Tohru looked up from her knitting the second she heard the door open. Her smile at seeing her husband approach her was tempered slightly as his expression was no less somber as when they had arrived.

"Are you ready?" he asked quietly.

"Just one moment." She put her knitting in her large bag, mentally promising to fix her mistakes at the first opportunity. She took his offered hand and stood up. "All right, let's go."

When they got to the street, she held onto his arm as he started walking towards the train station. "Kyo? We don't have to go straight back."

"Master is expecting us…"

"I talked to him before. He's happy looking after Hajime for the rest of the day. If you don't mind, maybe we could go on a date?"

"I don't think I'll be good company."

"You're the best company."

"Did you have something in mind?"

Tohru smiled. "Yes! There's a shrine near here that I've never been to before."

"Going on a date to a shrine? Are we that old already?"

She patiently took his hand in hers and led him.

Kyo vaguely remembered passing by the shrine in question before. It wasn't all that far from the dojo where he'd grown up. He'd never thought of actually visiting it: he wasn't particularly interested in gods, and as far as ritual was concerned, that's what martial arts was for. Tohru liked making a shrine visit for the new year, and one annual visit was typically enough as far as he was concerned.

As it was the early afternoon of a weekday, the shrine was virtually empty. They purified their hands in companionable silence.

As they ascended the steps to the shrine, Kyo looked in his pocket for change. Tohru took his hand and dropped some coins in it. He looked down to see four ten-yen and one five-yen coins. Forty-five yen: shijugo en, which sounded like shiju goen: 'constant good fortune.' For the first time since leaving the office he smiled. 'That's so like her,' he thought.

They cast in their respective offerings, rang the bell, and prayed. 'If any gods are listening-don't let me worry her, okay?' He was a realist, but given the opportunity, it wouldn't hurt to try.

As they descended the stairs from the shrine proper, Tohru tugged at his jacket and pointed at a bench. They sat down, and Tohru took one of his hands between hers. "How did it go?"

Kyo looked away from her. "Post-traumatic stress disorder, she thinks. Sorry."

"Someone wise once told me 'Don't apologize for somethin' that's not your fault.'"

"Yeah. Anyway, we talked a long time. I told her about a lot of stuff. I talked about our mothers. I didn't tell her any Sohma stuff, because I didn't need her thinking I was crazier than I actually am."

"You're not crazy."

"You sure? I think I used to turn into a cat. That's pretty crazy."

"And I think I saw it happen, so I guess we're in the same boat."

"A real ship of fools. Poor Hajime. With parents like us, he's doomed."

His bemused expression grew more serious. "She thinks I reacted like that because there was a combination of sights and sounds, and hell, maybe smells that made me relive the experience. The noise of the cars, being at the curb, a big crowd-and then Hajime let go of my hand for a second, and I lost it."

"And Hajime stayed with you the whole time."

"Yeah. It would have been so much worse if my reaction had frightened him away. He's really the best, you know?"

"I know," Tohru said softly. "He reminds me of his dad."

"So, she suggests being more mindful of everything around me when I'm near traffic."

"That sounds like a wise precaution."

"She also thinks I should regularly see a doctor and talk. For a few times, at least. I don't know if I should, though."

"Why ever not?"

"It's so hard to come up all the way here."

"But can't you talk to one back home?"

"It's…" He looked down. "Up here, it's okay. Tokyo is huge. It's a city of strangers. Back home isn't like that. It's such a small town. People will notice. And if they think… I don't want anyone to think I'm weak. I can't let anyone think I'm weak."

"Do you think you're weak, Kyo?"

He stopped. He opened his mouth, then closed it again.

"You shouldn't. You're strong, Kyo. You've saved me so many times. I owe everything to you. You're my rock. Hajime knows you're strong. When he has bad dreams, he comes to you." She patted her slightly bulging belly. "This one will know you're strong, too."

"I don't feel strong."

"You're in pain. Being in pain doesn't mean you're weak. It means you're alive. It means that you care and that you love. Don't forget that you're loved as well. There are so many people who would do anything for you. Nobody wants you to suffer."

"I don't deserve you." Kyo's voice was husky.

"You deserve much better than me, I know," Tohru teased.

He hugged her. They held each other for what seemed like hours.

When they separated again, Tohru held out her hands for Kyo to help her up. "I want to buy a charm for you, for good health."

"Then I'll buy one for you too, for safe delivery."

After making their purchases, Tohru took Kyo's hand again. "There's a park near here with a lake. Could we rent a pedalboat? I've always wanted to try one of those."

"I'm going to be doing most of the pedaling, won't I?"

"Can't be helped. Luckily, you're strong."

Kyo chuckled softly as they left the shrine, but then spoke more seriously. "I'm still not convinced that seeing a doctor back home is the right thing to do."

"That's all right. I'm going to talk you into it. And do you know why?"


She pulled his head down for a quick kiss. "Because I'm strong, too."

Author's note:

I am far from an expert on PTSD, so I've tried to avoid going into details. Canonically, most of the Fruits Basket characters have gone through multiple traumas: one or more of them suffering PTSD as a result seems very likely indeed.

In this story, I've attempted to describe the protocol of visiting a Shinto shrine. For more information, there's a helpful wikihow article describing how such a visit works. This being FFN, I cannot link to it, but the title of the article is: 4 Ways to Worship at a Shinto Shrine

There are several sums of money that are popularly considered good luck to offer-they tend to be based on plays on words, as is the one I included in the story about 45 yen.