After the reviews of "I hate you! You gave me a heart attack at the end of that last chapter you meanie!" I'm happy to give you guys the epilogue! This is it, I can't believe it's actually going to be done…
Disclaimer: I don't own Fushigi Yugi.
Warnings: Swearing, epilogue stuff, a bit angsty.
Somewhere Out There
It had been two weeks since I left the dream world that I had come to love so much and had been left to my own world. At first I wondered why I wasn't allowed to go back and I cried a lot. But maybe that's why. I had to be able to stand on my own two feet. I had to be able to face my own world.
I threw myself into schoolwork as it was one of the few distractions left to me. Rokou teased me about being a bookworm all of a sudden but I just took it in stride. I couldn't explain to them why I was sad, so I pretended not to be. How could I make them understand that I used to be a legendary warrior and that I visited another world at night?
And whenever the night was clear and I could see all the stars, I would climb up onto the roof and laid there on my back, looking up at the stars. I had looked up the ancient Chinese zodiac to find which constellations I should look for. I would talk to them. Telling everyone what had happened since the last clear night. It made me feel a little better to imagine that somewhere, Saihitei was doing the same.
But then, my mother called a family meeting to tell us important news.
One of my cousins that I hadn't met since I was a little boy was coming to live with us. Her whole family had just died in a terrible fire and my parents had offered to take her in. It wasn't all that long ago that I would have thrown a fit about it and accused them of trying to replace Kourin but now I knew what they were doing. This cousin of mine had lost her whole family. She needed people more than ever.
The day before she came, I helped box up Kourin's stuff to put into the attic. There was a terrible dull pain but I knew that it couldn't go on. I couldn't hold onto Kourin forever. She needed to go and leave the world behind her. Maybe when I met up with her after I died, if that's what happened when you died, Saihitei would be there as well. And then we could spend the rest of…well, forever together.
The next day, I stood with the rest of my family, watching a car come up the drive. She had been taxied to the house from the airport because my mother and father had to do some last minute preparations for her. It rolled to a stop and a girl that was about my age stepped out.
I nearly fainted from shock. It wasn't just the shock of seeing someone who looked like Kourin but it was the shock of seeing someone who looked exactly like…exactly like…
"Houki!" I exclaimed. It seemed so impossible and yet…and yet…
"You must be Ryuuen." The girl smiled, bowing her head a little. "You already know my name." She peeked at me and I was reminded of that maid who had asked eagerly to hear fairy tales from my own world. I couldn't help but hug her. Everyone seemed a bit surprised. After all, I hadn't seen my cousin Houki since I was very small, too small to really remember it.
"Let me show you your room." I put a friendly arm around her.
I don't know why my mother started crying, but I think it was because I saw someone who had it much worse than me and I could reach out to them. I had lost Kourin, but my family had still been there, even when I pushed them away. Houki needed us. And maybe…in a way, I think we needed Houki.
But there was something I really had to do. Something that would really help me, even though I wasn't strong enough to do it before. I'm not even sure I was strong enough now, but I had to go do it.
Rokou had phoned ahead for me and driven me to the place where Kourin's friend lived. The friend who had been with her on that terrible night. The one that I had been so angry at for surviving. It was time for us to meet at last.
His mother ushered me in as soon as she saw it was me. I followed, not sure what to say, how to explain…what would I tell him? How was I supposed to explain why I had decided to meet him? Would he even understand. His mother knocked on his bedroom door and when the voice told us to enter, I thought for a moment that it sounded familiar. It must just be my imagination. Or maybe I had met him briefly once with Kourin. I don't know.
I went in, looking at the floor.
"I'm very pleased to meet you, Chou Ryuuen." The voice startled me a bit. There was something terribly familiar about it now. I looked up and my mouth dropped open. No way. There was just no way! This was even more impossible than Houki…how on Earth…?
"I…I'm…" I tried to form a coherent sentence but it seemed so impossible. The boy in front of me was none other than Doukun. His hair was done differently but it was still clearly him. "I am. You're…?"
"Oo Doukun." He smiled at me. He was seated at a table. "I'm really glad I could meet you. You and Kourin…" He got a pained look on his face. I sat down across from him. "You and Kourin look very much alike and she talked about you all the time…"
"Yeah." I agreed dumbly. "I wanted to come…and say…say…"
"If you're angry with me, I understand. Sometimes I get so mad at myself…" He closed his eyes. "Because I couldn't save her. I really tried, I really did. If only I was faster or stronger…if only I had tried harder to stop her from hanging out with those boys…"
"That's funny." I half-smiled. It was painful for both of us and maybe that's what made it easy for us to talk about it. "I get mad at myself for those exact same reasons. Why couldn't I stop it? But the thing is…" I took a deep breath. "I couldn't have stopped it. And you…you couldn't do anymore than you did. And I came here to thank you." He looked at me with wide eyes for a moment.
"You…you did?" Doukun looked surprised. "But why?"
"Because I want to." I told him sincerely. "And I want you to know that if you're a friend of Kourin's, you're a friend of mine."
"Really?" Doukun's whole face lit up. "It's just…I've never had very many friends and Kourin was really the only person who talked to me. She was the nicest person I knew…"
Everything seemed better. Houki and Doukun were here. Who else was in my world? My heart kept longing for Saihitei but I couldn't just assume that he was here too. I tried to bury that hope but it was still there.
I wasn't alone and I didn't feel nearly as sad as I did. I helped Houki with homework, braided her hair, and let her borrow anything she wanted of mine. We would go over to Doukun's together and try to drag him away from studying, which he did quite frequently.
The next great surprise I got was the day that Doukun told me his cousins were coming to visit him. I hadn't really thought about it until I met them, or really, heard them coming up the stairs.
"Fucking map was all fucking screwed up again!" A voice cursed in an irritated tone.
"Oh Genrou…" A girl sighed.
Miaka and Genrou. I started crying and had to lamely say I had something in my eyes. I don't think anyone bought it but they couldn't think of any other reason as to why I would be brought to tears just seeing them. Doukun and Houki had been shocking, but these two…it was unbelievable to be around them again. Miaka was still so cheerful and bubbly and Genrou was just as foul mouthed as ever. Genrou took an instant liking to me and we got along really well, even though, as Doukun informed me later, he didn't really get along with people. Imagine that.
Their third visit was after the last day of school and so they brought along two of their friends. Well, actually, Genrou and Miaka both brought their boyfriends along. When I heard this, even though it was still surprising, it was a bit expected when the two people got out of the car with them. Kishuku and Houjun. That was practically all of us.
But not quite.
We would all spend so much time together and we had so much fun. Sometimes someone would comment that it felt like we had all known each other before somewhere. I would always just smile. I considered telling them but somehow…I think its better this way. If they do remember one day, I'll be there, waiting for it. I'm not sure they will though.
Even through all this fun, I found myself secretly wishing Saihitei was there. None of the others had heard of anyone named Saihitei. Maybe it was asking too much of fate to bring us all together. Maybe I was supposed to be satisfied with the friends I had now.
It was still hard to deal with and sometimes, I just had to be alone. I would go on long walks and come back, feeling a bit better, but still feeling like all I really needed to make me feel better was a hug from the man I fell in love with. It was sappy and yet…so true. What can I say? I'm a romantic.
One day, in the beginning of August, I went for a walk, deciding to go to the local park. It was late in the afternoon when I went and so there were barely any children there. I was just walking along one of the paths when I spotted some white flowers along the path.
They were very pretty so I debated a bit on whether I should pick them or leave them there for someone else to enjoy with something rubbed against my leg. I nearly jumped out of my skin.
"It's just a cat…" I berated myself for being so jumpy. I looked down at the white cat with its brown ears and I couldn't help but break out in a big smile. I bent down to pick him up. "Hello Tama-chan."
"I'm so sorry." An apologetic voice made me turn to see a man who was taller than me and had dark hair. At first, since his hair wasn't the same, I didn't recognize him but then it clicked in my head. It was Myojuan. "My cat got away from me. He seems to like you though…"
"It's fine." I handed the cat to him. "I knew a cat who looked just like that once named Tama…"
"That is a coincidence." Myojuan blinked a few times. "This cat's name is Tama."
"Good things have a way of coming back." I almost giggled. "He's really no bother."
"He just loves to run up to people. My friend Saihitei doesn't exactly dislike cats but I think he prefers them to leave him alone but Tama always jumps into his lap." Myojuan went on and I nodded before realizing what he had just said.
His friend Saihitei!
"S-Saihitei?" I stuttered slightly.
"He's around here somewhere." Myojuan looked around. "I think…yes, there he is. Behind that tree." I turned and saw that indeed, someone was leaning against a tree, his back towards us.
Without waiting another second, I began running towards that tree. Even though the others had showed up, I never really was sure that I would get to see Saihitei again…just because it seemed too good to be true…
But there he was, wearing a suit. His eyes were closed but it didn't matter. I stood there in front of him, my eyes starting to tear up. He wouldn't remember me. He would have no idea who I was there but it didn't matter because he was there.
And then his eyes opened, those beautiful amber eyes and they locked with mine. I didn't know what to say. It was stupid to run up to him. It was stupid to be standing there but I had done it anyways…on the slimmest hope that maybe he would think I looked familiar.
"Hello Ryuuen." I couldn't help the tears that started to roll down my cheeks when I heard those words. That's all he had to say. And I ran into his arms, knowing that against the odds, he had remembered me. That we really were together.
He said we would meet in the next world.
Maybe the next world is not where you go when you die, but where you go when you let go of your old world. I had learned to let go of mine, but not to forget it.
And this was my new world.
Omigod. I'm…I'm done, aren't I? There's no more story. THERE'S NO MORE STORY! I can't believe it. This is fantastic! I mean, it was a lovely story but woohoo! Go Jade! Thanks everyone for reading and I hope you enjoyed this whole story as much as I did. Please look for 99 Red Balloons in the future. Since it might be a bit before it's up, I'll tell you what it's basically about:
Story after story has been written about what would happen if all four miko had been thrown into the book at once. I haven't read any that really captured what I thought would take place. So I decided to write my own. This is going to be an extremely dark story and I did a ton of research for it. (I have like twenty pages of background notes.) If it sounds like something you'd like to read, keep an eye out for it. Cheers!