He stared blankly at the operating room doors he had just watched Ryuzaki Sakuno be wheeled into. His heart felt like it was about to burst from worry.
Was this what Genchirou felt while he was undergoing surgery? How his teammates felt? If he had been in their shoes, would he have let him undergo his experimental surgery?
“Yukimura-kun.” Seiichi turned to see Sakuno-chan’s grandmother, the formidable Ryuzaki-sensei, next to him. She had clearly gotten back from talking to the doctors.
“Ryuzaki-sensei,” he bowed lowly. “I-“
“It’s all right, Yukimura-kun. Let’s sit down. It’s not the best time to meet after a long time, but this will do.”
“I-“ The Child of God, as he was known, was not supposed to break down, though the kind look in Ryuzaki-sensei’s eyes and the dreary sounds of the hospital were driving him to his limits.
“She was always talking about you, you know” said Ryuzaki-sensei. “Sakuno always talked about how kind you were to her, how much she was learning from you at Rikkai Dai.”
“I couldn’t believe it myself, if not for the pictures she sent me of you two and your teammates. I was worried as to how she’d fit in Rikkai Dai, but she seemed to be very happy there.”
“She was,” said Seichi. “I-“
“Don’t worry, Yukimura-kun.” Ryuzaki-sensei’s voice was firm, even as her eyes were glassy with unshed tears. “Sakuno, though delicate, is strong. She’ll get through this.”
“She will,” Seichi agreed, not knowing how true his statement could be.
“Then she’ll introduce you to her parents,” said Ryuzaki-sensei firmly. “She had told them she wanted them to meet you so they had already made plans to come.”
They said twenty four hours.
Genchirou had come to convince him to eat and change clothes, to wash his face around the nineteenth hour.
“Was it like this then?”
Genchirou was silent for a long time.
“I believed in you,” the boy answered lowly. “We all did.”
At the twenty-fourth hour and still without any word, he slumped on the bench. Genchirou sat beside him, silently offering him support.
Ryuzaki-sensei came, not blinking at Genchirou’s presence. With red-rimmed eyes and a trembling smile she held out a piece of paper to him.
He blinked at the smiley face drawn with what looked like watercolor using one’s finger. Slightly wobbly, nothing that would be exhibited in any art competition, but it was the most beautiful thing that Yukimura Seiichi had ever seen.
“She woke up about thirty minutes ago,” Ryuzaki-sensei said softly. “She was too tired to say much, but she drew this and asked me to give it to you if you were still here. The doctors said she’ll be fine, though she’ll likely sleep through the night. Go get some rest, Yukimura-kun.”
He exhaled before letting Genchirou pull him up.
He would bring flowers tomorrow for her.
The next day, Seiichi came with some flowers from his garden.
“She’s been asking for you,” said Ryuzaki-sensei calmly.
“Ryuzaki-sensei and I will wait outside,” solemnly said Genchirou.
He nodded and knocked before opening the door.
She winced at the noise of the door, but when she opened her eyes and saw him, they softened. “Seiichi-“ she said weakly.
“Sakuno-chan,” he whispered, glancing at her parents who were at the corner of the room.
She blinked after following his gaze. “Ah, Papa, Mama, come and meet Seiichi.“ She gave his hand a comforting squeeze as her parents came near the bed. “He’s the one I wanted you to meet.”
He bowed. “It is an honor to meet Sakuno-chan’s parents.”
“It is our honor to meet you, Yukimura-kun” said Sakuno-chan’s mother. “We’ve heard so much about you from Sakuno-chan.”