Disclaimer: I don't own Fruits Basket!
A/N: OMG LAST CHAPTER! Sorry it took so long, school started and I haven't had time like AT ALL. But finally, HERE IT IS! I'm going to cry!
That night it seemed that nobody slept in the appropriate rooms assigned. Actually, there was an unsaid knowledge that not many people slept at all, if you know what I mean. Somehow, all the couples had "disappeared" one by one into some room or another. Even Uotani disappeared, and the rumor was that she and Kureno hooked up in the woods. This rumor was obviously started by Manabe, although most people were beginning to suspect that he wasn't totally off. In any case, it seemed like everyone wanted this summer to go out with a "bang", excuse the pun.
The only people not getting it on were Tohru, Kyo, Kisa, Hiro, Kazuma, and Hanajima, who gathered in Tohru and Kisa's room, having their own rooms being taken, to play cards long into the night.
Hanajima and Tohru awoke to find themselves sleeping together on one futon. When they sat up, they saw Hiro asleep sitting up and leaning against the wall, and Kisa with her head on his lap, a blanket draped across them. Tohru smiled and then turned to the side, and both she and Hanajima squirmed (Tohru more visibly than Hanajima) with how cute the scene in front of them was. Kyo was curled up next to Kazuma, thumb in his mouth, with Kazuma having an arm draped across Kyo, pulling him close. Both were sleeping soundly, and Hanajima and Tohru snuck into the kitchen, deciding not to disturb the adorable father/son moment.
That morning had a late start, most people having slept in, being tired from the previous night's activities. Other than that though, people were feeling satisfied with their summer, although resenting the fact that it was all coming to an end.
It was a dark and rainy morning, and it seemed like the sun hadn't even risen yet when everyone gathered in the dining hall for breakfast. Despite the dismal weather conditions, most seemed to be in a fairly good mood. The hall was full of chatter and laughter, as people reminisced on the events of the summer.
Shigure called it the "virgin's summer" because so many people got hitched. He got a well-deserved smack in the head for that one, supplied by many of the house's occupants.
Momiji stared thoughtfully out the window at the thunderstorm for a long time as a grin spread slowly across his face. He excused himself from breakfast early, announcing to everyone that he had a surprise for them in the living room after breakfast. Most shrugged, and agreed to meet him there. He then proceeded to go rummage in the attic for something.
After breakfast, the group trooped into the thankfully spacious living room to find it dark, all the lights off. Before anyone could make a move towards the light switch, a flashlight flipped on from somewhere in the darkness, revealing the eerily shadowed face of Momiji in the center of the room. "WELCOME TO YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE."
Kisa screeched. Tohru fainted. Hanajima grinned.
Momiji continued without notice, the grin spreading on his face. "THE STORIES YOU WILL HEAR TODAY ARE ENTIRELY TRUE, AND COULD HAPPEN IN ANY MOMENT."
Kyo snorted. "I doubt that."
This was repaid with Momiji shoving his face into Kyo's and insisting "IT'S TRUE, IT'S TRUE!"
Momiji flickered the light a moment before sitting down on the rug and grinning. "Once there was a group of friends on vacation at a summer home, just like this one." He began, grinning from ear to ear, as some people rolled their eyes, others listened with interest, and others shook with fear (namely, Kisa and a revived Tohru). "They were all gathered together, watching movies on a stormy day, JUST LIKE THIS ONE, when they heard a sound—a knocking sound, to be precise. At first they ignored it as nothing, until they realized that one of them was missing. They figured that person must be locked outside, so one of them went to open the door. The rest remaining in the living room heard a shriek, followed by silence, disturbed only by the knocking sound, which seemed to grow more rapid." Momiji paused for dramatic effect, and Tohru turned that papery color we all know too well. "So now, the remaining people were getting a bit anxious, and one by one, they sent a brave soul to venture out into the hallway. Each time had the same reaction, and each time, the knocking grew even faster and frequent. Finally, there was only one person left, a girl just about our age, shaking with fear, alone in the living room. She took a deep breath, braced herself, and went to seek her friends. The knocking sound was coming from outside the front door, and she opened it, taking a step out into the rain. At first, she saw nothing, but then she realized that the knocking sound was coming from her right side. She slowly turned… to find her friends, hanging from the gutter by nooses. Their feet, tapping against the wall as they hung, was what provided the knocking sound. Before she could react or move, she was taken and hung right by her friends, her screams drowned out by the thunder. They were found a week later and buried together, but they never did find the killer." Momiji turned off the flashlight at the end.
A long silence came next… followed by a light knocking sound. The color drained from everyone's faces. Tohru fainted again.
"C-Cut it out Momiji, now it's getting too creepy!" Kagura's voice whimpered from somewhere within the darkness.
"I-I'm not doing anything, I swear!" Momiji cried, grabbing onto Haru in fear.
"This is ridiculous, I'm opening the door. Poor Tohru's scared to death." Kyo muttered, although his voice held a slight tremor. He hesitated before grabbing the handle firmly and sliding the door open. Everyone squinted as a pool of sunlight flowed in, a shadowed figure in the middle of it. Everyone held their breath, as if expecting whomever it was to bring out the nooses right then and there.
But instead a singsong voice burst out. "OI, Why's everyone sitting here in the dark? The rain's let up! Let's take the summer romance outside, no need to play dirty games in here!" Shigure was grinning at them
Kyo immediately punched him in the face.
"What was that for?" Shigure whined.
"For making Tohru faint." Kyo grumbled.
"Kureno. Can you… fetch Shigure for me? He's in the main vacation home just down the path from here." Akito asked Kureno almost hesitantly. She lay out on the back porch of her exclusive summer home tracing the wooden floorboards under her soft fingertips. She wondered if it showed on her face that she'd been crying the night before.
"That won't be necessary." A deep voice came from behind her, and she knew instantly that it did not belong to Kureno. She turned around to see Shigure leaning on the doorframe where she thought Kureno had been. "What does my goddess want today?"
"Cut the crap, Shigure, it's irritating." She growled. She sat up straight and fixed her kimono. "I just wanted to ask you something."
Shigure joined her on the porch. "Ask away."
Akito pulled her knees in and hugged them, looking distantly out into the garden. "Does Honda Tohru remind you of anyone?"
Shigure paused before shrugging. "Not really, why?"
"I don't know… but it's annoying how every time I see her, I start to remember things I did with… father." Akito confessed, hardly believing she was saying such things to Shigure, of all people. He would probably laugh in that eerie way he always would.
There was a long silence filled with the chirping of birds and rustling of trees in the wind before Shigure finally spoke. "I don't know much about our previous god but… Tohru-kun does have that effect on people. It's like… in a unique way; to everyone she becomes most dear. Whether it be a mother, a big sister, a lover, a friend… even a daughter, she finds some way to worm into peoples hearts. Even me… every time I look at her smiling face, I feel guilty." Akito snorted and Shigure continued insistently. "No, really! That girl puts such utmost trust into me… the kind I don't deserve at all. She actually believes I'm a good person. It could make a demon feel guilty."
"Why… aren't I like that Shigure? Why doesn't everybody instantly love me? Even with the bond… the first chance they got with Honda, they fled. It makes me hate her so much." Akito said through gritted teeth, fists clenching.
Shigure chuckled. "Jealousy is a strange thing, isn't it?"
"But… I don't understand why it has to be this way…" Akito pouted. "We were supposed to all be together forever, loving each other and no one else… why are they leaving to places where I can't reach them?"
Shigure threw back his head and laughed, and Akito scowled, thinking about how stupid it was to confide in this jerk. He finally recovered and gasped. "Excuse me… sorry about that… it's just that… you really are just like a child, Akito. You know nothing outside of what you want and what is safe for you. And you're incredibly spoiled."
Shigure could feel the rage building up next to him and smiled, wrapping an arm around Akito's shoulder and pulling her close, pointing out into the garden. It would prevent bloodshed. "Do you see that, Akito?" she just blinked and he continued. "There's a world outside of this house and this curse. Have you ever thought it might be a nice place? I know it seems so big and full of unknown but… doesn't it look so much brighter out there?"
A long silence followed as they watched the sunlight stream into the garden from their shaded view on the porch. He looked down at Akito to find tears dripping silently from her cheeks. "Take me there, Shigure." She whispered before burying her face in her hands, crying. "I want… to get out of here!"
"You guys, you guys, come on, quickly! The sun's already setting, lets bring out the firecrackers!" Momiji exclaimed excitedly.
Night fell upon them as their last day at the summer home ended with a bang (of a different sort). Firecrackers crackled outside and the wonderfully starry sky was lit with the sparks of their fireworks. It was even more fun and lively with a larger group, laughter and shouting echoing through the field.
Machi watched the spectacle from afar, eyes shining as the grass swept her ankles. Yuki appeared behind her and placed a hand on her head. "It's beautiful, isn't it?"
Machi leaned slightly onto his shoulder and smiled ever so slightly. "Yes. I don't think I've had a summer like this one in a long time."
Yuki chuckled. "I don't think any of us have."
A surpisingly cool breeze through, causing Machi to shiver.
"Summer's ending..." Yuki whispered.
Uotani leaned on a tree at the threshold of the forest and the commotion, smiling. "I'm glad you could come around." She appeared to say to thin air. "They're crazy, aren't they?"
"Not as crazy as how much I love you." A voice came from the forest behind her, and her smile grew significantly. In a flash of red hair a hand pulled her into the shadows of the forest.
"Kyo-kun! Look, it's so bright! Like a star!" Tohru laughed, pulling Kyo towards her.
Kyo smiled crookedly before mocking an exasperated sigh. "Come on, Tohru, you saw it last year too."
"Yeah, but it seems brighter this year. If only we had a shooting star, the night would be perfect!" Tohru sighed dreamily.
Kyo took the sparkler from her hand and raised it above their heads before bringing it down in a swooping motion. "Make a wish."
Tohru closed her eyes and squeezed his free hand. She opened her eyes and leaned back against him.
"What did you wish for?" Kyo asked, casting away the dying sparkler.
"I can't tell you, it's bad luck!" Tohru teased, grinning.
"Whisper it, and nobody will hear." Kyo winked, pointing to his ear.
Tohru leaned up. "I wished that you could be free. If not forever… for as long as possible…" She whispered lightly. "What about you?"
Kyo leaned down and whispered. "To be with you forever, because when I'm with you, I'm free." He gently kissed her cheek, before drawing back and smiling down at her.
She smiled softly in return
That night was full of last minute packing (or in some cases, frantically stuffing their belongings into their bags) and the next morning, everyone piled reluctantly into their cars.
Shigure had mysteriously disappeared, and not too far away, he and Akito were getting into another car. After sending Kureno home early, the two of them were alone.
Shigure had already scooted into the back seat, and was giving the driver directions (Akito had forbidden Shigure to even attempt driving; lord knows if he even has a license). Akito strayed behind standing next to the car, hand resting on the door.
"Akito, are you coming? I didn't think you liked the outdoors this much!" Shigure teased once he had finished talking to the driver.
Akito blinked up at the sky for a silent moment before replying. "No… it's just that… the sun seems a brighter today…" She said quietly, before reluctantly getting into the car.
Not too far from them, the group of teenagers had gotten into the minivan like before, only this time, Machi sat in the front with Yuki (who had blatantly refused Manabe's whines to drive, after chilling past experiences). As the drove, Yuki's free hand wandered over to grasp Machi's.
"What is it Yuki?" Machi asked.
"Nothing… just thinking… we're not going to forget this summer for a long time, are we?" Yuki replied thoughtfully.
Machi smiled too. "Probably not… a lot has happened."
Yuki smiled. "I know I won't. And neither will anyone else, huh?" He said a little louder.
The rest of the car went into a chorus of "Nope".
A long silent moment passed where no one spoke or moved, as they just gazed out into the landscape ahead, bright sunlight streaming through.
"Hey, Yun-Yun?" Manabe asked softly, the trance still upon them.
"Yeah?" Yuki inquired, smiling.
"Are we there yet?"
OMG ITS OVER. I CANT BELIEVE ITS OVER. AHHHH! (runs in circles sobbing) Ok, this fic is my baby, and thanks to all of you who read it. Please review, even if you haven't before! I hope you enjoyed this fic, I know I love it!