Hello, ello all! Well this...is it. The last chapter of I Should Have Never Thought. The chapter is titled I Caught Myself, for the song by my favorite band, Paramore, of the same name; the song that originally inspired the plot of I Should Have Never Thought, as well as the title, taken from some of the lyrics of the song. Some of the lyrics are also featured in this chapter as well, and they don't belong to me! Haha.

It was a long painstaking process, but the story is finally complete. I really hope you all enjoy the last chapter. I worked super hard on it. I'm glad that this part of the story is done, and now I can move on to other projects. Big thank yous to the Sheelos Community, for loving my first fic, Verbal Irony, for the constant supply of Sheelos lovers, Faux Promises, for all the needed encouragement, and to all of the readers and reviewers, who kept me motivated. I can't thank you all enough. This story is finished because of all of you.

Here's chapter seventeen! :)

All my love.

Chapter Seventeen: I Caught Myself

I know in my heart it's not you.

I knew.

But now I know what I want.

Orochi's face was the first thing I saw when I came to. He was sitting, and I was taking him in at a weird angle, so I surmised that after I had passed out, someone must have laid me down somewhere to sleep. Flexing the muscles in my hands, I felt plush sheets forming to the shape of my body, almost as if they were trying to swallow me whole. My eyes combed the rest of the room, and it too me way too long to figure out that I was in the room Orochi and I had shared for the last month or so.

He wasn't asleep though; Orochi was wide awake, sitting up in a chair at my bedside, a mien of meshing concern and curiosity tacked onto his face. Like a vampire rising from the grave, I sat up in bed and rubbed my eyes so hard I could feel the veins popping in them. I opened my hands back up, seeing that they were still gloved. For some odd reason, that annoyed me, so I ripped the gloves off, tossing them to the other side of the room. I wanted a better look at my palms. They were peach colored, scar free and round, just as palms should be.

But why did it feel like they were cut open, bleeding?

"Are you all right, Sheena?" Orochi ventured.

"Y-yeah," I answered, keeping my gaze cemented to my hands.

"You gave us quite a scare…"

"I'm sorry, I—stress, I guess…"

I heard Orochi's feet scrape against the wood flooring.

"Sheena, I think you and I should talk."

When I saw his face, I was dumbfounded by the nonchalance on it. I swore on my beating heart that he could be just like Zelos at times; he was good at hiding his true feelings, at appearing calm when a hurricane fulminated within. His posture wasn't as tight as it had been earlier, but there was still something about the stiffness of his neck that made me want to dive back into the black oblivion of sleep.

"Yes…" I whispered.

"Would you like to start, or should I?"

I didn't know how to answer that. Logic told me to let Orochi speak first; I wasn't sure what I was going to say exactly. What could you say in a position like this? But what if I wasn't ready to hear what Orochi was planning on saying to me? He could be harsh when he wanted to, and even though I deserved it, I'd never fancied a scolding from him. They were usually inexorable and daunting. So choosing the option to talk first might work in my favor. There already wasn't much to say; wasn't much for me to repudiate. Orochi saw me trying to kiss Zelos…

"Orochi and I will have some fun while you're gone."


"Where's Zelos?"

Wrong question to ask.

Orochi's emotion was instantly sucked away, replaced by the robot that had greeted me when I first returned home.

He said nothing.

"Where's Zelos, Orochi?" I pressed.

Still no answer. Just the gathering of his brow in a glower.

"What happened? How long have I been asleep? Where is he?"

Orochi shifted, but it was barely perceptible. You'd have to have those keen Mizuhoan wisdoms to see someone as skilled as Orochi move involuntarily. He didn't like showing when he was uncomfortable, yet he was comfortable enough to let that faint motion slip. Which meant he wasn't even sure what he was supposed to be feeling right now.

"The Chosen is wi—"

"He's not the Chosen anymore, Orochi—"

"Very well," He scoffed. "Lord Wilder is with the former chief right now. Igaguri asked to talk to him as soon as he was done with you."

"…What do you mean "done with me"?"

"After you fainted, Zelos had tried to carry you here, but he ended up reopening a deep gash on his back when he bent and lifted you."

"Oh, no," I moaned. His wound from the bandits. "Is he all right?"

Orochi nodded imperturbably. "Yes, he's fine. But he refused to get it dressed until he knew you were taken, so I carried you here, and he followed. As soon as I put you here, he left with your grandfather. I'm sure he's fine. I saw the cut. It just needed to be cleaned and stitched."

"Th-thank you," I curled my legs in, hugging them. "I know I shouldn't have asked, but I thought…I thought you were going to kill him."

Orochi laughed. An honest-to-goodness laugh. It was slightly unsettling.

"Believe me," He wiped one eye with his finger. "I considered it, hahaha."

I blanched, and he laughed harder.

"Orochi, this isn't funny! I seriously thought there was some law that said if Zelos kissed me he was going to be—!"

I couldn't even finish the thought. It was too horrifying.

"No," he insisted, and there was hurt in his words. "There's no law that says that."

'…Thank goodness…'

"Igaguri told me why you fainted, Sheena."

I stiffened.

"He said it happened when he told you I wanted us to be divorced."

Unthinkingly, I proclaimed: "Why did you want that, Orochi?"

His face softened after my thought slip.

"Why do you ask?"

"I-I…I wanted to know. I was told your decision, not why you made it."

Orochi shifted again, this time it caused him to stand. Folding his arms across his chest, he moved to stand in front of me, his eyes zeroing in on my own, almost as if he were trying to force something out of me; pull out answers that he wanted to hear with pure strength of will.

"Can you honestly say that you don't know, Sheena?"


"After everything that's happened today, it is I who deserves the explanation, not you."

Orochi was right. Why he wanted a divorce was obvious. It had been an imprudent request on my part.

I couldn't look at him.

"Orochi, I'm sorry," tears stung my eyes. "I'm sorry…sorry for everything. I-I…I should have told you the truth from the beginning."

"You're right," Orochi's tone was steely. "You should have before we got thrown into this mess."

"I know…" I could hardly hear myself over our own breathing.

Orochi placed his fingers to his temples, and he began to massage them, his face slowly but surely softening under the rhythmic touch.

"I do not understand you, Sheena. I was under the impression for so long that I knew. But how quickly I have been proven wrong. I have no idea what is going through your head right now. What you want. How you feel about me, what relationship you and the Chos—Lord Wilder have, and why you agreed to marry me in the first place."

My head throbbed with pain. "…What d'you mean, I agreed?"

Orochi threw his toward my window, away from me, rolling his eyes.

"You know what I mean. I formally proposed to you, your grandfather consented, and you said yes. I was under the impression that you felt the same way for me…as I did you."

The aching flew from my head to my heart. For so long I had not understood, but now, in one sentence, everything that Orochi had said or done in the last few months had become clear. I already knew the truth, but the magnitude of it hit me like a punch to the gut, winding me.

Orochi was in love with me.

The same way Zelos loved me. The same way I loved Zelos.

His proposal had been no business transaction, no political agreement. It had been a serious expression of romance, a declaration of love in its purest form. And I had completely disregarded his feelings; pushed them aside as I let the person I really was be consumed by misery and disdain. While he'd been doing his best to prove to me that his love was genuine, a gem that deserved to be treasured.

A gem that I had carelessly dropped in the sand.

"I-I…I thought…"


But what was the point in explaining? Nothing I said or did would heal his wounds, take away what happened. Orochi, Zelos and I would always remember this. Always remember the torment it brought…


"Tell me what it is that you feel, Sheena," Orochi took a seat by me in my bed, holding my hand. "Just be honest, and I promise that I will listen."


"O-Orochi," I sniveled. "I feel h-horrible…I-I didn't mean for everyth-thing to happen like this…"


"…Tell me, Sheena…" He ventured.


I sobbed, and I couldn't stop.

"I…don't love you, Orochi…"

Orochi inhaled sharply.

"I'm so sorry. I am. Truly. I shouldn't have let it get so far. I should have told you how I felt. I shouldn't have accepted your proposal. I-I…I should have never thought I could do something I didn't want to do…be with someone who I didn't love in the same way. And now I've hurt you. Betrayed you. You had to find out that I loved Zelos in the worst way, and I'm to blame. And I deserve your hate, all of it. Zelos doesn't, but I do…"

There was a pregnant silence between us. It was as if Nothing had devoured our thoughts, our voices. Tears fell from my red, tender eyes like a summer rain, darkening the white sheets of my bed. Orochi's hands—bare, tan, somewhat calloused—still held mine thought. In fact, their grip had tightened even.

Finally, he spoke.

"Does he…love you as well?"

I opened my mouth to answer, not ready to hurt him further, just ready to reveal the truth, but someone else did it for me.

"Shouldn't you be asking that question to me, not her?"

Zelos stood at my doorway, a hard look on his face, his hands heroically resting on his hips. Shirtless again, another white bandaged was binding his middle, only this time it was all the way up to his solar plexus. Those nautical eyes were flashing, pulsing, like the ocean tossing during a storm. Zelos was serious. Deadly serious. He had come here to protect me from Orochi, in case he'd decided to blame me for the incident at the gate in Mizuho.

Orochi wasn't as happy as I was to see him.

Their eyes locked, and it was as if oil and water had tried to fuse. Orochi was yin and Zelos was yang. Close enough, but not willing to connect. It wasn't hard to figure out that Orochi was no fan of Zelos's, but Zelos had never really told me how he felt about Orochi. I had always assumed that he didn't really care. I was the important one. Nevertheless, it made me curious to find out, but not curious enough to have them stay in one room. Zelos was a lit match, and Orochi was coal. Too close, and they would both burn.

"You are not a part of this conversation, Lord Wilder."

"According to you, I am. Why else bring up my name?"

"This is between Sheena and I. You are a topic, not a contributor."

Zelos snorted. "I heard the question, you know. If you really want to find out, shouldn't you hear it straight from the horse's mouth? Instead of pestering her for all the answers?"

"Zelos," I pushed. "Orochi has a right to know. Stop berating him!"

Zelos turned toward me, concern lacing his words. "I don't want him berating you, Sheena."

"How dare you. You think I would?" Orochi rose, fits balled, but he did not once raise his voice. "I am insulted. Even more so because it is coming from a philandering—"

"Don't flatter yourself," Zelos bit. "You have no idea who I am, so don't bequeath titles to me that have no merit. You don't know me."

"I could say the same for you. You accuse me of reprimanding the woman I love—"

"While you expect me to remove myself from a situation that involves the womanI love."

Orochi's mouth closed.

"You heard me," Zelos propped himself against the door jamb, the muscles in his chest and arms tightening when he folded them. "Don't act so shocked. I love her. I want her. Just as much as you do."

"…Would you protect her?" Orochi muttered, his eyes to the floor.

"I never asked…"

Zelos looked at me. "From anything."

"…for someone to give me the stars."

"Care for her?"

"…Just someone to stay beside me…"

"Like a dove."

"…to hold me…"

"Die for her?"

"…to watch them with me…"

"In a moment."

"…is enough."

Orochi straightened, salvaging his equanimity. He even through a smile my way.

"Then I yield."

I swooned, but managed to cling to consciousness.

"Sheena foolishly agreed to marry me because she believed she had to. Once I discovered this, I knew that I couldn't keep her trapped in a marriage she did not want."

"Orochi…" I squeaked.

Zelos listened.

"I still love her with all my heart, but her happiness is the most important thing to me. And I do not make her happy."

Orochi switched from me to Zelos.

Zelos flipped his hair and cleared his throat.

"You make her happy. I do not know why, and it is not my place to know why. That is why I petitioned for a divorce."

Orochi turned back to me again, but this time, I could feel all the sadness he'd ever felt washing over me. It amazed me that he wasn't in tears.

I weakly gasped, trying not to bawl.

"I love you, Sheena. And I know you do not see me the way I see you. But this I do know…"

Zelos clapped him on the shoulder; a gesture of comfort. And Orochi did not shove him away.

" Just because someone might not love you the way you want them to…does not mean they do not love you with everything they have."

"Orochi, you are my best friend," I raced to him, taking him in my arms. "You always were, are, and will be…"

Gingerly, inch by inch, he returned my embrace, his rough hands pressing ever so slightly on my back.

"And is more than enough, Sheena."

He pulled away, cupping my hands in his face.

"May I…ask one favor of you, Sheena Fujibayashi?"

"Anything," I sniffed. "No matter what."

And then, without any warning, he kissed me.

And while I felt nothing, while I knew his kiss would never be as mind-blowing as Zelos's, I decided, just one last time, I would kiss him back.

It wasn't long or drawn out, but short and sweet. The kind of kiss that only good friends should share one time. A test to see if they could love each other beyond the barriers of platonic companionship. He removed his lips from mine, a slight blush coating the tops of his cheeks.

"With this…" he sighed. He seemed so much more content now. "I release you."

Orochi let my face go and turned to leave, but not before staring Zelos down once again. It wasn't until then that I realize Zelos was a whole head taller than him, much paler, and feminine compared to Orochi.

Orochi held out one hand, and Zelos, not hesitating once, took it in his, clasping it tightly, the way boys would do when encouraging each other or making promises.

"If you ever hurt her again," everything about Orochi was menacing. "I will kill you."

"I'll hold you to that," Zelos winked; an attempt to show him how indomitable he was.

And then he was gone.

And it was just Zelos and me.

"So," Zelos stopped slouching, moving his shoulders back and forth as though they were uneven. "I guess this means I can't punch him for kissing you, huh?"

I tweaked my lips together, moving them back and forth as to hide my grin.

"That would be a no."

"Pity. He deserves a good fist in the mou—"

"Zelos!" I stomped one foot. "How can you say that? I just broke his heart, and he let me go. I don't think he deserves any ill treatment!"

Zelos shoved his hands in his pockets, smirking.

"I'll give that one to him. I've never seen a man so hung up over a woman that he'd just turn her loose."

"So what're you sayin'? Don't make me start believing that you don't love me much as Orochi does."

Zelos moved quickly, like he flew instead of walked, reaching for my hand, yanking me towards him so fast that I stumbled and fell into his bare arms. His bare skin was full of electrical energy, and the bolts of them swam through him and into me. It reminded me of a hot bath or the feel of velvet; just a sensation that never failed to fill me with ecstasy. Every hair on my body stood up.

"You are quite unwise if you really consider that to be a fact," he half purred.

"Oh, really," I muttered, flushing.

I thought he could tell too, the way he held me tighter when my face that touched his chest heated.

"Oh, yes. Sour-Face back there; he shows you he loves you by letting you free like a bird in a cage. But I'm much different."

"You are…?" I played with a stray string on his bandage.

He tilted my head towards him, and our nose touched. My mind screamed for me to kiss him. I wasn't married anymore; technically. Zelos was a thief in the night when it came to love. While my heart had already been stolen, only the documents of my marriage to Orochi remained. Which didn't really matter to me. Papers were easily singed and shredded…

"That's right," His lips met my neck. "I love you, so I fight for you."

"And by fighting, you mean try and badger me into kissing you and admitting that my marriage is a lie."

"See, when you put it like that, darling, it just kills the mood…"

We both laughed. I fell off a proverbial cliff into the sea of his eyes, churning with fondness. Imagining that same passion washing over me, my heart raced so quickly I lost count of the beats. I kissed him; like I'd never get the chance to again. As if, tomorrow, we would both die, and this was our last night together for the rest of eternity. My hands found his lushly red hair, and I slipped my fingers through it; it was light and fluffy, silky and smelled of strawberries and cream. My hands raked through it, then down the nape of his neck, all the way back to his chest where my hands had been in the beginning.

I don't know how long we stood there, our lips moving in an ebb and flow motion. But it was long enough for him to pull away, breathless.

"What's gotten into you?" His voice was an exigent whisper.

"I-I…I never got to kiss you…when we were…I should have asked…I'm sorry."

Zelos trailed one finger down my cheek, under my neck, and then dragged it toward my chin.

"You can kiss me whenever you want, baby. There's no negotiating to it. Especially if you kiss me like that."

"I-I…" Goosebumps festered on my arms. "I didn't think I kissed you any different than—"

"Oh, that is bullshit," he shook his head, grinning. "Do you know what happened? Is that why?"

I backed away from him.

"What are you talking about?"

Zelos eyes grew to the size of dinner plates.

"He didn't tell you?"

"Tell me what?"

Zelos beamed from ear to ear, the widest smile I'd ever seen him have. He was practically dancing.

"I can't believe he didn't tell you! I guess he thought I should be the one to do it, since, well, it was me who pushed the idea in the first place. Orochi said I should ask you first, but I didn't really think I needed to, so I just kind of…did it. I hope you aren't mad at me, though. I—"

"Zelos! What in the hell are you talking about?"

He pumped his eyebrows up and down. "You'll never guess."

"You're right; I won't, so tell me!"

"…I almost don't want to say anything beca—"


He laughed so hard, I saw him wince from pain, his arms encircling the bandage around his middle.

"Ok, I'll tell you."

I tapped my foot.

He didn't say anything. The only movement he made was that of twitching his lips back and forth, his chest juddering from controlled mirth.

"If you don't want to tell me," I groaned. "I'll just go ask Grandpa."

"…I asked your grandfather if…if I could marry you, Sheena, and he said yes."

My world stopped spinning.

"…Come again?"

Zelos just winked, putting his hands on his hips, grinning as though he'd found the answer to a riddle that no one else knew.

"When I explained to Gramps what—"

"Did you just call my grandfather "Gramps"?"

"So? I called him that while we spoke and he didn't seem to mind."

My jaw went slack.

"Anyway," Zelos continued, leading me towards my own bed, sitting me down beside him on the edge. "I explained to him everything that happened. What happened while we were gone, what we said to each other, why we felt what we did, and how much I worship the very ground you walk on. So my manhood is dead and buried now, you're welcome."

I started coughing.

"You-you told Grandpa what happened while we went to Iselia?"

"He said to be honest with him, Sheena," Zelos' brows knitted, his voice growing soft. "I wasn't about to lie to him."

The veneration I had for him grew sevenfold.

"After I told him everything, he asked me what I wanted to do from this point, now that you and Orochi were separating, and…I just kind of, well, said that I wanted to marry you on impulse. And he just…said yes. There's really no other way to explain it."

I leaned back, cagey.

"Are you being serious?"

"Are you saying you don't believe me?"

"You do have the tendency to yank my chain, Zelos."

"I wouldn't about something like this! This is a matter of love, my love for you, so there's no option to take this seriously or not."

"…Did you sign the papers and everything?" I leaned forward again.

"Yeah! Basically, he let me cross out Orochi's name with mine."

"You've got to be kidding!" I exclaimed. "That sounds nothing like Grandpa."

Zelos rolled his eyes. "That's what happened. I think he just wants you to be happy Sheena, and he did what he could to make you happy."

But I shook my head, taking his hands fiercely in mine.

"How can it be that simple?"

"That's an easy one; if you remember what I just said."

"I know Grandpa wants me to be happy. I get that. But how in the world did you get him to consent to not only letting me marry you, but not even going through any official sacraments that follow our custom?"

"Signing the papers, right?"

"Well, that's one, yes—"

Zelos made and ostentatious gesture with his head. "And I told you, I already did that."

"But how—"

"Sheena, what do you want from me? Do you want me to prove it to you? Is that it? Will that make you believe me?"

I shrugged. "If you want to show me the papers—"

Zelos just pointed at me. "Ahh, but you see, I don't need any papers to prove to you I'm, for all intents and purposes, your new fiancé."

I scoffed. "Sure, yeah—"

"Ah, ah, ah! Don't be so sure of yourself Sheena Fujibayashi. Or should I say…Yuri Fujibayashi."

I just stared at him. Thunderstruck.

He knew my name.

My real name.

The only people privy to our real names were the Chief, Vice-Chief, families…and spouses.

Zelos, still holding my hand, placed one finger to the side of his chin, in a gesture to tease. "Here I always thought I was so certain your real name was Violent Demonic Banshee. And now I found out that not only are you named after your grandmother, but a flower too?"

My clasp on his hands tightened. I was certain that I'd started to cut off the blood flow from the rest of his body to his fingers, but I didn't really care at this moment. I was too afraid that if I closed my eyes, blinked or faltered, that I'd open them again to find myself in bed beside Orochi; that none of this was even happening, that it was all a dream or a cruel joke of a nightmare.

But his hands, his skin, his lips…they'd all felt so real. How could it be a mere dream?

"H-how…how did you…?"

"I told you, sweetie," Zelos let go of my hands and held them palms up. "I've got some crazy negotiating skills."

"No, you said Grandpa did it to make me happy."

"I did," Grandpa's peculiar tone chimed in my ears.

My head flew in the direction of his voice, and, sure enough, he was there where Zelos had been such a short time ago. Only he was not shirtless or wounded, but stood there straight with assistance from his cane. There was a demonstrative beam painted by his lips on his face, and his eyes caringly surrounded Zelos and I as we sat beside each other.

"Sheena," he started with the serenity of a calm lake. "You may be Chief, but, above all other things, you are my granddaughter, and I love you. Your happiness is more important to me than anything."

"Grandpa…" I whimpered.

Zelos placed a strong hand on my back.

"You don't have to marry anyone you don't want to. If you aren't ready, then tell me, and we will wait. If you aren't in love with a man who wants to marry you, tell me, and I will make sure he knows. If you want to marry Zelos Wilder…"

Grandpa hobbled over to me and propped his can by the wall next to my bed. He shakily took my right hand, Zelos' left one, and overlapped them in his own.

"Then you have my blessing to marry him."

Zelos' smile was true.

"But," Grandpa let go and took a few steps backward. "Before I finalize the documents and deal with the matter of the village, I think Mr. Wilder should formally propose first."

I blanched. Formally propose?

But Zelos didn't falter. "Yes, sir!"

And then Zelos took both of my hands in his, placing them over his heart.

It was racing.

So was mine.

"Yuri Sheena Fujibayashi, Chief of the village of Mizuho…"

"…I wrote your name in the sky…"

"I ask you…"

"…and the wind blew it away…"

"No…I beseech you."

"…I wrote your name in the sand…"

"Would you become Sheena Wilder..."

"…And the ocean washed it away…"

"Will you marry me...?"

"…I wrote your name in my heart…"

And it was as though the entire world's color had returned.

"…and forever it will stay…"

For the first time in so long, everything didn't seem so gray.

"…Thinking I could live without you…"


"…I should have never thought…"

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