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marineko's fanfiction
Arashi: An Ever Expanding Sky (Epilogue) 
18th-Aug-2014 09:45 pm
AUTHOR: marineko / mylittlecthulhu
FANDOM: Arashi
PAIRING: Sakuraiba, Juntoshi
RATING: PG-13
DATE: August 18th, 2014
WORD COUNT:
NOTES/DISCLAIMERS: 1. This is a work of fiction, 2. beta-ed by arashic0804



Chapter Forty-Five | END


Epilogue


Once, a wind-up fell in love. Once, a Goddess gave too much of Herself away, and it was turned against her. Once, a woman of no caste met a prince, and knew that there would be no other.

The city of Milna looked the same from afar - the Houses and Council building tall and majestic, the new Winged Guards flying between them. They flew low and in flocks, as they were still being trained. It was the first time that the Guard recruited from other castes, and while it had been a necessity, Nino knew that Sho had a lot to do with that.

The other buildings close to each other, but haphazard, with one glittering river flowing through them. He remembered the markets and the opera house by the river, and found himself thinking that he would miss them in a way he would never miss the Council building.

Besides the Winged Guards, there were others flying now, riding on vehicles that resembled dragonflies. That alone would have Aiba living comfortably, and along with the hand-held transmitters, and whatever else Aiba might come up with the future, Nino had a feeling that Milna would soon be the new Eero.

A figure with black metallic wings flew towards Rainbow's End. He could hear a beeping from the command deck informing him of the incoming guest, requesting that he decide on an action. He ignored it, watching Aiba slowly descend on his crow's nest, his wings folding back neatly, before climbing down.

"You could have just flown straight here, you know."

Aiba shook his head. "Wingspan. Damage." It was true; Aiba's wings was different from the ones the Guards used. He looked at Nino.

"You could have said goodbye."

Nino shrugged. The only person he had told about his departure was Rin, and that was because he knew that she had known, anyway. "It's time. That's all. You know the Goddess would have preferred I left long before now. And anyway, this was your home, too. You know what it's like. Rainbow's End belongs to the skies."

"But you won't have me this time. Or Rin."

"I'll manage." Nino looked towards the poop deck, where Kamenashi was watching them. Aiba waved at Kamenashi, and he waved back.

"Take care of him!" Aiba shouted up at Kamenashi. Nino couldn't hear the other windup's reply, but he was sure that Kamenashi was commenting on not being able to stop Nino when he had another stupid idea lodged in his head. He knew, because it was Kamenashi's most favourite thing to grumble about lately.

And yet when Nino had offered to hand his papers to there Milnan government, like all the other windup owners in the country were now doing, Kamenashi had said no. The Council had promised to allow the windups to live as they choose, finding them work and living quarters. Those that preferred to serve the Goddess were allowed to do so. Kamenashi had refused both options, saying that someone had to make sure Nino didn't end up dying in a gutter somewhere, now that Aiba was staying in Milna.

Nino suspected that his sister or Jin requested that Kamenashi stayed with him, but he didn't ask. He wasn't sure if he wanted to know.

Aiba turned to him. "Are you sure you're going to be okay?"

"Me? I'm going to have adventures so incredible you're going to regret staying behind," Nino replied. "I need to get away; the Council is driving me crazy enough as it is."

Even though Rin had been accepted as a Council representative from the Ninomiya House, and Toma was to represent the casteless nomads, Nino's presence had been requested at the first few Council meetings after everything that had happened. He supposed that it couldn't be helped; Jun was doing a lot in addressing what had happened with Oguri, the Guards, Yamashita, and the rebel windups, but there was a lot that only Nino knew about, and a lot of debriefings, interviews, and interrogations from various sides.

By now he had told them everything he knew, and Sho was making ways in pushing laws to decrease the gaps between castes, with Kuroki and Matsuyama working to rebuild the Council and the Guard.

Ohno went back to caring for the Matsumoto household - he had a lot of damage to undo, since it had been a long time since there was a Matsumoto in Milna. Most of the nobles knew about him and Jun now, and many disapproved, but nothing bad had happened so far. Everyone had bigger problems, and their own Houses, to attend to in the aftermath of what had happened - it had been three months, and most of the city were still in mourning clothes, and some were still holding memorials for the fallen Guards.

And as for Aiba... Nino looked at him, then. Aiba looked good - happy, and healthy. It made him feel better about leaving his best friend behind, even though he knew it would be hard getting used to traveling without Aiba and Rin. With Rin in the Council, and Aiba setting up his own garage, doing everything from airship modification and repairs to selling mechanical toys - not to mention his dragonflies and transmitter - neither of them were about to leave Milna anytime soon. Nino knew that, just as he knew that he couldn't stay.

"What?" Aiba asked. "You're looking at me weirdly."

"It's nothing." He looked up at the skies. "I should leave soon," he said reluctantly. He hesitated, but Aiba was already stepping forward to hug him. His hand reached up to pat Aiba's back, but he ended up pushing Aiba away a little when he felt something move in the satchel hanging off his shoulder. He narrowed his eyes at his friend.

"Aww, I can't get anything past you, can I?"

"I'm the one that taught you..." Nino let his words falter and fade as he opened the satchel, and lifted the object Aiba had placed in it. "A bug?"

It was a scarab beetle - Nino remembered the creatures from their trips to the deserts of Jan. Aiba had somehow made a mechanical version of them. "Something to remember you by?"

Aiba shook his head. He whistled, a short tune that Nino knew well. At the sound, the beetle's wings moved, and it flew up, circling around Aiba a couple of times before perching on Nino's shoulder.

"You can use it as a transmitter, if you really needed to. It has a longer range than the usual kind, but it's only connected to one other transmitter - mine. And! I programmed it to guard you against pickpockets."

Nino thought that he hardly needed a guard against pickpockets, being one himself, but he let it go. A transmitter that would let him talk to Aiba would be useful. "Thanks," he said, holding out his palm to the beetle. It flew towards it, letting Nino hold it. It's weight and heat felt reassuring, somehow.

"You'll be back soon, won't you?" Aiba asked. "The Council wanted you at the annual meetings -"

Nino made a face. "Don't remind me."

He watched as Aiba climbed up to his nest one last time, before unfolding his mechanical wings, and flew away.

When he could no longer make out Aiba in the skies among the Winged Guards, he turned to leave, only to find Kamenashi looking at him.

"Where are we going?"

The questioned stalled him for a moment. He usually relied on Rin to advice on their destination, and now he had no idea what the future held for him. Somehow, the idea intrigued him. He grinned.

"I don't know," he admitted. "Let's just see where the sky takes us."

})i({





"What are you staring at?"

Jun shifted, beckoning Ohno to stand by him. "Look," he said. "Rainbow's End is leaving."

"He did seem restless, the last time we saw him," Ohno said. "I was expecting him to leave this week."

"And you didn't tell me? I could've thrown him a farewell party!"

Ohno frowned. "He would've hated that."

"That's exactly the point."

"And we don't have time for parties. We are still rebuilding the Matsumoto House, and -"

"Satoshi," Jun interrupted, smiling. "Shut up."

Ohno just gave him a look, before settling next to him, leaning in when Jun reached to pull him closer. "Do you think he'll be back?"

"Nino? Definitely. His sister's here, after all, and he'll want to see for himself that Sho isn't being stupid when it comes to Aiba." He paused. "Although I suppose he's always going to be stupid when it comes to Aiba."

Ohno didn't reply, since there was no need to. They stood and watched as the airship rose up and slowly went out of sight.

"Back to work," Ohno reminded Jun.

Jun raised an eyebrow.

"Matsumoto-dono."

Jun laughed. His hand found Ohno's, and he tugged the other man back inside. "Okay, okay, back to work, I know."

})i({


Sho was still reading the proposal from a guild that wanted to build a sky bridge that linked the Milnan markets when Aiba flew in, his wings folding even as he entered through the balcony. He had been coming in too fast, though, and stumbled a bit as he passed through the narrow doors.

Sho looked at him, amused by Aiba's uncharacteristic gracelessness. Aiba looked back indignantly.

"I'm still not used to the new wings," he said.

"Yes, I can see that." Sho waited as Aiba took off his wings, and put them away. "I take it that Nino left?"

Aiba nodded. He trudged over to where Sho sat, stopping right in front of him. "Move over?"

Sho shifted. His chair was big, but it was still a one seater. Aiba squeezed in anyway, draping one leg over Sho's.

"You okay?"

Aiba nodded again. Sho put down the papers in his hand.

"Do you -" he hesitated. "Did you want to go with him?"

Aiba shook his head. "I'm just going to miss him," he said.

He wondered if he was making a mistake, if he should have gone with Nino. There was the fact that it might be better for him to be away from the Goddess, but he knew that in time She would have her Vessels not just in Milna, but in many of the cities he might travel to. Already rogue windups from other cities were arriving at Her new temple, offering themselves to her. Some of them stayed, but many went back to where they came from, to have new, smaller temples built.

And then there were the nightmares. Sometimes Aiba dreamed of Sora, of what had happened. Sometimes, in his dreams, it had really been Sho. It scared him, the thought that Sho might not be completely safe from him.

Even so, he couldn't bring himself to leave.

"He'll be back," Sho was saying. "With the new Dragonfly orders, and your work in perfecting your wings, time will fly by quickly."

Sho sounded more hopeful than sure; Aiba knew that Sho wanted him to stay about as much as he wanted to be able to. He turned to Sho, moving even closer, ignoring Sho's grunt in protest.

"You know, you're kind of heavy, and..." Sho drifted off as their eyes met. "What?"

"Sho."

"Mm?"

"Are you busy right now?"

Sho glanced at the stack of proposals he had to read through before the next Council meeting.

"Actually -" he stopped. In one quick movement, Aiba was now practically straddling him. Aiba looked down on him. If he wanted to get back to work all he needed to do was to tell Aiba so, but both he and Aiba knew that he wouldn't. He hoped that he would never have to give Aiba orders - of any kind - again.

"Are you," Aiba asked again, "very busy right now?"

"Uh." Sho blinked. "Um. I guess the papers can wait."

He watched as Aiba gave him a long, slow smile. "There," Aiba said. "That's the right answer." Aiba leaned down; for a kiss, he'd thought, but Aiba spoke into his ears instead, so softly he had to concentrate to listen.

"There's nowhere else I'd rather be."

~ end ~




Chapter Forty-Five | END


Notes:
*long sigh* that's it, the end. Thank you so_gracefull, sharksoul24, leiva21, ianne_xxyl, cherry1989, sesquerdo and betzi_chan! ♥!
Comments 
18th-Aug-2014 06:28 pm (UTC)
I was missing yhis story when you haven't been posting and then you came back with it and it's just great :) Kind of sweet ans sour ending but still this universe is magical. Thank you for the story so much!
I will ne missing it now, when it ended.
3rd-Dec-2014 02:58 pm (UTC)
Thank you for reading ♥!
19th-Aug-2014 06:36 am (UTC)
So this is finally the end? I can't believe that this is the end :(( I will miss all the characters in this series especially Nino. More than Sakuraiba, I think Aimiya's relationship played a vital role in this series. It's bittersweet that Nino left without Aiba, but I'm also happy that he and Sho are both happy. The ending with Sakuriaba was cute and fluffy, which I thinki is their trademark. LOL. I don't know what else to say so I'll end this comment with my Congratulations to you for finishing this series. And my gratitude too ♥
3rd-Dec-2014 02:58 pm (UTC)
Sorry for the late reply, but thank you for reading and following this fic throughout! <3
19th-Aug-2014 11:08 am (UTC)
It's to be expected that Nino went on a journey again without all of them except Kame who I think will be a such a loyal and smart windup for Nino and I like the part that he accept the transmitter that Aiba gave, at least he won't be lost to their friends, who believed that he will come back. The Juntoshi and Sakuraiba part are so sweet ~
Thank you for writing such an excellent series. It's really good, from the first chapter until the end^^
Otsukare!
3rd-Dec-2014 02:59 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for reading this through the end <3
19th-Aug-2014 08:28 pm (UTC)
What an adorable epilogue! *.* My heart is so warm after reading it, it’s perfect and I love it! *.* The whole series is great and this epilogue is the heartwarming medicine we needed after all the suffering!
Juntoshi and Sakuraiba moments, of course, are really sweet! But Aimiya friendship in this series is indeed the most special relationship, like real brothers! Your Nino is really great in AEES! ^.^
Thank you so much for this series and all the adventures and emotions we could live through it! ^.^ You know I love your writing and it only makes AEES more special! ^.~
I know you are not inspired to write Arashi fics lately (being away from the fandom may be the cause among others), but I hope you keep writing because you are really good doing it and I will always be your fan! ^.~
Take care, dear, and all the best! With my deep gratitude for all the feelings your stories gave me! ^.^
3rd-Dec-2014 03:00 pm (UTC)
Writing Nino was a fun challenge in this fic. I'm still not sure I've done him justice, but it definitely was interesting :D Thank you for reading this fic through til the end! ♥
20th-Aug-2014 03:24 pm (UTC)
So much love for this story, it's really one of the best in Arashi ficdom. Aiba's such an intriguing character in this, and the relationships, too.
So Sho didn't give up Aiba's papers either, huh? Was that for precaution?

Thank you for writing AEES and finishing it despite the odds. I'll be gladly coming back to re-read it.
3rd-Dec-2014 03:02 pm (UTC)
The way I see it, Sho wanted to give up Aiba's papers, but Aiba would rather that either Sho or Nino had them instead. Thank you for reading this fic through til the end! :D
28th-Aug-2014 12:15 am (UTC)
Finally a closeure of this great history! I've been missing this fic so much and finally you finished (I was really worried that it would end up being incomplete). It was really, really good. I enjoyed every single word, sentence, paragraph, everything of this fic.
Thank you so much for sharing this story (and awesome universe) with us.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. c:
3rd-Dec-2014 03:03 pm (UTC)
Thank you for reading! <3
I really appreciate it :D
4th-Sep-2014 12:52 pm (UTC)
I stumble upon this series before and it is still not complete back then. then yesterday, i was browsing on sakuraiba fics n found that u already finished it!! i re-read it and i must say that this is one of the best au fic in the fandom.talented author i must say. all the main characters have a balance appearance in the story..at first it was like aimiya friendship, then came sakuraiba complicated relationship, servant-master juntoshi...it is really full of adventures and emotions.and somehow, i imagine the world that their living is like Final Fantasy world..full of skyships, machines, oracle, royalties, gypsies, gods..the windups are such interesting being, i must say..anyway, thanks for your hardwork in finishing this..u're a good writer, u know..please keep writing cause u got the talent..jumpa lagi..:)
3rd-Dec-2014 03:04 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for reading! <3
7th-Sep-2014 07:40 pm (UTC)
sorry it took me so long to read the epilogue >.<
but finally i did.
and it is great!!!
like the whole story! *nods*
it is a really good closure for it.
everyoe is happy and everything turned out well.

i really like it.
and i enjoyed reading the story. i enjoyed it a lot!

thank you for sharing this really great piece of story with us! <3
3rd-Dec-2014 03:04 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much for reading it til the end! <3
15th-Dec-2014 03:05 pm (UTC)
So happy you continued this epic fic! It was different and happened so many things, there were so many feelings too, it was really enjoyable!
I liked the epilogue too. About Nino, with his personality he wouldnt be happy with a stablished quiet life in the same place for too long. And Aiba, he found true love and stability and with all that he had to suffer and overcome he was not going to leave Sho. I like that Juntoshi can be happy too and can work along with Sho to make Milna a better place to live for all kind of people.
Thanks for sharing!
5th-Feb-2015 02:21 pm (UTC)
[i'm sending the same message to everyone that i add. sorry for my lazy attitude but it's for the same purpose]

hello~~

if you're wondering of why you're receiving this message/comment, it is because your fic(s) is/are nominated for longlisted - 2013 & 2014 Arashi fanfictions Award *claps*

congratulation and i started to add you guys because i need access to most of your fics.

in 2 weeks, i'll tell you guys the list of fics that has been nominated so that if it was locked, you can make it public for the readers to read them later.

winning or losing doesn't matter here. what matter is someone acknowledge your effort on bringing happiness for them.

once again, good luck and congratulations for being nominated

(extra: i'm sorry if i don't follow communities rule to be added. hopefully, you can give me exception for this one. yoroshiku)

-arashifanficawards-
19th-Nov-2015 05:07 pm (UTC)
Actually, I finished this fic several months ago but I did not leave a comment back then. And it keeps coming back to me times and again that I should leave a post here to tell you how much I appreciate the story. It is one of the most enjoyable Arashi fics I have ever read, EVER. I was so hook to the story and kept wishing for the best for Aiba and Sho. I also really loved Nino-Aiba dynamic in this story. Seriously, you are such a great writer and story-teller. Thank you soooo very much for writing and completing this EPIC story.

You mentioned alternated, original ending and said it's bloodbath. Oh well, how I'd love to get a chance to read it. But I guess I should be thankful that you decide to present a happy ending one instead.

Again, thank you so much for this. I hope you've got a chance to write more about them in the future. :)
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