Lost Fragments @teamcap
Stage 10: Forgiveness

Ah, the last one I'll publish on this day, January 21st, hehe. Also, in case if you didn't know, Totally Not Adex here on FFN will be updating his fanfic. It's called "The Last Beast". Do check it out. It's one of the best Spe fics. :D

Also, LF C10. Aaaahhhh. Enjoy~

Stage 10 – Forgiveness

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...

"Wait, what?" Sun's eyes widened in shock, flinching from his position from the sudden request. They were not serious about that, right?

"Please, Sun. Take us there. I need to tell him something." Sapphire pleaded, grabbing her wallet in her satchel. "I'll pay you if you want."

"Hold on." Sun raised his arms in the air in a defensive position, still looking at the couple with surprise. "I'm sorry but I can't... even if you do pay me. I have to deliver a lot of stuff today and taking you guys to mister Richard's place will ruin my schedule."

"Sun, you're the only person who knows where he lives." Ruby interjected, giving Sapphire's hand a soft squeeze in hopes to calm her. "We just need to go to his place. This is important."

Sun let out a sigh, jerking his head to his left, looking at the wall clock. He had thirty minutes left before delivering those ten items placed in the truck. He had to be cautious while driving as well. He didn't want to end up like mister Richard. How could he collect money, which was worth one billion yen, if he ever got incapacitated? Besides, he didn't want to live a life with guilt flooding in his heart. He couldn't take that. "I'm sorry, but... I have to do my job. I can't waste a minute on these deliveries." He apologized, grabbing another box from the counter and took it outside.

Sapphire could only sigh at the courier's words. She understood him. It was always necessary to act like a professional in the workplace, and she knew Sun was just doing his best to act like one in spite of his young age. "Come on." She squeezed Ruby's hand, taking him outside.

Sapphire didn't hesitate to go to Sun's workplace on the next day to ask for his help. She didn't care how much it would cost her. All she wanted was to go to Richard's place and tell him that she had forgiven him for causing that accident. She had no idea whether it would fill the missing shallow feeling in her heart but she had to at least try. It was the right thing to do, after all.

"Hey, calm down." Ruby stopped in his tracks, going in front of Sapphire in hopes to stop her. He placed his right hand on her shoulder. She stopped, and looked at him. She sighed. "It's alright. We're not in a hurry. We can find another way. Maybe some of our friends know."

Sapphire bit her lip and stared at their intertwined hands. She swallowed hard, allowing herself to go in a trance, thinking who else would know about Richard's place besides Sun.

She took a deep breath.

"Rakutsu..."

"Wait, what?" Ruby asked, his eyebrows furrowed, confused from the sudden name. Who was this Rakutsu guy? How come he hadn't met him?

"You know him as superintendent Lack-Two... Some call him Blake." Sapphire pointed out, removing the confusion from Ruby's face. He sighed.

Oh. Ruby thought, now knowing the person. He got used to calling Rakutsu as 'Lack-Two' as a part of his well-known codename in the international police. Rakutsu may be younger than them, but the guy had some skills. He was already in the superintendent rank at such a young age and he never failed a single mission from his job. Some girls at Rakutsu's age started calling him as 'Mister Perfect' because of that. It made sense as to why Sapphire mentioned his name, though. Rakutsu was a police officer, so he must knew something about Richard. Right?

"I don't know if he knew, but we should at least try and ask him. I never got to know how my dad and my aunt died, but I recalled Blue stating something about Rakutsu being on the case to ask someone with regards to the accident. He must know something."

"I see." Ruby understood, nodding his head slowly. It wouldn't hurt to try, right?

"I could take you there..." Sun proposed, making the couple look at him with surprise. "I mean..." He swallowed hard in hopes to remove the lump in his throat. As much as he wanted to help them, there was nothing he could do. He had to deliver all the stuff in his truck. "I have to deliver something to the police station, so I thought… I thought I could drop you guys there..."

Ruby and Sapphire took a glance at each other before turning their gaze to Sun. Sapphire smiled at the courier, nodding in response. "We appreciate that. Thank you, Sun."

"I-It's the least I could do." Sun responded, a cat-like smile appeared on his lips as his right fingers scratched the back of his head. "Come on, you guys should hop in the truck. No payment needed."

...

...

...

...

"Special delivery!" Sun yelled cheerfully, his legs opening the door while his arms were occupied with a medium-sized box. He approached a brunette man, who was slightly older than him, making the man stopped typing some important data on the computer. "Hey, mister perfect!"

Rakutsu let out a sigh, swiveling his chair to the left, and faced Sun with a stoic expression.

Sun's cheerful smile disappeared because of that. Was it wrong to call him 'Mister Perfect'?

"If you're looking for Looker, he's in the hallway." Rakutsu said, standing up. He watched Sun nod at his words as the courier turned his heel to his left, heading straight to the hallway. Rakutsu crossed his arms on his chest and fixed his gaze at the couple. His eyes widened in shock at their sudden visit. "Sapphire, how are you feeling?"

"I'm..." Sapphire bit her lip, thinking of an answer to his question. She was feeling better, slowly yet surely, but she didn't understand why she was out of words from his question. It was probably because of this shallow feeling left in her heart. It was probably the fact that she hadn't forgiven the man yet. She didn't know. She couldn't tell.

"I'm not expecting for an immediate answer, don't worry." Rakutsu reassured.

Sapphire could only nod at his words. She was glad he understood her situation.

"Anyway, what brings you here?"

"I..." Sapphire was out of words. She felt a lump in her throat and did her best to swallow it. She tried speaking again but her voice wouldn't come out, which was strange. She thought she was feeling better once she read her mother's letter, but why did the shallowness in her heart deepened whenever she would think about her family's death. Was this normal? She bit her lip as her face darkened. Rakutsu was a busy man. She shouldn't waste his time. She had to say their reason why they visited him.

"Did you investigate someone who was there during the accident weeks ago?" Ruby asked, giving Sapphire's hand a soft squeeze. Her mother's letter may have helped her, but it still hurt her whenever she recalled her family's death, especially after knowing the truth from the man who accidentally killed them.

"A man named Richard?" Rakutsu asked, arching an eyebrow. Ruby could only nod at his question. "I have. He was in a comma for three weeks, so I wasn't able to ask him some questions with regards to the accident. I only got the information once he woke up three days after his comma. I was planning to tell Sapphire about it. However... Blue told me not to. She said it might make things worse... to which it did when he visited you last week... Am I right?"

Sapphire clenched her fist, slowly nodding at Rakutsu's words. It did made things worse. Nothing hurts her more than knowing how her family died from the man who accidentally killed them.

"You knew?" It was Ruby's turn to ask him a question with his eyebrows furrowed. He knew it was part of Rakutsu's job to know some stuff, but he didn't expect he would know what happened six days ago. After all, Rakutsu hardly interacted with them. He always put his work first before taking a break.

Rakutsu nodded, grabbing a paper, and placed it on the counter. "Six days ago, he came here and ask where you live, Sapphire. I asked what his intention was and he said he wanted to apologize to you. Is that all you want to know?"

Sapphire shook her head, her left fang popped out from her top lip. She looked at Rakutsu with determination building up in her eyes.

Rakutsu arched an eyebrow at her reaction. What else did she want to know?

"I wanna visit his place..." Sapphire said, her voice slowly cracking. "Could you take us there?"

Rakutsu's confused eyes met Sapphire's anxious ones. He could perfectly tell that she wanted to go there, but why? Why did she want to go there? Did she consider that the pain could increase if she went to his place? He hoped not. She had suffered enough. An emotional suffering could be as bad as or worse than a physical one. He let out a sigh. He had no other option now, did he? Nonetheless, he wanted to help his friend and he now had his chance to do so. "Of course. Come on. We're taking my car."

...

...

...

...

Sapphire pressed her back on the car seat, leaning onto it. Her gaze was constantly fixed on the window, watching the trees of different shapes and sizes pass by. She felt her heart pound faster as they approach their destination.

She couldn't help but to be anxious at what the close, vague future had in store for her.

Why wouldn't she be?

In a matter of minutes, she was going to face the man who accidentally killed her family, six days after knowing the truth. She had some mixed feelings about him.

It was true she felt anger running through her veins when he had told her the truth.

Why didn't her parents survive after the accident like he did?

Why did they have to die and leave her alone in this cold, cruel world?

Why must they die from such a simple accident anyway?!

Her father and her aunt would still be alive if Richard weren't reckless on that day.

She wouldn't be depressed for weeks if he reconsidered his reckless act. None of this wouldn't happen if her family survived the accident.

Sapphire let out a sigh, placing her right arm on the window sash.

In another sense, however, she felt sympathy for the man.

She didn't know why exactly. She just... felt it.

It was true she had grown up having an empathetic nature. Her mother was kind enough to teach her its necessity. Her mother always believed that a simple act of kindness, despite how large or little it was, could have a positive effect on someone. It could give them a positive impression, giving them enough motivation to stand and to continue despite how rough the road could be. And she believed that a little kindness could go a long way.

Maybe...

Maybe her empathetic nature lead her to understand how much it must have hurt Richard to live in guilt for weeks. After all, he said it wasn't his intention to cause that accident. All he wanted was to deliver the construction materials safely and on time when he would arrive the site. It must have took him a lot of courage to go at her house, in spite of his condition, just to tell her how much he repented at his act.

Sapphire swallowed hard, biting her lip. She placed her right palm on her chest, gripping the fabric of her shirt, feeling her anxious heartbeat.

She had the right to be mad at him for causing that incident, honestly. However, it felt weird that her sympathy was stronger than her anger, giving her this sudden urge to forgive him.

She knew forgiving him was the right thing to do, but...

...people who have shared a similar experience as hers usually didn't forgive the killer. It often ended up as them not having the heart to forgive the killer and cursing the killer for doing the act.

Thinking about it only brought sadness into her heart. It continued to flow through her veins as it reached her eyes, shrouding it with intense depression.

Anger and hatred could never fix what was done.

The only way was to keep moving forward, and learn on how to forgive and to understand one another. Everyone needed to know about it. After all, Sapphire still believed that love would still conquer and be better hate. Her mother taught her that and she swore she would stand to what her mother believed in.

Her mother's teachings were one of the precious gifts Sapphire treasured after her death. It served as a memento and a guide at every decision she would make, and she was blessed and happy that her mother took the time to teach her in spite of their short time together. She wouldn't know what she would be now if it weren't for her mother's teachings.

Sapphire was glad she was able to read her mother's letter. In spite of the shallow feeling in her heart, her mother's letter gave her enough strength to continue and to make the right choices. She didn't know how to fix this shallow feeling in her heart, however, but forgiving Richard was the first step into fixing it.

Maybe… just maybe… forgiving Richard might help her find out on how to fix it. It wouldn't hurt to try, right? She knew with all her heart that she was only doing the right thing, and forgiving the man who killed her father and her aunt was one of it.

Sapphire hoped she would have the strength to tell him, though. Her anxiety could prevent her from saying what Richard wanted to hear, and she hoped it wouldn't stop her from doing the right thing.

"Are you alright?"

Sapphire snapped out from her thoughts. She felt Ruby's soft squeeze on her shoulder, making her jerk her head to look at him. She smiled weakly. The truth is... she had no idea if she's alright.

Ruby's lips curved into a frown. Something was definitely on her mind, but what was it? It hurt to see the depressive look in her eyes. He knew she was feeling better, but he didn't understand the sudden shift of her eyes' emotions. "How can I help?"

Sapphire removed her gaze from him and stared at the driver's seat. She placed her hands on her lap, gripping it. She knew he only wanted to make her feel better, but she had no idea what else she could say to him, really. She didn't know the answer herself. She didn't know what was wrong with her.

"Sapphire..."

Sapphire felt Ruby's right hand on hers, giving it another soft squeeze. She didn't look at him, however. Her thoughts were too jumbled and her heart continued to beat anxiously.

Was she scared to see Richard again? Was she scared that she wouldn't be able to say what she had to say? Was she scared that Richard wasn't sincere in his apologies?

She mentally shook her head at the thought. She shouldn't overthink such negative stuff. It's normal to be scared, but she had to try. She had to try and forgive him. It could help her find out on how to fix this shallow feeling left in her heart. It may take a while to fix it, but she was desperate. Her mother wanted her to continue what she loved to do, and completely conquering her grief was one step. Her mother's letter provided her the path into conquering her grief, and she would never waste that opportunity.

"I don't know..." Sapphire managed to say, her voice cracked at every word. She twisted her left hand to touch his, linking their fingers together.

Ruby's lips continued to frown. How could he help her if he didn't know what was wrong with her? He had to know what was wrong with her. If she didn't know what it was, then he would do his best to find it out for her. He had to help her. She had suffered enough.

"...not until I forgive him..." Sapphire continued, feeling Ruby's gentle squeeze on her right hand. She smiled weakly at him. No words could ever describe how thankful and blessed she was to have him at her side.

"And I'm always here to help." Ruby responded with a weak smile. He planned on kissing her forehead, but opted not to. They were with Rakutsu, after all. It was not that he thought the police officer cared, but it was best to not make him uncomfortable from his act.

"People usually file a case if they were in your situation." Rakutsu said, taking a glance at his right side. "What he did was against the law, but I'm surprised... in a good way... that you chose to do the right thing." He pulled the car's brake and turned off the engine. He turned around to face them. A smile slowly plastered across his lips. "We need more considerate people like you, Sapphire."

"I'm just... doing what's right." Sapphire responded with a shrug. She turned her head to her right, observing the surroundings.

Rakutsu could only nod at her response. The sincere smile on his lips didn't fade. "And that is enough."

The place felt familiarly strange.

They may be in the city, but the place seemed provincial.

It was located in the farthest side of the city, where most of the wild trees reside.

There was a one-storey, single family residential house between two apple trees and a front garden filled with different flowers of all shapes and sizes. The grass felt moist. It was either from the rain or from the sprinkler installed in the ground.

For a courier, she didn't expect him to live in a peaceful place like this. It reminded her of their home province, especially the flower garden up front. It reminded her of her aunt's hobby. Her aunt loved growing and taking care of different species of flowers. She remembered their backyard had a greenhouse just for her aunt's flowers.

Sapphire sighed, feeling a slight pang of depression in her heart. She missed her aunt. If her aunt were here, she would have loved the garden.

"He's probably inside." Rakutsu said. "I'll wait for you here."

"Thank you, Rakutsu." Sapphire said, closing the car's door. She felt her heart pound faster. It could get out from her chest any second. She swallowed hard.

This was it.

She couldn't turn back now.

She had to do it.

"I'll go with you. We'll do this together." Ruby said, offering his hand at her.

Sapphire bit her lip, accepting it, clenching her right hand midway. She felt the warmth from his hand spread on hers, calming her, preventing herself from trembling any further. She felt the cool wind ran past them, letting her hair flow with it, lifting her fringed bangs a bit.

Ruby's heart thumped at it. He felt heat rising on his cheeks, making him swallow hard, hoping it would return his cheeks to normal. Dear Lord. She looked absolutely cute and beautiful. He could stare at her all day, but he shouldn't think about it for now. He had to provide her enough strength and support to do what they must do. His feelings could wait.

Letting out a sigh, Ruby lead Sapphire to the house's front door. But before he could knock, however, he felt Sapphire's hand squeezing his. He turned to look at her.

"You okay?" Ruby asked, his eyes and his tone contained nothing but concern.

"I'm just... anxious..." Sapphire took a deep breath and squeezed his hand again. She looked at him with ambiguous emotions forming in her eyes. But Ruby could see it perfectly, nonetheless. He could tell she was anxious, scared, confused and somewhat determined. A weak smile formed on his lips at the positive one. "I'm ready now."

"Just take it slowly. Take all the time you need." Ruby said. His left hand managed to knock on the door loudly yet gently three times.

Sapphire's heart couldn't help but to pound faster and stronger. Almost bouncing out from her chest.

Every knock.

Every faint rustle of the leaves through the wind.

Every second of waiting.

It all felt like an eternity.

As if the clock had stopped ticking, stopping time itself, trapping them in a loop of one, certain event endlessly, repeating the same event over and over again.

She swallowed hard.

Despite her anxiety, she wanted to finish this once and for all. It wasn't that she was taking it hastily. She knew these things take time. But it had to end now.

Maybe it wouldn't put an end to her grief.

Maybe it wouldn't answer the shallow feeling present in her heart.

But it might bring peace into Richard's heart.

After all, while Sapphire was grieving from her family's death, Richard was being consumed by his guilt.

And she knew what it felt like being consumed by guilt.

The scar on Ruby's head was its proof. They may have put it behind them, Ruby may have told her that he didn't regret it, but she still felt guilty for causing it. If only she were faster back then. If only she felt that a reckless, motorcycle driver was heading straight towards her and Nana, then Ruby wouldn't have almost risked his life to save them.

She didn't want anyone to suffer from guilt the way she did.

Three minutes have passed, the door opened, revealing a surprised Richard.

Sapphire observed him as she bit her lip, anxiety and depression slowly forming into her eyes. His clean cut hair was a mess and his sideburns were cut shorter compared to the last time. He was still sitting on his wheelchair and Sapphire now noticed his deformed, skinny legs. She concluded it was the aftermath from the accident.

"I'm..." Richard started, his low voice grumbled as he speaks. "...surprised to see you here, miss Birch. You have probably asked Sun where I live, right?"

"I-It's..." Sapphire managed to say, her voice started to crack, as a lump started forming in her throat, preventing her to speak any further. She clenched her right fist. How come she couldn't say what her heart and her mind were trying to convey?! Why must it be now?

"We're here to tell you something, sir." Ruby said, giving Sapphire's hand a soft squeeze, in hopes to calm her.

Sapphire took a deep breath, her hand also squeezing his gently. His act was helping her feel tranquility. She was glad he was with her.

"It's important."

Richard nodded at his words, placing his hands on the wheels. He pushed it, backing off from them to let them in. "Would you two like to have some tea? I know my place is a bit far from the city. It must be an exhausting travel."

"It's alright, sir. We won't be here for a while." Ruby declined politely, his hand never left her grip.

"I insist, boy. It's the least I could do." Richard said, approaching the kitchen, leaving the two alone to wonder in his house.

Ruby could only sigh at Richard's words. He placed his free hand on his hat, adjusting it a bit to his left. He turned his head to his right, looking at Sapphire. His lips curved into a small frown at her anxious form.

Her appearance and her aura reminded him of the first time he had seen her after his two-week disappearance. It felt like he travelled back in time to see her most depressive state again, and it hurt.

"I..."

"What is it?" Ruby asked patiently, having this sudden urge to kiss her forehead, but resisted himself from doing so. It might make her feel uncomfortable if he would do that.

Sapphire looked at him, her depressed, blue orbs met his concerned, red ones. She bit her lip. "I couldn't even say what I wanted to say..."

Ruby sighed, his shoulders were starting to get droopy at her state. How should he say this? He knew these things take time, especially in her case. But he just felt useless for not providing her the exact answer.

What should he say?

What should he do to make her anxiety leave?

He took a deep breath. He believed in her, and Sapphire should do. He wouldn't let her anxiety get to her. He knew she was stronger than it. "Don't overthink. Just do what you have to do... say what you have to say..." He gave her a weak smile, his hand gently squeezing hers.

Sapphire returned the weak smile and nodded. Ruby was right. She had to stop overthinking. She had to think of something else. What would her mother do if she were in her situation?

What would mom do?

Sapphire swallowed hard. What would her mother do?

Of course.

What would her aunt do? What would her father do?

They may be gone, but not necessarily. They were always there for her, helping her, guiding her, living on through her and influencing her to make the right decisions. Going all the way to Richard's house just so she could forgive him was one of it. And she wouldn't waste this chance.

"I got some cookies on the table as well." Richard said, placing the pot of tea on the table. He turned his wheelchair around to look at the couple. "Why don't you two sit down?"

"That's very hospitable of you, sir, but there's no need. The travel is not that tiring." Ruby declined politely, standing up straight. He gave Sapphire's hand another soft squeeze in hopes to give her enough strength to do what she must do.

"I see." Richard responded. He grabbed his cup of tea on the table and took a sip from it. He looked at the couple as guilt started to flood in his eyes. Every time he looked at the professor's daughter, he saw nothing but success heading straight towards her. Whether it'd be in terms of her career or personal stuff, he knew she would succeed at anything. He still felt guilty for giving her that burden he didn't intend to do. He would never forgive himself for killing such innocent people through his reckless act. Judging her state and her appearance, she must have gone through a lot in those weeks of grieving. He wouldn't be surprised if she ever thought of killing herself just to end the growing pain in her heart.

But he hoped she wouldn't.

She had a lot of potential in her. He could feel it, and he knew she would use her skills to help people like her father did when he was alive.

Sapphire swallowed hard in hopes to remove the lump in her throat. She sighed.

She knew her family were out there, watching her. She knew they were already happy that she would do the right thing, and she couldn't let them down. This was for them, after all.

"S-Sir, I..." Sapphire removed her gaze on the floor and met Richard's guilt-ridden eyes. Depression, anger, confusion and sympathy were slowly shrouding her eyes. "We came here... b-because... I... I understand what it felt like to live with guilt."

Ruby's eyes slowly widened in shock. He jerked his head to his left, looking at Sapphire with concern and sympathy forming into his eyes. After all these years she still felt guilty for causing that incident? He told her she had nothing to be guilty about, right? He didn't regret for saving her on that day. He may not have the answer before, but he knew now.

He couldn't believe it himself, really.

Out of all the time to know why he did that, why did it have to be now? He mentally shook his head, disregarding the negative thoughts. Nonetheless, he knew his heart and his mind were in the right place back then. Though his act may be reckless and made her worry badly, he knew he did the right thing.

He did it... He didn't hesitate to almost risk his life to save her because...

...he had these feelings for her.

It may not be as strong as it was now, but he knew that was how it got developed. It started with a simple infatuation and it grew stronger and developed further as the years passed. He never had the guts to tell her about it, and he didn't know when.

But he was certain that was where it all started.

And he didn't regret for doing it. He would rather lose his job than lose her again.

"I made... I... My best friend almost died that day because I was too weak and insensitive to notice the dangers ahead. In the end, he..." Sapphire closed her eyes, preventing the tears from falling. Her left arm shook in terror for reminiscing the memory. It may have happened years ago, but the pain in her heart was still fresh. As if it happened yesterday.

"He almost lost his life. I almost lost another important person because of that incident I've caused. I only went there to stop Nana, our German shepherd, from chasing a squirrel... it... It took her favorite toy... that I didn't notice that motorcycle was heading straight towards us..."

Sapphire remembered how Ruby went in front of them, how he stretched his arms wide enough in hopes to protect them. In the end, she saw how the motorcycle made its impact on Ruby.

It made her see death in such a tragic and painful way.

It made her fear death for her loved ones once more.

She would rather die than see them die right in front of her with her two eyes watching them how they die despite the process.

"I'm happy that he's still alive and well... but I still can't remove this guilt in my heart every time I see that scar on his head. He doesn't deserve it." Sapphire bit her lip and released a sigh. She swallowed hard. "I've been living with this guilt for years, and... I don't want anyone to experience the same way I did... You're one of them, sir." She took another deep breath. A sincere smile slowly formed on her lips. "I know it's hard to wake up every day and feel guilty every time you see the person you've caused misery with... It took me days to let your story at how..."

Sapphire felt her chest tightened, forcing her to release a cough. She bit her lip and felt a tear fell from her eye.

Ruby could only stare at her, his sudden urge to hug her kept on increasing. He knew she needed it, but he shouldn't let her stop saying what her heart and her mind were trying to convey. This was her chance to find out if forgiving Richard could help fill the shallowness left in her heart.

Sapphire breathed slowly to gather her voice. "...how they died... until... realization hit me... My mother... my father... my aunt... They wanted me to continue living... Maybe not for myself, but for them... They wanted me to do the right thing... and... forgiving you is one of them."

Richard broke his gaze onto Sapphire. His shocked eyes met his cup of tea. Was he hearing what he thought he was hearing? This was a dream, right? His act was unforgivable even for himself. He sighed, placing the cup of tea on the table.

He didn't deserve her kindness, but he was blessed to know that there were still some kind people out there in this cold, cruel world.

"Mister Richard... I forgive you. I know... I know you're sincere with your apologies. I can see it in your eyes that you wanna live a guilt-free life and I understand that. No one should live in guilt. I know this won't change anything... It won't bring back my family's life, but I know this is the right thing to do. You don't have to live in guilt anymore because... I forgive you. I sincerely forgive you." She continued, her eyes no longer contained anger, confusion anymore. Instead, it contained sympathy and forgiveness.

Ruby gave her hand a soft squeeze. A smile formed on his lips. He was happy that she managed to let it all out from her chest. Now she had less stuff to worry about. Her path in conquering her grief was about to end. Maybe not now, but it would happen at the right time.

And he would patiently wait for that.

Sapphire felt his hand's soft squeeze on hers, making her jerk her head at him. She returned the same, warm smile he was giving to her. It felt… great.

It felt great to forgive Richard. It felt like the weight of the world was suddenly removed from her shoulders.

It felt like the force that'd been pulling her heart downwards was gone.

It felt like... the shallowing feeling in her heart was slowly filling. Though not completely, but it still helped. She still got time to figure out on how to fill it completely, and she knew she would get there.

"T-Thank you..." Richard choked the words out. His eyes were crying from the excessive amount of relief and happiness in his heart. "I always believed you never had the heart to forgive me because of what I did. I may not be able to forgive myself for causing that, but your forgiveness is enough to help me keep on going. I... Thank you... B-Bless you..."

Sapphire's smile grew wider. No one deserved to live in guilt, even the man who caused her family's death. She had been there and was still going through there. It was terrible to live with guilt. She was glad she was able to help free a person from it.

Richard grabbed his handkerchief and placed it on his face, letting it grab the tears streaming down his eyes. "Thank you so much. I'll never forget your kindness… Bless you... always..."

Ruby released a sigh in relief, his eyes still locked on Sapphire with sympathy and contentment shrouding it. Forgiveness sure was a powerful yet a tough act. Only a few, strong people could manage to do it sincerely. He had always known Sapphire as a strong person, and her sincere act of forgiveness was one of the many proofs of her strong qualities.

He smiled. He could feel that she was feeling better than before after forgiving Richard, and he was happy at that. He could feel her path into conquering her grief was close to its end, and he would be there for her despite she had conquered it. After all, he promised to be there for her until the very last moment. His heart and his mind were certain at that decision.

And he wouldn't have it any other way.

...

"Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness." – Anonymous

The fic is not over yet. Still have 5 or 6 chapters left. XD

I'll be taking a break from updating LF. First of all, I'm sorry. Stuff happened. I'll be busy with college plus I need to fix myself, lol. In the meantime, I may update LF C11 somewhere in March or April, so... see ya there. And thank you. :D

Anonymous reviews have been disabled. Login to review. 1. Stage 1: Shock and Denial 6416 0 0 2. Stage 2: Isolation 4543 0 0 3. Stage 3: Pain and Guilt 4296 0 0 4. Stage 4: Depressive Times, Part I 5553 0 0 5. Stage 5: Depressive Times, Part II 7713 0 0 6. Stage 6: Intrusive, Recurring Thoughts 4457 0 0 7. Stage 7: Shock and Anger 6116 0 0 8. Stage 8: The Upward Turn 5097 0 0 9. Stage 9: Reconstruction& Working Through 4825 0 0 10. Stage 10: Forgiveness 5862 0 0 11. Stage 11: Acceptance and Hope 8661 0 0 12. Stage 12: A New Path Awaits 9791 0 0 13. Stage 13: Helping Hand, Part I 4510 0 0 14. Stage 14: Helping Hand, Part II 4397 0 0 15. Stage 15: Helping Hand, Part III 10126 0 0 16. Stage 16: Embracing Life, Part I 6633 0 0 17. Stage 17: Embracing Life, Part II 11065 0 0