Pho groaned as his eyes slowly lifted their heavy lids, Where am I? What happened? His whole body throbbed with pain as he slowly sat up in the stark white bed sheets.
"You're awake." A young nurse said smiling, Pho cocked his head confused until what had happened finally hit him. His eyes shot open and his heartrate monitor began to beep feverishly.
"Where's Cira?" he asked his hand beginning to tremble. "Is she alright? Did she get away?" The nurse frowned slightly and moved closer to his bed side.
"You're still in shock from the gunshot wound, you need to calm down and take a deep breath. Everybody is fine, don't worry, Doctor Young even managed to patch up your leg without amputating it." Pho gaped at what the nurse had said, instantly he threw off the sheets covering his leg. A relieved sigh passed his lips when he saw his leg bandaged from his hip to the middle of his calf.
"Where's Cira...Ania, Damien?" he asked still woozy from the drugs they had given him during surgery. A loud knock at the door interrupted the nurse's answer. She gave Pho a curt smile and moved to the door, cracking it to see who it was. Pho rested his head against the pillow and listened to the hushed voices. Who would want to visit me? he thought sullenly.
When the door opened, his hand shot up to cover his eyes from the sterile light. His eyes squinted as figures walked through the door and into the room. After the door closed he was shocked. Mom, Dad, Damien, Cira...and Ania....they were all there, to see him. Pho shrunk into his bed a bit more, feeling ashamed and afraid. Cira hung back at the end of his bed, Ania at her side. His mother began speaking to him but Pho didn't listen, he just watched his sisters, relieved that they were o.k.
"...and Cira was the one who got you here. The doctors said she probably saved your life." His mother finished. Pho blinked a few times and nodded slowly. His sister, Cira, had saved him. Even though only a few weeks ago he had tried and almost killed her. She accepted him, as a brother, no matter what he had done. Tears began to form at the edges of his eyes but now was not the time to cry.
"Cira...how are you?" he asked, his voice a hoarse whisper. Cira gave him a smile.
"I'm fine...thanks for saving me." Pho smiled, for the first time in a long time, a true and genuine smile.
"It was my fault you were out there when you fainted, then that guy..." Pho balled his hands into fists, his nails biting into his palms. "He was gonna do things to you, maybe even kill you. You're my sister Cira, I had to protect you just like you protected me all these years." His voice gained more and more confidence as he spoke. "Cira...no matter how twisted and messed up I am, I've learned something from all of this."
He fell silent, collecting his thoughts, his hand fidgeting. "I've learned that people love me...even though..." tears began to fall from his face as he admitted his awful truth. "Even though I'm a...freak. Ania, Damien, Mom, Dad, and even you Cira...loved me in spite of everything else. So I say thanks to all of you, for saving me from myself."
Pho fell silent, his eyes fixed upon the white covers. He didn't know if there was anything he should or needed to say. Then he felt arms wrap around him, causing him to flinch. Cira held him close, smiling at him and wiping his tears away.
"You'll always be my little brother Pho," she ruffled his hair teasingly. "No matter who or what you are." Pho smiled and shut his eyes, resting against Cira's warmth.
"Pho...can I talk to you?" Ania's quiet voice reached his ears. He opened his eyes, a bit surprised and nodded. "Cira can you guys give me and Ania some time alone?" Her eyebrows raised in confusion, the hint of fear hiding behind her eyes. After a few moments she lead the rest of the family and the nurse out of the room.
"Just shout if you need us." Cira said and shut the door. They were alone for the first time in weeks and Pho felt completely different, like he suddenly a different person.
"Pho," Ania said moving to the side of his bed and sitting on it. "I don't want anyone else to get hurt, I can't stand seeing everyone around me in pain." Her eyes seemed sad and resigned. "So you can have me, I don't care." Pho gave her a startled glance. What the hell was she talking about? Ania would have never done such a thing. Pho shook his head vigorously and crossed his arms, leaning back against the pillow.
"Ania...your wrong. I can't and won't do all of that to you again. I'm not forcing you anymore...I'm not going to watch every move and obsess over every action. You're 14 and a half, you don't need me like you say. Nobody else will get hurt. You need to step out of my shadow and find yourself a proper man, one who will love you better than I ever could." He closed his eyes and placed his hand over the bandages on his leg, feeling the blood pulse just beneath his skin. "You're your own person Ania, I've learned that." Sitting up, Pho hugged her tightly. "You're my twin and I will always love you, no matter what you do." he said repeating Cira's quote.
When he released her, Pho though he could see Cira staring through the crack in the door, but he wasn't absolutely sure.