Summary: She makes him realize, he misses the Hokage. She makes him realize he love Fuuko so much. She also makes him realize that pain is but indeed a part of life. . . Now all Fuuko has to do, is to make him realize that they are incomplete without him. . .

Standard Disclaimer: I do not own any of the following; Flame of Recca and any of its character. Twilight, Eclipse, Stephanie Meyer, Pedigree, Alpo and the other questionable things written below.

Definition of Terms:

Denial – refusal to acknowledge existence of something.

Pallor - pale

Substitution – the act of feeling mutual to somebody that reminded you of someone

Cataplexy – Inability to move because of strong emotion

Therapeutic Approach – Anou, it's hard to explain. But let's put it this way. If someone is crying, you shouldn't talk and wait for them to calm down, because they are not listening to every word you say.

Stage four – Severe stage of cancer

Nasal canula – part of oxygenation

OR, LR/DR – Operating room, Labor Room/Delivery Room

Cyanotic (Cyanosis) – bluish discoloration of skin

Choked and Breathless

By: Sodium Nitrate

The ceremony is a surreal picture on his conscious mind, on which an imaginary fog is surrounding the whole area. He felt like floating to a nightmare with hundreds of chair, a mass of people wearing black and a minister next to the freshly dug soil. The only thing that he can sense correctly is the gray sky that seems to reflect their emotions.

He retreats back when he saw that it is almost over. He's oblivious to the white rose his suppose to throw at her. But then, he remembers that she hates roses, white roses to be exact. . .

Their classmates started to pull back. Some of them passing him by, with a small nod or a gentle tap on his back, but he is not sure what to say, let alone, to show in front of them.

He looks up and his sight directly met her gravestone. She really is gone and he cannot do anything to take her back. . .

Regret, fear, anger, sorrow and guilt, somehow, he tried to describe what he felt. She brought the old memories of crumpled thoughts and emotion when you lost someone that is dear to you. Deep inside him is, hallow. Back to stage of denial again! He hated it. . . All the memories, bitter and good, they swim inside his brain endlessly and tortured him painfully every time he woke up.

As he walks toward her parents, he remembers the first day that they met or rather, talk to each other.

It was their first quiz and he got the highest score and almost got a perfect one. She screams for the whole class to hear, 'Wow Tokiya! You're a smart ass!'

She is the only person alive, as far as he can remember, that is brave enough to utter his first name. And oddly enough, he reminded him of Recca Hanabishi.

She followed him all the way to the cafeteria that day and didn't leave him alone until he answered her question, 'Why didn't you go strait to the medicine department?'

"Unlike you, I'm poor. I need to work at night to pay for my expenses and study hard so I can keep my scholarship."

She arched an eyebrow and walk away from him before he started to convince himself that despite of her name and personality, she is a girl. . . Somehow, he felt guilty because he pre-judges her.

---

He stopped dead in front of her parents, who seem to decide to leave at last.

Her mother is holding her picture taken for their capping and pinning ceremony in which in his opinion, her make-up did her pallor face a justice. He kept a small replica of it inside his wallet, which annoys Fuuko so much.

"Are you Tokiya Mikagami?" her mother is smiling but he can see beneath her dark eye glasses that her eyes are puffy and swollen.

He nodded.

"Alex shows us your pictures and told us stories about you." Her father said. He's also trying to masquerade his sorrow with a smile. "We found her last will and she included you."

Her mother let out a grim laughter then holds his hands to console him and to reassure him that everything will be all right. . .

Silently, she is thanking him for bringing her and staying with her at the hospital. . .

"I'm sorry if it's a little offensive. Alex must be trying to give us all a laugh even if, even if," She tries to stifled sob.

By instinct, Tokiya reached for her hands to say it's ok. She smiled at his affectionate gesture and put a piece of paper in his hands which he accepts reluctantly.

"We expect you to fetch it on Monday." Mr. Mori said.

He open his mouth for protest but her father put a loving arm around his wife and nodded at him before they step out from his presence. He is not wearing a sun glasses so, Tokiya saw accidentally, the feeling of substitution toward him. It taken him aback and makes him bit back whatever retort he have in stores for her parents.

He watches them as they rode their expensive car and then decided to take a closer look at her gravestone.

Only one remains behind and he is the last person Tokiya expected to stay. Hell, he even expected him to not show up, even if Alex thinks highly of him among her relatives. Then Tokiya bitterly remembers that he is also in the hospital when she tokes her last breath. He's present in her funeral everyday but he didn't show any sign that he knows Tokiya.

"Mikagami,"

Tokiya was surprise by the sudden gesture he receives from him, when he finally reached her gravestone that says, Alexandra Mionette Mori, loving daughter and friend.

"Kurei," he throws back and nodded on his direction.

They both stood their, silently starring at her white gravestone. Then after minutes of torture, Kurei broke the silence.

"So, did Alex include you on her last will as well?" He said looking at the piece of paper he was holding.

He just nodded again.

"She left me her teddy bear." He snorted and then laughs. It was different from the creepy laugh he once heard when he tortured Recca.

"She doesn't have any teddy bear." He retorted.

"So, have you heard from Fuuko, lately?" Tokiya doesn't expect the sudden change of the subject but bitterly answers, 'You mean did I hear something from Raiha lately?'

"They broke up." He said and then gives him a little tap on the shoulder, to his great displeasure, and then left without preliminaries.

---

He watches him left, like Alex's parents and then knelt down, next to the white gravestone.

"Here you go, Buddy." He laid down the white rose at last and then remembers the first time he calls him buddy.

She yelled, 'That's right. You heard it right! Tokiya and I are buddies! Tell your little friends' to his passing fan girls. He smirks at her and they ended up hanging out. Everyday she utter nonsense thing, he remembers the Hokage and how he misses them terribly. He was surprise when he found himself confiding it to her but that didn't match the shock, when he oblige to her command, to phone one of them.

Everyday, he admits that he is dependent on her presence, but it was only on their second year that he found out that she has leukemiaand chemotherapy won't work at her case anymore.

She ignores him that day then they ended up shouting at each other at the hospital's nursery, when she tried to sneak out a new born baby, with the idea that the innocent creature will replace her when she dies.

He thinks he suffers from cataplexy after this and just stood in front of her for a long time. To his horror, she grabs his scrub suit and almost rips it. When he asks her what the matter is, she made him realize that like him, she's an arrogant human being that doesn't want to see sympathy in anyone's eyes.

---

He touches her name in the gravestone, particularly the part that say 'loving friend'. He is barely aware of what he was doing that time, it really is, all of it, a vivid nightmare. . .

"Did you hear your cousin?" he knows that it's useless to talk to her now. She went to somewhere, where no one can take her back. "They broke up. What Am I going to do now?"

He is a transparent human being in front of Alex so she doesn't hide anything anymore.

When Fuuko break up with him, he runs toward her dorm and cried. She stayed in sitting position and listen to his insensible whining. When he finally get a grip of his stiff self, he saw that she's still absorb in reading.

"Are you even listening to me?!" he angrily asked her.

"Of course!" she lowered the book until he can see her eyes, with her eyebrows almost in her hair line's level. "Therapeutic approach, man!"

"Don't you give me that therapeutic-approach-scheme! I'm not a psyche patient!" he retorted. "Here am I, telling you my problem while you just sit their, reading, reading--"

"Reading what, Buddy?" Tokiya's eyes almost pop out of there sockets while she's trying to stifle a laugh.

"NCLEX Board Exam, Made Easy by Stephanie Meyer?!" he fight the urge to grab and throw it on her head, reminding himself that she's in stage four already.

"Here am I, talking about my problems, while you sit there, reading," he repeats. "Twilight, wrap up in a fake jacket!"

"Eh, wrong! It's Eclipse!"

She laugh at his burning face while he stood there waiting for her to stop. After seeing that he is serious, she said, 'Well, if you're done, let's begin the therapy, shall we?'

He nearly leaved, but her next words made him stopped, 'I just want to finish these novels before, you know. . . Try it. Bella and Edward are almost like you and Fuuko. The Lion fell in love with the lamp. . .'

---

Reminiscing the past left him with the biggest question of his life, what is he going to do now? Alex is dead. Nobody will listen to him anymore. Nobody will tell him what to do or to assure him his fears are useless. She is her life after the Hokage. She is her life after the Hokage left him all alone, again. . .

When he finally stops fretting, he realize he is not crying and he found it odd. He shamelessly sobs beside her on the hospital while she's dying. Today, not a single tears fall on his eyes.

The rain falls from the gray sky, at last. He doesn't mind though. He's been kneeling beside her for God knows how long, when the rain suddenly stops pouring from his spot. He looks up and he found himself starring straight at Recca and Domon's eyes.

"Up you go, Mikagami. She doesn't want you to get sick. . ." Hanabishi said with a frown on his face.

He stands up and they begun to walk slowly. He accepted the extra umbrella that Domon offer even though he's soaking wet.

"You look good on black."

"Since when did you care about Mikagami's clothes, huh, Domon?"

Yeah, I know. Alex told him so when they where still at the hospital.

He looks back at her gravestone, that is getting smaller every time they toke a step, and he saw at the corner of his eyes, that the other two did the same.

"It's a shame I won't be seeing you on my own funeral." She said then laughs weakly not caring about her nasal canula. And then he told him, with difficulty, that she wants to wear her uniform and hold her Nurse's cap, when she's already inside her coffin

"So, where are we going?" Recca started with an attempt to cheer the mood.

"Can we shot a tequila or two?" Tokiya answered hopefully.

"Then tequila, it is!"

---

They rode a bus back to Nishikiri. Tokiya's been starring at the window all the time until he felt someone sat beside him. It's Recca Hanabishi.

"Remember the time when you brought her here? We thought you replaced Fuuko already." He laughs grimly. "Then we ended up drunk and puking!"

How can he forget?

The two almost punch him to death not believing that Alex is not his girlfriend. He thought he's a candidate for a diagnose that says, cerebral contusion. After that, they went to the Mori's mansion and they almost drunk half of the aged wine on the bar. Kurei come home only to find his half-brother with Alex, puking on the stare way.

"Mikagami, what's that you're holding?" Domon asked from their back.

He almost forgot about it. "Alex's last will. I haven't read it yet."

Recca grab it and read aloud so that Domon can hear too.

"To my mom, dad, blah, blah, blah-"he began. "Hey! Kurei is here!"

"Kurei is rich! Why did she leave him something?" Domon screams. Half of the bus' passengers look up at their place.

"Ah! Here we go! To Tokiya Mikagami," Recca read again not minding Domon or any of the other passengers. "To Tokiya Mikagami, my only friend because I am his only friend, I left my most priced positions--"

"Mikagami, Alex left you all her money! Holy cow, you're rich!" Domon screams again, leaning at the back of their seat so that he can hear them. "Sorry." He utter, when he received a glare from Recca.

"My OR, LR/DR cases, (Mom it's on the blue folder next to my psyc textbook). Whatever that is." Recca read again. "My laptop computer (tell Tokiya that if he doesn't accept this, I'll hunt his sister to the next world and tell her I saw him masturbating outside the school ground with Fuuko's picture on his left hand)--"

Tokiya tried to snatch the paper from Recca, cheeks blushing madly, while Domon laugh shamelessly on his seat.

"That's not even true!" Tokiya protested snatching the paper from Recca.

"Then don't be so defensive, Mikagami!" Recca said, trying to price, Tokiya off the paper. "Ok, Domon, stay with us. Everybody knew you're doing the same when we were still in high school."

Tokiya wonder why the sea monkey doesn't found it funny so he just let him get along with it.

"My dog Butchie (Tokiya, he is allergic to Alpo. Try Pedigree. But he doesn't mind left over) and last, but certainly not the list, I left him, My Stephanie Meyer collections. P.S. please take care of Butchie and please try to find out if the lion ended up with the lamp." Recca finishes then look at the astounded Tokiya. "Man! They are all a pile of junk! I mean, she left you her St. Bernard? That dog eats more than me and Domon!"

As if, Alex heard his deepest fear, she answered his question unknowingly. Tokiya, look up at the bus' window again thinking about the stupid lion and the seductive lamb. . .

---

The bus screeched out with a halt near their old high school, after an hour. Tokiya, until that time, is torn between the great calling of alcohol and the urge to punch someone until they turn cyanotic.

He was about to open his mouth to tell his two companion that he cannot join them anymore, when he found himself, face to face by none other than Fuuko Kirisawa.

Standing on the waiting shed, she looks at him with undeniable surprised and deep sympathy he never seen in her blue orbs before.

"Uh, oh!" Recca said while descending on the bus' steps.

"What are you doing here, Kirisawa?" Tokiya look at her frowning and indignant.

She blushes but gained her composure after a while.

"Anou, Mi, I mean, Mikagami, can you walk with me for a while?" She told him on a shaking voice.

He never answered her, and Recca taken it as if it was a cue.

"Come on Domon."

---

Tokiya found himself sitting on the bench of Nishikiri High. With her on his side, he wasn't so sure what to think let alone to say. It was her idea after all and she should be the one to start a convenient conversation.

"I'm sorry about Alex, Tokiya."

He looks at her with deep loathing, written all over his cold gray eyes. She hated Alex. She doesn't have a right to pretend that he cares about her, somehow. . .

"If that's the only thing you're going to say, I'm leaving."

He turns his back on him and toke a hasty steps, only to cry out from agony because of a sudden pain on his head. He reached out on the spot and felt a warm liquid, streaming on it.

"What the fuck, Kirisawa?!" He turns to find her looking at him with furious tears on her blue orbs.

Fuck!

"Mi-chan!" She screamed at his face then runs toward him so that she punches him painfully on the chest. That was surprising and so was the hug she has bestowed after the shock.

He didn't badge but stay as stiff as he usually did in front of everybody.

"Fuuko, what the?"

"Mi-chan, you asshole . . . how many times do I have to tell you to move on?"

Daja vu! This is the exact same scene he shared with her before realizing that he cannot take Mifuya back by his avenging act. He was scared and so as now. . .

"I know." Without realizing what he was doing, he held her tightly. God! How many times did he wish for this to happen during the time he sneak out on the engineering department just to catch a glimpse of her? Then, Raiha enters the picture. . .

The tears he expected during the funeral trailed his face. But this time, it wasn't for loosing Alex. It was for the pitiful Tokiya Mikagami, loosing Fuuko Kirisaw and no Alex to give him therapeutic approach. . .

She looks at him then wiped his tears. . .

"Mi-chan, I'm sorry. I am really am. . ."

He remains in that position then smiled at her. She returns it back somehow, reluctantly then gives him a bone crashing hug. Her head buried on his chest, a muffled, 'I hate her because she reminded me of me. I didn't hate her because I'm jealous of her. If you love her, then I'm happy for both of you' can be heard.

Fuuko didn't expecting him to laugh. She expecting him to deny and lie. But he didn't and did the first. . .

"Fuuko, she's a lesbian. . ."

She looks at him surprise written on his face.

"Give me six months, alright?" He told her.

"Whatever, Mi-chan."

She hugs him again at the deserted Nishikiri High.

OWARI

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