Hurtling toward the earth, Kaname saw a large, steel hand come out
Huh? The next time Kaname opened her eyes, they were pressed into a white pillow. The IV stand next to her did not block her view of a rectangular window, which presented a pleasant view of a damp cherry tree.
She was in a private hospital room.
"About time you woke up," stated a young nurse sitting next tothe bed. She was prettier than her demeanor would suggest.
"Where am I? "
"A hospital in Tokyo. It's May first. You've been asleep almost two and a half days now, ever since that unidentified ambulance brought you in. You're bruised and sprained, but nothing's broken. If they gave you only one dose of those drugs-"
"Wait, who are you?"
"Ha ha. I guess I don't look like a nurse, after all. This uniform makes my shoulders stiff. If Sousuke weren't so rough, I wouldn't have to do these kinds of things."
"Sousuke? Are you one of his colleagues?"
"More or less ... So, now that you're awake, I'll give you some advice: The bad guys at the base gave you drugs, and then you passed out. The next time you woke up, you were here, and you don't remember anything else. Forget about Sousuke, Kurz, the white AS, all that stuff."
"In other words, you want me to keep Mithril a secret?"
"Well, that's up to you. People connected with the Japanese military have heard of us. But if we-or you, yourself-were identified, the police probably wouldn't let you go home. So, keeping that in mind: You remember nothing. Stick to that story. I'm sure the police will question you tomorrow."
The faux nurse stood up. "Also, I want to thank you."
"Yes, Miss Chidori. You saved my men. They owe you their lives."
When the woman offered a handshake and a serious expression, Kaname found herself flustered.
"I, I didn't really-"
"I heard the story from Kurz. If you hadn't been there, he and Sousuke wouldn't have made it. Perhaps you're a stronger person than any of us."
"No way. This is embarrassing." Kaname laughed nervously.
Timidly, Kaname grasped the woman's slender fingers, which were alarmingly forceful.
"Well, I'll be going now."
"Um ... "
"What about Sagara?"
"Sousuke's already been assigned a new mission."
"Did he send a message?"
"To you? No, not specifically."
"Goodbye, then," the woman said as she left.
It was still raining outside.
Was Sousuke's mission already underway?
Was he out there, shivering in the rain? He could be in danger. He could be hurt.
Maybe someday, like a stray dog ...
He could've had the courtesy to say goodbye, thought Kaname, her eyes starting to moisten. She wiped the tears with her sheets and buried her face in the pillow.
Five minutes later, a real doctor and nurse came by and informed Kaname that she was in very good shape. She would be able to leave as early as the next day. They also informed her that her father came to visit her, but he had returned to New York to work after he found out she would be fine.
After they left, another five minutes passed before a mob of students from Jindai High School filed in. There were all kinds of kids from class, the girls' softball team, and student council, as well as the principal, the vice-principal, Miss Kagurazaka, and o( course, Kyouko.
"Kana!" Kyouko dove in full-speed for a high-impact hug.
Everyone crowded around, thrilled that Kaname was okay. They barraged her with their recounts of the events.
"We really were worried about you!"
"They let us off those planes at Fukuoka Airport."
"That rescue team totally just bailed, like they weren't part of the U.N. or anything!"
"It sounds like a conspiracy!"
"We didn't even know who to ask about yoJ, Kana, and nobody knew ... " Kyouko began.
"I'm so sorry, Chidori. I wish they'd taken me, instead. Maybe I'm not cut ·out to be a teacher."
"Oh, Kana!" sobbed Kyouko.
The merciless mob of well-wishers gave Kaname a real sense of being loved. It felt good to be home-really good.
"Hey, take it easy, guys," barked Kaname, unable to handle the commotion. "I'm still in the hospital, you know!"
"She's right," agreed one of the kids. "Even though the injuries are minor, she needs to rest."
Nodding, Kaname said, "That's right. Be careful with me! It looks like I'll get out of here tomorrow, though."
"Thanks to that rescue squad!"
"Yeah. It's a shame the class trip got ruined."
"Survival is the top priority."
"Right, survival is the ... " Kaname trailed off, attempting to see who had said that. There, behind the weeping Miss Kagurazaka, stood a solitary male student with a sour face and tight lips under the shadow of his messy, black hair.
Everyone turned to Sousuke, wondering what was so special about him.
"What are you ... urn, why are you here?"
"How rude! I've come to see you and I also brought this." He thrust a pack full of treats in front of her.
"What the heck is this?"
"I'm the insurance policy," he mumbled.
"For the time being, at least."
"Oh, great." Although she didn't say "thanks," the feigned irritation in Kaname's voice was entirely pleasant.
She took a deep breath and said, "You know, Sousuke, I've got some problems to discuss with you!"
And as Kaname started to air her grievances all at once, Sousuke panicked, frantically looking around for help.
Outside, it looked as though the rain would stop by night time.