A/N - Sorry it took so long to get this last chapter up. That's right, it is the last chapter. Hope it ties up all loose ends. Enjoy!
Oh, Disclaimer, I do not own Fruits Basket.
Chapter 9 - Rain
It was the next night when Tohru regained consciousness. She kept her eyes closed for a while, both too tired to open them and afraid of what she would see when she did. Instead she let her other senses try to get a feel for where she was. She thought she could recognize the feel of a clinic cot, which meant she must have been somewhere like the nurses office. Did she come down with a fever at school? She couldn't remember what had happened for the past few days. She moved her senses down through her body. It ached terribly. She tried to raise a hand but it felt heavy and wouldn't move with her will. She could tell she wasn't wearing her school uniform, but she couldn't tell what it was she was wearing. It felt thin. Maybe a large shirt or yukata. She felt something belt like around her waist. Wait, there was the obi, it must be a yukata then. She opened her eyes. The room she was in was dark, and didn't look at all like a school clinic. She couldn't see all the way up to the ceiling so she looked to her right and left. On her left Hatori sat in a rolling chair with his doctor's coat on. He was sleeping with his head resting on one hand which was in turn resting on the arm of his chair. So they were in his office. Tohru gazed at the sleeping man for a moment, Hatori looked so tired.
She tried to remember what happened. It must have had something to do with Akito's threat a few weeks before. A sudden cough racked her body. She hid under the covers, trying to be as quiet as she could, not wanting to wake up the exhausted doctor. When the fit stopped she returned to her previous position. The hand that had been covering her mouth felt wet, she looked at it and saw red staining her palm. Instantly she remembered everything that Akito had done to her until the moment she had passed out. She shuddered in shame and looked at the doctor again. To have to patch her up, over and over, must be humiliating and tiring for him too. Tohru felt a sharp pain in her chest that had nothing to do with the torture Akito had put her through. She couldn't let Hatori go through any more suffering on her account. She knew that it tore him up inside to know what was going on and be able to do nothing to stop it. She also probably knew that after her initial suicide attempt incident, Hatori probably hadn't let Shigure or any of his household know about what was going on between Tohru and Akito. He was suffering alone, and it was because she loved the family too much to leave them. She had to think of Hatori.
Using a good portion of her strength and willpower Tohru sat up as quietly as she could, and stood. She went to Hatori's desk and pulled a sheet of white paper from his printer and a pen from one of his drawers. She scribbled a quick note, lay it on the pillow she had been resting on moments before, then opened the sliding door into the garden and fled into the cold April rain.
She thought about where she should go while she was making her way quietly to the front gate of the Sohma estate. Most of her friends were Sohmas, so that wouldn't work, especially if she was trying to get away from them. She could live on her own as she did before, but all her belongings and money were at Shigure's house, and she didn't want to go back there. Her two choices were Hana's or Uo's. She could possibly stay at one of their houses until she was able to find a new tent, or get an apartment. But Hana still lived with her parents and brother. That left Uo-chan's
Uotani Arisa, the former Yankee and close friend of both Tohru and her mom, lived alone in a 1 KB apartment, which incidentally, happened to be not too far from the Sohma estate, where she was currently. Having a set course of action Tohru ran off in the direction of Uo's apartment. It was close to 4 in the morning, according to a local clock, by the time Tohru arrived at Uo's. Its true that the places were close to Tokyo standards, but they technically were nearly two miles apart, and considering Tohru was already battered and aching from her meeting with Akito, and the fact that the rain was so thick she could barely see twenty feet in front of her own two bare ones, it was pretty amazing that she was able to get there as fast as she did, which was roughly an hour.
Tohru didn't want to cause trouble for Uo's neighbor's by knocking on her door so early in the morning, not to mention it was fairly common for Uo to work the night shift on weekends, which meant that she wouldn't be back until six, so Tohru just sat next to Uo's door, and waited for the sun to come up. As soon as Tohru sat down she started coughing again. She pressed her wet yukata to her mouth with her arm, pressing it hard against the hacking coughs she had been suppressing all the way over. As the coughs died the last of the energy drained from Tohru's body and she passed out, feverish being out in the rain while still weak from Akito's torture, against the wall of Uo's building.
Uo trudged up the stairs to her apartment exactly three minutes after her shift ended. She was exhausted after a double shift on top of two night shifts in a row and knew that if today hadn't been Saturday anyway, she would have definitely skipped class. "Stupid lazy son-of-a-bitc-" Uo silently cursed the coworker she had replaced that night not paying attention to anything until she nearly tripped over a sodden mass on the ground next to her door. Uo looked down, her surprise giving way instantly to concern as she recognized the figure slumped against the wall. "Tohru!" she whispered loudly, kneeling down to examine the unconscious girl. She pushed back the windswept hair from her face and felt a high heat radiating from her friend even through the chill of the still damp robe covering her. Without a second thought Uo stood and unlocked and opened the door. Once the door was pushed open Uo gathered Tohru up in her arms, taken aback for a moment at how light her friend had gotten, wincing when she felt Tohru's ribs standing out prominently through the wet yukata. Uo hurried inside and headed immediately to the bathroom. She set the unconscious girl down on the tile floor, resting the limp form against her own sturdy body and turned on the hot water. Pulling out her phone from a pocket in her backpack, which she still had on and which was now getting wet, she flipped through the speed dial and called the only person she knew she could rely on at this moment, because she was the one other person who cared as much about Tohru as she did.
"Moshi Moshi," a young male voice said into the phone.
"Megumi," Uo said, recognizing the voice, "I need to speak to Saki, its very important."
"un," She heard the boy acknowledge the urgency and put down the phone. A few moments later another familiar, monotone voice picked up.
"Moshi, Moshi," Saki said into the phone, "What's wrong Arisa? Megumi said it was important."
"Sorry for waking you, Saki," Uo answered knowing her friend's distain for mornings. "But we have a situation, I just got home to find Tohru passed out on my doorstep." Arisa could feel a tension gather over the phone, "She has a high fever and looks like she has gone through some sort of hell. Can you come over and help me? The door is unlocked and I am in the shower with her, trying to get her warmed up, so come right in."
"I will be there as soon as I can," Hana said and hung up.
Carefully Arisa stripped Tohru of the rain-drenched yukata she was wearing. Then with further care, Arisa picked up the now trembling girl and put her in the heated bath, careful to keep her limp head from falling below the surface. Arisa was just resting against the side of the bathtub, wondering what could have happened to Tohru to make her so bruised and thin when she heard her door open and Saki call into the small apartment. "Saki, we are still in the bathroom," Arisa said, her voice reverberating off the tile. Saki glided in, wearing her usual black skirt and top, though a bit plainer than normal, and surveyed the scene in front of her, eyes falling upon the unconscious and clearly feverish Tohru in the tub.
"Her energy is very weak," Saki said, the smallest bit of sadness touching her monotonal voice.
"Weaker than any other unconscious person with a fever?" Arisa asked slightly sarcastically, but also quite interested in the answer.
"Yes," was all the reply the Goth girl would give her. They both stared at their friend in concern.
"Saki, could you get out the futon for me?" Arisa asked suddenly after a few minutes of silence. "I think she has warmed in there long enough." Saki nodded silently and exited the bathroom. Arisa went to the cabinet and pulled out a clean, fluffy towel. Saki returned to the bathroom as Arisa was contemplating how to get Tohru from the bath, dried, and to the futon. Saki held out her hands silently for the towel and Arisa handed it over with a small smile, glad she had called on Saki for reinforcement. Arisa then bent down over the tub and pulled the warm Tohru from it, holding the unconscious girl in her arms bridal style. Saki methodically dried every part of their friend's wet form, facial expression passive as it passed over whip lashes, burns, rope marks, and various other vicious marks on the pale skin. When Tohru was dry, the girls carried her into the main room; which served as both a bedroom and living room. Arisa lay her on the futon and brought out one of her own large t-shirts, silently asking for Saki's help once more to gently pull it on her. Once she was dressed and tucked under the covers, an ice pillow under her head and a wet cloth applied to her forehead, the two girls sat across from each other and looked across the inert body of their friend and into each other's eyes, confusion and concern etched in both pairs.
"We should take her to the hospital," Saki said finally. Arisa nodded silently and headed back to the bathroom to grab her phone.
"Let me call someone who can help us." Arisa said coming back into the main room and sitting down with her phone open in her hand. She dialed a number and held it to her ear. "Kureno," she said as soon as she heard him pick up, dropping all formalities. "I need your help. Do you have access to a car?" Minutes later Kureno rushed into the apartment.
"Arisa, are you alright?" He asked the yankee, losing his normally calm demeanor.
"Calm down," Arisa said coming up and giving him a quick kiss. "I'm fine, I need help on behalf of my friend." She motioned to the unconscious Tohru still lying unconscious on the futon.
"Isn't that, Tohru Honda?" Kureno asked blankly, staring at the girl.
"How do you know Tohru?" Saki asked, standing up and staring hard at the rooster.
"I'm a Sohma, and I still serve Akito-sama" He answered ruefully, "She has been coming by the main house quite a bit recently." He looked apologetically at Arisa, silently asking forgiveness for his secrecy. She gave him a preoccupied smile.
"Lets just get her to a hospital," Arisa said, trying to put the matter behind them. "She is badly hurt and has a high fever. I don't think we can do much for her here." Kureno nodded, wondering silently why the girl wasn't at Hatori's clinic. He was sure the injuries had been made by Akito-sama, the past few weeks he had rarely been able to see the patriarch and often heard female screams emanating from the room. This must have been the reason. Kureno let Arisa gather Tohru up in her arms, still covered by the blanket, and held the door open, bowing the three girls out of the apartment by habit. He unlocked the door and Arisa, after set Tohru in the back seat with Saki, climbed into the passenger seat next to Kureno in the drivers seat.
Arisa tapped her foot impatiently as Kureno drove, never once going over the speed limit. She thought his sincerity was highly endearing, however sometimes she just wanted to hit him into not caring about every little thing so much. Like now. They had a perfectly good reason to be rushing to the hospital, but Kureno didn't want to break the law by going over the speed limit, it really was infuriating.
At long last they arrived at the hospital, and in the intervening time Arisa noticed as she picked Tohru up to carry her into the emergency room that her fever had gone up some more. The yankee swore under her breath and hurried through the double doors into the hospital, with Saki and Kureno hot on her heels.
"Please help her!" Arisa said when she arrived at the front desk. The nurse took one look at Tohru and called for doctor, who came immediately accompanied by another nurse and a bed.
Once the questions that the doctors asked were answered to the best of their ability, Arisa and Saki sat next to the bed where Tohru lay. She was hooked up to an IV drip containing nutritional supplements and a fever reducer the two friends waited impatiently for the medicine to take effect and her to wake up. Kureno decided that he would hold off on contacting Shigure and Hatori until Tohru awoke and gave him permission to. He knew that she had been in Akito's company until recently, which meant that she had to have been recovering with Hatori when she ran off to Arisa's place. Hatori was an excellent doctor, so she would have received medical help with him. In his mind, the only conclusion he could draw was that Tohru had purposefully wanted to separate herself from the Sohmas. And if that was her wish, he didn't feel that it was in his right to make her go back. The loyal rooster took a seat next to Arisa, and didn't object when she took his hand for comfort.
It was dark outside when Tohru awoke once more. She could tell just by looking at the stark white ceiling that this wasn't her friend Uo's apartment. The strong smell of disinfectant told her at once that she was in a hospital. The fluorescent lights from the hallway hurt her eyes, but she ignored the pain and looked around, sitting up as she scanned the room. Hana was in a chair on her left hunched over sleeping on the bed with her head on her hands. On her right she saw Uo sleeping with her head on someone's shoulder, but she couldn't quite make out who the person was. She thought he looked familiar, but the dim light in the room cast vast shadows across his face, making his identity hard to see. She sat back against her pillows, looking at the profile, then it hit her where she had seen his face before. It was the Sohma who picked her up off the street to go to Akito the first time. Kureno. What was the rooster, Akito's loyal servant, doing in her hospital room if it wasn't to keep a watch for Akito? But that raised the question of what Uo's head was doing on his shoulder. And now that she looked closer, she saw that their hands were clasped together as well. But Kureno was Akito's servant, Tohru reminded herself, shaking her head slightly. He would never get involved with anyone, outside the family or in. Not to mention Uo wouldn't be involved with anyone without her knowledge. Kureno was obviously here to take her back to Akito. She was trying to get away from the family, why couldn't they get the hint? Akito even told her to leave.
She smiled sadly to herself, it just meant that she would have to leave Uo and Hana as well. It was the last thing she wanted to do, but there didn't seem to be anyway around it. Tohru quietly rummaged around in the bedside cabinet and found a pen and a piece of paper. "Thank you for everything you have done for me, and I am so sorry to leave like this. Please don't come after me." Tohru looked at the note for a moment, then scribbled a post script. "Kureno-san, please tell Akito that I have left the family and that Yuki should not be punished." She left the pad on her pillow, and quietly crept out of the room.
It was raining again when she stepped barefoot outside into the night, however, for some reason, the rain she was walking in this time felt warm. She strolled through the streets, face upturned to the rain, with a big smile on her face. She completely ignored all the people she passed, huddled under their umbrellas, wondering why there was a girl in a thin yukata wandering around barefoot in the rain. Tohru noticed no one as she crossed into the park, not even looking around as an off duty nurse recognized her and tried to steer her back towards the hospital. To Tohru's feverish brain she felt as good as if she were walking on a beach in perfect weather. The girl had no sense of where she was going as she meandered through the streets, only one thought consuming all her brainpower; get as far from the Sohma's as possible. Tohru didn't know when darkness overtook her. She wasn't aware of how long she had been walking when she finally settled into the warm, comforting arms of never-ending sleep
Hatori stood over the cherry-maple coffin, looking into the frail girl's face. Tohru had been found dead behind an alley dumpster three days before, by the owner of the vegetable shop that the dumpster had belonged to. The policeman who answered the call had recognized her from when her mom was killed a few years previously. It seemed that the same policeman had been on her mother's case, and had remembered Tohru's loving personality. It had taken a few calls to get back to the Sohma's that Tohru's body had been found, but eventually everyone knew. They said that she had died from fever and starvation. Her body had been weakened over the past few weeks due to her visits with Akito and being outside in the rain for eight hours had finished the job. It was no doubt in the Sohma's mind that it was Akito who had killed her, but officially, no one could do anything.
Instead the family sent her to the best funeral home and splurged on a beautiful coffin. Cherry-maple with a white satin interior and silver fastenings, it was simple and beautiful. Complementing Tohru's beauty perfectly. The funeral home had done an excellent job as well. They had placed her in the pink dress Kyo had chosen from her clothes and done her make up so that by the time Hatori came to look in the coffin at the open-casket service, even he was fooled into the faintest possible hope that she may have been still alive. He still thought that maybe, just maybe, she would open her eyes and smile, that warm loving smile, at him once more.
Hatori pulled out a folded piece of printer paper with a few words scribbled across it. He knew the note by heart, having read it over and over again since he first found it on her vacant bed four days previously. As his eyes ran across the familiar words large water drops fell to the page and blurred the writing. It wasn't until he felt his cheeks that he realized that he was the one who was crying, He looked back down at Tohru's final words to him "I apologize for everything I have put you through. I love everyone in the Sohma household, even Akito. Please do not blame him for what happened to me. Hatori, I love you dearly and am very sorry I could not tell you in person. Please do not look for me. – Tohru"
A/N - Ok guys, That's all for this story! Thanks to everyone for being so patient! i know it has been a hideously long time since i last updated... so sorry about that...
Translations (most of these i have probably translated for you a dozen times already, but i will do it again anyway)
Yukata - A cotton robe, thinner and more casual than a kimono
Moshi Moshi - how you answer a telephone
1KB means 1 (bedroom) kitchen bath (Culture Note, in japan the bathroom is not where the toilet is! that is the WC [water closet] the bathroom is where [coincidentally] the BATH is :D baths in japan are a big thing. a traditional bath is called an ofuro or just a furo. you normally shower and scrub yourself, rinse yourself clean THEN get into the bath and soak)