Time To Say Goodbye

Disclaimer: I deny any ownership of any adult or adolescent transformed shadow warrior chelonians.

Epilogue: Unconditional Love.

For Rama the bitter realization that her life with Devon was truly over was, hard to accept, she found herself crying in secret, but she knew in her heart that saying goodbye to Devon was inevitable.

Mike felt for his daughter, but didn't know what to say, he knew the blow while harsh would have to fall sooner or later, yet seeing Rama's reaction and her sullen melancholy made him wonder if, perhaps there might have been some other way.

Some thing to spare her the pain and heartache that she was going through for the boy she'd probably never see again.

Seeing Rama broken hearted and trying to hide her emotions and feelings was a hard thing to do, especially when she slipped and he could feel, all too strongly how she really felt.

Yet within a few days, Rama had finally managed to accept the fact, to the extent that she no longer seemed so weepy or slipping off to be by herself, but she was still quiet and smiled only slightly here or there.

Cathy nodded, "She's coming around Mike. Saying goodbye is never easy, now she just needs someone a little closer to home to love."

Mike snorted and gave Cathy a mock glare, "So he can break her heart and we go through this again?" he wondered aloud, arching an eye ridge, "No Rama doesn't need that."
"What would you have her do Mike?" Cathy asked incredulously, "Have her stay daddy's little girl for the rest of her life? Never having anyone for herself?"

"As a future jonin, you really think she is going have time for a husband or children?" Mike countered.

"If it is important to her she will make time." Cathy responded lifting her head, and tossing back her hair, she smirked at him, "You can't hold her back, or deny her the right to find happiness with someone else Mike."

"Who said I was going too?" Mike asked innocently.

Cathy gave a low wry chuckle "Lets see, ever since I met you, your biggest fear and worry has been for Rama, and yet in spite of the trouble she gets into she consistently reminds you, that she can stand on her own." Cathy looped her arm through Mike's and snuggled closer to him, "She knows the value of family and love but she longs to share that love in a meaningful way with others."

Mike purposely misconstrued her words, "She has us to share her love with." He stated casually.

"That isn't what I meant and you know it Mike. You can't be her husband her mate, her lover." Cathy paused and took a breath, "Rama needs someone special who can understand her and accept her for who she is,"

Mike sighed a bit reflectively and a sad wistful look came to his green eyes, "I know she does. She needs someone that she wants to be with the rest of her life, someone that she couldn't live without," Mike admitted, with a bit of reluctance, "But I worry about that because I really don't know what kind of guy she could find who would be willing to give up so much to be with her, and what about ulterior motives."

Cathy glanced up at Mike, "We have time to worry about that, after all she has to find someone first and I don't think she is ready to move on, she needs time." Cathy murmured, she grinned a bit, "I doubt you want someone getting Rama on the rebound."

Mike squeezed Cathy closer to him.

Kali sat beside Splinter's grave beside Rama, "So you really going move on to someone else?"

"I can't wait for Devon, Kali" Rama took a deep breath.

"But you still love him" the younger girl protested, "Isn't love enough?"

"Love is a great deal, but the distance and time between us, is its own hurdles. For everything there is a season, a time to be born and a time to die, I time to sow and a time to reap, a time of peace, and a time of war, a time to hold on and a time to let go…" Rama sniffed a bit, "I have to let Devon go, just like we had to let the Master go. It wouldn't have worked out." Rama declared.

Kali scowled at her cousin, shaking her head causing the blond curls about her shoulders to flap a bit, "You love him and…" she puffed out a breath of air in exasperation, "Just like that you will let him go."

"Kali what choice do I have?"

"If dad hadn't..." the girl began in protest.

"Your father isn't to blame Kali, he is right it would be dangerous to try and reach Devon again."

Kali gave Rama a sour look "Your just saying that!" she retorted.

Rama chuckled softly, "Yes, I still love Devon and probably always will and perhaps any guy I come across may be measured up to him by some extent."

Kali smirked, "I knew it!" she gloated.

"But I don't want Devon waiting for me, and I don't want to waste my life waiting for him." Rama explained, "I guess I'd rather let go and search for happiness closer to home, then hold on to him and long for happiness I may never have."

Kali scrunched her face up in puzzlement "Huh? Say what?"

Rama grinned, "You know the old saying a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush."

She waited until Kali nodded.

"Well it is the same principle really. If I couldn't have returned home I would be his wife, but I would have missed all of you." Rama admitted.

"Even Aiden?" Kali asked.

"Even him" Rama agreed, "But you know Kali, I sure hope that Devon gets a chance to have the family he wants, he deserves it."

"I guess you won't know one way or another but if you could have changed things would you Ramiela?" Kali asked curiously.

"You mean stayed with him and lose all that I care for here? I don't know if I could have, or even if I'd be willing to. But I do know one thing if I ever get the chance to see him or be with him again I'd like to try giving him the one thing that he couldn't have otherwise."

"A child of his own but, wouldn't that mean that you would have to become pregnant and…?" Kali began.

"There are many ways to do it Kaliann, after all, there are babies who have been born to surrogate mothers, or they can bring it about through test tubes and the like." Rama insisted.

"That is so unnatural," Kaliann grumped.

"Maybe, but if it is the only way for Devon to have a child of his own, and all I have to sacrifice is an egg for it, I'm sure there is a way it could be done with out me being tied down and pregnant for nine months" Ramiela stated.

"Why would you want to though?" Kali demanded.

"When my mother decided to give birth to me, she gave a great gift, to not just my dad but the entire clan, a gift of pure, unconditional love. A gift that meant so much more to the clan and their future then she would ever know" Rama explained softly, she shrugged, "If Devon's clan can not bridge the gap between the mutant and human race then perhaps it will be Gabby's children who has that gene, but Devon shouldn't have to miss out" Rama insisted, "So it is possible to give him and his family a similar gift that can hold great dividends for their clan, for so little on my part." Rama shook her head, "It probably would never happen, my time with Devon is over and gone. I accept that, but if I had a chance, I feel almost, well obligated isn't the word, but I love him enough I want to do that for him and his family if they accept."

Kali smiled "Give him a gift of love that could forever bind you together, but if they take a viable egg from you, you'll never know if you have a child with Devon that way."

"Exactly, it would be better for me, I wouldn't have to worry about the child."

Kali beamed, "A gift of pure unconditional love that is what you'd change.

Rama nodded, but remained silent. The thought somehow helped her now, but she doubted the odds of ever seeing Devon again never mind asking him how he felt about such a thing. Most likely it would never come to pass, and she knew that, just as she knew that such a gift would probably never be given.

The family stood around the blazing bonfire, the crackling orange and yellow flames leaping and dancing about in the air, casting a bright glow around the family, as the fire ate hungrily at the wood piled under it. The black sky was studded with numerous stars; their light seemed dim compared to the fire's bright glow.

This was the last night at the farm, and Leo had decided to have the fire, He stood feeling the heat of its blaze.

"It is said that, the fire consumes all in its path leaving nothing to survive" Leo began, "But the flames of the fire are cleansing and often instead of leaving devastation give birth to new growth, new life. A fire regenerates, it can heal and rejuvenate." Leo smiled as he looked slowly around the fire at the separate families clustered here and there around, "The fire gives strength, can give fear, can leave a feeling of lost hope and yet underneath it all, there is always a spark a light, to hold back the dark, the shadows and fill us with warmth."

Leo stopped and walked towards the young chunin, " We have all needed a chance to renew and rejuvenate from the hopelessness and pain that filled all of us, but now as a family, as a clan we are ready to move on and go forward, with hope and new life." He came to a halt in front of Ramiela.

She looked up giving him a quivering smile, and then bowed slightly before him, dropping slowly to a kneeling position, not in submission, but in full respect to the master of the clan.

Leo dropped a hand to her shoulder, "I must say the future does look bright." He stated with much admiration in his tone.

Rama rose to her feet with a shy grin before stating one of Splinter's old sayings "Sometimes it is better to light a single candle then to curse the dark."

Leo nodded agreement, he gave a wise understanding smile and hugged her, she returned the hug whole heartedly knowing that this too, was unconditional love, and a part of clan life. It meant that no matter what they would survive.

The time to say goodbye had come to an end, and now they had the path that stretched before them, and she was ready to walk that way no matter where it might lead.

The End