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|�How are you feeling?� Kou�s Dad, Lou, placed down what appeared to be a strange pen onto the mahogany table. The blinds on the windows were drawn shut, allowing very little sunlight to enter the room, causing it to appear dark and foreboding.
�It stings a bit, but at least it�s working.� Kou smiled weakly at his father. Numbly, he grabbed a towel and began wiping the sweat off of his body, then grabbed his shirt. As he put his shirt back on, the fabric stretched as he pulled it over his torso. He then grabbed an ordinary, yet very large black button down shirt and donned it, ignoring the tight feeling of fabric on his body. For a moment he considered buttoning up, but then decided against it.
�Sorry.� Lou sighed as he began gather various small plates containing dark colored liquid and began cleaning up. He disposed the liquids into a clear bottle with a stopper, then carefully wiped the plates cleaned. When he was done, he placed everything into a small wooden box, closed the lid, and locked it. �I�m still trying to find a way to make this permanent, but for now this is the best I can do.�
�It�s okay Dad, really.� Kou smiled a little more strongly. He reached down and grabbed a backpack from a corner of the room. �It makes me feel better to know I can feel at least some pain.�
Kou held up a hand. �It�s only once every month or two, so it�s no big deal. It�s like what you said about people taking medicine.�
Lou sighed. �But if anything happens while��
�I�ll be fine.� Kou placed both of his hands on his father�s shoulders to reassure him. �You�ve taught me everything you could, but I just want to live at least some time as a normal person.�
Lou shook his head, then looked up into his son�s eyes. His blue eyes met his son�s dark, deep eyes, and despite all his effort, he could not ignore the determination in the depths of those innocent dark pupils. �Are you scared?�
Kou nodded a bit shyly. �A little, I guess.�
�Promise me you�ll be careful.� Lou pulled out his wallet and pulled out some money for lunch, handing it out towards Kou.
�Sure Dad, I will.� Kou accepted the money, then all of a sudden he pulled his father into a big hug, lifting him off the floor by a good two feet. Lou, knowing better, relaxed his body and waited until his son let go. With a cheerful wave, he watched as his son opened the front door and left for his first day of school.
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