59. Meet
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"Pain..."

That's what Misaki felt when she woke up. Her body felt heavy and difficult to move, as if she hadn't gotten out of bed for days. Her head feel uncomfortable, as if it had been hit by a truck, although the pain and dizziness gradually faded as she regained consciousness. Until she remembered what happened before she passed out.

"That man!"

Misaki opened her eyes wide as she gasped harshly at the horrific memory she experienced before passing out. She was badly beaten and almost stabbed, but someone saved her before it could happen. Unfortunately, she lost consciousness at that moment and she didn't know who had rescued her.

"Am I... back in the hospital again?"

The first thing she saw when she opened her eyes was the white curtain she had seen when she was receiving medical care last time, and the IV attached to her hand make her sure that she had indeed returned there.

She felt slightly frustrated when she thought that Kazuto would lecture her for acting recklessly by going alone.

"Ughh! My head really hurts..."

Misaki tried to change her lying position because her body was lying on sideways, but the back of her head throbbed when it came into contact with something. It was probably a wound that was created at that time. It seemed to have been stitched, and her head was even wrapped in bandages when she tried to touch the tip of her head.

Of course it would be like that when her head was repeatedly hit against a hard object.

Just remembering what happened that day made her shudder because she felt traumatized. But she was more curious about who had saved her at that time.

Because she was in the hospital, at least she is sure that person had brought her or called an ambulance for her. In the end, they would meet again someday, maybe. That's what Misaki hoped for because she wanted to say thank you to him.

Since she couldn't lie on her back, she eventually changed the direction of her body to the other side to change her mood.

However...

"Hello~ Are you awake? How are you feeling?"

"...."

Ignoring that warm greeting, Misaki couldn't say anything.

"Ehh? Why are you silent? Is there a bug on my face?"

He touched his own face, but quickly stopped when he didn't find anything there.

"There's nothing. Are you maybe mistaking me for a ghost or something?"

He asked innocently while still sitting on the chair, like a child waiting for an answer.

"You..."

Misaki, who had been observing him all this time, finally opened her mouth to speak to him.

"Are you okay? You look sick. Your skin also looks bad, how can you be here in that condition?"

Misaki said as she reached out her hand,  trying to touch his cheek. However, her hand couldn't reach him, it was just a little more and she would be able to touch him.

"..."

He, who was a little taken aback by Misaki's words, raised the corner of her mouth before chuckling softly and holding the hand that was a little bit smaller than him.

There was a strange coldness when their skins touched, which Misaki noticed but ignored as her eyes focused on his face.

"Thank you for your concern, but wouldn't it be better for you to be wary of a stranger like me?"

He said as he helped Misaki, who was trying to sit up.

"A stranger... That's not something you should say after we've exchanged contacts."

"And I remember now. That voice... Before I was stabbed with a knife, someone came to save me and I lost consciousness. That voice is clearly the same as yours, even though I could only see your face vaguely."

"... "

"So, Shirogane, I'm going to ask to make sure. Were you the one who saved me?"

Misaki asked with a look of conviction in her eyes. Even if the answer was no, Misaki would still believe to her memory of that moment. The tone she had when she spoke still echoed in her mind, a soothing voice as if it could share its burdens with her. That's what she felt at that time.

"Ahhh, am I busted?"

He said while scratching his head awkwardly.

With white hair like a field of snow, and a cheerful face that always smiled warmly, sitting next to her as if waiting for her to wake up, Shirogane, who had become mysterious for her after the incident in the hospital, was now in front of her. Strangely, he looked less healthy because his skin was paler. Although he still wore his usual smile, it was much more stiff compared to when they met before.

Shirogane awkwardly scratched his head because Misaki, who quickly regained consciousness, could have sharp intuition. She should have had a dull mind because he had just woken up.

"Yupp, it is me."

He added without any details as if he didn't want to explain.

"Well.... I am very grateful for what you did that day. If you hadn't saved me, I might be dead that time."

"Hey, don't say something terrifying. You're still alive, right? So don't mention the word 'dead' so easily. It's not pleasant to hear for me."

"... "

Shirogane's expression was bitter as he said that, causing Misaki to fall silent for a moment.

"By the way, since when have you been here?"

"I have been coming since yesterday to wait for you to wake up."

"... Then why didn't you say anything when I woke up earlier?"

"It would be better for you to recognize this place yourself rather than me having to explain it. Ah, actually, you looked cute when you tried to figure out where you are right now, so I did it on purpose."

Half of it sounded reasonable, while the rest made her hand itch to give him a hit on his head. Unfortunately, her body was weak right now, so she switched to more important topic.

"So.... About that person, where is he now?"

The person Misaki referred to was the person who hurt her. She wanted to know if that person had disappeared and escaped or had been arrested by the police. Shirogane, who understood her intention, answered in the most comfortable way possible to explain because she was a victim of this problem.

"He has been arrested and is currently in jail. He will go through the trial process after the police gather some statements from you later... Well, in the end, it's not necessary."

The last sentence was too small for Misaki to hear, making it sound like empty whispers.

"Is that so? Thank goodness."

Misaki silently sighed with relief after hearing that. With that person being imprisoned, the future would surely change.

With this it also means that no one will die, right? Shirogane's family won't experience any calamity, will they?

If it will end like this, then experiencing a small injury to change that bad event is a small price to pay.

"By the way, about the statement, could you help me by telling them that you helped me look for my lost item?"

In response to the strange request, Misaki became confused.

"Uhh, sure. But for what?"

Why did she have to tell this little lie to the police? That was Misaki's question.

"Haha, think and find the answer yourself."

Misaki had a dissatisfied look on her face because she was very curious, but Shirogane continued to keep his lips sealed, smiling as if Misaki would eventually find out.

"Alright, I will find out later."

Misaki gave up asking for an answer because he seemed firm in his decision.

But there was always something that made her curious after they met here, something she really wanted to ask when they met again. Because they had face-to-face contact and they were the only one here, she wanted to get an answer to that.

"Tell me, Shirogane... Are you also from the fu-"

But Shirogane immediately cut her off.

"Well, I know what you want to ask. But now is not the time to explain it all."

Misaki widened her eyes even if it was just a trivial matter, because it contained a hidden meaning, that Shirogane silently aprove it.

"When will you explain it to me?"

Shirogane chuckled at Misaki's impatience, likening her to an inquisitive owl as he stood up from his seat.

"When you are completely recovered."

"This is the last day I am being treated here, so I will go home later today."

After paying attention, it was true that Shirogane was wearing patient clothes. She didn't notice it because her gaze was always focused on his face.

"That makes me curious now, how could you be sick? Was it also because of that day?"

Once again, Shirogane just smiled and didn't give her an answer at all, which made Misaki slightly upset.

"Yeah, I know. I'll find out myself."

Hearing that made him laugh because it's very funny played her like that.

"Hahaha, good. Sorry for teasing you a bit. I'll explain that matter later as well. For now, it's better for you to rest because this is the fourth day you've been treated. It seems we will meet more often because our parents seem to get along well. I'll call the nurse because you are wake up."

Then he walked towards the exit after saying that.

"Huhh? Four days? Parents? Ehh? Ehh?"

This is the fourth day she has been treated? No wonder her stomach feels empty and her throat feels dry and very thirsty. This is also why her voice and body feel weak. And more importantly, her parents, who should come home every 4 months or even longer if they are very busy, are here! It's very clear that they are here because of her! This made Misaki uncomfortable because she felt like she was intruding on their time.

"W-Wait-"

Before Misaki could even ask where he met her parents, he had already bid her farewell and left, even though Misaki really wanted to ask him a lot of things.

"Tsk, he really has changed. In the past, he wasn't like this."

Even though her words sounded like a complaint, she smiled happily about the fact that her junior wasn't the same as before. Seeing him change from someone who wore a frozen mask to being a cheerful child gave her a relief. It was not in vain for her to change the events that should have happened.

"Ugh... I'm thirsty from all this talking."

She became a little gloomy about his current state.

Her throat felt like parched land that had never experienced rain. Her stomach was also empty, so she didn't feel anything in it because she hadn't put anything into it for several days. She should have asked Shirogane to bring her food and drink before leaving.

As she thought about experiencing hunger for half a day, she noticed a tray containing porridge and some other easily digestible foods. There was also a water bottle with a note next to it, and there were two of them.

'I left this food in case you wake up while I'm gone. If you find this message but don't find anything left, then it might have been taken because it's spoiled or something else.'

Signed,
Shirogane-

She quietly smiled after finishing reading the two notes with the same words.

"He's still as attentive as before."

So it's true that he visited me since yesterday? But, does it mean that for the two days before that, he was also experiencing severe illness that prevented him from doing it?

After thinking about that, Misaki became worried now because she felt it was all her fault that caused him to get sick.

"But come to think of it, how did he find me at that time... Ahh, I understand why he asked me for a false statement to the police later."

It would be very strange for Shirogane to coincidentally meet her at a remote construction site. And there is also a question of how he could find Misaki there that makes her curious. When she was receiving medical care before, it was also strange that he could know that Misaki was there without any notice. Although she was unconscious at the time as she didn't really see him, based on what Natsu told her and what her friends said, she was pretty sure he  was Shirogane.

"It means that he has a way to find me? Hmm, I'm even more curious now."

That was the only answer she could find after thinking.

Such stalker-like actions should make Misaki feel shivery and scared. However, knowing Shirogane's nature, she chose to think positively and felt that he did it with good intentions.

"Another question is, what is Shirogane's state of mind regarding his family's killer?"

She met him once, and just remembering the incident made her shudder. That person was completely insane from their behavior and the way they thought. And Shirogane, who she saw in the past, had a very strong desire for revenge because of the death of his family at the time.

"If he intends to seek revenge, it will at least help him by getting him imprisoned. Shirogane wouldn't do something foolish on his own, right?"

She said as she continued to think positively.

----

"Ahhh! That hurts! Don't pull on a patient's cheek. That's a protocol violation!"

Meanwhile, Shirogane had to receive a small punishment from the nurse for going out at a time when he should have been examined.

"There is no such rule here, especially for naughty patients like you who sneak out during your treatment times. Remember, even though you are leaving the hospital today, your body is not healthy at all. Your condition, is not better than the child you brought in a few days ago, that's making me a little worried about letting you leave too early."

"Ah, okay, forgive me. But I'm feeling better now, so it should be okay."

"Yeah, yeah. That's why you can leave sooner."

After receiving some medication and injections, the nurse left Shirogane alone in his room.

"Ah, the nurse really doesn't know how to care for a patient."

He complained while rubbing his reddened cheek from being pinched.

But he only smiled when laying his body, which felt like a snail returning to its shell.

"'Thank you'... huh, I had guessed it, hearing it from Misaki was indeed strange."

His faint smile became more apparent after he closed his eyes.

"I already know who she is, at least."

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