There was a painfully bright light — an ivory white that shined mercilessly beyond description but didn't hurt to look at. There was no other type of stimulation than sight; whoever could see this light was also deaf and numb, and too weak to try and provide a vocal response to whomever was hiding in the radiance. The young man witnessing this pathway into another world had been staring for several minutes straight but for some reason didn't have to blink.

He didn't want to — never had he felt such peace from silence and isolation; the simple nothingness of a blank canvass of the world was all he could ask for in his moment of his life. Though paralyzed, he didn't mind staring into the blank oblivion. However, someone else was there to disturb his joyful remoteness. A silhouette — it was standing above him, not much higher from the ground than he was. Had it been standing there this entire time and he just didn't see it?

He couldn't remember far back enough to tell; he was trapped in what was happening right then and there. The figure became clearer and clearer as the intense light was simmering, becoming dim and the shape became clearer. It became the shape of a woman. The young man was suddenly able to adjust his crimson eyes. Tobi could make out the familiar rosy pale face and long dark hair that hung loose down her back. Her dark brown eyes had a lively gleam in them — he'd nearly forgotten how much they could bring cheer into a room. But still, there was something quite distressed or melancholy about her expression… Tobi was sure she'd be thrilled to see him again!

As he thought he'd be about her… He tried to reach out and touch her hand but he couldn't move, he just stared at her face and tried to speak, but all that came out was a scratchy moan. But before him was his mother, for she looked him in the eyes and reached for him. Tobi hadn't been this close to her in two years, but she put her hand over his face, making everything go dark.

In two seconds time, the light was gone, the hand was retreating, and the silence vanished and became a swamp of anxious assorted noises and clatter. Tobi couldn't keep his heavy eyes open long enough to tell where he was — but upon looking in the same direction he'd been before, a woman of similar appearance to his former protector, minus her hair being tied back and wearing a nurse's uniform, straightening the sheets he'd been tucked under. She'd just equipped him with an oxygen mask to keep him breathing. Each time he drifted in and out of consciousness did Tobi realize where he was; to his left was a table of utensils and two people, a man and a woman, conversing, to his right, nothing, and above him, blinding operation room lights.

He could hear faint, echoing voices saying things like 'Is he up?' or 'He's ready.' Tobi had only blacked out for a second. He remembered being on the street, barely yelling for Sadami to help him — Sadami! That's why he was there.

Before being smothered by dark again, he saw the needle that was up his hand and taped to place, a tube coming out of it. When he came to he heard wheels, one coming from his bench, the other from his IV holder. He could hardly make focus of the walls, no matter how slowly they were moving. He was still hooked to an oxygen machine — probably the only thing keeping him alive for he was sure he would've suffocated the multiple times he'd fainted. Tobi decided to give up on taking note of where he was, he kept his head to the side and simply listened. He heard curtains being pulled around him; he was in the post-op room he could tell.

Tobi liked the idea of curtains shrouding him — no one to give him any attention. After a moment, he heard them fling open and felt a warm hand on his shoulder, "Tobi?" A familiar and soothing voice, though his tone was nothing of the sort, beckoned him. He forcibly turned his head back up straight to see Sadami, paler than he'd ever seen before, eyes bloodshot and dark lines framing them from underneath. Still, there was relief to them as well.

Tobi's voice was crackly, having a tube down his throat pouring medicine into his lungs made his vocal chords weak and scratchy. It hurt to speak, but he wanted his dear friend who'd saved his life to know he was okay.

He wanted to hug him around the neck but one: that would hurt him, and two: Tobi wasn't at all the hugging type.

"I called the ambulance as soon as I saw you!" Sadami was still in a frenzy, unable to sit in the chair that was literally an inch next to him, "God… I thought I was gonna lose you." The simple gesture of Tobi's chest moving up and down showing he was breathing made him feel secure. He didn't expect a response; he'd just woken up from major surgery. But he heard him mumble something peculiar; his voice was sore and he was so groggy it was easy to have misheard him.

But Sadami swore he heard Tobi say "I died…" He blinked his green eyes and consulted him, "No, you're okay." He tried to make sense of the trauma they'd both been through, "The doctors saved you; they said you were stubborn, but they got you back!" Sadami couldn't describe the absolute distress and fright he'd been through when he was being told every few moments 'We nearly lost him,' followed by a 'but…' Who on earth would torture the friend of a patient like that?

Tobi had to tell someone what he'd seen, anyone, "I saw my mother."

Sadami swallowed his tongue and had few beads of sweat drop from his forehead — he was already sweating prior from pacing around the waiting room, but now he was wondering that maybe Tobi did have a meeting with death. How long had it been since Tobi brought up Motoka? "Tobi…" He sighed, trying not to crush his emotions, "No you didn't." He didn't mean to harshly deny it; Tobi usually knew what he saw, but he just couldn't understand any idea of reaching heaven — first his father, now his best friend. At least one was saved.

"She reached out to me."

"You're under a lot of pain medication; you hallucinated." Sadami held his shoulder again, trying to keep his childhood companion in reality. Tobi simply ventilated through his mask and drifted into another debilitated state, his hand was so stiff from having the IV in; it was a relief to see it loosen up. But Tobi wouldn't know — he had fallen back into a deep dark hole.

When he opened his eyes what seemed to be seconds later, the room was darker, his oxygen mask had disappeared, the bed he was laying in was more padded and cozy with a warmer blanket draped over him. But something was different; Tobi could keep his eyes open for more than fifteen seconds, his vision wasn't as foggy and he felt pains and aches coming from his abdomen. Still, it was because it was too soon to refill his IV with pain medicine, simply to keep him from getting dehydrated. He was in his actual hospital room; Tobi saw a curtain pulled over a window to his right. There was a bathroom only a few steps away, and to his left he saw the door open. He tried to only glare out the corner of his eyes—he saw a familiar redhead talking to a nurse. Tobi knew how lucky he was that no one caught his deformity, his convulsion.

"Yes, okay. Sorry for the fuss." He heard a female voice say.

"It's fine." Sadami sounded like he was growling, as though he'd just been through hell. Of course, if sitting through five hours of wondering whether someone he knew for ten years was going to live or die or not after already being told his father was dead after a simple knock on the door a few months ago wasn't hell, he didn't think this was anything.

"We'll be checking in every half hour, but if you need us, just tap the call button."

"Alright." Sadami closed the door and the only light coming from outside was gone. He let out an annoyed sigh before Tobi moaned.

"I guess I'm gonna be here for a while?" Sadami was delighted when he heard Tobi say a complete sentence.

"Tobi, you're back!" It was good to hear his junior in a better mood as well, "I just had to fight with the nurses about staying with you overnight. You know that whole 'family rule' thing. I had to get my mom on the phone to say that we're 'step-brothers.'" This was a complete lie.

"Sounds like a pain in the ass." The young man smirked, "I feel like if your mom were a lawyer she could convince a jury that a man who got caught stealing by videotape was innocent." His younger friend chuckled, definitely thinking of his mother's persuasion (and argument) skills.

"That's my mom." He grinned, but then his eyes glistened with a strange sadness, worrying Tobi, "God, it's good to have you back. You were so loopy from the anesthesia." He started to get the pull out bed on the other side of the room ready, "You kept saying that you died and you saw your mom."

The young adult suddenly remembered the angel in the form of his mother trying to touch him. Tobi dazed out for a moment, trying to remember if it was truly his mother he envisioned or just the blinding lights above the operating table making the nurse appear so heavenly.

"I don't remember seeing anything, to be honest." He fibbed. But his white lie had comforted Sadami, who was worrying he would sink back into depression and frustration.

"So I guess it was the anesthesia and pain meds all at once." Sadami sat in the chair to Tobi's right, feeling like he deserved to know what had happened and what was going on; Tobi's wound was luckily not severe; neither his liver nor any other major organs were fully lacerated. None were actively bleeding, but Tobi would be in the hospital for at least five days. It would take two or three weeks for him to fully recover (a mixture of pain pills and no physical activity should do the trick). Sadami repeated what the doctors had told him; liver tissue was fairly forgiving and because of the great blood supply would heal very quickly. Tobi however, felt like an inconvenience and a bother.

"What about your classes?"

"I only have classes Wednesday through Friday. It's…" Sadami had to calculate the time, "Saturday now!" It was early on Saturday anyway; he counted on his fingers, "By the time you check out, I'll only have missed one day!" His optimism wasn't reassuring — it never was for Tobi.

"Sadami, you shouldn't—"

"Tobi." He asserted, "I'm not gonna leave you here alone." There was a smile on his face that didn't last for much longer. He wanted to ask, he wanted to ask so badly what had happened… But it wasn't a good time. Not after being stitched back together and having his stomach coated with iodine. He could at least say one thing, "Tobi…?"

He'd spaced out for a moment, but he looked him back in the eyes, "You… You were acting a little… Odd." Tobi barely remembered what happened before finding himself out on the streets and then— "Like, you just stormed out. What was going through your head?"

Tobi tried his best to remember, straining his brain to go back to before being out on the roads and after lying in bed waiting to pass out. Even though he wanted to know himself, nothing came to him, "I… I don't know." All he remembered was a sleep that was much too deep for any sort of interruptions completely pitch black. It was rare he slept so hard that had none of this happened, he would've considered it a blessing.