A/N: It's been a helluva ride. I want to thank all of you that took the time to review and especially for the extra help in assisting me in developing as a writer. As this is my first novel length story and first real attempt at putting anything other than poetry out there for others to see, I thank you as well for your patience and encouragement.
And a big thanks out to all of you who reviewed the last chapter (I know I didn't leave ya'll much time between posts): Morcelu,Thoughts13, reddragonn343, Dagda06117032, eoraptor, trekkifulron, Cody Fett , bigmark2005, Limby, zardoz101, bigmark2005.
Obligatory Disclaimer: You are reading a work of FAN FICTION. So it is required that I state the obvious. Kim Possible and other associated characters are NOT MINE. Blake, his team, Razan, Reaper and a few incidentals did however crawl out of my twisted grey matter. But hey they are still playing in Disney's world, I've just colored outside the lines a bit.
The Blade and The Bloom
Chapter 12: Epilogue
Considering the short notice and the overall digital and literal havoc that Razan's attack reeked on the world, it was more than a little surprising to see so many people show up for the funeral of Sensei and the Defenders of Yamanouchi.
With Rockwaller Industries rapid intervention on 'behalf' of the US Government the impact to world markets and governments was minimal. Wade's ability to convert old Morse code into a sound recognition system that conveyed enough code to combat the information dump didn't hurt either, but as usual he let others step out into the lime light.
As he felt Bonnie deserved to. Her actions to convince her father to shut down all activities and turn over control of his substantial main frame to a stranger rated more recognition than she was likely to receive.
Regardless he knew that today was about good-bye and was happy that Bonnie was by his side as he stepped off the hovercraft at the school he had only seen in footage before.
His primary objective was to bid farewell to the man that had quietly given him encouragement and guidance for longer than he remembered. In hindsight it really wasn't surprising that it had been Sensei that suggested he contact a young pre-teen heroine who could use some technical support all those years ago.
He also was here to take custody of two "John Does". With Professor Dementor and Dr. Drakken both in a general catatonic state, Global Justice was more than willing to listen to his suggestion for their internment. Especially when it was subtly pointed out that their record in holding either criminal was 47 hours straight.
It had been quietly agreed that both criminals would be reported dead along with the rest of the bad guys destroyed in the Battle of Yamanouchi. Wade would install a simple tracking "leash" at the base of both of their skulls, which incidentally had a small explosive within it. The transmitter was coded to his biometric readings. The plan worked well for several reasons.
With escape no longer an issue the focus would be to get them the psychiatric help they needed, starting with helping them out of their post traumatic fog. Wade had a theory on their rehabilitation as well.
As he was starting a long term partnership with Rockwaller Industries to lead up a new research department he would employ both "mad scientists" on "retainer" for their contributions towards scientific and humanitarian advances. Initially all proceeds of their inventions would support the victims of all their crimes. His guess was that if they could still actively explore science instead of languish in a prison, maybe everyone could win.
He hoped that the fact that both of them were "dead" to the world and no one was coming for them could be left to their imaginations and not require elaboration or enforcement.
The added benefit of course to them disappearing was the deterrent effect that the underground rumor mill would start, "No one who attacks Yamanouchi ever survived." Like he told Yori as long as word was starting to get out about the "secret" ninja school; it might as well come with some solid street cred.
Not that it was apparently needed. From the looks of the list of dignitaries, heads of states and power players that were present to pay their final respects to Sensei, the clout of the school was far more reaching than even Yori realized.
Alexandria had given her a compressed class on what and who to expect but assured her that the full scope of Yamanouchi's influence would take some time to comprehend. As the Japanese Prime Minister bowed to her, as the new leader of the school; she was beginning to appreciate her "sister's" gift for understatement.
Throughout it all a small group of supporters had not left her side. Ever present was Matsumaru as the schools lead military advisor and her second in command ensured only matters worthy of her time were presented to her.
A more and more common sight was Rufus on her right shoulder as well. After Ron had called for him yesterday and the naked mole rat had chosen to stay with Yori as she mourned in private; Ron had respectfully understood.
He knew that this was the destiny his little buddy had been growing towards. And while none of them knew exactly what "this" was, Rufus' place was certainly ensured here at the school. Besides the legend of the "mystical, martial, mole rat" had rapidly spread from the witnesses of his decimation of the aerial threat in the battle.
Shego and Ron had been inseparable since the battle. But rarely had they strayed but a stone throw from Yori. Intuitively understanding she could use the support but also as a form of cementing the odd little family that seemed to have been formed on this mountain courtyard.
Shego had uncharacteristically been adamant that she would not leave Yori or miss the funeral. Regardless that law enforcement agencies from around the world would be present.
"I'll handle that as it comes. But if it hadn't been for you pointing out to me that I needed to get over myself and accept the Bloom to save Ron; well let's just say I want to get to know the woman who could get through my hard head."
Yori was grateful for the support of her unlikely new friend. It was after the main procession had passed and everyone was starting to get ready for the ceremony that her new emerald colored friend pulled her to the side.
"Yori, I saw a shadow lurking in the corners and sure enough I managed to track it down…"
"Shego-san, do we have an intruder, I can signal…"
Placing a re-assuring hand on her arm she calmly explained, "No, No; nothing like that. I just know that this guy would have lurked out on the fringe and never properly introduced himself to you."
"Oh. I presume from your familiar tone that this is a friend of yours. To whom do I have the honor of meeting?" she asked more inquisitively as she surveyed the stocky form subdued in the shadows behind Shego. Something about his presence stuck her as familiar and…enticing.
"Oh, nobody important darlin'" came a gravelly voice as he stepped into the light and let his eyes pierce into her, "Sort of a friend of the family if you will. Master Sensei helped me uh, find my center so to speak many moons ago. Also taught me a trick or two that have come in handy. He was a helluva man, your daddy. Best I known."
His lopsided grin and deliberate appraisal of her as he took in her lithe form with his penetrating eyes stirred something in her she was not in the right frame of mind to accurately assess. All the same she had to ask, "You seem to know who I am, what shall I call you?"
"Heh, funny thing, I've had lots a names, been called several you wouldn't want to repeat either," he stated with a chuckle as she grinned. He seemed to recognize that on a solemn day like this when every one was saying "sorry" what she really needed was a smile.
"But I suppose you can call me Logan."
The ceremony occurred a little while later at the now filled crater where Sensei had battled Yono. The remaining perimeter wall had been demolished and pushed over the cliff. This afforded all gathered a spectacular view of the surrounding country side.
The area had been cleaned out of most traces of the carnage that had unfolded here and now was situated as a very fitting spot for a final farewell. Chairs had been set up in a semi circle around an open dais near the edge of the exposed cliff.
As the final guests were seated a small gasp was heard from the few of them unaccustomed to the stealth of Ninjitsu. Without a sound over two hundred black garbed students and alumni of Yamanouchi entered and surrounded the proceedings. If you had blinked you likely would have missed the most telling testament to the teachings of their Sensei as they stoically encircled the grounds to wish their Master a fair journey.
Many of them were carrying identical black and silver urns that had small names inscribed on them. To each of these Ninjas right stood a person with a long and sturdy, red candle.
Next came a surprising addition to the ceremony as the seven remaining members of "Blake's Bastards" marched forward in full ceremonial dress blue uniforms, representing all four of the US military services. With remarkable precision they drill stepped up the center column and executed crisp facing movements as they took a guard detail rank to the right of the dais exactly 30 feet away from the main body of the ceremony.
Next came the procession with Sensei upon a bamboo pyre. He was carried by five honored warriors. Yori at the right side of the head who was decked out in the elaborate mural gi that she was bestowed upon the completion of her earlier trials. Her katana was slung with care upon her hip.
Rufus road upon her shoulder in a ceremonial gray and black gi and his small katana road upon his back in a sheath recently built for him. In his paw he held a beautifully crafted arrow, notched with four eagle feathers and tipped with a very large, hollow arrow head.
Matsumaru walked with precise discipline and was regaled in black and crimson robes befitting his stature and position. He walked with quiet dignity and was the embodiment of Japanese martial poise. Upon his back was an intricately carved bow.
Ron and Shego were directly behind them both in almost matching robes. Both had the symbol of the Lotus upon their backs with an intricate pattern flowing upon the arms and legs. But where Ron's was a deep ocean blue in color Shego's was of course a brilliant jade in aspect. Both wore their perspective blades with humility and respect.
Behind Shego walked Kim Possible in a flowing set of midnight hued robes that were adorned with the mark of the tiger across the shoulders and left breast in gold.
The final position at the back left was left unmanned. It was a tribute to those that had sacrificed their lives so that this ceremony could come to pass.
As they arrived at the dais and laid the pyre down, Kim moved to a nearby seat as Ron and Shego walked back down the central path and stood at the entrance to the gathering. This left Matsumaru and Yori with Rufus on her shoulder at the head of their beloved teacher.
Yori cleared her throat and stepped forward in a manner more akin to a discussion among friends than speaking out to a crowd. Regardless every person present could hear her every note as if it was spoken directly into their mind.
"Fellow Yamanouchi family, friends and warriors; we are here today to not only say safe journey to our teacher and mentor but to those that sacrificed their lives for something they believed in. Before we begin I want to pay tribute to their actions and allow their spirits to join us with proper dignity."
With that Ron and Shego unsheathed and ignited The Blade and The Bloom with an extravagant flourish of sapphire and emerald fire. They then split up and walked around the seated guests along the line of Ninjas holding the urns and candles.
With measured steps they turned to each urn and bowed then rose and lit the adjacent candle with their mystical blade. They continued this along the flanks until they met Yori at the front, standing solemnly behind her near the cliff's edge. They did not however extinguish their flames.
Yori continued reverently, "At the conclusion of this ceremony these urns will be placed at the base of the Toshimuru statue. There a vigil will be stood by these candles until an appropriate shrine can be built on the grounds. I ask that you all pay your respects before you depart for their honorable service.
Master Sensei as most knew him was a well traveled man who had fastidiously studied the warrior spirit and culture all over the world. He understood that the heart of a warrior super seeded race, creed or other barriers that others shackle themselves with. With this in mind many of the traditional Japanese funeral rites will be foregone as we acknowledge several that he had mentioned with respect.
In closing I want to thank you all for coming to celebrate the passing of our teacher, the master of Yamanouchi…my father. May his next journey be even more amazing than this one."
With that Yori turned to the funeral pyre and whispered her final good bye. Next she stood back a few feet as Matsuamrau, Ron and Shego did the same.
For those that had not participated in the Battle of Yamanouchi, nothing could have prepared them for what came next as thirteen spirits rose from the ground around the dais regaled in ancient Japanese battle armor. These, the original students of Toshimaru, the founder of this martial dynasty; bowed in reverence and then took position around the pyre and began to levitate slowly.
To the gasps and quiet murmurs of many the pyre was lifted above those gathered and then out over the cliff some distance away.
Matsumaru silently removed the bow from his back and presented it to Yori. She then received the ornate arrow from Rufus who gently flipped off her shoulder and stood to the side as she notched the arrow and drew it back.
Finally Ron and Shego pointed The Blade and The Bloom high towards each other creating a majestic X formation of mystical flames. Yori let loose her arrow flying through the fiery arch, igniting the tip as it sailed true to its target.
The floating pyre instantly combusted in a magnificent display of ethereal blaze and smoke. It took little time to consume itself entirely and as the smoke faded so did the spectral pallbearers. Rapidly their ghostly bodies became a mist that mingled with the rapidly disintegrating pyre. In a flash there was nothing but a slight fog and not a single portion fell to the valley below as Master Sensei's body followed his spirit…into legend.
Sometime later in the Main Hall
The celebration had proceeded splendidly. In keeping with her father's wishes they had a grand festival to commemorate his life rather than mourn his passing.
Unfortunately though, even at a funeral people have agendas.
Kim had been surprised to see Dr. Betty Director, the Leader of Global Justice amongst the guests. She finally cornered her and asked about it.
"Well I won't deny I had my issues with the old man. But I am not too proud to admit that I did study under him for some time. It certainly frustrated me when he told me that I had learned all that I would be able to from him. Regardless, I always respected his knowledge; even if I couldn't get him to help GJ."
Kim could tell she wasn't saying something and Blake had noticed her look and joined the conversation. The discussion had not gone unnoticed by Ron and Shego either, who were warily approaching the periphery within ear shot.
"I am sensing that you're holding something back, why else are you here Dr. Director?"
Seeing no use in prolonging matters she came clean, "Despite my personal feelings on the matter I have been asked by the international justice agencies to take Shego in to custody. And we need to speak with Ron about his recent 'solo' mission to recover her."
Three large adamantium blades unfurled from a particular fist and were placed less than delicately on Betty's back.
"You may want to think twice about that, Doc. I don't think you'll be taking my friend anywhere."
With remarkable poise she calmly said without turning, "Logan. A long ways from the Mansion aren't you? OK, I can see that timing was not perfect here, perhaps you have an alternative plan to deal with her felony warrants in thirteen different countries?"
"Actually as a matter of fact I do. In fact I think I can clean up any legal issues that Ron has after his little jaunt through Hong Kong as well."
They all turned and looked at Blake as if he had grown a third eye ball.
Smiling a million dollar smile, he looked the head of GJ straight in the eyes and let his voice fall into a tone that let it be clear that this was NOT a suggestion,
"I have it in writing that I have ALL resources of the Federal Government at my disposal to build my new team. Seeing as how these two being in custody would mean they are now part of the federal justice system, I am now taking them into MY custody and offering them a position on my team."
Noting the concerned look from Ron and rather hostile look from Shego who had not been in on his plan he amended, "They will of course be free-lance agents working under my VERY loose guidance…"
Smiling, Betty liked where this was going but had to point out a snag, "And what pray tell are you going to do about all the international warrants?"
Surprisingly Bonnie jumped in at this point and spoke with an absolute tone of authority, "That will be of little consequence when the Rockwaller Industries legal teams get together with the State Department and explain the magnitude of Ms. Shego's contributions here."
With and audible swish, three blades retracted away from Dr. Director's back and a gravely voice stated evenly, "OK Betty now that the official crap is out of the way why don't we let these kids get back to the party and you let me take you for a spin around the dance floor? Been a while since you cut a rug I bet."
"Only because last time I danced with you it almost cost me my other eye." She answered cryptically and then added, "I am glad we could find a reasonable solution for this. Shego I hope you utilize this second chance appropriately."
Shego bristled at the statement but let it slide as she turned to Blake who was hugging his sister.
"Where in the hell do you get off drafting my green ass into the Army!?!"
"Easy, easy! I was going to talk to you two about this later, but the Director forced my hand. Part of the deal for the Bastards volunteering to jump into this fight blind was I can build a team of operatives to take the fight to the bad guys…"
Realizing his slip up he amended, "No disrespect intended, but you really can't go back to working for Drakken, and frankly villain gigs are going to be pretty slim pickings as the majority of them ended up dead the other night. Besides this can give you a range of opportunities…"
Choosing his words carefully he finished, "Listen I don't expect you to be a rank and file member of the team. I was just hoping that you and Ron wouldn't mind being on retainer so to speak; if we get into some crazy 'sitch' as Kim puts it. You two are both great scrappers and likely can get into a lot of places me and the boys couldn't. Besides the pay checks not bad either…"
Ron and Shego gave each other a meaningful glance and nodded. Ron answered for both of them, "We'll play along for now. I don't know what's in store for the two of us in the future, but I can tell you what is going to happen for the next few months or so."
"And what's that?" Blake asked with a grin, fairly certain he knew.
"Uncle Sam is going to pay for me and a certain green villainess to take a very nice vacation somewhere remote and tropical that serves drinks with little umbrellas."
Smiling broadly Blake clasped him on the shoulder as he looked meaningfully over at Kim, "Funny, I had something similar in mind myself."
As the group broke up Kim sauntered over to Blake and wrapped her arms around him, "So what exactly did you have in mind Captain?"
Doing his best to retain an ounce of bearing as she pressed her curves suggestively into him he managed to say, "I was hoping to put the team on 30 days leave and kidnap you to some secluded beach. There I plan on trying to bribe "the girl who can do anything" into joining my team."
Feigning innocence she retorted, "Oh I don't think she would be bribed easily; what do you have to offer?"
Reaching around and embracing her tightly he muttered, "I'm sure we could work something out…"
As the night wore down the numerous dignitaries and guests politely said their good byes and departed.
Ron and Rufus had a heart to heart concerning the little mole rat's future here at the school and they both realized that this was the best way for them both to fulfill their personal destinies. As both a student and a teacher Rufus would utilize his portion of the Mystical Monkey Power to continue the teachings of Toshimuru.
Sitting out under the stars in what was left of the courtyard gardens they both reflected on how far they had come from munching Nacos in Middleton. The smaller one reflecting on the dark road his friend had traveled while the blonde one awed by the loyalty and ability to overcome adversity in his friend.
As they said good night, with Rufus off to catch an over due nap Yori approached Ron with Shego at her side.
Yori obviously had something on her mind yet spoke tentatively, "Ron-san I understand that you and Shego-san will be leaving soon. I understand this but I have a request."
"Anything Yori, what's up?" Ron said in his usual up beat tone.
"You have both proven yourselves as Champions of this school and its legacy. You have truly fulfilled the prophecy of The Blade and The Bloom. In my role now as Sensei it is my honor to act as a balance for your powers and to provide whatever you need to grow into your full potential."
Shego being well accustomed to reading between the lines hedged in, "I am hearing a definitive "but" in there somewhere."
Smiling demurely Yori responded, "Yes Shego-san I have a concern. My father based his extensive knowledge and capabilities on centuries of travel, study and learning. I feel as if I am how do you say, "behind the power curve" on this as I have traveled very little outside this school."
Realizing what she was getting at Shego looked at Ron and received a grin and a nod, "Tell ya what sister, after me and Ron get back from a little island hopping why don't we swing on up this way and pick you and Rufus up for a little world wind tour? See what trouble we can get into, eh?"
Hoping that she understood her correctly Yori surprised them both by reaching up and hugging Shego, "That would be wonderful. I look forward to whatever…"trouble" we can find on our travels. May I further ask your assistance in our first expedition? Alexandria has provided the details of the best place to take the entombed heart of Yono. It will not be an easy voyage but I feel that it would be a worthwhile journey of The Blade and The Bloom."
Silently she stepped back, bowed and disappeared back into the crowd of the main hall.
Falling into an amicable silence they both leaned into a warm embrace and simply enjoyed the silence and closeness.
After some time Ron leaned in and breathed on her sensitive neck as he said, "So what exactly did you mean when you told Yori we'd see what trouble we could get into?"
Her lips parting into a feral grin she turned and looked into his eyes, "Are you kidding? I just got a full pardon and a clean slate. I hope you're not looking for a good girl, cause honey you ain't seen nothing yet…"
A/N: Several of you have noted in reviews a lack of details in the final battle. I'll be honest I felt as if I was walking a tight rope between keeping the high energy tempo f the battle moving and plunging to far into minutia. That said I am hoping to revisit some key elements I only eluded to in the battle in future installments (i.e. Yono vs. Sensei, Shego vs. Gill, etc.)
While I definitely have aspirations to continue the storyline as a whole and perhaps do another epic style story like this; I think the immediate future will be served best by some one shots and smaller stories that will allow me to focus on individual character development. I like the idea of climbing into the heads of a few of the main and secondary characters and expanding on their views of the recent battle and perhaps what is in store for them all as a whole.
I'm very open to suggestions in where to take this saga. I'm happy with where the characters have developed to this point and I think there is a lot of room to grow. Now that you all know the score as to where The Bastards play into the KP world of tomorrow in this little corner of Fan Fiction; I am anxious to hear any ideas you have as to where their adventures should take them.
A few of you out there really played the Jedi to this Padawan in my development as a writer and I want to take the time to thank you again here: Quis Custodiet, Morcelu, Beef Tony, eoraptor, aedan cameron, Charles Gray, Balrog60 & DarkSeraphic. At some point each of you took the time to write a more introspective review that helped me see things in a new light or past a particular road block and for that I am very grateful.
I look forward to learning more from you all in the future!
One last note; I absolutely could not have completed this tale without the support and editorial skills of my wife, Mrs. Naked Mole Rat 68. If you liked Blake and the unique "feel" of many of this story's original characters more than half the kudos go to her! Thanks darlin'.