[A/N] - Well, we're here folks! I hope you all enjoyed the story!

And now for the final installment for Bases: the epilogue.

Enjoy!


Risa left her flight and endured a short ride back to her university. She decided to get a hot drink before going to her room. She sat and circled her finger around the edges of her cup.

Her eyes were swollen from crying.

Otani had expressed no sadness upon her departure and for some reason, that hurt more than leaving itself.

She took a sip of the steaming green tea and burnt her tongue.

"Yuuoch!" she cried, grabbing the end of her tongue and felt tears prickle in her eyes again. She didn't think she had any more to shed.

She sighed and pushed away the unappealing drink. She paid quickly and trudged up the stairs to her dorm.

"Yo, this is for real. You got mail."

She pulled her phone out of pocket and flipped it open.

'How did it go? - Nobu'

She sighed and stuffed it back into her pocket. Risa didn't want to hear Nobu-chan's disappointment, maybe even anger at the fact that Risa hadn't joined the Sin Express.

She went to reach for her room key, but noticed with a jolt of fear, that her door was already open.

Risa's roommate had gone to visit her parents this weekend and they both made sure they had locked the door before departing.

Risa slipped inside slyly and felt around for her umbrella. She dropped her duffle bag and held out the umbrella like a weapon.

"Look, I don't know who's in here- but I have a sword and I don't want to use it! Get out now while you have the chance!"

Suddenly, the light flicked on.

"Koizumi."

She shrieked and turned sharply, swinging her weapon.

"Ouch! Koizumi, what was that for?!"

The umbrella clattered to the floor in shock.

Otani?

"H-How did you…? Are you okay?"

He rubbed his head angrily and sighed.

"I'm fine."

There was a second of silence and Risa's knees shook. How did he get here? Why was he here?

"Otani, what are you doing here?"

He looked away and his face flushed.

"You left this," he said simply and held out a bra with pink angry bunnies on it.

She let out a shriek and snatched it from him, her face completely red.

"Pervert! You stole it from me!"

"I did not! I found it on the floor!" he shouted, flushed.

She huffed and stowed it away in her bag. Straightening up, she watched him take a seat on her bed, next to a thick envelope.

"What's that?" Risa asked curiously.

Otani beckoned her to join him and she did so. As she took a seat, Otani picked up the folder.

He looked down into his lap, his eyes troubled.

"Koizumi…I'm sorry."

Her eyebrows furrowed in confusion.

"For what?"

"This weekend wasn't what you wanted and I know most of that was Miki's fault…but… I'm sorry anyway."

"Otani…" she breathed and he looked down, his bangs covering his eyes.

"I'm sorry for everything that happened with her. I'm going to talk to her when I get back and explain everything to her and Yuicchi. I won't let her interfer anymore."

When he gets back…

"Otani, how did you get here? Before me?"

He smiled.

"I got on the plane five minutes after you left. I tried to catch you after we departed, but you got on a separate bus than I did."

She ran this through her mind and then wrinkled her eyebrows.

"Why, though?"

Otani looked down again. "Koizumi...I...I know I didn't really act like…like I cared whether you left or not…but…"

Risa knew how hard talking about this kind of stuff was for him and she knew what he was going to say anyway. So, she didn't make him continue.

"What's in the folder?"

He looked up at her gratefully, but then down at the file. He sighed and lowered his red face.

"This is...eh, em...here," he handed it over meekly.

Risa opened it up and pulled out what was inside.

She felt her breath catch in her throat.

"That's what's inside of my desk drawer," he said unnecessarily. "I know you were curious…and well…that's it."

She held out the contents and felt the memories play out before her eyes.

There were the gloves she had given to him for Christmas; they looked still brand new as if he hadn't worn them yet. There was a picture of the two of them, Risa smiling widely, Otani looking at her as if she were nuts. There was the headband that Risa had made him for studying; she smiled even wider at that. Even the banner she had made him for one of his basketball games.

She laid out the things that she had made him, things she had forgotten about and looked to her boyfriend, her eyes wide. This was proof. Proof that he cared, that he treasured her gifts, that he missed her enough to keep them in a drawer he would open more than once to look at during the day…proof that he did really love her.

He sighed. "I know…I didn't seem to care, but…I didn't want you to leave. Pretending I didn't care much was easier. Sorry."

Risa felt her lips wobble and tears formed in her eyes.

"Thank you."

He looked away and held out a hanky.

"Crying isn't necessary..." he said with a frown.

"But I'm really happy," she moaned and wiped her cheeks. He let out a small laugh and turned back to her.

"I have to go back later today," he said reluctantly. "But I can stay for a couple of hours if you want to do something."

She couldn't help herself any longer.

She kissed him.

When she pulled away, he looked strangely surprised.

"I really really love you, Otani," she said and felt another tear trickle down her face. He raised a hand and wiped it away with a small smile that tugged at her heartstrings.

"Me too," he said with serious look. Her eyebrows furrowed together.

"Say it like you said it before."

He frowned and he turned away, red on his face. "What are you talking about?"

"Say 'I love you too!' Say it like that!"

He rubbed the back of his neck in embarrassment. "S-So demanding..."

"Otani..." she warned.

"I love you too," he murmured and glanced at her relaxed and let out a victorious grin.

Then her pressed her lips together, thinking. "I love you..." she said again but then added, "Atsushi-kun."

His name fell strangely on her tongue.

"I love you too, Risa."

They looked at each other for a moment and suddenly burst out laughing.

"I can't say it!" she moaned, grabbing her sides in mirth.

"It's too strange!" he agreed, kicking his feet childlike.

"What do you mean strange?!" she asked suddenly, hitting him in the shoulder.

"Heh?! You said it too!" he retailated. She blinked and looked forward with a sigh.

Otani's hand came to rest on top of her own and her head turned to him again. In his eyes lay a strange fire that she only saw when he was playing basketball. It made her stomach lurch. Nobu-chan's voice entered her thoughts.

"It'll start with a kiss and then mention how much you love him…"

He rested his forehead against hers and closed his eyes.

"I don't want to go back," he said with a sigh.

"I don't want you to go back," Risa admitted and he smiled and kissed her.

Like two nights ago, their kissing became different- no longer innocent.

Risa's head was spinning as the gifts fell to the floor. They both ignored them.

She found herself pressed flat against the bed as Otani lay lightly over her.

"Air- I need air!" she gasped after a second and Otani pulled away slightly to let her catch her breath and she suddenly blurted "I love you!" He was being serious, but he couldn't help but smile slightly at her flustered state. He himself was out of his element.

"Otani…is this like Maity-sensei's wedding?" she asked seriously, not really embarrassed for some reason.

He frowned at the mention of Maity's name at a time like this.

"What do you mean?"

Risa's wide brown eyes held his gaze. "Is this like the time I kicked you out of our room?"

He wrestled himself for an appropriate response. He fought the embarrassment and managed to keep a serious face as he answered.

"That depends, are you going to kick me out?"

Koizumi's heart took off twice as fast.

"I'm nervous," she said and her voice wobbled.

"Me too," Otani admitted, much to her relief.

They lay for a moment, feeling strangely relieved at their equal uncertainty.

Then, he kissed her, his long hair tickling her pink cheeks. Her long brown eyelashes fluttered slightly when he pulled away.

"Do you trust me?" Otani implored in a very different tone for him. She opened her eyes to see him looking vulnerable. He needed to know. Trust had been an issue just days ago…

"I do," she confirmed with a nod and just like that, their fear was gone.

For once, they were on the exact same page.


"I have to go," Otani said very reluctantly and Risa sighed.

"I know."

He looked up at her ceiling.

"I need to get off this bed."

"I know."

He looked down at her and frowned.

"I need to get dressed."

She flushed, "I know."

"Well? Are you going to set my arm free?" he asked, wriggling his shoulder. She hugged it more firmly.

"This is how your supposed to hug after...well," she burnt red. "Your supposed to do it this way- you cuddle."

"Only in the movies," Otani explained embarrassed. "You don't have to do that."

She pouted. "I want to do it this way. I want to do it right."

"There is no right way to-!"

"If you don't want to cuddle with me then get out of my room," she huffed and snuggled closer.

"You're...you're too much," he said with a red face, but secretly pleased she wasn't acting too different than usual due to their recent circumstances.

"I know," she agreed happily and buried her face in his chest.

"Yo, this is for real. You got mail."

"Otani, will you get my phone- it's in my…em…" her face blushed brightly. "…my jeans."

His face grew red as well, but leaned over to get it nonetheless.

"Wahh!" Risa cried and shielded her eyes. "Cover up!"

"Hypocrite," he muttered and retrieved her phone. He flipped open her phone.

"It's from Nobuku," he said and furrowed his eyebrows in confusion. "It says, 'So did you or did you not aboard the Sin Express?'." He turned to her wide eyes, "What does that mean?"

She shrugged her face beet red.

"Tell her…tell her to mind her own business."

Otani looked down at her and then shrugged, passing along the message.


[A/N]- It's over!

God, you have NO idea how daunting writing this scene was. I like, sat at my computer, microsoft document open, the cursor blinking...just thinking...

I'm going to write a sex scene. Between Otani and Koizumi. I might as well write a Joseph and Mary sex scene- they're just too innocent! *sigh* But I think Otani could set the mood...maybe with a serious enough expression...whatever I definitely was planning on skipping through the rated R stuff. I rated this story only T for a reason! Hopefully the build up wasn't too heavy or too OOC. I'm always worried about that. Also to the people who expected more...hm what's the appropriate word...smut? Or lemons? Well, that's not really my thing to write about. You won't get a sexy screwing scene from me. I won't apologize, but I'm sure you can find what your looking for if you search in the 'Mature' category!

A special thanks to the following people who have faithfully reviewed this story:

prettyinpinkgal

Morlana

lovecomlove : You're just too cute! (: I love hearing from you

huilin

LCfan : You not only give lovely feedback, but also critique, which I appreciate. I always look forward to your reviews on my stories!

Thanks to you guys and to anyone else who took the time to read!

And as the great Strongbad said in TGS: It's over!