Here it is, the last chapter of the story! I hope everyone will be satisfied with the ending and I also want to thank you all for support and for sticking with me and the story for this last 4 years!
DISCLIAMER: Don't own the series.
The fire at Shizuru's cottage was huge; some of the trees around got slightly burned. Reito's men ensured that fire would start in the same room as the body was placed. The biggest part of the body got burned and it was hard to tell who it was. Despite the size and blood type matching, Shizuru's parents demanded a DNA test. Reito was prepared for that and ensured that results would be replaced what had 100% confirmed Shizuru's death. The confirmation totally killed Fujinos. Her mother was crying the rivers of tears and seemed to never be able to stop.
During funerals, Reito tried to talk to her parents and somehow comfort them. Parents were grateful for his comfort and had slightly calmed down though it was not enough and Reito knew that once they would get back, another crying session would start. He would occasionally look around during funerals, crying and painful expressions were the only ones he saw. Loud sobs and crying echoed in his ears. Hundreds of people came to Shizuru's funerals among whom were family, friends, classmates, co-workers and just fans in whom Shizuru never lacked.
Reito clenched his fists, trying to act calm. Depressed and miserable feelings surrounding him were finally getting to him as well. The whole outcome happened to be harder to bear than he expected. He had to fight with whole his might just not to shut out loud, screaming that she is alright. That they don't have to worry that... he bit his lower lip and squeezed his fists even tighter, nails were painfully digging into his palms, small streams of blood started to soak through his squeezed fists. People around thought that it was because of pain of lose. At first he was abandoned by Shizuru near the altar and now she was dead, gone forever and his last hope along with her. Reito wished that it really was the case, he knew that it sounded wrong and sinisterly. However, he believed that losing her for real would be much easier to handle than keep promise of silence about her real fate.
Reito shook his head to remove all those negative ideas that were invading his exhausted mind. No matter how he felt right now. He did not regret what he did. Shizuru was everything for him and knowing that she is happy somewhere made his will stronger.
Purple eyes scanned the crowd again, mostly focusing on their school friends. Haruka was crying out loud while shouting something along "Damn you buboozuke woman! How could you just leave like that? Our rivalry is not over yet and I'll make sure that company progresses better under my pulling!". Yukino didn't even bother to correct her, crying herself.
Midori was crying like a baby, sister Yukarika prayed for her soul the whole time, tears dripping down her face. Further away from the crowd Reito spotted Nao who was standing by the tree with crossed hands. She was among the crowd at first but left soon after saying "So stupid..." However, everyone knew what she really meant. Despite having constant rivalry since carnival, Nao still got attached to Shizuru even though she would never admit it. Right now she was most likely hiding her sadness and possibly tears from hundreds pairs of eyes.
Not far from Reito stood Mai surrounded by Tate, Takumi, Akira and Mikoto. Mikoto was crying, holding onto Mai whose tears were silently rolling down her cheeks. From what Reito understood, Mai was the first person to find out about Shizuru's idea and was almost in the same shoes as him, fighting back the scream of truth that wanted to escape from her mouth. Mai felt Reito's stare and raised her eyes and looked directly into purple ones. Reito silently nodded to her, Mai answered the same way.
The Next day, Reito went to visit Shizuru's grave. He wentthere after lunch knowing that her parents most likely would be there in the morning and he did not want to disturb them. There still were some people at the grave when he came. However, once his presence was noticed, they instantly left, giving him privacy. Making sure that no one was around, he lowered a white flower and sat down.
"You better be happy there and not waste all these tears"
He was about to leave when he heard footsteps. Turning around, he spotted Mai who froze when she saw him. Reito smiled politely:
"Hey..." answered Mai and sat beside him, putting a flower down as well.
They sat in total silence before Reito decided to speak again:
"You do know the truth, don't you?"
She looked at me with surprised eyes "I... well... I heard just like everyone that..."
"Is it really all you know?" he interrupted her.
"I..." Mai was clearly avoiding the answer so Reito decided to be straight forward.
"I'm the one whom she came to see"
Red head's eyes widened even more but this time in realization "Don't tell me that..."
"Yes" Reito looked back at the grave "I'm the one who made this possible"
"So we are in the same shoes then" she relaxed and looked at the grave too "I gave her idea and you made it reality"
"What about the body then? Who was it?" she looked at him horrified.
"It is a long story but I assure you that I did not kill anyone"
"That's more than enough for me to know" another silence but not a long one "Do you know where she is then?"
"Partly... though I'm not gonna tell you the details, sorry"
"That's fine, as long as she is happy. Otherwise I will find her and make her pay for all those tears that were spent on her" Mai got a bit angry "It was so hard to keep quiet yesterday when I knew the truth. At least part of it"
"I fully understand your feelings, I was really on the edge yesterday" he looked at his palms that had small cuts on them.
"Reito..." Mai looked apologetically and took his hands in hers "It must've been even tougher for you" she rubbed her fingers over the cuts.
"I'll be fine" Reito took his hands back and got up "Sorry Mai, but I have to go now"
"That's fine" she stood up too "I was thinking about going myself"
"I'll see you later then" Reito started to walk away before he heard Mai's shout.
"If it ever will become too tough to keep quiet, feel free to talk to me"
Reito was astonished by her words at first but then smiled "Thanks, same to you!" and waved his goodbyes.
Half a year later
Half a year had passed since the incident and some had slowly moved on but they still held the brunette in their hearts and memories. Shizuru's parents were still devastated. However, they slowly started to get back to life. During these months they were mostly inside the house, locking themselves away from the outside world, still killed by the loss of their only child, or at Shizuru's grave.
Haruka did all in her power to keep the company working while Shizuru's parents were absent, she would not allow for it to fall apart. Yukino was always there to support her and help whenever Haruka needed her. There were times when Haruka was totally executed because of pressure and Yukino had to take over. None of them blamed Fujinos for abandoning company like that and did everything to help.
After such a long absence, Shizuru's parents finally started to go to work again. They still looked tired and weak but they couldn't allow burdening Haruka any longer who assured them that there was no problem and they could rest as long as they wanted. Fujino's smiled and thanked her but still were determined to help at least a bit. They could not allow themselves to sink in sorrow forever, Shizuru would not approve, and they had to go on no matter how hard it might be.
Investigation was going on about the case but after several careful explorations they stopped on an accident theory which parents had accepted. They were happy and sad with this information. They were glad that their daughter was not murdered by some bastard but they were shattered by the fact that God decided to take her away at such a young age.
Ex-HiMEs had several gatherings, the first one was really lonely and was mostly dedicated to Shizuru though after some thinking they decided that it would be better to spice it up since Shizuru always preferred something cheerful so eventually everyone ended in karaoke bar. However, instead of alcohol they all drank tea. Midori was very tempted to buy some beer but was always stopped by several pairs of glaring eyes and mostly Nao who was left in charge of controlling her. Nao was not happy about this duty at first but soon got into it, tormenting Midori happened to be a lot of fun.
Mai had several urges to tell everyone the truth but whenever this feeling happened, she would always talk to Reito and try to get the weight of her heart. Reito would occasionally do the same. Thankfully everyone was slowly getting over Shizuru's death and the weight of guilt was becoming lighter. They knew that it would never disappear but were grateful for being less pressured. Occasionally, Reito and Mai would bash Shizuru for her actions but in the end would always wish her all the best and hope that the sacrifice was worth it.
It was a cool day, winter was coming to an end and less dressing was needed. Reito was taking a walk dressed in a black, long coat and red scarf. His nose was slightly red from cold and beard still adored his face. He had taken a break from work today and was determined to fulfil his last promise to Shizuru. Right now he was at the beach, not far from Shizuru's cottage that was burned down. The area was closed while investigation went on and everything was mostly left the way it was originally. Half burned building stood not far from public place and some ashes still remained. The place is supposed to be cleaned in several days so Reito had to act quickly. The sun was gradually setting down when Reito reached the ruins of the house and collected some ashes into a small, glass bottle. Once done, he went up a small cliff. No one was around, Reito was the only person standing at the edge and enjoying the view. He closed his eyes and enjoyed the weak warmth of a setting sun.
"Beautiful, isn't it?" he spoke and opened his eyes to look at the bottle with ashes "I'm really sorry for what we have done to you Yamanako-san. However, you were of great help and finally I'm able to give you the freedom you had deserved long time ago" he opened the bottle and looked at the sun one more time before splashing the bottle so the ashes could fly in the wind "Rest in peace, Yamanako-san and pass my 'hi' to Shizuru. I hope she is doing well" a lonely smile crossed his face.
Reito stood at the edge until it got fully dark and only then went back to his car.
Somewhere in UK, a dark short haired girl with green eyes was also watching a sun set that day, though at a different time and different place yet still at the beach. The last half a year Shizuru spent working and trying to blend with people here. She could not hide the fact that she was a foreigner, it was way too obvious. But she was able to survive without arising any suspicion from anyone. Just as Reito promised, his friend had met her at the airport back at the time and had given her the place of living and work. The place was nothing special; to be truthful it looked scary. It had two rooms, bedroom and living room as well as a small kitchen and bathroom. Bath was quiet small but big enough to fit in it and rest a bit. Bedroom had a small single bed with slightly hard mattress which Shizuru had eventually replaced.
Walls were slightly dirty in some areas and carpet needed a good clean up. Actually whole place needed a redecoration. Shizuru did not complain when she had arrived here for the first time and accepted it the way it was. However, over time she managed to earn enough money to improve some small things that made the place look more pleasant.
Work at the factory was very hard and Shizuru could barely move the first few weeks. She did get used to it after some time and had made some friends with whom she could talk from time to time. After finally settling down, she was determined to find a better work place now and applied for several jobs. A lot of employers looked interested and promised to give her a call.
Shizuru didn't have a lot of qualifications as Ayama Reika. She mostly had only finished school and some basic business courses so finding a job with such qualifications wasn't easy.
The real problem during these months was the fact that she still didn't see Natsuki, even once nor had they talked. Shizuru was getting impatient and angry, fearing that God had lied to her and was just messing around with them. Nonetheless, He assured Shizuru that it was not a game He was playing and that if she is able to survive at least half a year like that, He will let her meet Natsuki. Because of that Shizuru was working even harder and each night would tell about her experiences and thoughts to Natsuki, whom she knew was listening. Even though Natsuki could not answer, she still kept talking to her and always with a bright smile. There was not a single night that Shizuru would not talk to Natsuki and share information with her, no matter how tired Shizuru might be. There were nights when Shizuru had fallen asleep in the middle of her talk.
Today was not an exception, Shizuru was sitting on a lonely beach and talking to a sun set, imaginining that it is Natsuki she is talking to.
"... and then we went to a cafe to have some tea. Louise had put four spoons of sugar into his cup! Ara, can you imagine that? Four spoons! We all are sure that his butt will stick together one day" Shizuru laughed lightly before becoming silent for a moment "I really am missing you, Natsuki... and am counting days on how long we are apart. But don't worry, it is almost time. Everything went smoothly during this half a year and if the God is not a lying bastard, we will be re-united soon and..."
Shizuru froze, something cold yet gentle and soothing had wrapped around her neck. Shizuru's eyes widened from surprise, this feeling was so familiar... there was no mistaking it! It was...
"You do realize that He can hear you..." a warm voice with cold wind reached Shizuru's right ear.
"Natsuki..." Shizuru breathed out quietly, her hands up, close to her neck, trying to hold the invisible arms wrapped around her neck, tears running down her cheeks.
The coldness around Shizuru's neck started to take a form and soon two transparent arms were visible along with Natsuki's face next to Shizuru's ear and then the rest of her body.
"Natsuki!" Shizuru started to cry from happiness and hugged herself, imagining that it were Natsuki's warm arms instead.
"I'm finally here, Shziuru. You have proven yourself in God's eyes and He finally gave in. We can be together again"
"Natsuki..." tears kept pouring down from Shizuru's eyes.
They stayed like that for several moments before Shizuru had finally calmed down "I waited so long for this day..."
"I know, I listened to you every night after all. Too bad you could not hear me reply"
"I did not hear you but I somehow felt that you were there, replying to me" she smiled happily.
Natsuki smirked "Glad to hear that" then she became more serious "However, your plan was really cruel one. I can't believe that you went to such extends. I was really against it at first"
"Really?" Shizuru was surprised "But God said that you approved"
"It actually was Him who convinced me..."
"What?" Shizuru jumped from surprise.
"Yeh, I was stunned myself. But he saw how much we meant to each other and came to conclusion that it was the least horrible possibility out of all and if I were to deny it, there would be no future for us"
"Yamanako Naru was not very happy about how you used her body either" Shizuru stiffened "but she did accept it eventually and she finally got her peace too, Reito did as promised and let the wind take her ashes back home. She gave us her blessings"
"Reito..." Shizuru smiled warmly.
"I must say that he really won me over during this whole mess. I did held him in high regards back when you two were together since he was always nice to you but after everything he had done now, my thoughts about him had risen tenfold"
"Ara, should I get jealous?" Shizuru teased.
"I'm more worried if I was really worth all of it. Reito seems to be a much better person; I don't think that I would agree to help you if you were to abandon me like that, at least not in such a short time after break up"
"You are perfect, Natsuki. Never doubt yourself and I'm sure that you would help me if you were in his place, after all you did come for me at the carnival. You are a much kinder and gentler person than you think..."
"Shizuru..." Natsuki felt like crying at this but tried to keep cool.
Another silence fell on them before Natsuki decided to change the subject:
"I still didn't have a good look at you, mind to turn around?" Natsuki let go of Shizuru.
"Ara, if Natsuki wishes so" slowly Shizuru turned around to face her beloved.
Natsuki rubbed her chin while scanning Shizuru's new looks "You look... weird" she finally concluded.
"Ara, Natsuki is always full of compliments" Shizuru giggled.
"I really liked your hair and I'll miss your ruby eyes"
"It is already longer than it used to be" Shizuru answered and let her fingers trace her hair "and eyes problem can be always changed, when we are in private that is" she smiled.
"Good to hear that" Natsuki smiled in reply "Even though I kept seeing you every day, I still can't get used to your new looks"
"Ara, was Natsuki stalking on me? Ikezu! You are such a perv!"
"Hey!" Natsuki blushed and it instantly became warm around the area "I was just making sure that you are alright! God allowed me to go around so I also have visited everyone back home. They still miss you but are slowly getting over it, though your parents got it the hardest"
Shizuru's smile dropped "I knew that it would happen... are they feeling well?"
"They are very tired but healthy. Haruka had fully taken over the company during their absence"
"I always knew that I could rely on her" Shizuru smiled again.
"I feel sorry for Reito and Mai, not counting your parents they got it the toughest. They were on brick of spilling the truth several times but were able to keep it in. They became really good friends again after that"
"I should send them a postcard or something; we didn't contact each other even once since I left"
"Do you..." Natsuki hesitated at first "do you plan to go back one day?"
Shizuru stopped to think about it for a moment "Well I did promise Mai a tea party" Shizuru smiled sheepishly "But not yet..." she moved closer to Natsuki and tried to wrap her arms around Natsuki's neck "Not yet..." and lightly kissed her on the lips.
Natsuki: Woah! You finally finished it, you lazy bastard!
Bad One: Hey, it is not my fault that I had no inspiration!
Natsuki: Yeh, keep lying!
Bad One: But it is the truth... well partly –ashamed- but I did finish it! And ending is quiet positive for you two!
Shizuru: Ara, finally author-san did what had to happen LONG time ago. However, it would've been better if Natsuki came back to life.
Bad One: You are wishing for far too much!
Shiizuru: Ara, but Mashiro-san did bring us all back to life.
Bad One: Well sorry for not being a Mashiro, at least there were no monsters and killing of each other –pouting-
Natsuki: At least something positive.
Bad One: Better say your goodbyes to readers while you can
Shizuru: Ara, thank you very much for sticking with our lazy author-san and keeping encouraging and threatening her. It all finally paid off. Now if you'll excuse me, I have Natsuki to satisfy here.
Natsuki: Yeh, thanks for that and... Wait what? –looks at Shizuru-
Shizuru: Ara I can't wait any longer! –jumps on to Natsuki-
Bad One: Have you no shame! –closes the curtain- Well yeh, thanks everyone for your attention and reviews, they played a lot for me! And you can finally congratulate me with my first finished story! Yay! Since this story is finished, what other fics do you want me to continue? I have created a poll too! You can choose maximum two stories! See yah in the other story ;)