I apologize deeply yet again for the two months worth of delay. It took me three books to read and a few school projects for inspiration. I promised to finish this story within the year. Happy holidays, everyone! This will be the last chapter.

Thursday, December 24, 3:00 p.m.

Amu's POV

Hinamori Amu-san,

I've been doing fine here at the psychiatric ward and my doctor has promised me that I would be out of this establishment in two weeks or so at most. I am ecstatic though I may not seem so. Moreover, I apologize for this simply unacceptable virtual Christmas card of a gift. I am unable to go into town and get you a much more decent and appropriate token.

I also do hope that you are doing fine, if possible, more than. As to your problem (stated in your previous e-mail), I think any way you would like to tell or show Tsukiyomi Ikuto-san of your affection for him would be the perfect way. I wish both for your happiness and Tsukiyomi-san's.

As for your moving into a more, may I say, lavish apartment, I think that it's a good change for you to be nearer the Tsukiyomi household and the high school building.

I also have heard and watched your parents on television. I think 24 years in prison and a restraining order after parole will do you justice. I also do hope that your sister Ami will be doing fine with your Aunt Miki.

I bid you the happiest of holidays and more to come.

Sanjo Kairi

I find myself smiling as I finish reading Kairi's e-mail from my iPad, an early Christmas gift from Utau. I rub my sock clad feet together and snuggle into my blanket on the couch near the fireplace. I was able to buy this cute little loft apartment with my bank account that my parents had secretly kept loaded and I could say that I'm happy and healthy now. More than, if possible.

Everything that has happened so far – losing my voice, the quite frightful experience with my mother, everyone's (especially Ikuto's) sad faces and frantic voices, and the shivers down my spine as I heard how long I stayed in the operation room to keep me alive at the very least – has opened my eyes. I've had too many sleepless nights on my hospital bed, with Ikuto sleeping soundly beside me, to think about what I should do with my life finally.

I've said to myself once, twice or more than, even – stop being a pussy. And I've tried countless times to put up with my own shit but I always ended up hurting myself one way or another. I'm doing things for real now, starting afresh; moving into a better apartment with Shinigami-chan, I go to a support group once a week, and get myself even more tea.

My sister Ami has moved back here to Japan with my Aunt Miki and they live further into the city which is an hour at most by train. They visit me sometimes. And surprisingly, Shinigami-chan and Ami get along. They're spending Christmas with me here tomorrow. Sometimes, Ami forgets that I can't speak and she's apologizes for it as soon as she can and as soon she does, I use this application on the iPad that allows me to either type or draw what I need and want to say. She thinks my disability to speak is something to be sad about. She's too cute, too innocent.

But I want to tell her, in my own voice and words, that the things you gain from every experience is something you should cherish and be thankful for; that things happen for a reason and most of the times it's for a good reason, for your own good.

Cutting had cost me my voice. The cutting stop.

I get up from the couch and straighten out my sweater dress, also adjusting my tights. I made my way to the kitchen where the chicken was cooking in the pressure cooker. I open the fridge and see that the salad, mashed potatoes, cake and Christmas cookies were doing just about fine. And just out of paranoia, I checked on everything else again before the Tsukiyomis came over for Christmas Eve dinner.

You would think that handling a mute girl straight out of the psychiatric ward would be a hassle or a lot of trouble for one to handle. But Utau was most of the time more of a hassle than I was supposed to be. That girl was just all over the place. I'd found out after a day of shopping with her that the reason why we actually did go shopping was because she was cleaning out my closet while I was at the hospital. The only articles of clothing that had survived the wrath called Utau were a few tights and some never been used skirts. She's paid half of my purchases since I had some cash to spend from my 'new' bank account. She paid half because, according to her, "I'm Utau, that's why."

Dr. Tsukiyomi had spent quite a lot of time at the psychiatric ward with Suu-san from food therapy. I don't even want to talk about it.

The Tsukiyomis could have practically adopted me. But Ikuto and I've been caught making out quite a few times for the idea of adoption to even sound practical. I can say that he and I are getting along really well. And both of us have changed in some way, a good way, I hope. But you just sometimes can't help but feel like a pussy. Sure we've been making out quite a few times and footsie was just that good of a game to not play but I haven't really exactly told Ikuto how I truly felt about him. That's the problem, I was too late. I'd gotten into loads of crazy shit that I wasn't literally physically able to tell him that I love him.


So here I am, slightly panicking as I catch myself almost getting lost into my thoughts, relieved that I heard the doorbell ring. I run over to open it to come face to face with the Tsukiyomis.

"Merry Christmas!" Dr. Tsukiyomi and Utau greet in unison. Ikuto's by the side, smiling gently at me. I give them a wide grin and open the door wider to let them in. They enter and Ikuto grabs my hand as soon as he passes me, "We're heading out to the balcony for while, I have to give her my gift."

"Yes, Ikuto," Utau teases. "Please do go give her your gift that you really have to give in private while I go set up the table." Ikuto rolls his eyes and he leads me to the small balcony on the other side of the room.

Once we got there, we didn't speak. We look around (we were a good 6 stories high) and see the wide roads that lead to the city are empty. It starts to snow lightly and I look up the sky to watch the flakes fall. Ikuto grips my hand harder and I look up at him because of this.

He starts to say something but Utau interrupts us, "Here, " her head pops out from the tinted sliding doors. "I think you forgot something." She winks at me and hands me over the paper bag I used to put in my Christmas gift for Ikuto. I bow my head at Utau to say thanks and she leaves us to go back to the kitchen.

"You go first," he breathes. I stare at him for a while and stretch my arms out at him, both my hands on the paper bag, like an offering. He takes the bag, our fingers brushing in the process, and he takes out a maroon sweater from it. I take out the (ever convenient) mini tablet and stylus from my pocket and write on it.

Now we have the same sweater, I wrote down. It's kinda cheesy but I knitted it myself and I don't know, I'll just make it up to you when –

I am startled as he starts to strip the sweater he's currently wearing and puts on my gift for him. "I love it," he says as he looks down at his new sweater. "Thank you," he looks back up at me. He closes the distance between us and holds me close to him as he kisses the top of my head. I'm disappointed as he let's go. He fishes a box from his pocket and retrieves a silver chain from it. The chain itself was beautiful, almost white like it had been frozen in an icicle or something. And now I see, dangling from the chain was a small coin sized sapphire gem.

"This is for you," he starts. "I thought sapphire would be great since it's your birthstone." He gestures for me to turn around so he can put the necklace on me. His hands are warm on my neck as he locks the necklace in place and I turn back around to face him. Then I stare back down at the object hanging from my neck.

It was so beautiful.

"Plus," his breath fogs. "You look so much more beautiful in it."

I take a step toward him, and another, and another. I stand on my tiptoes and take his face in my hands. He leans in to make things easier for me and I press my lips to his.

I think any way you would like to tell or show Tsukiyomi Ikuto-san of your affection for him would be the perfect way.

"I love you," he tells me as he kisses me on the forehead. "I love you so much."

Tsukiyomi Ikuto is the gutter I hold on to. It hurt to hold on to him at first but then I sank. Sank down deep into the water and I've been trying my best to swim back up to the top. There were times when I was drowning and there were times when my finger tips were so close to the surface that I could only just reach out to it.

I love him, and although he doesn't exactly know it, I can count on myself to as much as possible make him feel it. I don't exactly know how in the world I was going to tell him I love him for the first time. But I'm sure I'll find a way. After all, love always finds a way, right?

I'm Hinamori Amu, your average 'trying-to-get-over-herself' type of girl and Tsukiyomi Ikuto is the gutter I hold on to.

Who's yours?


I would like to thank everyone who has been with me from the beginning of this story. I am truly happy, really. This is the first "decent" story I've finished. I love all my readers so much. Thank you again, so, so much. And I hope you find your gutter to hold on to.