This is the last chapter of Serendipity, and I wish to thank all the readers that stay tuned to this fic. Arigatou gozaimasu! ^_^

The next fic I will be writing will come out as soon as I finish Iridescence (hopefully, I will be able to do this within 3 chapters). The much-awaited 12 Vampires and an Onigiri.

For the meantime, enjoy the chapter, people! Thanks again!

Syaoran no hime

*********

Epilogue

*********

It was the day of Ayame's burial, and the entire Sohma family came, except for Akito, who Hatori said was too weak to attend the ceremony.

Tohru could hear the words of comfort from a lot of people – from Shigure, from Kagura, from Kyo – but somehow, she couldn't comprehend them. The only thing that kept on ringing in her mind mercilessly was that Ayame – her Aya-san – was dead. Gone. Never to come back.

She would never see his wickedly funny smiles again.

She would never hear his infectious laughter again.

She would never experience the times that they had together back then.

He was gone.

Her shoulders shook with grief. "Aya-san…"

She could still remember the shock of her life when Hatori called her up that afternoon, saying that Aya passed away. She vaguely remembered herself losing balance, and if not for Yuki's swift movement to catch her, she might have ended up in the floor.

"How could you do this to me?" she asked the gravestone before her. "W-Why didn't you tell me about your health?"

She couldn't blame Mine, because the maid told her that it was Aya who begged her not to tell her anymore about his condition, afraid to make her worry.

A disease that could have been easily treated, but Aya ignored, perhaps deliberately, said Hatori.

"He was sick long ago, but he was depressed. Instead of fighting the sickness off, he accepted it with open arms," said Hatori as he lit his cigarette. "He was sick even before you came along. He tried to save himself when you came, but then, it was too late. Tuberculosis is one sickness you must not play around with. It can kill you seriously."

"Depressed?" she asked.

Yuki looked down. He knew Ayame's reason for depression. It was his fault. He knew that with all his heart.

Hatori must have read the boy's mind. "It's no one's fault, but Ayame's alone."

"How can you say that?" asked Kagura, aghast.

"He did not have enough faith," said Hatori simply. "I remembered him calling me one time ago, that he had only learned to believe in God when he met Tohru, and in one way or another, was able to change the young girl's life. That was the only time that he believed in divine miracles that can touch people's lives, for the girl changed him too."

The doctor stood up. "It's beginning to rain. We better go."

Kagura knelt down beside Tohru. "Come on, you're going to be sick."

"I…don't care," she said quietly. "I…don't want to leave Aya-san alone. He doesn't want to be alone, and I promised that I would never leave him, no matter what."

"Tohru…" Kyo looked troubled. "Ayame's gone."

"No," said the girl quietly, but with fierce determination. "He's not gone. He's here, watching us."

"Tohru," said Shigure, kneeling beside her. "He is watching us alright, and he doesn't want to see you get sick, by staying here out in the rain." He smoothed her hair. "What if he gets mad at us for leaving you here, and suddenly comes back from his grave and spook us?"

"SHIGURE!!!" barked everyone.

"You pick the worst time to crack your corny jokes!" said Kagura, then looked down at Tohru, who didn't even react.

"Leave me alone," said Tohru. "I want to be alone."

Silence.

"I said, let me be!!!" wailed the girl, crying all over again.

The Sohmas looked at each other, then left her reluctantly.

Tohru started crying all over again. "Aya-san…you gave up on life so easily. How could you do this? Why? I told you before, you are my pillar of my strength. You're my hero! If you disappear, then I'll lose my will to live."

The rain was dropping down the grave, but strangely, Tohru could not feel the rain. She looked up and discovered that Yuki was holding out an umbrella, shielding her from the rain.

"I-I thought you left already," she said, rubbing her eyes.

His face remained blank. "How can I leave you, when you're looking like that?"

Tohru's eyes widened, as memories came back to her mind.

******

"Tohru, let's go," ordered their neighbor –she forgot the old woman's name – who was the only one kind enough to console her when her mother died.

She was now an orphan. Her father was dead years ago, and now, even her mother was gone. She didn't know if she had family. She didn't know where else to go. She was sure that she could not abuse her neighbor's kindness by living with her.

"I'll stay here…with my mom. You can leave me alone now," she told the woman.

Although reluctant, the woman respected the young girl's wish for privacy. She was left alone, staring with glassy eyes at the grave of her beloved mother.

"Now…I'm alone," she thought.

Suddenly, she heard footsteps behind her. She didn't bother to glance at the person. She was too tired, physically and emotionally.

"Hey!" greeted a cheerful voice.

When she didn't turned to the speaker, he knelt down beside her mother's grave and looked at her eye-to-eye. "Dear, your eyes are all puffy!"

She couldn't say anything.

"And you look quite hungry to me. Let's get some meat into your bones shall we?" he said, helping her up gently.

"Leave me alone."

The man's eyes softened. "How can I leave you, little girl, when you are looking like that?"

************

Yuki was already kneeling beside her, looking down at his brother's grave. "At the last moment of his life, he was still thinking about the welfare of others above his."

She couldn't think of anything to say.

"Why is it, that regrets always come too late?" he asked, himself particularly. "Why didn't I see how great he is early on? Why didn't I show my love to him before it's too late."

Tohru paused. "Yuki-kun!"

"Now, no matter how many times I tell him in front of his grave how much I love him…how lucky am I to have him for my elder brother…" A tear streaked down the boy's cheek.  "He won't hear me anymore."

She suddenly felt her pain lighten. Somehow, knowing that someone was crying with her…it calmed her because she felt that she had to be strong for the person crying with her.

"Honda-san…do you have any idea how much it hurts when you fail to express your love for someone simply because it's too late?" he asked, voice broken. "The person who had loved you since the beginning never had the chance to hear that he is loved back too, only silently." He clenched his fists. "Because I let pride overwhelm me."

"Yuki-kun…" She turned to him and touched his shoulder. "Aya can hear you, wherever he is right now. He is surely overjoyed by what he heard from you. He had been dreaming of the time that you will forgive him and love him again."

She looked up at the sky and tried to trace the laughing face of Ayame in the clouds above. She could imagine his trademark laugh, his dramatic gestures, his cheerful smiles…

She looked back at Yuki. "I love Aya-san very much, and I am sure that I will miss him greatly, but you know what? I just realized this moment that he left me a tangible memory of him."

He was speechless.

"He left me you," she said, eyes welling up with tears. "He was so kind to me, that even before he died, he wished to see me together with the person I love the most, aside from him."

Yuki's eyes suddenly welled up with tears. He then laid his head wearily on Tohru's shoulder, letting his tears of mixed bitterness and happiness be washed down by the rain mixed with Tohru's tears.

"I guess, he loved me too. Because he gave me you," he said at last, glad that he finally was able to speak his emotions out loud after bottling them inside him for so long.

"It was destiny…it was fate, wasn't it, Yuki-kun?" she whispered. "We never meant to fall in love…"

"Yet we did," he agreed, enjoying the warmth of her body.

"Thanks to the God of Serendipity," Tohru said, eyes softening.

Now she was not afraid of being alone, because she never was, and never would be.

If only she would believe in miracles of love.

******************

Tohru looked at what she had written in her journal, and noticed that there were streaks of tears in their pages.

"Oh, Aya-san, now I understand what serendipity is," she said. "Thank you for teaching me this word, its essence and all."

I was  never planning to look for a best friend, let alone a big brother.

But then, I found you.

I was never planning to fall in love.

But then, you helped me find him.

Finding good fortunes that you were never planning to seek for.

Being caught in the enigmatic and mysterious web of events fate weaves.

That is serendipity.

The end