“H-Hey! W-Wait!” Mikan nearly shrieked as she ran down the sidewalk after you. You stopped and turned around, catching her before she could trip and fall into another compromising position. “O-Oh, t-thank you for waiting!” Mikan’s face lit up with happiness, then dissolved into tears. “Wait! I’m s-sorry for inconveniencing you! W-would you like me to c-carry you home?”
“No, silly, it’s fine. I can walk.” You smiled reassuringly at the sniffling girl, eager to tease her a bit. “You were a little late coming here; where’d you go, hm?” Mikan blushed red and you giggled. After her numerous disappearances the past week, you knew Mikan was up to something, and judging from how shy she was whenever you brought it up, you were hoping that your friend had finally found a boyfriend or girlfriend. “Are you meeting a special someone~?”
Mikan cried out and blushed harder. “Waaah! N-no, I’m s-sorry!”
You frowned. “That’s not something you should apologize for! I’d be really happy if you were going out with someone nice!”
Mikan still seemed upset. “I-i wouldn’t do that! I d-don’t need anyone else... b-being with you is enough...” She clasped her hands below her chin reverently. “C-cuz... y-you’re never mean to me, a-and yet you s-still talk to me!”
You sighed. Mikan had a serious inferiority complex that you’d been trying to get rid of, but it only seemed to make her more attached to you. “You deserve more than one friend, and someone special would be lucky to have you, Mikan!” Mikan whimpered as you pried her clasped hands apart and took one of them in your own. “Let’s get going; I’m starving. Do you wanna eat at your house today?”
“O-okay...” Mikan sniffled as you tugged her along, and the two of you started to walk along the sidewalk. Your homes were only a few blocks from Hope’s Peak, so the two of you simply walked to and fro each day. The sidewalk you traveled was high and separate from the road, supposedly to reduce the chance of cars jumping the curb, but it had always seemed a bit dangerous to you either way.
“Who did you go to see today, Mikan?” you asked again, curious as to where she had been going so often.
Mikan shivered. “J-just Ryota Mitarai... t-the Ultimate Animator... he h-hasn’t been feeling w-well... s-so I’m taking care of him to m-make sure he gets better!” Her voice turned lighter as she spoke; Mikan truly reveled in being able to take care of people. Maybe a bit too much, but you couldn’t begrudge one of Mikan’s only pleasures in life.
You frowned as you recalled Ryota in class today. He had certainly looked fine to you, but Mikan was extra perceptive about these things, and you were not. “I’m sure he’ll get better with your help, Mikan! You’re the best at taking care of people.” Mikan blushed and mumbled something as you turned your head to gaze at the skyline. The sun setting over the city was gorgeous, and you just had to take a photo. You lifted your camera and snapped a picture, then squinted into the viewfinder again, looking for a better shot.
Not watching where you were going, you walked right into Mikan. She screamed and shoved you back, and you lost your balance. Your body plummeted off the sidewalk. You threw out your arm as you hit the ground, the other wrapped around your precious camera. But you weren’t at all prepared for the pain that exploded up your arm as it stopped your fall. Your body crumpled, and you heard a loud snap from your arm.
Crying, your first move was to get out of the way of traffic, scooting all the way to the roadside, feeling numerous scrapes on your arms and legs in addition to your shattered arm. “Waaaaaaaaaah!” You heard Mikan scream in terror. “I-I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I’m sorrryyyyyyy!” You felt her delicate hands lift you under your uninjured shoulder and pull you mostly back onto the sidewalk, wailing as she did so. “I-I’m sorry! I didn’t m-mean t-to!”
You inhaled shakily and tried to tell her it wasn’t her fault (you’d had other... accidents while looking for the perfect shot before), but Mikan wasn’t listening, frantically looking your arm over while mumbling in medical speak. Finally, she looked up at you. “I-It’s a clean break... I can make a cast for it and it’ll heal just fine...”
Well, at least the Ultimate Nurse was nearby when you happened to fall off the sidewalk. You smiled a wobbly smile. “At least w-we were going t-to your house anyway...”
Mikan pulled off her uniform jacket and wrapped it around your body, holding your arm up and tying the sleeves together over your shoulder. “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of you.” She helped you stand up and guided you another block until the two of you reached her house.
Mikan seemed almost too happy about your unfortunate injury, but again, you couldn’t deny that she loved to care for people. At least you were in good hands. You entered the familiar house, empty as usual. Mikan only had a mother, and she was seldom home; Mikan talked as though she barely knew her mom at all. It made sense that Mikan was desperate to be loved and appreciated by others, but it hurt you all the same to see your friend suffering because of her cold and absent parents.
Mikan’s room had always reminded you of a medical closet. All sorts of supplies were organized and neatly stacked. Even her bed had a stand with an IV next to it. Mikan went right to the closet and took out padding and a container of plaster. She had you sit on the bed and place your arm on a table as she set the supplies down and untied her school jacket from your shoulder. You winced as Mikan gently prodded the injury, which was starting to bruise a deep purple color. “The break shouldn’t be hard to set, but... um...” Mikan looked up at you earnestly. “It will p-probably hurt a lot when I try to put the bones in place... b-but I can give you some... some anesthetic.”
You nodded. “That sounds good, thank you.” You tried to smile reassuringly at Mikan, but it came out a little forced. Your arm was swelling and aching like hell, after all.
Mikan nodded and went back to the closet, hunting around. After a minute, she took out a syringe and a vial, poked the needle into the vial and filled the syringe with its contents. Holding the needle, she came back to you. “Don’t you need to compress my arm first?” you questioned as Mikan gently took hold of your upper arm. Not that you wanted to question Mikan’s methods, but getting the drug into a major vein was important, right?
“Oh, that’s a common technique, but...” Mikan’s hand was completely steady as she guided the needle into the crook of your elbow. You cringed slightly, but for no reason, as the injection was completely painless. “I never had that at home, so I just kept trying until I learned to find veins.”
You felt a cold sensation flow through your arm as Mikan carefully depressed the plunger. “That sounds painful.”
Mikan giggled. “Oh, well, I learned not to mind p-pain...” She finished injecting the drug and slid it out of your arm. As she set the syringe down, you marveled at how your wound didn’t sting or bleed at all. Mikan was truly the Ultimate Nurse! “There, you won’t feel anything now.” Mikan looked up at you expectantly.
“It feels much bet... better...” You trailed off as you noticed your shoulder going numb as well. Wasn’t that a little excessive? You watched as Mikan took hold of your broken arm, but you couldn’t feel a thing. The disconnection was unsettling. But even more unsettling was that that cold, empty feeling kept spreading throughout your body, and Mikan still looked unconcerned. “Muh... Mikan...?” What was happening? This much anesthetic shouldn’t be necessary for a broken arm. Your back started to go numb, and you fell back on the bed, body heavy and mind starting to slow.
Mikan gazed at you, hands clasped beneath her chin. “I’m sorry, I-I just don’t want it to hurt...” She reached over and stroked your cheek. “Y-you just need to close your eyes... It’ll all be okay. It’ll be p-perfect.” Her soft, uneven locks of hair brushed your shoulders as she leaned over you, kissing your forehead,
Perfect... Your muddled brain considered that. What was going... to be perfect?
But then your face turned cold, and you couldn’t keep your eyelids open anymore.
Black closed in from the corners of your vision, but the last thing you saw was... red.