Okay, this is a REALLY dark fic... Most wouldn't like the idea behind it, because no one would want this to happen... sorry if I offended anyone. I had to get this one out of my system, because I had a cousin that did what Kenshin will do in this fic three days ago. Again, I apologize if I offend anyone...






The only people left were those who were closest to him, those who had known him the best. Those that still were asking themselves the question, What could we have done differently for him?

Sano had an arm around Kaoru, less as a means of physical support than as mental. Kaoru, out of all of them, had taken this the hardest, and she seemed to be getting sick, as though all the energy and life had been taken out of her from taking care of the preperations. Megumi had tried to help, but Kaoru wasn't letting anyone in, not even Yahiko, who had been constantly vigilant by her side.

Yahiko's entire picture of Kenshin was shattered. How could he have done this? What was the point? How could things ever have gotten so bad? Yahiko wished that he could take what he knew now back into the past and change things. He hated Kenshin for what he had done to Kaoru, to Sano, to Megumi.

Sano simply didn't understand. He had thought that Kenshin was so full of life, that he had found something to live for. He had spoken with Kenshin, and Kenshin had been about to ask Kaoru to marry her. Perhaps it was better know that he hadn't.

But why had his best friend done this? Perhaps he would have had to been in Kenshin's place to understant. Perhaps it was just better this way.

Megumi turned and looked at Kaoru. Unless she started taking care of herself, Kaoru was simply going to wither away in front of their eyes. Megumi would have to take care of that. Kaoru, in the past two days had already lost five pounds off of her already too thin frame.

Turning her attention from Kaoru to herself, Megumi wondered why Kenshin had done this? The hurt was too great inside Megumi, and she knew that she hadn't hurt this bad since she lost her family, long, long ago. Maybe it was because Kenshin had become part of her current family.

Even Aoshi had made it, dragging Misao along with him for Kenshin's services. So many people had cared for, even loved him, but it hadn't made a difference. Some said that he had taken the honourable way out, but none of his family thought that way. No matter how Kenshin had done it, it was still the most selfish act any of them had ever seen.

Kaoru thought back to that evening, walking in on him, Kenshin with the last small shards of life left in his body. Whispering to her, trying to tell her something. When she had leaned down to hear him, he was gone. She would never know what it was he had said to her, and she beat herself up daily for that, and for not having been able to prevent it.

It had been a large service, with highly ranked officials in town to attend, many of them having known Kenshin for close to fifteen years. Even the prime minister had shown up, showing his respect for a man who had fought so hard to bring about this peaceful era.

Perhaps it was solely fighting in the war that had made Kenshin decide to do what he did. Perhaps, after living with himself for over ten years, he just decided he couldn't do it. Who knew?

But Kaoru had been the one to find the note. It had been addressed to her and only her, and she hadn't shared it with anyone. It was her last link to Kenshin. He had said in his note that he was not angry with her, that he didn't want her to feel that it was her fault, that it had been completely his decision.

But how could she not feel bad? She SHOULD have been able to prevent it. She kept thinking, If only I had walked in thirty seconds early, it wouldn't have happened. If only I had asked him to sit with us, instead of going to do his own thing.

The funny thing was, he had seemed brighter, happier the past few days. Helping out with everything, making sure everyone was happy. It had been his way of saying goodbye.

And now they had to say goodbye to him. None of the four friends knew how to deal well with this kind of goodbye, none of them knew how to cope, to go on with life, to pretend it had never happened. How would they go day to day, missing the red head who had encaptured all of their hearts?

Yahiko held his hand out to Kaoru, and grasped onto her hand, gently pulling her and his friends away and towards home.