The Last Reunion (Director's Cut)a CAPOW tale by Dot
The grandfather clock in the corner chimed melodically, and its tiny, worn brass bells tolled nine times. Samui, setting out an assortment of drinks on the bar, looked at the clock with some surprise.
"Nine already? Time flies when you're having fun," she muttered, not without some sarcasm. She paused to brush a stray strand of hair out of her face before continuing towards the cupboard behind her. "Baku!" She scolded sharply as the black cat walked in front of her, blocking her way. She gave the cat a little push, but it gave a reluctant meow before finally moving. Samui opened the cabinet and was just about to reach for the shot glasses, the bell attatched to the door jingled softly. "Sorry, but we're closed already," Samui said without turning.
"Very fucking funny," the potential customer all but growled, sitting down heavily before the bar. "Now serve me some drinks before I decide to leap over this thing and kick your sorry ass from here to Pluto."
"Oh, hello, Dachend," Samui greeted as she stood and turned, glasses in hand. "And hello, Draco-x'ian." she looked behind them, but saw no one. "Where's Katt?"
"Hey," returned the sword. "Katt'll be a bit late, but she'll be here."
"And here I was beginning to think that those two were attatched at the waist," Samui half-joked, opening a bottle.
Dachend scowled. "Shut up or I'll rearrange your face."
As Samui poured a drink for Dachend, the demon hunter planted a foot on a neighboring stool and frowned at how it protested. "Still got these hundred-year old things?"
"I'll replace them as soon as you can tell me where I could buy some," Samui countered, nearly slamming the drink in front of Dachend.
"I don't know about suppliers, but I _do_ know some collectors who would pay a fortune for those," the newly-arrived Ryan remarked from the door. "By the way, cute cat you've got there."
"But retiring with more money than I know what to do with would be boring," Samui replied, getting another glass ready. "Good evening, Former Commisioner Ryan." She gave the cat that had jumped onto the bar an affectionate rub on the head, and it purred in response. "Thanks. I found him outside about a month ago."
"Evenin', and you're welcome," Ryan answered, tipping an imaginary hat. He jabbed a thumb to the door. "And look who else I managed to dig up."
"Hi," Sable said with a brisk salute.
"Well, well, well, if it ain't Mr. Rock Star," Dachend noted wryly. "Why didntcha bring your guitar?"
"And risk damaging a valuable antique?" Sable countered.
"Behave, you guys," Samui ordered as she poured more drinks. "I don't want my tenants calling the cops on us."
"Why not?" Ryan wanted to know. "We haven't had a bar fight in here in ages."
"NO." Samui glared at the men, and for a few seconds they swore they could see frost gathering at the edges of the drinks. Everyone quickly turned away from each other and paid all their attention to their drinks as if those were the most interesting things in the world. Samui then poured herself a small glass. "Thank you."
"Man, after all this time that look of hers still creeps the hell out of me," Dachend mumbled.
"That, and Katt when she's mad," Draco-x'ian snickered.
"What's that about me?" Katt asked drily, leaning casually against the doorframe.
Ahlen also entered. Taking one look at Dachend, who was still scrambling to look innocent, Ahlen burst out laughing. "Ah, hah, hah, hah!" He chortled, holding his stomach with one hand and pointing with the other.
"Watch it, kid," Dachend warned. "I'm still a couple of millenia ahead of you."
Katt crossed her arms. "Will you two give it up already?"
"Yes, ma'am," Dachend and Ahlen chirped, although it was obvious that neither one of them really meant it.
"Where're Lyta and Kokutan?" Samui wanted to know.
"Kokutan's keeping an eye on the shrine, and Lyta's trying to convince L-sama not to make her the next Knight of Chaos."
"I wish her the best of luck," Sable said with mock seriousness. "And I definitely hope she won't have to learn that Giga Slave thing."
There was a collective shudder at the thought.
Samui clapped her hands together. "Okay, since all the people who can be here have arrived, let's get started." she quickly refilled all of the drinks, then tipped her glass to Dachend. "Since you were here first, you can go ahead."
Dachend took a took a deep gulp, then shrugged. "You know, it's the same fucking routine: travel to some place, kill a few demons, cause some property damage..." he grinned wickedly. "...piss Katt off..." he took another swig. "I'm done."
"Okay..." Samui took a small sip, then pointed to Draco-x'ian. "Your turn."
"Pretty much what Dachend said, except the part about pissing Katt off," the sword reported. "And Dachend 'convinced' the DCD Chief to give everybody unlimited access to Genesis, STRA regulations be dammed."
"Eva was thrilled to find out, right?" Samui asked with a smile.
If swords could blush, Draco-x'ian would have turned beet red. "Er..."
Samui smiled even wider. "Let's just move on, shall we?" she nodded towards Ryan.
"I've been getting some pretty lucrative offers from heads of companies interested in my 'skills', but I think I'm still going to work freelance for now." Ryan emptied his glass. "At least, until my pension runs out. And that's pretty much it."
Samui emptied what was left of the bottle into Ryan's glass and opened a new one. "Sable?"
"Well, rock's making a really big come back, so our band's albums are selling better than it was when it was still around." Sable chuckled dryly and held out his glass to Samui, then emptied that one as well. "I don't know whether to feel flattered or depressed."
"Think of the bright side," Ahlen advised playfully. "At least you can still collect the royalties."
Sable rolled his eyes. "Whatever."
Katt went next. "Well, I don't have much to add to what Dachend and Draco-x'ian already said. I wish I could tell you guys that we were able to find out what happened to those people who we still have nothing on, but..." Seeing everyone suddenly tense and reach for their respective weapons, Katt turned around.
"Oh, don't mind me," Thickett said with a wave of his hand.
Katt felt her clothes shifting into her battle armor. "How dare you show your face in here?" she demanded through clenched teeth.
Thicket 'hmphed' and began pulling off his gloves. "Are you still sore about that? How many of you were even in Capow when the takeover happened?"
"This is a private party, sir, and you weren't invited," Samui told Thickett, her voice cold.
Thickett pretended to be hurt. "What, can't I even be a paying customer?" He took another step forward to the sounds of several weapons being unsheathed.
"This establishment is closed," Samui stated, enunciating each word slowly and clearly. "I can--and will--legally refuse you service. Furthermore, I must ask you to leave."
"By whose authority?" Thickett challenged. "This city's? The STRA's?"
Samui's expression did not change. "Ours."
The standoff continued for what felt like eternity. Even Samui's cat, sensing the tension in the room, joined in and began hissing at Thickett.
Thickett 'hmphed' and donned his gloves. "Forget it. I can tell when I'm not welcome." With that, Thickett turned and left the bar.
"Damn," Dachend said, feigning disappointment. "I was kind of hoping he'd stay so I could kick his ass."
"Then you could have helped me get the bloodstains out of the carpet, too," Samui replied. She downed her drink with an unusual viciousness. "He was right, you now."
Ryan sighed. "Samui, don't start that again. It wasn't your fault."
"I'd like to think that," Samui said with a sigh, fiddling with her glass. "But I can't help wondering if--"
Ryan cleared his throat and cocked his head towards Katt. "I think Katt is ready to continue now," he said, giving Katt a significant look.
Katt de-transformed and took a deep breath to calm herself before starting again. "In more cheerful news, the Dark Elves will be leaving us alone now, since my father died earlier this year and basically said in his will that as far as he was concerned, I didn't exist."
"I never really liked Katt's side of the family anyway," said Dachend, downing his fifth drink. Katt responded by cuffing Dachend lightly in the back of his head.
Ahlen snickered at Dachend before taking his turn. "Aside from what's going on with Lyta, there's nothing really new, either, and you already know what happened this morning." Sympathetic nods were shared all around.
"If those developers show up again anywhere near the shrine, you know who to call," Ryan reminded Ahlen.
Sable, who was by now a little bit more than drunk, tipped his glass towards Samui. "And now, for our most gracious hostess."
"Flatterer." Samui smiled and poured another round of drinks. "Talon's quest to remove Capow's 'Indefinite Level III Quarantine' status continues..."
Dachend snorted. "There'll be a 50-fucking-foot blizzard in Hell before _that_ happens."
Samui smiled slightly in respons, and was about to continue when she was struck by a sudden wave of dizziness, nearly falling had not the bar intervened.
"Are you all right, Samui?" Katt asked, rushing around the other end of the bar to help Samui stand straight.
"Well, I, uh..." Samui wobbled a bit. The walls suddenly looked a lot older and more worn, the tables were broken and its bits scattered over the floor, and the bar completely deserted.
"Man, you really can't hold alcohol worth beans," Dachend teased, although his tone was a bit worried.
"Why don't you go lie down for a while?" Ahlen suggested. "You don't look too good."
With Katt's support, Samui managed to walk to a nearby table. "I'll...just take...a quick nap..." She sat down and rested her head on her arms. She couldn't understand why she felt so exhausted. She shivered slightly.
Katt touched Samui's forhead and gasped. "Why, you're burning up! We have to get you to a doctor, quick!"
"Jus' let me sleep..." Samui slurred, her eyes closing. She felt herself slip from the chair and land roughly on the ground, but she felt no pain.
"Don't you pass out on me!" Katt shook Samui urgently. "Hey! Come on now!"
But Samui didn't want to stay awake. She was just so tired...
"Hey! Hey! Miss? This building is condemned, and we're here to take it down." The construction worker gave the prone figure on the ground a light prod with his boots, but got no reaction. The black cat next to her body nuzzled her gently and yowled mournfully. "Miss?"
His partner walked in after him. "I think she's dead, Jiro."
Jiro picked up the woman's limp wrist and tried to find a pulse. After a while, he gingerly set the arm down and stared at the woman. "My God, Saitu, you're right!"
"Who do you think she was?" Saitu wondered.
Jiro shrugged. "Probably some homeless woman that was trying to take shelter in last night's blizzard."
"Yeah, it sure was freezing," Saitu agreed. "But it's not that much warmer in here, either."
Jiro shook himself out of his shock. "Anyway, we need to get rid of this as quietly as possible. The last thing we need is for any potential buyers to find out that someone died here."
With a grunt, the two men picked up the woman's body and carried her out. Saitu noticed with some surprise that the woman was wearing a gold band on the ring finger of her left hand, but he didn't put much thought to it, and soon forgot about it altogether. The two men made sure that there was no one else in the building before setting the charges and clearing the area.
Moments later, the building once known as the Lurker's Retreat crashed upon itself, but no one was there to mourn its demise.
A cold wind blew over the graveyard, but Talon felt nothing. A soft giggle sounded behind him, but he did not bother to turn, either.
"So you came," the soft, feminine voice greeted with a touch of mischief. "Made up your mind so quickly?"
Talon closed his eyes as the memories welled up from the depth of his soul and tore at his heart. "Please. I don't want to spend another moment in this world."
The figure floated silently before him, revealing a young girl with golden brown hair and large, playful eyes. "So impatient," she chided, shaking a finger at him. "Are you sure? Is this what she would have wanted?"
"I don't care!" Talon almost shouted, shaking in effort to contain the tears that burned at the corner of his eyes. "I failed them! I failed _her_!" Softer, in an agonized whisper, he continued: "I wasn't there for her when she needed me the most!" His legs lost strength and he dropped to the ground. "There's nothing for me to live for any more...nothing."
A gentle hand lifted his face and stroked his cheek. "Then I shall give you a reason to live."
The girl's eyes gave off a glow as she neared him. Talon made no move to resist as her lips touched his neck.
Talon blinked, and barely managed to block as Samui playfully swatted at his head with a rolled-up newspaper. "Hey!"
"You'd better start paying attention, Talon," Itsuko advised from the front of the room. "Your head was about to hit the table."
As the meeting room burst into laughter, Talon felt his face grow hot, and even more so when he caught a glimpse of Samui trying to hold back her own amusement.
"Et tu?" he asked her, feigning hurt.
This time, she succeeded in clonking him one. "Eyes forward, silly."
Miyu let the man fall into her embrace, not at all staggering from his larger frame.
"I didn't know you were interested in older men," Larva remarked, appearing behind her.
"His intense grief and regret would have been a target for Shinma, and I'm not in the mood to fight any right now," Miyu replied, setting the man onto the ground. The man remined there, his dilated pupils staring ahead vapidly, and his body curled in a fetal position. "Besides, despite what Reiha thinks, I don't enjoy watching humans suffer."
Shiina hopped up to Miyu's shoulder. "You're soft at heart, aren't you, Miyu?"
Miyu smiled slightly. "I suppose you could say so."