Epilogue

Hiroshi Abe died in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. As he left no heirs, his estate reverted to the shogunate. All manner of exotic substances were found therein, and estate assessors were obliged on one occasion to call in a bomb squad. Jared sold the house and incidentals at auction and invested the proceeds in creating a series of exchanges between the samurai and the palace guardsmen, a program which dramatically improved the guardsmen as a unit. A number of journals were discovered, and were donated to the Kyoto University for study by the psychiatric department. A portion of the estate paid for Abe's burial at Jared's direction, he received a small plot in a remote cemetery. His headstone reads, "Here lies Assassin by hand, made, and by will, broken."

Abe's accomplice, Raidon Satoko, was not so lucky his helmet absorbed most of the impact and he survived with a minor concussion. He stood trial for kidnapping and attempted murder, and was heavily sentenced. His father disowned him, and he was therefore sent to the common jail. He survives to this day, so presumably he learned to adapt.

Rinko Kikuchi recovered from her wounds and was appointed Jared's personal secretary and bodyguard, a model of exemplary service to state and country. Through the years she became a close friend. When Jared celebrated his twenty-fifth year of rulership, a madman made it past the security detail and charged his car with a grenade. Rinko, true to form, absorbed the impact with her own body. Jared arrived at her side in time to help her shaking hand hold the knife, and she got her seppuku after all. Her funeral was the biggest event held in Kyoto in years, and a death name was personally chosen for her by the Emperor.

Kaori Momoi lived to a ripe old age. She continued to care for the Kasho Takai, overseeing production. Her death, when it came, was met with much sadness, and Jensen and Jared held her ceremonies on the mountain, her home. Most of the village turned out, and stories were told; of her love for and knowledge of the land, of her sense of humor and of her unfailing honor and devotion to her duty. In time, her given name was taken as one of the ancestor spirits of Takai, and Jensen's entire household happily perpetuated it as a new tradition.

Takashi Sorimachi benefited greatly from being majordomo of General Nihonjiro's summer house. He cut a wide swath through the ladies of Takai until he was finally entranced by a particular young woman. The pair was caught inflagrante delicto and they dutifully married. The young bride was lucky enough to spend a few years with Kaori before she died, and learned much. The couple manages the kasho in perfect order, and carry on the fine tradition of yelling in the kitchen.

Masi Oka of the Yamada ninja clan and Ziyi Zhang of the Oshima clan were married in a quiet civil ceremony and have a brood of tiny, adorable and tremendously deadly children. They live in the Gosho under the guise of servants and protect Jensen and his wife from whatever harm comes their way per the orders of the shogun.

Kumakichi Tanimoto was promoted to the head of intelligence in Watanabe shogunate, and soon after was promoted beyond that to a generalcy in the Yoshida shogunate, watching over the entire Empire. His career was long and distinguished, and he retired with honors and accolades in his old age with his wife Sayomi. They live in Kyoto with their first son (well on his way to a colonelcy in the Kyoto Dojo) and three more of their children are scattered through the Imperial islands.

Neko Hakiri took over the dojo when he left, and she manages all training there. She took a shudo student of her own, and that girl later went on to become one of the first acknowledged female samurai masters. Neko herself married a simple fisherman, and the two live on a houseboat with their little girl. Neko says it helps her balance.

Jason Momoa pledged to the Watanabe shogunate, a move that rung the political bells hard. He returned to the Hawaiian protectorate and amassed a not insubstantial amount of power. The independent governor there, a corrupt troublemaker, was bloodily ousted. While there was never outright warfare with Suzuki shogunate over the territory, Jared was run off his feet attending diplomatic treaty negotiations, moving troops and maneuvering hard. Jensen, Kuma, Jason and Jared's new Kanrei were ragged by the end, but Hawaii is now colored a bright red on the maps, just like Kyoto. Jason was appointed governor, and he accepted it despite his initial reluctance. Jared is fond of saying it is the least corrupt court in the Empire Jason just beheaded the first person who tried to bribe him.

Jared Padalecki Watanabe, under the guidance of his stepmother Miyuki, led the Watanabe shogunate to riches and power. He married a Japanese-American buke from San Francisco and had five children with her, all of whom he allows his mother and stepmother to spoil outrageously. The buke were initially scandalized by the bursts of English at official functions, but as they were the shogun's children, it was eventually taken in stride. Jared's son and heir, Kendai, became a strong and strident political activist, and only barely settled down enough to complete his schooling. (Jared, keenly feeling his own lack of preparation for the role of shogun, insisted.) Jared had a long and interesting life, full of challenges and joy, touched with enough sadness and seriousness to make it worthwhile. Perhaps his greatest coup was expanding the Empire's Texan territory to cover San Antonio and using the river to open trade relations with the Caribbean Republic. The handshake-and-smile pictures taken at the signing of the Panama accords show the shogun with salt-and-pepper hair, and he returned home from that to honors from the Emperor and an adoring city.

Jensen Ackles, Daiki Nihonjiro, samurai-sama, had four children with his wife, Shinju. (They were responsible for the ultimate terrorization of the guardsmen and Gosho staff until such time as a formal request for a daycare was presented to the shogun.) He taught his wife to fight, she taught him to forgive himself, and they lived together with much affection the closest of friends. One day, as Jensen sat polishing his Glocks for the eighteenth time, she said in her soft voice, "Husband, if you are going to sulk around my apartments all day, perhaps I ought to go and see the shogun. Surely he is getting lonely by now."

Once he had recovered from the shock, Jensen kissed her cheek, and left.

In the Empire's history, there had never been a shogun and a general who had worked so well together. Nobody knew why, exactly, or if they did, nobody said so. Certainly it was never seen. But the sight of them walking together, talking, fighting, even just sitting nearby one another it seems one never has to see the actual touch to know it is there. The shogunate's subjects choose to understand that they are blessed to have two men so closely connected, and take pride in that. What speculation may come... surely it is harmless enough.

And they all lived in Japan happily ever after.

credits & extras

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