IN REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS PAST
Peter went back to the Ancient's flat to pick him up for the journey. The two drove in silence to the small airfield where Kermit was waiting, standing next to a private jet. He smiled grimly when Peter and Lo Sei exited the stealth. "The others are on board and strapped in. Your father is aboard as well." Peter nodded. He and the other two boarded silently and Peter smiled as Kermit took the pilot's seat.
Peter looked at Mary Margaret, Jody, Cheryl and the three others. He then helped Lo Sei get strapped in then, Peter went to the cockpit and took the co-pilot's seat. He knew Kermit wouldn't speak unless necessary and right now, Peter wanted to be quiet until they reached the small airport outside of Braniff, California.
The plane took off and the flight took about six hours but, nobody really felt like talking so, most of them slept all the way to Braniff.
Kermit would look at Peter once in awhile but said nothing till they put the jet on autopilot. Kermit then looked at his friend, "Are you ok, kid?" Peter managed a smile, "yeah, Kermit, I'm ok. It's not as hard as I thought it would be. He's with Mom again. It's not as hard this time, I guess because I was ready for it. Really, I'm ok, my friend."
Kermit nodded and they flew on mostly in silence. Once they arrived at the small airfield outside of Braniff, Someone greeted them Peter had not expected to be there. As he, Kermit, TJ and the others carried the casket to the tarmac and the waiting hearse, an elderly man in orange and saffron robes came forward. Peter's eyes widened and he went forward and bowed. "Your Holiness, you honor my family with your presence."
The Dalai Lama returned the bow and looked at the red rosewood casket sadly. "It is the least I can do for an old friend. I never believed he would go before I. I asked him to be my Living Emissary if I had died first but now, I must say goodbye to him." Peter nodded. The Dalai Lama spoke again, "Come, young Caine, there are many others who wish to pay their respects to your father."
Peter nodded and the casket was placed in the hearse then, they walked behind it as the small procession made it's way through the still small town of Braniff. The people there stopped and stood silently in respect as the procession wound it's way to the foot of the old plateau and came to Laura's grave next to the lake. There, Kwai Chang Caine's final resting place had been prepared.
Peter looked up at the plateau and smiled. The others looked and saw a swarm of activity. There was scaffolding where ruins had been and Kermit looked at Peter. "All is going as you wanted, kid.." Peter nodded, "Yeah, we had always talked about rebuilding and, when I came up here eight years ago, we got it started, finally. Looks good." The Dalai Lama smiled, "Many Shaolin have come to help with this project, young Caine, and many will stay once it is complete. Will you return here some day?"
Peter thought about it and smiled, "Perhaps one day, your Holiness however, I have a promise to keep to my father, to go back and care for those he left behind. I have to do that first then, perhaps, my path will, one day, lead me here." The Dalai Lama smiled and nodded.
As the simple service began, Peter looked over the small crowd and was suprised by some of the faces he saw. Steadman and Ryker were there, at the back of the crowd as usual. He saw Doctor and Mrs Becker, Caine's old love, whom both he and Peter had gone to help when she was in trouble, even Chan was there to pay his respects. So many friends, so many Peter did not know but, obviously, they knew Kwai Chang Caine. Peter was proud of his father.
Finally, the casket was lowered into the ground next to his beloved Laura. Mary Margaret stepped forward and tossed a single red rose into the ground and managed a smile. Peter put his arm around her shoulder and squeezed it slightly. She, Peter, Kermit and the other Shaolin stayed until the casket was covered and the earth mounded up. Finally, Kermit took Mary Margaret back to the airfield. Peter had already told them to return home, that he would come later.
In the gathering darkness, the others left Peter to be alone with his parents. He sat on the ground at the foot of the graves in silent meditation. He sat there all night long, remembering his father, what they shared, how much they cared about each other. As the sun rose over the horizon, Peter looked up at the plateau and the work beginning again as the Shaolin rebuilt their temple.
Peter smiled. It was all about rebirth, rebuilding, the never ending circle his father had tried to explain to him as a child, Peter now fully understood. He shouldered his stachel and looked down. "I finally get it, Father. I guess, in a way, I always did. I'm going back, to take care of the people you left behind and maybe someday, I'll come back here, where my path began. I love you, Pop."
He turned to leave and smiled. On the wind, he heard a distinct voice, "I love you too, my son and please, do not call me Pop." Peter started off on his journey home, wondering what he would encounter along the way. he knew one thing, his father would be with him always, since they were so much a part of each other. Kwai Chang Caine wasn't really gone, he lived on in his son, the Shaolin Priest, Peter Caine.