A/N: The final chapter, at long last. Thank you all for your support, and even though it hasn't reached 15+ reviews, this is my gift for all of you who reviewed every chapter with positive reviews that made my day. I'm very happy to have you guys as my readers, and I hope you'll stick with me through my other upcoming projects.
Thank you all so much, and please enjoy and review if you can!
Disclaimer: I don't own Shugo Chara or its characters, including Tsumugu, Midori, and Ami (Amu's family in the real production).
Amu smiled weakly at the enormous mirror in front of her, shifting her feet slightly. Her reflection slightly sickened her.
"Hinamori-san, please don't move. I don't want to accidentally prick you." Tsumugu, the director of Reverie, had offered Amu a free dress of her choice at his wife's shop, which coincidentally was of wedding dresses. The kind woman of dark, chestnut locks was now adjusting a breathtaking gown she had picked out.
It was to be the ideal wedding, every girl, old or young, dreamed of. A perfect prince, a perfect dress, the perfect crowd, the most beautiful and wondrous church. And on top of that, both bride and groom lived a life filled with money and positive fame. But even so, everything was wrong. It was so, so, so wrong. Because the perfect prince wasn't her perfect prince, the perfect dress was one she picked out randomly, and the perfect crowd was filled with strangers and people who only cared about getting on their good side.
A month had passed with fall finally giving into the cold and biting winter. It was now late December, time going by so slowly Amu thought she was going to go insane. Ever since that day, it was a whirlwind of events. The planning, the shopping, the last shooting hauls. All of it without Ikuto by her side. She didn't even need him to talk to her. All Amu wanted was at least see him, even if he was a dozen steps ahead of her with his back turned to her.
But he wasn't there.
"Hinamori-san, are you alright?" Amu looked down at the pretty woman gazing at her with soft, concern eyes. She flashed a reassuring smile, nodding.
"I'm completely fine. I'm sorry to trouble you with adjusting this dress. I've always been told that I'm a little too short.." Her laugh was tired, weak. Her facade was falling apart rapidly, and Amu wasn't sure if she could even hold out until the wedding, much less a year of it.
Midori sighed, shaking her head. She shrugged and sat back, needles in hand, "You're probably the only customer who isn't happy about getting married. What's wrong? We only met two weeks ago, but you can talk to me if you're feeling down. Are you nervous about getting married?"
Amu didn't know how to respond. She didn't know how Midori would respond if she told her that she didn't actually love Tadase. Amu didn't know how to tell her that she needed, that she wanted, a man who would never return her feelings. Swallowing a small lump that formed in her throat, she merely nodded.
"I'm just nervous."
Midori gave the bride-to-be a sidelong glance, clearly not taking her answer. It hurt her to see a girl so beautiful, so talented, unhappy. She had everything, but why did she look so lonely? Midori could tell she was trying to hid it, but the heart wrenching emotion was evident in her pure, yellow brown eyes.
"You know, Amu-chan," she tried, assuming a friendly suffix, "my daughter Ami adores you. She says that you're the prettiest and that she wants to be just like you. That you're prettiest when you smile, so she always smiles, even when she scrapes her knees or gets a cut. So, won't you be happy?"
Amu was touched. For the first time in 17 years of being an abandoned child, a motherly figure reached out to her, even if she just met her two weeks prior. The lack of a family she had was filled with just this woman. And all of a sudden, she felt so comfortable around her and the words, words that she's always wished to say, threatened to roll off her tongue in a matter of seconds.
"Amu-chan, won't you tell me what's wrong?"
And so Amu took a step off the small stool she was standing on and sat on her knees. Her guard had fallen apart, and she felt her lips tremble, her vision a blur. She rested her head on Midori's shoulder who busied herself by running her fingers through Amu's long, pink hair, the other rubbing her back comfortingly.
"I don't love him." She whispered.
"And why is that?" Midori thought as much, feeling her tears soak through her shirt, not minding one bit.
"It's impossible for me to love another man, Midori-san. Ever since I was a small girl, I've always admired Ikuto. He saved me. When I imagine living the rest of my life without him beside me, I feel that I would rather die." Her tears prickled her skin. She was tired of crying, tired of sobbing, of feeling her shoulders shake and her speech so stuttered with hurt. Tired of the nightmares, the dreams, the thought of the future without the one she truly loved.
"I've seen his every expression, his every side. His sleeping face and when he smiles. When he laughs and when he's angry. When he got irritated at Kuukai, when he scolded me. I've seen him when he never got a call from a job he tried out for and his tired form when he came home from work. I can remember his wonderful stance when he played his violin. I've seen him happy, I've seen him sad. But even so, even through all those painful memories, I still can't let go of him."
"And throughout all those years of being by his side, I thought he felt the same! He held me, gave me precious things I didn't ask for, and even kissed me! He was always there to comfort me and whisper soothing words into my ear when I was troubled. But I was wrong, wrong, wrong, and now, everything has gone haywire! I'm living a life I don't want, supposedly in love with a man I don't need, and showered with admiration when they should be glaring at me, hating me for taking such things for granted! I don't need all this stuff, I only want him!"
Unable to fight anymore, she cried and cried. They were so hoarse, so filled with hurt and heartbreak even Midori felt her eyes brim with tears. She continued to pat the crying girl's back, whispering reassuring words to her.
"It's okay. Don't worry, it'll all be okay. Everything will be fine, so keep believing, ne, Amu-chan?"
But nothing was okay. Nothing was ever okay. Everything was wrong, wrong, wrong.
The princess didn't love the prince, but the stable boy didn't understand.
And before everyone knew it, it was the day of the premiere of Hinamori Amu's movie, Reverie. It was Christmas day, the day where children woke up to an exciting morning and rushed down the stairs to meet the brightly wrapped presents underneath a lit up tree without a second thought. The day where people would stay in the comfort of their own home, celebrating in their own little traditional ways.
Fujisaki Nagihiko leaned against the wooden door of Ikuto's loft. He was dressed in a tux, his arms folded. His expression was that of frustration, glaring a hole into Ikuto who was lying lazily on a couch.
"Aren't you going to come see Amu's movie?" His voice was calm, but Ikuto could hear the tinge of anger, of disappointment. It was a tone he had heard Nagihiko use on him many times, and his response wasn't any different.
Nagihiko immediately made a beeline towards Ikuto, pulling his shirt by his collar, forcing him to sit up, "You're always talking about wanting her to be happy, but instead, you break her heart and do the exact opposite. You are going to her movie premiere. You are going to smile at her and talk to her and make her feel happy. You are going to drop your stupid little act to push her away."
Ikuto remained indifferent and bored at Nagihiko's aggressiveness, "You're Hotori Tadase's best friend, so why do you want me to tell her the truth? You know what will happen, and they're getting married tomorrow."
Narrowing his eyes, Nagihiko's voice remained very, very calm, but his anger reflected in his eyes. He let go of Ikuto's shirt, "I prefer seeing my best friend happy knowing that you love her rather than her crying at her own wedding thinking that you don't. I hope that you do realize Tadase is only giving her a year and will be completely out of the picture if she doesn't come to love him during that time. We both know it's not going to happen."
Sighing, Ikuto got up, kneeling down to pick up a pair of shoes, "Fine, fine, I'll go. But I'm not talking to her."
Looking him over, Nagihiko raised an eyebrow. He was satisfied, knowing the blue haired fellow would give in, but..
"You're going to a movie premiere in that?" Ikuto looked over at him, a questioning look in his eyes.
"You do not show up at a movie premiere with many, many celebrities dressed in a hoodie, a band tee, and jeans, even if you're on drugs. Don't you have a suit?" Nagihiko folded his arms once more. He was glad that Ikuto finally gave in and decided to go, but seriously.
"Don't you have any common sense?"
"With an income like mine, do you honestly think I would go out and buy a suit when I have no formal parties to attend? Manager, I'm sorry to tell you, but that is common sense." Ikuto smirked sarcastically, shoving his hands into the pockets of his hoodie.
Nagihiko smiled, a dark, malicious aura filling the room, "Then let's go get you a suit, I-ku-to-san." He grabbed him by the back of his shirt and dragged him out of the building.
The sky was already darkening, but not enough for the pretty stars to light the sky. The winds blew a frosty cold, but even so, a large crowd of people, ready with cameras of all sorts and sizes, stood outside a building. Lights were all over the place. Everything looked lively despite the cold, harsh weather. A blood red carpet was set at the entrance, rolled down to where limousine doors would open, a little trail of fame for the brilliantly rich people within the car to follow.
"And here's our star, our perfect woman, the most beautiful girl out there, Hinamori Amu! And next to her is her knight in shining armor, manager Hotori Tadase!" Fans from all over squealed, shouting their names, trying to push their way past the crowd and waving their hands equipped with a pen and paper. Some boos were heard from jealous boys in love with Amu and crazed girls who adored the princely figure next to the pink-haired girl. Ignoring the hate, Tadase smiled kindly at the crowd, waving, with Amu following his actions. They walked side by side, their arms hooked together, waving and smiling all the while. As they reached the entrance of the building, another limousine had arrived.
"Fujisaki Nagihiko and his longtime girlfriend Mashiro Rima have arrived! And, what's this? Another guest?" Amu turned around to greet Nagihiko and Rima, a fellow actress, but she fell silent when she saw who else had tagged along with them.
Ikuto, sharp in a suit, walked silently behind the couple with a cold expression, never once looking at newfound fans. Nagihiko turned slightly, whispering harshly with a grin still plastered on his face.
"Smile, Ikuto. Just smile."
"Whatev-" Ikuto grunted when he felt his manager elbow him, and complied, pulling a weak, irritated smile.
When they finally reached where Amu and Tadase stood, the blond haired prince smiled warmly at his friends, "Good evening, Mashiro-san, Nagihiko-kun. And how are you, Ikuto-san? It's been a while."
Ikuto gave a slight nod, turning over to look at Amu while the other three began to chat. She was staring at him with a slight blush and startled eyes.
She turned even redder, looking away, "It's just that I've never seen you in a suit." She fiddled with her fingers, biting her glossed lips.
"I didn't have a choice. Nagihiko made me." At the sound of his name, Nagihiko stopped talking to Tadase for a moment, whacking his violinist's head. He turned to Amu, his tone pleading.
"His outfit was atrocious! Honestly!" Amu laughed softly at the scene before it. She was glad that they were on good terms, that Ikuto wasn't alone.
Tadase chuckled and opened the door, warmth escaping the building, "Shall we go in?" The four silently agreed, nodding, and entered. Behind them were many other celebrities, all waiting to see this well-anticipated movie by the so called "world's most beautiful woman".
The room dimmed, the screen before the audience of friends and strangers brightening. A happy tune rang out, quick and warm, telling a story that began without fear, without worries. Nagihiko smiled at the beginning song while people whispered, amazed at the wonderful violin piece. He nudged Ikuto slightly, who in return scoffed and looked away, a slight blush tinging his features.
And then there she was.
Hinamori Amu's face poked out of an open window, staring at the streets below, a bored expression on her face. All of a sudden, she felt a spray of water hit her face. She gasped, startled, and glared at the young man with a hose in hand, grinning sheepishly.
Amu looked on with glassy eyes, her mouth set in a small smile. And so it was a start of another love story, one that was so similar to hers, but one with a completely different ending. She heard the rustle of someone getting up, and she looked to her side. Ikuto was making his way out of the theater.
She got up immediately, following Ikuto, apologizing all the while to the people who were blocked from the screen. After what felt like a million years of frustrated whispers and subtle apologies, Amu had made her way out of the audience, staring at the black door Ikuto had exited from. She took a deep breath and pushed it open.
Her unprepared face was instantly met with the cold of the winter night. She blinked rapidly, trying to keep her eyes moist. Looking around, she finally spotted Ikuto who was already on the other side of a wide, frosted street.
All was quiet, all was calm. There was only the occasional change in red, green, and yellow of a stoplight and holiday decorations. No cars could be heard, and even the loud, roaring crowds of people who wanted to meet the celebrities attending had gone home. Everyone was in the comfort of their home, celebrating a happy holiday.
"Ikuto!" She called, her voice slightly shaking from the cold. Her outfit only consisted of a white gown and matching white heels, her shoulders covered by a wool shawl that did no good against the weather. Amu shivered, "Where are you going?"
Ikuto turned around, surprising Amu with his slight, pained expression, "Home."
"But that's so far from here! And you aren't wearing much! Come back inside, you don't have to watch the movie! I don't want you to get sick.." She tried to reason with him. Her knees were shaking, her teeth chattering. She could feel the cold bite at her cheeks and ears, turning them pink.
He smirked wryly, "You're one to talk. Don't worry about me. You should go back inside. We don't want you to get sick the day before your wedding." Ikuto stood still in his place on the sidewalk, watching the young woman intently, observing every emotion and feeling that crossed her features. Surprise. Guilt. Anger.
"I don't care about the wedding." She ground out harshly, "You know that." He shrugged and was about to turn before her voice turned utterly shrill.
"I need you, Ikuto! I love you, Ikuto! You're my everything, Ikuto! Accept it! Stop pushing me away, even if you don't love me, don't need me, don't want me! You tell me to be happy, but how the hell can I be happy if you're always acting so cold towards me!?" Her voice broke, relieved that she had regained his full attention, "Getting married, having kids, growing old; I don't want to experience any of that without you! I can't imagine going through all of that without you! Why, Ikuto?! Because.."
Amu heard the faint engine of a car, and smiled softly at Ikuto, whose eyes widened ever so slightly, mouth agape and pupils dilated. She took a step towards the street, walking slowly towards the man she loved, stopping in the dead center of the street.
"What are you doing?!" He shouted, about to run. But what happened next stopped him in his tracks for a dead second, his entire world falling silent, turning black and white.
His angel mouthed those three, cursed words, smiling all the same. Her silhouette lightened up for a fleeting moment, and then there was sickening crash.
This isn't happening, this isn't happening, this isn't happening.
"AMU!" Ikuto shouted, running towards the bloodied girl. Her beautiful, beautiful white dress was tainted with the crimson liquid, her pink hair splayed all over the place. Ikuto reached her cold, still body in a matter of seconds, falling to his knees and gathering her broken form in his arms, cradling her to him. He shook her, desperately needing her to open her eyes, to smile at him once more.
And she did. Her pretty pretty eyes shining ever so brightly whenever she saw him opened, reaching a shaking hand out to touch his cheek. She grinned the most heartbreaking grin, her tears overflowing. They both heard someone jump out of the car, shouting and screaming if the person he had hit was okay, if she was fine. He backed away after seeing the two together, but ran inside the building in which the premiere was showing.
Ignoring the man, Ikuto watched the crumpled girl in his arms as her lips tinted blue, opening to speak.
"I'm so glad that you'll be the last thing I see.." She whispered lovingly. He tightened his grip on her, clenching his teeth and narrowing his eyes, trying to keep his own tears from falling.
"Shut up, you stupid girl. Don't push yourself talking. I'm going to call the ambulance," he said harshly, his voice breaking. He was about to reach for his cell phone when Amu's pale, pale hand stopped him.
"I'm so glad.. That you care.." Oh no, oh no, oh no. Her vision was fading and it was getting harder to breathe, harder to talk. She had so many more things she wanted to say. But, she so happy, so so happy that he was holding her once more, that he showed concern for her, even if she had deliberately chosen a selfish path to do receive so.
Ikuto remained silent, staring into her glossy eyes that seemed to dim faster and faster. He swallowed hard, "Shhh, Amu, don't talk anymore."
"Iku..to.. I.. I always wanted to decorate a Christmas tree with you.." She winced slightly at the pain that seemed to be engulfing her entire body. She shook it off and the soft smile she reserved only for Ikuto returned.
"I wanted.. to do so many things with you.. I worked.. so hard just to.. be able to achieve so.. I never had any intention.." She coughed, wheezing and squeezing her eyes shut from the shattering pain, the heartbreak. She prayed silently that God would grant her one last minute, one last chance for her to exchange words with the one she loved most.
"Amu, I.." Ikuto started out, tears falling freely from his azure orbs, "All these years, more than anything, I loved you, and even now.." He gulped down his tears, shutting his eyes forcefully, the image of a bruised and battered Amu stabbing his heart a thousand times, "I love you."
The pink-haired girl's expression lit up immensely at his words. Even though she was on the ground, even though her dress was ripped, even though her eyes were becoming so lifeless, so dead, her skin so pale and deathly cold, she outshone even the stars that had dotted the sky above.
"Ikuto.." With the last of any energy she had left, she reached a hand out, her slender fingers touching his trembling lips. Her voice was so quiet, so timid, but he heard her last words, ones that froze his entire being, his entire world. She smiled one last time, and spoke her very, very last words.
"Even though.. I know you.. don't.. mean it.... Thank.. you.."
Her hand dropped. And everything was gone. And everything was gone. And everything was gone.
Ikuto's eyes became so wide, so pained, so wild and filled with grief. His mouth couldn't form words. He couldn't see. Everything was blurred with what was left of his world just spinning and spinning. He buried his face into her cold, cold neck, not caring that her blood had seeped into his suit. Ikuto cried harder than he had ever cried, even more than the night he had pushed her away, whispering words of love, of sorrow, of apology. Of regret.
Where was the happiness that he wanted her to see, to experience?
And the snow began to fall.
"Daddy, daddy! Come help me!" A 28-year-old man looked up from his book to see his bubbling, smiling sunshine. Tsukiyomi Yoru smiled at his little girl, letting her lead him to a table, back bent nearly halfway to accommodate her height.
It was already 10 years since Hinamori Amu's death who had jumped in front of a single, passing car on the day of her movie premiere, one day shy of her wedding to Hotori Tadase. He remembered that night clearly. An audience of 50 were interrupted by a crazed man, shouting something about a woman dying on the street. Despite the wave of chatter that arose, he was ignored except for a concerned Hotori Tadase and the manager of the company who provided the movie's music, Fujisaki Nagihiko. He had followed out of curiosity, and when he was out of the building, the purple-haired man was sobbing, the princely figure fallen, tears running freely down his face.
And then he saw a blue haired man, clutching a small body to him, his entire being shaking. He had snapped when help came, refusing to let anyone but himself hold the girl, her poor, poor tattered body.
But he eventually gave up, and vanished after that night. That was the last he ever saw of the mysterious man.
Yoru had grieved right along with the rest of the world. After all, she was the woman who starred along with him in their first, major movie.
"Daddy, help me find the last piece of this puzzle!" Yoru turned his attention back to his blue-haired daughter. It was a puzzle of an angel, flying freely around in clear, blue skies. It was near completed, except a mean, glaring hole could be seen near the middle of the puzzle.
A part of the angel's wing was missing.
He looked around for a bit, checking the table top, in the vase of a flower centerpiece his wife, Miki, had fought long and hard to place there. Finally, he got on his knees and crawled about until he found the little cardboard squarish figure with little nooks and crannies.
He got up and smiled warmly at his daughter. Handing her the piece, he offered words not knowing that she had said the same things to a man she loved so dearly, so true, until her moments were gone.
"You know, puzzle pieces are a lot like people.."
She grinned toothily back, eagerly waiting for his next words, but all of a sudden both turned to look outside the window. They exchanged their confused glances. The sound of a violin?
Down below, in a little alleyway full of memories stood a slim figure with hair as blue as the dimming skies and the sadness the color represented. In his arms was an old violin, tuned to perfection after years and years of playing, playing a song full of heartbreak and happiness, to the heavens above.
"Even though two pieces might not fit together, they'll still be connected in some way when the puzzle is all put together."
"So, Ikuto, if one of us has to leave the other, we'll still be connected, ne?"
A/N: After countless times of screaming, yelling, and punching my wall with a frustrated mind, Light has finally, FINALLY reached an end. This is my first time writing a sad story, so I really hope it wasn't too bad. Thank you all for reading and your support once more, and I hope I didn't make you cry too much.