As promised, here's the epilogue.
I don't own.
The Brave Ones
Kenshin smiled as he walked along the shaded path. It had been a year and a half since the events that had last brought him to Kyoto. The battle with Yoshida had been difficult but they'd effectively ended his syndicate and the government was glad to have one less problem. Even Saito had grudgingly been glad he didn't have to deal with Yoshida's group anymore.
So many things had changed in that year and a half. The injuries that Kaoru and Yahiko had suffered at Yoshida's hands had healed and feelings had been exposed. Yahiko's near death experience had caused him to value things so much more. There had even been a period where he didn't refer to Kaoru as "busu". Kenshin smiled as he thought about when that had ended.
Beside him, Kaoru looked at him quizzically.
"What are you thinking about?" she asked, adjusting the load she carried.
"I'm just remembering how different things were a year and a half ago," Kenshin said. "And when Yahiko started calling you 'busu' again."
"Ah, I see," she said. "Who would have thought that so many bad things could have led to so many good?"
"I promise it won't take almost losing you to show me what I feel ever again," he said.
"I hope not!" Kaoru said, with mock anger.
Kenshin put his arm around his wife and pulled her against his side. Her laughter echoed through the trees. Smiling, they approached the end of the trail.
As they came through the trees and into the clearing, Kenshin smiled at the sight before them. Hiko sat on his well-worn log in front of the kiln, staring into the flames. A sake jug sat at his side. To his right sat Takeshi on the grass. The toddler was playing with blocks and animal figures made from pottery.
Hiko's voice rang out over the clearing.
"You weren't invited!"
Takeshi looked up from his toys and his eyes widened as he spotted Kenshin. Pulling himself up he toddled toward Kenshin.
"Niisan!" Takeshi's little voice rang out.
Kenshin smiled and crouched down, swinging the boy up into his arms. Takeshi giggled.
He had just started talking a few months ago and could only say father and brother properly. It always warmed Kenshin's heart to hear himself referred to as brother. Tearing his eyes away from his little brother, Kenshin looked toward his master, who now had stood and had his arms crossed.
"I suppose you're going to tell me why you've come here and disturbed my peace and riled Takeshi up when it's almost time for his nap?" Hiko said, arching an eyebrow.
Takeshi patted Kenshin's arm. Kenshin turned to face the little boy.
"Waz tat?" he asked, pointing to the thing Kaoru was carrying.
Kenshin smiled and shifted Takeshi to one hip. Putting his arm around Kaoru he addressed his master.
"Shishou, Kaoru and I would like to present your grandson, Kenji," Kenshin said, grinning widely.
Hiko clasped the bridge of his nose and shook his head slightly.
"There's another of him…" he grumbled. Straightening, he looked at the face Kaoru revealed. "Come on inside the hut. Kaoru you'd probably like to sit after that walk," Hiko said, turning toward the hut.
Kenshin and Kaoru smiled at each other and followed.