Chapter 3 - ICU

Kaede finished bathing the kitten quickly and walked hurriedly towards the ICU, still drying her fur. He passed by room after room, mostly of people who had had surgery in the last 24 hours or so and were either awake, and doing reasonably well, or sleeping peacefully. He walked up and down the ICU three times before finally asking a nurse which one Rintarou was in. she pointed at the one two rooms behind him. Kaede looked in and had to check the name on the door to see if it was really him. He went in and sat down next to his lover and looked at the still body in shock. Rintarou was whiter than his sheets, the only thing distinguishing him from the snow- white pillowcase his head was on were big black and purple blotches everywhere and he had a tube down his throat. His face had swollen from the beating, his closed eyes puffy and purple there were bandages on his face, over what Kaede assumed were deep gashes and cuts, due to the amount of red seeping through the bandages. The rest of him was covered in many blankets. In addition to the units of deep red blood, there was a large bag of a clear liquid hanging next to the bed each connecting – Kaede could only assume – to Rintarou's arm underneath the blanket.

The cat jumped out of Kaede's arms while he was still sitting in shock, and walked towards the area next to Rintarou's neck and curled up in a ball, purring loudly. Kaede felt a surge of jealousy toward the small creature. He wished he could have curled up next to this sad imitation of his boyfriend. The machines around Rintarou's bed suddenly started beeping and Kaede noticed that the heart monitor had a flat line across it instead of its usual pulses. Just then three nurses and a doctor rushed in and shoved Kaede to the side of the room. "whats happening?" he asked, more scared than he let on.

It was the closest nurse who answered, but not to him "He's going into cardiac arrest." She said to the other medical professionals gathered around Rintarou's bed. Kaede watched as the team of medics tried to save Rintarou's life. In a matter of a few heart stopping moments and many complicated things that Kaede couldn't bring himself to watch, the monitor next to Rintarou's bed started beating normally again and the team calmed down.

"Whats going on?" Kaede asked angrily "and what are those machines for?" A different nurse, who had just walked in and had started checking the other machines he was hooked up to answered him.

"I'm sorry, but we had to put Noe-san on life-support because he hasn't been breathing on his own. In addition" she said professionally, yet still sympathetically "that is the fifth time he has gone into cardiac arrest while he has been here. And the paramedics informed us that he went into cardiac arrest twice more in the ambulance."

"Will he be ok?" Kaede asked childishly.

"If he comes out of the coma, we are fairly sure he is going to make a full recovery, however he needs to start breathing on his own and wake up. And we aren't entirely sure that will happen yet. Actually, due to the massive amount of injuries, we are looking at only a 1 in 20 chance that he will wake up. And the odds go down to about 1 in 1,000 if he doesn't come out of it in the next week." Kaede was horrified by these statistics. 'One in a thousand if he doesn't wake up in the next seven days?' he thought 'That cant be right! But one in twenty until then. Rintarou can beat the odds, I know he can. He is strong.'

After another three days and six more heart-stopping cardiac arrests, three the first day, then one less every day, he had still not awakened from his coma, and remained in the ICU. Halfway through Rintarou's fourth day in the hospital Kaede awoke from the short nap he was taking, with his head resting on Rintarou's bed, to the young man seizing. "Help!" Kaede called, not moving from Rintarou's side "Rintarou-kun, Rintarou-kun!" he called trying to get the small pale body to stop seizing. A nurse rushed in and checked Rintarou, seeing if anything was amiss, then she checked his lungs. She smiled and after giving him a sedative, she started to take the tube out of Rintarou's throat, replacing it with a mask connecting to the wall.

"He started seizing after trying to breathe for himself." The nurse explained to Kaede. "However, his lungs are still quite weak, so I am going to have to keep him on oxygen until he stabilizes more fully." She looked at Kaede's non-responsive face. "This is good, it means that he is healing, he is starting to wake up. If my guess is right he should be awake in the next few days." Kaede looked at the pale figure still covered in blankets and breathed a small sigh of relief.

"So can he leave the ICU?" he asked still not totally convinced. The nurse shook her head sadly

"I'm sorry, but as of right now he still needs the intensive care. Once he goes for 48 hours without a cardiac arrest, we will consider moving him to a normal ward." She said. Then, seeing his face she said "you may not have realized, but his injuries were so severe, not to mention the blood loss, and freezing temperatures he was found in, he is lucky to have made it this far into recovery. His internal injuries were some of the worse we have seen in a while – with the outside cause being men." Kaede didn't look very reassured. In fact, he looked downright frightening.

"Those men are going to pay for what they have done" he muttered to himself. Just then two serious looking men in Policemen's uniforms walked up to the door

"Are you Sumizume Kaede?" one of them asked. Kaede nodded in the affirmative. "got some hits on the attackers using the DNA left on your friend Noe Rintarou" the policeman clearly didn't want to say "semen found in your friend after the men who raped and beat him almost to death fled the scene" Kaede scowled at the phrasing but nodded, silently asking the man to continue. "It seems that one or more of the men involved have very high ranking political family members. One of them is even the son of the District Attorney. There were at least six people in the attack and they all have ties to the yakuza." Kaede refrained from growling at the use of "political" instead of "Yakuza" though the indications were clear.

"So," he said in a cold steady voice, "you can't do anything, can you?"

The policeman shook his head sadly. "We arrested them all two days ago, and all but the two lowest were released on bail by this morning. Those two we suspect may be being bailed out as we speak, or they might just as easily be killed in prison, either way, it is no help to the case."

"You-" Kaede started to say something nasty when he heard a whimpering from behind him, one very unlike the meows and whimpers the kitten had been making for the past few days. He turned quickly, Rintarou was in the exact same position, but he was whimpering and sobbing.

"I'm sorry Kaede-san" he managed to choke out between sobs. "forgive me…" Kaede was at his side instantly, he grasped Rintarou's hand with one, and stroked his bruised and beaten face with the other.

"sshh," Kaede said softly, silent tears running down his own face "I forgive you, don't worry" The sobs continued with mutters of "forgive me" or "I'm sorry" every few minutes until after about ten minutes they lightened into just whimpers, and then the exhausted body slipped back into unconsciousness.

"What happened?" Kaede demanded of the nurse, not noticing that the policemen had left.

"It seems that he finally came out of his coma, what you heard was him sleep-talking – dreaming probably. It seems to be too much for his mind to handle, and he slipped back into unconsciousness, however, he is not in a coma anymore, just unconscious." One fear seemed to replace the now lessening one. Rintarou's words had unlocked a whole new door of apprehension in him. He was sure that the innocent Rintarou didn't do anything, but what had been done to him that made him feel so guilty? Kaede fell down into the chair next to Rintarou's bed and tried to take in everything that had happened in the past few days. He really ought to call the Noes now. Rintarou's family would want to know what happened to him. Kaede felt slightly guilty for not telling them for so long, however, he had promised to himself that he would call them if Rintarou's condition changed. While he was just lying in a coma they couldn't do any more than he could. But now that he seemed to be coming out of it, he figured it might be time to call his boyfriend's family.

"You should really go home and sleep for a while" the nurse said, rolling through Kaede's train of thought.

"I cant sleep if he isn't with me" he answered her softly, barely able to be heard.

Comprehension dawned on the nurse's face. "Ah, well, let me at least get you a bed, you have been sleeping in that chair for four days now. You are going to get sick from lack of sleep." Kaede didn't bother telling her that he wouldn't be able to sleep even if he was in a bed so he nodded. Patients in the ICU receive food three times a day, but since Rintarou had been in a coma for most of it, Kaede had been eating the food himself. At least, he ate enough to keep him alive. The nurse didn't want to tell the sorrowful young man that he losing weight fast, and it wasn't healthy. She was just glad he ate anything at all. She finished in the room and went to tend to one of her other patients.

The cat, who in comparison was gaining a bit weight, looked up at Kaede with sorrowful eyes, and then licked Rintarou's cheek, yawned and stretched, and then curled up again in the same place. Her routine had been pretty regular in the past few days. She wouldn't move from that spot where she originally curled up four days before. She would get up and stretch, and walk in a circle sometimes before curling back up. Otherwise Kaede made sure to feed her whenever the tray came, and she groomed herself a few times a day, but mostly she just lay there sleeping and purring. Kaede smiled sadly at her sleeping form. She really was a good cat, he mused absently. Then he took out his phone and made one of the calls he hoped never to have to make.

Author note - I am exaggerating things that could or could not happen. I don't know how many times someone could go into cardiac arrest. i also dont know how many days, someone in a coma has before the chances drop. and the percentages are totally made up