her mother and nodded. “Hi,” she said and resumed to go back to her hiding area.

Nao grinned at the two, wondering why Shou hadn't introduced them to him sooner. They were both rather vibrant for their ages. With Aika, it was somewhat expected for a young girl. He bowed in politeness to prevent himself from becoming an awkward guy. “It's an honor to meet both of you.”

Rumiko chuckled at the handsome and polite younger man, returning the gracious bow. “So you're here to visit your brother, huh? What happened to him?”

The fresh memory of seeing a half-naked Hiroto bleeding to death on the floor still haunted him. He soundlessly wondered what happened to him on that night. Then again, there was some stuff Hiroto refused to tell him. He had been acting like he was ashamed of something for a long time. Afraid was a more accurate way to word it. Wanting to go deeper to what went on made him lost in thought for a moment.

“Nao?” the solicitous woman called to him.

“Huh?” Then Nao realized that she snapped him out of his deep thinking. “Oh! I'm sorry. I was remembering about what I saw back at my house.”

“About what?”

A small sigh left his nose while explaining his reason of being in this rather depressing hospital. “My brother was almost murdered in our house.”

The statement was more than enough to stun the woman and even the hidden little girl.

“I'm so sorry,” Rumiko said to Nao. Her voice was raw with sympathy, not paying much attention to the shocked reaction on Aika's face. “Do you know who would be so capable of doing such a horrible thing?”

Nao simply shook his head, wishing he knew who did this to the only family he had left. He also thought that only one person could tell him about Hiroto's love life. That would be Hiroto himself. “I've been trying to understand what was going on with him for the past several months,” he uttered, trying hard not to show or even hint any sadness in his voice and facial expression. He was failing miserably.

Aika peeked out form behind to face Nao. “Did you try asking him why he's sad?”

Nao's eyes fluttered shut at Aika's compassionate curiosity. Was she able to see through him that quickly? Much to his astonishment, he was beginning to believe so.

“Well,” he answered, kneeling down to meet her short stature. “I did try asking several times already. He shuts down as fast as our Family Computer.” His lips pursed together, trying not to break down in front of her.

Grown men don't cry, do they? Grown men are supposed to be tough as nails! He thought before talking once more. “I wish he would talk to me. It's really not like him to hide anything from me, his own older brother.”

As Rumiko continued to listen, Aika tilted her head in confusion. “I don't understand why he won't talk to you about his problems. Yoshi and I talk all the time about ours.”

He smiled at her, but not by much. “Easier said than done.”

“Maybe you should keep trying, Nao-nii.”

“Nao...nii?” The compliment made him blink twice in response. Hiroto would still call him that sometimes, ever since they were little. He chuckled and patted her head. “Thanks for the helpful advice, Aika, and for cheering me up.”

“I'm happy to help!” Aika beamed.

A very attractive female nurse walked over to Nao to give him some better news. She was a few inches shorter than Rumiko, specifically five feet even. Her dark brown eyes and hair with perfect porcelain skin, and a curvy body to match, would make the already popular idols envious. She couldn't be much older than twenty-five. “Nao Ogata?”

He stood up and glanced at said nurse. “Yes?”

“Your brother Hiroto is awake now,” she said. “He's been asking for you.”

“He wants to see me right now? Shouldn't he get some more rest first?” For Hiroto to call him out was quite sudden.

“Yes, but he insisted on wanting to see you,” she replied. “The visit will have to be brief though. If he ends up stressed for any reason, his wounds will reopen.”

Nao nodded, understanding that Hiroto's situation was quite critical. The last thing he wanted to see was watch the exact scene from earlier play out again. “Take me to his room,” he said before looking to the two ladies. “I'm sorry I have to leave suddenly. It was nice meeting you two.”

Rumiko nodded and grinned. “It's no problem. We still need to check on Yoshihiko. We wish your brother well, Nao.”

“Thanks,” he said, rushing his way to Hiroto.