A.N.: Epilogue! Thanks for sticking with me until the end of this story! I wanted to up this before Easter as a gift, but my hand is nearly immobilized, thus making things quite difficult! ;p
OK, so the ending might not be what you wanted - I can't make EVERYONE happy - but please leave any suggestions you might find fit or better suiting to this story; e-mails are fine if you don't want to review.
THE WAY YOU ARE IS FINE ENOUGH
EPILOGUE – A MATTER OF ACCEPTING (END)
When he woke up, Nokoru found himself surrounded by his two best friends and their respective girlfriends, all with smiles on their faces.
"Kaichou, I hope you've rested enough. It's time to go," said Suoh as he extended a hand to the older boy.
Sitting up, the blonde placed his on top of the offered one and let the other pull him off the bed. Looking at his watch, he noticed it was already a bit after eight o'clock, three hours after he'd left the Elementary School building to go to the hospital. "I'm sorry, have you been waiting for me to wake up since Suoh brought me back?" Nokoru asked softly.
"Yes, but because we wanted to, kaichou, no need to apologize. We could have just gone anytime we wanted to, but we stayed here on our own free will," Akira replied just as gently.
"Thanks," the blonde answered with a small smile. The look they were giving him was unnerving, Nokoru knew something had happened and, as always, he guessed right on target.
"You… know, don't you?" He asked suddenly when they were out of the Hospital.
The others looked at each other, not anticipating the blonde would notice they'd found out so soon. Surely it would take a few days, at least, but Nokoru's observation power was just that great. Tense, Akira gave a nervous laugh and, looking at the girls, commented, "Ah! Utako-san, Azuya-san, didn't you have a meeting early tomorrow? Maybe it's time you go home and get some sleep!"
The older of them, though none expected otherwise, clearly noticed the evading chance the Treasurer was giving them, but also deciding that it really was time the girls got to bed, he decided to play along. "Yes, that's right, it is late for two lovely ladies such as yourselves to be outside. Suoh, Akira, take these two home; I'll be all right. We'll talk tomorrow."
Though he said that with all honesty, the blonde knew what the answer would be, so he was not at all surprised when the exasperated faces of the younger boys were practically on his seconds after his words were spoken.
"No!" Both shouted.
"You can't expect them to stand out here at this hour, or do you plan to let them go home alone?" Nokoru replied.
The two girls stood behind them, watching the confrontation between the three good friends worriedly.
Sighing, Suoh decided to stop hiding things, especially knowing his senpai had already figured out everything anyway. "Look, kaichou, we have to talk, and now. Also, there's no way we'll let you out of our sights anytime soon."
"Take that as never," the 4th-grader corrected.
"Never is a deceiving word, Akira, avoid using it if you don't want to become a sure liar," Nokoru answered.
Hearing the sadness in the older student's voice, the black-haired boy only nodded in response, though he did not take back the words… He meant them, that was what mattered.
With another sigh, the Secretary made a proposal, "Tell you what, we all take the girls home and talk about this right after that. Deal?" He asked, eyebrows arched as if daring them to refuse, though all the expression really showed to Nokoru was the blue-haired ninja's weariness.
Akira nodded. The President neither said nor did anything, he really didn't want to talk about the whole deal, knowing how much Akira and Suoh would try burdening themselves in order to help the situation. No, troubling the two because of him was the last thing the blonde wanted.
Taking Nokoru's silence as surrender, and truthfully that's it really was, Suoh turned to the girls, "Is this all right with you?"
"Sure," they answered together, not really knowing what much else to say. Realizing they had voiced it together, Utako and Nagisa looked at each other and, despite the tense environment, the two broke into fits of laughter, dissolving the heavy air around the five as their boyfriends did the same. The 6th-grader brought up his trusty fan and hid a small smile; the boy was just too tired to give a real laugh.
They walked to the Kindergarten School Student Council President's house, which was closest, laughing all the way, smiling in Nokoru's case, though the Japanese object hid the small movements of his lips. There, the male students were surprised to find out that Nagisa was to stay over for the night due to the following morning's early meeting, or so her friend said, though the two younger boys got the feeling the girls were just trying to help them by not taking anymore time. Before the kindergarteners entered the big house, both stopped at the large doorway and turned around to face them once more.
"Imonoyama-kaichou, please," the blue-haired girl started.
"Take care of yourself," finished the black-haired one.
Their answer was another small smile, but this time the fan didn't cover it.
With a curtsy and an almost whispered "Goodnight", which was replied by the three, Nagisa and Utako were out of sight.
The boys kept waving until the door closed. Suoh and Akira stopped and lowered their arms a bit, though still keeping them suspended, and turned to look at the older boy between them, who hadn't stopped the small movements. After a few seconds of their staring, Nokoru sighed and, bringing out his fan again, whispered, "It's not like I was born this way because I wanted to, you know."
No one said anything after the remark as they walked under the dark sky; the three had their arms beside them as they headed back towards their side of the campus. Trying to break the silence, Akira made a small comment, "Well, they seem to be very good friends, don't you think. Azuya-san didn't bring anything with her, and since she didn't stop by Utako-san's house all day, I think she probably already has some of her things there. They must have a lot of sleepovers if that's true. Good thing too, tomorrow's meeting is at 5:30 am, it would be really bad if they still had to wait."
"Akira," Nokoru called, his eyes never leaving the pavement beneath his feet.
The fan once again covering his face, though it was hiding no smile this time, the blonde continued, "There is no meeting tomorrow, it was canceled this morning. You should pay more attention to the schedules if you want to use them as excuses."
"Oh, well, I… yes, kaichou," the youngest answered, his head down.
Sighing, the ninja gave eight faster steps and, stopping before them, he turned around, hands on his hips and a frustrated expression on his face. "Kaichou, don't you see? You've just read us like the first lines of those eyesight exams charts twice in the last hour, and very easily too, might I add, though we were seriously trying to hide it. What is it that you can't accept in yourself? Why is it that you've tried… that... so many times! What exactly is it in you that you can't fight?"
Turning around to stand before the older boy, a similar expression on his face too, the Treasurer backed up the Secretary. "He's right! Kaichou, you're very smart, a lot! There's nothing that gets by without you noticing! You have the heart of an angel and the looks of one too, according to your fan club, so what is it that you can't accept!" He shouted exasperated, much like Suoh had done.
After a few seconds of silence, Nokoru answered, head down as his body came to a complete stop. "Perception is nothing without a body that won't help you reply within the right time no matter how much you will it to. It's not like I can train it to either. I tried that once… ended up in the Hospital again just because my body couldn't keep breathing for the first ten minutes of warm-up… You know that saying, been there, done that?"
At the succumbing tone in their senpai's voice, Suoh and Akira simultaneously grabbed one of his hands and held it close to their own chests.
"Kaichou, then let us become your body - no, your bodies - You'll have two bodies instead! It'll be like being able to do double the necessary reactions!" The older of the two pleaded.
"Yes, we'll be your bodies! Together we can be invincible! But, kaichou, just don't try to leave us again! Please!" Akira asked, crying at the very thought that their President might try something against himself again.
Nokoru couldn't help but to feel surprised, and his expression clearly showed it.
"We'll help you accept yourself, kaichou, because in the end, once we're together, there isn't really anything we have to accept submissively. Together, we can change whatever's wrong and surpass difficulties that separately we wouldn't be able to, that's what our teamwork is all about, isn't it?"
"Takamura-senpai is right, kaichou. Even though you're not very athletic or anything, you're still special to everyone, especially to us, and I'm sure your doctor and your nurse think the same too. There really is no problem in not being able to run like others can, everyone has their own faults, but you have control over your body and a very intelligent mind… That is very lucky indeed."
"And we'll always be here for you, kaichou, always! So don't try to take your own life away again, please! We know you feel lonely, so we'll do everything we can to avoid it happening again."
Touched, the blonde felt his legs lose strength and fell on his knees, bringing the other two down with him. Smiling a little, his answer was still a worried one, "And what about Ookawa-kaichou, Akira? Or Nagisa-jyou, Suoh? You two have your own lives, and that includes the girls. You can't be around me forever, and I would feel horrible if I made you do that against your wills and theirs. What would happen then?" He asked, gently squeezing their hands in reassurance. "I thank you, really, but there's no need to worry, I understand your feelings and how much you wish to fulfill these promises, so I'll try to hold on as best as I can, all right? Just… don't strain yourselves much because of me; that I would not be able to cope with."
The other two nodded, at least satisfied at the answer, and simultaneously lunged at the older boy to give him a comforting hug, surprising the latter, thought the gesture was greatly appreciated, and eventually returned too, as Nokoru reassuringly hugged them back weakly.
The years went by and gradually the Imonoyama child needed to frequent the Hospital less and less. Although a lot of incidents still kept occurring - and that they would never be able to change as it was one of the things that came with being an Imonoyama - the number of times Nokoru was hurt became almost rare, mostly due to the fact that, indeed, Suoh and Akira remained by his side as much as possible, with, of course, the help and understanding of Utako and Nagisa, who were still the younger boys' girlfriends.
However, just like Nokoru predicted, they couldn't be with him at all times: there were moments when Suoh and Akira needed time alone or with the girls, and Nokoru never denied them that, like he never had. This time, though, he had the reassurance of their presence around him, even when neither were there, so there was a lot more to keep him alive than previously.
Of course, the number of times he was kidnapped was still alarming, though it was a significantly less, mostly because Suoh made sure that whenever he was not around there were bodyguards from both the Imonoyama and the Takamura house surrounding Nokoru at all times, preferably without the blonde ever realizing, though Suoh still had the impression that was impossible. At least the President hadn't showed much signs of discomfort, so there were really no problems so far regarding that aspect.
The blue-haired boy would do everything to keep it as safe as possible, since, above everything else, his job was to protect his one, no matter what…
And though he might not admit it out loud so easily, many knew he loved working for - and with - Nokoru Imonoyama… always.
END of EPILOGUE – A MATTER OF ACCEPTING (END)
A.N.: You didn't like the end? Good, 'cause I didn't either… I just didn't want to come up with anything worse! ;p
Sort'a kidding, the real thing is that I didn't want to make this a completely sappy ending, nor a sad one, so I figured this is good enough, plus it gives me lots of openings for future sequels, which I do plan on writing if my schedule one day permits it… so no promises or anything. I just intend to, doesn't mean I will (which saddens me too)…
Regardless if you liked the story or not, thanks a lot for reading it and for the reviews… I was really surprised these last couple of weeks!
Criticizing, comments, errors, suggestions, improvements? Believe me, I read and consider them all, so please do leave feedback.
KaiLi Syaoran-Lover signing out!