Here we are folks, the end of the line. Now, if anyone of you were to tell me a year ago that I would write over a hundred thousand words because I felt like starting a fiction, I would have nodded, stepped back, then ran away in terror.
Now look at us, here at the finale. And eight days away from it's one year anniversary!
One last time: I do not own SAO, or the incredible OCs that have been along for the ride, I only own Marcus, Sarah, Emma and Kione.
Finale Chapter 43: Time to Say Goodbye
It had been two years since Marcus and Sarah had gotten married, and it had been great. When the two came out of the church a married couple, applause went all around, from the Moonlit Black Cats, Wyvern's Inferno, Furinkazan, Sarah's parents, Marcus' father, and many more of their friends and family.
When Sarah threw the bouquet, it was rather spectacular when Asuna leapt up onto Kazuto's shoulders and caught it with her index and middle fingers.
Two years and nine months later…
Sarah gave a cry of pain as she pushed as hard as she could, gripping her husband's hand tightly. "Ok Sarah, you're doing amazing," a doctor said, "Just one more push!"
"You hear that Sarah? One more," Marcus encouraged her, stroking her hair with his unoccupied hand.
Sarah pushed again, and her own cries were soon joined by high pitched wails, "Ok, it's out!" Her doctor cheered, and a small baby was pulled clear. A moment later, she came back, with the infant in a white blanket. "Congratulations, you've just delivered a healthy baby girl," she gave a huge grin, and handed the baby to her mother.
Sarah looked tiredly up at Marcus, "Like we agreed, you get to give her the name," She panted.
"Then she'll be called Mika," Marcus smiled, tears flowing down his face.
Both looked down to their daughter, and snuggled together, "Welcome to the world Mika," Sarah held her closely.
The first visitors to enter the maternity ward were Mr and Mrs Radcliffe, Kione, Emma and a huge surprise for Marcus, Warren Cersy, who had decided to move to an apartment in Tokyo.
"Everyone, meet Mika," Sarah smiled.
Warren turned to his son, "Congratulations Marcus, you must be over the moon," he patted him on the back.
"What do you think these tears are for? Sadness? I just became a father of my own little girl," He laughed.
"Hi Mika, meet your aunts Emma and Kione," Sarah was saying, the two young ladies on their knees and grinning at the sight of new life.
A little later, the family left, and in came the second family, Kazuto, Michael, Keiko and Sayuri.
"So then brother, how does it feel?" Michael asked, as he, Marcus and Kazuto looked at the girls melting at the sight of little Mika opening her eyes. Marcus just shook his head, having run out of words to say.
Kazuto gave a laugh, "I know, it feels amazing, doesn't it? I felt the same way when Strea was born," he put a hand on Marcus' shoulder.
Once visiting time was over, Marcus was given the bed right next to his wife and daughter, and he slept peacefully, knowing his family was safe.
Marcus smiled as he pulled the family car into the familiar parking lot. In the passenger seat, was his beloved wife Sarah, who looked as beautiful as ever.
In the back was Mika, who carried the hair colour of her dad, a raven-black short and tidy mop of hair. Her eyes however were the same as her mother, amethyst purple. She liked to wear a combination of white and purple, odd mix of colours, as her parents kept telling her, but she just told them that it felt right to her.
Also in the back was her younger brother Taro, who had blonde hair like her mother, and ocean blue eyes. He often wore blue and black, like the sweater he wore today.
"Been a while since we've been around here," Marcus sighed, as they walked along the alley, and stopped outside a small café. On the door was two signs, the first was Dicey Café. The other was 'closed for reservation'.
Marcus pushed open the door, "Well, look who decided to show up!" His attention was grabbed by the voice of his good friend Kazuto, who was sat in the corner with his wife Asuna, and a hologram of their first daughter Yui, who was sitting on the chair next to her dad. Their second daughter, a chestnut-haired girl, Strea, was sipping some juice next to Asuna.
Marcus took his two kids up to the bar, where Andrew turned to face them, "Mika and Taro! Last time I saw you two was when Taro was just an infant," he laughed. Taro was a tiny bit shy around those outside his family, but Mika gave him confidence to try and get better around others. Andrew's size still made him nervous, and he hid behind his father's leg.
"Taro, it's ok, he may look scary, but Andy is just one big teddie bear," Sarah assured him.
"That's true, everyone called me the gentle giant," Andrew chuckled, "Can I get you two anything?" He asked them, while preparing Marcus and Sarah's usual drinks.
"Orange juice for me please," Mika said politely.
"Can I have one too…?" Taro asked.
"Sure thing," Andrew nodded, "Sam? Two glasses of OJ please," he called.
"You got it dad," a girl called back. A moment later, a teenage girl came out, carrying two small glasses of orange juice.
"Thank you," the Cersy siblings both said, taking their drinks.
"Samantha, how old are you now? It's been a while since we last saw you," Marcus asked.
"Fourteen now Marcus," Samantha replied, she looked down to Mika and Taro, "How old are you and your bro Mika?" She asked.
"I'm eight! Taro's six," Mika chirped.
"It feels so strange, we have so many memories here," Sarah sighed, setting her eyes on a photo on the wall behind the bar. "I remember that one," she smiled at the memory.
Marcus leaned against a tree on a hill, while Michael and Kazuto both were stretched out on the grass. "You know what this reminds me of?" he asked, a small grin on his face.
"When Asuna caught us napping and you surprised her?" Michael guessed with a grin of his own.
"Same here," Kazuto chuckled. "The weather and sky are pretty much the same as it was back then…" He sighed.
"Absolutely perfect," Marcus finished.
"Aye," Michael agreed.
"You never did drop that one," Kazuto chuckled.
"Yep, and it was contagious too, even I say it now," Marcus said with a smirk.
"Shut up you two," Michael gave a grumble, "before my wife notices that I'm trying to catch a nap in the middle of the day. She won't let me sleep through a gathering."
Down the hill, Sarah, Shino and Asuna looked up at their men with equal sighs, "Masters of the sleep skill, those three," Asuna sighed.
"A skill that levels up faster than any sword skill in Aincrad," Sarah giggled, causing the others to join in.
"At it again are they?" Sayuri asked, walking up with Emma at her side.
"Again Sayuri?" Emma asked.
"They did this all the time back in Aincrad, well, Michael only joined in if I made him, and even then he usually meditated," Sayuri explained.
"I seem to remember you and Keiko asleep too when Ion surprised me on floor fifty-seven," Asuna pointed out.
"Guilty," Sayuri said with a little blush.
"Well, maybe they do deserve a break," A young boy's voice said from a device on Asuna's shoulder. "Kirito has been working hard time to finish this thing for Yui."
"He built it for you and Pina too Litrosh," the little girl chimed in.
"Not really, well, maybe for Pina and Silica, you know those two are inseparable now, but if it was just for me? I doubt he would have conceived the idea, let alone pursue it so relentlessly if his daughter wasn't the one he was building it for," Litrosh chuckled.
"I'm with Litrosh on this one," Sarah grinned. "That guy will work day and night to get something done for you or your mother."
"You can say that again Sarah!" Ryoutarou laughed, as he walked up. "Those three were addicted to combat. Hardcore. I still think it's a miracle that they found you three, and each in different ways too." The girls blushed heavily at his words, but they couldn't deny them either.
"What's up Klein?" Emma asked, "I thought that you were hanging out with Andrew?"
"What? A guy can't talk with his friends?" He joked with a grin. "Kiddin'. Keiko suggested we have a big group photo with the whole gang. She's got a tripod set up and everything. You in?"
"I'm game, you three want to get the boys up?" Emma asked, before walking off with Sayuri and Ryoutarou.
"Shall we?" Shino sighed.
"I guess so," Asuna shrugged.
"I'm right behind you," Sarah replied.
The photo was one to remember, and would be hanging on the wall of every family to be born from that group. Kazuto and Asuna were standing in the center, holding hands happily. Rika and Keiko were both striking confident poses while Andrew simply grinned at the camera with his massive arms folded over his thick chest. Ryoutarou was standing next to the bartender, giving the camera a casual salute and his goofiest smile. Suguha was standing on the side of Kazuto not occupied by his girlfriend. Sayuri was stood next to Asuna, and Michael was next to her, his arms around his wife, Shino. Lastly, next to Suguha, Sarah was in the warm arms of Marcus, and Emma was crouched in front of them with Kione. Everytime someone looked at that photo, they would remember the Black, Red and Arctic Swordsmen, and the lives that they brought together, forging an unbreakable family.
"You gonna stop taking a trip down memory lane and greet your own sister?" Marcus turned to see Emma, at twenty-one years old, walking in with Kyrian, her partner. Emma had turned into a beautiful young woman, and had been gifted in all the right areas. Marcus shook Kyrian's hand, then warmly embraced his sister.
Keiko came in a bit later with a young fellow called Ishida, who had married her a few months ago. Keiko still had her animal loving personality, easily scoring a job at an animal shelter, and always wore a shrunk down version of Kazuto's pod for Yui, although her's was for her faithful friend Pina.
Dan and Alicia showed up with their two daughters Rin and Lilly, both carrying the same hair colour of their dad, but Lilly's was a bit lighter shade than her sister, the two girls went over and joined the discussion that Strea and Yui were sharing with Mika and Taro.
Mika noticed Lilly was carrying a bear in her arms, "Come on Lilly, you don't need this dopey thing," she poked the stuffed toy.
"If Lilly wants to have her bear with her, then she can have her bear," Rin said, defending her sister.
Rika showed up next with her husband called Yuya and a daughter called Sakuya, with light tan coloured hair. She went to join the group of kids. Rika owned an antiques shop now, since graduating from college.
Also arriving at the same time was Hyde and Lilina, with their son Naoki. "What's up guys? Time for the guests of honor to arrive," the former said.
"Still got that mountain sized ego I see, maybe you need another perfect KO from Kione," Dan cracked a grin.
"And you're still that brainy nerd you've always been," Hyde shot back. Naoki had bright red hair like his mother, but his physique seemed to match that of his dad.
He walked over and joined the kids and he quickly noticed Lilly's teddie, "You're still carrying that thing around? Aren't you a little old for that?" he asked.
"Thank you!" Mika cheered, even as Rin jumped in to defend again.
Next to arrive was Emi and Clair, both arriving within thirty minutes to each other, both were currently dating boyfriends, and had been for a while, but neither were married yet. Kione arrived next, now eighteen and with both a boyfriend called Shoichi and a golden retriever guide dog called Iris, who gave Keiko a big sniff and a nuzzling upon arriving.
Sayuri then arrived with Shirou, the two surprisingly getting along together and got married, with them was a young boy called Tetsuya, with blonde hair like his father, but there was a lot of his mother in him, most notably his eyes.
"Tetsuya! Finally, another guy to talk to!" Naoki called out. "No offense to Taro, but come over and back me up here."
Ryoutarou walked in next, and he wasn't alone either, having finally scored a soulmate by the name of Sari, the two had gotten married, and even had a boy, called Ronin, he had short hair like his old man, but it was black, like his mother.
Lastly to arrive were Michael and Shino. The former of the two now ran his very own martial arts dojo not far from his home, and was also a writer when he had some time, and Shino was a police officer, joining the force with the motivation to never let others suffer what she did in the past.
Kazuto stood up, "Alright everyone," He called for attention, tapping his glass with a spoon. "Let's get this party underway, shall we?"
Marcus stood up, "Happy anniversary to clearing SAO! To us everyone!" He raised his glass.
"To us!" Everyone cheered.
A/N: This marks the end of this episode of the Arctic Swordsman. At least, in the galaxy of Star Wars, but please go and make sure that you go attend my first chapter of my next tale, where, with no Red Swordsman, we take a look at the alternate journey that takes place if Mataras hadn't ever showed up, Story name: The Arctic Swordsman - Sentinel of the Sky.
Before we get to the final omake of this tale, I want to give out the honourable mentions to my loyal friends and followers.
First of all, Mataras. I can't even begin to thank you for allowing me the use of Mataras the Red Swordsman! Not only that, you gave great inspiration and also wrote several powerful scenes that delivered Mataras' story.
Secondly. TheSib, for permitting the use of Wyvern's Inferno, Ren, Helios, Riku, Alice, Mai, Dagger and Himiko, and also for giving key ideas for my writing.
Thirdly, Antex - The Legendary Zoroark for his OC Xero and for providing amazing reviews to my chapters.
Mandalore the Freedom: Kote Darasuum to you friend for Nilsson, the Mandalorian opponent for Angel.
Lord Pyrus, you gave me the character for Pyralis way back in the Death Dart arc, and I thank you not only for the character, but for being patient when I said that Pyralis would not fit in the tournament.
Next up is Sundown17, provider of Dusken, and Emma's partner during this final scene, thank you for such a cool character.
Ethan Kironus, thanks to you for giving me support during several chapters, you gave good advice and some suggestions for chapters, even though you may not have intended it.
browncoat31986, even though you only reviewed once, I thank you for the compliment you gave back in Chapter 35.
Last special mention goes to Toa Draconix, who gave me several very helpful methods for controling my darker side, my own Marcus Black if you will.
Other mentions go to 553Colinm, NorthernWarrior, trollcapitol, raptorfire777 and any and all guest profiles.
Thank you to everyone who took a moment out of their day to look at my first chapter and follow, all the way to the end, you are, all of you, the best ever!
Ion: Ok... Here we are guys.
Mataras: Thank you for inviting me along on this tale, I look forward to see where you go next.
Ren: Same for me and the others, we can't wait to see what you do next.
Melody: You guys were amazing additions, and we're going to miss seeing you in the omakes.
Sachi: Agreed, but... I think we have to say goodbye now.
Ion: Yeah, ok, who wants to go first?
Yui: I will. May the stars guide you on your future journeys.
Kione: Take care, and never let others drag you down for any reason.
Melody: Respect everyone you meet, no matter the colour of their skin, their faith, or any handicaps they may have.
Angel: Don't harm another person, without thinking about the responsibilities that follow that harm.
Ion: And remember the following: There is no hate, there is peace. There is no ignorance, there is knowledge. There is love, and there is serenity. There is no chaos, there is harmony. You're never alone, there are friends all around you, you just haven't met them yet.