heavenlypart7
HEAVENLY INCARNATIONS
A Rurouni Kenshin/ On a Pale Horse Crossover
By Ashley Auld

* Disclaimer* All rights to the Rurouni Kenshin Characters are Watsuki-sama's, Jump Comics, etc. All right to the character " Incarnations" Are property of Piers Anthony. There are references made to his book " On a Pale Horse." But you do not need to have read the book to understand what is happening. =) This is only a little fanfic by a crazed Kenshin fan, I'm a poor college art student, and not even worth suing! Enjoy!
Authors Note-
Well, I came up with this fic when I still believed Kaoru was dead. But I liked the idea of it so much that I decided to keep on writing it. (Even though it's been established that, yes… she IS alive) Consider this a "what if this happened" fic. Kind of like an alternative where Enishi does actually kill her. I know, it sounds awful, but believe me; this ISN'T going to be depressing! I'm determined to make it happy! And to appease all those Kenshin and Kaoru fans out there…well… >=)

A little pre-fanfic know-how about "On a Pale Horse."
The incarnations mentioned in this fic are taken from " On a Pale Horse." In Piers Anthony's book, he takes these aspects of life and creates people for them-- much like we imagine there being a "Father Time," and a "Mother Nature." Here, I will be making references to human incarnations of " Death," "Fate," "Time," and "Nature." ( So far-- I don't know what other ones I shall bring in from his book yet.)
Oh-- Death also rides a horse, Mortus, which can also conveniently be a car (limo), boat, etc. Whatever Death might need as a mode of transportation in the moment.





Chapter 30
Chapter 31
Chapter 32
Epilogue

CHAPTER 30- Man and Soul

" Don't worry—we'll make it." He smiled reassuringly. His hand slid down from her cheek to hold her chin between his thumb
and forefinger. " From now on, I won't let anything hurt you, nothing! I'm not letting you go again!"
" Kenshin…"
Kenshin guided her face up towards his and Kaoru closed her eyes, she felt his warm lips touch hers. Her embrace instantly
tightened about his shoulders.
" I want to float like this forever…" She thought to herself. " Forever…"

Kaoru let the moment envelope her completely, allowing herself to be lost in his embrace, in his kiss, and his scent. He was all
she needed.
" Kenshin--" She whispered as he pulled away from her gently. He smiled and kissed her nose.
" Hai?" His voice was soft and husky.
She blushed, then quickly lowered her gaze. " Nothing…"
His eyes crinkled at the corners ever so slightly in response to the smile which slid over his face. He wrapped his arms around
her waist tighter. " That was a blush."
Kaoru smiled, trying her best to hide her burning red face behind a curtain of black hair. " No it wasn't!"
" Koishii …" He coaxed, nuzzling into the crook of her neck, giving light, feathery kisses. " What are you thinking?"
Kaoru blushed even harder at the pet name, those kisses made her heart flutter and she snuggled into him more. " I…"
His head shot up from its exploration and he looked at her with twinkling eyes. "Hai de gozaru?"
" I…"
" We're here." The low voice of Death interrupted their reunion. The light began to fade and Kenshin was floating downwards
slowly, his feet touched solid ground and the brightness about them faded until they could see their surroundings again plainly.
However, this didn't make Kenshin loosen his grip on Kaoru any. They held each other tightly, beyond caring whether Fate or
Death were watching.
" What were you going to say?" Kenshin whispered into her ear.
Kaoru bit her lip and looked at Thanatos out of the corner of her eye. Then shook her head. " I'll tell you later."
" Promise?" Kenshin grinned.
Kaoru opened her mouth to respond but Fate intervened.
" Ok! Enough with the lovey dovey stuff we've got to get moving!"
" Oro?" Kenshin loosened his grip on Kaoru, allowing her feet to touch the ground. She stepped away from him and took in
their surroundings.
" Where are we?" She asked. The land looked like the far country. Rolling green hills surrounded them and a small dirt road
ran past a tiny outcropping of knarled trees in the distance. A warm breeze played through her hair, rustling the leaves at the
same time.
" This is the outskirts of purgatory." Death said.
" How much time?" Kenshin asked.
" 6 minutes left." Fate responded urgently, holding out her hands with six fingers spread for emphasis. Death nodded and
pushed a few buttons on his watch. In the blink of an eye, his Pale Horse descended like a bolt of lightning before them. It
instantly materialized into the long stretch Limousine.
" Ooohh…" Kaoru's eyes widened in amazement. " Kenshin-- what is--?"
" --It's Death's horse." Kenshin explained quickly. He took Kaoru by the hand and hurried her towards the door of the car.
Kenshin opened it and gestured for her to enter. " Watch your head."
" W-What?!"
" It's ok, I've ridden in it before." Kenshin smiled and nodded his head in reassurance. " I'll be riding with you. Daijobu."
Kaoru gingerly sat down on the leather seat, careful to keep her Kimono modestly closed as she lifted her feet onto the
carpeted interior.
" Now, scoot over." Kenshin said softly, peering down at her. Kaoru nodded nervously and scooted to the far side of the seat
as Kenshin climbed in after her. Fate followed and sat across from them.

Thanatos was already sitting behind the wheel by the time those in back were situated. " Mortus! Let's go home and FAST!"
He commanded. The engine seemed to purr in response and just as fast as it had come. The car jolted into action. Kaoru
toppled over onto Kenshin as it took off in the direction of Death's mansion in purgatory.
" Are you ok?" Kenshin helped her to sit up again. " I've gotten kind of used to this thing."
" Heh-- It's so strange!" Kaoru said softly. She looked around in amazement. "What IS this?"
" Death calls it an 'automobile'." Kenshin explained.
" They'll be very popular in 40 to 50 years." Fate explained. "This is a 90's model."
Kaoru furrowed her brows. " 90's?"
Fate laughed nervously. " Oh-- Time gives us little tidbits of info about the future like this. Do you know that in the future, you'll
be able to talk to people around the world as easily as you're talking to me?"
Kaoru looked at her astounded. " Really!?"
" Uh huh!" Fate nodded her confirmation. " Not only that-- but you'll be able to SEE all sorts of different places around the
world on a box about this big that everyone will have in their home." She made a box shape with her arms for emphasis. " Like
the Kabuki Theater, there will ALWAYS be plays and dramas on 24 hours a day!"
Kaoru glanced at Kenshin, who shrugged with a sweatdrop.
They hadn't been travelling for more than must have been 30 seconds before the car halted with a screech, sending both
Kenshin and Kaoru toppling onto the floor of the car in an ungraceful tangle of arms and legs.
Fate snickered. " You should be wearing seatbelts too."
Kenshin sat up with his hand to his head. " Jeez-- now you tell us."
" Itai--" Kaoru sat up next to him.
" Kaoru-- daijobu?"
" Come along." Fate opened the door and motioned for them to get out. " We have only minutes left!"
Kenshin helped Kaoru out and they all hurried into the building. Death led the way into his study.
" You have 4 minutes so hurry up!" He gestured towards Kenshin's body; it was still slumped over on the couch, exactly as
he'd left it. Kenshin shuddered at the sight. His body looked horribly pale. Even his usually bright red hair looked a few
shades lighter in contrast.
" K-Kenshin!" Kaoru whispered appalled. Even with the soul of Kenshin standing next to her, holding her hand… the very
sight of his body so still and pale sent a shiver up her spine. Kenshin gave her hand a reassuring squeeze.
" It's fine, my body isn't dead yet."
" Stop talking! Hurry up!" Death said with increasing urgency.
" Shut up and let them say their good-bye's." Fate muttered as she took Death by the arm and started pulling him towards the
door.
" N-Nani?"
" When he goes back into his body, he won't be able to touch her, they'll be man and ghost." Fate said matter-of-factly. " So
leave them alone for the remaining minute!"
Kaoru glanced back at Fate who closed the door after she dragged a protesting Death out into the hallway. Then she swung
her head back to look at Kenshin. He was staring at his body with eyes wide.
" Kenshin…" She brought her hand up to rest on his shoulder. " Is Fate right? When you go back into your body… I won't be
able to--"
" - I know." He said.
" But…" She bit her lip. " Kenshin! If you go back into your body then…" Her hand fisted the material of his Gi. It felt real to
her-- but if he went back… Kaoru shook her head. "No! What are you thinking? Selfish girl!"
Kenshin looked at her sadly, he couldn't think of anything to say. Kaoru just looked down at the ground. " K-Kaoru…"
Kaoru blinked up at him, trying her best to keep her voice level. " Will I be able to be with you?"
He blinked confused. " Be with me?"
" I mean… If we can convince God?"
" I…" He averted his gaze from her, frowning slightly.
" Can I?" Her voice was strained, Kenshin could tell she was doing everything in her power to keep from crying. " Can I?"
" …I don't know…"
Kaoru lowered her eyes.
" The most important thing…" he began carefully. " …Is that you don't end up in Hell or Purgatory. That you're sent back to
Heaven…" He clenched his teeth. Remembering his conversation with Gaea.

" That's the tragedy of life sometimes. You're alive, she's dead-- and after this trial, you will have to return home to
Earth. She will never be allowed to follow you--even if she is allowed to return to Heaven. You will have to eventually
separate. That is the reality of the situation."

According to the Incarnation of Nature, there was no way Kaoru would be allowed back to Earth… But-- her eyes were so
wide and sad; Two tears trickled down her cheeks as she looked at the ground. He couldn't just tell her that that there was no
hope…
" But if--" He set two fingers under her chin and lifted her head up, forcing her eyes to meet his. Kaoru blinked back her tears
momentarily as he gave her a reassuring smile. "If we can convince God, then I'm sure there would be some way for you to
return to Earth with me."
" W-What if God doesn't let me go back to earth." She began quietly. " You'll have to return anyways and…" She allowed her
sentence to trail off, scared to finish the thought.
Kenshin nodded hesitantly. " Yes, if that's the case, I'll return to Earth, and you to Heaven without me."
" No-- Heaven won't be Heaven if I'm not with you." She tightened her grip on his Gi.
Kenshin brought his hand up to cup her cheek, looking into her eyes intensely. Kaoru returned his gaze with determination, her
brows furrowed ever so slightly and her mouth set in a slight frown. She looked almost pouty.
" Kaoru…" Kenshin began. " The most important thing to me is that you're safe… That you're not suffering or hurt. I'd walk
through Hell all over again in order to safeguard your happiness."
She shook her head stubbornly. " I won't be happy if I can't be with you!"
Kenshin sighed. " We'll just have to wait and see what happens--"
" --DON'T you feel the same!?" She burst, she tore her hand out of his grasp and stepped away from him, looking at him
accusingly. " You sound as if you don't care whether we're together or not!"
" Kaoru-- what are you talking about? Of course I want it! Only--"
" Only what?"
" Only Gaea told me that it's impossible for us to be together!"
Kenshin stood with his mouth hanging open, instantly sorry that he'd said anything at all. Kaoru looked at him stunned, her
eyes wide in shock.
" K-Kenshin… what? Who's Gaea? What are you talking about?"
" Before you were sent to Hell, I met the Incarnation of Nature. Gaea… we had a long conversation. She's the only who gave
me the flower, which ultimately made it possible for me to see past Satan's illusion and rescue you. She told me that there was
no way you would be allowed to go to Earth."
Kaoru was silent and Kenshin lowered his gaze, slumping his shoulders in defeat. The truth was out.
"The best hope that we have is that God lets you go back to Heaven." Kenshin said sadly. " There is no way you'll be able to
return home with me."
Kaoru shuddered, how could he say it so lightly? She clenched her fists and shook her head.
" I don't believe it!"
" Kaoru--"
" NO!" She shook her head angrily. " How? What's this whole adventure about? What was the point?! If we're destined to
part anyways why not just LEAVE me in Hell!"
" KAORU!"
" I'll suffer in one place or another! I don't care which, Hell would be better suited to me--"
" Kaoru STOP this." Kenshin grabbed her arms. " DON'T say such things!"
" …" She refused to meet his gaze.
" I love you Kaoru." Kenshin whispered, he stepped closer and folded his arms around her, she stood rigid, still refusing to
look at him. " But--" He coaxed, " If I can't be together with you, I at least want you to be happy in your afterlife… Who
would want the one they love to be unhappy? In Life or in Death… it doesn't matter because even if I can't follow you, I'll
always love you."
Her eyes quivered now, she stole a glance at him. Kenshin's gaze instantly hooked her and she turned her head to face him
fully. ]
" So-- when I'd heard you were sent to Hell-- I… I just went out of my mind thinking about it. I couldn't imagine you…" He
closed his eyes tightly, lowering his head so that his long fringe of red hair could conceal the droplets that involuntarily slid down
his cheeks. Kaoru gasped as his shoulders started to shake. " And so-- I had to save you… I almost killed myself to save
you! I love you so much--"
" Kenshin!" Kaoru threw her arms around him, hugging him in a tight embrace. "Stop! Don't say anymore, you don't need to."
She felt his body instantly tense up at her sudden embrace.
" Kaoru…" His voice shook. " But--"
" Shh… I know… I understand now." She tightened her grip, feeling him slowly relax in her arms. " I'm so sorry Kenshin! I
was being so selfish."
" Selfish? You?"
" I--" She looked down. " I can only think of myself right now. It's horrible… because all I can think is that I don't want to be
parted from you. But you-- you only thought of me. This entire time… you just wanted me to be safe. "
" I had to protect you."
"I understand that now. But-- even if I can go back to earth as a ghost, I wouldn't be able to-- to hold your hand like this…"
She brought one hand down, coaxing his tightened fist to open and threaded her fingers with his. Kenshin opened his eyes and
watched her silently.
"… Or do this…" She brought his hand to her lips, kissing his knuckles softly before she turned her head away, choking back a
sob. " So…part of me really doesn't want you to go back into that body… Forgive me… "
" Kaoru…" Kenshin brought his other hand to rest on her cheek. She closed her eyes tightly and took a deep breath. "
Kaoru-- part of me doesn't want to go back into my body either. But if I didn't… then that would be suicide."
Her eyes flitted open, she bit her lip tightly and then a sad smile crept across her face. " It would… wouldn't it? I'm so stupid--
I--"
Kenshin suddenly leaned into her, kissing her tenderly. Kaoru's heart leapt in her chest as his arms folded around her in a tight
embrace. She allowed herself to be held, melting in his strong grip. His hot tears mingled with hers, and the warmth his soul
radiated spread throughout her. Kaoru folded her arms around his waist, opening her mouth to allow his tongue entry. Would
this be the last time she could feel those lips on hers? And that red hair brushing against her cheek? The warm, secure feeling of
being held in the arms of the person you love?
" Don't make me leave him…" She prayed silently. " Even if I'm just a Ghost, I want to be with him!"
Kenshin released her hesitantly and stepped back towards his awaiting body.
" Kaoru?" He voiced her name as a question. As if he was asking if it was ok with what he was about to do. Kaoru brought
her hands up and clasped them tightly over her heart. Then, she slowly nodded her head in agreement.
With her compliance, he carefully sat back down into his body.

***

Death tapped his foot impatiently. " Fate-- if he doesn't make it, it's all YOUR fault."
" Himura wouldn't do that."
" Oh really? You haven't seen the love his has for that girl-- he'd do anything for her-- and you saw the look on her face when
you told her they wouldn't be able to touch each other or anything!"
" Kaoru-san wouldn't ask him to give up his life! He knows the consequences of that!"
" But--"
" I think he's progressed a little bit since the first time you met him!"
" He KILLED himself because of her!"
" You're starting to become just as anal as the Archangel!" Fate snickered at him.
" DON'T EVEN get me started on the archangel!!!" Death turned on her, his gaze darkening considerably.
" …"
They both glared at each other for what seemed a full minute until a sudden cry penetrated the ominous silence.
" FATE!" Kaoru passed through the door like a whirlwind, her eyes wide with horror. " FATE! Kenshin-- KENSHIN!"
Fate turned towards her in shock as Kaoru pointed towards the closed door in earnest.
" He's sick or something! Help him! Kenshin--"
" Sick?" Both Fate and Death lunged for the door at the same time and flung it open, tripping over each other as they both
pushed through the narrow doorway.
" Grr-- FATE! Get off my cloak!"
" YOU'RE stepping on it baka!" Fate gave him a sharp smack upside the head and while Death tried to gain back his senses,
turned to take a good look at Kenshin. She stopped short at the site that befell her.
Kenshin lay on the ground next to the couch, sweat broke out all over his face, his body shivered convulsively. His violet eyes
were contracted to mere pinpoints, open wide in shock.
" What's wrong with him!? Fate-- Death… " Kaoru knelt next to him and tried to put her hand on his shoulder, it simply passed
through his body. Kaoru bit her lip hard, clenching her other fist in a tight ball. " Kenshin!" She demanded. " What's wrong?
It's me! Don't you hear me?"
"C-C-cold…" Kenshin contorted into a tight ball, arms wrapped around his body trying desperately to retain any form of heat.
" HE'S COLD!" Kaoru said frustrated. " Fate! Help him! HELP KENSHIN!!"
" Death!" Fate cried. " Get blankets!"
Death nodded and hurried out he door, Fate walked over to Kenshin and put a reassuring hand on his shoulder.
" Himura-san?" She said softly. " Can you hear me?"
Kenshin's head turned towards her, but his eyes remained unfocused. " Fate?"
" That's right. You'll be ok-- be patient and it will pass..."
" What's wrong with me? I- I'm so cold! And I can't see!"
" Kenshin! Hang on!" Kaoru's voice broke with worry.
" K-Kaoru?" Kenshin whispered, a small smile spread over his face despite his chattering teeth. At least now he was aware of
others around him.
Death was back in seconds with an armful of blankets.
" I had some of my staff make him some tea. They should be in here shortly. " He said briskly. He lifted Kenshin up easily,
helping him to lie down on the couch and covered him. Kaoru sat next to him, whispering soothing words into his ear.
" Shhh- It's all right. You made it, you're back in your body now and it'll all be ok."
" Kaoru…"
Gradually the convulsive shivering subsided and his muscles slowly relaxed. A woman arrived with the tea and Fate had to help
Kenshin drink it by lifting his head and holding the steaming cup to his lips.
"It's good he's able to swallow it all on his own." Fate said as she gently lay his head back onto the pillow; Kenshin was already
sleeping soundly. " He'll be ok, he must have entered JUST when his body was reaching its critical point between life and
death. With that sudden rejoining of body and soul, it really shook him up."
" What about his sight?" Kaoru asked.
" It'll probably be back when he wakes up." Fate said.
" When will that be?"
" He's been through an awful lot dear." Fate put a hand on her shoulder. " He and Thanatos journeyed through Hell itself to
find you, let him sleep now."
Kaoru nodded slowly, her eyes not leaving Kenshin's peaceful visage. " What do we do know?"
" Let's let him sleep right now. We still have a lot of things to take care of before we all meet to hold the final trial." Death said.
" Yes, I'm sure Thanatos has a lot of paper work and stuff that needs to be done. Right Thanatos?"
" Nee-- when is the trial going to be?" Kaoru asked.
" Tomorrow." Fate winked at her. " That's why Thanatos has a lot of work to get done!"
" Oh yeah-- but AFTER I take a nap." Death grinned and then turned to walk out the door. " Oyasumi!"
" Thanatos!" Kaoru's voice stopped him; he turned to look at her
She stood up straight, her eyes quivered but she managed to meet his gaze evenly.
" Thank you so much!"
Thanatos nodded solemnly. " You're welcome, but it's not over yet. You should get some clean clothes and some rest."
Kaoru nodded " Oyasumi-nasai Thanatos!"
After he'd left, Fate turned to her.
" He's right you know. That kimono..." She giggled, shaking her head. " Himura-san was too much a gentlemen to comment…
but that thing definitely needs some work."
Kaoru blinked and looked down at the severely torn and dirty white Kimono, which she'd worn since she'd arrived in
Purgatory. She blushed a bright red as she noticed not only that the collar was completely torn, but also the fabric hung
provocatively over her shoulders, accentuating the curves of her breasts hardly enough to be called modest. Kaoru hastily tried
to pull up the fabric, which only set it more out of place. Fate giggled.
" Come with me. We'll get you fixed up and looking beautiful in no time."
" Oh-- but…!" Kaoru glanced back at Kenshin nervously.
" He's not gonna wake up any time soon. It's ok. It'll only take a short while to spin you a new Kimono."
"S-Spin?"
Fate winked at her and changed to her younger aspect, the tall golden haired beauty. " I'm Fate dear," She held up what
seemed an intricate working of threads around her fingers for emphasis. " If I can spin the threads of Fate, then I can surely
make you a beautiful Kimono!"

CHAPTER 31- The Final, Winning Blow

*Please don't read this if you have an exam or something the next morning, I'd hate to be held accountable for any loss of
sleep-- ^^;; Thankyou.*

Kenshin opened his eyes slowly, allowing himself to adjust to the unusual softness of the couch he was lying on. He lay for a
moment, completely oblivious to where he was, and then his memory reminded him of his situation.
" Kaoru!" He sat up quickly, too quickly, and was instantly overtaken by a sudden dizziness. He sat back; putting a hand to
his head as Death walked in the door.
" Oh good, you're awake. I was hoping you'd wake soon…"
" Death…" Kenshin sat up slower this time, taking care of his aching head. " Where is Kaoru?"
" She's just fine. She was with Fate discussing her case last I heard."
" Her case?"
" Yes—the one she must defend in front of God at the appeal."
" When is that anyways?" Kenshin took off the blanket he'd been covered with and straightened out his Gi.
" It's in about 5 hours. We should leave here soon though. It's to be held in Time's residence in purgatory."
" Sou de gozaru… why Time?"
" Because Time runs backwards in Time's residence. Who knows how long this trial will take, and with all major incarnations
there, no one will be doing their job. The world could end while we're discussing this trial. That way—when we leave the
house, it will be like we never entered it."
Kenshin tried his best to grasp the concept, but just shrugged and nodded his head as if he knew what Death was talking
about. " Ok—so… tell me a bit about how the trial will run."
Death took a seat across from him, then drew out a clipboard from thin air. He consulted it carefully.
" Well, it's pretty simple. All the incarnations are called as "jurors." However, it's more like a council of members that listen to
the case and discuss the verdict. God in this case will be the chairman because it's under His jurisdiction. The only catch is that
you need a unanimous vote when all major incarnations are involved."
" All the major incarnations?" Kenshin repeated more to himself than anyone in particular. He stood up and looked towards
the door. Death caught the hint and quickly rose.
" Go ahead, Kaoru should be on the second floor. Just turn right and then to the end of the hall…"
" Domo Arigato."

**

Kaoru paced her room nervously, going over what she'd discussed with Fate.
" Ok—" she muttered to herself. " Never invoke an argument… be humble, pious, and straightforward…Ohhh—" She rung
her hands tightly before she heard a brief knock on the door.
" Come in." She turned around, almost jumping out of her skin to see Kenshin suddenly enter the room.
" Kaoru...I—"
" WHAT are you doing off that couch?! Did you just wake up!" She ran to him, stopping just a few feet away, she stood
slightly bowlegged, wringing her hands nervously in the folds of her long sleeves. " Kenshin—how do you feel? Are you still
cold? Do you want something warm? What about food? You hungry?"
" Matte! Kaoru—heh… slow down! I'm feeling just fine, and I'm not cold, or hungry—no… I don't think I could stomach
anything right now."
" … Kenshin—"
His smile had a hint of sadness in it as they stood facing each other, knowing well that they couldn't touch, and greet each other
as they wished. He wanted to hold her so badly, comfort her and say everything would be ok. He didn't even know how she
was handling all this pressure. She had to defend herself for the sake of a happy afterlife. And, if she was sent to Hell
again—no… he wouldn't think about that…"
" What is it that you came for?" Kaoru asked softly, she turned and walked out onto the balcony. It overlooked a pasture.
Mortis was not too far off, grazing leisurely.
" To see you." Kenshin followed her out, standing next to her. He put his hands inside his Gi and looked out over the scenery.
" Sou…" Kaoru smiled slightly, " The trial is in a couple of hours…"
" I know—Death told me about it."
" Are… you going to be there?"
Kenshin looked at her amazed. " Of course!"
" But—doesn't your body only have a certain amount of time to remain in purgatory?"
Kenshin looked away, he'd forgotten about that! He cursed all those restrictions that put such a strain on their time together. "
I—know it does… how long did I sleep?"
" About 10 hours."
That was a lot of sleep for him, he usually never slept more than 3 or 4 hours a night. And he was always the lightest of
sleepers. Always aware of everything going around him even while dreaming… He made a quick mental count of the hours.
" I have a little less than 12 hours left. I'll be alright."
Kaoru sighed, she looked much more relieved now, which put him at ease, He moved closer to her, wishing more than
anything that he could put his arm around her shoulder.
" I wouldn't ever abandon you… Anyone can push their limits anyway."
" No… you did just a short while ago—and it almost cost you your life!" Kaoru scolded him. " You went back into your body
JUST when it reached the critical point. If I'd have been alive and in my body when I saw you collapse like you did, I would
have had a heart attack!!!"
" Sumanu! Sumanu!" Kenshin put his hands up in apology. " But—I get to remind you that it wasn't ME that stalled it!"
" Nani? Why--- you…" Kaoru raised her fist angrily. " Blame everything on me then!? Kenshin no baka!"
Kenshin easily dodged the punch, knowing well that it would never connect. Kaoru stopped as she realized it too. She let her
hand drop and chuckled to herself.
" Heh—sorry."
" No—you don't have to apologize." Kenshin put in quickly.
Kaoru nodded wordlessly then turned back to gazing at the scenery.
" It's pretty in purgatory, isn't it?" She said softly.
Kenshin looked out over the green grassy pastures and the hills in the distance, nodding slowly. "Hai de gozaru."
" You don't see hills like these in Tokyo—"
" …" Kenshin stole a glance at her, he froze as a single tear ran down her cheek. Realizing this, she quickly swiped it away
and then laughed half-heartedly. " Gomen-nasai… I promised myself I wouldn't start with that again. It's—It's just hard…
and—I'll be glad when it's over with."
Knowing well that "it" meant the trial, Kenshin nodded. "Shall we go find Fate-dono then?"
" Yes… let's…" Kaoru turned to walk into the room again. Kenshin for the first time realized that she was wearing a stunning
white Kimono with purple and pink water lilies patterned on the sleeves. Her obi was a purple that matched the print of the
flowers, and her hair was done up in a pink ribbon. She looked stunning.
" Kaoru—" His voice stopped her, she turned around inquisitively.
" Hai?"
" I—umm…" His face reddened slightly and then he shook his head. " Nothing…"
Kaoru arched an eyebrow at him, but guessed by the look he was trying to hide what he had been about to say. She smirked
and then turned back with a flurry.
" I'm glad you like it."
" Oro?" Kenshin blinked surprised.
Kaoru glanced back at him and stuck out her tongue. " Gotcha!"

***

The few remaining hours passed in a flash. Kaoru sat uncomfortably next to Kenshin in the back of the Death Mobile. She'd
taken to twiddling and twisting her fingers and playing with the ends of her hair nervously, running over and over in her mind all
the things Fate had told her about God and about the trial. She stole a side-glance at Kenshin. He sat staring straight ahead;
one hand supporting the Sakaba that extended up from the ground with the hilt resting on his shoulder. He had that familiar
"before the battle" look about him. In other words, he seemed very calm and calculating. She smiled slightly, biting her lower
lip, and forced herself to let go of the stray strands of hair that she couldn't stop twiddling with.
" If Kenshin can act so cool at a time like this, so can I." She thought determined. She sat on her hands, but it wasn't
before long when she began tapping her feet impatiently on the carpeted floor of the car. Fate noticed Kaoru's sorry attempts
to keep herself from fidgeting. She smiled and leaned across the seat to her.
" It's ok dear." She said comfortingly. " God isn't really all that scary. All that final judgment of the living and the dead junk is
really over rated. God's job is to oversee the people on earth, and to promote good and love and happiness. God knows
what's right."
Kaoru said nothing, only nodded slightly. They all felt the car suddenly halt. Kenshin opened the door and stepped out,
holding it open for Kaoru and then Fate to exit.
" Thank you." Kaoru said softly. Kenshin nodded to her, his face betraying nothing of what he was thinking.
" He must really be deep in though," Kaoru thought as they walked up the steps to Time's enormous mansion. Death knocked
on the door and Kenshin was surprised to see Gaea open it.
" Gaea-dono?"
" There you all are! Everyone is in the main conference room and waiting." Gaea said. " Well-- God hasn't arrived yet. But you
know how she always likes to be fashionably late. Come on in!"
Kenshin and Kaoru exchanged glances. "She?"
" Yes-- she! Didn't you know? Well that's not all that important, you have to meet everyone!" Gaea ushered them in the door
and Death took off his black cloak, the skull face one normally saw dissolved to that of his normal, human appearance. Kenshin
blinked back startled. He'd never seen Death's human face before. He knew that Death was in fact alive, Kaoru had told him
that, but never had he seen his true appearance.
" Don't look so shocked." Death grinned with slightly crooked teeth. " I'm just as human as you are, only immortal."
" They cleared the huge flight of stairs and Gaea turned them down a long corridor to the large, double doors at the far end of
the hallway. They were ornate, and a clock was imbedded in the arch over the portico. It was a clock that was running
counter clockwise.

Gaea opened the door to the room. Fate and Death entered first, Kenshin next. Kaoru reluctantly entered after him. As she
entered the room, she took in the site of the awaiting Incarnations. Her heart instantly leapt into action and she felt suddenly
dizzy.
" Kaoru? Are you ok?" Kenshin could sense her hesitation and the sudden look of fatigue that came over her as she stepped
into the room. He knew that if she fainted, he wouldn't be able to catch her.
Slowly, she gathered her senses again and managed to calm the sudden speed of adrenaline. She nodded.
" Are you going to keep us waiting all day? I have people to torture… Lives to destroy…politicians to corrupt…" Satan said
annoyed. He was the only Incarnation that didn't stand as the group entered the room.
" Oh hush up!" Fate scolded him. She took her seat across the table. Kaoru took in the setup of the room in one glance.
There was a huge circular table with 9 chairs; one chair at the very front of the room was larger than the rest. She assumed that
one was for God. Death beckoned her to sit at the other end of the table; Kenshin took his seat next to her. On the other side
of him was an Incarnation that he'd never seen before. A HUGE man, with short but flaming red hair and a long, jagged scar
running down the whole right side of his face, sealing one eye shut. He had a bushy red beard, and a longsword that glowed a
dull red was strapped to his belt. His very presence was utterly intimidating.
" Cheer up m'boy!" The man said as he gave Kenshin a slap along the back, almost knocking the wind out of the Rurouni. "
Being so serious gives ya wrinkles!"
" Orooo--"
" Stop it War, Himura's been through enough!" Fate scolded him.
" Aww-- dammit woman! I'm just havin' some fun with the kid!"
Gaea had meanwhile seated herself next to Kaoru. She leaned over and whispered to her. " Don't mind War-- he's just a bit
headstrong."
Kaoru chuckled. Except for the dagger eyed stare Satan was giving her, everyone seemed to be calm. It gave her courage. If
the room had been stark quiet and moody, she thought she might have fainted from anxiety.
" All rise for Her Holiness! God the All Mighty!" Two Archangel entered the room. Kenshin recognized them as those that
accompanied Gabriel when they'd taken Kaoru to Heaven. Everyone instantly stood, except Satan who did so only when
Gaea (who sat next to him) gave him a swift kick from under the table.
Kaoru watched as a figure draped in elaborate white robes entered the room. There was a brilliant white halo that surrounded
her head, masking the features of her face. The aura was so grand, and the halls of the room echoed with the songs of angels,
trumpets and fanfare made her heart pound, she found herself overtaken with awe. Her mind cleared, she was rejuvenated,
awake and energetic. She'd never felt so good before in her entire life! Was it all because of God's sudden presence? She
watched as the figure crossed the room and took her seat at the head of the table in the larger of the chairs. Her Archangels
taking up position to either side.
Gaea leaned over to Kaoru again, she whispered in her ear. " See what I mean by 'fashionably late?'"
Kaoru couldn't help but giggle. The fanfare and the singing died down until the room was once again quiet. And the halo of
light surrounding God's head dimmed enough so that you could see her features. Kaoru clasped her hands together. God
certainly was beautiful. With honey golden hair and brilliant green eyes that sparkled. Her gaze fell upon Kaoru and Kaoru's
heart leapt once again in her chest. It was as if God was sizing her up all in that one glance. But God's nature was not
condescending, but one more of curiosity.
"Well," Satan was the first to break the ominous silence with a clap of the hands. " Now that we're all here and ready. I'd like
to start out by saying how RIDICULOUS all of you immortals are." He pointed a hand at Kaoru. " SHE belongs to ME! It was
stated by the Archangel that she was to serve her punishment in Hell. But my dear sempai--" Satan shot a dark look at
Kenshin, "Decided that he could just up and take her out of Hell. No permission, nothing! Death even helped him! That goes
completely against the Devils Manifesto of--"
" That's quite enough Satan." God interjected strongly. " You know that she is under My jurisdiction, and if I appeal her case,
then the Archangel Gabriel's sentence is temporarily lifted."
" For starters." Fate said. " I think we should do a rolecall for Miss Kamiya Kaoru and Himura Kenshin. There are some of us
that they don't know."
" Well noted." God nodded, then turned her head to Satan. "Since you're so eager to get on with it, why don't you start?"
Satan sat back in his chair, taking his time to light his pipe. He blew a few smoke rings.
" Stop being so vulgar." Gaea flicked one finger and a wind blew up and took the smoke out an open window. A flower grew
up out of the end of his pipe. Satan's eyes bulged and the flower instantly went up in flames.
" Stop wasting our time Satan." God said acidly.
" Now who got up on the wrong side of their cloud this morning?" Satan snickered.
" Don't make me remind you whose cloud it was that dropped your sorry ass into Hell." God threw back at him.
Satan muttered a few choice curses under his breath at her.
" Cancelled, cancelled, cancelled…" God said happily, which only made Satan turn a bright, angry shade of red.
" DAMN IT--"
" What do you expect? I'm God!"
" FINE!" Satan stood up quickly. " I am Satan, The Incarnation of Evil."
Next, Gaea stood. " I am Gaea, the Incarnation of Nature."
All eyes turned to Kaoru, slowly; she stood and bowed humbly. " Watashi wa Kamiya Kaoru."
Kenshin stood up and bowed. " Sessha wa Himura Kenshin de gozaru. "
Next, the redheaded man stood up, " Whelp-- I'm the Incarnation of War. Just call me War, I don't have any fancy name or
anything."
The next person to stand was Death. " I am the Incarnation of Death, Thanatos."
And then Fate stood. " I am the middle aspect of Fate, Lachesis." She turned then to her youngest form. " I'm the first aspect
of Fate, Clotho." And then to her older form, " And I'm the third aspect of Fate, Atropos."
" I am Chronos, the Incarnation of Time."
" And I am God, the Incarnation of Good. With that, I now open Kamiya Kaoru's case. The appeal is in session."
Satan instantly rose up again. " I'd first like to say that."
" I don't recall giving you permission to speak!" God intervened hotly. Satan threw her an angry glare and then slowly sat
down again.
" Permission to begin?" Death brought his hand up.
" Yes, Thanatos, you'd be the best one to start us off. Seeing as you had the largest hand in this fiasco." God nodded
approval.
" Ok-- where to begin." Death stood up, clearing his throat. " I'm sure you are all aware of the case at hand. The
unmistakable facts are that Kamiya Kaoru broke a Cardinal rule of the Code of Guardian Angels and stepped the boundaries
between a Guardian Angel and her client. Her client being the famous Himura Kenshin, labeled Hitokiri Battousai and the one
that brought down Shishio Makoto about a year ago."
War elbowed Kenshin in the ribs a bit too hard, causing him to double over. " You make me proud boy!"
" War!" God said hotly.
" So sorry." He gave her a huge grin, showing off several gaps in his teeth. God rolled her eyes and then nodded for Death to
continue.
" Well-- the facts are here. She broke the rules and so was punished for it. She admits herself that she was guilty--"
" -- If she admits it then why are we EVEN HERE?!" Satan burst.
" SATAN! You're out of order!" God looked at him again and it seemed that trumpets blasted in that one moment. Kenshin
and Kaoru's eyes popped open. God was not one to be crossed.
" *Ah-hem--* If I may continue…" Death leaned forward, resting both hands on the table. " We want to make it clear to you,
God, that this particular rule is ludicrous in the face of all that is good and right."
" Care to elaborate?" God turned one eye to Kaoru. She froze instantly, caught up in the gaze of the sudden judgement as all
eyes turned to her.
" I'd like to say something if I may." Gaea intervened, she glanced at Kaoru, who was thankful to turn her eyes to someone
other than God. " Kamiya-san."
" H-Hai?"
" Do you love God?"
Kaoru blinked. " Hai! Yes I do."
" Do you love Himura-san?"
" Yes. Very much." She nodded.
" What kind of love do you have for him?"
" Wh-what kind?" Kaoru glanced at Kenshin, who returned the gaze determined. His look gave her courage and she took a
deep breath. " It's impossible to categorize it… I love Kenshin so much; I want to be with him always. Even if I was dead--
I'd do anything to be with him! What kind of love would that fall under?"
" Eternal Love?" Fate broke in.
Kaoru blushed, as well as Kenshin.
" You're lucky I'm not making any obscene comments right now." Satan snickered.
The group ignored him. " You knew that he was off limits to you though, so why did you fall in love with him?"
" W-why?"
" Yes-- the rules state that you cannot have an intimate relationship your client or any human still living. Because you're bound
to love only God."
" I couldn't help it. I've always loved Kenshin."
" But you didn't have any memory of him, isn't that right?" Clotho asked.
" True-- but even then, I felt something for him. An attraction that I couldn't understand until I started experiencing my old
memories. " Kaoru closed her eyes and looked down. " There was something in me, a burning feeling that occurred whenever
he was near me. And an ache-- that was unbearable and I just wanted it to go away cause I didn't know what it was…" Her
face twisted into a look of anguish, " And then I realized, it was love. This love has been in me all this time." Her face relaxed.
" Even when I didn't know that I was in love with Kenshin. So you see--" She looked up at God, suddenly finding it not so
difficult to look her in the face. " You see-- that it was impossible for me to ignore it, because the love that I feel for him is part
of me. It's part of my identity-- 'I am Kamiya Kaoru-- who loves Himura Kenshin'." She stole a glance at Kenshin to notice
that he was trying desperately (but not succeeding) at keeping his face from turning the shade of a ripe tomato. Smiling slightly,
she turned back to the entranced faces of the Incarnations. " I couldn't just ignore it, I'd be lying to myself if I said I didn't love
him. But-- that doesn't mean that I don't love you any less. God, I believe you are the one who made it possible for me to
meet Kenshin. If you're the Incarnation of Good, and the protector of happiness, then you should understand more than anyone
in this room should what it means to love. Once Kenshin entered my life, I couldn't be happier. And the fact that I was able to
come back to him after my death-- To have a second chance at the relationship that was too good to hope for during my life--
well, I couldn't bear the thought of being so distant from him. Especially when I discovered his feelings for me."
" Kaoru…" Kenshin looked up at her wide-eyed.
" I love Kenshin so much!" Her voice rose in with a hint of desperation, she met God's solemn gaze on fully. " If there is one
being in this world that could understand the feeling that I have for him, it is you. So I ask, is it really so bad to do what you're
heart tells you to? When it comes to love, am I as a guardian angel to be so restricted and deny my heart? I'd be denying myself
if I'd said I didn't love him! I couldn't do that. Lying is a sin, is it not? Can I lie to myself? I would be sinning if I said that the
only person in the world that I loved was God alone. I don't know the cases with other Guardian Angels, but a rule such as that
one that puts such limits on a soul, to say that the only person you can love is God, doesn't seem very fair. And so I plead your
forgiveness. And ask that you consider carefully the true meanings of Love. Loving God is one thing-- but loving someone so
much that you would die for them is another. I love Kenshin so much that I would die for him. I guess you could say that I did
die for him-- twice in fact… but the second time wouldn't have happened if this rule had never existed. Is it so wrong to wish
for happiness with the person you love?"

There was a long pause. Even Satan couldn't think of something to say. Finally, God sat back in her seat, a smile of quiet
contemplation on her face.
" What you say, Kamiya-san, is very true. And you said exactly what I was hoping to hear."
Kaoru straightened, suddenly the horizons didn't seem so dim. " H-hai?"
Gaea raised a handkerchief to wipe her eyes. " Ohh-- even a love that surpasses the afterlife!"
" Is there anything else that anyone would like to say? Or have we heard it all?" God inquired.
Satan stood up instantly " I--"
" EXCEPT Satan."
Satan sat back down again angrily. The rest of the room was silent.
" Well-- Let's dismiss Kamiya-san and Himura-san. And we will decide what is to be done."
Kaoru stood up nervously, Kenshin following her. Death got up and opened the door for them.
" You can go into the courtyard, but don't leave beyond the gates because time resets itself once you leave the premises."
Kenshin and Kaoru nodded understanding and left the room.

***

" Kenshin, how are you feeling?"
" Oro?" Kenshin looked up from his seat on the bench. " I'm fine, why?"
" Ohh-- nothing really, just wondering if you were all right, you've been really quiet." Kaoru looked down again and another
long silence commenced between the two. They'd already been sitting around for what Kaoru guessed to be about five hours.
They were in times garden, which was a mix of some of the most exotic and curious plants Kaoru had ever seen. A few of
which were frighteningly large. She guessed that they might be from different periods in time. There was a sunflower that was
large enough to be an umbrella, which blocked the sunlight nicely.
" Sorry about that…" Kenshin said after what seemed like an eternity. " I've been thinking…"
" About what?"
" Just, about you, and me… and worrying because I don't know what I'll do if I have to loose you again."
" Kenshin--"
" And I'm trying to convince myself that if you go back to heaven, I'll be ok."
" That won't happen! I saw God. I could tell that she wouldn't separate us! God is supposed to be loving and compassionate
and forgiving, isn't she?!"
" But they need a unanimous vote--"
" …" Kaoru bit her lip and looked down nervously. "They do?"
" Ahh-- Death told me. Satan won't be an easy one to persuade…"
" That must be why they're taking so long."
" It's good that time runs backwards here-- so I don't have to worry about my bodies time limit in purgatory."
" You're right! I'd almost forgotten about that."
Kenshin smiled at her. " If I stay here long enough, I'd be the same age as you!"
" But then so much time would pass by on earth!" Kaoru grinned at him. " You'll be younger than Yahiko!"
" That would be a shock to his system wouldn't it?" Kenshin laughed.
Kaoru giggled. It felt good to laugh again. She couldn't remember the last time that she'd really laughed out loud before. Her
soul felt lighter all ready.
The lighthearted moment vanished as they heard the creak of a door opening. Both whirled around, instantly on edge to see
Death beckoning them back into the house. His face betraying nothing of the verdict awaiting them.
" This is it…" Kenshin whispered. " After you, Kaoru."
Kaoru nodded solemnly and followed Death into the house with Kenshin close behind. They went up the stairs and to the end
of the hall. When they entered, everyone was standing. God nodded towards Kaoru, a small smile on her face.
" Please, take your seats."
They sat, as did the rest of the Incarnations. Kaoru couldn't help but shudder at the sly grin Satan was aiming at her. He sat
with his elbows resting on the tabletop, drumming his fingers together in a diabolical manner.
" We've debated hard and long as to what exactly to do with you Kamiya-san." God said softly. " The points which you
brought up, were very clear, and very candid. I see the falseness in asking my Guardian Angels to deny love, and it's true that
love is something that grows from the very core of our being. It is a cruel thing to deny that. And because I think you've
demonstrated to me, and to most of the immortals in this room what true and eternal love really means, I've decided to amend
that rule in the Guardian Angel's Handbook."
Kaoru's eyes shot open, she bolted up out of her seat. "REALLY?!"
God nodded," So-- because the rule is amended, the charges against you are dropped."
Kaoru looked down at Kenshin, who returned the gaze of triumph with one of pure joy.
"However…"
Kaoru practically fell over, she whirled about to face God again, afraid to even breathe" However?"
" In order to do that-- we needed a unanimous vote…" God shot a dark look at Satan, who continued to smile his evil, toothy
smile. "We had to come to a compromise to pass the amendment."
" C-Compromise? What?" Kaoru slowly sank back down into her seat.
" Normally, if the charges were dropped, Kamiya-san would regain her Guardian Angel status and return to earth with
Himura-san. But the compromise was that…" God looked down sadly. Kaoru suddenly found it very hard to breathe. It was
now Kenshin's turn to jump out of his seat.
" What?! What is it?" He demanded.
God was having trouble relaying the answer-- so finally, Satan opened his mouth.
" …Because Kamiya-san still broke the rules…" He began slowly. " She will return to Heaven, the first level of Heaven… as
an ordinary spirit for the rest of her afterlife."
It was Satan's final, winning blow.

CHAPTER 32- Cherished Memories

Authors note: As my best friend Tiffany, chains me to this computer so that I CANNOT escape writing this final chapter, I must
digress… I started this fanfic with the idea that "Oh, it should only be like 8 to 10 chapters long." But of course, knowing me it
will ALWAYS be longer. I never would have thought this simple idea with crossing over Rurouni Kenshin with Piers Anthony's
fabulous series would turn into such a saga. This is for those of you who have been so supportive of me. Heavenly
Incarnations is really only my second major fanfic attempt, and I built up a lot of confidence in myself through writing this. I say
this with all honesty, those that were so kind as to send me ego-boosting e-mails about how you were enjoying my fic…I can
only say that this fic WOULDN'T have been finished without your encouragement! THANK YOU ALL!

I'd especially like to say a great big "Thank You" to Tiffy (UmiGoddess), Tae-san, Ardith, Neka, and Sae-san for all your
support. And additional love goes out to all the wonderful people on my personal Incarnation mini-list, and my fellow members
on the Kenshin fanfiction mailing list. I know I've been a lurker lately. ^^;; I'm sorry for that, I'll try and be better about posting
from now on! But-- you know how real life gets in the way. =P

**** This chapter is dedicated to Hikaru, who left this world before she got the chance to see the end of Heavenly
Incarnations. I love you Noemi, and I miss you!***

And now, on with the story!

" What?! What is it?" He demanded.
God was having trouble relaying the answer-- so finally, Satan opened his mouth.
" …Because Kamiya-san still broke the rules…" He began slowly. " She will return to Heaven, the first level of Heaven… as
an ordinary spirit for the rest of her afterlife."
The circle of faces looked grim. Kenshin slowly sank back into his seat. Kaoru sat frozen, as if she'd suddenly been turned to
stone. Indeed she felt stone cold, and there was a sudden pain in her chest.
" N-No way…" She managed to breath out.
" Kamiya-san?" Gaea looked at her worried. " Are you ok?"
The room began to spin, Kaoru's head felt light and her legs collapsed from underneath her. In a flash, Kenshin was there, he
would have caught her…

He would have caught her… if only she hadn't been a spirit…

" Kaoru! KAORU!"
She could hear him in the back of her mind, calling her to wake up, his voice was pleading. Suddenly, she felt herself hoisted up
into a strong embrace. Strong, firm hands supported her.
Kenshin…
She opened her eyes slowly to see Kenshin's worried face. He crouched over her nervously.
" Kaoru…daijobu?" He whispered.
" Kenshin…" She blinked, noticing it wasn't him that was holding her, rolling her eyes and tiltling her head upwards, she noticed
that Death was supporting her instead.
" You fainted." Kenshin said slowly. " Are you ok?"
" KENSHIN!" Kaoru sat up swiftly and lunged for him. Wanting so badly to be held in his arms. No-- this had to be some
kind of nightmare. It wasn't real! It wasn't!!
Kenshin moved again to catch her, sheer reflexes… but she passed through him and collapsed onto the ground again.
" Kaoru!" Kenshin jumped quickly to the side to give her room. "Don't move so quickly!"
" Kamiya-san. Just calm down now." Fate knelt down this time to help Kaoru sit up. "Are you going to be ok now?"
" I knew something like this would happen." Gaea shook her head and then threw an ugly look at Satan, who had the nastiest
look of smug satisfaction on his face.
Kaoru had the stunned, wide eyed look of a bird that had just hit a window, and was sitting, too shocked to even move. "
Kamiya-san!?" Fate shook her slightly.
" Kaoru…" Kenshin's voice strained, the pain registering in it bringing her back, she turned her face slowly to look at him.
" It—isn't a dream… it's real… and…"
Kenshin nodded silently.
She reached her hand out towards him, shuddering as it passed through his chest as easily as a hand passes through water.
" Kamiya-san," The calm voice of God spoke up behind her. Kaoru turned her head to gaze upon the lovely features of the
Incarnation of Good. God knelt next to her, and with one finger wiped a single tear away from her cheek that had managed to
penetrate the surface. " I wish that I could allow you to return to earth with him, but be thankful that you're at least going back
to heaven."
" You'll see your man when he dies!" War's deep bravado boomed forth, that sent a shiver down Kaoru's spine.
" Hush up!" Gaea scolded. War ran a huge hand through his wild hair and shrugged.
" Heck I was jest trying to cheer her up!"
Chronos was the next to give her a reassuring smile. " The time will pass before you know it, I can make sure of that if you'd
like."
Kaoru smiled sadly and nodded her head. " Thank you all, and, I understand that you did all you could to help us. I really
thank you from the bottom of my heart." She placed a hand on her chest and turned with a forlorn expression to look at
Kenshin.
" Sou de gozaru. Having Kaoru return to earth with me, well, it would be too good to be true." Kenshin began slowly. " But--
knowing that know, for sure, she'll be safe and happy, that was our real goal. Even if it means we must part."
Their eyes met, Kaoru's heart leapt in her chest, heartbeat quickening as both knew, without words that the time had come to
finally say goodbye.
God could sense it as well and quickly waved one hand. " I declare this case closed. Meeting ajourned."
All incarnations faded out save Death, Fate and God. Death nodded to Kenshin stiffly.
" I'll… wait outside with Mortus. Come out when you're ready." And he turned to leave.
" Thanatos!" Kaoru called.
Death turned one last glance to her, his face solemn. "Yes?"
" Thank you."
He nodded, a warm smile spread across his pale face. " I will certianly visit you in heaven, so this is not goodbye yet."
Kaoru smiled as he left the room. Next, Fate gave both of them in turn a hug.
" I'm sad to see you leaving us." She said to Kenshin. " We'll miss you and all the trouble you cause." She winked at him.
" Sorry about it all." He smiled weakly.
" Oh, don't worry, I haven't had this much excitement in centuries. But, it's straightened out now right?"
" Thank you Fate, for all your help." Kaoru bowed to her, Fate returned the bow.
" I'll be seeing you again my dear, I know it'll be lonely at first, but feel free to visit us any time."
To Kenshin, and Kaoru's surprise, Fate changed form to that of a giant spider, and climbed out of the room through an open
skylight.
" Fate's always full of surprises…" Kaoru remarked with a small giggle. Kenshin nodded with a smile as they watched her
disappear from sight
Finally, both eyes turned to God. She nodded to Kaoru.
" You may say your final farewells, and then we shall be off-- I"ll escort you back to Heaven myself."
" God--" Kenshin whispered without lifting his gaze from Kaoru. " Is there-- any possible way she could become a guardian
angel again?"
God sighed heavily and shook her head. " No way… Satan made sure of that… she is not to return to earth, ever."
Kenshin closed his eyes and lowered his head.
" Kenshin?" Kaoru whispered, reaching out to him.
" I wish I could hold you right now." His voice was barely audible.
Kaoru halted her hands approach towards him, and turned her eyes to God. God nodded to her and smiled.
" Well-- for your goodbye's… I'll grant that… I'll wait outside with Thanatos as well." And she disappeared from the room.
Kaoru blinked amazed, just like 'that' God could grant their wishes?
Daring to even breath. She advanced her hand towards him again. Kenshin brought his own hand up, and their palms met. His
callused hand against hers had never felt so good. Kaoru's heart almost skipped a beat at the elated feeling she felt by just this
one contact. At this time, after everything that had happened, this was all she could dare to dream of.
And Kenshin instantly grabbed her up, as if too afraid this moment would only last for a few seconds. He brought up her into
his strong embrace. Kaoru melted to his frame, bringing both her arms up to encircle his back.
They embraced each other, Kaoru could feel the strong beat of Kenshin's heart, and smell the familiar, rustic scent in his hair
and Gi.
" Kenshin, I will never forget you." She whispered.
" And I you." He responded.
" Take--" She could feel the tears coming. Determined to keep from crying, she shut her eyes hard and gripped the fabric of
his Gi tighter- drawing in even closer to him. "Take good care of Yahiko!"
" I will…" He whispered. " He'll grow up to be a fine successor to Kamiya Kasshin Ryu."
" Heh.." Kaoru laughed half hearted and slowly pulled away enough so that she could look into his eyes. " And… when the
time is right-- him and Tsubame-chan…"
" Ahh--" Kenshin nodded, leaned over and kissed the tears away from her cheeks. " I will support the both of them."
" Megumi's baby--" Kaoru whispered, blinking more tears. " I'm sorry I will never see it."
" Maybe some day you'll be able to see it from where you are. You never know." Kenshin's voice was soft and soothing, and
calmed Kaoru's pounding heart.
" Heh-- Don't let Sano corrupt it with gambling at too young an age…" she did her best to smile for him. Kenshin winked at
her.
" I promise."
" And…Kenshin…" Kaoru whispered, " I…"
This final thing, it seemed the most difficult for her to say. Kenshin waited patiently until she could continue.
" Kenshin… I want you to know-- that… if you should find someone…"
She was fully crying now, tears streamed down her cheeks, and Kenshin's eyes suddenly grew wide as he understood what
she was trying to say.
" If you have a chance to be happy…with someone else… then I want---"
He quickly silenced her, putting a finger to her lips. Kaoru shot a glance up at him, and before she could open her mouth to
retort, he stopped her with a passionate kiss. Her lips tasted salty from her tears, but to him, in this moment, they had never
tasted sweeter.
When Kenshin finally, reluctantly pulled away from the kiss, Kaoru opened her eyes and saw him shaking his head slowly.
" I don't think I'll be able to." He whispered, bringing one hand up to caress her cheek.
" But--" Kaoru protested. " I want you to be happy! You deserve to be with.--"
He silenced her again, Once more with a deep kiss, but this time shorter. And when he pulled away, he shook his head. His
gaze was so set, and so determined, that Kaoru couldn't fight it, she gave up by lowering her eyes, and Kenshin leaned inward,
touching his forehead to hers, his hand resting at the nape of her neck, and the other one massaging up and down her back.
" I love you, only you." He whispered to her.
" Me too." She said hoarsly in response.
Kenshin brought his hands around to cup her face, running his thumbs along both her cheekbones, he wiped away her tears,
and then took her hands, helping her to stand up.
" So…" Kaoru looked at the ground. "This-- is goodbye…"
Kenshin nodded, then suddenly straightened, as if he'd just remembered something important. Kaoru looked up at him
inquisitively.
" One last thing… that I almost forgot." He quickly fished around in the sleeve of his Gi and brought forth the ring. Kaoru's eyes
lit up instantly as she saw it.
" Kenshin! You still have it!"
" Of course-- I'd intended to give it back to you when I saved you. It is yours… after all."
Kaoru reached for it, but then hesitated, she looked at him nervously. "Will I, be able to wear it?"
Kenshin closed his eyes. "This is my final wish--" then took her left hand, and slipped the ring onto her ring finger. Praying all
the while that she would be allowed to keep it.
Kaoru brought her hand up to her lips and kissed the ring. " And mine as well."
God's soft voice floated over to them, they turned to see her standing in the doorway.
" Kamiya-san, it's time."
Kaoru nodded solemnly, and then turned back to Kenshin.
" I love you." She said, barely able to breath.
" I love you too. Kaoru." Kenshin smiled warmly at her. " Don't be sad. Let me see your smile once more."
It seemed impossible to smile fully for him, but Kaoru gave her best effort. And Kenshin nodded his head in satisfaction, wiping
away another tear from her eye.
" That is the vision I prefere to remember you. Be happy from now on. Promise me this."
Kaoru nodded. " Same for you."
" Hai de gozaru. I promise."
Kaoru could now sense the room getting lighter. Not ready to leave yet, she leaned over and gave him a quick kiss on the lips.
" I'll never forget you! I love you!"
" I love you-- I swear, I'll find some way for us to be together! Maybe not right now, but in the future-- I swear it!"
Kaoru was overtaken by that familiar lightweighted feeling, like when she first went to Heaven after Enishi had killed her. She
glaced over at God who had her eyes closed. God was glowing, and floating about a foot from the ground, her long white
robes billowing out and around her gracefully. And before Kaoru herself knew it, she had also left the ground and could feel the
strong but gentle pull upwards.
" Goodbye!" She cried, keeping a firm grip on his hand until she could hold onto him no longer. " KENSHIN!"
" Kaoru! Goodbye!" Kenshin couldn't hold her hand any longer, he stood below, watching her floating upwards.
She disappeared in the stream of brilliant light. And when the light itself faded away, Kenshin was alone in the room.
He was alone.

~~~
" Himura…" Death whispered when he saw the Rurouni walk down the front steps from Time's Mansion. His shoulders
slumped forwards, and his eyes-- downcast.
"Will he be ok?" Death thought, he held his breath as Kenshin stopped at the base of the steps and slowly raised his head to
meet his gaze. He smiled faintly.
" Shall we go then?" He asked softly.
Death smiled warmly, and nodded, then opened the door for Kenshin to step inside the car. "Yes--" Death thought, "It will
take a while to get over this."
He walked around the limo and got into the drivers seat. But before he gave Mortus the order to go down to earth. He turned
around and asked bluntly.
"Are you sure you're ok?"
"Oro?" He was quiet for a moment, and then managed a smile and nod. Death could tell, it was a little painful for him to smile,
but it at least was not a forced smile.
" Hai, I think so. I knew that this would happen. I just didn't want to believe it." He glanced out the window as Mortus pulled
away from Time's driveway. " But, she's in Heaven, she's safe, and she can be happy there. And knowing that puts my heart at
ease. And-- despite everything that happened, even after what Satan did, I think we still won this fight. "
Death didn't really know how to respond to this. He nodded and whispered the command to Mortus to take them to earth.
" I'll never forget her, all my memories of her are cherished ones."
Death glanced back at him. " Cherished Memories…"
" Aaa--" Kenshin looked out the window, watching the scenery flying by. " And, I don't know what it is-- a hunch probably--"
He smiled, suddenly feeling energized with a new hope. " But, I just feel like I'll be with her again someday, and it won't be at
my death."
" Only time will tell." Death said softly.
" Aaa-" Kenshin agreed.
" I can ask him if you'd like…"
" No, I think I've tangled with Fate enough, and now it's time to keep my promise."
" Promise?"
Kenshin nodded and sat back, running one hand through his hair. " Yes, Yahiko is waiting for me to come home."

EPILOGUE- Peace, at Last

--Six years after Kenshin's return home--

" Oi! Kenshin!" Yahiko's voice boomed out across the courtyard.
" Hai de gozaru?" Kenshin looked up from hanging the laundry to dry.
" I'm going out with Tsubame-chan tonight!" He rounded the corner wearing only his Hakama, he towered a good foot above
Kenshin. His intense training in both Kamiya Kasshin Ryu, (and a little Hiten Mitsurigi Ryu that he weasled out of Kenshin over
the years) gave him an impressive build. Halting a few feet from the Rurouni, he held up two different colored Gi's. " Should I
wear the blue, or the yellow Gi?"
" Ahh-- I don't know…"
" Tch! Ok then… which one sets off my baby browns more?" He gave Kenshin a dashing smile.
" Err--" Kenshin sweatdroped. " The yellow Gi."
" Ha! Yellow it is then!" Yahiko swung the yellow one over his shoulder and marched towards his room. " I'm taking
Tsubame-chan to see the fireworks tonight! It's gonna be great!"
Kenshin smiled, watching the young man disappear into the house, then resumed his hanging of laundry.
" Kaoru…" he whispered. " Yahiko is certainly grown up now."
It was definitely true. The dojo was practically self run by Yahiko. They had lots of money, Kamiya Kasshin Ryu had many fine
pupils. Tsubame-chan was over practically every day, and Kenshin found himself bored, with nothing but laundry to do and the
occassional babysitting job for little Souzo. Peaceful times had come at last, there were no more lunatics trying to hunt down the
famous Hitokiri Battousai, no more psycho's trying to single handedly take over the government, and no more people from his
past knocking on his door to seek revenge. But, he forever kept his Sakaba sword at his side. A habit that he just couldn't
shake.

" I'm leaving now!" Yahiko called out. Kenshin heard footsteps, and then the familiar creak of the dojo gate as it closed.
Sighing heavily, he finished the laundry, and then walked over and sat down on the porch. The years hadn't had much affect on
his appearance. Yahiko said he still looked like he was 20 years old. Though Kenshin wasn't sure if he was just trying to be
nice. But it didn't matter much to him. 20 or not, He still had life in him, and Kenshin found himself wondering when the time
would come when Yahiko didn't need him anymore. That time, if not now, would be pretty soon.
Lost in these thoughts, he was startled when he suddenly heard the creak of the gate opening. But, the footsteps that sounded
down the dirt path weren't the familiar heavy footfalls of Yahiko, it was someone else. Kenshin stood up, his hand lingering
inches away from his Sakaba, and his eyes narrowed cautiously. The dojo was closed for the day, for it was Tanabata, and
normal people don't just walk in uninvited.
He stood very still as the footsteps got closer, and gasped at the figure that rounded the corner.
" Fate-dono?"
Lachesis, the middle aspect of Fate rounded the corner and stopped as she laid eyes on him. She instantly clapped her hands
excited.
" Oh! Oh Himura! It's you! I was worried I didn't have the right place. Thanatos gives awful instructions!"
"W-W---What are you doing here?"
Fate approached him and put her hands on her hips. "Well, how rude! A little " 'How do you do I haven't seen you in years!'
would be appreciated!"
" Su-Sumanu… Fate-dono. I was just--"
" Startled? I'm sorry. I always forget my manners." She bowed to him. " Anyways-- I'm here because, I have some news from
Heaven."
Kenshin's heart skipped a beat, he was instantly on the edge of his seat. "Heaven? Is it Kaoru? Is she ok?"
Fate nodded hastily, putting her arms up. " Yes yes! Kaoru is just fine! Heh-- that's not the reason I'm here…"
" Oh…" Kenshin sat back, relieved. " Then-- what is it?"
"Well-- where do I begin…We, as you know, are Incarnations-- serving Human's through duties such as managing Time, Fate,
War, etc. you follow?"
Kenshin nodded.
" And-- well, we're also human. We sometimes get tired of our positions, and decide that it's high time we retired, and let
another human take our office."
"Fate-dono, are you retiring?"
" Who me?" Fate blinked twice, and then laughed. "Oh no no! Not me-- Peace!"
Kenshin lifted an eyebrow. "Peace?"
" A lesser Incarnation…The Incarnation of Peace works under God in Heaven. Managing things like the aftermath of a war--
when peace comes to a land, things need to be rebuilt, homes, cities; countries must bring forth treaties, stuff like that."
" Sou de gozaru…" Kenshin nodded, wondering what she was getting at.
" And so-- Peace is going to retire. And, well-- God has chosen you as a top candidate for the office."
" Office?" Now Kenshin was really confused.
" Of Peace! You're our number one candidate to take the position. What do you say?"
" You mean, ME?" Kenshin gawked, with one hand inclined to his chest.
Fate nodded. " Yes-- you."
" ME?" Kenshin jumped to his feet, flabbergasted. " Take over as the Incarnation of Peace?" He ran a hand through his hair "
B-But-- that would mean---"
" ---You'll become immortal." Fate smirked.
" W-Well…" Kenshin nodded, flustered. " Yes, I suppose-- but--."
" --- You'll go to live in Heaven." Fate leaned her head to one side, smiling slyly at him.
" I--- yeah… but--"
Fate smiled. " ---You can see Kaoru any time you want."
Kenshin's mouth fell wide open. All protests from his mind vanished in that split second. Fate just smiled at him.
" K-k-k-Kaoru…?" His voice cracked with sudden apprehension.
" So-- you want the job?"
" W-Wait a sec…" Kenshin closed his eyes and shook his head, thinking hard. "What about watching Yahiko here?"
" I suppose you'll have to talk to him first before you decide. He's grown up into a fine young man." Fate winked at him.
Kenshin smiled nervously.
" Hai-- Arigato."
As if on que, The dojo gate creaked open again and Yahiko's voice was heard.
" KENSHIN! I FORGOT THE RICEBALLS I MADE!" Yahiko rounded the corner in a second and then skidded to a halt at
the sight of Fate. He blinked twice, and then looked at Kenshin confused.
" Oh- Yahiko, allow me to introduce Lachesis." Kenshin gestured to her. " She's the Incarnation of Fate."
" Nice to meet you." Lachesis bowed. Yahiko stared for a full five seconds with his mouth wide open, then remembering his
manners, returned a swift bow.
" N-Nice to meet you." He added hastily, then whirled to face Kenshin. "Incarnation of Fate?! Kenshin! What's going on?"
" It can wait until later, you have to go meet Tsubame-dono don't you|?" Kenshin said.
" Naw-- I've gotta hear this first. I don't have to meet her for a half hour anyways."

Kenshin and Lachesis explained the situation to Yahiko. The boy had his brows furrowed, deep in thought the entire time.
" And so…" Kenshin ended. " If I take the position, I'll be able to go to Heaven to be with Kaoru."
"…"
They both waited, there was a long pause. And then Yahiko looked up at Kenshin and his face broke into a smile.
" Kenshin, you should go."
" Oro?"
" You should do it!" Yahiko jumped to his feet and punched him in the arm. " You have to! This is the chance you've been
waiting for! To see her again!"
" But-- Yahiko, what about you?"
Yahiko shook his head and grinned. " Don't worry about me. To tell you the truth, I've been worried about you recently cause
you don't have anything to do around here anymore other than laundry and babysitting. What kind of boring life is that? I think
this is the perfect opportunity for you. And what better chance to do good in the world than to be the Incarnation of Peace!
That's so cool!"
Kenshin's eyes instantly lit up. " You really think so?'"
" Of course! I know you still miss Kaoru. If you're immortal-- heck, you two WILL have eternity to be together!"
" You can go and visit Yahiko too, Kamiya-san won't, but you're immortal, and can travel between both worlds." Fate added.
Kenshin swallowed hard, this seemed to good to be true. He glanced at Fate. " Did-- Satan have anything to say about this?"
Fate shrugged. " He'll be mad when he finds out-- but he can't do anything about it. God is the one who chooses her Lesser
Incarnations. Satan can't have a say. And there was nothing in the compromise that stated you couldn't be with her in Heaven."
There was a long pause as Kenshin thought this over. He glanced a Yahiko, who returned his gaze with a bright, energetic
expression, full of hope. Kenshin knew that he didn't need him to watch over him anymore.
" I'll take the position." He finally stated.
" Excellent! " Fate nodded approval. "I believe you'll be a wonderful new Peace. Now, say your goodbye's."
Kenshin turned to Yahiko, who bowed stiffly, and then shrugged and embraced him in a hug so tight Kenshin felt his spine
creak.
" Heh-- sorry." Yahiko loosened his grip a bit, Laughing, Kenshin warmly returned the hug.
" Take care of yourself de gozaru." Kenshin said softly.
" I will, say 'hi' to Kaoru for me. And come to visit often, ok?"
" I will, I promise. Will you explain this to Sano and Megumi-dono for me?"
Yahiko nodded and let go of him. Kenshin turned to Fate.
" I'm ready to leave."
"Hold out your hand, palm downwards." Fate said.
Nervous with a sudden rush of adrenaline, Kenshin did as he was told. And out of nowhere, a Dove alighted on top of his
outstretched fingers. Instantly a brilliant white light surrounded him.
He could hear Yahiko's voice faintly through the overpowering wall of white, it grew ever more intense around him.
" Goodbye Kenshin!! GOODBYE!"

****

" Kaoru-san! Are you paying attention?"
Kaoru snapped out of her daydream and turned her head to notice the cross look the elder angel was giving her. She shrugged
and gave an appologetic smile.
" Gomen-nasai! I'm paying attention!"
" Honestly." The elder sighed loudly and shook her head of long, silvery hair. " You're never going to learn the harp if you can't
concentrate!"
Kaoru straightened her back and proped the small, golden harp up against her leg. " But, I always wanted to play the flute
instead." She muttered.
" What was that?"
" Nothing."
" Ahh-- what to do with you." The teacher shook her head and motioned for Kaoru to leave. "That's all I'll teach you today.
Dismissed."
Grateful to finally stand up, Kaoru tucked the small harp under her arm and took off running down the slope towards the small
Japanese-style home that she'd taken residence in since she'd arrived in Heaven. It wasn't quite like where she'd been before.
She didn't float on clouds in this level of Heaven. But life was still luxurious enough to be called Heavenly.
Kaoru stopped at the reflection pool outside her home and knelt down next to it. She set her harp down beside her and leaned
over the cool water, so that her face was just about a foot away from the surface.
" Kenshin?" She whispered the question out loud.
The water shimmered, as if an invisible wind had come up and disturbed the crystal clear surface. Kaoru watched as the
ripples eased, and a vision of the Kamiya dojo was now seen. She could spy Yahiko practicing his Budo and giggled. He was
looking older and more grown-up every day. Kenshin had done a fine job of raising him.
But, where was Kenshin? She lifted one eyebrow inquisitively and had the pool explore every corner of the dojo, but he was
no where to be found.
"Strange…" She thought disappointed. "He's usually there at this time, ah well.." She stood up and turned to walk into the
house.
" Sumanu!" A familiar voice from afar stopped her dead in her tracks. " Kaoru… is that you?"
That voice, the tone, it all was shockingly like his, but-- it couldn't be… Kaoru turned slowly, eyes wide and she almost
collapsed when her gaze fell upon those hauntingly familiar, deep purple eyes that she saw only in her dreams. That was, until
now.
" K-Kenshin…" She whispered, taking a step forward. " It's…really you?"
Kenshin grinned, and nodded. " Hai, it's me--"
It was too good to be true. Tears of joy instantly sprung from her eyes as Kaoru lunged towards him, throwing herself into his
outstretched arms and burying her face in his chest. " KENSHIN!"
They held each other for a long time. Kenshin stroked her silky black hair, and kissed her repeadedly on the nose, lips,
forehead, neck, everywhere. Kaoru ran her hands up and down his back. Every curve, every muscle-- it was all him. It was
Kenshin.
" I thought it would be so much longer before I saw you again…That you'd be an old man…" She whispered.
" But I told you that I would find a way for us to be together."
" But--" She looked at him confused. " You mean, you're not dead?"
" No--" He shook his head. " I became an Incarnation."
Kaoru blinked twice, the information taking a moment to register." Y-you became an Incarnation?"
" Hai-- The Incarnation of Peace."
She laughed out loud. " REALLY? You're not pulling my leg?" She gave him a sly grin.
" No! It's true!"
Kaoru closed her eyes, and looked down, shaking her head.
" Kaoru?"
" I'm so proud of you."
" Oro?"
" And-- Yahiko?"
" He told me to come. He's fine on his own now-- and, I can visit him whenever I please…to check up on him."
She pulled away from him just enough to be able to look him in the eyes. " So, you're here with me? Forever now?"
Kenshin nodded. " I'm immortal, so I'm here, until I decide to retire."
She wiped a stray tear from her eye and shook her head. " I don't believe it. You live in Heaven then?"
" God says I can live where I want."
Kaoru looked down at her hands, and then-- as if instantly remembering something important, she shyly held up her left hand,
showing the glint of the ring on her finger. " I still have it."
Kenshin's eyes brightened. " You were able to keep it?"
Kaoru nodded and then pulled away from him playfully, running a few meters away and then turned with a twirl, causing her
ponytail to whip around over her shoulder. She brought one hand up to her face and ran her fingers through her bangs, moving
the strands out of her eyes, only to have them spring back slightly tangled. " I have a lovely little home-- right here…" she
gestured, "But, it needs a man's touch." She winked at him.
" Kaoru…" Kenshin couldn't help but smile.
" What do you say? Are you up for the challenge?" She grinned.
Kenshin walked up to her in long strides and stopped just inches from her face. Kaoru blinked back startled at his sudden
serious expression.
" K-Kenshin…"
" Up for the challenge?" He whispered. " I'll take you on any day-- " And with that, he wrapped one arm around her waist, and
the other under her knees to lift her up until she was sitting gracefully in his arms. With a laugh, he turned and started for the
front door.
" Ahh! Kenshin!" Kaoru laughed, wrapping both arms around his neck.
He slid the door open with his foot and carried her inside, closing it behind him, "You may call me, 'Anata .'"

[~Fin~]