PSOH Pet Shop Perpetual Epilogue

It was late afternoon when Leon opened his eyes to find an embroidered canopy above his head. Disoriented, he sat up with a jerk, causing the sleeping man beside him to sigh and snuggle deeper beneath the comforter. Leon sighed himself, but with heart-felt relief, and looked around the Count's bedroom. He'd never been in that holy-of- holy before today and he was curious. He spied an open suitcase on a folding stool under one window and against the opposite wall a large lacquered armoire, neatly shut. Silver brushes lay on an inlaid pearwood dressing table, glinting in the late afternoon light. The carpet was an Arabian jungle of vines and flowers and a desk stood under the other window, a green-glass-and-brass banker's lamp above it. Oil paintings and framed sepia photos hung on the walls. There were no clocks, no TVs, no phones and Leon didn't expect them. It was peaceful room, warm and spacious, much larger than it should be given the apparent size of the shop. He expected that too. After all, he'd been conditioned against surprise these last few years – it would take a fair amount to get him now.

The door inched open. Leon knew it was Pon-chan almost before he saw her golden curls. With a cry of joy she ran toward the bed.

"Leon, Leon! Is it really you?!? Where's Chris? Is he here, too? Oh, Leon – I am so glad to see you! We all missed you so much!"

Laughing in delight, Orcot scooped her up, careful of her frilly dress, and hugged her. He sat her gently on the side of the bed, where she kicked her legs with excitement, covering her mouth in surprise when she saw that D was there too. The commotion woke D, who rolled over and smiled sleepily at Pon-chan's excited face, until he realized he was stark naked under the covers. Speechless, he slithered down further under the comforter, wildly motioning for Leon to hand him the silk robe draped over the end of the bed.

Leon and Pon-chan chatted, catching up, backs safely turned while the Count made himself presentable. With a sheepish smile, the oddest expression Leon had ever seen on D's face, the Count reassured Pon-chan that Leon was indeed here to stay and firmly ushered her out the door, promising dinner in an hour. Happy as a clam, Pon-chan rushed off to tell the others, giggling at Tetsu's likely reaction. D sagged against the door, evidently worn out with embarrassment, so Leon had to come and scoop him up, tossing him gently on the bed. Smiling, they lay nose to nose, quite possibly the happiest fools in Japan, until D could no longer bear the touching-not touching and teased Leon's mouth into a kiss.

Dinner was very late.

*****

Some years after, the two of them were seen strolling through Nikko Edo Village, holding the sticky hands of a small boy who skipped and bounced between them. He was barely more than a toddler, with spiky blonde hair and odd-colored eyes, one violet and one golden-amber. Pink icing was smeared on his face, the obvious aftermath of some special treat. Curious onlookers hid their smiles at the odd sight of a raccoon perched on the back of a small goat, trotting just behind; the raccoon unsuccessfully and repeatedly attempting to wipe clean the boy's smiling face.

END