EPILOGUE (Some years later)
"I see you're working hard, Grand Archweaver Hizuri," Kyoko's long, dark hair fluttered behind her as she swiftly strode into the office and stopped to lean against the desk at which the man was sitting.
"Well, someone has to while you're out on social calls, Grand Archweaver Hizuri," Kuon stood from his seat to kiss his wife. "How was lunch with Kanae?"
"Full of insignificant complaints about being on the Council and spurious threats to have one of us take her place, as usual," her eyes were laughing and he could tell she had an enjoyable visit with her best friend.
"Just because my father was Superior Grand Archweaver doesn't mean I want to be," he grimaced. "But you are more than welcome to do so if you want."
"You know I turned it down the first time they offered it to me and I haven't changed my mind," she shook her head and grinned at him. "Besides, someone needs to stay here and keep an eye on you. That's the whole reason we share this office."
"And here I thought it was to keep the overly flirtatious Weavers from approaching me," the corner of his mouth lifted into a teasing smirk.
"Well, it's nice to know you can compliment yourself," she mocked, patting him on the arm. "That's one less thing for me to do."
"Speaking of things to do," he ignored the barb and jabbed a thumb in the direction of her desk. "There's a stack of requisitions over there that need your attention. You might want to tackle those so we can go home at a reasonable hour this evening. Just because my parents are babysitting doesn't mean we can stay here all night."
"You never used to turn down a chance to spend the night alone with me," she said with a pout.
"I still wouldn't," wrapping his arms around her, he gazed intently into her eyes. "But I'd rather be doing something other than working."
"Touché," they indulged in a lingering kiss before she pushed him gently away, going to sit at her own desk.
It was a first for the Enchantment division of the Spellweaver guild, having a married couple jointly holding the office of Grand Archweaver. However, everyone agreed they did a more than commendable job at filling the role together than they ever would separately. Additionally, it safely kept them out of the running for the position of Superior Grand Archweaver since the Council would only allow one of them as a potential candidate. Instead, Kyoko encouraged her best friend to accept the nomination, knowing her level-headedness and common sense would make her a perfect fit. The Council apparently agreed and readily accepted her as the newest top representative of the Spellweaver guild.
Contrary to initial suspicions, Kuon did not propose to her at her Archweaver designation ceremony. He waited until some time after that to convince her to take a vacation with him and brought her back to her home town of Kato. When they visited the stream where they first met, he asked her nonchalantly if she ever thought about changing the setting for her amulet. She eyed him warily and answered that she had not as she still liked the one she made herself. Reaching into his shirt, he pulled out his own amulet—which he had been conveniently hiding all weekend—and asked her if she would consider one like his. His stone was now clearly visible in its new setting of skillfully woven wire. Kyoko stood speechless as he began a heartfelt explanation of the two things he desired; to finally reveal his identity and for her to become his wife. The first order of business was completed upon their return to the Main Edifice. While nearly everyone was understandably surprised, they were also very supportive, after the announcement was made.
They married a year later in a ceremony they fought tooth-and-nail to keep small, despite the urgings of both his parents and Grand Archweaver Takarada. Kanae, true to her word, said some very nice things about both of them during the proceedings; Kyoko was glad she thought to keep a handkerchief tucked into her robes. Unwittingly, they started a new trend among Spellweavers who wished to wed by writing their Oaths of Partnership into a dually activated draft. Ribbons of light in shades of indigo, green and gold, wove themselves into an elaborate tapestry that arched above their heads and appeared to flutter in the breeze as they spoke their promises of commitment and love to each other. Weaver couples would be attempting to emulate it for years to come with only a select few coming somewhat close to the delicate intricacy of the original.
There was some measure of mental reconciliation Kyoko had to do to come to terms with the fact that she was a living legend in her own right, despite being married to one who just so happened to be the offspring of another. Following Kuon's revelation of his identity, their complemented amulet stones became the favored topic of idle discussion. Those who knew the story of the stone in her amulet prior to her reunion with Kuon, thought it a fitting end that she found the love of her life and her childhood friend in the same person. Between that and the highly exaggerated speculation about how she rescued Kuon from Altrian kidnappers with the abilities afforded by their bond, she was the living embodiment of a heroic protagonist from one of those children's stories that begins with "once upon a time" and ends with "happily ever after."
They walked, hand-in-hand, from the Main Edifice towards the Grand Archweaver's manor; Lory had long since retired and moved to the outskirts of the city now that his granddaughter was training as a Provisional. The last bits of sunlight peeked from the horizon, coloring the sky in reds and purples and oranges that were mottled here and there with the occasional cloud. She leaned slightly into the man who walked beside her and admired his profile. The fine lines that were starting to appear around his brilliant green eyes seemed to make him even more distinguished and handsome than he already was and were evidence of the many reasons he found to smile over the years. The unruly blond hair he would let haphazardly fall into his face was now neatly trimmed but still long enough for her to run her hands through as she always loved to do.
"You know, your mother is already asking me when we plan to give our son his stone now that he'll be turning ten soon," Kyoko lamented as they neared the entrance to their home. "You'd think she would want to wait after what happened with you."
"Well, he already knows our story, so I would hope he'd be a bit more cautious than I was," Kuon shrugged.
"Perhaps, but he is still very much your child," she reasoned jokingly. "There's no telling with that Hizuri blood running through his veins."
"True, but he's also yours as well. I think he'll do just fine," he countered with a smile.
"Flattery will get you anything, dear," she grinned, gripping his arm to pull him closer.
"I know, but I already have you."
- FINIS -
HERE, AT THE END OF ALL THINGS: Well, everyone, it is the end of the road for this adventure. I hope you enjoyed yourselves and I'm grateful for each and every one of you who came along for the ride. This was such a fun world to create that I'm probably going to have withdrawal now that it's over. Never fear, I'm sure I'll be back with something new for you. And now for some parting words to some of my recent (and continual) reviewers:
ladygraywolf: Thank you so much for such a descriptive review. I'm still blushing from the praise!
cleocat333: You've been here since the beginning! Thanks for sharing your thoughts after each chapter. You have no idea how helpful and encouraging your words have been during this.
psycobookcollector: Thank you so much for the kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed it!
Michiyo: I do have a few more ideas I'm tossing around. If they do not become full-fledged stories, they will at least be added to my growing collection of one-shots under Paperwork for a Week
DreamIdol: I had a good laugh writing that bit, too! When I started to write that part, it just sort of came to me and it was too great to not include. Thank you!
J Luc Pitard: Getting Ren and Kyoko to kiss; the struggle is indeed real. I can build an extensive world and create adventures all day every day but, for some reason, getting those two to finally get it together is such a huge challenge… but it is one I enjoy immensely.
Lotus Flower: Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed the final piece.
PaulaGaTo: ¡Gracias por todo!
Shadowheart: You're making me blush! Thank you!
Setsuka e Cain: Thanks for following along since the beginning and for your awesome reactions to each chapter.
Lennie: YOU'RE WELCOME AND THANK YOU!
MWEH: I hope you're able to catch up on the chapters you missed! Thanks for joining us on the journey, it's been so much fun!
JeremyVD: Thank you for the extensive and heartfelt review! I'm really glad that so many of you like the way in which I've portrayed the characters. It means a lot to me when I can write a story that's still faithful to the source material but in a completely different setting.
Shizuhoe: Thank you, as always, for your encouragement! I love that you take the time to explain what you like about each chapter.
Everyone else who dropped in to leave me a note (I did not forget about you): THANK YOU SO MUCH. I LOVE YOU ALL! YOU'RE THE BEST REVIEWERS AN AUTHOR COULD HOPE FOR!
And, to my appointed-without-their-knowledge-or-permission idol author, Blushweaver: You have been an inspiration and a huge source of support while working on this. I'm looking forward to you and Im0t0u starting back up on your story so I can enjoy your updates while I take a small break and plot out my next one. Thank you for all that you do and keep up the amazing work!
Keep an eye out for updates to my collection of one-shots (Paperwork for a Week). I added a new one during my work hiatus and am currently working on a new addition.
AUTHOR OVER AND OUT!