Note: Well then. It turns out that I hadn’t posted Awakening over here so… here it is! ^^;;
By the time the nurses found him, Kazuto Kirigaya had been exhausted, slumped against the wall when his legs finally gave out on him. His breathing was shallow and he was teetering on the brink of sleep when he felt hands on his shoulders. He peered up through his weary, half-closed eyes praying that Asuna hadn’t found him in his moment of weakness but was greeted by the concerned face of a nurse instead. The fluorescent lights in the hallway made it painful to look at her for too long as he let his gaze fall to the floor. He could feel the cold tiles through the thin gown on his emaciated frame as other nurses began to come and help the SAO Survivor onto a gurney. They were trying to ask him questions but his hearing was not fully functioning at that time. It sounded like muted trumpets were playing as he shook his head weakly.
He’d spent the past two years of his life fighting a game of death and he wasn’t entirely certain if he was awake or still in the game itself. The swordsman felt the gurney move as a thick blanket was pulled over him. He lay there shivering for a few moments, wondering what was this sensation he was feeling. It was strange how his own body felt completely foreign to him after countless battles and incredible loss.
“A…suna…” came his raspy voice as he felt a brief, sharp pinch in the side of his arm. “Wh…ere…is…”
His vision was fading and his body felt heavy as he looked toward the nurse who had found him while fighting the need for sleep. She smiled at him gently before he succumbed to the sleeping medication that was given to him. He lay there in comforting darkness dreaming of his one and only. He’d been through something that had changed everything around him.
When he woke the next day, he was still weak but was slowly coming to grips with the knowledge that he was back in the real world. The lights in the room were dimmed, the curtains drawn as his eyes adjusted to the gentle lighting. He stared at the tube coming out of his right arm for quite some time before he saw the door open. He squinted at the door, attempting to bring everything into a better resolution that never came. He eyed the person warily as they took note of his vital signs before smiling gently.
“Good morning, Kirigaya-san,” she greeted politely. “Did you sleep well?”
He shrugged his shoulders, watching closely for any needles or other implements that he couldn’t see. It left him wishing that his skill set were still available to him as he brought up a shaky hand to motion his index and middle fingers to open the menu. His eyes went wide with surprise as he let his hand fall limply beside him. Had everything he’d fought for these past two years truly come down to this shell of a hero who couldn’t even sit up unassisted?
The nurse watched him, taking notes to share with the Sword Art Online Task Force as the boy before her frowned darkly. He was still trying to process that he was back in the real world and it was proving to be extremely difficult. He was aware of sensations and feelings that had been taken from him again and while logically, this was going to make sense in a while, it didn’t make any sense to him at that point in time.
“Are you in any pain, Kirigaya-san?” The nurse queried.
This woman knew nothing of the pain that would haunt him for quite some time. She didn’t understand what he’d just lived through and what he had to adjust to in the months to come. A lot can happen in two years. He’d just been entering his freshman year of high school and getting ready to build a new computer when everything was taken. He merely shook his head because he wasn’t in any physical pain. However, he was becoming aware of two acute sensations that needed to be remedied as soon as possible.
Hunger and thirst. He coughed several times and cleared his throat before asking for water and food. The muscles that had been used for both basic, every day functions had grown lax with a lack of use and he shouldn’t have been surprised when neither were granted but an explanation was given. The intravenous and feeding tube would remain in place for the next few days.
“Do you know where you are?” the nurse pressed on.
“Hospital,” Kazuto croaked out, a note of irritation could be heard in his voice even though it sounded as if he’d eaten a piece of sandpaper.
Clearly this was going to be an exercise to prepare him for any interrogations the Japanese Government was likely to have. Over the next few days, a series of blood samples were taken, a full body scan was completed and Kazuto was finally given a small amount of clear soup broth. It wasn’t a large amount but he realized that it was all he could stomach at that time and leaned back with a pleased look on his face.
He’d likely feel like a human pin cushion by the end of all these tests but for now, he was just happy to be awake.