A/N: Last chapter! Hope you enjoy it!

A little explanation: the song I use is sung by Slimane, and it's very coincidental that I found it just after beginning this story! Indeed he uses many 'Et si' which is translated by 'What if', and the song is so exactly what I wanted for the end of this fic that I couldn't just ignore it ;)

Chapter 6: What if?

When she woke up, Kaori dimly wondered why she was feeling so good. She had spent the last week crying and hugging herself, in a catatonic state as the Professor had told Miki, Umibozu and Saeko, but now she was feeling almost like her old self. And then she realized why.

She was half-lying on a still sleeping Ryo, in her bedroom of the Professor's clinic, on her bed, under her blanket. He was fully dressed, but he had his right arm around her. She could see the bandage on his left shoulder, under his T-shirt, and that made her remember what had happened.

He had woken up, he had come to see her, and he had told her he loved her. She remembered it very clearly. He had looked so vulnerable at the time, obviously afraid of her reaction, but she had simply felt bewilderment then a joy so intense she had dissolved into tears, since she never would've expected something like that from him.

And now she had a decision to make. She loved him too, so she could be with him at last, a couple discovering each other. But she had killed to be with him. And that wasn't easy to forget. And he was a killer too, he had confessed it. She knew from the beginning that he had killed many people, but this was quite different. She had to accept his past to be with him, to be able to love him fully. What was she going to do?

Carefully she extracted herself from his embrace. He groaned a little when she got up, but she tucked the blanket around him and caressed his cheek, where a cute stubble was growing, and it appeased him. She quickly got dressed, then watched him for long minutes.

He looks so peaceful when he's asleep, she thought. Like a child. Like the child he never was.

The thought made her heart constrict in pain. She couldn't begin to fathom how much he suffered in his life, and now he was suffering because of her. He had unveiled his feelings towards her, he had offered himself to her, and she had to think about it?

But the truth was, she was utterly lost. She needed him badly, she needed him like air for breathing, but she needed to be away from him, to think about all that had happened, and to accept it. She had become a murderer, even if she had killed to protect him and herself, but she had to come to terms with it. And even if she knew Ryo could help her with that, she also knew she had to find the strength alone.

She had to leave now. Otherwise she would never be able to go away from him. She loved him too much. So she grabbed her few belongings and silently walked out. She had to be quick, dawn was breaking and the nurse would soon come to see her. She exited the clinic, fortunately she didn't meet anybody. And outside, she called a taxi.

Once inside the warm car, her thoughts wandered. She remembered the conversation she had had with Saeko, her brother's fiancée, about Ryo, three days after the incident.

The police inspector had come to her bedroom and introduced herself. Kaori had been very surprised to meet her, as her brother had wanted to wait to make introductions, but she hadn't been able to react properly, still in her catatonic state. And Saeko had talked about Ryo, making her cry.

"You know, Kaori, I want things to be very clear between us. I was in love with your brother, I was even engaged to him. And there won't be another man for me to love, ever. I've known Ryo since a long time now, he's a good friend for me. Probably my best friend, even if I'll never tell him this. He knows me better than anyone, but I can't say the same about him. He's terribly secretive and doesn't let anyone be too close to him.

"But you, you're special. He has changed much since he met you. And when he believed you dead, he died from the inside. I think he loves you, Kaori. I don't want to be meddlesome, but I don't know if he realizes it or if he'll tell you someday. So please be patient with him. He can be very obtuse and elusive, but he's faithful and tough. You won his heart, even if he doesn't know it yet. So, I beg you, don't let him down. He needs you just as much as you need him."

Saeko was right, of course, and Kaori was happy to know her at last, even if her pin-up appearance was a little annoying, but she didn't tell her. She had listened, she had thought about her words, she had been comforted in her love for the sweeper. And now he himself had revealed his love to her.

Yes, she couldn't leave like that, without letting him know what she was up to. He had trusted her so much, he had almost given his life for her, she couldn't let him down now. So she made the taxi stop at a post office and went inside. She wrote a letter and had it sent to Ryo, to be delivered one hour later. It was very expensive, but she still had the money he had sent her.

Once this done, she returned to the taxi and asked to be driven to Kyoto. It was quite a long trip, but she wanted to be out of Tokyo for a while. And she had a goal there, an orphanage run by a friend of hers who was always in need of a hand. There she would be useful, and maybe there she would be able to find herself again.

During the trip she only thought of Ryo, of his endearing confession, of his warm and tender embrace, of his lips on her hair, of his wonderful smell, of his dark twinkling eyes. How she would miss him! But she needed the time to admit her crime and pay for it by doing some good. I'll soon come back, Ryo, she thought, I'll come back to you.

When Ryo woke up, he felt good at first, wrapped up as he was in Kaori's blanket with her sweet perfume on it, but then it dawned on him: he was alone in the bed! He sat bolt upright, making his head spin yet again, and searched the room with his eyes, but he had to see the evidence: Kaori had left. Her things were gone.

The first emotion that hit him was hurt. It hurt him to wake up alone after his confession of the night and the wonderful time they had shared sleeping together. But second, worry came. Why did she have to leave after all he had told her? After she had opened her arms for him? After she had been so close to him? Was she still in danger? Was it something else?

And then, just as he was getting to his feet and ready to run after her, he heard a soft knock on the door. A charming nurse came in, but his eyes didn't linger on her appealing curves, his mind was too focused on Kaori.

"Saeba-san?" she asked in surprise. "You're awake? And what are you doing here? Where's Makimura-san?"

"I don't know", he admitted, heart heavy with worry and hurt. "I came to talk to her, but she's gone."


"I think so."

"But... in her state? I have to tell the Professor right away! Please go to your room, Saeba-san. You're not supposed to be up yet. The Professor will come to see you in a few minutes."

He obeyed, feeling miserable. Why did she leave so abruptly? It didn't make any sense. She had seemed so appeased last night, in his arms. And he himself had felt so much better, having her right next to his heart, her warm and soft body against his. And now he was all alone again.

He went to lie on his bed again, but five minutes hadn't passed when someone knocked at his door. Thinking that it was the Professor, he said "Come in."

But to his surprise, a delivery man came in and asked him, quite bored "Are you Saeba Ryo?"

"Yes", he answered after a second, bewildered.

"I have this for you."

The guy gave him an envelope, handed him a pad to sign, and left. Ryo hastily tore the thing open, he had recognized Kaori's handwriting.


I'm really sorry, but I have to leave for a while. So much has happened since six months, I'm completely lost. Believe me, it wrenches me to leave you after what you told me last night, and I had a tough time leaving your side this morning. But I have to think about all that happened. I killed a man. I don't regret it, since I killed him to save you. But I have a hard time accepting it. I'm sorry, but that's a hardship I have to pass alone.

Please give me time. I'll come back to you, I promise. You mean too much to me for me to leave you for good.

Yours lovingly

Makimura Kaori

His heart sank, and he felt tears in the corner of his eyes. She left him. She was away again. And even if he understood her need to be alone, he had trouble accepting it.

Breathing hard, he fought down the lump in his throat. He didn't want anybody to see him this weak, not even the Professor who had yet seen him in a much worse state. And he thought hard.

Kaori needed time. He would give it to her. He would leave her alone and trust her to come back soon. She had written that she was sorry, after all. And he loved her. He would do anything for her, even be away from her if that was what she needed.

And she had written 'Yours lovingly', and that 'he meant too much to her to leave him for good'. Did that mean that she loved him too? Hope rose in his chest, swelling like a balloon and making him smile a little. Yes, he would be patient for her. And in the meantime, he had work to do.

Three months that Ryo was waiting impatiently for Kaori's return. He had healed well, he had resumed his job as City Hunter, he had tidied and scrubbed his apartment until it gleamed to be ready for his princess. He had put all her things in the bedroom next to his, hoping that it would be temporary and that she would soon share his.

He had even started to become friends with Umibozu and Miki, who had bought a small café, and had helped them fitting it out. Now he went to the Cat's Eye café every morning, drinking his black coffee while trying to flirt with Miki and ending up under a tray thrown by Umibozu.

But this morning, fleeing the chill of the cold January morning, when he set foot inside the café he immediately froze. Something was amiss. Closing the door behind him, he stayed on the doormat, listening intently, looking carefully around him. Behind the counter, Umibozu was staring at him from behind his sunglasses, impassive as always like the true professional he was, but Miki had tensed. A tiny movement in her shoulders, but he noticed it.

"Ryo?" Miki asked him with a would-be normal voice. "Is everything okay?"

"You tell me, Miki-chan", he said calmly, gazing intently at her.

She blushed a little, but next to her Falcon asked him "The usual?"


Ryo went to sit on his favourite chair, but this time he did nothing to bother Miki. He was feeling her presence. His angel was here. Her enticing smell was floating around him, driving him crazy. Listening with all his might, he even heard a faint movement behind the door leading to the couple's living place. So she came back, and she was hiding from him.

He didn't know what to make of this. He was slowly dying waiting for her, and she was shying away from him. But maybe she was still waiting for him. He had to make the first move again. She was the fragile one, he was the tough guy, or so he thought, not wanting to ponder the fact that she was the one who had the power to bring him to his knees.

He had to tell her that he was waiting for her too. But how, if she didn't want to see him? He had to think about it. He drained his coffee and rose to leave.

"Good day to you, Miki, Umi."

He left, leaving the couple of bartenders baffled at his normal demeanour and his nice words, something they weren't used to from him, and went to walk in the bustling streets of his neighbourhood.

How could he make her understand without talking to her? A letter? Would it be enough? But he wasn't good with words. How to solve this problem?

After a few hours, he walked inside a small restaurant he didn't know and sat down at a small table in a corner. He hadn't paid any attention at the place he came in, but he soon realized that he was in a French restaurant. He ordered some promising delicacy, something called 'boeuf bourguignon', and while waiting for his plate he listened to the music playing softly. He noticed that the songs playing were simultaneously translated on a screen near the counter, and he absent-mindedly read the texts.

When suddenly a song jerked him out of his reverie. A song telling exactly what he felt, as if it had been written for his situation, a song perfectly fitted for his problem. So when the waiter brought him his plate, before he could wolf it down in relish he asked him about the song, and the waiter soon came with the translation and the details. But Ryo handed him a USB key. He would make something with this song.

Kaori had arrived two days ago from Kyoto, and she had phoned Miki. She couldn't go see Ryo yet. She was dying being away from him, but she was shy. She couldn't just knock on his door and say "Hi!". After three months being apart, that wouldn't do.

Miki had invited her to the place she shared now with Umibozu. The two of them were a strange-looking but happy couple, and Kaori was delighted for her best friend. After six years, they were finally together, and that was good to watch.

But for her, things weren't so easy. She knew she had to make the first move now, as he had already declared himself, and as she was the one who had left. But it was so bloody difficult! She didn't know where to start. She hadn't even had the courage to come to the café and see him! She missed him terribly, as if he was keeping a large chunk of her heart and her lungs with him, but she had hid behind a stupid door because she wasn't ready to see him yet. How ridiculous! she thought.

And this morning wasn't better. She had tried to convince herself to make an appearance in the café, to wait for his arrival, but she was still hiding behind the door. Miki had tried to reason to her, telling her that Ryo was all ready to welcome her with no reproach in his thoughts, but she had trouble believing it. How could he not resent her? After what he had told her, she had fled him!

But she froze as the door opened and she recognized his footsteps. His aura was unique, even if it was peaceful right now, but she could feel it, vibrating in every inch of her soul. She longed to see him. She was about to pull the door open and run into the café, into his arms, when his words stopped her dead on her feet.

"Hi, Miki! Could you give this to Kaori, please?"

"Ryo, what are you talking about? Kaori isn't here!"

"Of course she is, Miki dear. It's okay, don't worry. But please give this to her. The translation is inside."


But the door closed shut. Kaori had heard him leaving, and her heart squeezed in dismay. He knew! And he had something for her! A gift from him! It was so heartwarming she hugged herself in utter happiness, wishing it were his arms instead of hers.

Miki came to see her a minute later.

"You heard?" she asked with a sympathetic look.

"Yes", Kaori nodded.

"I'm sorry, but he's very perceptive. It's almost impossible to surprise him."

"Don't be sorry. Maybe it's better this way. What did he give you for me?"

"A CD. Here you are."

Kaori took it, puzzled. What could he have done with this?

"If you want to play it, use the stereo system", Miki offered, pointing to the machine on the nearest chest of drawers.

She left then, and Kaori put the CD in the stereo. A song played, a man with a pleasant voice was singing with emotion, but she didn't understand a single word. So she looked at the sheet of paper folded in the case and read carefully, putting the song on 'repeat'. And what she read upset her.

Et si tu connaissais ma vie What if you knew my life

Et si mon coeur t'avait tout dit What if my heart had told you everything

Et si je t'avais pas menti? What if I hadn't lied to you?

Et si j'avais osé parler What if I had dared speak

Et si mes mots t'avaient touchée What if my words had moved you

Et si tu savais pardonner? What if you knew how to forgive?

Même si c'est mort Even if it's over

Même si t'as peur Even if you're scared

Même si j'ai tort Even if I'm wrong

Si ce n'est qu'un leurre If it's just a decoy

Que dans le décor That in the scenery

Tout est cassé Everything is broken

C'est pas fini nous deux It's not over for the two of us

Ce n'est qu'le début nous deux It's only the beginning for the two of us

Même si c'est fou nous deux Even if it's crazy for the two of us

Je t'en prie, reviens I beg you to come back

C'est pas fini nous deux It's not over for the two of us

Ce n'est qu'le début nous deux It's only the beginning for the two of us

Même si c'est douloureux Even if it hurts

Je t'en prie, reviens I beg you to come back

Nous deux, nous deux The two of us, the two of us

Nous deux, nous deux The two of us, the two of us

Et si les souvenirs, les photos What if the memories, the photos

Et si c'était nous, c'était beau What if it was us, it was beautiful

Et si ça vaut ce que ça vaut? What if it's worth what it's worth?

Et si tu penses un peu à moi What if you think a little about me

Et si je te manque quelquefois What if you miss me sometimes

Et si tu as besoin de mes bras? What if you need my arms?

Même si c'est mort Even if it's over

Même si j'ai peur Even if I'm scared

Même si t'as tort Even if you're wrong

Si ce n'est qu'un leurre If it's just a decoy

J'nous jette un sort I put a spell on us

Pour oublier To forget

C'est pas fini nous deux It's not over for the two of us

Ce n'est qu'le début nous deux It's only the beginning for the two of us

Même si c'est fou nous deux Even if it's crazy for the two of us

Je t'en prie, reviens I beg you to come back

C'est pas fini nous deux It's not over for the two of us

Ce n'est qu'le début nous deux It's only the beginning for the two of us

Même si c'est douloureux Even if it hurts

Je t'en prie, reviens I beg you to come back

Nous deux, nous deux The two of us, the two of us

Nous deux, nous deux The two of us, the two of us

Si j'avais l'art et la manière If I had the skill and style

De retourner en arrière To go back in track

De te dire 'ça ira' To tell you it'll be all right

Et si nous ne sommes que poussière And if we're only dust

Et si l'amour ça se perd And if love gets lost

Tant pis, nous deux ça ira Never mind, it'll be all right for the two of us

C'est pas fini nous deux It's not over for the two of us

Ce n'est qu'le début nous deux It's only the beginning for the two of us

Même si c'est fou nous deux Even if it's crazy for the two of us

Je t'en prie, reviens I beg you to come back

C'est pas fini nous deux It's not over for the two of us

Ce n'est qu'le début nous deux It's only the beginning for the two of us

Même si c'est douloureux Even if it hurts

Je t'en prie, reviens I beg you to come back

Nous deux, nous deux The two of us, the two of us

Nous deux, nous deux The two of us, the two of us

C'est pas fini It's not over

She was sobbing at the end of the song. It was such a beautiful song, even in French, and so like Ryo. It was as if he had told the author to write about his feelings, and the guy did it exactly. She extracted the CD and put it and the paper with the translation in her duffel bag, with all her things, and she went to the café.

The place was empty except for the bartenders. Miki looked carefully at her while Falcon shot her a distracted look and turned back to his cup washing, and the young woman asked her wistfully "So, was the song okay?"

"It was beautiful", Kaori said, eyes still losing water.

"That I can see", Miki said gently. "Ready to meet him?"

"Yes. Now I'm ready."

Miki nodded once, and Falcon said simply "See you tomorrow, Kaori-chan."

Kaori thanked them profusely, making them blush, and gestured at an idle taxi. Five minutes later she was at the foot of Ryo's building. She took her time to walk up the stairs, thinking about what she would say to him. She wanted to apologise, she wanted to tell him exactly what she had done in the orphanage, she wanted to share her feelings with him. She wanted to tell him how much she had missed him. She wanted to tell him how much she loved him.

She arrived on his doorstep. She was about to knock when the door opened, and he faced her, his face full of the unknown emotion. And when she blushed, she understood. It was love. Unconditional and irrational love.

He stepped back, still not saying a word but eyes becoming dangerously bright. So she entered his apartment, followed him to her bedroom with all her things neatly arranged in a welcome gesture, still without a word. She lay her duffel bag on the bed, turned to face him and walked to him. She rose her head to look at him in the eye and murmured, a hand caressing his cheek "I love you, Ryo."

And he bent his head as she rose hers some more, and their lips met at last. As they embraced each other, hands wandering wildly, Kaori felt like she was melting inside him, fireworks exploding everywhere in her body. That she had always belonged to him, that her place in this world was there, nestled against his large chest. There she felt whole, she felt herself, she was healing.

"Kaori", he whispered as they pulled away to take some air. "I'm so glad you came back."

"Thank you for having waited for me", she said, eyes blurring fast. "And thank you for the song, it's so beautiful."

"My angel", he said, making her cry. "Please don't leave me ever again. Stay with me, always."

And then she saw his eyes full of tears, she saw his wet cheeks, so she kissed them, licking the moisture away.

Everything went naturally from there. They discovered each other, she became his and he became hers, she gave herself to him and he gently took her, making love and hugging and cuddling and caressing each other all day and all night long.

When another dawn broke, she regained some sense of reality. She was feeling so good, so whole! But she had one more thing to tell him, about their future. He was slowly stirring under her, so she kissed him awake, caressing his soft skin and enjoying the sight of his sleepy eyes and beautiful face. She said "Good morning, my love."

"Hmmmmh, I love you calling me that. But wait, I love you, period."

"I love you, Ryo. But I have to tell you something."

He straightened, looking a little troubled, and he heart squeezed in dismay. She knew that she had hurt him a lot by leaving, and even if he obviously forgave her, she knew he would have a tough time forgetting it. And she would never forgive herself. But she went on.

"I assume you'll keep up the job as City Hunter."

"Do you want me to?" he asked her seriously. "Or do you want me to quit?"

"No, I want you to go on doing it. This city needs you. The best sweeper that can be found. And the best man I could find. But I want to do it with you. I want to be your partner."

"You don't have to do it because of your brother", he said gently, caressing her cheek and making her blush.

"It's not for my brother", she corrected him with a smile. "It's for me. It's just so that I can be with you, always, and have your back. But I'm not a sweeper. You are. I won't use a gun anymore, unless in absolute necessity. But I want to be your partner, in your job and in your life."

"And so are you", he said, his eyes full of love. "Since the very first day, you've been my partner, Kaori. It's just that it took time for me to realize it. We are City Hunter, both of us."

And she kissed him to seal the deal. Yes, she was City Hunter as much as he was. For now and for ever.

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