Thanks for reading this far- Here is the final chapter.
Chapter 16- Epilogue (sort-of)
Rowen just lay in his bed, listening. He could hear his neighbors moving around in their apartment getting ready for the day, he could hear cars driving by outside, but he knew no matter how long he waited he wouldn't hear the sound he wanted to hear the most at the moment. And that was of Star bounding up the stairs two at a time and banging on his door, yelling at him that he needed to get so they wouldn't be late for something, anything, he didn't really care at this point. But Star wasn't coming to get him up today she was still at her house in her bed, sleeping even though it had almost been a week since they had brought her and Meg back to Gram.
Rowen knew he should get up and do something, do some of his homework he has been putting off, or go spar with Sage, or maybe even play basketball. But all he wanted to do was to wait for his wake up call that he really didn't need and couldn't get today.
After Sage got back to his house after dropping Star and Meg off at Gram's, he found out how much trouble he was in. His parents were furious with him for disappearing for days on end without calling. It didn't help that none of his other friends parents knew where they were either. They wouldn't listen to him, when he tried to explain that Star's twin sister was in trouble and they had to go across country to get her, then Star got sick. (this was the cover story that they came up with to tell to their parents) What surprised him the most was when his grandfather didn't say anything until it came to the punishment. Which was Sage was to help his grandfather out for the next two weeks, and that he couldn't go see his friends. This was the worst for him, because all he could do is get silent reports from Rowen about how Star was doing.
After the first three days, his grandfather set him aside in the dojo and asked him, "You weren't telling the truth about where you went, why?" While Sage spluttered about how to answer that his grandfather smiled and asked if it was about Ronin business? Sage just looked at him with a look of surprise on his face. His grandfather muttered "I thought so."
Sage looked down, "It was kind-of about Star and Meg, and Ronin business. So how did you know about the Ronins?"
"I have had my suspicions for a while, you have five friends who are talented in martial arts, all have large auras, and when you come home bruised and hurt as if you had a large battle. But I guess it took until Star showed up with her grandmother, Trina. When we were younger Trina would often talk about finding mystical armors that was supposedly in our families hidden somewhere. I would scoff at her, but when she showed up dragging Star along, then you six got in as many battles as you did. I finally believed in the Armor of Halo."
When Sage didn't say anything for a while, his grandfather continued on, "How badly is Star hurt?"
Sage paused, "She was almost killed, we brought her back...barely, but she hasn't woken up yet and it has almost been 5 days since it happened. I am beginning to wonder if she will wake up."
"Will I get the full story out of you if I take you to Trina's for a visit?"
"How will you convince my parents?"
"Your punishment is to help me for the next two weeks. I think I am going to need help taking over to Trina several swords that I have been meaningto have her look at."
"Thank you, Grandfather."
Cye didn't have as much trouble as some of his friends had for disappearing for almost two weeks. He lived in an apartment by himself so his mother didn't realize he was gone until Sage's parents called her. All he did then was told her their cover story and why he didn't call and she didn't ask any questions. Although at the back of his mind he knew that it was really because she knew he was a Ronin Warrior and that it had something to do with that, but he didn't really feel like calling her on it at the moment.
He was more worried about the others. Kento's, Ryo's and Sage's family was not as forgiving as his was about his absence and Star still hadn't waken up. Rowen was going through a type of withdrawal which he wasn't quite sure about. He just seemed to have lost his drive and focus.
Kento and Ryo had both been reamed out for disappearing and then reappearing without a calling or telling them why. They told their cover story to them and they were accepted once the families saw Meg and a "sick" Star in bed. But while they weren't grounded they still were given an almost impossible amount of chores and assignments to do before school started again.
On one rare evening when all of the Ronins were able to be at Star's house and not just communicating with each other mind to mind. They spent the evening gathered around a still unconscious Star telling stories, laughing and the rest of the evening down in the living room talking in worried tones if she would wake up or not. This is when a very angry Kaede came bursting into the house. She marched right up to Meg and started yelling at her for not calling her and answering her phone calls as well. She had planned some very fun days and couldn't do them because Star had not called back. Meg was blown away by Kaede. She just stood there speechless until Kento who was laughing so hard wheezed out that she wasn't Star, she was Meg.
Now it was Kaede's turn to be shocked, asked "When did you get back? Where is Star?"
Once they explained that Meg had sent for Star and the Star had gotten sick and couldn't answer her calls Kaede was much easier to deal with. But just as she was leaving she turned to Meg and said, "Since it is your fault that Star can't join me tomorrow, you will have to take her place and go shopping with me. I will come at nine to pick you up." Then she left before Meg could answer her back. This time everybody burst into laughter saying only Kaede.
The next day Rowen was up in Star's room sitting in the window looking outside, while his book sat forgotten in his lap. Every once in a while he would look over at Star and try to reach her with his mind. While she wasn't as deep in her mind as before she still was responding to any mental calls. After a while he fell asleep leaning up against the window. He was woken up by the harsh reality that he had fallen off the window seat onto the floor. As he muttered to himself and rubbed his neck he heard some laughing coming from the bed. Surprised he looked up to see Star still lying in bed but with her head turned towards him, eyes open and laughing softly at him. Embarrassed he smiled and got up and sat in the chair next to her bed. "Did my graceful fall wake you up?" he asked.
"No, actually I woke up just before it. I had enough time to see you in the window asleep, think to myself that you really can sleep anywhere before you fell, not leaving me enough time to even try and wake you up. "She answered still laughing softly. Lifting her hand for him to hold she asked, "How long have I been out?"
Taking her hand he answered, "Too long, you were giving us a good scare. It has almost been ten days now."
"Wow," she mouthed, "So how much of the break is left before I have to go back to school?"
Rowen chuckled before he answered, "About two weeks"
Star just groaned, "And I haven't even started my homework, I am so dead"
"No, you are so alive and I never want to see you that close to death again."
"You will have to fill me in on what happened, because the last thing I remember is telling Meg goodbye." Star stopped Rowen from answering, "But not right now, I think I want to take another nap."
"Alright," Rowen whispered, "Call me when you are awake again." Tapping his head as he walked out the door.
As Rowen walked out the door he called to the other four to tell them the good news that Star was wake and had spoken to him. Everybody was excited and told him that they would all try to come over tonight if they could get away again.
That night they all gathered again in Star's room. She was sitting up in her bed laughing as Meg described with the help of Kaede their shopping trip today which involved a lot of running from hopeful guys. Because Kaede was there everyone had to stay of safe topics of school, what punishment the boys families were giving them the last few weeks, and the hope of good weather until school started. Star had started to doze off before the boys finally gave up hope that Kaede would leave before they would and they all left to go home.
After a couple of days, Star was up and slowly moving around, it took some convincing of Gram to let Rowen and her go into the backyard. While Star sort-of knew what was coming she was not looking forward to it. Rowen was going to drill her on how much she trusted Meg. Ryo, Cye and Sage (particularly Sage) had accepted Meg and had relatively forgiven her for her part of the incident a couple of weeks ago. Kento was still wary but was beginning, with Cye's urging, to give in and to forgive Meg. He was still cautious about trusting her completely but at least he didn't block her out like Rowen did. Rowen sometimes wouldn't even look at Meg, or all he would do is glare at her. He would ask Star if they could really trust her, and then when Star answered that they could, he would get upset and wouldn't listen to reason.
As she sat down on the grass next to a tree, she looked up at Rowen and started if off, "Rowen, I know that you don't trust Meg and that's alright but please stop this."
Rowen looked over at her with a look she couldn't place before looking away, "I know, Star. But every time I think how close we came to dying, how close you came to dying." This last part came out as a whisper. "I just get so angry that I really can't give her a chance."
Star leaned over and put a hand on his arm and asked, "But will you still try? Will you try to at least be nice to her for me? You don't have to trust her or be close friends with her but will you try and be nice to her?"
Rowen put laid his hand over her hand and nodded.
"Good," Star went on, "now we can move on to more important things like you helping me with my homework, my genius friend. Which now that I think about it is still inside, in my room. Opps!" Star exclaimed hitting her forehead lightly with the heel of her hand. "Can you get it for me, Ro?" She asked with a grimace.
Laughing quietly to himself he replied in her mind, "You are so forgetful sometimes, I swear that sometimes you need a professional sitter."
"Hey!! That's not nice!" Star exclaimed out loud as he walked through the door still laughing. As he disappeared into the house, Meg came around the corner asking what did he say?
After Star told her, Meg replied, "He is funny, I'll give him that. But I still don't like him."
"Meg, I have talked with him, he should be nicer to you, he said he would." Star insisted.
"Star," Meg said with a bitter smile, "That is not the only reason that I don't like him."
"What do you mean?"
But before Meg could reply Rowen came back through the doorway carrying Star's backpack. "Hi, Meg." He said stiffly.
"You also have good timing but even then…" Meg trailed off as she walked into the house.
Rowen sent a confused look over to Star who just shrugged and asked which subject Rowen wanted to start with first.
By the time the day that school started Star was almost completely back to normal and looking forward to seeing some of her other friends and also the outside of her house and backyard. She woke up a couple minutes before her alarm clock went off and jumped out of bed, and went to her sister's room already for the pounce to wake her up. But she was already awake and sitting up in bed. Star smiled at her sister as she walked out of the room and muttered, "Curses, foiled again." but then brightened at the thought that she would be at least able to wake up Rowen, who most likely would be fun to wake up.
Leaving Meg in the doorway of Rowen's apartment, Star skipped to the door of his bedroom and knocked loudly on his door, calling at him to wake up and get ready for school. Where on the other side of the door, Rowen was lying on his bed already dressed and ready for school, smiling at all the threats Star was yelling through the door.
Thanks for reading this story. I have finally reached an ending. As I was thinking up this story I always wondered where it should end. I have several small stories after this that are bouncing in my head but when I reached this point, I thought that is would be a good way to end it. Hopefully you guys agree.
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