She watched him as he spoke, hands tremblingly clutching
and unclutching, eyes not settling on any point in the room, biting his
lips between words. She'd given up on listening to him, he really
wasn't making any sense. Something she'd been denying for the past
couple of days was becoming painfully undeniable. Her son was having
a nervous breakdown.
She didn't understand why. She'd tried as hard as she could to help him, and his brother, deal with the strains of maturing. His brother seemed fine and healthy. Yet, somehow, her younger son was trembling before her and speaking nonsense. She'd been worried at how quiet he had become since his brother had been accepted by a college. His odd sleeping habits she'd chalked off to just another stage in his development, a stage his more mature brother had skipped over. She'd had no idea he was so disturbed.
She didn't know what to do. Should she call her husband? No, he couldn't help right now. Should she call a hospital? He didn't seem dangerous. But he might be a danger to himself... he seemed almost as though he was twitching. Her blood went cold as she thought of him trying to hurt himself, or worse, trying to kill himself. How could her son do this to her?
He stopped suddenly, and watched her. Her mind raced as she tried to think of some way to speak to him, something that would erase all that he had said.
"It's... it's all right, Matthew." she said slowly. She forced herself to smile reassuringly. "It'll be okay. We can get you to... to see someone. It'll be okay."
He stared at her for another minute, then nodded slightly. Something was wrong with his eyes, but she couldn't decide what. "Okay. I need to go lie down now. Bye, Mom. Thanks for listening."
"You need to eat something." she heard herself say. He didn't seem to hear her, turning and leaving the room silently.
The ceiling was off-white. He'd never really looked
at it before. He didn't know how long he had lived here, with his
parents and brother, but he'd never really looked at the ceiling of his
room before. They had both stayed in this room until they turned
14, and then Mark had asked to get his own room. It wasn't an insult
or anything. He just wanted more space. So their parents gave
him the guestroom. It was natural that they develop in seperate directions
now. Perfectly normal. After all, they weren't really "they."
They were "him" and "him."
Mark had said that he cared a lot about Matthew. Yet Matthew was selfish and wanted Mark to only care about him. Matthew wanted Mark to stay and take care of him. Without his brother, he didn't know what to do. He was lost and alone. Someone had to show him the right places to go, or he'd get lost, and he was afraid no one would know to come look for him.
He'd been sleeping so much. He was tired again. His eyes closed. He wondered idly if the ceiling was still off-white. His breathing seemed strangely loud. Everything was spinning.
He needed his brother.
"Shut up! You can't understand my pain!"
He needed someone.
"Cry... cry as much as you need to."
He opened his eyes. The ceiling was still off-white.
Miaka held Yui's hand gently, watching her pale face.
Every now and then she thought she could see a slight movement, but it
was all her imagination; her friend was as still as if she were dead.
The thought made Miaka wince inside.
"Come on, Yui-chan." She stroked Yui's hand. "Wake up soon. We went through so much together. Wouldn't you feel stupid if you died from something like this?"
The door opened slightly, and Taka stepped in. "Miaka... I brought you something to eat."
Miaka smiled back at him weakly. "Thank you."
He walked over to sit beside her, glancing at the unconcious girl on the bed. "There's still no improvement?" Miaka shook her head.
"Not yet... but it'll take time. I'm sure... I'm sure she's going to come back to us. We just have to wait for her." Miaka sighed. "Onii-chan went home an hour ago... he said he'd suddenly remembered something he needed to do. I hope Tetsuya's sleeping all right."
"Miaka..." Taka wrapped his arm around her, drawing her close. "You can't take care of everyone, you know. You've got to take care of yourself too." His other hand patted her stomach affectionately. "Especially right now."
"I know, but..." Miaka sighed again, then looked up at Taka and smiled. "You're right. But I have to do my best to help anyway."
"You can't stay up all night." Taka kissed her on the forehead. "When are you going to come home?"
"I won't leave Yui-chan alone." Miaka insisted. Taka smiled slightly.
"Okay, I won't try to talk you out of staying, at least until Keisuke gets back. But at least try to nap. I'll stay too, and watch Yui-chan while you're asleep."
Miaka wanted to protest, but she suddenly realized how tired she was. She smiled up at Taka and leaned against him. "Okay, just a little nap." She closed her eyes obediently. "I wonder what was so important for Onii-chan..."
"Who knows?" Taka answered. "We'll ask him when he gets back."
"That sounds like a good plan." Miaka smiled. "I love you."
"I love you too. Now be quiet and go to sleep."
Miaka laughed slightly. "Good night, Taka."
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