“…. I knew there really wasn’t anyway to make this easier on her…” Jae-ha sighed to himself as he watched his darling daughter bawling her eyes out clutching at his lifeless body. “Still… I hate myself for making the little girl that means the world to me cry… So much for treating women with the utmost care huh?” in his new spirit form he didn’t feel his heart beating or his dragon blood burning anymore, but damn did he feel like that heart was ripping out of him watching his little girl cry so much. “Don’t cry, my precious treasure…” if he could cry right now he would, but all he could do was just watch and see how everyone took his death.
Shin-ah just silently cried as Kija held him, crying just as hard as Lina. Yoon tried to hide his tears as did Hak, who was comforting Valerie that just let it all out. Jae-ha’s other children Hawke and Gigan were sobbing together with Lina and Ura, and Krystal while being a newborn baby must have sensed the atmosphere as she was crying in Zeno’s arms who remained quiet.
But Yona… Oh his dear sweet Yona dear’s reaction was what really got to him.
The redheaded princess just strolled up to her husband’s lifeless body, choking a sob as she ran her hand over his hair, brushing her lips against his cheek one last time. “… Say hello to father, mother and Captain Gigan for me… Wait for me, husband…” she hugged him once more, before pulling back and attempting to dry her tears.
“I’ll wait for you forever my love…” Jae-ha sighed, reaching a hand towards her cheek though it just simply went through her. His entire soul just ached to touch her one more time… “I love you, so much. And finally I got my answer even though it didn’t matter anymore, I’m free of the dragon’s blood and yet I love you with all my heart just the same…”
Yona shivered as she looked up, then around, feeling her cheek. Tears streaming down from her eyes as if she couldn’t explain it, but she swore she could hear her husband right then. “I love you…” she sobbed, closing her eyes and picturing his smiling face.
The whole day was heartbreaking to continue to watch, as his funeral as it were was burning the body at night to allow the ashes to scatter into the air. Jae-ha and Yona had spoken about this before, as he knew his death was inescapable after Lina’s birth, in fact he lasted longer than he thought he would. But when Yona asked him would he preferred he agreed with the idea of burning as it freed his body into the air, after all he was all about freedom and tying him down to one place just wasn’t like him. A pirate funeral was his second choice though, as he always remembered his days as one and wouldn’t object to being buried at sea.
Yona kept on crying but tried to stay strong for her daughter Lina that was still blaming herself for her father’s death. No matter how much her parents assured her that the dragon’s blood moving onto her wasn’t her fault, she still felt she was taking her father’s life. Mother and daughter continued to console each other as Jae-ha just watched from the sidelines. He wished he could just scoop them up and hug them both, but he just sat there, listening.
“Lina, your father wouldn’t want you to be sad.” Yona sighed, rubbing her own eyes.
“… He wouldn’t want you to be sad either, mother…” Lina choked. “But still… I can’t believe he’s gone.”
“I know…” Yona pet her head while her daughter continued to cry. “But I’m still grateful for the life we had together. And one day we’ll meet each other again, I just know it. I feel like as if he’s here right now, and you know what he’d say?” she giggled just thinking about it. “Where’s the party? I told you guys to drink and celebrate my life, not sit in slumps and cry while making your beautiful faces ugly.”
Jae-ha chuckled at that. “That’s my Yona dear. You always know me so well.”
“Ryokuryuu is probably watching from heaven, thinking how much he hates seeing the people he loves most so upset.” Zeno said with a sad smile. “Zeno imagines that’s how his brothers felt when they saw him weep over them.”
A gruff voice came from behind Jae-ha. “… Actually I was cursing you out for not visiting me.”
The green haired man turned around and blinked a few times. Behind him was the ghost of a silver haired man grumbling as he had his arms folded sternly over his chest.
“Considering how when he went to your village and got shot later, I’m actually glad he didn’t go there too much.” A smaller ghost stood next to him with long blue hair. “And Shu-ten moved around so damn much Zeno would have never found him.”
The ghost with hair in a ponytail that was just as green as Jae-ha’s took protest at that. “HEY! I didn’t move around THAT much! And he could have found me in the towns I stayed at when we had drinking parties.”
Jae-ha just took in the sight of the three spirits, blinking and asking if he was seeing things. After all when he was young he did often think he saw such things as ghosts, and well now that he was one… But then something clicked with what they said, and one name came up that he recalled told in his village. He couldn’t miss the name of the first Ryokuryuu. “… You… You’re the originals, aren’t you?” he spoke after a moment. “… The ones that drank the dragon’s blood with Zeno?”
The green haired one, Shu-ten, smirked and nodded. “See? The kid’s smart enough to figure it out. You thought he’d just ignore us or get spooked Abi.” He teased the blue haired ghost.
“Well he is from your line, I figured he’d shrug us off as a drunk illusion until he realized he cannot get drunk anymore.” The first generation Seiryuu sighed, gesturing a hand to his chest. “Yes, we are the original Four Dragons. I am Abi, this is Guen.” He pointed to the silver haired man. “And your predecessor here you must have heard of.”
Jae-ha shrugged. “Well my village always considered the dragon’s blood a curse, and of course we were always told who the one that cursed us was. Shu-ten, correct?”
“Your rotten village makes me wish so badly I could come back to life just so I could spear them all.” Shu-ten growled, gritting his teeth. “And don’t get me started on Seiryuu’s village.”
Jae-ha chuckled at that. “Glad to hear you don’t approve of their methods. Luckily it seems I’ll be the last born in that blasted village, providing my daughter carries on the line of Green Dragons.” He then blinked when he spotted a young woman hovering over by Zeno, giggling as she hid his scarf.
“Oh Zeno, you shouldn’t try to hide how upset you are. Stop trying to be so brave in front of everyone.” The woman sighed, reaching to touch his cheek though her hand went right through. “I love you always.”
Jae-ha approached the woman and realized what that meant as he smiled softly. “… You’re Kaya.” He announced, placing a hand on his hip. “… Zeno failed to mention his wife was a beauty like you. I must say now it makes sense when he said nobody could replace you.”
Kaya turned to smile at him. “Kaya has to thank you, for watching over Zeno for her. But you really shouldn’t have hurt yourself so many times.” She looked at the Yellow Dragon sadly. “… He wouldn’t have forgiven himself if Yona lost you because of protecting him. Still… He is too eager to hurt himself.”
“Well it goes against my nature to just let those I care about be hurt.” Jae-ha shrugged, smiling as Zeno’s third person speak was starting to come into focus now. “Just because he’ll be fine doesn’t mean I have to like it when he’s all too eager to chop his arm off to protect us.” He then tilted his head. “… Just what are you doing anyway?”
“Oh Kaya likes to mess with her husband hiding his things.” Guen explained. “It’s not easy to do but we’ve learned overtime how to move some objects, though slowly.”
“Shu-ten had fun hiding your mirror several mornings.” Abi revealed.
“HEY! ABI DON’T RAT ME OUT!” Shu-ten shouted.
Jae-ha blinked, recalling mornings he couldn’t find his pocket mirror. He chuckled and shook his head. “I suppose it does get lonely being a ghost just watching us? Have you guys been here the whole time, watching over Zeno and us?”
“Most of it.” Abi shrugged. “Though usually we spend it yelling at you guys for all the trouble you get into.”
“… That explains the voices I swore I’d hear in my head….” Jae-ha rubbed his temple.
“You’re a terrible listener though, obvious you’re related to Shu-ten.” Guen added.
“What makes you say that?” Jae-ha asked, arching his eyebrow.
“Because we all were shouting at you not to take that Nadai.” Kaya brought up. “While it was admirable to protect that lady, we all knew you’d be in danger. I went over to Yona trying to tell her to go find you, I think all I ended up doing was made her extra worried about you…” she rubbed her cheek in embarrassment.
Jae-ha sighed as that was brought it, it was not one of his most beautiful moments…
“Eh I think you just made her realized she was in love with the lug here.” Shu-ten shrugged at Kaya’s point. “Before that she was in total denial of it and bashing herself for her fits of jealousy when he’d run off to the Red Light. And that time she gave him that kiss when he was unconscious!” he laughed.
That took Jae-ha back for a moment. “… Wait what?”
“Oh come now, you kissed her when she was under that strange love potion.” Abi reasoned, turning to Guen. “Your village comes up with the strangest things.”
The first-generation White Dragon shrugged. “Hey it’s not my fault my line got obsessed with passing on the dragon’s blood.”
“It’s not that just…. Yona-chan kissed me? Back when I took the Nadai?” Jae-ha was still dumbfounded, looking at his wife and smirking. “… What a bold move. No wonder she wasn’t mad when I thought I stole her first kiss like that… Just how long were you hiding your feelings for me love?” he smiled wide just thinking about. “I thought for sure that was a dream when…”
“Well considering you took forever to get past your dragon blood denial.” Shu-ten remarked. “I mean seriously it was looking like a bad dramatic play with how much you two were blind to each other’s feelings and how much you blamed on the dragon’s blood.” He rolled his eyes. “If that were true you would have heard tales of how that moronic king had male lovers and orgies…. That would have made him too interesting.” He laughed.
“Only YOU would enjoy something that distasteful!” Abi growled.
“Not everyone is as boring as you, Abi-chan.” Shu-ten shrugged.
“HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I TOLD YOU TO NOT CALL ME THAT?!?” Abi snarled.
Jae-ha couldn’t help but laugh. “… I totally understand now what Zeno meant… The Four Dragons really are like brothers, no matter what generation… Man, Kija, Hak and I getting into arguments totally must have reminded him of this. And it wasn’t just the dragon’s blood as to why I hesitated, I mean I was totally convinced she was in love with Hak at first…”
“Maybe in another life Yona could have been something with Hak… But you understood her heart in a different way.” Kaya stepped in and placed a hand on Jae-ha’s shoulder. “You shouldn’t feel guilty or that you stole her from him. You were there for each other and left her something beautiful behind.” She gestured to his three children and his grandchild.
Jae-ha smiled sadly at that. “… You’re right. Who knows maybe they’ll find comfort in each other in another way?” he then looked over to Kija and Shin-ah. “… They don’t have long left either, do they?”
“You’ve lasted longer than any other dragon after us.” Guen said with a frown. “We lived longer back then because we didn’t leave the palace and settle down until well after King Hiryuu died.”
“Ever since then the dragon’s blood keeps passing on, perhaps Hiryuu will be born once again?” Abi questioned, rubbing his chin.
“Think he’ll stay with the girl form?” Shu-ten asked. “I mean at least I have to say he’s cute in this form.”
“If so, I hope I’ll be her Green Dragon once again…” Jae-ha said with a smile. “… As long as I’m by her side always.”
“Awww so sweet.” Kaya swooned. “I wish I could reincarnate and be with Zeno again… Perhaps one day it’ll be my time too.”
“You haven’t left his side all this time, have you?” Jae-ha said with a sad smile.
“Would you if your wife lived forever?” she countered with a chuckle. “… Our time was short, but we lived it to the fullest and we were happy. I wish time could have stopped and we stayed together forever…”
“… I know that feeling.” Jae-ha said, turning to look at his wife again. “… So, how do you do that trick then?” he decided to ask, chuckling as Zeno was looking all over for his scarf that Kaya hid. “Being all glum and sitting around isn’t really my style, and I’d like to liven it up here if I could.”
“It takes practice.” Shu-ten brought up.
“Took you a hundred years to get it right, greenie.” Guen interjected.
“It didn’t take THAT long!” the first-generation Green Dragon growled.
Kaya giggled. “Don’t mind then, they bicker a lot. I can teach you!” she took his hand and helped guide it towards Yona’s hairpin. “You have to concentrate, and it does help with items you can remember what they felt like when you were alive.”
Jae-ha smiled, his fingers going through the crimson dragon hairpin at first, recalling when he first gave that present to his wife. It held so many memories together, ones that flashed through his mind that he spaced out from what Kaya was saying for a moment. But he followed her lead and the hairpin shifted a bit, before falling out of place in Yona’s hair into her lap.
“… Huh?” Yona blinked, feeling a cold breeze over her shoulder. She jolted her head up, looking around as she swore someone was there… But then picked up the fallen hairpin, merely smiling at it as she tried to hold back the tears. “Jae-ha…” she choked, closing her eyes and holding the hairpin close. “… I promise we’ll meet again someday… I just know it.”
Zeno came over and pat Yona on the back after he found his scarf. “… You know there are times Zeno thinks Kaya is watching him from heaven, little miss.” He said, smiling at her. “That he can almost hear her voice at times and see her smiling face, maybe Ryokuryuu is with her right now, and they’ll keep each other company.”
Yona frowned at that, giving him a hug. “… I wish you could see her again, if this is how you felt when… Oh Zeno…” she sobbed into his shoulder. “I know I was ready, I knew this was coming… And I need to stay strong for Lina but…” she choked. “I just miss him so much already I…”
“Yona…” Jae-ha reached out to the redhead, frowning as his hand merely went through her.
“It’s alright.” Zeno said, petting her on the head. “One day, you’ll return to heaven and meet with him there too. Maybe you’ll reincarnate again and Ryokuryuu will be your dragon once more.” He chuckled. “Sometimes Zeno wonders if Ryokuryuu was the reincarnation of Hiryuu’s wife, she was Shu-ten’s sister by the way, that’s why Shu-ten could mouth off to the king and nobody said much, and she was always envious of her brother’s powers.”
“She was your sister?” Jae-ha blinked rapidly at that, turning to the first Ryokuryuu who just shrugged.
“Yeah I never quite understood what she saw in that idiot king but it came with lots of perks so I didn’t complain.” Shu-ten chuckled. “She was quite the strange one at that, and always obsessed with beauty but the patience of a saint I swear dealing with that idiot husband of hers and how he was so clueless to how the world was. But she was always a charmer and won people over.”
“… Well we know from Zeno that Hiryuu reincarnated as Yona but…” Jae-ha muttered, looking back at his wife and the Ouryuu. “… Me? I guess being a female in another life doesn’t sound like a bad idea…” he chuckled, rubbing his chin. “I must have been quite the beauty.”
“We don’t know for sure.” Abi said in a deadpan voice. “The soul evolves with each reincarnation. We only know the princess here is Hiryuu due to the light in the sky the day she was born.”
“Light in the sky..?” Jae-ha raised an eyebrow at that, then recalled a day that his predecessor, Garou mentioned that the king had been born, and how he’d have to serve him when that time came.
“It would explain why she knew who this lad was the moment they met.” Guen pointed out. “Out of all four dragons this kid was the only one she just knew from the moment they met.”
Jae-ha chuckled, recalling the day he met Yona and couldn’t help but smile. She reached out to him and immediately just said, not asked, that he was the Green Dragon. Granted he always shrugged this off as the dragon’s blood but maybe it was something more? “Heh, are you trying to tell me Yona-chan and I were star crossed lovers all along? Well that sure gives me hope to find her again in the next life.....”
Several hundred years later…. At the Dark Dragon’s Happy Hungry Bar & Grill…
“… Yona dear?”
Yona jolted her head towards the bartender as she snapped out of her trance. “Oh! Sorry Jae-ha! I just kind of spaced out there.” She giggled.
“Seems so, don’t worry I won’t tell Val on ya.” The green haired bartender laughed. “You looked utterly adorable just now, though.” He mused, leaning forward to caress her cheek and tuck one stray red hair behind her ear. “Whatever were you thinking about?”
Yona flushed from his touch, but smiled warmly at him. “…. Well maybe my mind’s on our upcoming wedding?” she toyed with her engagement ring on her finger.
“Ah, a perfect reason to zone out indeed.” Jae-ha smiled, winking at her. “After all it’s on my mind too…” he purred, leaning in close to brush his lips against hers tenderly.
“Hey you two we’ve got customers, you can make out later when we get home.” An irritated dark haired man grumbled as he was bringing in the shipment.
“Awww come on Hak baby, it was getting to the good part!” a strawberry blonde giggled as she followed him. “We could always follow our sibling’s example and head for the storage room…” she purred.
Hak rolled his eyes as he blushed. “If we followed your twin’s example nothing would ever get done around here.”
Jae-ha chuckled at that. “Well Val has a point there Hak, you need to let loose sometimes. And don’t worry, your little sister is in good hands.” He said, wrapping his arms around Yona.
“Jae-ha! I need those drinks for table nine!” Lily smacked her tray on the bar counter. “Stop hogging Yona and let her help me and Kaya!”
“Jae-ha are you slacking on work again?!” Kija shouted from the front as he was busy seating a customer.
“Oh dear… Looks like trouble.” Shin-ah muttered, adjusting his glasses while handing a bin of dishes to Zeno.
“Why is there so much racket out here?” Yoon stepped out from the kitchen clearly irritated. “And Shin-ah I told you not to bring your pet squirrel to work it’s a health hazard!”
“Pukkyuu?” Ao tilted her head.
“Awww but the children like her, lad!” Zeno laughed.
“Oh my, it’s turning out to be a lively day here.” Kaya giggled.
“Just another day it seems to me.” Jae-ha chuckled, shaking his head. “Ready Yona dear?”
Yona found herself smiling, for some reason everything just felt so right here at the restaurant with her friends and now family, but at the same time so familiar like it was many lifetimes ago this group called themselves family, and now they really were…. It’s funny how fate works, isn’t it?