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Emi Extra: A Mobile Prison (Crispy Books Secret Santa)

mehkanik Dec 24th, 2012 1,346 Never
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  1. A Mobile Prison
  2. A Very Merry Christmas To Hearts~
  3.  
  4. "Doctors orders."
  5.  
  6. Funny how those words sound exactly like bars slamming shut. The one thing -- the thing that defines who I am, taken from me in four syllables.
  7.  
  8. Wheelchair-bound. Running legs confiscated by the nurse. I'm not even allowed to use my regular legs unless he approves it after checking my actual legs.
  9.  
  10. Infections, huh?
  11.  
  12. It's a scrape. A scrape that maybe got some dust in it.
  13.  
  14. No big deal, I can shake that off!
  15.  
  16. ...Then why is it they've put me in this wheelchair?
  17.  
  18. Infections in amputees are very dangerous, they tell me. If it gets bad enough, I could need a second amputation. The closer I get to the knee, the lesser my ability to run becomes.
  19.  
  20. Sure, I could still run.
  21.  
  22. But I'd have to relearn. Maybe never be as good as I used to be.
  23.  
  24. I don't think I could live with that kind of loss. Not again.
  25.  
  26. For that, I can appreciate the nurse's actions.
  27.  
  28. Then why is it I feel so empty right now...?
  29.  
  30. There's a few sparse winter birds flying under the clear blue sky. This is the second infection I've had since I started running with Hisao.
  31.  
  32. I push myself more when I'm around him. I want to lead by example, I want to show him that there's nothing he can't overcome. Just like me.
  33.  
  34. Well, before the wheelchair.
  35.  
  36. I glance down to the two rubber wheels, rocking back and forth. I'm sitting off to the side of a hallway, staring out the window. What if they were to take those birds' wings away? Stuff them in a cage?
  37.  
  38. They'd probably spend their days like I am, sighing mindlessly and doing nothing. Hidden away in a building when they'd rather be outside under the sky. Sure, I could go out there. What's the point right now, though? It'd just make me feel worse.
  39.  
  40. No matter how often they put me in a wheelchair, it never fails to make me feel helpless and remind me of my accident. Being put in a wheelchair for the first time after they cut off my legs to free me from that car.
  41.  
  42. Looks of pity, sympathy -- I didn't want any of that. I just wanted what I lost. What I couldn't get back. What still haunts me in my dreams and in the nerves of my legs. All it did though, was propel me out of my wheelchair and running straight for the horizon.
  43.  
  44. I wanted to leave all that behind me. My past, my pain, my loss; the looks of pity.
  45.  
  46. 'Look at her, poor thing. Lost her father and her legs. She'll never be the same.' I turned all of the resentment I felt towards those words into energy. Into motivation. Into nothing but willpower.
  47.  
  48. I decided I'd never let anything decide for me how I was going to live my life. If I wanted to do it doing something I loved, I would. Even if they said I probably never would be able to run again.
  49.  
  50. Leaps and bounds of progress later just keeps landing me in this wheelchair. Maybe it's a sign? Should I stop? Should I give up? Quit?
  51.  
  52. No, that doesn't sound very Emi.
  53.  
  54. But neither does sitting here in a wheelchair, riding out the time until the infection clears up. Until I run out of antibiotics and everything's okay again and it happens later down the road.
  55.  
  56. I should be out there, running. Not sitting here. Not moping.
  57.  
  58. I've been subconsciously sighing this entire time, continuing to stare out the window.
  59.  
  60. "That's, what, the eighth time you've sighed?" Quickly, I whirl my head around to the source of the voice. Hisao, wearing some winter-ready track clothes. For a moment it hurts to see, since I can't join him today.
  61.  
  62. Immediately the pain is replaced by my well-rehearsed smile.
  63.  
  64. "Mmmmaybe! Why were you counting?"
  65.  
  66. Hisao shrugs, walking towards me. He doesn't dare take hold of my wheelchair and push me. He knows that goes against how self-sufficient I am. You can only rely on yourself.
  67.  
  68. Although he's been making me question that since we started dating. He's so stubborn, so unwilling to quit on me -- even after all the cherades and fiascos regarding my past and how I felt about our relationship.
  69.  
  70. I feel like a hypocrite sometimes. Back then, I didn't think our relationship would hold out. I figured it would just vaporize, like a puddle on a hot day. He hasn't stopped, he's only matched the will I always put on display for everyone to see.
  71.  
  72. The will that was originally unwilling to accept we could have a future. That I'd want a future with him. That I sometimes dream about it when he isn't looking.
  73.  
  74. "So, want to go for a run?"
  75.  
  76. "I can't." The response is automatic, like a recording.
  77.  
  78. "Sure you can. I've got a back, you've got arms. We can do a few laps together."
  79.  
  80. I give him a warning sent only in body language. "I don't know. I'd prefer to run on my own two feet. Plus, it'd look silly and I don't want to put any pressure on your heart."
  81.  
  82. Hisao scoffs. "Oh, come on. My hearts way stronger than in the beginning of the year. Plus, you're about what, eighty pounds? I can manage. If anything, it'll be a challenge for me."
  83.  
  84. He pauses. I think he's testing out the next words he plans to say before he speaks them.
  85.  
  86. "Plus, I think you miss the wind in your hair. It doesn't feel right to keep that from you." Not a single slipup. No pity, no knight on his white charger to rescue me from my wheelchair.
  87.  
  88. He just wants to do what makes me happy.
  89.  
  90. "I'll think about it. For now I'll at least follow you to the track. A little fresh air will be nice." Our passing through the hallways is unmarked by anything out of the ordinary. Students aren't awake this early, so silence accompanies our walk.
  91.  
  92. When we get outside, Hisao grins at me from the grass, just outside the paved path. "C'mon. Wanna go for a run?"
  93.  
  94. I can only frown at him.
  95.  
  96. "Hisao."
  97.  
  98. All it takes is me saying his name to convey what he already knows. Hisao's expression crumples a bit from a smile to a frown.
  99.  
  100. "Emi, I think it's about time we had a talk."
  101.  
  102. Oh God. Nothing good comes from that phrase. I begin steeling myself, already trying to emotionally eject myself out of my body so I can prepare for whatever might be coming.
  103.  
  104. "I think it's great that you're always trying to rely on yourself first and foremost. I mean, because you're like that, I'm the way I am now. Stronger, trying to follow your example."
  105.  
  106. He sighs.
  107.  
  108. "You're more than just someone I love or date or am friends with. You're a role model, too. You've shown me a lot that's changed who I am. But you've also taught me something else."
  109.  
  110. I gulp a little. "What's that?"
  111.  
  112. A cocky smile appears on his face. "That you can't get any stronger if you don't let yourself rely on someone else every now and then. I never would've if I hadn't relied on you, would I?"
  113.  
  114. He has a point...
  115.  
  116. "So, c'mon. Break your rule this one time. Rely on me a little. I promise you won't regret it. You just have to trust me, alright?"
  117.  
  118. Trust. Promises. Breaking the rules that have always kept me safe, this entire time.
  119.  
  120. You're asking a lot of me, Hisao Nakai.
  121.  
  122. He extends his hand towards me.
  123.  
  124. I guess it'll be okay this one time.
  125.  
  126. Folding up the blanket on my legs, I place my hand in his, which he places on his shoulder. Turning around, he kneels and I climb onto his back.
  127.  
  128. It'll just be like the other times I've climbed onto his back playfully or when I climbed onto his shoulders to reach a tree's apple. Or the time I fell asleep on his back after a long hike. It's just like those times -- it isn't a show of pity. It's a show of love.
  129.  
  130. I think that's the only reason this is okay with me.
  131.  
  132. He starts off at a brisk jog, which surprises me. The fact I'm on his back doesn't seem to be affecting him. "Hey, calm down. What'd I teach you about pacing yourself?"
  133.  
  134. "That it's only important in bed?"
  135.  
  136. I blow in his ear, not having any witty Emi-ism to rebuke him with. He's jogging alongside the track, on the grass. It feels nice, I'll admit -- the wind does feel great in my hair. I rest my chin on his shoulder, closing my eyes and savoring the experience.
  137.  
  138. I can just barely hear his soft breathing and the sound of his shoes striking against the soft grass. It's peaceful. Calm. It's wonderful.
  139.  
  140. I open my eyes and realize that we've veered away from the track and my wheelchair.
  141.  
  142. "Hisao...? Where are we going?"
  143.  
  144. "It's a surprise! There's all sorts of woods outside the school, but I realized I've never checked them out." He's jogging through what seems like a somewhat beaten path through the brush.
  145.  
  146. "I'm all for a hike, but what if you have an attack or something out here? I can't help you --"
  147.  
  148. "Emi, come on. I already said I'm fine. I'm hardly breaking a sweat right now." I'm quiet, but it's still a valid concern. What if he has an attack? I don't have my legs or a wheelchair, so I can't do anything but scream for help. I guess he is fine, he doesn't seem to be struggling like he used to in the past.
  149.  
  150. Eventually the path widens out into a small clearing.
  151.  
  152. "I guess some old students used to come out here and hang out. There's a fire pit and some fallen logs to sit around on. Hisao's been holding onto my blanket, which he then lays on one of the logs.
  153.  
  154. "Wanna sit down?" He asks over his shoulder towards me.
  155.  
  156. "Oh, but I was getting so used to being a backpack." I tell him, rolling my eyes as I perch myself on the log. My eyes wander around the little spot, it is pretty nice. One thing that's caught me off guard is that there's a, uh... duffelbag over there on another log.
  157.  
  158. "Did someone leave that here?"
  159.  
  160. Hisao smiles. "I did, actually. This is part of the surprise." He picks up the duffelbag and plops it in front of me, deciding to sit across from me on the other side of the firepit.
  161.  
  162. "Go ahead, open it." His smile is throwing me off, a lot. A second ago, he started off with the worst words and just sort of... segued it into nothing relationship-threatening. Now he's giving me a heavy duffelbag with 'something' in it.
  163.  
  164. "If there's a head or something in here, I'm going to kill you." I grumble. Hisao laughs.
  165.  
  166. "Close. It's IS a disembodied limb, but not a head."
  167.  
  168. My eyes dart up to him and I immediately toss the bag away from me. "What?!"
  169.  
  170. Hisao nearly dies from the resulting laughter. "It's not like that, just open the bag." He finally manages after straightening himself.
  171.  
  172. I open it slowly, wary of what's inside.
  173.  
  174. When I get it open, I'm greeted by a pair of walking legs and a collapsible crutch. The kind you use when you're favoring one side and need something to lean on.
  175.  
  176. "How did you...?"
  177.  
  178. Hisao puts on a triumphant expression, one I'm quite determined he stole from me. "The nurse wasn't paying attention during one of my checkups and I managed to snag them and leave while he was still looking over my charts in another room." I arch an eyebrow at him. "Just like that? And the crutch too?"
  179.  
  180. He smirks. "Well, that's something else I found. There's a lot of medical equipment just lying around..."
  181.  
  182. "Hisao!"
  183.  
  184. "What?"
  185.  
  186. "What if this is someone's and you took it?" Hisao pauses for a moment, eyes aimed skyward. "Hmm. Didn't think about that... well, I doubt it is. It was in some supply closet a janitor left open, so I don't think it is."
  187.  
  188. I look to the stolen legs. Is it alright to use these?
  189.  
  190. "Sure it is."
  191.  
  192. "Hey, don't do that." I inform him. Reading my mind is strictly forbidden.
  193.  
  194. "It's hard not to when your thoughts are just written all over your face. It's nice though, you trust me a lot more now. You're more you around me." Hisao's smile warms up, which is good. I could use a little warmth right about now. It's a little chilly.
  195.  
  196. "So, how about a walk back? Only to your wheelchair, then I need to steal those legs of yours again. As much as I'd like to see you on your feet again full-time, I wouldn't want that to harm you more." I look from Hisao's face to the pair of legs he has in the bag.
  197.  
  198. Oh, how tempting that is. Most of me is screaming to do it, to enjoy the freedom I deserve; to be able to walk -- but the other half of me is whispering warnings. What if the infection progresses and I need another amputation?
  199.  
  200. Well, there's a crutch here. I can lean on it. Not put as much pressure, it shouldn't be too bad. There's a roll of gauze in here, so I can actually change my bandaging.
  201.  
  202. I begin doing that, preparing myself for a walk I haven't taken in a week.
  203.  
  204. Hisao stands up, extending a hand towards me.
  205.  
  206. I guess he's right. As much as it goes against who I am to accept help -- it can make me stronger. It can help me stand on my own two feet again when I can't on my own.
  207.  
  208. I take his hand, leaning on the crutch so I don't put pressure on the infected leg. The wound on my leg had gotten pretty bad before I let the nurse know, so it hurts a good bit when I put pressure on it.
  209.  
  210. "Does it hurt?" Hisao asks as we start moving slowly out of the woods.
  211.  
  212. "Stings a little, but not much."
  213.  
  214. We're silent for a while, but I'm refusing to let go of his hand.
  215.  
  216. "Hisao?"
  217.  
  218. "Yeah, Emi?"
  219.  
  220. "You're the best thing that's happened to me, you know that?"
  221.  
  222. I can nearly hear Hisao smiling.
  223.  
  224. "I can say the same about you."
  225.  
  226. I squeeze his hand as we exit the woods. Off at the track, a familiar figure in white is standing in the distance.
  227.  
  228. "HISAO NAKAI!" The figure roars.
  229.  
  230. Hisao flinches at the voice and I recognize it as the nurse's.
  231.  
  232. "Oh shit, he figured it out."
  233.  
  234. I leap onto Hisao's back. "Run for it! He won't chase us!" I tell him and Hisao, along with myself on his back, sprint off away from the nurse.
  235.  
  236. I guess we've rubbed off on each other in more ways than one. He's shown me the value in accepting help. I've shown him the value of being strong.
  237.  
  238. And we're both a pair of troublemakers.
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