His eyes opened slowly, taking some time to adjust to the bright light and blinding white walls - and the sensation of an IV connected to his arm. He blinked a couple of times, trying to place himself. There was nothing on the walls except a mirror, a window, and a television. A sink sat directly below the mirror, and a few chairs sat at odd intervals throughout the room; all of them were empty. He was alone.
Wrapping his hand around the cold metal pole of the IV stand, he used its leverage to pull himself out of bed. It worked as an impromptu crutch as he slowly made his way over to the window. Drawing the thin curtain aside, he stared out.
He was outside of Tokyo, that much was easily ascertainable as he gazed at the sunset-lit hills. The landscape was definitely not city, but the countryside was a place he recognized but could not immediately place. Where in the world would Ken have taken him?
The door opened with an almost silent squeak of the hinges; as quickly as his body could stand, he turned to face it. A tall blonde woman stared back at him, light green eyes wide with shock, no doubt as surprised to see him moving around as he was to actually be doing it. Suddenly it all sank into place: where he was, what was going on, where Ken had brought him: one of Kritiker's many medical centers. "S-Sokoke-san..." he stammered out.
She rolled her eyes, tucking the chart under her arm and marching into the room. "Don't you 'Sokoke-san' me," she scolded. He winced lightly; she sounded really upset. "Back in that bed, Bombay."
"Hai hai..." Still clinging to the IV pole, he started on his way back to the bed. Part of the way there, she met him and, taking his elbow, walked him the rest of the way there. "How long have I been here, Sokoke-san?"
The severe look faded from her face. "Siberian brought you late last night." She shook her head slightly, apparently thinking. "Manx wants to talk to you whenever Mau deems you well enough."
He slowly seated himself on the bed. "I'm okay to talk to her now."
Sokoke eyed him critically. "I don't think you're going to be up to a 'conversation' with Manx any time soon. You need rest and lots of it, Bombay, to get better. You look like you've seen hell."
He sighed softly, looking away from her. "I think I might have." When he turned back to her, there was a smile on his face. "I'm all right to talk to Manx-sama, Sokoke-san. Really," he added at the disbelieving look on her face.
She frowned hard but turned and left the room, leaving him to his thoughts. 'I wonder where Ken-kun is? ... If I've been here this long, he's probably gone back to the shop by now. What about Aya-kun?' He bit his lower lip lightly. 'I hope he's okay... Saa, he's okay. Aya-kun can handle anything Yohji throws at him.'
The door swung open again, and he heard the steady clicking sounds of Manx's heels. If he listened carefully, he could make out three other people walking with her. Soon enough, they came into view, Sokoke in the lead, with Mau and Manx following. Ken hung back near the door, but the older boy offered him a small smile that relaxed him a great deal. 'I'm glad Ken-kun's here. Manx'll be calmer with him around.' He bit his lip lightly. 'But... he's here, and they're going to want me to say what happened to me... I can't say it, not with Ken-kun here.'
* * * * * * * *
The kid looked rough, there was no way around that, but he was at least better than he had been the day before, Ken decided, staring at Omi from across the room. He was a mass of bruises, more black and blue than any other color. He was better than yesterday; that, at least, was a blessing. Not enough to cheer him up, but still...
It was better than remembering the fact that he'd needed stitches.
When he got his hands on whoever did it...
"Bombay," Manx began, snapping him back into focus, "do you think you feel up to telling us what happened to you last night?" She seemed to be completely ignoring the glares she was receiving from both Mau and Sokoke. They'd both been warned in the hall not to upset him, that any shock to his system could be dangerous.
Something in Omi's posture changed; he'd relaxed, smiling slightly when he'd first seen Ken, but now he was tighter, more on edge. It was like he was on a mission, and his tone of voice sounded a lot like it did during debriefings. "I got the data from the Matsumoto group; it's on a disk in one of my mission jacket. I ran into Schwarz on the way out, though."
"All of them?"
Omi shook his head. "Just Mastermind. He was more than enough." It didn't escape Ken's notice that the small blond wasn't meeting anyone's eyes.
"So Mastermind did this to you?" Manx pressed on.
"Mastermind was responsible."
Omi still wasn't looking to see the hard frown on Manx's face as she stared down at him. After a long moment, she turned away, and Ken got a good look at the sharp, dangerous glittering in her eyes. "We shouldn't have sent you out alone," she said softly, almost too quietly to hear. Somehow she managed to make her voice sound almost normal as she continued speaking. "You're going to stay here under Mau and Sokoke's care till you're one hundred-percent again, Bombay, before you go back to Weiss. So enjoy your vacation."
It seemed he was about to say something, but he caught himself and said only a quiet "Doomo arigatoo, Manx-sama."
"Siberian, can I talk to you a moment please?" the redheaded woman continued. He nodded and offered Omi another smile and a wink before following Manx out into the hall. Once the door was shut, she sighed heavily. "He's not telling us everything. See if you can find out the rest, please, Siberian; I don't want to put him back on active duty before we know everything."
He nodded. "I know... I'm not sure if it was the shock or not, but when he fell in my front door, I think he was starting to say for us to not trust Yohji."
Her frown grew minutely. "The condition he was in... I'd hate to think any member of Weiss had a hand in it. All the same..."
"If Kritiker will put a watch on Yohji when he's not around the Koneko, I'll keep up surveillance there. If nothing else, he might know something." 'Something Omi doesn't want us to know... What could he be keeping a secret?'
10 November 2002
Hmmm.... what do you think he's keeping a secret, Kenken?
Again, thanks to Moonstar for the help, the feedback... just everything.
And, by the way, Cowboy Bebop music is good inspiration for fics like this.