Created: December 7, 2007

xXx

So I ask you not to hate me. Remember, it was all for you. Always.

xXx

Usagi fled down the hall when she heard the door open behind her, despite the fact she could hardly see through her tears. If she could only make it as far as the elevator, she would be safe. It wasn't to be, though; she felt Akito's fingers clench around her arm, his nails digging into her flesh. Her head snapped toward him, mussed blonde hair in her face, while she tried not to wince at the pain shooting up her arm.

Then his fingers slackened. Usagi could feel the presence at her side before she turned to see her savior. "You really didn't think I'd let her come here to see you alone, did you? Bastard."

"Kyou," the blonde placed her hand on his arm, and when his attention diverted to her, she shook her head softly. Reluctantly, Kyou released Akito and stepped closer to Usagi. "Akito, please don't make this difficult. Please let me go."

His dark eyes took her in; the red rimmed azure eyes that used to smile for him, her pale hands clutching onto Kyou's arm, the faint signs of fading bruises along her cheek. In that moment of clarity, the epiphany came, like a wave crashing over him. Kyou had not stolen her away; he had been pushing her all this time. Kyou only saw the side that he had not acknowledged, and fell in love with her completely.

What did he actually know about Usagi? Their relationship never had trust. He'd been indifferent to her most of the time, and harsh a great deal of the rest. You say you love me, but the way you treat me says the opposite. The words hit him like a physical blow, ones that had fell from her rosy lips only moments before.

I'm sorry. Akito could not bring himself to say it. He only watched that crown of golden blonde walk away from him, knowing it was his fault.

xXx

"And so, with a great deal of sorrow, we lay to rest a woman who touched the lives of all she knew. Rest in peace Ikuko Tsukino." As the eulogy ended, Usagi felt a slew of mixed emotions course through her. The confusion of mind kept her from crying anymore, at least. She held on to Kyou's hand, knowing he was there as he had been. He'd scarcely left her side since the day at the hospital.

People filtered by her, some stopping to offer condolences, others trying to avoid her eye. Neither really registered, the world spun by in a blur of reality her conscious self could not digest. She thought of her mother's words,I want you to be free of me, and what they really meant. There were so many questions in her heart, and the fact that she could never ask them, that hurt her most of all.

Her blue eyes stopped on the congregated four near the exit, and her expression softened into a near smile, the closest she could muster. The one closest to the door looked up suddenly, and her intense violet eyes crinkled into a soft smile, a reassurance. It was all the gesture the blonde needed. Tugging Kyou with her, she walked forward to meet them.

"Hey guys." The other three looked up, their heads jolting upward in simultaneous movement that might have made Usagi laugh. "I want you all to meet Kyou. Kyou, these are my best friends from high school." As she named them, she pointed to each in turn, "Rei Hino, Minako Aino, Makoto Kino, and Ami Mizuno."

"So this is the new one, eh?" Rei spoke first, always blunt and to the point. Kyou shifted uncomfortably under her haughty stare, and Usagi felt her lips quirk with a suppressed grin.

"He's way better, Usa. I know these things, you know." Minako nodded matter-of-factly, winking to her fellow blonde. She shook her head in amusement, glancing over to the nervous male beside her.

"He looks like my old--" Makoto didn't get to finish, the whole group of women groaned in exasperation. She blinked her emerald eyes a few times, asking, "What? What did I say?"

"You look good, Usagi. I'm glad you're finally happy." Ami smiled softly, and Usagi almost broke down right there. She let the four of them pull her into a group hug without protest.

"You better keep in touch this time, Meatball Head." Rei scolded as the two made to leave. Kyou quirked an eyebrow at the nickname, but Usagi waved him off, assuring the ebony haired woman that she definitely would.

Before they made it to the car, Usagi heard someone calling her name, and turned into the full on embrace of someone she knew rather well. Over the brunette crop of hair she spotted Yuki Sohma following behind. The two cousins shared a slightly hostile look before the silver haired male turned his attention to the two women.

"Thank you so much, Usagi, for everything." The woman whispered, low enough so that only the blonde could hear. "I'm so sorry about Ikuko. I'll miss her so much."

"You're welcome Tohru." Usagi gently broke away from the hug, offering a smile as Tohru wiped at her tears. "Don't worry too much about it, I'm sure her and Kyoko are living it up right now." Tohru laughed softly at this, stepping back to Yuki's side. Azure eyes jumping between the two of them, she smiled again and said, "I'm glad it worked out for you two. Invite me to the wedding, okay?"

Usagi chuckled at the red that covered both of their faces before she pulled Kyou into the car with her and they drove away.

Later that evening, Usagi showed Kyou a picture of the girls from high school when she still sported two round buns on her head, and pouted when he started laughing.

xXx

Usagi slid the money across the counter and took the paper in her hands, gritting her teeth while the girl on the other side fluttered her eyelashes unabashedly at Kyou. He chuckled softly and placed a kiss on her lips, while the blonde gloated over the dejected look that now covered the girl's expression. Remembering her original purpose, Usagi unfolded the newspaper.

Kyon Corps Goes Global

Since the recent success of the three way product, Kyon Corps, the company run by Kyou Sohma, has been taking off at mind boggling speeds. Despite the growing rumors of hostility between the Sohma cousins, nothing could stop the growing popularity of their recent endeavors. Now, with his credibility at its highest, Kyou Sohma is taking Kyon Corps to the next level.

"Everyone assumes I am trying to follow in my cousins shoes. It would be an honor to achieve that level of accomplishment, but for now I have my own goals, and I've simply taken the first step to making those a reality." The young CEO claimed in our latest interview, showing a much more calm and collected side than he did at a recent press conference.

Yet rumors are abound that the young business mogul is engaged and due to marry soon. Kyou refrained any comment when asked about it, preferring to keep his personal life separate from his professional, even after his rival Yuki Sohma announced his engagement to Tohru Honda earlier this week.

For now, everything is looking up for Kyou Sohma, and the future of Kyon Corps just keeps getting brighter and brighter.

Usagi ended her recital of the article and folded the paper once more, smiling up at her love. "I'm so proud of you, Kyou." Standing on her tiptoes, she brought their lips together briefly, and broke away still smiling. "Come on, now. We still have one more stop."

xXx

Dear Mama,

As you get older, feelings change. I learned that as a little girl. I learned it all over again with my first boyfriend. Year after year, the simple, bitter truth of it haunts me. Sometimes it is a wild lust that slowly dies, and sometimes it's something only one of two people feels. Sometimes it is just never there at all, but you keep pretending because everyone else is expecting it.

When I wake up in the middle of the night, in cold sweat, I know this to be hard, bitter fact. But I also know it can change, and that's why I've done this one selfish thing.

The things I gave up, the things I've done for you I will never regret. I loved you more than anything, and I would do it all again, a million times over. My life might have been a lie, but I always did what was necessary. There's always that grim satisfaction in knowing what you're capable of.

I sometimes wonder how you felt when I would show up. What did you think of me? Were you proud of me even if I was despicable? Were you ever grateful or did you just resent me for what I had or hate me for taking pity? Because, I always did take pity, even though I know it was the thing you hated the most.

Even so, all that time I admired you. You were so, so strong all the time. You were strong when I was weak, even if it seemed like the opposite to me then. I don't think, if we had switched places, I could have handled your situation at all. I wonder if you could've done the things I've done.

Still, looking at it now, I feel stronger than ever. I credit you for that.

Maybe you were grateful for what I did, but I could never tell by the look on your face. It hurts to think the person you admire most may look at you in the opposite light. It will never hurt as much as losing you. It will never hurt me as much as standing there watching you drift away.

You were always drifting out of my reach. I was always gone. No one said life was easy.

I've lived with this for a long time. I've given to this for a long time. We've never been perfect. I'll always love you. No matter what.

So I ask you not to hate me. Remember, it was all for you. Always.

Usagi placed the folded letter on the grave, swiping at her tears haphazardly. As she returned to her full height, she felt Kyou's arms wrap around her from behind. She leaned into his chest, smiling softly.

"Do you think she'd be happy over what I did? Or would she hate me?" The blonde questioned softly, memories of Ikuko dancing through her mind. Kyou kissed her neck softly, and she relished in his warmth, letting it comfort her.

"She wanted you to be happy. She would be glad that you did something for yourself, for once." He assured her, and she nodded, satisfied.

"I think you're right."

"Besides, you took care of Shingo, just like you promised." He added.

"Well, that was mostly you." Usagi chided, smiling as he kissed her neck again.

"I love you, Usagi."

"You and your timing," she prodded, giggling. Then she turned to face him, and said, "I love you too, Kyou."

They walked from the cemetery, hand in hand, their whole lives before them.

Love,

Usagi

The End

Ahh, it's over. -sob- I told you that last chapter underwent revision, but this one had a complete overhaul! It turned out much better, much more, eh, final. Though I didn't get the response I might have expected from this story, it doesn't matter so much because I enjoyed writing it. I appreciate the reviews I did receive, and thank in advance those who review this now that it's complete.

For those of you who though Akito gave up too quickly, I realized the beginning of this chapter should've ended last chapter. Of course, that epiphany came too late, so I couldn't fix it, but hopefully it seems a bit more resolved now? I hope.

Also, briefly, sorry for the length of time it took to release this chapter. I got caught up in some real world mess. Please review!

♥SachiNyoko♥