Final chapter, here we go!
Kaoru walked up the luscious green hill with a smile on his face. The sun was radiant in the translucent blue sky. There was an abundantly green Oak tree on top of the hill, casting an embracing space of shade. Kaoru sighed happily, reaching the top. Everything was glowing, warm and happy. Down the hill was a forest, but it held no shadows… just Kaoru would describe as warmth. And beyond that, the land rose in more hills and into mountains.
There were people walking through the forest. They were obvious to Kaoru; they wore a white so bright. They seemed to shine. When they looked at him, they smiled genuinely and Kaoru smiled back.
Turning to look at the tree again, Kaoru was delighted to find a swing suddenly hanging from one of the stronger branches. It beckoned him, swinging lightly in the heavenly breeze. Kaoru walked across the grass, feeling the blades between his toes, and sat down on the swing. He pumped his legs his legs back and forth until it felt like he was flying up and up into those distant mountains. Kaoru laughed and it sounded musical to his own ears, so he laughed again.
"Kaoru," a voice echoed from behind him. Kaoru put his legs down, digging into the soft ground. Kaoru sat still on his unmoving swing, staring straight ahead. He shouldn't look behind him; something bad would happen to him if he did.
But… something pulled him to look over his shoulder. On this side of Kaoru's hill, was another forest. But the trees were closer together and it was dark. However, something felt familiar.
Kaoru glanced back one last time at the happy people, the glorious forest, the high-flying birds, and the fluttering butterflies. Then, he turned up and away from his swing and walked cautiously into the shadowed forest. "Hello?" Kaoru called, his voice echoing harmoniously.
"Kaoru," the voice came again.
And then Kaoru was sprinting head on through the trees, branches slapped at his face, whipping his arms. Something was calling him farther and farther inside. And then the forest erupted in pure white light.
The air was stale and still. Hikaru's heart beat triple time, loud in his ears. In his arms, he held Kaoru's limp body, still warm. Sucking in a shuddering breath, Hikaru allowed himself to cry hard, but he did not make a sound. He just stared blurrily at his brother.
It was quiet, all for about 30 seconds, and suddenly, the body in his arms convulsed and Kaoru gasped deeply for air. Blood was pouring, not trickling, from Kaoru's ears. "Kaoru!" Hikaru cried, clutching him closer, staring at his brother's wide eyes.
Kaoru coughed, shaking hard. Hikaru laid his brother down and quickly grabbed a towel and pressed it ear to ear, trying to wipe as much of blood away as possible. "Oh my God, Kaoru!" Hikaru cried, happily but still in fear. Kaoru's body cracked hard against the table as another seizure curled from his body and Hikaru immediately pulled Kaoru's head up towards him. He didn't need Kaoru accidently hurting himself.
Abruptly, it all stopped. Kaoru went limp and the blood slowed to a trickle in his ears. "Oh my God," Hikaru said again. A relieved smile overtook his face as he looked into the spark of life in Kaoru's eyes. "Kaoru, you're alive." Hikaru's voice caught and he pulled his younger brother into a quick hug, pressing his face into Kaoru's hair. He could feel Kaoru's shallow breathing against his chest.
"Hikaru?" Kaoru asked weakly.
Hikaru pulled away. "What? What is it?"
Hikaru breathed in a deep breath and cleared away his tears with one hand. "You… You almost died, Kaoru. Actually… I think you did, for less than a minute."
Kaoru didn't say anything. His brows just twitched into a frown as if he didn't know what Hikaru was saying. So Hikaru plastered a watery smile onto his lips and said, "It doesn't matter anymore. Let's just get you out of here." Hikaru moved his bloody arms so that he could scoop Kaoru up into his arms. Kaoru's head rested against Hikaru's chest, smearing blood onto his shirt. Hikaru took a last fleeting glance at the doctor on the floor; he was motionless. 'Well, it wouldn't be the first man I've killed,' Hikaru thought darkly.
And he turned and marched out the door. Hikaru's first instinct was to go back to the cells, but he found them all empty. No Tamaki or Haruhi. Hikaru walked into his old cell and followed the long hallway. Just as he hoped, the door was wide open and Hikaru pushed out into the fresh air.
"Hikaru!" Haruhi called. Hikaru swung his head to find his friends racing towards him from further down the alleyway.
"How did you get out?" Hikaru asked in a rush.
"Haruka," Haruhi stated. "He let us out. He escaped a little while ago with his sister." She gestured to the empty alley.
"What happened to him?" Tamaki asked quietly, looking wide-eyed at Kaoru.
Hikaru looked down to find that Kaoru had fallen asleep, breathing heavily. "Experiments," was all Hikaru said.
"Want me to carry him?" Tamaki asked, reaching out.
"No," Hikaru said with a shake of his head. "I'm okay." And he was. After all of this, Kaoru felt light. He would never let go of his brother again. Hikaru looked up and said, "Let's go."
"Where will we go?" Haruhi asked.
Hikaru shrugged and started walking, leading the way. "I don't know but it will be somewhere safe. We'll stick together and watch out for each other. And when this is all over, we'll find Kyoya, Honey, and Mori. And we'll find our parents…" Haruhi looked away and Tamaki pulled his arm over her shoulder. "We'll get through this."
It was going to be hard, that Hikaru knew. There was still the looters and diseased. There was still the extermination… but wouldn't that be over someday?
Would there be a day when everyone comes out of the Sanctuaries and start living again? Would their old lives return, slightly modified? Hikaru didn't have all the answers, but he had hope.
Besides, the testing facility still had Kaoru's blood, didn't they?
So there you have it. How was "Finding Kaoru?" I left it a bit open-ended; the rest is up to your imagination. Thank you to all my readers and reviewers, you really motivated me. I had a complete blast! And don't forget to check out "Lost Without You," which is already completed. And I will continue to write "Paper Cranes and Paper Hearts" now that I am finished with this story. Thanks for everything! Peace out.