Akari stared at her packed belongings. She, Luna, Seira, and Ginka would be leaving Japan soon to meet other Elemental Tarot users, and while she was excited, a feeling of unease filled her too.
She sat on the edge of her bed, and a vine brushed her hand, as if trying to ask what was wrong. She had confessed to the others she was half-Daemonia and that was why she could hear the Daemonia's voices, and they still accepted her without hesitation. Later, Luna had privately confessed to Akari why she had become a Daemonia; that Cerebrum had taken Akari's form to force her into despair, and then she had apologized over and over for being weak.
Akari's fingers tensed in her lap, and rage shimmered within her. That someone could be so cruel as to use Luna's precious feelings against her…!
Since that day, she had noticed Luna staring at her more often, and a strange, intense feeling filled her, as if Luna's eyes were staring straight into her soul. She laid her hand over her racing heart; she had begun to steal glances at Luna too whenever she could, and more and more she found herself drawn to Luna's lips.
Luna still had something to tell her, Akari knew. She inhaled a deep breath as she stood; it was as Fuyuna had in that final loop in the Clessida - that she simply had to listen.
She left her bedroom to head to Luna's. The hallway seemed longer than ever, and as the sun set outside, a few dying rays of run seeped through the window curtains. Akari gulped, and with each step she took something dark filled her. Was she scared? Of what? Of what Luna might say? But Cerebrum was defeated and Luna and Ginka saved. Etia and Ariel theorized that what both Akari and Ginka had experienced about Pair Annihilation Phenomenon could shed new light on the Daemonia. They were all still together.
So then, why was Akari still afraid of losing Luna?
After what felt like an eternity, Akari finally found herself in front of Luna's bedroom, and she clumsily knocked on the door before she lost her nerve. "Luna-chan, are you there?" she called out. "It's me, Akari."
Luna opened the door, and surprise was clear on her face. "Oh, Akari-san! Did you need something?"
"I, um…" Akari stammered, and her throat suddenly went dry. What was wrong with her? This wasn't like her at all! Why was she so hesitant now? Why couldn't she just say what was on her mind?
(But wasn't it that same impulsiveness that had led Fuyuna to bottling her feelings? echoed a dark thought in Akari's mind.)
"Why don't you come inside?" Luna said with a faint blush. "I'm almost finished packing."
"I-I can help!" Akari blurted out a she followed Luna inside, and her heart raced faster as the familiar scent of Luna's bedroom filled her nose.
It didn't take long for Akari to help Luna finish packing, and soon they sat together on the edge of Luna's bed, and silence fell over them. Akari reached into the pocket of her skirt, feeling her mother's tarot cards. For the past few days, every time she did a reading for herself, she always pulled the Moon card, and once she had also pulled the Sun and the Lovers, and she had stared, dumbstruck. Were even the cards making fun of her now? She knew the proper meaning of the cards, but perhaps it wasn't that simple. Or maybe she was overthinking things. She couldn't be sure anymore.
Realizing Luna was staring, Akari cleared her throat loudly. "So, um, how are you feeling, Luna-chan?"
Luna blinked in surprise, and then tugged at her gloves. "Well, I've been having trouble sleeping lately."
Akari raised an eyebrow. "Nightmares?"
"Yes, well, don't all Elemental Tarot users have nightmares? Considering our destiny…" Something dark flickered across Luna's face, and she lowered her gaze.
Akari tried to touch Luna's hand, but then thought better of it. "But that's not all, is it?"
Luna shook her head. "I know you're real now, and not Cerebrum in disguise. You almost sacrificed yourself to him to save Seira-san and me. But when I'm trying to sleep, all alone at night, I can't help remembering how Cerebrum took your form to trick me and turn me into a Daemonia, and then I'm scared I'm still trapped in that nightmare…"
"But we're all safe now," Akari said carefully. "Cerebrum is gone, so he won't hurt-"
"Don't you remember what you told me?" Luna cried, and her eyes watered. "Because you have Daemonia blood too, he wanted to turn you into a Daemonia 'queen' and you went with him because he promised to restore me. You suffered so much just to save me…"
Akari tried to smile. "And then you and everyone else saved me too."
Luna rubbed her eyes with her arm. "You're so strong, Akari-san. Even though you can hear the Daemonia's voice, you've never lost your humanity. But I'm weak. I was scared, jealous of Seira-san and Ginka-san, even though we were all friends and teammates, and when Cerebrum turned me into a Daemonia, all I could think about was how I selfishly wanted you all to myself. I had already lost my sister, so I didn't want to lose you too."
"It's not selfish," Akari said without thinking, and her cheeks flushed. "I mean, he was trying to tear us apart, but it's like you said - we'll always be friends and teammates."
"But it's more than that," Luna said softly.
Akari bit her lip. A fire burned within her, one that was unfamiliar yet not unpleasant, and it wanted to burst free. The more she watched Luna, the more that fire grew, and she wanted to understand. Fuyuna had told her to listen, and more than anything she wanted to hear Luna's true feelings. "Luna-chan," she said as she tilted Luna's chin up to meet her gaze. "I know you have something to say, and I'll listen."
Luna's eyes grew wide, and a deep blush came upon her cheeks. She was silent for several tense moments, and she shut her eyes tightly. "I love you, Akari-san," she said finally. "Not as a friend, but more than that. I keep fantasizing about holding you, touching you, and kissing you….!" Her chin quivered, and tears rolled down her cheeks. "I know it's weird, but I just…"
Love. Suddenly everything made sense, and Akari's heart soared. "It's not weird at all," she said as she cupped Luna's face, and she pressed her lips against Luna's.
That fire burst free, and she finally understood the desire that filled her every time she felt gaze upon her. Love. Romance. She could almost giggle; now that she knew its name, it really was an intense, yet beautiful feeling.
When they broke the kiss, Luna's cheeks were a bright red. "A-Akari-san?" she squeaked.
Akari's own cheeks burned too as she found herself suddenly pulled back to reality. "Oh, um, was I being too pushy again? I mean, it just felt so right, because I… I think I love you too, Luna-chan."
Much to Akari's surprise, Luna started laughing, and her eyes twinkled. "I'm so relieved! It's really so simple, isn't it?" She touched Akari's face, gently caressing her cheek, and her smile grew brighter. "Can… can I kiss you again?"
"Of course!" Akari exclaimed.
As their lips met again, Akari pulled Luna into her arms to hold her tight, and Luna's heartbeat against her chest was clear.