Chapter Twenty-Five: Hospital Watch:
October, 25th, 2009.
At ten o'clock, Hakushu and Konoe had tea together in the castle.
"So Daisuke's daughter survived?" Hakushu asked.
"Yes," Konoe replied. "But, I still don't understand one thing."
"Why did you choose to spare Kimoto-san in the end?"
Konoe looked rather puzzled. "What do you mean?"
Hakushu lowered his cup. "When I blew out her candle, it lit itself back up."
"It did? How?"
"I can't say, exactly."
"So, what are going to do?"
Hakushu sighed. "I guess I have no choice. I have to let them stay together for the time being."
Both didn't like that option, but what could they do?
The head nurse spoke with Tsuzuki around the same time.
"The stones have finished merging into a core," she explained. "It is now in the stabilizing stage. We have decided to keep her here for observation. Is that okay with you?"
"Yes, yes," Tsuzuki said. "Can I see her now?"
"Right this way," she said. The nurse led him down the hall.
The members of Ju-Oh-Cho took turns monitoring Anna. She had many visitors in one day. Saya and Yuma stared at her with smiles on their faces in the morning.
"So, are you Tsuzuki's girlfriend?" Saya asked.
"Yeahï¿½" Anna replied. Boy, they can be so loud when they squeal. The woman rubbed on her ears.
"Ow," she mumbled.
"So what is Tsuzuki like in bed?" Yuma asked. Anna blinked.
"What?" she asked. Yuma giggled.
"Just kidding!" she said. Anna gave off a nervous giggle.
Tsuzuki and the head nurse came by Anna's room around noon. To the shinigami's surprise, a group of students were crowded around inside. Confused, the shinigami peeked through the door. Watari stood next to Anna's bed, talking to the students.
"The merger of stones is almost impossible and even deadly," he said. "That was until today." He turned to the patient.
"Everyone, meet Anna," he said. The doctor leaned in close to her ear.
"Say hi to our guests, Anna-san," he whispered. She gave a little wave.
"Uhï¿½ hiï¿½" she mumbled. The students began taking notes. The woman forced herself to smile.
"Weirdï¿½" Anna whispered.
"Just sit there and smile," Watari whispered. She complied without question. Tsuzuki pushed his way through the crowd.
"Watari, what's going on here? Who are all of these people? Anna needs her rest!" he yelled. Watari smiled and held up his hand.
"I'm giving a lecture," he replied.
"What did you say?"
Watari turned to the class. "As you can see," he went on. "If the recipient of both the Hell and Heaven Stones survives, they develop something called a core. Now, there isn't a proper name for it yet and we don't know what it is either. But, I will continue to study it closely."
The students wrote more notes. Tsuzuki turned his attention to Anna.
"How are you holding up?" the look in his eyes asked.
"I feel like a museum display," the look in her own eyes answered.
That evening, Tsuzuki returned to Anna's room. He found her alone with Wakaba sitting next to the bed. The younger shinigami looked up when she heard the door open. Tsuzuki paused.
"Hey," he whispered.
"Hi," Wakaba said back. The man looked over at his woman.
"How are you?" he asked. Anna nodded.
"Good," she said. "I'm good." Suddenly, the woman remembered something. She turned to Wakaba.
"Wakaba-chan," the older woman spoke up. "Could you leave us for a moment? Asato and I need to talk." The girl looked at her.
"Okayï¿½" she said.
"Alone," Anna emphasized. Wakaba nodded again.
"Rightï¿½" she said. The girl rose to her feet and walked out the door. Tsuzuki watched her do so.
"'Night," he said.
"See you tomorrow," she said back and walked out the door. Tsuzuki turned back to Anna. She still had on her outfit and accessories from last night's party. She looked like a queen sitting up before him in bed.
"Yes?" Tsuzuki asked.
Anna shifted in her bed. "While I was out cold in your arms," she began. "I overheard you say, 'I don't care! Save my wife!'"
Tsuzuki blinked at her. "What? How?"
"I kept drifting in and out of consciousness at the time. Anyway, what did you mean by that?"
"Did you mean marriage?"
"Do you want to marry me or not?"
"Well you seeï¿½"
"Yes or no, do you want to marry me? It's not that hard."
Tsuzuki tightly shut his eyes. "Yes! I want to marry you." He opened his eyes and looked at her. "Do you?"
Tsuzuki fell into defeated puppy mode at such a sharp rejection. "What?! Why?!"
"Because you didn't ask!"
He looked confused. "Soï¿½ you want me to propose to you? Now?"
"Butï¿½ butï¿½ This is not how I wanted it. I don't even have the ring, you're in the hospital, andï¿½"
Anna patiently shook her head. "That's not really necessary."
Tsuzuki stared blankly at her. "What?"
"You don't even have to get down on one knee. Just ask me."
"Okay. Anna-chan, will you marry me?"
She smiled at him. "Yes."
Tsuzuki could've leapt up and down in joy then and there. Instead, he bowed his head and said, "Thank you."