[fanfic] Awakening

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.

[fanfic] Recuperation

Note: I had many requests for a continuation of Awakening that I wrote late last year. ┬áThis version is not beta’d so if there’s any errors, please let me know! Thanks for reading!

It was a new day for Kirito. The feeling of being awake and not in a game of death was still surreal to him as he woke more easily than the previous day. He stared at his shaking hands and quickly glanced to his left and sighed in defeat. The concept of reality was foreign to him after being online for two years straight and he’d been hoping that Asuna would be beside him, smiling sweetly. All he found was the metal railing of the hospital bed and the baggy fabric of the hospital issued gown. He struggled to sit up before he saw movement out of the corner of his eye.

“Kirigaya-kun, let me help you,” his nurse offered as an arm wrapped around his shoulders and guided him up the rest of the way. An oversized pillow was propped behind his body that he sank into gratefully despite the frustration that he felt.

His third day awake after Sword Art Online had brought forth many new sensations for the teen. It wasn’t until he had begun his physical therapy that he realized that his hair was considerably longer than he recalled. Add in the fine fuzz growing on his upper lip and chin and the hero resembled a vagabond more than the black swordsman. The therapist began with a series of stretches to loosen up the atrophied muscles before moving on to massaging his body.

To say that the experience was pleasant for Kirito would be a lie as he tried to muffle the painful yelps that escaped his mouth. It was the most physical activity he’d participated in and found himself thanking the powers that be when the session was over. The tired smile on his face was enough indication to the therapist and nurse looking after him that the boy had had enough for that day.

He wasn’t used to feeling this weak and ocassionally swiped his left hand in a downward motion to bring up SAO’s menu. It was an old habit that was going to be difficult to beat, as the therapist eased Kirito into a wheelchair. The boy was ready to protest the wheelchair, insisting that he could walk on his own as he stood up from the wheelchair on quavering limbs. His nurse was quick to shut that idea down after she’d tapped his knees and much to his chagrin, they buckled beneath his too-thin frame. Kirito fell to the floor with a pained and frustrated growl. He begrudgingly let himself be put back in the wheelchair but glared darkly at the nurse who smiled sweetly at her stubborn patient.

“Say…” he said softly after a few minutes.

“What is it Kirigaya-kun?” the nurse asked.

“Could I get a haircut and a shave?” he returned with earnest.

The nurse looked down at her patient over the rims of her spectacles and smiled softly. “After you rest, Kirigaya-kun. Besides, I’m sure your family will want to see you soon.”

Kirito’s eyes widened at the mention of his mother and sister, Suguha. The black swordsman made a mental note to apologize to both of them for causing them so much worry. The sooner he got those apologies out of the way, the sooner his life would go back to normal. He still couldn’t eat anything and his body felt like lead. He’d sooner take on a barrage of orange players attacking him en masse again but getting another massage.

The boy grunted painfully as the therapist helped him back into the gel-based bed before he sank into the coolness and sighed in relief. A pillow was behind his head as his eyes began to close against his will. It hadn’t even been an hour and Kirito couldn’t remember the last time he’d felt so physically exhausted. It wasn’t a bad feeling to know that he’d actually sleep without medication as the nurse pulled a blanket over lower body and stroked his hair while checking his pulse.

“If you need anything Kirigaya-kun –” the nurse cut her thought short as she looked down upon a rare sight.

For the first time in two years, Kazuto Kirigaya was sleeping without the Nerve Gear on his head. There would be no fear of his brain being fried as his body sank into the comfort of the bedding, his breathing slow and even. The nurse quietly pulled the curtains closed to block out some of the light to let her patient rest. He appeared to be at peace for the time being but once the nightmares started, he’d be awake in no time.

Her patient hadn’t spoken about the SAO server yet, but he’d lost much more than she would ever be able to comprehend in those two years. She could see it his eyes even though he tried his best to hide it. The therapists could aid him in working through those issues for the time being.

“Sweet dreams, Kirigaya-kun,” the nurse whispered with a gentle pat to his shoulder.