Like a brother to me

A/N: Hi everyone, sorry for the long delay, I just recently finished my O levels (it's a damn hard British system) and I was banned from the net for some time by my parents. Okay people, this is the final chappie of "Like a brother to me", but I just wanna remind you of something, I'm a very good person, not evil in nature, Zen is evil in nature, but I'm the angelic one. And….thanks for all the reviewers who read the whole story. (Individual thanks at the bottom). Love ya all!

Disclaimer: No, I do not own RK. What's the point of having Fan It's for us, pathetic fans, who cannot ever own RK, but can display their ideas here!

P.S. I also own a few RK video clips!

Chapter 3

I surveyed myself in front of my full length mirror. One thought stroked my mind. I shouldn't have allowed Sano to buy me this dress.

It was dark blue. To match my eyes he said. Strapless, which hugged my body down to the waist and then flared out till it covered my toes. Diamond-like studs sparkled the dress, and made it look similar to the sky in the dead of the night. Makes you look like a princess, he remarked again.

We started as friends
But something happened inside me
Now I'm reading into everything
But there's no sign you hear the lightning, baby

Tonight was the prom night. A month ago, Sano called me late at night, startling me. It turned out that he was thinking, since we were both dateless, it'd be cool if we go to the prom together. I agreed, and the next day after school, he dragged me to the mall into the nearest gowns shop. He even insisted on paying it. Told me to consider it as an early birthday gift.

You are my very first thought in the morning

And my last at nightfall

You are the love that came without warning

I snapped out of my thoughts by the sound of a car honk. I checked my self one last time. Straight hair turned into bouncing curls, light makeup that matched my dress enveloped my face.

I ran downstairs as fast as my high heels would allow me.

Misao's voice boomed from the bathroom, "Damn, that's Aoshi; we're going to be late…Kaoru did you see my heels?"

"They're here downstairs Misao. Hurry up before Aoshi leaves us"

"Oh no, he wouldn't dare, not with me around" she said as she came down. "Oh, God, girl, you look amazing"

"Really?" I twirled around so could see me fully.

"Yeah you look great…nice hair"

"Thanks, you look great yourself"

She really looked pretty. Her dress was a simple, low-cut, pink one. A pearl necklace graced her neck and she let her hair fall all over her shoulders freely.

"Do you think Aoshi will like me this way?"

"Aoshi loves you whatever state you are in" I said, watching her as she fitted the straps of her heels over her tiny feet.

A loud knock interrupted our little chat. Misao hurried over and opened the door. Aoshi stood there looking as handsome as ever in a black tuxedo.

"Hey, Aoshi" Misao said softly as she looked up at him.

"Hey, gorgeous" he replied as he bent down and gave her a light kiss on her lips.

Late at night when all the world is sleeping

I stay up and think of you

And I wish all the stars, that somewhere

You are, thinking of me too

The party was getting started as we reached there. I scanned the crowd, searching for Sano. He was nowhere to be seen. He's going to be late like always. I stood by the front door waiting for him.

"Kaoru, aren't you coming inside?" Misao asked

"You go ahead" I replied "Sano and I arranged to meet each other here"

"Okay, as you wish, girlfriend"

Music drifted into my ears as I waited. 10 minutes, 15 minutes. My heels started to annoy me from the continuous standing. Ten more minutes, I thought. And they too passed without him arriving. Another five. Finally I couldn't take it any more. He probably ditched me for someone else; he's probably back with Megumi.

As I turned to walk away, I heard my name being called.

"Kaoru!" But it wasn't Sano. The voice belonged to Kenshin. "I have to tell you something"

"What?" I snapped at him "Did Sano send you instead of him to take me to the prom? Thank you, but I've had enough and I want to go home."

"No" his voice trembled as he spoke "Sano's has…"

"What! Has he gone back with Megumi or something? Well, if he did, then he should've at least told me so I could save myself the humiliation and leave!" I shouted.

"No, Kaoru, it's not that…" Ken said. "You know Sano would never do that…"

"So what is it? Where the hell is he? He should've been her forty minutes ago…I don't think there's an excuse for…" I fumed.

"He's in the hospital" Ken interrupted me.

"I…what? What's he doing in the hospital?" I demanded, worry rising in my chest.

"I…ok, Kaoru…Sano made me swear not to tell you, but I don't think it's fair for you…" Ken murmured.

"Tell me already!" I persisted.

Ken was looking everywhere but at me. "He…he's got leukemia" he whispered.

"WHAT!" I cried. "He's got what!"

"Leukemia…you know, blood cancer…" he murmured.

"You can't be serious…" I choked.

"Would I joke about something like that!" he snapped, and I saw the tears welling in his eyes.

Is it enough to love

Is it enough to breathe?

Somebody rip me heart out and leave me here to bleed

I stared at him, speechless. It was impossible. Only last week we were running together. I wanted to scream and yell NO. I wanted to whack him around his head and tell him he's lying. But his face…Ken's face…never looked so serious…and his lips, they seemed to tremble slightly. I wanted to cry, but I couldn't even move. How could it be? He never showed any signs of sickness.

"Kaoru" Ken's voice found its way through the fog that surrounded my mind. He tugged my arm softly. "C'mon, I'll tell you everything on the way to the hospital."

I let him drape his arm around my shoulder and stir me out to the parking lot, because I didn't trust my legs to support me anymore.

He revved the engine and pulled the car out onto the road. A few minutes of silence passed before Ken spoke up. He cleared his throat to attract my attention to him.

"I knew Sano a long way before you did" he started. "We went through everything together. We had everything; a perfect life, a perfect friendship, until..." His voice croaked slightly. "…until that day. Three years ago, Sano went to the hospital to have his annual checkup. We never suspected a thing; it was just a normal check up. But life ain't a fairly tale." The bitterness was obvious in his voice, nevertheless he continued. "It was like a bomb being dropped on us when the doctors told us that they diagnosed leukemia in him. He, then, was entered to a cancer center for a series of painful treatments."

I tried to stifle the sob that threatened to come out. My Sano…my dear Sano…why did he have to suffer? Why, on all the people on earth, did it have to be him?

Ken glanced at me quickly before returning his eyes to the road.

Everybody's looking for that something

One thing that makes all complete

You find it in the strangest places

Places you never knew it could be

"After a year, the doctors told us his progress was remarkable, and that there's no need to continue with the treatment. And that was the biggest mistake. Sano was very relieved to hear that the treatment was over. He was so happy that he had even when his hair started growing back, and it grew upwards, he let it grow that way, he didn't even bother to try to tame it, he was just glad that he was back to being normal."

I couldn't help the giggle that escaped me; Sano's so funny sometimes.

"He truly lived like a normal person for a whole year…we'll, that's what I observed from my point of view, anyway. He met you, he went back into training and running, he even studied, and I've never seen him enjoy life before as much as he did currently, it's like as if he started discovering the value of every little thing in life, he appreciated and loved everyone and everything…in short, he had developed a new point of view towards life.

"Lately, I've seen him showing some signs of weakness and illness…like the time during the race, I'm sure you noticed that as well…and the other day in school, we were in class, I saw the pain in his face, he excused himself to go to the toilet, but I knew what was actually wrong; he was tired, he went to the clinic to rest a bit. I went and confronted him one day, but he just denied it at first, and then he just broke down completely and told me that it's back…the cancer wasn't completely gone. I'm the only one who knew, he made me promise not to tell a soul."

I opened my mouth to protest, to tell him that he could've convinced him to go back to treatment, but Ken answered my unspoken question…as if he was reading my mind or something.

"I tried to convince him to take the required treatments again, but he was just too stubborn. He said he wasn't ready to take the treatment again, to suffer the intolerable pain; he had enough to last him a lifetime. He has been hiding the symptoms quite well, everyone barely noticed…I guess that's why you must be finding this very weird and hard to believe…'

He didn't say anything for a whole moment, leaving Kaoru to sink into her thoughts.

"We're approaching the hospital" he said suddenly. "Now hear me closely…please be calm, don't let the sight you'll see now shake you, don't cry in front of him. Tonight was the last straw for his body, he couldn't take it any more, and just broke down"

"Uh-huh" I managed to choke.

"We're here" he announced, pulling up before the hospital.

Ken stepped out of the car and started walking towards the hospital building, but stopped when he saw that I was still in the car. He turned back to me and opened my door.

"Kaoru" he said cautiously. "C'mon…don't you want to see Sano?"

I felt as if he was talking to a child who had lost her mum…not to a 16 year old teenager.

"I don't know…" I murmured. "I'm afraid…afraid to lose him…afraid to go on with him…"

Suddenly Ken grabbed my shoulders firmly, and turned me around so that I faced him.

"Listen, Kaoru" he said sharply. "Sano's not going to die, you'll not lose him, we won't lose him, he will survive, do you hear me? He'll survive"

As he pulled me into a hug, I prayed, I prayed with all my might that's he's right.

"Now" he said, tugging at my hand. "Let's go and see our dear friend"

You find it in the deepest friendships

The kind you cherish all your life

And when you know how much that means

You've found that special thing

You're flying without wings

Death wasn't for Sano, not for my brother. He had such a passion for life. He was real, and real people don't die. We entered the hospital, and I practically ran to Sano's room, pulling Ken after me, before remembering that I don't even know where it is. I stopped and let Ken lead me to the room.

And there he was.

I stood at the door paralyzed.

He was coming to the prom after all, I thought sadly, trying to stifle a sob.

He was wearing a tuxedo, a white one, and it was obvious that he was trying to tame his hair a bit. He looked very handsome. But the pretty sight was ruined by the machines that surrounded him. Tubes were attached to his slim hands, and an oxygen mask covered his mouth and nose.

"Sano" I whispered. "I'm here."

"Kaoru?" he turned his head slightly to look at me. "Why did you come? Please go, I don't want you to see me like this. Ken, please take her home."

"No, Sano, I won't leave you…not now" I replied firmly.

I turned to look at Ken, and motioned for him to call Aoshi and Misao. He nodded and went out to call them.

He dialed up Aoshi's number. "Aoshi? This is Ken talking, please come to the hospital now….yes…it's Sano…yes it's back…worse than ever…yeah, man…and bring Misao too, I think Kaoru will need her presence…hurry"

I felt him walking back into the room, but I actually paid no attention. I just held Sano's hand tightly in mine.

"Am I going to die?" Sano looked up at me from his hospital bed.

I looked into his brown eyes and saw something I never saw before. Fear. I paused a moment. I knew I had to be strong for Sano because he had always been strong for me.

"Of course not" I laughed, holding back tears. "You're going off to college in the fall…and by the way, mister, I'm booking you for a date to the beach this summer, so don't try to escape me again, 'cause you'll never be able to escape the mighty Kaoru Kamiya."

He smiled faintly.

If I die tonight, I'd go with no regrets

If it's in your arms, I know that I was blessed

And if your eyes are the last thing that I see

Then I know the beauty heaven holds for me

Aoshi and Misao came after a little while. She rushed up to his bed and hugged Sano, trying to do so without causing any severe damage to either him or the machines. She looked strong…or at least she acted like that in front of Sano and the rest of us…but I knew that inside her, she was struggling not to break down.

Everyone excused themselves out of the room after a while, and left me alone with Sano. Doctors and nurses were coming in and out to check on him, while I remained beside him holding his hand all the time.

I stayed with him for 3 hours that night, and those were the final hours of his life. I didn't want to leave his side. I wanted to make sure that he knew I was there for him. I reminded him of his promise for the summer date.

"I love you", were the final words to leave his lips before his grip on my hand loosened.

I stared at him…at his dead, lifeless form. It was too unreal. Sano wasn't supposed to be dead, but he was. Reality has replaced fantasy.

It was then that I felt something between our entwined hands. I untangled my trembling fingers from his still ones. I pried his slender fingers apart and found a necklace…and not any necklace. It was his favorite necklace; the one his guardian, Captain Saggara, gave him before his fatal death. It was really simple; a silver chain with a little silver disk that had Sano's initials carved on it.

I understood what Sano wanted. He wanted to give it to me. I smiled at his tranquil figure and pulled the necklace around my neck. I clasped the little silver disk tightly.

Kissing his forehead for one last time, I whispered a "thank you" and went out of the room.

It was as if his death hadn't dawned on me yet…my brain cells couldn't understand why Sano had closed his eyes forever. I felt as if nothing happened, and I walked to the waiting room where the others sat.

I just stared at them in a weird way, but Misao seemed to have understood what happened, and she broke into sobs. Aoshi held her close to him, and she continued to sob loudly. It was her sobbing that lightened the spark in me. It was then that it dawned to me that Sano was dead. He was dead. He won't ever wake up again.

Tears filled my eyes as I looked in Ken's direction.

"He's dead" I choked.

Before any one could say a word I turned and practically ran out into the main corridor, stumbling a bit and catching myself on the edge of a nurse's station.

I heard footsteps coming up behind me. I turned to see Ken approaching me, and suddenly felt all my sadness turn into anger directed at him.

"You…" I said as soon as he was close to me, and tears fill my eyes again. "You promised me. You said he won't die, you said he's going to be fine, that we won't lose him…Why? Why, then? Why is he dead?"

I said that while I was throwing my fists at him, hitting his chest as hard as I can, without really being conscious of what I was doing. And then I felt him grab my arms and pull me towards him in a hug.

"I'm sorry" he whispered into my hair. "I'm so sorry"

I sobbed then, grabbing fistfuls of his shirt, no longer able to hold back the tears. I buried my face into his chest as we both slid down to the floor, our sobs echoing through the corridors of the hospital.

I try to go on like I never knew you

I'm awake but my world is half asleep

I pray for this heart to be unbroken

For without you all I'm going to be is

Incomplete

Sano has been dead only a few months now, but I don't think of him as gone…not Sano. He's still my big brother, and he still watches over me, making sure I'm okay. Sometimes when I'm out running, I hear Sano's voice in the wind, laughing and telling me to keep going.

He's right behind me.

And I know you're shining down on me from heaven…

A/N: Okay, how was it? I know…sad ending, huh? But I want to clear out some stuff before you people start shooting me with insults (but I surely hope that won't happen)….ouch...what was that? A shoe? ZEN! I'm not giving it back to you…ouch! Hey! That's the other pair of it! Golly good, I got a pair of shoes out of this story! Maybe I should write such stories more often! No, I'm not giving it back.

Anyways, back to the clearance stuff, first of all, I'm a just a beginner in writing stories, so you have to take it easy on me, secondly, you people may find it odd or rather wrong the way I wrote about cancer, but I thought it'll fit this way. He suffered from it before, and then he hid it from them when it came back. Sano is a very strong person. So please don't be harsh on me. And yeah, expect a sequel for this story; I'm thinking of writing one, what do you think? Please tell me and accordingly I'll decide on writing it. Love you all, and now shoot with the reviews, no shoes allowed!

Here is a big "THANK YOU" to all of those who had reviewed my story!

Starry night blue, Grace 07, WhiteRabbit5, Aya45, nargiegirl21, gabyhyatt, tamz, eyhrtsjkytdlk, starrydreamz, Aikida, Broken Lavender, greenalterego, Queen of Kei, Hawk-EVB, Realm of Dreams, aoisenshi.