A/N: Welcome to the final chapter of 'Everybody Wants Her!' This fic is a first for me in many ways. It's the first multi-chaptered fanfic I've written, the longest fic and the one with the most reviews. I never expected to break into the triple digits, and while I know I've whined at you to give me more, I appreciate each and every one you guys have given me. Most of all I want to thank Mimi and Raikune, the two online buddy-friends I've met through writing this thing. Both of them are phenomenal writers who could use some readers, so head on over to their profiles when you've got some time to kill.
Yeah I couldn't help the plug. Even though I've already recommended Raikune. Anyway I'm sorry that this chapter took so long, since it's the last one I wanted more than anything to make it perfect. I hope everybody likes The Zodiac Breaks and Everybody Wants Her overall. Happy reading!
Everybody Wants Her
Chapter Seventeen – The Zodiac Breaks
It's not so simple as they wish it were, the Sohma's not okay with Kyo-kun coming back. When Tohru strides on in with the suggestion she's shot down, screamed out by Hatori for even considering it. "After spending so much time with us I'd like to think you had some understanding," Hari snaps. "God comes first and Kyo's destroyed him. Just because you forgive him doesn't mean that we do, and Tohru he'd have to be locked up anyway. He's the cat and he's a huge threat now, we can't just take him back with open arms. He has to be locked up again and that's that."
Tohru's sitting on Aki's bed again, shifting awkward as he glares at her with wrath so intense he can hardly sustain it, Aki's putting everything into this fury. "If Akito can be forgiven for Yuki then—"—she's cut off, sounds shut up by Hatori. He tells her that that subject's closed, they've talked it out and it's not to be mentioned again. It doesn't seem to matter much that Yuki's traumatized, falling apart in the doctor's arms as Hari hugs him. The breakdown of another person has never really fazed this man.
"Look," he tells her, voice flat as he pats Yuki-kun mechanically on the back. "Even if they didn't have these roles, if they were just normal people Akito would still be more innocent than Kyo. He's paid for what he's done and anyway, he was just looking for comfort. Kyo's acts were deliberately malicious, and he nearly killed our god! I'm sorry, it can't be changed that that's a part of it. We can't forgive it Tohru-kun. We can't allow him back into the family."
"What does Akito think?" she asks, setting up her baby girl curled close to him, hoping that her small presence will bring some kind of comfort. "I mean it's up to him, not you, am I right?"
"It's up to me if I think it'll damage his health and it will Tohru, the stress is going to be intolerable." Tohru sighs, lies down with her Akito and concedes that Hari has a point. She can't imagine how this fragile baby could endure the fear, how Yuki's managed living with his rapist all these nights and days. Yuki's stronger despite his falling now; Yuki is a tougher, sweeter kind of Akito. Akito's a lovely skeleton, a glass doll on the verge of shattering and stabbing feet.
"I couldn't care less," he says, deadpan and nearly dead, Aki's hacking blood post-sentence. "I mean…fuck me right, who gives a shit what's good for God…I don't care. T-tohru's obviously in love with him, 'course she wants him around so she can…whatever. Whatever, I don't care, you guys just do whatever you want because I'm going to die and I don't matter. I'm shit."
"You're not shit!" Hari and Tohru insist in unison, forceful and horrified that Akito thinks this way. Tohru climbs in closer to him, holds him tight and says she's crazy for him, doesn't care what he's done 'cause she is filled with adoration. "You're worth so much," she tells him, pausing quick to plant a kiss upon his bloody mouth. "You've done so much for your family, you mean everything to all of us and you are flawless."
No, he cannot stop himself from cracking up at that.
Tohru's face turns tomato and she buries it into her hands. She knows she could've picked a better word, one that did not dismiss the pain of those around her, that honored Aki without outright lying. To save herself she just goes back to Kyo-kun, asks if he could maybe stay at Shigure's again.
"He doesn't deserve it," Aki says, the kid can't even stay consistent. He leans into Tohru-kun shaking, head smacking her lap because he can't stay up, can't hold onto the world a whole lot longer. "T-that's…that's too good for him after what he did to me…"
"Akito doesn't know what he's talking about," Hatori says, "he's too traumatized to use his mind. He's not going to be part of this decision, I don't want him even thinking about Kyo. This conversation is over Tohru, I will deal with Kyo, and I will deal with Akito. You just take care of your baby."
"Hey!" she snaps, indignant though it goes against the way she thinks she ought to be, smashes through the false smiling self she's only been able to kill with Akito. Maybe that is part of why she loves him, she can get angry, be herself around the man. "This concerns you less than anybody Hatori! When Aki's got his head together he's the one who should decide, and anyway I'm his wife! His well-being means the world to me, I'm not just advocating Kyo-kun!"
"You're not anybody's wife yet," Hari tells her, rolling his eyes as he sheds himself of Yuki-kun. "And Tohru, if you want Kyo to stay here then you're clearly advocating him as you so delicately put it. If you want to be with him that's fine, but that means you need to leave, not drag the excommunicated into this." He grits his teeth then, points shaking towards the door and tries to push her up and out.
She grabs the doorway, calls her sickly sick and dying one to be her knight in shining armor. "Aki-kun tell him to stop!" she squeaks, nails digging through the chipping paint. Akito does nothing, barely hears her as he coughs into the air. He's spacing now, brain-dead with the trauma and he's gazing blank at Yuki-kun. Tohru-kun's ignored, Tohru-kun's pushed out without her little girl.
And now she's alone. Bereft of her baby and the Sohma amoeba, Tohru's by herself and shuffling out now. She's not sure if she can come back ever, she's panicked at the thought of Aki dying cold outside her arms. And so she beats the slammed-shut door, begs for entrance from the dragon guard. "Hatori-san I changed my mind, I have to be with him come on now, I don't care about Kyo anymore, just don't let him die without me please!"
"What?" snorts Hatori, coming out to glare down at the quivering girl. "Is it supposed to be entertaining? Some kind of spectator sport? Listen Tohru, he's not going to die and no one wants you here alright? Just get out of here, take your kid and go." Squirmy Taeko's thrust on her, and Hari slams the door right in her pretty little face. Why he's so pissy is hardly beyond him, Hari knows he cannot stand to have this sweet girl here. It's when Akito's destroyed that the doctor loves him best, when he's not whining or screeching or any awful thing. Here he is, mindless and compliant and Hari's realizing how sick that sounds.
But he does love for him to be this way. To need him and him alone.
Tohru-kun will break the servant-god connection, Tohru-kun will make Akito need her touch and not his doctor's. This is duty really, a job and holy obligation. Hatori feels flawed if he can't heal him, if Aki's soul is soothed by someone else. It is not that he loves him, if he does it's not something that he's willing to admit. Not with Yuki crouched shaking in the corner there, not with the blackness coming at him through his blind and ruined eye.
Despite all this Akito calls for her, tears pouring from his eyes like cough syrup spilled and Hari wants him wanting only him, either that or he'd like to see him as a dictator, evil Aki at the throne throwing vases. But what he sees is just this soppy little mess, Akito now and ages ago, a kid struggling to swallow the fucking syrup.
He's coughing, crying for his bee to be with him and Hari can't deny him any longer. What he wants is comfort, love that Hatori's too cold to give. He's been hurt too much to help him, Yuki has too and only Tohru's capable. Akito reaches out with twitching fingers, hacks blood and whimpers and Hatori's got no choice here. He stands up, he pries the door gently and steps out hoping to see her. She's not there. Tohru's gone.
Hari doesn't break the news. He cannot face the man's reaction, can't bear to see his God rot even more. So instead he scoops him up, tells him all's alright because he's here for him, he's God he's God he's God and god he's beautiful. Aki in his arms in this perfect moment, every sin ignored now, Yuki-kun still staring at them brokenhearted. "You need a bath," says Hatori, "you're going to get an infection if I don't get you clean."
Aki nods, wanting the girl he adores but not caring, this is all he gets and all he's used to, he'll take Hatori's temporary love because he's tried and failed to thaw him all their lives. He'll take this bath and fucking love it, hope he'll die with Hari's hands running soapy through his hair.
It hits him like a blizzard when he realizes that he can't stay with her, leaves him gasping, frozen and bereft. Yes, he'd thought that it could work in Tohru's presence, he'd absorbed her optimistic feelings. But Kyo's no optimist, he's not inclined to think that good is real. When Tohru scurried out of sight into the main house he'd dashed inside, snuck a shower to cure the vile slimy feelings. It hadn't helped much, Kyo-kun feels he is the filth, and he cannot make himself slip sickly down the drain.
He runs out again after stealing a sheet of paper, a pen that doesn't write until he breaks the paper scribbling on it. He figures he can write to her, tell Tohru-kun he doesn't mean to blow her off, that he wants what he says but it's impossible. If Aki lives he won't allow it, if he dies Kyo's dead, basically doomed either way. And in a way he doesn't even want this, it would kill him watching Tohru-kun suck face with Akito each day.
Time passes and he fails to write the letter, Kyo can't think and he just pulls grass out the ground and splits the blades, ties them back together pointlessly. Of course he's stalling sealing fate, of course he cannot think of anything to write. He keeps not doing it, keeps wrecking up the grass until she comes for him. Maybe he had known she would.
"Kyo," she says, voice thick with choked-back tears. She sits down with Taeko writhing, wonders if she'll ever do a thing but fuss and scream. "I've got some bad news."
"What?" he asks her, flinging up to look at her. He hasn't heard a thing except her teary tone, the kid's too loud and there's wax build-up in his ears. He digs it out, shakes his head and tries to give the girl a smile. "Did you say something Tohru?"
"Er, yeah," she tells him, crisp this time because she's apprehensive, more nervous than she was before. "Bad news. I have bad news. I'm sorry Kyo but you can't…you can't stay here, Hatori said no. Akito's too out of it to really say, but I don't think that he'd allow it…they want to lock you up again. I think you need to leave."
So he doesn't tell her he's been planning that, keeps his mouth shut so as not to cause her pain. Taeko's face is red with her bellowing, her shirt's stained dark with drool and tears. "What is wrong with that baby?" he asks her, hoping that these piercing wails will dampen his desire, that he will not miss his daughter when he leaves her. "Can you shut her up, it's really fucking annoying!"
Tohru shrugs, says she's sorry as she pats the child's back. "Look Kyo, I mean it. You need to get out of here, now. They won't come for you now, Aki still needs Hatori and he'll be the one to order it but look. They'll shove you right back in that cage Kyo, they don't trust you anymore and you have to go. Unless you want to spend your life in…I'm sorry. I know I told you that you could…I don't control this Kyo, I'm so sorry…" And she's crying now, spilling tears because she feels she's ruined everything. "Go," she says, "please just leave Kyo, I don't want to see you anymore…"
Those words sting without him knowing if she means them. Kyo's never been wanted and everybody loves the Lord, again he feels rejected though he's buried what he needs. "Fine," he says, reaching out to stroke the baby's flaming hair, Tohru's waves of cocoa down her back. Just this one last touch, just please. Don't stop me.
She doesn't stop him but she slithers softly backwards, eyes wide and self-possessed. "You have a wonderful world waiting for you Kyo-kun. If you go now, you'll have a life that no one can predict. You can be happy. You can. We can all be…happy…"
Tohru's shoulders shake and she's still crying, Taeko's voice is rasping as she screams. This doesn't look happy and Kyo thinks he'll probably just kill himself. He's cursed, maimed by his birth so how can he have any kind of future? Tohru-kun's an outsider, she would not understand that this is hopeless. But instead of speaking he just smiles at her, she doesn't need to know that he intends to take his life. "Kyo," she says, "Kyo you can hold her. Before you go, you can hold her little hands…"
So he does, he reaches out and grabs those coin-sized fists, teeny-tiny baby things and god he can't believe that he won't see her. "Taeko-chan, you're beautiful," he tells her, knowing that she does not understand. Her round and vacant face stares wobbly at him as she gulps through the remnants of her tears. "No matter what happens I…" And he trails off, breaks down and turns away.
He can't say it, can't do anything but flee the scene. It's his daughter, his little girl who looks just like him but he's choked and strangled by the simple words, I love you.
Akito's laid out sacred in the bathtub, filthy clothes stripped off and strewn across the floor. He shuts his eyes, plays games with the pain and hopes he'll win at this hide-and-seek head trick. If he's blinded they can't find him, no one who would hurt him will come in. All these people want to kill him and Akito's spineless now, he's scared. The thought of Yuki walking in to use the toilet sets his heart beating crazy, the very idea of his Tohru-kun seeing him like this just drives him nuts. She'd take advantage of his weakness, they all would, the Sohma and his darling bee all want him dead!
Except for Hari. This man who's always healed him and he's fucking clinging, Akito is reaching with weak arms for Hari's hands. Like a child, like a pansy little loser he is needing him. And Hari doesn't question this, he just lets him cling and fills the bathtub, tells him that he knows he hurts and that he's sorry. The water stings his injuries, and he's too damn weak to keep from going under.
It's not just weakness but desire to die, Akito sinks down slow and then he's pulled up gasping, not allowed to end things and it's not because they love him. When Tohru-kun ran off to be with Kyo, Yuki'd faced him head on and said so, said I hate you and I hope you hurt so bad you break. I hate you. He has waited for this always. He is waiting for his honeybee to say it too. For his false baby girl to grow up and curse his name.
Hari lifts his little lord and makes him sit, soaps him up and hopes the open wounds don't sting and weep too strongly. He's seen so much but he's intimidated, viewing Aki different now. All he used to fear was falling victim, after Kana and that awful molestation thing…well he just can't think of any of that now. The vicious one is dead and gone, replaced by this spineless ruined baby naked in the bath. And he wants to tell him, yes you're horrible,just test this out because he needs to be berated, he shouldbut it just doesn't happen. Aki's back shakes and the tears slip killer down his face, salting up his split lip so it hurts him even more.
"Akito…" Hari ventures, soap-slicked hand on his shuddering shoulder. "Akito don't…there's no need to cry like that, it's not so bad, I mean it is but…calm down, you're straining your lungs now…"
The sobs keep coming, screams that rip like razors in his bloodied throat. Every piece of pain just pummels him, Aki can't stop murdering his weak body with the tears. He's still feeling the kitty inside, wrecking his legs and the rest of him, his own dick in Yuki-kun, it's rape it's rape and Tohru fucking loves him, loves enough to mess around with Kyo. And Hari's here and Hari's lying and there's Taeko Taeko Taeko and he feels so fucking sick…
Hari lets the water drip him clean, sprays it loud to block the moaning. When Aki's soapless he is rolled up in a ratty towel, Hari wants to wrap him nice but he can see the kid's about to puke. Akito sinks sickly from his arms onto the floor, lets his insides spin into the worthless world. He's stuck in a shivering push-up, hands around the mess to keep away. But he loses strength and then he's soaked in vomit, Hari has to wash him up again.
And so he does. Unperturbed and wanting this, to be enslaved and indispensable. A Sohma in his proper role. There's nothing left in life for him but Akito, and the concept clicks too well to make the man depressed. Hatori is blessed with God and he could love him if this bitter little wreck were his. But no, he's made to serve, and they will live and die with this. Never mind the way it strips them both of souls.
Kyo-kun's sitting dangle-legged on the ledge of a small stone bridge. He is frozen with his brain in flames, blown over by the force of what he means to do. But his life's lost meaning, the world is fucking shit and what the hell's he gonna do outside the Sohma? Tohru-kun's sweet with her confidence, but if she weren't blind to what's real she'd understand. Tohru's lovely but she lives life wrapped in dreams, she lives immune to her little girl's screams. Anyway he's not about to tell her, to leave a fucking note. She'll think he's setting up a perfect life outside, hooking up with a chick who won't give a shit that he's a monster.
Head in his hands he scans through second thoughts, discards them and distills until he's reached this: he's topping himself here and now.
So he stands with shaking legs, arms outstretched out of habit just to save himself a fall. Jumping will not take him far, the bridge is low but there's a stream, deep enough and if he hits his head he won't come up again, he'll drown. And what a way to go when he's the fucking cat, he can't stand water but his death ought not to be too pleasant. He's filthy, an inexcusable coward who has turned away from God.
Jumping right away's impossible, Kyo-kun stands there gaining strength for ages before he steps into the air. The connection to his mother makes him warm and sick inside, the fact that he's leaving his daughter…no. No none of this, none of these meaningless doubts that'll just trip him up, this is pointless. Fuck, he's gonna fucking jump, just like in that nice other life where Shishou used to show him moves. He'd set aside his thrumming nerves, just plunge right into the technique, he'd get hurt but he would come through happy. Now he'll come through dead but that seems happier than living. He'll jump.
And he does, just shuts his eyes and walks right off, holds his breath unthinking as he lands—THWAP!—and sinks soundless in the green and soupy water. His lungs start shrieking, we need air, but Kyo-kun's scratching through the streambed, furious and frustrated that this jumping thing has failed him. His torso's stinging with the slap of impact, but he hasn't fallen far enough to bring the damage. And in the end he can't stay down, his brain will not allow his lungs to go on starving. He comes up coughing like he's fucking Akito, gasping and he hugs his knees, he can't believe he's failed at suicide. "My mom could do this…" he moans, swiping tears from his eyes that he's convinced himself are just water from the stream. "Shit…"
He sobs a bit, shoulders shaking as he tries to shut things down. When his face goes cold with drying tears and gunky water, Kyo-kun stands and tries to find some other way to die. His head whips around, searching and he's getting frantic, god he cannot stand existing anymore! Every little thing he thinks just sets the tears off, he hates this and he's looking looking looking LOOK!
The river's filled with rocks, hard smooth rocks and it's like these stones were sent from God to help him end this. God doesn't love him but God wants him dead, Kyo's rejoicing as he finds the perfect one. He swallows, salivating as he strokes it; yes he's finally going to die.
One strike—BAM!—and he's screaming in pain, bleeding down his eyes and all he sees is melted-candy liquid dripping down. Blood, his blood and—BAM!—it's fucking beautiful, a sign that he's about to die and—BAM!—he's terrified. BAM!—the boy's gone blind, no more candy slipping slowly down his face into his mouth. He's tasting coins though, coins like Taeko's little fists and all he wants to do is see her—BAM!—one more time and Tohru Tohru too what the hell is—BAM!—wrong with him?
Kyo-kun loses it; no more head wounds now because he's drowning, bleeding 'til the water turns a muted red. Everyone he's ever been slips out through his devastated head, Kyo's dead.
Sohma Kyo is fucking dead.
Tohru pulls strands from the welcome mat as she leans against the oaken door. Taeko's stopped bellowing for once but Mommy's bawling, biting on her bottom lip 'cause she's been banished, she can't believe she's lost them both, lost the whole lovely Sohma for a dumb mistake. Kyo-kun's left to start a life and she's playing that she's pleased for him, and she is it's just she'll miss him, he's her friend no matter what. At any rate Akito's gone from her, if no one opens this door she's going to her grandpa's house. Now that she's a mom she doesn't mind imposing, Taeko-chan can't make it in a tent.
She struggles up despite gravity wrenching her, lifts her child up and pounds the door. Her fists ache as she knocks but she's not stopping, Taeko starts to scream and Mommy almost slaps her, resorts to Aki's ways. "Let me in…" she moans, "please Hari let me be with him…"
In time the door creaks open, Hari standing staring with his sandbagged eyes. "Oh," he says, "so you're back. Frankly Tohru, I'm surprised. I thought for sure that you'd have taken off with Kyo by now."
Tohru-kun clutches her flailing kid close, shakes her head as she sniffles and sobs. "N-no, no Hatori-san I just…I w-wanted to, I, I c-couldn't find him…he's probably, probably gone…I wa, I wanna s-see my Akito, please don't let him be dead…"
"You need to calm down," he says, standing stiff and he wonders if he ought to touch her, if the deadweight of his hand will soothe her soul. Hatori decides against it, just leads her in to look at Akito. "Please try to curtail your hysterics before you speak with him. He's in no condition to deal with anyone's emotions but his own. And on that note, I think that I'll escort Yuki to his room. I can't have both of them falling apart whenever they exchange a glance."
Tohru nods, wipes her eyes and sips the air to stop the tears. She wants Akito snapped in two, not shattered so she cannot save him, no she's not about to make this worse. Yuki's summoned and she sees him slinking out, a nothing-boy and she hopes that he'll go home soon. Everybody's wrecked, and she's bereft of ways to save them. Which means that Honda Tohru isn't worth a thing.
So she slides ghostlike to her Akito, curled in bed with his leg encased, hauled up in traction and he's got bandages all over, covering the marks of Kyo-kun's sins. Needles track his skin like he's a junkie, rented machines beep all around them. He struggles up to stare at her, eye wide and bright despite the clearness of his pain. He's babbling now, he's manic and he's banging fists against the bed. "It's gone," he says, "my Zodiac is broken. It's incomplete, it's wrong, it's gone it's gone it's dead now."
Tohru looks at him with clueless eyes, sets her daughter down and wonders if it matters what he means. This Sohma-speak flies over her, she knows her Aki's addled and she cannot count on him for sense. "Akito," she tells him, "nothing's dead."
"YES, it is!" he shrieks, coughing when the words run dry, spilling still more blood and Tohru can't believe he's got enough for that, that his lungs and veins are not yet dry. He bows his head, leans down and spits the mess into his lap. He moans over hitches in his throat, says he doesn't know what's missing but it's cataclysmic, something is gone from his life as a god. "I can't take this," he tells her, "I can't fucking take this. Someone's dead. My Zodiac is broken, there's this massive empty thing inside me I…I hurt so much Tohru…"
And she melts at this, Poor Baby's back and all she's hearing is the sadness he's expressed. Tohru leans into him with elbows bent, the hook-ups digging in as she holds him. "No one's dead," she promises, hands cuppingF the back of his neck as he grows too weak to spit fire. "Nothing's broken. Everything's going to be just fine Akito, you'll heal up fast and we'll be a family, Taeko and I will fill up all your empty spaces."
He shakes his head, tries to say she can't because she's not a Sohma, she doesn't get the wrenching horror of his severed ties, of knowing without knowing that one of his own is dead. She won't get this for the world and he wants to scramble out of here and know the score, who's died and why, is it Yuki? Hatori-san, Shigure, the monster? But Tohru's got his arms clamped tight around him, she's inched her baby girl close by. Aki doesn't fight it. He needs her and he'll suffer this suspense so she can think she's saving him. Because if she believes she can, Tohru-kun might smooth away the rage, obliterate the desperation. Make his headache go away.
Nana: It's…over. Everybody Wants Her is done. I have to admit, it's a little jarring. I don't have this thing to work on anymore, it's finished. But I'm really happy with the final product, and I hope you guys are too. I know some of the things that happened in this chapter were a little disturbing, but you've got to be used to that by now, eh? Kyo-kun's dead. Honestly up until I started in on this chapter, I wasn't even expecting that. I guess that's what happens when you get really into your work, right? The characters just kind of do their own thing.
Oh! Before you go off to first review me and then continue with your lives, I want to recommend you something. No, I'm not directing you to other people's fanfics again, I already did that once today. But there are these two songs which I think sum up the Akito/Tohru relationship (or at least my version of it!) perfectly, that you might like listening to. I know I love it when people recommend me songs in their author's notes, so I thought I'd do the same for you guys.
The first is 'Misguided Angel' by the Cowboy Junkies. Okay, so it mentions some relatives Tohru doesn't exactly have, but it's about a girl who loves and is loved by someone who's well, totally nuts. It's this beautiful slow song and it just makes me so happy! The second one is 'Trigger Happy Jack' by Poe. Poe is cool. One of my favorite lines in this song is But there's nothing more sadistic than an infant/Waving his pistol in my face/He wants me right down on my knees/Crumbling in disgrace. Hehe. To me,that's Akito exactly.
Alright, I've gone on about that enough now. If you guys want the songs, you can download them or contact me, I'll send them to you. So anyway, since this is the last chapter, make sure thatyou review! Tell me what you think of this chapter and what you think overall. Thank you all so much for all your wonderful comments, you've made me the happiest little pancake in the land!
- Newsflash! It's not actually over. Because I'm review-crazy, I have something to tell you. There's a sequel to this story in case you weren't aware. It's called Burnt Rice and it's good stuff, so scurry on over and review me!
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