Author's Note: I am on a roll! I wanted to get this one out real quick so I can start working on the next one. I can't believe that I'm already close to the ending of this one! Just a heads up, I do plan-...*suddenly remembers future chapters were on laptop* Son of a bi-! *BLEEEEEEEEPP*

*a few minutes later*

Alright, so I do plan on doing an after story, one for Ikuto and one for Kairi...kind of. XD If you guys are interested, let me know and I'll start on them again~

Rating: T

Summary: Like any popular boy, Ikuto has many girls that chase him on a daily basis besides his sister, so there's only one way, in Ikuto's mind, to stop them. Have a fake girlfriend of course!


Chapter 37: A Picture Book Ending

Hotaru and the others watch in horror as the Director laughs maniacally, his hand around the glowing Embryo.

"Ha ha ha ha ha! I did it! Now all I have to do is deliver it to Gozen!"

He begins to run off, the others following when he presses a hidden button.

"Ah! A hidden elevator!"

"In a place like this?"

The doors close before they can reach him, his disappearance seeming to take their transformations along with him as their clothes return to normal. They inspect themselves over quickly only for Tadase's voice to point out their objective.

"We can't let the Embryo fall into Easter's hands!"

They nod their head in unison, beginning to descend the stairs, the other guardians joining them along the way, along with Utau.

'The magical egg that holds everyone's dreams...'

Hotaru grimaces at the thought.

'What will happen if it falls into Easter's hands?'

They finally reach the end of the stairs, finding the entrance to the elevator only to notice it still shut. Nagihiko and Tadase pull at the doors a bit before realizing something.

"It seems to go further down."

"But this is the basement!"

Utau speaks up.

"I remember this. This is a direct route to Easter's Executive Division."

Ikuto frowns.

"Ikuto, could it be...?"

"Yeah. It probably leads to that room."

Hotaru turns her gaze to him, confusion in her pupils.

"That room?"

Before she can say anything further, he holds up a card of sorts, everyone in shock as he explains.

"You're gonna have to use this elevator to chase after him. This keycard should be able to do it."

"Whaaatt?"

Hotaru raises an eyebrow in question.

"Where did you get that?"

"I stole my father's spare one, but it's only for emergencies, so it can only be used once."

He turns to the group, obviously about to give a crucial detail. Hotaru's own expression is one of shock at his casualness.

"The elevator can only hold 4 people. It's dangerous. They might catch us as soon as we get on."

He closes his eyes, as if ending the case.

"I know what it's like inside, so I'll go."

He turns to Utau, placing a brotherly hand on her head.

"Utau. I'm not going to avert my eyes any longer. I'll get my freedom with my own hands."

Utau tears up at his words, Hotaru smiling at the scene.

"Thank you for everything up until now."

Utau nods her head.

"Yeah."

The guardians circle up, Yaya bright as ever.

"Tadase should be the representitive for the guardians."

"Yeah."

"I agree."

Tadase in shock as he looks at each of them in turn, a smile forming on his lips.

"Everyone...thank you."

Amu steps forward, her hand around her Humpty lock.

"I'll go as well."

It was obvious she was needed since she had the 4 legendary chara. Before anyone can mention about the 4th spot, Hotaru suddenly feels two hands push her gently towards the group, her body bumping lightly into Ikuto's. She turns her head to see
Utau's smile, encouragement radiating from her.

"Go."

Hotaru is silent before nodding her head gratefully. Turning to ther others, she raises a fist.

"Let's go."

Everyone cheers them off, wishing them luck as their doors close. Everyone is silent as the humming of the elevator moving surrounds them. Amu is lost in her thoughts.

'Everyone's dreams...I won't let Easter have them!'

Hotaru turns to the others, Aries's egg resting on her chest once more.

"Ikuto..."

He stares at her. She sweatdrops.

"Ikuto-kun, what kind of person is Gozen?"

Amu nods her head.

"Is he a man or a woman?"

"A man, probably."

"Probably?"

Tadase turns to Ikuto, a bit of fear settling in.

"Have you not met Gozen directly before?"

Ikuto shakes his head.

"I have, but he's always behind a curtain. I don't know what his voice sounds like either. He never lets anyone see his face."

Amu is dumb-founded.

"Not even his cronies? That's weird."

Ikuto only shrugs. Amu begins to worry when her chara cheer her on, everyone else's following suit. Just as they finish, the doors swing open to reveal an office of sorts. Ikuto's voice is the first to speak up.

"This is Gozen's Chamber."

Tadase rushes forward, grabbing the chair behind the desk only to find a tape recorder.

"He's not here?"

The Chara begin to play with the microphone, their voices changing to a deeper one.

"It's a voice changing device."

Hotaru is somewhat thrown off by the device, Ikuto reaching her side.

"So he used this when he spoke to us."

"Why would he hide his real voice."

"This is only gets stranger..."

Tadase turns to them.

"This room looks like a dead end, but where did the Director go then?"

The Chara yell up, pulling aside a curtain on the wall.

"There's a secret passage!"

Hotaru's hands clutch together, a certain dreaded feeling filling her.

"What is going on?"

They rush forward, pulling open the door at the end only to come to a room filled with cases of sorts, each one holding a different gem or rock.

"These are stones..?"

Hotaru looks around in awe, noting how each one had a plate below it with it's name.

"There are so many..."

Hotaru steps forward as her eyes note someone at the end of the room, her hands clenching into fists.

"Its' Gozen!"

His laughter fills the air, said man standing next to an extravagent chair.

"Yes, but you're too late! The Embryo is already in Gozen's hands!"

Everyone gasps as a new voice fills the air.

"So this...is the Embryo...?"

Hotaru's eyes widen, her mind recalling an old memory.

'That voice...!'

The chair turns only to reveal the child Hotaru had seen just a few nights ago. Everyone's reaction is one of shock at the child sitting before them.

'Gozen...is a child...?'

Ikuto's anger is reaching it's limit.

"Director, what is the meaning of this?"

The boy speaks.

"I'm Hikaru. I'm the head of Easter, also known as 'Gozen'."

As he speaks, his disinterest with the glowing egg shows as he speaks.

"So this is the Embryo. It's smaller than I imagined."

Ran, Miki, and Suu speak up, all having panic in their voice.

"The Embryo! It's losing it's radiance!"

Hikaru notices, the egg now a dull color.

"What? It's not shining anymore. How boring."

And with that, he throws it to the ground. Amu begins to reach forward for it as it hits the ground just for cages to surround each of the group. Hotaru's hands grip the bars, her fear growing with each passing second.

"What is the meaning of this?"

"You stupid girl. Did you really think we'd let you get close so easily?"

Ran, Suu, and Lily sit the egg up, a crack apparent on the shell. Hotaru turns her attention to Hikaru, her voice filled with rage.

"Why? Why did you want the Embryo?"

Hikaru merely turns to her, his hand stretching around the room.

"This room is filled with valuable jewels. If I have the Embryo, my collection would be complete."

He turns his gaze to the dimmed Embryo.

"But this is just a rock. It no longer has any value, so I don't want it anymore."

Tadase is shocked beyond words, Amu's voice coming out in a small whisper.

"Jewels...? Collection...?"

"That's the only reacon why? That's your reason for pulling out eggs from so many people...?"

Hikaru merely shrugs.

"I don't need incompetency and worthless things. Director Hoshina, you're also incompetent. I have no use for you anymore either."

Kazuomi's eyes widen with shock at Hikaru's words.

"But...what..."

Amu begins to yell, her eyes on the ceiling above. Everyone follows her line of sight only to see a giant black egg hovering above them.

"That's the egg that was controlling Ikuto!"

At this, Ikuto opens his violin case, inspecting his violin to see that it was back to normal.

"So that egg came out of the violin..."

Hotaru turns to him.

"That wasn't your egg?"

Kazuomi chuckles at this.

"Nope, that egg was produced by Easter, but it's also..."

"I want that."

Kazuomi turns his attention to Hikaru who is pointing upwards towards the dark energy seeming to ooze into the room.

"Eh?"

"I want that instead of the Embryo."

Amu is baffled, her tone stuttering slightly.

"Wai, what? This kid! What is he proposing this time?"

Kazuomi seems to hesitate only for a second before bowing his head.

"As you wish."

He begins to reach towards it warily, his fingers barely grazing it when the dark energy begins to pour out. Everyone is pushed back, Hotaru and the others pressed against the bars of their cage.

"It's the dark egg's shock waves!"

"Crap! At this rate..!"

Glass begins to shatter around them, everyone screaming. Kazuomi dives to wrap his arms around Hikaru until it settles down. As soon as it calms, the boy pushes himself away.

"Let me go!"

He then frantically begins to pick up the dropped stones, holding them close to himself.

"My rocks...they're all..."

Everyone is confused by his actions, unsure of what is going on now.

"What is he...?"

"Why are they so special to him?"

Everyone is watching quietly when Amu's voice fills the air, her anger obvious.

"Hey! Even if that man is not that great, he's been working really hard for you. He just saved your life!"

Hikaru seems to shrink into himself, his voice shaking slight.

"I just wanted the Embryo...not the worthless results."

Kazuomi seems hurt by the boys words, Hotaru feeling sympathy for the older man. Tadase yells up.

"The energy! It's multiplying! We can't do anything while we're locked up like this!"

Yoru fills with panic.

"Ikutoooo!"

"That egg...That's right...that..."

He then picks up his violin, his bow drawing against the string. Hotaru turns her head as the melody fills her ears, a smile appearing on her face. She closes her eyes, her mouth beginning to follow alongside him, both in harmony. Amu and Tadase smile at
them, obviously enjoying the sound.

"What a gentle melody..."

"The black egg is being held back."

Hikaru's voice seems silent against the song, his words cutting though.

"The black egg stopped too. It turned into another useless rock. I don't need either of them..."

Amu watches in silence, Ikuto and Hotaru continuing on, both with a smile on their face.

"That's not true. The Embryo isn't a jewel, it's a magical egg the grants wishes. It's the egg of everyone's dreams..."

Tadase and Amu gasp in shock, not having expected to see Tsukasa here.

"Tsukasa-san!"

He only smiles.

"Today, I came to get the missing page of the picture book."

Ran and Suu then hold up a book, the title "Your Heart's Egg.".

"Do you remember it?"

Hikaru seems to space out as he recalls a memory, Tsukasa stepping closer towards him.

"Do you remember?"

Hikaru frowns.

"I don't know anything about that stupid book, there's no page to return."

"But there is."

He kneels down, pressing a gentle finger to Hikaru's chest, his smile growing a bit.

"But at this point, it's hopeless, since your heart is empty."

At this, Ikuto and Hotaru stop, not having expected to hear that either.

"Then let me tell...Hikaru's story."

Tsukasa begins to speak, explaining how Ikuto and Utau's mother was the only daughter of the Hoshina family, how she chose Aruto as her husband. He describes Aruto as a man who preferred to play music then manage a business.

"There was one person who looked at Aruto with the utmost envy and jealously, and that was your Kazuomi."

He turns to him as he says this, Kazuomi in shock that attention was turned to him. Kazuomi doesn't even bother to hide how he thought Aruto would be ruin the company and how he felt that his son was more suited for the job.

"But just when I thought it was within my grasp..."

He then tells how his son and daughter-in-law were lost in an accident, Hotaru's hand coming up to cover her mouth.

"I was only left with Hikaru..."

Tadase speaks up.

"Then that kid is Director Hoshina's grandchild...?"

"Not long after the head of Easter died and Aruto disappeared..."

Tsukasa nods his head.

"You then began to train Hikaru as a leader, in order to make hima successor, but there was a rival for that position."

Tsukasa frowns, Hotaru not having thought that he could produce such face.

"Ikuto, who was quickly growing up as the rightful successor, was dragged out. At that moment, you thought 'I'll use him as puppet.' Instead of ensuring the safety of your grandchild, you pressured Souko into remarrying you. Isn't that right?"

Hotaru could feel the anger seeping from Tsukasa, the words he had relayed leaving a nasty taste in her mouth.

'So Ikuto was a pawn from the beginning...?'

Her eyes stray to him, said person in shock at the story behind Kazuomi's motivation. Kazuomi places an arm around Hikaru's shoulders.

"So what? I raised Hikaru as Gozen to protect Easter. That is my mission!"

Before he can continue further, Hikaru slaps his arm away.

"Let go of me!"

Amu gasps as Hikaru's gaze darkens towards his grandfather.

"You incompetent man who couldn't even grant my wish. I have no use for worthless human beings!"

Everyone is watching in silence, Hotaru in shock at the display before her.

'These two are the only one's they have left, and yet...'

"He's brought this upon himself. He's taught Hikaru to stand above everyone else. He's always treated him like Gozen instead of a son and this is the result of that."

Kazuomi turns to them, obviously angered by their words.

"Shut up! I'm fine with things the way they are! You wouldn't understand!"

Hotaru lowers her head, her mind only on the two before.

'He couldn't touch his only grandchild...and he couldn't depend on on his only grandfather...'

"That's..."

A tear streams down Hotaru's cheek.

"...so lonely..."

As she says this, she recalls a few memories from her past. A barren living room, the backs of her parents as they left her alone time and time again. The pain she would feel as she ran after them and them leaving her behind. She soon recalls her brother's cheerful face though and the faces of her brother, Kairi and the others.

'If I hadn't had them...would I be in the same situation...?'

"Lonely?"

Hotaru's head snaps up at the question.

"That's an unneccessary feeling."

Before Hotaru can respond, Amu kneels down a bit, a soft smile on her face.

"What Tsukasa said was true. There is no egg in your heart...It's always been empty. Hikaru, you've said that he was a useless, worthless thing, but...I haven't forgotten that happy face you made when we ate Taiyaki together."

Hotaru, Tadase and Ikuto look at each other, not realizing that Amu and Hikaru had met before.

"It certainly turned into your 'heart's nutrition.' It wasn't useless at all."

She tilts her head a bit.

"In truth, there isn't anything worthless in one's life. You were born because you were going to be important to someone. It's because you were born, that you surely have a meaning. Without a doubt, someone is looking after you."

Hikaru frowns.

"If that's true, how come nobody's told me?"

"If that's true..."

Amu holds her hand out through the bar, her smile inviting.

"I'll teach you."

Hikaru seems confused as to what to do before suddenly running towards Kazuomi. He reaches for a device in his hand.

"What are you...! Don't touch that!"

A button clicks, the cages lifting from them, all sighing relief.

"We're free."

Hikaru looks around at the stones on the ground, something on his mind.

"While looking for something like that, I felt that there were gaps inside of me. That's why I collect rocks...to fill the gaps...but no matter how many I collected, the gaps wouldn't fill up...They still aren't."

Amu gently takes Hikaru's hand, the others stepping closer.

"I see. You wanted to fill up your heart with shiny things like these rocks."

Hotaru steps forward as well, placing a gentle hand on Amu's shoulder.

"We've been smiling a lot lately. Our family and friends..."

Hotaru blushes.

"The person I love..."

Amu smiles at Hotaru's bashful state, said girl glancing at Ikuto slightly.

"Everyone. I love the things that are important to me"

Amu pulls him close, holding his hand gently.

"No matter how many jewels you collect, your heart will never be filled up, but...feelings. Feelings are pretty vaulable things."

Hotaru nods her head.

"Those things can't be taken away. When you find them, you can't touch them and you can't put them in your hands."

A rock drops from Hikaru's hand.

"Emotions...glittering and beautiful. The thing...that I really wanted..."

Hikaru's eyes seem to tear up, guilt washing over him.

"I really do...remember the rest of the book..."

He hangs his head.

"The book lied. My egg never came back to me. I was born empty, I haven't had anything."

"That's not true!"

The chara begin to surround Hikaru, all with smiles on their faces.

"Us Shugo Chara are always your friends!"

"Yeah, you have an egg, you just haven't noticed it yet!"

"If you keep believing, it will come back to you."

At their words, Hotaru picks up the Embryo, gently placing it in Hikaru's hands.

"It's always been sparkling because it's been looking for you."

Hikaru touches it gently.

"This is my..."

Without notice, the egg begins to shine once more, everyone in shock as it disappears within Hikaru's body.

"That was..."

"...Hikaru's heart egg?"

As soon as the light vanishes, tears begin to stream from the boy's eyes as he begins to cry. Hotaru looks down, her mind noting how the X-chara they had faced earlier had cried in a similar fashion.

"You were lonely, weren't you?"

Kazuomi watches in shock for awhile, memories flooding before his eyes. His eyes clench with regret as he recalls the past.

"I thought I was making him happy. Was I wrong...?"

Tsukasa walks over to him, speaking firmly.

"You wouldn't let him cry...because of that, his heart was chased out of his self. He doesn't know what sad or lonely things are..."

His glare intensifies.

"And naturally, he doesn't know what it is to be loved or have fun."

Kazuomi's hands clench tightly.

"What should I...?"

Tsukasa's gaze only softens, chuckling a bit.

"It's very easy."

Kazuomi only nods his head as he walks over to Hikaru's side, placing a gentle hand on his head.

"Hikaru...I'm so sorry..."

He engulfs the boy into a hug, Hikaru's cries dying down a bit.

"Please forgive your grandfather."

Everyone smiles at the heart warming scene, Hotaru clapping her hands together. Tadase shakes his head.

"So, it wasn't the Embryo after all..."

Amu's smile only widens as she turns to him.

"No, but it was a happy ending!"

Everyone nods their head in agreement, Ikuto's eyes straying to Hotaru. Hotaru turns to him happily, her smile wide and warm. He returns the expression, a faint, light blush on his cheeks.


Author's Note: Don't worry guys, this isn't the last chapter yet! :D Though it most likely will be the next one! TwT

Makes me a little sentimental guys. I hope you've enjoyed it so far~