Aya woke up in the hospital again, surrounded by the same machines in a room that was almost identical to the one she had been in before. She looked down at her wrist and saw that it was heavily bandaged, then laid her head back on her pillow and clamped her eyes shut. She didn't want to accept this, she had thought that she had finally escaped all of the pain of her life. She had been so close to being free of it all forever, and knowing that she didn't know how she could ever go back. She thought again of what had happened to her after the night Rae had been shot and her body spasmed in emotional pain. It was agony pouring free from an old dam, some poisonous flood that had to be stopped, and she had come so close and still failed.
She was shaken from her thoughts when a man in a suit that Aya had never seen before came in and stood in front of her. She started to sit up but he raised his hand, motioning her to stay put, and she did so.
"Aya Lee, right?" She nodded and he continued. "I'm Sean Ellenaj, the man who has been put in charge of your affairs since the incident yesterday.
"Incident?"
"Yes. After you attempted suicide," Aya winced at how he spoke so calmly, so naturally about such an outrageous thing, "there was quite a fight between your friend and your father."
"Huh? What friend?"
"I think his name is Burt. I only spoke to him briefly his arm was in a lot of pain last night."
"You talked to Kurt?" She sat up and spoke in a quick, panicky voice. "Is he okay? What happened to his arm? How-"
"Please, I'm going to have to ask you to lay back down. You were through quite an ordeal last night." She looked at him reluctantly and he continued in a gentle voice, "Kurt's fine, don't worry." She stayed put a moment longer before lying down, and smiled pleasantly at her.
"So, what do you need to tell me?"
"Well, the good news is that your father has been arrested for, in simple terms, beating up your friends."
"Friends? Rae was there too?" She especially wasn't feeling too happy about the fact that there was good news, because if there was good news then there was always bad news that was much worse.
"Yes, but she's okay now too. She had a pretty severe concussion, but she's an amazingly quick healer."
"So, what's the bad news?"
He looked at her uncomfortably, saying, "Well, I wouldn't exactly call it bad news-"
"What is it?"
He hesitated for a moment, not quite looking her in the eyes, and then said, "What you did has proved that you are a danger to yourself, Aya. We want to help you. The environment you've been put in isn't a healthy place to heal."
"What are you saying?" She didn't like the sound of this, and certainly did not like how it was for some healing bullshit.
"Well, we've picked out a nice home where there will be kids your age who have gone through the same things you have. They all go there and get to know each other, and then they're put with top of the line therapists that will help them move forward, away from the past." She lay there, completely stunned as she tried to wrap her frozen mind around what he was saying. I finally found something to live for, people that I love, and they're taking me away. He stared at her intently, and then as if he had read her thoughts he said, "It will only be for a few months, maybe a year or two, and then you'll be out."
"A year or two?!"
"It's very individual. Your stay could be longer or shorter, depending on your personal needs. Now your friend has been waiting out there for a bit now, ever since she heard that you were awake, but I had her wait so I could give you the news. I'll let you two talk now."
He walked out and a frantic Rae walked in, immediately running over and grabbing her good hand.
"Aya, I was
*****

so worried about you, we didn't know if you were going to be okay, we thought we may have come up too late."
Aya sat up and stared at her for a moment, not quite in the eyes but to the side of them. "What happened to your face?"
Rae quickly put her hand up to it in a self-conscious reaction and said, "It's nothing."
"Rae, be honest with me. I already heard that you had a severe concussion, and that's not nothing. I don't want any more secrets."
Rae stared at her feet for a moment, wishing that they could just leave this all behind and move on. There's a lot that you just keep wishing for. But your star's broken Rae, because no matter how hard you wish, Kurt will always be Aya's and none of us will ever move past this. "We didn't know if we could save you. Kurt went after you and I called an ambulance, then I went over there too. I don't know what went on between Kurt and your old man, he never told me, but whatever it was was pretty loud, so I grabbed a pan. I ended up getting your dad off of Kurt with it, but he, well, got me back."
She rubbed her arm beneath her shoulder and watched sadly as the pain filled Aya's eyes. "I should have never gotten you two mixed up in all this. It isn't fair to either of you two. You shouldn't deal with it, not if you don't have to. You guys got lucky with good parents, and I shouldn't make you guys worry about it just because I didn't."
Rae smiled sadly at her, cocking her head slightly as she took hold of her hand again, squeezing it gently. "I know that, Aya. Nobody should have to deal with what you went through, but you did, and we were there for you. That's what having friends is for-you were going to have to deal with your dad, yeah, but we were there for you to lighten the load. We love you, Aya, and we just wanted to help."
"Yeah, but even still. You didn't stop me, and now you have worries you never would have had if it weren't for me." Both of Aya's hands clasped onto Rae's one and she stared up at her, her eyes spilling silent tears of remorse and her voice pleading.
"Aya, you didn't twist my arm, did you? You never asked me to love you, but I still did, and still do. I made that choice myself, and I don't regret it at all. You taught me how to move on, how to choose the right reasons for searching for answers. And maybe we didn't stop you, but I don't quite think we failed. You're still here, and as long as you know for now on that we're here for you and you don't try it again then we'll be okay."
Rae was smiling slightly at her, but Aya looked down, her tears still slipping noiselessly from the tip of her nose onto her hands that still hadn't let go of Rae's. "You don't need to worry about trying it again. They're going to make sure I have a nice place to heal," she said, the last word bitterly sarcastic.
Rae closed her eyebrows together, confused. "What are you talking about?"
"There's this guy that they've put in charge of me, and he's found me a home where a lot people who dealt with the same thing as me live. I'm supposed to make friends there and talk to some therapists, and eventually I'll 'heal.'"
Rae kept a straight face and clouded the emotion in her eyes, but her mind was spinning madly. This is where her friends are! They can't take her away from that! I'm what she needs, Kurt is what she needs! We love her! And they expect her to heal after they take her away from the only people who do?! But she said none of this, the muscles in the corners of her mouth and eyes fluttering randomly as she tried her hardest to hide her feelings, and she said calmly, "That sounds great, Aya. I bet it'll be great."
She snorted sarcastically, looking back up at Rae with red eyes, and then spoke in a shaky voice that tried to sound lighthearted but only sounded trembling and weak. "No it's not, Rae, it's horrible. I finally got my bearings and they're sending me away. I didn't even have a say in it. It's only going to make things worse."
"You don't know that."
"Yes I do, and so do you. It took me seventeen years to make friends here. I don't want to leave, Rae. I love both of you too much."
"I love you too, Aya." She bent down and hugged her, feeling her heart being wrenched apart as she was being wrenched apart from her friend. They held each other tightly, as if they could stop Aya from leaving if they held tight enough and never let go. Aya began sobbing aloud, her shoulders shaking, and the weight of everything that the both of them had taken on their shoulders since the very first day fell over them and Rae began to sob too, their bodies a soaking, shaking mob.
Rae suddenly realized this and pulled back from the hug, laughing. "What's so funny?" Aya asked, sniffing as she wiped away her tears.
Rae let her tears sit on her cheeks as she laughed wildly. "Look at us! We go through all of that and now we decided to go and cry!" Aya began giggling, until after awhile they were both feeding off of each other's laughs. Rae bent over and clutched her stomach as they both cried now with laughter. After a minute or two they started to settle, and soon they stopped completely. The rooms swayed around Rae and she grabbed Aya's hand and the bed to steady herself. The room was out of focus and she couldn't see the worry in her face, but she could hear it in her voice.
"Rae, take it easy."
She swayed around a bit more before getting her footing and then rubbed her temples. "Sorry, but I'm supposed to be resting. I'm going to go."
"No, go ahead. I don't want you to hurt yourself."
Rae bent down and kissed Aya's forehead affectionately before walking out. She leaned against the wall with her eyes shut to hold back tears of loss, thinking, So this is it, eh? We just walk into her life for not even a week and then walk right out? We barge in and cause utter chaos and then just let her go? But she knew that she had to do just that, at least for now. She opened her eyes and rubbed her temples for a moment, then slowly walked back to her own room to sleep off the dizziness in her head and the heaviness in her heart.

*****

Kurt knocked on the door gently with his left hand, his right arm in a cast being held by a sling. There was no answer and he knocked again, and when there was no reply still he fumbled with the doorknob clumsily and then walked in. Aya was sleeping on her hospital bed quietly, her chest rising up and down in slow, steady breaths, and he walked over to her. He stood over her and brushed the hair from her face, admiring her peaceful expression. He took a lock of her hair and held it between his fingers, letting it slide free, smooth as silk, and tenderly touched his fingertips to her cheek. Her eyes slowly fluttered open and he immediately felt warmth spread its fingers over his heart and he beamed down at her. She ran her hand through her hair and sat up, smiling up at him, and he said softly, "Sorry, I didn't mean to wake you up."
She yawned widely and sat up, running her hand through her hair and saying, "Nah, it's okay."
He smiled at her, feeling butterflies in his stomach, and then asked, "How's your arm?"
She bowed her head and his body tingled in pain, his brow furrowed at the sight of what this topic did to her. "It's fine now."
He moved closer and sat on the edge of the bed, ruffling the sheets as he fidgeted, trying to get his arm in a comfortable position. He finally found a good spot and settled, moving Aya's hair from her eyes and taking her hands in his own. "Look, Aya.what you did, I mean, I get it. I don't know what it was like for you to got through those things and I guess I never will, but I can imagine. It had to have been rough." Kurt struggled fiercely to find the right words before he realized that there were no perfect words for a situation like this. "I mean, it's just, we're supposed to be in this together. It was your problem and your life, so you had to fix it, but I was here for you. All you need to do is to be open with me, to let me in and when you need me, I'll be there. I don't like being in the dark, Aya. I don't like feeling helpless when you're involved. I love you Aya, and I want to do what any guy should when he loves somebody. I want you to know you can tell me anything."
Aya lifted her eyes to his own, sad pools merging with those of hope, and she asked, "Anything?"
He leaned in and cupped her cheek in his hands, kissing her softly on the forehead. "Yeah, anything."
"Well." She looked back downward and said so softly that Kurt barely heard, "They're sending me away."
He brought his brows together again and asked, "Sending you away? Who? When?"
"I don't know, some important looking guy. He said he's working on my case or something. They don't think this is a healthy environment for me to heal at, so they're sending me to some home."
Icy shock washed over Kurt, freezing his mind and leaving him momentarily speechless. Then a wave of burning anger came over him, melting away the shock and leaving him livid.
"What the hell?! They can't send you away! Not after all we did, all we went through! Are they fucking crazy?! You need to be here, Aya, you need me! Just like I need you!"
Aya closed her eyes and leaned in toward him, silencing him with a kiss as she sealed their soft lips together. His rage fizzled out, and when she pulled back he felt the empty helplessness settling in his chest once more. "There's nothing I can do, Kurt. I'm out of here by noon, and then I pack some clothes and a few important sentimental things, and then I'm gone by five."
He put his arm around her and pulled her into a one armed hug, allowing her to snuggle against his chest. He leaned his cheek on top of her head and sighed, saying, "So you're not shitting me, huh?"
"No, I'm not."
He squinted his eyes against the agony inside of him, trying to keep it from pulling him apart. "You'll be able to call though, won't you?"
She kissed his arm and laced her fingers with his, but her tone was sad when she said, "No, I don't think so. Not by the sound of it." He pressed his lips to her head and then leaned against it, rocking with her to the excruciating beat everything was smashing against his heart. "It won't be for forever though."
"Yeah, but you'll be there for years at least, right?" She was silent and he knew that he was right, and they rocked together, relishing their last moments together. I fell in love with a girl in a week, and now she's gone.

*****

The horn beeped obnoxiously at her, demanding her to come out right this instant. She swung open the front door and stuck her head out, yelling, "Just give me a second! Jesus Christ!"
Aya slammed the door shut and fell to the ground, burying her face in her hands, catching her tears. You're taking me away because my family was fucked up, but I have a wonderful family. I have Rae who I'd trust my life with, and I have Kurt who I'd go to the end of the world for, and you're taking me away from them.
She grabbed her suitcase and unzipped the front compartment, pulling out a silver chain with a cross dangling from it. It was given to her by her mother just a year before she died, and it always made her feel closer to her. It had begun to anger her dad soon after she died and ever since she hadn't dared to wear it, but now she figured it was okay. She slipped it over her head and under her hoody and shirt, feeling its cool comfort against her chest contentedly. She felt stronger, and although she still didn't want to go, she felt that she'd do it anyway. I've been through shit ten times worse than this. This will be a piece of cake. But she felt the empty space where Kurt and Rae had once resided and it hurt, hurt to go away with gaping holes in her heart.
The horn honked again and she picked herself up, grabbing the suitcase and rolling it along. She slammed the door so hard that it didn't quite shut but rather ricocheted back an inch, and she threw her luggage into the trunk that the driver had popped open for her. She slammed the trunk too, and when she climbed into the backseat she followed tradition. Sean Ellenaj was sitting in the front seat, but as he started to give her some comforting words she popped up her middle finger and then stared out of the window when he fell silent. I love you both, and no matter where these idiots drag me to, I always will.

*****

Kurt kicked off repeatedly, reaching speeds that he had never reached on his skateboard before as he raced to catch Aya. He glanced at his watch and cursed his mom in his mind, hating her now for keeping him home to fold stupid laundry. Chores never had been, weren't now, and never would be more important than Aya and he couldn't believe that his mom had jeopardized his one last goodbye to her.
He reached her house and slammed the back of his board downward, skidding to halt and running to her door. He rapped his fist against the door and it swung open, and immediately he knew he had come too late. He kicked the ground angrily and a notebook went skidding across the floor, startling him out of his fury for a moment. He walked over and picked it up, cocking his head in curiosity as he flipped to a random page. He realized that this must be one of Aya's poems, and he read it to himself.

Forevermore

Slowly I pull into stall,
My life is coming to a halt,
And yet it means nothing to him,
I fight and fight but never win.

Upon The Gates my blood still leaks,
Of flaming pain my body shrieks,
As I trudge through murky swamps of hate,
My knees buckle, cursing fate.

Sometimes I just don't understand,
Why I let myself fall to his hand,
Why not end it all in one last blow,
Or run as far as my legs will go?

And still sometimes I want to give up,
To end my pain, no longer stuck,
But I won't, for I have learned before,
I have to fight forevermore.

He stared at his feet for a moment before rolling up the notebook and placing it in his pocket. He walked outside and picked up his board, swinging it under his arm, deciding that he'd take a good walk before going home. She started on his way and felt as if the notebook in his pocket held some importance, some weight the he would not have expected. He touched its cover and realized that this was all he had of Aya. He wished he could have gotten a lock of her beautiful hair for a moment before he realized that this was very different from a lock of hair-this held some sort of importance to Aya, and she would have to return for it sometime. He laid his skateboard on the sidewalk and sat on it, running his hands through his hair, thinking, We were there for you, Aya. You needed us and we were there. Well, now we need you, Aya, but you're not here. You have to come back Aya, I need you. I need you back.

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