Fated.

Disclaimer

I don't own Yummy Yuki Kun or any other Fruits Basket character.

Fruits Basket belongs to Takaya Natsuki

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It was such a bright day. On your peaceful face
I lay a chain of white flowers.
Beautiful things are sometimes sad things.
I sense that parting will come before long.

I break out of the black line and look up,
thinking of the sky I once saw.

How far away will you go?
Is it so far away that you can never return?

I want to see you but I can't; at least you could tell me.
I won't forget any of the final tears you gave me.

         Ever free, Ayumi Hamasaki

Tohru's P.O.V.

My mother and I were cleaning the house one day when we our conversation drifted from cooking to school to love and destiny. My mother smiled reminiscently;

"They say that when we are born, our souls immediately reach out to the world with arms of purity, seeking solace and affection from the universe. And as we grow, our soul continues to reach out, may it be twisted into ugliness or refined by circumstance; what begins as an innocent and naïve need for comfort, develops and nurtures into a mature, insatiable, and vital, all encompassing emotion. Day in and out, our souls continue to reach out to the world and to each other's, searching for the perfect blend of the earth's elements. Not just for friends mind you; to pacify our anger, to sate our desires, to drive us crazy and leave us wanting more, to complete the puzzle. The missing piece, one that once we have, we wonder how we ever functioned without. A soul mate, in every sense of the word."

I was hanging on her every word. At the time, and possibly till this very day, the concept of that love was a magical one to me. I wondered if the connection I felt with the mysterious red-capped boy who saved me when I was so young could have been something like this.

"Was it like that for you and Otosan?"

"I believe so, because we were from such different worlds, yet something brought us together."

I sighed dreamily, if only I could be so lucky. My thoughts returned to my red-capped hero. If we met, would I know him? Would my soul know him?

Then a disturbing thought crossed my mind and despite my mother's wonderful words, I felt uncertain. How would we know that we met that one and only? Dare we believe that there's only ONE person out there for each of us in this world? It was a frightening thought, because should one miss their opportunity, is a lifetime of solitude the world's cruel verdict? In that case, if that little boy was the one for me, and we never met again, am I sentenced to eternal longing? Unable to connect with anyone else as my soul continues to try and find him?

I couldn't voice my anxiety. My mother looked so wistful that I couldn't say anything. I reached out to give my mother a hug, hoping to comfort us both.

She whispered in my ears, as if sensing my distress. "I know Tohru can find her own happiness, with the person who can make her happy. I know that you can, you must have faith in yourself first."

It's true. I am one who often looks on the bright side of things. It makes things so much easier to simply trust in the goodness of the world and others. To believe that the world could never betray those who put so much faith in it. My mother's words to me reminded me that I had to have confidence in myself and in the universe.

The years flew by. My life was not what others would consider easy; though I had wonderful company through out, though I always considered myself lucky as there were loving people looking out for me and caring for me as if I was one of their own, and even with my mother's wisdom continuing to guide me and help me find hope in the most desolate situation…

I was essentially, alone.

I couldn't impose on others. I couldn't invite myself to share in their joy or sorrow. I couldn't force my need to belong on them; for fear that their sincere smiles may turn sour, and then what would I have? I was much too polite for such extreme measures, which could have guaranteed me a social life much more reassuring than the one I had for as long as I've known.

And then I met them.

The Sohmas. A group of people more beautiful and extraordinary than the most farfetched fairy tale. They existed, and were just as lost and lonely as I was. Outcasts in a society that ached to embrace them as much as they yearned for its acceptance, but fortune would never allow it. Their curse would never allow it.

It was almost mind-boggling how similar we were. To think that I, a girl so plain, so mundane, could actually dare to associate with the incredible Sohmas! It seemed like a glitch, almost an illegal notion. But once I got over the initial shock, I realized that the universe was truly as amazingly benevolent as I strove to believe.

Oh, I'm sorry!

You may wonder where the talk of soul mates has disappeared amidst my drabble! Well, my mother said that when our souls reach out to other's they glide along like tendrils of light, multicolored auras of individual sentiment. Sensing the borders of other people's spirits, attracting or repelling in a host of chemical reactions. And it is only with that lone other does our soul suddenly react; Some may describe it as fireworks that ignite every nerve and fiber of their being, a soothing sensation that placates the longing spirit and puts the anxious heart at ease, or a surreal feeling which can't be describe with words, only with senses and colors, goose bumps and warmth. As our souls connect and mould together in their parade of perfection, their individual colors fade until they become one, one in color, one in being, and one in soul.

Two become one.

Once I comprehended exactly what it was, I realized that it was just like that for me as well, but you see, I almost missed it. Naïve silly little me, had been so involved with everything around me that I misunderstood what my heart had been telling me all along. I almost missed my chance for completion.

I almost lost him amongst the eye-catching displays and sugar coated words.

The mere thought nearly brings me to my knees, even now.

It all started with a seemingly innocent request. "May I have some of your time later this evening?"

Everything started after that fateful rainy right, when Kyo Kun's true cursed form, his most guarded secret, was exposed. I knew what I had to do for him; though it was difficult, composing myself to face such a terrible form. Nevertheless, I knew that regardless of how much I wanted to run away and hide, I couldn't. Kyo Kun needed me to tell him that it was OK, that he wasn't a monster, that we could still live together in the house like nothing happened.

"I won't leave!"

"Let's stay together…together!"

Simple words, heartfelt and without a shred of deception. It was what I wanted. I wanted to stay with the compassionate Sohmas who sheltered me and cared for me like I was one of their own, for as long as I could.

I wanted to help Kyo Kun, much like they helped me. It was an inbred instinct in me, to help those in need. My heart and mind were screaming at me to get on my feet and go after him. That if I let him go, I would regret it for as long as I lived.

I'm glad I went after him that night. Kyo Kun has opened up a great deal around me, and the others. His smile is genuine now, and he is much more at ease with himself, more relaxed. He's no longer the bitter defensive young man I met so long ago. Even his relationship with Yuki Kun has mellowed down from violence to mild annoyance, a great accomplishment.

I found myself drifting in the kindness the Sohma's bestowed upon me. It was like a thick blanket that kept me warm on the coldest night.

Unwilling to do anything to change this wonderful twist of fate, I was determined to always be there for my Sohma family, and hopefully that would be enough. Yuki Kun and Kyo Kun and I, together, for as long as we could defy Akito San's will.

My knights in shining armor.

Kindred spirits brought together by fate.

My most precious companions.

But that was the core of the problem, wasn't it?

The illusion that I struggled to maintain in everything I did; that if I didn't do anything, nothing would change. That we could keep up this content charade. Not that we weren't happy mind you, but the pretense that there was nothing else we wanted from the world, or each other. I tried and tried, but I knew that it was only a matter of time before my heart could no longer resist.

I wanted to help free them from the confines of the curse that threatened to devour their spirit, but Isuzu San said that there was no cure. She looked more devastated than anyone I've ever seen, like she had lost herself to the curse. Lost all hope of normalcy. I felt that way too.

I thought that my new mission would distract me from dwelling too much on my love life. After all, I was busy trying to break a curse a few centuries old! There was no time for silly romance, right?

But again, while I searched for a solution, there I was again, with Kyo Kun.

And I wondered why is it that I often found myself with him…?

My mother said that fated hearts are those that reach out to each other in times of crisis, and I guessed it be true because I found myself leaning towards Kyo Kun as time passed, we spent so much time together and I enjoyed every minute. I loved this new self-assured Kyo Kun. It was so easy to talk to him without fear of him getting irritated.

But in the back of my mind I wondered, did I drift apart from Yuki Kun? Or he from me? The beautiful, gentle prince, was he tired of me? Did he feel left out? Could I have offended him in any way? Did I hurt him?

And worst of all…was my rescue of Kyo Kun on that terribly cold day, a sign that he and I were destined to be together? Please don't get me wrong, I love Kyo Kun dearly, but 'worse' in the sense that I deemed it unfair that a similar opportunity with Yuki Kun could not be had. In the deepest recess of my hidden soul, I longed to see him reach out for me. I wanted to know that I was his salvation, I wanted in on the biggest secret. I wanted to heal and be healed, much like with Kyo Kun. Being wanted, made me feel special, even when nearly overwhelmed by the Sohmas light.

It was wrong of me to feel that way; this childish notion of wanting to covet all the beautiful things around me was foreign, selfish and completely inappropriate, but strangely primal. I couldn't stop thinking about this, fully knowing that there was no reason to dwell on what fate would not allow. I should have been content with the way things were, with the course my destiny seemed to take. If I was meant to be with Kyo Kun, so be it. Acceptance by others would surely be smooth and painless.

But no! Things were never that easy, which brought me to my current predicament.

No matter how great of a day I spent with Kyo Kun while Yuki Kun was busy with his presidential duties; late at night, I found myself haunted by a pair of hypnotizing mauve-ish eyes, yellow velvet ribbons and strawberries.

And then it was summer and at the beach house, I had a great time with everyone. Then Akito San told me of his horrifying plan to imprison my friends after high school. Yuki Kun, he thanked me for being there for him, and cried on my shoulder.

"I'll continue believing…"

It was the golden moment I dreamt of. A vulnerable, tearful Yuki Kun who was more beautiful than I ever imagined.

He spoke with so much sincerity and emotion, that I was rendered speechless. I wanted to tell him so much, but I couldn't say a word.

So I just stood there like a complete idiot, frozen to the ground as a cold sensation penetrated my every nerve.

I had wasted my chance with Yuki Kun. He didn't say anything else and I let it go. It was irretrievable.

Forever lost.

Was he saying goodbye? Was he surrendering to fate's wishes? Realizing that we could never be more than friends? Did he want to be more than friends? Was that the reason behind the kiss? It was chaste, almost brotherly and free of any real passion, leaving me in ambivalence; aching for its briefness, relieved for its simplicity and desperate for a more romantic version.

But was he sealing our fate with it?

I didn't know what to think or want.

If Yuki Kun cried on your shoulder, what would you have done? If he promised to tell you something important in due time, wouldn't you have stayed around till he did? Wouldn't you have wanted to spend every remaining moment until his terrible imprisonment, basking in the glow of his wonderful soul?

I was incredibly touched by the vulnerability he showed me, and the promise of learning something oh so important, and was since long, delighted that he had become quite comfortable in terms of physical contact with me, more so than any one, well not Momiji Kun of course.

I cherished those moments, being the recipient of his tenderness; his hands streaming through my hair, his warm breath tickling my face, my reflection in his magnificent eyes. It was unexpected every single time, making it all the more precious.

Yet, that important secret never came out, and I didn't stay around to find out, as I was forcibly moving away from him or him from me, again. Like the lid had clamped back down on his sensitive heart. Locking me out, locking him in.

I should have said something, anything to reassure him that there was always hope.

But I didn't.

Apparently fate had other plans for what Yuki Kun wanted.

What did that mean? Dare I tempt destiny? Dare I ask for more? I wanted to beg for another opportunity, anything other than this silence! Anything other than this façade!

However, I often questioned myself; what right did I have to risk hurting someone dear to me in hope that I may gain my own happiness? Wasn't Kyo Kun good enough? Why did I have to pursue Yuki Kun's affection as well?

Where was this coming from?

When did I become so selfish?

When did I become such a terrible person?

Have I always been this ugly and demanding?

Okaasan always said to follow my heart, to believe rather than doubt. But it was so difficult; I couldn't stay like this, like a ship rocking in the midst of violent waves in a storm, torn between two shores. Which would be my salvation? Dare I decide or should I continue to bounce back and forth in the winds of uncertainty?

For the first time in my life, I was unable to find comfort in my mother's words.

I was terrified and completely lost.

And that's what brought me to my mother's grave on this sunny day. I told Shigure San that I was going out for a walk. Yuki Kun was at a meeting, and thankfully, Kyo Kun was visiting Shishou San. I don't know what I would've done if he asked to come along. I desperately needed to clear my thoughts, and it wouldn't do for him to distract me with his boyish grin and his clumsy kindness. I probably would've given up and hoped for everlasting happiness with my favorite Jyuunishi outcast.

So here I am, seeking advice.

Yes, I am quite aware that my mother is incapable of providing guidance at this time or anytime in the future, but I'm desperate for a sign. It's my last resort.

I went over her words a million times in my head, trying to find a different meaning, a different angle. I was certain that I misunderstood what she was saying, because to think my mother was wrong about this was something I wasn't ready to ever admit.

Looking back, Kyo Kun's tormented soul reached out for mine that rainy night. There was something, I'm not sure what it is, but it was like an amazing sense of warmth descending upon me when he agreed to come home. It was the same sensation I felt when Yuki Kun and Kyo Kun brought me back from Ojii San's house.

Pure unadulterated relief and happiness that we would stay together, that I was wanted, needed, and worthy of being in their company.

I couldn't imagine a more incredible feeling.

But my relationship with Yuki Kun, seemed irreparable. It was like trying to keep water in your hands, only to watch it seep between your fingers. I felt like a piece of my heart was torn from me, that I was losing something precious and was incapable of deciding whether to fully pursue or yield.

So what was it exactly? Was what I felt with Kyo Kun what mother was talking about? If so, then why was I still unsatisfied and yearning for more? And what about the red-capped boy? Have I forgotten all about my young savior?

So many questions, but just one answer was needed. Now if I could only find it.

"Okaasan." I settled down in front of the mausoleum. "I've been well. Everyone's fine. I've been working hard at school and at my part-time job. We'll be graduating soon, Yuki Kun is so kind, he's always helping me study, so I'm doing much better. Sensei told me to think about college, but I think that I want to start working and take care of myself. I don't want to burden the Sohmas anymore, though if they asked me to stay; I won't be able to say no. They make me so happy. They are such wonderful people, Okaasan, truly wonderful. And I know that it's because of your blessings that I was able to meet them, live with them and love them. Thank you.

I finally feel that I belong and I'm so grateful for this feeling, this support and comfort."

My throat tightened as I struggled to speak.

"But then, why have I become like this? Not being content, always wanting more? Why? Why do I want more than what I have? Why am I so selfish, Okaasan? Have I always been like this? Why aren't I satisfied? Do I have to risk ruining everything just for a chance? Just to satisfy my needs! He's so far away, and I can't reach him. I could never reach him…"

And I cried. I cried for many reasons: the fact that my mother could never hold me, comfort me or guide me ever again. The fear of challenging fate and aiming for a second chance. I wanted reassurance, that putting my relationship with Kyo Kun on the line would be fruitful. That I would not end up alone and hated after all of this, which in turn reinforced how lost and powerless I felt without my mother's words.

"I feel like it's somehow my fault. I didn't try hard enough for him, maybe he knows it and that's way he's been distant.

You told me that so long as I believe, good things would come. And if hardship comes my way, to try harder. I'm trying, but it's almost as if I'm struggling against myself. Part of me is content with what I have, and the other part keeps me awake at night wondering about what could've been.

I just wanted to help him, maybe if I felt that he was happy where he is, I would stop. But he hardly says anything to me now. He's still the same sweet, gentle Yuki Kun, but he's too quiet.

I'm happy with what I have now, but I will always wish for something more in the future, but from whom? How can I choose? They get along better now, but still, I could never want to come between them since they are both so precious to me. I'm so afraid of choosing, that I want fate to guide me.

I guess what I want to know is whether I should leave things as they are or attempt to change course. I just want things to be like they were before, but did I miss a sign somewhere? Did I do something wrong? If the souls of those who are meant to be together meant to be instinctively reach out for each other, then shouldn't I know?"

I paused here; suddenly remembering something Hana Chan said not so long ago…

We were sitting together at lunch and she was reading one of Shigure San's romance novels. Putting the book down, she looked up at the sky. "That's not true." She said quietly.

"What are you talking about Hanajima?" Uo Chan asked.

"This talk of finding balance, souls and auras. He wrote about it very wistfully. But unfortunately, I haven't seen it to be true."

"I don't understand. Can you please explain?" Having heard the same talk of souls reaching out and molding together in a surreal sense from my mother, I was very interested in learning Hana Chan's interpretation.

"It doesn't always work like that. I know because I can see it or feel it. More often than not, unless we open our hearts to the world, we will misinterpret the signals. There's more than one kind of love: romantic, platonic, familial; and the trick is distinguishing them from one another. People may find themselves attracted to certain qualities they admire in others, and attempt a relationship, only to fail." She turned to face us, her eyes dark and sad, like she had been a witness to a hundred such misunderstandings. "But it's not their fault, because when someone doesn't expect to find such a thing, they are confused by what their heart is telling them, by what their body is telling them. You may want the best for the other, or are willing to do the impossible for them, but that doesn't necessarily mean that that person is your one true love.

Souls work in a tricky way, to make sure that we can get along with everyone, but only be with one person. And when we want to believe something, we can blind ourselves to the little signs that tell us otherwise."

"What are those signs Hana Chan?" I asked, a little too anxiously. Uo Chan smiled at me in a knowing way, causing me to blush.

Hana Chan remained composed and continued, "When you close your eyes, whose face do you picture? How do you feel when you hear that person's voice calling your name?"

I found my self-blushing again, because I knew the answer.

Uo Chan chuckled but didn't interrupt.

"Tohru Kun, I can sense that you are confused about something. You have the denpa of someone who seems to be caught between running and staying…"

Uo Chan did interrupt here, her eyes wide and a little uneasy. "Tohru! Did something happen?"

"Eh?" I immediately panicked.

"I can't sense fear, Arisa, just apprehension." Hana Chan interjected, "I can tell you this, Tohru Kun, and hope to put your mind at ease. Fate is something that is written for everyone, but that doesn't mean that we should let ourselves drift. It's something that you have to fight for, as true happiness will not come without work. You must be at peace with the world and yourself before you can determine what your heart is telling you. You will gain your happiness by listening to your soul."

That was it.

I didn't know that I had to take the reigns and steer my fate towards what I wanted. I had to make an effort, to make my own path.

I could not accept my fate if I wasn't pleased to it. I had to open my heart to all possibilities and maybe then, my soul would finally guide me. It needn't be drastic, but enough to sense the outcome.

It won't be easy.

Walking back home from my mother's grave. I was a bundle of nerves. What do I say? What do I do? I knew what I had to do in principle, but the actual application of this would be an ordeal of its own.

I was determined to make a change, regardless. Yuki Kun deserved that much from me, and I just wanted to be at peace with myself.

Halfway home, I decided to try it.

I stopped in my tracks and closed my eyes, trying to put aside all my anxieties and worry, to open my heart and mind to the possibilities of fate.

I didn't know how long I stood there as I waited for something, while there was nothing. Nevertheless, I kept myself calm and relaxed. It would come. I was certain.

Then I could feel it.

An almost imperceptible tug. I found myself turning towards it, and it became stronger. I headed in the direction it seemed to come from.

It was oddly familiar, like a word on the tip of your tongue; something that flashes before your eyes for a second, just beyond your reach.

Warmth.

I felt a sense of wonderful warmth, like my mother's arms. It was enticing to every part of me, making me yearn for more. More senses plagued me as I hurried towards the tugging, happiness, excitement, affection, love.

A pale lilac light suddenly materialized in the distance, flashing dimly. I could feel myself pulled in its direction. A part of me was reacting to it, Pink vines reaching out towards it.

I was close.

I tripped many times and ran into a few people who yelled and told me to be careful. There were others who were laughing, but I couldn't worry about them, as horribly as I felt for bothering them. I quickly apologized and continued forward.

I would not open my eyes.

I could not lose this.

I was spellbound by this psychedelic display of destiny.

My destination, the exquisite warmth radiated by the amethyst just ahead.

My heart began to hammer in my chest, my body tingled with thrill, my throat was dry and my eyes burned with unshed tears.

The lilac became more apparent with every step, darkening slightly so that it became a luscious shade of violet. It drew me closer, almost taunting me. I could see one of my pink waves reach out to connect with it, and then, there was a soundless explosion. A supernova of feelings.

Overwhelming, captivating, enticing.

A pinnacle of passion.

Pure perfection.

Simply, completion.

The violet was so close now. It molded and danced with the pink, driving me mad with its promise of eternal bliss.

I had to see.

I had to.

I stopped in my tracks, debating against myself, this interplay of unequivocal magnificence, or the source of magnificence?

Who was it?

I opened my eyes, tears escaping as my vision adjusted to the light.

The smile that had plastered itself on my lips faded on realizing where I was.

It was the same temple. I was back at the temple, standing close to my mother's grave.

Was that it? Was my mother the source of that wonderful violet?

I didn't have my answer, and it was like Hana Chan said; Confusion and misunderstanding.

But I tried…

I felt let down and disappointed beyond words, I could feel the tears of hopeful happiness becoming tears of sadness. I walked the remaining distance towards my mother's grave, wanting to cry. Then suddenly, a figure nearly hidden behind her grave, made itself visible to my eyes.

There, less than 10 feet away, I found Yuki Kun.

And any ability I had to think or speak completely abandoned me.

He had set some sweet cakes on the shrine and was paying his respects to my mother.

I couldn't believe it.

My throat was parched dry, my legs were barely able to hold my weight, my heart was pounding like mad, and my mind was screaming at me to go to him.

Yuki Kun!

"Yuki Kun!" My voice sounded foreign to my ears, I didn't think I could ever speak normally again.

"Oh! Honda San!" He looked up, surprise fading into a warm smile, a lovely blush coloring his cheeks and a glow in his eyes, courtesy of the now setting sun. "I was walking home from Manabe San's house and recognized the temple, so I came to pay my respects. I hope that wasn't too presumptuous of me."

Are you kidding? My heart threatened to burst in my chest.

"No! Th…Thank you! I'm sure mother is happy that Yuki Kun visited her!"

He smiled at me and I smiled back, and nothing else was said. I blinked, and in that microsecond of darkness, I could see the violet glow around him, intertwining with my pink, almost protesting the few feet between us.

It was so marvelous that I was tempted to keep my eyes closed.

"Well, shall we go back home?" He asked, bringing me out of my daydream.

The real world was pale in comparison with those lights. "S…Sure."

We walked side by side in silence. Before, I never had any difficulty initiating conversation with Yuki Kun. He was a wonderful conversationalist, and a good listener, but today, my mind was spinning with a million things to say.

Was it me, or did he seem a little tense as well?

What was going on?

Did he sense it?

He cleared his throat delicately, and lowered his face, hair falling softly over his eyes. It was a gesture I was familiar with; it meant he was nervous about something.

That alone made me all the more edgy.

"Honda San." He began, sounding shy. "I have been…dishonest with you"

What? "What do you mean, Yuki Kun?"

"I actually have been visiting your mother's grave for some time now."

"Eh?"

"I needed to know what to do, and… was hoping for a sign from her. I know it was very inappropriate of me and I'm sorry."

A sign? "A sign? What about?"

He smiled sadly.

"Yuki Kun, please. You can talk to me!"

"I have been much too distant lately. I have been trying to sort out how I felt about myself and everyone; my future and my past. But in the end, I decided that I want you to be happy, Honda San. In all honesty, that's all I want. I don't want you to hold back any part of your life because you might be waiting for approval from me or anyone."

"Approval?"

"It doesn't matter who it is, so long as you're happy Honda San. That's all that matters." He sounded sincere yet so lost that I couldn't help but burst into tears.

If this was destiny ending any hope for us, then by all means I should be satisfied, relieved that the decision has been made for me, but instead, I felt that my heart was just torn out of my chest, leaving me with a gaping hole in its wake. I was hollow, a soulless shell.

It hurt so much, and he of course, misunderstood the cause of my misery.

"I'm sorry Honda San! I shouldn't have said anything! But I felt that you've been a little down lately, and wanted to tell you that I cherish your friendship and all you've done for me and that you don't have to feel that you owe me anything in return!"

That was too much. I bury my face in my hands as I sobbed, tortured by the now pulsating violet. It was calling for me, but I couldn't have it.

"I was so confused, I wanted to talk to you for so long…" I cried, finally finding my voice "I know that we have drifted apart, but I don't want it to be like that. I don't want to be separated from you. I want to always be with you, by your side!"

"Honda San?!"

"Yuki Kun has thanked me for what I've supposedly done for him. But he doesn't know what he's done for me. You made me feel important, accepted and admired, but also sad and confused. I don't know what I want; I don't know what Yuki Kun wants, but I want you to be happy. That's the only thing I'm certain about."

"But…"

"Yuki Kun thinks that I've chosen. But I haven't! I swear that I never meant to choose. You're both so important to me, and I don't want Yuki Kun to feel left out, or alone. What do I do?"

He smiles gently, his own eyes glistening, while cupping my cheek lightly and delicately, "I'm sure that Honda san can find her happiness with the one person worthy of her. She must have faith in her self and open her heart to the world, and listen. Surely, the answer would come."

"I know Tohru can find her own happiness, with the person who can make her happy. I know that you can, you must have faith in yourself first."

"Honda San should do things slowly, your own way…"

"You can do things slowly, your own way, Tohru…"

Once again, he takes my breath away by telling me exactly what I want to hear. Treasured words from my mother, even more precious when he repeats them.

I felt my heart burst into nothingness, and closed my eyes for a moment, basking in the pleasant tingling flowing through my body. Suddenly I had to see him, despite the breathtaking display of radiance. Looking up, I found his eyes waiting for mine, a smile seemingly reserved for me, a heart more pure than freshly fallen snow. Undeniable kindness. Untainted heart. Insurmountable will to live and love.

Prince Yuki himself.

No, not the prince. Yuki Kun, always Yuki Kun.

My Yuki Kun.

He is more glorious than the lights could ever be.

Could it be?

Could he feel the same sense of longing I found in myself?

I took a chance.

"But for me to do that, I would have to hurt people that I care about." I protested.

"If those people care about Honda San, they will only wish her happiness in every decision she makes."

Really? But then…

"And also, I would have to be quite…bold" I said, blushing.

He looked a little confused, but it faded into amusement "I think that I would like to see that."

It only took me a second to compose myself, but I showed him.

Suddenly, there was no one else in the world except for us, nothing else mattered. I could feel his heart beating in time with mine, could almost see the connection between us. Soft wisps of warmth in every direction, encompassing us in their glory.

I lift my trembling hands to cup his soft face. He takes that hand in his own and brings it to his lips, kissing my palm. "Whatever makes Honda San happy." He whispered, the tender look never leaving his eyes.

And it was over. All the fears and apprehensions, all came undone.

It was just us and the sunset. And as that day ended, Yuki Kun and I shared a soft kiss. We had begun.

Even with my eyes closed, I could feel the waves snaking around me, the fireworks in my chest, the warmth flowing through my body.

Everything's clear now. I had misinterpreted my feelings; With Kyo Kun, it was a maternal instinct to protect and cherish. A deep friendship built on understanding and respect.

What I felt with Kyo Kun pales in comparison to this.

This is transcendent. Breathtaking. I can't describe it, but I'm certain now.

It took almost losing him to find him. I nearly gave up on him, on us.

But he was there all along.

All I had to do was reach out for him, because he was watching me while I was looking the other way.

He knew me better than I knew myself.

I didn't believe that there was hope, yet he proved me wrong.

He was my other half. The one that would stand back and watch you with another, and not speak out, the one who would gladly spend their life alone in hope that you spend yours fulfilled.

The one that would smile at me, help me and respect me.

The one who saved me twice in one lifetime; on discovering later that he was indeed my red-capped savior, I can say that I wasn't surprised. My heart knew that he was the one before I was able to comprehend our bond.

My earlier misgivings baffled me. How could I have doubted myself? Him? This?

I can tell you something I never knew before that moment; I never knew what my mission in life was. Since my mother died, I wanted to survive, graduate high school, and fulfill her wish.

But then what? Was there another goal?

Now I know, other than repaying the Sohma's for their kindness and love. I am here to hold Yuki Kun's hand while he regains his trust in people. I am here to remind him that he is truly as wonderful as everyone says; that he is as human as the rest of us, that Akito San was wrong and that he does deserve happiness, that the curse doesn't make him despicable or unworthy.

That the world isn't dark or destructive.

That this life is no lie; that my love is no lie.

There is no doubt about that.

I am here to complete him. For you see, so long as we are apart, we will always be hollow, swaying down the paths we chose. Some may stumble, some may fall, some may lose their way. And our paths will intertwine, our souls shall intertwine and we gain precious pieces of each other.

I am the keeper of Yuki Kun's soul as he is mine.

And no matter how strong the wind may blow, no matter what the circumstance, I know that we shall overcome. I know that the coldest biting squall can ease into a zephyr, that the sun will always breakthrough impenetrable rainy clouds and shine after the dimness of nighttime, the most furious storm, that the frigid lifeless winter will surely melt into a bountiful spirited spring. That he will always be there by my side to hold my hand and encourage me and love me, as I him.

At some point, we may find ourselves in the darkest pit of despair, lost and desolate. But it was exactly like Okaasan had said: in the moment of that great sadness, in the darkest pit, and the longest night, that's where he'll be waiting for me.

So even if I took the long way down the chosen path, took all the wrong turns, waited for fate to act and inspire me, I arrived.

The tears and aches I paid for this are insignificant.

He was worth the wait.

Finally.

Ah- when we met we were so awkward
We've taken the long road, but we've finally arrived
We've taken the long road, until we arrive

          Dearest, Ayumi Hamasaki

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Wow! I didn't think I could write Waff! I still don't, but hey! This Yukiru phase was inspired by every manga chapter after 60 and especially, the disgusting events of chapter 83! I was like NOOOOOOOO! I DEMAND YUKIRU IN ITS PUREST FORM! Nothing else!

Yuki and Tohru are the sweetest couple ever! Who cares about Kyo! ^_^

Thanks to my darling sister Vidanue for her invaluable help and suggestions, and the hater of all things sappy and gay, my kawaii little brudda! Oh and the lovely Tsukitani for her very encouraging comments! ^_^

This story was originally inspired by 'Everfree' as well but I had to end it with 'Dearest' cause it's such an awesome song. The translations are a mix of my own as well as those found on the very cool Ayu-mi-llenium website.

Let me know what you think or I'll keep this up~!