A/N: slight AU. Almost all key plot points are the same. Except, guardians are in middle school, not elementary. I wanna say Ikuto is 3 years older than Tadase in this? Just makes me feel more comfortable lol. This is like snapshots on the major SC plot points involving Ikuto.
Explanation for what Hanahaki is will be in the notes at the end of the story!
Actually I really love hanahaki, so maybe I'll write a full story one day. But I'm not sure which pairing I'd choose….
Trigger warning: Character death, blood mention

~oOo~

Yellow Carnations: disappointment, rejection.

~oOo~

The first time Ikuto sees Tadase in three years, he knows it's all over.

He can see it in the boy's eyes, dark and intense. Gone is the time he would follow Ikuto around calling out "nii-san!" Gone too are the lazy days spent rough-housing in the yard and playing video games on the floor in front of the tv. When Ikuto returns, the only thing he can see in Tadase's eyes is pure hatred.

Ikuto didn't let himself get jerked around by his step-father as much as that asshole would like. But he was curious, anxious to check in on the boy who would have nothing to do with him, the same boy his step-father was desperately plotting against. And, in the end, he wouldn't mind it too much if he managed to secure the Embryo for himself.

He was watching the student council meeting. Abruptly, a cute girl with pink hair was approaching Tadase. Ikuto definitely wasn't blind; he knew what the look on his face meant. He sighed and jumped away from the tree he had been perched on.

He didn't see the yellow carnation petal that rested on the branch on which he'd stood.

~oOo~

As time went by, Ikuto grew more and more restless at the sight of the pink-haired girl. "Amu," as he called her, was getting aggressively close to Tadase. Despite rejecting her early on, Ikuto could see the younger boy gaining an increasing fondness for the girl.

He had found himself coughing more lately. Maybe he was developing asthma? And even though it wasn't warm enough yet, he was finding flower blossoms everywhere.

What a fool, he thought, again and again, when he realized he must've left the window open. Why else would he have awoken to a dozen small carnation buds littering his bed?

~oOo~

Ikuto never truly understood why Tadase had come to hate him. Sure, he had left without a word, gone for three long years without any contact at all, but he thought that sort of anger was something that should have been moved past by now. Whatever the reason may be, it seemed as though Tadase hadn't told Amu about it yet, because it appeared to him as if the girl was becoming quite fond of him. Just as he had seen it on her face when she spoke with Tadase, now he saw it on her face when she spoke with him as well.

But while Amu was sweet (and a surprisingly good fighter) Ikuto really didn't feel too much towards her at all.

But the nasty thought had struck him at some point, that if he was with Amu, then Tadase couldn't be.

He was so bitter. And it wasn't as though he wanted Tadase to be unhappy- but he couldn't help but feel just so frustrated and just so jealous.

Amu would rave about Tadase and Ikuto would roll his eyes and try to pretend that he was gagging at how sickeningly sweet the whole thing was, and not because his lungs had sprouted flowers that were now filling his throat.

~oOo~

It wasn't that serious, really.

Well, the coughing and gagging was a pain. And recently he was throwing up flower blossoms so frequently that his throat was raw and all torn up. And he did miss the days when the carnation petals were small and pure, but now they were large, whole blossoms at times, and they were forced up his throat as a massive, bloody mess.

He thought he was alone, he should've been alone.

"Ikuto?"

He froze, perched over the toilet with bloody saliva dripping down his chin. He couldn't hide it any longer, at least not from his sister.

He was ashamed to find a sense of solace in Utau's desperate embrace.

"Who is it? Amu?"

Of course she knew what Hanahaki was. It was rare enough to be nothing more than an old wives tale, a myth of the unrequited lungs that caused flowers to bloom within your lungs until they swallowed you whole, but in the age of the internet urban legends took on a new life.

He assured her it wasn't Amu, but he couldn't bear to tell her the truth. Eventually Utau dropped her questions, but the unspoken truth hung over Ikuto's head.

~oOo~

It was hard for Ikuto to keep up with his step-father's whims while operating with only half of his original lung capacity,

Ikuto wanted to run, but he had no money and nowhere to go. Utau's new place? No, he couldn't drag her back into this mess. His mother's family was tied up in Easter, his father's had never been in the picture.

Ikuto thought of Tadase, but not only did the boy absolutely hate him, but his parents' would surely rather leave him to die than have him in their house again.

Despite himself, Ikuto's chest started aching, he could feel the blossoms beginning to rise up his throat.

It was harder for him to get by, now, a combination of the disease and his fatigue from being worked to the bone by his step-father, and before he knew it he was blacking out in the middle of the park.

Was this where it was going to end?

When he came to, he was lying in a too pink bed in a too pink room. Yoru was nestled up between 4 very familiar eggs.

~oOo~

Amu's house was safe from Easter, but it presented its own set of challenges. It was bad enough stumbling across Amu's (rather stalker-esque) pictures of Tadase with little warning, but the worst part was his confinement to the room, which meant he was unable to go to the bathroom as he pleased.

Ikuto savored the times Amu and her sister were at school and her mother stepped out- he'd rush into the bathroom as if his life depended on it.

In the times he couldn't make it to the bathroom, Yoru was incredibly helpful- he'd do his best to bring water. Methodically, Ikuto would give way to the flowers in his throat, rinse the blood off of them, then let them loose out the window. If Amu suddenly noticed an excess of carnation petals around their house, he was thankful she didn't say anything.

~oOo~

"I like you!"

Ikuto knew it was true, so why did his body react so violently to this declaration, as if it were new information? He was stuck on the floor of Amu's closest as the person he loved confessed their love to another. He couldn't escape the sound ringing in his ears, or the flowers poking at his throat.

Ikuto grabbed one of the purses Amu had stuffed in the closet in her haste to clean up. He'd buy her a new one if he had to, whatever, he didn't care.

It was hard to be quiet, but Ikuto did his best to heave the flowers up with minimal sound. Normally he hated the sound of his own coughs, a cruel reminder of both his unrequited love and his fate, doomed to suffocate under the force of the flowers that bloomed within him, but now he desperately wished to hear his voice, his cough, the flush of a toilet, anything the drown out the conversation from outside.

~oOo~

Ikuto left.

He was dying anyway, wouldn't it be better to do so on his step-father's watch than to get Amu and her family involved in this mess?

And this way, he was never going to see Tadase again.

Maybe the flowers would wilt?

He felt a prickle in his throat and almost laughed.

As if they would wilt now, after everything.

No, that would be much too easy.

~oOo~

He was tired. He didn't want his step-father to find out about his disease- just another thing he could use against him- but it had come to the point where he really could hide it no longer, now that he had been taken back to Easter's facility again.

The female scientist whose name Ikuto couldn't ever remember came in one day, a sad look on her face.

"I saw but… I'm not going to tell anyone. It's late, isn't it? You should have a rest."

Ikuto thought of Tadase, and was useless to stop the flowers bubbling up through his lips. But the woman just cleaned up the mess, quietly, rushing as she did so, before stepping out of the room.

She looked back over her shoulder before closing the door. Her eyes were full of pity.

Ikuto hated to be pitied, but he couldn't really blame her. He'd probably pity himself too.

~oOo~

Ikuto wasn't quite sure where he was or how he'd gotten there. It was all a blur, an impenetrable fog. All he could remember was his father's violin, pale yellow carnations tinged with red, and Tadase Tadase Tadase.

There were faint voiced in the background, shapes in the felt like he was suffocating, a pressure in his throat.

Where was he?

From the darkness,the only words that echoed in his brain were his name. Tadase, Tadase.

Ikuto suddenly became aware of the fact that he was moving, running. There was a scythe in his hand. His body moved forward, running, until a face filled his vision.

He was aware again. He was on the roof of a tall building, holding a scythe that didn't belong with Black Lynx. Tadase's friends were there, with Tadase standing at the front of the group, stretching his arms to shield the others.

No.

The scythe clattered to the floor and Ikuto followed it, collapsing on his knees.

He was coughing, heaving dozens of flowers from his mouth. A sea of yellow carnations surrounding him, burying him in the feeling of rejection.

"Ikuto?!" Tadase was running towards him, panic on his face.

"I-" Ikuto couldn't speak, his throat was full. His lungs burned, desperate for air, as they tore from the inside out.

Tadase's face was blurry, tears rolling down his cheeks. At least the last thing Ikuto would see was his face.

Ikuto could hear a faint voice echoing in his head of a child, young and full of energy, not yet filled with anger "Nii-san!"

A tear ran down Ikuto's cheek. He wanted to speak but the words wouldn't come out- his throat was filled with the yellow carnations that Tadase had bestowed upon him.

As the world faded to black, he didn't hear Tadase's words.

"I'm sorry, Ikuto."

A/N: Hanahaki (from Wikipedia): a fictional disease where the victim of unrequited or one-sided love begins to vomit or cough up the petals and flowers of a flowering plant growing in their lungs, which will eventually grow large enough to render breathing impossible if left untreated. Hanahaki can be cured through surgical removal of the plants' roots, but this excision also has the effect of removing the patient's capacity for romantic love. It may also erase the patient's feelings for and memories of the enamored. It can also be cured by the reciprocation of the victim's feelings.

Lmao i actually wrote this like 2 years ago but never typed it up lol i suck.
I'm trying to get back to writing if only because of how useless I feel lately.
I definitely don't feel like this is my best, but I don't care enough about it to do hard revision on it. I'll probably explore this theme more someday...
Chapter 3 of My Everything is coming, I promise you.
Also, why TF can you not just put blank spaces between paragraphs on ffnet? ughhhhh.