Everyone is still crowded in the Sanada living room.
Ayuko inquires, "I'd like to ask the Author if Kent Slade is just a wish fulfillment."
The Author is annoyed. "You already asked a question. Let somebody else have a turn."
Dr. Rara says, "I'd like to ask that question."
The Author, with a rolling of eyes, huffs, "Oookay. Fine. So, the question is, is Kent Slade just a way of vicariously experiencing my own personal fantasies?"
Slade, nervously tapping top of Mits' chair, behind which he is standing, decides, "I ought to leave the room."
The Author assures himi, "No, cool your jets. There's nothing terribly embarrassing here. Listen, while he may do a lot of things I'd like to do, I certainly hope I built Slade better than that. He's not just someone I made up to do everything I want to do. I mean, there's tons of ways we're different. Just look at our hair!"
Mits looks at them both and agrees, "I see what you mean."
Ayuko is unconvinced. "The hair may be different, but the mind is the same."
The Author insists, "No, it's not. Slade also likes stuff that I don't like, and he knows tons of stuff that I don't know."
Mitsuki S. is also suspicious. "Maybe even though you two are as different as all that, he still exists for the purpose of wish fulfillment."
Yayoi suggests, "Perhaps you could give us an example of how your minds are different."
The Author states, "I don't go tapping my fingers all the time."
Slade hurriedly pulls his hands off the top of the chair.
Akane queries, "Do you have any more substantive examples?"
The Author, growing impatient, cites, "I've never built a spaceship that went to another planet."
Yayoi is also suspicious. "That's a task you made Slade do as part of the fanfiction. It doesn't prove that he knows things that you don't."
The Author points out, "Well, I wouldn't know where to begin, whereas he and Dr. Warai did!"
Dr. Warai looks around him. "Why are you badgering the Author on this point? Surely this doesn't matter now!"
Mitsuki S. informs them all, "Slade's been a tough opponent and a good ally, and I just want to know the truth." Yayoi nods.
Dr. Rara protests, "What's wrong with getting to know my son-in-law a little better?"
Akane declares, "I'm looking out for Kazuki. The Author's bias may influence the decision that we all come to at the end of this epilogue. If Slade is wish fulfillment, and Slade married someone identical to Mitsuki Rara, then the Author must think that Mitsuki Rara is the best choice. I don't think the Author should let personal bias influence a decision Kazuki will have to live with."
The Author shakes his head. "Now, I refuse to say whether this is my wish fulfillment or not, because if I did, I'd get flames from all the fans who prefer the rest of you young ladies."
A brief vision of flaming arrows of email occurs to the Author.
The Author continues, "Now, even assuming the story is a reflection of what I want-"
Akane, Mitsuki S., and Yayoi in unison say, "It is."
The Author continues doggedly, "-that would only reflect which one I'd pick, hypothetically. It clearly has nothing to do with which one of you Kazuki would pick."
Slade notes, "Good point."
Ayuko is unimpressed. "Of course you'd agree with him. You're just an imitation of him."
Dr. Rara questions, "So what you're saying, Author, is that you have no idea of whom Kazuki would pick?"
Author coughs and looks at his feet.
Dr. Sanada guesses, "I'd always guessed he'd pick-"
Dr. Rara cuts in, "Like you'd know? Clearly he'll pick-"
Ayuko smiles and says, "I think I have a rather better insight into Kazuki's interesting character. He'll pick-"
The Author hastily breaks in, "But my point is that it's just that. Just guesses."
Alice puts it together in her own way. "Only Kazuki knows what Kazuki wants. Makes sense to me."
Mena changes the subject, "Speaking of knowing what we want, are we ever going to get lives of our own?"
Mitsuki R., concerned for their welfare, says, "Yes, I was getting worried that they'd have to be in my shadow forever. The war's over; surely they can have time to find themselves now? I want them to be happy."
Akane doesn't see any problem. "The story's done now, isn't it? They're free to do as they wish."
Ayuko is opposed. "Says who, sister? My Mitsuki still needs protection."
Dr. Warai cannot believe this. "From what?"
Ayuko deigns to ignore him.
Ryla offers a suggestion. "Maybe we could just renegotiate our contracts, get a few hours off, but still get to protect Ms. Mitsuki. After all, it is rather fun around here."
Dr. Hayase guiltily agrees, "It certainly is, but I feel rather bad about imposing on Dr. Sanada all the time. We practically crowd him out of his house."
Dr. Warai suggests cunningly, "Maybe we could arrange for someone to move out."
Kumu sharply barks, "If you're advocating getting rid of me to make room, forget it."
Dr. Warai mutters inaudibly, "How did she know?"
D scoops up Kumu and says, "Don't be silly Kumu. Of course we're keeping you."
Kazuki feels the need to say, "I would appreciate it if you stopped biting me though."
Kumu isn't conceding anything. "Don't count on it."
Shiozaki and Izawa ask rapturously, "You don't mind us hanging around, do you Ms. Sanada? We'd like to visit you a lot just like they do!"
Mitsuki S. is the soul of politeness. "No, in fact I appreciate your being here. I'm sure you can help us a lot: with so much company, there's so many dishes to do."
Shiozaki, Izawa, and United Team Alliance turn to the Author in desperation and request, "Please, could you clone some more Mitsukis for us?"
The Author is perturbed by this turn of events. "First of all, I didn't clone anybody."
D, slightly offended, asks, "What's wrong with clones?"
Shiozaki, Izawa, and United Team Alliance beg, "Well, just don't torment us by having her marry her own little brother! Or cousin! Or whatever!"
Mits is sorely confused. "He's not her little brother, why would you ever think that-"
Dr. Hayase whispers in her ear.
Mits replies to her in an accidentally normal voice, "Oh. Uh... Huh? That doesn't make any sense!"
Dr. Hayase whispers back, "No, but they made them pretend to be siblings anyways!"
The Author suggests, "Well, really, perhaps we should let Kazuki decide which of you he wants?"
Kazuki is encouraged. "Yeah, I'm all for that!"
Mitsuki S. throws out this idea. "Are you crazy? He never knows how to do anything right!"
Yayoi points out. "As his teacher, I'm obliged to advise him in major life decisions."
D is worried. "But if he does that, won't he have to leave here and go to another house?"
Mitsuki R. says happily, "Oh, choosing for himself, that sounds like a wonderful idea!"
Everyone stares at her.
Akane worries, "Isn't he a little young for this? It'd be more responsible if he actually had a job first."
Kazuki sees his chance slipping away. "Hold on, why don't I get to pick?"
Prof. Sanada laughs, "It must be this world's revenge for you not letting Akane and I pick."
Akane kicks him.
Dr. S in alarm, reassures her, "Hey, I would've picked you!"
Akane tightly replies, "Yes, dear."
Dr. S joking, turns to Dr. Rara and grins, "Of course, I would've picked her just to spite the idiot!"
Dr. R. rises to the bait. "Oh yeah, stupid? I think I got the better of the two sisters!"
Dr. S. retorts, "Yeah, but I remember when we were dating them, I had the better car!"
Dr. R. shakes his head, "I'm the rich one here, I had the better car!"
Mitsuki S. is annoyed. "We're missing the point. Kazuki needs to pick one of us."
The Author thinks of something. "You know, who says that Kazuki has to pick one of you four? Maybe he wants to pick somebody else."
All four girls glare at him.
Yayoi icily states. "I don't appreciate your implication."
D is angry. "You're mean!"
Mitsuki S. says nothing and cracks her knuckles.
Yayoi calculates the best way to slap the Author.
D and Mitsuki R prepare to glare and cry simultaneously.
The Author gulps in fear.
Dr. Rara chuckles, "You're in trouble now!"
The Author quickly uses his creative license to make everyone forget his question.
Yayoi comments, "That won't work. We just reread the script."
The Author flees in terror, knowing no creative license can save him now.
Akane puts her hand to her forehead. "He really crossed the line that time, didn't he?"
Dr. Sanada says sadly, "I pity that fool."
Ayuko seems highly diverted. "He deserves what's coming to him."
The Bodyguard Trio and the female students of Nanjyo Academy are chanting: "No mercy! No mercy!"
Dr. Hayase says calmingly, "I believe the point has been made."
Mrs. Nanjyoin nods.
Dr. Warai realizes the Author is too far away to hear all this and shouts, "Please, put down the knife! I'm sure the Author will apologize!" He chuckles softly.
Everyone looks around. No one has a knife. Dr. Warai laughs more.
The Author, after hyperventilating, checks the prop list and realizes that knives are not on the set. He sighs in relief and realizes he deserves that scare for his ill-considered question and forcing Dr. Warai to use dated slang.
Dr. Warai is satisfied. "Quite right."
Naoko Yoshi decides to ask, "Kazuki, we are all curious, though. Which of the four would you pick?"
Mitsuki S. begins drawing an elimination chart. "We'll know once we get this done."
Yayoi glares at the chart and speaks her mind. "I think we need to choose a more fair method than that."
D recommends, "We could do what we always do. Each of us will make a meal for him, except this time we'll force him to tell us which one he likes better."
Kazuki doesn't believe his ears. "But I like all of your cooking! And that's no way to choose a wife!"
Mitsuki S. turns to her logical alternative. "Then let's start the elimination chart."
Kazuki cries, "That's not what I meant!"
Masaki suggests, "If we can't take him with us, maybe we could decide for him."
Kazuki turns to his father. "I'm still in school, Dad! Can't I wait a few years like Aunt Akane said?"
Mitsuki R. tells him, "Of course you can, Kazuki. We'll all be very happy to wait."
Yayoi and Mitsuki S. glare at her.
Alice whispers to Kazuki, "I think our Mitsuki has your best interests in mind."
Ryla whispers to Kazuki, "Yes, definitely."
Mena whispers to Kazuki, "Just say a few words and you'll be together forever!"
D says in slight annoyance, "Everyone can see you three trying to sway his mind."
Dr. Hayase recommends, "Perhaps we should change to a different subject."
Mitsuki S. is quickly scribbling on her chart, "I'll have this done soon, don't change yet."
Kazuki is aggrieved. "Why don't I get to choose? I never get to choose anything in this whole series! Why can't Dual let me choose something?"
Dr. Sanada is surprised. "I didn't know you felt that way. You do like it around here, don't you Kazuki?"
Kazuki says honestly, "Yeah, I do like it here, I just want to be able to choose for myself. Really, this is a great life. I mean, isn't Dual- isn't Dual-"
All Cast and Audience say in unison, "Isn't Dual great?"
Great minds think alike. I did read several Dual fanfictions after I had the ideas for writing mine, but I had my ideas first and tried not to steal. "Dual! What Is This Emotion Love? When We Least Expect It Pt. 2," by COHugh, has Ms. Hayase becoming a doctor, a title she richly deserves. Also, Clayton Overstreet's "Dual Episode 15 Decision" came to the same conclusion I had independently; Yayoi would be able to pilot a robot in the synthesis world. Also, I believe many fanfictions, including Interstellar Dual! by Xtor49 and Thorin Blauvelt recognized the bizarre web of family relations that now exists in the synthesis universe.
I'd like to thank and acknowledge my beta readers Blue Comet and Shiori Hitohana for putting up with my initial versions of my stories.
The Dual DVD (Digital Video Disc) extras and the "Dual! Ultimate Fan Guide" by Guardians of Order proved extremely helpful to me. If I misinterpreted them, it's my fault.
On The Use Of Characters:
Finally, please feel free to use these characters and ideas in your own fanfictions. Do it in your head or in writing, whether you liked how I did the story or not. As I understand it, since it's a fanfiction, I own nothing within the story anyways. Of course, I haven't exactly consulted a lawyer about that. Don't depend on me for your legal advice!