Last chapter! I'm sorry. Life is again taking a toll. Thank you so much for the reveiws. Time to keep this fandom alive!
elfy016: What's "fangirl it"? I don't think I ever heard of that term. But here's the finale for you.
Thundercat: Goodness gracious! I nearly forgot about Haru's Mother's necklace before looking at your review.
EarthGurdian: Thanks I greatly appreciate your review. It really motivates me.
jeweljade: Simple unfortunately, but I'm not too good of a villain writer. Let's say that in the presence of such goodness made her reform faster.
little.tel: Good idea. Never thought of using Baron's appearence due to being a heavenly fairy.
and thanks to:
Black Dragoness, tsuki the moon, Wielder of the Mighty Pen, Holy-Psychic-Vulpix, Catofhope, QuickStar, fenrir-ice-wolf, Demon951, catsykitten, Rangerette, vampiricfaerie, and Kitala
Haru sighed after confronting Kaoru. It had turned out surprisingly well and she turned to Baron to gauge his reaction. The smile on his face confirmed her actions were right and the two spent some precious time entwined within each other's arms.
Baron's voice sounded from atop her head where he had been resting it.
"Mmm hmm?" she murmured dreamily.
He chuckled quietly and Haru could feel the vibration beneath her cheek. Pulling away from her he kissed her forehead gently.
"I'm proud of you for standing up to Haru. It brings me joy to see you so happy."
"I'm happy because of you, Baron," she replied.
Smiling he pulled out something from his pocket. Haru gasped seeing the familiar sparkle as the item caught the light.
"My mother's necklace," she breathed.
"Where it rightfully belongs."
They spent another idyllic moment between them before he again, interrupted the silence.
"It's time to go see someone."
"Who?" Haru questioned. His eyes seemed to grow brighter and with a sparkle Haru found the quaint house disappearing to be replaced with clouds surrounding her.
She yelped and clung to Baron fearing she would drop the terrifying distance to the ground. Surprisingly she discovered the clouds were firm. Their deceptive appearance made it to look as if a person would fall through only to feel as if they were walking on solid ground.
"I was hoping to have an audience with the Jade Emperor," he said casually.
"The Jade Emperor?!?!" Haru squeaked. "The ruler of the heavens?" She spasmodically started to rearrange her hair and straighten her dress when she noticed the amused smile on her love's face. In retaliation she frantically beat at his chest with her fists.
Though her hands were small, Baron still winced slightly at the impact. Definitely have to remember not to make her mad, or when she does get angry to hide behind Muta.
He clasped her hands to calm her and soothingly replied, "Yes, we must meet with him to properly introduce you to the fairy court. You'll receive your powers and…" he paused. "…we'll be married."
Her face lit up at the thought of finally being joined with her beloved but fell when she thought of her father not being here to witness her most joyous event.
Baron seeming to read her mind allowed her the chance to delay the marriage until her father regained his strength. With confidence she voiced her decision.
"My father would want me to live my life not based on his condition. Though it saddens me for him not to be here, he would tell me to not waste time and seize the day."
She smiled sweetly at him and he lovingly kissed her temple.
"That's my girl."
Guiding her unerringly through the cloud walkway Haru gasped as the Imperial Palace loomed before her eyes. Richness, grandeur, strength… the building seemed idyllic as the lodging of the many deities, fairies, and of course the Jade Emperor and Empress.
Keeping her pace even with Baron's Haru wondered silently at how much heaven was different from Earth. The journey from the gateway to the main dais must have taken an hour in mortal terms passed in only a few seconds. It was as if the two were gliding through the air rather than walking. She didn't even break a sweat or feel any exhaustion at all. Oh the wonder of it all…
Both swept into a deep bow at the figure seated before them. Dressed in imperial yellow robes and ceremonial hat, the Jade Emperor looked upon the two with a wise and all knowing smile.
"Welcome, my children, to heaven."
Turning to Baron he acknowledged the success of the recent events. "I see you have found what you have been looking for."
"More like she found me, my emperor," was the suave reply.
In response the Emperor chuckled and then addressed Haru.
"Haru, you have seen what Baron does: helping others, caring for the old and young. Are you content with this life?"
"Yes, your highness. I love him and I will stay by his side. This is the life I was meant for."
Blushes from both people confirmed the sincerity of her words and the emperor nodded in confirmation.
"Now, to make it official."
He paused and announced to the populace, "My children, it gives me great honor to bond Baron Humbert Von Gikkengen and Amasawa Haru in the knot of marriage. May it never be unraveled or broken."
An eruption of cheers emerged from the heavenly court as Haru and Baron sealed their marriage with a kiss. The entire room was filled with gladness for the new couple. Muta, Toto, Lune, and Yuki were present and gave them the heartiest of best wishes. Well, Muta gave a half-hearted effort but the blush that was present on his face when Haru kissed his cheek proved his sincerity. The emperor continued on.
"Haru, step closer my dear."
Smiling in a fatherly manner he proclaimed, "Your actions in the village and throughout your entire life have been filled with kindness and love towards others, especially children. It pains you to be separated from that life."
Haru eyes filled with sadness at the loss of her childhood home. She knew that it would happen but the emotions had not really hit her until this moment.
The emperor's next words started her.
"However, you and that life will not be separated. Instead you will become the fairy of children and for children. Your duty is to listen to a children's prayer and, if able, to carry out what they wish. You will watch over the abused and neglected children as you had been doing before you came here."
Haru was speechless. Her role in the Heavenly Court was to be herself? No wonder the Jade Emperor was known to be wise and kind. She thanked him several times before being swamped with congratulations by the court.
After some time the two left the palace and ended up back at the original entrance, despite what the haze of being in love could do to one's sense of direction. Haru threw her arms around Baron and giggled as he twirled her around. She looked up seriously into her love's eyes.
"Now it's time to see my Father."
Baron's eyes grew panicked for a second before maintaining his usual coolness. Haru of course could not help in teasing him.
"You, Baron Humbert Von Gikkengen, afraid of a mere mortal, my father?"
"Your father!" he hissed out in distress.
She offered a consolatory kiss. "He'll have to know sometime and I want him to hear it out of our mouths than with the gossip of the appearance of a new fairy."
He nodded and with a small gasp of surprise, was transported through Haru's power to her village.
Haru quirked an eyebrow and laughed at Baron's astonished look at her quick grasp of her new powers.
They had appeared close to the center of the village and timewise, the day was close to being a few hours after daybreak.
She glanced at Baron and noticed as he changed himself into his cat form. It was easier for him to walk amongst the people in this appearance rather than his true form. Haru walked the familiar streets of her former home and was confronted with several jubilant children.
"Haru! Haru! You've come back!!"
She couldn't help but be ecstatic at their enthusiasm. They told her with great surprise that some days after she had left, Kaoru had come back from the Eastern palace in a sullen mood. The girl had remained in seclusion for several days before astounding everyone by wanting to volunteer at the schoolhouse. Though the students remember her mean actions and cruel taunts, they accepted her warily. After a couple of rough patches they grew to love her and she learned what true happiness was. She also was taking care of the infirmed, including Haru's father.
Haru seemed confused at how fast time had traveled when she had gone. Apparently, the time that Kaoru had left the palace and now was about two months time. She sighed realizing the time between the mortal and fairy lands differed. She'd have to get used to it.
Kaoru greeted Haru with a warm hug in front of her home and said that her father was resting comfortably upstairs, and was awake if she wished to speak to him.
As quiet as she could make herself she entered her father's room and was greeted with a much healthier vision of the man she had left before. Joyfully she kissed her father and told him of what had happened.
He lovingly fingered the necklace around her neck and told her, "Your mother would have been very proud of you."
With tears in her eyes she smiled at his words.
"Is your new husband here, Haru?"
The approach of a brown cat up the stairs and into the room was met with happiness by Haru and confusion with her father. Slowly the cat's eyes seemed to glow as bright as the sun and the emergence of Baron took the little cat's place.
He bowed formally, "Baron Humbert Von Gikkengen, sir."
Haru's father waved off his formal tone, "Please, Baron. You may call me Seiji."
Baron nodded and after a brief talk of whether he loved Haru or not (he did) and if he would ever hurt her (he wouldn't) and deity or no deity he would be seriously injured if any harm would come to Haru, the marriage blessing was received.
With an affectionate kiss on his wife's hand, he addressed her and his father-in-law.
"A gift," he paused, "from the Jade Emperor."
With an outstretched arm, he placed his gloved hand against the man's chest. The glove began to glow and Seiji realized that a sudden warmth was emanating from it. It spread from his chest to his head and then to the bottom of his toes. The pain which had stayed for so long was diminishing. The glow subsided after a few seconds.
"Father?" Haru questioned worried for his health.
"I'm… I'm alright, Haru. In fact… better than I have been in a while." He smiled and with newfound strength threw off the covers and stood by the bed. He placed a frail hand on Baron's shoulder.
"Thank you, my boy."
Baron smiled. Those words were an echo of what his father had said to him just before he passed on. He was glad that Haru's father had welcomed him. Now he was free to enjoy a new life with Haru.
The three, along with a reformed Kaoru, had a pleasant meal together before the newlyweds departed.
Hugging her father and Kaoru, Haru promised to visit whenever she could. Kaoru pulled her aside and gave her heartfelt thanks. It seemed, without having her realization at the Eastern Palace, she would have never known that her idea of home was actually the schoolhouse. The joy of teaching and volunteering with the children had made her feel more loved and wanted than any year of her entire life.
Haru joyfully expressed her congratulations and exited the house. Baron, of course, had transformed back into the tawny cat and was curled in the arms of one of the small children that had greeted her exit. They too wished her luck in her new life and said they would be good in her absence.
With tears, Haru kissed each and every one of them on the cheek before making her way out of town. With a slight breeze, Baron appeared before her and took her in his arms. Together the two made their way back to the Eastern Palace.
She sighed with contentment as the two walked through the entrance of the quaint house.
"Are you happy, my love?" Baron questioned her.
"Do you need to ask? Of course I am," was the satisfied answer.
He chuckled and started the beginning of their happy lives with this:
"Welcome home, my love."
So what's next in the future? Of course more stories about Baron and Haru. Two new story ideas are adaptions from The Colony of Cats from the Crimson Fairy Book by Andrew Lang, and The Princess, the Cat, and the Unicorn from The Unicorn Treasury compiled by Bruce Coville. Possibly some oneshots from the movie.
Unfortunately I fear the most of my stories are becoming too similar and formulaic. Hopefully I can remedy this and come out with the next story. Any comments, suggestions, ideas you want to see, or if you want any help with unfinished stories, please e-mail me.
Thanks with great appreciation,