Summary: You can’t change Destiny’s decision. No matter who inspires you to fight it.
Word Count 3962
Part One: Beginnings
The kiss was soft, gentle, and innocent. It was everything that Hiro already saw in Charlie. Hiro ran his hand through her red hair softly. "I love you, too." He replied slowly, in English. Charlie smiled despite herself. She knew that she was being selfish. She was dying and accepted it. Charlie had accepted it long before she had even met Hiro. It was unfair to let him fall in love with her. She was dragging Hiro into something head first without any warning. She bit her lip as he watched her think.
"I shouldn't have done that." Charlie covered her mouth instantly, realizing the pain she would be causing Hiro. "I really shouldn't have done that." She said before running through the rain. Hiro frowned.
"Charlie!" He called for her. She didn't stop though. Charlie just kept running until Hiro could no longer see her. Hiro dejectedly walked back into the Diner. He cleaned up the cranes slowly, with a deep frown. Finally around midnight he was able to fall asleep in one of the booths.
Lynette owned the Burnt Toast Diner in Midland, Texas. Each morning when she opened up the diner for the most part everything was normal. However there had been several times when she had found graffiti, or someone had just messed the whole diner up, careful not too break anything. She was used to pranksters, however she was not used to her employee’s sleeping in a booth. Lynette walked over to the sleeping Hiro and shook him lightly. "Honey, don't you have a place to stay?" She asked.
“No, Ma’am.” Hiro shook his head.
"Tonight, how about you come back to my place? The couch is plenty comfy." She assured him. He nodded, getting right to work. Lynette thought it was odd that he had decided to bury himself in making sure the kitchen was shining first thing in the morning. To add to the odd things that were going on this morning Charlie arrived late for her shift. This had never happened in the past. (Even when Charlie had discovered that she had a blood clot in her brain, she remained to live life. She told Lynette a part of that was arriving to work on time.) Lynette’s suspicions that something was going on had just been confirmed. Charlie, her normally happy-go-lucky and punctual waitress, looked anything but happy. Lynette decided that something had happened between Hiro and Charlie. She was determined to solve this little mystery. Lynette walked over to Charlie. "Hey honey, what’s cooking?" Charlie gave Lynette a smile.
"Oh, nothing. Sorry that I‘m late." Charlie apologized.
“The first time you’ve been late in four years, honey. It’s alright.” Lynette assured her. “You sure nothing is going on?”
“I’m sure.” Charlie nodded her head.
"Really?" Lynette pressed on. Charlie raised her eyebrows at Lynette and nodded. "Okay." Lynette sighed and walked back out to her customers. She would give up, for now. Charlie shook her head. She didn't know what Lynette was referring to. Charlie know that she couldn’t have known about what happened between she and Hiro quite yet. Charlie walked into the kitchen to fetch her apron and she saw Hiro. Immediately Charlie felt a wave --no a tsunami-- of guilt wash over her.
“Hi.” Charlie said.
“Hello.” Hiro returned. Charlie shifted in her spot. She put on her apron quickly.
“Well, work, you know… calls.” She told him, running as quickly as she could out of the kitchen. Hiro frowned behind her. Hiro sighed and started washing the dishes that were coming in stacks. He looked at the clock, 10 o’clock mountain standard time. Morning rush hour. He squinted and froze time, working as quick as he could to keep up with the dishes. Hiro had finally finished at 11, and hour earlier then he usually finished. He smiled and grabbed his rag, he went to the bar in order to wipe down the counter.
“Hiro, my favorite bus boy.” A young cop sat in front of him. “The guys are taking bets for tomorrows football game. You have any ideas?” He asked. Hiro had been giving the man pretty good choices the past month. Hiro shook his head. He never knew if he would be going to the right game.
“Not today.” The cop frowned.
“Guess I’ve got to put faith in my own luck then.” The cop walked over to the table where Charlie was currently taking orders from. Hiro just watched Charlie for a couple moments before returning to his work.
During the slow plague that Lynette and her employee’s knew as 3 o’clock, Lynette noticed that Charlie was focusing very hard on the Sudoku puzzle in front of her during break. "Charlie, honey," She began, sitting next to the girl. "I know Hiro likes you. I also know that you like Hiro.” Lynette pointed out. “I am just wondering why the two of you aren't speaking to one another."
"Oh, well, you know… nothing to talk about." Charlie told her scribbling down a three. "Oh wait, no that's all wrong." Lynette put her hand over the puzzle. After a good long stare from Lynette, Charlie succumbed to the pressure. "I kissed him." Charlie admitted to Lynette. She explained the story in great detail about the events of the night before. Leaving out the 1000 paper cranes that just appeared. Charlie still didn’t understand how Hiro had pulled that romantic display off. "I feel like a horrible person."
"I don't suppose running off was the brightest idea you have ever had." Lynette agreed.
"It wasn't the running that was the problem." Charlie explained. "It was the kissing.”
“Is he that bad of kisser?” Lynette asked her with a smile. Charlie laughed.
“Oh No, no. He’s a wonderful kisser, trust me when I say wonderful.” Charlie closed her eyes. “I shouldn't have done that. Now he is in love with me, and he wants to bring me to Japan. He wants to be with me forever. We all know I won't be here forever." Charlie teared up.
"Neither will he." Lynette reminded Charlie.
"You're right. I should just let these last days be great days." Charlie forced a smile. Lynette pat her leg.
"That's my girl. Besides, the doctor said you had a long time. Don‘t worry too much. You aren‘t dieing any time soon." Lynette walked up front where a couple had just walked in. Charlie nodded her head. Charlie knew that Lynette had a point. The doctors had told her she had another year the last time she had gone in to check on her head, last month. Charlie went back to work on her Sudoku, less tense then she was before.
Before leaving at Dinner time Lynette invited Charlie back to her home. “I’ve got a bunch of desserts. Sadie has this cooking class, and right now they are focusing on dessert pastries. There is no way on earth I can eat them all on my own.” Lynette was referring to her high-school aged daughter. Charlie nodded.
“I’ll be there, Hannah is closing tonight. So I’ll be at the house around seven?” Charlie suggested. Lynette nodded.
“Sounds perfect.” Lynette grinned walking to her truck. She sat in the driver’s seat. She turned to Hiro. “I need to stop at the bakery first, it’ll only take a moment.” She assured him. Hiro smiled.
At Lynette’s house Hiro sat on the couch watching television. He turned when another red-haired girl walked into the house. It seemed to Hiro that Texas was full of red heads. “Who are you?”
“Hiro Nakamura.” He greeted her with a grin.
“MOM!” Sadie called. Lynette walked down to her daughters call.
“Well for starters there is a man I’ve never met in our living room.” Sadie motioned to the man she was speaking of, Hiro.
“He’s going to be living with us for a little while.” Lynette told her daughter. “He works at the Diner, and he’s friends with Charlie. Speaking of Charlie, she is going to be joining us for dessert. I need to talk to you, alone, for a little bit.” Lynette pulled her daughter upstairs. Hiro just smiled. Maybe he would finally be able to talk to Charlie today. She had been so busy during the workday.
Hiro had been the first one at the door when Charlie had rung the doorbell. Charlie was surprised to see Hiro staring back at her. “Hiro!” She said, eyes wide. “Hi.” She walked into the house and hugged him. Hiro smiled, hugging her back.
Lynette grinned from the hallway. It looked like she wasn’t going to poke and prod them. They made up all on their own. She turned to the kitchen, setting up the meal while she let Hiro and Charlie talk.
Part Two: The Journey
Four months later Hiro was living with Charlie. He smiled as he wrapped his arms around her waist. “Time to go to work, Hiro.” Charlie told her as the alarm clock went off.
“Not yet.” He moaned. “Five more minutes?” He asked her. She shook her head.
“You’re covering Drew this morning, remember?” Charlie poked his cheek. Hiro chuckled, he pushed her hand away and kissed her. Charlie ran her hand down his cheek. “I’ll be in after my sociology class, around noon.” She promised.
“So you get to sleep while I bus tables.” He sighed, getting up and getting dressed.
“That’s about right.” Charlie grinned. “I think it perfectly fair. Besides, technically you are still on Vacation from that office job in Japan. When exactly are you supposed to go back to that?” She asked Hiro. Hiro frowned at himself in the mirror.
“November.” He told her. After the explosion. Hiro seemed to keep forgetting about the ever-pressing explosion. It was a long ways off, it was only August.
“One long vacation, if you ask me.” Charlie smiled. Hiro turned to her, he sighed.
“I told you, I’m from the future.” Hiro kissed her forehead.
“I know, I know. And you saw me die from some man who cut my head open, took out my brains and ate them like scrambled eggs.”
“I never said scrambled eggs.” Hiro frowned. “You aren’t the only brain that is missing.”
“Right. Well there isn’t much the guy can do with my brain anyhow.” Hiro sat on the bed next to her. He knew exactly what she was referring to, the blood clot.
“You live in America. Surgery is preformed on people who don’t even need it. I’m sure we could find someone that could un-clot your brain.” Hiro smiled.
“You should really say ‘take the clot out of your brain.’ I’m not sure if un-clot is a word or not.” Charlie noted.
“Besides, who else will teach me English like you have?” Hiro asked her. Charlie smiled at him. Hiro left the apartment for work and Charlie got up, quickly changing. She had a doctor’s appointment in a half hour. She didn’t tell anyone about it, not even Hiro. She was afraid of the outcome. Not only did she fear that her brain may be in worse shape, but she feared that the doctors wouldn’t be able to do anything for her condition. She wanted to stick around, if only for Hiro.
Charlie stared at the wallpapered flowers in the examination room. She continued to stare at them for ten minutes, awaiting her MRI results. Finally the doctor, Dr. Fladel, stepped into the room. Charlie couldn’t predict the news she would be getting by Dr. Fladel’s face. Doctors always seemed to be so solemn, especially when talking to Charlie. Charlie knew it was because of the fact that the blood clot was in her brain. The only place any worse to get a blood clot would be the heart.
“The MRI shows that your blood clot has moved. Much quicker then anyone expected. It‘s moved half an inch in four months.” Dr. Fladel sighed.
“It’s moving and unfortunately growing two times faster then we expected it to. Should it keep moving steadily at this rate it will turn into an aneurysm in two months time. October or November is my best bet.” Dr. Fladel told her. Charlie felt the tears roll down her face.
“I should go tell Hiro, and Lynette.” Charlie said, speaking to herself more then anyone else.
“Wait, before you get ahead of yourself.” Dr. Fladel sat her back down on the bed. “You came today to see if we had any surgeries, didn’t you?” He asked her. She nodded her head. “It looks like you might just get your wish, then. Since the Corticosteroid medication didn’t work, we are willing to perform surgery on you.” He went on in detail on how they would try to take the blood clot out of her brain. “There’s a chance though, that you won’t make it through the surgery. The surgery could kill you or it could save your life.” Charlie was sitting still wide-eyed. “Charlie?”
“You’re serious?” Charlie was able to speak after she got over the shock. Dr. Fladel nodded his head. Charlie couldn’t believe her luck. “Thank you.” She smiled at the doctor. “I um… I’ll need the specifics, for my health insurance company.”
“The front desk has all the information you’ll need about the surgery.” Dr. Fladel assured her. Charlie was putting on her coat, a smile across her face. “Have a good day, Charlie.” He told her, stepping out of the examination room.
“I will.” She promised. She drove herself to her class, unable to really concentrate on the teacher. She was much too preoccupied by the idea of surgery and the cost. The surgery was pricey, but Charlie was sure that it was worth it. Five thousand dollars wasn’t pocket cash. Hopefully the insurance company would be able to cover the price.
After her class she ran into the Burnt Toast Diner. “Hiro!” She called. “Lynette!” She called. Lynette came around the corner.
“Hey honey, your shift isn’t for another couple hours.” Lynette smiled at her serving a young couple their lunch. Charlie grinned at her.
“I know, but I have news. Big news. Hiro needs to hear this too, where is he?” Lynette lead Charlie into the kitchen, where Hiro was flipping burgers.
“My flipper called out, but Hiro got the hang of it in twenty minutes. That boy right there is an absolute prodigy. You’re a lucky girl, Charlie.” Lynette smiled. Hiro finished the burgers that he was working on and then noticed the two women that were watching him. He grinned at them.
“Hiro, I’ve got news. Wash up and then come here so I can tell you both.” Charlie ordered him. Hiro nodded his head and did exactly as she asked. He could tell that she was excited. If not from the fact that she was practically bouncing, then it was from the way she smiled at him.
Once Hiro had cleaned up Charlie took a breath. She was making sure she would be able to explain everything to the two most important people in her life, without rambling. “I went to the Doctor’s today, and got an MRI.”
“Why didn’t you tell me you were going?” Hiro frowned. “I would have gone with you.” Charlie shook her head. She never voiced it but she hated when Hiro or anyone else for that matter came to the Doctor’s with her. It proved that she was weak, that she didn’t have means to take care of herself on her own. Charlie didn’t like that feeling.
“It doesn’t matter.” Charlie assured Hiro. “Well the doctor told me that the hospital is willing try surgery.” She grinned, Hiro grinned back at her. Hiro swept her up in a hug, spinning her around. Setting her down he kissed her.
Lynette however wasn’t as excited as either of the young adults. She’d seen much more of the world than either of them. She had also been submitted to much more disappointment then either of them. “Honey, Charlie, how much is the surgery going to cost you?” Lynette asked.
“It’s… two thousand dollars.” Charlie frowned, her arms still wrapped around Hiro. “I have health insurance though. My parents set me up before I left for college.” Lynette nodded and despite her better judgment brought Charlie into a big hug.
“I’m so happy for you honey.” She told Charlie.
Later that night Charlie hung up the phone. She had been speaking with the insurance company about her surgery. When she turned to Hiro tears were falling down her face. “Charlie, what's wrong?” He asked her.
“They won’t pay for the surgery.” She began sobbing. Hiro wrapped his arms around her. “They said that there were too many things that could go wrong. They won’t pay for the surgery. I’m going to die in a couple months Hiro. I’m so sorry.” She whispered to him. Hiro shook his head.
“No. I’m a hero. I’m saving you. I will find the money.” He nodded his head. Charlie smiled at him.
“It’s okay. It’s destiny.” She whispered. Hiro didn’t except that. It was not destiny for Charlie to die. It was destiny for Hiro to save Charlie. The next day he began to form a plan in order to get the surgery for Charlie.
Part Three: The Ending
Hiro and Lynette sat across from each other in the dinner. “I was afraid Charlie was going to be let down. What if this just gets her hopes even higher, Hiro?” Lynette asked him. “What if we don’t make enough money for her?”
“We will.” Hiro said confidently. “It’s destiny.” He told her with a nod. Lynette looked him over, he seemed so assured. Hiro was as confident as he seemed. He knew that this had to be his destiny, because if he wasn’t… well then he wasn’t sure why exactly he did have his powers. They were useless without being able to save a woman he had fallen in love with.
Charlie was shocked when she had walked into the Burnt Toast Diner. There was a banner displayed in the back, “Support Charlie’s Surgery”. She looked around for the person who created the banner and display for her. “Hiro!” She called. Charlie found him wiping down tables in the back.
“Hiro, is that your work?” She pointed towards the back of the room. Hiro grinned widely.
“Yes, ma’am.” He nodded. Charlie kissed his sweetly.
“I really don’t deserve you.” She told him. Hiro shook his head at her.
“No, you deserve better.” He wrapped his arm around her waist. Hiro gazed into her eyes, completely and utterly in love. “You do.” He told her before she could argue. “The display in the back is nothing. I wish I could do the surgery myself, I wish I could save you myself. I can only manage to save you for one reason at a time.” He frowned.
“I told you.” Charlie insisted, “You already saved me. I had pretty much given up on life before I met you. Then you came along, you taught me to live again. That’ s pretty much the only thing in the world I could ever ask for.” She kissed him again. Neither of them realized how long they had been kissing when Lynette had coughed, making them both jump in surprise.
“Well now that you two are done.” She grinned. “Could ya do your jobs?” They both nodded their heads, walking in different directions. Lynette smiled at the two. They were head over heals for each other and they were the cutest couple in the world. This Lynette was positive of.
Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into a month. Finally it was the middle of September. Charlie was able to schedule the surgery. She had been able to combine the money from her bank account, the donations from the Burnt Toast Diner and a very generous amount of money that she was given from Lynette. Charlie paced across the bedroom around midnight on the 14th. It was the night before her surgery and nervous didn’t even begin to explain how she was feeling right now.
“Everything will be fine.” She told herself. Sitting back on the bed woke up Hiro.
“Charlie?” He yawned. “What are you doing up? You need your rest.” He pointed out.
“I can’t sleep.” She told him. “I’m so scared, Hiro.” Hiro pulled her to him. He kissed up her neck.
“Trust me, Charlie. You’ll be fine. It was my destiny to come back in time to save you.” He assured her. Charlie tensed at his talk of superpowers. Hiro knew that Charlie didn’t believe his stories of freezing time, but he wasn’t sure how to make her believe him. He’d done as much as he possibly could. If she wouldn’t believe him now, he feared that she would never truly believe him. At some point though, he’d have to return to his real time and leave Charlie with his present self. He would just have to take advantage of his time with her.
“I know I’ll be fine. I just hate that I’m going to be completely unconscious when there is a person doing something to my body.” She shivered against Hiro. She didn’t like thinking about all the technicalities, all the things that doctors had warned could happen to her. Hiro pulled her in for a kiss.
“I’ll always be here to protect you.” Hiro promised. He kissed her again, pressing her against the bed. The kiss grew with passion from the moment had started. Charlie woke up the next day, her body entwined with Hiro.
“Hiro.” She whispered. He mumbled something incoherent in reply. “Honey, we should probably get ready for today. I was thinking that we could have breakfast at the diner and then go in for the surgery.” She kissed his bare back. Hiro turned over so he could face her.
“Sounds like a good idea.” He agreed. “Besides we need to pick up Lynette, and she should be at the Diner already.” He said with a quick glance to the time. They followed their plan and at one in the afternoon Charlie was put under the knife.
Hours passed while Hiro and Lynette stayed in the waiting room. Both were silent the entire time. Either reading one of the medical magazines that were placed on the tables, or they were just mulling over their fears and concerns. After what they believed was a life time the doctor came out.
“Charlie Andrews was in critical condition when she was given to us.” He explained. “We did absolutely everything we could to get the brain clot out of her. We thought we had exceeded until she crashed.” He told them solemnly.
“What does he mean?” Hiro asked Lynette. Hiro’s hands were shaking as if he could tell what news was coming.
“Oh, Honey.” Lynette brought him into a hug. “I’m so sorry.” She whispered, tears running down her face as well.
“No, no, no!” Hiro shook his head. “No. I was supposed to save her. It was my destiny to save her. Why else would I have power.” He squeezed his eyes shut as he cried. When he opened his eyes he was sitting across from Ando, once again.
“Hiro! You’re back, finally. What happened?” Ando asked his friend.
“I couldn’t save Charlie.” Hiro frowned. “I couldn’t be a hero. It was my destiny to save people, and I failed at saving the one person I cared deeply about.” Ando put his hand over Hiro’s.
“Maybe it was destiny for her to die.” Hiro raised his eyes to Ando.
“I loved her.” Hiro felt helpless. And he knew he was. If he couldn’t save Charlie, who on earth could he save?