When Shadows Rise

Epilogue

The days after the Shadow battle were busy ones for the Senshi. The women chased down the remaining Shadows that had escaped the battle. It was also time for the Army of Light to rest and heal. Gregor, Samuel and Uhanzee joined the Senshi as Shayla, Iriko and Hana helped run interference between the healing Suteko and her family.

Genma showed up the next morning, demanding that his daughter return with him to the Tendo/Saotome dojo. Spouting that an unmarried woman should not be staying in the same apartment alone with a man not her husband. It took Ranma hitting him with a bottle of cold water to shut him up.

"You need a vacation Suteko," Tofu joked.

Suteko chuckled and winced. Shayla wanted to Heal her more but Suteko told her to save the energy for those who needed it more. Each day the others would come back with injuries. She wanted to go out with them but Jaeoh and the others "Tofu-san, I am not used to just lying around." She sighed. "I am not sure what to do now."

"You could come home with me sis," Ranma said from the doorway.

Suteko looked up and smiled. "I told you and Father that I belong here with Jaeoh."

Ranma nodded in understanding but sighed. "Suteko, you have to come back with me at least till after you marry him." He held up a hand as she started to protest. "I know after everything that has gone down in the past seven years we don't have a lot of pull with you but you are living here with no chaperone. If you want Jaeoh to keep his students you need to at least put up an appearance of following the rules."

"Chaperone? After everything I have been through?" She started to laugh and then winced again. While mostly healed her body still sent twinges to remind her that her lung had been damaged.

"She will be staying with me for the next few days, Ranma," came a soft cultured voice.

Suteko rolled her eyes and set the tea set on the table. "Setsuna I have all ready turned down Cologne, Ukyo and Serena. What makes you think I will stay with you?"

"The fact that I asked her love?" Jaeoh came in and put an arm around her. "Your father spoke to me."

Her eyebrows shot up as her mouth dropped open. "My father talked to you?" Jaeoh felt her body stiffen and knew that her temper was starting to rise.

He pressed a soft kiss to her temple, his hand rubbing her back. "Could you give us a moment folks?"

Setsuna and Tofu, steered Ranma out of the kitchen, leaving the couple alone. Suteko turned to look at Jaeoh, not sure if she should be angry at him or just her father. She let him guide her to a chair and her eyes grew wide as he did something she had not expected. He knelt next to her and with a soft smile pulled out a ring.

"I know it has been a wild ride, for both of us but you deserve this." He pulled the ring from the box and took her hand. "The future is ours to navigate. We have finished our tasks. Let's take this for ourselves, love."

Suteko stared at the ring. It was unique. A simple white diamond surrounded by a dragon in greed jade. She smiled and nodded. It was time to join her path with his. Fighting destiny had cost her this man once but not this time. She smiled and leaned in, kissing him softly and nodded. He wrapped his arms tightly about her and silently they celebrated.

Setsuna smiled in the other room and nodded to the men waiting there. Ranma and Chris let out a whoop and patted each other on the back. The others shook their head and held back Genma. The man was older but no less strong. "Leave them alone for a bit Satome-san. Your daughter is not ready for a big celebration. Besides you need to go home gentlemen." She smiled and gestured. "I believe there is a little man wanting to be born." Ranma's eyes widened and he dashed out, his father close behind.

Chris and Akuma grinned but then sighed. "Now what do we do Pluto-san?"

Setsuna smiled. "You will find you have a place you are needed. Both of you."

Across the big city a former Kouhei stood on the platform of Tokyo tower. The darkness hid his face as the wind blew a dark robe about as he stared off into the distance. As it whipped stronger the crystal on his breast flared bright and when it faded he was gone.

At the Cave of Shadows Aki stood gingerly and sighed. "Stop that boy. The cabin is over this way/" He followed the voice to a cabin hid behind the Cave. It was roomy and warm and as the door closed behind him he felt a welcome that had not been his for years.