Chapter 3

Resolve and a Wonderful Kiss

Torikai is quickly rushed to the hospital after Nekoyama told Sarutobi and Inugami about it. Then, Aki, Ushiwaka and Nezu were informed about it and followed them to the hospital, which took about a half-hour to get there. Now, all of them were waiting in the waiting room, eager to hear about Torikai's condition. While Inugami and the others look at Sarutobi sympathetically, the class chairman is the one who took it the hardest. Since she knows Torikai longer than anyone else, she knows very well what causes her to collapse like that. Inugami turns towards Nekoyama and asks,

"What happened to Torikai-san?" she asks.

Nekoyama bites her lip as she clenches her fists on her skirt. "Well…Torikai-san was very upset."

**Flashback**

"Sacchan…" Looking in the direction where Sarutobi ran off, tears started to fall from her eyes. "Why? Why did you run off like that?"

"Can you tell me what happened?" Nekoyama asked.

"Well, I did what you told me, but Sacchan just hesitated, like something's wrong," Torikai explained. "And then she said 'I'm sorry' and then ran off. I don't know why she did that. Was it because of what I said?"

Nekoyama glanced at the halls and then back at the bird-like girl. "I'm sure Sarutobi-san just needs to think about it. Maybe she's just too shocked to return your feelings."

"But the look on her face told me that something's wrong. And I know that it's not just her being speechless about my confession. Her expression looked…sad. Sad and…worried. I know her, Kitty-chan. I know her longer than anyone else here." And then, the bird-like girl realized something. "She's not going to return my feelings."

"Hey, don't say that." Nekoyama tried to reason.

More and more tears fell from Torikai's eyes. "It's clear now. She's sad because I have a weak body condition and I know I might not much time left to live if we become a couple. And I might leave her." She let out a few coughs. "I'm going to leave her because of my stupid illness! I've been in the hospital for as long as I can remember and I can't believe I didn't think about the consequences because of my serious condition."

Nekoyama tried to comfort her the best she could. "I'm sorry this happened, Torikai-san, but you need to calm down."

"I have to apologize to Sacchan!" Torikai started to make a run for it, but stopped shortly to let out violent coughs this time.

"Torikai-san!" Nekoyama ran towards the sickly girl and tried to help her stay on her feet. "You shouldn't waste your energy like that! We should head to the nurse's office!"

"B-but I should tell Sacchan I'm sorry!" she yelled. "I was too selfish to even think about how she feels! I must *cough* catch her before it's *cough* too late!" She let out more violent coughs as she covered her mouth with her long sleeve.

"Torikai-san, please stop!"

The sickly girl dropped to her knees as her vision began to get blurry. She started to crawl towards the front door, but it seemed so far away that it's impossible for her to make it. Her vision started to fade more and more with little movement left.

"Torikai-san!"

Torikai finally dropped face down on the floor while whispering, "Sacchan…I'm sorry…"

And then, her eyes closed and moved no more. Nekoyama gasped in shock as she came to her aid to shake her awake.

"Torikai-san! TORIKAI-SAN!" she shouted as she shook her some more.

**End of Flashback**

"Eventually, she overexerted herself because she was so upset that she collapsed right in front of me," Nekoyama says as she finishes the story.

Inugami and the others, who listened to the whole story, look over towards Sarutobi. She has her head down with her long bangs hiding her expression and clenches her fists on her skirt. She couldn't take any more of this and stands up from her seat.

"Sarutobi-san?" Aki looks up at the class chairman. "Is something the matter?"

"I…I need to go somewhere," Sarutobi replies with her voice shaking.

"Wait!" Inugami says as she goes after the chairman and catches her right when she's about to exit the hospital. "What's going on? We should wait until we hear the nurse about Torikai-san's-" Before she could finish her sentence, she notices tears fall from Sarutobi's eyes like a waterfall.

"Hibari…" she chokes a sob. "She…she collapsed just from overexerting herself. And that's because I ran away from her when she confessed to me." She drops down to her knees. "I bet she felt so upset that I ran away and then collapsed. That's one of her signs of her illness. Her body is so weak that she can't use up her energy too much. And now she's done it again!"

"Wait, she's done this before?"

"Yes. She used up too much of her energy back then and collapsed in front of me. She was then sent back to the hospital for treatment. Every time she collapses from using too much of her energy, it increases her risk of dying from her illness. Now, I don't know if she has long to live anymore! She might die and...and I haven't returned her feelings. I'm so sorry!"

"Sarutobi-san," Inugami whispers as she wraps her arms around the chairman.

"I...I don't know what to do...I..." Sarutobi starts when the dog-like girl cuts her off.

"Sarutobi-san...let it out. It's alright."

"Eh?"

"You must be in a lot of pain right now, so it's alright."

Sarutobi's eyes water even more and finally cries her heart out. Aki and everyone else in the waiitng room could hear the chairman sobbing, even from far away and feel sympathy for the poor girl. Ushiwaka notices small tears fall from her kouhai's eyes, even though she's showing no expression. The cow-like girl wraps her arms around Nezu to comfort her and the quiet girl just sobs softly into her chest. Nekoyama and Aki just wrap arms around each other for comfort as well. Neither of them could say anything other than hearing Sarutobi's sobbing.

As if hours have passed, when Sarutobi finally calmed down and sits in the waiting room with Inugami by her side, the nurse comes to the room. The others embrace for some news about Torikai's condition.

"Torikai-san is okay now," she says. "She just needs a little bit of rest."

"H-how bad is her condition?" Sarutobi manages to ask.

"Well, due to her collapsing of exhaustion for probably the 3rd time, her chances of survival is low," th nurse says sadly and then turns towards the class chairman. "You're Sarutobi-san, right?""

"Yes. Can I see her?"

"Not right now. She's still trying to recover. If she's lucky, she'll still be okay and she will live a bit longer. But still, overexerting herself like that is just making it worse for her health."

Sarutobi hangs her head down. "I know..."

"When it's the right time, then you can see her. You're very close to Torikai-san anyways."

"Mm-hmm..." Is all Sarutobi could mutter. She just wants to talk to her childhood friend and return her feelings. She'll do whatever she can to spend her last moments with the one she most loved.

Inugami just pats her on the back with a reassuring smile. Sarutobi just shakes her hand off with her shoulder and starts to walk away.

"Where are you going?" the dog-like girl asks.

"I need to be alone, Inugami-san," Sarutobi replies, bluntly. "I don't need all of you to worry about me. I can take care of myself."

"B-but, Sarutobi-san..."

"No buts! J-just leave me alone!" With that, the class chairman stomps off and exits the hospital.

However, once she steps foot outside and takes a few steps forward, she comes to a halt and looks back at the entrance. She sees a worried Inugami standing there with her hand on her chest and then walks away after about a minute. Sarutobi then looks up at where Torikai's room is, which is at the 10th floor. She's been there long enough to know where her room is anyways. A new batch of tears fall freely from her eyes. She's unsure if her childhood friend has the energy to come visit the school anymore and have fun with Inugami and the others. Torikai won't be able to even visit her. Her one childhood friend that she had loved so dearly. And now, it feels like her heart and everything else is falling apart. She hangs her head down and wipes her tears, but they won't stop. The thought of her childhood friend suffering is causing more and more pain for her.

"Hibari..." she chokes a sob. "I'm so sorry you're suffering like this."

It was her fear of losing Torikai that got the best of her and made everything worse. If she had just sucked it up and returned her feelings, it wouldn't be a problem. Torikai wouldn't have minded, even if she's been hospitalized, but still, the bird-like girl is a frail girl. Sarutobi knows she has to set things right once she gets the chance to visit and possibly with the others as well. She starts to walk home in tears.


The next day, after school, Inugami and Nekoyama are at the biology club room with Ushiwaka and Nezu. There is nothing but silence the whole time. No laughing or talking, nothing. The news about Torikai had put an impact on everyone she knew. Aki was even worried about the sickly girl. Ushiwaka drinks her tea and tries to break the silence.

"S-so, how is everyone's day?" she tries to ask.

No one answers and Ushiwaka sighs, knowing that everyone else is not into talking right now. However, Inugami is rubbing her chin in thought for about 10 minutes. And then, her hand banging on the table gets everyone's attention (after jumping at the sudden loud sound)

"Let's visit Torikai-san!" the dog-like girl suggests.

"Wait, right now?" Nekoyama asks.

"Of course!" Inugami says. "I bet she's recovered enough for the doctors to allow us to visit her. So, let's go there now~!"

"What if Sarutobi-san is there?" Nekoyama asks.

"Well, if she's in the waiting room, we'll just let her know," Inugami says. She picks up her school bag and starts to head out. "Well, are you all coming?"

The other girls exchange looks and then get up from their seats. They might as well visit Torikai when they still have a chance. Inugami finds Aki just in time when she's out of her kendo club and beckons her to come with. The dark haired girl nods and follows the group all the way towards the hospital.


Right when they arrive, they immediately see Sarutobi in the waiting room, pacing back and forth. They enter the hospital and Inugami's smile greets her.

"Inugami-san?" Sarutobi gasps at the sight of all of her friends coming in. "Everyone? What are you all doing here?"

"We're here to visit Torikai-san, of course!" Inugami says, cheerfully. "We don't want our little monkey being lonely when visiting her best friend."

"I'M NOT A MONKEY!" Sarutobi shouts with anger in her eyes.

The dog-like girl giggles. "Anyways, why are you in the waiting room? Shouldn't you be visiting Torikai-san, too?"

"The nurse hasn't told me yet," Sarutobi explains. "It's been 15 minutes since I got here."

"Oh, then we'll wait with you," Inugami says as she sits on one of the chairs with Nekoyama sitting next to her.

Ushiwaka and Nezu sit next to each other and Aki sits on another chair next to Nekoyama. Sarutobi looks at everyone who just came in, stunned.

"Why did you all come?" she manages to ask.

"Hehe~! Didn't I tell you?" Inugami says. "We just wanted you to know that you're not alone. We're all here to support you and Torikai-san."

"Everyone…" Before Sarutobi could say anything else, they hear the nurse comes towards the girls.

"Hello. Are all here to see Torikai-san?"

Sarutobi glances over at her friends and nods. "Yes. We are here to see her."

"How is she?" Nezu asks.

"She's doing fine. She's still recovering, but is well enough to talk with all of you. I'm sure she'll be happy to see all of you as well."

"Thank you," Sarutobi says and beckons the group to follow her to Torikai's room.

Once they arrive, Sarutobi opens the door. "Hibari, we're here."

Torikai looks towards her right and sits up. "Oh, hey, everyone!"

The girls greet her with a wave and a "Hello." They all gather around her while Sarutobi is seated right next to her childhood friend at her bedside. They all notice an IV attached to her arm with fluid pouring into her veins and an oxygen mask is on a little table in case she needs it since her last incident had left her unable to breathe for a while. What really caught everyone's attention is a heart rate monitor next to her, beeping at a steady pattern. Sarutobi stares at it for about a minute, feeling very scared at the moment. In the meantime, Inugami shakes both of her hands with her own with a smile on her face.

"I'm so glad you're doing okay now," she says. "I was getting really worried!"

"You don't have to worry, Puppy-chan!" Torikai says as she smiles back. "I'm so glad all of you came to visit me."

"No problem," Aki says. "We just wanted to because we were very worried."

Ushiwaka takes the chance to come over and hug the sickly girl. "We hope you will be okay."

"Stay well," Nezu adds.

Torikai nods. "Thank you, everyone, for coming and visiting me."

For the next hour and a half, the girls sat and chatted. Inugami and the others manage to give Torikai get-well cards and some sympathy cards to add. Torikai read them all and they brought tears to her eyes. Never in her life she got get well cards from anyone else other than Sarutobi. After all, the class chairman is her best friend who visits her every single day just to check up on her and talk with her for hours. But Torikai's life might end if her condition gets any worse and Sarutobi may not be able to spend time with her anymore. Her thoughts are soon interrupted by Inugami wrapping an arm around her classmate with a big smile on her face.

"Hey! Come on! Cheer up!" she encourages. "There's not moping at a time like this!"

"I'm not moping!" Sarutobi protests while turning her head away while trying to act like the diligent person she is. "I'm just…thinking, that's all."

"Sure you are~!"

The girls continue to chat up a storm until the nurse came in and told them that visiting times are almost over. Inugami, Nekoyama and Aki are the first ones out, then followed by Ushiwaka and Nezu. Inugami looks back at Sarutobi, wondering if she's going to come. But the monkey-like girl assures her that she'll be coming in a few minutes. Inugami gives her a thumbs up and the three head out.

The door closes and it's just Sarutobi and Torikai left in the room with nothing but silence except for the beeping of the heart rate monitor. However, Sarutobi isn't listening to the sound of beeping as thoughts come into her head. Thoughts such as her childhood friend ever being able to live again until her next birthday. And thoughts of how to return her feelings. It is now or never for the class chairman. Torikai lets out a few coughs and takes her mask to regain her oxygen for a bit before setting it down on her lap when Sarutobi breaks the silence.

"Hibari," she says. "There's something very important I need to tell you." She slowly takes her childhood friend's hands in her own, making the bird-like girl blush heavily.

"Sacchan?"

"First of all, I'm so sorry I ran away so suddenly when you confessed to me," Sarutobi says. "I was…I was afraid that if we were to become a couple, I might lose you without warning. I will be heartbroken probably for the rest of my life while Inugami-san and the others all have their lovers. So, I wanted to tell you…that I love you, too."

Happy tears start appearing in Torikai's eyes. "S-Sacchan…!"

"I had my own fear get the best of me and not think about what the future might lie ahead of us if we were a couple," Sarutobi continues. "But…Inugami was the one who made me pull myself together and realize that none of it matters as long as I help you live longer. If I love you that much, then I have to do whatever I can to take care of you. I can do that every single day at every visit to the hospital. And if they can manage it, the doctors may find a cure for your weak body condition. And then…and then we'll be able to go on real dates, share some kisses together, bathe together and even sleep together. We'll do all of that once your out of this hospital." Tears start to form in her eyes. "I…I love you, Hibari! I love you too much to leave my life when you're my only friend in the world! You're the only one I ever talk to during our childhood! We were always together and I can't lose you when we just confessed our feelings to each other!" She hangs her head down as the tears finally fall freely. "It's not fair, Hibari! Why…why does everyone get off easy while you and I suffer!? I really want us to be together, just like the others! I…I…"

Before she can finish her sentence, she feels some soft, moist lips touch hers. Her golden eyes widen as she realizes that her childhood friend is the one who's kissing her. Hibari, she thinks as she slowly returns the kiss. She really needed that to calm herself down. She wraps one arm around Torikai and gently pulls her closer as the kissing continues. After about a minute, she and Torikai pull away due to lack of oxygen and stare at each other in the eyes.

"Sacchan," she says softly. "It's okay. I'm not going anywhere right now. And you're right. Maybe soon the doctors may finally come up with a cure for me and then, we'll be together as a real couple." She leans in to kiss her on the cheek. "But right now, let's only think about what's happening now instead of what may happen in the future. Just like you said, the future may have a different outcome."

"Hibari…"

"I love you, Sacchan," Torikai says with a smile. "I want to be with you forever."

Sarutobi nods and wipes the last of her tears while giving her new lover a returning smile. "I love you, too, Hibari."

Torikai slowly takes off her childhood friend's glasses and gently sets them on the table, catching the class chairman by surprise.

"Wh-what did you do that for!?" she stutters.

"To be honest," Torikai says, softly. "You look really cute without your glasses. But I wanted to do this once…because I love looking at your cute and beautiful face." She puts both of her hands on her lover's cheeks.

"Oh, Hibari…" Sarutobi is truly at a loss for words from Torikai's compliment. She blushes heavily as the bird-like girl leans in to touch lips once again, but a quick one before pulling away.

"Let's promise that we'll make a good future together," Torikai says as her hands remain on her lover's cheeks. "No matter how good or bad it may be, we'll make it through. Because we're lovers now."

Sarutobi nods. "I promise, Hibari. To our future."

With that, the two lean in and kiss once more, this time more passionately. It's a kiss to fulfill their promise to make a great future together as a couple. And nothing will ever stop them from being separated and will no longer suffer anymore.


A/N: And that's the end of this story~! Hooray! Finally completed a story! Woo-hoo~! (parties and throws streamers) Oh, man! That took a lot to write, so I hope it's worth it! Because I really wanted to complete a story without leaving it all the time. Also, I'm still waiting for the translations of the manga, so I know nothing else about Torikai nor Sarutobi just yet. I hope making up a few things won't hurt. I learned a lot from Ushiwaka and Nezu, now I have to learn about Torikai and Sarutobi…when the time comes. Because I want to know the REAL story of Torikai's illness and how she's hospitalized and everything.

I might do another one with this pairing, but it will also be completely separate from this story and "Can't Live Without You". I love this couple as well as Inugami x Nekoyama and Ushiwaka x Nezu. So, why not give them all the love? Hehe~!

Feel free to give out any suggestions, questions or concerns and don't forget to review…for one last time, that is~!