His name is Hikaru Hitachiin.
He has red-orange hair and dark amber eyes. He wears the Ouran Academy uniform proudly, with style, and both boys and girls alike turn in his direction when he walks down the halls. His homeroom class is 1-A and he sits to the left of Haruhi Fujioka. He is easy-going, he likes jokes, he excels in Math, he struggles with History, he has a short temper, and may or may not have started to develop romantic feelings for Haruhi—
He is a Host. My best friend. My brother. My twin.
His name is Hikaru Hitachiin.
And he is currently in a coma.
His name is Hikaru Hitachiin and he makes me pick up the phone.
The ringing interrupts our sleep. It blares on and on, echoing in our bedroom that would otherwise be silent. Hikaru doesn’t bother to open his eyes; he turns to his side, raises the blanket above his head, and in a half-muffled, half-asleep voice, he tells me, “You answer it, Kaoru.”
Rolling over, I groan. “Why can’t you get it…”
“It’s too early,” he mutters. “Plus, it’s your phone that’s ringing.”
I’m fighting a losing argument with the strength that I just don’t have right now. I sit up anyway, even though I also want a few more minutes of sleep. Rubbing my eyes, I glance quickly at the clock—what idiot calls someone at six in the morning on a Saturday?—and then look down at the caller identification flashing on the screen of the phone.
Of course. Tamaki.
“Boss,” I start, mumbling into the phone with my eyes still half closed, forcing myself to stay awake, “whatever it is, can we talk about this—”
“Ah, Kaoru!” I’m cut off by the blonde’s overly cheerful voice screaming in my ear. It’s honestly too early to deal with this and I have to pull the phone away from my ear so my head doesn’t start pounding. “I see you were still sleeping. No, no; that won’t do. You need to get ready now! We’re going to the beach. Kyoya’s car will be at your house to pick you up in twenty minutes!”
And he hangs up before I can even process what he said.
I set the phone down and sigh. “Hikaru, wake up,” I say, shaking him gently, even though I’m nowhere near awake myself. “Tamaki called and it seems like we’re going to the beach in twenty minutes.”
Hikaru groans and sits up slowly. “Why doesn’t he just tell us about these trips beforehand?
But when Tamaki comes twenty minutes later, just like he said he would, we’re all changed and ready despite our initial complaints, and we get in the limo, no questions asked.
His name is Hikaru Hitachiin and, not surprisingly, the first thing he does when we arrive at the beach is try to force a swimsuit onto Haruhi.
It’s become routine, really, since both of us know that there’s no way the brown-haired girl would willingly agree to this. But it’s amusing to watch the expression on her face turn to one of disgust and terror; it’s fun to get a reaction out of her. And, after all, us Hitachiins are all about fun. Hikaru holds one side of the pink, frilly swimsuit while I take the other side in my hands and together, we shove the article of clothing in front of the poor girl’s face. The swimsuit is girly and much too revealing for Haruhi’s tastes—we know that. And it’s exactly why we chose it.
“Haruhi,” we chorus, chasing after her when she tries to escape, “we have the perfect outfit for you!”
She speeds up, pumping her arms to run faster, emitting short, oxygen-deprived breaths. Our laughter echoes behind her, knowing that she’s not exactly the most athletic person and that it won’t take much time or effort to catch up to her. We’re running along the coast of the beach, sand digging into our bare feet and Haruhi’s sandals, and our laughter increases when we watch her almost trip on the moist sand.
Soon, Tamaki joins in our chase, coming after Hikaru and me, shouting at us to stop harassing his innocent daughter. This only makes us laugh harder and with a quick glance towards each other, our grin turns mischievous, our attention now directed at the blond.
“You’re probably secretly hoping that Haruhi would put on the swimsuit yourself, pervert!” My brother calls back to him, knowing that he would strike a nerve.
“Yeah, why don’t you share all your fantasies with us, Boss?” I add, and we wave the pink swimsuit in the air just to taunt him.
With that comment, Tamaki gets riled up even more, his entire face turning a dark shade of red in the process. “N-no way! I would never corrupt my precious daughter like that! Give me the swimsuit right now, you evil doppelgangers!”
As we run, obviously choosing not to oblige to the blonde’s demand, we turn our heads back every once in a while to send Tamaki a mocking face. None of us are really paying attention to where we’re going, already having gone a long way from the cottage Kyoya rented, but just up ahead, no more than ten metres in the direction we were headed, I can see it.
It: the thing that started it all.
It is just a ledge in the middle of the beach, a step half buried within the yellow sand, made out of wood. It is completely and utterly useless, leading nowhere and serving no purpose whatsoever, and definitely avoidable. It, essentially, is harmless. Or so I had thought.
I see the ledge and I take a moment to step around it—easy. I look over at Hikaru, wanting to joke about who would even think of placing a step here, in the middle of a beach, of all places.
But Hikaru has his head turned, mouth stretched, eyes crossed, still focused on enraging Tamaki.
It’s funny how everyone thinks that the two of us can communicate telepathically, because in a crucial moment, in a seriously dangerous moment, I can’t get my twin to turn around and warn him about the ledge no matter how much I’m panicking and begging and pleading for him to pay attention to the floor in front of him in my head. And my throat is suddenly very dry, my mouth a block of sandpaper—ha—and the laughter from before dies out completely, leaving me empty. Empty of incomplete thoughts struggling to form in my mind and empty of words to express them with.
Five more steps until Hikaru approaches the ledge. Four more steps until his feet make contact with the wood. Three now. Two.
His name is Hikaru Hitachiin and he doesn’t stop.
The effect is immediate. The sand is slippery and the wood is smooth.
There is a rock on the other side, waiting. It’s hard and rough and sharp—and it’s just close enough that my brother, a shocked expression on his face, lands on it with a thud, his head coming into direct contact with stone. He slides off—almost bounces off—and rolls onto the sand, his body now limp. He doesn’t move. He is still. Lifeless.
My mouth is open, eyes wide with shock and dread and disbelief and fear. My arm is outstretched: a futile attempt to catch my brother before he falls. I rush over to him, my heart pounding like crazy against my chest, and my legs give away almost immediately. Turning Hikaru over so that he’s lying on his back, I let out a gasp that almost turns into a sob, when I see blood wounds and dark, sand-contaminated, red liquid flowing down the sides of his forehead.
Without a handkerchief or tissue, I use my hand to dab away at the blood. Upon my touch, the sticky warm liquid causes my head to start pounding and my eyes suddenly have trouble focusing. I know I have to get it together, that I have to apply pressure to the wound to stop any more blood from flowing out, but I’m shaking and I can just barely stop myself from hyperventilating and I’m scared that if I do anything else to him, he’ll just break apart even more.
“Hikaru,” I sob, unable to stop the tears from flowing down my cheeks. I take him by the shoulders and shake him gently, hands trembling, feeling light-headed, as if I might pass out any second. His face is pale and his skin is starting to turn cold. I watch the rising and falling action of his chest to reassure myself that he’s still breathing, that he’s still alive. Alive, but just barely hanging on. “Hikaru.”
This isn’t the first time that my brother falls and gets hurt to the point of excessive bleeding.
But this is the first time that, when I call his name, he doesn’t wake up.
His name is Hikaru Hitachiin and I am not allowed to follow him into the emergency room of the local hospital.
Sometime between when the accident took place and when I started bawling like a five-year-old who had his toy taken away, Tamaki had called Kyoya, who immediately sent a car over to our location and took Hikaru away from my hands. I know: I’m not a doctor, I’m even a trainee of any kind; I am just the sibling who happened to survive, the one who got lucky. But even so, I didn’t want to let them take my brother away from me. I wanted him with me because if he gets sent to the hospital, it will mean that my fears of just how bad his injuries really are will be confirmed.
It takes the entire car ride to the hospital for me to stop shaking.
When we arrive, the medics immediately get to work, pushing Hikaru on a gurney into the dimly lit room down the hall. Blood no longer flows from the cuts on his forehead, but he is noticeably paler than before and I don’t need to hold his hand to know that they are ice cold. If I’m not looking closely, I would even say that he isn’t breathing. If I’m not looking closely, I would even say that he is already dead.
It isn’t until I take a step into the emergency room that one of the nurses places her hand on my shoulder gently, her expression soft and full of sympathy when she says, “I’m sorry, sir, but you have to wait outside.”
It takes a while for the sentence to register in my head. I stare at her blankly, because she must be talking to someone else. There is no way she is addressing me. I always go where Hikaru goes, no matter where it is. I followed after him when he ran away from home once at the age of eight and I followed after him even when he got mad at me and told me he never wanted to talk to me again at the age of ten. I have always gone after Hikaru regardless of the situation and I plan on following just a few steps behind him until we die—and Hikaru is not dead yet. He’s not.
But this time, I find myself giving the nurse a curt, stiff nod as I step back. I watch the door close shut in front of me and all of a sudden, I feel unbalanced, disorientated, dizzy. My head is light when I finally find a bench to sit on. I barely even notice when the other members of the Host Club come to join me, each of their expressions grim.
I drop my head in my hands, wanting to cry but already at a point far beyond tears. It takes Tamaki’s hand on my own for me to realize that I’m pulling my own hair out, loose strands of red-orange curls—the same colour as Hikaru’s—falling to the floor.
But wait—Tamaki? A voice in my head resonates, leaving behind a slight headache. Isn’t this whole thing his fault to begin with?
That’s right—if he hadn’t been chasing us, then Hikaru wouldn’t have been distracted and he could’ve easily avoided the wooden ledge. If he hadn’t been chasing us, Hikaru would’ve been facing forward instead of turning back to make faces. Suddenly, anger courses through me, momentarily replacing my grief. I look up for a second to glare at Tamaki. And Haruhi, I swing my head to the other side, eyes landing on a certain scholarship student, if Haruhi hadn’t so stubbornly refused to put on the swimsuit, none of this would’ve even started.
But where did that leave me? After all, I had seen the stupid, useless ledge sticking out of the sand, just waiting to trip an unsuspecting victim. I had seen it and stepped aside to avoid it, only thinking about myself.
I had seen it, and yet, I failed to warn Hikaru.
On top of that, I thought that he saw the ledge too. I thought that, because we were twins, he would know what I knew. I cursed softly. Even though I knew better than anyone that although we were twins, we couldn’t actually read each other’s minds or send messages telepathically, I still believed that my brother would be okay because I had seen the threat.
Head buried deep in my hands, I don’t look up until I feel a weight on my lap. Usa-chan. Out of everyone here, it is Hunny who chooses to speak up and support me when I’m about to break down on the inside.
“It’s not your fault, Kaoru.”
He hands me the rabbit on cue, as if he knows the inner turmoil I am in, and I hug the stuffed animal tightly against my chest. Breathing becomes a little easier. The tension in the atmosphere dissolves. No more words are exchanged. The six of us sit there on the bench until the sun sets, painting a gloomy dark blue colour across the sky, and the hospital closes for the day.
His name is Hikaru Hitachiin and last night was the first time I went to bed without him by my side.
In the morning, I wake up to complete and utter silence. Usually, sunlight leaks through the curtains between the soft sounds of Hikaru’s breathing and the shuffling of blankets. Usually, without even having to open my eyes, I knew that my brother was there, body sprawled out on the other side of the bed. Today, however, the memories from yesterday are reinforced when I reach over instinctively and find my hand landing on nothing but empty space.
Hikaru is gone.
Kyoya calls a few minutes later when I am in a trance, trying—hoping—to believe that everything up until now is just all a bad dream. When the ringing doesn’t stop (and there is no Hikaru to nag me about picking up the phone), I take the initiative myself and answer it reluctantly, if just to relinquish in the silence a little longer.
“Kaoru, come to the hospital.” The Ootori’s voice is grave, like sandpaper, like he is more affected by all this than I am. Ha. It takes me a few long, silent seconds to realize that Kyoya is not calling to deliver happy news.
I almost drop the phone, but I manage to choke out a sentence saying that I’ll be there as fast as I can. Clicking the phone off, I set it down on the nightstand beside me with shaking fingers. For some reason, I had expected Hikaru to recover within a day, but of course, that is simply the best possible scenario. Something had happened to Hikaru overnight. Something bad. Something worse than the injuries he obtained yesterday.
My heart clenches.
Hikaru is gone.
The thought comes unwelcomed, piercing my entire body with a sharp pain that is a constant reminder of my brother’s loss—my loss. Hikaru is gone, I repeat to myself bitterly, regretfully, not wanting to believe it but knowing deep down that Hikaru is hurt far more than I had initially thought.
It takes me too long to get out of bed.
His name is Hikaru Hitachiin and he already looks dead.
He lies on the white sheets of the hospital bed, eyes closed, arms still by his sides, unmoving, with about a million cords and medical equipment I can’t even begin to name hooked up to various places on his body. His face seems almost peaceful and I can feel a weight inside my chest because there is no way that he can be happy in his current condition.
The entire Host Club is here, standing grimly around the hospital bed, around my brother’s living corpse. The monitor in the room that measures Hikaru’s heartbeats displays a slower than average beating rate and I can’t help but wonder how long his weak heart will last, until the steady line on the screen will only travel horizontally—until his heart stops beating altogether. I’m suddenly aware of how quickly my own heart is beating. Maybe I’m living for Hikaru too now.
I’m not ready for that yet. There is still hope, a part of me wants so badly to believe.
I look over at the doctor who is standing by the door, waiting politely and letting us take our time. My mouth is dry, but I open it anyway, having to ask and needing to know the answer.
“When—when will he wake up?” My voice is so soft that even I’m not sure if I actually spoke the words aloud. “How long will his recovery take?”
But I notice that the doctor presses her lips into a thin line and I immediately brace myself for the bad news that is to come.
“I’m not sure.”
Nine letters. Three words. How many times have those words and words carrying even graver news come out of this doctor’s mouth? How many times has she had patients who were so close to death that they were practically embracing it? In the end, it really doesn’t matter because I can barely even wrap my head around those three simple words. How can she not know? She’s a doctor! This is her job! If she doesn’t know, then who else am I supposed to turn to?
But I don’t let my anger show; I know I am being irrational after seeing Hikaru in such a critical condition. Instead, I weakly ask, “What do you mean?”
And I am not, and never will have been, prepared for her reply.
“Hikaru,” the nurse says softly, “is in a coma.”
I understand why the doctor said she doesn’t know when Hikaru will wake up now.
Because he might not wake up at all anymore.
His name is Hikaru Hitachiin and he doesn’t come to school the next day.
Of course he doesn’t. How can he when he’s stuck in a hospital bed, barely clinging onto life? How can he when he can’t even do something as simple as opening his eyes?
Haruhi sends me a small, tentative smile when I walk into the classroom alone, head down to avoid the looks of confusion and bewilderment, to avoid having to answer the questions that are sure to be directed at me during the next fifty minutes: Where is Hikaru? Why are you alone? What happened? And I won’t be able to answer because my brother is currently staying at the hospital a few streets away and I’m not allowed to stay with him and, damn it, he’s in a coma.
(He is a living soul in a dead shell.)
I snap out of it and jerk my head up to the front of the classroom when the teacher calls my name. “Is Hikaru absent today?” He asks, equally as surprised as everyone else. I know that everyone is thinking, no way, that Hikaru and I are inseparable, that it’s impossible for one twin to be here when the other is not. But all I can think about is how it’s not fair that one twin got hurt and ended up being transported unconscious to the emergency room when the other avoided the danger so easily. It isn’t fair that Hikaru has to suffer.
The doctors called it anoxic brain injury, a fancy term meaning that there was a lack of oxygen getting to Hikaru’s brain, causing his brain cells to die and him to go unconscious. It is usually triggered by drowning, cardiac arrest, drug overdose, or brain injury.
Brain injury—just like the case with Hikaru.
I am more than grateful when Haruhi answers the teacher for me. “Hikaru isn’t here today,” she replies smoothly, responding in a way that doesn’t give away anything. And while I know that I should thank her, I can only look down and think about the scholarship student’s choice of words.
“Hikaru isn’t here today.”
And the unspoken words: Hikaru might not be here ever again.
The others don’t really mention it, but even I know that there are only two possible outcomes for a person who is in a coma: they either wake up or they don’t. They either live—or they die.
It’s hard not to think about the worst case scenario. And it’s all too easy to imagine myself getting a call from Kyoya, telling me to come to the hospital just like last time, saying that Hikaru’s heartbeat has stopped. It’s too easy to imagine myself running to the hospital, out of breath, visibly shaking, and opening the door to the emergency room only to find a corpse that is—was—my brother.
The worst thing that I imagine is that when it all ends, when Hikaru—God forbid—dies, I won’t be there with him. He will die all alone in a blindingly white room with no other human beings—just machinery. Machinery that couldn’t save him.
When school ends, I am still going through all the what-ifs in my head. I have barely spoken a word to anyone today and the only reason I find myself going to the Host Club after school is because of habit. Today is the first time I walk up the stairs by myself, without Hikaru.
I enter the club room and I’m greeting with the familiar rosy atmosphere just like any other day as the other members interact with guests with their usual exotic cosplays. The urge I have to scream is difficult to suppress when I see everyone laughing and smiling like always, as if the incident that happened at the beach never took place. As if they aren’t currently missing a member. And I just don’t get it; how can they continue on as normal? Why are they all so… happy?
A few minutes later, Kyoya is the first to notice my arrival. He walks over to me and gestures to the back of the room. “You have guests, Kaoru. I couldn’t cancel because of the short notice, but do you think you can still host alone without Hikaru?”
His words float around in my mind. Without Hikaru. Alone.
No. Definitely not. I definitely cannot host without Hikaru. But then an idea comes to mind and I realize that I need to do this.
I notice the slightest raise of Kyoya’s eyebrows but he steps aside without any questions and I make my way toward my customers. I keep my posture straight, confident, and hide my shaking hands in my pockets. The girls immediately look up upon my arrival and the one closest to me speaks up, voicing everyone’s thoughts. “Eh?” She glances around. “Where’s your brother?”
She doesn’t mention any names because even after visiting the Host Club for so long, I know that she still can’t distinguish which twin I am. None of them can.
I send a practiced smile in their direction and sit down on the couch beside the girls. “Kaoru’s not feeling very well today,” I tell them. “He may not be coming for a few days.”
Next, just as I expected, the girls get frantic and start throwing a bunch of questions at me: What happened to Kaoru? Is he alright? You must get so lonely without your brother! Should we make some snacks to help him get better? How are you going to host without Kaoru? And so on. Pretending to be Hikaru and using my own name as the victim makes it easier to imagine what would’ve happened if I had taken Hikaru’s place at the hospital. It would be much easier to accept if I had been the one to fall into a coma instead of Hikaru, and even if it’s only for a few minutes, I can pretend that the reality I created is in fact real with the help of the Host Club’s customers.
It’s not hard to act like Hikaru and it’s especially easy when I know all his habits and when these girls are so oblivious to the differences between my brother and me. It’s effortless for me to refer to myself in third person. Breathing becomes a little easier. The air around me loosens and I’m interacting with people just like before. I get into the act.
For a second, I almost believe that I am Hikaru and that Kaoru is the one in a coma.
But my fantasy shatters when Kyoya calls me over, excusing me from my guests, and saying that he has something he needs to discuss with me.
I stand in front of him, frowning at the fact that he is taking away a rare happy moment from me. “What is it?” I ask in a cold tone. I know Kyoya doesn’t deserve this attitude from me; Kyoya is always the one who remains down-to-earth when the rest of us are off doing weird and whacky things. Kyoya is the calm and collected one—the one who always breaks the bad news to me, the one who takes on the hardest jobs. I know all of that, but he ruined my fantasy. I don’t care.
“You’re lying to the guests,” he replies.
I can feel a flame burning inside of me. “So? Who cares?” I demand, my voice rising higher and higher with each syllable. I gesture towards the girls behind me sharply. “It’s not like they can tell us apart. They sure as hell don’t care! They aren’t the ones who are currently in a c—“
The word is cut short as I’m flung back against the wall, Kyoya’s firm hands placed roughly on my shoulders. He’s looking at me sternly, unwavering, and for a moment, I’m too shocked to react. People are starting to stare at us now, we are causing a scene, but for once, the Ootori doesn’t seem to care.
“Be careful with what you say, Kaoru,” He hisses, voice a loud whisper with intentional emphasis on my name. To make sure that I know who I am and to make sure that I know who I’m not. He continues, gentler, at a volume that only I can hear, “You need to calm down. Lying to yourself isn’t how you should deal with this. Your brother is badly hurt, he’s unconscious, his heart is weak, he might not be able to come home for a while—but he’s alive.”
When he’s done, when I’ve listened to the most that I can, and when my ears are ringing from everything he’s said, I shove him away furiously and turn around. I stomp out the room, slamming the door behind me.
I am not Hikaru; I know that. I am not the one lying unconscious in a hospital bed. I am not the one who hit his head on a rock and fell limp to the ground.
Tears start to form in my eyes once I get into the hallway. My anger transforms into sadness and grief. Kyoya was not the one at fault, just as I was not the one who slipped on the ledge in the sand. His words echo loudly in my head. Everything he said is right.
My brother is the one in a coma.
And life goes on.
His name is Hikaru Hitachiin and it’s been six months since the accident.
For six months, I have not heard a single word come out of my brother’s mouth; I have not seen any expression on my brother’s used-to-be lively face except the look of eerie peacefulness that has taken over his features. For six months, he has stayed in the same room as doctors came and went, busying themselves with new patients who required more attention.
For six months, Hikaru has remained unmoving, unfeeling, impossibly lifeless.
It has gotten to the point where I’m not even sure whether there is any hope left anymore. Half a year is a long time for someone to recover; half a year is more than enough time for someone to die.
At home, I live through the days by either huddling myself in a corner or busying myself with school projects, learning to cook, going out on jogs—anything to prevent my mind from wandering to thoughts about Hikaru.
When I get a call from Kyoya one day, I almost don’t bother picking it up. A call from Kyoya almost always means bad news and all I can think about is no. I don’t want to hear this. Haven’t I been through enough? Hasn’t Hikaru gone through enough? Don’t take anything else away from us. No more, no more, please, no more…
My head is pounding, my ears are ringing, my eyesight is blurry and unfocused. I resist the urge to smash my phone on the floor. Knowing full well that I will most likely regret this decision, I lift a finger to answer the call and press the phone against my ear. When Kyoya speaks, his deep monotone voice cuts through all my thoughts, shattering any doubts I have with only two words.
And before I know it, I am running. Down the stairs of the mansion I live in that suddenly seem far too big than necessary, out the door of the golden gates my family is so proud of, onto the road that leads me to the hospital where Hikaru is staying. Running faster than I ever had in my entire life. The hospital is only a few streets away from my house and I must have gotten there in less than ten minutes time. Panting, I fling open the door of the emergency room and my eyes swivel around the room until they land on a figure to the left. There, my brother has his eyes open for the first time in six months and there, he stares back at me, sitting upright on his bed.
Making my way over to him, my breaths even and the moment finally registers in my head, tears prickling the corners of my eyes as I kneel down next to Hikaru. I vaguely notice Kyoya standing beside me, though I don't know when he came into the room or if he had been here all along; all my attention is focused on the boy in front of me—the boy with the familiar red-orange hair and auburn eyes. I reach out to touch him, to hold him, to embrace him for the first time in months, I notice that when I make contact, he flinches just slightly.
Confused, I look up at him, directly into the eyes of a stranger. In words that almost sound cold, I hear him ask, in the same voice I so longed to hear, "Who are you?"
His name is Hikaru Hitachiin—and we all know him.
He is the one who was there with me since the very beginning. He is the one who dressed up as a girl alongside me when our mother forced her frilly costumes onto us in elementary school, the one who endured through our mushroom-cut hairstyle phase in middle school, the one who joined the Host Club with me in high school. He is an important friend to all of us, someone we can’t forget.
We all know Hikaru, but he doesn’t know us—not anymore.
The doctors say that Hikaru waking up is a miracle in itself. The doctors say that there is a high chance that he will recover completely within a couple of months.
The doctors say a lot of things, but the reality of it is that Hikaru currently has amnesia.
The nurse who was watching over us pulls me aside to explain his condition further detail. She is holding a clipboard tightly to her chest, brown hair tied into a loose bun, eyes tired, but she stands tall, back straight, looking directly into my eyes. And in an authoritative but kind voice, she confirms my worst fears: “Hikaru has Psychogenetic Amnesia.”
She continues, “He will have difficulty remembering events prior to when he fell unconscious.”
Meaning that he has forgotten everything that happened up to the coma. He has forgotten his entire life.
My head is pounding, my knees are weak, I can feel my lips trembling, but I force myself to ask the question anyway. “Will… will he recover?” My voice wavers and I have to bite on my tongue to stop a whimper from escaping.
The nurse’s tone is sympathetic and I can only wonder how many times she has informed past victims that their loved ones lost their memory—or worse. “Amnesia in general is extremely unpredictable; there have been lots of patients who have made a full, astonishing recovery after being diagnosed with amnesia. However, specific cases depend on the person. Recovery can take only a few hours or it can take several years.”
Now, back at my previous spot beside Hikaru’s bed, I take a moment to inhale deeply and not break down right there and then. Yes, Hikaru has woken up. Yes, his eyes are open and his face has regained its original colour and his heart is beating at a regular pace and he is alive—but at what cost? He no longer remembers anything—not his family; not the one maid who managed to steal from the Hitachiin vault when we were in elementary school, escaping on a ladder with enough money to live a comfortable life without ever working again; not any of the eccentric activities we participated in as members of the Host Club; nothing.
I am hyperventilating, I realize. My entire body is shaking and everything I look at is nothing more than a blurry outline. I feel a hand on my shoulder—a sign of comfort and a warning to calm down and keep my composure in front of my brother, who is undoubtedly in a worse condition than I am—from Kyoya. “Kaoru,” he says, “breathe.”
I inhale, my breath shaky. I bite back the tears burning the corners of my eyes; I’ve cried enough these past six months. Shutting my eyes and counting to ten slowly in my head, I force myself to look at the situation through a different perspective. My brother—my twin—is currently sitting up on the hospital bed, staring at me with curious, disorientated amber orbs. His overall facial expression is neutral, but I can tell that he is scared and wary by the way his hands are twitching just slightly, a gesture so small that it’s barely noticeable.
I think about the present state of things through Hikaru’s eyes. He has just woken up, with no memories whatsoever, and is greeted by a stranger at the side of his bed. He is more than a little afraid and very much alive.
Hikaru is alive and although he has amnesia, I’m not ready to give up on him just yet.
The next few months to come will be hard for the both of us as Hikaru adjusts to a world that he is no longer familiar with. It will be frustrating, it will be tiring, and it will be possibly the most heart wrenchingly stressful months of our lives—but Hikaru is alive and breathing. He’s survived a fall on his head and woken up from a six month long coma.
It’s not the end of the world.
In fact, I realize as my eyes brighten up and something close to a smile begins to form on my face, it’s a new beginning.
Clasping his hands in my own, I relish in his warmth before taking a deep breath, looking straight into his cloudy, unsure eyes, and opening my mouth to speak directly to my brother for the first time in six months. My voice is steady this time. I answer his question—“Who are you?”—with one simple sentence.
“I am Kaoru Hitachiin, and you—your name is Hikaru Hitachiin.”
And in that moment, after I say those words, I watch as pure relief spreads throughout my brother’s body. I hug him tight, not even allowing the slightest distance to come between us anymore.
In the end, the good outweighs the bad.
His name is Hikaru. My name is Kaoru. We are both Hitachiins with the same red-orange hair and amber-coloured eyes. We attend school at Ouran Academy and sit on both sides of Haruhi Fujioka in class 1-A. We enjoy pulling pranks to get a good laugh; we can finish each other’s sentences and know what the other person is thinking, but we are not telepathic; we are known for our infamous Brotherly Love act, though if we are to be completely honest, we will tell you that it isn’t entirely an act—
We are Hosts. Best friends. Brothers. Twins.
Our names are Hikaru and Kaoru Hitachiin.
And most importantly, we’re alive.