The conclusion of Kagura no Tamago. Enjoy, dear readers, and thank you, reviewers!!
Disclaimer: I don't own Fruits Basket.
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Yuki sighed as he went into the kitchen. A gloomy pallor had descended over the household so that everyone was grim and quiet. Even rambunctious Kyo was subdued. Even Tohru had lost her sunshine. Even perverted jokester Shigure, who wouldn't meet his eyes and always walked away very fast when Yuki was in sight, was quiet.
Now Yuki knew how annoying it was to be avoided. In fact, he was beginning to understand a lot of things. A week had passed since their big blow-up in the bathroom. This time, Kagura was the one blowing him off. But it was in a major way: she wasn't visiting Shigure's house anymore. He even tried to get to her at the Main house but Rin would always say she was out shopping or busy at the moment. She was protecting the emotional girl, he knew. No one did so much in such a short amount of time.
Her confession swirled in his mind as he sat down. She had come to apologize to him. She had even brought an ice pack. He hadn't even noticed. Why didn't I notice?
Two lime-green slippered feet stepped into his line of vision. Yuki picked his eyes up to the brunette's face.
"Um… Someone's here to visit you," Tohru said timidly.
Yuki scrunched up his eyebrows in confusion. Who could it possibly be this early in the morning? It couldn't be Kagura; she was still mad, and rightfully so.
"Will you see her?" she squeaked.
Kagura. He didn't want to jump to conclusions but it could only be her. Tohru wouldn't look so frightened if it wasn't. She was concerned another argument would ensue if the two came face-to-face again. He sighed. He'd try not to get himself hurled down a flight of stairs, although who knew when it came to Kagura. But this was a good sign, her wanting to see him. He would endure every tearful yell she had to offer. He just wanted to apologize and pray to God she'd forgive him.
Yuki nodded. Tohru stepped back and Kagura walked in.
His heart ached. Her hair was carefully brushed back from her face in a ponytail and wisps from the crown of her head curled by her face. She was dressed in red shorts and a t-shirt. For such a casual look, Yuki thought she looked beautiful.
Unsmiling, Kagura lifted a hand in greeting. "Hey," she said tonelessly. Her hand flopped back to her side.
Safe enough. Yuki could deal with that. He tried a smile. It felt funny on his lips so he dropped it. "Hello," he replied in the same monotone. "How are you?"
Kagura winced. The awkward strangers talk. Nevertheless, she managed an, "I'm doing fine. You?"
"Okay." Awkward silence. "Want to sit down?"
Kagura cocked her head to the side. "Sounds fine." She was about to pull out the chair but Yuki jumped up and did it for her. Startled, she gave him a queer look. They looked down. Their hands were mating over the cherrywood. With a squeak, Kagura pulled her hand out from under his, holding it as if it were injured. She blushed as red as her shorts. Yuki did likewise.
Mouthing a "Thank you," Kagura sat down. She sighed, locking eyes with the uncomfortable Yuki. "I came here to give you a chance to apologize," she revealed quietly.
"What?" he asked loudly. But not angrily. Just in bewilderment.
"I think we both said some things we shouldn't have. And we both acted childish. I'm sorry, Yun-chan, for getting mad at you. I was having a bad day and with you avoiding me and my own problems, I just snapped. That's no excuse, I know, but I just wanted to apologize. If you forgive me, that's great. If you don't, I understand."
Yuki grabbed her wrist. "Wait."
Kagura smiled. "I'm not going anywhere," she said softly. "I'm gonna make some eggs." She went to the fridge. "You want a boiled egg?" She grinned at him from around the refrigerator door. "If there's one thing I can do, it's boil some eggs."
"One or two?"
Yuki frowned as he watched her walk over to the pots and pans. There was something off about her walk.
"Are you okay?"
She waved off his concern. "I'm fine."
"No. Your walk." He stood. "You're limping, aren't you?" His eyes slid down to her ankle. Her sock bulged.
"It's just sprained."
"Sprained? When did that happen?"
Kagura looked down. "When you pushed me."
"When you pushed past me. That day. I fell on my ankle kinda weird. But it's fine!" she tried to convince him. "Haa-kun just put bandages over it to be cautious. You know him," she joked lightly, sticking out her tongue. "He's such a worrywart."
When Kagura turned around, Yuki was in front of her. "Let me."
"No, it's okay. I'm not deathly injured."
She sighed. "Okay." She handed him the eggs.
Yuki went through the necessary preparations. Even Kyo the simpleton could make eggs, so it wasn't hard at all for him. Plus he had the added advantage of having more brain cells. When he was done, he sat down.
"I'm sorry," he said. And he really meant it. He felt awful that he was the reason her ankle was hurt. He had avoided her to help her, not to cause her pain. "I want to hear all about that day."
She was shocked. "Really?"
"Yes. Tell me everything. Don't leave out a single detail."
And Kagura didn't. Hesitantly she started but once she was really into the storytelling, she came alive. She was so animated that she had him frowning in some parts and laughing in some places. He couldn't help thinking how cute she was. By the time she was done, her eyes gleamed and her skin glowed. He was glad.
"I'm sorry," he said again, squeezing her hands. The moment was ruined by the timer.
"I'll get that!" Yuki shouted before she could even open her mouth. Two dishes and spoons later, they were seated with their eggs before them. Kagura started to peel her egg but Yuki grabbed it. "I'll peel your egg," he said smilingly. Kagura smiled as she watched his short fingernails struggle to get rid of the outer shell. But after awhile, he made short work out of the stubborn surface. Only the rubbery inside remained, along with some of the thin stretchy skin. He did the same with her second egg before working on his own.
Kagura took a spoonful out of Yuki's dish and held it to his lips. "Eat," she urged.
Yuki smiled. He did as she wished.
"Yuki… I have a confession. Please just listen, okay? This is something I've wanted to say for a long time. When you ignored me, I felt like shit, but now that I think about it, I've received my just desserts." She fed him another spoonful of seasoned egg.
"When we first started going out, we were both lovelorn, but I used you, Yun-chan. At first, I was really hurting and grateful you were there for me. But when I got over Kyo, I kept you chained to my side. I liked feeling needed and wanted, and you were so loving, so good to me. So I held your hand, thinking I'd won because I'd gotten over my lost love first. I even began to look down on you." Kagura averted her face in shame. "I'm so sorry, Yun-chan. I never meant to hurt you. You know about my love for Kyo, right? How it was forced so that I could redeem myself. Well, with you, I think it was the same way."
"Kagura… I knew."
She looked up in surprise. "You knew?"
He nodded. "Do you think you're the only one who can use, Kagura? Now I have my own little confession. When I lost Machi, I felt so dirty and ashamed. I forced our love to continue when it had died long ago. And then there was you, who despite your torment was so strong. I wanted that so much that I used any excuse to be around you. You leaned into me and before long became my support. I clung to you, trying to suck your secret to happiness out of you. And when you were no longer of any use to me, I'd just throw you away.
"When I avoided you, it wasn't because I hated you or because I thought you'd fulfilled your purpose. It was because my conscience kicked in and told me it was wrong to exploit you. To use you for my own selfish reasons… I couldn't stand that. I'm really sorry, Kagura. I could say I never wanted to hurt you, but that would be a lie. I think a little part of me wanted you to hurt just as much as me."
Kagura looked down with a sad smile. "We were both really bad to each other, huh. I don't think your reason for being with me was half as bad as mine. You had reason to do what you did. And I'm responsible for the argument. I never should've lashed out at you so childishly. I should've handled things like an adult." She tentatively touched his cheek. The mark was very faint but still there. "I'm sorry I yelled at you. I'm sorry I called you a child. I'm sorry I threw my egg at you."
Yuki chuckled. "It'll make a great story to tell our grandchildren."
Kagura blushed. "What?"
Yuki stiffened. He'd assumed she'd just take him back and forgive him. And what was up with that grandchildren thing? Yuki blushed. His heart pounded. The sunlight fell on her dark hair and formed a dark red halo over the loose strands of near-black hair. Her eyes glowed and her face was a pretty rose shade.
That's when he knew he loved her.
"Yuki? Something wrong?"
"Huh? Oh, no." Yuki shook his head no. "Nothing's wrong." He couldn't tell her that he admired her strength, that he'd felt sick when he pictured her being Shigure's lover, that he felt he could die for her. It was all too much and how could she love him? He had yelled at her, made her hurt her ankle, had injured her to the very core. He didn't deserve her and she didn't need a guy like him. He should just forget it.
Kagura sighed inside. That grandchildren thing had startled her quite a bit but he must not have meant it. And anyway, how could he love her? She was unpredictable and stubborn. She had thrown an egg at his face and acted like a child. She'd made him worry and was causing him problems even now. No, she didn't deserve him and he didn't need a girl like her. She should just forget it.
A blushing silence.
"You go ahead," Yuki offered.
"Uh... Well, I was wondering... Do you want to... uh... go out sometime?"
Another blush. He swiped his eyes away. "Because... well... I--" The words froze on his tongue. Hadn't he told himself he didn't deserve her? And now he wanted to confess his love? He couldn't be more selfish! But he decided to tell her. After all, she had lived with unreturned love for most of her life. Every "I love you!" she screamed was met with rejection and "I hate you!" The clear-eyed girl came to mind. If Kagura could weather all of that and still stand tall, then he could deal with her rejection. Any answer she gave he would face with strength and grace.
He stopped, heart pounding like a jackhammer. "Yes?" he wheezed.
"I'm sorry to interrupt, but..." She held up one of her uneaten eggs between her thumb and forefinger. "I have something to say." When she was silent, Yuki urged her to go on.
Finally she blurted it out. "Yuki, you're like an egg!"
Determined, she went on, "You had a shell that seems hard at first, but is really kinda fragile. And there's the weak skin underneath, but that's just another layer. Then comes the egg white, but that's also another barrier over your egg yolk heart!" She lay the egg back in the bowl and took up a spoon. Holding it high above the egg, she said, "And with my spoon I will cut through all the layers to get to the creamy yolk!"
The egg--Yuki's alter ego--perfectly spliced in two. The chalky yolk beamed up at him, two small yellow circles surrounded by white.
Silence. More silence. Silence again. Then--
Kagura rushed up with a start. "Y--you're laughing at me!" she accused with a shaking finger. "You promised not to laugh!"
Tears still swam in his eyes. He opened them. His stomach hurt but he just kept on laughing. "I didn't promise not to laugh! Oh, it's too funny!" He stopped to catch his breath. "So you're gonna cut through me to my heart with a spoon?" he asked as he lifted himself a little out of his seat to lean in closer. "I hope not. That's too dangerous."
"You really are making fun of me!!" she cried, half-laughing. "You shouldn't be so cruel!"
His hand curled around her ear. They were extremely close now, so close he could smell the egg on her breath. And oddly enough, he didn't mind.
"You shouldn't be so cute," he replied before devouring her salty mouth. When he pulled away, she glowed bright red. Immediately she kissed him back. Soft egg-seasoned mouths merged over and over and over. Her lips moved on to other regions: his forehead, his ear, his earlobe, his chin, his neck. Likewise he sprinkled kisses all over her skin to make up for any and every harsh word he had uttered. For every cry, every scream, every moment of self-doubt he'd made her go through, he had a kiss for everything. He chuckled as she kissed his nearly-healed cheek repeatedly, murmuring an "I'm sorry" every time her lips touched it.
"You have to kiss me for every time you hurt me," he half-joked. He gazed into her eyes. "And for saying you'd be Shigure's lover," he added with a devilish grin. "A hundred kisses."
"Gladly." Kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss. "Yun-chan, you're my egg."
He laughed. "You're the egg. My egg. But not a boiled one. One that'll hatch into a cute chick."
Kagura pulled away. "You're a chick too," she sniggered.
He swatted at her head with a forgiving hand. "Copycat."
"My, my, what is this? Are you two all lovey-lovey now?" Both heads turned at the faux-shocked face of Shigure, the household tormentor. He pinched his nose. "Ugh! What is this?! Smelly rotten eggy eggs!! And you--! Youuuuuu... You've been making out!"
"Shigure," Yuki said sternly. Too bad his mouth was smiling.
Shigure turned around. "Tohru-kun, Kyo-kun, come quick!! This is true love: kissing when your partner's breath reeks of the most foul scent known to man: rotten eggs!!"
Grey eyes met violet. Twin devilish smiles spread over their faces. They looked at their noisy intruder.
"Shigure...," Yuki cooed as he made his way to him
"Shii-chan...," Kagura said sweetly as she inched towards him.
Shigure backed away, eyes darting from each person in worry. "Uh... Guys? What do you think you're doing...?"
"LET'S BREATHE ON HIM!!"
"Ahhhhhh!!" Shigure screamed like a little girl, flinging the newspaper in his hands to the ceiling and running as fast as he could.
Hand-in-hand, the twosome fouled the air with their laughter and heavy breathing.
Together for always, the mischievous eggs.