Things were back to normal - chaotic, but controlled. Tenma's compassionate manner was highly prized and lauded by those around him, and he prided himself on giving the best medical and efficient treatments to those at his MSF assignment. It felt good to immerse himself back in his work.
"Dr. Tenma," a co-worker excitedly said.
"Yes, Franz?" he replied smilingly.
"We have some newly inaugurated doctors who have volunteered for us, and they'd love to meet you." Franz waved them into the room.
Tenma politely greeted each one with enthusiasm.
He froze, then blinked, only confirming his shock. "Johan..."
Johan smiled serenely. "Dr. Tenma. It is an honour to see you again so soon."
"You're... a doctor?"
"You've inspired me for many years, Dr. Tenma," Johan said smoothly. "I have been studying for quite some time."
He forced his face into a pleasant neutrality, although the terror in his eyes didn't change, and he excused himself.
If others had noticed a difference in his demeanour throughout the day, they were too polite to say.
Sighing, he walked into his bedroom. He'd managed to avoid Johan.
Now alone, he gripped the edge of the table, allowing his panic to flow full force.
What the hell did Johan want by coming here? The only reason had to be because of him, but was he only there to destroy his peace? Or would other innocents go along with him? There was no way this feeling would diminish, and the more Tenma thought about it, the more he was convinced that Johan's plan would be to kill others, then force a suicide.
He wasn't smart enough to see through Johan's practiced social veneer.
He wasn't strong enough to continue to fight the feelings inside him that already threatened to overwhelm him.
"Very well, Johan," he muttered as he grabbed a full bottle of sleeping pills, and downed them with half a bottle of whiskey that Tenma usually wouldn't touch.
Lying down, knowing the inevitable was occurring, he felt moments of peace. Perhaps the innocents would be protected now. These moments of peace never felt so cherished.
Slowly, his thoughts became more and more cloudy, and his thinking slowed, and he was overtaken by blackness.
"Dr. Tenma," Johan said, concerned.
Tenma blinked, realising he was in a hospital ward. Shame, disgust and fear came flowing through him as he realised his suicide attempt had failed.
He sighed, letting the full extent of his exhaustion show.
"I was the one that found you, and we pumped your stomach," Johan said.
Tenma silently absorbed this, dejected that Johan could predict him with such accuracy. His rate of recovery showed that barely any of the drugs had been absorbed into his system.
"I guess this means we're even, then, since you saved my life," Tenma almost whispered.
"You saved my life twice, so technically we're not even," Johan replied. He then glanced to the ground. "But to be honest, I wasn't thinking along those lines."
It was then that Tenma felt the first glimmer of hope.