Lost Fragments @teamcap
Stage 7: Shock and Anger

I said I was gonna update this in November but it turns out I'll be busy. Here's the next chapter...days before November, lol.

Uh...another warning...the characters here are aged up, lol. Yeah, Ruby and Sapphire are in their twenties, but there'll be another character here who's not an eleven year old.

Stage 7 – Shock and Anger

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...

A day had passed

Somewhere in the suburban part of the city

1:55PM

Dark, grey clouds surrounded the sky, shrouding the city with darkness. A strong yet peaceful, cool breeze flew past the horizon, blowing every leaf from every tree. It was crisp enough to leave a chill on a person's skin.

Another crisp yet gentle breeze past through, letting Ruby hold onto his hat, making sure it wouldn't be blown away. He took a deep breath, stopping on his tracks. A sincere smile slowly curved into his lips at the sight of Sapphire standing outside of her apartment, locking the door.

The wind howled, loudly this time, making her white coat and her maroon jeans, with her untied hair, flow along with the cool breeze. Her cute canine-like fangs poked out from her top lip. She placed her apartment keys in her pocket, turned around and saw Ruby approaching her.

The twenty-four year old stopped on his tracks and took a deep breath. He opened his mouth to release a sigh, and removed his glasses, placing it into its case. He dug his left hand into his pocket as his other reached for Sapphire's. "Are we good to go?"

Sapphire bit her lip, gazing onto his hand.

Should she...?

She placed her left hand onto her right shoulder, pulling the break line of her white coat close to her chest. She sighed, accepting his hand, nonetheless.

Ruby tangled their fingers together, resurfacing the warmth from his hand on hers, letting her feel it as it slowly engulfed every skin of her hand. His left foot stepped forward, leading the way and gently guiding her to their destination. He had no idea what would happen when they reach her family's tombstones, but one thing was certain. He would never leave her. He would stay by her side, reassuring that she was never alone to bear the pain.

Sapphire swallowed hard in hopes to ease her anxious heartbeat. She could feel people were staring at them as they passed by. Their heads tilted on one side as she heard their faint whispers about them. She shook her head, letting her brunette locks sway with the cool breeze. She mustn't let her anxiety get to her.

It didn't matter what everyone would think of them as they walked hand in hand. In fact, she must not care what the other people would think about them.

What only mattered was what she cared about and that is going to the cemetery and finally talk to her family. Although she knew they could not respond to her in their state, she knew her words would reach them.

Her words had to reach them. They should know what she would about to say.

After all, she wasn't able to properly talk to them during their funeral, for she believed crying in front of her friends would only worry them more. For two weeks, she did everything she could to contain every single one of these negative emotions forming in her chest, bottling, locking and caging it all up, making sure it would stay there and not spill or let one drop from it.

Every day she tried distracting herself from her work just so she could forget these emotions. Just so she could forget the pain that had been piercing her heart. Just so she could forget this tragedy that had been weighing on her shoulders for days.

Just anything to forget that this pain even existed.

She tried forgetting how to feel, but she often ended up crying alone in her apartment every night, clenching her fists and gritting her teeth. Asking, wondering and rambling why it happened to her family.

Why should it be them instead of her?

"I'm..." Sapphire started, making Ruby look at her. Her gaze never left the walkway. She could feel her voice crack and every fiber of her being tremble as they reach their destination. "R-Ruby, I... I'm not sure if I could make it." She confessed, a tear fell from her right eye.

Ruby stopped on his tracks, his heart thumped anxiously. He placed his right hand to cup her cheek and used his thumb to wipe off another tear from her eye. Her condition placed a frown on his face. She may be hiding it from him but he could see and feel her body tremble. He understood why. They would be visiting her family's tombstones for the first time since their funeral. He knew how much it hurt her seeing their tombstones.

Those tombstones were not just a slab of concrete, after all. It was an indication that her family no longer lives on this planet.

An indication that their lives on earth ended.

An indication at how long they had lived.

"Sapphire, if you're not ready, then... there's always next time."

"I... I don't know..." Sapphire said, breaking her gaze on the concrete pavement and met his concerned yet anxious gaze. "I-In one sense... I wanna talk to them, but... in another, I... I might cry instead of telling them what I wanna say..."

"Sapphire," Ruby stroked her cheek and gave her hand a gentle squeeze, making Sapphire tremble at the growing emotions she was feeling through his gestures and his contact.

She could feel a shiver run through her spine as she watched him place his lips on her forehead, pressing it, pouring every ounce of his growing feelings for her. She could feel her heartbeat continuously increased its pace at the contact of his warm lips pressed against her forehead.

It was odd.

She felt relaxed from his gesture instead of being more anxious from it. She felt like she could get through this and achieve her goal. She could feel his reassurance that she could tell her parents and her aunt on what she needed to say.

His kiss felt comfortable. It was enough to ease her anxiety.

"It's normal to cry, and if you do... I'll be there for you. You can cry it all out. We can stay in the cemetery for more than an hour, and I will never leave you. I promise I will never leave you."

Sapphire swallowed hard, gently nodding her head from his words.

That was all she needed to know.

And frankly, it made her feel a bit better.

It was enough to return the strength from her weak legs.

She completely trusted him, and she knew he would keep his words.

"I... T-Thank you." She whispered, gently squeezing his hand. She gave him a weak smile to which he returned with concern and passion burning into his eyes.

They kept on gazing into each other's eyes as the crisp wind ran pass them, blowing their matching white coats behind them. His expressions somewhat felt... comforting. It somehow made her feel safe, free from harm. It made her feel like she was never alone in this world. It warmed her heart. She felt its comfortable heat spread throughout her chest, engulfing it with such positive emotions like satisfaction and determination. She felt Ruby's gentle squeeze on her hand, making her stop on her tracks.

Her weak smile faded at the sight of three tombstones in front of them.

"We're here." Ruby managed to say, his thumb gently fidgeting her palm.

Sapphire gently removed her hand from Ruby's, her depressed gaze met their tombstones. She watched Ruby bent his body, bowing down, at her family's tombstones. He placed a candle at each one of it and used a lighter to light up the candles. He took a step back, standing beside Sapphire. A frown appeared on his lips from her depressed condition.

Sapphire bit her lip and removed the blue beanie on her head. Her hands balled into a fist, gripping it gently, as her depressed gaze and frown stared at the tombstones.

They were here. It was time to tell her parents and her aunt about what she felt. She took a step closer, her knees becoming weaker and weaker as she approached her father's tombstone. She felt her legs tremble, making her lose her balance and wobble. She almost fell and kneel onto the ground, but Ruby's hands were immediately placed on her shoulders, preventing her fall. She bit her lip and jerked her head to her right, meeting his anxious gaze. She let him crouched down with her, watching him remove his hands on her shoulders and made its way to hold her right hand. She felt his hands' warm contact on hers, and his reassurance that he would never leave her side.

She swallowed hard, turning her attention to her father's tombstone. She could feel her heart break as she darted her eyes around it. It hurt reading his name and to the years he spent alive on this planet. Despite her father's busy schedule as a researcher and a college professor, he was a great man. His dedication to his job and to his research had made a great impact to the society. It was heartbreaking to know that he was no longer around to share his knowledge to the younger generation.

It was true they have some misunderstandings in the past almost leading her to think that her father only cared about his job since her mother's death. But once she and her father talked and resolved that issue, it made her realize how blessed she was to have an amazing father.

Professor Birch may be clumsy, he may not know a thing or two about parenting, but he never ceased to teach her everything she needed to know whether it was through academics or in real life. She had never seen her father hesitate to share his knowledge every time he was free from his work.

Sapphire took a deep breath, biting her lip. Her eyes were now fixed on the moist soil.

Her father was the greatest. He didn't deserve to die in such a tragic yet simple accident.

She let out a cough then bit her lip. She felt some tears welled up into her eyes. She eyed her aunt's tombstone. Her aunt was there from the moment her mother died. There was not a single day she would stop visiting them, checking and knowing their condition just to satisfy her.

Her aunt may not be able to replace her mother since her death, but she provided her the motherly love and guidance that Sapphire needed as she grew older.

"Dad..." Sapphire started. She felt a lump in her throat, making her breathing pattern drastically change and converting it into a series of sobs. "I-I..." She felt Ruby's gentle squeeze on her hand.

Sapphire looked at him. His luscious ruby red eyes continued to light up with concern and sympathy. She sobbed loudly again, and this time a tear slowly fell from her eye. Once that tear broke free, the rest followed in an unbroken stream accompanied by a few sobs.

Ruby wrapped his arms around her waist, pulling her close to him. He let her cry onto his coat, feeling her strong grip and warm tears on it. He could feel every bit of the emotions she had hidden in her chest from the moment her family's funeral came. The memory of seeing their coffins being buried into the ground, never to be seen again, may have subsided several days after their funeral but the pain was still fresh in her heart. He couldn't imagine how much it hurt her hiding her emotions, bottling up her pain and her grief during their funeral. He wished he could have been there for her.

"I-I..." She choked the words again as she let out another batch of tears and sobs. "I-I..."

Ruby pulled her closer, placing his left hand on her back, and traced it around circularly in hopes to ease her sobbing. "We got time. Let it all out."

Sapphire coughed, taking a deep breath and gritting her teeth. She removed her head on Ruby's chest, looking at his soaked coat. Guilt slowly crept its way into her eyes at the sight of it. She knew he didn't care about it at the moment, but it made her feel guilty to see him clean his soaked shirt every time. He may have told her it didn't bother him, but still, she was his friend. Despite how prissy he could be, she still respected his beliefs and his opinions.

"It's alright." He gently squeezed her hand, reassuring her that his soaked coat never bothered him. "What matters is you're letting all your emotions out. It's okay."

"I missed them..." She returned her attention at her family's tombstones, looking at the three candles lit up in front of it. The fire burned brightly and warmly as it slowly melted the candles. "I missed you... Mom... Dad... Auntie... I... I missed ya..."

Ruby's hand didn't leave on hers. His thumb continued to fidget around her palm, hoping to help her say what she yearned to say to her family. The frown on his lips returned upon noticing her depressed gaze at the candles and the growing raw tears in her eyes. He took a deep breath, feeling another pang strike through his heart, piercing it slowly yet harshly. It was enough to cut through the air that had been circulating in his lungs.

It hurt seeing her like this. He just wished he could do something.

Something.

Anything.

Anything to make all her grief and depression fade.

"I wished I could have told ya how much you mean to me... I..." She bit her lip as another tear fell from her eye.

Ruby placed his right hand onto shoulder, looking into her eyes, asking her if she wanted to cry onto his chest.

Sapphire responded with a sob. She took a deep breath, shaking her head, telling him she would be alright.

Ruby bit his lip, nodding. He closed the gap between them, pressing his soft lips against her forehead. He hoped it was enough to calm her from sobbing. "Don't hesitate. I'm always here."

Sapphire nodded, gratitude slowly entered in her eyes, pertaining it to him. His lips curved into a weak smile at that. She turned to her mother's tombstone. Raw tears slowly fell from her eyelids. "Mom..."

Ruby could only stare at her, hoping she would be alright after releasing those thoughts and those emotions she'd been keeping for so long. He swallowed hard, biting his lip.

"I know your time with me was short, but your kindness... often inspires me to do better... I... I missed you so much... Ya know..." Sapphire closed her eyes and grabbed a handkerchief from her pocket to wipe off the tears from her eyes. She felt Ruby's hand on the handkerchief, also guiding her left hand to wipe off the streaming tears from her eyes. "O-Our..." She sobbed. Ruby gave her hand a gentle squeeze to which she returned. It was her way of telling him she was alright despite the tears.

"Our friend, h-her name is Moon, she... She's a pharmacist student, and... she's working her way to make an anticancer medicine as a part of her thesis. I know you've always wanted it to exist so that it could help you, a-and everyone who's suffering from cancer... be cured completely... I-It's not yet done, but I am helping her on that. We'll... We'll make sure it'll be a success... for you and for everyone who have cancer, e-especially those who are suffering from it... I..."

"I..." Ruby started, hesitating, only to meet Sapphire's ambiguous gaze at him. He took a deep breath. Maybe he should. "I... haven't met your mom, Sapphire, but..." He placed his arms on her back, pulling her close to him, letting her cry onto his chest again. He didn't mind, really. All he cared about was her condition. He promised and he solemnly swore he would always be there for her. "P-Professor Birch told me she's amazing. She's kind a-and considerate... like you..."

"She is..." The young professional responded, her lips curved into a small smile, and placed her hands on his chest. "She loved helping people..."

"They're in a better place..." Ruby said, returning the small smile. "They're watching over you..."

"D-Dad, he... he used to say that when mom passed away when I was five..." She turned her attention to her father's tombstone. The small smile on her lips were still present. "I used to think that my dad only cared about his job, but... when I was twelve... w-when we were twelve... he told me how much I've changed from a fragile, little girl to a rough and independent girl... I... I told him I'm learning to be independent because he hardly have any time for me..."

Ruby slowly nodded. His arms around her waist didn't budge from its position. He clearly remembered how much the professor regretted it. Professor Birch often asked him to watch over Sapphire despite the fact that they didn't get along that well when he first moved into their home province. After all, he and Sapphire never had the same interests, leading them to disagree at almost anything. Sapphire's twelve year old self reminded him of his brutal and reckless six year old self he used to hate. It was the reason why they didn't see eye to eye at first.

He didn't know why he agreed at the professor's favor, but he didn't regret for accepting it.

It was because of that favor, he got to know her better. He got to know her girly side, her rough side, her emotional side, her dreams, her aspirations and what was making her hold onto life. He got to know everything about her. Meeting Sapphire was the greatest blessing he had ever received. He couldn't imagine what kind of person he would be now if he didn't meet her. He couldn't imagine his life without her.

"I'm glad he often asks you that favor to watch over me. If you didn't then... Our relationship cannot be mended... T-Thank you, Ruby." She said, sincere and compassion present in her tone.

"You helped me a lot of times, and... you never gave up on me... It was the least I could do, Sapphire, and frankly... I'm glad our fathers became research partners... If it didn't happen, then... my life is completely dull and pointless. It would be nothing." Ruby's lips curved into a sincere smile. He meant every word he said. It was true he also reached that point of misunderstanding with his father, but he was glad Sapphire was there. That was the worst time in his life. He thought nothing could ever fix it, but he was wrong. He was glad he was wrong. "Life... Life truly works in mysterious ways..."

"I-It does." She bit her lip, furrowing her eyebrows, her depressed gaze returned. "Dad wanted to help a lot of people since mom died. He said it's what she wants, so he'll be doing it in her behalf. There wasn't a day my dad used to say... t-to tell..." She sighed then sobbed. Ruby brought his chest on her back, hugging her from behind. His arms still wrapped around her waist.

"T-To remind me and himself... how selfless my mother is... Every little detail of his never-ending research... reminded him of mom. Dad was a great man. Though he may be clumsy at times..." She smiled at that, recalling the number of times she and her aunt fixed her father's mess. Piles of papers were spread all over his office as empty cans of white marker refills were thrown in the recycling bin.

It was an absolute mess.

Professor Birch's office only got cleaned whenever Professor Oak, a world renowned scientist and researcher, also the grandfather of their friend, visited his office for the first time.

She had never seen her father so calm and poised until that.

"B-But dad is... Dad is still... he's... the best. At his age, he…he still studies, do some research and share his knowledge to his students... I... He's always a dedicated man for me, and I missed him... The last time I've seen him w-was... b-before..." Sapphire sobbed again, this time, a cough accompanied it.

Ruby held onto her hand, giving it another gentle squeeze. "Go ahead, Sapphire. Take a deep breath... Take it slowly."

"B-Before dad died, he... I... I only gave him a quick hug. I… I didn't tell him how much he means to me..." She let another set of warm tears flow down her eyes. She gritted her teeth, pouring every bit of sadness she had left into her tears. "I missed him. I missed his crappy, unrhymed poems about mom, I... I just missed him... I can't imagine a better father than my dad..."

"And I know... he cannot imagine a better daughter than you, Sapphire. He loved you. I know he's proud at your accomplishments." He furrowed his eyebrows as he pulled her closer. He could feel her fast heartbeat slowly becoming synchronized with his. He could feel her breathing pattern became one with his. "I'm proud of your accomplishments."

"My aunt used to say that too, she..." She turned her attention to her aunt's tombstone. Sadness once again gripped her heart. "She told me she's proud of my accomplishments when we graduated college." She chuckled, remembering how overly enthusiastic her aunt was during their college graduation. When she or Ruby went up to the stage to receive their diplomas, her aunt's applause was the loudest one compared to the other parents. It may sound embarrassing, but to her, it was perfect.

Ruby's lips curved into a sincere smile once he felt Sapphire's chuckle. He missed hearing and feeling her cute chuckle. "It's funny how she's more enthusiastic than every graduating student back then. She keeps the crowd's energy from fainting."

"I was really happy she made it on time back then. I thought she'll be thirty minutes late, but I'm glad she got to go there on time. Honestly, my aunt may be a few years older than my parents, but she acts like the younger one. Mom used to say she was the mature one between them. I didn't understand it when I was younger but I do now."

"At least she got to experience what it felt like to have a sibling... even in a short while..."

"But Blue acts like our older sister." Sapphire pointed out, gently nudging his right arm, doing her best to prevent her inhuman strength from hurting him. "She considers us as her family... especially Silver."

"Ehh..." Ruby winced a bit from the pain, but his hands around her waist still remained, nonetheless. He almost forgot she possessed such insane inhuman strength. It was not that he complained about it, really. He found it cute that she did have one. It was one of her unique, physical traits he loved about her. "I-I was thinking of biological ones."

"How about Nana?"

"Of course I consider her as that, but she's a German shepherd. She's not a human."

Sapphire released another chuckle at his answer. She knew Ruby was just making her feel better, and she appreciated it. If he was not with her, then she would have end up crying alone here.

And she had enough of being alone.

She had been keeping her emotions for two weeks, after all, and it was time to open the cage and these hidden emotions out from her chest.

"She..." Sapphire continued, depression once again returned in her eyes. "When mom died, she... My aunt didn't stop visiting us. She may not be my biological mother, but she provided all the motherly love and guidance that I needed when mom left. She's like my foster mother... I missed them, Ruby... I wish I could have told them about this when they're still alive..."

"Sapphire," Ruby closed his eyes, his nose was placed on her head, brushing her soft, berry-scented hair with it, and sighed deeply. His warm breath and his warm embrace contrasted with the cool breeze flowing past them. "I'm sure they've heard everything you said, and... I'm sure they felt the same... They love you." He reassured, his grip around her tightened as he pulled her closer. And I love you too... I really do.

"It just..." Sapphire bit her lip. Her mournful gaze continued to burn intensely in her eyes. "It still hurts... I tried everything... I... I kept on thinking that they're in a better place, free from life's cruelty, but... I just can't help but to be..."

"To be... sad..." He finished for her, removing his arms around her waist.

Sapphire could only sigh and nod at his words.

It was true.

She always tried to reassure herself that they were somewhere in a better place than this planet along with her mother watching over her and guiding her throughout life. But that was easier said than done.

She could not control herself from asking and wondering why they have to die in such a simple accident.

It was an unavoidable question that had been lingering in her head. There was not a single day she couldn't stop thinking about it, and it hurt to remember it every time.

"It's alright." He grabbed both of her hands, making her look at him. She could see the determination and compassion lit up in his eyes. "Suffering from a loss is a serious case. I understand that, and I'm patient. I won't leave you... Not even my work could stop me..."

Sapphire removed her hands from his, letting her face meet his chest. She wrapped her arms around his back, hugging him, pulling him close to her. Tears welled up to her eyes from his words as she released another sob. She felt every ounce of his concern, sympathy and love in his voice and in his words. She felt absolutely grateful at that. "T-Thank you... Thank you."

Ruby took a deep breath, biting his lip. He felt her warm tears soak the fabric of his coat as his arms slowly made its way to her waist, wrapping it, returning the comforting, warm hug. He could feel his own tears welled up in his eyes as one slowly fell from it, letting the rest flow in an unbroken stream. He pulled her closer, burying his nose into her soft hair. For the first time in three weeks, her tears were not the result from her grief but rather from joy and appreciation. He was happy to know and feel she was slowly yet surely feeling better.

He couldn't ask for a better news than this.

The crisp, cool breeze continued to howl, letting every light object flow and rustle along with it. Despite the cold breeze, the warmth from Ruby and Sapphire's hug contrasted along with it. The warmth from their hug battled with the wind's crisp breeze, mixing the contrasting temperatures together, resulting a comfortable temperature against the cold weather.

A second felt like an hour as the hour felt like the days of the week.

"It's getting dark." Sapphire removed herself from their hug, smiling at him. Her smile brought a warm, soothing feeling forming in his chest. It was enough to re-energize himself despite how physically tired he was. Her smile often had this ability to give him the energy and the confidence to finish any task at hand. "Let's go back to my apartment."

She stood up from her position, placing the blue beanie on her head. She stared at her family's tombstones and sighed. Her cheerful smile curved into a frown at the sight. Ruby may have helped her, but seeing her family's tombstones again was painful.

However, that didn't mean she should give up.

Ruby already told her about this.

Their friends keep on reminding her at it. It took a while for her to realize and to understand it, but it should be worth it. It had to be worth it.

Besides, her family wanted her to embrace life in spite of their deaths, right? She must continue living for their sake, right? It's true it would be a tough task to do it hastily and completely, but she must be willing to take it step by step. She still got time, after all, right?

Right?

...

...

...

...

"What?" Sapphire flinched from her position, hugging the cup of coffee in her hands. Her cute canine-like fangs poking out of her top lip as she tilted her head to her left to which Ruby thought it was the cutest thing he had seen all day. It did nothing but to make his heart thump wildly at it.

Sapphire knew one thing was certain, nonetheless. Ruby never ceased to gaze those beautiful red orbs onto her. It was not that she was uncomfortable, really. She had seen him give her that exclusive, passionate look to her more than once. But this... This one was different. She could feel it was warmer and more passionate than before, but why? "Is there something on my face?"

Ruby let out a soft chuckle, his left hand proceeded to grab hers, intertwining their fingers together. He took a glance at the window, observing the suburbs being soaked by the rain water, then returned his passionate gaze at her. He smiled, giving her hand a soft squeeze. "Nothing, I'm... I'm just glad you're feeling better."

"Not completely." She responded, taking a sip from her cup of coffee only to see Ruby's passionate, warm smile. She broke her gaze at him and placed the cup of coffee on the table. She may have released most of her cooped up emotions earlier, but it was still not enough to ease the pain.

It was still not enough to fully conquer her grief.

"Not yet, but still... slowly but surely." He reassured, gently squeezing her hand again. "There's still time..."

Sapphire looked into their held hands. She watched him trace his left thumb at the back of her hand. She had been grieving for three weeks. She knew these things take time, but for how long, exactly? How long would she be a burden to him and to her friends?

It took her almost two months to conquer her grief when her mother died. It didn't count since she was a naïve little girl back then. Her journey for conquering her grief may take more than two months, and she was afraid it might tire her friends for waiting and watching her to conquer it. "I don't know for how long, Ruby... I... I don't want to see you guys wait and hope... for nothing..."

"It doesn't matter how long it is..." He reassured, determination and sympathy forming in his tone. "I'll still hope for the best, and I am patient."

"I—"

Sapphire's eyes widened in shock at the contact of his soft, warm lips affectionately pressed against hers. She felt every ounce of his burning emotions into their passionate kiss. She felt the absence of his warm hands on hers as it travelled its way around her waist, wrapping it, pulling her close to him and closing the small gap between their bodies. She felt his fast heartbeat on her chest and not a moment later, her heartbeat started following his, synchronizing them in a steady rhythm. Her thoughts were jumbled and all she could wonder was why was he kissing her?

Why did it feel great?

Why did it feel safe every time she was this close to him?

Just... why...?

Ruby slowly pulled away with his mouth slightly open, gasping for air. His arms didn't leave around her waist, however. He looked at her and smiled as both slowly gasped for air. He observed her reaction. Heat kept on rising on her cheeks, he could feel her palms were still sprawled on his chest, gripping the fabric of his shirt, he felt her heart was still synchronized with his and her cute fangs poking out from her top lip.

She may looked like a mess, but to him, she was absolutely perfect. Her cute reaction was more than enough for his satisfaction. He sighed, slowly scooting away from her, respecting her privacy. Though he didn't want to, it was the least he could do from his sudden, emotional act. "Sapphire, I'm—"

A knock on the door interrupted Ruby. The couple looked at the door and heard another sets of knocks from it. Sapphire removed her hands on Ruby's chest and stood up, approaching the door with Ruby behind her. She didn't know who interrupted them but thank goodness they did. Although it felt great, she had no idea what she would say or react after their kiss.

Sapphire opened the door, swinging it from the outside. Her eyes widened in shock. "W-Wait... Sun? What are you doing here? Does Moon need my help?"

"Oh? The poison maiden? Nah." Sun responded, his lips curved into his usual smile where it imitated a cat's mouth. "I don't have a word from her yet, but I came here because mister Richard here told me to take him to your place. It is my job as a courier to deliver stuff... a-and people safely."

Sapphire released a sigh, nodding at their younger friend's words. Knowing Sun, he would do absolutely any task as long as it involved money. She and Moon still had no idea why he needed to earn one billion yen and they probably wouldn't know until Sun earned it. She felt Ruby's palm on her shoulder, gently squeezing it. They both looked at the man Sun was with.

The man seemed to be in his early forties. He had a clean cut brunette hair with medium-length sideburns and a short beard. He had a large scar on his face, located from his forehead up to his lower left lip. He seemed a bit bulky at his age and on the average height. Both of his legs wore a cast, making his movements depend on a wheelchair.

Sapphire made an eye contact with the man and her heart thumped anxiously. Guilt seemed to be flooding in his eyes, but why?

"Anyway," Sun placed the umbrella on the wheelchair's holder, as he adjusted his cap. "I'll be going mister Richard, I—"

The man known as Richard grabbed Sun's torso, making the young courier stop on his tracks.

Sweat slowly dropped from Sun's forehead as a result. "Mister Richard, I took you to your destination. What else should I do?"

"Stay, Sun." The man spoke, his voice sounded gruff yet husky. "I'll pay you again if you stay here. Besides, I can't drive. My legs are numb."

Sun took a glance at the soaked car parked a few meters from the apartment and let out a sigh. His lips curved into a frown. Richard did have a point. His house was quite far from the city and it would take days if no one accompanied him. It was a relief that he delivered all the stuff before arriving here.

"May we come inside? We won't take long, I assure you that."

Sapphire bit her lip, hesitating at the man's words. It was not that she trusted Son, really. It was just this man's visit was surprising. She didn't know or met this man in her life. Heck, she didn't even know why he was here. She swallowed hard, letting the man and Sun in her apartment.

She had a bad feeling about this.

...

...

...

...

The four of them went to the living room silently. Sun sat on the couch and grabbed a bowl of almonds on the table, eating it with such gusto running through his veins. But despite that, the courier scooted a bit farther from the three. The aura seemed tensed and he had no idea why.

"I'm sorry for visiting you at a time like this, miss Birch." Richard said, gripping the handles of his wheelchair. He scanned the apartment, distracting himself from the tensed atmosphere.

"I-It's alright, sir." Sapphire responded, standing next to Ruby. She took a glance at him as she bit her lip. Ruby was also confused at the man's sudden visit, and frankly, she could tell it from his confused eyes that he too didn't know the man personally. "W-What made you come here?"

"I..." Richard let out a light cough, gathering his voice. He released a sigh to ease his fast heartbeat. "I... I came here because I wanted to apologize. I... I caused that accident... I... I accidentally killed a man named professor Birch and his sister-in-law... I..." He bit his lip, closing his eyes. He placed his right hand on his chest, gripping the fabric of his black shirt. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean for it to happen."

If I manage to get some time, I'll update chapter 8 in November. For now, the temporary schedule for C8 will be on December 2nd. Uh... you probably hate me now for...this. Uh...I'll be hiding in my blog, I mean cave or whatever it's called, lol

Anonymous reviews have been disabled. Login to review. 1. Stage 1: Shock and Denial 6416 0 0 2. Stage 2: Isolation 4543 0 0 3. Stage 3: Pain and Guilt 4296 0 0 4. Stage 4: Depressive Times, Part I 5553 0 0 5. Stage 5: Depressive Times, Part II 7713 0 0 6. Stage 6: Intrusive, Recurring Thoughts 4457 0 0 7. Stage 7: Shock and Anger 6116 0 0 8. Stage 8: The Upward Turn 5097 0 0 9. Stage 9: Reconstruction& Working Through 4825 0 0 10. Stage 10: Forgiveness 5862 0 0 11. Stage 11: Acceptance and Hope 8661 0 0 12. Stage 12: A New Path Awaits 9791 0 0 13. Stage 13: Helping Hand, Part I 4510 0 0 14. Stage 14: Helping Hand, Part II 4397 0 0 15. Stage 15: Helping Hand, Part III 10126 0 0 16. Stage 16: Embracing Life, Part I 6633 0 0 17. Stage 17: Embracing Life, Part II 11065 0 0