BE AWARE: This is an un-edited, un-beta read, un-proofread etc etc bonus story!
The main focus is on Silas and Shinta but, of course, the other characters will make their appearance as well. I’m not sure how this story fits in the general Himura Saga, and perhaps it never will be more than a side story. Who knows, the whole Himura Saga started out as short stories, and look how that ended.
I’d love to hear your opinions on it, so if you have the time, drop me a comment below. 🙂
“Will he make it?” Feilon asked, exhausted.
“The next two days will be critical, but I think his chances are good. He doesn’t seem to have taken a lethal dosage, at least not enough to ensure he’d die,” Raenef said, answering the unspoken question.
“It’s my fault, I should have seen it coming. I knew something was up, but I did nothing about it. I merely… I—”
Strong arms wrapped around him, pulling him against the bodies of his two best friends. “You did nothing wrong, brother. Shinta did what he thought was best,” Eclipse said softly.
“Besides, if he has his mind set, there is not a damn thing anyone could do about it to change it,” Raenef added.
“But I’m his Master, I shou—”
“—Hush now. No use crying over spilled milk. We have to believe he pulls through,” Eclipse said.
Shinta’s head was pounding and he felt as if he’d been hit by a truck. He was aware of voices around him, but was unable to pinpoint where they came from, or how many people were there. He tried to focus more, but the more he tried, the fiercer his headache became.
The next time he woke up, his head was relatively clear and he realized he was lying in a bed. He sensed Feilon’s presence nearby as well as other people. When he tried to sit up, he was gently pushed down by a strong hand.
“Not so fast, my love,” Feilon said. “Here, have some water.”
For a moment there was a silence in the room as Shinta drank his water. But unlike the usual companionable silences he shared with the vampire, this silence was deafening, and Shinta couldn’t help but think it was the quiet before the storm. “Is…Is everyone alright? I mean, Silas, he’s safe, right?”
“Silas is fine. You’re the one everyone is worried about.”
Shinta stiffened. This was not his Master’s usual soft-spoken, gentle voice. Sure it was still soft, but it had a tenseness in it he couldn’t quite hide. “W.. what’s wrong Master?” he swallowed hard, his throat suddenly parched again, as he wasn’t sure he wanted to know the answer.
“I had hoped you could tell me,” Feilon said in that same eerie voice. “Care to tell me what you were doing before Toshiro found you convulsing in your lab?”
The lab! How could he have forgotten about what happened?!
His memories came rushing in like a tsunami, and instinctively his hands came up to his eyes. Eyes still wrapped with gauze. His fingers all but tearing the bandages, desperate to find if it had worked.
“Shinta? Stop that!” Feilon said, but Shinta didn’t even hear him as his fingers had a mind of their own. Feilon tried to pin his arms down, but he wasn’t to be stopped now.
When the last bandages had fallen from his eyes he opened them expectantly, only to see the world was as dark as before. Not even a speck of light. Only the same encompassing darkness he’d been living in for the past few months…
Everything started to fall apart. The world was tilting and taking him down with it. A coldness spread through his limbs, choking the life out of him, and while he tried to keep breathing, even that became too much of a task.
This can’t be happening, it should have worked, it should have worked. His mind was racing in circles and he felt his grip on reality slip. Dozens of thoughts and calculations were running through his head, all screaming for his attention, yet nothing made any sense.
“Shinta?!” Feilon asked worried at the sudden pallor on the boy’s face. The boy was sweating profusely yet his hands were clammy and freezing and it was obvious he was in shock. He was mumbling incoherently, but Feilon couldn’t understand. He tried to talk to the shivering boy, but when he couldn’t get through to him, he slapped him across the face.
Slowly he became aware of Feilon’s voice coming from somewhere far away. As he kept listening to it, it came closer and closer and he realized he was calling his name. He blinked as if waking up and was surprised to find himself in a bed, with Feilon sitting right next to him, gripping his arm.
“It… didn’t work.” Was all he could think of to say.
“What didn’t work? Shinta? Talk to me, please!” Feilon pushed.
“I tried… I must have screwed up somewhere… It should have worked! I checked my calculations repeatedly. It should have worked! I need to get back to the lab, I need to run more tests. I need to—” Shinta said, tumbling over his own words.
“Shinta stop it! You need to calm down!” Feilon ordered. While trying to stop Shinta from getting out of bed.
“I can’t stop now, I need to find out what went wrong, I need to try again, I prob-”
“Shinta enough! You need to stop this! You’re not in your right mind.”
Shinta had managed to get to his feet, which were still wobbly, but able to hold his weight. “I’m not crazy! I know what I’m doing,” he shouted. Now that his initial shock had burned itself out, an all-compassing anger was taking its place.
“Do you?! ‘Cause it looks to me you failed! You almost got yourself killed!” Feilon shot back.
“What can I say, that’s me, a failure to your precious Clan.”
“You’re not a failure! I’m proud to have you as part of my Clan, my family. That hasn’t changed.”
“Stop lying to me! I’m worthless to the Clan now! You might as well kill me yourself,” Silas bit out. He knew he was rambling, but it was exhilarating to finally vent all the anger and frustrations that had been building up ever since the attack.
“Is that really how you feel about me? About the Clan?” Feilon sounded hurt and suddenly looked exhausted. “Look, I know you’re angry and merely lashing out, but this is not solving anything. Calm down an-”
“Don’t you dare tell me to calm down! I’m not a child!”
“Then stop acting like a spoiled brat!” Feilon threw at him. “You’re still here, you can learn to adapt,” he added mollifying.
“Adapt?! I might as well have died,” Shinta railed.
“Now you’re simply talking nonsense.”
“No I’m NOT! If I had died, at least I would have died honorably.”
“ENOUGH!” Feilon yelled. “There is no honor in death! There is only pain and a gaping hole for those left behind. Do you honestly believe we’d be happy if you had died? Do you think Silas would be happy?! Stop being selfish and think before you say such horrible things!”
“So what then? I’m simply supposed to let it go? hm? Pretend I’m peachy? Well, news flash, I CAN’T!”
“You need to accept what happened, Shinta. I know it’s hard, but that’s life. We fall down and we get up again,” Feilon said.
“You don’t know anything! You don’t know what it’s like to not know day from night, to not even know where you are half the time. You have no idea how degrading it is to depend on others for even the simplest of things, and you certainly don’t know how it feels to have everything taken from you that you’ve worked so hard for to get. Do you have any idea what I’ve been through to get where I am today? How many times my handlers forced me to take poison so my immune system could build up antibodies? You don’t! So don’t you dare tell me you know!”
“You’re right, I don’t know what being blind is like,” Feilon admitted. “But I’m still a few centuries older than you are and what I’ve learned in that time is that life sucks. Simple as that. And if we let it consume us, it will take us over and destroy us. To give our lives meaning, to make it worth living, we need to adapt to whatever life throws at us. We need to nurse every bit of luck and happiness we come across and cherish it because no one else will do it for us. That is why most of us live in Clans, so we don’t have to carry the burdens alone. And though you’re blind, you’re still alive. So forgive me for counting that as a blessing. Honor is not about death, Shinta, it’s about living. Killing yourself is not the solution.”
“Is that what you think this was? A childish attempt at suicide?! If I’d wanted to die, I wouldn’t still be here! Or did you already forget my infamous skills? Which would be rather ironic considering how often you utilized it over the years to keep your Clan and the Himura Clan safe!” Shinta’s blood was boiling. All he wanted to do was hurt Feilon as much as he was hurting, and he knew exactly where to hit. And by the look on Feilon’s face it worked.
“Then what was it? Hm? If Toshiro hadn’t found you when he did, we would have been at your funeral service by now!”
“I told you, I was trying to find a cure! And I did, I must have made a miscalculation somewhere, but I’ll get it fixed an—”
“No! You need to stop this.” Feilon’s voice didn’t leave any room for debate.
“I won’t! I’m this close, I’m not going to stop now,” Shinta said while trying to make for the door on his wobbly legs.
“You will or so help me, I’ll tie you to your bed while I destroy your entire lab to the ground!” Feilon threatened while pulling his fledgeling back to the bed.
“You can’t keep me locked up forever!”
“I HATE YOU! I gave my life for your stupid cause, and this is how you repay me?!” Shinta was screaming now as tears were running down his cheeks unnoticed.
“You don’t mean that.” But Feilon didn’t seem too sure of himself anymore.
“Like hell I do!” Shinta cursed, struggling to get out from Feilon’s hold on him. “Don’t touch me! Stay the hell away from me, I hate you!”
He pulled his quickly waning energy together and with a last desperate struggle he pulled himself free as Feilon was momentarily stunned by his words. He staggered backwards, barely able to stand on his feet, when he tripped over something behind him. He could feel himself starting to fall as his arms were wildly grasping into thin air. The next thing he was aware of was a flaring pain to the back of his head as he sagged to the floor against the wall.
For a moment he was too dazed to move as his head was spinning from impact. He was vaguely aware of people calling and moving through the room, but couldn’t pinpoint what they were saying or who they were. He felt himself be enveloped by a pair of arms that held him tight, and hands roaming his body, presumably checking for injuries. Thinking it was Feilon, he was already trying to push him away, when he recognized Silas’ voice.
“Shinta, are you alright? Are you hurt, please talk to me!”
Shinta relaxed in his best friend’s arms and for the first time since he could remember, he cried. Like a soda can fizzing over, all of his bottled up emotions came out all at once. He clung to Silas in an almost primal need to hold on to something steady, as his body was wracked with sobs. He was safe in Silas’ arms, Silas who he knew would never judge him, and the only one he didn’t feel the need to keep up appearances with.
Silas held him close and rubbed circles over his back while murmuring soothing nothings. Once he calmed down somewhat he lifted his head from Silas’ neck to sniffle his nose when his breathing hitched.
He blinked several times and then very slowly brought his hands up in front of his eyes. He could see! It wasn’t anything sharp, but he could see light and the blurry outline of his hands moving in front of him. It did work! He untangled himself from Silas’ hug by leaning back against the wall so he could look Silas in the eye. He blinked several more times as if he couldn’t believe it was true.
“Shinta?” Silas asked, a little worried by the strange look of bewilderment on his friend’s face.
“It worked…. Silas, it worked!” Shinta said shakily.
Silas frowned, not sure what Shinta was talking about.
“It worked, Silas! I can see again!” Shinta said, a bit more sure of himself this time.
For a second the entire room got quiet, and then everything burst into overdrive. People whom he now recognized as Toshiro, Eclipse, and Raenef rushed over from their earlier hovering positions at the door. Everyone was talking and asking him dozens of questions, yet all Shinta did was smile goofily at his own hands.
Once the initial excitement abated a little, he was gently pulled to his feet and led over to the bed again, where he obligingly sat down on the edge. “I knew it would work! I knew it!” Shinta kept repeating.
“I don’t understand, how?” Raenef asked.
Shinta started to explain to Raenef about his calculations.
“I understand our mistake now, but what made you think poisoning yourself again would solve the problem?” Raenef asked, baffled.
“It was the only way to level out the antidote,” Shinta said matter of fact. “Combined with the thinning of my blood, it should have unclotted. The only thing I don’t understand is why I couldn’t see right away…”
“I see. Perhaps your blood hadn’t thinned enough to clear the clot, and the additional bump on your head caused the clot to dislodge. It was a tremendous risk you took though, you almost died on us,” Raenef said.
Shinta frowned. “Hmm yeah, I didn’t plan for that. I’m still not sure how that happened. I calculated the exact amount my body would need and still be able to handle without too many side effects…”
Raenef suddenly understood. “You calculated the amount of poison you needed based on your own body mass, didn’t you?”
“Duh,” Shinta said by way of answer.
Instead of explaining any further to the boy, he helped Shinta back to his feet and led him to the floor-length mirror in the room’s corner.
When Shinta looked at his own reflection in the mirror, his eyes grew wide. Then he groaned when he understood what Raenef meant. He had always kept his weight steady to keep his calculations correct when it came to the amounts of poison he knew he could handle safely. Being hospitalized as long as he had been, though, he’d lost a considerable amount of weight. A loss in body mass he hadn’t noticed because of his inability to see, but it had had an almost devastating effect on his calculations and he had unwittingly overdosed.
“I feel so stupid… Why hadn’t I thought of that?” he said softly.
“No use crying over spilled milk. What matters now is that you’re safe and that your eyesight is restored,” Eclipse said.
The next morning Shinta woke with a start, and for a moment he was afraid it had all been a dream. But when he opened his eyes, he could see light coming from a small lantern next to his bed. He released his breath, not even realizing he’d held it. He took a sip of water from the bedside table and noticed his vision had already started to sharpen again overnight, assuring him that in a few days they would be fully recovered. When he was about to get back to sleep, the door opened.
Feilon stilled in the doorway though when he realized Shinta was awake. “You’re awake.”
“Master…” Shinta suddenly felt uncomfortable under Feilon’s gaze. His mind flashed back to all the horrible things he’d thrown at the vampire’s face the other day, and guilt gnawed at his insides.
“Are you alright? Do you need anything?” Feilon asked politely.
He could swear disappointment flashed on his Master’s face before he bowed and made to leave, but his vision was still too fuzzy to make sure. All he knew for sure was that he didn’t want Feilon to leave. “Feilon?”
Feilon stopped and looked over his shoulder, making his face lit up by the soft light of the lantern.
“Don’t leave?” his voice barely more than a whisper.
Feilon smiled and sat down on the side of the bed, straightening out the blankets again and tucking him in.
“Feilon… About what I said… I.. I’m sor-”
“I know. Me too,” was all Feilon said. Yet Shinta knew they were ok again.