Author's Note: Well here is the finale. This has been the hardest story for me to write since I wanted to be as consistent and true to canon as possible, getting the elements to work together to not be a copy of the story yet remain original, as if it could be a follow up episode to the great series. I also want to explain the Allenby/Hans coupling-I saw the segue slide that had the fighters and gundams from earth in ep 49 and I saw Allenby and Hans in close proximity so I thought they looked cute together. And since Denmark and Sweden are neighbors it made sense that they'd be allies. Thanks so much for all the support and for those who read and stuck with this story from the beginning—thank you. To the reviewers who have taken the time and penned their thoughts your feedback gave me the impetus to continue and finish this—I am humbly grateful.
EPILOGUE—REGRETS PUT TO REST
The clean white cement façade of Neo Hong Kong General stood stark against the bright azure sky like the fluffy white cumulous clouds meandering across the cerulean clime. Inside, Domon, Rain, and Allenby were gathered around the prone but awakening form of Hans Holgar as he continued to recover from his ordeal with the DG cells.
Allenby sat at his bedside, her pretty face grim and her delicate features drawn as she sat vigil over her beloved, her emerald eyes trained on Hans handsome features in repose. His cobalt eyes flickered open as he focused on the gamin visage before him.
"A-Allenby, i-is that you?" he rasped as he tried to rise, his cover sliding down but she pushed his shoulders down gently.
"Shhh, Hans yes, it's me," the Neo Sweden fighter whispered. "Stay down, you need your rest."
"Okay, just stay here with me please," he said as he sighed and his eyes closed.
Allenby sighed as she said softly, replacing his cover, "Just sleep, I'm not going anywhere." Her head dropped as tears formed in her eyes.
Rain stepped forward with a stethoscope and checked Hans out. She listened carefully to the fallen Neo Denmark fighter's chest then satisfied, she leaned back. "He's going to be fine, Allenby. His heartbeat is steady and strong. He just needs rest." She checked the intravenous drip of medication for cell recovery.
Allenby raised her head and smiled tremulously. "Thank you, Rain. With all you went through, to be here to treat Hans means the world to me."
Domon came forward and placed a hand on Allenby's shoulder. "We want you to know that we're both here for you Allenby, if you need us."
"Domon's right, Allenby. We both will be here for you," Rain reiterated. She stepped back and added, "Now I think we'll just leave you both alone. The best medicine for Hans is to know that you're there."
Allenby nodded and turned to regard the two, her eyes bright with gratitude. "I owe you my life, Rain. First for saving me from the Dark Gundam and now for the device you helped create that saved Hans. Thank you." She got to her feet and embraced the lovely doctor.
"You're welcome, I'm glad I could help," Rain responded. She and Domon headed out, closing the door.
Allenby turned her attention back to the bed. She gently brushed his dark bangs back from his forehead as his breathing indicated that he had again fallen asleep. She murmured words of comfort to him as she continued to stroke his cool brow.
"Oh Hans, I'm so glad you'll be okay. To save you from the darkness, I would've given my life if I had to," she said fervently as she put her blue head down on Hans rising and falling chest. She did not feel strong arms encircle her as Hans came awake.
"Then I'm glad that I was saved with that ray because if you had lost your life to save mine, I'd have had no life. Not without you."
At the softly whispered words Allenby raised her head to gaze into glowing cobalt orbs radiating love in a face that reflected her heart. She stood and leaned over, wrapping her arms about the neck of the smiling Neo Denmark fighter, her life, her love. . . .
Out in the hall the Shuffle Alliance members Kiral and Saette were all grouped together conversing as Domon and Rain joined them.
"So how's Hans doing?" Chibodee wanted to know.
Rain replied, "He's going to be fine. Like Chico, Sheijima, and Andrew, they're all going to be fine, they just need rest." She sighed tiredly as noting her fatigue Domon wrapped a protective arm about her, shielding her in his cape.
"And what about you, mademoiselle?" George asked solicitously. "You came through quite an ordeal yourself."
She smiled as she said, "I'm fine, just tired. All I need is a good night's sleep." She regarded the group and added, "I just want to thank all of you for helping to get rid of the Dark Gundam and freeing me."
Saette answered softly, "It was our duty. We felt to join forces to save you we would also ultimately save the earth, since the Dark Gundam's aim was to destroy mankind." His onyx eyes glowed as he gazed at his former love.
Domon caught the soft look in the eyes of Rain's old beau and suddenly felt the need to make his presence felt. "I want to thank you all as well. Without your help, I couldn't have done it, even though I tried, thanks."
Kiral responded, "It's as Saette said, our duty as our nation's gundam pilots and members of the United Gundam Federation to join together to protect our planet."
Argo nodded, "Besides that, like before we just enjoy battling side by side with you, Domon. It gives us a feeling like no other, we get exhilarated."
"That's right, Bro. We love fighting with you and being a part of the Shuffle Alliance," Sai Saici stated firmly, his cinnamon eyes sparkling.
Domon looked at the group before him, friends all and considered himself truly blessed. . . .
Later, he and Rain were leaving the hospital and stood by the fountain, shooting sparkling geysers in the afternoon sun. Domon took her by the elbows and gazed into the azure orbs that he wanted to get lost in. He brought her attention to The Tree.
"Remember that?" he asked, his umber eyes twinkling.
Rain nodded as she bit her lip. "Uh-huh." How could she forget the last time, the time when she had promised to find out if the badly injured Schwartz was indeed Kyoji and Domon was headed to fight in the battle royale. She had begged Domon to come back alive and he had told her he had something to say to her when the fighting was over and he returned. Little did she know at the time he wanted to declare his love to her. The time would remain etched in her memory forever.
He took her by the hand and they walked over to the tall tree, the afternoon sun shining through the branches and painting splotches of light on the young couple. Domon's eyes were infused with warmth, making them the color of milk chocolate.
"I have something to say to you, Rain, something that you need to hear."
She looked at him, her heart pounding as she felt the gravity of the situation. Whatever the Neo Japan fighter had to say must be quite important, he was not one that bared his soul easily, even with her. Rain waited patiently, her zircon eyes focused on his angular visage.
Domon grasped her slender shoulders as he began, "First, I owe you an apology. I'm sorry that I've been less than supportive of what you were trying to do."
"Domon, you don't have to---" Rain began but Domon laid a finger on her lips.
"Please let me finish, Rain. While you were gone I had a chance to really think about the way I handled the entire thing with you and the grief you were going through and I realized that you were doing what you always do, the right thing." He sighed as he continued, "And I also realized that if it were me, I'd have done exactly what you did. Forgive me, koishii."
Rain was captivated by Domon's manner an uncustomary meek one of seeking forgiveness which was a direct paradox of the brash, temperamental and passionate gundam fighter she knew and loved. His head was down and he looked like he did when they were small and he was trying to make up to her when they had a falling out. His scarlet cape billowed in the breeze that suddenly came up making him larger than life to her. Finding his attitude endearing, she reached up and brushed her hand through the unruly raven locks as she caressed him, her eyes aglow like a summer sky.
"Oh Domon, sometimes you make me want to cry," she said softly. "Of course I forgive you. And I'm just as sorry, I was so fixed on trying to right my father's wrongs that I lost sight of the one thing that mattered most to me, my future with you. So please forgive me, itoshii."
Domon smirked, as his eyes twinkled, "You have nothing to be sorry for. It was your research that allowed Dad to create the device that eventually defeated and dissolved the DG cells. So you accomplished what you set out to do, you've helped to undo the evil you feel your father promoted." He encircled her in his arms, holding her close as he added, "Your self imposed sentence is over, koishii."
Rain's eyes brimmed with tears as she said, "Thank you."
"No thanks are necessary, the thanks belong to you. And I know the best way to do it." He cupped her beautiful face in his hands and with his thumbs ever so gently wiped the warm rivulets away. Domon then brought his mouth onto the petal pink lips as he teased them open for his entry. He then tasted the sweetness he had been sure that the Dark Gundam would have denied him had he failed.
Rain moaned softly as she snaked her arms around his leanly muscled torso, drawing herself closer into the warmth of his embrace. Her tongue probed his orifice as his growl rumbled in his chest, passion coursing through his being as the blood sang in his veins. Finally they drew apart, forehead to forehead.
"I love you, Domon," Rain said breathlessly. "And I will always be here, by your side."
Domon responded, "I love you too, Rain, koishii. And I promise you I'll always support and protect you as long as I live." He captured her mouth in another tender kiss.
Over at the hospital entrance, the Shuffles watched in delight as the two silhouettes joined in the afternoon sun, tickled by a warm zephyr as they were linked in the realization of true love and the freedom of regrets finally laid to rest.
Koishii: beloved—usually when a man addresses a woman.
Itoshii: beloved—usually when a woman addresses a man.
Koibito: sweetheart or my love
Uruwashii: beautiful—as a term of endearment
Aishiteru: I love you (not formal)
Arigatou: Thank you
Chan: An honorific used by older people to address younger or by close friends to each other—the use of the honorific usually indicates that the friendship is intimate.