A series of rough coughs wracked Kaoru's body as he bent over his bedside. He was pale and sweating, his orange hair plastered to his forehead. Kaoru seriously looked like he was going to throw up.
Hikaru shifted in his bed as he watched with his brows knit in a tight frown. He glanced at the bedside clock. It glared bright red digits that proclaimed the time to be five A.M., an unholy hour for the twins. But at that moment, Hikaru was wide awake, staring at the suffering form of his younger brother.
Hikaru scrunched himself in a tight ball briefly, waiting for the sharp coughs to falter, and then pulled himself up straight into a sitting position. He rubbed the back of his neck as he glanced at Kaoru. He was still on the edge of his bed facing Hikaru's; his head hung between his knees and his arms draped over the top of his head. Kaoru's heavy breaths hung grimly in the room.
"Kaoru?" Hikaru whispered into the darkness.
Kaoru's head popped up, darkening against the shimmering moonlight streaming through the wide-set windows. His head tilted but Hikaru could not see his expression in the shadows. "I'm okay," Kaoru croaked. His voice was rough the past few days with the cough.
Hikaru pulled himself from the bed, throwing off the warm covers, and exposed himself to the cold evening air. He crossed the few feet from his bed to Kaoru's and sat down beside his younger twin and peered into his face. Kaoru's eyes were tight and his features were strained; he was rubbing unconsciously at his throat.
"We'll see what the doctor says tomorrow. But I'm sure it's nothing. Your symptoms are not the same as the Red Plague," Hikaru assured him, squeezing the younger's shoulder.
Kaoru nodded. "I hope so," he mumbled. "I'm already sick of people looking at me as if I'm a murderer."
Hikaru's chest throbbed. His poor little brother was suffering much more than just physically; he had seen it with his own eyes.
"Get some sleep," Hikaru said, standing to face Kaoru.
Kaoru nodded again and followed Hikaru's arms as he guided him back into bed. Once his little brother was tightly tucked in, Hikaru turned back to his own bed and crawled inside, hoping that the day would bring good news for Kaoru.
Morning came too quickly. Hikaru found himself jolting awake as the sun streamed in through the window. Shit! He was late for school! Hikaru sat straight up in raw panic, ready to jump out of bed when he remembered—school was closed starting this week as the mass quarantining started across the nation.
Nevertheless, Hikaru rolled of bed, noticing that Kaoru had already vacated his own. Hikaru could tell that Kaoru was eager to get his diagnosis because then, it would give the Hitachiin family closure.
If Kaoru tested positive for Red Plague, he would be isolated. Hikaru's heart jumped at the thought; he didn't want to be separated. On the other hand, if Kaoru was proven negative, as Hikaru suspected, he would receive his cleared papers that he could indeed shelter in the sanctuaries.
It wasn't just Kaoru that was being tested for the Red Plague; everyone was required to by the government. Kaoru just had priority since he was showing signs of sickness.
Hikaru trudged across their shared room, down the hall, and into the dining room. Kaoru was already seated at one of the center chairs at the long table. Mother and father sat across from him, glancing nervously at their son. He was wrapped in his comforter to prevent himself from shivering and he was scraping the fork through his eggs and pancakes without eating.
"Good morning," Hikaru called, trying to lighten the mood.
Kaoru looked up and smiled with pain in his eyes. He set the fork down and turned to face Hikaru as he entered the room.
Hikaru crossed to the TV and turned it on as he did every morning since the plague outbreak had begun a few weeks ago. Immediately he sat down to his breakfast as the TV jumped to life.
"-reported one million more dead this week. Researchers claim that the trend will not lessen and a shutdown may be necessary soon," the anchor reported.
Hikaru tilted his head. Ouran High had been readying the students for the shutdown but he had not expected it to be actually used any time soon.
The anchorman continued, "The public is reminded to stay indoors when possible and to wear the state-issued safety masks when outside as it is still unclear whether the virus is airborne or not."
Hikaru sighed, turning away from the TV. It was the same old, same old today. His parents had already turned back to their meals while Kaoru was again digging around his plate. "Not feeling breakfast today?" Hikaru asked Kaoru.
"Just a little nervous," Kaoru said still staring at his food.
Hikaru nodded, turning to his own steaming-hot food and dug in.
An hour later, Hikaru was trudging behind the rest of his family, clutching the mask to his face as they made their way through the hospital. He glanced around at the lines of people in front of every hospital room, waiting to be tested. Each and every person they passed wore the same mask around their face, glancing around nervously. It was strange to be near so many people again; recently, most stayed isolated in their own homes.
They came to a stop at a hospital room at the end of the hall, far away from the chattering of the masses. This room was specifically booked for the Hitachiin family; they paid big money to get their screening done early.
The four stepped inside and was immediately greeted by the nurse, "Welcome, please come this way." She gestured to a row of hospital beds. "If you would take a seat, we can get started immediately."
Hikaru followed Kaoru to the nearest bed and sat down next to him. Kaoru glanced nervously at his older brother. "Cross your fingers," Kaoru said quietly through his mask.
"Don't need to," Hikaru replied confidently.
"We'll be fine," their mother stated from the bed across from her twin sons.
The doctor began with mother and father, checking their blood for any mutations. When they were finished, the nurse smiled, "Both are clear."
Then it came to Hikaru and Kaoru's turn. "Stick us at the same time," Hikaru told the nurse that approached them with the needles.
"No problem," she replied, grabbing another nurse.
When the needle jabbed into their arm, it felt like a small bee sting. Kaoru gasped a little louder than Hikaru though, as he was the one with the lower tolerance for pain.
Hikaru watched, mesmerized, as the nurse slowly drew the blood from his veins. It was interesting to see his blood in that vile. Kaoru, on the other hand, paled at the sight of the syringe.
"Don't look at it, Kaoru, if it's just going to make you sick," Hikaru said loudly.
Kaoru glared. "I'm fine."
It was only minutes after that for the nurses to return with their results. Hikaru searched their faces for any clue but both faces were held blank.
"Hikaru," his black-haired nurse began, "you are completely disease free. You will have no problem getting into the sanctuaries."
"And Kaoru?" Hikaru asked impatiently.
The blonde nurse smiled sweetly. "He is clear as well." Mother giggled in delight, wrapping her arms around her youngest son. "In fact," the nurse continued, "Kaoru is part of the very small population that is immune. He is one out of every ten thousand. In this way, he is very lucky."
"See Kaoru?" Hikaru laughed, whacking the wide-eyed Hitachiin upside the head. "You were worried for nothing! You're the healthiest out of all of us!"
The nurse nodded with Hikaru's words. "Yes, he merely has a common cold. It should clear up in no time."
Kaoru grinned through his mask, warming his amber eyes. "And here I thought I was going to die."
I hope you enjoyed chapter one of this lovely story. Please let me know if this story is worth it so far. And, if you want, check out my other OHSHC stroy: "Lost Without You."