:) Hello. Here I am again. Alright; perhaps Ruka's death were vaguely implied on my other fics (through Natsume). Here is just one of my NUMEROUS ideas how to crush Natsume's life. Also, this can have a connection to Firefly and/or Hey, dear. I hope you'll enjoy this.

Because when we're brave enough, we give everything to that one person we love, whether he or she gives it back or not.

And all the tears you spent became nothing compared to that one smile he or she gives to you.

Ruka wasn't only brave; he's courageous. If only Natsume can learn how to appreciate more.

To cherish.

Ruka walks limply away from the explosions. Fire and smoke cloud up the skies red. It's raining lightly but the fire never stopped. The ground shakes from another explosion. There were gunshots too. Everywhere.

The ground's rough and rocky; walking along it – barefoot – Ruka can't feel the wounds opening up at his soles. The place was a war field, it's deafening – but he can't hear anymore. There's nothing more to hear but the calm breathing of a princess on his back. He kept his balance, walking slowly, and tries not to let his wobbling knees to give in. The scars on his face don't hurt either.

He's too numb – too weak – to even care about his own injuries. All he knows is that he has to bring Mikan to safety; he knew, all will be fine after that. Drizzling, the rain pities on him, his face covered slightly in ashes began to clean up, but they were never enough; Ruka's face was darkening from the death alice, and it's spreading like wildfire across his whole body. The black stains and the red blood from his face came crashing down to earth. His eyes were red like the night sky, drooping because he's too tired. His breathing were ragged, lungs about to give up.

Mikan's unconscious on his back; he promised everyone to bring her back to the academy. He knew how tough it will be for him, but there was no other option. It was to save her or no one at all. But before they could run, a cold hand touched him.

He winced. His heart suddenly clenched, causing him to fall on his knees; he felt a crack. The rain starts to build up, pouring down hard on him as the wind crashes on his soaking thin frame, encouraging him to move no more. He fights death, of course. He has to get back. He has to go on his way.

He has Natsume's joy here on his back. And nothing can ever stop him from bringing even the smallest smile to his friend.

"Natsume, tell me honestly, do you really love Sakura-san that much?" Ruka asked as he stared into Natsume's ruby eyes. "...yes," Nastume replied, "She means the world to me." And there was this wonderful glint of hope in those eyes.

What about... me? Ruka sighs for a moment, but he shook away the thought; this is the first time Natsume had such a view on someone. Nastume had gone through many things, and isn't it just right for a best friend to not be selfish? Ruka smiled helplessly and said, "Very well."

Walking small steps and then resting for a second, Ruka found himself going along a straight line back to the academy. His heart clenched again, and this time, it's with these lungs, rendering him unable to breathe sufficiently. He falls for the last time, as his blond hair gets drenched into puddles of mud. He can't go any longer. There's little energy left, and it's not enough to get him up anymore. But to his relief, even between his heavy lids, he saw his friends running towards them.

Finally, it's all over.

A crowd, it was what Ruka saw as his last image; just a crowd. Mikan was lifted up from him, and then, there was silence; eerie and deafening. Someone cradles him; he knew who it was. Seconds were slowed down before him. He felt something warm and wet dripping on his face; it was what he last felt, in contrast with his cold skin and all the open wounds on his face. Ruka hears someone cry, barely. Natsume was shouting at him, shaking him with both of his arms, desperate.

Ruka brought a present to Natsume; a gift which Ruka knows can bring eternal happiness to him... but it wasn't free. There was this heavy price.

And then, that was it. Ruka breathes no more.

Natsume sobbed, and the crowd just looked at them, whispering their prayers. He thought; it's alright if she's not here, just as long as you are. It's alright if I'm not entirely happy, just don't leave me here... please. There was nothing Natsume could do anymore, but cry for the loss of his friend. This is his fault. If only Natsume had made it clear to Ruka that he is the most important person in his world, he would've protected himself too; he could still be alive. Natsume never really gave it a thought until now that he's gone; that Ruka only looked forward to granting Natsume's wishes, that is, happiness and freedom. He didn't think of himself anymore, the start of neglect went; and this is what came.

"If you're happy, then that makes me happy." Ruka said as he grinned at Natsume, and then, silently, to himself, "That's the whole purpose of my life; bring you happiness."

Natsume hugs Ruka's dead body tighter, and cried, and cried, and cried. Why does his happiness have to cost Ruka's life? Why did Ruka have to...?

I guess I'm just feeling a bit depressed lately. Thanks for reading!