Author's Note OMG! It's the last chapter already! I'm so sad now… -_- *sniff sniff!*the tragedy of it all!

Summary Amber eyes glowed eerily in the dark. All he knew was that a soft heart wasn't a heart at all. It must be of stone, so as to carve the law of living: The strongest survives. Will a light pierce the dark abyss they call insanity?

Disclaimer I don't own Rurouni Kenshin so don't sue me.

King's Box

Epilogue

"Hiko-sama…?"

"Baka-deshi?" Seijiro Hiko looked down at his formal pupil. It's been a while since he had seen him last, ever since he took Kauro away on Shishio's order. Now Shishio was gone and Kaoru was safe.

"What are you doing?"

Hiko smiled grimly and fingered the mahogany box in his hands.

"I don't want Kaoru to see this."

"Why?"

"She might overact to it… something bad might happen. I don't want her to know about it just yet."

"But, she has a right to know about her past."

"That she does, but I always want to protect her."

Kenshin gently took the box from Hiko's hands. "She deserves to see this."

Kenshin wrapped the box in a rough white cloth. Smiling soothingly Kenshin left Hiko in the room with an amused expression on his face.

******

"Misao…"

Misao smiled up at Aoshi.

"I like it here! It's very different from home! Everything is so… GREEN!"

Aoshi resisted the urge to smile. She was so cute when she acted like that. Aoshi gently settled himself next to Misao.

"Would you be able to leave it tomorrow?"

"Maybe…" Suddenly she bowed her head as if something troubled her. "I don't think I would be able to."

Aoshi didn't know why, but he felt a small pain when she said that.

"How about him?"

"He still doesn't know. I'm not sure he ever will. I love him so much, but he doesn't seem to see me." Misao smiled sadly and Aoshi wanted nothing more than to just gather her into his arms. She was so innocent, so beautiful. He wanted her to be his, but she loved someone else. He could never force her to love him. Her happiness was worth more than his. She deserved all the happiness in the world. She had gone through so much and here she was still smiling like she always did.

Did she know that it was her smile that saved me?

Did she know that she saved me from myself?

******

"Kaoru?"

"Kenshin? I thought you had already left." She looked away and gently stroked the mane of her horse.

"Why is that?"

"Tomoe-san is still there." Kenshin heard the hate in her voice. Was it directed to him or to Tomoe?

"I came back for you."

"Why? I'm not worth anything… I don't mean anything to you."

Kenshin paused and gripped the box in his hands. She seemed so sad right now. She seemed so angry and lonely.

"Yes you do…"

"Kenshin… think about it, you have Tomoe! Why would you want me?"

She turned to him and let him see her face. She was crying, but her tears did not turn to diamonds. They were smooth little water droplets.

Kenshin noticed this and reached forwards, gently cupping her cheek.

"What's happening?"

Kaoru looked wide-eyes at the little droplets on Kenshin's fingers.

"It must have something to do with this." Kenshin uncovered the box and timidly held it out to Kaoru. She looked down at the box and slowly held her hand towards it.

She felt so compelled to touch it, to hold it. Was this what everything was about? This small mahogany box? Or was it about what was inside? Kaoru gently traced the engraving on the cover of it and gently fingered the golden lock. There was a small clicking sound and Kaoru flinched slightly. She opened the box with both hands and looked inside.

"Wow…" A light emitted from the box. Kenshin looked down and saw the necklace inside. It was so beautiful.

It shined like the sun. It was simple, but yet it was so beautiful. Kaoru took the necklace out of the box.

"This is what he wanted…?"

Kaoru frowned and walked to the bridge that hung over the flowing river.

"This is what he wanted?!" Kaoru glared at the sky and gripped the necklace tighter. "He can have it! It's nothing to me, but a small trinket. He can just take this necklace down with him to hell…"

Kaoru threw the necklace into the river and watched as it sank down into the deep water. There was a faint sparkle and Kaoru collapsed onto the ground with tears flowing down her face.

"I don't care…"

Kenshin slowly kneeled in front Kaoru. He looked at her hands clamped in her lap. He reached out to her and took her hands in his.

"It doesn't matter. Everything is fine… Everything will be okay." Kenshin attempted to smile down at her.

Kaoru looked up at him with a surprised expression.

"You're… your smiling…" Kenshin held her hands with one and cupped her cheek with the other. Kenshin let his smile grow larger.

"I like it when you smile."

Kenshin looked down at Kaoru's blushing face. She liked it when he smiled…

Suddenly, Kenshin grabbed Kaoru's shoulders and pulled her towards him into an embrace. Kaoru's heart pounded against her chest as she inhaled his sandal wood scent. The tears in her eyes poured more freely. Was it all over? Could they ever be the same as they were before?

Kaoru looked up into Kenshin's eyes. Instead of their normal cold amber color, they were lavender. Really soft and gentle lavender that they lit up her day and all she could do was smile. He looked so caring and so kind. Kaoru broke from the embrace and wiped her tears away. She smiled brightly and headed back to the cottage to help Hiko-sama fix dinner.

******The Next Day******

"Will the girls be coming with us?"

Hiko looked at Aoshi. "They said they would rather stay here with me."

"Then, we'll be off." Kenshin looked up at Aoshi and watched as his blue eyes flashed dangerously. He could tell that he didn't want to leave Misao here. He could tell that Aoshi loved Misao and it was obvious that Misao loved Aoshi.

"Shinomori, you really are stupid."

"What?"

"You still can't see it can you."

Aoshi looked at Hiko, not caring that his emotions were showing. He was confused. Misao… what were they saying? Are they saying that you…?

Slowly Aoshi pieced things together. His face slowly relaxed and was replaced with the same stoic expression as always.

"That's what she meant…" Aoshi looked down, partly ashamed for his blindness and partly for not going after Misao earlier. He loved her and that was all that mattered. Aoshi left the room and left Hiko and Kenshin, who just stared at his back.

******

"Aoshi-sama?"

"Misao, are you coming back with us?"

"Why should I? There's nothing for me there…"

"Misao, your mother…"

"Doesn't want me. I'm not needed there! At least here, I can help Kaoru and Hiko-sama."

"Misao…"

"It's final. I'm staying here."

Aoshi looked down at her determined face. All he wanted was to reach out and take her as his own. At that moment, it seemed so possible. He could carry her off and they could get married.

"You have a new suitor-"

"Tell him, I'm sorry but no."

"You don't even know who it is yet." Misao looked at Aoshi with her green eyes and turned away.

"Fine! Tell me his name so I can reject him!"

"He is a very stupid man… he didn't realize how much you meant to him, till you were gone…"

"Who is it?"

"He didn't realize how much he loved you till now…"

"Aoshi-sama…"

Misao closed her eyes. Did he really want her to marry? Why won't he just tell her who it is?

"He really does love you… Isn't that what your looking for?"

Misao nodded slowly, "But it's much more complex than that."

"What do you want?"

"I want…"

Aoshi took a few steps towards Misao and looked down at her bowed head. He bent down and wrapped his arms around her waist, gently giving her cheek and gentle kiss. He held her tighter and pulled her towards him. Misao was too shocked to say anything. She just stood in his arms like a limp doll.

"Misao… will you marry me?"

Misao turned in his arms. She opened and closed her mouth, trying to form words but none would come out. Finally she just nodded.

"Is that what you want?" Aoshi gently pressed his lips against hers.

When he broke the kiss, Misao wrapped her arms around Aoshi's neck.

"Yes…"

"I love you, Misao… don't ever forget that."

"I will never forget it."

******

"You're leaving?"

"Yes, sorry Kaoru… but, I need to do this."

"I understand…" Misao smiled gently at Kaoru.

"Don't worry about it… I'm sure something will happen…"

"Really?"

Misao pulled Kaoru into a tight hug. Kaoru smiled at her friend.

"I'm happy for you."

Misao smiled and pulled Kaoru into a hug again.

"Bye! I hope to see you sometime!" And then Misao was gone. She and Aoshi had left and she was here with Hiko-sama, alone. It was just like it had been before Kenshin…

He probably already left to go see his Tomoe.

"I'm going to miss him…"

"Miss who?"

Kaoru turned around and there was the man she was just thinking about. She hasn't seen him all day and she had through that he already left, but here he was… smiling down at her.

"Why are you still here?"

"For you."

"For me?"

"I'm not leaving here without you."

"But, you have Tomoe! She's waiting for you!"

"She betrayed me."

"Am I just a backup?"

"No… it's not like that."

Kaoru looked up at him with her piercing blue eyes. He still had the same lavender eyes as yesterday. His eyes were so beautiful.

"Then… what is it… what is it like?"

Kenshin took a deep breath.

Kaoru regretted the question. She wished she could just take back the question because she didn't want to hear the answer.

"It's like…" He leaned closer to her so that their faces were almost touching. "This…"

He closed the gap between them and pressed his lips onto hers with a chaste kiss. Kaoru closed her eyes and succumbed to his charms. He gently caressed her cheeks and kissed them. He smiled down at her, she was so beautiful. Kaoru suddenly backed away.

"What about Tomoe?"

"What about her?"

"I don't want to be second in your heart. I don't want to share you. I don't want you to think of her… when your with…" She paused. Was it the right thing to say? "Me…"

"I would never do that."

"Kenshin, just go back to her. I know that you love and she loves you."

"No, she doesn't. She loved someone else."

"So you just come running to me?"

"No…"

Kaoru pushed him away. "Kenshin! I told you… I don't want to be second… I want to be the only one!"

Kenshin took a step back. "I never loved her. I just went with her because I didn't want you to get hurt."

"But, can't you see how much you hurt me?"

"Kaoru… What do you think would happen if Shishio had found out that I… that I love you?"

Kaoru looked up at him. "What?"

"What would he do to you if I loved you?"

Kenshin grabbed Kaoru's hands and caressed them with his soft hands. "I love you Kaoru."

"So you were afraid?"

"For you."

Kaoru pulled her hands back. She wanted to with all her heart to just go away with him, but he was the "Battousai." What would ever come from their relationship? They just weren't meant to be together. They were so different…

"Kenshin… just go…"

"But…"

"Please don't force yourself into something. I know you could find someone way better than me."

Kenshin looked down at her then walked away. Kaoru looked up, partly surprised that he left, but she did tell him to go away didn't she. He would never find satisfaction in her. Kaoru was afraid that he would get tired of her and run off with another. It was better to hurt him now, and then have them both hurt later on… Kaoru heard the horses hooves beat against the stones outside and suppressed the desire to run after him. She had to be strong and face this alone. Kaoru felt tears stinging in her eyes, but she didn't want to cry… not now.

"I really do love you… but it just won't work…"

She whispered to no one in particular. She just felt that it was right to admit it to the world although no one would ever hear her confession. Kaoru could hear Kenshin shouting out orders and closed her eyes. He would be gone and everything would just go back to normal. She wouldn't have to pine after him anymore and she wouldn't have to be afraid of him leaving her for someone else. She would be here alone with Hiko-sama till she grew old and died.

"Kaoru, I'm not leaving here without you."

"Kenshin!"

Why won't he just leave?

"Kaoru, I'll stay here! Even if you won't take me, I'll just stay here to be close to you. I will never leave you again."

"Kenshin…"

"Kaoru, I told you I loved you. Nothing will ever change that, not even if you kick me out. I'll just come back."

Kaoru felt something in her lighten. It was as if all her worries were gone. He would never leave her. He would always come back. He loved her.

"Kenshin, your not lying?"

"I would never lie to you."

"I love you too!"

Kenshin smiled down at her.

"Hey! You knew I would say that!"

Kenshin only ruffled her hair and pulled her towards him.

"I take it back! I take it all back!" Kenshin just laughed.

"You can't do that! You already told me you loved me, so now your mine!" Kaoru smiled up at him. He always knew what to say.

"Do you really love me?"

"More than you would ever know."

THE END

Okay! That's the end, end! Did you like it? I hope so! Took me a long time to write this. I hope it was romantic even though I thought it was kind of corny. I kept on repeating stuff, I know. That's kind of sad. Okay, well since this story is over I'll start updating my other ones too! Hopefully… -_-

I hope you all check out my other stories too! I'm really proud of all of them! Their so cool! Yippee! The end! Finito! Finish!

~FIN~