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I Was Reborn!

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Someone entered the ICU where Rain was lying and whispered something in his ears making him fume in anger. His heart and mind cannot accept everything from when he heard his own breath that is trying to take as much as oxygen he could get, to the frantically beeping machines in the hospital issuing a loud and alarming noise. Rain wasn't reconciled to dying, he has so many things to do, he has so many things to fight for--- death was never an option. Yet the pain never goes away. Although his heart wasn't willing, he could only open his eyes one more time and see the bright lights which once hurts his eyes slowly fading into darkness... Then he was reborn!

Chapter 1- He was reborn!

"What are you thinking?"

Kaye brought his best friend a glass of wine with a smile on his face but saw his cold yet deep and profound look instead. Others may have thought he was thinking about a very important matter but only Kaye knew this best friend of his was just daydreaming.

"Nothing..." The other responded, his voice barely audible.

After which, Kaye's best friend raise his head and met his eyes. His green misty pair of eyes especially look enchanting. No one should have withstood his cold gaze but he is Kaye, girls may have been bewitched by them if they have a chance to stare for too long, too bad, they can't even maintain eye contact.

This is his best friend since 13, Rain Sullivan.

Rain looked at the wine glass in Kaye's hand and as if he was in trance, or had just spoken out of instinct, he told Kaye, "Don't drink too much."

Kaye was just about to take a sip but after hearing Rain's reminder he pause. Rain was looking at him with a serious expression, and although confused, he felt warm inside, so he smiled.

In fact, this was the very first time he heard this kind of tone from Rain as if reprimanding him for his actions out of care. He can't help but laugh after thinking about it more deeply, "Of course, you know I don't drink too much."

After the initial reaction from Rain, Kaye sat next to him as he set his sights in front.

Unbeknownst to him, Rain, who just spoke out of his character was startled too. He felt an inexplicable tremor in his heart as if the world in front of him had just been an old fleeting picture. He push down the uneasiness at the pit of his stomach as he held the transparent wine glass firmly in his hand. The color of the wine in his glass made him pause.

It looks like blood.

****

The birthday party went smoothly, after the main event of Matthew's grandfather--- the birthday celebrant--- give a few words of gratitude and pleasantries to all of the people present in the hall, everyone went back to their left off conversation. Speaking in a well-mannered tone and voice, bringing an inexplicably formal atmosphere into the air.

Rain and Kaye saw that Matthew's old man finally turned around after talking to someone, so they both approach him to greet him again personally.

"I'm glad my grandson has a good crowd like you boys. This old man wants to ask you to take care of this grandson of mine."

"Pops..." Matthew's tone had a bit of whining but he was smiling as he look at his grandfather.

"Don't worry Mr. Larkson, we will certainly look after him." Kaye immediately appeased his friend's grandfather.

"Then this old man can be relieved." The old man notices Rain's absentmindedness, he turned to him as he speaks, "Little Sullivan, although I'm old, I think you don't look too good. Is the atmosphere not to your liking? I know many of the younger generations don't really like the formal atmosphere. You boys might like excitement in the air," Mr. Larkson side-eyed his own grandson whom Matthew saw before looking away sheepishly.

Rain snapped out of his trance when his name was called.

"I'm feeling just fine, Mr. Larkson. Thank you for your care. I just had a bit of drink." Although Rain doesn't like to smile a lot, he had always been someone who put his friend's families into his book, so he was very respectful of them.

Mr. Larkson looked worried, "Then have my assistant bring you soup to pad your stomach, drinking without eating will make your stomach upset," He then gestured for his assistant to come.

Rain immediately interjected politely, "It's okay Mr. Larkson, I can manage, I'm just a bit under the weather."

"Then the more you need to take care of yourself. It's alright, let my assistant bring you medicine and hot soup," Seeing Mr. Larkson's insistence, Rain can only sigh.

"Then I shall thank Mr. Larkson for his care. Also," Rain smiled at Mr. Larkson before he look at Matthew then back to Mr. Larkson, "We will look after your grandson properly. We always have each other's back."

Both Matthew and Kaye had never expected Rain to say something like this, but although they were surprised, they were quick to back him up.

"Yes Pops, we always have each other's back."

"That's what bros do."

"Friendship between young people is truly beautiful. Thank you for reminding this old man of his younger days, if only my friends are still alive."

They talk a bit more in which Matthew and Kaye had been enthusiastic to speak in turns until someone came to their side and whispered something to Mr. Larkson's ears to which the old man nodded in understanding. He then regretfully told Rain and Kaye that he and Matthew had to excuse themselves for a private family chat.

Kaye and Rain greeted the old man again with a happy birthday then reminded their friend to take care of his grandfather before the two of them went to go.

"I'll have my assistant bring you to the kitchen later." Mr. Larkson reminded Rain before they go.

Kaye glances at Rain and saw his absentminded look.

Remembering that Mr. Larkson said Rain didn't look too good, he was quick to observe Rain.

Rain saw his intuitive gaze and shook his head, "Everything's fine." He told him while they were walking back to their table. Kaye remember what they did yesterday and was nervous after thinking that maybe it has something to do with it.

Yesterday, they sneak out to go to a faraway city to watch an illegal drag race via their mutual friend's friend. They are all at an age where they were curious about so many things, so they agreed to the invitation and drag out Rain who wasn't interested in going but reluctantly went after them due to Kaye's insistence. They just came home early to attend the birthday party of Matthew's grandfather as their family was invited, this was the first time in 10 years that the old head Mr. Larkson is in the country so the party was held here. Unexpectedly, on the way back Kaye and his friends met an accident on the road, and no one was hurt except for--- Rain. Although Rain looks fine--- physically.

Their circle of friends all came from affluent families and so they were given the best education, but what comes after that is their freedom. As 2 of their friends came from a popular political background, they are to watch their attitudes and behaviors all the time. Although Matthew is relatively free to do everything, his parents prohibited him from doing anything that will concern his safety as he was constantly kidnapped when he was younger--- if they know he did something like this, he will be heavily guarded again--- literally. Kaye does have restrictions, but he is not really heavily guarded like the rest of his friends, although he might have his car confiscated. Among them, Rain might look like the only person who wouldn't be punished but, the same thing cannot be promised to them as Rain's friends because they once knew Rain's older brother, literally, have a person crippled back then when they were in high school after that person force Rain to drink a drink that had been spiked and for bringing him to an adult club. As for why the 16-year-old Rain had agreed to go, it was still a mystery to them even as his friends. They basically knew nothing about it. Even Kaye who was closest to Rain.

Kaye was still nervously reliving everything they did yesterday when he heard Rain asking.

"...in what year are we again?" Rain's voice was hoarse as he asked.

"It's 2025," Kaye spoke with uncertainty. "I say— you asked this question for the 5th time around, are you really sure you're okay? Not an 'okay' because it doesn't hurt much but an 'okay' that meant you feel good." That's right, Rain had already asked this question quite a few times. Is it possible that his head was messed up really bad? Is his friend going to have amnesia?!

Not knowing that his friend was panicking inside, Rain was silent as though he was in deep thought before he tilt his head and sweep his gaze around the hall.

From the people talking and laughing to the decorations of the venue, the atmosphere, the chandeliers hanging above, the brilliant lights, and the music— they are all so familiar yet so distant.

"I'm—" Rain breathe in and out before he looked at his best friend in a daze as if his thoughts were so far and out of reach.

"—I'm okay. Don't worry."

Say that again without that emotional look in your eyes and I will believe there's nothing wrong! This is totally bad! Rain never had colorful emotions like this ever since. Kaye was really panicking inside. He furrowed his brows and looked at Rain again, wanting to say something. He opened his mouth but no words were spoken in the end. Kaye doesn't know what to ask.

Earlier today when they were driving back home, the car Rain was driving met an accident as a tree was hit by lightning suddenly. It all happened so quickly and they only saw the tree collapse blocking the road. Rain tried to avoid the collapsing tree and had to maneuver in another direction in the last few seconds. Fortunately, he manage to avoid being crushed by a gigantic uprooted tree yet he hit the trunk of another nearby deep-rooted tree instead.

Rain's car only came out with a scratch and an obvious dent in the hood, but nothing too serious. Rain should have been secured inside and he was even wearing a seatbelt properly but when Kaye and the rest of the guys came to ask if he was okay, they panic when they saw him unconscious.

They immediately brought him to the nearest hospital but after running some tests, the doctor said their friend was okay, and if it was anything, Rain was just shocked, advising them not to stimulate the patient's emotions if he woke up. The others were glad Rain was okay before they bid goodbye, Matthew especially needed to get ready for his grandfather's birthday party. And the others had to fill in their absence in their homes or else it will not turn good for them.

According to the doctor, a life-threatening incident to the patient especially when experiencing it for the first time could develop post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. But they assured him that Rain was physically fine.

Kaye was so anxious and stressed out while debating if he should call any from the Sullivan family to inform them of the accident. But knowing Rain, and his relationship with his family, he won't appreciate such gestures. Rain doesn't get along with his family, and his older brother---

Rain's older brother scared Kaye.

Kaye can only sigh.

The doctor said not to stimulate his emotions, Kaye should follow it.

In the end, since Rain was physically fine, Kaye just patiently wait for his best friend to wake up. To wait for his advice.

But when Rain did wake up disoriented, he was scared out of his wits when he began crying— Rain is anything but okay! Did he really develop psychological trauma?

Kaye's brain short-circuited and he doesn't know what to do because his words of consolation don't work and he is not a psychologist!

He was about to call a nurse or a doctor, but it only remained as a plan when Rain suddenly reached out for his hand and told him not to call anyone firmly with tears falling from his eyes.

If you tell me that again with nothing of those tears, I would certainly do so, even obediently.

Kaye doesn't know what to do.

He was rooted in place and the words he wanted to say were left stuck in his throat. He can only draw the curtain to cover the bed as per Rain's request. Fortunately, the others had already left, or else, they would have witnessed a miracle.

Kaye, as the best friend and the person who is very close to him, knows how strong Rain's character is, not to mention crying, this guy considers smiling and laughing as gold! Yet today, he cried like that— it was heartbreaking, so heart-wrenching, a cry that could penetrate deeply into your soul. It was unknown whether Kaye was questioning life as he allowed Rain to calm down first.

Afterward, when Rain finally calmed down, although it looks like the usual him, somehow the layers of frost in his gaze, doubled.

Unlike the best friend he knew that naturally looks cold, now Rain seems to be like a walking air-conditioner.

Kaye was so distressed because upon waking up, Rain demanded to be discharged immediately and as the doctor didn't find out anything wrong as Rain looks really fine, they just let him go.

They also need to attend Matthew's grandfather's 98th-year celebration as their respective families will also be there for sure to look for them, so Kaye can only proceed and follow his best friend's 'calm' arrangement.

Having no time to prepare anything, they bought what they need to wear on the way and directly went to the venue of the party.

Kaye can only choose to follow the rhythm of his best friend.

-

Thinking at this point while absorbing the formal atmosphere of the party engulfing the air, looking at the calm yet frosty look of the other, Kaye can only acquiesce.

"Alright," Kaye knew no matter how much he tried, he can't really get to the bottom of this if Rain didn't want to, "but if you feel uncomfortable anywhere, please tell me, okay?"

Hearing his concern, Rain, whose head was down, look up. His green eyes meet his worried gaze. Suddenly, a curve formed on Rain's lips making Kaye feel a layer of goosebumps.

"R-Rain, if you smile l-like this... please tell me beforehand? You look scary." Kaye stops himself from shuddering. Although Rain looks really enchanting when he smiles, it still looks very unlike him, especially when he just looks like a walking air-conditioner earlier.

"Still silly..." Rain muttered inaudibly making Kaye ask what he just said.

Rain shook his head, a helpless look on his face.

"All right, I heard your concern, but don't worry too much."

As Rain said this, he turned in the other direction. His smile vanished.

All the people around them were in proper attire, and Rain himself was wearing one. He was 19, yet he felt like his age doesn't suit him, there was a gap— a big gap like there was something wrong with everything, yet it also felt normal. Those words he uttered naturally to Kaye, even he himself was wondering... Those words felt strange at the same time natural..?

What is happening? His gaze wandered around.

Rain had this feeling since he woke, up in that hospital and saw the youthful expression of his best friend that is the same age as him, felt like he was visiting a long dream.

A distant dream.

The questions he had been repeating in his mind, like the habitual asking of the year they are in today because it felt like this shouldn't be the year he is now, and those mishaps of his character telling Kaye not to drink too much--- they were like instinct, a deep-rooted change in his character because he also knew the 'Kaye' today rarely drinks--- it was strange. But there's also this sense of deja vu and nostalgia hearing the conversation of the people around him: from the people's faces, their clothes, and anything--- somehow he felt like he had already seen the older version of these faces in front of him.

It was strange.

Very strange.

"Rain, you're not answering dad's phone call." Suddenly, a deep but slightly helpless voice was heard on his back.

"R-Rain, your older brother..." Kaye was frightened to see another serious-looking person that is part of the family of his best friend. The person who he was 'slightly' afraid of...

These brothers don't get along that well, primarily, it came from Rain himself. He doesn't want any interaction with his father's family.

Rain's breathing stops.

That voice.

"Cloud..." Rain turned around stiffly.

Seeing the reticent yet majestic look of his older brother, it finally dawned on him what was missing.

The people in his past and his future overlap, creating a fuzzy picture in front of him.

It was imprinted in his bones and carved out in his soul.

Rain can't breathe. His tears gushed like a stream, calm yet hot. They scalded his cheeks.

The ringing in his ears was louder than the voices calling out his name.

The sound of a bomb exploding. Gunshots echo around. The irritating and piercing sound of ambulances...

The smell and taste of death once again permeated the air...

Before darkness overwhelms him, he remembered...

'I was reborn!'

He was reborn.

****

Started: December 4, 2022

End:

Unedited

Heroes

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