She was surrounded by insalubrious darkness. It closed in her, making her claustrophobic. All her vision was clouded by this black veil, occasional mist rising far in the distance.
Ami trembled, daring to take a step forward. She hesitated, frozen to her spot. Her body felt as if all her veins were pricked by needles. Her head was heavy with electrifying agony.
"H-hello?" she called out, shivering as her surroundings grew colder, "Is anyone there?"
A raucous laughter replied in the distance. The voice was all too familiar and Ami gasped, searching around her for a way to escape.
"Where are you, little girl?" the voice jeered from all directions, "You have something that I need…"
"N-no!" Ami retorted, running like a frightened rabbit in the realm of darkness, ignoring the throbbing pain in her head and her pelvic area.
She stumbled over her own feet to change direction, because the mocking voice of Tony reverberated from every corner.
"I am coming to get you!" Tony's voice mocked her in a sing-song tone. It was growing closer to her, ready to devour her whole.
Ami pressed her palms against her ears and shook her head in horror. "No! Stay away from me, please!"
"Ding dong bell, Ami's in the well!"
Ami crawled backwards, tears trickling down her cheeks. "Please stay away!"
A hand grabbed her by the shoulder and spun her around with vicious force. She held her breath in her throat when she met the dirty, debauched face of her stalker. Tony smirked at her ferociously, his sooty palm travelled down her body, and Ami screamed.
"Leave me alone!" Ami's eyes opened and the darkness faded away.
Her vision blinked back into focus. She was greeted by the familiar faces of her friends: Mina, Rei, Lita and Serena. The sound of a heart monitoring machine beeped in the background. She was lying on a bed, her body ached all over, and bandages covered her head and limbs. Ami groaned in pain, tears brimming in her eyes. Tony's voice still echoed somewhere far away in her mind.
"Ami…" Serena began, reaching for the startled girl's shoulder but Ami let out a shriek and moved herself away.
Her friends' faces were etched with concern and worry. Ami's heart sank with guilt. She realised that her current behaviour exacerbated their perplexity.
"I'm so sorry everyone…" she choked, tears spilling as she clutched the hospital bed-sheets.
"We're here for you, Ami," Mina said softly, holding her hand out for the girl.
"Yes, you are not alone," Lita added to which Rei and Serena nodded their assurance.
"You guys, it was all my fault…" Ami stammered, her words rolling over each other like thick soup.
Serena was suddenly by her side and held her fiercely in a tight embrace. "You're wrong! This is not your fault! Whoever did this to you will be punished, and we will ensure that!"
"Whoever did this…"Ami echoed quietly and thoughts of Tony's hands over her body, his knife creating fissures, and his rancid breath over her skin bounced through her mind.
She felt dirty, as if the purity of her soul was tainted. She wanted to pull her skin apart. Unholy hands had roamed around her sacred skin, to which no other boy had ever touched.
She began screaming. She pushed Serena away violently, screaming until her voice became sore and scratchy. The girls were trying to talk with her but their words melted before reaching her ears. Ami removed the wires and tubes stuck on her body. She needed to get away. She needed to disappear.
People in white rushed into the room as she climbed out of bed. Before she could make a dash for the door, they grabbed her, sticking a needled through her vein. The room was spinning. She fell back into a deep sleep.
Quatre, Heero and Trowa reached the special ward. They stood outside, each boy was nervous and unsure about the visit. They had endured many questionings from the police since they were witnesses of the aftermaths of the crime. The police were searching for the man who hurt Ami, but found nothing.
It was over a week since Ami finally awoke from her coma but her initial reaction to her friends was incredulous.
"Hi guys!" Mina strutted over to them in her high heels. Her golden hair was spilling down her waist, held up by her infamous orange bow and she donned an orange sundress.
Her presence was a relief for the boys, especially Quatre, who was unwilling to see Ami after witnessing her in a terrible state before.
"How's she doing?" he enquired, brows furrowed in worry.
Mina sighed dejectedly and stared at her fingers. "I just met her a couple of hours ago. She's drugged so she isn't aware of what's happening around her," she explained, "But its okay for you all to go see her."
Quatre couldn't help but feel his heart shatter into a million pieces. To know that Ami, a sweet and innocent girl, was in such a situation, it was enough to melt the coldest heart.
"Is this okay for her?" Heero said, raising the bouquet of lilies he purchased for the distraught girl.
"Awh, Heero, that's so nice of you," Mina said with a wide grin. "What's that?" She added, pointing at the leather case strapped around Quatre's shoulder.
"Oh this?" He removed the case and opened it, revealing a violin that was as precious to him as the friendship he had with the people in the room, "There's nothing like a bit of music to heal a wounded soul."
He noticed Mina's eyes linger for a moment longer on Trowa before she turned back to him. She smiled warmly, "That's a beautiful thought Quatre. I don't think she's fully awake to hear it though."
"It's worth a try," the Arabian suggested with a silky shrug of his shoulders.
"It's Quatre's sixth limb. He won't mind if Ami doesn't notice it,"Trowas' voice resounded and Quatre saw Mina fidget with excitement in her spot.
The blond Arabian chuckled, "Spot on, Trowa."
A glowing pink blush danced across Mina's cheeks and her eyes sparkled as she stared endearingly at Trowa. "You're right! Let's go in."
As Mina entered Ami's room, Quatre realised that Heero shook with fear in his spot. Trowa, on the other hand, followed Mina in, silently like a shadow.
"Heero, are you okay?" Quatre asked his friend.
Heero flashed him a glare as if the intended question was to humiliate him, but his fingers trembled over the bouquet, threatening to let go.
"Hngh," he grunted before trudging his way into the room.
The room was small yet spacious. Sunlight poured in through the window, warm rays flickering over the bedside where Ami lay. Quatre could barely recognise the sweet countenance of the girl. The skin around her cheeks were sunken like eroded cliffs. Deep blue, half-moon rings rimmed around the bottom of her eyes but it was the pupils that struck fear in Quatre. Those soft, cobalt irises that displayed a gentle and intelligent spirit was no longer present there. In their stead was sought compunction and a bout of insanity.
"Hi Ami…" Quatre greeted with a gentleman bow, his voice shaking, "It's nice to finally see you again."
She didn't respond but her head turned ever so slightly to face him. The empty pupils bore into his and Quatre was sure that they screamed tales of pain and revulsion.
The door banged shut loudly. Heero had exited the room.
Mina stared in disbelief at the door for a few seconds before turning to Ami and gently speaking, "Quatre wants to play a song for you, you know? Do you see how much people care about you? We all want you to get better as soon as possible."
"She's right," Quatre agreed, removing his violin from the case and holding it appropriately under his chin, "We want…No, we need you back with us, Ami."
He saw a flicker of light in her pupils but the hope vanished as soon as it appeared. The fiddle in his hand was vibrating, until Trowa moved closer to him. The latter's presence strengthened Quatre's motives. The Arabian closed his eyes, to hide the tears brewing in them, and began a melancholic tune on his violin.
In that instant, the world disappeared around him. He enveloped himself in a utopia, where pain was but a dream and sadness never pierced past the atmosphere. It was a world filled with eternal sunshine, dancing butterflies and prairie fields that whipped ever so gently in the warm breeze.
In the midst of those fields, he imagined Ami, sitting with her friends. A smile crept his lips. She was laughing with glee, her locks misplaced by the summer wind. The scene was set in a dreamy motion, white washed and blurred, halcyon, yet uninviting.
He was no more than a spectator from afar, but he didn't mind. To witness Ami smile again was more than enough.
"Quatre?" Mina's voice broke him from his reverie, as the fiddle lingered over the last note. Her lashes were wet with moisture.
"That was beautiful," she continued, "It was like…Like we were back in old summer days. Those precious days where each minute was spent in harmony…Thank you."
"You're welcome," Quatre told her gently, with a nod of his head. He glanced at Ami, but was disappointed when he met the same, wasted face since he entered the room.
"It was to meet you again, Ami," he said with a slight smile, "I hope to see you back in college soon."
Trowa motioned a glance at the door and Quatre followed him out.
Heero waited outside Rei's house. He hesitated, unsure if he should knock on the door or not. Since the night that he found Ami's battered body, Heero couldn't wipe the shocking image of his mind. He felt guilty for leaving the hospital but he couldn't face her like that.
He was afraid. It was the truth. The girl lying on the bed was not Ami to him. She was like a lifeless, fragile doll, abandoned and bruised.
Heero held Rei's purse in his hands. After the ambulance took Ami away, Heero was sent back by Mina to the party. He was the unlucky guy who had to break the news to all of Ami's friends. He was almost punched by Wufei for making Rei cry. In her hurry to rush to the hospital, Rei had forgotten her purse.
It was over a week since Heero kept it in his apartment. In the middle of the night, he ran his fingers over the rough material until it left glitter on his nails. He smelt the scent of roses off the leather. The scent left him intoxicated until he dozed off to sleep with a crooked grin. In the morning he would wake with the same guilty feeling after having nightmares about Ami.
Heero cleared his throat and straightened his posture. It was about time that he returned the purse to Rei. The item was driving him crazy and he couldn't handle his patience anymore. He couldn't risk the bond of friendship with Wufei for some girl that never noticed him.
His finger pressed the doorbell. Sweat trickled down his forehead and his hands shook with apprehension. His breath hitched in his throat when the door opened.
"Hello there." The girl was not Rei, but had a lot of her features, except her eyes were a gentle violet than passionate crimson.
"Uh…" Heero stared ahead of the girl, uncomfortable that she should resemble the object of his affection.
"Are you a friend of Rei's?" the girl asked with a soft smile. Her shoulder-length hair waved as she cocked her head to the side.
"Mm-aaa-go-now," Heero mumbled, thoughts of Rei and her wintry beauty taking over his thoughts…And his words.
"Sorry?" the girl said with confusion, "I'm Hotaru, Rei's younger sister."
"So….Rei isn't here at the moment. She's gone to see her friend in the hospital. You should try to ring her."
Heero's eyes widened like saucers. The last thing he wanted to do was go back into the hospital and set his eyes on Ami. The same guilty feeling crept inside him, like sewer slime that was hard to remove.
"I just came to drop this," he grunted, handing the red purse to Hotaru, "She left it at the Kushendra party…That night."
"Her favourite purse!" Hotaru gasped with joy, but her smile vanished instantly, "Did you…You were one of the boys who found Ami…"
Heero stuffed his hands into his pockets and shuffled his feet uncomfortably, "…Yeah."
Hotaru slipped a strand of hair behind her ear. "Thank you."
"Huh?" the introverted boy blinked, mesmerised by her words.
"If you hadn't found Ami in time…God knows what would have happened," Hotaru clarified sweetly, "Rei owes you and the other boys a lot. She told me personally."
"She…Did?" Heero replied with awkward hope.
"Of course!" Hotaru giggled, "But don't tell her that. Gratitude is the last thing she'll do."
"Oh…Thanks. I better go." Heero turned to leave, trying not to smile about what he just heard.
Rei actually acknowledged him! She cared that he was involved in getting Ami to the hospital. He had a sudden desire to rush back into the hospital and pull Ami into his arms.
"Wait," Hotaru grabbed his arm and Heero almost panicked from the electricity that surged from her touch, "Could I have your name and number please? Rei might ask for it once she gets back.