A/N: Rimahiko and Rimashiko (yes, a little bit of girls love; nothing too strong (or graphic) though, if it isn't your cup of tea) and a small bit of Tadeshiko. Rated T for (possible future) language and themes. It is only a few chapters long, and should be finished in less than a week, so, yeah. Enjoy. :)
(oh yeah, and it literally will be finished in a week. I already have most of it done so it will be finished this time).
Nadeshiko had never liked hospitals. They were much too sanitary for her, which was weird because she usually liked things to be nice and clean. But there was something about so much cleanliness in a place that was haunting.
People died everyday in hospitals, they died, never to be heard from again, and as soon as they were gone their body was moved and their room was cleaned, their sheets were washed and their bed was made, and the next day the person was completely gone and there was someone else in their place.
Their names would be lost, and the nurses wouldn't bring them up anymore, they wouldn't lament over their death, they would just move onto the next patient and forget the last even existed.
And the smell… the whole building just smelled so clean. All you could smell in a hospital was the cleanliness of it. In a place with so much pain, with so much blood and tears, with so much death, their should never be a clean scent filling the air.
Nadeshiko really never did like hospitals, so she usually stayed away from them. Unfortunately, she didn't always have the option to stay away. In certain situations, you had to go to place you dreaded more than anywhere else.
She stopped momentarily outside the room, staring at the number 517 written in black paint on a plaque outside the door. In a month there would be someone else in the room, and the "Fujisaki" written on a scrap of paper and tacked there carelessly would be replaced by a "Sato" or "Suzuki." Maybe even in less than a month.
Nadeshiko's hand hesitated, her fingers curling into a slight fist that was centimeters away from the door. She didn't want to go in there, oh god she didn't want to go in there, but she knew she had to, so after a moment she moved her hand and rapped at the wooden surface.
His voice was much too weak. It was low and croaky, like an old man's voice. He was fine two weeks ago, he shouldn't sound like he's aged fifty years in a matter of days.
She didn't want to open the door, she didn't want to see him like this.
But she didn't really have a choice.
Nadeshiko raised her right hand, her fingers wrapping around the doorknob before pushing it in. God, this room smelled too clean as well. It was too white, too sanitary. There was a television and a small armchair, as if the room was trying to give off the illusion of being a warm, comforting place. Who had died in this room? Would he be the next to die in this room?
"Ah, so you got my message?"
He looked terrible; Nadeshiko almost didn't even want to look at him. How could someone's skin look so gray? Their arms so frail and weak?
Nadeshiko nodded, her throat too dry to speak immediately. She struggled to think of something to say as she entered the room, trying to block out the cleanliness all around her. After a moment, she managed to string together a coherent sentence. "I have to admit, it was quite the shock."
"Well, I've kept it hidden quite well up until now."
Why was he smiling right now? Was he trying to comfort her, or himself? Either way, he probably knew it wasn't working, as he let the smile drop. He looked to the side, unable to meet Nadeshiko's eyes, instead turning his attention to the window.
The sky was blue, but Nadeshiko felt that it was rather unfitting. There should be huge gray clouds filling the sky. The wind should be howling, and rain should be falling down in thick sheets. The world should not be continuing on so happily at a moment like this.
"I have a favor to ask," he finally spoke, after an incredibly long moment. Nadeshiko frowned, her eyebrows scrunching in upon her face to form an unattractive expression. At a moment like this, what was he asking her for?
"What is it?"
"Well… I'd like you to keep quiet about my condition. As of right now, you're the only one who knows I'm dying."
Nadeshiko wanted to yell, she wanted to scream out at him, but she couldn't express her shock in such a way in this place, with him in this state, so instead she just managed to choke out, "Wh-what? You can't be serious! You don't want them to know you're dying until you're gone?"
"The reason for this is that I have another thing to ask you for, and that if anyone else knows I'm dying, it won't work."
Nadeshiko couldn't move. She was so confused; why would he hide the fact he was dying from everyone who loved him? From his mother, his father, his fiancee?
"I don't understand. What about Rima?" Nadeshiko asked, staring intently at him as he simply stared out the window. She was furious; at a time like this he was going to hide. He wasn't even going to spend his last moments with the woman he loved. "She'll be devastated! This will kill her!"
"I know," he replied simply, his voice much to calm for Nadeshiko to be comfortable with. He shouldn't be so collected about something like this, he shouldn't be able to gaze out the window with a blank face as he was telling her he was going to hide his death from the world. "Trust me, I know. And that's why I'm asking you for a second thing."
"And what would that be?" Nadeshiko asked, trying her hardest to keep a level voice, but the room was just so damn clean and in a week or two someone else would be lying in the bed and Nagihiko would be dead.
Nadeshiko stared at him intently, but something made her breath catch in her throat and her anger to immediately drop into a cold feeling that settled beneath her breast.
He was crying, for the first time in years, there were tears falling from his eyes.
"I need… I need you to become me."
Nadeshiko couldn't breathe. She was gasping for air like a fish, her mouth was opening and closing and oxygen should be filling her lungs, but yet she felt lightheaded as she left the hospital room.
What he was asking for, for her to give him the name "Nadeshiko" and live on in his place... it was so much. But yet, she'd do it. Without a doubt she'd do it. He was her brother; she would do anything for him.
But was this smart? Wasn't this a horrible solution? How long could they keep this charade up for, anyway? Even though they were nearly identical there was a large difference in their bodies, and a very obvious one at that.
But if this was what Nagihiko wanted, in his dying moments, who was she to tell him no?