Chapter Forty: Long Blackout Night:

There was a thunderstorm that night. Meifu experience an all-night blackout because of it. Hisoka was in the toilet throwing up at the time. Earlier, a taste of his empathetic powers came back. He was in the activity room reading when it first hit in months. Initially, the feeling freaked him out.

What is this? I don�t like it! The emotions or regret, guilt, disappointment, and sorrowed poured into him like an endless waterfall. I can�t stop it!, Hisoka thought. Stay away! The overwhelming wave crippled him to his stomach.

I can�t take it anymore! Hisoka raced all the way to the nearest bathroom. The power went out with his head in the toilet. He didn�t notice until he sat back.

�What�s going on?� he asked.

�Power outage,� a familiar voice answered. Hisoka whipped around startled.

�Who�s there?� he asked. The boy turned to see Carrie standing in the stall doorway.

�It�s only me,� she said. Hisoka stared at her with big eyes. I can�t feel anything from her, he thought. Carrie gave him an odd look.

�Are you all right?�she asked. Hisoka slowly nodded at her.

�Y-Yeah,� he said, �I just got sick.� Carrie didn�t respond to his answer.

�We�re having a power outage because of the storm,� she replied, �So, we are on a lockdown.� Hisoka blinked at her rather lost.

�Lockdown?� he asked.

�Correct,� she told him.

�So, what now?� the shinigami asked. Carrie shrugged her shoulders.

�Wait until the power�s back, I suppose,� she said. Hisoka glanced around.

�Alright,� he muttered.

Moments later, they sat in the stall Hisoka was just in. He tried not to make eye contact.

�They came back,� he spoke up. Carrie lifted her head.

�I�m sorry?� she asked. Hisoka looked down at the floor.

�I�m an empathic,� he explained, �I feel the emotions of everyone around me.�

�No way!� Carrie gasped. Hisoka shook his head.

�It�s not as great as your think it is,� he insisted. �I can�t control it and I can�t stop it. They just flow into me against my will.� Hisoka trembled as he drew his knees to his chest. �It�s so strange,� he said. �I had forgotten what it was like.�

�Can you feel my emotions?� Carrie asked. Hisoka paused at that question. It donned on him about something he just noticed.

�No,� he said. Carrie looked puzzled.

�No?� she asked. He shook his head. �I don�t understand why.�

�Is that bad?� Carrie asked.

�I don�t know,� Hisoka said. �I haven�t felt this in months.�

�And you�re not used to it?� she asked. The shinigami shook his head. He turned away from her. He glanced down at Carrie�s feet. The boy happened to notice a bluish-purple lotus flower painted on the top of her right foot.

�When did you get that?� Hisoka asked. Carrie glanced down at the shimmering painted flower.

�Oh,� she said, �The Yamaguchi brothers painted it. It symbolizes rising above. Lotus grows in muddy water. It fits me just well. I hope to become a lotus flower myself when I leave this place.� She pushed her foot forward. �Do you like it?� she asked. Hisoka made a face.

�It�s alright, I guess,� he mumbled.

�So, how are you doing?� Carrie spoke up. Hisoka looked up confused.

�Huh?� he asked. Carrie looked like a mini queen in her white lace dress. He hadn�t noticed how the moonlight looked on her body through the high window above.

�How are you on your progress?� she asked. Hisoka raised an eyebrow at her.

�What is this, a therapy session?� he asked. Carrie gave him a tiny shrug.

�Why not?� she said. The girl took on Tana�s serious demeanor. �Tell me your progress, Kurosaki-kun,� she told him. Hisoka couldn�t help but smile.

�Kohaku�s gone,� he began. �I haven�t been on drugs for eight weeks.�

�Do you still love Tsuzuki?� Carrie asked. Hisoka lowered his head in shame.

�Yes,� he admitted. The boy lifted his head. �But now I will get over it in time. I just don�t know how long it will take me.� Carrie gave him a small smile.

�I know you can do it,� she said.

�So what about you?� Hisoka asked. Carrie paused and eyed him.

�Pardon?� she asked.

�Why are you here?� he asked. �How is your progress?� The glow from girl�s face began to die away. �Years ago, my older sister and I were so close,� she began. �She was only friend and I looked up to her.� She could feel the sorrow well up within her. �When I was seven, she was murdered in the park we always played in. They never found her killer.� Tears welled up in her eyes.

�I couldn�t handle it anymore,� Carrie forced herself to say. �I ended up throwing myself into the river and drowning myself.� Hisoka looked at her dead serious.

�You didn�t!� he gasped. Carrie pressed her lips together as she nodded. Tears flooded her eyes and rolled down her cheeks.

�I�m trying to survive this mistake I made,� Carrie welled. Hisoka reached over and patted her on the head.

�You�ll be fine,� he told her. �Don�t give up.� Carrie nodded as she lowered her head. Suddenly, the power came back on. Hisoka looked up when he heard the lights clicking.

�Hey, the power�s back,� he said. The shinigami got up to leave when Carrie grabbed his hand. He paused with a puzzled expression on his face.

�Carrie?� he asked. The red-haired girl lifted her head.

�Can we stay here for a while?� she whispered. �It calms me down.� Hisoka gave her patient smile.

�Of course,� he replied. She rested in his lap.

�Thank you, Hisoka-kun,� the girl whispered. He just patted her on the head.

By morning, Tana found him alone in the stall.

�I�m so sorry I didn�t get you sooner,� she said. Hisoka patiently shook his head.

�It�s fine,� he responded. �In fact, I did some thinking last night and I do need your help.�