After parting ways with her junior, AE3803 continued her journey to the neck and reached the place where the recipient was waiting. It was another great achievement of her. Once again, she managed to deliver a package without getting lost. Moreover, no one helped her without her knowledge, like what U-1146 did to her some time earlier.
Shortly after she left the place, a familiar voice spoke to her from behind. "Good job, Red Blood Cell. Congratulations on not getting lost again."
"White Blood Cell!" she called her cheerfully. "Fancy meeting you here! By the way, would you like to hang out with me for a while?"
He accepted her invitation. "With pleasure. For the time being, I would like to take a break. Let's take a stroll around here."
"Oh, wait a sec, White Blood Cell!" AE3803 ran towards a vending machine in order to obtain 2 sticks of glucose for both of them. She gave him a green-colored one and she kept the red one for herself. U-1146 said that he liked the glucose AE3803 gave him. She was happy to hear that.
"Today is a beautiful day, isn't it, White Blood Cell?"
"Yeah, you're right. No bacteria invasion, no chaos, just us and this peaceful situation."
Meanwhile, outside the body…
Their host was having a conversation with someone else. He tried to convince his interlocutor, "Tonight, when the boy comes, it will not fail you, I am sure of it." There was a short pause before he said, "It answers to you, and you only."
"Red Blood Cell," U-1146 talked again. "I'm truly delighted to see your improvement. I remember the times when you constantly got lost, even when you were to visit places you're familiar with. Now, you get lost only when you try to find places you have never visited before. Is it because you want to look better in front of your junior?"
She confessed humbly, "Actually, I just want to be as good as the other red blood cells. Kouhai-chan… she's more than remarkable, I think."
"One thing you must know…"
"Another hot gossip of the day…" Dendritic cell smirked after he successfully took a picture of them. Unfortunately, U-1146 noticed his action. He left AE3803 for a little while, ran towards his hiding place, and tried to snatch his camera.
U-1146 almost had that camera in his hand when the throat was suddenly slashed. An explosion occurred and many blood cells sucked out of the body. They stopped fighting and U-1146 came back to protect the unharmed AE3803. He unsheathed one of his knives, preparing himself to fight any bacteria who dared to attack them.
Another explosion shocked the cells around the spot. Sadly, incalculable number of blood cells were sucked out with both AE3803 and U-1146 among them. They were thrown out of the body, flew in the air, and finally landed on a rough surface of a thing made of glass that human called 'window'.
Those who were sucked out but still able to survive witnessed a creature brutally torturing their host several times before she slithered towards her hairless master. A few seconds later, they left the place in no time. They left that man wounded so horribly. So much blood flowed out of his wounds. AE3803 and U-1146 couldn't imagine how many of their friends that were killed by that cold-blooded beast.
Those two blood cells landed not far from each other. They were still alive, but apparently not for much longer. They were once helpful blood cells, instantly turned into useless ones. U-1146's receptor was broken. Moreover, all of his knives could not be used. He lost two of them and the other two were found broken. AE3803 couldn't aid anymore cells, for she was nearly out of strength. "White Blood Cell!" AE3803 shouted. "Are you okay!?"
"I'm not sure," he replied. "That landing was pretty painful, even for me, a white blood cell who tends to get wounded while protecting other cells."
The microscopic surface of the glass wasn't flat. Instead, it was like a rocky terrain for them. They could see each other's face, but not each other's full body since there was a large rock between them.
They remained silent when 3 people came into the place they were in. One of them, a boy with spectacles, approached their host and covered his wounds with his hand. "Take them… Take them… Please…" he pleaded to the boy as a silvery blue substance came out of his eye. They helplessly watched their host suffering to death. Even if they had enough strength to return and help their workmates, they wouldn't be able to change the circumstances because they landed far, far away from the wound. Obviously, that man would die much earlier before they reached that spot (if they earnestly wanted to return).
"Red Blood Cell," U-1146 called his close friend. He told her to look directly at his eyes. Coincidentally, at exactly the same time, their host, the Half-Blood Prince, told the same to the boy before he breathed his last. "There is something in my memory that I will never forget. In fact, I can never forget it. And I want to share it with you. So, please listen to me, one last time."
AE3803 nodded and U-1146 began his story, "Once in my childhood, I encountered an erythroblast when I was inside the bone marrow. I attempted to save that poor erythroblast from a Pseudomonas, but I didn't succeed. Fortunately, my effort was enough to buy some time. As a result, my teacher was able to save us before it managed to kill us.
Since then, I have always had that erythroblast in my mind. I frequently saw that erythroblast both in the bone marrow and in the blood vessels as a red blood cell, hoping to be able to talk to that cell once more. That was until I saved that blood cell from a Pneumococcus."
AE3803 blushed, hearing what he just told her. She felt that she had the same memory with him, but she decided not to ask him until he finished with his story. She was willing to be a good listener for him.
"It appeared that she didn't remember me at all, so I pretended not to know her. I decided to start our friendship all over again. The longer it lasts, the more I realized that I am very fond of her. I… am grateful to have ever met you, Red Blood Cell. I'm thankful to have ever known you ever since we were kids."
AE3803 couldn't do anything but weeping. She didn't believe what she just heard. She actually remembered the moment of their first met, but not the face of that myelocyte. She had a feeling that the myelocyte who saved her back then might be U-1146, and she just knew it really was him. She told all that to U-1146. "Y-You… still recognized me… when that… Pneumococcus… attacked me?"
He replied, "It's easy to recognize you since you're the only red-haired red blood cell I've ever seen. And that unique 'magic hair' of yours makes it even easier for me to identify you."
Still sobbing, she replied back, "I'm… glad… to hear it. I'm… glad… to know that… my love… for somebody… isn't an… unrequited one."
"Red Blood Cell," he spoke again. "After all this time, my feelings for you have never changed. And it will never change." AE3803 whose color gradually faded away gave that neutrophil a thin smile. She really wanted to hug U-1146 and to be hugged by him. However, they couldn't even hold hands.
Knowing that her time was about to come, AE3803 opened her mouth again. There was one last dreadful truth she wished to tell him. At the time, she 'possessed' something which was actually his and she wanted to return it. She moaned in pain when she tried to take that thing. U-1146 was extremely shocked when AE3803 gave him a white knife with red stains on it. It had penetrated the upper part of her body, right under her right breast, since she was in the air, before she landed on the window. He found out why the red blood cell he was in love with often spoke haltingly in the last few minutes.
"Hold on! Hold on, alright?"
U-1146 forced himself, exerting all his strength within him to move himself closer to AE3803. It was the first time she saw him breaking down in tears. Once they were close enough, he looked down, staring at her wound. "It's my fault," he stated.
AE3803 shook her head and defended him, "It was just… an accident. None of us… expected… these attacks… to happen."
Seeing his dearest continuously weakening, U-1146 completely ran out of words. He hugged her tightly as if he would lose everything if he let her go. AE3803 hugged him back and both of them cried on each other's shoulder. After a few moments, they were steady enough to let go of each other. Both of them realized that death was an inevitable fate and their time to face it was about to come.
She took off her glove and touched his cheek with bare hand. She tried to give him her best smile possible. Her lips trembled, trying to utter some words, "I'm happy… to be with you… White Blood… Cell." Soon after she said that, her hand fell off his cheek powerlessly. The knife that was usually used by its owner to save her life ultimately put an end to her life. After AE3803 closed her eyes, U-1146 sobbed uncontrollably, embracing the dead body of his beloved. He had lost so many of his neutrophil friends, but he had never been that sad before.
It wasn't just about losing her. To him, it was the biggest failure in his life. He dedicated his entire life to protect other cells. And he did protect them until a series of catastrophic jugular attacks destroyed their world completely. Above all that, what made him so ashamed of himself was the death of AE3803, the cheerful red blood cell he loved so dearly. Indirectly, he thought, he was the main cause of her passing. His carelessness in handling his own pointy equipment accidentally killed her.
He spent the rest of his life mourning her death. A movie depicting his precious moments with her was played inside his head. Eventually, he died because of being dried out by nature itself. He died with both his hands gripping her shoulders and his forehead leaning to hers.
Maybe, Voldemort was right. 'Every drop of (magical) blood spilled is a terrible waste'. The more and the larger the wounds created, the greater the crisis these cute cells had to deal with.