The squeal of the alarm shattered the all too short silence, its high pitched shout alerting all around to the cruel reality that existed within these pale walls. Another one of them was a Death's Door. To the staff this one was no different than the others who had gone before. However, this one had been at Death's Door before. He had boldly walked through that door...and then promptly walked right back out again. This time would be different though. This time he would not be coming back through that door... not if she could help it.
He still looked noble. Tubes piping blood and clear liquid were stuck into him from any available vein the hospital staff could find. Most of the broken bones had been set, but few of his limbs had a cast on them, he wasn't expected to live through the night, let alone live long enough to heal. Skin barely held together by stitching, like a size small t-shirt on a large man, discolored and charred in areas from the flames he'd been forced to endure in that final fight. This was a man that had been broken, pure and simple, but he still looked noble.
She stood silently in the doorway, her blue eyes watching the form that occupied the room's only bed. She saw him differently than the others. He was her best friend, the one who had been there for everything, the one who had saved her life more times than she could count and saved her mind a thousand times more. How was she to pay him back for that? How could she even come close to repaying such a debt?
From down the hall the sound of footfalls could be heard as a young woman in a white robe rushed toward the room. The small device that she clutched in her right hand was still warm from the last person she had used it on only moments before. Despite the seeming impossibility of her job she refused to loose hope. Every human life was important to her, no matter how hopeless the situation seemed.
As she reached the room a hand wrapped around her wrist, preventing her from entering the room. She looked down at the hand, noting the long, feminine fingers contrasted by the broken nails and calluses of someone who worked with their hands. Her gaze followed the connected arm up until her eyes found a face. A stern look crossed her fatigued features as her green eyes met a familiar set of blue ones. She was surprised to find that the usual mirth and hope was replaced with sadness and strangely determination.
"Let him go."
The voice mirrored the sadness that filled the eyes as well as adding a note of intensity to it. The sheer abrasive nature of the stated command made the doctor flinch. It seemed so out of place coming from between those soft pink lips. Even when the patient had been at his worse, this one had kept smiling, kept happy, kept hopeful. To see her now, like this, shocked the doctor more than her professionalism would allow her to admit.
"I can't do that," the doctor tried to yank her arm free, but the other's grasp held fast. "I'm a doctor. I can't just stand by and let him die."
The younger woman took a step closer to the doctor, the artificial light in the hallway glinting off her strawberry-blonde tresses as they swayed with the simple movement. For a moment those blue eyes left the doctor's, drifting toward the form that filled the bed in the center of the room. Almost as soon as her gaze rested on him she jerked it back to the doctor before her.
"Which is more important," again the strange voice that seemed almost alien to the form before the doctor, "Sticking to your principles... or being humane?"
The doctor's eyes narrowed beneath her crown of red hair as she tried once more to extract her wrist from the woman's grip. Still the woman held her wrist securely which only served to aggravate the doctor more.
"What does that have to do with anything?"
The strawberry-blonde's eyes grew dark for a moment before her gaze shifted to the bed again. This time instead of looking away instantly she allowed her eyes to linger as she spoke.
"How long must one live before they are no longer needed?" the same sadness that had been etched in the depths of her eyes now permeated her voice. "How long must they fight before they are granted the peace they fight for?"
When she turned back to the doctor there was a hint of tears in the blue depths. Still, the young woman refused to allow them to fall. That simple fact did not lessen the impact of their presence on the doctor. She had never seen such emotion in a person, not even in those who had lost a loved one.
"He is older than time itself," this time the tears could be heard in her voice, replacing the almost alien voice that had been there before. "He's fought for an eternity. At some point it must stop. He must be allowed some sense of peace."
The doctor's eyes slowly moved from the woman before her to the form on the bed. He seemed so young yet so old at the same time. There was something about his face that echoed within her. She knew that he was a soldier but aside from that and his illness she had not been told anything else about him. What she knew about the young woman was almost as sparse. However, the young woman had been a constant presence in this room since they had brought the soldier in. There had not been a time within the past few days that the young woman had left the room. To have her attitude change so dramatically made the doctor consider her argument.
The doctor's green eyes once again turned to rest on the young woman who still held her wrist prisoner. The intensity still permeated the depths of her eyes but the tears were gone. They had left their mark on her though. Two straight lines that led from those blue pools, across the soft curves of her cheeks and down to the young woman's chin. They seemed to have washed a portion of the sadness away leaving something that the doctor did not recognize. It was a haunting look, one that finally convinced the doctor that perhaps the woman was right.
With a sigh the doctor relented, nodding her head in consent. At the doctor's nod a sad smile spread across the young woman's face, falling short of her eyes.
Slowly she released the doctor's wrist, the older woman instinctively pulling it toward herself and massaging it with her other hand. She nodded again to the young woman and stepped around her to turn off the alarm. When she turned around the strawberry-blonde had already made her way across the room to stand next to the bed. The doctor watched from the doorway, her newly freed hand slipping into the pocket of her white coat to deposit the Neural Stimulator within. The small device had gained a reprieve from its endless work but the doctor knew it was only temporary.
Green eyes watched intently as the strawberry-blonde placed her right hand gently on the man's chest, her upper body leaning forward until her lips met his in a soft goodbye kiss. It lasted only a moment but in that instant all the feelings and emotions of a thousand lifetimes came flooding back to the strawberry-blonde. As she stood and looked down at him she didn't see the warrior that he was. No, she saw the young boy who had given her his red crayon.
"I hope you find peace." she whispered, her left hand moving up to caress his chestnut hair.
Without another word she turned and made her way to the door. This time it was the 'doctor' who stopped 'her'.
"What do you want done with the body?"
Blue eyes once again met green ones, each carrying a sadness that no other could fathom.
"It is once again an empty shell. Treat it as such." The voice was cold and dark, as if another person had replaced the young woman who had just now softly kissed her soldier goodbye.
With a gently pull she freed her hand from the doctor's grip and made her way down the hall toward the exit. Behind her the Klaxon blared again calling the doctor and the small hand held device from their all too short rest and forcing them into action again.
A soft voice from the back of Kitsumi's mind drew her attention, the words it spoke brought a frown to her face.
"We will make another."
"No," she replied aloud, "There will never be another Ryo."