And at last, this story draws to a close. In some ways, it's sad, in others, it's a relief. I can tuck this story away and get to work on some of my other six that I'm working on. So, here we go:

A Bad Hand, Epilogue: Another Round?

Rin straightened his tie, prepared to go to work as normal. It was a Friday, and today he had to speak to a new client, so he needed to look his best. He was about to go out the door, when a voice called to him, "Rin, you going now?"

Rin turned to see Asa standing behind him. She was smiling at him, and went up to him putting her hands up to fiddle with his collar. "Honestly Rin, you always look so scruffy. Can't you at least try to look half-decent when you're going to meet a client?"

Rin sighed, but did not comment as his wife sorted his collar. Yes, you read correctly, 'wife.' They had married three years after leaving college. It had been another four years since then. After they had found jobs, they had moved into the house they now lived in, just about halfway between Ama's house and the houses of the Kings and Kaede.

Asa finished tidying him up, then stood back a little to look over him, "Hm... Well that's the best I can do."

Rin sighed again, "Well then, I'd best be off."

Asa leaned close and gave him a peck on the cheek, "See you later, have a good day."

Rin once again turned to leave, when a new voice called to him, "Daddy, have a nice day." Rin looked back to see their two and a half year old son standing behind his mother. The little boy had inherited much of his appearance from his mother, with the same hair and eye colour, although he had his hair in a similar shape to his father's, if a little shorter.

He knelt down and opened his arms, as the boy toddled up to him. He gave him a hug and smiled at him, "See you later Risago."

"Bye Daddy."

Rin gave his son a pat on the head, then let him go and stood up, "I really need to go now. See you two at lunch."

Rin left the house, walking towards his office. It had been seven years since he started working there, and now he was second in charge after Fenrir, which in actuality meant that he was the one who ended up doing all the work that Fenrir could not be bothered to do himself, but it was a good job, although he did occasionally end up listening to Fenrir go on about how wonderful a wife Nerine was.

Fenrir was seriously obsessed with the demon princess, and would often be caught by Rin phoning home in the middle of work just to talk to her. Then again, Fenrir usually had the excuse that he had nothing else to do, as he seemed capable of completing the work of a small department in the same time-frame.

Rin turned the corner, and walked up to the office, entering as normal. Miss Shiru smiled at him as he entered, and he smiled back at her, before taking the lift up to the third floor, where he was to meet with the client.

Words of wisdom, Joker: Wisest is he that knows he does not know.

Asa walked down the street slowly, carrying her son. She was going to meet Rin, Fenrir, Nerine, Primula, Sia and Kaede for lunch at the restaurant that she and Kareha had once waitressed in. It had been a while since they had all got together, and it was good to meet up with everybody every now and then. As she reached the restaurant, she saw Kaede, Sia, Primula and Nerine chatting outside. Nerine was holding her daughter, and Kaede was carrying the girl who, through some bizzare method involving a combination of magic and human technology, she was able to have with Sia.

When she saw them, Sia turned and spoke to Asa and her son, "Hey Asa, how're you and Risago?"

"We're good, how about you?"

"Kaede and I have been fine, although Tsute is a bit of a handful at times." The girl in question was begging her mother (Kaede) to be put down while her 'father' (Sia) kept talking to Asa.

Kaede put Tsute down, and the girl toddled over to Asa and Risago, "Rigo-kun, Rigo-kun."

Asa put her son down next to the girl, and Nerine put her daughter, Rupi, down too. The three children started talking in rather broken Japanese, while the adults smiled at them. Then they all looked up as they heard somebody calling them, "Guys! Sorry we're late." They all looked up to see Rin running up to them, with Fenrir in wolf form running slightly ahead of him. The wolf leaped up, landing on his hind feet next to Nerine, then turning back into his human form.

Nerine sighed at her husband, "Fen, how many times do I have to tell you not to transform in public?"

Fenrir, still breathing a little fast replied "At least once more I think." Nerine sighed again, before Fenrir kissed her on the cheek. "Sorry, but there was a slight emergency, so I sent Rin ahead and quickly dealt with it, the only way to get here in time was to transform."

Rin by this point had reached the group, panting a lot more evidently than Fenrir. Asa went over to him, "If he gave you a head-start even, how did you arrive after him?"

"Have... *pant* you ever... *pant* tried to run against him as a wolf?" Rin somehow managed to get out.

"Hm... no, maybe I should try it some time."

"Seriously don't," Nerine interjected, "Trying to catch Rupi is near impossible when she transforms. As for her father..." Nerine shook her head.

"Hey, it's good if she gets used to her skills young," Fenrir pointed out, "I did."

"And where did that get you? A publishing company manager?" Nerine replied.

"One with a beautiful princess as his wife, yes."

Nerine blushed slightly at the compliment. Sia took the lull in the argument as an opportunity to speak, "Guys, how about we go in now?"

They all got inside, and were directed to a large table, which they all sat around. The three children sat together, and the two girls sat either side of Risago, constantly competing for his attention. Fenrir laughed at their antics, "He's already got all the girls after him, like father like son I suppose."

Rin did not reply, there was something about Fenrir's laugh that brought back a memory. The mix of a laugh with a wolf's howling. He shuddered slightly. He could not remember when he had heard it, but then flashes of other things flew through his head. A dark room with for men playing cards, a man with a wolf mask, which shattered to reveal a wolf head, the same man fighting Fenrir, a strange circle with a design in it, and then a man, with great golden wings and a glowing purple sword. Then three words sounded through his head 'My name is...'

Rin blinked, then shook himself slightly, returning to the present. Nobody seemed to have noticed anything wrong with him, except Fenrir who was sat opposite him. Fenrir let out a thought stream, offering Rin to let him know what was wrong, and Rin looked him in the eye, but then all the memories vanished. He merely sent back the thought 'Nothing.'

Although, it did seem to Rin as though the memories might just be important.

Words of wisdom, Joker2: Even wiser, is god.

A golden winged angel watched the group in the restaurant. He looked away from his watch, through which he had watched the group. He'd had enough of playing around with these mortals. He only kept tabs on them in case one of them remembered something they were not supposed to, as had almost just happened. Other than that, he had decided to stop pulling strings like that. He had destroyed purgatory, the world Fenrir had been trapped in, and returned those there to their own time.

He turned his gaze to a symbol on the floor: a circle much like the one Fenrir had used. The angel stepped in front of it, then raised his hand, creating a sword. On the hilt were the letters 'F.D.' He placed the sword on the symbol, so that it lay on the thick central line. Then he smirked, though none were there to see it. And none were there to hear his words, "I have no use for that name any more. My name is..." His last words were drowned out, as the circle glowed, making a ringing noise, and as it glowed, the letters on the sword hilt changed from 'F.D.' to 'O.Y.'

The angel picked up the sword as the light died down. "Now all the strings are cut. Live as you wish, children of the wolves, and you too Tshuchimi, I've meddled enough."

Rin was walking home now. He and Fenrir had ended up returning late, so they had to work late as well. Of course, Fenrir being Fenrir had finished early, and had left before they were technically supposed to. Of course, he was in charge, so he could do that. Rin turned up the path to his house, and opened the door, calling into the house "I'm home!"

Asa came out of the kitchen, "Good timing, dinner's just about ready."

"Thanks, I'll be there in a sec." Rin went up to his room to quickly change into something more comfortable. He was trying to remember the things he had in the restaurant again, but every time he thought he remembered something, it would escape him.

He pulled on a t-shirt and some casual trousers, before he headed back down to eat. When he reached the kitchen, he saw Asa trying to get Risago to sit still and eat. He realised then, it did not matter if he had forgotten whatever it was. As long as he was happily together with his wife and son, that did not matter. Hell, it would not matter if some angel were behind the mess that was his teenage life, which was fortunately over. If they had done it, he would probably thank them for how everything turned out.

He was happy, and he thought as he sat down to eat the delicious dinner his wife had made, watching her finally get Risago to eat his meal, Rin thought that maybe, just maybe, life had not given him such a bad hand as he once thought.

A Bad Hand: Fin

Here it ends. Thanks for reading.

Auf Wiedersehen


PS: There is now a sequal to this story, Re:Shuffle! If you liked this, you may like it too.