Stage 2 - Isolation
"I know you have your other reason as to why you're helping her." Blue said, her arms folded across her chest. She released a sigh at her friend's confused look. "I know Sapphire never gave up on you when you were experiencing your worst, and that is not the reason why you're not giving up on her, am I right?"
Ruby was dumbfounded.
"I..." He sighed, swiveling his chair to his right to face his friend, and nodded slowly while biting his lip.
How should he respond?
What Blue said was true.
He had his reasons why he was doing everything he can to help Sapphire.
"I have... I... I do." Ruby mumbled softly, his voice raspy from his gloomy mood. He stood up from his seat, grabbing the satchel on the table. He slung it around his left shoulder, his hand gently gripping the leather strap. As much as he wanted to tell her his entire reason, he opted not to.
He may be a passionate person, but he wasn't one of those people to publicly declare his feelings for someone. After all, he didn't want to make Sapphire uncomfortable at the unwanted attention.
It was not that he owes her something valuable, really. He was doing this because she was there when he had his worst. She was the only person who didn't give up on him, who stayed there for him in his toughest time. She was the first person who noticed he was being consumed by those negative emotions, in fact.
Technically speaking, he owed her for being there for him. But he actually didn't mind it, really. The truth is he was doing this because not only of his certain feelings for her but he also wanted her to be happy and to embrace life. He still believed there was a reason why she was alive.
"Sapphire... She... She didn't give up on me in my worst days... It's time for me to be there for her." He slowly closed his eyes, inhaling with his teeth gritted to calm his anxious heartbeat. "I have to be there for her."
Blue let out a depressed sigh, furrowing her eyebrows.
Blue always knew that Ruby liked Sapphire more than a friend. It was obvious at the way treated her. Ruby often treated Sapphire as no ordinary person. As if she were the most important person in his life, which she was.
As the years passed, Blue often noticed their interactions. It changed as they grow older. And one day, she was able to conclude that Ruby's feelings for Sapphire were more than just a simple infatuation, and she knew he was doing this because...
"Ruby," Blue called in hopes to fully catch his attention. "You love her, don't you?" She asked, placing her right palm onto his left shoulder. The look in her eyes was not mischievous, but rather sympathetic. Although Ruby didn't show it, Blue could tell it hurt Ruby whenever he sees Sapphire's depressive state more than it hurt her. "You're doing this, because... you want her to be happy even if... you're not the cause of it."
Ruby closed his eyes, biting his lip, further gripping the shoulder strap on his chest. He wasn't completely surprised at how Blue found out about his feelings for Sapphire. In fact, it hurt him. It was not because he didn't know whether or not Sapphire would reciprocate his feelings, but it was because of that feeling, she was more emotionally vulnerable and confused than before.
Confessing to her was not a part of his plan. He planned to, but it would certainly not be in her depressive times. Ruby's eyes slowly made contact at the tiled floor, focusing his vision into it.
Blue was right.
Confessing his feelings would certainly not help her current state. In fact, it made it worse.
He still remembered Wally's words several days ago. She refused to see him despite his protests of not leaving her work place until she lets him walk her home.
"Ruby, I think she's... confused. I saw it in her eyes... she's confused."
He trusted his friend's words.
Wally was one of the few people, besides himself, Blue and her family, who understood Sapphire. As much as he wanted to stay, he opted to leave their place, respecting her decision. But before he did the act, however, he told Wally to take her home and send him a text message once she arrived safely. He knew Wally would do the task since he had some feelings for Sapphire.
Nonetheless, it may just be infatuation, according to Wally, it didn't stop him from worrying about Sapphire. It was normal for Wally to care for his friends. It was one of the qualities Ruby admired from the green-haired lad, in fact.
She did come home safely, according to Wally's text message, but he couldn't help but to worry.
She had no one to bear the pain with her.
She might breakdown anytime, and it worried him.
He had to be there for her, but he couldn't because she told him to leave her alone for a few days and he respected her decision.
"You don't have to worry about her, because..."
Ruby swallowed hard, his legs are forcing him to move forward and walk his way to Sapphire's work place, but he resisted. He respected her decision despite the growing desire forming in his chest to hug and kiss her, telling her everything will be alright now that she's in his arms.
"Sapphire is a strong person."
"I know that! Everyone keeps on saying that, but... b-but..."
Ruby's eyes widened in shock, his mouth hung open, breathing heavily.
Everyone kept on telling Sapphire was a strong person, which was true, but what they didn't know was that she is emotionally vulnerable. She often buried the growing emotions in her chest since that incident in their younger years, for she believed it was a sign of being a weak person, which was not. He had seen her cry more than once, and it hurt to see her that way.
Being away from her when she was having her toughest time hurt him. He was never contented every time he ended his day without knowing her condition. He didn't know if she was alright or having another emotional breakdown, and it was making him anxious. I have to know she's okay. She has to be okay.
Blue jerked her head to her left, looking at her friend with confusion building up in her eyes. Something was definitely wrong with him. "How long since the last time you saw her?"
Ruby took a deep breath, gritting his teeth. His grip on the leather strap returned as his arms started shaking. "T-Three days."
"And for how long does she doesn't want to see you?"
Ruby closed his eyes and bit his lip, preventing his tears from flowing down. It was quite unprofessional to cry in his office. "F-Five days. She says... she needs some time alone, but..."
"I'll drop by at her place."
Ruby opened his eyes, jerking his head to his left. He gave her a confused look. "What?"
Why was she telling her that? Did that mean...?
"We're all worried about her, Ruby. I frequently drop by at her house just to accompany her. She told me that you confessed to her."
Ruby swallowed hard, speechless. He could only stare at their friend with surprise, sweat slowly falling from his right temple. His heart couldn't stop beating fast due to his anxiety. He was quite desperate to know what exactly were Sapphire's thoughts about his confession. She wasn't able to tell it since both were in completely surprised at it.
Ruby's confession was quite sudden and unexpected, even for him, and both were having an emotional breakdown to tolerate it.
"I noticed she was avoiding any questions related to you, which made me conclude that something must have happened between you two." Blue continued, still wearing a serious yet empathetic expression. "Your confession was just a lucky guess."
Ruby slowly nodded at her words. His anxiety increases his heartbeat's pace. He wanted to ask her what were Sapphire's thoughts about it, but somehow he felt a lump in his throat, making his words to not come out from his mouth.
"She's just... confused. I wanna ask for how long do you have those feelings for her, but I realized I shouldn't know it just yet. It's something for you two to sincerely discuss first."
"W-When..." Ruby choked the words out, wearing a shocked expression. Of course, this was Blue. She would ask that question sooner or later. However, he did feel thankful and relieved to know that she won't bother about his feelings for Sapphire at the moment.
Blue arched her right eyebrow, her arms now folded across her chest. She looked into her friend's eyes and smiled. She could tell he wouldn't let this opportunity go to waste, and as their friend, who was she to stop him? "You wanna see her, don't you?"
Ruby nodded, determination sprung up in his eyes. He just wanted to know if Sapphire was alright. If not emotionally, then physically. He wouldn't let this opportunity go to waste. He would stay there for ten minutes, then he will leave, because, he respected Sapphire and her decision. "I just wanna see her. Just... just for a bit."
Sapphire released a sigh, placing the cup of tea on the table. She brought her knees up to her chest and wrapped her arms around it, hugging it, bringing it closer to her chest. She stared at the small, white envelope on the table as sadness slowly shrouded her eyes.
It had been three days since she last saw Ruby and his words about the letter made her curious.
What was so important about it?
Why must she read it, though? It was impossible Ruby wrote that letter since he said it came from his father. If it was from Norman, then it must be important like a new job offering for instance. Sapphire shook her head, left to right, releasing her arms around her legs.
They were living in the twenty-first century.
Surely it was not a new job offering. Norman did say he would send her an e-mail if his company asked for new employees.
If it weren't a new job offering, then what did that letter contain? She sighed, her cute fangs poking out from her top lip. Maybe she should ask Ruby about it?
The thought of Ruby made her vigorously shook her head. One thing was certain. She was definitely not yet ready to see him after that stunt he pulled three days ago. He's...such an idiot. She thought, making her bite her lip.
Why was she even thinking about him? She didn't want to see him, right? An irked groan escaped from her lips.
Why was he making her feel like this? Her emotions had never been this complex since three days ago. And she thought grief, despair and anxiety were her only emotions.
Sapphire reluctantly reached for the letter, gripping her hand midway. She hesitated once her hand managed to grab the letter on the table.
Should she read it now?
Was it even the right time to read this?
Before she could decide, however, a knock on her door interrupted her thoughts. She returned the letter on the table and blinked, thinking who the person was knocking.
It would definitely be not Ruby. He may be a bit stubborn but she knew how much he respected her decision. Another sigh escaped from her lips as her left hand twisted the doorknob open, swinging the door from the outside.
Her eyes widened in shock at the sight.
"W-Wha..." She expected it was either Blue, Yellow, Crystal or Platinum, but what surprised her is whom Blue was with.
"Sapphire... I'm glad you're safe." Ruby said, relief flooding into his tone, as he approached her. He wrapped his arms around her back and closed the gap between their bodies, pulling her close to him for a protective hug. "I'm sorry, but I have to check on you. I have to know that you're okay."
Sapphire was out of words. She didn't expect this. She knew Ruby respected her decision but she didn't know that not seeing her for three days made him worry about her. She appreciated it, in fact, and somehow she was having some mixed emotions because of this.
Her emotions were on a rampage, in fact. What she felt when he confessed to her returned and it had somehow became stronger and more complex. She still didn't know why her emotions acted like this every time she sees him.
Could it be...? She bit her lip, mentally shaking her head.
No, that was not right.
She would admit she had a crush on him in their younger years, but having these certain feelings for him wouldn't change anything.
It wouldn't change the fact that she lost her family in one, simple accident. It had been two weeks, and her heart was still mourning at their lost.
Nothing could change the past, after all.
If she had the power to do so, then she would have used it to save her dad and her aunt from meeting that accident.
Ruby noticed her shoulder tensed and her aura's sudden shift from surprised to gloomy. He sighed, pulling her closer if possible. He had this sudden urge to kiss her, but did his best to control himself from doing the act.
Kissing her wouldn't help her get rid of her grief. It might make her more confused, in fact, so he had to control himself. You're going to be okay. No matter happens, I'll be with you.
Blue let out a light cough, signaling Ruby to stop. She placed her left palm on his shoulder. "I'll take it from here, don't worry."
Ruby closed his eyes, pouring every bit of his feelings at the last seconds of their hug, and reluctantly removed his arms around her. He took a step backwards, his sympathetic yet anxious eyes still locked onto her melancholic deep, sapphire orbs.
Oh how he missed her.
It may have been three days since he last saw her, but he missed her terribly. He felt relieved that she was alright. He was happy that she was safe from harm.
"I'll..." Ruby swallowed hard, clenching his fists. It hurt him to say this, but he had to. She had to know that he still respects her decision, after all. He only came here because of the opportunity he got from Blue. But mostly, he came here to hug and to tell her how relieved he was to know that she is alright. "I'll see you in two days."
Ruby hesitated. His legs became numb. He mentally cursed his stubbornness. He respected her decision, and it was now time for him to go.
He wanted to hug her again. His gaze never left hers, and he noticed there are no changes from her eyes' expressions. His arms slowly reached for her shoulders. "Sapphire..."
Sapphire bit her lip, both of her cute canine-like fangs sticking out, preventing her tears from coming out.
Why did she feel safe every time Ruby hugs her? Why did she feel everything would be alright every time he hugs her?
"I won't let anything else like this happen to you, I swear." Ruby gently whispered, his comforting, calm tone made her shut her eyes close, further preventing her tears from falling. She wrapped her arms around his back and buried her face on his chest, lightly sobbing.
She had no idea why she was doing this, honestly. She should be telling him that she didn't want to see him just yet, in fact. But his hug did feel... comforting... as if no harm could ever come at her.
Blue watched them, her eyes a bit teary from the heartwarming scene in front of her. She folded her arms across her chest, sighing contentedly, and turned her attention into sky.
The sky was painted in different hues of the colors red, orange and yellow which were splattered across the sky, indicating that the sun was about to set on the West. The clouds slowly drifted away from her view, revealing the faint glow of the moon and the stars in the sky. Blue smiled, removing a tear from her eye using her left index finger.
Their hug was what Sapphire just needed to get through the day, and she was happy Ruby didn't hesitate to go with her.
After what seemed like an hour, Sapphire let out a sigh, slowly pushing herself away from their hug. She stared at Ruby's wrinkled shirt. Her eyes still wearing that melancholic and dull emotions. One thing was certain she did feel a bit better after that hug. Though it didn't help her remove herself from her grief, but it was what she needed to release her emotions. She bit her lip, hearing Ruby's faint words, his farewell, echoing through her mind. She just nodded, not making an eye contact with him for she knew he too, was hurt at the fact that he would see her again after two days.
She felt Blue's comforting hands on her shoulder, her words echoing through her ears. All she remembered was how happy her friend was when she released her emotions through her hug with Ruby.
Sapphire let Blue guide her to her apartment's living room, letting her sit on the couch with an empty cup of tea placed on the table. She sighed, bringing her knees up to her chest again, wrapping her strong yet delicate arms around it.
She couldn't help but to reminisce Ruby's hug. It felt... It felt warm and comforting.
She didn't feel caged, but rather... She felt... protected, as if no harm can come at her, none of the people who mattered to her would lose their lives and none would experience the same pain she was experiencing.
Sapphire felt Blue's hand on her shoulder again, making her remove her arms around her legs. She slowly jerked her head to her left and saw Blue looking at her sympathetically. Her blue orbs contained nothing but pure commiseration and concern for her.
Her lips curved into a weak smile at her friend's kindness. It did feel nice to know that someone was there for you in your toughest times.
"Here..." Blue says softly, offering her another cup of tea to which Sapphire accepted.
She wrapped her fingers around the warm cup, her melancholic gaze fixed on the freshly made tea.
Maybe it was time to open the door and let him in.
Maybe it was time to accept his help despite it may not have that much impact when it comes to conquer her grief.
He said he was willing to help her, right? He said he would be there for her no matter what, right?
Sapphire mentally growled, shaking her head at those thoughts.
Just like what happened three days ago, she was emotionally confused every time Ruby is with her. She honestly didn't have time to figure out why her emotions act like this every time she was with Ruby. Her grief alone was too much for her to handle, and she couldn't handle another emotional crap like these feelings she had whenever Ruby is with her.
"It might soothe your confused emotions... or feelings, rather." Blue continued, sitting beside her with her delicate fingers wrapping around her cup of coffee.
Sapphire snapped out from her thoughts, her jaw widening a bit at her friend's words. She took a glance at Blue and saw no hint of mischief in her eyes. She sighed, taking a long and relaxing sip from the cup of tea.
Sapphire always knew Blue was mature enough to put her mischievous acts in the right place, and she knew her friend was serious about her words. "You knew...?" She asked, returning her melancholic gaze on the cup of tea, and bit her lip.
There was no point on asking about it, really. Blue knew her too well. She was like her older sister, in fact. She was the first one to find out about the news of her family's accident. She was the first one to pay her condolences to her family, and she was there when she saw them resting peacefully in their coffins.
Sapphire felt a sharp pain sting her chest. Though it didn't had any physical effect on her, its emotional effect was too much for her to handle. Those were the saddest days of her life. She still didn't know why she was able to survive every single day with these intense weight of grief, despair and pain she was carrying on her shoulders.
"I may not know the exact pain you're going through, but... I know what it feels like..." Blue confessed, slowly and softly stating the words, opting not to answer her question for she knew Sapphire already knows it. She shifted her concerned gaze at her younger friend. "You know, we're always here for you. Me, Red, Silver... Ruby... Everyone. We're all here for you."
"I... I know..." Sapphire muttered, her tone spoke in a faint whisper. She could feel guilt slowly flooding into her heart.
She couldn't help it.
She did want to bear the pain alone, for she believed she would just be bothering her friends once they found out about her depressed state.
And she hated being a burden to her friends. She would rather help them in the best of her abilities than see them worry about her.
It's true, it's normal for friends to be worried with one another, but... Sapphire bit her lip. She uses her teeth to move and chew her lower lip.
Her friends hardly see her in her negative state. If there was one, then it would be her insecurities and self-loathing. The former were a normal circumstance to her and her friends, but her current state was quite new for them. It was the reason why she decided to endure this pain alone. She couldn't bear to see her friends stress at her current state, figuring a way out of her grief. She appreciated their concern, wholeheartedly, but it was not easy to remove her grief, that's the truth.
"Do you remember when I thought my parents were gone for good?"
Sapphire could only nod at her friend's question. She glanced at Blue's pained expression. Her lips curved into a frown at that. She knew exactly what she felt back then. It hurt seeing your family pass away.
"I was devastated... I kept on believing they are still alive, but that news... made me depressed..." Blue sighed, grabbing her handkerchief. She placed it under her left eye to wipe off the tears from it.
Sapphire looked at her, her deep jewel like eyes sparkle with sadness. Reminiscing it would only make it worse. Despite how shallow the scar was, one could not help but to cry in agony. Her right hand slowly moved forward, placing it on her friend's left shoulder in hopes to comfort her. It sort of worked on her, so it might work on her friend.
Blue let out a light sob, her right hand placed on top of Sapphire's, gently squeezing it. She smiled, taking her friend's hand and held onto it. "I'm still relieved and thankful that they're not, but Sapphire..."
"I'm glad they're not gone. I don't want anyone to experience the pain I'm going through." Sapphire responded, her lips curving into a weak, sympathetic smile, her left fang sticking out from her top lip.
Blue closed her eyes, pulling Sapphire into a hug. She sighed, smiling weakly. Sapphire was definitely the most empathetic person she had ever met, and she was blessed to have a friend like her. Thank you, Sapphire. Her left arm made its way to her friend's back, moving it circularly, soothing her friend's light sobs. She needed a hug from her friends. She'd been hiding her emotions for two weeks and just like Ruby said someone had to bear the pain with her. She needed to know that she was not and would never be alone despite the tragedy.
"I may not know your exact melancholy, but... never... please," Blue released herself from their hug, grabbing a handkerchief. She gave it to Sapphire and watched her friend dry her raw tears. "Please, never hesitate to ask us for help. You know we're always here for you. I would rather worry about you than not know what's keeping you down."
Sapphire let out a sniffle, still biting her lip, slowly nodding at her friend's words. She just...
She didn't want to be a bother to them. It was her main reason why she didn't tell anyone about her depressed state. She knew and they knew she could take care of herself despite the circumstances, but she didn't know depression can affect her this badly. She thought she could take care of it on her own, but it turned out she cannot. Though she felt ashamed to have been defeated by depression, she still felt blessed and thankful to have such kind and understanding friends like Blue.
It was true that depression could damage the toughest person. She was still surprised how she manage to contain it for two weeks. Maybe she felt alone back then? Maybe she thought she can deal with this on her own?
"I'm not just your friend, Sapphire, I also consider you as my sister, in fact. And sisters help each other no matter what. Don't hesitate. I'm always here if you need my help." Blue lips curved into a sympathetic frown. She observed her friend's tears slowly fall down from her eyes. She sighed depressively, wrapping her arms around Sapphire to give her another comforting hug. Her right hand travelled at the back of her head, gently combing the brunette's soft, caramel-like hair.
"I understand what you feel. I may not have experienced it, but trust me, I do. I know how much it hurts. I know how terrible to experience it."
Her words made Sapphire let out another sob. She gritted her teeth and let her tears flow freely from her eyes. "I..."
"It's okay, Sapphire. Cry it all. I'm here... We're here." Blue continued, still combing her friend's hair. Her soaked shirt didn't matter, actually. All that mattered now was how important for Sapphire to release all her cooped up emotions. She further understood Ruby's pain. She knew he couldn't bear to see Sapphire cry again, and seeing her cry two weeks after her family's death must have hurt him. She bit her lip. She just wished she could do something to help Sapphire get through her grief. "You will never be alone this time."
Twelve years ago...
Somewhere in Blue, Red and Green's home province...
"How is she?"
Red closed the door, looking at Sapphire. His depressed eyes proved that his talk with Blue did not end well. Although Silver was on the case, making sure the news wasn't fake, it still hurt their friend. "She's... She's in pain."
"Then I have to talk to her." Sapphire said, determination building up in her tone, and stood up. She looked at Red, her eyes begging him to open that door to let her in.
Red took a deep breath, sighing. He slowly nodded as he twisted the door knob, opening the door. Sapphire was their only hope to help Blue get ahold of herself. He trusted Sapphire's abilities. He knew she could help her.
After all, among their friends, Sapphire was the only person, besides Silver, who relates with Blue's condition.
"Take good care of her." Red whispered to his younger friend, making Sapphire nod in response.
Sapphire didn't hesitate and quickly went inside the room, closing the door. Her heart shattered from seeing Blue's state.
Blue was sitting on her bed with a box of tissues besides her. Although the room was only lit up with a faint light, she could perfectly see her friend's condition. Her eyes contained nothing but deep sadness. Her eyelids were puffy, and her eyes were red from all the crying. Her gaze was fixed on the floor as she bit her lip.
Sapphire took a deep breath, approaching Blue. She sat beside her. Her concerned gaze was fixed on hers. "Blue," she started, placing her left hand on Blue's shoulder. "...h-how can I help?"
Blue slowly shook her head. She didn't know the answer herself, really. She was on the case to find her missing parents. It took years for her to know their name, location and most of their contact details. However, it went all to waste.
They were accidentally involved in a crime scene, and everyone involved in there was assumed to be dead. It had been a week and there were still no news about them. She didn't even get to see them, and it hurt. She worked so hard to find them, making sure there were no stones unturned in her investigations, but a criminal called Sird ruined everything. Why must people be so cruel? Life was already a tragic waste land and losing someone as important as her parents did nothing but to increase the pain.
"Don't give up, please." Sapphire said, grabbing her friend's attention.
Blue looked at her. Tears slowly started forming in her blue orbs.
"I know what it felt like to lose someone. I... I lost my mom when I was just a kid... She died from a cancer disease..." Sapphire bit her lip, sadness slowly shrouded her eyes. She mentally shook her head in hopes to stop herself from thinking about it. Her goal at the moment was to help Blue and nothing else. She could deal with her emotions later. "It's normal to feel sad about this... but don't lose hope. Silver and the police officers are still on the case. There's still hope, and I believe your parents are alive, Blue."
Blue let out a sigh, placing her hand on Sapphire's. She gave it a soft squeeze. She did have a point there.
"I won't let all your hard work go to waste. I'll make sure that you'll see your parents. I'll have to fight Sird if I had to."
Blue smiled faintly. She grabbed a tissue in the box, wiping a tear from her eye. Sapphire truly was a selfless person. Whenever she faced a problem, she would find a way to fix it with optimism. Sapphire's words have a point. It may be a week since that crime scene but there was still hope. There were so many possibilities as to why the news about the crime scene was nil.
The police officers and the detectives working on the case may still be cracking the code. They might need her help. She was able to find her parents until the incident, after all.
"I... I don't want ya to experience what I've been through... It's... terrible..."
Sapphire's compassion, consideration and determination had made an impact on Blue. She was able to beat her depression a few days after her talk with Sapphire, and help Silver and the police officers about the crime investigation. Another week passed, she found out that her parents were alive. Sird just held every citizen involved in her plans as captives just so she could get what she wanted and thus, achieving her villainous goal.
All Blue felt was happiness and relief from the moment she was reunited with her parents. Oh how she yearned for their warm, comforting hug. She missed them. She grew up without them, thinking they were dead as the masked man often say to her. She was able to find out the truth when she and Silver were able to escape the his territory. She'd been looking for them for three years and it was a massive relief that they were still alive.
She was glad she was able to help Silver and the police officers about the investigation. She were able to crack the code and find her parents because of that. And it was all thanks to her friends for helping her.
Blue hugged Sapphire tighter, biting her lip. She'd visit Sapphire everyday if she has to. Not even her work could stop her. "I'm always here to help. I won't let your hard work go to waste... I swear."
Sapphire sobbed louder, still gritting her teeth. She took a deep breath. Blue's words reminded her of her own. She was desperate to help Blue back then, and now, Blue was returning the favor. Blue's determination into helping her was similar to hers twelve years ago. She swallowed hard.
Maybe it was time to open the door.
I hope you guys like it. The next chapter will be updated on Ruby's birthday, July 2nd. ^^