okay guys, heres the thing. im so sick and tired of being on this story that i just decided to end it this way. if you dont like it, my apologies. but seriously, ive been on it for four friggen months and just want to get on with my life. this is a very VERY sucky ending and i will not offended by possible flames. hell, i dont like the ending but i didnt know how else to do it and as i said, i want to finish the damn story! so please read, review if you'd like, and look forward to my newest story coming out within a week! yay!

Falling from Grace

Chapter 25

To Takuya's relief, both Tommy and James were alive and well, despite their injuries. James had crawled into the room to sit beside Tommy, leaving behind a trail of blood. Takuya rushed over to them, followed by Kouji and Ami. He set Zoe's unconscious body down next to the injured pair, taking care to lay her on a blood-free area.

"How are you guys doing?" He asked them.

"In a lot of fucking pain," James replied. "But alive."

Ami began to look around the room, cautiously making her way around the fallen bodies of their commrades and enemies. A small group of the recruits were sitting in a corner, tending to their minor wounds. They gave Ami a curt nod to show that they were okay, giving her some relief that there were at least a few survivors. However, she noticed a familiar body a moment later.

"Oh god...." She knelt beside the lifeless body of Akira.

The young man's body was littered with bloody bullet holes and his vacant eyes stared at nothing.

"What's wrong?" Kouji asked, coming up beside her.

Ami sighed, taking Akira's wrist to find a pulse, knowing there would not be one. "Akira didn't make it."

Kouji gave Akira a sympathetic smile, then gently closed the dead man's eyes. He then took hold of Ami's good arm and pulled her up.

"Without him....there may have been more casualties...," she said softly, her voice trailing off.

"I think he knew that this had to be done. For the greater good," Kouji tried to tell her.

Ami only shook her head, walking back over to Tommy and James.

"So, is he dead?" Tommy asked Takuya. "Reuben, I mean."

Takuya nodded. "Yeah, he's gone."

"You sure?" James chimed in. "Did you make sure to give him one last bullet to the head?"

"More like a sword through the brain," Takuya replied.

"Hehe, cool," James chuckled, then winced at the pain. "Ow....is there a fucking doctor anywhere nearby? I need me some friggen drugs...."

Tommy snorted. "Quit whining. I think I can hear an ambulance in the backround. They sound like they're heading to the castle."

"Better be more than one measly ambulance. A hundred would be more like it," James quipped.

Takuya sank down, placing Zoe's head on his lap. "I wonder how things went once we got inside the castle."

"What do you mean?" Kouji asked.

"I mean what happened outside...I wonder how many survivors there are....." Takuya said quietly.

Ami glanced at a window. "We'll find out soon enough."

She painfully climbed onto the low window sill, wincing as pain shot through her arm. After a brief hesitation, she looked outside.

"What do you see?" Kouji called over to her.

Ami looked back at him with a grim expression, then shook her head. She hopped back down, slowly making her way back over to the group.

"It's what you would expect in a battlefield.....blood and bodies everywhere," she told him. "Most of the bodies were unmoving, but I saw a few squirming around a bit."

Kouji sighed, wrapping his arm around her shoulders. "Hopefully there are more survivors than we think."

"I hope so," she replied.

Takuya looked down at the sleeping princess, gently stroking her hair. "Well, at least that jackass is gone for good. That's the important thing."

"I guess.....," Ami said softly. "But at what cost? The lives of hundreds?"

"Ami, they knew right from the start that they might not make it," Kouji chimed in. "They chose to fight for their freedom and risk dying, rather than being one of Reuben's bitches."

Ami cracked a tiny smile. "Yeah, I guess you're right. We'll know the exact body count within a day or so....."

"I'm not looking forward to that," Tommy said quietly.

"Me neither," the others added.

After a brief pause, James decided to complain once again.

"I need some fucking Captain Morgan's or something," he whined. "Bullets in the leg suck!"

Tommy rolled his eyes. "Good the know that getting injured doesn't make you any less annoying."

"I'll settle for some Jack Daniels though," James told them, ignoring the insult. "Just anything to numb this friggen pain!"

Two days later

There was a grand total of seven hundred fifty-two casualties. Although more than half of them belonged to Reuben's army, the number was still staggering for the recruits. Three hundred seventy-four people lost their lives, over a third of the recruits. The castle was in the process of getting cleaned, the spots of blood still staining the walls and ceilings.

The area surrounding the kingdom had been cleared of all bodies, and the blood had been washed away by the night rain. By the time the remainder of Reuben's army had shown up to the castle, they discovered that their king was dead. All of them were arrested, and set to go to court on numerous accounts of murder.

Tommy, Kouji, Zoe, and Ami each had their injuries wrapped up, none of them particularly serious. James was required to stay off his leg, using a crutch to help him walk. He and Tommy were walking through the corriders of the castle, where they had been seen by the medical staff. They were now on their way to the grand ballroom, to say their goodbyes to Zoe.

"This blows! I hate using this goddamn thing!" He complained, hobbling around on the wooden object. "I'm going to fall any minute now!"

"Stop complaining," Tommy said, limping slightly. "You're lucky you didn't lose your damn leg."

James snorted, almost falling over. "I might as well have with the way I'm walking!"

A young, pretty maid walked by, her long strawberry-blond hair falling over her shoulders.

James flashed her a smile. "Hey there. Wanna hook up sometime?"

The girl raised an eyebrow. "Who are you?"

"I helped save the kingdom," he bragged. "I shot that bastard Reuben three times in the chest!"

She chuckled. "Really?"

"Yes," he lied. "So....can I have your number?"

The maid paused, then looked at Tommy. "Who are you?"

"That's just Tommy, some kid who tagged along to help," James answered before Tommy could, pushing the boy away.

"You're cute," the maid said to Tommy, handing him a piece of paper from her apron. "Call me sometime. And by the way, my name is Christie."

She gave him a flirty smile and walked away, leaving Tommy red-faced and James shocked.

"She chose you over me?!" James finally exclaimed, resuming his way to the ballroom. "How the hell did that happen?!"

Tommy laughed. "What can I say? The ladies love me...."

"Yeah, real funny," James griped.

A moment later, they entered the ballroom, where Takuya and Kouji were anxiously waiting.

"How's it going?" Tommy asked them.

"Eh, not so great," Kouji said. "We have to get going...but at the same time, we don't want to leave...."

Takuya sighed. "We can't stay here, though. We're bounty hunters, which means we travel around and take jobs when they are offered."

"So you guys aren't sticking around?" James inquired.

"Why, are you?" Kouji raised an eyebrow.

James shook his head. "Nah, I gotta get back home and so does Tommy."

"Yeah, my little sister is worried sick about me," Tommy said sheepishly. "But there's no reason why you guys can't stay here. I mean, you don't have an actual home, do you?"

"No, we survive off of payments, then usually stay in hotels. Every now and again we sleep in the woods if there's nothing around or if there are no jobs for us to do," Takuya explained. "We just came here to accept the payment Princess Zoe is offering to us."

James smiled. "I think you mean Queen Zoe. She is the ruler of the kingdom now, you know."

"I know that," Takuya snapped. "Give me a break, I haven't slept well."

"Why, because it wasn't in Zoe's bed?" Tommy quipped.

"Why you little-"

Kouji cut him off however, and nudged him gently in the arm. As Takuya turned to look, Zoe and Ami both stepped into the room. Zoe was wearing a long, lavender dress with gold trimming on the bodice. Her cleavage was peeking out, yet not in an obvious way. Ami was also wearing a gown, only hers was a light blue. She clearly looked uncomfortable in the dress, for she kept tugging.

"Why do I have to wear this?" Ami grumbled. "It's horrendous!"

"I think you look beautiful," Kouji said, walking over to her. "I like seeing you in a dress."

Ami blushed, looking down. "You're not the one who has to wear it....."

Zoe made her way over to Takuya, a shy smile on her face. "Can I uh...talk to you alone for a minute?"

"Sure," he replied, walking over to the corner of the room with her. "So.....what's up?"

"Nothing much," she told him. "Well, other than being queen and all...hehe...not sure how to do it exactly."

Takuya smirked. "You'll learn over time. Obviously you won't pick it up right off the bat."

"Yeah, I guess...." She stopped in front of the wall, casually leaning against it. "And I'm gonna assume that you would like your payment, correct? You deserve it after all."

"It would be nice," he told her sheepishly. "Kinda strapped for cash right now....."

Zoe nodded, reaching into the bag she was holding. She gingerly took out several thick wads of bills, then handed them over to him.

"It's been counted out, but you can double check it if you'd like," she said.

Takuya simply pocketed them. "Nah, I believe you."

"It's uh...all there....half a million dollars." She looked at the floor, her heartbeat quickening. "So....do you have to leave soon?"

"Yeah, we do," Takuya replied. "We're gonna go see if there are any bounties for us to collect. James said he would fly us back home."

"Where exactly is home?" She asked him.

Takuya paused for a moment. "Well...we don't have a permanant home. We just travel around and stay in hotels for the most part. As of lately though, business has been dying down a bit. Not as many people to catch, you know...."

He glanced over too see Kouji and Ami in a tight embrace, both of them with saddened expressions. The brunette looked back at Zoe, feeling a tug at his heart. He did not want to leave....but he felt as though he had no choice. The castle had been returned to Zoe, and his services were no longer needed.

"I...uh...better get going," Takuya finally said. "James wants to leave soon, so I need to pack up."

"Oh, okay...." Zoe's voice trailed off. "Would you like anything to eat before you leave? I can have the cook prepare something for you."

Takuya shook his head. "Nah, I'm not really hungry. Thanks anyway."

"Alright," the blond said softly. "Take care....and make sure you and Kouji keep each other out of trouble."

"Can't make any promises," he said with a chuckle. "But we'll try our best."

Zoe hesitated, then wrapped her arms around his neck. Takuya stiffened, then felt his own arms encircle her.

"Hopefully we'll meet again someday," he whispered into her ear. "May not be for awhile, but I'll see what I can do."

Zoe buried her face in his chest, tightening her grip around him. Takuya sighed and stroked her hair. The girl finally pulled back, her emerald eyes filled with sadness.

Takuya became entranced in them, then slowly lowered his lips to hers. Zoe responded with a small gasp, but soon found herself kissing him back. James chuckled and looked as though he was about to say something, only to be elbowed in the ribs by Tommy.

"Don't you dare," Tommy hissed. "Or I'll break your other leg so that you'll need a wheelchair."

James threw him an aggravated look, but remained silent.

Takuya eventually pulled away, then silently began to walk away, unable to speak. However, he felt Zoe grab onto his hand. Surprised, he looked back at her.

"Do...do you really have to go?" She asked. "I mean, if you want to stay here, you're more than welcome to."

Takuya smirked. "Why, are you going to miss me that much?"

Zoe's face turned red and she looked down quickly. "Well, that way you won't have to travel around or stay in the woods. There are plenty of jobs around here I'm sure you could do."

"Oh, really?" He smiled at her. "Is that the real reason why you want me to stay?"

"I uh...um....-"

She didn't have to finish though, for Takuya had brought his lips to hers for a second time. He wrapped his arms around her waist, slightly lifting her off the ground.

"You never know....someone else might try to take over the kingdom. And who better to do the job than me and Kouji?" He asked after a minute.

"As long as Kouji's okay with the idea, it shouldn't be a problem, right?" She asked, somewhat nervously.

Kouji was too busy at the moment to hear them. Instead, he was preoccupied with Ami, who was passionately kssing him.

"I'll take that as a 'yes'. Even if he wasn't okay with it, too bad," Takuya said with a laugh. "I'll just knock him out and let Ami have her way with him until he changes his mind."

"Hey, I heard that!" Kouji shouted over to them.

"Good, then you know that we're staying here!" Takuya replied.

Kouji shrugged, trying not to come off as excited. However, Ami pressed him into the wall and begin to kiss him again.

"I think it's our cue to leave," Tommy whispered to James.

The redhead nodded, then began to hobble away. Tommy gave Takuya and Zoe a nod, then followed his friend.

"Call me anytime you need something," Tommy told them as he left. "I'll be there to back you up."

Takuya smiled, then threw two stacks of cash over to the pair. "Thanks!"

He turned his attention back to Zoe. "So....would you mind showing me the rest of the castle?"

"Sure, why not. I'll give you a tour of the place," Zoe replied. "It may take awhile, though."

"Or....you could give me a tour of your bedroom," he quipped.

Zoe's eyes went wide. "What?!"

"Hehe, I was just kidding...." he said nervously, backing away.

Instead of yelling at him, she smiled. "I'm surprised you didn't ask me sooner."

okay, im done with this godforsaken story! i give this ending a grand total of 0 stars and 0 points! but its over so now i can go celebrate, get drunk, and start my sequel to Bloodbath! the sequel will be called Red Rose and will be out within a week or so. keep a lookout and let me know if you liked this crappy ending/story. see ya later! and haha, im finished! after four long months! im done! *runs off like a lunatic*