For what it was worth, Misono's life was going pretty well.
While his story had a rough beginning, and followed a path far from ordinary - things finally seemed to be going straight. Since there were no more secrets, he'd reconnected with his brother once again. Beyond that, he had a close group of friends, something he'd always dreamed of having. Among them was even a friend who had managed to reach his heart in a way he thought was never possible. He was sure he had a bright future ahead of him.
That's why this news struck him so hard.
Misono had woken that morning feeling drowsy, but that was nothing out of the ordinary for him. He had a weak body that sometimes didn't like playing along with what he asked it to do. There were days when he couldn't even stand or walk, but it was something he'd learned to put up with. It didn't help that he was terribly narcoleptic as it was, and had stages of crippling tiredness on even the best of days.
This, however, was not the best of days. He closed his eyes once more and curled back into his sheets. Usually Lily would pick up on when he was feeling like this and help him out. In the meantime...
His phone buzzed. Misono opened his eyes to try and locate the device. He sat up and grabbed it from the sidetable before falling back down onto the pillow to read the message.
1 New Message
Hey. Mahiru says the sakura is in bloom. He suggested we meet up in the park to go see it at about 12-ish, then get lunch after? Do you wanna join?
Misono's heart pinged with emotion. This would have been nothing but a dream to him just a year earlier. Now, he had the opportunity to see the sakura blossom with friends - real friends. The idea of walking through the blossom with Tetsu of all people made his heart soar even higher.
He could feel his face becoming wet with tears, which he wiped with his duvet. He had to get up, he had to go. He unraveled his duvet and turned, sitting up. With his body screaming at him to stop, he slid off of the bed a made an attempt to stand up, using the table as a support. His legs were shaking, but it wasn't nearly as bad as how he'd anticipated it.
"Misono?" Finally. Lily approached, allowing Misono to transfer his body weight onto him. The vampire gently rubbed his shoulder in comfort and led him to a chair.
"You don't have to get up, Misono. I'll inform your father-"
"No, Lily... it's okay, really."
Lily seemed taken aback by this. Misono had seen better days which he'd spent entirely in bed before. That was when he noticed the phone that had been left on the bed. Reading the message, he suddenly understood everything.
"You wish to see the sakura with your friends..." he smiled sadly. Misono nodded, fresh tears in his eyes once again. Lily moved beside him and patted his head.
"Very well, then. I will do my best to ensure that you can attend. But please, take care of your health first."
"Thank you, Lily..."
His physical strength improved as the day went on, per usual. Misono spent the majority of the morning playing chess, when Mikuni and Tetsu finally arrived. He was still shaky, which his brother clearly picked up on as they walked out to Dodo's car. He didn't say anything though - Misono didn't expect him to. Mikuni was already well aware of his younger brother's condition.
The blossoms looked especially beautiful this year. Although, it might have been just because this was the first time he'd seen them among friends, among the public. Misono could feel that Lily enjoyed it, too, fluttering by his side. They were simply walking through the park, searching for a place to stop and sit. There was a buzz of conversation from the front of the group as Mahiru took the lead, followed by Mikuni and Licht. He and Tetsu were behind, quietly and comfortably admiring the blossom. Misono didn't know what to say, but he didn't exactly mind either. This was nice enough.
Until his legs gave out. Misono stifled a shriek as he tripped over his own feet - but he didn't hit the ground.
"You alright?" Looking to his side, he saw Tetsu holding him up.
"Uh... yeah... thanks." He straightened himself out as Tetsu chuckled quietly. This prompted him to smile slightly, despite the growing pain he felt.
Time passed. The group was sat on the ground, busily snacking by the time Mahiru's green-haired friend appeared. Misono really didn't like that guy, and for good reason. Not wishing to socialise with the vampire that almost killed him, Misono stayed to the other side of the rug. That's when his brother eventually sat down next to him.
"Mikuni..." Misono nodded in greeting. His brother sighed.
"Still haven't earned the right to be called onii-chan again, huh? I'll get there one day..." he grinned jokingly. Misono smiled and turned his head down. "You okay?" His brother questioned, "You seem awful pale"
"I'm fine" he insisted, "just tired." Mikuni stared at him for a moment.
"I don't buy it," he shook his head, "I know my little brother well enough to know when he's not feeling himself."
"No you don't!" Misono snapped, "You weren't even in my life for several years, how can you even begin to understand the person I am now?"
Mikuni went quiet."You're right, I'm sorry..." he finally replied, "I just wanna look out for you, 'kay?"
Misono nodded, there was no use getting mad at his brother now. It was all in the past - they had their entire future to look forward to now.
"I'm going for a walk..." Misono stood up. Mikuni looked like he was about to stop him, but he passed and nodded, letting him go. Still a butterfly, Lily also picked himself up and flew into Misono's shoulder. Together, the two of them began to distance from the group. Feeling Lily's uncertainty, Misono kept on walking - despite shaking every step.
Suddenly he froze, the whole world circling around him. Before he realised it he was on the ground.
"Miso!!" He could here Mikuni's voice cry out, followed by a few others. By the time he'd sat up, a small crowd consisting of his brother, Mahiru and Tetsu had gathered around him. His brother embraced him, allowing him to rest in his arms. Not knowing what had just happened, Misono accepted the touch.
"You okay?" Mikuni asked him, holding him close.
"Mmyeah... I think..." Misono nodded, pulling away from his brother and trying to stand back up.
"No, no... that's enough for today... I'll go take you home." Misono didn't like that idea, but he was too tired to say otherwise.
"The hospital isn't too far... maybe it would be a good idea to get checked over?" Tetsu spoke up.
"No!" Misono panicked, "No, really it's fine. I just didn't sleep well last night."
Mikuni sighed, trying to console his younger brother.
"It's probably a good idea, Miso... I won't tell dad if you don't want me to."
Misono thought on it for a second, then realising he had no other choice, he agreed and let Mikuni help him up.
"Want me to carry you?" Tetsu offered, prompting him to flush red.
"That would be great!" His brother answered on his behalf as Tetsu scooped him up and let him ride on his back.
A piggyback from someone two years younger than him... how shameful.
"We'll see you guys later." Mikuni waved to the group, Tetsu nodding along.
"See you..." Mahiru smiled sadly, waving them off.
Why did Tetsu have to do this? He could have stayed with the others and kept on enjoying himself, but instead he was left to carry him back to the car. The journey to the hospital would have been silent, if it weren't for Mikuni's consistent talking. In many ways, that was the only thing lightening the mood. Lily and the other servamps had been stuck in animal form this entire time, but Misono could feel the concern from the butterfly, who he allowed to perch on his lap for the journey.
It was about 4pm when they arrived at the hospital. By this point, Misono was able to walk in by himself, but Mikuni still insisted on holding his hand. The shame of it.
The check was pretty standard. Misono simply answered the doctor's questions as they ran a few tests and took some blood. It all seemed like a waste of time.
By the time he and Mikuni returned to the manor, it was 7pm. His brother stuck to his word, and didn't say a thing to their father - instead listing himself as the guardian and contact. Once inside, Lily returned to human form and embraced Misono himself, complimenting him on his bravery. It didn't feel truthful.
Another three hours past, which Misono peacefully slept away. He was woken at around 10pm by his brother. At first Misono didn't understand why he was yelling at him to get up and get in the car. Lily looked just as confused, but acted accordingly. Half asleep, Misono let his brother pick him up and drag him out of bed. Mikuni wasn't as strong as Tetsu by far, but he seemed pretty desperate.
Misono was only awake enough to question what was happening once they were already in the car, but Mikuni didn't reply. Instead, he turned to Lily - who seemed to immediately understand, as he too got in the vehicle.
"Lily... what's happening..?" Misono looked up at him, as the vampire held his hand.
This time, Mikuni was not loud or cheery - but completely silent as he drove. Why wasn't Dodo driving? Why was everyone so quiet?
Misono could feel his heart suddenly drop as he realised where they were going. Everything began to click into place as they pulled into the hospital for the second time.
And that's where he was now.
All in all, this day was looking to be really, really terrible.
"Alicein Misono..." a young woman walked into the room, "correct?"
"Yes ma'am..." Misono confirmed, mouth dry. He was sat up on a small bed, both Lily and Mikuni beside him. This all felt so wrong. The woman confirmed a few more details with the three of them before pulling out a chart and sitting across from them.
"As you know, we took a few tests earlier. Well, one of those tests has come back with some quite difficult results." The air in the room felt heavy as the woman continued talking, "you said that you've been experiencing illness since you were young, yes?"
Misono froze, suddenly realising he was supposed to reply, "yes, Ma'am... that's correct."
The woman looked at her chart, a sorrowful look on her face, "it seems your condition has developed unnoticed. We found traces of cancer in your blood."
Time froze still. The very air in the room seemed to stand, suspended between seconds. Mikuni, Lily, neither of them said anything. The doctor kept talking, but he couldn't hear her. He couldn't understand anything. But two things were understood perfectly...
Advanced leukaemia, 6 months.
Nothing was real. It must all be a dream. He was used to getting sick, but he never thought that he'd actually-
"Misono..." He was pulled back to reality by Lily's voice. Looking around the room, he saw that the doctor from was gone. She must have left as he was spacing out. Lily's arms wrapped around his body in a tight embrace - one of just a few times he'd seen his servamp cry. Mikuni came up to him too, hugging him from the other side. From the angle he was sat, it was impossible to make out the expression on his brother's face.
Misono quivered, biting down on his lip. He wanted to scream, to cry, to run away and return to earlier when he was walking through the sakura with Tetsu - anything but this. He felt sick. He didn't even notice that he was crying until he saw the tearstains left on Lily's shirt.
When he opened his mouth, he intended to say something reassuring, something brave, but the only words that seemed to come out were "I'm tired."