The last chapter, wrap up and epilogue all in one file- It's the finish this fic off right chapter-
So I realize it took a while... longer than usual for me to write a fic... not exactly sure why... well I kind of know why- I've been a busy fangirl...
I will still be writing stories while in the land of the rising sun, but internet access might be a slight setback. I'm staying with this traditional family- I assume traditional means no internet... tear since they did not provide an email address to contact them with...
So, long story short, off I go to Tokyo... Sunday... 13+ hour flight... shoot me. I hate long flights...
Enough about me- back to the fic-
Thanks for sticking around, and not being really bitchy about the long periods of no updates... also I need to put a shout out to those who left reviews- Without you I would have said "screw this" and stopped along time ago... So on to the ending-
ps- Have I mentioned I hate Word Perfect? I had to convert this file from a nice.doc file to some word perfect BS becuase I'm at home... not sure why... but wouldn't take the .doc file. It was being bitchy So if you see weird symbols and shit - gomen, but this was all it would take at the moment.
Sora closed her eyes and let Tai handle the escape. There wasn't much she could do right now anyway with her back all cut up again. She let the anger she had for herself at the moment take her mind off them falling to the ground with a rope that wasn't going to help them much more.
Being the damsel in distress back there was something she despised. She was helpless there in that room... he had seen her weakness and used it against her for the last time.
The thing that surprised her the most was that Taichi had seen her weakness as well- it felt good to have someone who she could truly trust and allow to help. Maybe there was a future out there- a new purpose for living- a rebirth for her broken heart.
Opening her eyes to see the man who held her tightly, her surroundings were brought back into focus. They were falling.
"Hang tight. I'm letting go of the rope now." He shouted, there was a little fear in his voice. Who could blame him? She certainly could not at that moment. Sora knew all too well that if she opened her mouth, screams would spill out. Nodding, she clung to him, trusting his judgement.
As if by some miracle, when the time for them to hit the ground came, their landing was nothing like they had expected. Crashing down onto a wagon of hay, Tai and Sora could only assume they had died and were now dreaming or something.
"Hurry up and get down." Came a familiar voice. Sora thought she was hallucinating and stayed in her some what comfortable position within Tai's arms. Even though she was sore and probably still bleeding, she didn't want to leave. He felt the same way. Both were dumbstruck that they survived a fall from that height.
"Soraཀ We need to move now." Came the voice. Giving in and sitting up, Sora looked over and saw a red haired man on a horse.
"Yes, now hurry up. I got both of your horses... we have to split before they find you two." The man said in a paranoid voice.
"How... but..." She stammered trying to figure out why her friend was there and how they had fallen safely on a hay wagon.
"I'll explain it later- now we have to move."
Hearing the gun shots in the room upstairs and the angered men shouting, Sora and Tai decided it would be best to follow Izzy's idea and leave. Rolling off of their cushion of hay, the two were surprised to find their horses like Izzy had said. They were saddled and ready to ride.
"Here, you might need these." Izzy said as he threw a gun at each of the escapees. It wasn't long before the rowdy bunch of men figured out that they had fled through the window. Gun shots began flying out at them as they took off behind some large boulders.
"So what's the plan now?" Tai asked as they hid from the onslaught of bullets.
"Um... I really didn't think of much else other than rescuing you two..." Izzy said quietly.
"Great." Tai sighed rubbing the space between his eyes. He felt a headache coming on.
"Well we owe you for the help. Don't worry, we can taken them... we've got three skilled shooters." Sora said as she tried to get her clothing back into order. Finding it torn beyond fixing, she finished the job, ripping the top off and using her under corset as a top. "How many shots do we have?"
"I snatched a box of rounds, here." Izzy said throwing a box over to Sora. Taking a few for herself, she threw the rest to Tai.
"I think we need to flush them out of their base first." She observed looking for weaknesses in their compound. "Tai, they gave you a tour right? Did they have a stove in the kitchen?"
"I think so..."
"No, I need a yes or a no- did they have a kitchen in there? And did it have a stove of some sorts?"
"Yes." Tai replied thinking he saw a kitchen area around where they had shown him.
"Good. I need you to cover me then. I'm going in to create a little house fire." She smiled as she placed a newly loaded gun in the waist of her mangled dress.
"How are you doing to do that?"
"I'm a saloon girl- I know the right kind of booze starts fires that can't be put out easily, Add a wood stove to the mix and you only get more trouble." She smiled innocently enough. "I'm going to go in and do that- you wait out here for them to come running out when the blaze starts."
"What about you?" Tai asked concerned. Moving Yume closer to Sora and her horse, Tai took her hand.
"I'll come out the back door, safe and sound. Besides, I always keep my promises..." She gave him a wink that didn't go unnoticed by their red haired friend. "Just make sure you guys do your part and come out alive too..."
"Sora, they seem to be making a rush for their horses now- do you want us to give you a distraction to get inside?" Izzy said not wanting to break the moment for Sora, but he had been watching the movements from the compound.
"That would be nice- but nothing stupid. We'll need both of you once the fire starts."
"I'll do it." Tai said. "I'll ride out around the perimeter over there taking the fire and attention towards me."
"You sure?" She asked.
"I love you."
"I know. I love you too." He said as he pulled her close enough for a kiss. "I'll see you after all this is done."
Sora gave him a nod and watched as he took off with guns blaring. He succeeded in getting everyone's attention.
"I thought I told him nothing that stupid." Sora muttered waiting for her moment to go for the house.
"You make a great pair. I'm happy for you Sora."
"Thanks Izzy, well I guess it's my turn now... stay safe."
"Don't worry, I'll watch both of your backs." He assured her as Sora took off on the back of her horse for the compound walls.
Tai was doing a fantastic job of getting their attention, maybe even a little too good of a job. He had bullets rushing past him from every angle. If it weren't for his horse Yume's ability to move quickly, the few grazes would have been full out wounds.
"That's a good girl." Tai said pushing his horse a little bit faster before he turned in the saddle and shot back a few shells. "We just need to buy a little more time and we're done." He told her as he took a bullet in the arm.
Cursing as he pulled his bleeding arm to rest on the saddle, he knew that they would be caught pretty soon. 'I need to find a way back to Izzy... but how?' He wondered as he continued to lead a large group of riders away from their base.
Izzy say Tai getting further and further away from their location. With Sora safely in the house, he knew he needed Taichi tog et back here soon to help with the picking off of men as they fled.
"I better go get him then." Izzy decided as he also took off after Tai. It was to his luck that the other men were too busy trying to hit Tai that they never noticed a rider coming from behind.
Picking off riders one by one, Izzy had given Tai the break he needed to beat back his pursuers.
"Thanks Izzy, I owe you one." Tai said as the two men caught up and out ran the riders left behind.
"We'll call it even if you promise to take care of Sora and get her to marry you." He red head smiled as they tried to find a better hiding spot for the second wave.
"We'll see." Came Tai's reply as he blushed a little. Now was not the time to daydream- however it was really tempting to envision Sora and him together after all this.
"What's taking her so long in there? Maybe I should go in and check on her."Tai spoke up getting a little worried from the noises inside the compound and lack of fire.
"Don't worry about her- Sora will get her part of the job done." Izzy said assured of Sora's success. His point was proven as mere seconds later fire gushed out of a window. Soon the building was engulfed with searing flames. "See, she's a fighter that one."
"I know..." Tai said waiting as the men began to panic inside and rush outwards.
"Drop your weaponsཀ" Tai shouted tot he men that ran towards them. He didn't feel right slaughtering the whole lot of them, even if they were criminals... they would get their justice soon. Many complied, there were a few that didn't and received a hot tot he hand, making it impossible for them to fire back.
As the fire continued to spread to the barns and other building wings, more men surrendered to Tai and Izzy.
"Any sign of her yet?" Tai asked Izzy as they circled the men they had taken into custody.
"Not yet- she'll be coming any minute now- besides she has her horse Biyo with her. He won't let anything happen to Sora, he's just as protective as Thunder is to her."
"If we don't get a little help here soon- these guys will over power us..." Tai whispered to his friend. If the men really wanted too, with their numbers, they could easily take out two armed guards with minimal loss of life.
"You called for help?" Came a voice from behind. Tai, expecting to see Sora, turned quickly.
"I brought some unbiased sheriffs from the next township over." The blonde man said riding closer to the group. Behind him rode at least a dozen armed lawmen on horseback. They would be more than enough to take care of these criminals.
"So you did get my message." Izzy smiled. "Boy am I glad. I was getting scared there for a moment."
"You knew Matt was bringing reenforcements?" Tai asked
"When I found out about Sora's not wanting to wait- I did a little more digging, behind the scenes and all, talked with Matt and got some help from other townships after these guys."
"Speaking of Sora, where is she?" Matt asked looking around.
"I'm not sure, but I'm going to look for her..." Tai said taking Yume off towards the burning compound. Seeing his counterpart for Sora's attention ride off, and knowing Izzy had things now covered, he took off following Tai.
"You let her go in by herself?" Matt asked angrily as his horse caught up with Tai.
"She wanted to go. She wouldn't have let me go inside... besides it was safer than out here." Tai defended his actions the best he could. If it weren't for the blonde liking Sora, Tai actually thought he could get along with Matt. He seemed friendly enough on their first meeting...
Getting around the blazing building was a little complicated. Debris and burning wood scattered the ground as their horses brought them safely around to where Sora's horse stood.
Tai's heart skipped a beat as he noticed Biyo nuzzling Sora's unresponsive form. She was laying face down on the ground, as if she had been thrown from the building. More cuts and burn marks adorned her skin.
Getting off Yume, Tai ran to her side. Calming himself a little when he found she was still breathing, Tai quickly picked her up and remounted Yume.
"I'm getting her to a doctor." He said in a voice that would not take nay crap from the blonde or anyone else. After that Yume took off towards town in a full gallop.
Tai walked up to the door with a nervous feeling. Straightening his collar, and making sure he had everything he needed, he entered the small room after knocking.
The sun shown down on to a single bed through the solitary window of the hospital room. The figure in the bed turned in bed to see the door and the visitor entering.
"Oh, it's you." The auburn haired woman smiled as she began to sit up.
"Wait, let me get that for you." Tai said fluffing up a few pillows to prop her up better. "So how is the back?"
"A little sore, but the doctors said I can go home tomorrow." She smiled as he handed her flowers.
"That's good news." Tai said pulling up a chair to sit by her side. "Everything else ok?"
"I guess so, unless you could being bored to tears a good thing."
"You'll be out soon enough. And then we'll both be so busy we won't be able to think." He smiled taking her hand in his.
"So they want you to be sheriff of the town?"
"Yes, with my experience and knowledge of the law, we can get this town back on the right track."
"I told them I'd take the position only if I can pick my partner... so, I was wondering if you were busy..."
"Well, I'll have to think about that..." She said getting another smile out of him. Sora loved that smile... it was just so different and uniquely Tai. "Was there something else you wanted to ask me? It's been a couple weeks you know..."
"What else would I need to ask you? Everything seems to be in order."
"No, you just like playing with me, well fine then... there's always Matt who will be more than willing..." Before she could continue anymore, Tai cut her off with a passionate kiss.
"Never." He said as he looked into her eyes. "Never, ever, don't even think about it."
"Well, if you weren't..."
"I am... if you'll let me get to it... man, Joe and Izzy were right to tell me I'm going to go crazy arguing with you for the rest of my life..."
"I think you can handle it..." She smiled giving him a quick kiss for encouragement.
"Well, seeing all that's happened between us, and now that we've finally been given our lives back... I'd... I mean... Sora share me life with me? Whatever happens, we can face anything... marry me?" He said as he got down on his knees beside the bed and handed her a small ring.
Pushing back the covers of the bed, Sora moved into Tai's arms as she kissed him long and hard.
"Is that a yes then?"
"Maybe? Well, if that's the answer..." He said letting go of her a little.
"Yes." She smiled pulled him back close. "You're not the only one who likes to play you know."
"I know... and that's why I love you."
"Same here. And don't you forget it." Sora said hugging him tightly. Things were finally looking up for Sora. She was happy and content with a new future, one that did not entail saloons or revenge. Her broken heart had been mended by another heart that shared what she went through and lived for a time... the pieces had been fixed and together they could and would live happily together...
So, that's the end of that fic I'm glad you stayed with me and thanks for reading. I enjoyed all the reviews and hope to hear from you in the future. I just want to let you know- I will continue to write whenever I can- but going to Japan might make it a little sporadic at times... don't fear- I will never leave you hanging for too long.
Hope you all have a great Easter, St. Pat's Day, and all other holidays...