Disclaimer: don't own them, wish I did. Oh but I do own any mysterious characters that I made up.

Author's note:

Wow, sorry, that took like an eternity. Didn't mean to, just took a while for no particular reason. But hey at least I didn't just leave it hanging. I finished it!


"Five, four, three, two, one." His hands fell away and the amber eyes immediately began searching. His ears perked at a rustling in the bushes behind him and he dashed to the site, stunning his target.

He screamed, and then laughed. The young boy clapped his hands and grabbed Kenshin's flaming red hair, an indication he wanted to be picked up. The former assassin complied, lifting the boy into his arms.

Suddenly another four kids ran out from their hiding spots and were quickly as his feet, tugging on his pants. Kenshin laughed and began to run from them, telling them that soon they would be fast enough to catch the Battousai and humored them by jogging.

As he steered clear of his modest garden, he caught sight of the sun starting to descend into the horizon.

"Oro? Its getting late kids. You better run home before it gets to dark."

He pushed them off in the direction of the road and watched from his porch step as they ran away, waving at him occasionally as they yelled, "See you tomorrow Ken-ni."

Kenshin sat and watched the horizon even after the children were long gone. The sun set was beautiful from here. Despite what happened, Katsura had provided the home he had promised Kenshin before he left the IshinShishi. Secluded, far from any large cities but close enough to villages he could trade with. He had a modest farm, and discovered he wasn't half bad at growing crops. He even had the kids running at his feet that he always imagined, except they would never be his children.

He sighed and rose to his feet. It was getting late and he had to light the lanterns before sundown. As the candlelight began to dance and grow along the shining hard wood floors, a gentle sigh could be heard from the corner.

"I was just about to make dinner." Kenshin spoke softly. He walked over to the futon and crouched down beside it, gazing into hazy blue eyes. "I didn't mean to wake you."

Kaoru raised a slender hand to graze his scarred cheek. "It's alright. I think I have slept enough today."

He smiled. "Since you are awake, let's go outside for a bit." He bent down beside her, and motioned her to throw her arms around his neck. She obliged and he cradled her with one arm while the other scooped the rest of her up by the underside of her knees.

He carried her outside under the growing night sky. From just beyond the porch, he leapt up onto the roof; his feet faltering on some loose tiles before he steadied himself. "I guess it's been awhile." He smirked.

Kaoru gave a meek smile, "It doesn't help that you have the burden of carrying me" she added sadly.

He sat down on the spine of the roof with Kaoru nestled in his lap, her lifeless legs draped to his side. "You never have been and never will be a burden to me." Gently he kissed her, encouraging his own words.

Together they sat watching the stars appear one by one in the night sky, Kaoru with her head resting in the crook of her husband neck. She loved these rare opportunities. She missed the rooftops and the dark blanket sky hovering above her. Every night she yearned to stand up on her own two feet and walk outside, whether it was to help Kenshin in the garden or just to watch the horizon change as the day passed. Every night she cursed Saitou for the hit to her spine that paralyzed her from the waist down, but not before cursing herself for going out there, breaking her promise, and for not being good enough.

She sighed and curled against her husband, trying to drown herself in the only thing that ever made her feel whole. Slowly his scent intoxicated her, diluting her sadness. He smelled of sweets, probably from carrying them for the town children. "I heard children's laughter." She spoke somberly. "Was it the village children or was I dreaming again?"

Kenshin tenderly swept the hair from her eyes. "Maybe both."

"It haunts me." Her whisper was barely audible.

"I'll tell them to stop coming." He replied quickly.

Kaoru shook her head against him. "No. They make you happy, and you do the same for them. I enjoy their laughter. It just hard sometimes because I know I can't give you." She paused, her eyes misting over. "You would have been a good father." She finished.

"I won't go into this argument again Kaoru." He mumbled under his breath, the breath of exasperations leaving his lips. "You were doing your job, and regardless of what I said then, you were right to go."

"But if I hadn't…"

"If you hadn't, we would be in jail or more likely dead, and the Shoganate would have had the power and the resources of the Shishengumi to put down the revolution. Then we wouldn't even have what we have now." He looked away to the starry sky. "Let's stop talking about this now," he added firmly. Kaoru complied and reached for his hand, entwining her fingers with his.

Just when their silence had grown comfortable, Kaoru could feel the rumble of his voice emerging from his chest. "I received a letter from Katsura-san today. He knows a man, a doctor in Germany. He has created a new type of invalid chair, like the ones they use in Europe. It has wheels that you could maneuver yourself. So you can be free to move around. Katsura is having one sent to Tokyo, and says he will bring it as soon as it arrives. How does that sound?"

She gazed up to meet his eyes which over the years had developed an amethyst tint. They danced at her in the backdrop of a starry night sky and her mouth curved into a rarely seen smile. As quickly as their earlier conversation had ended, her worries dissolved away. He always had a way of making their lives seem normal. Like they weren't once the deadliest people in Japan. Like her handicap wasn't an issue. His eyes, his touch, his love had that effect.

"I think that sounds great." She replied before raising herself to his lips and melting into his kiss.


I'm skipping out on the review responses this time, but I would just like to thank everyone who has stuck by me through this story and have given all those wonderful review. They really helped pushed me forward to finish this thing. So thank you so much to those who reviewed and those who read and I hope that we will meet again, maybe in another fic.