It was noon when he woke up. Still sleepy, dizzy, and with a pressure as terribly low as his mood. Kanba had always had a rather strong immune system, he wasn't used to feeling this horrible. For a moment he wondered whether being stuck in bed with a fever could compare, even if slightly, to what Himari had been going through. But it couldn't, of course it couldn't. He was a lowlife who would never amount to anything, after all; and resting was a delay he would have rather not allowed himself. He had a schedule to follow, things to take care of. Nevertheless, his everything had forced him to stay put.
Finding the slippers was the hardest challenge in months. Not only his eyes didn't immediately adjust to the light entering the room, causing his head to spin and the inside of his irises to burn as intensely as a thousand flames, but besides that the weird penguins had been playing with them again. He'd told those creatures countless times not to, and yet in the end it seemed they only understood what they wanted to. How human, wasn't it? However, the thought flickered and vanished when Kanba's feet welcomed the softness of the plush-like fabric. That was a very special pair of slippers. Shouma had them, too, except of a different color. Himari had bought those as presents.
Speaking of Shouma, though, he'd had to be in such a hurry that morning. Kanba realized it as soon as he entered the small living room, suitable only for three and empty with fewer. The TV was still turned on, something the younger sibling would hardly fail to notice in normal circumstances. He would start ranting about how much they paid for it, how bothersome it was to listen to gibberish while trying to cook, scold him for ero-shows the redhead wasn't even aware of. It was kind of funny, honestly. The way Shouma totally seemed the more responsible and mature of the two from an outsider's point of view. Kanba's secret was all for himself. Despite that, no chance he would've called it a burden. And if it was, then it had to be the most bittersweet of all, a personal Pandora's Box no one else was allowed to get ahold of. Pain, sadness, responsibility, happy moments, he wouldn't let any of them fly away. It wasn't like penguins could, anyway.
"Himari?" He turned to the kitchen, shouting with the hoarse voice of a febrile person. "Himari?" Again, no answer, no locks of bright hair rushing closer and hugging him from behind, no chimes to cheer him. Momentarily, it was as though he'd lost her once more. As if everything had been a sick pretense and the world had just stopped moving forever, the hands of the clock swallowing everything while shrinking the room around him, tictictic, tictictic, it's all over for good.
It wasn't until he brought his fingers to the left side of his chest, sending out a small shriek of ache, that he realized none of it was a dream. A nightmare, perhaps, quite much so. The realest one he'd ever had. But it'd been so long since he'd last given up on waking, he couldn't tell anymore. Were it a cage made of transparent glass, the cage was part of him just as much as he belonged to it, a poor birdie whose faults lied in his very own DNA.
Slowly reaching the fridge, he saw a note on it, carved in childish and cute small writing: Himari had gone do the shopping. "Christ", he muttered under his breath. It should've been his turn, and instead he was uselessly lazying around while Himari's life was constantly in danger. Grinding his teeth in a natural motion, his head seemed to spin even more; it would've been a dramatic scene if only his stomach hadn't rumbled loudly, echoing in the silence of the house, making him realize the urgency of grabbing the smallest bite. Kanba picked some cereals and a peeled fruit, then shifted back to the living room where the TV was still going on and on about idols he couldn't care less about.
His sister had used to want to be one. Those good old days in which she would try the most various poses, as though she was modeling for a magazine, tripping on her own feet more often than not. She would also wear their mother's clothing and pretend to be a famous actress performing both on-stage or among her fans, playing classy the whole time. Himari was good at singing. At dancing, at making you smile simply by looking at her, Himari was born a shining star. He had never had doubts. Himari was that rare kind of idol who didn't need to put up a show. Himari always understood everything and everyone, Himari always knew what to say and do. She could've gone a long way if the cruel God hadn't attempted to spoil her with his poisoned apple, because she was too beautiful for this world, a match even for him.
The spoon hit agaist the bowl and he noticed he'd ran out of cereals while spacing out. With a swift gesture he moved it away and grabbed the remote, but that was when his eyes met the screen and icy blue hair froze him on the spot. Double-H were staring back at him with the ever cheerful gaze he remembered so well, totally untainted by the countereffect of fate's robbery. It was the turn of his fists to be clenched. What sort of divine retribuition was that? If only he could've taken it all.
His sister's childhood friends had become a taboo since that day. At first, merely sometimes, one of them would mention Hikari and Hibari, with no haphazardness behind it. Every remark sounded as though it had been reharsed many, endless times. Like just talking about the past would turn it into the most effective wakey pinch and bring them back to the best of all possible worlds. This mantra had been stuck in Kanba's mind for ages now, since he heard it in school regarding he didn't know what literary work. All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds, that sure was a shitload of crap.
Before he could realize it, he'd switched off the TV, closing his eyes and breathing heavily the fresh air coming from outside the open window. That could make his illness worse for all he cared. Nothing would be enough to knock him off until he had obtained Oginome Ringo's diary. For Himari's sake.
And for his.
He had always been aware that the things you lose don't simply vanish into thin air. At least not every single one of them. Some are stolen by others and flaunted right in front of your face until you die. It's another form of punishment nobody can escape. And also Himari, she was always facing the fabulous max possibilities which had been unfairly taken away from her. And yet she never complained. To her, even being alive was bliss. She was the strongest person he'd met and the one true idol for Kanba, for Sho.
"I'm sorry, Himari. I can't get back what you've lost." He bit his lower lip, blinking at the midday sunlight shining in the distance. "But I will definitely... make sure you never lose anything again. Were I to lose myself."