A/N: Sorry for the really long wait but I had to get re-obsessed with anime. Yes, school has taken over my life THAT much and well, midterm exams are coming up. Luckily I was able to find the time to update this! I hope you like my final chapter! This is for you! Thanks for sticking by me and oh, I don't think that I'll EVER write such a long fic in the future. Nonetheless, this was a rewarding and enjoyable experience! Hope you like! Ciao!
Kaoru bit her pen cap while simultaneously trying to write a proposal for one of her college professors. "I can't mess this up…I really have to wow this guy…no matter what…" She said as she looked out of her window, momentarily forgetting just where she was going and what she was going to do in a matter of hours. She was getting married! "Maybe…thinking about this report isn't such a good thing…not right now anyway…" She said nervously. The thing was, she was trying to get her mind off of the marriage, hence focusing on her schoolwork. The marriage concept only made her nervous.
Once Kenshin and Kaoru had decided to live together in Kyoto, thanks to him selling his house and buying a new one, Kaoru felt that things seemed a little different. She was spending each and every day with him, from sundown to sunup, trying her level best to be a dutiful and honorable fiancée to the man whom she loved with all of her heart. There was no way that she would let herself mess up in front of him. Even worse, she wouldn't let herself carry out her little bad habits that she usually did around her old home. It was almost as if she was changing dramatically. And sometimes, she hardly spoke to him, trying her best to concentrate on dinner. She wanted to be the best for Kenshin.
"Kaoru, you're going to make Himura-san wait? This is your big day! Hop to!" She chided, literally pushing her daughter out of the doorway just so that she could make it to the car. "You're almost nineteen now so you have to start thinking clearly. What would your new husband say if he saw you like this?" Kaoru rolled her blue eyes and scurried to the car. She was being driven by Laura's mother and Laura was graciously accompanying her, as a best friend would do. "I will catch up with you and see you walk down the aisle with your traditional wedding kimono." Yes, traditional. Kaoru had wanted traditional. And what she wanted, Kenshin delivered. They were going to have a traditional Japanese wedding…well, as 'traditional' as modern times can permit.
"You're so nervous, Kaoru…just take deep breaths!" Laura aforementioned before they had gotten into the car. Too late. By the time that her best friend's mother was already driving, Kaoru was breathing heavily through her mouth, also trying to fan herself with her hand. "Why is this so hard for you? You told me that you love Kenshin… probably over a million times so why aren't you happy? Isn't this your big day? Come on! Lighten up a little! It's Kenshin, remember?"
"It's just so hard, Laura…once we started living together, I felt that I had to please him. And…well… I do and try my best. I want to please him. He deserves it." Laura raised an eyebrow, obviously not following Kaoru's explanation. "If I mess something up today, I'll never be able to forgive myself. Today has to be perfect. I love Kenshin and all I want to do is be a good wife to him. Me being a tomboy really doesn't help the situation now does it?" Laura scratched her head nervously. "Hey, you're supposed to be honest with me here," Kaoru said flatly.
"Um…wait." Laura came closer and started to whisper something in Kaoru's ear. "I kinda figured that you guys had already made love so isn't that already proving something? You showed him that you loved him and you're really close with him. If I were you, I wouldn't freak out because he's the kind of guy who loves you for who you are and doesn't care about you being perfect…" Kaoru shrugged and suddenly felt a lump in her throat…
"I've got two outfits for you right here." Kenshin scrutinized both options. "Man, I can't believe Jou-chan wanted a traditional wedding…" Sanosuke said, placing a hand onto his forehead. Kenshin shrugged and continued looking at the two outfits. He was grateful to Sanosuke. He was the one who did the last minute browsing and choosing of outfits. "Well…here, Kenshin," Sanosuke said, recently starting to call him by his first name. Since his girlfriend's best friend was dating him, Sanosuke felt obliged to help out…or at least calm the freaked out groom. "How 'bout you try 'em both on and pick which one you like better."
Kenshin went into the changing room, soon coming back out. His cheeks were on fire as Sanosuke rolled on the floor, tearing from his hysterical laughter. Kenshin was wearing a magenta gi. Magenta. The redhead growled to himself and smacked his face with his hand, suffering from sudden chronic embarrassment. "Who wears pink on his wedding day, Sanosuke?!" Kenshin said through clenched teeth. "What else do you have…?" He said as he looked over at the next outfit. Grey. Fine. "I'll be right back…" He muttered, Sanosuke still doubled over on the floor in laughter.
He came out again, arms spread, studying himself in a nearby mirror. "Clothes back then were so unflattering…" He muttered to himself as he shrugged and helped himself to matching grey socks. His sandals soon followed onto his feet. "Okay…I'm ready…I guess." He said as retied his hair in his usual loose ponytail.
"Hold up a sec," Sanosuke said as he waved a hand, Kenshin pausing from tying up his hair. "Put your hair up more for a second. You won't get married like that but I wanna see something real quick, all right?" Kenshin dumbfoundedly did as the taller man had requested, putting the ponytail much farther up on his head. "Holy shit!" Sanosuke exclaimed, mouth gaping. "Did you know you look like a samurai like that!?" Kenshin raised and eyebrow and stood before the mirror yet again, eyeing his newfound hairstyle. "That is SO cool. Leave it like that. That topknot is much better."
"Ah…" Kenshin said as he yanked his hair tie off, relieving such horrible scalp tension. "I don't think so…" Sanosuke was about to say something but Kenshin butt in fast. "If your hair were this length and you decided to put it up this high, it would only mean one thing: pain. And no, with all of the stress that I'm going through right now, I don't think I need to add a headache just to look 'cool' so…" Kenshin said as he quickly redid his hair in the usual low style.
"Betcha Jou-chan would like it…" Sanosuke whistled. Kenshin thought for a moment. If she did like it and if she told him that she liked that hairstyle, Kenshin would have worn it immediately for her. But the thing was, he looked much more intimidating when he wore it like a 'samurai.' He didn't want to scare all of the wedding guests, let alone his wife.
"I actually never showed her this style before," Kenshin said as he decided to leave the subject matter alone. "Well anyway, hair doesn't seem to be number one on my priority list anyway, Sanosuke," he muttered, fidgeting with the sandals that he wore. The socks were bunched up near his toes and the straps were too thick. He had sincerely hoped and prayed to Buddha that he would not trip once he walked down that aisle…
"Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow!!!" Kaoru screeched as Laura and her mother pulled the fabric of the kimono around her already tiny and slender waist. "I'm not that thin, ya know!" She said as she had to suck in so that the obi would fit properly around her waist. She was in a sheer amount of discomfort but nevertheless, looked absolutely beautiful. And that was just with the kimono alone. She still had to have her hair done and her face painted.
"Kaoru, just try to bear it for a while!" Laura said as she tried to calm her friend down. "I know it's uncomfortable but just imagine how beautiful you'll look in front of Kenshin!" Kaoru reluctantly agreed to continue with such torture, her obi causing her to breathe much faster than she normally would have. Laura shortly returned with socks, sandals, traditional face paint, and hair accessories. "Can you walk over here for a minute, Kaoru?" Kaoru nodded and came forward, in tiny steps. She was incredibly pained. "I guess…I'll come over…stay right there…"
Kaoru's hair was done shortly after, socks and sandals on her feet as well. The white paint that she wore covered her entire face. It was sticky. "I feel like a courtesan…" Kaoru said wryly, looking at herself in a mirror. "Oh Kami-sama! I look like a courtesan!" She wailed and leaned on Laura's shoulder, her best friend doing everything in her power to calm the bride down.
"No, no! You look fine!!" Laura encouraged, her hand resting on the back of her head. She had hoped that Kaoru would take her words seriously. It was way too late to change now. "Let's get this show on the road! You're going to be a bride!!!" Kaoru smiled as much as she could and then tried her very best to walk to the door. Nope, couldn't do it. As klutzy as she was, she fell over… "Oi…that's going to hurt in the morning…"
She walked down the aisle. All was quiet and all eyes were on her. Kami-sama, don't let me trip and fall like I did before… please give me the strength to walk thirty freaking feet just so I can get to Kenshin… let Kenshin see me as a beautiful bride and not a klutz… Kaoru took a few more deep breaths, slowly moving down the aisle, occasionally looking at Kenshin. He was so handsome with his grey gi and white hakama. His look alone had given Kaoru the strength to reach him without falling flat on her face…
They had soon approached the 'you may now kiss the bride' part of the wedding, Kaoru feeling the butterflies in her stomach emerge again. It was just Kenshin though and she had nothing to be afraid of. But she was just scared of the thought that people would be watching. "Kaoru…" Kenshin whispered. "You don't need this face paint…" Her eyes widened. "I love you for who you are. I fell in love with Kamiya Kaoru… not an instant bride… and besides…you look much better without this makeup…" He said as he used his sleeve to wipe away the paint on her face. Some people gasped, appalled at how he would do such a thing but others just watched on in amazement.
"Do you mean that?" Kaoru inquired in a small whisper. Kenshin nodded and pressed his lips against her own, people then cheering for the couple. They were married! They were actually husband and wife! He tilted her back and cunningly let his tongue impale her two lips… but no one had to know that. Kenshin realized that seducing his wife in front of guests was something that was rather unacknowledged and pulled back gently. "I just wanted you to be surprised, that's all."
"You looked so different with it on and that makes me sad, that it does. I don't want you thinking that you have to change for me…" Kaoru smiled and took Kenshin's hand in hers and the two of them walked down the aisle together, Kaoru throwing the bouquet high into the air, only to have it caught by a lady friend of Youko's. Yes. She had invited him and kept in touch just like she said that she would.
"Good job, Kao-chan…I was almost certain that you would fall over. I mean…every time you wore heels in high school, you'd trip." Youko said as he shrugged that memory off. Kenshin laughed. It was true. There was a time where he asked her to go somewhere with him and she fell right down the stairs, only to catch her in his arms, thanks to those cursed high heels, that is. "Oh right, sorry… I got so caught up in teasing you that I forgot to introduce my girlfriend, Charlotte." She smiled politely. Kaoru smiled in return. So she was the woman who caught the bouquet. "We've been going out since the beginning of college."
Charlotte was about as intelligent as Youko was and was in no way egotistical about said intellect. She was actually quite modest…the exact opposite of Youko's take on school smarts. Opposites did attract after all. A similarity though, was that she was nineteen just like he was. "Congratulations, Kenshin and Kaoru. This was a great ceremony," she said politely, linking onto Youko's arm. Kaoru grinned slyly while Kenshin looked at her, eyebrows raised. He honestly had no idea what she was thinking inside that head of hers, nor did he want to know… "The place where the reception is being held…it's right around the block, right?" She inquired.
"Yes," Kenshin replied, holding Kaoru's hand. "There are plenty of refreshments there so please enjoy yourself. Oh, and a reminder…" Kenshin said as he held his head in his hand. He had to be sure to warn Charlotte before she encountered 'them.' She blinked a few times. "Um…if you see a man living it up with a sake jug practically attached to him at all times, don't engage in conversation. A friend of mine…well, let's just say that he doesn't hold his alcohol well. So, you too Youko…if you don't want a headache…"
"Gotcha, Himura. Say, what's this guy's name? I think I'll introduce him to Sanosuke…"
"Seijuuro Hiko…" He mumbled.
"Hiko. Got it. Come on, Charlotte." She nodded and the two of them were off in a quest to scout out Hiko.
"Perhaps I shouldn't have said anything…" Kenshin murmured. He was well aware that if he ever warned someone about something, they would go right up and do the thing that Kenshin believed to be ill advised. "Oh well, I guess I can't do anything about it now…" Kaoru looked up at him and kissed him on the lips. His amethyst eyes widened and he pulled back in surprise. "Is someone a little eager?" Kenshin teased, wrapping his arms around his bride. "Maybe we should get to the reception and finish the day before you start to do this…ne, Kaoru-koishii?" She gave in to his words and the two headed for the reception, happily married.
"Hiko's the best, Kenshin! What were you saying before to Youko and his girl?" Sanosuke said, raising a pint in the air. Oh no. He had better not reach for the vodka…Orooo… Kenshin shook his head and suddenly heard applause. Apparently, someone was about to toast the happy couple. Kenshin looked left and right but Kaoru had left his side for about a good ten minutes. I wonder where she is… He started to walk to the right, near the refreshment table and lo and behold, there stood his bride, wedding kimono and all.
"Sorry, Kenshin…it just took me forever to get here and I think…my hips are numb…" She said in short breaths, Kenshin looking at her worriedly. "It's fine… and at least it'll be much more rewarding once I take this off…" She paused for a moment. "Unless, you want to take it off for me." Her husband grinned. Both of them directed their attention to the speaker. It was Mayumi, Kenshin's ex-girlfriend.
"Ladies and gentlemen, I'm sure that we can all say without hesitation that this has been quite a memorable night…not just for the bride and groom, but for family and friends that are here to share their happiness on such a joyous event." Everyone clapped. Kenshin put an arm around Kaoru and listened to the rest of her speech. "I pray that there will be many a blissful occasion for the two of you and hope that your love for each other can overcome anything. Cheers to you both and a long and prosperous life for you both."
Kenshin and Kaoru kissed once more while everyone watched and clapped. It was so surreal. Kaoru hadn't imagined that she would get married. In fact, she planned not to in the beginning of the year. But love gave way and she couldn't hide her feelings for long. She fell in love with Kenshin and before she knew it, she was standing at the alter with him, kissing him passionately. "Ken-san, congratulations!" A relative of his exclaimed, patting him on the back.
"Oh, thank you very much!" He replied. "Kaoru, let me introduce you to my cousin, Makimachi Misao!" Kaoru bowed politely, straining herself as the obi dug into her stomach. She had trouble standing back up. Ow, ow, ow… Kenshin laughed nervously. "Maybe you shouldn't do that, anata…" Kaoru nodded and smiled politely. "Are you having a good time, Misao?" Kenshin inquired. She nodded, a smile making its way across her cherubic face, illuminating her blue green eyes. "I'm glad to hear that…"
"Megumi-san is here too. She hasn't seen you in years so maybe you should go over and say hello…"
"All right, I will," Kenshin replied. It was going to be a nice night filled with reunions galore.
"Ohh, what a night…" Kaoru moaned, standing in her bedroom with Kenshin, removing her obi and letting her kimono fall to the floor with a small sound. Kenshin himself was in their bathroom, unaware that his wife had stripped and therefore, could not take advantage of the view. She looked down at her hand. On her finger was her wedding ring. Her wedding ring. She was one with Kenshin. Finally. "Hey Kenshin?" She called out.
Her husband reacted to her call, poking his head out of the bathroom door, eyes widening in shock. "K-Kaoru…!" She giggled and walked over to retrieve her robe, covering herself up from Kenshin's wandering eyes. "You've never pulled a stunt like that before…" She giggled. "Wait a second…" Kenshin said as he walked back into the bathroom, shutting the door. "I have something to show you," he called out from the enclosed room. She sat herself on their bed, waiting patiently. He walked out soon after, hair in a topknot. "Different?"
"Kenshin!" Kaoru gasped. "It's so…so…uh…" He waited for her to finish. "Wow…incredibly sexy," she breathed, walking toward him and playing with his high rise ponytail. He grinned. "Who showed you how to do this? I should personally thank them…" She kissed him on the lips, backing away and touching his face.
"Sanosuke suggested it before the wedding. He said that I should have worn it during our ceremony but I didn't think that it befit me very well. And besides that, I didn't want to scare you."
"Mmm, I wish you would have worn this for our wedding, Ken-chan… You look… like such a rebel…" Kenshin pulled her into an embrace again, smelling her intoxicating hair and brushing his lips against the nape of her neck. "Kenshin?" He gave her a groan in response. "Do you remember when we first met?" He pulled away and smiled. "I do…and look at where we are now… aah, Kenshin I love you so much…" She said as she held onto him, head resting comfortably on his chest.
"I love you too…beautiful wife of mine…"
A/N: And... this fic's a wrap! I'm going to miss writing this story and I'm so glad that so many of you have enjoyed it. Fear not, I will be putting many more new stories out there, (both RK and YYH) for your enjoyment! So I hope you enjoyed this epilogue of mine and review for the 53rd time! Sayonara, minna-chan!