Warning: This final story contains major spoilers for the rest of the series.
The other stories include The Realization of Haruki Suzumiya and The Final Act of Haruki Suzumiya. For the links click on my handle (HuuskerDu). Please read those stories first.
Kyonko shuffled into the room with her cane. Kyon heard her steps and slowly opened his rhummy eyes as he lay in the bed. As she approached she said, "I came as soon as I heard."
".. Haruhi.. ?"
"I'm here." She did not disabuse him of his error.
Kyonko sat down and unbuttoned her fluffy cardigan. It was her favorite, the one that Ayu had knitted for her years ago. She held Kyon's hand as he tried to look at her.
"Yes, I'm here."
Kyon smiled. He looked up into space; he could not see her. "So, we meet again." He then closed his eyes as she laid her head on this chest.
She spoke. "Do you see it?"
"Yes.. I see it."
She raised her head and gazed at her beloved. He blinked his eyes then closed them again.
"It's so bright."
Through the open window Kyonko could hear the starlings outside singing their love songs to each other. The curtains billowed briefly.
"Yes, my darling, I know. Dream now. Breathe in the light. You are going to a better place."
Kyon slowly re-opened his eyes. "I know. I'm not afraid. But I still don't want to leave you behind."
"You won't. Please dream." He closed his eyes again.
Kyonko continued to hold his hand. She sat with him like that for several minutes. Outside the window she heard the joyful cries and yells of their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Some of them were hers, and some were his. Two great families.
She could hear Ayu outside yelling as she supervised the wilder ones, the ones that took after their fiery grandmother or their bombastic grandfather. Ayu was Kyon's daughter of 57 years. She was also Kyonko's grandmother.
It had happened accidentally. It was that fateful connection that had united those two great family trees. In time there would be others. The generations would roll on. Eventually a pair of third cousins or a niece and nephew might meet, and the circle of life would continue.
She moved his hand so he could touch her cheek. He smiled.
"I love you."
There was a small rustle of wind. She gently lowered his hand and then touched his mottled forehead.
"Breathe in the light."
And so he did.
And that light, that final breath of life, that final breath, his very last on Earth, which was always light, that last breath of light that every mortal breathes in, just as they die, which many people misinterpret as a 'tunnel of light', is actually information.
It is Truth.
It modified his soul.
It cleansed him.
It perfected him.
It reconciled his soul with God.
Kyonko pulled the sheet over him. She did not cry. Instead she let out a soft sigh. She got up slowly, then she turned and looked over towards the window, towards their shared legacies. The wind from the window caused the curtains to sway slightly.
Ky came out from behind the curtain. He closed the window. He then gently placed his hand on the head of his older brother.
"He was a good man. A good husband, a good brother, and a good father."
"Yes, he was."
Ky looked at Kyonko. He was her brother and so much more. He let his memory drift through the many adventures that they shared together, their shared joys and losses, their highs and lows.
They were his memories. But they were not him. That person lay under the sheet.
He reflected on his personal memories, the ones that were his alone. He remembered the secret battles that he had fought, sometimes alone, sometimes with KT as his ally and confidant: the battles against the anti-Brigade, the precipitation of the Great Ending, and the many other sacrifices he paid to protect those he loved.
He touched her hand and she touched his. She looked down at his left hand and turned the ring on his third finger. She looked up at him. "Did she ever come back?"
It was a question she normally would not ask. Through the decades Kyonko had slowly begun to suspect just how important Ky's secret role was in her life. He never accepted her thanks and rarely answered her questions.
Ky once again remained silent. The mate to the ring on his finger was on a thin gold necklace hidden under his shirt. He was conscious of it pressing against his skin. He wanted to forget the pain. He knew he would never see its owner again.
Instead of answering her question he changed the subject. He gave a wan smile to the elderly woman in front of him. "Since I was young I knew I'd find you."
"And you did. I was falling and you caught me."
"I only helped. I'm not him."
"I don't care anymore. Memories and feelings are what define us. As far as I'm concerned you're him. That's all that matters."
He looked back at the bed. He knew he would have wanted it that way. To be a continuation. For her.
He came to a decision. He took a step back and said, "All right."
During his whole life Ky was always careful to keep his own feelings separate from the ones he inherited. Not anymore. He closed his eyes and he let the mental barriers drop from his mind. He allowed the feelings and memories to merge. There was a catch in his breath, and for a moment he felt that he was losing his identity. Then he re-opened his eyes.
Kyonko's own eyes widened in surprise. Then she smiled with a river of tears. He embraced her tightly and said, "No tears, not anymore. Calm down, I'm here."
During their long embrace they heard the cacophony of children's voices and screams outside. He nodded his head towards the window. "Hey, what say we go outside and rein in those brats?"
"Yes. We could tell them some wonderful stories."
"Lots of stories. C'mon, let's go."
Kyonko wiped her face, then bent down to pick up her cane.
"You don't need that walking stick anymore." He hooked his arm under hers. "I'll hold you."
She leaned on him for support. "You always have."
"And I always will."
They left together.
This story was inspired by the ending song from the film Oblivion (2013) as performed by the music group M83 and sung by Susanne Sundfør. You can hear the OST on YouTube at M83 - Oblivion (feat. Susanne Sundfør).