"He's grown into a handsome boy, son."

            "I still say that you've spoiled him rotten."

            "Well, he had to spoil someone; he wasn't around to spoil you."

            "At least I'm a responsible father."

            "Ouch, that hurts…Aah! Ok!  I get the point!  Didn't I already apologize?"

            "Grandpa!"  A small bundle of cotton and lace leapt into Eric's arms, making him grin.  For all of his badgering all those years ago, he really was proud.  He had grandson who was now six, and a granddaughter who, at four, believed that she could climb her grandfather much the way she could a tree. He laughed.  Kaoru, too, had been a wonderful addition to the family.  She managed to run the house, be a mother, and keep himself and Kenshin on their toes all the time, something that was quite difficult.  She'd also brought father and son closer together than they'd ever been.  Eric realized, after much reasoning, how much of an ass he'd been to his only son.

            During the first few years of their marriage, before Franc had been born, Kenshin still saw his old lovers.  Eric couldn't understand how Kaoru put up with it, and she told him that he'd never be able to.  He just didn't have the capability, but it was alright.  He'd accepted his son for who he was, finally. 

            As their marriage progressed, Kenshin had come to love Kaoru.  If he didn't pursue her with the same fervor as his lovers, it was understandable.  The love he had for his wife was deeper than that, part of it being a long-lasting trust and companionship that he had been unable to find anywhere else.  For her part, Kaoru both loved him and was in love with him.  It had made, thought Eric, for some rather noisy nights in the Himura manor; but the results were young and vibrant, and running around on the lawn in front of their parents.  Kenshin stood behind his wife, arms around her waist, which was growing again.  Eric wondered if the child would be a boy or a girl, and then found that he didn't care.  He was already blessed.

            "Come on, father," coaxed Kaoru, hooking an arm through his.  "It's getting late."  She smiled as they headed inside the manor, the children running ahead with Kenshin on their heels, screaming and laughing all the way.  Ten years ago she'd been in a smoky dance hall wondering about the direction of her life, and here she was, the lady of a manor and a member of a wonderful family.  She paused in the doorway to turn and look across the grounds, and felt Kenshin's arms encircle her waist again.  The setting sun lengthened the shadows of the trees and turned the distant roves to gold before sinking below the horizon, and still they stood there, the breeze whispering through the grass.  The sky had darkened to a deep purple-blue that was dapples with stars before they turned and closed the door on the summer night.

That's the end, folks!  There will be no more, and there will not be a sequel, so please don't ask me if I'm planning on one. 

ALSO, I will not be writing any more, PERIOD, for a LONG TIME.  PLEASE don't ask me two write more; please don't tell me you're expecting more, because you'll only be let down.  I QUIT.



For anyone who wants to, you can either write about Kenshin and Kaoru's wedding night, or about Kenshin with one of his lovers.  R-rating or above, if above, please tell me in the first line.  The best five will be added to the fic as "outtakes" of sorts.  Deadline May 13!