It was the sixth day after the official end of summer that everything had begun anew. In the strangest sense, birth would begin footsteps away from the season of the cold and the barren, both figuratively and literally. For one, it was the birth of a new age where the Rahdam were no longer a threat, days of everlasting peace were no longer just a pipe dream, and the valiant Space Knights would no longer dread that next siren that signaled the next charge to battle. But for two people especially it was the beginning of a new life together undertaken by the vows of holy matrimony.
Yumi Francois, a young woman by age and perhaps a few years younger in mentality, had finally grown up. In her almost decade's worth of experience on the field as a Tekkaman, she has learned the value of life (twice over), the way or war, and the power of love.
She smiled to herself at that last thought. She had joined the Space Knights as a devoted act of love to finding the knight of legend, the White Tekkaman. As a child he had saved her life, and she had only seen him once. Determined to find him she had to join the Space Knights no matter what danger awaited her... Lo and behold, only a year past basic training, she had stumbled upon him, the mysterious man known as D-Boy… The White Tekkaman…
Ten years later and she was two years shy of thirty, with child, and less than thirty minutes away to being married. She almost couldn't hold back the tears at the thought, the thought of a child thrilled and terrified her. Yumi's hand went downwards to her stomach for a brief moment in an effort to concentrate on something else. Seeing more than her fair share of pregnant women she tried to memorize how her stomach was as flat as a washboard and that it'll return one day. Undoubtedly in less than a month's time she'd swell as if she had just swallowed a ripe melon.
A soft knock interrupted her musings. The door slowly swung open to reveal a woman in her late thirties. Her dark green hair was tied up into a clipped ponytail, showcasing the elegant diamond earrings. She wore a dark navy blue dress that was more similar to her work clothes as the Chief of the Space Knights. It was slightly altered so it was presentable for a wedding. If it weren't for the high riding hem of the skirt and the fact that her cleavage was exposed more than just halfway Aki Kisaragi would look like she just stepped out of her office.
"Yumi… D-Boy has arrived. He's at the altar now, waiting for you." She replied tiredly. She held back a yawn, eliciting a laugh from the bride to be. "I'm so sorry; I guess it's been a long year for me." She replied good-naturedly.
"You don't have to remind me, Chief." Yumi replied back. Memories of the devastating defeat of the Rahdam came flooding back to her. It was a victory that almost never was, as another victory for the Space Knights after that one particular bloody battle, would have them undone, as at the time they were already falling apart at the seams. It was only with her power and with the might of Tekkaman Blade had they finally vanquished their forces in one fell swoop.
"I'll tell the priest to give you another five minutes." Aki replied after a few seconds of pause. She steadily closed the door behind her. Yumi for a moment felt envious of the Chief, possibly for the last time from that point on. She as a young girl of eighteen watched the Chief hang off the arms of D-Boy and in those times she wished with all her might she'd wake up one morning with the curves and a bra size that'd tripled that of Aki's.
But she knew it wasn't just her womanly figure that proved the formidable weapon she had to fight against during her bid for the elusive D-Boy.
Together, the two of them were there on Earth for the first invasion of the aliens. They fought side by side, they fought against each other on more than one occasion, and together they stood against whatever came their way. His sleek armored body sheltering her from the blows and criticisms of the world he would guard her whenever she wished.
Today it was not much different. D-Boy would always love Aki, enough to throw his life away, it wasn't something that could be helped. She had been a friend to him and over the years it had changed into something more. First love wasn't something to just fall out of. Suddenly as if struck by lightning she realized she had wasted almost all of the extra time Aki had bought for her! Immediately she began to finish putting on the rest of her dress and prayed she didn't trip on her way to the altar.
"Relax would you? You're sweating like a horse!" David replied to his mentor and close friend. Adjusting his collar sliding his fingers through his hair he coughed an apology when he saw the look his friend was giving him. "Relax D-Boy. Nothing's gonna happen, there won't be any Rahdam attacks, and Dead End will make sure everything goes smoothly, okay?"
"For his sake he better." D-Boy muttered. Despite the seriousness in his tone David knew better that he only spoke gruffly about the youngest Space Knight initiate. He rather cared much about the young lad just as much as he did any member of his team. David knew for a fact he was more worried about the public at this point.
Only four months prior, after a climactic battle that decided the fate of all earthlings and earth Tekkaman, more than a fair share of Space Knights and civilians were killed in the ensuing battle had the public opinion of the Space Knights has shifted from the heroic and noble visage to that of a terrorist vigilante crew, a campaign brought forth by the military. Ever since the first formation of the Space Knights the United Army of Earth has sought to add this rebel branch of military technology to its conglomerate of power and influence.
"It doesn't matter. Not on a day like this." David replied solemnly. "Believe me, nothing's gonna go wrong."
D-Boy held his tongue as the music began to play. He watched slowly the bride step out from the shadows from the left. If he were only ten years younger he wouldn't feel so damned old. Everyone around him were at least ten years his junior. The priest was at least fifteen, never mind ten years. He smiled in spite of himself as Yumi walked down the aisle. Her shimmering blonde hair was trimmed to shoulder length, her traditional ponytail also shortened. The white of her dressed seemed to magnify all the surrounding light of the chapel. If it weren't for his sunglasses he probably would have been blinking his eyes until they readjusted. He slowly made his way to her ever so slowly until he met half way down the aisle, face to face with the young woman. Behind the veil her eyes shimmered, emotion rippling across her ocean blue eyes.
The thoughts of how fast he had approached middle age so quickly were thrown out with the rest of the lingering thoughts that troubled him this day. Today wasn't a day to bother with the trivial things in life. Weddings, especially this one, really helped to straighten out his perspective. Yumi stepped up to him and he felt an urge to hug the young woman. Watching her, David, Natasha, even Dead End, seeing them growing up before his eyes, he felt himself richer than any man could ever dream of. They were his children.
He stepped aside and held his arm out. Gently she hooked her arm with his and together they walked down to the aisle until slowly he disengaged his arm and stepped away from the altar.
Yumi couldn't help but watch the cologne-wearing D-Boy walk from her sight. She stood and felt her knees trembling yet she found strength to move forward. She could feel the eyes upon her and the man that stood in front of her. His smile was as wide as it could be, today it was her and David's wedding day. If she paid any attention to his face at all she could see the eyes were almost dead.
Many times during the speech made by the priest had she wanted to run, just to run away with D-Boy… No, she wanted to run away with Takaya, with Tekkaman Blade. She didn't want any more to do with the Space Knights. Not now, not after everything she had learned to accept as a part of her duty as a warrior. She had met the White Tekkaman and found that he had a name. He had a past and he had a face. She had done her duty after joining the Space Knights, as she had not forsaken her duty in times when it would be easier to give up her place, her chance to be one with Takaya. Now she wanted her life back and most importantly she wanted him.
Memories of the weeks after that battle came rushing to her as the priest began to drive that final nail home. She was so alone that night; Takaya had been missing along with the Chief. She knew Aki was with him. Together they celebrated and perhaps they shared more than just a celebratory drink. It didn't matter that there was a party in their honor at the HQ. The hours passed away until she stumbled back to her room with half a bottle of red wine. It had only been her that night, her and David.
He swallowed hard but didn't let his façade falter at the face of adversity. He didn't cry when Blade almost died in front of his eyes, or the many times it seemed he would. The father figure he held so dear to him David only felt powerless and rage when it had happened. Now he felt the same emotions run through him as he felt the bell toll for him. However it wasn't death that came for him nor would he be afraid if it were. David had even sought it for a while. He was an avid Catholic, a man of a strong sense for justice, but nothing he saw before him was just, and he felt the bell toll for him, the death of his dream, of the one woman he felt deserving of the place beside him.
He stole a glance by Aki, the Chief, The Red Demon. Demon? He scoffed at the title. She was a fierce warrior, a strong leader, a great cook as he's come to learn. She was beautiful in every sense of the word. Now she stood in the back, her voluptuous body hidden from the light. She stood by the darkness, her form carefully and possessively held by a demon of that darkness.
David killed that thought. He was a Knight, if there were such a thing nowadays. A knight born from the darkness that was Rahdam… He wanted to laugh at the power he once sought, the power that he now possessed. Years ago, he had thought to himself… Maybe if he learned how to harness that power he could one day become like that demon knight of legend, that monstrous warrior that could slaughter a horde of Rahdam, the Tekkaman able to withstand a thirty megaton nuclear device point blank… Maybe it could be him.
The voice… it was so soft, melodious. Yumi, he thought to himself. She was such a child. She was a beautiful child. She was so innocent and so strong at the same time. She believed in the goodness of people and more times than not he had saved her from it. And during the few times when he didn't need to she had proven that her heart was what kept the lot of them human.
The images flashed through his mind. So many days ago he remembered in his drunken state, stumbling around the command center of Space Knights HQ. Whom he had sought for comfort wasn't there so he did the next best thing.
Yumi would understand, she'd always understand. He needed an ear that would understand his plight but instead found a warm bosom to sleep by when the night became unbearable. The night was a night of solace, heavenly sanctuary made possible by their own drunken stupor and their own feelings of guilt, treason, love, hate, passion… it all mingled with their sweat and their bodily fluids in one night.
That same beautiful child had grown, not from that one night but over the course of the years. David could see it now. When she had first joined under the assumption of being nothing but a mechanic, he first saw her from a distance a young girl, whose energy and vivacity was almost contagious. She was ditzy at times and but she always had an intensity behind her words and her actions, let alone her feelings. Her eyes now hold that same fire and determination, but the fire was much fierce, it was something born from being a Tekkaman that much he knew. Yumi was no longer that same little girl. She had grown beautifully. Her face was now hardened yet supple, her body was trained to fight, her mind trained to kill. She was the heir to the title of demon.
In a sense, weren't they all just a little bit demonic? Blade, Dead End, Yumi, Aki, Natasha, and himself, they were all just a family of demons that protected a world under the siege of their own kind.
His mind was absently moving but he heard every word mentioned. Good bye Aki. This is it. I'm going to go now, and maybe you can find the same peace I hope to find.
Yumi closed her eyes as he could feel the veil being lifted from her face. She couldn't help the tears that escaped. She had tried so hard but it couldn't be helped. Her husband was to now kiss her. For a moment she could almost feel the presence of the baby within her awake. It was as if the kiss had sealed the deal. She was now a married, pregnant woman.
Pregnancy was less of a surprise compared to marriage offered by David.
She had wanted to forget but that night will always haunt her dreams. They were together and she had lost so many of her friends and family. Natasha was lying in a coma, Goliath and Hayato were dead. Anne, the third pilot of the group was missing in action and presumed dead. Only they were left alive. Survivor's guilt was a new experience to her.
But now it was official.
D-Boy…Takaya-san… Good bye forever. I truly wish you could be here by my side...
As the newly wedded couple leaned in together for a kiss the entire chapel exploded with cheers and confetti. Dead End caught the end of the ceremony just in time and whooped uncharacteristically, along with Aki and D-Boy. A smiling Natasha wheeled in by none other than Honda, the chief mechanic, whistled loudly with one hand while waving to the new couple with the other.
Thus came the end of the Next Generation and the beginning of a new day, and a new dawn for the future of mankind.