This is a backstory for Leo Capris, in my Previous chapter. I've recently re-started that story but shifted from a fanfic based on Percy Jackson into an original plot. I'll delete my previous chapter to keep up with continuity
She was the Harpy’s host, my Best friend for two years. She was my first real “Love” for a good half of that time.
She’s also in the list of people who died because of me.
The bitter end we shared that night becomes my recurring nightmares.
I hate myself more than ever.
She became my friend after the fire. She was my only person I talked to that wasn’t forced or mandatory, it was always with gusto and together we shared a reality. A reality, a world in which both of us could be happy.
I stole even that small thing from her “
-FromThe after effects of Alcohol
After the Fire, I became isolated, from myself and everyone around me. I stayed in a special clinic so that they could watch over the burns I received to my chest and face. People came and went; there were doctors, nurses, classmates, and relatives. With each person I saw, I kept shrinking away, slowly but surely. I made no contact except when they needed me to stretch my arms or examine me. I became uninterested in who these blurry creatures were, or what they spoke. The haze slowly takes over as slowly I forgot the word to describe these ever-present humanoid blurs. Only the sky seemed real enough to be normal, desirable at best. No one else existed, not even me.
People thought it was caused by almost suffocation or me breathing in of the smoke. The doctors thought that it maybe because my brain cells were damaged or that the smoke damaged my throat or eyes. But the explanation was simple. My therapist saw it the moment I entered the room. It was trauma. Though no one understood what the reason was, but the cause for my trauma became a nonissue. At least they finally had a way of defining what was wrong with me.
I walked around the clinic at night. It was small since it specialized only in keeping patients who aren’t in fatal conditions but still needed to be observed. Most nights, I wandered outside too, but gates were always locked so I could only walk around the garden area. My arm was on a sling and the bandages were changed every 6 hours. My face was half-covered with bandages and only my right eye worked. I only walked during night time. During the day, I would sit next to a window and watch my favorite show, the sky.
During the day, the gates are open even for the patients, as long as their conditions have been assessed and they were given a nanny of sorts to make sure that they were safe.
I got out once in a while. It wasn’t approved but I didn’t mind the consequence. These blurry creatures all around me only speak in a language I don’t understand anymore, so being scolded didn’t matter. The outside of the clinic was so busy. Ironically, People literally ran over each other to avoid the human traffic. The hustle and bustle seems to effectively distract people that no one noticed a 16 year old boy wrapped up in bandages, one arm in wrapped in clean linen and wearing a patient’s gown under an overly large jacket. It didn’t matter; I didn’t notice these people either.
I kept walking and wandering in and out of the clinic until I saw the first thing after the fire that seemed real.
A Rubik’s cube. It’s slightly solved on one side. But noticeably, the owner decided to stop playing with the puzzle.
For the first time in weeks, the hazy fog that distorted people around me seemed to fade. As if I was starting to be pulled out of the water.
Her fiery orange-hair accented the ever-present grin on her face. Her left forearm is covered with bandages that have just been replaced.
I started to hear the world again. Sounds became audible after weeks of muting out everything. Like being born again, standing on my own feet, hearing the world for the first time. The smooth and soothing sound was the unmistakable sound of laughter.
The room materializes in front of my eyes as the fog my mind conjured thins out. I’m in somebody else’s room. The girl stands on her bed; Staring at the Rubik’s cube at all angles, searching for a point of attack. My feet seem to carry me without my mind knowing it as I find myself only a few feet from the girl. She doesn’t notice me, being engrossed in her puzzle.
Then in an instant, as if a veil is lifted from her, she sees me. She jumps, literally, like a scared rabbit; she hides under the blankets of her bed. In that instant, the happy, energetic being I saw disappeared. Like a flame snuffed out by a sudden but strong breeze.
My own perceived vision is still hazy, still distorted, but I could make out the scared golden eyes peering from under those blankets. The world seems to shake in small volumes as I stared back at those eyes.
I say, my voice sounds so alien. Maybe the smoke really did some damage to my throat but I guess it’s because I haven’t heard myself for weeks. I Think I’ve also forgotten how I looked.
A pillow to the face was the girl’s reply. It hits my face with enough force to make me stumble back. But my assailant raised the pillow once more, readying herself for a second blow. She somehow sprang from the blankets, brandishing a white pillow. She looks afraid but confident. Her orange-peach hair seemed to keep tangling around her face.
“How’d you find me?” she asks, her voice, far from the chirpy voice that brought me out my self-induced haze. Now it’s a sharp inquisitive notion that follows her still melodic voice. I stood my ground, trying to think of an answer.
“Hi,” I say again. I can’t piece together any words. As if my tongue is numb and I can only shape it to sayHi.
The girl’s brows knit into a look of curiosity, her golden eyes droop slowly. The pillow falls down from her hands. Finally, her face shows nothing annoyance and disappointment.
“Another weirdo,” she sighs,
Her eyes suddenly becomes alert, her whole body follows, re-brandishing her fallen weapon. Those Golden eyes like small suns stare into mine, trying to read what world might exist behind my walls.
I feel insulted, there is nothing’s wrong with me. Then I realized how I’ve been for the past weeks. I guess I don’t know myself anymore. Maybe I am a weirdo.
“I’m Not a Weirdo.” I say, feeling more like my old self. I can’t say for sure if I’m Lying or telling the truth.
She holds on to her pillow tentatively, her eyes moving up in down as if trying to judge me by my appearance. I get curious, what do I really look like right now.
“Maybe you’re the weirdo,” I say, lightly accenting my humor with a movement of my face I can only perceive to be a small smile.
The pillow crashes down on my temple, knocking me to the floor. The girl’s hair whips lightly across her face. She drops the pillow on my chest, then quickly knelt on top of it, pinning me to the floor. Her lips loops upside down as her face expressed obvious annoyance.
“You’re the weirdo. Entering a girl’s room without permission and staring. It’s either you’re a weirdo or a pervert.” She gives me a sly look. The girl doesn’t falter from pressing her weight against my chest.
I hear the gears in my head grinding. This meander task of finding a proper reply gives me a headache after a long time of not using my brains.
I laugh. It’s a crazy, manic laugh. It sounds unnatural but the genuine humor still existed in the crazed laugh.
“I think, I really am weird,” I say, trying to stifle my own giggling. “I- I’m not really sure if I’m awake or still sleeping.”
The girl raised her eyebrow, quizzical yet piercing.
Words don’t seem to work with me right now, and my brain seems like it doesn’t want to cooperate.
I try to introduce myself, or apologize, even say anything that could break the ice.
Not exactly the Icebreaker I was intending to go with.
I am nearly an idiot. A few minutes more would have been enough to make me one.
The girl crouches down, her full body mass squeezing the air out of my chest. I recognize what she’s wearing. It’s the same type of Hospital gown I’m wearing under my jacket. Her nose is slightly hooked, giving her pout a very, erm,moe,look. She moves her face close to mine, her golden eyes inspecting every part of my face. I try not to stare back, and then I realize how long it has been since I’ve actually been at least on friendly terms with other human beings. I feel a grin come to my face as I humor myself with how truly weird I am.
My dry lips are interrupted from the brief display of happiness by another pair of lips that pecks mine.
More than a peck, actually. The smell of antiseptic lingers in the room, but I also catch the aroma of strawberries as her long hair cascades around my face.. The bitter powdery taste of medicine makes it way from her lips into mine. I can’t really say it’s enjoyable since those lips are also blocking out my air.
She moves away, her face doesn’t show shame or regret. Instead, it looks like she stole more than my first kiss with her act. A grin spreads across her cheeks, similar to what I guess I was wearing before. She pushes her legs down as she lifted her upper body once again, placing herself in a kneeling position. Her shoving continues to squeeze the air out of me. I gasp over and over, breathing in deep breaths to compensate for the pressure pressing against my chest.
“And you’re not that ugly either.” she laughs, her hair bouncing with glee.
The girl lifts herself from me, replacing her pillow unto the bed. I keep still on the floor. I keep breathing in and out as fast as I can. My head feels light. I guess Iwassuffocating back there.
She grabs the collar of my jacket, and with the quick forward jerk of her arm, she pulls me up.
I stagger forward, unable to compensate my breathing and keep balance. My head feels light and empty and vision spins in left then right. My arms wave in front of me as I try to find something to stop me from falling. I catch the soft silky shoulders of the girl’s gown, but unable to stop myself, I fall.
I’m still standing. My hands are gripping the girl’s shoulders. She caught me before I could fall on top of her.
Her hands grip my shoulders as she tries to steady me, our faces dropping down in mutual exhaustion.
“I guess I was too rough on you,” she mutters, our faces so close once again. My vision, far from the hazy blur I woke up to today, has shifted into a focused and clear state. There is a pounding in my ears, and constant shaking of what I see, but I see well enough.
Tears. Small thin streams leave their marks on the girl’s cheeks. My hand lets go of her shoulder and instinctively brush the tears of her cheek.
Here we are. Two strangers, caught in something that is more than another awkward moment but less than beautiful memory. Unaware of what each has in store in our minds.
My mind seems to start working again as I find myself pulling away from the girl.
“I was, trying to say,” I say, my voice catches her attention.
The girl pauses from her crying, recognizing how our entire meeting started.
She smiles, and then laughs. The melodic sound that brought be to this room returns with even more clarity.
“I guess I am weird,” I say “but I’m not a pervert”
She tries to lessen her laughter as she joins in the conversation
“But you did enjoy that kiss?” She asks, smiling like a little girl trying to get the approval of her parents.
“I’m not sure. Half the time I was just trying to keep breathing.” I say
It’s amazing how I can keep up with wordplay after all those times of muteness and idleness. What’s more catching is how fast this girl seems to be able to change her mood.
The girl laughs softly, enough to confirm that her depressed state is over.
She doesn’t apologize, but neither do I. We keep laughing and smiling like two mental patients on the verge of an episode. Each time we would look at each other would only cause more euphoria for both us. It’s enough to make me melancholic about my own melancholia.
I guess that sounds a bit too crazy, but with this constant laughing and smiling, craziness seems to be a better alternative than depression.
“I’m Lee--o,” I try to say my name. But I guess that part of me is still stuck in the blur.
The girl laughs at how I say my supposed name.
She pulls at her long orange-peach hair. “I’m Mikan,” she says, smiling as she pointed to her hair.
I can’t help to giggle. Her orange hair seems natural enough and her name fit’s her like a shoe. The only thing off was the strawberry scent.
“I guess we’re friends” she says, instant in her judgment she places her hands on her hips in a victorious pose. She is decisive in the moment, just like when she decided to kiss a total stranger.
I can think of many reasons to counter her but instead I say,
“I guess we are.”
Mikan picks up her Rubik’s cube, the entire orange side is complete but everything else is a mess of different squares. This confirms how much she loves her name.
Mikan smiles, contended with her achievement, she quickly replaces the puzzle in her end-table’s drawer. I catch the glimpse of more Rubik’s cubes inside, all of then having the orange side completed even when the rest of the faces were a complete mess.
She takes a seat on her bed. Mikan pats her bed as she looks at me, clearly an invitation to sit down. She starts taking. Her voice keeps telling me stories that lingered in her head, patiently waiting an audience. Clearly she isn’t shy at all. As she speaks her words becomes real in my head. The haze that stayed with my trauma fades as Mikan’s words replaces empty spaces in my head. I talk too. Slowly and carefully yet I keep making mistakes. My tongue keeps getting tied-up as I try to say simple phrases and words. She laughs at my expense and I can’t help but smile and laugh with her. We keep exchanging ideas, stories, thoughts and complaints. Slowly a reality forms around us, a reality where only the two of us exist. This place in our heads, where we seem to in sync, becomes my escape.
I don’t notice the sky turning orange, as my eyes are focused on Mikan. My eyes want to memorize her in every way; as if I would blink, she would disappear and never return. The late afternoon sun finally makes its existence known to me as it hit’s Mikan’s hair. Her long hair splayed around as she smiles with enough sincerity to convince you that she is the only person in the world that is truly happy. The orange light bounces on her orange-hair reflecting its glow and beauty. Her face becomes radiant, especially as she opens her eyes to address me.
She becomes a goddess for a few fleeting seconds. Her golden eyes bless me as the light of the sun reflects and radiates from her hair. This goddess of happiness, of glee and of hope, have in some arcane way, waked me from the dead depressed state of my mind. Now, her ever-present smile seems to keep me awake just to keep on watching. This ends as soon as she looks outside.
The sun is already setting.
“I guess, I’ll be leave-“ I say, but her body stops my words as her arms wraps around me in a deep embrace.
“Please, come back for me.” she says. As quickly as it was before, her mood shifts from the happiness into this depressed, dying state.
I freeze with her embrace, unable to think again. My arms slowly rises and I find myself holding her closer.
“I’ll come back,” I say “Just please, wait for me”
I’m sure of it. For some magical and tormenting reason, both of us share this fear. This fear, that neither of us is real. That if one of us leaves this room, the other might fade away in oblivion.
I realize how scared I am. How is it that suddenly this person who I barely know, can become my only tether to a reality I can live in? How can it be that we have developed this connection as if out of the blue and yet it becomes so important in this short span of time?
“Promise?” she whines, clearly trying to hold back tears brought upon by fear.
I realize that both of us are broken. In our own ways, we have died inside. But the moment we found each other, we became the much needed cure for each our minds.
I am afraid. For the first time in weeks, I feel truly terrified and useless.
My arms hold this stranger close, hoping to protect her from the evils of the world outside.
“I Promise.” I say, finally.
A bell rings outside. I take my leave, and as I leave Mikan’s presence, my mind slowly drifted back into the state I woke up in. blank, emotionless, detached. Fear creeps up to me. I don’t want to go back to what was before. I wanted to see Mikan once more, but my legs drags e further away from Orange Goddess.
I’m in my room, I guess.
I’m sitting on the windowsill watching the moon sail across the cloudy ocean that is the sky. I don’t know what time is it, or if I’m awake or sleeping with my eyes open I run my fingers across my arms in an effort to warm myself. Stinging pain jumps up my arm as my fingers passes through my skin, I inspect my arm. Bite-marks cover my right arm. Some have scabbed over while a few still oozes out blood. I start to remember biting myself in an effort to stop drifting away again. My mouth is dry and my body feels like giving up.
If I would let myself drift into the numbing sleep, I might never come back. I promised Mikan I would and I don’t want to lose another person anymore. My stomach turns upside down. The physical pains kicks in as thoughts of the orange- haired girl flood my mind.
Hearing myself say her name in my head brings me back to reality, back to the pain.
The pain is intense.
My vision turns white, pulsating along with the never-ending, mind-numbing thumping that deafens my ears. I realize that I have caused more damage to myself than I have previously thought before. I feel my wrist, twisted and numb. My sprained ankle cries in pain. Maybe, I’ve also fractured a bone in my leg and a cut my cheek. Just the thought of Mikan seems to keep me from falling back into the dark haze and pull me back into this real pain.
The pain is amazing. Torturous, but it’s enough.
Enough to bring me back to the living world.
I keep moving my injured body. I manage to stay awake for a few more minutes. Each motion is orchestrated to keep me from drifting to sleep.
I feel the soft warmth of a blanket covering my body. My right arm is now bandaged like my left, but it gives out a clean medicinal scent. My wrist is also wrapped in a small plastic brace.
Then the fear enters.
I scream. My lungs burn as I force every last ounce of air out of my body in an inhuman and deathly howl.
Is she real? My screams are loud but incomprehensible.Was I Real? Did last night happen? Was I sleeping? Did I make her up? These questions are what my mind wants to scream but only the haggard howling escape my lips. My mind tries to make sense of my screams but instead I feel a short jab on my left arm. Someone in a white overcoat holds me down, as I feel the anesthetics numb me. My breath has deserted me. My head feels like it is about to pop. Air refuses to return to me and I find it too late to take the fleeting gasp that could save my life. I pass out, but in my mind, I’m still fighting to see the Orange Goddess once more.
Light begins to return. Stale air floods into my lungs and all my sense seems to restart slowly. They’re still pumping some anesthetics into my arm. I try to sit up but my body feels heavy, I see a nurse checking my charts on the wall. She sees me. It’s funny how amazing people will seem after so being in a sense, blind, for so long. She looks nervous. Her hand is close to the alarm just in case I have another episode.
My mind keeps fluttering. The only image that appears in my head is Mikan. Whatever they injected in me seems to keep me from truly waking.
There is a mish-mash of tones and sounds that are emanating outside my room.
The sounds are words but I still can’t understand the language. Only a few words were audible enough.
“bring… Mental Ward… Observation”
I try to move but my arms are bounded. The nurse hurries to me.
I foster all my mental capabilities into speaking.
“Please.” I say, my voice much different from the one I used to talk to Mikan With.
The nurse stopped. Her eyes widen in surprise.
“You’re talking?” she mutters.
Only a few words remains tangible enough in my mind.
“Mikan,” I say her name out loud for the first time. As if her name has a spell to it, it revives me.
I realize that I’m not bound. The sheets are just pulled over me.
The nurse gives me a puzzled look, unsure of what I meant.
The nurse shakes her head as three figures enter the room. The first, I recognize slightly. As if that person was from a dream. Her face is haggard but still retains a youthful glow. It’s a face that gives out a warm glow, the feeling of safety and comfort.
It’s my mother, accompanied by a doctor and a small man wearing scrubs uniform.
I try to speak, or cry, or smile because seeing her only means that I am still alive.
My voice fails me. inaudible sounds, moans and wheezing escape my lips instead of the greeting I wanted to say.
The doctor shakes his head and rambles to my mother. He then looks at me then back to the man in the scrubs uniform.
A prick in the arm snaps me out of my observation. I start to feel light. Again, they must have used another anesthetic on me.
They force me to stand up. I comply. My body just follows to where they intend to lead me.
The man in the scrubs outfit holds my arm as he places a straightjacket on me. Terrors takes over me as I realize where the want to take me. I can’t fight back. Whatever they juiced me up with stopped my brain from taking control of my own body.
We keep walking. The walls keep looking more and more familiar; maybe I have passed through here before.
My mind fights the haze as an unmistakable scent fills my nose. It’s coming from further down the corridor.
“Mikan,” I mangae to mumble under the heavy curtain of the anesthetic.
“Did you say something?” says the doctor, changing his gaze from my mother to the man in scrubs.
“No doc, must have been one of the patients you heard.” He replies
The scent is getting stronger. And my mind is getting stronger too. Just the thought of Mikan us enough to slowly pull me form the haze. With every step bringing me closer to what I am hoping for, what I am wanting and what I need. The doctor takes a turn.
My mind is racing. If we turn I’ll never make it to the source of the strawberries.
The man in the scrubs is distracted with his phone. And my mother is in front talking to the doctor.
I need to see her, even if it is not her. I need the goddess, and I’m pretty sure that she will need me. The images of Mikan crying, lying in a pool of blood or dying in her room, floods my mind. It’s terrifying real even though I now that it was me who mustered those thoughts.
It’s enough. I can’t bear to see her in pain, even if it is not real.
Finally my mind breaks.
My screams are that of a madman. The man in scrubs outfit is taken by surprise as I ram him to the wall, knocking him down the doctorpulls my mother back and helps his assistant as I run back into the corridor.
This time I do scream. I scream at the top of my voice. I scream her name and with each shout, I feel myself coming back to life.
Shouting from behind me also becomes audible as the doctor tries to catch up with me.
I continue to follow the scent of strawberries, hoping to find the orange-haired girl.
Crying becomes the soundtrack of my escape as my search comes to an end. Just like before, I don’t know how I got here, but I am here.
Back to world where I could exist.
She is here. Her hair is in a mess as she sits down on the cold floor surrounded by Rubik’s cubes, all of them in a jumbled mess, all the sides unsolved, even the orange. I’m panting, trying to catch my breath. Pain enters my body as I realized that I had sprinted her on my twisted ankle. She is crying, slowly and and muffling her tears through her shirt. I feel happy and sad at the same time. Happy for I have found this girl once again, and sad because I know that I caused her this pain.
I enter this reality, hoping that I could drag this stranger back to our world.
I fall on my knees, and then crash down to where she sits. Mikan is taken by surprise. Her face is still puffy from crying. The sight of Her face finally frees me from haze, the one I conjured to block out the world and the one caused by the drugs.
“Hi,” I say, my breath is gone, my body in pain but just by being with here, I feel nothing but happiness.
She smiles, tears of joy starts to replace whatever she was shedding before. The straightjackets stops me from standing up again. Instead, Mikan grabs me. She pulls me close to her the same way she held me when we left each other. She is resting her head on my shoulders. Mikan holds me in an embrace that feels like it would never falter.
How long was I out? How long did she wait? A day? Maybe two? Or was it Longer?
Hate fills me. Hatred for myself for causing this much pain to my Goddess.
“Lee-o,” Mikan repeats my name, the same way I did with hers. She is rocking me. Her face buried in my shoulder while she sobbed silent tears.
I wish that I could hold her too. She is my tether, and I am hers. Both of us are cures for each other’s curses. Our pains maybe different but just by being with each other, it seems that we can be cured.
I cry, too. The feeling of anger, hate and sadness leaves me as I realize how much this stranger means to me and how much I mean to her. Tears of happiness also run across my checks. Mikan holds on to me, as I try to keep on comforting her. She pulls me close to her as we move to the side of her bed. She holds my head, caressing it and playing with my curly hair. I lean on her shoulders. Though the straightjacket still binds me, I still feel the connection that exists between us.
We are in our world know.
We are in peace.
We are, at the moment, cured.
“You promised that you’d come back for me,” she whispers. I open my eyes.
“I did.” I say.
Mikan’s lips are close to my ears as she talks.
“Thank you, for being real.”
It’s true. We do feel the same way. We do share that fear. And now we share each other.
My voice is soft, but it is enough.
“Please. Please stay real for me”
Mikan smiles. It’s the smile she wore when we talked before. It’s a smile that is so genuine, it would break your heart.
I find myself close to her, her lips are still dry, but is acidic in taste, like she hasn’t eaten anything. She returns the kiss, but stops only to laugh.
“I’m glad, that you’re weird.”