Hello, hello! Well this is my last author's note. It's so sad, but it's also kind of exciting because I finished it. So yay! This chapter is probably the most OOC that it's been in the whole story, but I hope that it's still enjoyable. It's a chapter that's been combined with an epilogue, because I want to talk about how things ended up a few months after they left the island… But now I believe recognition should be accounted for, and so I'll take the time to do so!
Special thanks to:
Esplandian: You were my very first supporter with my Black Jack fanfics, and you also taught me about some of the lingo that I didn't quite understand. You also were helpful in pointing out some things that were useful, and I credit you for also helping the characters, well, stay in character. Thanks for saying that my fanfics were some of the best in this section. So, in conclusion, thank you very much!
Phoenixofdarkness62: Your reviews were always helpful and much appreciated. I loved how you specifically commented on the storyline, and your reviews always were related to the story, and hearing how "excited" you were for the next chapter really got me excited to write the next chapter! Thank you so much!
Dr. Jin Love: Yes, you get accredited too! XD Thanks for saying that you enjoyed the fanfic and for saying that I kept the characters in character a lot of the time. I also watched that episode of Black Jack I was looking for… so cute! Thanks for your help and just thank you overall!
Thank you to anyone else that read the story.
Now that my tribute to my most awesome reviewers and my readers is done, on with the story. There probably won't be another sequel to this, and I'm probably not going to be around for a while, so for now, goodbye!
And R&R as well, thank you very much!
At the end of the week, they finally decided that they would return home. Pinoko was rather distant now, just sort of drifting along and not really focusing in. She was still rattled by their conversation a few nights previous, he could tell.
He went out to visit the grave the next morning. It was just a small one, one that someone could probably put a shoebox in. His mind started racing as he stared at it. This was what Pinoko had wanted, and yet at the same time, not what she had wanted.
How had she miscarried? He had always assumed that if this kind of thing were to happen, then she would go the full nine months, and the only major problem would come prior to labor and post labor. He could only conclude that the stress of him not being there was enough to really damage things. He couldn't think of any other explanation… He was slightly irritated by the fact that he had been right.
He also thought back to how far along she had been: around four months, he guessed. She probably didn't even know for a while… he hadn't known or even suspected it. Guilt came rushing back to him of their conversation, but now looking at this grave, his guilt also came from this feeling that he had abandoned her. Right when she had needed him most.
Now it was the last day that they were going to be on the island. They were busy packing up, everyone in the house… Kiriko would leave it behind, and he had decided that he was going to go try and live closer to the Hazama family. Yukia had grown quite fond of his "pirate uncle" and was sort of attached to him. Selma the maid would also leave the island and go look for work elsewhere. The island home would be put up for sale.
Black Jack entered the bedroom that he shared with Pinoko. She was busy packing up their clothes, and this time, instead of untidily shoving them all in, she was taking the time to fold them delicately and set them in gently.
"Would you like help?" he asked her, approaching her from behind.
"No," she said crisply. "No thank you, I'm fine."
"Pinoko…" he sighed heavily. "How many times do I have to say I'm sorry?"
"How many times are you going to bring it up?" she demanded, turning around to face him. "Honestly, honey? I want to forget about it. I really do. I want to put it behind me—"
"—Pinoko! That's not healthy at all," he told her firmly, grasping both of her hands. "I'm worried about you!"
She stopped, seeing the concern swimming in his blood red eyes, and she relaxed a little.
"You keep saying that you want to forget something that was traumatic to you physically and mentally. You can't forget something like that, Pinoko! You can't just push it aside like that! I don't care if you're trying to do it for me, or for Yukia, but you need to think of yourself for once!"
Her eyes welled with tears. "I told you I was fine."
"You're not fine, honey. You're not fine at all." He pulled her close and she did start to cry. "I know you. You try to push it aside for the sake of other people. You try to think of others first before yourself. But that… that kind of selflessness can actually put a toll on you."
"I know, I know." She sniffled. "But I really want to forget it, I really do, I can't… I can't… Not when I…"
She cried a little more, and eventually, she stopped shaking long enough till she could speak.
"You know… Kiriko said it was a girl. I… I saw her. She was just this little thing… not even a person… she never got the chance…" Pinoko shook her head. "But I couldn't have had her anyways, could I? She would have ended me."
"She probably would have, unfortunately."
"And I kept telling myself that I had Yukia. I had Yukia, and why should I be crying over her when I've got a son right now?... But the more that… I try to forget… even though I want to… the more it hurts."
"You don't have to forget." He pushed back a strand of her hair and kissed her forehead softly. "You don't have to forget."
The day to leave the island soon came, and instead of using Kiriko's nice boat, they actually called in a ship from the mainland to take them back to Honshu. Black Jack and Pinoko took a little time in the morning to gather at the gravesite.
"Should we move her?" Pinoko asked, looking at him. "I mean, she'll be on this island all by herself…"
"We can if you want to," Black Jack said, nodding, his eyes focused on the little stone marker. "But we have to go now. We can come back another time, don't worry."
She bit her lip and nodded. He kissed her and then they turned around and walked back to the shore, where the others were waiting for them.
"Mama?" Yukia was confused when she had approached. "Mama, what's wrong?"
She exhaled a little, trying to regain her composure. Black Jack touched his shoulder and gave him a look that said, not now, but later.
The boat then arrived and they boarded it, and returned home.
Yukia ran along the shoreline, sprinting as fast as he possibly could. His already tattered bookbag was slung over one shoulder as he hurried to get home. He passed by the small shack that served as his uncle's house, and quickly made a beeline for the spot.
"Uncle Kiriko!" he called out, knocking on the door.
"Eh, is that you, Yukia?" he opened the door and saw an excited Yukia standing there, holding up a paper that had a big red check mark on it.
"I passed my test! I received a 1!" He did a little dance. "And it was my science test, too!"
Kiriko chuckled with amusement. "Aren't you going to go home to show your parents?"
"Well I had to thank you first," Yukia said, nodding his head and suddenly looking sort of serious. "After all, Papa has had more and more patients than ever with all the media coverage on that court case. You helped me study."
"And I'll be glad to do it again," Kiriko said with a smile.
"Well, see you later!" Yukia gave a little bow and then turned around and continued his jog up the cliff towards the house.
It had been rebuilt the same way it was before, except the surgery room had new equipment and the patients' area was a little larger. Yukia smelled the salty sea air as he came up the path, and he saw his mother hanging up his bed sheets in the breeze.
"Hi, Mama!" he called out.
She waved to him and he came up to her, showing her the paper.
"Oh, good job!" she said happily, her eyes shining. "That's very good Yukia!"
"Do you think Papa will let me perform a couple of surgeries with him now?"
"I don't know, you'll have to ask him," Pinoko said, placing her hands on her hips. "And don't be trying to take my job, Yukia!"
Yukia laughed as she ruffled his hair. "I wouldn't do that, Mama."
Black Jack then came out of the house, accompanied by an elderly woman that was his current patient. She had some sort of odd liver problems coming on.
"…Continue to take your medication, and then come back in two days for another check up," he told her. "Generally I don't do this, but because of your grandson's birthday…"
"Oh yes, thank you Doctor," she told him, smiling as she climbed into her car.
She then drove away. Black Jack came down and greeted Yukia, who once again presented the test.
"She's going to have to have a liver transplant," Black Jack said to Pinoko. "The cirrhosis is just starting to affect her, but because of the party, we'll have to put it off for two days."
"Okay. Are you going to contact members of her family to see if they could possibly donate half of theirs?"
"Of course I am. I'm not just about to put her on a waiting list," he said with a grin. "She's already paid her fee in full."
They then heard an odd put-put-put sound of a car coming up the drive, and they turned to see a small white van coming up. They parked in the center of the road, and then a woman climbed out. She went to the other side, and then helped a man out. He was young, hunched over and had scars all over… Black Jack's eyes widened.
"Daitaro?" he mumbled in disbelief.
The woman started leading the man up the path, who looked up at Black Jack and gave a beaming smile.
"Doctor," he said. "You… are… Doctor… Black… Jack…?"
He spoke like a person that had been affected by a stroke—with small broken words that had been carefully formulated. Black Jack nodded cautiously. The woman looked up at him and smiled.
"Hi, I'm Fuyumi," she said, extending her hand, and he shook it. "I work at a mental hospital in Osaka. Daitaro was transferred there."
"What brings you here? No problems I hope?"
"No, no… he just wanted to thank you."
Daitaro looked at Black Jack with large glossy eyes. "After… what… Uncle… did… I… never…"
"Say no more," he answered, holding up his hand. "It's not really something that I need to be thanked for. You're not to blame."
"I… still… feel… like… I… am…" he answered, lowering his head. "So… I… came… to… pay… you… back…"
He handed him a stack of money, from a large coin purse that he was carrying, and passed it over to him. It was 100,000 yen. Not very much, but it was better than nothing.
"My… girlfriend… she… helped… pay… too… she… also… wanted… to say… thank… you…"
Black Jack, though slightly reluctant, accepted the money. He nodded, smiling a little. Daitaro, eyeing him now, spread his mouth and smiled back. Then he turned wordlessly and started heading back towards the van. They climbed in, and the family watched as they drove away.
"You took the money, huh?" Pinoko asked.
"He went to all of that trouble to collect it," Black Jack answered. "How could I not?"
Pinoko smiled, and then gave him a quick kiss on the cheek. "You're a good man, Black Jack."