Late Night Comforts
A gift for Panda

"Don't show anyone on the other side of the door that you're quietly falling apart."

Good dreams were the hardest.

Hands running through her hair, brushing the wayward bangs out of her eyes…

"Your hair is getting longer!" Kyoko exclaimed, giving Tohru an enthusiastic hug. "You're so cute!"

Tohru lay there, quiet in her sobs, waiting for the after effects of the dream to go away. Sometimes it didn't take too long… other times, Tohru would cry until morning.

You shouldn't be this way, Tohru told herself. The others will be worried.

It wasn't that remembering her mother was terrible—in fact, Tohru loved each and every memory she had of Kyoko.

But the dreams….

That fond smell….

Pressing her small face against her mother's apron, crying softly.

"I was so scared, mommy! I—I couldn't find my way home!" Tohru's tears were quickly wiped away, smothered down with kisses.

Tohru shifted to lie on her side, letting the teardrops slide across the bridge of her nose and onto the pillow. Sometimes, it was just too hard.

That comforting smile that always greeted her when she came home from school….

"Mom, I'm home!" She would call out every afternoon.

"Ahh! My cute daughter is home!" Kyoko would nearly crash into the wall just by running to Tohru.

That was how… it was supposed to be.

Always together.

The good dreams were the ones that always seemed too real. Tohru dreaded them the most, much more so than the nightmarish scenes that liked to replay over and over again on some nights—she could deal with those, at least. But the dreams that were full of warmth and smiles made Tohru's heart feel as though it would cave in, so that only emptiness would remain.

How she longed for them not to be dreams.

"That was how it was supposed to be, wasn't it?" She whispered to herself, her lips tasting the saline of her own teardrop. "I'm… I'm okay now, aren't I?"

A wrenching cry nearly ripped from her.

Because sometimes, just sometimes, she wasn't okay.

It's okay to need someone.

You don't always have to be needed.

The door easily slid open, and with one foot at a time, Tohru entered the dark, cool room. With quiet footsteps as to not wake the rest of the household, she lowered herself to the floor so that she was next to the sleeping form that lay there.

Gingerly touching his arm, Tohru whispered, "Kyo, wake up."

There were grumbles and grunts, but he remained fast asleep.

"Kyo?" She nudged his shoulder gently, hoping that he wouldn't be angry with her.

No response.

Tohru sniffled.

"T-Tohru!" Kyo exclaimed, blankets dropping to his waist.

Noticing right away that her eyes were wet with tears, Kyo quickly (but awkwardly) found her hand. "H-hey, stop that. What the hell are you doing, crying here in the middle of the night like this?"

Then, just like that, her small little sniffles quickly erupted into a sob. On his chest.

And then suddenly she was red-faced and apologizing to something fluffy with ears.

"Kyo-kun, I'm so sorry! I'm terribly sorry!" She cried.

He glared at her, but placed a soft paw on her knee. "What's wrong?"

Tohru bit back a wail. No use waking up everyone else. "I… I had a dream."

"Was it a bad one?"

"No. It was… It was really good, Kyo!" Tohru finished lamely.

Kyo groaned. "Now, then what's the matter?"

"We were supposed to always be together…" Tohru hiccuped. "…I worked so hard to get her back—she was going to go away forever and I—I worked so hard…"

Climbing onto her lap, Kyo curled up into a ball and laid his chin on her frail hand. It shook. "It's okay. You can let it out."

"I worked so hard, but in the end… she left anyway." Tohru wiped at her eyes frantically with the back of hand. "I'm so selfish, wanting her like this, when I know she is probably happy where she is right now… with father."

Kyo turned to look at her, gut unpleasantly wrenching at the sight of her tears. "It's not selfish."

Especially when I, too, want to stay by someone's side.

He let his chin rest upon her hand again.

I want to stay… by your side.

"Kyo-kun, may I stay here tonight?" Tohru fingered the soft tips of his ears gently, and the ridiculous urge to giggle was squashed down quickly when she heard him purr. "Please?"

He sighed and kissed her hand with his nose. "Yes."

"Thank you, Kyo-kun."

Sometimes… It is good to need someone, to let them know that you're falling apart.

"I… I don't feel so alone, when I'm here. With you." Tohru blushed, then quickly added, "and the others."

"Then, go to sleep. We've got school tomorrow." Kyo said.

Always together. That's how it is supposed to be.

Please remember to review!