It was Ayumu's fifteenth birthday and she was crying. In all of her life, she never thought she'd be here, in a hospital, on her hospital bed crying her eyes out while watching video messages of her family and people she had met recently all wishing her a happy birthday. She would never see the majority of these wonderful people again. They were dead now. Her mom, dad, Kite, Haruo. So many deaths had occurred on their journey. It was unfair. She was glad that Go was still with her.
Go. Her kid brother. It was him and her now. She had to act like an adult now and protect him at all costs.
I promise, Mom and Dad. She promised in her mind. I promise that no matter what happens, I will not let harm come to my little brother. I will raise him just like how you raised us. We will still be a loving family and will grow up to be wonderful adults, just like you two wanted. We will never forget you and all of the friends we made along the way. We will stay strong and get through this just like we had in the past.
"Happy birthday!" An excited Go shouted, bursting into her room. He saw her sister had been crying when she turned around and his excitement faded away. "Oh, I'm sorry. This is a bad time, isn't it?" Ayumu wiped away her tears and shook her head.
"No." She lied. "Not at all. You can stay."
"So you saw the birthday messages? I'm sorry. I didn't want to make you upset."
"I'm not upset."
"Yes you are. Our parents are gone. We're in a hospital on your birthday. Your leg just got amputated. You might say this is your most suckiest birthday yet. Those are plenty of good reasons to be upset."
"Okay. You got me. You're right. This is my suckiest birthday yet. But you know what makes this day less awful?"
"Seeing that you are alive and by my side right now." Go smiled.
"Hey, yeah, you're right! I would've probably had said the same thing if things were reversed."
"Thank goodness for that."
"Sadly, we're not the only people who lost love ones over these past few days."
"Sad, but true. I'm going to miss Mom, Dad, Kite and the others."
"Kite's alive, Ayumu." Ayumu was shocked.
"What? How's that possible? He went in the clouds."
"I know, but somehow he survived. I'm glad. There's been too many deaths lately. It's time for some good news." Ayumu smiled.
"I'm glad too and I completely agree with you. Go. We have to look out for each other now."
"We will." Ayumu smiled at that. "
"Happy birthday again, Ayumu. I'm sorry today sucks."
"I'm sorry too, but thanks. You want to hop in my bed?":
"Really? You and the nurses won't mind?" She shook her head and her little brother got onto her bed with her. "You will have to get off when one comes though."
The kids went to live with their grandparents on their mother's side. Mari's parents were both so happy that their grandkids were still alive. They were also heartbroken that the kids were now orphans. However, they still had to pay for the surgery that their granddaughter had. They had help from all of Ayumu's and Go's living relatives. Kite, too, helped by asking viewers to donate for it.
"Wow; Kite!" Said a shocked Go. 'You're really helping my sister out like this. What you are doing is so cool!" Kite looked at the young boy and smiled.
"I've been with you guys long enough now," Kite began. "That you guys are like family to me."
"That is what I was thinking! Wow; just imagine a famous YouTuber like yourself. That's so awesome!"
"I'm glad you think that. And even if I wasn't a famous YouTuber, I will still help."
"Because that's how awesome you are!"
"Exactly." He looked at his phone. "And we have our first donation."
"Cool! And we'll have more, right?"
"I still hope so." Go looked at his sister.
"Isn't this nice that all of these people are helping you, Ayumu?" Ayumu smiled.
"It sure is." She agreed.
After the funeral on the drive home, their granddad looked back at Ayumu.
"You know Ayumu" He began. "maybe you should write a book on the earthquake and what you and your brother went through."
"And I'll help!" Go offered.
"No, I can't do that." Ayumu said. "That will be like reliving it and I don't want to relive it."
"Are you sure?" Their grandmother asked. "I know this was a terrible experience for you two, but your grandfather might have a point. Then other people will know of your story."
"Grandma, I'm sorry, but no. I don't want to and you can't make me."
"It was just a suggestion, Ayumu." Her brother pointed out. "Please, don't be mad at Grandma."
"I'm not mad." Ayumu told her brother. "I'm just disagreeing with her."
"Do what you want." Her grandmother said. "Maybe think about it? But in the end, it's your choice. We'll be fine ether way, right, dear?" The grandfather sighed.
"I'm sorry I brought it up." He said. Ayumu sighed.
"Maybe I'll think about it." She said as well. The rear view mirror showed their grandmother smiling.
Weeks later, they raised enough money for to pay for Ayumu's surgery.
"You know what, Ayumu?" Her grandma said to her a few days later. "I don't think you should give up sports just because you lost your foot. You love athletics. So I think you should consider joining a disability sports team."
"Yeah!" Go agreed. "Maybe even the paralympics!" Ayumu was about to disagree, but she thought about it and smiled.
"You know what?" She said. "You're right. Maybe I will join. I do like athletes and still want to do it. Thanks, grandma."
"And we'll cheer you every step of the way!" Her brother added. Her sister looked at him.
"I know you will."
And so New Year's came and went. Ayumu, Go and their grandparents didn't know what the future will hold and Japan will certainly have more and more earthquakes and deaths on the way, but they still wanted to live in Japan. And with vaccines on the way, the future looked promising. One could only hope.