xxxmidnightstarxxx: So, this is the end. I am eternally grateful to all of you reviewers for sticking with me through and through. Even though I am extremely late in updating, I am so glad many of you have enjoyed and loved this story. To tell the truth, I never expected to get this much love. So thank you! And thanks to my friends Kathy (waving from across the Pacific) and Sammie for supporting me! And yet again, thank you reviewers! Now please enjoy this final chapter of Cold Secret. Poll results will be at the end Thank you for voting!
Chapter 20: If God is Merciful, Let Me Dream Peacefully…
"Well, Ikuto Tsukiyomi? What's your answer little boy?" Kaeda mocked. She pressed the silver edge of the blade against Amu's pale white throat and a small trickle of blood ran down. Amu flinched, but she kept her cool. Kazue leaned in close to her ear.
"It's too bad you chose Tsukiyomi. I would've liked tasting your blood princess," he chuckled, licking her neck. She glared at him with menace.
"No one touches me other than Ikuto," she replied coldly, daggers of ice in her mesmerizing gold eyes. At that moment, Amu looked hauntingly beautiful. Her cherry blossom hair seemed to ripple like water, her eyes burned with frozen fire; her very form was elegant despite being held tight.
A true vampire princess.
"I was joking little brat. Besides, Kimiko is the only I love-no, loved…" Kazue glared at Sumiko. She matched his gaze with steady, firm eyes.
"You bastards…let Amu go now!" Ikuto ordered, his voice piercing through the night like a lonely echo. Kaeda leered at Ikuto, clearly enjoying his distress over Amu.
"Is little Ikuto gonna cry now, hmm? Poor, poor little boy…Kaeda-nee will comfort you, don't worry…I'll just slit her throat…or should I cut out her womb? Hey, Kazue, what should I do? There are so many things we could do, huh?" Kaeda cackled madly, her snow-white hair tangled and flying freely. It gave the image of a madwoman.
"Hey, calm down Kaeda-chan…we should wait for Tsukiyomi Ikuto's answer, no?" She smiled eerily; her smirk reached to her ears almost.
"Yeah, we should huh-"
A sudden movement caught the twins by surprise. The figure leaped towards Amu, attempting to release her from Kazue. Kaeda, however, had quick instincts like a panther's.
"Don't even think about it!" she screamed, and lunged towards the figure. A shower of blood rained down on the Tsukiyomi family and their allies. Kagami looked and raised her hands, letting the doll fall.
"…Just like that time…" she murmured.
"Who….!" Ikuto started to mutter when he caught sight of the figure holding Amu tightly to their breast.
It was Midori Hinamori.
She was injured severely on her right shoulder, the gash wound extending to her lower back. Her blood pooled around her, ruby-red in color. It stained her daughter in red. Her grip however, was strong, and no amount of force could persuade it to release it. Her breathing was ragged and her body was strained, but her eyes held the same fire as her daughter's had before. She smiled grimly at the pair.
"Don't even think about it? I'm afraid not Kaeda Ishikawa. You see, I've already saved my daughter unfortunately for you," she laughed.
"You bitch!" Kazue yelled.
"Are you calling me a bitch Kazue Ishikawa? You've got nerve young boy, to be saying that to me. It's alright though, as long as Amu is safe…" Midori grew limp on Amu's arms and her eyes closed…
"MOTHER!" Amu shrieked, a cry of agony which ripped from her throat and told of pain, sorrow, every sad emotion possible in each echo.
"Then the ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
"Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said,"art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore—
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."
("The Raven", Edgar Allan Poe)
"Hey, bastards, don't think you're getting away with killing a pureblood," Hiro called cheerfully. Azami swiftly appeared behind the two and entangled them with strong sturdy vines. Ikuto ran to Amu.
"Amu…?" he whispered gently, caressing her face in his hands, beckoning her to look at him. Her soul looked as though it had left her body; her eyes looked so empty, like a bottomless well.
"And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor, Shall be lifted—nevermore," Kagami quoted eerily. He looked at her in desperation.
"Kagami-will Amu be alright?" he begged.
"Ikuto-nii, do you know what my parents were going to name me?" Kagami suddenly blurted.
"They were going to name me Lenore. In Greek it means 'pity,' but in Arabic it means 'God is my light.' But they named me Kagami, 'mirror,' because I reflected their love for each other." She turned to Ikuto with a smile. "What about you Ikuto-nii? Do you believe Amu will be fine?" He was silent, and then smiled back at his little sister.
"Yeah. She'll be fine." Kagami's smile widened.
"Then all will be well."
"But first…we'll have to take care of those two," Ikuto sighed. He cradled Amu in his arms while Souko and Aruto took Midori's body.
"Mother…" Amu whispered.
"Shhh, Amu, I know, I know," Ikuto soothed, kissing her forehead. His glance turned to the twins and his gaze hardened. He softly gave Amu to Hiro, who looked at Amu with great sympathy in his usual cheerful eyes. Even Mimiko gently stroked Amu's hair with a motherly air.
"Ikuto, what are you going to do?" Utau asked. He summoned a pitch-black scythe and gripped it tightly.
"I'm going to become the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland," he replied. Amu's eyes suddenly widened, and she tried to say something when Kagami gently put a hand over her mouth.
"You can close your eyes Amu," she advised softly. Amu slowly closed her eyes as Ikuto raised his scythe into the air and brought it down—
Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer,
Swung by Seraphim whose foot falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
"Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee—by these angels he hath sent thee,
Respite—respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."
("The Raven," Edgar Allan Poe)
(Several months later)
"Oh, Amu-chi, you look like an angel!" Yaya squealed with glee. Amu blushed.
"Y-You think so?" she stammered. Amu was dressed in a long, simple, but elegant white strapless dress adorned with white roses. She had on long white gloves with lace at the edges and a white ribbon tied around her neck. More white roses adorned her right shoulder, and even her hair was put up with white rose clips. Her silky transparent veil floated around her like a cloud. Amu's bouquet was pink and white roses in a frilly paper tied with a golden ribbon.
"She's right, Amu. You look amazing," Rima commented. Rima, Yaya, Kagami, Mimiko, Hiroko, Ayame, Azami, Sumiko, Katone, Momoko, and Utau were all bridesmaids, but Rima was the bridesmaid of honor. The bridesmaid dresses were simple, pink, and strapless, with a pink felt brooch (?) near the bottom left, and white lace hung off the end.
"Amu-chan." Amu turned to her now wheelchair-bound mother. Midori smiled at her. "Do you best okay? And remember-always smile."
"Yeah, I know Mama," Amu replied, and kissed her mother's cheek.
Amu calmly walked down the aisle, her hand on her father's arm. She walked steadily, her gaze focused on Ikuto only, his handsome smiling face, waiting for her. When she arrived at the pulpit and said her vows, he tenderly put the ring on her finger. His kiss was passionate; it radiated the words I love you I love you over and over again.
"You've kept me waiting," he whispered.
"But now I'm here," she murmured in reply.
After Utau caught the bouquet (ironically enough her wedding was set in three months), the cake was cut, the dances were danced, and the after party was over, the newlyweds walked out to the waiting limo. Along their way they were showered with birdseed, rice, and confetti.
"Bring us back souvenirs!"
"Be sure to be safe!"
Amu and Ikuto waved until the crowd was no longer in sight. Ikuto started picking confetti out of his new wife's hair.
"You're quite colorful," he joked. She leaned against him comfortably.
"I'm so tired," she yawned.
"Don't go to sleep yet my dear. We still have much to do tonight," he chuckled, nibbling her ear seductively.
"Yeah, we do," she laughed. Ikuto kissed her.
"You're mine now," he said softly for her ears only. She wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him closer.
"Then you better keep me tight."
On the ruins of the once glorious Council sat a young girl with long white hair and sapphire-blue eyes. From those eyes fell crystal tears. The young girl clenched the cloak of Elder Maki, stained with his blood. She clenched her teeth in agony.
"I'll never forgive you…Kagami-nee!"
xxxmidnightstarxxx: HOLY SMOKE! A NEW STORY ARISES? O_o
Kagami: And now for our poll results!
1st: Ikuto Tsukiyomi
2nd: Amu Hinamori
3rd: Kagami Tsukiyomi
Kathy: YOU FINISHED YOUR FIRST STORY! HUGE ACOMPLISHMENT THERE SOUL SISTER!
Sammie: I present you with an official bazooka!
Nicki: How is that going to help Karen in her future?
xxxmidnightstarxxx: I have finally finished this story! As I have mentioned before, I couldn't have done it without all of your wonderful help reviewers! Stay tuned for this story's sequel: Undying Warmth, as well as Ichigo Neko! Thank you a billion times over! :D