Chapter 12: Life


'What is your answer, Nokoru-san?'

Nokoru couldn't answer it. Instead, he took a few steps back from his brother.

'Will you be happy if you see people crying for you? Will you be happy if you see people blaming themselves for your dead? Will you be happy if one of your beloved ones commit suicide because of you?'

'NO! NO! STOP IT! STOP IT! I don't want to hear it anymore.' Nokoru was terrified. He closed his ears with both of his hands, neglecting what he was going to hear next. He didn't want to see his brother's glare. 'I don't want to hear it anymore.... please. '

'Tell me now. Are you proud to be an Imonoyama?'

Nokoru opened his eyes slowly. He had told everyone before about his answer. However, he never wanted to reveal the truth. He had always refused to admit it. Yes. If truth to be told, he was proud to be an Imonoyama. He couldn't lie to him, could he? 'I am. I'm proud to be an Imonoyama.' He whispered.

'Why?'

'I'm proud to be have you as my brother, and also the others. I love you all...'

Douku stared at him. His smile was gone now. There was a great seriousness on his face. He fled away and was ready to leave Nokoru down there.

Nokoru realized that his brother was about to leave him. He started to run after him and raised his voice. 'Douku-san! No! Don't leave me alone! Please.. Nooo..'

Douku stopped in the air; looked down at him, and smiled. 'I had to go now, Nokoru-san. My time is over now. I have to return to my place..'

'No. don't leave me! Don't leave me alone! Please take me with you!'

'I can't.. You've chosen your way.. You had to go back to your life, Nokoru-san.'

/I've chosen my way? But when? Why I didn't realize it?/ 'No! You lied to me! I haven't answered yet..' He didn't give up. He didn't want to lose Douku for the second time. If he had lost him in his lifetime, this time. at least he didn't lose him in death.

'Nokoru.. Go back to your life... There will be many people lose you if you don't go...' He paused. 'I'll wait here until it was time for you to come.'

'No! I don't want to! It's not fair! I lost you that time! But you didn't return to us! Why I should go back?'

A hard question. Douku was not sure he could give the right answer for it, for he knew very well, it was not the truth Nokoru wanted to hear now, Nokoru only wanted to hear the 'answer' he wanted to hear. Nokoru wanted to stay with him, no matter what kind of answer he would give. 'Nokoru. My dear brother.. I love you.. Now and forever. that's why I can't take you with me. I know you will regret it if you come with me now. Believe me.'

'NO! I won't! I would be happy! At least... At least... I will have you to love me!' He sobbed. He couldn't stand anymore on his feet. He dropped himself on the knees again. 'Nobody loves me there. Nobody loves me.. I'm alone.. Alone..'

If truth were told, Douku would take Nokoru with him. He would take him and didn't let anything could hurt him anymore. But he understood he would make Nokoru a coward that was always afraid to face his own life. Life is suffering. He had been through all of that.. And so would Nokoru. He refused to fail on his brother... and to watch his brother failing... He fled closer to Nokoru, and landed his feet right in front of him. Bearing his own tears, he knelt down and stroked his fingers through the soft golden hair. Somehow, he wanted so much to take him, so that he could hug him every day. But that would be so wrong... 'Don't cry anymore, you know how much I hate to see you cry.'

Nokoru opened his blurry eyes, and leapt into Douku's embrace. 'Please, tell me you won't leave me. Whatever you do, please don't leave me.' He was still sobbing.

'I never leave you.. Even in my death, I never leave you...'

'But why? Why do you have to force me to go back? Why don't you want me to stay with you? Am I a burden to you?'

'No.. You've never been a burden to me.. I- I just want to see you happy...' He paused, searching for perfect word to tell to him. 'And after all these times, I know very well you're happy if you spend times together with your friends..'

'I.. ' Nokoru was speechless.

'Don't lie to me.' Douku smiled. 'I see you are always smiling if you're closed with that blue-hared boy and the black-hared one. You never looked sad. You enjoy being with them.' Douku could sense a bit of grin on Nokoru's lips. 'Tell me, why you are always smiling then, even though you know you're very lonely?'

'Because I-' In doubt he answered.

'Because you're happy with them.. You love them, don't you? After all you've been through, you're always smiling if you're with them. And it is the most beautiful smile I have ever seen.. And I believe it is not a fake smile.. Because it comes from your heart.'

This time Nokoru didn't have anything to say. He just nodded in agreement, waiting for Douku to continue his words.

'Nokoru-san. We've been through the worse, and we know we are so lonely. We've been hurt, and we lost people we love. But we can still smile to others. It is not because we wanted to be strong, or to conceal our true feeling. It is simply because we're happy... happy we can still love someone.. and that's what life for.. To love..' Paused. 'Nokoru-san.' He looked into those sapphire eyes again. The eyes he had always missed all these times.. Too bad, he was going to miss them again, but he was happy, God still gave him chance to see it once again. 'You've found your love, and I know deep inside your heart you love them so much. Many times you will survive for them, you protect them with your life.. Why this time you had to give up? This is not you.. ' He stopped, trying to observe his brother's respond. No matter how old Nokoru was now, how much he had grown up, he was still a little child to him. Pure, honest, and... hurt.

'Don't give up.. We are Imonoyamas. We never give up our life. We might hate our life, but we never give up. We will protect our loved ones with our life. We only die for the ones we love.. You've chosen it.. Don't break your promise..'

Nokoru loosened his embrace. He was facing his dear brother now. 'Douku- san..'

'I know it's hurt.. Meeting you here.. You know I would do anything to bring you with me... to be with me forever. I've been waiting for so long that you can see me again, but somehow I don't want to see you in this condition, because it wouldn't be the real you. Nokoru I know is not a desperate, scared, or insincere child.. Nokoru I know is a happy, full-of- love, and truthful child.' He looked away from him. Slowly the darkness surround them was turning into a bright scene. He took Nokoru's arm to guide him to stand again on his feet. Faraway, came a white door half-opening waiting for Douku to enter. 'I have to go now. You have to go also. Go back... Return to your loved ones. You still have a chance.' He spread his wings again, and started to fly away towards the door. Million of lights coming out from the door, and it made Nokoru felt the entire place he stepped on seemed to be blown away into other dimension. And just before Douku walked into the door, he turned around to have a last look on his brother. He smiled. 'Remember I love you.. And please tell Hajime for me.. She is the love of my life.. I love her and I will wait for her forever.. We may not be able to unite in our lifetime, but we will in our death.'

Nokoru wanted to reach Douku's hand once more as he ran towards him. But he wasn't capable to do it. Douku was getting further and further. 'DOUKU-SAN!'

'See you again, Nokoru-san.. I love you..'

Disappeared. Douku disappeared into flashes of light. His wings broke into million of white silky feathers, and there left Nokoru. Alone.

'Douku-san. I love you too..'


Suoh and Akira ran as quickly as they could. Suoh sensed something terrible happened. He shouldn't return to his residence, he supposed to stay beside him... Stupid Suoh! His whole body was filled with fear... Fear he would lose someone important to him.. Akira felt exactly the same with him. He regretted that he returned to his home to see his two mothers. They ran faster, they didn't know for sure what had happened, but their mind pushed them to run... to be there at once. It seemed to Suoh that the end of the world had started, when they found Owaru was sitting on the floor in front of Nokoru's room hugging his knees. They stopped few steps from him, and it was obvious Owaru didn't pay any attention to his surrounding. He didn't even looked up to see who was approaching him. Suoh moved closer to him, and knelt exactly facing him.

'Owaru-sama... Is everything alright?'

Owaru slowly raised his head. Suoh was startled to see his face, it was not the strong and confident Owaru-sama he had always seen before. He was so tires, distressed, and... weak. It seemed that it had been ages he waited outside there... Waiting for something he didn't want to in fact...

'Takamura... You're here...' He raised his arm as a signal for Suoh to help him got up onto his feet. Akira looked terribly worried of his condition, as he immediately came forward to help the man stand on his feet.

'Are you alright, Owaru-sama?' Akira asked in distress.

'I'm- I'm just fine.. Thank you.' He fixed his appearance, but he was failed to fix his emotion.

'Nokoru-sama... How's-' Suoh asked uncomfortably. But he couldn't help not to ask about it.

'He lost his heartbeat just now..'

Both of the men gasped. Suoh couldn't think clearly by that time. Did it mean Nokoru would go and never come back forever? He was terrified to think what answer would come up. He wanted so much to faint or perhaps... slip into a comma..

'Doctors have been trying to get his life back.. But I believe it is up to him now to survive.'

'What- what can we do now?' Akira asked again in blurred eyes.

'Nothing.' Owaru answered sharply. 'Just wait.'

A silence mist fell among them. The three men were drowned into their own thoughts. As a matter of fact, Suoh wanted so much to burst into the room, and shook Nokoru's body to awake Nokoru up. But that would be ridiculous...

Just then the same doctor they had met before came out from the room. Obviously he was reluctant to bring the news once again to the three men, but he had to. The only thing he hated to be a doctor was to bring bad news to the patient's family. No matter how many times he had been doing it, but it was not getting any easier for him. He knew he had done his best, and the patients or their family understood very well... But having failed in saving those people's life made him felt a useless doctor. And this moment was definitely no exception. Especially when he knew the patient he was handling was an Imonoyama, the richest family on Earth. who could buy a whole mountain to be named after their family name... that if they wished to...

'Imonoyama-sama.' The doctor raised his voice.

Owaru didn't say anything; he was waiting for the doctor to continue. He was busy saying prayer in his heart, praying that he would hear the 'news' he wanted to hear. Suoh and Akira hold their breath.

'Fortunately... we manage to bring back Nokoru-sama's pulse to normal.'

Suoh couldn't bear his excitement, as he cheered spontaneously with Akira. Owaru took a deep sigh. He smiled. He almost felt his tears were going to stream down on his cheek. /Thank you, God./

'Is this mean Nokoru will... I mean Nokoru-sama will be alright?' Suoh asked the doctor impatiently.

He smiled and nodded in agreement. 'His condition has been stabilized, and yes... he has passed the danger.'

'Is he conscious now?' This time was Akira's turn to ask.

The doctor shook his head. 'No. Not yet.. I guess he's still sleeping, we gave him the antidote to relax.. May be in couple of hours, he will awake.'

'Can we stay with him?' The three men asked almost in the same time. When they realized what they had done, they blushed in red.

The doctor widened his smile. 'Yes. You all may go in..'

Without being told for the second time, the three men rushed into the room. The scene in the room had not been changed from before, but somehow the feeling they had when they entered it was totally different. They could feel... hope. Owaru reached Nokoru's bed, and bowed down to kiss the golden-hared man's forehead. He whispered. 'Thank you for coming back.' And he seated himself right on the place he had sat before, holding Nokoru's hand.

Akira and Suoh smiled observing the two brothers. They waited on the other side of the room, waiting for the true friend back to his conscious.


It was seven o'clock in the morning, when Nokoru started to open his blue eyes. He couldn't open it quickly since his eyes were still sensitive of lights. How long had he closed his eyes anyway? He looked around the room, trying to figure where he was. He could sight Akira was sleeping on a couch, and... ah... his Suoh was standing against the wall asleep. He smiled. Knowing Suoh, he would do anything to be close with him and that including sleeping while standing. To his surprised, he looked who was holding his hand besides him. /Owaru- san!/

He was sleeping, but he didn't let go his hand. Nokoru smiled... He felt his tears falling down on his cheek, but he didn't why or what for.. All these times, he believed Owaru didn't love him, or pay any attention for him.. He believed Owaru hated him, even though he didn't for what reason...
Or might be... might be for killing Douku and put him into a greater responsibility that made him lost his dream.. Yes.. Might be because of that..

'I'm sorry...' He whispered. Nokoru knew Douku couldn't hear him. He was too weak to raise his arm and touch Douku's peaceful face. But he tried to move his hand. The quiver of his hand could be felt by Douku and brought him back from his sleep.

Douku opened his eyes in startled and looked at his brother. He was so excited that he immediately screamed his name. 'Nokoru-san! You're back!'
His shout awakened the two other men in the room, as they jumped off from their places. In a second, they had surrounded the bed joyfully.

'Nokoru-sama!' The two men called together at the same time.

Nokoru smiled as an answer... An angelic smile of his.. A smile that made them all burst out in tears. After waiting for so long, finally they could sense a relieve...

'We are glad to have you back.' Akira wept his tears. 'Very glad.'

'I'm sorry.. I- I made you worry..' Nokoru tried to speak... The men were all smiling.

'I. I guess I'll tell the doctor about you, and try to get something for Owaru-sama and Takamura-senpai to eat..' Akira said gleefully, and rushed to the door. 'I'll be back soon..'

There was a silence after Akira left. None of them knew what to say. They were very happy.. So happy that they hardly could express it in words..

'I guess I have to go now.. I believe you're fine now.. I will have Takamura to guard you.' Owaru was standing from his chair, and was ready to leave the two men.

'Wait.'

Owaru stopped. He turned around to look at Nokoru who called him. Nokoru tried to sit proper on his bed, but he couldn't. He was too weak to get up by his own. Suoh came to help.

'Owaru-san.' After he could sit up straight. 'I'm very sorry.'

'Sorry? For what?' Owaru didn't understand.

'I'm sorry for giving you unpleasant word. For screaming at you.. I know I was wrong..'

'Silly!' Owaru smiled. 'It was not your fault. I was too hard on you.. I'm sorry I hit you the day before..'

Nokoru shook his head.

'I have to go now.. I'll leave you to Takamura..' Before he could finish, Nokoru cut his words.

'I met Douku-san...'

Owaru gasped. He disbelieved his hearing, or wasn't sure of it. Slowly, he returned to his chair holding his gaze to his brother's eyes. 'What did you say?'

'I met Douku-san..' Nokoru closed his eyes. 'I met him.. And I asked him to take me with him.'

Suoh was frowned. Did it mean he wanted to die actually?

'But he refused. And I'm glad I didn't stay with him..' He looked at Owaru's worried eyes, and smiled. 'After all these times, I thought you don't love me at all.. You hate me for Douku's death, like everybody else.. Like Hajime does..'

Owaru could feel a hurt feeling in Nokoru's voice, but he didn't say anything.

'I wanted to die.. I'm afraid to face you again. I've disappointed you all.'

Douku watched the tears falling from Nokoru's blue eyes... 'Silly...' He shook his head. 'I've never blamed you for Douku-san's death. And you never made me disappointed.. I'm proud of you.. I'm proud to have as my brother...' Owaru stopped. 'And I thought you're the one who hated me as your brother.. for not paying any attention to you..'

Nokoru looked disbelievingly to his brother. 'No. I never think like that.. I- I..' He sighed. Looking downward on the white bed sheet covering his feet, he tried to explain something he had hidden for a long time now. 'Owaru-san... Do you know why I build the CLAMP School? I had my Electronic Department, and among our siblings, I'm the only one who has two companies to run on the same time. And that make me don't have enough time to finish my paperwork.' He smiled, and turned his eyes to Suoh, who returned it clumsily.

'I- I have no idea.' Owaru answered.

'It was my wish to fulfill your unfulfilled dream... to give the best education to our nation's children..'

Owaru was frowned. He never realized it before.

'Look at its shape.. What is it?' Nokoru asked.

'A star..' Somehow he realized something.

Nokoru nodded. 'A star.. To remind me that we are sleeping under the same star as you said to me.. That I'm not really alone.. Somehow, I hope someday in future we can be together again.. I still believe in that..'

The memories inside Owaru's mind suddenly returned in flashes..

/'You know what.. You can see me every night.'/

/'Really? How?'/

/'Look at the stars..'/

/'Stars?'/

/'Yes. if you look at them, you'll be near to me.'/

/'How?'/

/'Because we are sleeping under the same star.. Just remember that. then you won't feel alone anymore.'/

Just then he couldn't fight his tears from streaming down. He was sobbing... He was blind... After all these times. he was completely blind.. Work, work, work.. He killed the star in his heart.. and he nearly 'killed' himself..

Suoh dropped his tear, and quickly wept it away.

It had been a while Owaru cried, till he managed to dry his tears away too. 'I'm sorry.. I'm terribly sorry..'

Nokoru smiled. He shook his head firmly. 'You don't have to. I always wanted to tell you this, but I didn't have the chance. I love you.' He raised his hand to touch him, and Owaru grabbed it into his hold.

'I love you too..' He whispered.

A silence fell. But it didn't stay long, as Akira came into the room with the doctor followed him.

'Owaru-sama, the doctor is here.' He rushed in, but clumsily gasped when he saw what was going on. 'I- I'm sorry. I didn't-'

Owaru looked at him and smiled. Akira was surprised. He had seen Owaru-sama smiled at him before, but it wasn't like this time. His smile was so... warm. 'It's alright. I have to leave anyway..' Carefully he returned Nokoru's hand on the bed, allowing the doctor to come near to examine him. 'I'll be back soon.' He whispered gently to Nokoru who smiled back to him. 'I guess you two have to stay around and take care of him for me.' Owaru looked at both men.

'Certainly, Owaru-sama. We will look after Nokoru-sama..' Suoh bowed his body.

'I believe you.' He was heading towards the door, and opened it. 'Thank you.' He smiled, and fled away from the scene.


What a relieved... Owaru could feel a great relieved in his chest now after he found out the truth. He pressed the numbers on his hand phone to call for his driver to pick him up from the hospital. For once in his lifetime, he finally found a new hope... hope that could help him to step into a better future, hope that would bring him happiness... Many plans in his mind now.. He was eager to do it all. First thing for sure... he would resign from his position now, and dedicated himself for the CLAMP School.. He would be a teacher as he always wished. And moreover, he was able to spend more time with Nokoru. He was smiling as he was thinking of it... Life seemed to be more beautiful than it was... He was outside of the hospital now, and was amazed of how bright the day was. He hardly opened his eyes because of the light... Now he had to wait for the driver to come and pick him up. Just when he was ready to step down the stairs... Something fast coming towards him.. and stabbed him in pain...

He lost his balance instantly... He tried to reach for something.. But he could only reach for the empty air. He fell down... An arrow had hit him. It was so sudden, yet so painful. He could feel his blood streaming out... The star in his pocket flying out and landed on the ground. He tried to reach for it...

/'Hello? Nokoru-san?'/

/'Yes, speaking. Who is this?/

/It's me. Owaru-san.'/

/Owaru-san! I miss you a lot!'/

/'Silly! I've just gone for two days. and you've already missed me?/

/'Yes. of course..'/

/'How are you?/

/'I'm. fine. It was just so lonely here../

/'I'm sorry I had to leave you.. /

/'No. you have to.. You have to chase after your dream.'/

/'You know what.. You can see me every night.'/

/'Really? How?'/

/'Look at the stars..'/

/'Stars?'/

/'Yes. if you look at them, you'll be near to me.'/

/'How?'/

/'Because we are sleeping under the same star.. Just remember that. then you won't feel alone anymore.'/

He could not reach for it anymore... He lost his breath...

Life is suffering. Yet... Life is full of surprises.

'

The End.


Author's Note:

How is it? ^_^! Do you like it? Comments are mostly welcomed... See ya on my next fanfiction...If you notice my chapters titles, you'll see that those title are the reasons why we cry most of the time (sort of... _). Thanks for reading!