In Gods' Good Time: Chapter Twenty Six of an Angel Beats Fan Fiction Story
C V Ford
Chapter 26: Aftermath
"I was afraid this might happen."
All eyes on Jack.
On an unspoken word, most of the "trial" attendees, Rachel and Jack with them, repaired to the cafeteria/food court building. In an unprecedented move, the now not-so-outsiders were accorded temporary seats at the Battlefronts' usual tables, being grilled over what had taken place before Yuris' impromptu hearing. All hanging on the words of the couple.
Duffy went over the events leading up to his summoning Rachel to review and affirm what all thought may have been written in the foremans' confession. Rachel summing up the documents' contents.
"Who knows?" The man concluding. "Maybe he was looking for absolution ... forgiveness of some kind ... doubtful he'd get it. From Yuri that is. Maybe planned to disappear but not sure of it unless he at least confessed to her. He did strike me as a really guilt driven man though. I can only imagine the load he'd been carrying all this time."
"The possibility of his disappearance had to have occurred to Yuri too," Rachel speculated. "I can't think of her delaying a chance at what might have been a diminishing opportunity at vengeance."
"Maybe she thought ... God might make an exception?"
Every head turned in the direction of Yui. She had been uncharacteristically quiet the past couple hours.
"I mean, when I first came here ... ," the pink haired one looked about her. "... Just being able to walk was something new and wonderful to me. I thought I might be in Heaven 'til Yurippe and you guys set me straight. 'Til that moment I thought God was giving me a second chance at living.
"Sometimes ... I still think that it ... might be ..."
Hinata put a comforting arm about her shoulders.
"Well ... that's what this place is supposed to be about in a way isn't it?" Duffy glanced about.
"At least according to that ... Angel," answered Hinata.
"For what her word is worth," Takamatsu put in.
"All we do know is," put in Hisako, "when you find whatever your uh ... problem is ... and get it 'out of the way' ... you're gone."
"Isn't that what you really want?" Rachel asking one and all. "Get what's holding you back taken care of?"
"It's that disappearing part after that gets me," Iwasawa adding.
"Yeah," Fujimaki putting in. "Creepy as all get out. Don't like it."
"It's like God's pulling another trick on us," said Yusa. "We've had enough of that."
"You think something even worse might be waiting for you when you disappear, is that it?" Asked Duffy.
Rachel and Jack scanned the gathering. In their inquiries over the past few months they knew of the varied reasons as to why these young ones joined Yuris' resistance group.
Most, like Yuri, resented God for the extremely negative things that happened in their lives.
Others, like Fujimaki, it was something to do to pass the time spent here resisting transcendence.
With Noda, of course, it was his outright affection for Yuri and the sense of direction she provided.
Shiinas' was unique. From what Rachel as an historian gleaned from her it was out of loyalty to Yuri personally. From when she was a young girl her clan taught the only morals were that ANYTHING (Including love/sex.) was a weapon and the obligation to complete the tasks/missions assigned by the client/patron. God, dieties and eternity, if any, would take care of itself.
It was the emptiness and isolation of her enforced way of life, from the self segregation of her people from the rest of the world in their training and insularity. While younger, she longed to be like the children of the other classes who seemed to be living simpler, happier lives. When older she resented the paradoxical attitude of the "outside" in it's shunning and fear of those of her clan yet also of being so valued and sought after when needed.
"So Duffy-san ... Rachel-sensei," Miyuki started, "what do you think happens when we- ... Um ... leave?"
"Judgement perhaps. One comes before the Lord to be judged."
"I thought that happens right after you die according to your theology," said Takamatsu seated beside Sakaki.
"Oh?" Duffy curious.
"Yes," the tall one replying. "I've heard what you've said to others from time to time. Off and on I've looked through copies of that ... Bible as you call it ... we have some in the library and read something to that effect."
"You must mean," confirmed Rachel. " 'And as It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement.' That the one?" (Hebrews 9:27)
"One of them, yes."
"Who says we're really dead?" Jack throwing the question to one and all. "For all we know this could be some kind of near death experience. Though ... multiple people, some from different eras, having and being in the same one is certainly a stretch and a half. As this doesn't really biblically fit I'm inclined to think it something else."
"But then," Rachel putting in. "This place in itself could be part of judgement ... a trial ... a test of some kind."
"Didn't you once say one gets to be with God on acceptance ... acknowledgement of fact of the payment your ... uh ... Christ-san made? (2nd Corinthians 5:21, Colossians 2:14)" Asked Takayama momentarily relinquishing his self assumed title. "Why a judgement? I thought that would be out of the way for you."
"Salvation is itself assured," explained Rachel. "Then God determines ones' place and tasks in Heaven with him." (Romans 2:6-11, 1st Corinthians 3:8-15)
"Whatever this is," Jack taking Rachels' hand in his, "when the good Lord sees fit to take us home, we're ready."
"We've heard you both referring to ... wherever ... as 'home' before," Shiori asking, "why is that?"
"Obviously, life on earth isn't our final destination," Rachel answering.
"Otherwise death wouldn't take us. Ones' soul has to go somewhere."
"And it isn't as if this place is either," put in Jack. "There'd be no disappearances if that were so."
"So this final destination ... Your ... uh Heaven as you call it ... with God?" (John 14:1-4)
"Um ... question?"
The two looked at Oyama.
"If ... everything's settled with you ... fulfillment, peace and all ... well ..."
"Why are we still here?" Rachel now asking.
A murmur went through the gathering. The up to the moment unasked question circulating among them for weeks now out in the open.
"We've been asking that ourselves," Jack started to explain. "Rache and I have talked about this and the only answer is that God, of course, has plans of his own and it's not really up to us to question. I will say, when I proposed, I thought I was taking quite a risk. When she accepted, I thought at that moment we might be gone.
"It wouldn't have been a bad way to go."
"As we're still here," adding the teacher now grasping the mans' hand, "we'll just keep on 'keeping on'. Going on with our duties, even telling others about Him when we can (Mark 16:15). It's what He'd want us to do."
"It's all in Gods' good time."
"And who knows," Rachel speculating. "Maybe we'll be leaving at the wedding. He might see fit to let us have time as husband and wife. Or-"
"We could even be here for a long time to come for some purpose of His own. Like I said before ... whatever happens ... ," the man returned Rachels' grip even tighter, " ... We're ready."
"So ... You're still going to go through with it? ... The wedding, I mean ... Even what happened to you so far ... and after what happened today?"
The couple turned their gaze to a glowing Yui.
"Yes dear," smiled Rachel, "we certainly are."
"It's what we want and we're going through with it. Nothing's stopping us and we're not letting what happens to others get in the way. You ... Yuri ... All of us here ... have our own personal ghosts and demons to fight and settle with in our own ways.
"You could say our coming marriage is one way of doing that, though ..."
Duffy slid up to the teacher, putting his arm about her shoulders looking directly deep into the depthless green of the red heads' eyes.
"... it's certainly much more than that."
Yuri awoke. On reflex she reached, feeling for a presence not there. Lifting her head she sought round for that presence finding it on the other end of the long couch. Slumped down, Nodas' head nodding in sleep.
Windows with the days' fading light, she Looked over at the wall clock, noting the considerable passage of time.
Had he been with her the entire time?
Yes. She remembered being too spent to stand in his arms, he holding her up. Vaguely, she recalled being carried to the couch. Not wanting him to leave her there, she pulled him down and kept him holding on to her while crying herself to sleep. She had awoken once in the interim to find him still there. Now ...
He must have gotten up for something and not wanting to disturb her on return, sat at the couchs' other end.
Getting up slowly, Yuri gently sat herself down next to the sleeping young man. Putting her head on a shoulder, she reached around.
Noda was instantly awake. On seeing the feminine hand on his chest, he put an arm around the shoulders of his leader, both snuggling in close.
He knew this was just a further move for subdued comfort, nothing more. She had long cried herself out and was only seeking closeness. A closeness he felt honored to provide.
"Nakamura-san then, has resolved what conflict may have been between her and the foreman?"
The two foreigners were not surprised at Tachibanas' question. It had been over a day since what occurred in the office and word had quickly spread over the school. They were sitting at their usual cafeteria table on being approached by Kanade.
"Yes," replied the teacher. "Not exactly sure with Yuri herself but the ... 'matter' ... itself has been ... concluded."
"His leaving, if you could call it that, was ... quick."
Both women turned to Jack sitting across from Rachel.
"So you could say it's over. At least for him."
"When he first came here," Tachibana started, "I could see he was carrying a heavy burden, he-"
"Wait a sec!" Duffy, eyebrow cocked, bringing the elfin one up short. "You mean to say you knew about this guy all the time he was here?"
"Only in that he was not one of the non-entities and that something had been greatly troubling him, nothing more."
"Would have been nice had you told us ... said something about it."
"You did not ask. And you seem quite good at determining the real from the not."
Taken somewhat aback, the man paused.
"Yes," his mind lit up. "Have to ask direct questions to get anything out of her. Didn't volunteer anything about that Naoi either til I mentioned it. 'Course she didn't tell me about what students were real or not ... Makes sense ... Not all that communicative ... that's how she operates."
He found it hard to possibly be mad with her. It was the way she was.
"Are there any other non-entity faculty staff here?"
"None that I know of. Other than you and O'Hara-sensei, he was the only one I knew of."
"Well," smiled Jack, "whatever you say then ... Yuki. Or should it be Yuki-chan?"
"Yuki? My name is-," pausing, Kanade frowned but a moment then a faint smile barely creased her face. "Oh ... That silly little program."
"I take it you're not a big fan of it ."
"It's ... ," her smile widened slightly, "... unique."
Off the side Rachel coughed slightly in suppressing a giggle.
"And I'm not a doll."
The expression on the 'angel' now more deadpan than usual.
It was Duffys' turn to chuckle.
"I think you have your shows mixed dear," Rachel said.
"I know ... ," faint smile re-appearing. "I must go now. Student affairs to attend to."
In passing, the petite one, looking neither right nor left, reached out, lightly touching the mans' shoulder with a dainty forefinger.
And walked on.
Rachel exploded in laughter as a grinning Jack, gasping in faux terror, frantically felt about his head, shoulders and torso in an effort of assurance of corporealness.
Kanade looked back at the two as she left the area, faint smile still on her.
"Considering the situation," Rachel thought aloud, she herself watching the girl leave, "something like that here would be almost appropriate."
"Be a mess to clean."
"True. The 'complementation' here is much ... neater."
"That and she'd have to appear as you to set me up for my doom."
Rachels' hands instantly shot out, grabbing Jacks' and eliciting a genuine startled intake of breath this time.
"Yurippe," Fujimaki opened, "wanted us to let you know she has nothing against either of you. You were only the messengers and that's because you happened be there."
It was some minutes later the two were approached by the delegation of Fujimaki, Matsushita 5th, TK and Oyama.
"That's good to hear," Jack thoughtfully paused. "How IS Yuri right now?"
"Quiet ... Just stays in the office ... doesn't say much ... Hardly anything really. Any real communication gets to us through Noda."
"Noda?" Rachel asked.
"Yeah," Oyama piped in. "When they talk to each other, it's mostly in whispers. Can't make anything out."
"When we do hear anything between 'em it's single words or short phrases." Matsushita added.
|"Those two have gotten pretty |
close the past couple days ..."
"Those two have gotten pretty close the past couple days," the sword bearer related. "I mean, we always knew Noda had feelings toward her and that Yurippe had some kind of affection. Now it seems it's coming out in the open a bit. Don't know what she sees in him though ..."
"Then," interjected Rachel, "at least some good has come out of this."
"Not to mention," Jack put in, "some of the things in her past may have been put to rest."
The gathering turned to Duffy.
"Oh ... Things like ... Things that have been eating at her since the uh ... incident in her home.
"Who and why they did what they did. What happened to them ... From what Rachel here told me, that confession was quite well detailed ... Where they ultimately ended up. At least for one of them ... maybe. Interesting Kaji manned up and saved that elderly couple ... at the cost of his own life."
"Cold comfort that would be to Yurripe," Fujimaki stated with a frown.
"You saying he redeemed himself?" Matsushita inquired.
"Not for me to say ... That would be between him and God."
"The Man upstairs." TK
"Be that as it may, it's Yuri we're actually worried about," said Rachel.
"Whatever it was with the Buildings and Grounds foreman, it's done. Jack and I have been wondering how she's been taking this."
"Like we said," Oyama summed. "Quiet ... Closer to Noda-"
"In any event, it's some kind of conclusion ... closure for her."
"You don't think ... with some of these things out of the way for Yurripe, she might ... disappear?"
All eyes on a very concerned Matsushita.
"No way in wild Heaven or hell!" TK
"Oh man! Not possible." Declared the swordsman. "Our leader?"
"The first to fight!" TK
"I mean," Oyama started, "she's our leader. Without her ... we'd ... "
"She's more than your leader guys."
The four looked to the teacher.
"She's lost three people very dear to her in the past. There's a very good possibility she may have alienated herself from her parents because of that ... Maybe from guilt feelings over not having been able to prevent her siblings deaths. Her whole family, in effect ... lost to her.
"She doesn't want to lose this one."
"Wait," an almost speechless Fujimaki. "You're saying-?"
"I'm saying ... It may very well be you're not just a resistance group to her ...
"You're HER family.
"And she doesn't want to lose ANY of you."
"Oh come on!" Matsushita exclaimed, he one not liking to be dependent on anyone.
"Really!" Fujimakis' macho rising. "If-"
"Big sister Yurippe!" TK in mirth.
"Big sister," speculated Oyama. "Maybe something more ..."
"It's more than just big sister, gentlemen," sensei giving an affirmative nod toward him.
The attention of the four young men focused on Rachel even more so.
"Look at the way she treats you ... talks to you. Yes ... From what little Jack and I have seen. Sure, she tries to come across in an organisational fashion. Delegates authority ... But it's something more than that.
"The way she looks at you sometimes. How she deals out punishment when you do or say something she doesn't approve. Her chiding sometimes comes across like that of a-"
"You don't mean ... !" Matsushita
"Aw no!" Fujimaki
"Hey! MOM!" TK laughing.
"It's only speculation but it may very well be that-"
"Now just a-," Fujimaki turned to Jack. "Duffy-san ... sir! You don't believe this is-"
"Like she said. It's only speculation but from what I've seen, and I've been here longer than Rache here ... I'm inclined to agree."
The swordsman looked between the couple and smiled.
"I knew it ... A bit on the carpetbagged side are we?."
"Say WHAT!?" Jack smiling back.
"Of course I mean that in a generic sense." Fujimakis' smile getting wider.
Rachel, leaning over, wrapped her arms around her man, resting her head on his shoulder.
"Thaaanks Rache," said Jack through a faux clench of teeth.
The laughter sounded across the cafeteria. Everyone seemed to need a good laugh on this day. Laughter suddenly almost broken by Oyama.
"Uh ... guys? ... GUYS!?"
Chuckles and grins subsiding somewhat, the group laid eyes on the nervous one.
"Y'know ... I can possibly accept the fact Yuri might be sort of a surrogate mother figure 'n all but-"
"But what?" Fujimaki demandingly asked.
Atmosphere tensed slightly. All knew Oyama had a way with interjecting unwanted sobriety in a light situation.
"I'm really having a hard time trying to wrap my mind around the possibility of ... Noda," the diminutive one giving a nervous grin, " ... being ... Dad."
"OH MAN!" Matsushida laughing harder. "Leave it to you to-"
"The horror! The horror!" TK
Springing to Oyamas' side, Fujimaki put an arm strangle about the diminutive ones' neck.
"Buddy ... You just said the unsayable ..."
"Yes," thought Rachel above the resulting din. "We can all use a good laugh."
To be continued ...
Storyline and original characters (only) copyright © 5-1-14 C V Ford
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