A/N - sobs uncontrollably The fic is over! My best work yet has come to a close! I'll no longer have an excuse for not updating my other fics!
Oops, did I just say that out loud? sweatdrop Ah, well… here's the epilogue…
I claim no ownership over the Shamanic Princess characters.
Future, Riya's POV
"Just trust yourself, you'll do fine."
"We will be waiting here when you return."
My daughter, now fifteen and old enough to summon her own partner, regards me with icy blue eyes. She seems to be restraining from chewing on her lower lip, an action that would betray her nervousness.
My husband kneels down and takes her hands in his. Smiling gently, he meets her eyes with his own identical ones. "Do not think of it as searching for the answer to the test. Think of it as… as…"
"As searching for a friend," I finish for him. He looks over at me, still smiling, and nods. Standing, he hugs our daughter, then watches her turn and walk through the doors where her test will begin.
"Do you think she'll be ok?" I ask. Graham nods and wraps his arms around me comfortingly.
"I have no doubt. You found me, after all. Her heart will find what it is looking for." Pressing a kiss to the top of my head, he adds, "You worry too much."
"I do not," I argue half-heartedly. "I just hope she doesn't end up going through the same mess we did. What if she resurrects, say, Leon, Lena's old partner?"
Graham tightens his hold on me. "And if she does? She will work it out, as you did. I do not regret returning to this world, and neither, I think, would Leon. Second chances are precious gifts, and he would do well not to take it lightly." Chuckling, I pull his hand to my lips and kiss his palm. "Since when are you so philosophical?" "Since always. You have simply been too distracted…" he kisses my ear and nuzzles my neck, "… to notice."
I shiver, and nestle myself closer to him. It has been many years since the ceremony that gave him his freedom, and his personality has changed so much. Where others would describe such a change as "loosing innocence" in the face of the world, Graham kept his pure and gentle soul while merely gaining knowledge. I do not remember when I stopped trying to win against him. He knows each and every one of my buttons, and he will play me like a violin until I tie myself up with my own words.
What I love most, though, is how his passionate feelings for me have stayed simple and true. Despite outer-lying changes in him, deep inside he is still exactly the same as when I first met him.'I love you, Graham…'
The creaking door announces that my daughter is finished with her task. In the glow behind her I see that she is leading someone by the hand, and my heart swells with pride. She and her partner come into the light, and we have our first look at him. Long, flowing black hair is bound loosely at the base of his neck, and his large brown eyes are set in lightly tanned skin. The tattered white clothing he wears gives a glimpse to his thin but well-built frame, and smooth and lean muscles define his arms and legs. With some sun, fresh air and food, he will be a perfect partner.
"Mother… Father… this is Lucifer. My partner." Her tone is apprehensive, but full of pride in her achievement. Meanwhile, Lucifer's eyes regard us uneasily, tracing over our faces for signs of our character. He seems unsure of whether to trust these new people or not.
Suddenly, his eyes widen. Staring intently at Graham's wrist, he seems stunned and in temporary shock.
Upon his left wrist, Graham wears a metal bracelet encrusted with the blood-red jewel that had once resided on his mask as a sign of his station. The bracelet is not a symbol of defiance at the world, merely a memory Graham can take with him everywhere.
Lucifer stares at the bracelet, then slowly looks at his own lower forearm, where a thick band encircles his arm. Upon it is a blood-red jewel.
He again looks at Graham, and I know he is realizing the resemblance between this one-time partner and the girl who summoned him. He sees it in their eyes.
He watches, understanding, as Graham gives me another small hug.
My daughter waits for a reaction.
Smiling up into Lucifer's face, I give her the same answer I gave Graham all those years ago.
"You are beautiful."
And so it ends. (I can hear you all weeping in the background.) I am truly sorry to see this end, since I had such a good time writing it. Well, onto the next big adventure!