There's a certain heaviness of body, it's hard to describe exactly. There are no words to do the job, but yet one knows that when you feel it you are about to wake up. Or about to come back from the dead. Not that anyone other than Lazarus would really know.
Consciousness came flooding back in sharp overwhelming waves. First, always first was the sense of smell. This was followed by a sense of touch, which was in turn followed by the sense of hearing. It is hearing of course that draws the rest of the mind to full wakefulness.
Voices, buzzing like angry bees, filled the silence that proceeded it minutes before. However, the puzzled mind turned from that to the feeling of a hand entwined with their own. Now the mind turned from that to its own internal questions.
'Who am I?' the mind asked
'Kim Possible.' it answered after a second or two of serious thought. This answer brought a quick succession of images and knowledge about herself. Once it had satisfied that question it moved onto the next one.
'Am I alive?' Kim asked herself. 'Yes' was the immediate answer. The next and final internal question was rather important 'Where am I?' It took her mind a moment to come up with an answer. 'Hospital' it finally supplied.
These questions answered, she turned her mind outwards once more. She latched immediately onto the hand holding hers 'Who was that?' she asked herself. No immediate answer came, until her sense of smell began supplying scents. 'Ron.' her mind answered with a sort of joy entwined with the name.
'Who was he?' she asked herself and in answer she received a contented feeling with an answer 'boyfriend.'
From this point, thing started flooding her mind. She didn't have to ask questions anymore, before she could even feel puzzled the answers were immediately supplied. The voices, which she now knew belonged to her mom and dad, faded cut off abruptly by a closing door.
Silence filled the air, save for the snoring coming from Ron. Cautiously she opened her eyes and blinked, clearing her blurry vision. She stared at the annoyingly blank white ceiling then looked over at Ron who was sleeping.
She studied his face carefully she could see bruises. But they were fading. How long had she been out? She couldn't supply an answer to that. Shaking her head she spoke up, her voice croaky "Ron?"
It was surprising how fast he woke up, especially considering that normally to wake him up it took nothing less than a grande-sized burrito. Still his head snapped up, his eyes wide and mouth open. He stared at her for a moment in disbelief and then pulled her to him by the hand he was holding.
Kim was taken back by his reaction, but she returned the embrace that Ron was giving her. He held her so tightly it was almost like he was afraid if he let her go she'd disappear. Rufus was having much the same reaction, holding her arm tightly.
Then Ron started talking and she felt tears falling on her shoulder "KP, I didn't know...I thought you were...Yori said, but I didn't believe her...You're Mom said it was just-"
Kim didn't know what he was talking about, but she got the idea he was very relieved that she woke up. She held him tightly, letting him get this out of his system. Once he was done he loosened up and she leaned back. "Ok Ron, what didn't you know?"
He took a deep breath speaking slowly and evenly "You. I thought you were dead. I didn't know, not until Yori told me, that you were alive."
Kim blinked slowly "Ron, why did you think I was dead?"
He shook his head "Monkey Fist, he did something to you. You fell down and you were so cold."
Kim felt a throbbing in her temple, she could remember the fight with Monkey Fist vaguely. She remembered his fingers hitting her. She remembered herself blacking out from lack of oxygen she remembered panic. But after that, she couldn't remember anything.
"KP, you alright?"
Kim shook her head clearing it "Wha-yea, I'm fine Ron. So how long I been out?"
The blond chuckled "Schools out for summer. Semester ended yesterday."
"I was in a coma for a month?!" Kim exclaimed looking horrified.
Ron shook his head "Calm down, your mom and dad- " he chuckled "Simple answer is you're a senior now. I managed to scrape an over all D grade so I am too."
Kim groaned and collapsed back into her bed "Oi, I wish I had stayed in my coma."
Ron sat on the edge of her bed "I don't. I was seriously worried you'd never wake up."
Kim smiled "Well I did, so no big." She looked at him curiously "What happened to Monkey Fist?"
"I won," Ron said quickly "Yori said she'd take care of him before she returned to Japan."
Before any more words could be spoken Kim's stomach rumbled signaling that she was hungry. Ron laughed and sprang from the bed "In celebration of you waking up I'm getting you the biggest grande sized nacho I can!" Rufus nodded and scrambled down and into his pocket home of Ron's pants.
Ron turned and started around the foot of Kim's bed, but banged his leg. This of course caused him to yelp and stumble to the side and trip over a chair that propelled him into a flip, which put him on his back. Of course, his leg had nailed a tray of food sat precariously close to the edge of the table and launched it high into the air.
Kim watched with wide eyes as the food and tray rose, then tipped to the side and fell back to the ground. A wet splattering sound followed along with the rattling of a tray hitting the ground.
Ron sat up, scrapping the spaghetti and mash potatoes off his face.
Kim sat there a moment longer and then began to laugh, causing Ron to look around at her. Then he too started to laugh, till they both were laughing so hard that they had tears in their eyes.
Finally Kim managed to reign in her laughter, wiping her tears away ignoring the goofy smile Ron had "Ron," at this she began to giggle "I love you."
The blond stood laughing as he hurled some mashed potatoes playfully at her "Love you to KP."
The rope bridge creaked and groaned under the light footsteps of the slim figure walking across them. Mist clung to the depths beneath the bridge and around the various mountain peeks. It held little sway to the woman crossing the bridge, instead it was the dot on the mountain at the end of the bridge that held her attention.
She could tell, even from where she was at that it was Yamanochi. It was still charred and broken, but students could be seen repairing what they could. Yori continued her slow approach, holding the duffel bag she carried tightly in one hand.
After a few more minutes of walking, minutes in which she believed herself dreaming she gained the small patch of mountainous ground before the damaged looking gates of the school. She gave a sad smile and passed through them giving the two white garbed ninjas on either side of the door a cursory look.
The minute her feet came into contact with the remains of the stone courtyard, several students paused and looked at her. She returned the look, motioning for them to continue what they were practicing. There were so few students left, so few that she knew anymore.
Sighing she walked through the courtyard, a sense of isolation welling up in her heart. She longed to be back in Middleton with friends, she longed more for Osamu though and that alone kept her in place. She passed through the ruined grounds, glancing at the young willow tree planted in the center of the school. She paused there for only a moment before continuing on to her room.
Yori found it just as she had left it, corners filled with scrolls and rice paper windows closed tightly. She slipped off her shoes and crossed the hard wood floor to her futon. Kneeling she laid her duffel bag on it and closed her eyes, how many centuries had these statues been gone from the school? She had no answer.
Her thoughts were interrupted by a deep male voice in the doorway. "Master Sensei, welcome back."
The young woman turned her head her brown almond shaped eyes taking in the imposing figure of Katsu. His face, which had once been so carefree, was now serious as the long scar running from temple to chin gave testament to.
He removed his sandals and entered quietly. Yori watched him approach without a word, turning back to her futon. She heard him settle onto his knees behind her and she sighed.
"I'm not Master Sensei," Yori said softly "I am Aiemi Yori, Master Instructor"
"I am Daifuresu Kastu, Master Instructor. You are Master Sensei." He paused lowering his voice "You're quest has ended. You must take the title of Master Sensei, it is your responsibility."
Yori remained silent, then she opened her duffel bag producing the four jade monkey statues. Once she laid them out on her bed she spoke "All things end and all things begin Katsu-san. This happens to be both."
The man nodded staring at her back "I take it that Stoppable-san won."
"Hai," Yori answered "Though not as expected. Eternal Master Sensei says that he choose the wisest way."
Katsu remained silent for a moment and then shook his head "Master Sensei, you can explain the meaning of that tonight when you tell the students the story."
Yori sighed, her gaze fixed on the four statues "After dinner Katsu-san, I have much to do before I can tell any stories." The massive man remained silent and she turned looking at him "Do you think Osamu-san would be proud of me?"
Katsu's face softened and he nodded "Osamu-san would be very proud. You have not wasted his gift." He stood offering his hand slowly "Master Sensei, I will help you. It is my honor as the Master Instructor and as friend."
Yori quietly picked up two jade statues and turned on her knees holding them out to the large ninja "Bury one beneath the willow tree marking Eternal Master Sensei's gave. Let none see you."
Katsu nodded and took both statues "What of the other statue Master Sensei?"
"You must protect it. The mind is focused, the way is clear. Hold this Daifuresu Katsu, until our founder returns."
The large ninja inclined his head and then rose, leaving Yori alone once more. The ninja remained knelt there, hands held loosely in her lap as she lost herself in thought. She blinked, ridding her eyes of tears and then turned back to the remaining two statues.
She picked one up and then rose slowly, striding across her room to a woven reed mat. Kneeling once more, she moved the mat to the side and pried up three floorboards. Beneath them were various items kept hidden and safe. Carefully she reached inside and picked up a large piece of red silk wrapping the jade statue. That done she placed it among the other items and put everything back as it was.
Sighing once more she rose and returned to her bed picking up the last statue. She had only one place, one person, to give this one to. Quietly she left her room, moving away from the center of the repairs towards the back wall. Here she paused staring at the heavy wooden door that was latched with a dark, heavy door handle.
She hesitated a moment and then opened the door stepping through to the other side. The back of the mountain slopped down gently, ancient trees swaying in the same breeze that stirred the mist that hung on its side. Yori's footsteps crunched the gravel of the winding path, passing several gray grave markers.
Finally she reached the grave she had in mind and paused staring at the young man rising from on top of it. His face pale and his eyes slightly haunted. His attention was fixed was entirely on her as if memorizing every detail.
"Domo argatio Osamu-chan." Yori said softly as she bowed to the man.
"Yori-chan, no thanks should be given. For you I defy death." The young man answered smiling slightly "Did our efforts succeed?"
Yori stared at him and then nodded, "He fulfilled the prophesy."
"He killed Monkey Fist?"
"No, he came close, but he did something far worse. He stole his power and his ability to walk." Yori paused shaking her head "Eternal Master Sensei that he made a very wise choice."
"Yori-chan," Osamu said as he settled onto the tombstone "What happened to drive Ron-san? When last we spoke, he refused to kill."
"Monkey Fist unleashed something primal inside him, a great thing of horrible, deadly beauty."
"What did he do?"
"He killed Kim-dono."
A moment of silence followed that statement and then Osamu cleared his throat "He killed her?" When Yori nodded, Osamu shook his head "How long till Ron-san blames us?"
"He won't." Yori replied and for the first time Osamu noticed her hair.
Yori nodded slightly, reaching up with a free hand to touch the wide patch of white hair that now mingled with her raven tresses "Hai, it was the only way."
"How many years did it cost you?" Osamu's face now looked worried and ill at ease "Did Eternal Master Sensei tell you to do this?"
"Twenty, to keep her soul in place though her body dead. And five more to bring her body back to life." Yori responded softly "No, he has already told me how foolish it was to gamble such a thing. But for Ron-san, I could do nothing less."
"But to use the necklace, you could have easily died." Osamu said "If I had known you'd have gambled so much... " he trailed off and then shook his head "I was right in sacrificing my life for yours. You have done things I could have never accomplished."
"I would have preferred death, either time."
"You have much work to do," the man said reaching out to cup her cheek softly "I had finished all of mine."
Yori rested her cheek against his hand, fighting back her tears. "You've done all I've asked of you...I shall never be able to repay you."
The boy laughed removing his hand "Good! I like it when you're in my debt." he resumed his seat on the tombstone "So, what of the Lotus Blade?"
Yori opened her eyes, business once more "I offered to take it. To return it to Yamanochi, but he refused." She smiled thinly "He's wearing it as a necklace now, in the shape of a star."
"I see. He allowed you the statues though."
Yori nodded holding up the one in her hand "Hai, he cared nothing for them. I am hiding them, none but he shall have the mystical monkey power."
Osamu reached out taking the statue carefully "I take it you wish for me to place this in my resting place."
"I ask more, I ask that you remain as you are and guard it."
Osamu smiled "I was going to stay anyway, someone has to watch over you. An invisible guardian for you. Who better?"
Yori smiled "Not entirely invisible, Ron-san and Rufus-san can see you remember."
The man shrugged "They're special cases." he turned serious "But I will place it in my resting place and guard both it and you."
"Love undying and eternal, the way is clear. Hold this Osamu till our founder returns." Yori said softly and then on impulse rose onto her tip toes giving him a lingering kiss on the lips. Briefly both their eyes closed loosing themselves in the kiss and then Yori broke it and took a step back.
"I will see you soon."
The male ninja smiled "Yes, I plan on listening to the story when you tell it."
Yori bowed slightly and then stood, a few tears rolling down her cheek "I love you Osamu-chan, as wife to husband." It was a shocking admission and nothing could be said. Silently she turned and raced back up the path to the school.
"Yori-chan," Osamu said softly smiling "Husband and wife, Yori-chan, always." Osamu bowed his head, holding the statue to his chest faded away taking the statue with him.
All was quiet, save for a faint ghostly flute music that drifted across the land, the thick mist swirling as it covered everything in its shroud of white all save the tombstone that held a very important gift.
Herein, at last ends this tale. I can finally write the words that I've always wanted to write....
(Until next time)