Here it is, the final chapter! Don't forget to review, when your done! Please? Please with hot fudge and a cherry on top?
The morning sunlight shown through the lace curtains, creating an intricate pattern of shadows that danced across her milk-white skin as she slept.
She stirred slightly when a familiar sound caressed her ears.
She recognized it instantly and let out a soft sigh of contentment as she decided to stay in bed and indulge in the music. She knew those notes better than anything else in the world, and no matter how many times she heard them, they always made her heart swell with joy. Whenever she heard those notes, she knew beyond any doubt that she was safe and loved.
She lay in bed, eyes still closed, wrapped in a beautiful song and white blankets.
Almost the moment the song ended, she felt a warm, comforting hand sweep across her forehead. Her ocean-blue eyes slowly opened and focused on her mother, smiling down at her.
"Good morning, precious."
"Morning mommy!" she said as she stretched and sat up in bed. "Mommy, can I see my sister today?"
"Precious, you ask that every day and the answer still hasn't changed – your sister's on her honeymoon, it would be inconsiderate for us to bother her until she gets back."
"But I want to see her," she whined.
Her mother smiled. "Patience, precious, you will have the rest of eternity to get to know her."
She let out a deep sigh. "I wish I could remember her." She paused. "Mommy, why can't I remember anything from before?"
The ancient Queen's eyes widened slightly, before she regained her composure. "You were performing at the old Metropolitan Opera House when there was a terrible explosion and you were killed. But a few months ago, I was able to bring you back to life, though you lost your memories in the process. For our kind, long periods of unconsciousness usually result in amnesia."
This was by no means the first, and would definitely not be the last half-truth she or her husband would tell their amnesiac daughter.
"Will my memories ever come back?"
Yuki gave a comforting smile. "No precious, they wont. For our kind, memories can only return if you drink the blood of your Chevalier."
"Chevalier? Isn't that what daddy is?"
"Yes, daddy is my Chevalier."
"Do I have any Chevaliers?"
"You did at one time, but they were bad men who were very cruel to you, I am truly glad you don't remember them. But don't worry, they have been dead for a long time. Your sister killed them, with a little help from her Chevaliers.
"My sister killed them so they wouldn't be able to hurt me?"
It only took a moment for Yuki to consider her answer. "Yes, precious. She killed them to keep you, and all the whole world safe from them."
"Then she saved me. That was nice of her."
Yuki decided that this moment presented a good learning opportunity, and scooted closer. "And when someone does something nice for you, you should - ?" she asked, clearly intending for her daughter to finish the sentence.
The girl's face wrinkled in deep thought, as if she were a first grader computing a difficult sum. "I should – I should say thank you and try to do something nice for them?" she answered tentatively.
Yuki smiled and patted her softly on the head. "Very good Diva, that's exactly right. But remember, acts of kindness are always appropriate, and super fun too!" she declared with an enthusiasm generally reserved for talking with young children.
"Hmmm." Diva nodded, her face assuming a ponderous expression, as if contemplating a novel but intriguing bit of abstract philosophy.
"Come on now, time to get up – Daddy's making pancakes and fruit, and we have to be at the temple at eleven."
"Aww! Do I have ta?" she protested, "chanting sutras is boring!"
Yuki placed her hand on her daughter's shoulder. "I'm afraid so, precious. I wouldn't be a proper mother if I didn't make you do unpleasant things in order to help you become a better person, so come on and get dressed."
Yuki made her exit, and Diva sighed as she slid out of bed, approaching a waist-high dresser with a large glass terrarium sitting on it, the enclosure's base covered in a layer of bark, in the center, a hollow ceramic castle that was clearly meant for a goldfish tank. Getting dressed seemed to slip her mind for the moment as she tapped on the glass.
"Good morning Vlad!" she chirped cheerfully.
A tarantula the size of a human hand immerged from a borough under the castle.
"You want some breakfast too?" she asked sweetly.
The gigantic spider reared up on it's hind legs, it's forelimbs pressed against the glass just opposite Diva's fingers.
"Yes, you are a cutie pie!" she tittered as if talking to a baby, immediately proceeding to open the drawer just beneath the tank. She pulled out a small mesh cage full of live crickets, slid back the lid of the terrarium, and shoved a few of the bugs into the tarantula's lair.
Diva watched in childlike fascination as her pet impaled one of the unfortunate insects on one of its enormous, furry fangs.
"Yummy yummy, eh Vlad? Now you eat all your breakfast! Be a good boy for mommy!"
The lush, manicured garden was enclosed in a sculpted glass atrium adjacent to the house. The emerald grass was always perfectly groomed, as was the eclectic collection of boxwood topiaries. An artificial waterfall created an ambiance of white noise as it poured into the lotus covered koi pond. A few feet away sat a glass and wrought-iron table atop a marble patio, bordered by a row of rather unique rose bushes, each individual plant featuring blooms of two separate colors, a look achieved through careful grafting.
Yuki stood on the arched bridge over the pond, arms folded atop the rail as she gazed idly down at the water. Freddie, wearing an apron and carrying a steaming tray, strode past her on his way to the patio table nearby.
"How is our precious Diva this morning, my love?" Freddie asked as he began to arrange the three place settings.
"She seems well," Yuki paused. "She asked me why she doesn't remember anything though, so - I told her the truth we settled on."
"She also asked to see Saya again," Yuki said with a note of exasperation.
Freddie continued to lay out the silverware. "Any word from the newly-weds, lately?"
"No, but I suppose no news is good news."
Freddie laughed. "I'm sure they're too busy gettin' busy."
Yuki smirked. "You know, it's been almost two years, she should be sporting quite a belly by now."
Freddie put his fist to his chin. "Poor thing, I bet she is getting all sorts of condescending you poor, poor slut looks, seeing as she appears to be a very pregnant sixteen-year-old." He smirked. "And can you imagine all the glares Haji must be getting, walking hand-in-hand with her? I bet every woman they pass stares daggers at him and thinks what a bastard he is for knocking up that little girl!" he laughed. "Little do they know…"
"I'm sure it doesn't bother them." She paused. "Oh, I cant wait until the babies are born!"
Freddie grinned. "Can you imagine what they're going to look like? Solomon is quite a hunk of eye-candy, at least in a boring, slightly-effeminate teen-idol sort of way, and Saya -" he appeared behind his wife, caressing her waist suggestively, "well, she is your daughter, after all."
Yuki giggled. "I guess your right, half Saya and half Solomon – they are going to be jaw-droppingly beautiful."
Freddie placed a kiss on her shoulder before returning to his work and changing the subject. "I've been thinking, Diva has done so well with the applied behavioral analysis, and I really think she's internalized what we've taught her -"
Yuki smirked. "Yes, I suppose we're the only parents in history to intentionally teach our daughter how to play with her food."
Freddie laughed heartily. "Right you are, my love, right you are." He paused. "Well, because of her progress, what would you say to enrolling her in school next term?"
Yuki's lips parted in surprise, their corners curling with glee. "Do you really think she's ready for that?"
Freddie put his fist to his chin for a moment before nodding. "I think so. At this point, I'd say she's no crazier than your average high schooler, and she needs to be spending more time with kids her own age – figuratively speaking, of course. After all, that's the whole point of preventing the obliteration of her remains and keeping them stashed in my closet until the time was right - she deserves to have a normal, happy life."
Yuki nodded, though her smile faded a moment later, a sober stare falling over the side of the foot-bridge.
"What's wrong, my love?" Freddie asked, sensing that something was troubling her.
"I've been thinking…" she paused, gazing down at the swirling, pearlescent fish. "I want her to have a full happy life, don't you think that should include having a mate, someday?" She paused again. "But I don't know how that's going to work out, she has already had children – she'll never be able to make another Chevalier."
Freddie appeared by her side. "Don't you worry about that my love."
"How can I not worry about it? It's going to be a real problem – I mean, I suppose there're always humans, but they grow old and die so quickly. I don't want her to go through the pain of outliving her mates over and over again – and having to sleep with wrinkly old men in the mean time."
"I told you before my love, I have it all planned out," he said with a knowing smile.
Yuki squinted at him skeptically.
"I know of a certain single Chevalier that has to rebound someday," Freddie sang cheerfully.
Yuki took a moment to think. "Isn't he still hung up on Saya?"
"He'll to get over her eventually, and when he does – well – if you can't have the woman you want, who better than her almost-identical twin sister? Besides, in all honesty, I think he always did love Diva, but she was a lost cause, so, self-absorbed and impatient as he was, he gave up on her. Personally, I think that's why he fell so hard for Saya, so quickly – she was a comparatively sane, warm-hearted version of Diva – and that's exactly what we have here – a comparatively sane, warm-hearted version of Diva."
Yuki smiled and softly clapped her hands for a moment before leaping forward and giving her Chevalier a grateful kiss.
"So you see, I have it all planned out," he declared with a self-satisfied smile. "I'm sure it will be a few years yet, but I can just see the wedding already," he said, whimsically clasping his hands under his chin. " – oodles of blue roses -" he paused and chuckled "-and he'll be wearing one of those heinous white suits."
Tabula rasa: (Latin) blank slate
No promises, but if my readers are interested, I may do a sequel. This last chapter should give you a good guess as to the subject matter (Diva gets a new chance at life, Solomon gets a new chance at love…), but at this point I am hesitant to commit myself to anything. However, I will definitely be releasing a short prequel.
I would like to extend a HUGE thank you to Lullabyes and SheDevil85 for all of their immensely useful input, help and feedback. If you like this story, than be sure to check out Lullabyes' Bloodstone, the excellent story of what could have happened if Saya chose Solomon.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has reviewed, believe it or not, the reviews have truly effected the story, not just in that they provided motivation to keep writing, but without them, I probably wouldn't have had the nerve to push the envelope so much with this fic.
If you haven't reviewed yet (* bats eyelashes and smiles sweetly at those who have put this story on their Favorite/Alert list*), then I hope you will, and you lurkers too (yes, I really am talking to you)! I crave feedback and validation!
Because I love my reviewers so much, I have a little present for you (you're on the honor system, people): A little Blood+ goodness for your ipod or whatever (a little homemade rehash of the soundtrack). Think of it as the prize at the bottom of the cereal box. Go to my profile for the link. It'll be removed in a few weeks, so get it while you can.
Other random author's notes (that you are under no obligation to read, but if your curious)…
I had two main goals in writing this story. First, was to entertain people, to write the sort of story that I thought I might enjoy. Second, was to turn the staunch Solomon fans into Haji sympathizers, and to turn the staunch Haji fans into Solomon sympathizers. I do hope I have succeeded in at least one of those goals.
This story started out as a one shot, originally meant only to convey how and why I thought Solomon survived ep. 47.
The occasional use of Japanese honorifics was an attempt to keep the story in line with the English novelization of the series (which I recommend, at least if you are as into Blood+ as I am).
The wedding boutonnières were indeed symbolic in terms of real Victorian Floriography. Blue roses really do signify "unattainable love," I did not make that up. Pink roses traditionally symbolize friendship and gratitude. Red roses traditionally symbolize passionate love. I should note that Japan has it's own system of floral symbolism (though many of the meanings are similar), but that's not what I was using.
Yuki's appearance is based on the white-dressed character in the second series intro. She always struck me as not quite looking like either Saya or Diva, and her gesticulation struck me as maternal.
The peacock tailed bird that is occasionally mentioned is stylized after an Asian "phoenix," which is often traditionally used as a symbol for a queen or empress, in addition to the western/middle eastern meaning of rebirth.
The names Ruka and Akahana theoretically mean Blue Flower and Red Flower. Taken from a baby-name website.
Yuki's old name (and that of her sister) were created by blindly typing letters and then sprinkling in a few vowels.
Hawaii was used as a setting because its always a good idea to write what you know. Don't know much about Okinawa, never been there. I have spent a lot of time on Oahu though (whole buncha of relatives there), and it seemed to be a suitably exotic locale.
Oh, and I do apologize if the fight scenes and lemons were shabby, not exactly my specialty, which I guess would be plot twists and (attemptedly) witty dialog.
Well, that's all I can think of. Thank you for reading and an even bigger thank you for reviewing!