Author's Note: So since this is the end, I have a soundtrack for you. I recommend that you look up the lyrics or give a listen to some of them. I ended up with three Hole songs. I was going to put "Northern Star" on too but thought four Hole songs are too many. I also considered "Only Ashes" and "You're Gone" by Something Corporate. They are in order by where they fit.

"Miss World" by Hole (Kita's feelings of sadness and independence)

"This Time Imperfect" by AFI ("I cannot stay here, I cannot leave...")

"A Pain That I'm Used To" by Depeche Mode (The title explains all.)

"Carve Your Heart Out Yourself" by Dashboard Confessional ("Hopelessness is your cell...")

"Strangelove" by Depeche Mode (When Akito tells her he loves her)

"Polly" by Nirvana (The rape)

"Petals" by Hole ("Tear the petals off of you and make you tell the truth..")

"Verse Chorus Verse" by Nirvana (For when Kita wonders if pain is better than nothing)

"Wonderwall" by Oasis (Akito's scars)

"You've Got Her In Your Pocket" by The White Stripes (After he gives her the jewelry box)

"My Reply" by The Ataris (Akito's sickness)

"What Sarah Said" by Death Cab For Cutie (Two chapters were named from lines in this one)

"Mairead" by The Von Bondies (Akito's thoughts on her leaving)

"Love Song" by The Cure (Kita's thoughts on leaving)

"Dying" by Hole (You shall see...)

"Happy Home" by Garbage (You shall see...)

Epilogue

As she drove down the familiar road, Kita started to realize just how nervous she really was. Her grip on the steering wheel had already faltered twice since she had turned onto the street and her palms were covered in her own cold sweat that had been accumulating on the leather grip since she first began the odyssey.

She glanced quickly at her shotgun rider, a bouquet of lilies of various colors, purchased in the event that there was a new tomb in the Sohma family's graveyard to put them on. Kita shuddered and pulled her car over, shifting it into park and extracting the key quickly so that she wouldn't have the opportunity to change her mind and drive off. Taking out the key was her final decision to go through with it.

She gazed up at the wall that ostracized the Sohma estate from the rest of the world and, for the first time in a long time, felt minuscule and insignificant. She hadn't even so much as seen the property in over four months. Back then she was a resident of the main house. Back then she was a high school girl without a license or a clue of how she'd escape the prison of a house to go to a university. Back then she was skinny as a rail and had hair that almost fell to her hips. Back then she belonged to Akito.

In an effort to make sure she wasn't dreaming, Kita flipped down the mirror above the steering wheel to get a good look at herself. She was a resident of the dorms at her university, but she had claimed to still live at Sohma house on her paperwork. She was a high school graduate with a license and a major in psychology. She had a healthy figure and hair that fell a little past her shoulders.

She looked down at her left hand to see the engagement ring Akito had given her, the diamond and amethysts sparkling under the afternoon summer sun. It hadn't come off her finger since she put it on that day he had given it to her. She still belonged to Akito.

Kita knew she could go looking for him at either the cemetery or the main house. She could either find him or his gravestone. She chose the main house since going to the graveyard would give her a straightforward answer and she really wasn't ready for one.

Truthfully, Kita didn't know if she wanted to see him. She was afraid. She was afraid that if he was dead, she would never be able to go on the way she had been. Losing her mother, her father, and her fiancé is barely even imaginable as far as catastrophes go. She was afraid that if he was alive, he would punish her but somehow that didn't sound as bad to her anymore. The idea of him hating her stung much deeper than the idea of a few blows to the head. She knew just seeing him would hurt her and remind her how badly she wanted to be with him again but it would be such a relief to know he was still alive. Maybe I could find him but not talk to him, she contemplated.

But she needed to know. She needed to know if he forgave her. She needed to know if he wanted her gone. She needed to know if he wanted her back. She needed to know if he was no longer around to feel, making all of her curiosities obsolete.

Tentatively, Kita grabbed the handle on the car door and pushed it open, exposing her to the noise of cars whooshing by and people having loud, animated conversations on their cell phones as they walked down the street, oblivious to the suffering of that purple-haired girl in the gray car that used to belong to her father before he died. Kita stepped out of the car and shut the door, no longer feeling the need to lose herself in the noises like she so commonly did when she was younger. She nervously smoothed the wrinkles out of her blue and white skirt and her new shirt, white with black, embroidered lily outlines along the bottom. The lilies made her think of Akito.

She walked around the car towards the Great Sohma Gate and it occurred to her that she couldn't go in the front door. It wasn't like the winter where everyone was cooped up inside trying to stay warm. It was the summer and there were sure to be many people enjoying the hot weather outside. She didn't want to be seen and she especially didn't want to be questioned. She had no idea what lie Akito had fed the inquisitive family members who had the courage to ask about her disappearance.

Ignoring the majestic door, Kita walked down the sidewalk until she came upon the copse that hid the alternative entrance. She gently pushed aside the bushes and branches so that she wouldn't snap them to reveal the concealed hole in the barricade and slipped inside the estate.

Once again, Kita had to call upon her invisibility skills, or stealthy crowd-avoiding skills to give them a more accurate title, to keep her from getting caught even though it had been a long time since she had used them. Fortunately, she overestimated the amount of people outside so finding her way to the main house without getting caught only took roughly ten minutes.

She walked up the steps to the front door and crept inside, praying that there wasn't anyone standing near the door. The coast was clear. Once she was in, she took off her shoes and carried them in her hands, enabling her to slide down the hallway and thus, make less noise.

First, she went into her old room. When she opened the door, she was surprised to see that it was exactly the same as how she left it. Her bed was still neatly made, with the same light blue sheets and the bookshelf still held all the books that she wasn't sure were hers. In fact, the only different thing about the room was the fact that the blue mosaic vase that held the tiger lilies was gone. She had a hunch that it broke, either by a clumsy servant or Akito's uncontrollable rage. In retrospect, putting her goodbye note next to such a fragile object wasn't the best of ideas.

Kita couldn't resist running her hand along the seam of the soft, cotton sheets in remembrance. The memories of Akito confronting her after the Shigure incident came into mind and she started to feel even more uneasy. Recollecting that she didn't come to reminisce, Kita left the room and decided that a faster answer to the question she had been dying to ask, would be to go into Akito's room.

She went back into the hallway and inched along the wall like a bug trying to get up to the ceiling until she was in front of Akito's door. She slowly slid the door aside but stopped when she heard footsteps. She scanned her surroundings and saw Kureno walk out of a room further down the hall. Her heart started racing. As much as she missed Kureno, and all the other Sohmas for that matter, she didn't want him to see her. Luckily, he entered a room across the hall from the one he left so he never caught a glimpse of the return of the girl who escaped Akito's clutches.

She opened the door a little more and peered inside to see that the room was dark as usual. She would have to go in if she wanted to know anything so with one big breath, Kita pulled open the door, stepped inside, and shut it behind her.

There was no one inside. Kita looked around at the table in the corner, the artwork on the walls, the vase where Akito hid his knife, and found no one. She couldn't help but wonder if the room was empty because Akito was dead or because he just wasn't in the room. She started to walk towards the porch, her haven of deep thinking, her former mental escape from the abrasiveness of the real world.

Kita's blood froze when she heard the door behind her slide open. I've been found, she thought to herself. This is it. It's all over for me. They're going to want to know where I've been or know if the lie Akito fed them is true. They're going to tell me what has become of Akito and I will have to face the truth, whatever it may be.

She whipped her head around, her hair gracefully flipping over her shoulder, and gasped when she saw that it was Akito standing behind her.

He was leaner than she remembered but he still held himself with a sense of composure, even though he seemed so unsteady on his feet. His skin was as pale as the last time she saw him at the hospital, the frightening ghastly complexion that added to his intimidating appearance. His dark mop of hair temporarily hid his eyes from her which she knew were probably scrutinizing her in disgust and astonishment. He had an almost imperial look to him in his red and silver yukata that was working its way off his shoulders, even though they were extremely broad in comparison to the rest of his slender build.

Kita dropped to her knees in front of the withering God, fearful that he was already planning a punishment to match her heinous crime. He's going to lock me up and beat me, Kita thought. I ran away for his little box, his cage, and now that I'm back he has to make sure I'll never leave again. I'm surprised he didn't try to catch me and take me back here in all the time I've been gone. Maybe he did and they just couldn't find me.

Finally after an eternity of tension-filled silence, he spoke.

"Kita."

His voice was smooth and strangely void of any specific emotions. He sounded only mildly surprised to find her in his room after she left him four months ago but, in general, he retained his icy disposition.

"Now, what are you doing here?" he asked, making it sound like he was talking to a child who had found their way into the restricted area of a house. Sometimes his calm was even more terrifying than his ire.

"I-I...missed you, Akito." she said earnestly, her head down low so she didn't have to look at him as she spoke. She stayed quiet to give him the opportunity to respond - I missed you too, perhaps - but he remained quiet as if he was looking for her to elaborate.

"I'm so sorry for leaving you." she murmured as crystalline tears started to roll down her cheeks. "I needed to continue my schooling. My father had hoped that I would grow up and change the world. I wanted to at least to have the option of a career if I came back to you. And I always knew in my heart that I would."

She paused for him to speak again but he just stood over the girl, trying to wrap his mind around the fact that she had come back, begging for forgiveness. He wanted to hurt her, to show her the pain he felt with her gone but it seemed like she had been feeling the same thing, in spite of the fact that it was her own selfish fault that they were both subjected to such anguish. But he subconsciously knew she would eventually come home. That was why he hadn't searched for her. He had unwillingly accepted that she needed to prove that she had changed.

"You can beat me and tell me you hate me and I will cry, much like I am now, but I will still love you." she wept, moving her idle hand to wipe her face.

Akito's eyes widened. Unconditional love. She was saying that she would love him no matter what. In truth, that was the one thing he could never get, even in his seat of power, and she had given it to him without any strings attached.

"I'll move back into the Sohma house." she offered. "I could try to transfer to a school closer so I can live here. I want to be with you, Akito." The last sentence was spoken in a whisper that chilled him. He was rarely ever chilled but there was something about her pure sincerity that hit him like a high-speed bullet.

Akito lowered himself to the ground so that he was on his knees in front of the crying girl. She lifted her hand to wipe her face again and he caught sight of the ring that had never left her finger. The twinkling ring that he had given to her to show his devotion to her. She's really telling the truth. No more lies. Not even an inclining of fiction.

He reached out and touched her soft cheek, pulling her face up towards him so he could look at her. She was beautiful even while she cried and that fact made him ache. She closed her eyes and braced herself for an attack, sure that his other hand was going to slap her to the floor. For once, she felt like she deserved it.

But the slap never came. Nor did a tight-fisted punch or a violent shove or a swift kick. Instead, Kita was drawn into a kiss, one that was humble and caring, one that told her that he missed her more than anything.

He pulled away from her and Kita opened her eyes, looking at him blankly, stupefied and filled with anticipation for his next astonishing gesture.

"You'll move back." he told her potently, leaning into her ear and sending warm air into her ear canal and around the frame. "You'll transfer and no one has to know about our little falling out."

Kita nodded with Akito's mouth still next to her ear not yet done with helping her understand how he was feeling.

"I've missed you." he purred huskily. "I love you."

Kita took his hand that was placed on her face and took it away from her to hold it in front of her. Akito looked on with a bit of dread as she lifted the sleeve of his yukata to show all the lines he had made since she left. They were innumerable, the dark red scabs that mutilated his arms, and they caused Kita to start crying again. She held his arm up to her cheek, cradling it like an infant that required nurturing and pulled it away only to place a few kisses on the evidence of his loneliness. She had caused those scars.

"I need you." he said seriously as he discreetly pulled his sleeve down.

Kita, face still damp with saline, moved closer to him and kissed him hard on the mouth. He responded actively, sliding his tongue past her lips. She sighed as she took a breath and wrapped her arms around him, pulling him close and peering up at his dark eyes.

"I need you too." she admitted. He was the subtle catalyst to getting over her shyness and lies, her willingness to let people push her around, and her feelings of apathy to the world around her. He helped her feel again when she tried to hide from the pain of life. He had helped her to love again when she was sure there was no reason to ever care for anyone again.

"You're mine." he told her, gripping her fiercely. "Never forget that."

She never had.

And they kissed again, each sinking deeply into the embrace of the other, the only cage Kita would allow herself to be put in.

P.S. (Author's Note): I sometimes think that ending was too happy. I mean, everything is not perfect that's for hell sure: Akito's still dying and eventually Kita will be alone again (but a better person for knowing him), Kita's still under his control because she loves him (unless you want her to be in which case, that's happy), and they aren't going to tell anyone about her return. She'll still see them but no one will know that she's back with Akito. I would have ended it sadly but that would be too predictable.

Anyway, thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed the show. bows