Chie: This epilogue was named after the beautiful song by the Goo Goo Dolls.
Epilogue - Notbroken
It was a beautiful, sunny Friday afternoon in Tokyo. There was still a chill in the air; after all, it was early February. But as per usual for Tokyo climate, this winter was a mild one and the ground was bare, no trace of snow evident.
A lone woman sat on a park bench, idly leafing through a magazine while enjoying the warm sunshine. She did not usually frequent this park, but something had drawn her to it today.
She felt she was needed there.
Her concentration straying from the magazine, she raised her green eyes and saw a child running.
Time hummed all around her and her curious gaze found a certain dark-haired female. She looked very kind and elegant, and her sapphire blue eyes were also following the running child, a smile on her lips.
The woman on the park bench straightened and immediately understood.
Now was the time.
That dark-haired, blue-eyed woman, who stood there smiling at her daughter, had visited this park before, years ago.
On this very same day.
Her red lips twisting into a mischievous smirk behind the magazine, the woman on the park bench casually flicked a single clawed finger, temporarily lifting the veil of time. She watched as the distance of the years faded, and the faint outline of a young woman in a high school uniform appeared out of thin air, a shadow of the past.
The young woman was a stubborn one, she needed a push. So the woman on the park bench had decided to give her just that, and for a few meagre minutes she allowed her to look at her future, like gazing out of a window.
The child tripped and fell, right in front of the young woman. Her pink, knitted hat fell from her head, revealing a pair of furry black puppy ears.
"Aiko!" the child's mother called. She rushed over to her daughter. She helped the young girl up and carefully put the hat back on. Then, as if sensing that she had an audience, the mother raised her sapphire gaze, and for a moment, stared straight at the silent intruder, a ghost, a shadow, a self from the past.
Then, the mother's features eased into a soft smile, and with a final, lingering glance at the apparition, she turned around and started to walk away, together with her child.
The little girl soon yelled "Daddy!" and ran to a tall, silver-haired man who swooped to pick her up in his arms. The mother reached them, linking her hand with the man's as he bent down to place a single kiss on top of her dark head.
The woman on the park bench flicked her finger again, drawing down the curtain, shutting out the past, willing away the shadow it had brought forth at her invitation.
Her work here was done, she thought, feeling quite pleased with herself.
A satisfied smirk rose to the demoness' red lips, as her ever-young, mischievous, emerald eyes followed the little family of three until they disappeared.
Oh yes. Out of all the matches she had ever made during her long, long career, she had a very soft spot against that particular one.
It had been both the most impossible and most rewarding one.
It had been a difficult, vexing and time consuming process, but the couple had finally found the love for one another, the potential of which the vixen had sensed from the very beginning. During the gradual process of the daiyoukai and miko discovering each other, the demoness had grown very fond of the both of them. She was genuinely happy after seeing them here, walking hand in hand, positively radiating their warm affection to one another.
She knew they had not liked each other very much in the beginning. And after the trick she had pulled to prove them wrong and get them know one another well enough to eventually fall in love, neither of them had liked her very much. But she felt fairly certain that they were no longer feeling cross with her, that they had come to forgive and, dare she hope, even feel grateful to her.
After all, they had named their daughter after her.
The red-haired kitsune stretched and picked up her magazine.
Yes, that match if any had been a job well done, another happy couple made a happy matchmaker!
She was very glad to have witnessed all her efforts bearing fruit.
Even though she could not have done it without her darling chain.
Chie: First, I want to thank everyone, who hopped along this ride back when it started in 2009. I don't think even I foresaw back then just what I had started.
I'd also like to thank everyone who reviewed this story – even if to criticise or berate me.
A huge thank you to everyone who ever nominated or voted for this story in the Dokuga Awards. I never imagined any of my stories would become so popular!
Much gratitude goes to Alpine, my beta, for her wonderful work, support, feedback and friendship. Thank you, love!
Lastly, I want to thank everyone who did not give up on this story and stuck with it until the very end - especially those of you who did so even when disagreeing with the plot direction.
I know I upset some of you along the way, but I will not apologise for that. The story was mine to write, and this was the way it wanted to be written.