This is a product of my love for OHSHC and me watching A Walk to Remember. Yeah, I'm random...

Disclaimer: OHSHC is not mine, neither is A Walk to Remember. All rights reserved.


Hikaru hung back, eyeing the door with a misplaced uncertainty. It wasn't the door he worried about; it was the reactions of the five people on the other side, in the room beyond. It had been several days since Hikaru had last been at school or participated in any Host Club activity, and he'd spent the last few hours concerning himself with this meeting. It was a meeting he had called himself, a meeting that he now dreaded because of what he would have to face once within the others' company.

He had gotten sick last Sunday. It wasn't the typical cold, flu-like illness-just a headache. As the day wore on, so continued Hikaru's headache, and it got to the point where it was nearly unbearable and he was forced to retire to his room. He remained there throughout the evening and night, clutching his head beneath the covers of his over-sized bed.

The following morning found Hikaru in no better health. The maids called for an ambulance when he vomited without warning while putting on his Ouran uniform. After describing his symptoms, the doctor ordered to have a scan done of Hikaru's brain. After hours of waiting-the Hitachiin name can only get one so far in life-Hikaru was given the news.

I went with him to the hospital that morning, too distraught to tear myself away from him in this obvious time of need. I was there when they showed him the scan and when they pointed out the distinct white spot on the inside. Hikaru had a mass in his brain. The doctors were optimistic because they found it early, but admitted that the location of the tumor was in a tricky spot for surgery. I was there to hold Hikaru when he cried.

The next day I forced myself to return to school. Hikaru said he didn't want to, and I honestly couldn't blame him. However, knowing our continued dual absence would draw many questions, I left him alone, reassuring him that I would let the others know that he was fine. Hikaru begged me, pleaded with me not to tell them what I knew, so I reluctantly admitted to the Host Club and our customers that Hikaru was experiencing a life-changing event and that he needed some time to pull himself together. It wasn't a lie exactly. The customers ate it up, and I think it was out of respect for Hikaru that our friends didn't press me for more information.

So now, after a week of sorting through his emotions and lounging around playing video games and eating junk food, I finally convinced Hikaru to come back to school. He was hesitant at first, but after I explained that I could no longer effortlessly hide the truth, he agreed to return to reinforce what I had spread about him at Ouran. He'd texted the other members of the Host Club to meet with us this Monday morning, before the start of classes.

And that's where we last left off, standing in the hallway outside the door of Music Room 3.

Hikaru glanced at me with a look that clearly asked me what I thought he should do now that he was finally here. He had been unnaturally quiet during our ride over, and I don't even think he noticed the girls fawning all over him as we walked through the school grounds.

"You're not going to accomplish anything by standing in the hallway," I told him with a light shrug.

He gave a shaky nod in reply and crept forward to open the door. Again he paused, his hand gripped tightly around the doorknob. I could see his nerves were threatening to overwhelm him, could almost feel the jitters resonating off his body. He closed his eyes and breathed deeply through his nose, steeling himself for what was to come next. Then, he pushed the door open.

The hosts were all there, standing or sitting as was their fancy. In unison they turned to us as we entered. I closed the door behind us and yielded some, waiting for Hikaru to take the lead. He took two steps forward and stopped. They were meager footsteps that left him in very close proximity to me and the door, but very far away from everyone else. I grabbed his shoulders and ushered him forward, planting him directly in front of Tamaki, who sat in the center of the others' company.

"Did you find yourself, Hika-chan?" Hunny asked in all seriousness.

Hikaru's grim demeanor faltered as he spun around to face me. What on Earth did you tell them? his look clearly said.

I grinned and replied, Another time.

"Hikaru?"

We both turned at the sound of Haruhi's voice. Her large brown eyes were practically swimming with questions, the concern on her face and in her voice clearly evident.

"Hikaru, is everything all right?" Tamaki asked. "Kaoru told us you were, uh..."

"Soul searching," Kyoya supplied. He had suddenly busied himself with a clipboard and began rifling through some papers.

Hikaru cleared his throat and smiled. The act was not genuine and it made his face seem cold and uninviting. I had seen that smile on and off all week and it bothered me. Hikaru had to push through this, he had to put it behind him.

"I'm fine," Hikaru finally said, his voice working with the effort to remain calm. "I was bored with school and needed to take a break."

It was a blatant lie and everyone knew it. I knew Hikaru could see it too. Yet, he felt confident in his response, so no one questioned him further. I felt several pairs of eyes stray in my direction, but I stared at the floor, doing my best to ignore them. And despite their obvious doubt, the Host Club kept their peace.

It was merely by chance that the bell rang shrilly, signaling the start of the first class. Hikaru ducked out quickly, leaving me to collect myself, before following after him. I vowed that that would be the last time he left me alone.

xXx

The following two weeks were hectic for us all. Hikaru was determined to prove to everyone, including himself, that everything was okay. He hid his pain behind a fake smile and explained his recent lack of coordination as an effect of too little sleep. The only time Hikaru wasn't faking was when the two of us were alone. Before Haruhi or any of our other classmates entered the room he would lay his head down on the desk and moan, and by the time our driver picked us up after our Host Club duties, Hikaru was practically stumbling with exhaustion. I guess it wasn't important for him to pretend in front of me since I could tell how he was feeling just at a glance.

During that time, Hikaru was subjected to a battery of tests at the hospital. He had blood drawn, X-rays, CAT scans, PET scans, and tilt tests. They wanted to inject dye into his veins and perform an MRI, but Hikaru would have none of it. He kept insisting that he was fine, and I began to wonder if he really believed that he could fool these people. Whatever he told them, Hikaru's test results didn't lie.

The Host Club was our biggest challenge. While Hikaru was determined to hide the truth, I was left with no other option but to help him accomplish that. The lies kept piling up, and some of them even contradicted the others, but it was enough just for everyone to stop asking us questions. Our customers were the easiest to convince, but when Hikaru began yawning, grimacing, and zoning out in the middle of our act, even they began to grow a little leery. Eventually we had no choice but to offer refunds.

That's when Kyoya ambushed me.

"Kaoru," the older boy called while we were cleaning up the room at the end of the day.

Hikaru and I both turned, a reflex we'd had since infancy. Kyoya faltered, temporarily stunned by both of our faces. His eyes roved over our faces searching for mine.

I gave a small smile and decided to help him out. "Yes, sempai," I said.

Kyoya's cool smile returned and he nodded at me. He patted the seat of the couch beside him. What choice did I have but to comply? It was Kyoya-sempai after all.

"Don't tell him anything," Hikaru hissed from behind me.

I heaved a very noticeable, very defeated sigh and shuffled over. Kyoya patted the seat again when I remained standing. I sat only when I was certain that Hikaru had gone back to work. We watched Hikaru help Mori stack some boxes in the corner for a while, before Kyoya actually spoke.

"Tell me about Hikaru."

"No," I said.

"Why not?"

"You should ask him if you want to know something."

"You and I both know he won't say anything."

I shrugged. "Sorry."

"Is he sick?" Kyoya asked.

Shit. He must have seen me hesitate, and damn it, I knew he was going to take every opportunity to wheedle more information from me.

"What is it, Kaoru? His heart, his lungs? Is it his brain?"

A loud crash broke through the tension, causing me to jump. Haruhi had dropped a saucer, sending porcelain shards skittering across the floor. Hikaru's laughter came next. He came forward with a broom in hand and began sweeping up the broken pieces. He joked with Haruhi and teased her about breaking the saucer. Honestly, it felt good to hear his voice again, so lighthearted and so...normal.

Kyoya must have seen me staring, must have seen the smile on my face. "He's going to be all right, you know. The doctors swore it to me."

I stared at him in disbelief. Hikaru was going to kill me.

Again, reading my face, Kyoya said, "The hospital was one of the Ootorhi's. I didn't check his record though, so his secret is still safe." He looked-dare I say it?-sheepish and maybe just a little bit guilty.

I glanced over my shoulder to make sure Hikaru was still occupied by Haruhi and the broken saucer. Seeing that his attention was elsewhere, I sighed and braced myself to confide in someone else. Kyoya was going to be the first person outside my and Hikaru's family to learn about this, and I had to make sure I didn't break down completely.

"They found a mass in Hikaru's brain," I whispered. "He doesn't like to show it, but it causes him a lot of pain."

"The treatment...?"

I shook my head. "He hasn't had any yet. Our parents and the doctors are trying to decide which would be best for him."

Kyoya made to move forward, I don't know if it was to hug me or to put a comforting hand on my knee, but I stood up and stepped just out of his reach.

"No!" I hissed. "Hikaru can't know that you know. He just can't. He'll be crushed that anyone else will see through that ridiculous farce he's putting on. Please, you can't let on that you know."

I knew Kyoya could hear my voice crack at the end, and I scrubbed my face vigorously with my hands so I didn't have to look at his face. When I finally cleared my vision, Kyoya was already across the room, bidding Hunny and Mori goodbye and calling his driver to the front of the building.

xXx

As I expected, Hikaru rounded on me later, wanting to know the details of my conversation with Kyoya. At least he'd waited until we got home. He had been quiet for the whole ride from Ouran, occasionally sighing and rubbing at his eyes.

"What did Kyoya-sempai want to talk to you about?" he asked me after dinner. He hadn't eaten much and I had followed him into his room to make sure everything was okay.

"It doesn't matter, Hikaru. How's your head?"

Hikaru paused in his pacing, dropping his hand to his side. He hadn't even realized he had been holding his head until I had mentioned it. "How do you think?" he asked, frowning.

Neither of us said anything further, and Hikaru resumed pacing the width of the room. Suddenly he stopped and turned toward me. He wore a look of extreme distress.

"What's wrong?" I asked, alarmed.

"I forgot," he said pitifully. Seeing the confused look on my face, he explained, "I forgot what we were talking about."

I gaped at him. Our conversation hadn't even strayed from Kyoya two minutes ago, and he had already forgotten? The doctors were going to have to start taking some real action and soon. Hikaru came and sat beside me on the edge of the bed. He was upset and I watched his face scrunch up as he tried to recall our conversation.

"You asked me about Kyoya-sempai," I offered. Despite how much I didn't want to talk about it, I couldn't just sit there and watch him suffer.

"Oh," was all he said.

"He knows about your...condition."

That seemed to reawaken something in him and his head snapped up, his face showing a mixture of emotions. "Kaoru, what did you do?"

"Nothing. I didn't say anything," I said. "He guessed. The hospital is one owned by the Ootorhi family."

Hikaru moaned and bent double, grasping his head. Somehow I doubted this had anything to do with pain, and Hikaru was just being dramatic. He remained that way for a few minutes longer, and I began to wish that he would possibly forget this too. I hoped that everything would be okay with us again in just another moment.

"What about the others?"

"I told him not to tell anyone else. You know, he really thinks the treatment will help you."

The next few seconds were a blur. One minute I was sitting on the bed and the next I was lying on the floor staring up into Hikaru's livid face. I immediately connected his raised fist with the throbbing in my left temple, and I sat up, blinking out stars that were threatening to crowd my vision. Hikaru leapt to try and hit me again, but I put up my arms to shield myself, and somehow this seemed to halt his attack. Instead, he kicked something at me, where it bumped against my toes.

"Don't you think I know the treatment will help me? Do you think I like being like this?" he shouted, pointing at himself.

"Hikaru, I-"

"I have a headache all the time, I can't remember half of our lessons anymore, and the only reason I know who you are is because, I realize every time I see you that, unless I've managed to clone myself, you have to be my twin brother, and..."

To this day I don't know what caused Hikaru to pause in the middle of his impassioned rant. Maybe it was the anguish in my eyes, or maybe he just forgot what he was going to say next. I just remember him towering over me, his face red with rage.

"I had no idea you felt this way..."

Apparently this was the wrong thing to say, for I swear Hikaru roared with a newfound rage. He clenched and unclenched his fists as though debating on whether or not to punch me again. He quickly settled for yelling at me some more.

"Of course you didn't! How could you possibly understand? There's nothing growing inside YOUR head!"

I had nothing to say to that. What could I say?

"Just get out," he said. He plopped down onto the bed, the redness disappearing from his face, leaving him looking pale and tired.

I studied him for a second, but I didn't need to be told twice. I wasn't going to wait around to be Hikaru's punching bag the next time he got pissed. I scrambled into the hallway, but turned back, using the bedroom door as a shield between us.

"Hikaru...Onii-san. I'm sorry for everything. If I could, I would take your place in a heartbeat." Hikaru was shaking with the effort of controlling his anger, but I wasn't going to stop yet. I was on a roll. "You have to believe me when I say that everything will get better in time. You just have to let it run its course."

"How do you know?"

"Because it always does," I said matter-of-factly.

"Not this time, Kaoru," he said softly.

I was too focused on his response to register that he had said my name. If I had paid closer attention, I would have realized that he'd said it with a complete sense of familiarity.

"Well, why wouldn't it? I'm sure-"

"Not this time!"

In that same instant, Hikaru picked up an object from the floor. It was the same object, I realized, that he had kicked at me earlier. Now, instead of kicking it, he hurled it toward me, where it bounced off the door and landed cover up at my feet. It was a large medical textbook, an anthology about malignant brain tumors. Hikaru snorted as I picked up the book and stared at him. I turned the book over and over in my hands. Finally, I dropped it as though I was literally carrying the plague. I didn't once look back at Hikaru as I left for my room.

xXx

Later I learned that Hikaru had told me those things out of spite. While his head was still bothering him and he was having a difficult time remembering problems in class, he admitted that he had not once forgotten who I was. Although I was greatly relieved, it took another two days before I confronted and forgave him. During that time, Hikaru missed those two days of school. He told me he was having eye problems and that he was dizzier than normal, but I think he was also afraid of how the others would see us acting toward each other; the last fight we had gotten into had drawn the attention of many students and had resulted in my and Hikaru's hair being dyed neon colors.

The day Hikaru did return he had a seizure. We were with the rest of the Host Club, entertaining and whatnot. Hikaru had been fine throughout the day, being no more tired or otherwise incapacitated than what was now considered normal. Then suddenly he fell out of his chair and started convulsing. I jumped out of my chair and knelt beside him, watching helplessly as he continued to shake. The girls screamed and I think someone might have spilled their tea on my shoe.

After the ambulance had come and carted Hikaru off to the hospital-luckily he had stopped twitching by then and had gone completely still, seemingly asleep-I confessed everything. I told them about Hikaru's absences and strange behavior and of the tumor in his brain. I didn't care anymore, didn't care if Hikaru would hate me for it, I just couldn't keep his ailment a secret any longer. Not much was said after that. The customers wept silently, comforting each other when the hosts would not. The Host Club had mixed looks of shock, confusion, and sympathy.

Finally Tamaki called a suspension of all Host Club activities and events and saw the girls to the door. I followed after them, desperate to be with Hikaru again. The next thing I knew I was sitting in the back of the car with the others surrounding me. I honestly don't even remember whose car it was. Everyone respected my feelings and remained silent on our way to the hospital.

Once there, I talked to the woman at the front desk long enough to find out where Hikaru was. Then I strode down the hallway. Hospital personnel watched, bemused, as I pushed past them. No one was going to stand in my way. Not now or ever.

A nurse was just exiting the bay when I arrived, nearly smacking me in the face as she pulled back the curtain. I ignored her and hurried over to Hikaru's side. He was sleepy, confused, and a little nauseous, but he was capable of normal conversation, which I guess was a good sign. I told him what had happened at Ouran, but he didn't remember any of it.

"I'm so sleepy, Kaoru," Hikaru said suddenly.

I noticed the IV pumping some kind of medication into his veins and I wondered if that caused his drowsiness. "Do you know how long they're keeping you here?"

He opened his eyes, which had slid shut, and gave a small shake of his head. He winced and I frowned. "I'm okay," he reassured me.

I looked up at Hikaru's vitals. He had a slight fever. It was nothing serious, but I felt the panic bubbling inside me-was this a new symptom? I asked Hikaru about it.

"The nurse said it's my body's immune response to the stress," he whispered, the last of his strength quickly fading. "Don't worry..."

Hikaru's eyes strayed to my left and he froze. His eyes widened, and he looked absolutely mortified. I moved forward, worried that he was in some sort of pain. Then I thought: he was definitely looking at something past me-could he be hallucinating? "Hikaru, what's wrong? Does your head hurt?"

Kyoya cleared his throat behind me and I jumped, completely forgetting that the others had come with me. They stood back away from us, respecting our privacy. I gave them a shaky smile and beckoned them over. Hikaru's eyes remained as wide as saucers, the shock that the others would know what was wrong with him evident on his face. I heard the beeping of the machine monitoring his heart rate begin to intensify.

"Calm down," I said putting my arm on his. "They already know everything."

Hikaru blinked, registering my voice. His eyes narrowed dangerously at me, obviously not pleased with my defiance. Then, he sighed and leaned back into his pillows. It was lucky for me that Hikaru was just too tired to remain angry with me.

"I told you not to tell anyone," he grumbled.

I laughed. "And I told YOU that Kyoya-sempai guessed!"

"Kaoru told us about the tumor," Haruhi said quietly, coming over to stand on Hikaru's other side. "He told us before we left for the hospital."

Hikaru glanced at me, his eyes narrowed again.

"Oh stop," I said wearily. "They needed to know eventually. This seizure only scared them more because they hadn't been told anything."

Hikaru looked back at Haruhi, and she nodded, confirming my story. Hikaru took her hand and rubbed his thumb over the tops of her fingers. "I'm sorry," he said finally.

She smiled, but said nothing further. None of us did. But I think Hikaru preferred it that way. With none of us talking, Hikaru wasn't forced to answer anything he didn't want to, and that gave him a chance to rest. He should have gone to sleep, and I think everyone could tell he was exhausted, but he fought the relaxing effects of the medication and his own fatigue, reveling in our company. And if Hikaru was happy, then I guess I was too.

xXx

Not long after we found out that Hikaru's tumor was inoperable. We were all devastated, our parents especially. They had just flown back from New York-some month-long thing that they just hadn't been able to get away from. The day they finally returned was the first they had seen of Hikaru since he had been diagnosed. I think Yuzuha blamed herself for being unavailable, for not being able to worry about our health while she had been away. I want to say that I know she didn't really think it was her fault, but just needed someone to be held accountable.

Hikaru, for the most part, accepted the news well-better than any of our family, really. Better than me. By saying that he took the news well, that's not to say that Hikaru wasn't initially shocked, hurt, or angry; he just got over those feelings quicker than the rest of us. He was in no way back to his original cheerful self, and in fact, this information only worsened his mood. Hikaru had become depressed.

He ate little and slept more. He was prone to fits of irritability, restlessness, and anxiousness. He came to school more, but started doing worse in class. While Host Club activities were still being postponed, we still saw the others regularly, and their concern only dampened his instability.

Eventually, Hikaru started an alternative treatment. We frequented the hospital often because the medicine was given to Hikaru through IV. The side effects of this were absolutely horrendous.

The ride following Hikaru's first session was slow and daunting, for he was so nauseous that every jolt from the car was like torture. He slept in front of the toilet that night, and I lost count how times he got sick into it. He spent the rest of the week in bed, just recuperating. After that, we tried to schedule his appointments for the end of the week because he would be so sick afterwards that he needed those two days off from school to get some of his strength back.

On a Monday following treatment, I forced Hikaru to go to school. I felt bad about waking him-he was so tired, pale, and nauseous (that one being a combination of the medication and the tumor itself)-but I had a surprise for him, which required him to be away from me for a few hours.

"Aren't you going?" Hikaru said, pulling on his uniform. He glanced at me and raised his eyebrow when I remained sitting on his bed in my pajamas.

I smiled. Ever since Hikaru's condition had been revealed to the Hosts, and ultimately all of Ouran, he had developed a complex about being away from me. I didn't tell him so, but I knew it was because the differences between us were now so obvious; it's like we weren't even twins. "I'll be there, eventually," I added.

"Kaoru," he said, a hint of warning in his voice.

"I'll be there, Hikaru," I reiterated. "Now go or you'll be late."

With that, I ushered him downstairs into the kitchen. I ate breakfast with him, a quiet affair since Hikaru was still sulking. At 8:30, I pushed him outside to the waiting car, waving cheerfully at him from the doorway. When that was taken care of, I went back to my room to catch a few Zs; there was no reason why I couldn't sleep for a few more hours before putting my epic plan into action.

It was almost noon when I woke up again. I hadn't slept well the night before, so I guess I needed the extra sleep; however, I hadn't planned on sleeping for quite so long. The first thing I did was reach for my cell phone and send Tamaki a text message. I asked him to reopen the Host Club this afternoon and to let everyone know. I told him that I would see them all later.

After several minutes of waiting for a response and getting none, I sighed and rethought my options. If that idiot Tamaki didn't get my message it would ruin everything. The Host Club HAD to meet today. This was going to be a big spectacle, damn it, and I wanted them all to be a part of it. Hikaru wasn't the only one who needed to see just how much I cared about him. I finally decided to send Kyoya a backup message. Even if he didn't reply, and I honestly didn't expect him to, I was more confident that he actually had his phone on him and would read the text, passing on the information to the others.

I got up and got dressed to go out. As I wouldn't be making it to any of my classes at Ouran, I dressed in street clothes. I declined breakfast, as I had already eaten earlier, and walked out to the front of the house. Our driver had long since returned from dropping off Hikaru, so I had him take me into town.

I think I should have felt nervous about what I was planning on doing, but honestly, I had been thinking about this ever since Hikaru had thrown that book at me. Although the book hadn't actually hit me, I was impacted by it in another way entirely. I didn't tell Hikaru, but I'd read that book. Not all of it, because I found it pretty dull, and what I didn't read I could always find on the Internet. But what I had read inspired me to come up with my ingenious plan.

Hikaru better appreciate it.

xXx

It was raining by the time I finally made it to Ouran. I'd brought with me a hat from home, and I adjusted it enough to keep myself dry on my way inside the building. I continued on up until I reached the Third Music Room. I entered the room quietly, going unnoticed by the Hosts and their customers.

I spotted Hikaru immediately. He was off at one of the corner tables, entertaining a gaggle of girls from our class. He seemed awkward by himself, without me to complete our act, and I could see that he was having a difficult time playing the farce that this was still amusing to him. It was easy to see that he was exhausted, the point proven when he tried to mask his yawning by taking frequent sips of tea. I frowned, irritated that the girls continued to push him when it was obvious that he was in no fit state for hosting.

I waltzed myself toward him, ignoring the gasps and incredulous stares over my sudden arrival. I pulled Hikaru to his feet and flung my arm across his shoulders in a casual manner. By now I had gathered the attention of everyone in the room, which was just as well since I had planned on making a spectacle of my performance. Hikaru opened his mouth to say something, but I placed my finger over my lips in a silencing manner to stop him. I gave him a knowing smile.

"First, I want to apologize for my tardiness," I said.

I swear the girls beside me ooh'd and ahh'd and swooned, and I had to stop myself from rolling my eyes at them. Instead, I adjusted my hat. It was a large forest green cap that didn't particularly match what I was wearing, but it kind of made me look like a newspaper delivery boy so I liked it-it had a nice commoner air to it.

"Second," I said leaning away from my brother, "I wanted to get this out in the open. I want you to know that you're not alone in this, Hikaru."

There were quiet murmurs from the girls, no doubt agreeing and fawning over my declaration. That's when the nerves finally hit me. I had the sudden urge to bolt from the room, to take care of the matter elsewhere, likely in the privacy of my own home. Why was I doing this? Was I trying to prove this more to Hikaru or to myself? Regardless, this was happening now. Whether or not I regretted it now didn't matter anymore, for I had made my decision to do this weeks ago.

After taking a deep breath to keep myself from having a panic attack, I slowly and deliberately removed the cap from my head.

I received various degrees of staring from the occupants in the room, but the only expression I cared for was Hikaru's. His eyes were swimming with emotion, from confused to shocked to even a little vexed. I heard a gasp or two, and I think that's what led to Hikaru finding his voice.

"Kaoru, what did you do?"

"What I've been doing since the start of this ordeal. I'm behind you all the way, Hikaru, and I want to be able to go through this process with you."

Hikaru reached for my head, grasping for a bald cap or other masking disguise. He looked pained and tortured when he found nothing; I was really bald. I shivered when his hand left my head, the lack of hair now leaving me susceptible to chills. I gave Hikaru a reassuring smile when he frowned thoughtfully at me.

"Why?" he asked, his voice strained.

"I told you," I said patiently. "Hikaru, the fact is, we're different now. In time, we'll be the same again, but until you're better, until you're CURED, this is all I can do for you."

I didn't need to elaborate further; I could tell Hikaru understood the meaning behind my words. The exhaustion and nausea were not the only symptoms of Hikaru's treatment. Over the past couple of sessions, Hikaru's hair grew thin and began to fall out in locks. He tried to ignore it at first, but it became difficult when he woke each morning to find his pillows coated in orange hairs. In the end, he had no choice but accept it as another unpleasant but necessary side effect to becoming well again.

I let out a terrified yell as Hikaru suddenly staggered and collapsed into a nearby armchair. He sat with his eyes closed, his body unmoving. The others inched forward, concerned.

"It's exhausting," Hikaru said finally.

"What?"

"This," he said, sitting forward and sweeping his arm across the room. "Everything! You especially, Kaoru."

I just stared at him, unsure where he was going with his conversation.

"My life should be nothing short of a living hell. But it's not. I did the whole wallow-in-self-pity thing, and it only made me feel worse. Hiding everything was supposed to make things easier, not make me hate myself for what I was doing. I can't do this anymore. I won't."

"Hikaru, what are you saying?"

I later realized that I was glad for Haruhi's question. I had been speechless, unable to comprehend or believe Hikaru's words. I had not planned on my afternoon turning out this way. Hikaru gave a knowing smile. I, however, didn't see anything amusing.

"I realized something at the hospital, something I can't believe I overlooked before. What's happened to me is also affecting those around me. People are suffering because I'm suffering. But those same people-my brother, my friends, you lovely ladies congregating in the corner-have never left my side. And for that, I thank every one of you."

Everyone's expressions lightened then. Haruhi smiled, as did Tamaki and Hunny. The rest just looked relieved. The customers melted and swooned over Hikaru's impassioned rant. I let out something that vaguely resembled a laugh and nearly fell backwards. It was a good thing Tamaki had the foresight to catch me before I hit the ground.

"You're such an idiot," I said.

He smiled. "I still don't know why you did that."

"What else could I do?"

"You didn't have to do anything."

"I had to do something."

"You've been with me since the beginning," Hikaru said standing. "That's more than enough."

"And I'll be with you until the end. We'll beat this thing together, Hikaru."

I can honestly say that this day was the best in my life. I felt better now, like everything was settled-I was finally acknowledged and appreciated for what I had done and Hikaru realized that he never had to be alone.

While we may have had our ups and downs, our highs and lows, I know now that everything truly does happen for a reason. We all learned something from this experience, Hikaru, especially, learned to grow with it. It's not enough to say how much I love Hikaru, but in the end, I think he already knows.


Wow. This took me longer to get out than I expected. I hope the ending was okay. I knew where I wanted to end it; I just didn't know how I wanted to do it. Well, leave a review and let me know if you loved it or hated it. I'd be much obliged! :)