Tohru peered at the door when a small knock sounded. She smiled widely and quickly finished putting in her earrings. She shut her jewelry box and shoved it back into place. Glancing down at her skirt, she straightened the folds before rushing over to the door. She stole a quick glance over her shoulder at the still slumbering Yuki before she opened one of the two doors to their bedroom. As expected, she found two maids kneeling with their noses pressed to the ground before her. Tohru shook her head fervently as soon as she saw this, dragging them up by their arms. Formalities were never something she enjoyed, and how could servants disagree with her preferences?
"Princess, your guests have arrived," the tall maid announced to her in a meek voice, despite how Tohru had only showered them with unnecessary kindness and generosity.
"Oh! You can bring them up!" Tohru exclaimed cheerfully.
"Actually, they followed us, so they're right here," the maid squeezed in before Uo shoved her aside.
"Tohru!" she cried before tossing her arms around Tohru excitedly.
Tohru giggled as Hana followed in suit. She tried her best not to wince as their embraces brushed against the various wounds hidden under her long sleeved shirt, but Hana's eyes missed nothing. Hana pulled back carefully, her usually emotionless eyes glinting with concern. Feeling Hana break the group hug, Uo copied her in a confounded manner. They both spotted the layers of bandages peeking up at them from her legs. Tohru simply beamed at them. She didn't want them to worry and was glad to see her message was conveyed through her simple gaze.
Regardless, they were concerned, taking her hand into theirs and giving it a sympathetic squeeze. Noting the horrified expression across the maids' face as they watched, Tohru's once happy face turned into a grimace.
"You better come inside before I get yelled at again," Tohru murmured.
She gently tugged them inside before shutting the door and locking it behind her. Uo gawked at the sight before her, not bothering to conceal her shock as she took in the room. It was just a bedroom, but it was clearly large enough for an entire family to live in. In the center was a massive bed – Uo wasn't even sure what size it could be considered- where Yuki was still sleeping. Beside that were two matching nightstands with expensive looking lamps on top. To the left, there was a large table with an array of unlit candles and flowers gracing the center, along with a dresser in the corner and the doors to a closet and a bathroom. To the right there was a living room set complete with couches, a rug, a coffee table, a fireplace, and a wide television mounted to the wall.
"Where the hell do you guys get this stuff? And you actually managed to live in that small ass apartment?! This one room was probably bigger than where you two stayed!" Uo prattled on as she examined every object she came across.
"But this is Yuki-kun's room! Mine was smaller," Tohru told her.
"How much smaller? A square foot?" Uo laughed, "Speaking of your hubby, he's not naked under there, is he?"
"Naked?" Tohru repeated the word in confusion, "Why would he be?"
Tohru peered over at the bed, where Uo's gaze was locked, quizzically. As if he knew he was the new topic of their discussion, Yuki's soft snores seemed to grow the slightest bit louder in protest. He flipped over in the bed, burying his head under the collection of pillows sprawled out on the bed. Tohru frowned as another pillow joined the two that were already on the ground. She sighed as she tossed them back onto the bed. Glancing at where Yuki slept, she finally understood why maids were paid double to clean this one room. The bed sheet was twisted around his leg, barely covering a quarter of the bed now, the comforter was partially under the bed, and more than half of the pillowcases had come off. Uo, however, took no notice of this, too distracted by Tohru's response.
"Oh, don't give me that! You're pregnant! You know what I'm talking about," Uo insisted.
At the realization, Tohru shook her head vehemently, "No, no! He's clothed!"
"Really? And I thought you two would be all over each other."
"No. I'm mad at him," Tohru stated with a slight frown.
"You? Mad? At him? I don't believe you," Uo replied skeptically.
Being a manager of an apartment complex, Uo had heard a lot of bickering couples through the thin walls. Every one had never ceased to be a source of entertainment for her when she had nothing to do at the counter, but she couldn't remember ever hearing either Yuki or Tohru yell at the other. She had seen Tohru cry, a lot, but nothing close to anger. They were the only couple she knew of that was this close, and she couldn't even conjure up an image in her mind of an angry Tohru. It seemed so improbable that Uo almost laughed, but Tohru's grave expression stopped her from doing so.
"It's true. She hasn't said a word to me for nearly a week," Yuki announced as he sleepily sat up and rubbed his eyes.
Uo jumped in shock, "When did you get up?!"
"When you were screaming and asking Tohru whether I was nude or not," Yuki answered matter-of-factly.
Upon seeing him, Tohru turned around and folded her arms across her chest angrily. Uo and Hana scrutinized Tohru's tense posture in surprise while Yuki gazed at her back apologetically. None of them could see from where they stood, but Tohru's face was contorted as she struggled to keep in sobs that were battling to escape. The tears, however, couldn't be restrained and were painting wet streams down her face. She swallowed as discreetly as she could, trying to force the lump down from her throat without alarming Yuki. He noticed anyways, despite her efforts, but to her relief, he didn't approach her and try to comfort her.
"Tohru, I'm sorry. How many times do I have to apologize until you forgive me?" Yuki asked sadly.
Tohru didn't respond. The clear agony in his voice turned the small skirmish she was having with her cries into a raging war, and she was the one without any weapons and defensive structures. Her forces were quickly dropping, and her body began to shake with spasms of sobs, all poorly concealed until she gave up and dropped to her knees. Yuki hesitated, tempted to drag her into his arms and soothe her cries away, but he held back, knowing his gesture would just make her cry more. Instead, Hana knelt down besides his wife and patted her back gently. Yuki envied Hana more than anyone else as he saw that Tohru made no move to swat away her friend.
Uo let out a low whistle, "What did you do to her? Did you cheat on her? 'Cause if you did, I'm going to have to kill you."
"I didn't cheat on her. I did absolutely nothing," Yuki disagreed.
"Nothing?! You think threatening to kill yourself is nothing?!" Tohru snapped, "Do you know what that'd do to me?! How do you expect me to go on without you?"
"Tohru, I already told you. I wasn't going to kill myself," Yuki responded softly.
Tohru shook her head and turned back around before any more of her tears spilled. She covered her face with her hands, not even trying to keep her cries under control anymore. She couldn't even hear the worried knocks of maids who had overheard her wails and were ready to toss out Uo and Hana, the people they were obviously suspecting to be the causes of Tohru's tears. Their knocks increased when nobody bothered to respond to them. They were easily droned out, though, as it was hard to hear much over her cries anyways.
"That's why you're mad, Tohru? I think threatening your life for the one you love is romantic," Uo told her.
"There's nothing romantic about it!" Tohru shrieked.
"Tohru, I'm sorry," Yuki repeated, "I won't do it again. I promise."
"You promise me a lot of things…." she whispered.
She trembled as she covered her mouth with a shaky hand and fled from the room, brushing past the worried crowd without a word of acknowledgement. Yuki buried his head in his hand with a dissatisfied grunt. That was the first time she had spoken to him in over five days, and all he had done was make her cry. Frustrated, he yanked on the ends of his silvery hair. After explaining to her over five times the plan that he and Haru had formulated, he had made no progress in trying to convince her that there was no intention at his harm. He couldn't pacify her at all. No words or gestures would calm her.
"Aren't you going to go after her?" Uo demanded.
Yuki shook his head, "If I do, she just cries more."
"Jeez… How many times have you apologized already?"
"One thousand and twenty times," Yuki replied.
"Are you kidding?"
Again, Yuki shook his head. He raked his fingers through his hair in an annoyed fashion as Uo gawked at him. She wasn't even sure if she said a thousand words in a day, yet even after such an extravagant amount of apologies, Tohru wasn't showing any signs that even hinted at forgiveness. Her resilience was still as strong as it had been the first day. During the past year as they snuck around to be with one another, he had treasured her determination and effort she could put in, but now it was becoming a difficulty he had to deal with. Added to that, her pregnancy was fueling her fury whenever she was tempted to forgive him.
"She's insane…" Uo muttered.
Yuki smiled at that, "She's never really angry, though she really should be after all she's been through these past weeks. I guess it all came out at once. And what luck! I get to be her victim… But it's not too bad since I figure subconsciously, she deems me the person most likely to forgive her for this."
"How long has she been mad?"
"About five days," Yuki answered.
"That's when you guys got back together, isn't it?"
"Basically… She was all happy and bubbly for a couple of hours, and then she just stopped talking to me. I didn't think much of it at first. I just thought she was in shock, but when I tried to kiss her goodnight, she bit me."
He traced the bottom of his lip with the tips of his fingers, recalling exactly where her teeth had been. She hadn't bit hard enough to do much else other than shock him, but her ire dealt the damage her teeth hadn't been able to. He couldn't even begin to describe his disappoint as he found she still refused to speak with him the next morning. After dreaming of a reunion for weeks, the blow of her rage could have knocked him off his feet. Within the short twenty four hour period he had been with her, he had already managed to upset her. Before he even figured out what he had done, he had apologized over a hundred times.
"Bit you? Isn't that supposed to be pleasurable?" Uo snickered.
"Not if she's trying to gnaw off my lips."
"Ouch… I'll go talk to her and see if I can change her mind," she offered.
"Good luck," Yuki shrugged.
Uo exited the room confidently, but her positive attitude quickly diminished when she saw the seemingly endless hallways and the numerous floors of the palace. She had no idea where to start looking and was afraid that if she left, she'd never make it back to the room. The long corridors suddenly resembled a labyrinth. She could practically hear the growl of the awaiting beast. Expecting such, she nearly screamed when Hana approached her with her usual nonchalance, unfazed by Uo's lurch and the terror in her light brown eyes.
"Tohru is over here," Hana finally announced, stepping around Uo and heading to the left.
Uo trustingly followed her psychic friend down two cases of stairs and through an empty hall to a large balcony. Surely enough, Tohru was huddled by the railings with her knees brought up to her chest and her face buried in her arms. They could hear her sobs even before they were within fifteen feet of her. Cautiously, they approached her slowly, not wanting to startle her. Their careful, quiet steps were pointless, she wouldn't have heard them even if they were stomping towards her. Her weeping droned out most noises.
"Tohru?" Uo started gently.
Tohru peeked up in shock. Rapidly she shook her head and swiped at the leaking tears, forcing a smile onto her face. Finding the tears had no end, Tohru kept the edges of her sleeves at her cheeks, trying in vain to keep them from noticing. They had seen her crying enough back at the room she shared with Yuki. She sucked in a deep breath and lowered her hands, trying to erase all signs of her prior cries with minimal success. Her shaky smile wavered frequently, occasionally disappearing entirely, despite all the strength she used to try to keep it there.
"I'm sorry. I invited you two here, and I'm being a terrible host. Would you two like to eat or bathe or rest? Are you thirsty?" Tohru stammered, trying to hide her unsteady voice.
"Don't worry about us. We're worried about you," Uo cut in, "Don't you think it's time to forgive him already?"
Tohru shook her head immediately.
"He apologized one thousand and twenty times, and you still can't find it in your heart to forgive your husband, who you love so much?"
"One thousand and thirty actually… Thirty two if you count today," Tohru corrected.
"See? That's even more than he said! Come on, you're making yourself and your hubby sad," Uo urged her.
Tohru looked away at the mention of her husband, not purely out of anger, but more so due to her sorrow and guilt over upsetting him. Her anger hadn't subsided any of her love for him. Nothing could, but she couldn't let go of her grudge. He simply didn't understand how frightened she had been in those fields when he had a knife pressed to his throat. He held onto the notion that his love surpassed hers by such a great margin that she felt as if he thought she didn't love him at all. Feeling tears stinging her eyes again, she shoved these thoughts out immediately and refocused.
"I'm fine," Tohru insisted.
"Who are you trying to fool?"
"There's no reason for this, Tohru. Come on. You still sleep in the same bed as him, don't you? How can you not talk to him? Knowing you, keeping up this act of no speaking must be extremely hard," Uo guessed.
"It is… I love Yuki-kun. I do talk to him, just when he's asleep. It's too hard otherwise," Tohru admitted.
A faint blush bloomed across her cheeks with her confession. How could she ignore him all day and continue to do so at night when he'd hug her and remind her of how much he loved her in his sleep? Nonetheless, it was embarrassing to discuss how she only spoke to her husband while he was slumbering. To her relief, Uo and Hana didn't get the time to respond. Three stiff knocks on the glass door to the balcony made the three of them look up at the stoic doctor standing there with a disapproving gaze.
Hatori interrupted their conversation curtly, "Tohru-kun, I thought I told you to stop moving around so much."
"S-Sorry, Hatori-san," Tohru murmured.
"Didn't I tell Yuki to keep you inside your bedroom?" he inquired.
"I knew I should have asked someone else to do that. He's too soft. He lets you do whatever you want," Hatori muttered under his breath.
"That's not true!" Tohru exclaimed.
"Tohru-kun, just get back into bed before you reopen your injuries," Hatori ordered, "But remember, no strenuous activities."
Tohru frowned but stood obediently, slightly flushing at the latter of Hatori's command. She paused at the doorway, reluctant to abandon her friends there. She had invited them over with promises of fun and relaxation, not with intentions to force them to be witnesses to her problems. Uo and Hana, however, would hear nothing of her guilt. They were practically shoving her back inside. They would have, but they figured she had enough bruises and scratches and was in no need of more.
"Go on, Tohru. Use this as an opportunity to make up with your husband," Uo urged.
Tohru didn't respond as she walked back to her bedroom, hanging her head the entire way. She hesitated outside the door for a few moments before she shoved it open and stepped in. She found Yuki lying in bed with his head resting on his arms, staring at the ceiling lazily. His eyes fluttered over to her as the door swung shut. Tohru turned away from the wide grin that quickly overtook his face before a smile could tug her lips up. She took slow steps over to the bed, edging over slowly so her downcast eyes wouldn't make her fall.
"Tohru!" Yuki exclaimed excitedly.
He sat up and was about to jump up and greet her, but she refused to meet his gaze. His arms dropped back to his sides as his smile faltered. To his dismay, she said nothing as she laid herself down on the bed, a few inches away from him with her face turned to the wall. Yuki frowned, watching her with forlorn eyes. He hadn't realized he had gotten his hopes up that Uo and Hana would talk Tohru out of her anger until the letdown crushed him. His heart sank so deep that he doubted it was still in his body. His fingers brushed against her shoulder gently, but she hardly stirred at the contact.
"Tohru, please… Talk to me," Yuki begged.
"How could you do that to me? Do you even know what it's like to think I'm going to lose you? That I may never see you again or hear your voice or feel your arms around me?" she choked out shakily.
"Actually… I know exactly how that feels. I can't even describe how I felt when I found you unconscious and drenched in blood. And when your heartbeat started to fade and your breathing lessened. It was pure torture to sit in the waiting room when they stole you away from me and refused to let me stay with you. And then I had to wait hours until you'd open your eyes. I know exactly how that feels," Yuki told her.
"I didn't do that intentionally."
"How about this past week? You refused to even look at me. I could practically feel you slipping away."
Tohru shoved herself up into a sitting position. Her heart throbbed at his mention of his suffering and how much she had hurt him. She had to grit her teeth together and clench her hands into fists just to keep the tears trapped behind her eyes and newfound sobs locked away. Yuki's eyebrows furrowed with concern when he noticed this. He wanted to draw her into his arms and comfort her as he usually did when she was somber, but before he even lifted his arms to welcome her to his embrace, he was met with her uncharacteristically fiery eyes.
"You did it more than I did! How about the time you wouldn't even answer my calls after I was almost raped? Or when Machi was with you? Or when you were almost beat to death?!" she cried fervently.
"That time with Machi counts for both of us, and so does the time I let Akito hurt me. I thought I had lost you both those times too. How about when you found out I was a prince?" Yuki asked.
"That counts for me too."
"When you went missing with Motoko? Or when you got lost or every time you yell at me?"
Tohru was silent, unable to respond to either of those. She felt ashamed to have been the only angry one. He seemed to have every right to ignore her now that he pointed these things out. She pursed her lips together fretfully at the thought. Tohru couldn't even imagine what that would be like. She couldn't help but shudder at the thought of extending the fight. This short little talk had already convinced her that nothing was worth being apart from him.
"Can we call it even?" he murmured.
She slowly nodded. Being angry at the person she loved most wore her out. Her whole body and soul rejected the silence and separation, not to mention her heart. That one organ was enough to make her will waver. It ached to be near him at all times, arguing with her mind and making her reasoning seem silly and pointless. She had managed to keep it satisfied with her night time conversations, but that wasn't enough to last through the day. It would shatter bit by bit into an amount of pieces she couldn't even count, but now it fluttered jubilantly, racing and lurching about in joy.
"So you forgive me?"
Tohru beamed in response and tossed her arms around him. She was exuberant, too joyful to even be embarrassed as he kissed her cheek. She couldn't believe he wasn't holding any of his arguments against her. That doubled her guilt, but she couldn't dwindle with negative feelings in his arms. He squeezed her tightly, glad her midriff was wound free. Yuki couldn't be more grateful that her moods fluctuated so easily nowadays. The tears had dried and a large smile replaced the gloomy frown. He could hardly tell that minutes ago she was sobbing bitterly and yelling at him.
"Your belly is bigger," he muttered after a moment of silence.
"You're pregnant. I can tell now."
"You're not supposed to be able to! I'm only a few months," Tohru reminded him.
He laughed, "I hug you so often. How can I not?"
At first, she was pleased with his words, glad to know how he seemed to have memorized everything about her. But that joyous feeling soon subsided as she recalled that she was only a few months pregnant. There wasn't supposed to be much of a difference yet. If he could tell this early, she was petrified to think about what he'd say when she was nearing the end and other people could also tell that her midriff had grown. She swallowed nervously, not sure what to think of the pregnancy anymore.
"Will you still love me when I'm this big?" Tohru asked, holding her hand out with the palm facing herself five inches from her abdomen.
"And if I'm this big?" she inquired, extending her hand to be a foot away from her stomach.
"Hmm… I'll have to think about that one," Yuki breathed, pretending to be uncertain.
Tohru's eyebrows furrowed together as her jaw dropped sadly, clearly believing his doubt, despite the obvious taint of humor to his expression. She broke the embrace with her lower lip quivering, but before even a single tear could spill over, she was swept back into his arms. This time, his arms locked around her securely, and she could hardly budge. Confused, she blinked a couple of times, battering her eyelashes against his neck. Yuki ran his fingers through her dark tresses, tacitly reassuring her of his unconditional love.
"I'm kidding! I'm kidding!" he exclaimed quickly, "I'll still love you even if you fell into an ocean filled with ravenous sharks, got all of your limbs bitten off, and your face melted, and your skin turned purple."
"That… That's specific."
"And true. I'll love you forever. No matter what. I promise."
Yuki leaned towards her happily, about to kiss her for the first time in five days, but he froze when the door swung open. He wouldn't have stopped if Tohru hadn't jerked her face away in humiliation when Ayame pranced into the room, followed by a woman with dark hair pulled up into two braids on either ends of her head. He waved his index finger around in Yuki's face in a teasing gesture of disapproval as he slipped his arms around Tohru's waist and slid her an inch away from Yuki. Tohru was too embarrassed to protest and cling to Yuki.
"Naughty brother! Behave yourself! You've already conceived a child," Ayame laughed.
"Get out, Niisan," Yuki growled, making a move to snatch Tohru back.
"I can't! I need to get Tohru-kun's measurements for your wedding ceremony," Ayame smiled.
Tohru flushed as she was torn from Yuki's arms by Ayame and his assistant. Before she could blink a measuring tape had been wrapped around her stomach, and her arms had been lifted. Hands flitted across her arms and legs as the tape encircled every inch of her body.
"Hey! Be careful! Don't hurt her!" Yuki shouted irritably.
"Oh, don't you worry, brother-dear. I wouldn't-" Ayame began confidently then froze as Tohru winced.
Yuki instantly swept Tohru back into his arms, yanking her away from Ayame and his rulers and measuring sticks. He held her protectively against his chest, careful to avoid all her injuries. Tohru flushed as both Ayame and Mine stared at the both of them. She turned away from them shyly, wrapping her arms around Yuki's neck once she realized neither of her feet was touching the ground. He was overreacting, but she couldn't find the words to tell him when his face was twisted with such honest fret. Yuki's gaze lingered on hers, mistaking her uncertainty for pain.
"I told you not to hurt her!" Yuki snapped.
"I-It's okay, Yuki-kun… I just accidentally brushed my arm against the ruler," Tohru smiled sheepishly before Ayame and Mine got into further trouble.
"Are you sure?" Yuki asked.
She nodded reassuringly, "Yes. I need a new dress, and Ayame-san promised to make me one."
"Exactly, brother! Quickly now! Hand her over," Ayame ordered.
Yuki reluctantly loosened his grip around Tohru's waist and set her back on the ground as he glared at Ayame, but he made no move to give her to his brother. Tohru sighed as she slipped out of Yuki's grip and walked back over to Ayame. The quick measuring process was taken up again, a bit slower this time as her injuries were brought to their attention. Yuki watched carefully, making sure neither of the two got too close to any of the numerous wounds across her body. He was visibly relieved when Ayame set his pencil down, finished recording all the measurements he needed.
"Don't forget to make it a little bigger or I won't be able to wear it for the ceremony!" Tohru exclaimed.
"Don't worry, Tohru-kun. I haven't forgotten," Ayame assured her, "But to think, my brother has been conceiving children."
"Niisan, shut up already," Yuki muttered, looking away embarrassedly.
Ignoring Yuki's order, Ayame cooed, "Tohru-chan, you'll look absolutely stunning!"
"But my bandages-"
"Don't worry. I have beautiful gloves for you, and a lovely shawl you can use to cover your shoulders," Ayame assured her.
Tohru's expression dropped with those words. Though the palace was cool enough to be wearing all of those layers, a shawl definitely wasn't part of her idea of a wedding gown. She didn't even want a wedding ceremony, but she had caved in out of guilt when Ayame had prattled on about how he had dreamed of making a dress for her to wear. Her assent was given at the thought that the reception would be held after her wounds had long healed and the scars faded, but due to a small error, the ceremony was going to be in fourteen days.
"Niisan, this is all your fault. It's summer. She's going to burn in all of that. You ruined everything! Why couldn't you just remember the correct date? Now that wedding is in two weeks, that's two months early!" Yuki reminded him.
"The sooner the better!"
"It's not better! Tohru has hardly healed!"
"She will be fine."
"Not in time! Now just leave if you're done."
Ayame smiled widely before jotting down a few extra notes and bounding out the door. Yuki was still frowning after Ayame had left. Tohru laughed at his expression as she sank into his awaiting arms. She didn't want him to be wearing such a crestfallen expression anymore. She had seen enough of those solemn eyes these past days and couldn't bear to see it anymore, regardless of how she felt about her wedding attire. Reaching up from the tips of her toes, she planted a kiss on his cheek, managing to get a tiny smile from him.
"I love you, my overprotective husband."
"I love you more, my too-kind-for-her-own-good wife."
Tohru groaned softly, "Don't start."
She laughed seconds later, glad to know Yuki felt their relationship was secure enough to start their little argument again. It filled her with relief. He grinned as he pressed his lips to her forehead. Her cheeks darkened as his lips traversed her face to find the corner or her mouth. His lips were just starting to cover hers when the door swung open again. Tohru gasped, jumping away from him abruptly. She nearly flew off the bed, but Yuki caught her arm just in time. His expression darkened when Ayame entered again.
"Tohru-kun! I need you to do a favor for me!" Ayame exclaimed, continuing without even getting her consent, "In town, I have a precious object waiting to be picked up!"
"Oh! Then I'll go get it for you! Don't worry!" Tohru agreed with a wide smile.
"Tohru…." Yuki muttered, "Niisan, go ask your assistant or something."
"I can't do that, little brother. I can only trust you two with this very important task of mine!"
"Because this is extremely valuable! No more questions, please!"
Ayame pressed a sheet of paper into Yuki's palm before shoving the two of them out the door impatiently. Yuki let out a sigh as he glanced at the now shut door. He shook his head and led Tohru down the stairs reluctantly. Tohru followed with a worried glance, afraid that she had made Yuki do something he didn't want to. She hadn't meant to agree on his behalf. He hadn't even gotten the chance to eat yet. Tugging on his hand, she got him to stop and face her with a confused expression.
"Yuki-kun, you don't have to go if you don't want to," Tohru told him, "I'll go by myself!"
"I'm not letting you wander around town alone. You'll get kidnapped," Yuki muttered.
"But you don't want to go-"
"I want to go with you," he insisted.
Tohru flushed but nodded as they stepped outside. Yuki wasn't surprised to find a car with a chauffer all ready to go as soon as they got there. He beat the driver to opening the door for Tohru before he slid in after her. Besides a simple greeting, the chauffer said nothing as he drove them to their destination.
When they reached town, Yuki was hardly surprised by the flashes of cameras and swarms of reporters. Everyone was dying to find out what had happened between them, especially since wedding invitations had already been sent out. Tohru, on the other hand, flushed and looked away when they got out of the car. The lighting was already blinding her, and the screams of the crowds forming around them was deafening her. Yuki sighed and draped his arm around her shoulders, dragging her forward to the store they arrived at. He was easily ignoring the commotion, unlike her.
"Princess! Princess! What happened to you?!"
"Yuki-sama! Is it true you're already married?"
"Princess! Are you pregnant?!"
Yuki sighed again but made no comment. He simply tugged Tohru into the store he didn't bother to remember the name of. He was grateful the shopkeeper was kind enough to lock the door behind them. It turned out the receipt Ayame had given him was unnecessary. The vendor knew exactly what they were here for. He flashed them a polite smile before bowing and exciting to retrieve their package. He returned with a large white box and held it out to Tohru. Tohru took it curiously, peeking under the lid. Her eyes widened at the frilly lace inside, and she gasped softly at the beauty.
"What is it?" Yuki inquired.
To his bewilderment, Tohru abruptly slid the lid back into place when he leaned towards her to have a look inside the box. She clutched the box tightly against her chest, holding it away from him. He peered at her quizzically when she made an attempt to scowl at him –which came out more looking like a pitiful expression of pain and guilt, but he could also spot glimpses of her stubbornness. He frowned and dropped his outreached hand in hopes of comforting her, but her grip around the package didn't loosen at all. She continued to gaze suspiciously at him as she moved the box to her side.
"Fine. I won't look," he promised.
"It's just my veil…" Tohru confessed, suddenly feeling awful about her actions after hearing the sadness in his voice.
"It's fine. Let's just go back home… This is paid for, correct?" Yuki added the last part towards the salesperson.
He nodded, and Yuki clasped his hand to Tohru's, leading her back to the door. Noting the growing crowds screaming just inches from the shop entrance, Yuki hesitated, dropping his hand from the door. He stepped away, letting the shades drop back over the glass panels. Not only did he not want to face all those people and their endless questions, but it didn't even seem physically possible to squeeze through the continuous barricade of commoners. Turning back towards the shop, he smiled when he noticed a red sign in the back of the store, labeling the exit.
"Can we leave through there?" Yuki inquired hopefully.
"Of course. But the alley is quite filthy and most definitely not suitable-"
Yuki cut him off with a disregarding wave of his hand as he tugged Tohru towards the back. Tohru followed after him quite willingly. She wasn't in the mood to face a large crowd demanding to know about her private life, but spotting the narrow, dark street before her, her priorities wavered. Overflowing trashcans were infested with all sorts of vermin, and the crumbling pavement was covered with splotches of unidentifiable murky liquid. Tohru grimaced and pressed herself tightly against Yuki.
He laughed, "Shall I carry you?"
She shook her head embarrassedly, taking half a step away from him to discourage him from the idea. He peered at her with a dubious expression until she took a step forward, careful to avoid the dark puddles. Anxious of her probable fall, Yuki held onto her arm. He didn't dare to take his eyes off of her until they were safely walking on the sidewalk away from the alleyways. Only there did he finally release her and pull out his cell phone to tell the chauffeur to pick them up elsewhere. He was dismayed to find that they'd have to walk quite some distance.
"What's wrong?" Tohru asked fretfully.
"Nothing… We just have to walk a bit," Yuki told her.
"Near the highway," Yuki responded and then added, "Don't walk so far ahead. Come back before someone kidnaps you."
Tohru happily skipped back towards him and locked her hand to his. She swung their arms back and forth as they walked along in silence. Neither spoke in fear of alerting the newly arrived news crew down the block. They could still hear the commotion that seemed to be increasing in volume. They rounded the corner quickly after peering over their shoulders to make sure that no one had noticed either of them escaping.
Not having been in town -or her home for that matter- for quite some time, Tohru's head snapped back and forth, taking in the sights almost hungrily. She froze when she caught sight of the highway barricades. Tohru was unable to tear her eyes away from a particular section that seemed to be newer than the rest of the rusting fragments of metal. Her eyes narrowed, and soon, she was diverging from the path Yuki had set out for them. She seemed to have lost control of her own feet as they dragged her towards the structure.
Yuki gasped and yanked her back to the sidewalk before a car zooming by hit her.
"What are you doing? You could have gotten yourself killed!" Yuki exclaimed.
Tohru blinked in confusion. Still in a daze, she pointed across the roads, "I want to go there."
"We can go, just don't try to kill yourself, please. For me if nothing else," Yuki pled.
"I wasn't trying to kill myself! Don't worry!" Tohru assured him.
He nodded with a smile, but she could tell his grip around her was tighter now, and he was watching her closely. Tohru waited patiently with him until he decided it was safe enough. Although his caution made them stand there for several extra minutes –he didn't let them cross until there was a large enough gap between cars that she'd have enough time to get across even if she fell- they eventually made it to their destination. Her eyes doubled in size as she took in the grassy area beyond the highway. Yuki glanced at her before following her gaze, and soon, his expression mirrored hers.
Both of them were sitting in the back seat of a car with her parents, Kyoko and Katsuya, in the front. Everyone was smiling. It was their wedding day. A wedding dress and tuxedo were in the trunk. Shigure, Hatori, Ayame, and even his parents were in the car behind them, following closely. Kyo was there as well. The day was supposed to go perfectly. The sun was up high, shining brightly upon them and wishing them a happy future.
The wish didn't reach them in time, however.
They were telling jokes, laughing when a car suddenly slammed into the front of their vehicle. Their car was sent flying off the road, tumbling and rolling down a steep hill. Yuki instinctively wrapped his arm around Tohru, holding the frightened girl close to his body, and used his arm as a shield, covering her head. She pressed her face against his chest, her life flashing before her eyes. Abruptly, they stopped. The car landed upside down, wheels still spinning. Smoke started to climb out from the engine, and he swore he could see small flames begin to lick the air.
Dizzily, Yuki undid both of their seatbelts as quickly as he could. He kicked the door open and dragged an unconscious Tohru out of the car. Her face was streamed with blood. He assumed she had hit her head against the now broken window, despite his efforts to keep her safe. Glancing back at the fire engulfing the car, he rushed back to get her parents after he had lain her on the ground a safe distance from the vehicle. He attempted to stand, but before he could take a step closer, the fire reached the gas, and an explosion erupted. Yuki was blown back by the force, hitting his head against a bolder. The blood drizzling down his face was the last thing he remembered before it went black.
And that's where he and she left off.
She awoke a week later, bandaged up without a memory of the past couple of years. Haru and Kisa had told her that their parents had died in a car accident two years prior, and that she had amnesia. Neither could tell her about her fiancé. The new king and queen, their uncle and aunt, blamed Yuki and his family for Kyoko and Katsuya's deaths and buried their burned bodies far away. Yuki's family was offended and had placed a similar ban on Yuki's learning of Tohru.
Yuki had awoken two weeks after the accident with a splitting headache. Ayame, Hatori, and Shigure told him he had fallen after confirming that he had completely forgotten about Tohru.
Two months later, after they had completely healed, they met again, despite continued efforts to keep them apart and oblivious of each other. They might not have remembered or even recognized each other, but the attraction remained. From there began a year of sneaking out and meeting each other, the start of the process of falling in love again.
They were standing at the very sight where the crash had occurred.
Tohru looked up at Yuki, wondering if he had just remembered what she did. He mimicked her look, confirming her thoughts. That wasn't the only thing they remembered, however. Everything flooded back, every lost memory and each precious moment, regardless of how trivial and small. Both of them stared at each other as if nothing were lost. She gazed into his eyes, recognizing him as the small silver haired boy who had carried her back to her mother so long ago. Tohru couldn't figure out how she hadn't seen it earlier. Yuki peered back at her, recalling the same thing.
Tears suddenly sprouted onto her face. Yuki drew her near, wrapping her in a warm embrace silently. Both were too speechless to even utter a single word.
-One Month Later-
Tohru twirled around the mirror in amazement. Her flowing dress spun around with her. The bodice was decorated with thousands of tiny white beads and flowery lace, and a light pink ribbon encircled her waist –Uo refused to let her wear pure white. The silky fabric clung to her body perfectly, exactly right for how large she had grown in the past month, a mere inch or two. She danced around excitedly, enjoying the long, intricately designed train of her gown as it wrapped around her. Ayame shook his head as he stopped her and straightened her gown. He gently pulled satin, white gloves that reached her elbows onto her arms, covering the few cuts there.
She slipped on the white heels he presented her with after clasping Yuki's bracelet around her wrist and her pair of their matching necklaces around her neck. Tohru laughed happily as she sat in front of her vanity to allow the two maids at her sides to curl her hair and do her make up. Her thick curls were pulled back with an exquisite clip embedded with small sapphires and diamonds, and a silver tiara was placed atop her head along with her lacy veil. The semi-translucent fabric was pulled over her face, hiding her freshly decorated face. She couldn't wait to let Yuki see her.
She smiled at her reflection before a bouquet of white flowers was pressed to her gloved hands.
"Your prince is waiting," Ayame announced as music began echoing towards them.
Her three bridesmaids, Kisa, Uo, and Hana, stood in their light pink dresses –with the exception of Hana who was dressed in a black gown with a small pink trim. Tohru grinned gleefully as the procession began out the large oak doors to her right. She clapped her hands once after Haru had intertwined his arm with hers –taking the place of their deceased father. Her heart sped up, challenging the beats of a hummingbird's. She took a deep breath and held it as Haru began to lead her through the decorated doorframe.
A quiet gasp escaped her lips as she glanced around at the newly embellished room. Cream-colored ribbons crisscrossed across the rooftop, tangled with various white flowers. Matching balloons were strung along the walls, hanging lazily from the ceiling with pale streamers. The previously empty grand hall had been filled with hundreds of chairs. A dark carpet had been lain down in the aisle she was currently descending upon. Finally, her large eyes drifted over to the raised platform in the front of the room, where a raised arc intertwined with small flowers stood. Her smile widened further when she spotted Yuki grinning at her, standing to the left side of the arc. Tohru's cheeks darkened –eliminating the purpose of the blush coating her cheeks- as she examined him.
Besides his crooked tie, he was the closest thing to perfection she had ever seen. If Haru weren't pulling her along, she would have froze in her tracks and openly gaped at her husband. His smile was heavenly. If she hadn't known him for so long, she could have mistaken him for an angel. The sun glinting off his silvery hair only made him look more ethereal. She only managed to keep her mouth shut with a conscious effort. Her mouth opened, regardless, with a wide grin when she noticed the flower in the pocket of his black tuxedo matched the ones in her bouquet.
Not watching where she was heading, Tohru tripped on the first step to the platform. Flailing her arms around in attempt to regain her balance, she nearly knocked over her nearby friends and her husband. Yuki simply laughed as he caught her arms and pulled her up. Haru stood there blankly for a moment, having lost his job of placing Tohru's hand in Yuki's. After a second, he chuckled softly and moved to Yuki's side, taking his next role as Yuki's best man.
The laughter had died down by the time Tohru was standing straight besides Yuki. She was relieved her back was to the flashing cameras. They had already caught her moment of clumsiness. There was no need to have pictures of her scarlet cheeks as well. Lost in thought of what pictures might end up in tomorrow's newspaper, she softly gasped when she realized she had spaced out for most of what the priest had been saying. It was almost over. She would have panicked if she hadn't heard them already at the smaller wedding she had already had with only Yuki.
"Do you, Tohru Honda, take Yuki Sohma to be your lawfully wedded husband? To love and to cherish in sickness and in health. Till death do you part?" the priest asked her.
"I do!" Tohru exclaimed.
"Do you, Yuki Sohma, take Tohru Honda to be your lawfully wedded wife? To love and to cherish in sickness and in health. Till death do you part?"
"I do," Yuki responded, equally confident.
"Then I pronounce you man and wife. You may now kiss the bride," the old man concluded.
Yuki turned towards Tohru with a grin, pulling her towards him. Tohru laughed and hopped up to the tips of her toes. He gently pressed his lips to hers, keeping his arms on her lower back. Tossing her arms around his neck, Tohru returned his kiss. She could feel his lips tug upward at the edges as the clicks of cameras tripled. It was at this moment she chose to pull away, too timid to continue. Yuki laughed as he lifted her into his arms, ignoring her protests as he carried her down the aisle. Tohru buried her face into Yuki's shirt shyly, covering her head with her hands as a rain of rice came pouring down on the two of them.
She could feel softer bits land on her face gently. Catching one in the tips of her fingers, she identified it as a pale flower petal. She laughed happily, but suddenly felt bad for whoever would be in charge of cleaning up when pools of glitter joined the flowers and grains. Tohru clung tighter to Yuki, trying her best to ignore all of her guests who were currently standing and applauding. The photographers were worse. She could hardly see anything other than splotches of bright colors when Yuki got her outside.
The glaring sun reflecting off the presents wrapped in shiny paper wasn't helping either. Lines of guests and reporters followed after them to their large yard. A large tent had been set up, decorated with more streams of balloons and flowers. A large buffet of food with a five layer cake in the center had been set up in the back. Yuki set her down at the head of a long table covered with silverware and plates. He laughed as he traced his fingers across her flushed cheeks, grinning at the warmth.
"I love you, Mrs. Sohma," he whispered, tickling her skin with his breath.
"I love you too, Mr. Sohma," Tohru murmured back with a smile.
He grinned at her and pressed his lips against her cheek. Hearing the steady clicks of cameras quicken, surpassing the beat of the drum in the background, Tohru gently shoved his face away. They definitely didn't need to hire professional photographers for their photos –even though they had anyways. Within days, several different versions of their wedding day would pop up in every single magazine sold in the country.
How had they convinced her against the idea of a private wedding again?
She grimaced as the reporters lingering near the edges started coming closer, ready to bombard her with questions. It was the one thing she hated about agreeing to have a public reception. The whole thing was being recorded. She was too afraid to ask whether it was to be shown on television or not. She already knew the answer. Who wouldn't want to watch the wedding ceremony of the prince and princess?
Soon, they were joined by their closest friends and family. Yuki's parents and Tohru's aunt and uncle had even come with faint smiles. Everyone Tohru knew was now seated, even Satsuki had been invited. All were here, except for Haru. Tohru glanced around anxiously for him and gasped when she located him before the microphone set up at the front of the tent. She flicked her wrist urgently, waving him back as discreetly as she could, but he just stared at her, eyes twinkling with humor, as he cleared his throat. Her head dropped when everyone turned toward Haru.
"If you'd all listen, I have a speech," Haru announced clearly, waiting for silence before he continued, "Everyone has had a fling before and has considered it love. Short flings, misleading flings, long flings. You could never consider them relationships, not even that of the couple that wed. Yuki and Tohru. That's a relationship. The devotion, the loyalty, the faith, the respect. The love. That kind of love is hard to find. Impossible, even. It's almost surreal. It's embarrassing to admit, as her older brother, but I really do look up to Tohru in this area. She's remarkable in her capability to love. She loves everyone in a certain way, but with Yuki, she's just… It's a different love. I bet she won't even dance with me anymore."
Haru laughed once.
"Even here, I can see her blush. She shakes her head in denial of my accusation, yet she clings closer to Yuki. And Yuki… I doubt she could have found a better guy. He knows her. He understands her in a way that no one else can. And he respects her. As a woman. As a friend. As a wife. I can't believe I'm going to even try to describe his love for my sister. I'm sure Tohru knows this better than I do, but he just loves her so much. I hate to admit this, but as much as I love her, I'm positive my love can't even compare to Yuki's. Nobody loves Tohru more than he does. Nobody knows her better. I've never seen such a match."
"It's not just one made in heaven, but a relationship that unravels there. The one angels dream of having," Haru concluded, "And I don't even need to wish them anything. I already know they'll be happy together forever."
He looked down with a slight bow before walking away. An applaud erupted, making Tohru flush. As if to cement Haru's speech, the music drifted off into a sweet love song, signaling the first dance. Yuki stood instantly and offered her his hand, which she took with a blush before he led her to the middle of the dance floor.
--One year later--
Yuki peered up when he heard Tohru screaming and rapid footsteps coming his way. Tohru was soon popped into his sight as she came darting to him, carrying their five-month-old daughter in her arms. She hid behind him with a half scowl, cradling the slumbering child protectively to her chest. Yuki watched as she tensed at the sound of the group of pursuers getting closer. She stepped closer to Yuki with wide, alarmed eyes. Grasping the child securely with one arm, she pointed at the dark clothed women rounding the end of the hall.
"Tell them to leave me alone!" Tohru ordered fretfully.
The three maids skidded to a stop before Yuki and dropped down to their knees respectfully. They were panting and out of breath. It was only after a few minutes that they were even able to speak. Tohru shifted away from them when they finally rose to stand. She locked both arms around her baby, pointing her toes down the hallway. Tohru was ready to bolt if they tried to lay their hands on her daughter again. Yuki kept his arm around her shoulder though, pulling her back towards him calmly, disregarding her weariness of the servants.
"They won't let me take care of my own daughter!" Tohru exclaimed exasperatedly.
"Your highness! We have orders from the queen to care for the child!" they defended themselves instantly.
"I recall having this conversation with you all every week now since my daughter has been born. Pretty soon my wife is going to bite your head off if you don't let them be," Yuki told them with the hint of a smile.
Tohru nodded in agreement.
"But- But sire!"
Tohru let out a sigh of relief when the three of them obediently left the corridor. She smiled broadly and kissed the tiny infant on her forehead. Yuki gazed at both of them with a smile. This was how life was supposed to be, him with the woman he adored more than anything else without anymore struggles –with the exception of the stubborn maids. He gingerly stroked the tiny, pale arm peeking out from under the pink blanket Tohru had wrapped around the child.
"Did she sleep through all that?" Yuki asked incredulously.
"Yes! She takes after her father," she smiled in response.
Yuki peered down at his daughter lovingly. He ran his fingers through the soft, brown locks covering her tiny head. She may have adopted her father's sleeping habits, but she resembled her mother more with their matching shade of brown locks and petite noses. If Tohru weren't standing there, Yuki could have sworn that his daughter was Tohru. The only distinguishing feature was the child's wide, gray eyes, her most gorgeous feature according to Tohru. Yuki disagreed, instead believing everything that mirrored Tohru's appearance was more beautiful. They had finally come to the agreement that their daughter was the embodiment of an angel. Perfect in every aspect.
"Our little dream come true…" Yuki murmured.
"Our little Yume-chan!" Tohru exclaimed, finishing the statement for him.
He chuckled, "Come with me. I have something to show you."
"What is it?"
"An anniversary present."
Tohru gaped at him. He had already gotten her a present for the anniversary of the day they actually wed, a present for the commemoration of when they had met again, and a present to celebrate the day they started dating. They were all priceless gifts that she treasured: jewels and gardens of her favorite flowers. He refused to listen to her when she insisted they were completely unnecessary, continuing to spoil both her and their daughter. But a bigger question kept her from scolding him for that.
"It's too big to fit in here?" Tohru inquired frantically, gesturing around the large palace.
"Yep," Yuki confirmed bluntly.
"Can she come?" Tohru breathed, glancing down at their daughter.
"Of course," Yuki smiled as he took her hand.
Tohru sighed but let him lead her out the castle, knowing better than to argue against it. She shifted the infant in her arms, glancing around when they stepped outside. She was surprised to find the lawn clear of any large box and was shocked further when he led her right past the castle gates. She stepped onto the road with a perplexed expression, but Yuki said nothing as he pulled her down the path. Tohru ducked closer to Yuki as they neared town, trying to hide their baby and herself. She was in no mood to be blinded by camera lights. She knew her daughter was adorable. They had more photo albums than they could count, but she missed her private life.
Yuki distracted her as the rounded the village, "Remember what happened there?"
"You saved me!" Tohru grinned.
"And there…?" he asked, guiding her attention to a sakura tree in the distance.
"When we were seven, you found me there," her cheeks turned red before saying, "Then you kissed me for the first time when we were fifteen. Two years later, I fell on top of you and kissed you."
"A lot of things have happened between us, nn?"
Tohru nodded and leaned closer to him as they entered the forest. Walking through here, they further discussed what happened within these woods. He had driven her home, he had the asthma attack that nearly gave her a heart attack, he confessed his love for her, and numerous other things. They were both enjoying the reminiscing time together. Some of their memories made them laugh, others smile, and a few nearly brought tears to her eyes, like the time she learned he was a prince or when she saw Machi and Yuki together.
Finally, the trees gave away, and they were steps away from the lake.
"Too many things," Tohru laughed.
"Your favorite then," he pressed for her to tell him of a memory.
"All of them. But I really love the roses," Tohru replied with a smile.
"The roses or the kisses did you enjoy more?"
"I like being with you most!" Tohru exclaimed, averting the question.
Yuki let her get away without directly answering his question with a small smirk. Instead he took her hand again and pulled her deeper, diverting from the path to the lake. He led them a couple of yards into the forest before she saw what he was taking her to and gasped. Holding Yume with one arm, her other hand flew to her mouth. She stared incredulously for a moment before her eyes slid over to him. Tohru blinked at his grin then turned back to the structure to make sure it was really there.
There, in the center, sat an awfully familiar, small house.
He beamed at her bewildered expression and yanked her to the porch. Yuki unlocked the door, and she gaped at the sight inside. Her head swung from side to side, drinking in all that she saw. It was impossible not to recognize the furniture and the precise arrangement of it all. Yuki slipped his arms under Yume, taking the child from Tohru before she ran about, running her fingers over every surface she could. His smile simply grew as he noticed the pure delight wafting from her.
"I got all the furniture from our apartment. I even sent some guys over for measurements. It's as close as I could get it. Go ahead and look," he urged her.
"I can't believe this…" she whispered.
"I did take the liberty of making an addition though," he told her as he gestured her to follow him.
He led them to the hallway and opened a door she didn't recognize, revealing a nursery. She gawked at the light pink room. Her commoner life. He remembered. Nothing was lavish or too extravagant. They were all things normal people would have. She could feel tears trailing down her cheeks as she set Yume in the crib in the corner of the room. Tohru spun the small mobile around with the tips of her fingers, turning back to Yuki with an appreciative smile, which he returned.
That is what they both wanted. To be warm, loving parents and spouses, in a place were everyone could be comfortable. Heirs and royalty weren't important. Palaces and money meant little more than nothing to them. The happiness of their family would be what they cherished most. Yuki hadn't been lying to Tohru when he admitted to wanting to raise their children in that apartment. Sure, it was a lot smaller than a castle, and definitely less luxurious, but life there would be less tense and more peaceful. He just wanted Tohru and their child to be some place where they wouldn't have to fuss over acting properly.
"You know, I'm glad we didn't get married the first time…" Tohru admitted a little shyly.
Yuki nodded, holding back from pretending to be offended.
"I know… I feel like I love you a lot more than I did before the accident. I know I loved you before, but now, after we went through all of our problems, I feel as if we know each other better and that our love has grown deeper and stronger. I believe it also shows that fate has our relationship in her favor…" Yuki agreed.
"I think we were too young then as well! What were you thinking?! We were barely sixteen!" Tohru giggled.
"You accepted," he laughed, "But really, I wasn't thinking. I just knew that you were the one for me and that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you. I still do. You are the most precious thing to me, you know that? I love you, and I always will."
"I love you too! I can't imagine my life without you…"
"You're my sun. Everything in my life revolves around you."
With those last words sliding out of his mouth, he put his forefinger under her chin, tilting her face upwards towards him. Then, he caught her lips with his.
Love endlessly flowed between them. They had faced their problems together, never for a second wanting to be apart through their ups and downs. It would seem that no matter what tried to get in their way they always found their way back to each other with a little help from destiny. Love would forever shine upon their lives, illuminating every step of their lives together from now on. All that was left to do was grow old together, raising their children and someday grandchildren.
And as all stories must do, the tale of Yuki and Tohru must end with these six words: And they lived happily ever after.
The only thing I like about this chapter is the title. D: There's like three epilogues here though. xD The true one probably is the one year later part. I hope you liked the story anyways, regardless of this rushed epilogue. It's officially complete!