Pain, it was so completely sudden to the point of being crippling.

Ness, a rather small, black haired boy who wore a red and blue cap, was currently in the middle of a fight, or better yet a 'Brawl' at a strange, slightly castle themed arena. The huge gray castle itself, looking upward, was at least five hundred feet high, if not a great much more, and spanned well over a thousand yards from one side to the other. To anyone else, this castle would have seemed splendid, marvelous and magical. To the people who visited this place on a daily basis, it was slightly less spectacular. The sun was starting to set, casting a beautiful orange yellow glow on the comparatively smaller bridge-like structure that Ness and his opponent, a green-hatted swordsman, were fighting on.

First thing is first though, for the people who don't know anything of what's being talked about up to this point, which should be very few since the universe and place being described are both very well known. The place mentioned here would of course be the Hyrule Castle, the most famous castle from one of the most famous and well known universes out there, one simply know as "The Legend of Zelda" to normal folk. Though, for little Ness, there was hardly anything else that he knew about this universe, the people there, or the events that took place. He and Link had never socialized in a way that allowed them knowledge of each other's home universes.

Then comes the matter of "universes". There are hundreds of thousands of universes that span in every direction and are completely separate from one another by gaps in time or the fact that they exist on a completely different plane, like Pit's home world. In the very center of these thousands of universes exists a place that could simply be known as "Smash Mansion", in which only the greatest warriors from the surrounding universes could visit and fight each other for fun, pride and even spectacular trophies. Little Ness and Link, as we mentioned earlier, were both a few of these great warriors that had been invited to live here.

Getting back to the battle on hand, now.

Link swung his sword at Ness swiftly, the short black haired boy only narrowly dodging getting a nice blow on his side. Typically such attacks would be deadly if they did manage to land, but the magic within this universe was strong and capable of keeping them from real physical harm. It was the only way to keep the greatest warriors in all the universes from really killing each other with their power.

Ness jumped a good distance away from Link and concentrated his powerful psychic energy for a moment before shouting, "PK Thunder!" A blue-colored stream of electricity flowed out from his body and shaped into a ball, which he attempted to aim at himself in order to perform a powerful attack that would leave Link reeling.

He wasn't quite quick enough.

Link rushed forward and was upon Ness within a half a moment, raising his sword above his head and sending it down on the youth. He hadn't for a moment expected Link to reach him so fast.

Ness stumbled backwards in pain, now having the worst headache in the world after that nasty head shot, but things were only about to get worse. Just as Ness stumbled backwards, a strange searing pain shot throughout his abdomen area, a bit off to the right, above the groin but below his belly button. It felt like Link had shot him with a flaming arrow, but even worse as there was no way for him to stop it. So sudden as the pain was, Ness fell onto one knee and clutched at the pained area, setting off warning bells to Link immediately. Though it was their 'job' to fight, when things didn't go entirely according to plan and someone was really hurt, it didn't matter who it was: Link was a good sport and wouldn't continue on with dirty fighting.

Link dropped his weapon, the Master Sword, immediately and rushed to Ness's side, attempting to help the boy up with an outstretched hand. Ness took the hand a bit shakily and got to his feet, nearly doubling over in pain. Link made some sort of hand gesture that looked a bit like the peace sign as Ness often did back at home, and within a moment or so, the castle-like landscape vanished and left a rather bare, but large white room. Link stared at the boy with a worried expression and muttered out a, "Are you going to be alright, Ness?"

Ness hadn't a single clue. "I don't know… It hurts really badly…" That was all Link needed to hear before he scooped the small boy up into his arms and carried him off to the part of the castle where Dr. Mario resided as the only doctor capable of taking care of injured warriors. It was a lucky thing that Dr. Mario's hospital room was close to the simulation room; Link didn't really want to draw attention to Ness by carrying him through a group of other warriors.

Passing by the seemingly endless white doors on each side in the fairly dark hallway, Link finally came across the hospital room, where he set Ness down in one of the clean, white, beds and went to find Doctor Mario. The bed felt soft and warm, and the pure white sheets that covered it seemed to be flannel, good for keeping a person warm on a cold winter night. As he lay on the comfortable warm blankets while waiting for Dr. Mario, the pain only seemed to be getting worse by the moment, and before Ness even realized it, he was starting to feel oddly sleepy and exhausted, like he'd just run a marathon...
This was one of the worst signs possible, but he didn't know that.

It only took a few minutes for his fatigue to set in, and he was out like a light.

Ness opened his eyes a bit slowly, blinking twice as he looked around the quiet, dark, and rather plain cream colored room. He attempted to move his arms to rub the sleep out of his eyes, but was stopped by… an IV? He paused… and became aware of a steady beeping sound coming from somewhere off to his right side. It sounded like a heart monitor! He panicked for a moment now, completely unsure of what was going on. When he had fallen asleep he had felt pain in his abdomen…

Oh! The pain was gone now!

Still, that didn't at all explain why he was hooked up to heart monitoring technology… Had something happened while he slept?

Then, off to his left he heard a soft murmuring, kind of like someone talking in their sleep... it sounded just like Lucas! He still couldn't see very well in the dark room, but looking off to the left he was sure he could make out the blonde's poofy, soft blonde hair and the gentle features of his face, resting against a pillow he had obviously brought in himself, as it had sunflowers all over it. When Ness attempted to speak, he was slightly surprised to find that his voice was weak and hoarse, only managing to let out a somewhat raspy, "Luc'… Luc' wake up…"

The blonde boy stirred upon hearing his voice, until finally his eyes flickered open and he let out a quiet, "N-Ness…?", thinking he had perhaps just heard his voice in a dream. That'd happened to him a few times recently. Ness smiled weakly and shifted to the best of his ability, his body feeling oddly achy, "Hey Luc'… Wha' time issit?" Upon realizing that Ness really was awake and it wasn't just his imagination, without much warning to the boy, or an answer to the question, Lucas jumped out of the chair he had been sleeping in next to Ness's bed and hugged the black haired boy as tightly as he could without hurting his sore muscles. Lucas looked like he was on the verge of tears as he started to say, "N-Ness everyone's been so worried! We thought you might never w—", but before he could finish his sentence, Dr. Mario had heard the commotion and rushed in to see what was going on.

Dr. Mario quickly flipped on the lights to the hospital room and was met with a pleasing sight: Ness awake and interacting with a nearly tearful Lucas. Both boys' eyes turned to Dr. Mario, who walked over to Ness's bed with a somewhat pleased, yet very serious expression. Something told Ness that he was not going to like what Dr. Mario had to tell him. And he was right.

Dr. Mario looked thoughtful for a moment before he spoke, "Mista' Ness… you'da like ta know what happened, yes?" There was a nod from the boy, and Lucas tensed visibly. He already knew what Dr. Mario was going to say… Or so he thought he did. Dr. Mario nodded and continued on, then, "You've-a been in a coma for three weeks now." The reaction was obvious. Ness's jaw dropped and he stammered out a, "Th-three weeks? What happened? How… how did I..." Dr. Mario raised a hand to silence him for just a moment, as he was going to get to that right now, "Well, Mista' Ness… You hadda tumor… and-a in your last fight, itta ruptured and caused hemorrhaging." Ness wasn't sure what a 'hemorrhaging' was, but he assumed it had something to do with bleeding uncontrollably. It'd explain why he had felt so fatigued before he slipped into his coma…

"Mista' Ness… We stopped tha' bleeding… and we removed tha' tumor… but we discovered tha' tumor wasn't just any ol' tumor…" He paused for a moment, eyes flickering with a slight sadness, "…It wassa cancerous." Cancer. Neither Ness nor Lucas had seen it coming, and it struck them like a bolt of lightening. That one word had sent Ness especially into a tailspin… Cancer? How could he possibly have gotten cancer? Something so deadly that could take him away from his friends at any time? Lucas's tears finally boiled over and he let everything out, sobbing near uncontrollably against Ness's shoulder.

Now was the time for good news, though.

Dr. Mario, with a slightly hopeful look now, looked at the pair and said in a confident voice, "Tha' Cancer… though itta was indeed cancer… wassa almost completely removed… Mista' Ness… If we canna has your permission… we'da like ta operate and remove the rest tomorrow morning…"

Ness, though shaken and unsure of anything at the moment, decided one thing was sure: if cancer had a chance to take him from his friends and family, he had to get it out no matter what! There was a risk going into surgery, but it was a risk he had to take. Attempting to stay strong, upbeat, and confident that everything would work out, he rubbed the still sobbing Lucas' back and nodded to Dr. Mario. Dr. Mario offered the boys a small smile, "Okey dokey! Tomorrow mornin' atta 8 AM…" and with that he backed out of the room to give the boys their space.

It was a long while before either spoke, Ness settling for gently massaging Lucas's back to help calm him down. Though worry was eating away at his conscious, he knew more than anything he had to be strong and brave, for himself and for Lucas who was less confident and was honestly thinking that he was going to lose Ness at any moment. After a long while, Lucas's frantic sobs died down to small sniffles every once in a while. Slowly, Lucas withdrew a bit and looked at Ness, his big blue eyes only bluer from the tears, and his face completely red and tear stained. Lucas looked like a sad, broken angel.

With a small, sad smile, Ness took Lucas's hand in his own and gently ran his thumb over the top. Lucas let out another small sniffle and squeezed Ness's hand tightly, saying just above a whisper, "… I don't think I could stand to lose someone else so important to me…" Ness cringed slightly, remembering better than anything how Lucas had lost almost all of his family, one to what could basically be called murder, and the other to suicide. He drew Lucas close, or as close as he could with the IV in his arm and several other parts of his body hooked up to the heart monitor, giving him a tight hug, "It'll be alright… I promise I'll be okay." Lucas hugged back tightly, and nodded, halfway nuzzling against Ness's chest.

The pair stayed like that for what seemed like hours. It was slightly uncomfortable for them to stay in that position, but they needed it more than anything at the moment. Quietly, and nervously, Lucas spoke up in a shaky voice, "N-Ness…. If…. If you don't make it out… tomorrow…" he gulped and paused, unsure if he could continue with the rest. After a moment, though, he continued, "… If… you don't make it out….. I… I want you to know… I really love you…" and the 'I love you' part was followed by a kiss. A small, gentle, sweet kiss precisely placed on the lips, leaving Ness slightly dazed, a bit confused, butterflies in his stomach, and with a faster heart rate, as the heart monitor blatantly picked up. A gentle blush followed both of them after the kiss, and in that moment, there was an unspoken truth: Ness had to make it out no matter what; otherwise he would leave Lucas heartbroken and… soulbroken, really. He loved Lucas, too, whether it be as a friend or as a partner, so he had to make it out for sure!

The next morning came before he knew it, and he was more than a bit nervous about the surgery. Throughout the night, Ness had talked to Lucas about a lot of things. About his feelings, his fears, what would happen after… and they talked all the way until sunrise, even though Ness probably should've been sleeping the entire time. More tears had been shed, from both of them, and there had been quite a bit more hugging, cuddling, and a few more kisses added in. An innocent love blossoming through after they had been friends for a good while… and it was a love that could be made real, or crushed by the surgery depending on the result.

Before he knew it, he was being wheeled away into the operating room and away from Lucas, Lucas who was like in mind and soul to him. It had occurred to him throughout the previous night: love really isn't determined by gender. It's by how well you connect with someone spiritually and emotionally. That was all that really mattered. As Ness was put under anesthesia and the operation started, Lucas prayed harder than he'd ever prayed before, while he knew it could still make a difference. He prayed that Ness would be alright and that the surgery would go perfectly. He waited in the stark waiting room, fidgeting nervously the entire time. Hours passed like an eternity each, and there were several times when Lucas had to put an actual effort forth to stop himself from breaking down right there in the waiting room. He was so worried. He was so worried for Ness.

After seven hours, seven whole hours of waiting for an answer, Dr. Mario finally came out of the operating room and into the waiting room. Lucas jumped to his feet immediately and started to blurt out words so quickly it sounded like absolute nonsense. Dr. Mario raised a hand to silence Lucas so that he could announce how the surgery had gone. Lucas silenced immediately.

"Wella Mista' Lucas… Ness is justta fine! We removed tha' cancer completely andda he's in recovery now! You canna visit him if you'da follow me!" Lucas's heart fluttered in his chest and a weight felt like it had been lifted off of him. Ness was alright… Ness was alive….He was going to be okay! Without a second thought, Lucas followed after Dr. Mario to the recovery room, and nearly flung his arms around the black haired boy, but stopped himself as he realized that might really hurt him since he literally just got out of life saving surgery. Dr. Mario gave the pair a smile and left them alone once more, proud of a job well done once again.

Ness, who was just waking up from the anesthesia, smiled a bit lopsidedly at Lucas and slurred his words noticeably, "Ssseeee. I tolddya I'd be o'ay." Lucas let out a small, happy sound and gave Ness a kiss on the cheek, causing him to blush a bit, but he returned it with a kiss of his own nonetheless, on the cheek as well.

Lucas never left Ness's side, aside for the few times to eat and use the rest room, until after he was released with a full bill of health. Soon, Ness resumed his usual 'Brawl' routine and Lucas always thanked the lord above for the gift he had given him; the gift of love and the miracle of a life spared.

Never had they been so close before the incident.

Never did Ness have any more issues with cancer.

Innocent love blossomed, so true and pure, and nothing would change that for many, many years to come.