Disclaimer: I do not own Fruits Basket.
X X X X X X
It was completely unpredictable. Just like the incident's owner.
When the object rocketed towards his cheek, Yuki couldn't do a thing. He could only--
--turn his cheek upon impact.
The room was hauntingly silent like a graveyard during witching hours. Tohru, with her long hair done in pigtails, froze, hand at her mouth, eyes wide. The platter of riceballs in her possession quietly slipped from her grip. Kyo looked as if he were going to say something, but his mouth had locked into a blob, smart-ass comments dropping dead on his tongue. Or at least that was what Yuki assumed; the former Cat seemed capable only of making stupid, useless commentary. Shigure was a statue, pale and scared. (What was he so scared of? Yuki was the one who was supposed to be scared, not him. He wasn't the one in the line of fire right now.)
And that fire was of course sizzling from the reigning queen of recklessness and violence. Who else could it be but his cousin Kagura? She stood before him perfectly still, hands curled into shaking fists, legs spread firmly apart as if she would charge for him, a skin-melting glare in her eyes. He never thought he would have to endure that glare from those fiery eyes which were set like small glittering stones in her red face. A snarl made a snack out of her shapely lips. Yuki swore he could point out a vein simmering on her forehead.
Even Kyo could see that this was not a good sign.
Swapping moods as easily as one trades hats, Kagura raised her chin, removed the blood from her cheeks and gave him a cool, haughty stare.
"My egg's done," she said simply before spinning on her heel and switching her way into the kitchen.
As if Kagura's exit was the button pressed for sound, noise swirled around him.
"Ah! Um-- Y--Yuki-kun, are you okay?"
A lame chuckle. "You don't have much luck with the ladies, do you Yuki."
"Why didn't you duck?!" This was from an astonished Kyo. Yuki's martial arts skills were superior to Kyo's even though they had trained under the same shishou, so it was understandable for him to think that his reflexes should've been in working order. But who knew what the day's events held when Kagura was around?
"I'm not psychic, idiot," Yuki shot back with a one-eyed glare.
Tohru ducked down so that they were face to face. She whipped out a handkerchief and began wiping up his face. "You're hurt!" she exclaimed when most of the splatter was cleaned from his cheek. She stood. "I'll have to get the emergency kit!"
Yuki grabbed her hand when she turned to go. "I'm fine, Honda-san," he replied, although his face said otherwise. "There's no need for you to trouble yourself. I'm not hurt at all." He knew that bandages wasn't all that was on her mind. It was his duty to keep the gentle girl out of the line of fire. He should be the only one to get burned, not her.
Tohru violently shook her head. "Your face might swell up. In fact, it looks a little swollen now."
"It's not that bad."
Yuki sighed. Could he stop her? No. Not when her eyes gleamed with so much determination and worry. And anyway, it wasn't like Yuki was really worried that Kagura would hit Tohru. She wasn't a fool. Even though I played her for one, he thought grimly.
Yuki tried his best to smile. "Okay," he assented. He let go of her hand. "Just be careful."
With a fierce nod as if she were going in to face off against a dragon, Tohru said, "You can count on me." She walked into the kitchen.
Yuki evaluated the damage done to himself. Kagura had hurled a boiled egg at him, which had exploded when it hit his cheek. Bits of chalky yolk chewed into his eye. The congealed egg white flecked the wall behind him, as well as the side of his face. Yellow and white mush that looked like throw up slobbered on his shirt. Luckily the shell hadn't gotten into his eyes, but that didn't change the fact that his eye stung, his cheek hurt like hell and he had a very emotional woman angry at him. The day was shaping up to be a very sucky one.
Yuki swiped at his bangs. Bits of Kagura's egg confettied down to the floor. How festive. Not. Yuki groaned. First he had to clean himself off. Then he had to talk to Kagura.
The mild-mannered boy stood up and swept girlish feathery hands over his brown pants. Some stubborn egg stains remained, but there was nothing he could do about it until laundry day. He'd just wear a new pair of slacks and change his shirt while he was at it.
His attention swerved to the present. Voices rushed into his ears. He discovered just now that Kyo and Shigure were talking. Or arguing. Yuki shrugged. He didn't care. Seventeen years, and Kyo was still the same brash, loud, obnoxious brat he always was. Except he was, just a tiny bit... softer. Changed. They all were.
Kyo's voice chased him as he bounded up the stairs.
"What's eating him?"
X X X X X
Tohru posed shyly by the entranceway. She wrung her hands and looked down at her slippered toes. To be honest, she wasn't sure how to talk to Kagura now. On one hand, the optimist did want to help her, but she valued her life as well.
It was easy to see why Tohru was wary. Back turned and stationed at the sink, the hot-tempered Sohma was angrily washing the dishes. Well, perhaps peeling off the paint from the lovely china described what she was doing better. The water was scorching, as evidenced by the cloud of steam that wrapped around Kagura's head. Loud clangs and clinks sounded off as Kagura ground dish detergent into bowls and plates, washed them off and slammed them into the dish rack. Next came the pot. Still slightly soapy, she threw it in with the rest of the plates, cups and silverware. A pretty white bowl acquired a jagged tear. Tohru winced. Though she couldn't see anything else, she could tell other dishes were dividing into ragged shards.
Kagura straightened up. She turned the faucet off and turned around. The grey-eyed woman wiped her soaked hands on her jeans. She took a deep breath, let it whoosh from her lungs and met Tohru's timid gaze. "Yes?" she asked calmly.
Tohru let out a sigh of relief, eyes blissfully closed and a hand over her nervously fluttering heart. Kagura wasn't channeling her anger towards her and she seemed calmer now. Almost calm enough to see Yuki.
Yuki! Tohru had almost forgotten the gentle boy and his injury! Anxiety rumbled around in her stomach. Shaking, she stumbled over to the fridge to fetch a cold glass of water for him. She went into the freezer and found an ice pack. Hm. When had she prepared an ice pack? Had one of the boys done so earlier? Shaking her head in confusion, Tohru turned to face Kagura again. Now that she had had some time to prepare, she had more to say to her besides jumbled phrases and stuttering. The brunette closed the freezer and refrigerator door.
"Um... Why did you...? To Yuki, why did you...?"
Okay, so she didn't have much, but Tohru couldn't really think in this tense atmosphere. Kagura was making her flustered and scared.
Kagura leaned over the sink. She stared up at the ceiling through her bangs and sighed.
"I wanted a boiled egg." Her stomach gave off a quiet rumble. Eyes-to-floor contact. "I'm hungry."
"Oh! Let me!" Tohru hurried to the cabinets and fished out a pot. "Excuse me," she said quietly, bowing. Kagura complied and Tohru filled it with water. "Egg, egg...," she murmured as she shimmied to the fridge.
"No, Tohru-kun, it's fine," she said urgently, a blush flanking both cheeks.
Tohru beamed over her shoulder back at Kagura. "It's fine," she replied sunnily. "I love to cook. And I love boiled eggs. I think I'll make myself one too." Another egg was deposited in the water. Tohru froze and suddenly remembered. She snapped back up, a hand smacked to her cheek, nearly dropping the pot in the process. "Oh! My riceballs!" she worried. "I--I left them on the floor! And they're--" She gasped. "Oh, no! I let Shigure-san and Kyo-kun stay there and watch such a mess! Ohmygoodness, what am I going to do?" she vented. "I've failed in my duties to be a good housekeeper and cook! No good cook lets their food just lie on the floor!! Such shame! How can I face them now?!"
Kagura laughed gently. "I'll handle it," she offered. Before Tohru could stutter out a rebuttal, Kagura ventured back into the living room.
She came back, riceballs in hand. "They looked at me like I was going to bite their heads off." She chuckled weakly. She lowered her eyes in shame. "Can't blame 'em really." She paused by the rubbish bin. "I don't want to throw these out. Your riceballs are delicious. Seems like a waste of hard work."
"It's fine. I made extras!"
After a considerable amount of time, the eggs were finally ready to eat. The two took fragile bowls, sat down with silverware, salt and pepper, and began to eat.
Kagura neatly speared a rubbery egg with the side of her spoon."Tohru-kun, can I ask you a question?"
"Huh? Oh, um... Go ahead, Kagura-san," Tohru blustered.
A testing silence to see if it was really okay, then came her inquisition. "How could you stand it?"
Tohru was genuinely confused, as usual. "Pardon?" she asked.
Back. Forth. Back. Forth. Kagura nervously swung her eyes to and fro over the wiped clean table. "You loved Kyo, right, Tohru-kun? But he ended up going out with your friend. And they're... happy together," she said in wonder as if she couldn't believe it. "Your friend and him... Isn't it like a betrayal on both sides?!" Her eyes snapped up almost angrily. "How could you stand it? How can you stand it? If it were me, I'd be furious! But you're... You're..."
"Okay with it?" Tohru guessed.
Tohru closed her eyes and sighed. She lifted the spoon to her lips and ate. The yolk was delicious and soft. A pain dove into her heart. How could she explain the depth of her hurt? Sometimes Tohru did feel upset over it, but she couldn't be angry. Not at Arisa, who'd had such a tough life, or Kyo, who had faced through similar pain. To be honest, she thought they were perfect together. They knew each other so well. They were so alike. They just... made sense together. She opened her eyes and smiled. "I was... upset at first," she admitted. "I wanted to cry and scream because it felt like my heart was shattering."
She looked at the gentle girl in shock. "You? Cry? Scream?" Such actions didn't seem possible at all for the sunny girl.
Tohru smiled sadly. "Yes," she confessed in a tiny voice. "I felt so awful. B--But probably not as bad as you felt about Kyo!!" she added in a startled tone, her face flushing bright red. "I'm not comparing my pain to yours at all!! I couldn't possibly imagine how it must have been like for you. I mean, you loved him practically your whole life! So--uhm... I--I--I'm really sorry, Kagura-san!! Please, I meant no offense!"
Kagura placed a comforting hand atop hers. She smiled. "It doesn't matter how long you love someone. Love is love regardless. Please don't feel like you've offended me and please go on."
Calmed to some degree, Tohru proceeded with her story. "But you know, they love each other so much. Uo-chan and Kyo-kun are so happy together. Yes, they bicker sometimes and disagree often, but they're both so energetic and fiery!" Talking about them lifted her spirits a little. With dreamy eyes, she smiled up at the ceiling, smiling in her mind at a vision of Kyo and Uo walking hand-in-hand. "They're so much like each other, it's amazing. They understand each other, can confide in each other, love and need each other. And in the face of their love, can I show a crying face?" Tohru placed a hand on her head, head bowed and shaking no. "No. Only here. I'll cry only in my heart."
Kagura looked down with shame. "I'm not like that at all," she said. "I can't forgive as easily as you, or be as happy and cheerful as you. I think I'd die if I didn't express myself. So... With Yuki... I'm really sorry for what I did!" Her eyes welled with tears.
Tohru nearly jumped back at the change in mood. Kagura sure was unpredictable.
"Tohru-kun, can I tell you something?"
"Sure. Anything, Kagura, you can tell me anything. I'll keep your secrets and I'm here if you need to confide in me."
She smiled. "Thank you." She took a deep breath. "IthinkIminlovewithYunchan."
Tohru frowned. "I'm sorry, what?"
"I… love him. Yun-chan." Tears gushed from her eyes. "I really love him!"
Needless to say, Tohru was shocked. Throwing eggs at someone you loved? That was unheard of, although the violently passionate woman had done worse things in the name of love, like throwing Kyo down flights of stairs. "You do?" she asked hesitantly, careful not to let any doubt creep into her voice.
Kagura sighed. Tohru didn't believe her; she detected the doubt in her voice. Kagura folded her hands nervously over the table. Her stomach was turning so much. She couldn't even think about stomaching another bite of boiled egg. But she didn't want to upset her friend. She took a tiny bite anyway. "I don't know if you knew this, but Yuki and I were going out for a while."
She bit back a sigh. To say that Tohru was dense was, well... an understatement. "He and I were going out secretly," she said, which was partly the truth. "I guess I should start with Kyo. I met up with him one last time to really give him up, to tell him the truth. When I saw his true form for the first time, I couldn't handle it. I ran away. I was... so scared!" Kagura closed her eyes, shoulders shaking under her new turquoise designer sweater. She started to cry again. She couldn't help it. The way she'd acted back then... it sickened her. "And I felt bad about it. I still feel bad about it. Back then, I forced myself on Kyo, calling it love when really it was a way to atone for abandoning him. That was the dirty me I wanted to wash away. So I thought that if I loved a monster, if I devoted myself to him, if I said, 'I don't care. I love him no matter what he does or what he is...,' then I could be a better person. It was just to make myself seem... better than the beast."
Kagura opened her eyes. Tohru sat there in shock. She couldn't blame her. It was a terrifying story of selfishness and greed. "Does it seem surprising? Even you must hate me."
"I don't!" When she gave the younger girl a dubious look, she insisted, "Not at all! I think it's really brave of you to have told Kyo something so important. It isn't healthy to bottle everything up inside. That was what Mom always said."
"Even though I pushed myself to love him, I think a part of me really did love him. Even if it's selfish, I still believe that. Thank you, Tohru-chan. You must be sick of hearing that from me, but really, thank you.
"But I'll get back to the point. It was the same with Yun-chan. After Kyo, I was still hurting, really hurting. And Yun-chan, he was sad too. He had problems with his girlfriend, Machi-san. He didn't really talk much about their relationship, or why they broke up, but I could tell from hearing bits and pieces from others and him that he loved her very much. They were like each other, lost and lonely. And the break-up, Yuki was even more lost and lonely than before. So we just... gravitated to each other.
"First it started with talking. Nothing really special, like heart-to-hearts or anything, but we just... talked. Then the discussions got longer. I would talk about Kyo. He would mourn over Machi. You know, he said," Kagura started to tear up again to her dismay, "he said she was the one who understood him best. She was the only one who really cared about him. I felt so terrible hearing that. This girl knew more about him than his own cousin. And then I realized just how little I did know about him. So, after a while, uh... we started... dating. We didn't really do anything!" she frantically told her. "We only kissed once, and it felt kinda weird, so we stopped. And we only hugged once too. Mostly we just talked, held hands, acted as each other's support, that sort of thing.
"After a while, I started to get over Kyo, but for Yun-chan, it wasn't so easy for him to forget Machi. I knew it was wrong in the first place, using him as a rebound guy. That's not the proper way to let go of someone, by forcing a person in a break-up to chose you as the only one to turn to. But I couldn't stop. And after a while, holding him, listening to his words, giving him advice like I was the expert on love, I felt... good. And I started to think, Someone needs me. Someone depends on me. Why should I stop this if it'll only hurt him? That was my defense, but really I just did it for myself. I was the veteran and his wounds were still fresh and bleeding. I felt superior and strong. And after a while, I even began to look down on him. Why is he crying so much? Did she mean that much to him? From what I've heard, she didn't seem all that special. Those were the dark thoughts I began to have.
"Then I realized Yuki's true strength. The "weakness" I once scorned transformed into courage. Because boys aren't supposed to show their feelings or cry in any society and yet he wasn't afraid to be open with me. Soon, his tears dried. His voice became healthy and strong instead of sickly and weak. And that wasn't the only change. He looked taller to me, his shoulders more strong and broad. It's probably been happening for a long time, but for the first time, I was seeing Yuki as a man. And that's when I paid more attention to his graceful walk, the swing of his beautiful wisteria hair, his wide amethyst eyes, his fair skin. Before I knew it, I fell in love with him. I love him. I love him!" Kagura slammed her head on the table and cried.
Tohru jumped a little in her seat. The "Kagura, are you okay?!" she sputtered barely grazed her ears. She could only hear her own sobs. "I'm a big fool for falling so hard for him. I wonder if it's genuine at all. Am I just loving him to make myself seem more charitable? But somehow, I just know that can't be the reason. I'm such a bitch. He knows about how I loved Kyo partly to atone for the mistakes I made when we were younger, but he never linked our relationship to my sin. He's too kind, too good for me.
"Lately he started avoiding me. And I felt so angry and upset and hurt, like I'd been betrayed. So today I just snapped. I wanted to make him look at me, so I threw... an egg at him." Kagura paled. She dragged her head up. Tohru shrieked, but she went on, "Jesus! I threw an egg at him!! What the hell is my problem?! I can't face him now! I acted like a goddamn little kid! No wonder he started avoiding me. I'm too unpredictable and quick to anger, even after all this time. W--What should I do?! Oh, God. Yuki!" Kagura leaned forward to give Tohru the third degree. "How is he?! Is he mad?! What am I saying, of course he's mad. Is he okay? He isn't hurt, is he?! You know, Kazuma-shihan said I have a good right arm. He used to joke that I could be a baseball player. He even said I'd end up taking his job one day!" She grabbed the front of Tohru's apron and roughly jerked her back and forth. "What should I do, Tohru, what should I do?! What if he's really hurt because of me?"
"I feel dizzy...," Tohru said, her eyes turning into spirals. She came back to earth once she caught another sight of the blood. "Kagura-san, you're bleeding!!"
Kagura dropped her unceremoniously back into her seat to place two fingers to her brow. "I am?" She gasped when the test came back positive. Her scarlet-dabbed fingers shook. "Is Yuki bleeding?! Is he bleeding a lot?!"
Tohru's eyes widened in shock. "Yuki-kun!!" she exclaimed as she jumped to her feet. She looked over at the baggie she'd left on the counter. "The ice pack!" she screamed. "And the emergency kit!" Her head turned. "And the glass of water!"
Kagura placed a hand on Tohru's shoulder. "I'll take care of things," she promised.
Tohru scrambled to the counter. "No, please, let me!! I promised Yuki I'd take care of him and I failed him. I told him he could count on me and I let him down." She turned around and saw grave determination on Kagura's face. Tohru was surprised. This girl had grown up so much and she hadn't even known. Even her call of "Tohru" sounded so decisive and grown-up. In her name, Kagura had stamped all of her goals. For the first time, Tohru didn't stammer out a protest at her request. She nodded and handed Kagura the ice pack.
"Good luck, Kagura-san."
With blood running down her forehead, she appeared to have gotten a minor scrape in an epic battle. She looked down at her two fingers intensely, as if she could see something written in the bloody fingerprints. Kagura slowly raised her arm and dramatically swiped her fingers over her cheekbone, then did the same for her left cheek. Like a warrior on a dangerous mission, Kagura nodded back and walked purposefully towards her goal.
The view of her back, shoulders thrown behind her and her spine erect, sent shivers up Tohru's spine.
This is just like a historic drama, Tohru thought, eyes starry and a hand to her red cheek as she watched her leave.
X X X X X X
The tub's faucet was on full blast as he ducked low and scrubbed his shirt. It was just an excuse, of course. He really didn't care much about his shirt. He cared about his life. Because if Kagura was furious enough to throw an egg at him, who knew what else she'd be willing to throw in her fury. Yuki shuddered at the remembrance of a ten-year-old Kyo in a full body cast. He had no desire to be thrown down a flight of stairs... or from the roof. He wouldn't put it past her to drag his sorry ass to the highest part of the house and hurl him to the unforgiving ground.
Water splashed up from the thick stream and hit his bare arms and chest. One drop went into his newly-cleaned, egg-free eye. He closed it. His eye stung just a little, but he'd be just fine. And his cheek would recover... maybe. Yuki winced as he cradled the side of his face. It did feel a little swollen. Or maybe Tohru's prognosis had made him paranoid. Speaking of which, where is Ms. Honda? he wondered. Perhaps Tohru hadn't been able to handle the situation and Kagura was breaking her back over her knee at this very moment. Yuki shuddered. No, that couldn't be. That would be just too cruel.
Realizing that something was blocking the drain, he turned the faucet off lest he flood the bathroom. But instead of removing the blockage, he stared down sadly at his blurred reflection.
Machi's face swam in his memories. He had loved her with everything in him and more and yet that hadn't been good enough. The quiet, solemn girl who thought she was unexciting ended up being the most thrilling person Yuki had ever known. Well, besides her half-brother Kakeru of course. Every facial gesture, every movement, every word held Yuki captive. He loved making her happy and showing her new things and experiences. He thought back to that time when the Student Council had gone out and he had met Machi alone for a few minutes. Her blushing stammering face as she tried to explain that the red maple leaf he had given her was a burden yet wasn't so at the same time was priceless. Yuki thought she was so cute.
As he got to know her, he learned all about her past: the tribulations Machi faced, the competition she had been thrown into against her sibling, that lingering self-loathing. Machi had had a tough life. She was just like him. Yuki had his insecurities too and worried that he was boring. Together, they rejuvenated each other's withered spirits and gave each other a purpose. Ayame had once sang that the lovely Machi-hime was Yuki's raison d'être, his reason to be. Ayame was always saying embarrassing things like that, but funny how back then Yuki had just chuckled. His brother hadn't known how right he was.
When Yuki and Machi started going out, it made him the happiest person in the world. Machi's love was genuine and she was starting to really open up to him. Likewise, he began to confide in her as well. He couldn't believe it. She loved him and he... He would die for her. He never thought his feelings could reach such a level of intensity. It scared the shit out of him and thrilled him all at once. Holding hands, kissing by the river, going out on dates... Beautiful memories to carry with him always.
He hadn't foreseen how much he would need to look back on those times. Because soon all he would have was memories.
Things weren't working out. It didn't matter how much Machi had changed. Deep down, she was still the same little girl full of insecurities. She lost confidence in herself. She began to lose her temper and told him over and over again how she wasn't good enough for him. Yuki wanted to assure her that she did matter, that she was important and loved, very much so, but since Machi didn't accept her own sense of self-worth, none of his words worked.
He decided to move on to actions. He showed her he loved her: he was more affectionate, he hugged her more often, kissed her, took her out more and went out of his way to spend time with her. When that didn't work, he became frantic. He demanded the answer out of her. "Why, why, why?" he always asked. "Why are you like this? What do you want me to do?" But Machi wouldn't answer. She never answered. Frustrated and feeling that a drastic change was needed before they both fell apart, he gave himself to her. He hoped that the ultimate expression of love would make her see she was the most important person in the world to him. He wanted to bridge the canyon that was between them. He missed his smiling, happy Machi so much. But all he got was a hollowing feeling of disgust and guilt. Not for Machi. For himself. Because the morning after, she wouldn't even look at him. She looked so ashamed. All she said after she yanked her clothes on was, "It isn't worth it. Just let me go, Yuki."
Yuki's hand plunged into the water. Dampness of a different sort streamed down his face. Didn't she realize how much those words had hurt him? He understood what she was going through but for her to tell him that she wasn't worth it, that he wasn't worth it, that they weren't worth it had cut him into a million pieces. But he couldn't harden his heart against her. She was his first love after all. How could he hate her when she had given him so much? In the end, Yuki felt terrible for not having done more for her. He wanted to do things over again, make things right, but that wouldn't be fair to Kagura.
Kagura. Yuki sighed deeply as he let the water reach his elbow. After Machi, he'd felt as lost as a small child at a department store. He felt so young and naive, so inexperienced. And Kagura, she was hurting too. Yuki always wondered what she'd seen in him. He had changed, sure, but he wasn't bright at all. Nevertheless, Yuki looked towards the older girl as a role model. She was mourning but she always kept her shoulders back, looking at the horizon with such clear eyes. It was as if she saw beautiful things happening in the future. And Yuki so desperately wanted that control, so much that he felt envious. So naturally, he let himself get pulled in by her hopeful smile and clear eyes, hoping that by being around her, one day he would drink in her secret to being happy. Later, when they talked, he found out that her peace was half an act, but he thought that half an act was better than none. He was like a spy on a mission from his aching soul. He would talk with Kagura, observe her and steal her confidence away because honestly, he was a wreck and he needed it more than her. At least that was how he had felt at first.
He never stopped to realize that Kagura's problem was almost exactly like his. He was only thinking of himself and didn't stop to think that Kagura needed bandages too. He figured that she'd gotten through a billion of Kyo's rejections already and this one was no different. She would bounce back. His emotional distress had dulled him to the hardships of others. When he finally confronted himself about this, he felt even more disgusted and ashamed.
As violent and unpredictable as she was, Kagura was a good person. And she had changed a lot. Kagura could hold her temper a little better now and she was a little less emotional. But only a little. She had her good characteristics and her bad traits, but overall Yuki did love her. Of course he did! She was his cousin! And he treasured the time they'd spent together. In those two months, he'd learned more about Kagura than he'd ever known before. He liked having her as a friend, but he couldn't have her as a friend now. Yuki had used her. He felt too dirty for this bright, clean woman. He really admired her. Before, he had deemed her strange but now he thought that she really was strong. Kagura was strong and she was over Kyo anyway. She didn't need him. Even if Yuki was still hurting, he would let her go. He had listened to Machi only when it was too late. He would not punish his cousin the same way.
Yuki placed his hand over his cheek. He wondered why she had gotten so angry. Okay, so ignoring her wasn't the best solution, but he didn't know what to do. How could he hand her another rejection just like that? That would be harsh and unforgivable. The way he had handled things... it was the only thing he could do!
To his surprise, the door swung open.
Kagura was standing in the doorway.