(Author Notes: Here it is! The FINAL, VERY LAST chapter! Oh, hold me! I think I'm gonna cry!
Naturally, everyone dies. There. I saved you an hour of reading. The end.
I'm going to be tacky now and put in some shoutouts! I'd love to shoutout to everyone who's ever read my work, but that would take a million years. So instead, I'll be shouting out to my most faithful, most review-crazy readers!
Kirayasha aka Kira: You're the best friend a crazy yaoi fangirl could ever ask for! Thank you for diligently reviewing and putting up with my random MSN messages! Thank you for teaching me to drabble and inspiring me to make this story as beautiful as it turned out. :)
Vampire Tia: You rock! Thanks for stickin' this out to the end! I just loved reading all your bubbly reviews! I think you've got an excellent sense of humor and a very unique, refined taste. Original. That one word describes you perfectly!
Inu: I love you. Thank you for loving me.
Now! With that sappiness out of the way! Please enjoy your final chapter everyone! Please fav the story if you liked it or perhaps leave me a farewell review? And yes, I am retiring soon, but I'll still be around if you'd like to PM me. If I write anymore fanfiction it'll be on request only. So email and make a request if you want. XD If not you can always surf on over to my fictionpress account, which I'll be writing on from here on out. My Pen name there is Crystalynn!
Sayonara my loves!)
Disclaimer: Shockingly, after 40 chapters, I STILL don't own these boys! Even though I did build up Hiten and Suzaku's personalities from scratch... lmao! Anyway you can't sue me.
Chapter 40: The End
It was a beautiful spring day. The birds were singing, the sun glowed with gentle warmth, the breeze danced with the flower petals, and Raiyuki Hiten was quite simply… freaking out.
"I can't do it! It's too much. I'm not gonna. I cant. I don't wanna. I just can not. Oh god, I cant breathe. It's hot. Why is it so hot here? I hate this. I hate myself. I. hate. life…"
"Raiyuki calm down would you, it's just-" Tekkei, who was trying to convince him to sit down, soon became exasperated and raged at her boss, who looked like he might start to hyperventilate. "Shut up! My god you are such a child!"
"Oh my god," Hiten paced back and forth with his hands over his face. "This is it. I've ruined my life. It's over. My beautiful, wonderful bachelor lifestyle is all over."
"I feel your pain," Miroku offered, patting the soon-to-be groom on the back.
"Don't encourage him!" The fiery redhead insisted, shoving Miroku away. She could not fathom how a man like Raiyuki could look so sharp in his perfect tuxedo with the perfect white tie and perfect, unbraided hair cascading down his back, and still act like such a complete failure at life.
"Get ahold of yourself!"
Hiten practically sobbed. He suddenly turned, caught hold of her and shook her like a rag doll. "Shut up! I fucking hate you! I hate all of you stupid women with every fiber of my being!"
At that very inopportune moment the other bridesmaids scurried past, looking frazzled. Kagome and Sango pretended they hadn't heard that as they ducked out of the dressing room and joined the rest of the guests. An entire sea of sharply dressed men and women in their most formal attire stood about the garden, admiring the flowers and snacking on the many tables of high class catering.
From the looks of this beautiful arrangement you would never guess the groom was hiding in the back dressing rooms, flipping his shit… "My goodness everything is gorgeous!" the clueless guests chattered on. "Must've cost a fortune to book a place like this for spring break!"
"Did you see the koi ponds?" "And the waterfall?" "The rivers?" "And the rose tunnel?" "That's nothing! I hear the catering after the ceremony will be lobster!"
"Get these out of here! The bride is allergic to fucking flowers!" The maid of honor, aka Jakotsu was rushing about, trying to get the male guests to help scoot the flowerpots as far from the center aisle as possible. "I hate Hiten. He is so stupid! Why an outside wedding?"
Kagome sat down beside her boyfriend, amused as she watched the other guests laugh and converse while her friends bustled about, helping with the preparations. "Who are all these people?" She wondered, earning a shrug from Inuyasha. "How should I know? They speak Japanese but most of 'em are still Americans right?"
"They're Hiten's coworkers and family," Sango offered, "I heard him yelling at that Tekkei girl because she invited the whole office without telling him."
"Oh that makes sense," Kagome looked back over the guests, feeling a little bit more comfortable with their more professional, formal attire. "The Business world hmm?"
"Boring." Inuyasha bragged, holding up his camera, "this is where the real action is! Photography! I'm gonna be the one taking all the most important shots!"
"My camera is better."
"You shutup!" Inuyasha turned around to bitch at his older brother, who was also wearing a very large, very expensive-looking camera. They launched into a heated argument about whose equipment was better, so Kagome just tuned them out since she was unable to understand the technical photography-related terms anyway.
"This wedding is going to be a complete disaster." The best man looked almost as stressed as the groom. He was hauling yet another large vase away from the aisles as he spoke.
"Why do you say that?" Kagome wondered.
"These guests?" Bankotsu leaned in close to whisper to her, "they think the bride is a girl!"
"I don't!" One of the guests turned around in her seat, waving merrily. "Ban-Chan, is that you?"
"Mrs. Raiyuki?" He froze, stunned when she nodded. Her husband also turned around, wearing the very same cocky grin that his son always wore. "Yeah at least we know what a queer Hiten is!"
"Oh but Bankotsu," Mrs Raiyuki continued, "I was sad when I found out you weren't the bride."
"He didn't even tell his parents…" Bankotsu had to try very hard to hide his disdain for his thoughtless best friend. "We broke up years ago."
"Oh, that's a shame." she offered, but her husband heartily disagreed "Good!"
"Rude!" She promptly elbowed him and plastered a wide grin on her face. "Please forgive him.
My husband thinks of nothing but business…"
"Business?" Bankotsu echoed, confused, "what does that have to do with a wedding?"
"Everything!" Mr. Raiyuki insisted, as his wife offered an explanation. "Tell me Bankotsu, have you ever heard of the Midari Corporation?"
"Well I have worked there for many years. As it turns out, Hiten's soon-to-be wife, Midari Suzaku is the sole surviving heir to the Midari bloodline. With this marriage, Suzaku's family will join with mine and thus the entire Midari Corporation will be able to smoothly pass over into our possession. In other words we will be one big, very rich family!"
"Is that why they're getting married?"
"As if," Mr. Raiyuki scoffed, "that useless son of mine doesn't know anything about compatibility! He was totally shocked when I told him he'd been dating the Midari Suzaku! How could anyone not notice their future wife is a freakin' millionaire?"
"Money is no object," his wife offered, "love is love…"
Bankotsu couldn't help but feel relieved at hearing this. "Well that's good."
"I suppose," Hiten's mother sighed rather loftily, "But it's a bit of a sad day for me. You know, it's not legal for this sort of thing to take place back in Japan. My Hiten can't come back home to us without forfeiting his marriage."
"I hadn't thought about that…" Bankotsu suddenly felt more respectful of Hiten. No wonder he was so nervous. This really was a huge step for him. Homosexuality in and of itself was difficult enough to cope with in any society, but now he would have to remain in America, in this state, just to ensure his marriage would remain legit…
"They all have to grow up someday." Mrs. Raiyuki offered, seeming genuinely pleased, "Oh and anyway do say hi to Souten when you see her! I'm sure you remember Hiten's little sister! She's going to be the flower girl!"
Bankotsu nodded, returning her grin as he stood and hurried back into the dressing room. Suddenly he could think of so many things he should have said to Hiten, but unfortunately the groom… was nowhere to be found.
Suzaku sat on an elaborately decorated Japanese bridge, dangling his feet above the koi lake. Almost half a mile separated him from the guests and the place where the ceremony was to be held and he was glad for that. His stomach was already knotting up. The nerves were starting to make him shake and the pollen-filled atmosphere was tickling his nose. Luckily, though, he'd remembered to take some antihistamines, so his allergies would be well under control.
"Hiten…" The many diamonds on his finger sparkled up, winking at him; reassuring. Normally he didn't care for jewelry, but he made sure to wear this one piece at all times. It reminded him of all of the sacrifices Hiten had made; the pain, sweat and tears. Today they were supposed to take the biggest step and make their love known, permanent and official. They'd already told the priest that he was to announce Suzaku's last name as 'Raiyuki' after the ceremony.
Today would be the end of Midari. The end of… everything he'd ever known.
Maybe Hiten realized that. Maybe he was just as glad to be rid of Suzaku Midari. The scars of childhood, the abuse and the trauma… Perhaps Hiten wanted it gone just as badly as Suzaku himself.
The redhead stood, staring down at his own reflection. Everyone had said he'd look just like his father once he grew up. Everyone had been wrong. He had a lovely, feminine face. 'Mother's face,' he realized. An almost perfect match. He even had mother's cute, girly lips.
Only Kujaku's lonesome green eyes remained…
"Goodbye Kujaku." Mama's pink lips whispered.
How dearly Suzaku wished he had said that while the man himself was still breathing. The blossoms were fluttering down around him. He supposed this kind of beauty should be stopping his own breath. Every now and then a little pink petal would fall into the water and disturb the stillness. Kujaku's eyes wavered, just as miserable and wet as ever…
"I did love you, Oto-San. I wish being your son could have been good enough. Wish I could have made you proud…"
Of course Kujaku said nothing in reply. He was dead, even though it was so hard to believe. Suzaku had purposely missed the funeral and dreamt to be reunited with him so many times. But today would mark the final time he looked back and regretted what should have been. Today Midari Kujaku would finally, truly rest in peace. If only he'd been brave enough to pay a visit to his real grave while in Japan…
"There you are!"
Suzaku startled, turning to greet his winded maid of honor. Jakotsu looked very relieved to have finally found him. He hurried over in his flowing white dress and caught Suzaku by the wrist. "Come on, you've gotta get dressed!"
"Sorry," Suzaku followed along, watching those amazing high heels. Someday maybe he too would be as brave and beautiful as the cross dressing Queen of his heart.
Raiyuki Hiten was very wet. Luckily it was warm outside or he would have been so much more miserable. "I can do this," he reminded himself yet again before dunking his face back into the fountain. He resurfaced, feeling much more refreshed as he shook off the water. His long black hair kept attempting to slide over his shoulders, but he held it back, trying not to ruin his suit.
He wrung his hands, thinking miserably that he really needed something to punch.
He hardly noticed when Bankotsu approached him from behind. "You okay?"
Hiten tried not to sound too sarcastic when he turned to face his old friend. "Yeah."
"Doesn't look like it to me," Bankotsu offered, and in response Hiten walked right over to him and promptly rammed their tattoos together. Bankotsu stumbled backward, caught off guard, but Hiten caught him easily. "Now I feel much better."
"You're such an ass," Bankotsu grumbled. He regained his balance and shoved Hiten off, rubbing his forehead with those cute blue eyes wincing. "I came all the way out here to make sure you were okay and you go and pull that head-butting shit."
"Well I thought I might as well," Hiten admitted, "since after today I won't ever be able to act like that again…"
"What do you mean?"
"Well a football player would make a very crappy husband for someone like Suzaku," he explained, "so I figure I'll learn some yoga and feng shui instead."
"Wow… That's not like you at all."
"Pretty gay I know," Hiten chuckled, "but whatever. Might as well act like how I feel."
An awkward silence spread between them then, since Bankotsu didn't know what to say, or even if he should say anything. The two stood for a long while before Hiten finally decided to head on back to his own wedding. He offered an attempt at conversation along the way, wondering over the location of his queen. "So where's Jakotsu?"
"He and Naraku are helping your wife get dressed."
"What?" Hiten froze at that moment, only now realizing that he didn't even know what it was Suzaku planned to wear. Thanks to stupid American tradition, he was not to see the bride before the ceremony. "Please don't tell me they're gonna put him in a dress…"
"Well we are talking about Jakotsu here…"
Hiten forced one foot in front of the other, trying to make the best of the situation. "Well at least my boss and the other guys can stay ignorant then, since Suzaku looks just like a girl anyway…"
Bankotsu led the way, thinking about how awkward it would be if the entirety of Hiten's fellow coworkers saw him making vows with his male 'bride.' He was trying not to, but wound up snorting with laughter anyway, earning himself a sharp slap to the back of his head. "I hate you." the grumpy groom scoffed.
"I love you too." He teased, dodging when Hiten made to catch him again. Bankotsu broke out into a run, laughing hysterically as Hiten gave chase. The two rams ran free, for the very last time along the gorgeous meadow, trampling the flowers. Neither the stamina or the affection had changed, even after so many years apart…
Unfortunately reality eventually came crashing down in the form of a very irate Tekkei, who promptly flipped her shit when she found her boss pinned down in the grass by his doppelganger. "The bachelor party is over, god damnit!" She raged, shoving Bankotsu off and yanking Hiten back to his feet. "If I have to brush your fucking hair one more time…"
She grumbled all the way to the dressing room and Hiten snickered all the while, not even pretending to be sorry. "Damnit Tekkei," he joked, "I almost came…"
"I am an honorable man of the cloth," Miroku explained, introducing himself to the pastor.
"Tell me, is the wedding business booming here in America?"
"As ever," he replied, "and the divorce rates are quite impressive. I shall never be out of a job, since people are so terrified of commitment."
"Sounds promising," Miroku mused. "It's like a car. Supposed to last forever, but when it falls apart they have to come back and pay to get a new one."
"Miroku get out of the way," Hiten growled from his place at the alter. "You're not supposed to be up here!"
"I am just as qualified as he," Miroku insisted.
"Listen monk: If you fuck up my ceremony I swear I will shove my foot so far up your ass you will be sucking my toes for the rest of your life!"
"Geeze…" He leaned away from the irate groom, who seemed to be becoming more annoyed with every passing second. But then again the rest of the congregation was growing a bit restless as well. The bride was a bit late, after all…
"So how does this American ceremony work?" Miroku wondered, trying to keep up the polite conversation, and luckily his professional friend was happy to explain. "Well the flower girl will lead the way, followed by the bride. The bride should be arm in arm with her father, who will then 'give' his daughter to her new husband. Of course there are exceptions. The fact that our bride will be Mr. Midari is one I'm highly trained to handle, so-"
'Blah, blah, blah.' Hiten was tuning out their conversation. He stood beside both his father and his best man, thinking the same words endlessly in his head. 'I can do this. I can do this…'
He leaned back, feeling Bankotsu's comforting hand on his shoulder and met those confident blue eyes with a nod.
Finally their live music fluttered to life; piano and violin, announcing the long awaited arrival of the bride. Souten led the way first, tossing rose petals all around as she giggled and danced along to the familiar tune. "Hear comes the bride!" She laughed, waving excitedly to her big brother "Grats Nii-Chan!" The traditional tune played on and every head turned to the center aisle, each guest trying to be the very first to catch a glance at their bride.
"She's so beautiful."
"Look at that dress."
"That must be her father."
Hiten merely gaped in silence, hardly able to believe his eyes. Jakotsu's long, flowing dress was gathering all of the attention, but he only cared about the redhead attached to the queen's arm. Suzaku looked ready to cry. He finally reached the alter and those emerald eyes were so much more amazing than any silk, lace or whatever other stupid white dress. The real 'bride' was wearing a sharp white suite with a strawberry pink tie, dressed just like the husband Hiten wanted.
The music stopped. Everything froze. Suzaku blushed so deeply that he almost matched the pink of his tie. The flower bouquet clasped in those cute little hands was also pink and white…
"You're…" Hiten could hardly speak. "Not wearing a dress?"
Suzaku looked surprised. "But Hiten, you said you like me better as a boy."
Jakotsu beamed, releasing his best friend as he moved to stand out of the way. Touched, radiant chocolate eyes burned into timid emerald. Neither man spoke, though the congregation was getting a bit restless and confused. 'My Su-Chan…' He meant to take Suzaku's hand for the vows, like they'd practiced during rehearsal, but instead Hiten just… snapped.
He practically tackled his gorgeous companion, wrapping his arms around that beautiful body and forcibly kissing those stunned pink lips.
"Hey, we didn't say kiss the bride yet!" Miroku fumed, "and he said I was gonna ruin the ceremony…"
"Oh my god, he kissed her father?"
"What's going on?"
"Should we like… stop them?"
"Pfft!" Kagome sniggered while the rest of the congregation whispered in their confusion. One of the older gentlemen actually fainted, which caused her to finally burst out laughing. "Hahaha!"
"Not funny." Tekkei murmured, looking like she too might faint. "That was Hiten's boss…"
"Ohhh snap!" Now Inuyasha was laughing too and Naraku heartily joined in. "This is priceless! Sesshoumaru you better be filming this!"
"Whatever," the grouchy, silver-haired man replied.
He zoomed in on their thoroughly distracted bride and groom just in time to catch Suzaku toss the bouquet carelessly behind himself. His cross dressing best friend immediately dove to catch it but just barely missed. Instead Jakotsu himself wound up being caught. His powerful Aisuru helped him back up onto those heels and grinned as he presenting him with that bright pink bouquet. "Football players don't make such bad husbands," He mused, "least we can catch."
Jakotsu suddenly understood why Hiten had 'snapped.' He kissed his beloved Aisuru and let those flowers fall right to the ground. Married or not, male or female. Society be damned. Love was love, and nothing would ever change that. Those four men knew the reason they were living. Brown eyes or blue, broken hearts or fluttering joy. Nothing else mattered. They were each right where they belonged, in each other's arms and could not, would not ever give that up. Not for all the world.