Author's Note: Let's frost this cake, shall we?! There's a lot of Takakura talking to Aaron in this happy conclusion, so prepare yourselves. I just have some special shout-outs for this final chapter.

Orangen: Thank you for being awesomely supportive of this story from beginning to end! Your comments always made my day special. :D
DragonDamsel: I wanted to thank you for your wise critiques because they're so strong, and I know that with your advice I can become a better writer.
Tia Ordona 23: I was happy to know that someone enjoyed my descriptions and characterizations so much. Thank you!
poesumo: Thanks for being so excited about every new update. I was always glad to know someone was so giddy to read more!

Also thanks to DemonDude12, chocolatebonbons121, turtblrdr, Catgirl AnimeFreak for your wonderful comments! And a final thanks to everyone who happened to read The Takakura Tales!


Chapter 16: Message to a Star

Old friend, although I have to wonder if you've ever heard a single word from me, I suppose I should say how things have been since I spoke to you last. It's strange to be talking to you like this when I can't know for certain where you are. I guess it doesn't really matter, does it? You have the right to know what I've been thinking for the past three years, and I can't find a better time than the present.

The night I proposed to Tanya was the moment everything seemed to fall into place. My heart's not so broken anymore though there are times when I can't help but see you in her. I suppose that makes sense being that she is, in fact, your daughter, and I shouldn't be so hard on myself for seeing it. I only wish you could be here to be a part of our happiness, too.

I should've told you when it happened, but my mind was a bit... occupied with things for a while there. You see, we had ourselves a little boy about two years back, and let me tell you, those terrible twos are certainly that. Dr. Hardy explained it's perfectly natural for them to behave this way as kids at that age are learning the boundaries in the world. If you ask me, the old man's probably still grudging me for marrying the boy's mother...

Ah, forgive me, Tanya and I agreed on Ike for our boy after Muffy suggested it one night at the Blue Bar. Don't worry, I wasn't going to let my pregnant wife near so much of a drop of Stone Oil after we were told she was expecting. I ain't a damn fool. Anyway, apparently the name Ike means, "He will laugh," and given how much I expect he'll be like his mother, it fits. As of now, though, he does a lot more screaming than laughing.

He's got your family's feet by Goddess, and the poor lad is starting to grow my eyebrows. I can only hope he learns to live up to his name and laugh it off should Kate start to tease him as badly as she does Hugh. However, I'm certain that Tanya will give the girl a talking to if Ike can't handle it on his own. I've got to admit he'll make up for those quirks when he looks at a woman with his violet eyes, though. I'm not looking forward to offering him any dating tips in the meantime as I'm still not the man he should be asking to begin with.

Still, we adore the boy, and I'm proud to say he already has an interest in the farm. I see him in the pasture from time to time with Lilac and her new calf Daisy. He also was trying to plant an acorn the other day while his mother and I were working in the fields. Ike even rides Surge when we go to visit Marlin and Celia with their new baby girl, Isabelle. You should see how our friend goes all doe-eyed when he's holding her in his arms. Who would've thought the sullen fellow that was our drinking buddy would be such a gentle father?

Then again, no one could've guessed a man like me could be married to the daughter of his deceased friend and partner? Not to mention, father her child.

Gustafa and Nami are still taking things awfully slow, but I reckon that's just their way. Neither one of them are really the type to settle down, and if it works, good for them. When Tanya and I do get time for ourselves at the end of the day, we still wander down to the Blue Bar to see them and the others. Outside the property, things are as quiet as always, but none of us would have it any other way.

She's amazing as ever... Not only her smile and laughter, but her heart, too. I don't think there's another woman who is or could've been better to me. Every night just before we toss ourselves into bed to get ready for the next morning, Tanya and I give ourselves a chance to look up at the stars. It's summer now, so she's happy that she can see the brilliant red one shining over the ocean. She swears that that's exactly where you are.

Apparently, she managed to squeak out of Alexandra that your favorite color was red when she was young, so I guess that's why it's her favorite, too. I still have the letter tucked away in its envelope from the first time she contacted me. I'll always have it near by, just in case I happen to ask myself how she came into my life. After all, Tanya became my everything... She still is, and I believe she always will be...

"Come on, Taka!" I hear my wife call from over the fence. "Let's eat before Ike starts crying again! You promised to make dinner, right?"

"Coming!" I holler back, much to Lilac's displeasure. She's no longer afraid to graze beside my old friend as the grass has grown up over him. I'm not exactly sure myself where he happens to lay although I know his body's here. I've come to accept that I really shouldn't sit beside this tree any longer when I decide to talk with him. I don't have a right to hold him back any longer. He needs his chance to move on, too.

Just as dusk is beginning to fall, I look out across the horizon to see the brilliant red summer star winking at me. Perhaps Tanya's right, maybe Aaron is that very twinkling light looking down on us...

"Taka!" she shouts again and in the distance of our home, I hear Ike begin to wail. I can only shake my head in defeat as I haul my tired ass off the ground. This family business is gonna turn me into a real old man one of these days...

Striding over the fence posts, I meet my wife with a gentle kiss before taking her hand as we walk towards the cabin. Her violet eyes sparkle when her gaze meets mine, and she throws her head back and laughs that crazy crackle of hers. Even though there's no reason to, I laugh along with her because it feels right.

Yes, my friend. Everything is all right in my life... and it just so happens to be because of my lovable Tanya.


Final Author's Note: When I named Ike, I really had no idea it meant "He will laugh" in Hebrew. I only found that out after looking it up right before this was posted.

I really hope you all enjoyed reading The Takakura Tales. It certainly was a fun adventure, and I'm happy how it all came out in the end.

Peace and Love