She'll Never Say "I'm Sorry"
Disclaimer: I do not own Fruits Basket.
A/N: Sorry it took so long to update! I'm a fiend, I really am. (looks hopeful) Forgive me? Heh. I'm actually pretty happy with this chapter, though it isn't quite as long as I had originally planned. The beginning is mediocre, but personally I think it ends with a pretty nice 'bang'. Thank you SO MUCH to all the people who reviewed chapter three! You make me so happy. (beam) Please enjoy chapter four. R&R!
Thanks for reading!
Chapter Four: Hard to See the Light Now
Whether it was a conscious move or not, Tohru had totally forgotten her promise to give the diary to Shigure when she woke the next morning.
In fact, she didn't once think about Akito the whole morning as she dressed for school. She didn't think about Akito as she fixed then ate breakfast. She didn't even think about Akito as she got to the school building and went into her first class.
In fact, the diary was so far out of her mind that Hana-chan and Uo-chan hadn't even noticed that she wasn't as chipper as usual.
The day passed as any other might, with the usual chaos that seemed to follow Tohru and her friends in its usual abundance. Yuki had a student council meeting that day, so it was just Kyo that walked with her home. She was humming something happily, her mind on the homework that her teachers had given them. Hopefully, she could complete it before dinner, and–
"Hey, you," Kyo said, snapping her out of her little daze. "What's with you, huh? You're acting out of it again."
"Ahh!" Tohru shook her head to clear her thoughts, then smiled up at the boy beside him. "I'm fine, Kyo-kun. Please don't worry about me; I'll stop being so spacey."
Kyo snorted. "You? Stop being spacey? That would make me worry even more." He put a hand gently on the top of her head. "Let's just go home."
Tohru smiled. "Right!"
When they got home, they found Shigure working diligently on a new novel. Which, of course, was mildly surprising as– even when it came to work– Shigure didn't like to work at all. But he had been acting strangely the past few days anyway, so they weren't as shocked as they might have been. He had been acting strange since Akito's funeral, actually, and none of the kids knew what to make of his change in behavior.
"Good afternoon, Shigure-san!" Tohru called happily. "Kyo-kun and I are back from school!"
"Ahh, wonderful!" he replied, coming out of his study. "I hope your day was filled with learning and laughter, as you travel onwards down the path of your glorious education." He took in a deep breath. "To be young." He sighed. "Ahh, if I were but in your shoes. How wonderful it would be to be in such a positive environment! And to be surrounded by all those high school girls..."
Kyo scowled. "Shut up, you idiot. No one would let a pervert like you be around the girls at all."
Shigure sniffed miserably. "Kyo-kun... So cruel..."
But just as soon as he had fallen into despair, he snapped out of it. "Oh Tohru-kun!" he trilled happily. "I'm going to be working all evening, so if you could be so kind as to inform me when dinner's ready..." He looked at her imploringly.
She nodded fervently. "Yes! Of course, Shigure-san! I'd be more than happy to do that."
Shigure smiled and ruffled her hair. "Good girl."
Then he popped back into his study, whistling carelessly.
Kyo shook his head. "That man... Look, I'll see you at dinner, alright?" Tohru nodded. "Good." Hesitantly, he smiled at her. But just as soon as she returned it, his face fell back into a familiar scowl. With a gruff goodbye, he too walked away.
"Well," Tohru said to herself, "I suppose I had better get started on my homework!"
She went up to her room and took out her books. After about an hour of working and studying, she finally put away her work. "Whew," she said with a sigh. "I'm glad I finally got it all done! Now I have time to get some laundry done before I have to start cooking." She smiled and flounced off to get to work.
For a while, she worked happily. Tohru was certainly not lazy, and generally she was most content when she had something to occupy herself with. After doing about three loads, she decided that she was finished for the evening.
Guiltily, she immediately thought of the diary.
"Oh, I hadn't thought about it all day,' she fretted, 'and I just had to think of it now! I know I shouldn't keep reading it, but... that doesn't change the fact that I want to. I feel like such a bad person. But... Oh, I just feel so curious! Akito-san was so cruel to everyone; I want to know what could have made him act like that. I... I'm so selfish! I'm not even thinking of his wishes."
Shaking her head at herself, Tohru headed back to her bedroom. She needed to turn the diary over to Shigure. That had been her intention all along, hadn't it?
With determination bubbling to the surface, Tohru boldly grabbed the diary from where she had hidden it under her pillow, ready to take it to Shigure. Then promptly tripped on a book on the floor and dropped it again. The diary fell open. Biting her lip, Tohru immediately felt the same conflict inside her. Read it, or don't read it? She picked it up slowly, feeling the soft leather under her fingers.
Maybe... One more entry couldn't hurt.
Feeling sick with curiosity, Tohru turned to where she had stopped reading the night before. After a nervous swallow, she once again began to read.
'Today was like all days– an exercise in utter futility. I ask myself again: what's the point? There isn't, of course, any real feeling left anymore– no boredom, no pain, no regret. There's just this phantom sense of feeling that used to be, like a ghost or an imprint left by something heavy that sat in one place for too long.
I'm alone again.
I don't like having only my thoughts to occupy me; they tend to be singularly depressing and mired in an unhealthy amount of self-pity. I know I'm not a good person. I do not like to be crossed, I do not like things I don't understand, and I have no reign over my emotions. I never learned– and I was never taught– control. I erupt, and if there is anything around me it will be burned. I'm not a particularly good-spirited person either, and often I'm unhappy. I hate being sick all the time. I hate having to be locked up like this. I hate this wretched life of leisure– it's so meaningless, it's so... lonely. Do I even know that I feel that? It hurts so fiercely that I tend to forget that the loneliness is even there at all.
I used to think that what I had– what I believed– was enough. I thought I was content with my own little sphere, my private world, my faithful menagerie... But they wanted freedom. They wanted to defy me.
I don't appreciate defiance.
Would I be a different person? If I hadn't lost all faith in the world? If my mother, the heartless, ugly bitch, had loved me? If I hadn't had to pretend to be something I wasn't? I've had enough psychological trauma for thirteen people, thank you, and I know as well as anyone that I'm a mess; and though wondering about all this won't help a thing, I can't help but do it anyway.
I feel... better now, if only a little. Maybe those fools were right in suggesting I keep a diary. In here, no one can judge or condemn what I say. It's so close to... Well, freedom.'
Tohru dropped the book back onto her bed, tears falling gently down her face. She couldn't help it– was that really what Akito's life had been like? Tohru was sensitive, and somehow, in some way, those simple words had made her realize that maybe Akito hadn't been the monster everyone had thought.
"If his life was really like that," Tohru said with a sniff, "then... Oh, I don't know what to think! Akito-san was so unhappy. He was so unhappy."
She put the book back under her pillow reverently. Wiping her eyes, she looked at her alarm clock. "Oh good. It's late enough that I can start dinner. I... I don't want to think about it any more right now." So once again thrusting the diary out of her mind, she headed to the kitchen to begin her nightly cooking.
Yuki was in there already, waiting for her. "Hello, Honda-san," he said politely. "Need any help tonight?"
"Oh! Wh-why... Thank you, Yuki-kun! That's so thoughtful of you!" She beamed at him brightly, and he happily returned her smile.
Yuki had seemed much happier lately, though Tohru couldn't quite put her finger on why. She knew that, even though he'd never say it, he was relieved by Akito's death. Akito had been one of his greatest struggles, and though Yuki might– she wasn't certain– mourn, she knew that he was also grateful that the burden Akito had put on him had been lifted.
"Did you have a good time at your student council meeting?" Tohru asked, trying to start a conversation.
"O-oh..." Yuki's cheeks turned a light shade of pink. "Yes, w-we... We got a lot of good work done."
"I'm glad! You're a very good president, Yuki-kun, and I'm glad you enjoy it!"
"Thank you, Honda-san. I appreciate your kindness."
After they finished, Tohru went to find Kyo and Shigure. "Dinner's ready!" she called. She heard footsteps after her declaration, so she knew they were coming. For the most part, they ate in silence. After dinner Tohru cleared the dishes away. She washed up, then went to get ready for bed.
This time, she resisted the urge to peek into the diary. "Forgive me, Akito-san," she whispered as she lay in bed, clutching the blanket up to her chin. "I only... Want to... help."
It was past midnight.
Shigure lay on his bedroom floor, still awake, his mind restless and troubled. He hadn't been sleeping well, catching a nap here and there while the kids were at school. Things were so different; his heart still hadn't shattered, but the crack was growing steadily wider each day.
With a groan, he turned over on his side. The blanket– Akito's, that he had taken kindly from Tohru– slipped off his bare shoulder. He had it wrapped around his naked body, the soft fabric on his skin burning like fire.
"Why?" he asked the darkness, hand fisting in the dark fabric. "Why did you leave me?" He squeezed his eyes shut, the visions in his head flashing too brightly before them.
He could still imagine Akito's scent on the blanket; he could still imagine Akito's slender form resting beneath it. He could always imagine, because those feeble memories were all he would ever have of his God.
And, for the first time since Akito's death, he let himself break down– like he had needed to since the news had been broken.
In the solitude of his room, amidst the mess and the memory and the darkness, he wept. Not a moment longer. He couldn't take another moment of the sharp, dizzying pain.
"I loved her," he murmured through his tears. "Even with all my faults... I loved her."
: end chp. 4 :
End A/N: Thank you so much for reading! I sincerely enjoyed writing this and I hope you enjoyed reading it just as much. (heh. I'm such a sucker for stories.) Hopefully you liked the diary entry-- it was odd, I'll admit, but there was a reason for it. And remember, the diary was started about a... year (?) before Akito's death, so it'll reflect the God's change of opinion. Please leave a comment to tell me what you thought!
Next chapter will give you a glimpse of where they stand with the curse! (waggles eyebrows) Excited?