A game like chess</strong>
Eyes blinked open, then blinked again to bring the room into focus.
"You're awake." Amusement colors the voice speaking. "Should I be honored that it happened during my visit?"
Eyes flick to the side, followed slowly by a head. The figure sitting in the chair focuses. Legs crossed, a thumb marking a spot in a book and a Styrofoam cup on the table.
Words form and are blocked by the tube in the throat. The visitor tuts. "I wouldn't do that. You're in no condition to do much of anything." A pause in which their mouth twists between a smile and a frown. "No thanks to me I guess."
A grunt around the tube and a movement of the hands that would have been a rude gesture had more energy been allowed it. A chuckle from the visitor. The patient settles for glaring through hooded eyes.
The visitor plucks a scrap of paper from the table and marks the spot in the book before closing it. The paper isn't even a quarter passed the beginning.
"I've got things to do, places to be." The book is tucked under an arm and the cup picked up. "Don't wait up."
Eyes roll at the idiocy of the statement and the door closes softly behind the visitor.
"You really should drink something, you know. That tube can't have done any good on your throat."
The patient's voice is gruff and scratchy with disuse when the answer comes. "You're an idiot."
The visitor shrugs. "And you're stuck in bed with barely enough energy to sit up. I don't think I have to worry."
"Could be trap."
"M-hmm. 'course it could." A gentle pat on the arm; patronizing. "But we both know it's not."
"How about a game of chess today?" The visitor holds up the box. "Doctor said it should help you regain strength in your hands and arms."
"You're an idiot."
The game is set down and nimble fingers begin setting it up. "Yes, yes, I know. That's why I'm here visiting you."
The visitor grins and studies the board. "You be white. I hate going first."
"Yeah, right." A hand moves up in jerky motions and fingers take several tries before wrapping around a pawn.
"The doctor said you'd be free to go soon."
"I know." Fingers that just barely shake move the rook.
The visitor moves a knight. "Do you want me to visit you at home?"
A hand pauses over the white queen. "You're kidding right? I'm not letting you anywhere near my home!"
A shrug. "It was worth a shot. Would save me a lot of time in the future."
A snort. "Check. I'm not going to suddenly change, idiot."
"Yup." The black king is moved out of harms way. "People are starting to wonder you know."
"You've been gone a long time." White loses another piece. "I'm getting bored without you around."
"It'll be back to normal in no time."
"Wouldn't have it any other way." A flick of the hand and the white king falls down. "Check-mate."
The hospital room is empty the next time the visitor stops by.
The next day the newspaper headlines speak of the return of a hero and villain who had both been absent for several weeks. Colorless pictures show a black and a white form locked in combat.
Back in the hospital, a chess set sits in a closet to await the next time the visitor and patient come in.