In Gods' Good Time: Chapter Twenty Seven of an Angel Beats Fan Fiction Story
C V Ford
Chapter 27: Wedding and Goodbye
A free period between classes, Rachel O'Hara sat at her desk, grading the worksheets from a just concluded history test. The sound of knocking had her looking up.
The teacher noticed Shiori and Miyuki at the classrooms' far sliding door.
"Yes ," smiling, "come in. What is it?"
"Well," Shiori speaking, both walking up to the desk, taking a bow. "I know it's only been about half an hour but-"
"If I have your test scores yet?"
"Yes. And we were wondering ..."
"You want the bad news before handing them back to you tomorrow?"
"Hmm ... Let's see," riffling through the papers. "Both of yours were among the first I graded so ... Yes! Here they are."
Rachel handed both worksheets to the two nervous ones.
"Yeeeees!" Shiori exclaimed, giving an enthusiastic jump upon looking at her worksheet.
"Whadya' get?" Miyuki excitedly asked.
"I ...," the bassist paused in her declaration, "... got a ... ninety ... six ... SO DESU!"
"Hey! That's great!" Miyuki praised.
"And just what did you score Ms. drummer?" Asking imperiously.
"Uh ...," Irie smiling apprehensively and holding her paper close. ''... mmmm ..."
"Oh come on!"
"It can't be THAT bad. When it comes to history, you usually score in the eighties, right?"
"So let's see!"
Sekine made a grab for the paper, a startled Irie jumping back.
"Geez, it can't be that bad."
"Okay," the drummer backing away. "It's ...-"
"Mmmm ... a ... ninety ... eight?"
"No way! Let's see!"
The teacher smiled from behind the desk. Knowing academics were not an issue in the previous lives of either, she felt good in the knowledge good grades and praise wouldn't result in disappearance. It would not have gone well with her seeing an abrupt departure of either let alone both.
Comparing papers, Miyuki pointed out the one part of a question she got right but Shiori didn't.
"Uh ... Thanks O'Hara-sensei," papers handed back, a nervously smiling Shiori grabbing Miyuki and both leaving.
"I thought I answered that one right."
"Ha! You should have but ya' didn't ... SO DESU!"
Rachel smiled at the receding two headed out the far door. The competition between the two though intense at times at least was friendly.
Startled from her brief reverie, Rachel turned her head toward the greeter at the near sliding door.
Standing, arm-leaning on the jambs' side, her grinning fiance'.
"Was in the neighborhood, thought I'd stop by a moment."
Walking in, the man continued.
"Just one week left."
"Anxious?" Rachel grinning back.
"The ceremony," grin larger, "or after?"
"Mmmm ... both."
"Sure you are-"
Duffy abruptly leaned over the desk corner, planting a full kiss on the lips of the one returning enthusiatically in kind.
"Both are in here Yuri ... Oh m'God!"
The two looked up on seeing the now blushing previous two Gi-De-Mos accompanied by Yuri and Noda. All frozen in their tracks on re-entering the classroom.
"So wassamaddayou!?" A grinning Duffy in vain effort at hiding embarrassment. "Y'act like y' never seen two old people in love before."
"Shouldn't you save that for ... after the ceremony?" An amused Yuri with raised eyebrow.
"Yeah!" A giggling Shiori. "Get a room!"
"I mean ... like ... It's not like you don't have two apartments between you, y'know," adding Miyuki.
"A little display of affection in public never hurt anyone." Duffy smilingly on the defense.
"Well, gotta go Yuri," two giggling musicians making their re-exit.
The leader and axemans' turn watching them leave.
Nakamura turned back in the direction of the two foreigners with a now quietly serious look on her face.
"Something wrong Yuri?" The teacher serious in turn.
"Nothing bad really," the girl answered. "Mind if I have a seat?"
Taking a desk right in front of the teachers', Noda one behind.
"You might want to sit too Duffy-san. It concerns you both."
With upraised eyebrow, the man seated himself in the front rank of desks next to the teachers'.
"I thought I might find you both here about this time and ... "
"Go ahead dear." Rachel concerned.
Looking from one to the other the Battlefront leader then stared down at her desks' surface. The other three could tell this wouldn't be easy for Yuri.
"About what happened a few days back. I ... owe you both an apology and-"
"Oh that's not necessary dear."
"Forget about it hon. Either of us would've acted the same way in your place."
"It wasn't just ... toward the foreman, I ... ," Yuri hesitated.
The two foreigners looked quizzickly.
"It was ... well ... For a moment I thought both of you may have had a hand in hiding him."
"Like I said ... forget it. Something like that suddenly dumped in your lap ... Makes you think all sorts of things."
"Wasn't thinking straight. I mean both he and I have been here ... In this place ... I've practically lost track of how long and ... A LOT longer than both of you put together ...
"All this time I thought he was just part of the scenery, an NPC. Should have noticed something."
"He did hide himself quite well," noted Duffy. "On seeing you he was pretty well motivated to lay low."
"His revealing himself ... it ... "
"Reminded you of some things you'd forgotten?" Queried the teacher.
"No ... Not forgotten." Yuri gripped her desk, focusing on Rachel. "Just what I put off to the side ... didn't want to think about."
The Front leader paused, looking back down at the school desks' surface.
"When ... it happened ... When my brother and sisters were killed ... murdered. I-"
The other three in the room could see Yuris' tension build, her grip on the desk tightening. Noda inched his desk closer.
Suppressing a quiet sob, the girl tried to continue.
"I ... couldn't do anything. I wanted to but-"
"Yuri? There was nothing you could do but comply," the teachers' soothing voice in reassurance. "You were only a little girl. There was no way you could have stopped them."
"I know ... but-"
"You weren't much older than ... Mari was it?" Duffy speculating. "You were only what ... ten ... eleven?"
"E ... leven."
"Four scared little kids up against three or four large armed men. What could you do?"
"You've been carrying that burden around with you all this time, haven't you?" Rachel asked.
Yuri could only continue to stare at her desk.
"And it's been tearing at you inside. Eating from within ... the blame that is. Am I right?" Duffy
The girl nodded, still keeping the possible crying in check.
"Yuri-chan, honey?" The teacher consoled. "There's no need to blame yourself for what happened, there-"
"I ... WAS ... THERE!"
Her fist pounding her desk, tears threatening to flow.
"I could ... might have ..."
Noda quickly got up. On one knee, beside the Front leaders' desk, his arms about her, the girl momentarily leaned her head on the young mans' shoulder then snapped back. She gazed questioningly between educator and groundsman.
"Yuri ... Yes ... You were there. That is all. And that was all you could be then. Circumstance ... nothing more."
"What little you could do, you did to save them. No shame in that or any honor lost there."
"And you're being unfair."
Yuri focused on Rachel.
"Unfair ... to who?"
"Unfair to two people."
"You're judging a scared, helpless little girl from long ago by the standards of the capable young woman you are now. It's not right ... not for that little girl and especially not for who you are now."
"Capable? I couldn't even eliminate that bastard a few days ago, I-"
"The fact you took the situation into your own hands after we handed you that confession," Jack cut in, "proves your capability. A bit emotional perhaps but you still handled it quite well considering."
"Yeah! Considering God decided to intervene and take the bastard away."
"Yuri ... honey ... All of eternity is before you now." Rachel continued. "Do you really want to spend it on the edge of forever hating God? .... Yourself?"
"My-self!? How do you mean?"
"All this time ... From when that horrible thing happened to you when alive and only you know how long here ... You've been torturing yourself over it. Making that hurt deeper and more painful than before. Letting it fester and rot you from the inside.
"And rather than face it for what it is, you've lashed out at God, blaming Him and your situation here thinking you're accomplishing something ... Anything ... rather than trying to heal-
"THERE'S NOTHING!" Yuri checked herself, "there's nothing to heal. I'm ... I'm fine ... And you have no idea what I've been through."
"Nor do you have any idea what Rachel and I or anyone else here have been through."
"All we know dear is what each of us ourselves have experienced," the teacher went on. "None of us can even pretend to know what another has gone through. Only that we all have our own pains and past to haunt us.
"Do you think you're the only one who has suffered so horribly? Everyone has something in their past eating away at their insides. The ones here in this in-between especially."
"In the short time Rache and I've been here," Duffy in turn, "we've been asking around. You have a policy not to ask anyone in or out of your group about themselves unless they start volunteering it. A good practice to be sure but it has its' drawbacks.
"In our asking we've found out a few things. Yeah ... A lot of these young ones haven't had it as bad as you had when alive though definitely enough for them to be here. Others ... a few ... well ... The problems they had ... you couldn't even begin to imagine. Absolutely horrific, some of them ... Some even maybe as bad if not worse than yours."
Yuris' eyes widened some in aggravation.
"Yeah ... hard as that is to believe. You've probably noticed in the time you've been here, some of your fellow students to be rather quiet and withdrawn. They have good reason to be considering the demons they're dealing with on the inside. You're not alone hon."
"Alone ... , at times I sure feel ... that way."
The girl again contemplated her desks' surface, composing herself. After a long quarter minute ...
"So ... You still going through with it? The marriage I mean."
"Yes, dear," Rachel affirmed. "We are."
"You're coming of course, aren't you?"
"I wouldn't miss it for the world," said the now slightly grinning girl. "At least not this one. I'd like to see how you do this without uh ... What do you call it? ... Oh yeah! ... 'Benefit of clergy'."
"The only option available and just as valid."
"Quakers and libertarians have been doing it for centuries," put in Duffy. "Don't see why it won't work for us."
"And you're not worried?"
"About what dear?"
"About getting ... obliterated?"
"We like to think of it as leaving," the man explained. "The passing from one kind of life to another. What happens ... happens. If it does that is."
"And you're," Yuri looked perplexed, "okay ... with that?"
"Yuri ... If we do leave," Rachel continuing. "We'll be meeting Him. Out hearts desire. The one who made it possible to be eternally happy. We're not worried about what happens after. We'll be with Him ... always." (1st Corinthians 2:9)
"Yeah ... Him. He-"
The young lady abruptly rose from the desk turning, Noda following suit.
Looking over her shoulder at the couple Yuri asked.
"I was wondering ... if you would do a favor for me."
"Of course dear."
"Name it hon."
"If you do uh ... leave. Wether it's at the wedding or ... whenever. If you do leave and get to this ... Heaven of yours to be with your God ... If you happen to see my brother and sisters ... Could you ..."
Yuri suppressed the urge to choke up again.
"Go ahead honey."
"Could you ... tell them ... I miss them-"
Holding back emotion, the Front leader turned, walking out. Nodas' arm about her.
The wedding itself was not an elaborate affair though it did have its' embellishments.
Having studied the Quaker/Civil procedure it still didn't pan out to be the quiet ceremony the couple thought might. At least one out of every four students and half the faculty turned out at the spacious cafeteria lobby for it, the principal "presiding" ready to take the documents for filing.
While most of the well wishers were sincere in their attendance, many came out of curiosity, not only as it was a wedding but also see if either or both of the couple would transcend and vanish. For most it was both.
Rachel dressed in her best formal teachers ensemble while Duffy made do with his best three piece suit.
The usual truce in force, Kanade being also present. At a piano brought in for the ocassion, she, at the couples' request played Wedding Day at Troldhaugen (1) as they ascended the lobbys' center stairs.
On the large landing over the main floor, both publicly stated their intentions to live as husband and wife. Having done so, the couple signed, in triplicate, the documents stating the same. As witnesses, along with the seventeen principal members of the Battlefront and Tachibana, the principal and several faculty as well.
In a further add-on the couple exchanged rings and vows.
"With this ring," Duffy began bringing it to Rachels' left hand, "I thee wed ..."
Watching from within the standing gathering, Oyama felt a feminine hand enfold his. Out of the corner of his eye, Shiina watched the unfolding ceremony. For once, the "pure" boys' anxiety didn't surface.
The irony of the passages dealing with "in sickness and in health" and "until death do us part" was not lost on the crowd. Nevertheless all stayed silent with nary a comment or laugh. Before them, two people, resolved to find and have happiness, were forging ahead come what may.
With Rachel finishing her recitation of the vows and also placing a ring on Jacks' left hand, the bride made a nod to Japanese custom.
Bowing deeply before Jack, Rachel said, "please take care of me."
Embracing, the couple kissed deeply.
The silence filling the vast room was broken several seconds after the couple parted. Cheers and applause took its' place.
They were still there.
The short reception and lunch took place in the main dining area. GiDeMo playing lighter forms of music for the attendees.
Though the two made it plain about gifts not being mandatory, the Battlefront at "Safe and Sound" after the reception, presented them with two anyway.
Much to Jacks' delight and amazement, Cha made for him an excellent replica of a pre-1964 Winchester Model 70 bolt action rifle in .30'06.
Rachel in turn became the proud owner of a copy of a Colt 1911-A1 .45 pistol.
With Jacks' encouragement she had enthusiastically entered into the "culture" long before and was quite pleased with the aquisition.
The Haynes firearms manuals Jack had lent the machinist were obviousy being put to good use.
"If we're not back in about a week, then start worrying," explained Duffy, shouldering backpack and rifle. "Two weeks, then ... well ... you know we've left for good."
Yuri along with Yusa, Shiina, Noda, Oyama, Matsushita, Hinata, Yui, Sakaki and Takamatsu stood in the creek bed to see the two, now clad in hiking clothes and backpacks, off on their honeymoon.
"Wether you uh ... 'leave' for good or not, we'll be waiting for you," Yuri replied.
The few watched as the pair meandered up the creek bed and into the trees on their way to their rustic honeymoon.
"Still with us." TK
"Wonder if they'll ever go," said Matsushita.
"Prob'ly when they-"
"Yui!" Hinata taken aback.
"That's prob'ly why you keep brushing ME off ya' jerk!"
"What!? With you!? Now I know this isn't Heaven!"
"Say ... WHAT!?"
"I could think of worse ways to go," Fujimaki smilingly speculated.
"Minds out the gutter guys," said Yuri turning to ascend the access steps. "And somebody turn a hose on those two!"
The bickering couple bringing up the rear, Yuri glanced up at top of the second
entrance bridge, noticing a tiny white haired figure at the railing also having seen the couple off.
Some miles north, in a beautiful little valley formed by one of the creeks' many tributaries, the couple made their honeymoon encampment. At the far end, a waterfall cascaded into a large clear pond. There the tent was set, their home away from home.
For a glorious seven days they lived ... and loved ... far from any possible contact with the school grounds. For them in that short time, no one existed but they.
The first indication for anyone the couple had returned that following Monday was either seeing the now Duffy-sensei at her teachers desk in the classroom or Jack making his rounds as the new Building and Grounds supervisor.
The following several days went uneventfully but for the schools' approval for the couple taking up a larger apartment. They had refrained from having the place earlier as they thought it would be a waste of time moving everything only to "leave" at the wedding. As it was, Jack stayed nights at Rachels' apartment while waiting for the schools' okay for a bigger one.
Now that they had it, a south and west facing one in Res 5 overlooking a beautiful forestscape, they made their plans to commence moving that Saturday.
Before then ...
Friday night, movie night. The customary lounge in Class C packed with students curious as to what the foreign movie buffs picked that night. Rachels' was A Taxing Woman (2), Duffys', Kiss Me Deadly.
As Duffy won the coin toss, his film was started first.
Kiss Me Deadly was one of the wierder filme noir. Ralph Meeker as Mike Hammer, two fisted private eye hot on the trail of vengeance and "the great whatsit". Whatever the "thing" was, he would find it ... Everyone else to die in trying.
About a half hour into the film, Jack Duffy recalled something. The scene of Hammers' mechanic friend, Nick, removing a sizable pipe bomb from his '54 'Vette had him turning to Rachel.
"Funny," arm around Rachel he pointed up at the flatscreen on the wall over the faux fireplace with his other hand. "This is where I came in."
"Came ... in? Whatever do you mean?"
The flatscreen went instantly blank.
On the far end of the large couch, Shiina and Oyama, along with everyone else in the room, stared dumbfoundedly at the now empty other end.
"Yes," thought Yuri at the back of the room. "It would have to be in the middle of something they enjoyed. God ... Why are you so-"
A quick check of the couchs' low table and the laptop confirmed the discs and cases to be missing also.
Signalling to Matsushita, Fujimaki and Hinata she instructed, "get some of the
others and search their apartments. There may not be anything there but it's worth a try. I'll spread the word in the meantime in case there's a lot."
The three went off on their mission.
The next day found the principal members of the Battlefront in Safe and Sound
gathered around the desk, a medium size box thereon. It was all that could be found and in the couples' would be new apartment. All three places contained only the generic "motel" style furnishings typical of residential housing. All drawers, cupboards and shelves devoid and empty ... as if no one had ever occupied at all.
A note taped to the boxs' top instructed it not to be opened except in the event of their "departure" and all principal Front members present.
All accounted for, the leader carefully pulled the tape sealing it and lifted the lid.
Therein contained were two copies of The Japanese Living Bible translation (3), some "religious" tracts, several papers on same written by the couple and eighteen sealed envelopes containing personal letters to each and ...
Turning to Yusa, Yuri handed both the envelope addressed to the observer and an extra.
"See to it that Angel gets this," the leader ordered as she handed over the corresponding items.
Though she would rather not have had it delivered, Yuri felt it better to respect the couples' unspoken wish. And with Yusa best able to deliver ... (4)
Everyone quietly separated, each reading silently the personal words the two departed left for them. In the hallway, Oyama quietly helped Shiina in the reading of hers.
Drawing the several sheets from her own envelope, Yuri drew herself up short.
The calligraphy was ... excellent. All knew Rachel to have had a superlative command of the language and scripts but they had no idea how well until now. Reading revealed that more than some thought had to have gone into their writing.
"These letters had to have been written well before their wedding," she thought.
Noting the others intent with their own corespondences, Yuri sat back to read hers.
To be concluded. Last chapter ... Epilogues
Storyline and original characters (only) copyright © 5-1-14 C V Ford
1. Wedding Day at Troldhaugen - By Edvard Grieg in 1896. The 6th piano piece in the 8th book of his Lyric Pieces. Opus number 65.
2. A Taxing Woman (Toho, 1987) - Nobuko Miyamoto stars in this comedy as an investigator for Japans' National Tax Agency looking into the accounts of a clever evader played by Tsutomo Yamazaki.
3. Based on the New Living Translation. It has an informal literary style conveying the meaning of the original texts in modern Japanese.
4. In Chapter 32 of the Angel Beats manga, Heavens' Door, Kanade, through technical means, helped Yusa in controlling her hatred of men. Though not directly stated, the Yusa character went through much abuse by men when she was alive.
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