Hello, All! I've written a thirteenth chapter for 'Silent Challenges.' Here it is!Title: Silent ChallengesSeries: Chapter Thirteen, 1169 wordsPairing/Character: Mori & HaruhiRating: TSummary: "Not since her days as a small child had Haruhi experienced such helplessness."Cross-posted to ouran_fanficsFF.net
Not since her days as a small child had Haruhi experienced suchhelplessness. While it had taken little time for an ambulance to arrive,being unable to explain the cause of Takashi's pain was a situation shehad difficulty reconciling with. For a short time, Haruhi allowed heremotions to defy logic as her heart took responsibility for what hadhappened.
The effort to stabilize him had been harrowing. Despitehis labored breathing and aggressive coughing, Takashi had indicated tothe EMTs that he would go nowhere without Haruhi. She sat motionless inthe ambulance as it became necessary to intubate Takashi in order tocontrol his breathing.
Hours had passed before doctors came toinform Haruhi and his family that what Takashi had experienced was theeffects of oleander poisoning.
"He'll make a full recovery, but weshould be thankful that Takashi is even alive. The amount of oleanderin his system could easily have caused his heart to stop beating . Wewere able to flush the poison from his body. Now all he needs is a fewdays monitoring, and he'll be back home. Right now we need toconcentrate our efforts on finding out where the oleander came from."
Thedoctor went to on explain how the plant was commonly used as aneffective means of poisoning. Easily manipulated, oleander had forcenturies been a weapon of choice amongst conspirators.
Just asvoices and sounds had begun to blur, Haruhi was brought back toattention upon receiving the go-ahead to visit with Takashi. Makingtheir way toward his room, she was pulled to a stop as Mitsukuni grabbedher by the hand.
"Stay with him, Haru-Chan. There's something my aunt and uncle need to see."
"Alright, Huni. But what do they need to see that can't wait until later?"
Thedarkened expression across his face seemed to somehow drain the hallwayof its light. "I promise I'll tell you later, once I know I'm right.Just tell Takashi that we'll be here as soon as we take care of things."
Mitsukuni ran ahead to collect his aunt and uncle, not giving Haruhi anymore time to respond or ask another question.
Haruhicontinued toward Takashi's room alone. Though she was interested inwhatever reason Mitsukuni could have to leave his cousin on such a direoccasion, she did not question his judgment. Truth be told, shepreferred to be with Takashi alone. Upon arrival to the hospital, Haruhihad been forced to leave him while emergency workers whisked him away.She was in no mood for sharing such a treasured person before they couldbe alone again.
Reaching his room, she quietly glimpsed in beforeentering. With his back facing the doorway, it was unclear to herwhether or not Takashi lay sleeping.
His sudden recognition of her presence brought her a relieved smile, and she swiftly made her way toward Takashi's side.
"How are you feeling?"
Haruhi bit down on her lip as the afternoon's events once again flashed through her head.
"Yeah, I bet. But you're going to be okay, you know?"
Remainingmindful of the IV embedded in his skin, Haruhi took Takashi's hand inher own. With a deep sigh, he pulled her as close as possible, huggingher arm to his chest.
"Takashi, what happened?"
Still tiredfrom the day's ordeal, the question seemed to frustrate him. "I don'tknow. There was kendo practice in the morning. I came home to clean up,eat, and meet you at the library. On the way there, my chest beganaching."
Knowing the rest of the story, Haruhi decided to leave itat that. Pulling up a chair, she continued to hold his hand in silence.Quite some time had passed, when with a trembling sigh, she laid herhead against the mattress. Uncertain of what exactly she was feeling,Takashi found himself somewhat worried that throughout everything,Haruhi had had no one to talk to.
She answered in a hurried voice, "Takashi, can you please be quiet? I've never done this before."
Certainlyit had been a rough day, and it was true that he was not feelingentirely like himself. Still, Takashi almost questioned whether or nothe had heard Haruhi right, as no one had ever accused him of needingquieting.
Taking another look at the close-eyed, tear-stainedgirl, it became clear to him that Haruhi was praying. Takashi gave herhand a squeeze, and knew that to be a part of this moment, he would havegone through it all again in an instant.
Takashi'sfamily returned to the hospital later in the evening, only after makinga few urgent phone calls and contacting the police. Upon being broughtto their son's and nephew's campus apartment, Sora and Akira were ableto confirm that no, they had not received a Christmas gift from theirbusiness partner in Vietnam. Sitting out on a table there laid an openedpackage of Vietnamese tea. Next to it was a half-empty mug and a notefrom Trung Pham, wishing Takashi a happy Christmas.
Takashi'ssecond day in the hospital left him feeling physically improved upon,though he was certain his brain had never dealt with such a mess. Thetea which he had believed to be sent by a kind and trusting man had beensent by his tragic and angry son, instead.
It was only whenphoning Trung about the gifted tea that Akira had learned of his friendand partner's own demise. Brewing his father a more concentrated cup ofthe oleander-infused tea, Tuan had sat across from him while he drankit, lecturing him on the Western invasion he was leading into theircountry. He had mocked Trung for believing in a fictional God while helay dying on the floor.
Angry and passionate enough to proudlyconfess, the only part of the truth Tuan kept to himself was how hisfather had told Tuan that he still loved him, as he slipped away fromthis world.
Takashi was unable to comprehend the devolution ofTuan, who he had known for much of his life. For all of his darkeccentricities, not even the people closest to Tuan would have imaginedhim capable of this. At the hand of a single, self-righteous man, onehad lived while another died.
Despite the onslaught of pressingquestions within Takashi's mind, for the moment he refused to grant themmuch consideration. His heart and his body were in pain, but he had alife in front of him, and answers were what retrospect was for.
He looked over at Haruhi, who had been curled up reading in a chair. She closed the book upon feeling him stare at her.
"Hey, Takashi." She smiled at him.
"So. What're you thinking?"
"That after I get out of here and get situated, I'm going to ask to marry you."