Welcome to the messed up love triangle.
Akito: Shigure, do you love me?
Shigure: Are you walking around asking that to all the Members of the Zodiac?
Akito: Don’t answer a question with a question. Do you love me?
Shigure: More than anyone, you are always on my mind. That’s the unshakable truth. I love you, Akito.
Akito was actually kind of cute as a kid! Still a spoiled brat, but not insane. The insanity didn’t seem to set in until after Kureno’s curse broke…
Now seems like as good a time as any to discuss the significance of that flower we so often see with Akito – the red camellia. It’s heavily associated with the Chinese New Year, but it also means “in love” in the Japanese flower language, which is quite an apt description for her.
Meanwhile, Tohru suddenly thinks of Rin…
Tohru: I can’t believe I’d forgotten about her until just now. Even though Isuzu-san is desperately trying to break the Curse too. Should I tell her? Knowing Isuzu-san, it might be okay to tell her…come to think of it, I haven’t seen her since New Year’s. Hmm…for some reason, that makes me feel a little uneasy. I’ll go see her.
She eventually visits Rin’s school, but only discovers that Rin hasn’t been there in a while (which her classmates attribute to her poor health).
Shigure drags poor Micchan through a Sohma family function (I simply can’t believe he’d let her “accidentally” set up a meeting at the same restaurant).
Mitsuru: The Sohma family sure is impressive…
Shigure: True. Even the difference in social status between you and Ricchan is tremendous.
This reminds me that those two are a perfect couple and I would love to see more of them (spoiler: we won’t see more of them). Nope, Shigure just uses Micchan as an excuse to blow off Akito (again). And thus we finally get to the love triangle.
Shigure: Shouldn’t you have left at that point? For Akito’s sake if nothing else. Back then…now too.
Kureno: Somehow, you don’t seem very surprised. Had you already figured it out? That I’d been released from the curse…?
Shigure: Nah. That would’ve made me look pretty cool, but I only had a vague suspicion, unfortunately. But now it makes sense. And I do feel a little vindicated, y’know? No wonder she wanted you to stay with her, Kureno. She doesn’t want that to get out. It’s kinda sad how desperate she is.
Kureno: Nii-san, I think I understand your feelings. And I know that you must hate me.
Shigure: I do hate you. You’re right. I despise you. You should be grateful that I’m speaking to you so frankly. Now you can play the martyr to your heart’s content. Good for you, hmm?
Kureno: …Nii-san. Whatever you think of me, please don’t abandon Akito. I’d like you to stop treating her so coldly. Akito doesn’t keep me by her side because she loves me. Even now, there’s only one person she really wants to be with.
Shigure’s right in this situation, but I still can’t help feeling for Kureno. He gave up his shot at a new life because he thought he could help Akito (even if he turned out to be wrong), and now he’s totally isolated from everyone but Akito (whom he’s only bound to at this point by a sense of duty). Also Shigure is just a real jerk about it.
Akito: Have you slept with [Mitsuru] yet?
Shigure: Come on…with her? I’d never…
Akito: Huh. Is that right? And here I thought you didn’t care who you fell in bed with. […] But you did sleep with one woman I know.
Shigure: Oh? Whoever could you mean?
Akito: Ren! How dare you…!? How dare you have sex with her…!
This is another case where Akito seems to have a legitimate grievance. Funny how these grievances all revolve around Ren. But Shigure definitely isn’t helping matters.
Shigure: “More than anyone, you are always on my mind. That’s the unshakable truth.”
Akito: I thought you’d…forgotten.
Shigure: I never said I forgot. Is that why you’ve been so irritable all this time?
Akito: Why? Why do you test me like that!?
Shigure: I’m not testing you. You don’t know? Why I slept with that woman? It was payback for you sleeping with Kureno.
And this is where Shigure lost most of my good will.
Shigure: I love Akito. Always have, always will. I love her too much. So much, I want to spoil her rotten. I want to crush her to a pulp.
Different people have different ways of expressing love – I get that. But there’s an issue when the person you love can’t understand those expressions. And there’s a much bigger issue here because there’s a significant age gap (even if there are several larger gaps in this series), not to mention Akito’s established mental instability, so the burden is on Shigure to be the mature one in the relationship. Sleeping with her mother as a way to injure and manipulate Akito would never be an acceptable move under the best of circumstances.
And Akito accepting his “apology” doesn’t make things any better – it just means Akito’s somehow grown accustomed to that kind of abusive behavior. Even abuse doesn’t merit more abuse.
So, to recap, Shigure loves Akito (probably the only person besides himself that he’s ever loved), presumably because of the Curse. Kureno, whose curse is broken, doesn’t really have feelings for her anymore but does whatever she asks because he doesn’t want to hurt Akito’s feelings. Shigure hates both Kureno and Akito because of that (but, y’know, he still loves Akito, too). And of course Akito is horrible because her life is horrible and neither Kureno nor Shigure are helping matters. Yay.
I’m here. I’ll be here for eternity. You’re always on my mind. I missed you. I’ll always be right here. You don’t realize this, but ever since that day, I’ve been waiting for you. I’ll always be here waiting for you. Always. I’m waiting for you to join me.
Until next time…