Chapter Three

Chapter Three-A Change of Fates-Highschool of the Dead fanfiction
“I’m taking you home in the car today, so no arguing,” Saya informed him as school ended for the day.

“I won’t,” he agreed. “I appreciate it in fact,” he told her sincerely. “I might be a little more sore than I thought,” he admitted to her quietly. “That blow to the back really hurt.”

“We should see Marikawa-sensei again,” Saya said at once, her face drawn in concern.

“No,” Takashi shook his head. “All I need is a good soak, I think, and some time in bed. Really,” he insisted when Saya looked dubious. “It just hurts, that’s all.”

“If it gets worse I want to know right away,” she told him flatly.

“Promise,” he nodded as the two left the building to head out across the plaza toward the gate.

“Komuro!”

Takashi groaned as he heard Rei’s voice following him. He wanted to speed up but didn’t think he could do it.

“Just keep going,” Saya told him. “Ignore her,” she ordered.

“Planning on it,” he nodded his agreement.

“Komuro!” the call came again. People were looking now.

“I’m not doing this,” Takashi said to himself, shaking his head. “I’m not doing this.” He wasn’t aware he was speaking out loud, or that Saya could hear him.

“Takashi I know you hear me! Stop right there!”

Takashi didn’t stop, forcing Rei to run to get ahead of him and block his way.

“This is all your fault!” she said savagely. “Hisashi is going to be expelled from school over this and it’s your fault!”

“How do you figure that, Miyamoto?” Saya demanded, as she steered Takashi passed the screeching redhead. “Hisashi was the one who attacked Takashi!”

“Says who?” Rei demanded, moving again to block their way.

“Says five witnesses,” Saya told her flatly. “The same five your father spoke to earlier, I’m guessing. Check with him for the facts why don’t you. Meanwhile, get the hell out of the way.”

“You stay quiet, Takagi!” Rei shot back. “This is between Takashi and me!”

“It’s Komuro,” Takashi said easily, not raising his voice. Rei looked at him, almost confused.

“What?”

“You call me Komuro from now on,” he told her flatly. “I no longer give you allowance to use my given name, Miyamoto-san. Nor will I ever again. Either you or Igou-san. You will not speak to me or approach me from this day forth and call me anything other than Komuro-san.”

Rei looked as if she’d been slapped.

“W-what are you talking abo-”

“I think he’s made it pretty plain, just like he tried to do to your chicken shit boyfriend, who by the way attacked Takashi from behind,” Saya ground out as she bumped the larger girl out of the way. “You are not to refer to him in any manner other than Komuro-san from now on. See that you remember that.”

“He wouldn’t have hit you if you hadn’t been running your mouth!” Rei retorted and Takashi stopped short. So short that Saya almost tumbled.

“Baka!” she murmured but he was turning already, his face red. He could see people stopped along the plaza, watching.

“You’re a liar, Miyamoto-san, if you claim I’ve said a single thing about you, or Igou-san. I have not. I have in fact avoided any mention of either of you whatsoever, refusing to discuss what I considered to be a matter of a personal nature between you and I, and he and I.” He spoke with an almost painful integrity, and his voice carried plainly to anyone who was close by.

“I have spoken to no one about this matter other than the police, your father in fact, Hitatani-sensei, and Marikawa-sensei. I requested that the matter be dropped once I regained consciousness, but was told that would not be possible.”

Until this minute, I was unaware of why he chose to attack me when I had told him I had nothing to say to him and no desire to hear anything he had to say. Nor is it any different with you, Miyamoto-san. I neither want to hear you, nor care what it is you have to say. Whatever is being said, it was not said by me. Now,” he frowned as Rei started to move back and forth in front of him. “I do not wish to stay here, in public, and have this discOUGH,” he raised his hand at the last second to cover his mouth, “discussion any lonCOUGH!” he didn’t quite make it this time. He didn’t notice the shower of blood that shot from his mouth this time, so intent was he on wondering why Miyamoto was still dancing back and forth like that.

“Takashi!” Saya almost screamed and he looked toward her, only to see her dancing around as well.

“Say. . . .”

*****

Saya only barely managed to catch him and Takashi was too heavy for her to keep on his feet once he lost consciousness. His weight carried them both to the ground in a heap, she just managing to stay out from under him.

“Someone get Marikawa-sensei!” she screamed as she tried to untangle herself from Takashi’s bulk. She looked up to see Miyamoto moving to Takashi’s side and shot up from the ground to interdict her.

“Don’t you touch him!” she growled, her voice low. Miyamoto recoiled from Saya as if the smaller girl was a striking viper.

“I’m j-j-just trying to help!” the taller girl stammered.

“You’ve done plenty, thanks,” Saya shot back. “Move away from him or I will kick your ass myself.” She heard feet running behind her and turned to see her driver running to her side.

“Miss Takagi, are you injured?” he asked, looking at Takashi.

“My friend has collapsed,” Saya dismissed Miyamoto’s presence from her mind. “He was injured earlier today and I think he was hurt more-” she broke off as nurse Marikawa came bounding up to her.

“Takagi-san, what happened?” she asked at once, dropping to her knees to examine Takashi.

“Takashi coughed up blood,” she told the nurse. “He was unsteady on his feet for a second before it started, and then he went out like a light. I managed to keep him from just slamming into the ground, and then yelled for someone to get you as soon it happened.”

Marikawa nodded, checking Takashi’s pulse, then his breathing and his pupils.

“His breathing seems a bit labored,” she was far calmer than Saya would have given her credit for. “It’s not weak, just. . .struggling. His pupils are reactive so it’s not a concussion, and his pulse is strong. You say he was coughing up blood?” she looked up at Saya, who nodded.

“He must have internal injuries of some kind,” Marikawa frowned. “But why so long for it to present? The attack was hours ago-”

“It wasn’t an attack, it was just a fight!” Rei interjected.

“It was a very brutal attack, Miss Miyamoto,” Shizuka corrected without a thought, not realizing that Rei Miyamoto was party to any of what had happened. “We need an ambulance,” she looked at Takagi. “Please lend me your phone, Takagi-san. Mine is on my desk.”

“Forget that,” Saya ordered, looking at her driver. “Get him to the car!” she ordered. The man nodded and immediately scooped Takashi up, heading for the vehicle.

“C’mon, Shizuka-sensei,” she ordered. “My car is already here. We can have him there before the ambulance even gets here.”

The nurse grabbed her bag and followed at a run, leaving a stunned Rei Miyamoto behind them, along with a plaza full of witnesses as to what had happened.

*****

“Who brought him in?” the doctor came out to find Shizuka and Saya waiting, along with Saya’s driver, who had reported to the Takagi residence that his charge had taken a friend to the hospital in an emergency.

“We did,” Shizuka said at once, her usual ditz nowhere in evidence.

“Are you family?”

“I’m the school nurse,” she told him authoritatively. “I’m authorized to recommend and approve treatment in an emergency on school grounds, which this was.”

“What happened to him, exactly?” the doctor asked, nodding to her statement.

“He was attacked by another student earlier today, during the lunch period,” she reported. “He presented with bruises and contusions, and there was some blood but there was regur as a result from the blow he took, consisting of undigested food. The blood was consistent with abuse to the trachea and esophagus from the regur, and the patient complained of an irritated throat.”

“Approximately twenty minutes ago, he became unsteady on his feet in the company of Miss Takagi, and coughed up blood at least twice in a short period; less than a minute. At that point he lost consciousness. Less than two minutes passed before I arrived. His pulse and pupil reactions were normal, but his respiration was a bit labored. Miss Takagi’s car was literally feet from us and so she offered to bring him directly here rather than wait for an ambulance.”

“I see,” the doctor nodded. “We’re running a scan now, but I suspect-, do you know the nature of the attack?” he cut himself off.

“He received one blow to the back of the head, a kick to the back, and another blow to the solar plexus region which resulted in the regurgitation of his lunch,” Marikawa reported concisely.

“Ah,” he nodded. “As I said, we’re running a scan, but I suspected that his spleen has been damaged. Now however we’ll check the esophageal area as well after your report. Very clearly given, Marikawa-san,” he complimented.

“Will he be all right?” Shizuka asked, ignoring the compliment.

“Assuming we’re correct about his diagnosis I believe so,” the doctor sounded confident. “I will need any medical information you can give me, however,” he told her.

“What do you need,” Marikawa asked at once.

“You know his history?” the doctor looked surprised.

“I reviewed his record at the time of treatment this morning,” she nodded. “I have a eidetic memory. I can recall anything that I had a record off, including childhood illnesses, allergies, and blood-type.”

As she filled the doctor in on Takashi’s history so far as she knew it, Saya couldn’t help but goggle. She had never once imagined that the nurse she had disparagingly referred to as ‘Doctor Boobs’ was anywhere near this level of competency. What the hell was she doing as a school nurse, anyway?

“Thank you, Markikawa-san,” the doctor said, finishing up. “I would ask that you try and contact Komuro-san’s parents, however. While you can authorize treatment in an emergency, we should still make every effort to get their consent in the event of needed surgery.”

“The school is aware of the situation and are attempting to do so,” she assured him. “His father is a pilot so may be unavailable, but his mother is herself a teacher, though at another school. I expect to see her arrive shortly.”

“Excellent,” the doctor nodded again. “I’ll return when I know more. Please excuse me.” As he hurried away, Shizuka looked at Saya.

“Don’t worry, Takagi-san,” she smiled. “I’m sure Komuo-kun will all right.”

“How-what are you doing working as a school nurse?” Saya demanded, unable to hide her curiosity any longer. “You sounded like a doctor!”

“I almost am a doctor,” the busty nurse confided. “I have one more full semester and then one final class, after which I’ll be in residency. I’ll miss my students, though,” she frowned as she took a seat. Saya sat down next to her.

“I had no idea,” Saya shook her head in awe.

“I get that a lot,” Shizuka sighed, sounding a little sad. “It’s okay, though,” she smiled. “Anyway, I’m sure they will take good care of him, so don’t worry.”

“I-I’m not worried!” Saya stammered, blushing. “Well, I am, but he’s my friend, that’s all!”

“I see,” Shizuka nodded. “Well, I suppose I could be wrong,” she shrugged, drawing the attention of every man within sight of her.

“Wrong about what?” Saya asked.

“Well, I assumed that you were the girl that Komuro-kun was trying so hard to be good for,” she admitted. “It just seemed so. . .perfect. He was arguing with me until you came in, yet when you demanded that he cooperate, he did so immediately. And he was very concerned with your knowing that he had been on his ‘best behavior’, as well. Boys like Komuro-kun don’t normally care what others think of them, Miss Takagi. Even pretty young women. At least, not unless they’re trying to impress them.”

Saya was stunned. Her mouth worked but for the life of her she couldn’t make any sounds escape it. She was saved from phenomenal embarrassment only by the arrival of Takashi’s mother, who suddenly appeared in the door looking harried and distraught.

“Marikawa-san?” she said, moving at once to the nurse. “What happened to my son?”

Saya sat silent through the recitation as the depth of what Marikawa-sensei had said to her sank in.

HSOTD

“I don’t understand,” Nobiki Komuro shook her head. “How did this happen? Hisashi and Takashi have been friends for years!”

“I’m afraid I don’t have those details, Komuro-sama,” Shizuka apologized. “And I must take full responsibility for not having Komuro-kun here earlier. His injuries all presented as superficial and he did not express nor present any severe level of trauma.”
“Shizuka-sensei did nothing wrong, oka-san Nobiki-sama,” Saya interjected and Nobiki looked at her, realizing with a start who she was.

“Saya?”

“Hai, oka-san,” the girl bowed slightly. “It was nurse Shizuka-sensei who has reported to the physician and given them all pertinent details to Takashi’s medical history. She did so from memory, after diagnosing him in less than a minute while Takashi was still unconscious on the ground. She recommended he be transported here, and I ordered my driver to carry him to the car and we drove them here at once. She has been exemplary in her care of Takashi, oka-san.”

“Arigato, Takagi-san,” Shizuka said softly, her face red.

“Arigato to you as well, Marikawa-san,” Nobiki told the nurse. “In no way was my question intended to cast question on your treatment of Takashi. I know far too well how stubborn he can be,” she sighed.

“With respect, Komuro-sama, he was not so with me,” Shizuka shook her head. “He was well behaved and well mannered, his raising evident in that regard. A perfect young gentleman.”

“Arigato,’ Nobiki repeated, then turned to Saya.

“Do you know how it is that Hisashi came to attack Takashi, Saya? I heard from Tadoshi earlier, saying that he needed to question Takashi, but only that there had been a fight. I suspected it was nothing more than the usual,” she sighed.

“As did I, at first,” Saya admitted. “However, there are a number of things you may or may not be aware of. . . .”

And she began to tell Takashi’s mother of all that had transpired of late. Carefully leaving out Takashi’s desire to be ‘worthy’ of a new girl, and who that girl might actually be, if Shizuka-sensei was as smart as she actually appeared to be right this minute.

HSOTD

“Mrs. Komuro, I’m glad to be able to tell you that Takashi’s condition is much more favorable than I had feared,” the doctor was smiling. “The bleeding was indeed, Marikawa-san, from esophageal bleeding, and it had already stopped. Excellent diagnosis. There are, however, striations remaining along his throat and into his esophagus showing where he was bleeding ever so slightly.”

“Thank goodness,” Shizuka almost wilted. Saya reached out and patted the older woman’s hand.

“His dizziness was also likely caused by a similar problem, which was a slight swelling of his laryngeal area. This too can be attributed to the damage you rightly suspected was from the regurgitation of his undigested food at the time of his attack. This is not at all unusual in such cases, though it is unusual for it to cause such a reaction. Was he by any chance under strain or stress at the time of the incident?” he asked.

“Yes,” Saya nodded when Shizuka looked to her. “He was under a great deal of strain at that precise moment, still dealing with the after effects of his attack from earlier. All caused by a stupid girl,” she added in a murmur.

“Ah. Speaking loudly, perhaps,” the doctor sought clarification.

“No overly so, but. . .he had. . .he made a rather lengthy statement, and had to ensure that his voice carried in doing so. In fact, it was at what I thought was the end of that statement that the blood appeared and the dizziness started,” she frowned in thought.

“Dizziness first?” the doctor pressed, and Saya thought for a moment before nodding.

“Excellent,” the doctor nodded, making a few notes. “Mrs. Komuro, I think we should keep him here tonight to keep an eye on him but. . .honestly, he’s going to be all right. My only real concern tonight is that he may have more trouble with this. Were it to be while he’s asleep, he might have some distress, and the nurses would be able to watch out for that and deal with it accordingly.”

“Of course,” Nobiki nodded at once.

“Let me get you some paperwork and I need some information from you, please.”

“Doctor, may I see him?” Saya asked suddenly, just before Shizuka could make the same request.

“I don’t see why not, so long as you have no objection,” he turned to Takashi’s mother.

“None whatsoever,” she said at once. “And if you need a list, her name should be on it right below mine. Saya Takagi. You know that you are welcome at any time,” she smiled, and Saya blushed profusely.

“Arigato, oka-san,” she murmured.

“If he’s awake, tell him I’ll be there soon,” Nobiki ordered as she followed the doctor.

“Come along, Shizuka-sensei,” Saya ordered.

“Oh, I think I’ll just wait here, Takagi-sa-”
“You know you want to see him, so come along,” Saya raised an eyebrow. “You were about to ask, I just beat you to it.”

“True,” she nodded and followed along. Saya motioned for her driver to follow her and then led Marikawa to where Takashi was waiting to be transferred to a regular room for the night.

“Hey,” he smiled when he saw them. “I did it again, Sensei,” he said sheepishly. “I promise I didn’t realize anything was wrong,” he told her.

“It wasn’t your fault, Komuro-kun,” she promised him. “I thought it was mine at first, but the truth is that-”

“It’s Miyamoto’s fault,” Saya said flatly, and Shizuka turned to look at her.

“Now, Takagi-san, that isn’t what I was-”

“No, I’m saying it,” Saya nodded, cutting her off again. “You’re very kind, Shizuka-sensei, but a spade is a spade. It doesn’t matter, anyway. Not right now,” she turned to Takashi. “The important thing is that you’re going to be okay.”

“I can go home, then?” Takashi asked.
“No, Komuro-kun,” Shizuka pushed him back as he started to get up. “Out of an abundance of caution, the doctor will be keeping you overnight, just for observation. I will let him or your mother tell you what happened, but the news is good, other than you needing to stay just this one night. Please don’t scare me like that again,” she added, leaning forward to kiss his forehead, something that would normally have resulted in an immediate nose bleed for the teen before he had become so fixated on Saya Takagi. As it was, he merely smiled indulgently at her.

“I promise I will try, Sensei,” he assured her. Marikawa beamed at him, then turned to face a glowering Takagi.

“Takagi-san, could I trouble you for a ride back to the school?” she asked brightly.

“O-Of course,” Saya said at once, realizing suddenly what Marikawa had done. “I’ll ask. . .come,” she cut herself off and led Marikawa to the door, where she made arrangement for her driver to carry Shizuka back to school and to inform the manor that she would be returning soon herself. Then she was back.

“Oh, Takashi, what am I going to do with you,” she sighed, looking at him.

“I’m almost afraid to ask,” he admitted. “I swear to you, Saya, I didn’t know I was in any trouble. I felt fine right up until I started coughing and I heard you call my name.”
“I called your name, baka, because you were spitting up blood!” Saya exclaimed. “You scared me half to death, and then fell right on top of me!” Her face went red as soon as she said it, realizing how that sounded.

“I didn’t mean to,” Takashi told her. “Scare you or land on you. I guess you tried to catch me, didn’t you?” he asked her.

“Of course I did, you baka!” she tried to look mad but failed.

“Thank you,” he said simply, but so sincerely that it took her breath away.

“Y-y-you’re welcome,” she stammered. “I’d have done it for anyone,” she tried to get back her equilibrium, and failed miserably.

“Uh-huh,” Takashi smiled ever so slightly. “Well, this ‘everyone’ appreciates it, very much. You asked what are you going to do with me? The question is, what would I ever do without you?”

Saya was struck speechless for the second time in less than a minute at such a simple, yet profound statement. Had he said it any other way, she would have assumed he meant something lewd by it, but as it was. . .it made her heart beat just a little faster.

“True,” she managed to nod imperiously. “You’d be in horrible condition in less than a week,” she predicted airily.

“No doubt,” he nodded.

“You’re certainly going to great lengths to impress this new girl of yours, Takashi,” she decided to try and fish a little. Just to see if Marikawa-sensei knew what she was talking about.

“I just hope it’s worth it,” he told her with a small smile. “I mean, I know she is, I just hope, in the end, all this,” he waved his hand around, “hasn’t been for nothing.”

“I suspect it won’t be, if she’s half the girl you seem to think she is,” Saya shrugged. “Any girl who found out that a boy went to these extremes just to make a good impression on her, and ultimately her parents, would either have to be impressed, or completely uninterested.”

“Think so?” Takashi’s face lit up.

“I know so,” she nodded firmly. “I already told you I was impressed. She can’t be harder to make an impression on that I am,” she tossed her hair once again with that imperial air.

“There might be s-s-something to that,” Takashi stammered slightly as her words hit home.

“How much longer are you going to make her wait?” Saya asked, trying to sound as if she were teasing him about some other girl, yet all the while thinking; please be me, please be me, please, Kami, let it be me.

“I don’t know,” Takashi admitted. “I think not much longer, just in case Hisashi comes after me again,” he snorted. “I can’t take another beating like this one without fighting back. I never imagined it would be so hard to stay out of trouble,” he shook his head.

“Second thoughts?” Saya asked.

“No!” he told her at once, shaking his head even harder. “Not for a second. Like I said. She’s worth it. Not a question or a doubt in my mind. I just. . .I just have to be the kind of guy she’d want to be with, that’s all. And I can be,” he told her firmly. “I know I can.”

“Ultimately you have to be yourself, Takashi,” Saya told him matter-of-factly. “You can’t build any kind of relationship on a falsehood. Don’t try and be something you’re not, or change yourself to suit someone else.”

“That’s just it,” he told her earnestly. “I’m not. I’m becoming who I want to be. Who I can be. I’ve never had a drive, or a direction or any kind of motivation until this. Now, I’m seeing what I can do, what I can become, and even without her realizing, it’s all because of her.” He leaned back, looking very content.

“I’m not changing for her. I’m changing because of her. There’s a huge difference.”

Saya was again left speechless. He was right of course, there was a difference. And he had just nailed it as concisely as anything she could have done, and in fewer words. Takashi was. . .growing.

Oh, please let it be for me.

HSOTD

“Well, I need to go,” Saya said as she saw her driver outside the door once more. “I’ve been out too long as it is. But I’ll see you tomorrow, okay?”

“I look forward to it,” he smiled. “And don’t forget our history paper!” he told her, smiling.

“I won’t,” she promised. “Good night, Takashi.”

“Night, Saya!”
No, I’m not likely to forget that at all, she promised herself as she followed her driver out to the car. She was silent all the way home, lost in thought. So lost that the driver had to remind her they had arrived.