For The Awakening Of The Boy

[11:41] <Victor‘Clement> [In a particular hospital room in NERV’s medical division… A young boy sleeps, an unwaking sleep that has persisted for over eight weeks now.-
[11:42] <Victor‘Clement> [He isn’t alone. The head of NERV Medical, Dr. Clement, is making his daily checks- it's the same as always. His medic isn't waking up.-
[11:42] <Victor‘Clement> [There’s someone else, too…]
[11:46] * Yanmei sat quietly in a spare chair, eyes on a book that she had been reading aloud until she heard the door open. For everything that had happened, she looked relaxed at first glance… but closer inspection would reveal that she hadn't really turned any pages since the good doctor's entrance. Nor here her eyes scrolling down her current page -
[11:46] <Yanmei> ^were her eyes
[11:48] <Yanmei> In fact, her gaze had a habit of slyly raising in his direction whenever she was assured that his back was turned. At her feet, a very large mound of fur was also quietly resting. Was Lupe also paying attention, or was he sleeping?
[11:49] <Victor‘Clement> [Lupe was… Laying there, eyes open and focused on the doctor. Before the doctor had entered, the wolf had been half asleep, but… Well. The wolf was a wary beast.-
[11:50] <Victor`Clement> Minutes passed. Eventually, Dr. Clement looked up at Yanmei. "Still doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of waking soon."
[11:52] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei quietly closed her book. "I see." She was still calm. -Carefully- calm. "He will wake up though, won't he? He can't sleep forever."
[11:53] <Victor‘Clement> "…" Dr. Clement seemed highly reluctant to answer that. "I can’t say. I… Guess it's possible it could take years. Or he may never wake. It's such an unusual situation that… Well." The doctor paused awkwardly.
[11:58] * Yanmei let her fingertips dig into the cover of the book a little harder. Briefly, she glanced away. "It will be okay. I don't think he would keep us waiting that long?" she said aloud with a little smile. Sleeping for years. Never waking. No, no that couldn't be right!
[11:59] <Victor‘Clement> "…" Dr. Clement frowned, his eyes full of concern. "How long will you wait for him?"
[12:00] <Yanmei> "That depends on how long he sleeps."
[12:05] <Victor`Clement> ["I see." Said Dr. Clement sadly. "Well. I have other patients to check on for now, and I’m always busy, so… I'll leave you to it, then."]
[12:07] <Yanmei> "Thank you, Doctor. Please, keep up the good work!" She pushed a little overt cheer into her voice when she said that last part. It seemed like the sort of remark that should be delivered so.
[12:08] <Victor‘Clement> "I will. Same goes for you, young lady." A brief smile, an opening door… Then she was alone, with the wolf, and Isaiah.
[12:11] * Yanmei eyed the wolf. She was not in the habit of petting him regularly, since he made her extremely nervous, but she suddenly wanted to now. She thought that maybe it would be comforting to her, or if she would somehow end up transmitting the horror that she was feeling to Lupe instead. ’Never wake up,' Dr. Clement had said. Numbly, she rested the book on the floor, and drew her knees up to her chin. -
[12:12] <Yanmei> She had never considered that he would sleep for that long before. Not seriously. Perhaps in a handful of panicky moments, when her fear got the better of her, but…
[12:15] <Victor‘Clement> [The wolf suddenly looked up at her, staring, as she moved her legs. Lupe nudged her shin with his nose for a moment, before laying back down.]
[12:16] <Yanmei> "I’m fine," she mumbled, assurances on autopilot. "I'm fine. It will be fine. He'll be fine. Fine, fine."
[12:24] * Yanmei remained like that, missing the start-and-stop rattling of the lunch cart as hospital attendants delivered food to more lively patients shortly thereafter. The alarm warning her when combat practice was supposed to start went off a few hours later, but her only response was to stir, placing her feet back down, and to silence her watch.-
[12:26] <Yanmei> At some point - she was not certain of the time - it occurred to her that she should feed Lupe and start off toward home. So that was what she decided to do, standing and stretching a little.
[12:28] <Victor‘Clement> [As she stood up, Lupe followed, his head low, as was his tail, keeping close to Yanmei’s profile.-
[12:28] <Victor‘Clement> [It was starting to get cold, too, as the day grew quiet and late. The Geofront was starting to quieten and darken as the sunlight emitters were turned off.-
[12:29] <Victor`Clement> [Just as Yanmei reached for the door… "Mm…"]
[12:31] * Yanmei stopped suddenly, hand on the doorframe. Curiously, her first glance was down at Lupe again, since he was her only form of company besides the sleeping Isaiah. Then a realization hit, and she pivoted sharply to stare at the bed.
[12:33] <Victor`Clement> [Isaiah’s mouth as moving- but at first nothing seemed to be coming out. But there it was again!- "Mmmm… Mm." Half-formed sounds…]
[12:36] <Yanmei> "Moving." It felt as if her body was encased in ice. Moving and talking. Moving and making noise! Isaiah was…! "Isaiah… Isaiah!" She was by him suddenly, hands on his shoulder! "Isaiah! Isaiah, say something! Isaiah!!!"
[12:38] <Victor‘Clement> ["Mm…" The same sounds… But over movements. His fingers started to flex, twitching and jerking as they did so- and his eyelids were starting to flutter.]
[12:43] * Yanmei …started to break down at that. Tears splashed onto his face, and she had to withdraw a half step, and strangle her hysteria enough to recall that there was a bedside button to call for a nurse and to stab it with her finger repeatedly, frantically.
[12:46] <Victor`Clement> ["Ah…!" His moans were starting to become stronger, now, more pronounced, louder. As tears splashed across his pale skin, tics started to form- his lips twitched, and his eyelids continued to twitch as well- until, finally, after an agonisingly long time, it seemed…-
[12:46] <Victor`Clement> [They opened. Two blue eyes stared up at the room, at Yanmei.]
[12:49] * Yanmei stared back, for once not worried about her appearence - damp eyes, crumpled face. She took a hitched breath, and her voice shook. "I-Isaiah?" For a moment, sudden terror gripped her. He wouldn’t let his eyes close and go back to that endless sleep, would he?
[12:53] <Isaiah> "A-Ah…" His eyes started to flutter, eyelids starting to close again.
[12:54] <Yanmei> "NO!!" She reached for his shoulders again in a panic, and shook him! "Don't! You can't!!"
[12:56] <Isaiah> "Aa-ah-ah…" He moaned, his eyes shutting.-
[12:57] <Isaiah> [The door to the room opened, a nurse running in quickly. "What's going on? What's the matter?" She asked.]
[12:58] <Yanmei> The nurse gets ignored! "Wake UP! Don't just go away again! Isaiah, please!" She shook harder.
[13:00] <Isaiah> ["Miss Zhang, please!" Said the nurse, grabbing at Yanmei's arms desperately. "Please, stop!"-
[13:01] <Isaiah> [Lupe was howling, whether in anger or… Something else, who knew? Isaiah's eyes were shut again. His mouth was closed.]
[13:05] <Yanmei> "He looked at me!" She was in no mind to fight her off - she let her arms get ensnared. "He opened his eyes and looked at me and…! … Wh-who? Where did you come from?"
[13:06] <Isaiah> ["Miss, please." Said the nurse patiently. "You called- you pressed the button. I need you to calm down. He's emerging."]
[13:08] <Yanmei> "Called? Ah… did I? But!" She turned another stare at his quiet face. "What's happening? Why does it look like he's comatose again?"
[13:10] <Isaiah> ["As I said. He might be emerging from his coma." Said the nurse. "The truth is… It might take some time. It's possible he'll slip back into his coma again, or he'll stir…"]
[13:11] <Yanmei> "Time? Can't you make him wake up now? D-Dr. Clement might know how! Can't you call him?"
[13:12] <Isaiah> ["No, miss. The best thing to do now is wait."]
[13:14] * Yanmei sagged. "But… but what happens if he…"
[13:16] <Isaiah> ["Then I'm afraid there's nothing we can do." Said the nurse sadly. "Why don't I get you something to drink?"]
[13:19] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei was still, now. Not quite controlled, but perhaps defeated enough to not try another rousing shake. Finally, she shook her head. "C-could you please inform his family about this?"
[13:20] <Isaiah> [The nurse nodded. "Of course." Said the nurse, departing quickly.]
[13:23] * Yanmei backed away a little herself. Time. Waiting. Always waiting. Waiting forever? She felt raw inside, and her throat felt as if she had just attempted to swallow in entire egg whole. "Wh-what… what should I do?"
[13:24] <Isaiah> [Time… Passed.-
[13:25] <Isaiah> [Yanmei wasn't probably keeping an eye on the clock. But it must've seemed like it took forever- or perhaps it only took a while. But nevertheless, a little over an hour later…-
[13:25] <Isaiah> "Nnnh…"
[13:29] <Yanmei> "…!" Yanmei certainly hadn't been watching the clock. She had slumped back in her regular chair, hunched over with her elbows resting on her knees. Now she looked up sharply, and rose to bedside again, gripping the edges of the red throw blanket that she had donated. She knew better than to start shaking him, though.
[13:31] <Isaiah> "Nn-aaah…" His chest rose as he gasped- it was like he was having trouble breathing. "Yuh…"
[13:32] <Yanmei> "Isaiah?" She clenched the blanket harder. "Can you hear me?"
[13:34] <Isaiah> "Yuh…nnn…" His hand was grasping again. "Yan…"
[13:35] * Yanmei noticed! And she grabbed the hand in question, squeezing tight! "I'm here. So please, wake up! Don't go away again."
[13:37] * Isaiah grasped hers- tight, but even then it seemed feeble, so fragile. His hand was cold and frail.-
[13:38] <Isaiah> His head rolled back even as his eyelids flickered. "M…Mei…" He gasped out, barely, his voice hoarse.-
[13:38] <Isaiah> … Then, they opened again. His eyes, staring up at the roof, slowly - ever so slowly- flicking toward Yanmei.
[13:40] * Yanmei …held her breath. She was shaking, now, begging something silently to make sure his blue eyes stayed open this time.
[13:41] <Isaiah> His eyelids started to flicker shut again, but he squeezed a little tighter. "Yan…mei."
[13:43] <Yanmei> "W-wait. Don't just…"
[13:43] <Isaiah> His eyes closed. But the grip on her hand remained.
[13:46] * Yanmei certainly wasn't going to let go anytime soon. But her shoulders sagged in disappointment. It took a few moments for it to register that it had been better than the previous time. He had said her name! Twice. -
[13:47] <Yanmei> She took a slow, quiet breath… and began to talk. About trivial things, recent events and workplace politics, about Marianne and Lupe. Some were things she had already told him while he had been lying here. Maybe if he heard her voice for a while, it would help.
[13:49] * Isaiah was quiet once again. Was he listening? Could he hear her? He seemed to be completely inert once again, but that grip on her hand remained…-
[13:49] <Isaiah> "…" He shifted, his head leaning towards her slightly. "Mei…" His eyelids started to… Open. Not flicker, but gently slide open. Half-lidded eyes stared at her yet again.
[13:53] <Yanmei> "…and then we went out of the elevator and sat in the hall and talk-" she stopped short, unsure of she should stop or continue. The talking had made -her- feel better too, drowning out her own fears. She cleared her throat, staring back.
[13:54] <Isaiah> "… Yanmei." He mumbled, and, feebly, he tried to lift her hand.
[13:55] * Yanmei squeezed his hand again. "You're… are you awake this time?" She was trying to stay calm. The little tremor in her voice gave her away, however.
[13:56] <Isaiah> His eyes closed.-
[13:56] <Isaiah> … But a few moments later, reopened. "Yanmei." He mumbled again, dragging his other hand over until both were holding her's. "Mei…"
[13:59] <Yanmei> "…!" She was breathing hard now. Isaiah! She smiled for him. Maybe she had used up her tears before, but now nothing fell from her eyes. "Welcome back, Isaiah!"
[14:00] * Isaiah stared at Yanmei. He seemed to be desperately fighting the urge to close his eyes again.
[14:03] * Yanmei …lowered herself, putting her other arm around him in a sudden hug. It wouldn't be like this forever, would it? She wanted him to smile and hug back and say 'it's good to be back' or something silly like in a soap opera.
[14:04] * Isaiah … Didn't hug back, exactly, but that was no surprise, since he was still holding Yanmei's hand and he seemed so weak. But… He did do something.-
[14:05] <Isaiah> As close as she was now, Yanmei would feel something on her cheek- a hand. His hand, brushing against her cheek- so gently, so weakly, that his hand trembled with the effort.
[14:09] * Yanmei smiled harder at that, hope restored, and pulled back to examine him again.
[14:09] <Isaiah> He was pale and weak, but his eyes were open, and he was moving, and he was even smiling feebly. "… You."
[14:12] <Yanmei> "Me?" He was talking again, after 8 weeks of silence, and she gave a raw chuckle at it, her eyes burning a little. "I'm glad. I'm so glad you woke up!"
[14:15] <Isaiah> "Love… You." He mumbled weakly, smiling- his eyes drooping again but remaining open. The faintest creases of a frown appeared at what Yanmei'd said, though… His eyes started to 'dart' left to right, as if taking in his surroundings.
[14:18] * Yanmei remembered the nurse. She found and pressed the button again. "You've been asleep," she tried to explain, and hesitated. "You… don't remember?"
[14:19] <Isaiah> "R… Remember." He closed his eyes, but kept talking. "… Dark. Lonely."
[14:23] <Yanmei> A slight pang of disappointment. He hadn't remembered the stories she'd shared with him? Well… that didn't matter. He was awake! He'd looked at her and smiled at her and told her that he loved her. "I love you too, Isaiah. That's why I was here. And Lupe was here too! And the Major. Even that jer- ah, Alexandre visited. We all wanted you to pull through and come back to us."
[14:26] <Isaiah> "…" His eyes opened again. His smile widened. "So… Happy. Happiest…" He started to laugh, quietly.
[14:29] * Yanmei chuckled along with him. She felt so -light- all of a sudden. The bad things she could tell him about would come later, but now they could just be with each other and feel relieved
[14:33] <Isaiah> "Ah… Feel… Happy. Tired…"-
[14:33] <Isaiah> [The door opened again, and- the nurse had returned. "You called…?"]
[14:34] * Yanmei started a little, turning around to the nurse with a smile. "He woke up! For real this time. We've even been talking."
[14:36] <Isaiah> ["… Ah, oh my. So he did!" The nurse was… Ok, she was honestly taken aback. She hadn't been expecting this at all. "I'll have to get Doctor Clement!" She rushed out of the room once again.-
[14:36] <Isaiah> [With a snuffle, however, Yanmei'd find a certain canine at her side, laying its head on the bed.-
[14:37] <Isaiah> "Lupe…"
[14:39] <Yanmei> "Hehe. He's missed you too." She reached over to pet him, reservations either ignored or forgotten. "He's a good wolf after all."
[14:39] * Isaiah feebly patted the wolf, too. His eyes looked up at Yanmei. "Thank you."
[14:41] <Yanmei> "Thank you? For what?" She remembered back to the school incident, and guilt wedged itself amid her happiness like a hot bullet. She shouldn't be hearing those words from him.
[14:43] <Isaiah> "Being… Here." A few tears built up in his eyes. "Making… Me… My life… Wonderful." he started to chuckle again. "Never been happy… Like this."
[14:46] <Yanmei> "But I…" She swallowed hard. Why was he so happy? Did he really realize what had happened? Did he remember? Did he recall that there were events ahead to be afraid of too? She thought briefly of Shinji Ikari.
[14:48] <Isaiah> "…?" Isaiah tilted his head slightly.
[14:52] * Yanmei hesitated, and then shook her head. "It's something we can talk about later. You just woke up! We should just be happy in this moment."
[14:53] <Isaiah> "Happy." Isaiah smiled innocently. "… Tired. Sleepy." He looked at her with eyes imploring.
[14:54] <Yanmei> "…? Ah." she moved, but only to drag the chair closer. "If you want to rest, you can. I'll wait here and watch over you."
[14:56] <Isaiah> "…" He smiled, reassured, and held onto her hand- holding it close to his heart- before closing his eyes. He was asleep almost immediately.
[14:57] * Yanmei watched him sleep with mixed terror and wonder. This was just a regular sleep, she told herself. He would wake up again soon.
[14:58] <Isaiah> It did seem different. He was smiling gently, and she could still feel just a small hint of pressure on her hand…-
[14:58] <Isaiah> [The door opened, quietly.-
[14:59] <Victor‘Clement> "Ah… Yanmei?"
[15:00] <Yanmei> "Hello, Doctor." She turned a little in her chair, and beamed at him. "He fell asleep, but I don’t think it's the coma again. He said that he was tired."
[15:02] * Victor‘Clement chuckled a little. "Ah, yes. The nurse told me. I came as quickly as I could." He pulled a chair up and sat down next to Yanmei. "You look so happy- I’m glad, for your sake, that he woke up." Victor looked at the sleeping boy- then back at Yanmei. "There are a few things we need to discuss, though."
[15:04] <Yanmei> "Yes?" A little worried now. She tried to hide it, squaring her shoulders.
[15:07] <Victor‘Clement> "Nothing too bad." He said with a reassuring smile. "Just a few things you should know, since I assume you’ll be his primary caretaker for now."
[15:09] <Yanmei> "Well, yes, I suppose." She hadn't thought about that. After he woke up, wasn't he supposed to be okay?
[15:11] <Victor‘Clement> "Now. Was he talking to you?"
[15:13] <Yanmei> "Yes, he was. For a little while."
[15:14] * Victor`Clement nods slowly. "Interesting. Alright. That shows he’s progressed pretty well. Usually, people emerging from comas take longer to start talking." Victor shrugged. Good was good! "But, here's what you should know. Firstly… He'll still spend a lot of time asleep. In fact I expect him to have about maybe two to four hours of consciousness per day, and this will persist for awhile."
[15:15] <Yanmei> "Only that much? But hasn't he slept enough already?"
[15:18] * Victor‘Clement chuckled indulgently. "That’s what you'd think, but comas aren't really 'sleep'. He needs good, solid rest to rebuild himself up, especially since his mind isn't perfectly cognizant yet. But…" He nodded his head. "That's still a bit of time every day to talk to him. But you need to be careful- he'll be weak for awhile, because he hasn't moved in eight weeks."
[15:21] <Yanmei> "Will he need physical therapy?" She frowned a little, thinking back to the difficulties she had gone through thanks to her broken leg.
[15:22] <Victor‘Clement> "Some." Admitted Dr. Clement. "You should be able to help. Honestly, he should be as good as new far quicker, since he is in all other aspects perfectly healthy."
[15:25] <Yanmei> "And I’ll try to help him along," she said with a nod. "I'm no doctor, but… Ah. Is there anything else I should look out for? Foods I should avoid letting him have?"
[15:25] <Victor‘Clement> "Hmm." Dr. Clement tapped his chin. "Try to stick to healthy foods, of course, but there’s no reason he can't eat normally."
[15:33] <Yanmei> "Got it!" Yanmei bowed her head slightly, a sign of gratitude. "I'll work hard and do my best, of course."
[15:35] * Victor‘Clement chuckled. "Good to hear." He stood up.-
[15:36] <Victor`Clement> "Ah… I admit. I never thought… That this day would actually come."
[15:38] <Yanmei> "I told you that he would wake up." She rose with him, perhaps to see him out. And probably to see about feeding the wolf before it tried to eat a nurse. "He may look small? But Isaiah’s pretty tough."
[15:39] <Victor‘Clement> [Isaiah’s hand rose- still holding Yanmei's, of course- as she rose, before it fell limply onto the sheet.-
[15:40] <Victor‘Clement> "Yes. I can see that now." A smile as the good doctor opened the door. "You take care of yourself, Yanmei."
[15:40] <Yanmei> "Of course, Doctor," she said. "Don’t I always? You too."
[15:42] <Victor‘Clement> "That’s true. See you around!" And- he was off.-
[15:42] <Victor‘Clement> [Lupe rose, ambling over to take Yanmei’s flank. He stared up at her with those fiercely keen wolf eyes of his.]
[15:43] <Yanmei> "I know, I know. We'll eat quickly and come back here before he knows it. Maybe we can see about getting your bed moved in here too." She winked down at him.
[15:46] <Victor`Clement> [Lupe tossed his head and started to walk quicker- clearly a message to Yanmei.]
[15:49] * Yanmei got the message. With a broad smile on her face, she let her own feet quicken as well.

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