(Author's Note: sigh well, we've finally reached the end... here's the epilogue; please enjoy!)
"Your drink, sir."
Ciaren took the Absinthe and nodded his thanks, then turned to Scott, who was sipping his brandy.
"Why am I here again?"
Scott put down his glass. "Cause ya need a break."
Ciaren sighed. "I didn't hire you to be my counselor, Scott. I hired you—"
"To keep ya safe. That's what I'm doin'."
"Keeping me safe from who? I'm in my office—" He stopped when he saw the look the cowboy was giving him, then shook his head.
"I don't have to explain myself to you."
Scott shrugged and took another drink of brandy. "Ya do anyhow."
Ciaren opened his mouth to reply, but nothing came to mind, so he took a drink of Absinthe and looked out at the floor. He frowned when he saw Satsuki running toward them. When she made it to their booth, she grinned at Ciaren and then leaned down to whisper in Scott's ear. His bodyguard's eyes widened.
"Shh!" And then she whispered something else in his ear, and Scott laughed.
"Well I'll be damned."
Ciaren frowned. "What? What's going on?"
Satsuki beamed at him. "Oh, nothing."
"Really," Scott said, finishing off his drink. "It's nothing."
Ciaren eyed them both warily, then shook his head. "Suki, get back to work."
She giggled and mumbled "Yes, sir," and ran off. Scott stared after her, shaking his head.
"I'll be damned," he repeated.
"Tell me what's going on, Scott."
"You'll see, sir."
Ciaren scowled and looked back at the dance floor, watching. From the booth he could see her run off the floor and talk to Yuki, and then run onto the stage and talk to Aubrey. The Music Master cut off the band and nodded, then turned to the audience.
"Ladies and gentlemen, if I can have your attention!"
Ciaren stood and went to the balcony wall, gripping the side until his knuckles were white. What the bloody hell was going on?
Scott came up next to him and clapped a hand on his shoulder. "Hold on."
"Gentlemen," Aubrey continued, "It is my pleasure to introduce to you tonight a true Bohemian soul. She had left us." He looked up at Ciaren. "But she has returned to her true home."
Ciaren's heart stopped. It couldn't be—
"Ladies and gentlemen, the Lady Roxanne!"
The floor fell away from Ciaren's feet but he didn't know it. The crowd was cheering but he didn't hear. All he could see was her.
He was moving before he knew what was going on. He took the stairs two at a time, and then practically ran through the crowd, shoving people aside just to make it to the stage before the dream dissipated. Because that was all it could be — a dream. Reality wasn't this perfect.
He stared up at her standing there, looking practically angelic, and he stopped breathing.
She smiled down at him, and he knew that the dream was about to end. He didn't want it to.
A tear ran down her cheek and she moved to the stairs. She descended them slowly, too slow for Ciaren's angst-ridden mind. So before the dream could fade he met her halfway up the steps. But he couldn't touch her.
He was afraid to.
"Please tell me you're real," he croaked, staring up at her with desperate eyes. "If you're not—"
She pressed a finger to his lips, and he could have died then and there as the feelings caused by that little touched washed over him. Smiling softly, she whispered. "I'm real. And I'm not leaving."
But he shook his head. "You don't know that, you can't say—"
"Ciaren!" When he met her eyes, she took his hands in hers. "I'm not leaving you again." She looked down at their entwined fingers.
"I love you."
His heart skipped a beat.
Miyoko looked back up at him. "I love you, Ciaren," she repeated. "I love you and I know that I hurt you when I left but—"
Ciaren's lips were on hers before she could go any further. He kissed her hard, insistent, trying to show her even an ounce of what he was feeling in that moment. Miyoko took a moment to respond, but when she did Ciaren practically lifted her off her feet. He left her lips to kiss her cheeks, her nose, her eyes, anywhere he could reach. Miyoko laughed out loud as the crowd cheered, and Ciaren suddenly remembered where they were, but he didn't care anymore. He set her down and gently cupped her face between his hands and gazed into her eyes.
"I love you," he said, not caring who heard. "I love you so much and I'm sorry for everything I ever did to you or—"
Miyoko kissed him again to quiet him; someone catcalled in the crowd and they both laughed.
"I love you too," she said, and Ciaren thought his heart would burst from the feeling he got when she said it.
"Say it again."
She giggled and whispered, "I love you."
Ciaren sighed and pulled her to him, kissing her forehead. He looked around the club and saw Satsuki standing with Scott. Satsuki was beaming, and Scott raised his glass in a salute. Ciaren nodded back, then looked for Yukina. She was standing off to the side of the stage with Aubrey. He was surprised — and oddly relieved — to find that she was crying. She smiled at him and took Aubrey's hand; the Music Master squeezed it and gave Ciaren a rare grin.
He looked back down at Miyoko and smiled. "What, love?"
She gave him a radiant smile, and he felt his stomach flip flop.
"Would you care to dance?"
He grinned and led her to the floor. The crowd parted as he looked to Aubrey, and he leapt back onto the stage, nodding in the Underlord's direction. He picked up his baton and clicked it on his stand. Ciaren took Miyoko's hand and put the other on her waist, grinning down at her.
Aubrey struck up the band, and as Ciaren dipped a laughing Miyoko, he whispered into the skin of her neck, "I wrote this for you." And when he pulled her back up, she smiled knowingly.
Ciaren nodded, his grin spreading from ear to ear, and as he led her across the floor, the rest of the crowd joined them. But they didn't know it. They only had eyes for each other. And as they danced Ciaren couldn't help but grin like a fool and Miyoko couldn't help but laugh. They were so at home in each others arms, and it showed in the music and in the dance. And when the music had stopped and the dance had ended, they still embraced.
Satsuki and Scott came up to them, both laughing. Scott was holding two glasses of Absinthe, and he handed them to Ciaren and Miyoko, who drank it in one gulp. Ciaren laughed.
"Slow down," he chuckled. "I need you conscious."
Satsuki raised an eyebrow, then hugged Miyoko. "It's so good to have you back! Will you be continuing your job as a courtesan?"
Ciaren's arm went around her waist protectively, but she laughed.
"Only Ciaren's," she said, touching his arm. "But no, I plan on writing a novel."
"Really?" Yuki walked up to them. "About what?"
"Bohemia." She smiled up at Ciaren. "Love."
Scott rolled his eyes. "Love?"
Satsuki wrapped her arms around Scott's waist. "What about beauty?"
Miyoko looked up at Ciaren. "Most definitely freedom."
He squeezed her hand, and she met his eyes.
"You saved me," he whispered, bringing his face close to hers. "I don't know how, but you did."
She shook her head. "We saved each other."
He buried his fingers in her hair and kissed her. He knew that she was his savior, and he'd never let go of this moment. She'd come back to him, why he'd never know, but he was so thankful for it.
Aubrey had come over and motioned for a waiter to bring some drinks.
"I would like to propose a toast," he said, passing out glasses. "To Bohemia!"
Everyone raised their glass. Ciaren held Miyoko's hand tight.
"Viva la vie Boheme!"
(Author's Note: Yay! It's finished! I want to thank all who reviewed, especially Clair-a-net, who stuck with this story from the beginning! Thank you so much! I also want to take this time to advertise my new original story, Fallen. I hope to see some familiar names in the reviews on that fic! Again, thank you all, I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it. dakota)