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Thursday, February 12, 2009


Author: Boyue

Naruto and its characters © Masashi Kishimoto

Boyue’s Note: This is done for a challenge on the LeeGaa LJ community. The rules are “put your media library on shuffle, and hit play, then write a fic around the first song you come to.”

Inspired by “What Sarah Said” by Death Cub for Cutie.


“He’s still in V-fib.”


“Vitals still dropping.”

“Come on… Clear!”


“Come on! Come on, Lee, you’re stronger than this! Clear!”

“Doctor… He is gone.”

“No… Lee! God! GOD!”

Gaara scrunches his nose as the janitor passes by with his cart full of chemicals. A sick nine-year-old has thrown up in the waiting room. His puddle of vomit marks a 5-inch diameter that no one dares to cross. The stench of the vomit is nothing compared to the acrid smell of 409 sweeping across the white tiles. A nurse jogs across with her hands full of patients’ charts. Her stethoscope hangs around her neck like a tasteless scarf. A young newlywed paces nervously back and forth in a confined circle, as if by pacing his wife will make it out of the ER alive. An old man pushes himself through the crowd with a metal walker. He keeps his eyes on the floor as he walks mostly due to the lack of strength in his neck muscles; he is too old and sick to hold his own head up. A teenage girl slumps against the plastic orange seat; she holds her broken wrist with a hand. She stares uninterestedly at the muted television mounted on the upper corner of the wall. An infomercial salesman advertises a new painless hair-remover. The irony is that he is hairy as an ape.

Gaara walks past the vending machines and wonders if it is wrong for a hospital to sell sugar-filled drinks and high calories snacks, and if anyone actually ever buys them. He takes a seat by the front entrance just as a group of interns clock in to start their fifteen-hour shift. They give him a look before they head to the locker rooms. He takes off his coat and throws it on the next seat so no one will sit close to him. He rubs his eyes, stained to a brighter shade of red than his hair. He blinks, hoping the moistures will freshen up his dried-out eyes. He comes up with empty-handed in the tear department. He feels out the heavy bags under them; he must look like a raccoon now more than ever. He leans his head back, lucky that that is where the wall stands. He closes his eyes for a short moment to rejuvenate his exhausted self. He has handled too much today and there are still too much to do.

Someone places a gentle hand on his shoulder and stirs him from the brief moment of guiltless tranquility. He opens his eyes and sees Sakura standing by him.

“Gaara,” Sakura whispers, “I am so sorry.”

Gaara squeezes his eyes and clenches his teeth. An ounce of emotion threatens to escape the tight container. He takes a rationed breath, releases the tension in his body, and looks up at Sakura in her pink scrubs. She emits a soft sigh; her eyes a noticeable grieving red. Gaara looks away and purses his lips shut. There are many questions he wants to ask; many people he wants to blame. But instead, he keeps his words in his chest. He gives a nod of his head - a quiet ‘thank you’ that his mouth is at a loss to utter.

“He went very peacefully,” Sakura says. She swallows a gulp and clears her throat with a cough. She rubs his shoulder and lingers besides him for a moment longer. “If there is anything you need, please let me know. Right now, you should go home and get some rest.”

Gaara nods again. His vocal cord refuses to make a sound since he has screamed enough today to last him for years. Sakura turns around; she slips through the corridor that leads her to the ICU and goes straight back to work. That’s the way it is in a hospital. People die day in and day out. Even if it’s a friend that has passed, they can only mourn for so long before they must return to their professionalism and try to save another life. It’s a cold and emotional way of living.

He wants to take Sakura’s advice and go home. His legs, however, can’t find the will to budge. He crosses his fingers and presses his back against the plastic seat. He looks to the piles of dated health magazines next to him and wonders if anyone cares to read them. Does anyone actually take the advice to do 30 minutes of exercise a day? When someone walks out of the hospital, is it really a life-changing experience or do they go back to living their lives as they always have? People, Gaara realizes, come to a hospital to be treated, not cured. They don’t want to be saved. Maybe it’s because they know they will die eventually. In that sense, Gaara has to correct himself: the hospitals work to prolong lives, not save them.

Gaara glances up to see the Chief of Medicine walking toward him. Her white lab coat stands out and makes her look like an authoritative angel gliding through a sky of monochrome colors. Her heels thump on the dark-grey carpet. One of her hands is tucked inside the coat pocket; the other holds a metal clipboard. She looks down at Gaara; her expression firm and composed.

“Hey,” she says, “I heard about Lee. I’m sorry for your loss.”

Gaara looks at the people besides him waiting for treatments. If Sakura and Tsunade have the time to talk to him, why don’t they use it to see the patients? They need their help more than he does. Their words of comfort are useless against the cancerous grief invading his cells. He stares up at Tsunade’s bosoms and wishes she will wear something more appropriate for a medical professional. He looks down at his wrinkled maroon dress shirt. A button on the cuff is missing.

“I know it hurts, but… it’s just his time,” Tsunade says with a deep breath. Her bosoms expand and lower as she breathes. “Don’t let this doubt yourself.”

Gaara takes his eyes off the Chief. He lets out a low breath and licks his lips. His tongue is moist but his throat is dry. Tsunade shrugs her shoulders in a deep sigh. She walks away without another word. Gaara watches her go as he wonders how many deaths have she dealt with during her career. He wonders how many people she has saved and how many she has killed; and of those she has killed – how many were her mistakes and how many were fate. He wonders if a person can ever become numb to death.

The waiting room is an interesting place. Strangers gather together over injuries and pains; yet, no one tries to comfort another person. No one ever says to someone else, “I’m sorry you broke your leg” or “Good luck with that stomach flu”. They occupy themselves with selfish thought, believing that they deserve to be seen before the other people. It’s the reason why Gaara hates being in a waiting room. The collective smug in the air is what makes the place so gloomy all the time.

A nurse puts down a thick stack of files on the counter of the Nurse Station. A pig-tailed girl bounces playfully up and down in her chair until her mother gives her a smack on the wrist. A chubby man wheezes loudly on the other side of the room; sweat stains his tank top. A surgeon comes out of the corridor and walks to the pacing newlywed. He places a hand on the husband’s shoulder and shakes his head apologetically. The husband lets out a loud sob, clasping his hands over his head. He finally stops pacing and sits down on the chair, sobbing quietly into his laps. That is another reason why Gaara hates the waiting room. There is more bad news than good news. They aren’t just waiting for treatments; they are waiting to be told they have leukemia or an inoperable tumor, or kidney failure, or heart disease or all of the above. They are waiting to be reaffirmed of their own mortality.

“Ex-excuse me, Doctor?” a nervously intern says. He hands over a chart. “The patient in 301 has developed an infection and we need to know what you want to do.”

Gaara looks at the chart dangling in front of his face. He lowers his head and stares at his shoes. He wants to tell the intern to find someone else to be a hero as he is incapable of saving anyone. He couldn’t even save his lover-turn-patient. All he could do was watch the numbers on the monitor plummet and know that each rapid beep took Lee further away from him. He has lost patients before; but it is the first time he has ever watched someone die.


He uncrosses his fingers and takes a long breath as he gazes up at the egg-white ceiling. He closes his eyes at the illuminating fluorescent lights. He wants to stay seated but he remembers what Tsunade said about not doubting himself.

“Let’s go,” Gaara says as he picks up his lab coat tossed on the seat and puts it on.


Boyue’s Note: This is the fourth story of mine in which Lee has died. Why do I keep killing Lee? Well, I think in a LeeGaa relationship, it will hurt Gaara more if Lee dies than vice versa. I think Lee will be able to keep Gaara’s spirit alive in him and move on while Gaara will sulk now that he has lost another person he cares for.

I am bad with titles and endings.


11:30 PM

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