Michiru felt her heart stop. The frightening moment unfolded before her eyes in slow motion, as if the terrifying stretch was mocking her inability to do anything at all, standing as she was on the side-lines. The blue and white car with that dash of yellow streaks swerved, tires smoking against asphalt.
This isn't happening! Michiru blinked and now the car was smashing itself against the side-boards. Debris were flying everywhere, and all Michiru could think of was how Haruka. Haruka had been smiling when she dropped herself into the car, that rakish grin that was sure to make it into the papers tomorrow. It's not happening. Close your eyes and you'll wake up! But all Michiru could do was stare, knuckles white as she gripped the steel poll, and instincts screaming with adrenaline. Then time sped up like it was fast-forwarded by someone, and everything was too quick for her to comprehend. Slow down! Slow down! What's going on?
There were a lot of people running past her, and then she was somehow in the ambulance. Someone was saying something to her, she had been screaming (maybe?) because her throat felt so raw. And now her knuckles are white as she gripped another silver poll, next to white, white sheets and a dripping IV.
"Is she going to be alright?" She felt those words escape her, like deja-vu. Maybe she said it more than once. She feared to think too much. Too many possibilities and too many things going so very wrong already.
So many distant voices, like the ocean rushing in...
"It's going to be alright," someone was reassuring her. Who? Who? Where? Somehow, Setsuna was next to her, holding her limp hand. There were bruises on Haruka's face, that's what Michiru remembered on the ride there. She remembered the slow spread, the blood on the white. Why was there blood? Where was Haruka hurt? The paramedic’s frantic voice as they rushed around her, like busy bees in a hive, listing off injuries she didn't want to know and did, so very badly, at the same time.
Cracked ribs. Broken arm. Broken left leg. What about the bones in her right wrist? There might be bone fractures that punctured her lungs... So much blood!
"I've contacted the others, Michiru. Everyone is rushing here, right now." Michiru just stared at those ruby eyes. She didn't want to face anyone right now, though she couldn't be quite sure who "the others" that Setsuna was referring to were. Those eyes were worried but calm... "Breath, Michiru, breath!" Setsuna shook her a little. Michiru frowned at her, trying hard to remember what breathing was and how it was done.
"Michiru-mama?" a soft voice called to her. Michiru blinked slowly after a few seconds, recognizing the voice calling her now. Hotaru was by her knee, and Michiru couldn't recall how the other got there when she turned to face the child. "Is Haruka-papa going to be alright, Michiru-mama?" Hotaru's large, dark eyes were filled with the fears of a child's. Michiru blinked again, coming back to herself.
She had to be strong now. She had to be!
Michiru took a shallow breath in. In and out. In and out. In and out. Michiru silently chanted to herself. "Yes, she'll be fine. You know your Haruka-papa" Michiru faltered but then continued after clearing her throat delicately, "she’s too stubborn to get hurt badly." Michiru finally said with a small, forced grin at the child. "She'll be fine." Holding onto Hotaru, a small voice told her that she had to be strong and reassuring.
Hold onto Hotaru tight, nothing is wrong and everything will be alright.
So she held on and closed her eyes to the now.