A Fox's Kiss: Love From Afar

Epilogue: Forever By Your Side

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A Fox's Kiss: The Dictionary That Is Not In Alphabetical Order

Love - an emotion or feeling that binds two people together mentally and (sometimes) physically; people marry when in love and normally grow old together

True Love - an emotion or feeling that holds two peoples souls through death until forever; supposedly only found in fairy tales, one out of every billion couples share it

Death - a state in which a person's body is rendered useless; their spirit goes to heaven or hell or is left to wander the earth

Reincarnation - a spirit who has previously been dead who is reborn into another body or form

Roses - never die

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Yuusuke, Kuwabara, Hiei, Botan and the one and only Kurama walk along the sidewalk. The air is fresh and the grass green: a chipper sight. Of course, this scenery does no justice in reflecting any of his or her current states.

It has been three days since the funeral of one Nobara Shigo. Nobara was a beautiful girl who didn't know it. She had been abused by her father and had landed herself into a great deal of mess with the five. She had been quiet (due to the fact that she had had no tongue) and was unknown to most of the school that she attended. In fact, she was unknown basically everywhere. This explains why there were only a scarce few at her funeral, which all of them had attended.

It all had hit Kurama the hardest. Even though he had only known her for about two days, he had fallen in love with her. Not any sort of love, but true love. (A/N: Make reference to my small dictionary above...that's what it's there for.) And it had been apparent that Nobara had fallen hook, line and sinker ever since she had seen him on the first day of junior high.

But it is all much more complicated than that. Nobara Shigo was no ordinary girl. She had somehow known everything about Kurama and his friends but almost nothing about herself. It is thought that she was the reincarnation of one Nobara Shigo from Ancient Egyptian times. The first Nobara had been a seer and had predicted all events that led up till her reincarnations early death.

Or, was this really her reincarnation?

Botan tries to strike up some conversation with the group. "So..." she says. "There haven't been any more assignments lately. What do you all plan to do in your rare spare time?"

No one answers. Kurama shuffles slowly with his hands in his pockets and his head down. Hiei walks next to him with his arms crossed, silent. Yuusuke and Kuwabara just stare off into space. They are all too busy moping and thinking to have even heard her.

And then Kurama stops.

The others continue to walk for a few steps before realizing that their companion has become fixed to the spot. They all turn and face him.

"What is it?" asks Botan, almost glad that there will be less silence now.

Kurama looks at her. Then he looks at the rest of them. Then he looks at the house that he is standing in front of. The grass here is brown and yellow, the house is large but neglected and some paint is peeling away. It is all an ugly sight...except for one small garden. There are several roses planted on a small patch of grass. They are patterned in a miniature circle and all of them are a deep, luscious red. Like blood.

Hiei glances from the house to Kurama's face. He sees a single tear dance down his cheek and fall to the pavement. "It's her house, isn't it," he says quietly. It is more of a statement rather than a question.

Yuusuke shrugs and says, "Um, maybe it would be better if we kept walking..."

"No," Kurama says firmly. All eyes turn to him as he walks up to the small patch of color on the front lawn. "This is...was her garden," he sighs. He kneels next to the roses and runs his finger down one of the petals, careful not to rip it. "She told me it was when I walked her home."

Kuwabara and Yuusuke glance at each other. Kurama's finger continues down the rest of the bud, down one of the leaves and onto the stem. His hand pulls back from one of the thorns, which has just cut him. A small ring of blood grows wider on his index finger and it soon breaks and runs down his hand onto the ground. A splash of red clings to the thorn that cut him like two lovers locked in each other's embrace.

Hiei comes up behind the fox. "I'm sorry," he whispers.

Botan joins him. "We all are," she adds. "But what's done is done. There is nothing we can do."

But Kurama doesn't seem to hear either of them. He just stares at the spot on his hand that is bleeding. He squeezes it so more red begins to flow around his finger. It seems to enthrall him as if nothing else exists in the world.

He extends his arm to the center of the circle where he squeezes his finger once more. Blood gushes out and lands on the grass, which it dyes quickly. Kurama furrows his brow, as though he is in thought.

"Nobara Shigo," he mutters. "Nobara Shigo. Nobara Kei Shigo."

"Kei?" questions Kuwabara. "Where did the Kei come from?"

Kurama gives a short half smile, which fades away almost immediately. "Kei is Nobara's middle name, Kuwabara," he says after a pause. "When the young priest at her wake read off her name, he read 'Nobara Kei Shigo' not 'Nobara Shigo.' Kei is merely an extent on her name...as well as valuable information." Again, a smile plays upon the kitsune's lips. It is as if he knows something that the rest of them do not.

"Kei..." says Yuusuke, thoughtfully. "That's an odd name."

Hiei nods in agreement, a rare sight. "If I am correct, which I'm sure I am, 'Kei' means 'whip.'"

Kurama closes his eyes and finally a broad smile breaks through his charming face. "Indeed it does, Hiei."

Before anyone can put two and two together, Kurama stands and turns to face Botan. His face appears urgent and it is obvious that he has gone back to business again.

"Botan," he starts, "did you or didn't you guide Nobara to the Spirit World?"

"Um..." Botan thinks for a moment. "Now that you mention it, no. I never did!"

Kurama appears more eager at this news. "And have you heard any word of her spirit wandering Ningenkai?"

"No," she says again. And then it dawns on her. "Do you think..."

"...that the prophecy has come true?" Kurama finishes for her. "Yes. But there is more to it than that. So much more." He returns to his spot kneeling beside the clique of roses.

Kuwabara walks up to the grassy area and sits down beside Kurama. "So," he says, "are one of these roses, like, Nobara?"

Yuusuke joins them. "None of them look special to me. They just look like ordinary roses to me."

"The girl's spirit is not in any of those flowers," Hiei informs them. He has walked up to the group, but has not sat down or knelt like the rest of them.

"What do you mean, shrimp?" Kuwabara asks. "If she's gonna be reincarnated, where better than your own front yard?"

"Stupid baka," mutters the fire demon. "Think about it. Nobara Kei Shigo. Nobara KEI Shigo."

The two humans and the Spirit Guide freeze. They all understand now.

Yuusuke's eyes widen, Kuwabara's mouth drops open slightly and Botan whispers, "Nobara Kei Shigo. Rose Whip After Death."

Yuusuke looks at Kurama. "You never did get your Rose Whip back after that fight, did you, Kurama?"

Kurama shakes his head. "Normally it wouldn't have mattered. My Rose Whip is like your Spirit Gun: a weapon manipulated by my will and formed by my energy. If I ever lose it during battle, it would just vanish and be in my retention whenever I choose. I should be able to form it now." He puts a hand to his head and keeps it there for about half a minute. When he pulls it back it is empty.

"Where is it?" Kuwabara asks.

"I do not know," Kurama sighs. "Ever since that fight in the forest, it has been lost to me. I didn't understand why it was gone or what it meant...until the wake." He pauses and suddenly his eyes widen. He nods and smiles. "Look."

Everyone turns to face the center of the circle of roses. They all now see why Kurama was smiling.

Poking through the soft grass is a green bud. It is small, but growing rapidly. First it is a few inches tall, its thorns beginning to form. Then it grows a few more inches, its leaves poking out from in-between the thorns. And another few inches, and another until white pokes through the bud at the top.

As they all stare at the growing flower, the bud opens slowly and dramatically to display a collection of soft, silky white petals. A deep red color is dotted every now and then around it. Just like Kurama's blood was splattered on the ground where the new rose grew.

"It's...it's beautiful!" exclaims Botan.

"It came from nowhere!" yells Yuusuke, falling backwards.

"It possesses a tremendous amount of some sort of energy," bemuses Hiei.

"I dunno," says Kuwabara, scratching his head. "Those red things are kind of like blood. Kinda' freaky if you ask me."

Kurama just smiles and he reaches a hand down to the base of its stem. He bends the stem easily and it snaps off. And then it disappears.

"Whoa..." says Yuusuke. Kurama stands up and walks to the middle of the neglected lawn. He reaches his hand to the back of his head and flips his hair. In his hand is the white rose.

"Rose Whip!" he shouts and, as he brings his arm down to his side, a green whip with silver thorns is in his hand.

"Such power," says Kurama. He examines it carefully and then makes it vanish, only to remove the white rose from his hair once more. He puts it in his shirt pocket and smiles.

"Nobara..." he breathes. Kurama looks up towards the sky and grins at the sun. "I'll be forever by your side, my love. Forever..."

FINIS

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A/N: AND SO IT ENDS! Um...in case you don't speak French, "finis" means end. Well, watcha' think? Hope you liked it! My god...this is the first story that I have ever completed! WOW! How did you guys like my dictionary? I would have put it in alphabetical order, but I wanted Roses last and I didn't want Death first. Oh well. If you guys have any ideas for a story or suggestions or whatever, put them in a review or e-mail them to me. Also, I am considering doing a collaboration story with someone, so if anyone is interested give me a ring. Well, an e-mail since you don't know and I'm not going to tell you my telephone number. Well...err, you get the idea. Of course, I have no idea what we could do for a story if I write in a partnership, but I've never done a story with someone else and it just seems kind of cool. Well, review this if you would and maybe some of my other stories? I'd really like you to! (Maybe that's just because I am review and e-mail hungry. Whatever.) So, tell me your thoughts: if you liked this, if you didn't, why, what I could do to make it better, any random thoughts/suggestions, etc. Love ya'!