To Reveal All
Epilogue: Revealing The Future
Disclaimer: I don't own Rurouni Kenshin, or any of its characters.
Author's Notes: This chapter is the epilogue. I must thank you all once again for the wonderful response I got at the end of Chapter 24. To my 3? reviewers: I love you all. Thanks so much!
I had no idea what to call Kenshin and Kaoru's daughter. I hope you don't mind their names. (Ack! Plot giveaway! Don't look!)
Battousai: Nix-chan… they all just read that…
…/rolls eyes/ They'll find out in the first line… I suppose they can cope…
Language Notes: 'Hime' means 'Princess'.
Warnings: PG-13 for sexual situations/scenes and violence in other chapters. No language warnings.
Tokyo, Meiji 15 (1880)
"MUUUUUUMMMMMYYYY! KENJI'S HURT UNCLE YAHIKO! BUT IT WASN'T HIS FAULT!"
Kaoru sighed as a black-haired, three-year-old girl raced into the kitchen, where she was attempting to put together that night's dinner. She still wasn't as good as her husband at making a meal, but it was passable, and at least she didn't burn everything, like she initially had.
"What is the problem, Kenko?" she turned and addressed her daughter with the motherly patience that she had taken so long to learn.
"Kenji hurt Uncle Yahiko!" exclaimed the girl, her tiny kimono sleeves flapping as she waved her arms around, trying to explain. "Uncle Yahiko was practising, but then Aunt Tsubame came to visit, and Uncle Yahiko put down his shinai, and Kenji fell over the shinai, and fell into Uncle Yahiko and Aunt Tsubame, and they fell over, but Uncle Yahiko pushed Aunt Tsubame away, but then he fell off the veranda!" Kenko finished, panting at the long sentence.
It seems there's never a dull moment at the Himura Dojo… With an internal smile, Kaoru rinsed her hands and picked up the bucket that sat by the kitchen door for times such as these. Yahiko was unlikely to be injured, but it was better to take it, just in case.
Kenko grabbed her hand, and pulled her towards the front of the dojo. Kaoru had to slap her hand over her mouth when she saw the scene presented.
Yahiko had indeed fallen off the veranda. What Kenko had failed to mention was that it was into the rock-garden. The swordsman, now twenty-one, had excellent reflexes, but the rock garden contained some rather slippery stones. It also contained a pair of long, oval rocks balancing on their ends.
Or rather, it was supposed to. Currently, one was on its side, and the other was balanced on Yahiko's stomach. Tsubame had almost succeeded in pulling it off. He had obviously careened into one of the vertical rocks, slipped as he tried to catch himself, and the other of the pair had fallen on him.
With a last heave, Tsubame pulled the stone off, and turned to Kaoru, as she knelt beside her younger brother. "Will he be alright?" she asked anxiously.
"Of course," replied the older woman, as she loosened the front of Yahiko's gi, and began checking for potential injuries. Satisfied that there was nothing major, she carefully lifted his head, and began to move him carefully out of his lumpy resting-place.
"Kaoru? What's the… how did Yahiko end up in the rock-garden?" Kenshin asked as he came in the dojo gate, carrying a pole with buckets of miso hanging off its ends.
Kenko immediately tried to explain, her little mouth moving as fast as it could. "Daddy! Kenji knocked over Uncle Yahiko, and he fell in the rock garden, but it wasn't Kenji's fault, he fell over Uncle Yahiko's shinai, and… and… now Uncle Yahiko's hurt, and he's all still…!" The little girl wailed, bursting into noisy, childish tears.
Her father came over to where his wife was still moving the unconscious young man, placed the miso down, and gathered the black-haired girl into his arms. "Quiet down, Kenko-hime, and tell me a little slower," he said quietly.
"Kenji…" sniff, "fell over…" sniff, "Uncle Yahiko's…" sniff, sniff, "shinai… and Uncle Yahiko fell over…" sniff.
Kenshin wiped away his daughter's tears with the sleeve of his gi. "I can see what happened now, that I can. Don't worry, if it wasn't Kenji's fault, we shan't punish him."
"Really, Daddy?" The little face instantly brightened, and the purple eyes, so like Kenshin's own, sparkled up at her father. "I didn't want Kenji to get in trouble!"
Kenshin's head lifted for an instant, and his eyes caught Kaoru's. He knew that she had been listening in, and a spark of amusement at the behaviour of children fled between them, before Kenshin turned his attention back to Kenko.
"Owww…" a groan rose from Yahiko, and the woman shifted back from her younger brother as Tsubame rushed forwards.
"Yahiko? Can you hear me? Are you alright?" The young woman's voice was anxious.
"Ow… yeah, I'm just…" Yahiko replied, trying to sit up. "Argh!" he collapsed back, Tsubame catching his head before it hit the ground. "No… my middle section… feels like it's about to… come loose from… from the rest of my body…" he grunted, his words sharp with pain.
Kaoru sighed gently. "That's because you just had that land on your stomach…" she said, pointing to the oval stone lying near Yahiko's feet.
"Um. Yeah. Remember that… landing on me…" replied her brother, still grunting as the tender spot moved unintentionally.
Kenshin, handing Kenko to Kaoru, knelt by Yahiko, and warned him, "Hold on to my shoulders." Then he slipped his arms under the young man's shoulders and knees, and with a quick, hard thrust, lifted Yahiko.
Followed by the whole group, he carried the young man to his room, and laid him on the futon. Tsubame knelt down to tend to him, as the couple rose. "I'll get some cold water to cool that, so it doesn't bruise," Kaoru said to Tsubame as she shut the shoji.
Kenshin rolled his shoulders around, carefully massaging the muscles. "He's much heavier than when I last carried him." he remarked. The last time he had carry Yahiko was two years ago, when the young swordsman had taken around twenty yakuza all by himself, in defence of Tsubame. He had acquitted himself well, but had had his leg injured so that he couldn't walk. Tsubame had run to get Kenshin's help, and the older swordsman had carried him back to the dojo.
"Yes. He's gained a lot more muscle since then, really filled out," replied his sister, proudly. Yahiko looks like a man now, she mused, stroking Kenko's head. It's no wonder Tsubame's attracted to him. I wonder how long she'll last as a geisha…? The young woman had also bloomed, and the pretty girl, now nineteen, had become a beauty. She had become a full-fledged geisha at the age of seventeen, a year earlier than Kaoru had. Currently, she had a wealthy danna, and was doing well, though not spectacularly, as a geisha.
After getting cool water and cloths, they strolled back into the kitchen. Kaoru rescued the miso from burning, and began setting out the dishes, ready for the night's dinner, putting aside a tray to take to Yahiko. Sano was out somewhere – unsurprisingly enough, considering – but she set aside a small amount, in case the man should come back late, wanting something to eat.
Three members of the Himura family were halfway through dinner when the shoji slid open a fingerlength. Red hair and a single violet eye could be seen in the gap, and Kenshin looked up and caught his son's eye. "Why don't you come in, Kenji? Don't worry, you're not going to be punished for what happened this afternoon."
"It's okay, Kenji! Mummy said that too!" piped Kenko, but a finger to Kaoru's lips quieted her, and she occupied herself with eating, watching her brother over the rim of her bowl.
Kaoru began ladling out another bowl of rice, and placed it down on the full tray. Then, as the four-year-old inched in the shoji, she gently asked, "Where were you this afternoon, Kenji? I was worried." Kenshin could hear the thread of anxiety in her voice, and knew that she was telling the truth. She worried over the children – sometimes too much, he thought, but it's in her nature to worry about those she cares about.
The boy's mumble was barely audible as he picked up his rice-bowl, and began eating. "Um… went to see Uncle Aoshi."
Kaoru's face loosened in perceptible relief, and Kenshin felt her tense chi relax as she took in that even though her son had gone to sulk, he had gone to a safe place.
Speaking of Aoshi… "I notice that you've been visiting Aoshi a lot, in the last little while." Kenshin remarked, seemingly casually. He saw the boy tense slightly, his chopsticks pausing. "What have you been doing there so often?"
The guileless violet eyes that flickered to his were apprehensive, but the boy's honest personality showed when he muttered, "Uncle Aoshi's giving me training."
Kenshin's eyes flickered to Kaoru's, and her tiny nod replied to his unasked question: Yes, he asked me for training. The redhead's eyebrows shot up, but he smoothed his expression and turned back to the boy. "Kenji, why did you go to Aoshi for training?"
"Mum didn't want to give me lessons yet…" was the shamefaced reply, the little red head ducking sorrowfully.
"Was the training your idea?" Kenshin's voice was stern, and the boy looked up, confusion on his face.
"No… I told Aunt Misao that Mum didn't want to start training me, and she said to Uncle Aoshi that Owina… Oniwa… Oniwaban… Oniwabanshuu… training would be good for me. He said something about a little girl being eager to learn," the confusion on the boy's face deepened, "…And then said he would."
Kenshin smiled at the boy's answer. It was obvious that even though the Okashira knew how to quiet Misao, he didn't know how to refuse her anything. Ah well… any man with a young, beautiful wife would be the same, he thought, smiling fondly over at Kaoru for a moment.
Misao and Aoshi had been married shortly after the incident with the Kokuryukai. Together, they had reformed the Oniwabanshuu – the group of ninjas that had been under Aoshi's command when he was with the Kokuryukai. Aoshi's former lieutenants – Han'nya, Shikijou, Beshimi, and Hyottoko – had become the prime members, and they were recruiting more men and women as they carried out secret work for the government.
Kaoru's gentle laugh turned both red heads towards her. "Very well… it seems that you have your father's fighting spirit, Kenji." Her eyes twinkled over at her husband. "I shall begin your training next week."
The boy's eyes lit up, as Kaoru continued, "I began training when I was four, actually… I don't know why I didn't start sooner!" As Kenji began to bounce excitedly on his cushion, his mother smiled.
"Can I keep training with Uncle Aoshi, Mum? Please? It's fun!"
Kaoru's eyebrows rose at the description of being with Aoshi as 'fun', but then thought, He has mellowed a bit… he's not nearly as cold as he used to be… so she replied, "Yes, you may."
"Thanks, Mum!" exclaimed Kenji, and dove back into eating, fighting his little sister for a particular piece of fish.
Kenshin smiled, and then said, "Well, now that is worked out, I shall get the tea, that I shall." He rose gracefully, and padded out of the room, returning a minute later with a steaming pot of green tea. As he placed it down, Kaoru sniffed appreciatively at the herbal scent. Then, her expression changed, and her face tinted slightly green. Slapping a hand over her mouth, she sprinted off in the direction of the toilet.
Shock plastered itself over three faces, and then, with a speculative grin, Kenshin rose, saying to the children, "Don't worry, we will be back soon," and followed his wife out of the room.
Kenji and Kenko watched their father go out of the room, looked at each other quizzically, then shrugged and went back to eating.
Kaoru dryly heaved again, her stomach protesting that there wasn't anything else to throw up. A pair of cool hands slipped around her head, gently smoothing her temples and brushing her hair back. As she sat back on her heels, a cup of water was passed into her hands.
"You've only been sick at the smell of tea at two times, that you have," said Kenshin as she rinsed out her mouth, ridding it of the foul taste of bile.
Kaoru nodded wordlessly, thinking. They're nearly two months overdue…
"How long since you had your monthlies?" he asked, gently stroking her cheek, comfortingly.
The woman was looking down at her hands, counting on her fingers. When she eventually raised her head, a slight wrinkle between her brows. "They're two, almost three, months overdue… So it's possible… I just didn't want to hope needlessly…"
"You are not," replied her husband, a bright smile on his face. "I have sensed changes in your chi. From what you have said, you are around three months pregnant, that you are."
A frown adorned Kaoru's face as she looked up at Kenshin. "You mean you have known that I was pregnant, and you didn't think to tell me!"
"Er – ah… yes – no… I mean, I didn't…" Kenshin stuttered, unsure of how to reply, and realising that he had slipped up.
A wry grin adorned his wife's face as she said, "Well, at least I don't have to worry that I'm pregnant… but I know I'll worry over the health of the child…" She rose, and turned towards the doorway, to go back to the dining room.
"Our daughter is very healthy, from what I can tell," said Kenshin, thinking to reassure her. A second passed, then Kaoru turned back, face thunderous. Oh no, I did it again…
"You know that we're going to have a daughter!"
Once again, Kenshin's reply was stuttered and uncertain. "Err… the chi sense – the sense is different – I remember from when you were carrying Kenko… and it's different from Kenji… and… er –" He was so badly trying to correct his blunder that he missed Kaoru's soft, "It doesn't matter…"
Eventually, he realised that Kaoru was ignoring him, a soft, radiant smile on her face as she caressed her belly. "Hello, little one, my daughter," she said softly.
I forgot how mercurial her moods were… thought Kenshin, ruefully remembering some of the mood swings she had had when pregnant with Kenji and Kenko. I don't mind though. Just so long as she and the girl are healthy… A glowing smile lit his amber-amethyst eyes. "Would you like to go back to dinner, or would you like to go and lie down?"
"I think I'll go back to dinner… just keep the tea away from me…" replied Kaoru. Then another thought occurred to her. "Should we tell Kenji and Kenko?"
Kenshin considered a moment. "I think so."
The two children had consumed all of their food, and were starting in on their parents', when the two adults returned. As Kenshin removed the offending tea, Kenko bounced up, and went to hug her mother, chattering concernedly. "Mummy, are you alright? Why did you go green?"
Kaoru gently hugged the little girl, and went to sit down, settling her daughter in her lap. "Yes, I'm well, Kenko-hime. But I might be having a baby."
Both children's faces lit up, and Kenji bounded over to perch beside Kaoru, while Kenko turned in her mother's lap to look at her. "Really, Mummy?" was her wide-eyed question. "Really?" was Kenji's similar response.
At Kaoru's nod, they bounced up and down, obviously overjoyed. Kenko immediately began chattering. "Yay! Sakura's mummy had a baby, and she's all small and pink and pretty! And her mummy lets her help with the baby, and I want to help too, and can I help too? I think I can help! I'm a big girl, I'm three, can't I help? I'd be good at it…"
Kaoru's chuckle stopped the little girl. "Of course you can, Kenko-hime. But it won't be for a while yet."
"Now, it's bathtime for both of you," added Kenshin, returning. "Come on, you need to be nice and clean before you go to bed tonight – It's a big day tomorrow, that it is."
The late-morning sun's rays shone into the dojo's main bedroom. Kaoru sat by Megumi, as her 'elder sister' stared across the room at a kimono rack.
"I can't believe it… it's finally time…" the fox-woman had been in somewhat of a daze for the whole morning, since she had entered the room and seen the shiro-maku kimono on the rack.
"Megumi," said Kaoru, for once more practical than her friend, "You're getting married to Sano. Today. Within an hour. If we can get you into that kimono. So please, come out of this daze."
Maroon eyes flickered open and shut a few times, then the fox-woman snapped, "I was just thinking…"
The shoji slid open, and Misao entered, chattering before she had even fully entered the room. "Has she finally returned to the Earth, Kaoru? She was floating somewhere around the moon when I went away… And is she in the kimono yet? It's going to be hard to do that wedding-pattern obi…"
"I'm… just… just wonderful, Misao," replied Megumi, somewhat tartly. "I've been looking forward to this day for… well, since Sano proposed! I've been preparing too! I have an entire new makeup set… I have a new face cream, too." Going to the table, she sorted through the various pots, eventually coming up with one. She walked back, untwisting the cap from a jar. "Doesn't it smell nice?" She waved the jar under Misao's nose. At the scent of the makeup, the woman blanched, and clapped a hand over her mouth, rushing out of the room.
A slight, enquiring smile spread across Kaoru's face as she recalled her behaviour the night before. I wonder…
When the ninja woman re-entered the room, she was uncharacteristically quiet, and Kaoru spoke before she did. "How many months, Misao?"
"What!" The young woman's head flicked up, and she looked Kaoru hard in the eyes. The older woman caught a flicker of apprehension in Misao's eyes, before she asked again.
"How far along are you? I did exactly the same thing last night, don't think you can fool me."
Misao went brilliant red. "I'm not – I mean, I'm fine – I mean, far along? – I mean…" she stuttered, for once unable to say anything.
Megumi snickered. "So the weasel-girl is finally pregnant!" Then the rest of Kaoru's statement registered. "Wait a minute… did you say that you did the same thing? You're pregnant, too?"
The gentle duck of Kaoru's head and stroking of her hand across her abdomen answered the question as well as any words could.
"Really!" Misao sounded incredibly relieved, then immediately launched into the thousand questions she had. "I have no idea what to do… can you please help me? I mean, I'm four months along, but nothing's showing! Is that normal? And what about being sick all the time? Does that harm the child? And is it normal to be sick every morning? Aoshi was very worried about that… should I see a doctor? What about…"
"Wait, wait, Misao," interrupted Kaoru. "We can discuss this later. For now, we have to get Megumi to her wedding!"
I've waited for so long… thought Sano as he knelt opposite Megumi, the sake set with its three cups between them.
The priest shook the cleansing harai-gushi above them, murmuring the prayer for the kami's blessing on the two who were to be joined.
Megumi's thoughts were the same. She had had to endure another four years as a geisha, for the okiya mistress would not let her most successful geisha in years go. It had been scarcely a month after Kenshin and Kaoru's wedding that Sano had asked her to marry him, but though Sano had offered to double the two-thousand-ryo recompense, Naoe had refused. Shrewdly, she had anticipated Sano's actions, and had calculated that Megumi would earn at least four times the recompense if she kept her for another three years.
And so, since Megumi had just had her twenty-sixth birthday, Naoe had agreed that when the geisha reached her thirtieth birthday, she would be released.
It had been Megumi's birthday scarcely a week ago. I think that's a little ironic, she mused briefly. I reach two milestones at the same time…
The miko setting the sake jug before her snapped her out of her reverie, and she picked up the jug with practiced ease.
Except that her hands were ever-so-slightly shaky when she held the smallest cup out to Sano.
His gentle smile as he sipped the sake warmed her heart, and she found her nervousness melting as the alcohol warmed her throat.
Megumi… don't worry… was Sano's thought, and he tried to get the wish to carry in his eyes as he sipped at the medium-sized cup, and handed it to her.
When Megumi took her drink from the largest dish, the drink that sealed them in matrimony, her shaking had entirely stopped, and as Sano reached for her hand as they burnt the symbolic sakaki, her grip was firm and sure.
Platters were spread over the floor, food appealingly arranged on them. The wedding party chatted and laughed as they ate, the mood effervescent. There was a feeling of relief and joy tangible in the air, for this day had been a long time in the making.
Tae went to the kitchen to get another tray of sushi. When she came back, in addition to the sushi, she had a puzzled expression and a platter of rather odd-looking balls. "Does anyone know what this is?"
She set it down in the centre of the circle, and a sickly-sweet scent wafted out from it. Kenji and Kenko, with the typical insatiable appetite of children, immediately reached forwards and grabbed one of the morsels. But two other faces went pale, and Kaoru and Misao sprang up, sprinting out of the room.
Everyone's eyes followed them, and Tsubame asked, "Why did they do that?"
Megumi snickered at the obvious confusion on the young woman's face. "Because pregnant women tend to feel sick at the slightest provocation."
All jaws except Kenshin's and Aoshi's dropped. "What!" "But… I thought…" "What?" "Pregnant!" were the various stunned replies, linked to either one or other of the women. The two children's eyes were wide, but they didn't say anything.
Then Sano snickered in much the same way his new wife had. "So Kenshin and Aoshi have been busy boys, have they?" Kenshin ducked his head, reddening. Aoshi shot a frosty glare at the rooster-headed man.
Before Sano could further tease either man, Kaoru returned to the room, wiping moisture off her mouth. "Aoshi… I think you ought to see to Misao. She needs help." A frown flickering across his face, Aoshi rose, and slipped out the shoji.
When Aoshi returned, it was with a still-slightly-green Misao. The bride, concerned, asked if she wanted to borrow a futon, to which Misao shook her head emphatically. "Just get that tray of… whatever-it-is… out of my sight."
"Ah, yes… I'll do it…" Tae shuffled forwards, and picked up the tray, whisking it away with practiced swiftness. Kenji protested, grabbing another three of the sweet balls before the platter was out of reach.
The two ninjas settled down, Misao resting her head lightly on Aoshi's shoulder. An expression that was somewhere between tiredness and annoyance was displayed on her face. I wish I hadn't had to rush out of the room like that… it makes it so obvious…
The expression softened as Kenko enquired, "Aunt Misao, are you going to have a baby too?", and the woman quietly replied, "Yes, Kenko, I am. You can look after him when he's born, just like your mother will let you look after your little sister when she's born." She flicked a look at Kaoru, hoping that this was the case. The elder woman's minute nod indicated that it was.
A slight frown creased Yahiko's forehead as the young man picked up the definite referral to the sexes of the two unborn children. "How do you know that you two are going to have a son, and that they," – pointing to Kenshin and Kaoru – "are going to have a daughter?"
Misao winced. "Ooops, wasn't supposed to say that, but anyway, it's because of chi. The sense is different when a woman is pregnant, it's got a kind of… bulge… to it, and in that is the child's chi, protected by the mother's. But you can tell if the child is a boy or girl if you can work past the mother's protection. I was the first one to know that I was pregnant, I found out when I was meditating. It's an odd feeling, to know that you're carrying something so small, so helpless…" for once, Misao stopped her chatter on her own, her hand falling to her belly, a gentle smile on her face.
In an entirely uncharacteristic gesture, Aoshi slipped an arm around her waist, pulling her close.
Echoing Aoshi's gesture, Kenshin's arm went around Kaoru's shoulders. The woman's head came to pillow on his shoulder, and, unconsciously, she echoed Misao, hand slipping to caress her abdomen. After a few comfortable moments, Kenshin spoke.
"Three new lives are in the making… our daughter, Aoshi and Misao's son, and Megumi and Sano's new life together." He smiled around at the group; Misao's head on Aoshi's shoulder, Megumi and Sano's hands unconsciously touching, Yahiko and Tsubame sitting closer together than was proper, Tae smiling as warmly as ever, and Kenji and Kenko looking as angelic as only children can.
"It is all because Sano and I met a young geisha at a hot spring… I am so glad that I did, that I am. Through that single chance meeting, I met the woman I love, and gained very good friends." His arm tightened around Kaoru's shoulders.
"I am glad that Kaoru tamed Battousai.
"I am glad that I asked her to marry me and teach at the dojo.
"I think that I am even glad for the Kokuryukai… if we hadn't encountered them, we would never have met Aoshi and Misao, and they would not have been set free."
Most of all, I'm glad that I was finally able to become whole again… said his mind, and he sent out a silent thanks to Tomoe, wherever she was. Then, recalling what Tomoe had said when she made him whole, he thought again. Kaoru, my true equal… my other half…
I am glad I told her everything… revealed all of myself.
Bending quickly, he laid a light kiss on her lips, though everyone could see. Kaoru's smile as he broke off reduced the world to just the two of them.
"I am glad that I revealed my all to you." he whispered.
Kaoru's reply was low and sweet. "I accept your all. And I always will."
Author's Notes: Now it's finally finished… /sobs/
Battousai: Never mind, Nix-chan. I'll torture you into doing another story soon enough. /pats her on the back/
…is it just me, or did that sound evil? Anyhow… once again, a chronic overdose of meringue. I am not intending to give you cavities… but it may happen, unintentionally…
The SxM in this chapter is almost entirely due to Crewel pleading me (by review and e-mail) to let the two of them get married. I really wanted it too… and when she and others requested it, I couldn't refuse… I'm a sucker for meringue of any type…
I would like to apologize to anyone disappointed by this epilogue. It may seem a little redundant in view of last chapter, and a little bit of a letdown after it. However, epilogues are supposed to be the little add-ons that the author couldn't bear to let go, and this is the way I would like the story to end. I truly, truly believe that Kenshin and Kaoru (and others) deserve their happy endings – or should that be happy beginnings?
Review Replies: Thanks to all my reviewers!
inuyasha/kenshin gurl – Great! I'm glad you like it… here's the epilogue for you!
half-breed-demon-fox – No probs, demon-fox! I was just wondering! I shall give you more stories… there's one in the works right now!
Peachie-Chan – I said there wasn't going to be a sequel… ages ago. And there isn't going to be one. I may play around with AU worlds, but there's very unlikely to be another TRA. But as for following my stories… thanks!
Crisa Rei – Arigato! And why is milk soft? …I mean, it is lovely, but why soft? …Yes, food is on my mind far too often too!
DakBug – Not quite over! There's the epilogue! I realised that I had a few loose ends left… /winces/ Sorry, sequel isn't going to happen… But if you want to know when I write new stories, then Author Alert is a great thing!
Battousai: Meaning she has been known to forget to e-mail people who requested it…
/glares at Muse/ Anyhow, arigato gozaimasu/bows/
Crewel – I'm sure you'll be happy with this… Sano and Megumi finally got married/cheers/ But I do have another SxM fic in production… I'm not sure how successful it's going to be, but… oh well… look forward to it, anyhow!
Thefunnymonkey – Arigato gozaimasu! I hope to see you in my next fic!
reader00 – Arigato! Thanks for reviewing!
RangerDo'Urden – Here's the epilogue! Actually, this isn't my first fic… go to my Author Profile, and you'll see another three there (only one's RK, the other two are FullMetal Alchemist). See what you think!
skenshingumi (for all reviews) – Thanks very much for reading! Chapter 4: I was rather dubious about posting that chapter, but I'm glad that you like what's happening! I totally agree with the KxT thing… it's okay for the Bakumatsu, but elsewhere… /growls/ Chapter 14: I'm glad that you like the blended Kenshin! He was hard/fun to write, because I had to make sure Rurouni and Battousai didn't blend into each other when they weren't supposed to! As to cliff-hangers… /winces/ Errr, yes, I do tend to do too many! Pleeeease forgive me? Chapter 17: Um… didn't really think about that… but as you can see, she's fine! Chapter 19: Thanks! Kenshin waking up… so meringuey! Chapter 24: I'm glad you liked it… and here's the epilogue.
scythe195 – I just LOVE the big thing of dialogue! So much fun! You should take up humour writing! Here's the epilogue, as per request!
Rurouni: This one didn't mind it when you stole this one's gi, scythe-dono, that this one did not/hentai grin at Kaoru, who goes red/ And this one likes both of this one's new gis, that this one does!
Battousai: Oro… Now Rurouni's being hentai… what's the world coming to?
inu-dimasalang – Puppy dog eyes will get you anything…
kitsune – No doubt you received my review by now! Here's the epilogue, and I hope it encourages you in your writing!
kenshinlover2002 – Epilogue's here! (duh!) And arigato for your compliments!
Amethyst Amber – Arigato gozaimasu… /deep bow/
Battousai: Amber-chan, she's a little stunned by the praise… but I, and my alter ego, thank you on her behalf.
tameka – I'm glad that you liked the bit with Tomoe – I think that everyone tends to underestimate either Tomoe or Kaoru (depending on which they like better). Both deserve praise and recognition. 'Battousai and Rurouni are Finally Only Kenshin' was just what I would have liked to happen, too – which is why I wrote it! Here is the epilogue for your enjoyment!
thechickenlittle – Err… I'll hand this over to Rurouni, since he was the one who received this… /looks shamefaced at the mention of fight/
Rurouni: This one likes both of this one's new gis, that this one does! And this one can assure you, chickenlittle-dono, that this one and this one's alter ego will help Nix-dono to produce another fic!
…And you're welcome for the loan of Battousai. He said he had fun with you and 'the freaky-haired guy'.
Chrono (guest appearance): You mean you still can't remember my name!
Battousai: I tend to forget names, unless I'm working for the person, or supposed to be killing them… /death glare/
bluediamond – Arigato gozaimasu/bows/ I'm amazed that you would find my fic compelling enough to forget reality… I mean… wow…
Battousai: Once again, she's rather stunned but the praise… but is grateful for it, I am sure.
Final Final Thanks: To every single one of my 3? reviewers. You guys have kept me going, and inspired me to keep writing when I feel it's too hard. I love you all, for all your own special quirks and oddities that have given me something to laugh about and empathise with.
May the kaleidoscope of life show you all its colours, may you have the best of luck, and may Kami-sama's blessing be upon you.