Rating: K+
Genre: Friendship
Pairing: Ruka/Natsume

Warning: This story contains vague traits of shounen-ai.

Nogi Ruka watched in silence as his best friend slept on the hospital bed before him. His face was dishevelled as he groaned and grunted in his sleep. Hyuuga Natsume's skin was almost as pale as the sheets he lay on.

Ruka shut his eyes. He couldn't even look at Natsume, let alone think of a way to stop what the academy was doing to him. To the blonde half-french Alice and undoubtedly everyone else: it was irrational for a ten-year-old to put his life on the line for some mission.

If he could, he would've told everybody - every single Alice in every single class of every single division. But doing so would put Natsume in danger, together with the teachers and students.

It's not fair! Why did they have to choose Natsume? His Alice is of the Limitless shape, for heaven's sake. Can't they see that by using him as another one of their so-called 'disposable' pawns, he'd die? But of course, even if they knew - which I'm quite sure they do, they wouldn't care. The academy's top executives only ever care about themselves. They think pills and treatment's gonna solve it all. He's slowly dying, and for his friends!

"Why're you such an idiot, Natsume? You'd die for your friends? For us? For me?" he demanded, tears running down his cheeks. The fire Alice didn't know it, but Ruka would weep like this - every time he returned sick from an errand for the academy.

The little pink rabbit in his hands gazed up at its master.

"Why did it have to be him? Why Natsume? Why not me?"

He wanted to just take Natsume's place.

He wanted to be the one who would suffer, instead of Natsume.

He secretly wished he could turn the tables.

I would really appreciate reviews on my first Alice Academy fanfiction! Arigatou, minna! :3