Everyone around Amu could only stop and stare at the brilliance of the light surrounding the pink-haired girl.
"Sugoi…" breathed Nagihiko. "It's even brighter than when Amu first transformed with Dia, or when her and Tsukiyomi-san became Amulet Fortune and Seven Seas Treasure…"
My little strawberry is just full of surprises, Ikuto thought to himself, staring up at his girlfriend.
Amu could only stare in surprise as all five of her Charas entered their eggs. Ribbons the colours of all of her Charas appeared out of nowhere, surrounding Amu.
Suddenly, she was wearing a sleeveless black dress that clung to her figure and ended mid-thigh. A small silver grosgrain ribbon was tied in a bow at her sternum, and a black and silver lace garter clung to her right thigh. A floor-length black train was held up by a thick belt divided in four horizontal stripes: pink, blue, green, and yellow. The sheer black material of the train, which had sparkly silver detailing, was split down the middle, showing off Amu's legs before they were covered by black heeled boots that went to the middle of Amu's shins. Feathered wings curled around to frame Amu; most of the feathers were black but scattered throughout were bright feathers the colours of Ran, Miki, Su, and Dia. The Humpty Lock was on a black ribbon around her neck, and a silver tiara inlaid with rubies, sapphires, emeralds, yellow topazes, and black diamonds rested on top of her head. Long black fingerless gloves went up beyond her elbows and had a silver band around each bicep.
"Chara-nari: Amulet Soul!"
"The Joker has such power within her…" Kairi muttered, pushing up his glasses.
"That's the fighting spirit, Hinamori!" Kukai grinned.
Ikuto smiled at the sight of Amu controlling such authority. She used to be so timid and unsure of herself… She still is now to some extent, but she's changed a lot from the girl she was all those years ago.
"You have to stop this, Ryoko! It won't get you anywhere! It won't get you any closer to peace!" Amu shouted. "There's another way to avenge your family!"
"Oh?" Ryoko said, her interested piqued. "And what, Amu-chan, is this way of yours?"
"You have to do something with your life! Find some kind of meaning, live for yourself so that you can say, when you die, that you truly lived to the best of your abilities. I'm sure that's what your family would have wanted for you! They wouldn't want to see you upset over them and hurting other people because of them." Amu paused, debating whether it was worth taking the risk of bringing up Tomoyo. When Ryoko didn't look all too convinced, she decided she might as well. "I'm sure Tomoyo-san wouldn't have wanted you to live this way!"
Ryoko's eyes welled up with tears, and she blinked them back angrily.
"What would you know about Tomoyo-chan?" She spat.
"Nothing, admittedly." Amu said quietly. "But I know that my own little sister would want me to be happy. Even though she's still pretty little, that's the way families work; at heart, they just want your happiness."
Ryoko let her hand holding the sceptre fall to her side, and she looked down.
"I wish they were here with me…" She mumbled, her tears finally falling.
"It's okay to miss people and things," Amu continued. "It's okay to miss how things used to be. But you can't let the past take over your present and your future. You have to find meaning in your life, and hold on to whatever keeps you breathing."
As Ikuto listened to Amu's words, he couldn't help but feel a pang. He knew that everything she was saying was inspired by her own experiences. I still wish she hadn't had to go through what she did, and what she still goes through. I wish I could have protected her.
"Sometimes there's just nothing you can do. You just have to make your peace with it and move on with your life. There's so much more out there than being bitter and trying to get revenge. Even if you did achieve what you called 'peace', what would you do then? Did you really think that your family would appreciate what you did? You have to let go someday," Amu finished.
Ryoko let out a sob, de-Transforming with Mira.
Now, Amu-chan! Dia cried from inside Amu's heart.
"Negative Heart: Lock-On!"
Amu's fingers formed a heart in front of the Humpty Lock, aiming towards Ryoko and the X-Eggs that had regrouped behind her.
Silver hearts emanated from the Humpty Lock. It eased the woman to sleep, and Mira, Ryoko's Chara, floated towards Amu. The newly-cleansed eggs shot off through the sky, back to their owners.
"Arigato, Amu-chan!" She spoke sweetly. "Ryoko-chan's been dealing with these issues for a long time without the proper help. Your words tonight helped put her on the path towards recovery!"
"No problem." Amu smiled at the cheery Chara, who floated back to her owner.
"I can take it from here." An efficient, calm-sounding voice came from behind Amu.
Amu whirled around, not having heard anyone approach. She saw a stout woman with slightly greying hair tied up in a bun. She was wearing simple brown pants and a light purple sweater.
"My name is Nakahara Sayako, a psychotherapist at Yukihana Hospital. I've been aware of Hanabura-san's issues for a long time, but due to her escape from the institution I've been unable to find her until now. I really must thank you for your efforts in Hanabura-san's progress, whether it was intentional or not."
"Ano… You're welcome…" Amu stammered, feeling awkward. She was still Amulet Soul, but the woman didn't even bat an eye at her outfit nor her wings. "Eto…"
"You're about to ask why I haven't asked any questions about what's happened here, correct? I have a Chara of my own, who guided me here." At this, a Chara floated out from her pocket.
"Hello, my name is Anzen! I, for confidential reasons, have been able to sense Hanabura-san's whereabouts, and led Sayako here. It took us a while to get here for various reasons, but what's important is that we can take care of Hanabura-san from here. You don't have to worry about her anymore." The Chara had long white hair shot through with dark purple, and white eyes. Her dark purple dress was plain and she wore a white lab coat over it.
With a wave of Sayako's hand, paramedics wheeling a stretcher appeared from a doorway leading off the roof and into the building. They strapped Ryoko in, and went back the way they came. Sayako briskly walked the same way, but not before pausing and nodding to Amu, who just stood and stared, unsure what else to do.
When the rooftop was bare of human life other than Amu, she undid the transformation and her Charas appeared next to her. She immediately sat on the ground, exhausted from all of the Chara-naris she did tonight. Transforming into Amulet Soul took up even more energy than Amulet Fortune had.
"That was so weird!" Ran immediately spoke up.
"I'm glad Ryoko-san is going to get the help she needs, desu," Su said.
"Amu-chan!" She suddenly heard Nagihiko's voice calling from below.
She peered over the edge of the building to see all of the Guardians.
"That was amazing, Amu-chi!" Yaya yelled. "You have so many Chara-naris, I'm so jealous!"
Kukai gave her a thumbs up, grinning widely.
Amu was too tired to care about anything they said at this point.
"Thanks guys, but I'm so damn tired," she said.
"You could be one of those motivational speakers, you know," came another voice from behind her.
Why do people keep sneaking up on me? Amu wondered, but she already recognized the voice. She turned and her eyes widened when she saw Ikuto's rough condition. There were spots where blood made his shirt cling to his body, and there were rips all over. Yoru kept glancing at him to make sure he was okay.
"Ikuto!" Amu exclaimed. She forced herself to get up and checked him over. "How long have you been there?!"
"Long enough. You did a good job," he said quietly, stroking her face.
She hugged him, making sure not to aggravate any of his injuries.
"I was so worried about you," she murmured into his chest.
His arms wrapped around her, and she felt him start petting her hair.
"We're both safe now, there's no need to worry."
"I just want to go home and sleep," she said.
Both of them Chara-changed (Amu with Ran) and leapt down from the roof; neither of them would have been able to carry the other, due to their exhaustion.
The couple started walking away, but Nagihiko's voice stopped them.
"Amu-chan, there are still things we need to discuss," he said gently.
"I know. We'll talk about them soon. Call me tomorrow, okay?" She answered without hesitation. She wasn't going to run anymore.
"Alright. Have a good night, Amu-chan, Tsukiyomi-san," he replied.
Amu flopped down on her bed with a sigh, having fought through her sheer tiredness and taken care of Ikuto's wounds.
"I want to sleep for a week," she mumbled into her pillow.
She felt Ikuto climb in next to her, shirtless due to lack of extra clothing with him.
"My personal heating pad," he murmured into her hair, holding her close.
Amu ordinarily would have been embarrassed by his bare chest, but was too exhausted for the fact to really sink in. She merely sighed in pleasure at the feeling of him next to her.
"I love you," she whispered, her eyes slipping shut.
"I love you too." She smiled at his husky voice.
Things can only get better from here. It might be hard at times, but I can do it with Ikuto by my side.
Hey what do you know, I actually finished and posted another chapter before I go back to university for second semester.
By the way, this fic is NOT FINISHED YET. There are still loose ends to tie up!
Fun fact, Anzen (the name of Sayako's Chara) means "security" or "safety". :)