Disclaimer: I don't own Ouran or its characters, and am making no profit from this fic.
Noro: ...so between exams, webfail and theatre... yeah, it's been ages since my last update. It wasn't my initial plan to leave this until August, but it's late July as I'm writing this, and I figure it would be nice to post it on the anniversary of the first post of the fic.
It's an epilogue, so it's short. I'll take the opportunity now to say thank you for sticking with me for the past year, and for all the wonderful reviews. It'd be great to hear from you once more - and if I don't get another fic out, everyone take care :)
The weeks fell by once they were suddenly occupied. They – because Hikaru was always with him – attended therapy twice a week. They picked small goals, knowing they wouldn't achieve them all at first. But as they reached each goal – first getting out of the house, even if it was only as far as the terrace – things began to look more and more positive.
It was no longer just Hikaru reassuring, "You can do this." It was Kaoru whispering back, "I think I can."
It was their world again, and it was a safe place to retreat to. Outside of their world things were moving at a pace standard for legal proceedings. It was two months before the trial date itself was set, and Kyouya carefully approached Kaoru about testifying.
It wasn't necessary. Kyouya's lawyers were confident that in the face of the overwhelming evidence against them, their opponents wouldn't be able to put together a decent defense short of pleading insanity.
But Hikaru understood what Kyouya was doing – so he said nothing when Kaoru glanced back at him, uncertain, simply squeezed his brother's hand, "I'll be here, no matter what. You know that."
He agreed, though he was understandably reluctant to give evidence in person – being in the same room as his attacker was a step he couldn't take yet. The press, Kyouya had added, would be swarming all over the case – although Kaoru was protected against being directly identified there was nothing that would stop them from dropping blatant hints.
Essentially the method was already decided. All Kyouya had been waiting for was Kaoru's say so.
His nightmares had never really gone away, and if anything in the run-up to the trial date they got worse. Hikaru was half-tempted to get Kyouya to call it all off – Kaoru had been getting better, he didn't need to make himself sick over this - but he tried to reassure himself that once his attacker had been put away, Kaoru would find it easier to move on, to put everything behind him.
He was still writing him letters. Even in his cell, even then, even though they were being confiscated rather than posted. Kyouya's police had them all.
Kaoru knew. He'd asked.
The hardest part was that Hikaru wasn't allowed to be present for the proceedings. Various court officials invaded their home to set up the video link for the trial, and he was left outside the room they had chosen, waiting for it to finish, running through the questions the lawyer had cleared with Kaoru a couple of days before. They weren't the problem. The defense's questions were a little shakier, and despite their attempts to prepare for them Hikaru knew, KNEW that they would sting.
The door burst open once they were finished – the jury having gone out on the other side of town. That was it, he reassured Kaoru against his shoulder, there was nothing more he needed to do. They just had to wait. He didn't ask about the questions, if Kaoru was all right, because he clearly wasn't. He just provided himself to lean against; his arms to hold Kaoru even after he'd stopped shaking.
It didn't take long at all for a message to come through from Kyouya – the jury had found him guilty and awarded the maximum prison sentence.
Kaoru pulled away and ran upstairs, locking the bedroom door behind him. Hikaru kept knocking until it was clear Kaoru wasn't going to open the door – he sat down outside and waited again.
There was a sealed envelope sitting on the table when he entered. Kaoru was curled up on his bed, one of his cushions clutched tight against his chest.
"That… needs to go to Kyouya." He said quietly as Hikaru sat down on the edge of the bed. "He knows where to take it."
Hikaru nodded, gently tugging the cushion from Kaoru's grip and folding him in an embrace.
"We're going to be okay." He murmured, rubbing Kaoru's back in gentle circles. Kaoru nodded, pressing his face into his shoulder.
They slept late into the following morning – it was the first night in a while that Kaoru had had an uninterrupted night's sleep and Hikaru was loathe to wake him and sooner. In the end it wasn't Hikaru who woke him, but Yuzuha who peered around their door almost tentatively.
She knew before they did. But it was Kyouya who came to break the news to them in person.
He held onto Kaoru – though he didn't seem fazed – as Kyouya explained. The attacker had written one final letter, then ripped apart his bed sheets to hang himself with.
Kaoru hadn't wanted to see the letter. The trial was done with. His attacked was gone. All he had left to do was heal.
As Kyouya left, Hikaru saw Kaoru's glance stray to the table where he'd left the letter. When the door had closed behind their visitor, Hikaru took a gentle hold of Kaoru's shoulders and turned him towards him.
"The letter." He began quietly, looking into Kaoru's eyes, "…what did you write in the letter?"
Kaoru sighed shakily, running a hand through his hair and slumping onto the bed, head bowed. Quietly, he replied,
"…I told him that I never loved him."