[FFML] [R1/2] Hearts of Ice, Epilogue

David McMillan skyefire at skyefire.org
Mon Jun 29 10:35:37 PDT 2009

Krista Fisk wrote:
> 13 years.
> I started this fic in July of 1996.  And now, with the exception of 
> whatever editing I do thanks to whatever C&C is provided, it is done.  
> Complete.  Over.  The story I set out to tell has been told.
> Hopefully you enjoy it.

	It was worth the wait.

>     *Shampoo,* thought Cologne.  *I do this for love and honor of only you.*
>     *Please... be happy, child.*
>     Cologne plunged the dagger into her chest, aiming for her heart.
>     She did not miss, and as she fell, she caught the scent of mold on 
> the wind and felt the caress of Yin Wu Ch'ang Kuei's cold, dead hand on 
> her face....

	...so, Cologne throws herself on the grenade for Shampoo.
	I have to say, your characterization of Cologne really works.  She's... 
nuanced.  She's not blindly following her laws like a zealot, and 
honestly dislikes using the Dragon's Blood spell on Akane... but once 
she's taken the first step, absolutely refuses to turn aside until the 
bitter end.  Sort of Lawful-Neutral, in a way.

>     Obviously pleased that he had finally gotten a reaction out of his 
> tengu friend, Susa-no-o smirked.  "Well, for one thing, who in their 
> right mind would want to spend one more moment than necessary in Hoso-no 
> Kami's disgusting body?"  Susa-no-o shuddered dramatically.  "I only 
> wanted to stick around long enough to see how things turned out.  The 
> Council, they're so ridiculous.  As if sending me to Yomi was 
> punishment.  I guess they don't remember that Daddy Izanagi created me 
> by washing off excess Yomi after he visited here trying to get Mom to 
> leave.  Had to 'purify' himself after coming to the land of the dead, 
> and blew me right out of his nose."  Susa-no-o threw up his hands and 
> waved them in mock distress.  "Oh, no, don't banish me to Yomi!  Please 
> please *please* don't throw me in that there briar patch!"

	I should'a known.

>     Susa-no-o chuckled.  "I think he finally realized that, after coming 
> to terms with his feelings for Akane, then facing down and utterly 
> conquering his worst nightmares, and then even coming back from the dead 
> all for the sake of the woman he loves... well, what could be so scary 
> about marrying her?"
>     Masakazu barked a laugh.  "He has no idea."


>     "That's right," Susa-no-o agreed seriously.  "Dying is easy.  
> Marriage is *hard*."

	Wait, I thought that was comedy... never mind.

>     Masakazu snorted, then gestured to the board.  "So are we going to 
> play or what?"
>     Pouring himself another cup of sake, Susa-no-o settled down 
> comfortably on the other side of the board, drank, and immediately moved 
> a piece.  "Your turn."

	Wonder if they play like Soun&Genma?
	...actually, one could make a case that Masakazu and Su-boy, and the 
parts they play in Ranma and Akane's lives, could be characterized as 
what Soun and Genma could/would have been if they weren't so screwed up.

>     "That's the ring," Nabiki said, watching as the rain steamed in the 
> cool around Ryoga.  "As long as you wear it, no cold water will ever 
> touch you."

	Funny to notice how, after everything else that happened, clearing up 
everyone's J-Curse problem is almost an anticlimactical afterthought.

>     Somewhere, deep in a dark corner of Ryoga's soul, a part of him 
> wanted to say, no thank you.  Celebrate without me, I don't really need 
> to see Ranma and Akane together as husband and wife, even if they do 
> think of me as their friend...
>     The rest of Ryoga, the part that, for the first time in a long time, 
> saw real hope in the future, stomped on that deep dark part firmly.  
> Ryoga found himself smiling at Nabiki and saying, "Okay."

	I remember liking the amnesia-period Ryouga, way back when, and being 
worried that he'd revert after he got his memory back.  Glad to see 
things are working out for him.

>     This boy had dared defy his authority over the dead and had found a 
> means to return to life without his power.  This boy needed to be taught 
> that one did not escape the inevitable that easily.  It was time to end 
> this farce now.  The god of the dead leaned over and reached toward the 
> boy's face.

	"Saotome School Neo Technique:  GOD-KILLING FIST!"
	...what?  :)

>     "Well," he said gruffly.  "It's unconventional.  But," he continued 
> as a crestfallen look spread across her face, "I suppose I could do as 
> you ask.  *If* this is what you truly desire."
>     The look of devastation was replaced with wild hope.  "It is, my 
> lord.  This is what I desire.  Take my life and spare the boy."
>     Emma-O sighed.  "I do this for your sake, and for the sake of the 
> ages of service you have faithfully rendered.  Yuki-onna, rise and take 
> my hand."
>     Incredulously, the Snow Woman stood, reached out and took his hand.
>     "Take one last look at this one for whom you sacrifice your life and 
> tell me that this is what you want."
>     Yuki-onna looked down at Ranma and Akane.  They slept peacefully, 
> and even in their sleep, they looked happy.   
>     She looked at Akane.  *For you, my dear one.*
>     She lifted her gaze and looked at Emma-O.  "I desire nothing more 
> than this.  I am ready."
>     Emma-O looked at her, and deep black eyes seemed almost sad.  "Then, 
> my dear lady, I take your life for his."   
>     Yuki-onna gasped as there was a sudden, wrenching pull....

	...and so, all debts are paid.  Strange, how you took me from very 
nearly despising Yuki-san to actually being sad that it had to end this way.
	...except, of course, that:

>     Yuki-onna stumbled forward in a daze, unable to comprehend it all.  
> Grandchildren, her daughters said.  And great-grandchildren.  And 
> great-great grandchildren.  They all came to her with smiles and welcomes.
>     "You know, usually it's the ancestors who greet the descendants, not 
> the other way around," said a teasing voice.
>     Yuki-onna turned, and there was Shin. 
>     He smiled at her.  "Yuki... beloved.  Welcome home."
>     And it was only then, as she ran to his open arms that she realized 
> she was crying, weeping tears of joy.
>     The tears on her face were warm.

	Emma-O seemed a big enough jerk, I have to wonder if this was just 
lucky chance... or if the Big D actually has a spark of compassion to him.

	But... nothing about Ukyo and Nabiki's sinister plot to take over the 
world of fast food?  Surely they own half of PepsiCo by now!  :)

> -----------------------
> Though they go mad,
> they shall be sane
> Though they sink through
> the sea, they shall rise again
> Though lovers be lost,
> love shall not
> And death shall have no dominion.
>      ~Dylan Thomas

	If there was a closing credits song to go here, Rush's "Bravado" leaps 
to my mind.

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