Chapter Eight- Ruin

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It seemed ridiculous for the thing that had ultimately threw all my plans out the window was me oversleeping. When I finally awoke, it was mid-afternoon, getting on for late evening... on the final day Danna had allowed me. I had to be back at the base by tonight... something that was physically impossible.

I knew it had been a long sleep because I awoke in a hospital bed. Apparently, when I refused to wake up after nearly sixteen hours, my Mother had begun to panic. My lack of sleep (and strength) really had been beyond the bounds of normal.

I realised what I was wearing and quickly sat up, panic rising in my chest as I pulled at the short sleeves of the hospital gown in an attempt to even slightly cover the rings of yellowed bruises around my wrists from the shackles. I had no doubt that the ones on my ankles were much worse.

"We've already seen them." Matsushima's voice rang out, dark with something indecipherable. "There's no point hiding them now."

I threw a desperate glance his way. I wasn't sure what I was feeling; something akin to shame? I had no reason to be ashamed of them. It wasn't like they were a direct result of something I had done.

Perhaps I was ashamed because of the reasons I wanted them hidden. I was afraid of people seeing them, and I wasn't sure why.

Our gazes connected for a long while, and eventually he sighed, holding a hand out. "Here. I'll help you dress back in your yukata."

Without any hesitation I stood up, soon regretting it as I wobbled and my vision swirled. My long term friend steadied me.

It felt awkward and unnatural as he assisted me in removing the hospital gown in a way that made it obvious he was trying to preserve my dignity. The gown was slipped off my shoulders, and yukata slid over my arms, which allowed me to step out of the gown without exposing myself at all. Matsushima tied the sash loosely and then helped me back into my bed. I was mulling over how little the idea of being nude in front of him bothered me as he stooped to pick up the gown and hang it over the end of the bed.

I felt much more comfortable like this. Laying on my back and staring at the white ceiling; it was much easier to settle. That in itself scared me.

"Yuki-sama!" I sat up slightly at the call that had interrupted Matsushima before he could begin- and in doing so, ultimately saved me- and jumped at the sound of the door slamming open. My nephew bounced through, followed shortly by my older sister and her husband.

"Sen, I told you not to call me that." I said sharply, causing him to halt. However, I couldn't maintain the serious expression, and a large grin broke out across my face. He laughed in return and barrelled at me, llanding quite hard and quite painfully on my stomach. I didn't care. I could have cried, I was that happy to see him.

"I'm glad you're okay, Yuki." My sister, Akane, said softly, smiling ever so slightly. We'd never really gotten on as siblings- rivalry as kunoichi had always caused tension between us. I smiled wryly back, mouthing a "sorry". She closed her eyes and nodded slightly, her husband Rei squeezing her shoulder lightly. I was, once again, surprised by myself. It was so easy to read them. All of them. Had it been this way before..?

Time flew by quicker than ever while interacting with my family and friend. I was distracted from my iminent fate, but I didn't forget. If anything, it was always somewhere buzzing in my mind. Danna was always somewhere in my mind.

I frowned, running a feeble hand back through my hair. I was screwed. Well and truly. There was no way I'd make it back on time. And I didn't think I'd manage to get away at this moment. Sen had already declared that he wanted a "sleepover" with his Aunt Yuki-sama (why that kid insisted on the "-sama" I'd never know) at the hospital. He'd settled for staying somewhere close by so that he could "make sure" I didn't leave again. That part had upset me; he really had missed me.

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