Raven's Wing 2: Chapter 13

~It's nothing,~ The cat sat down on an over-stuffed floor cushion and proceeded to lick at it. It was somewhat difficult but she managed it.

As they ate they talked and laughed, saying how good it was that the finals were done and that they couldn't wait to see what the results were. Everything was once again normal as it could get with this group. The threat was gone and they wouldn't be seeing the black suits for a long time.

Graduation was coming up this weekend and with everyone ready to find out if they passed or not they all were up late into the night since they didnít have school in the morning.

Looking about Ryo went back up to his room to be with White Blaze before the tiger went back out to Miaís. The others looked about to the others curled up in pairs or on single seats of which there were plenty in the living room for the number of people Shary, Sage and Cale knew.

Sighing Ryo lay back on the bed and wondered what was next. Graduation of course, but what would happen then? There was college and not all of them could go to the same school all their lives. They were eventually going to have to split up and seek out their own lives, and he wasnít sure he was ready for all of that yet. He enjoyed being with his friends too much yet to let them go and he knew part of it was from all the times they thought or knew they werenít going to make it and saved each otherís lives.

Kibou nosed her way into the room and hopped up on the bed. She sat next to side and looked down at him. She finally spoke, her mind voice a calm tone. ~You are wondering about the future.~

"Yeah." Speaking low and softly in his semi-relaxed state made Ryo seem to rumble the answer. "Iím just not certain how to deal with how everything is moving. We are all going to have to find our own lives again, Our battles with Talpa and his goons pulled us together tighter than any family and most of us remember before then, but I am not sure how to go back to walking alone."

He indicated the letter that was sitting on the bed. There was a silver emblem at the top of a university and Ryo already knew as he read it that he would not be seeing his friends for a very long time. This was because he had been accepted into a prestigious school in the states.

Absently he started petting Kibou and scratching her behind the ears, wondering softly to himself even as he voiced his thoughts to the form shifting tiger.

Kibou made herself more comfortable against his side, purring softly. She thought long and hard about how to reply and lets her eyes close somewhat.

~I understand how you feel. The bond you all have is strong, more so than any I have ever seen. I know that you and the others would have to part ways soon but that does not mean you all cannot still be a family.~ She looked at him, her eyes still calm as her ears perked forward to him.

~Nothing will ever come between you all. You are all a family. Now and forever.~

"That may be true. But my friends wonít be there when I go to this school. No one will understand me there except my words, I know English, but it is how I act and what I do that I am worried about. No one there will understand my need to play with the wild life and walk on my own with out anyone else."

Ryo sighed softly as he continued to stroke the warm body next to him. "More like I know that the guys all understand that I am a loner and give me my space when I am needing it the most. But they also know that I hold them as the dearest thing in my life. I would do anything to protect them or help them out. But I donít think there is anything they can do to help me in this one. I know that Sage is going to Sinsha U to stay with the dojo and the house now that Shary is getting set to go off to school elsewhere.

I am not sure where the others are going, but I know that it isnít the states. Unless they visit, I am going to be alone for a long time while I get my degree." Voicing his fears a bit helped some. But they also made them seem more real, and if there was anything Ryo tried to avoid, it was the feelings of loneliness that he had felt when he walked alone before meeting with the other Ronin.

~So what you are saying seems to be that you are afraid of being alone.~ She tilted her head to him, still purring comfortably. ~I wish I could reassure you but I am sure the others feel the same way. I know the States will be a very drastic change from here but give it some time for you to adjust. I am sorry I am not much more help.~

"Here seeing a White Tiger run around with a person and not attacking anything only produces a mild panic. I know I canít take my closest friend with me when I go over to college. Iíd cause a riot." He chuckled softly remembering his first trip through down town Toyema with White Blaze. He almost did cause a riot with his cat friend.

Looking down at Blaze he rubbed the catís shoulder with his foot. "Hope you donít mind being at Miaís for a while and not seeing me old friend. I only hope I can see you on the holidays."

White Blaze looked up at Ryo with his brown eyes and rumbled at him, nuzzling the teenís leg before lying down again.

~He understands,~ Kibou purred softly. She slowly got up and curled up on his stomach. ~Perhaps tomorrow you should talk with the fellow ronin and find out who is going where. That may help in easing your fears some.~ She curled up in a tight ball of fur and let her eyes close as she prepared for sleep.

Ryo nodded that it would be a good idea and shifting a little so that he was curled up around Kibou, he sighed once and fell to sleep. White Blaze noted this and got up and pawed the lights off in the room. Leaving the door open slightly he knew that the others would check in before they headed off to bed there too.

True to form one of the group peeked into the room and saw that everything was all right. Everyone quietly bid each other good night and prepared for sleep. Meiyo settled himself on top of the headboard in Cale's room, claiming he preferred to be perched on high places even during sleep. Everyone settled into their rooms and prepared to get some sleep.

Shary sat looking out her window, letting her mind wander and was already in her flannels. Her thoughts kept shifting to the future and to Kento but she would push them back and let herself wander some more. She was careful not to disturb her brothers or friends as they slept. She didn't hear as someone silently come into the room after softly knocking.

Cye came up quietly behind Shary thinking he had been heard and gently cleared his throat. "Want to talk about it?" He asked in a soft voice.

Shary looked up at him, a bit startled and smiled softly. "Just thinking about some stuff. I thought everyone had gone to bed already."

"I did, but you were troubled, so I thought I might offer a comforting ear to talk to. Heís my friend too you know." He spoke softly his green-blue eyes seemed to luminese in the moonlight coming in the window as he looked at her.

"I know. Just wish... I don't know." She sighed and looked back out the window before continuing. "I care about him a lot and I want to spend the rest of life with him. I even 'offered' myself to him but he didnít do anything. I'm not mad at him and the last thing I'm going to do is push him into it. I was kinda hoping for something a little more than what we have." She looked up at him, brushing her hair behind her ears. "Is there anything wrong with that?"

"Is there anything wrong with what you have now?" He countered gently.

Shary thought hard about what he asked and found herself realizing that she was happy with what they did have now. "No. I guess not. I just... I guess I kinda wish we would be more affectionate to each other but I still love him. A lot."

"Then maybe what you are looking for is to ask Kento to show a little more open affection with you instead of asking him to go all the way?" Cye asked. He was merely trying to make her think about things. "He is a very affectionate guy, but you have to understand that as a guy, his "manly" status gets challenged when he gets affectionate, no matter how much he loves the person. He tries to balance that because he really does care about you. But it isnít always easy for him. Do you see what I am saying?"

"Yes... I think so. So what you're saying is that he trying to keep his feelings and appearance on an equal basis." She nodded to him and smiled just a little. "I can understand that."

Cye smiled slightly. "Try talking to him about you need for a little more open affection. I am sure that he will try to grant your wish with out compromising his own needs to stay cool with the other guys at school."

He reached out and took her hand like he did the first day they met. Loosely holding it he gently caressed the back of her hand with his thumb. "We all care about what happens to you both. All you have to do is remember that even if Sage isnít here to talk to. We all are around."

"I'll remember. Arigato Cye-san." She squeezed his hand before going up to him and giving him a hug. "Carrie is very lucky to have you in her life."

"And I am lucky to have found Carrie. She is very special to me." Cye hugged her back and looked at her carefully. "There is always a time for things. Kento knows himself better than anyone and is a lot deeper than he lets on. Talk to him and give him time. That is all the real advice I can really give you."

"Which is the best advice. I'll talk to him tomorrow. And now I think I might be able to sleep comfortably." Shary continued to smile softly, again thanking herself for having some wonderful friends and family.

Cye smiled and kissed her forehead in big brother fashion and then stepped out of the room to go back to his own bed and his own contemplations about the angel in his life.

Shary silently closed her door and slipped into bed after drawing her curtains shut. He was right and the talk helped her get her thoughts straighten out. Snuggling deep in her blankets she closed her eyes and slipped into sleep. Soon graduation would come and they would all been parting paths to continue their schooling.

Finally the house was dark and quiet for the night and all sleeping, slept hoping that the next day would bring them good news.

At school the group, along with all the other students, were waiting anxiously for the results of their finals grades. If they passed then by the end of the week they would graduate and begin college in the following fall.

As Rowen looked over the board for their grades he smiled as he found his. He had passed with excellent marks on his AP classes. The others passed with excellent grades as well. After writing them down and handing them out to his friends he sat back and waited for the reactions.

The entire group was very happy about the grades and it showed as they congratulated each other as well. It called for a celebration of the highest degree to cement the wonderful moment. They spent the next free hour decided just how to celebrate and also talked about what colleges they were planning on attending.

Ryo spoke up. "Well I have already been accepted to a really good school in the states. I am just not certain if I can hack it away from everyone that understands me and how I walk on my own." He trailed off hoping the others would understand.

"Hey don't feel so bad Ryo," Rowen spoke up as he patted his back. "It's going to be tough, we all know that but we'll manage like we always have."

"He's right. Remember when I first came here? I felt the same way and now look?" Shary went over and held his hand in both her own, giving it a reassuring squeeze. "You will always have us and who knows. Maybe you'll find some friends who will understand you. We're all unique in our own way."

Ryoís mouth quirked up in one corner. "Yeah, but how many people in the states are going to understand mystic armor, pet tigers, and evils that the world as a whole was not ready to deal with?" Ryo hated censoring himself around people and though it was second nature to him now to censor any mention of the Ronin armors or any of his friendsí adventures he still didnít like it.

"You'd be surprised." Shary just gave him a wink and smiled at her friends. Sooner or later they would be having the same problem that Ryo was talking about and in their own way would they figure out how to solve them. She looked over at Kento and made a mental note to talk to him later and in private.

Ryo shrugged and looked as if he didnít believe her as the others started talking about schooling again he asked. "Where are you going Shary?"

Shary smiled and said, "New York State in the US. Far from home but there have a great department for the arts and music. What about yourself?"

"I am headed out to SDSU in South Dakota in the states. Their animal programs are great. I can get my domesticated animal degree there and then I am planning on the University of California, Sacramento for my wild life degree. Then it is home I come. I may be gone for 8 years or better. That is why I am a little worried about being away."

"Rowen?" He turned to the smartest of the group for where he was going.

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