Author's Note: It's about time that I ended this fic! So here's the last and final chapter; the revealing of the murder shall occur. It would be wise to look back at chapter 16 and 23 if anyone wants to keep track of how Kaoru solved the case.
Chapter 29: Case Closed
The chiming of the elevator notified the occupants on the top floor of M.R.S. that someone had arrived.
"Megumi, I'm so glad that you're back. The four of us have been talking and…" started the 24-year-old secretary, but stopped when her cousin raised a hand to stop her.
"What do you mean you four were talking? Oh never mind, just tell me why you interrupted my dinner," demanded Megumi as Takasugi followed her towards the four that were crowded around a table.
Misao rolled her eyes at Megumi's straightforwardness.
"I think that it would be best if we spoke in the lounge," said Soujiro as he noticed that most of the other workers were staring at them.
Tsubame and Yahiko led the adults into the lounge and when they realized that no one was inside, they locked the door.
"Okay, you have me here, so now tell me what the heck is going on!" said Megumi as she placed her hands on her hips and looked at her cousin expectantly.
"When we arrived at my house, Kamiya-san and my sister weren't there," said Yahiko as he sat down at one of the chairs that were placed around the large table in the center of the room.
"Let's start from the beginning," insisted Soujiro as he leaned against one of the counters.
"Alright, then start," said Megumi in irritation.
"Remember when Soujiro dragged me out of the building after the meeting? Well let's just say that Shinomori, Hajime, and Makoto have other plans for Okina-san. They want to find Okina-san for their own plans, and that's why Soujiro and I were trying to find him before they did. But when we arrived at the house, like Yahiko said, he wasn't there," informed Misao seriously.
"What are you doing back here then? Why aren't you looking for him?" demanded Megumi when the information sank in.
"The problem is we don't know where they are. This was the only thing that they left behind," said Soujiro as he handed Megumi the note that they had found.
"We all came back so we wouldn't seem suspicious," said Tsubame while Megumi read the piece of paper.
Megumi pursed her lips as she refolded the note and handed it back to Soujiro. She was about to retort when she noticed that her date was kneeling beside the trashcan.
"What are you doing?" asked Yahiko as he walked over to inspect the letter and contract in Takasugi's hands.
"I found it on the floor. I doubt that these were supposed to be outside of the trashcan," said Takasugi as he looked at what he picked up.
"Then throw it away," said Misao in disgust.
Shrugging, Takasugi was about to do as he was told when Megumi snatched it out of his hands.
"You could have just asked for it," mumbled Takasugi as he scratched the back of his head out of reflex.
"What's so interesting about a blue letter and a contract?" asked Yahiko as Megumi scanned its contents.
"Shinsaku-san, do you mind giving us a bit of privacy?" Megumi looked up at Takasugi with pleading eyes once she finished reading.
"Okay…" Takasugi merely shrugged as he left the lounge and closed the door behind him.
"What's so important that you didn't want your date to hear about it?" asked Misao curiously as she looked at her cousin who went to lock the door.
"You all probably know that Kaoru lost her memory, right?" questioned Megumi instead as she twirled on her heels to look at the other four people in the room.
Exchanging looks, they all nodded and could only stare dumbfounded as Megumi smiled.
"Then you all should know that Kaoru figured out who the killer was before she got amnesia," added Megumi, but waved a hand to stop any questions that the younger pair might ask.
"What are you getting at?" asked Misao as her cousin sat down at one of the seats and motioned for the rest of them to do the same.
"Kaoru was exposed to the exact same evidence, probably a bit more, like the rest of us and still figured out who the killer is. I'm sure that she came through the lounge before she raced after Shura…" started Megumi.
"And she found these two pieces of evidence," finished Soujiro as he realized just how they landed outside of the trashcan.
"Exactly, and there must have been another piece of evidence that reassured her just who the real murderer was," stated Megumi when the others took the paper from her grasp and looked at them carefully.
"I still don't get how this is evidence," said Yahiko as he leaned back in his seat once he looked over the items and found nothing suspicious.
"You have to think like an investigator, Yahiko-chan," said Misao with a smug grin at the boy's glare.
Soujiro tapped his chin thoughtfully as he thought over Megumi's words. "You were with Kaoru this morning, weren't you Megumi?"
"Where did you two go?" asked Soujiro.
"We went to the hospital for my check-up and then to Star Bucks before returning here," remembered Megumi.
Before Soujiro could ask anything else, he was cut short by a shocked voice.
"Look! This can't be right!" shouted Tsubame suddenly as she pointed to the blue letter.
"Nani?" asked Yahiko as he stared at the letter.
"The date on the letter was after Kiyosato's death and the writing is the exact same as the signature on the contract," said Tsubame as she placed the signatures of Mr. White, Kanryu, Akira right next to the letter's contents.
"Impossible…. That would mean…" began Misao incredulously as she looked at the writings closely.
"We'll have to back track and redo the day in Kaoru's footsteps. I'm sure that there had to be something else that led her to the conclusion of what really happened on the night of the Sakura Ball. Kaoru would have never said that she knew who the killer was unless she had all of the evidence or at least a good amount," said Soujiro.
"But we can't possibly figure out all of the conversations that she could have had," said Tsubame as she looked at her brother.
"There had to be something…. Wait a minute. Kaoru wanted to see Shura and even raced after her before she lost her memory. Do you think that there was something about Shura, which could have had something to do with the case?" asked Megumi as she looked at her cousin and the 28-year-old.
"I'm not sure…" started Soujiro as he rubbed his temples; how had Kaoru figured everything out so easily? They were missing a piece of evidence and more, but the question was how much more?
"Come on, let's go," said Misao as she walked over to the lounge's door and opened it up.
"Where to?" asked Tsubame and Yahiko in unison as they both stood up.
"We're going to be detectives for a day and retrace Kaoru's movements. Also, it's been about an hour since we got Okina-san's note. The real matter at hand is finding him, remember?" reminded Misao before stepping out of the room.
Nodding, the other four followed the 24-year-old out of the lounge.
The limousine pulled to a stop in front of the empty house just as a white Mitsubishi Eclipse appeared around the corner.
Stepping out of the black vehicle, Seijiro Hiko sighed as he saw an old man and young lady step out of the other car and walked over to them.
"Seijiro-sama," greeted the 24-year-old with a polite bow.
"Myojin-san, Kamiya-san; I'm glad that I caught you right on time," said Hiko when the older man gave him a nod.
"Where is my granddaughter?" asked Okina as the three came together.
"She should be returning as we speak," informed Hiko, his face expression quickly turning serious.
"I thought that…" started Okina but fell silent when Hiko shook his head.
"Something has come up and she's needed back in Japan. Even if she doesn't quite remember, she herself has to appear before the court. They were supposed to extend the trial for a few months but a certain man with a lot of money requested that it be done tomorrow," explained Hiko.
"It'd be a miracle if she remembered everything by then. She's only lost her memory this morning, correct?" asked Kaoru's grandfather with a frown.
"Couldn't you just 'ask' the court to postpone the trial?" asked Magdaria as she realized just what was going on.
"Money isn't an issue, but Takeda is stuck on revenge. He's willing to pay any amount to get his revenge on Yukishiro. You've heard about that case, Myojin-san? He's so caught up that he's actually willingly going to help the rooster head prove himself innocent a second time; just that this time it'll be final. I'm positive that he has something else in mind as well. This whole case is about more than Sanosuke's innocence, it's about who killed Kiyosato-san," replied Hiko solemnly.
Just as Magdaria was about to place her input, Okina gave a cough.
"We really should talk inside," said Okina, his eyes looking over at a black car parked a few meters away from them before looking back at Hiko and Sayo.
Hiko stiffened as he felt eyes on him before quickly masking his surprise and suspicion with a smile.
"I believe you're the only one with a key, Myojin-san," said Hiko as he motioned for Sayo to lead the way.
"Oh yes," said Sayo with a blush before she rummaged through her purse for the key, all the while walking up the steps of her porch.
"Do you know them?" whispered Okina as he walked beside the multi-billionaire.
Hiko only shook his head, "They can't be spies; they were too easy to spot."
"I guess that they didn't want to do anything in your presence. I have a funny feeling that a few people want to find me," said Okina as he looked at the ground and noticed that a certain article of paper was missing.
"Really now?" asked Hiko amused as they stepped into the house.
"Let's just call it a hunch," said Okina with a smile on his face as he closed the door behind them; deliberately ignoring the extra set of footprints that were left in the carpet.
"Do you remember anything?" asked Sanosuke for the umpteenth time as he sat across from his lawyer and last hope of getting cleared.
The 28-year-old suppressed the twitching of his eyebrows when Kaoru shook her head and tightened her grip on her armrest; it was pretty obvious that the girl didn't like flying.
"I give up! I guess the only person that can save me now is Takeda," Sanosuke sighed as he leaned back into his seat.
"Just give her a break, Sano. She only needs time to remember. You have to realize that amnesia can last from a few minutes to a few years," reminded Kenshin as he got up from his seat and walked over next to Kaoru.
Kneeling down, the redhead placed comforting hands on Kaoru's trembling white ones.
"Nothing's going to happen," reassured Kenshin as he stood up and tugged at her hands to get her to stand up.
Sanosuke raised a brow in his friend's direction when Kaoru cautiously stood up. A grin plastered across his face as he watched his boss maneuver around the plane towards one of the many game machines on the plane. It was too good of an opportunity to give up.
Getting up, Sano followed Kaoru who was holding onto Kenshin's hand like there was no tomorrow. He smirked at how close the two were.
If this doesn't get her to remember, then nothing will. Sanosuke thought mischievously as he quickened his pace until he was right behind the Harvard graduate.
"Turbulence!" The moment that the words left his mouth, the jet jerked to the right causing the occupants in the plane to fall to the ground from the sudden movement.
"What the…?" began Sano as he scrambled to get off his bum, but was thrown to the left when he got on his knees again.
Groaning, the 28-year-old kept to the floor of the private plane just in case their ride decided to make another movement. Carefully lifting his head when the aircraft remained still for a while, Sanosuke's eyes nearly popped out of his head at the sight before him.
Just a few meters away laid Kenshin on his back with Kaoru's spooned against him; their lips had somehow made contact during the commotion. As realization dawned on the couple, they quickly pulled apart with faces as red as Kenshin's hair.
Sanosuke couldn't help but laugh as the pilot told them about the sudden shift in the wind over of the intercom.
"Oh shut up, rooster head," Kaoru blushed as she threw one of the pillows on a vacant chair at the laughing man.
"I-I can't help it! How long were you two…" started Sano but was cut off when another pillow made contact with his head.
"Good one," commented Kaoru as she smiled at Kenshin.
"Thanks," said Kenshin as he made his way to her side again.
The two only sighed when Sano's laughter echoed through the plane, and glared at the man when he asked, "So are you two a couple now?"
"I'm seriously beginning to doubt if I should help you claim your innocence at court," said Kaoru as she narrowed her eyes at Sano.
"Whoa! Do you mean to tell me that you remember now?" asked Sano with hopeful eyes as he scurried to stand up again.
"I guess the quick movement of the twin-jet Gulfstream V helped me recover," said Kaoru with a shrug.
"Are you sure? Or was it the kiss…" Sanosuke never had the chance to finish as two fists connected with his head.
"Can't you just accept that I got my memory back, you baka?" asked Kaoru in annoyance as she rubbed her throbbing temples with her hands.
"Kaoru?" asked Kenshin seriously as he grabbed her by the shoulders and turned her to face him.
"Yes?" Kaoru blushed at how close they were but became somber when he asked his next question.
"Who is the killer?"
"I had a feeling that you'd ask me that. Sit down; it's going to take a while for me to explain and I still don't have all my facts straightened out. I have enough evidence to prove that Sanosuke is innocent and enough to prove who the killer is, but it's going to take longer than one day to gather it all," said Kaoru as she motioned for Kenshin and Sanosuke to sit down.
"So who is the killer?" asked Sano once he straightened himself out and managed to get into a chair.
Taking a deep breath, Kaoru answered his question.
"Megumi, you have to try and remember what it was that Shura told you and Kaoru today," Soujiro practically pleaded as he drove their little 'detective group' back towards the Myojin household.
The doctor in training bit her lower lip as she racked her brain for the conversation that occurred just this afternoon. She felt herself get nervous as three pairs of eyes stared at her from the back seat as she tried desperately to remember what had happened at the office earlier.
"There has to be something about Shura that triggered something in Kaoru's brain and helped her figure out who the killer was. Since she obviously met Shura before she saw the paperwork, then that must mean that something that Shura told her helped her piece the puzzle together; the letter and contract probably confirmed it," added Misao.
The other four occupants in the car stared at the passenger seat as Megumi snapped her fingers.
"I remember now! Shura was packing her things and when we asked why, she said that she was going to leave to the States with her family! She was waiting until after Kanryu's case because her family had attended it," said Megumi as she moved her seatbelt so she could face those in the backseats easily.
"What the heck, Soujiro?" cursed Yahiko when the car abruptly came to a halt; sending the three without their seatbelts forward.
"Sorry, red light and sudden realization," Soujiro apologized with a sheepish grin in the rearview mirror.
"Hurry up and tell us your theory," said Tsubame as she quickly composed herself and made sure to buckle in.
The driver only tapped his fingers on the steering wheel thoughtfully before pressing on the gas when the street light turned green again.
"Tell me this, do any of you recognize Shura's last name?" asked Soujiro with a smile.
The others blinked at each other before shouting in unison, "Yukishiro!"
"Exactly, which means that her family would have to be…?" Soujiro grinned as he allowed the others to finish his sentence.
"Tomoe!" replied the other four.
"Yes, and since Shura said that her family would be there then that would also mean that someone other than Tomoe was at that hearing as well," stated Soujiro as he took his time on a turn when he noticed that no one else was on this road.
"Who else would go to Kanryu's trial? Do you think she could have possibly meant her future niece or nephew?" inquired Tsubame as she held onto the back of her brother's headrest.
"Or her brother-in-law," Yahiko bit out coldly.
"Wait…. Tomoe wasn't married!" said Misao as she looked at everyone else bewildered; apparently her mind hadn't register something.
"Think about it, weasel girl. Do you really think that if Akira managed to live that he wouldn't marry the woman that he impregnated?" asked Yahiko as he rolled his eyes and moved crossed his hands over his chest.
"How do you know that Akira was the one that slept with Tomoe? I thought that Kanryu…" started Misao, but Megumi interrupted.
"Misao…would you really talk to someone happily if they raped you just months before? Tomoe and Kanryu were talking like a couple at the Sakura Ball after the gun shot was heard. Don't you think that's a bit suspicious?" Megumi reasoned as she met her cousin's sea green eyes with her dark ones.
"I'm so confused," admitted Misao as she clutched her head as her brain tried to figure out the case.
"I'll lay it out for you, okay? Comparing the letter to Akira's signature on the contract, it tells us that Akira obviously isn't dead if he was able to write a letter after his death. Both have the same style of writing and we all know that no one writes exactly the same. We can safely assume, from the dates on both items, that Akira wasn't killed because he never died.
"We all know that Tomoe had to go to Kanryu's hearing to declare that the man raped her, but we all know that that's not possible since she was acting so happy and relaxed around him at the Sakura Ball. When someone goes through such a dramatic experience with someone, they don't really act so calm around them afterwards. The fact that they were still chit chatting after the firing of the gun also declares that the two were either deaf or knew that it was going to happen. In that case, it means that Kanryu must have been in on the little secret and is now out for revenge after Tomoe accused him of raping her," explained Yahiko with his index finger in the air as if he really were a detective.
"Wow. I would have never known that you were so perspective, Yahiko-chan," teased Misao as the young boy glared at her.
"I think that it's safe to say that Akira was at Kanryu's hearing as well since Shura left for America right after the case. The only way for her and her entire family to do so was if Akira was there as well. I'm quite positive that when Kaoru chased after Shura, there were more than two grown adults in the car that picked Shura up," assumed Soujiro, smiling when he saw the familiar house just a few blocks ahead.
"None of this explains what happened that night at the Sakura Ball. Someone died that night and we still aren't sure who the real killer is. Also since it takes a while to decipher DNA, no one is going to know that it really wasn't Akira who died, and with him out of the country, it'll be a slim chance the officials will find him when they do find out a few weeks from now," Megumi sighed.
"But the man that died looked just like Akira!" stated Tsubame as she remembered the pictures in the news and what she witnessed that night.
"You'd surprised what surgery and a bit of makeup can do to a person," mumbled Yahiko.
"There has to be a reason why someone would want to look at Akira though…. Money was probably involved," said Megumi with disgust.
"Is that a limo up there?" Misao question interrupted the thoughts of the other riders.
Looking ahead they all stared at the long black vehicle before Yahiko's house.
"That's Mr. Seijiro's personal limo; I recognize the license plate," confirmed Tsubame as she pointed at the limousine when Soujiro parked across the street from it.
"And that's my sister's car! They must be home and Mr. Seijiro's inside," said Yahiko as they all got out of the car and raced up the steps towards the house's entrance.
"Go ahead and open the door already," urged Misao as she pushed Yahiko forward towards the door.
Before the teen could get his keys from his pant pocket, the door swung open to reveal a very happy old man. He grabbed Yahiko and pulled him into the house before motioning with his head for the others to quickly enter.
Being the last to come in, Tsubame locked the door behind her before removing her shoes like the others ahead of her.
"Kamiya-san!" smiled Misao as she threw her arms around the old man happily.
"Misao-chan, Megumi-chan; oh it's so nice to see you two girls again," greeted Okina as the two girls embraced him.
"Nice to finally meet busu's gramps," gasped Yahiko as loosened his collar to get some much needed air; the man didn't look it but he was quite the strong old geezer.
"Let's just skip the introductions and get down to business," Hiko's commanding voice caught the attention of everyone in the room as they stared at the tall man.
Soujiro nodded. "I think that we might have found something that will help Kaoru get her memory back. Don't worry, these two already know about Kaoru losing her memory," he reassured.
Hiko gave a nod in return before motioning them all to sit down as he stood up before them all like in most of his meetings.
"My baka deshi is returning back to Japan with the others as we speak. The court has decided that they needed to redo the trial since they never really got to finish it," began Hiko gravely.
"But I thought they concluded that the rooster head was innocent!" complained Megumi as she stood up, but sat back down when Misao tugged at her shirt.
"Well it seems that all cases must be done properly," replied Hiko darkly.
"That means that Tomoe has to return as well…" Misao suddenly grinned when she realized just what that meant.
"Oh yes, Yukishiro-san has to be there since it was her fiancée that died," said Magdaria as she finally came into the living area with a set of tea and extra cups for her guests.
"Exactly," said Soujiro as if he had just been given a present.
"Anyways, the case is tomorrow," informed Hiko.
"What? Why so soon? We need more time for the investigators to figure out that the two sets of blood don't match!" protested Misao, but covered her mouth when she realized just what she had said.
"What do you know that we don't?" demanded Hiko as he looked at Misao through narrowed eyes and took intimidating steps towards her.
"Well sir, you might want to sit down and prepare a large sum of cash to try and convince the Judge to prolong the trial," answered Soujiro.
Hiko clenched his fists before complying.
"Okay, recap for me what the heck you just said," demanded Sanosuke as he paced back and forth before the now sitting lawyer.
"We've been through this three times already," said Kenshin as he rubbed his aching temples in his seat beside Kaoru's.
"I need to make sure that what Kaoru told us is completely memorized in my head so that just in case she loses her memory during court, I can easily defend myself," insisted Sanosuke as he stopped his pacing and looked at his boss before sitting down before Kaoru.
"One, Akira isn't dead. Two, the whole murder was staged. Three, you're definitely innocent and Takeda is somewhat innocent too," said Kaoru calmly with her eyes closed.
"I get the whole thing about Akira still being alive, but how was the whole thing staged? I still don't get that part," admitted Sanosuke.
"Easy. I kept thinking about what you said happened that night at the Sakura Ball and it finally dawned on me about what happened. You said that you found a dagger on the ground, ne? Well why would a killer leave a dagger on the ground when he knew that there could be people around? Of course he could have lost it while attempting to kill 'Akira', but no real killer would have allowed such evidence to be left behind. Also, you said that you found 'Akira' lying on the ground when you arrived. This means that the killer could have easily moved to grab back the dagger to finish his victim off while he was down. When you arrived, the murderer made no such movement to grab the dagger, right?" asked Kaoru positively.
"So?" asked Sano; still a bit out of the loop.
"It means that the killer left the dagger there purposely because they knew that someone would come once they heard the victim's scream. The murderer knew that the person that came would grab the dagger in the instinct to protect themselves, and you fell right into the person's trap," explained Kenshin.
Sanosuke paled at his boss's words before he looked at Kaoru to continue.
"Then there was also the issue with the diamond hilted gun; it was set up there purposely to take us off track and think that Kanryu was the killer. In the end, the man's gloves weren't scratched like the gun, which means that he couldn't have held the gun at any time of the night. This confirmed my thoughts of this murder being planned out. There were obviously two or more people working on this murder and I'm positive that they knew that if you got off the hook Sano, then they'd be able to lay the blame on someone else. That someone else being Kanryu," said Kaoru with a frown.
"Well most of this is what you had said in the last trial," said Kenshin with a sigh of exasperation.
"Ah, but this time we have Kanryu to back us up as well as the fact that Akira himself isn't dead," reminded Kaoru smugly.
"The only person that could have been the killer is Akira. We all know that he left the Sakura Ball in order to fake that he was going to get killed, so therefore he makes the perfect suspect. But then who shot the gun on the brick wall?" asked Kenshin.
"Kanryu," was Kaoru's simple answer.
"What?" the other two asked in confusion.
"But you just said that he didn't!" yelled Sanosuke as he stood up.
"I know; let me explain. The two murderers weren't working together when they killed the same man. I've worked for Takeda and I know how that man's brain functions. He had purposely worn diamond gloves and had purposely marked his gun with scratches but was sure that his own gloves wouldn't have scratched when he held the gun. It takes a lot of force or friction for diamonds to scratch each other. The gun had to have been grinded against another diamond source. This act would have reassured his clearing and he knew that I would have accused him. Once a man is accused and proven innocent, he's never accused again," clarified Kaoru.
"Then why did you say that someone set Kanryu up?" asked Sanosuke baffled as he sat back down.
"He set himself up," pointed out Kaoru.
Sanosuke sweat dropped at her answer and sighed.
"So why would Kanryu want Akira dead, and why would Akira want to kill…'himself'?" asked Kenshin after a long pause.
"Kanryu knew that Tomoe's child wasn't his, and he was pissed off that she betrayed him when she was supposed to be betraying Akira. The reason I know about their affair is because Kanryu and Tomoe have been a bit too close before the murder. Don't you think that it's weird that Akira and Kanryu suddenly teamed up so quickly? Those two companies weren't that close before.
"Now back to the matter at hand. Kanryu knew that if he killed Akira, then Tomoe would sooner or later go back to him and when she did he wouldn't have to worry about her betraying him. He knew that Tomoe wanted money, and knew that she would go to him so that she'd be backed up with two-thirds of the profit made by all three companies. So that's the reason why Kanryu wanted Akira dead," Kaoru elucidated as she intertwined her fingers.
"What about Akira? Why would he want to fake his own death?" asked Kenshin as he cocked his head at her.
Kaoru smiled before answering his question, "It all has to do with money. The contract signed by all three men stated that if one of them should die then the stock would be split up to the care of the other two remaining men, but the money earned from the stock would go to the family of the deceased. This way, the one that died can be reassured that his family was taken care of. Akira didn't have any living relatives, so therefore the money would automatically transfer to his fiancé. He of course would lose two-thirds of his company profit to Mr. White and Kanryu, but the money from the stock would make up for that. We all know that the three companies were growing. This was the reason why your men, Kenshin, even considered joining Mr. White in the first place."
"Oh! So that's why Akira wanted to fake his death! He knew that if he died then Tomoe would get all the money, and since they were making so much money, they would be able to live the rest of their life on that profit while Kanryu and Mr. White did all the work. Akira could live in America with his wife and child without questions since the money would be transferred to Tomoe's bank account no matter where she was in the world. He would never have to face his co-workers. Clever," admitted Sanosuke with a nod of his head.
"Which is why Akira paid someone to become like him; it was a small price to pay considering what he'd gain in the end. I'm guessing that the man offered to help the real victim's family after he was killed," said Kaoru with a frustrated sigh.
"Then we're all set! Since Tomoe has to show up in court, then that means that we can catch Akira at the court or in Japan too since without her he doesn't have any money," said Sanosuke as he stood up and raised a fist in the air in a victorious gesture.
"Yes, but we're going to need the blood samples of Akira before he died and after he died cleared first. The results have yet to come and we're going to need that as evidence to prove that Akira didn't really die," reminded Kaoru.
"How long do you need to gather the needed evidence?" Kenshin asked.
"A week?" Kaoru was quite sure how long it'd take.
"That won't be a problem," said Sanosuke with a knowing grin to Kenshin.
"The case is tomorrow though," protested Kaoru; it was her turn to get confused.
"What speaks every language but has never gone to school?" teased Sanosuke with a grin when Kaoru still didn't understand.
"Hard cold cash," answered Kenshin as he pulled out his cell phone and made a call.
Kaoru only rolled her eyes as she leaned back into her seat comfortably. All she had to do was repeat her story in front of the judge and jury and they'd be good. She just hoped that things would go as easily as it had while she was explaining things to Kenshin and Sanosuke.
Who am I kidding? Court is never that simple. Kaoru chided herself as she closed her eyes. There was one good thing about going back to Japan; she'd be able to see her grandfather again.
"Please fasten your seatbelts. We shall be landing shortly," boomed the voice of the pilot over the intercom.
Not wanting to experience another bad ramming against the jet's interior, Kaoru quickly secured herself into her seat.
¤¤¤¤¤One Week Later¤¤¤¤¤
"I never want anything to do with court cases ever again! I'm getting too old for this; I'm retiring the moment I take my money out of my savings account!" bellowed the former owner of M.R.S. as he opened the doors of the courtroom and stormed out of it relieved out of his mind.
"Finally, I can do whatever I want without being watched like a kid," cheered Kenshin sarcastically as the redhead walked out beside his uncle with collar loose and hands behind his head.
"Just because I'm leaving the company in your care doesn't mean that I'm going to leave you alone," snorted Hiko as he slowed down so that Kenshin was right beside him.
"Is this just a scheme so that you and Nakamura can finally get together alone without the prying eyes of the paparazzi?" asked Kenshin with a smirk as he saw his uncle's left eye twitch.
"Baka deshi," whispered Hiko as he strolled on ahead, leaving Kenshin to shake his head behind him.
"Well at least that's over with. I think that we should get back to your house in Nevada, Kenshin. We never got a chance to enjoy Las Vegas!" Sanosuke smiled a mile a minute as he practically skipped out of the courtroom; for a minute he thought that he'd never be able to leave the place a free man again.
"I, for one, am really surprised at what really happened," confessed the chirpy voice of Misao as she walked side by side Soujiro, who was smiling at Sanosuke's behavior.
"I'm a bit shocked that Shura came forward and helped Kaoru's reasoning," said Megumi as she, Tsubame, and Yahiko caught up with the others.
"I'm not. I was sure that she'd help us; her conscience was probably eating at her," Kaoru pitied as she made her way to her place beside her boss.
"Oh cheer up! Akira and Kanryu are behind bars like they were meant to be and Tomoe will be joining them the moment that that brat of hers is born," Sanosuke grinned as he opened the doors that led to the parking lot with enthusiasm.
The others couldn't help but laugh at Sanosuke's personality as he jumped out the doors and began twirling around like a drunken idiot. It seemed that the burden that had been on his shoulders was finally lifted with the conclusion of his case.
"Dinner at any place that you guys want; my treat!" shouted Sanosuke over his shoulder as he raced into the awaiting limo outside.
"Did he just say he was going to pay for us all?" asked Megumi incredulously.
"I think he might have a fever," commented Misao as everyone stared after the rooster head's figure before letting out a whole hearted laugh.
"Well come on, he said he was going to pay and I'm not about to give up this opportunity to make him go broke," called Yahiko as he bounded towards the limo.
The others only followed at their own paces.
"Since you girls did so well, I think that a promotion is in order," Kenshin smirked as he looked at Megumi, Misao, and Kaoru who were now beaming at him.
"Really?" asked the girls at once.
"I thought that some of you might need the extra cash," winked Kenshin at the blushing cousins.
Kaoru only nudged him in the ribs as she passed him by. The owner of M.R.S. only growled at his personal assistant before racing up after her, followed by Hiko, Soujiro, Tsubame, and the Takani cousins.
"I really think that you should drop the bomb on Shougo and go after Sou, Misao," whispered Megumi as they fell behind the Setas.
The lawyer only gulped before forcing herself to nod; she knew that she had to do it some day and she didn't want to lead him on anymore. It was about time that they both moved on.
"What about you and Shinsaku-san, Megumi?" Misao smiled mischievously as she moved her last thought to the back of her head.
"Oh please. I knew that it'd never work in the first place. He's a good friend to have but he isn't exactly the prince charming I've been looking for. Anyways, I'm sure that I can do better." Misao could have sworn that she saw fox ears pop out of her cousin's head when Megumi laughed.
"What's so amusing?" asked Tsubame as she heard Megumi laugh.
"Nothing," chorused the two as they followed the teenager into the limo with innocent smiles on their face.
"So what do you guys want?" asked Sanosuke once everyone was inside the large vehicle and the driver drove off.
Everyone looked thoughtful for a while before speaking as one, "Ice cream!"
The sky burned with an intense fire as it slowly began to diminish and make way for the mixing lavender and black that was gradually becoming visible.
Taking in the wonderful clean scent of the sunset and her Oreo blizzard, Kamiya Kaoru took a mouthful of her favorite ice cream. She smiled as she remembered how her grandfather had bought her one just last night before he left to return to Kyoto. He had felt that he wasn't needed now that everyone was sure that her memory had returned.
"It's getting dark, you really should join the others inside," suggested a low and comforting voice as a wave of hot air caressed her neck.
Kaoru leaned her elbows against the rail that separated her from the waters before eyeing the 28-year-old beside her, who was now eyeing the beautiful canvas of the Heavens.
"I wanted to witness the sun go down. Did you finish your ice cream already?" asked Kaoru when she noticed that Kenshin's hands were empty.
"I'm a major fan of vanilla," said Kenshin with a grin as he copied her position against the railing and watched her finish her blizzard.
"Just vanilla?" asked Kaoru as she raised a brow to him.
"I like things plain and natural," smirked Kenshin.
Kaoru rolled her eyes as she looked back at the horizon and took in the scent of the salty waters before her.
"You know, about everything that's happened to us, do you think that we can both pretend to have amnesia about all the bad things that happened?" asked Kenshin after a long silence.
Kaoru quirked a brow as she finished the last of her dessert.
"To tell you the truth, I want to start out fresh," admitted Kenshin as he looked at his lawyer.
"Kenshin, you've given me a job, gave me a raise on the first day, and bought me cars, cell phones, clothes, dinner, helped me get my memory back and so much more. Why would I want to forget?" asked Kaoru she couldn't help but smile as she looked at his Kenshin's adorable yet completely puzzled face.
Throwing away her finished ice cream cup in the closest trashcan, Kaoru walked back towards the ice cream shop.
"Wait up." Kaoru stopped and turned around to face an amethyst eyed redhead.
"I want you to forget the bad things in your past so that you'd have room to remember," started Kenshin as he interlaced Kaoru's hands with his own, "I want you to have room to remember everything good that's going to happen to you, your friends, and us."
Kaoru felt her cheeks grow warm as Kenshin's hands left her own and wrap themselves around her waist. Sighing, Kaoru leaned her head against Kenshin's waiting shoulders with a content smile on her face. Her eyes slowly began to flutter close as they watched the death of the day and the birth of the night.
"Aw, look how cute they look!" The couple quickly turned around to find their friends staring at them with grins on their faces.
"So, when's the wedding?" asked Sanosuke impishly as he licked at his tenth ice cream cone that night.
"Have you had a brain freeze yet?" Kaoru asked instead as she stepped out of Kenshin's embrace and walked up to Sanosuke.
"No, but what does that…" Sanosuke didn't have the chance to finish as Kaoru grabbed the cone out of his hand and stuck it to his forward, causing him to shiver from the cold.
"Didn't your mother teach you not to eat too much ice cream at once?" asked Kaoru as she feigned innocence and smirked when the others pointed and laughed at the glaring rooster head.
"You know, I think that things at the office are going to get a lot more interesting," predicted Soujiro as he smiled at the sight of Sanosuke chasing Kaoru with the rest of his ice cream while Kenshin tried to stop them.
"Amen to that," agreed the others happily.
This story is dedicated to Cynthia, my late friend. May your spirit forever live on.
Please review what you thought of this fic!