A/N: I did it! I finished a muti-chaptered fic. I realize this isn't the best story but the goal was to finish not over analyze. Thanks for everyone who read and reviewed, I really appreciate it since it made me more motivated to finish. I couldn't decide on only one ending. At first I was going to have it end with KaoruxMiyako since (surprise) I didn't' like KaoruxMomoko until I wrote this.

Chapter 17. cadence (Latin: cadens, cadent-, present participle of cadere, to fall)
a sequence of chords that brings an end to a phrase, either in the middle or the end of a compositionending, steady

Ending 1: Now we are even

Two years later...

"Bubbles..."

Blossom cupped the girl's cheek. Glazed blue eyes watched her, then closed. Her uniform glowed and disbanded and she was Miyako, unconscious. The white light that was once hers bobbed in Blossom's face, bidding her to take it.

Blossom put a hand over her chest. This was just like the day Buttercup had died. She vividly remembered the cologne of copper emanating from the green puff and the red that stained her hands when she moved Buttercup in her arms. When Buttercup's white light escaped her and seeped inside Blossom, she had sobbed, trying to claw the light out of her body.

"Thank you, Buttercup. Bubbles." She accepted the white light's-- Bubbles'-- offer and smiled, her friend's optimism was reaching the corners of her mind.

She stood up and continued along the winding path. The air grew thick and malevolent the closer she came to the end but she didn't turn back as she would have two years ago.

Blossom stopped and looked overhead. A shadow of a jester was snickering shrilly and in disbelief that she was willing to face Him alone. Blossom blocked the claw he had lashed at her.

Him's laughter suddenly stopped, his lips morphing from curled to straight-edged, annoyed.

OOo

Ending 2: Scent

"No!"

The professor gently tugged and Momoko fiercely pulled away, clutching a limp Kaoru as she inched further inside the Professor's van. He had gathered the girls after the battle (and the Rowdyruff Boys as well). Momoko had been the only person that regained consciousness so far. The whole drive to the hospital she held Kaoru in her lap, stroking her face and occasionally the glaring wound in her abdomen. It wasn't until the van stopped that Momoko realized Kaoru wasn't breathing-- that she might not have been alive the whole car ride.

Eventually through reluctantly, Momoko let go of Kaoru. The image was surreal, Momoko knew people died but she never expected it from someone her age-- much less a friend.

OOo

Momoko hung her head down and pulled the front of her hat over her face. Not to hide from the others in the funeral service-- she was avoiding a glance at the casket. Miyako squeezed her hand reassuringly and led her to a seat.

The whole service was a blur to Momoko. The words spoken over Kaoru, the tears, the people filing in a line to look at her face one last time and then hug her family members. She took no part in that, merely watched, afraid to accept the truth as always.

She was relieved that service ended and walked out of visitation to the snacks room. She jumped feeling someone prod her shoulder then jumped again seeing who it was.

"Hi," Dai said uneasily.

"Hi..." Her snack dropped from the vending machine but she didn't pick it up.

"Do you want to talk about it?"

"A-about what?" she asked lamely.

"Blossom," he simply said and she knew what exactly he wanted to talk about.

They sat down in a chair, staring sadly at the other.

"How did you know?" Momoko asked.

"I caught Kaoru de-transforming in the bushes once and I put two and two together..." He sighed. "You were her best friend, right?"

Best friend? Momoko sighed too, looking away. Far from it, she thought.

"It's not your fault," Dai said, waving his thumb along his hand nervously. "I had a feeling this might happen some day."

"Why didn't you stop her?" Momoko asked incredulously.

"How could I? If she was so determined to help the city that she would wear a skirt..." Dai chuckled at the end of his sentence.

"Did you see her that night?"

"That battle?" Dai nodded. "I almost ran out there..."

"Why didn't you?" Momoko was beginning to think Dai didn't care about his sister at all.

"Kaoru chose this for herself. I never wanted this to happen." He paused, holding back a tear. "I'm proud of her..." He was unable to say anymore, afraid that he would break into sobs.

Momoko shifted from her seat and held him, crying after holding it in all day. Dai wrapped his arms around her and squeezed. Pressed against his chest, she closed her eyes. A familiar scent surrounding her senses.

"You smell like Kaoru."

OoO

Ending 3: Change

Three years later...

Kaoru kicked at the dirt with the tip of her toe, hands behind her back, propped against the brick wall of the high school. Momoko was taking forever, though Kaoru couldn't hold it against her. Momoko was a busy girl ever since she became the president of the student council. Kaoru remembered seeing Momoko's schedule once; since then she was baffled by how the red head fought crime on the side.

"Sorry to keep you waiting." Momoko peered around the corner, half-expecting that Kaoru had left.

Kaoru shrugged. "What did you want to ask me?"

Momoko's lips curled, then forced down, uneasy.

"Kaoru..."

She toyed with the hem of her shirt and looked away.

"What do you think of me?"

Kaoru jumped a little at the question, lowering her eyes as the memories returned. She didn't have to concentrate to recall how Momoko's lips felt against hers, or how her tongue tasted different each day-- peaches, vanilla ice cream, white chocolate... whatever the craving of the day was.

Kaoru looked away, realizing her face was burning, but Momoko had already caught a glimpse.

"I know I messed up before. I was an idiot."

"You know we can never be together," Kaoru said. She didn't want to remember what broke them apart. More than anything she wanted to forget her happiness with the girl, wanted to banish the lingering fantasies of what Momoko would look like spread out over the bed sheets.

"We can." Momoko didn't ask about Kaoru's reasoning, whatever excuse it was she wouldn't believe it. She took a step forward and Kaoru flinched. "If you won't have me, I'll..." Momoko left off, she couldn't articulate the rest.

Kaoru shifted to the side to avoid her and just as quickly Momoko snatched the collar of her shirt. She wasn't afraid to be harsh; Kaoru had fared worse. Now the tomboy was trying to elude her by straining her neck back. Momoko huffed smugly then kissed Kaoru's neck instead.

"Ahh ack!" She jerked though not away.

Persistent, Momoko took Kaoru's hand and placed it on her breast, then down her slim form until Kaoru's fingers reached between her legs. They both shivered.

"Stop it," Kaoru breathed. Her hand remained, digits exploring.

The other leaned forward, chin propped on Kaoru's shoulder.

"Walk me home," she whispered.

OOo

Ending 4: Trust

"You're not supposed to be here."

Takaaki's statement made Kaoru jump, she had only taken a step into his room.

The covers ruffled while Takaaki struggled to sit up. His brows raised at the touch of blood on the girl's bandages. Kaoru was happy he couldn't see where they had wrapped her midsection. She was in Takaaki's shoes now-- she hated others pitying her condition. She inched deeper inside the room, attempting create a gait that gave the impression that she purposely walked slowly and effortlessly.

She winced as she lowered herself into the chair, then gave herself away when she grabbed her side reflexively.

Takaaki was tempted to call the nurse but reconsidered. He knew from experience that he hated being drugged out when he wanted an ounce of freedom.

"Do you have any games we could play?" Kaoru asked. Takaaki pointed to the drawer next to her and the girl inwardly groaned as she sat up, took out the array of boxes, the sat down again. She set the rolling table between them and examined their options.

"Checkers?"

She held the game up. Before Takaaki could nod she was already setting up the game.

oOo

"What brought you here? Bored?" Takaaki inquired, making his first move.

"Kind of." Kaoru shrugged, moving a pawn.

A few checker pieces later Kaoru finally said, "Do you think Momoko will find me here?" The strained romance between them had dissolved, but it was still too soon for Kaoru to see her, even under the guise of friendship.

"If she knows how you feel about Miyako, then no," Takaaki said nonchalantly, not noticing that Kaoru was gaping.

"How did you--"

His blue eyes met hers. "I saw how you act around her. King me." He pointed at his checker piece.

Kaoru crowned the red checker and pouted. She had been found out, and of all people to do it, it was her unrequited love's boyfriend.

They were quiet for most of the game. As it was drawing to a close Takaaki bought up the subject again.

"When I die--"

He stopped, expecting Kaoru to interrupt him with, "Don't talk like that!"

Kaoru watched him, hanging on his words. Seeing this, he continued.

"Take care of Miyako for me, please."

Kaoru moved her piece and subtracted his. They stared at the board then set the pieces up again.