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Chapter Fourteen: A Happy Ending at Last
Three months after the Cat Kingdom adventure, Haru was finally on a plane to England, sitting next to her new husband with her head on his shoulder. She and Baron had agreed that they should take things slow, since they obviously had the rest of their lives ahead of them. It was still about a month when Baron popped the question, though it looked more like the other way around.
Hiromi had been shocked when Haru showed up with Baron and proceeded to take over the dance floor. She did manage to bite down a paint-fume remark and just commented that Baron must be a good teacher, which made a secret smile pass between her maid of honor and her escort. Haru's mother fainted when she saw her daughter finally having a good time with any guy, let alone one she would let kiss her in public.
Freddy had been rightly worried about convincing the authorities of the trio's identities, but a combination of DNA testing and bribing encouraged them to believe his story that Baron's grandfather, Humbert von Gikkingen, fell in love with another woman after Louise left him for a mysterious wealthy man, and the three men have preferred to wander with their families than to return their duties. But now that Baron Gikkingen II had been proven as a blood relative and probable great-nephew of Freddy's, he was adopted as his heir. And it felt like the whole world was watching the young man's courtship of Japan's favorite rising artist. The air flight attendant called through the intercom that they would shortly be arriving in England, and Haru squeezed Baron's arm.
"Nervous?" He asked her, another smile playing on his lips.
"Excited. I can't wait to see our new home."
Another hour passed, and they were driving a rented car down a cheerful country road. They were traveling towards the ancestral home that had been passed down to them after Freddy admitted a preference for the city.
"You know, we could have stayed in Japan."
"We could have," Haru agreed as she opened a window to allow circulation. "But I've been dying to see the place you grew up in for months!"
"It's probably a bit different than what I remember. Freddy more than likely did a few things to the place."
"Probably, but that's not really bothering me." Haru started giggling. "I still can't believe that Toto convinced the DJ at the reception to play 'Grapefruit Diet'." Baron started chuckling.
"I'm rather amused at the way Muta chased him down through the dance floor, yelling and waving around that whisk covered with whipped cream." Haru's laughter doubled.
"Course, Toto wouldn't have done it if Muta hadn't slipped worms into his spaghetti at lunch the day before." Baron could only roll his eyes.
"One thing you can always count on with those two is that they can't go without a fight for more than a few minutes. One time they kept at it for five hours." She raised one eyebrow at him.
"Probably longer, but the five hour one was the longest one timed." After a few minutes, they passed a large wild flower field. "That's usually the signal that home is five minutes away. Of course, that was when we preferred to walk or ride horses more than cars." His father hadn't been big on luxuries either, as far as what Baron's told Haru of him. She grinned mischeiviously.
"You want to pull over now for old time's sake?"
"If we didn't have so much luggage, that would be a fine idea. There's time for reminiscing later." They turned into a paved driveway, and Baron had to step out of the car to unlock the front gate.
"Haru, it's my pleasure to welcome you to our honeymoon cottage." The manor wasn't terribly large, but it gave off the feeling that it could easily house everyone in her old apartment complex. Freddy had arrived the week before to make sure that everything was clean and stable for Haru's first look of the place. She immediately fell in love with it, now knowing that Louise had no taste.
"Nice cottage." He drove the car through the gates, and parked near the entrance so they could unload the luggage.
"There are more than enough rooms that you could use for a new studio, and I'll give special notice to Toto and Muta when they join us in a month not to enter on pain of accidental death." She giggled while grabbing two bags from the back seat.
"Yeah, they're pretty amusing. We may as well keep them around a little longer."
"Wait, Haru." She turned to face him, a trace of confusion on her face as he took the bags from her hands and closed the car door behind her. He set the bags on the ground.
"What is it?" She was a little confused to what he was thinking. He smiled warmly at her again.
"Nothing. Just a little family tradition." He made a low bow to her. "Would you care to dance?" A huge grin crossed her face, a habit that had been increasing ever since they met.
"Of course." He took her lovingly by the hand, and, humming a waltz that only they knew, started circling the front yard. There was no telling how long they danced, since time seemed to stand still, with the trees slightly swaying in the wind and the scent of the varying trees heavy in the air. Neither of them noticed a pair of cats, one white and the other a dark gray, walk up to them until the white cat spoke.
"Sorry to interrupt." Baron had Haru in a low dip, and kept her that way as they glanced toward the other couple.
"Yuki! Lune!" Baron let her up so that she could embrace her old friend. "I thought that the portal was broken!"
"It was, but some digging around the library helped find a way to repair it. Oh, you don't have to worry about Father and Grandmother," Lune added quickly, seeing the looks on Haru's and Baron's face. "Grandmother suffered a fatal heart attack when Haru shattered the Cat's Eye, and I've made a comfortable home for my father, who retired from his royal duties the same day."
"We just wanted to give you these." Yuki handed Haru a bigger yellow box than she had last time. Haru didn't bother to look inside. She smiled warmly at her feline friend.
"You're welcome, and congratulations. We're so glad that the two of you got your happy ending as well."
"So are we." Baron had kneeled next to his wife and wrapped an arm around her.
"Something else I thought you might like to know," Lune continued. "I'm outlawing the practice of taking unwilling humans to the Cat Kingdom, so that should cut back on my familial issues." Haru giggled.
"Good, you may need all the help you can get." It would also help with Baron's issues.
"Something that's been bothering me though, is how Haru was able to see through the invisibility spell," Lune said hesitantly. Baron turned to her.
"Perhaps it was already weakening."
"You know my grandfather's magic better than that. That spell was designed to last until you rotted." Haru put her hand to her chin and thought for a minute.
"Perhaps it was just time for the spell to break. It was pure chance that I was in the shop at all, and then again when I saw the flash."
"Flash?" Yuki was leaning in closer, her eyes locked onto her friend.
"Yeah. I saw a spark of green, and when I inspected where it had come from, I found Baron." He cocked his head at her.
"Except my eyes were clouded over with dust; I couldn't see you until you cleaned me off." His wife shrugged.
"I know. But that is what I saw, and I'm not complaining that I did." Haru looked away for a second and laughed. "Man, I really cheated that shopkeeper out of a fair sale."
"After listening to generations of his family complaining about which was the superior polish for wood over porcelain while I was slowly gaining a thick and fuzzy gray coat, I don't share your guilt." Everyone laughed at that. Haru continued her thought.
"You know, if we found out the source for all of life's mysteries, living wouldn't be half as fun." Lune grinned at that.
"I agree. Yuki and I had best head back. We'll stop by again later." Baron made one point clear before the cat couple left.
"You're welcome here anytime. Provided that there are no ridiculous offers attached." Lune and Yuki laughed.
Haru and Baron watched the two cats disappear into the thick grass before continuing their dance, the sunset making the windows of their new home flash and twinkle like the stars forming above.
Thank you for reading my first posted fan fiction. I hoped you like it, because more is on the way.
Lots of love to; EarthGuardian, Calmest Card, Watersoul the Head Star Walker, Rebel of my Destiny, Wielder of the Mighty Pen, Astracia, Drifting One, xWhisperWolfx, The Great Flying Toaster, Thundercat, and cutelittlekitten18 for the kind reviews
P.S. 'Grapefruit Diet' belongs to Weird Al Yanchovich, not me. I heard it from my brother thought it would be a nice touch to Muta's weight. Try listening to the song for a better idea of what I mean (wink).