So I had many requests for a happier alt. ending, and here it is! Hopefully it lives up to your expectations.

Hikaru screamed at the sudden pain that lanced his body and he clutched at his stomach as the blood began to swell. The Queen fell before him, dead, with two swords hanging out from opposite directions and she hit the ground with a loud bang. Hikaru staggered, clutching at his wound, and his eyes swam as the blood rushed away from his head.

"Hikaru!" a voice called loudly. But Hikaru was already falling down to the floor and he braced for impact. Luckily, Kaoru appeared beside him, catching him before he could make an impact on the floor. "Hikaru," Kaoru murmured, laying Hikaru down slowly.

Groaning at the movement, Hikaru reached up, trying to cup his brother's face. "Your marks are gone," he whispered softly. Kaoru's face was ashy and pale but his black spidery marks had disappeared completely.

Kaoru clenched his jaw and frowned down at Hikaru with painful resign. "You do not get to die on me," Kaoru growled. But Hikaru was already too lucid, too far gone to know what that really meant.

Hikaru dropped his hand and tried to focus on Kaoru through his wavering eyes. Kaoru was speaking but Hikaru only heard the sound of it. He couldn't make out the words. "You sound like an angel," Hikaru laughed through the heavy blanket of obscurity. His fingers were beginning to lose their feeling and he was lightheaded.

Kaoru stopped talking to stare at him dubiously. Hikaru allowed his eyes to slowly close but suddenly Kaoru was there, shaking him. His voice burst suddenly through the veil, "Stay with me!"

He swallowed thickly, tasting blood in his teeth, and settled his gaze on his brother. He was sweating hard and he panted as he struggled to say, "At least we got her."

"Tamaki!" Kaoru was yelling suddenly over his shoulder. Hikaru turned his head to the side to see Tamaki marching up the stone steps to where the three were on the ground beside the throne. "We have to help him," Kaoru begged. Hikaru blinked slowly and their voices cut off and he only heard a loud long buzz in his ear.

Everything went dark.

The first thing Hikaru heard when he regained awareness was loud sobbing right in his ear. God, would they shut up already? Then he heard a roaring fire, the sound of voices, and the clinking of metal on metal. After that, Hikaru could smell herbs and ash and he tasted the tang of blood.

Then there was pain.

Hikaru cried out miserably and his whole body jerked at the sudden return of pain his side. His eyes flew open as he groaned.

"Hikaru!" a familiar voice cried out. Hikaru sought to see the source of the voice and finally he turned his head to the right to see Kaoru's wide eyes, tear-soaked, watching him with utter fear.

"Kaoru?" Hikaru said weakly, blinking hard. He looked around his surrounding and found himself lying on a table in the center of a hut. Nozomi was standing on her side, shouldered by Tamaki who was watching him warily. He looked morose.

Beyond the two he saw the body of the Queen lying on a parallel table. She, however, was surely dead. "What happened?" Hikaru asked, turning his eyes back onto Kaoru.

"You almost died," Kaoru said softly, wiping at the tears in his eyes. Then he was turning away from Hikaru and left the room.

Hikaru stared after him, confused. So then he turned to the other with a question on his face. Nozomi looked at him seriously. "He demanded that Tamaki should release me and show him to the witch's house that once hid his identity." She gestured to a dark-haired woman in the corner Hikaru had not noticed before. "This is Hoshi," Nozomi said softly. "Kaoru carried you out of the castle and even managed to balance you on a horse to get you here. Tamaki and I arrived not too long after and Hoshi had already begun to heal you."

"I was hoping she would heal Grandmother too," Tamaki spoke softly. "But it was already too late."

Hoshi interrupted their explanation by coming to Hikaru's side with a cup in hand. "Drink this," she said soothingly, "and you shall regain yourself."

Hikaru took it eagerly and took a deep gulp. He swallowed it but he was left sputtering under the sour but bitter taste. "That's disgusting," he hollered, sitting up and thrusting the liquid back at the white witch. But then Hikaru had to pause. He felt no pain and he no longer felt weak. Carefully, Hikaru reached for his night shirt and lifted it up to reveal smooth skin and a wound-free body. He looked up at his companions with a bright smile. "Thank you," he said to Hoshi.

She smiled but said, "This life liquid will not work a second time, so you must protect yourself, young lord."

Hikaru nodded but jumped off the table to sweep Nozomi and Tamaki into full embraces. Nozomi hugged him lightly and put her lips against his orange hair, whispering, "You must take your brother and flee."

Hikaru pulled apart abruptly to stare at her. "What?"

She smiled sadly. "The two of you have slain the Queen. There will be people who will want your blood, not to mention Kaoru is an ex-sorcerer who had caused significant damage to our city."

"Where will we go?"

"Return north," she said. "And send forth to the village of Kserr. They house such refugees."

Hikaru nodded, and said to all three, "Thank you so much for your kindness and perhaps we shall meet again soon."

Hikaru left them and took to the streets to take his brother away from this place. But when he left the hut, Hikaru's heart stuttered for a minute when he didn't see Kaoru.

"You're better," Kaoru said softly.

Hikaru looked up and found Kaoru sitting on the roof of the hut, shadowed by the moon. "How did you get up there?" Hikaru asked with a fond smile on his lips.

Shrugging, Kaoru said, "How else if I didn't climb?"

"Come down from there."

Kaoru looked away and up to the moon. "I heard what Nozomi said. She said we had to flee."

"Yes," Hikaru said softly. "And we must go now if we want to be long-gone by sunrise."

Kaoru was silent for a moment, looking everywhere but at Hikaru. He drew his legs to his chest protectively. "We should go separate ways."

For a moment, Hikaru gaped at his brother. "And why ever should we do that?"

"I don't want to hurt you again," Kaoru said, this time looking straight at Hikaru.

Hikaru scrubbed a hand over his face tiredly. "You don't have your powers and you are without a sword at the moment. I deem you quite harmless, brother."

Kaoru cocked his head, still staring. "You don't hate me?"

"How could I?"

There was silence for a while where the two just stared at each other, lost in their own worlds. Then, finally, Kaoru stood and hopped neatly down from the roof and landed before Hikaru softly. Kaoru slung his arm around his brother's shoulder warmly and Hikaru returned the action. "I hope they have fine women and troughs full of booze in Kserr. I'm rather bored of fighting."

"I hope so too, brother," Hikaru said happily as they began walking.


I hope you like this happy alt. ending! I actually like this version a lot better than my original ending! Who agrees?