24 Chips of Bone, To Make a Mask, To Hide the Truth

Epilogue

It was spring now, months since the Winter War and it's toll. The conflict had taken 2 comrades from them, but Hachi and Kensei had given their lives for the purpose and they would always be remembered by the ones they had left behind, their names etched into the history and memory of the world alongside the shinigami and humans who they had fought beside.

Hiyori was the first one up the hill, arms stretched back behind her head as she walked, sandals hanging loosely from hooked fingertips to dangle behind her head. Sighing, she paused to take in a deep breath of the afternoon air before turning back behind her with a scowl.

"Idiot Baldy, quit takin so fuckin long! You're such a goddamned baby I dunno why th' hell I said I'd marry you, you're such a damn pussy!"

Her outburst was met with a significant amount of grumbling from Shinji – or rather, the pile of wrapped bentos and baskets that were obscuring his form – and a bit of snickering from the others as they watched the smug-faced Vaizard cater to his fiance's whims.

Striking out ahead, Hiyori paused at the top of the hill, chewing on her lower lip thoughtfully as the others waited behind her. Shinji's head stuck out from behind the pile of bentos, his legs trembling slightly under their weight. Could she BE taking any longer to pick a spot? His legs were overjoyed as she nodded, loudly declaring that this was the spot she wanted and he could put everything down now but he'd better not break it.

With a gasp, he let the boxes drop into a heap on the floor, slumping down in the grass and scratching his head before stretching his arms as he glanced sidelong at Hiyori. At least there wasn't a second load or anything.

It didn't take long before they'd managed to get everything set up, Hiyori claiming her half of the blanket, with everyone else crammed together on the other half and Shinji mopping up his nose from his attempt to share that half with her. Leaning back on his hands, he cast blue eyes up towards the sky, watching the soft clouds roll by.

"Guess that's them makin it nice fer us. Whatcha think, guys?"

At his words, the others stopped eating to stare up at the sky for a moment, admiring the perfect, pristine blue. The blue that their friends had given their lives to protect. They stayed like that for a few moments before Lisa smiled slightly and nodded.

"Yeah. I guess it is."

Author's Notes

Well, I hope you guys have enjoyed reading this little series as much as I've enjoyed writing it. I'm sorry to the Hachi and Kensei fans, I actually adore them too they just happened to be the two who I picked out of the hat when I was picking who died, but they died for a good reason. I know that a lot of this has been my own conjecture about relationships and pasts and such and hopefully I've been able to do justice to Kubo-san's wonderful characters. To anyone who is wondering, Shinji had the ring for awhile, ever since he'd realized he loved her and was planning to hold her to that "future bride" crack she was always making. On the field, when he was dying, she actually thought he WAS dead, and he almost was. He was one of the last people Hachi saved before he was killed, healing him just enough to where he would last until the 4th division platoon showed up and completed the healing. Hachi did it for Hiyori, knowing that it would be the last of his energy. Kensei teamed up with Hisagi and the two of them fought side by side until they were overwhelmed. Kensei took the offensive, telling Hisagi that while part of being a captain is going down fighting, the other part is staying alive so those under you can stay alive too and sent Hisagi off while he stayed to face the brunt of the attack himself. Hiyori stayed by Shinji's side until he woke up, and he proposed before she even had a chance to hit him. She did, just after she'd gotten over the initial shock.