Disclaimer: I don't own RK. Must you keep reminding me of this fact each time? XD

OMG Carebearchan! I didn't know you lived in Louisiana! O.O (huggles) I'm glad you're safe! I can't even watch the news anymore because of the depressing sight. :( I'm glad you liked the last two chapters. :D I love Hiko-sama vewy much, I liked writing him, but didn't want to put him there so much since I felt like I could do him no justice. :P hehe.

- o – o – o - o – o – o - o – o – o - o – o – o - o – o – o - o – o – o - o – o – o - o – o – o - o – o – o - o – o – o - o – o – o – o – o – o – o -

- o – o – o - o – o – o - o – o – o - o – o – o - o – o – o - o – o – o - o – o – o - o – o – o - o – o – o - o – o – o - o – o – o – o – o – o – o -


Kenji was very confused when he left Kyoto. Hiko-sama questioned him about why he chose to visit an empty gravesite but he had no definite answer for that. His master didn't seem to recall anyone they knew being buried there, which added to his confusion.

He wasn't going crazy. He was sure of that. If there was no grave on that spot, then why did he visit the same place days ago? If there was no Tomoe Himura then why was he recalling her? Why did he have the distinct memory of his mother telling him about her? And who the heck was Kiyoshi?

He didn't know where the last thought came from but he continued to think about Tomoe as he watched the scenery go by. He never failed to be amazed at the wonder that was the train. It was the fastest mode of transportation that they had in Japan right now. It could travel up to a speed that not even ships, carriages or running could compete with.

He didn't travel on it often, because the fare for taking a boat was cheaper, but he enjoyed it when he could. He remembered a certain story about his parents traveling and getting their picture taken in Okinawa one time. Something about a bunch of pirates and tea kettles…

The trip was surprisingly short, maybe because he was used to travelling by foot or by sea. He adjusted his meager belongings more comfortably on his shoulders as he navigated his way around the bustling crowd of the train station.

He was glad to be home.

More than anything else in the world, he wanted to just go back to his room and do nothing for approximately a week or two. He was suddenly feeling very tired and somewhat lonely.

The Dojo was too big and too quiet for him, since he didn't really have the urge to take on students nowadays. And besides, no one seemed to take him seriously since he was considered 'too young' to be a teacher. Lots of people tended to compare his skills to his father, and since their sword styles had differed before, he was viewed to be lacking. That was one of the reasons why he was glad to have finished his training with Hiko-sama. Now that he technically had more training than his father did, maybe people would start to take him seriously from now on.

Kenji Himura, Hiten Mitsurugi slash Kamiya Kasshin Ryuu Master.

The title had a nice ring to it. Maybe after his self-decided extended vacation, he could make himself a written sign and hang it just below the Dojo's wooden one. That would surely draw more students into his meager dojo.

Since he had been away for several months, he decided to drop by the market on his way home. He wasn't going to starve himself. Who knows if he was going to pass out from hunger again. He didn't need any of those delusional dreams anymore, especially since he didn't like bothering Yahiko and Miss Tsubame for anything. The couple had their own problems to take care of, without him there having to add to it. He was a big boy now, a Hiten Mitsurugi master. He didn't need baby-sitters.

He saw a lot of acquaintances in the market. Friendly faces who smiled and waved hello. Some even stopped him, forcing him to talk to them for a few minutes before he had to politely excuse himself. Most of the merchants were surprisingly generous, not willing to accept the coin that he paid for their goods. He kept insisting that they do, but they kept looking at him like he had insulted them and their ancestors. After he went through the meat, poultry, radish and cabbage merchants and didn't have to spend a single cent, he decided to go home. He didn't want to look like he was leeching off of the merchants' goodwill.

It wasn't his fault that they refused his coin. The old lady who 'sold' him rice had tears in her eyes, apparently hurt when he had offered to pay for his purchases.

Since he had enough for now anyway, he headed for home, carefully balancing all of his free goodies. He felt like he had just entered a contest and won first prize.

He was pleasantly surprised to see that the dojo didn't look like it was crumbling down on itself in his absence. If he didn't know any better, he could almost swear that the dojo sign looked newly polished and the door was new.

I must have been away from home for far too long.

He fumbled for the dojo's keys but the door unlatched without any effort. Yahiko or Miss Tsubame must be inside, he thought.He nudged the door open and stepped inside.

"Tadaima!" He loudly called out, expecting to see his mentor or his mentor's wife.

"Okaeri nasai!" Came the reply. It was followed by what sounded like a bokken cluttering to the floor.


"Aniki's home!"

Did Yahiko start teaching students again, in his absence? He watched as a teenager who looked no older than 13 and a child who looked no older than 7 raced towards him.

"Aniki!" They both shouted, trying to outrun each other. The older boy was winning, his strides were longer than the girl's short ones.

"Huh?" He managed to say just as the duo pounced on him. The little girl clutched his legs just as the teenage boy engulfed him in a fierce hug around his middle. What the heck?

"Aniki, you're home!"

"We missed you so much!"

Why were they calling him aniki? Kenji just stood there and listened to the two children talk like several raging hurricanes around him. They poked and prodded at him, asking a million questions a minute.

"Did you get me anything?"

"Me first, me first!" The little girl said, jumping up and down.

Kairi. Triggered his memory.

"No," said that older of the two, "me first because I'm a boy and boys get first dibs!"

Kiyoshi. Triggered another one.

"But I'm a girl and girls are special! Mama says so!"

"Does not!"

"Does to!"

"Does not!"

"Does to and that's that!"

"Does not and that's the truth!"



"Kairi," said a feminine voice, one that sent the hairs on the back of Kenji's neck to stand on end. "Kiyoshi, leave your brother alone. He just came home, have a heart."

Kenji turned unbelieving eyes to where the voice originated, but he still couldn't believe it even if the proof was standing right there, looking at him lovingly. He gaped at her with wide eyes. "O-okaasan?"

"Okaeri nasai, son." Kaoru Himura greeted him. In the flesh. In broad daylight. In the Kamiya Dojo. This must be another one of those weird dreams he's been having lately. He reached out and pinched himself hard. "Ow," he said, feeling the sting of the pinch.

Little Kairi giggled. "Aniki you're so silly."

Kiyoshi took some of the packages from his arms and handed one to Kairi. It was then that Kenji noted their red hair and purple eyes, so very much like his own. His blood turned from cold to hot then back to cold again before he laughed almost hysterically.

"Am I dreaming again?" He asked as he allowed the children to pull him along.

"Hurry aniki, I wanna know what you brought me!" Exclaimed little Kairi excitedly.

"Me first!" Kiyoshi told her, which brought about another round of arguments and "do not-do to" exchanges. He allowed them to drag him into the kitchen and then proceeded to viciously attack the packages, intent on finding their 'presents'.

"Mou!" Kairi exclaimed as they finished sifting through the assorted vegetables. "There's nothing in here but radishes!"

"And cabbages!" Kiyoshi added, frowning.

There was that urge to laugh hysterically again, just beneath the surface. Kenji still couldn't take his eyes off of his mother. Who was alive. Standing in front of him. Right now.

"You forgot to bring us back stuff!" Kairi pointed at him accusingly, looking extremely hurt. Kiyoshi stood next to her, nodding his head in agreement with his arms crossed in front of his chest.

He heard his mother sigh and ushered the kids out of the kitchen. "Saa, go back to your practice. I don't believe you were given permission to leave it in the first place," she said.

"But mama!" The two protested.

"No buts, you'll see and talk to aniki later. You live in the same house for crying out loud, it's not like he's going anywhere." Kaoru admonished her children gently, looking like she was greatly amused by their behavior.

The two gave another round of token protest before they dragged their feet back to the dojo. Kenji merely looked at their exchange, still in shock about everything.

Not only did the dojo's sign and door look new and well-taken cared of, but the grounds as well. And even the kitchen! He didn't recall seeing the kitchen ever being this clean and so… brand new looking before. "What the heck is going on?" He asked out loud. Why did he have siblings and why was his mother here?

Kaoru raised an eyebrow at him. "Well I'm sorry Kenji but your brother and sister need to maintain a strict schedule or else they're going to run all over you."

He flushed and bowed his head. He didn't mean to sound so disrespectful to his mother. "Gomen," he said. "What I meant is that what's going on? Why are you here okaasan?"

Kaoru's other brow lifted. "Um, I live here? Where else would I be, Kenji-kun? Are you feeling alright? We haven't heard from you in a week, we wondered what happened to you. You usually sent us a letter each week, no matter what the weather was. Are you alright? Have you had enough to eat while training with Hiko-sama? You didn't starve yourself, did you?" His mother approached him and brushed his bangs away from his eyes.

The simple gesture was too much for him. With a strangled sob, he pulled his mother into his arms and absorbed her in a heartfelt hug. He didn't care if he was only dreaming. He didn't care if this wasn't true. All he wanted to do was give his mother a hug. He missed her so much. His eyes misted as he inhaled her familiar fragrance. Fresh, sweet Sakura blossoms. That's how he remembered his mother. He felt fresh tears welling up in his eyes, but he was afraid to close them, scared that if he did, this dream was going to end and he would wake up all alone again. Alone without his mother there and no siblings like Kairi and Kiyoshi constantly bickering for his attention.

Kaoru hugged her eldest child close to her for several moments, relishing in the close contact. It's been years since she got this much of a welcome from Kenji, since he was a man now and no longer a child. She softly stroked his red hair, cooing into his ear. "I missed you too, son."

He hadn't heard that word from anyone in a long time, and he was unable to stop the tears that filled his eyes as they spilled forth and streamed down his cheeks freely. "Kaa-san." He murmured into her hair. He closed his eyes and hugged her closer, afraid that the next time he opened them, she would be gone and all of this was going to be just a dream again.

"It's alright," she continued to coo soothingly. "Daijoubu my baby."

They held each other close for several minutes until the kitchen's door opened. "Koishii, Kairi and Kiyoshi were telling me that…" the newcomer stopped in the middle of his sentence as he took on the scene.

Kenji opened his eyes and saw his father standing in the doorway. The man approached them, looking at them with loving eyes. "Okaeri, Kenji." Kenshin said as he too engulfed his son in a hug.

Kenji merely stared. Now he knew for sure he was dreaming.

"Your mother and I missed you greatly," Kenshin told him. "Did you finish your training?" His father asked as they separated.

"Of course he did, he's my son!" His mother interjected. Almost as if she believed that Kenji could do no wrong and could not conquer anything just for that mere fact. "And besides, you think Hiko-sama would let him come home if he didn't?"

His father laughed and pounded his shoulders. "Of course, of course. You must be tired. Are you hungry?"

"Would you like to rest first?" His mother asked.

"Um," Kenji was still amazed that he was now with both of his parents. His mind had gone blank.

"I see you went to the market first."

"We should have a celebration dinner, in honor of Kenji's homecoming."

Kaoru Himura agreed. "I'll go attend to the students in the dojo and make sure that Kairi and Kiyoshi are doing their swings." She kissed him in the cheek and gave his father a peck on the lips before heading for the dojo.

"Well then," his father picked one of the radishes that he brought home and examined it. "This one looks nice. How about that celebration dinner tonight eh?" He said, smiling at Kenji. "You can go rest up and I'll call you when dinner is ready," he instructed as he made preparations.

"I'll help, otousan." Kenji offered. He didn't know what else to do.

The two redheads worked in perfect synchronization as they cut, peeled and cooked the food. They worked in perfect harmony, as if they've done this same routine a hundred times in the past.

Kenji couldn't keep the goofy grin off of his face. He was back home. Truly, truly home. It was almost as if someone flicked a switch on his brain and the fuzzy memories became clearer.

Tomoe Himura? Tomoe who? His father's first and only wife was Kaoru Himura. They married and started a family years after they met each other in the streets of Tokyo. Their courtship was unusual, since the ex-hitokiri seemed to lack the ability to profess his love for her in the beginning. Their journey together had also included having to go through the likes of a crazed okashira hell-bent on revenge, a badly burned maniac who was trying to take over Japan, a fellow Hiten Mitsurugi Master who wanted to bring about another Revolution, and several others including, but not limited to, the Black Knights and a group of Feng Shui experts. Theirs had not been an easy road, but in the end it worked out and they had had three beautiful children: Kenji, Kiyoshi and Kairi.

After the end of Kenshin Himura's wanderings, he finally decided to rest his uneasy soul in Tokyo and raise a family. The need to help people was still there, so he followed the same path as the Wolf of Mibuu and became a law enforcement officer. Although it was only part-time, it helped paid the bills back in the day where the dojo didn't earn as much due to Kaoru's pregnancy. The settlement that the government decided to give Kenshin for his help regarding the Shishio Makoto and Shogo Amakusa also helped a lot, but his parents didn't seem too keen on touching that as much as possible. They were saving it for emergencies and for their children. They were such great parents.

Nowadays, his father still worked for the police force, as a part-time officer. He also continued to do his favorite past-time – doing the laundry. Gone was the hitokiri of old that wanted to save the world in the expense of his and his family's happiness. There was still that underlying sadness in his deep violet eyes whenever he probably recalled his time as an assassin and soldier of chaos, but he was still able to raise three beautiful children and keep his wife happy.

For Kenji, it was truly a dream come true. If this was a mere dream or a past memory, he didn't want it to end. In between chopping the vegetables, he kept glancing at his father in disbelief and curiosity. He wondered if he remembered… His father didn't show any indication that he did. The former bodyguard felt a bit sad, which was odd compared to the contentment that he had been feeling.

They ate as a family, a happy, contented family. His younger siblings kept their playful banter up to the extent that their mother had to split the remaining tofu in half to keep them from ripping each other's throats out. Life was good.

He didn't need to try and make sense of the hows and whys of it, he decided that he was going to be happy with what he had. He firmly believed in not kicking the gift horse in the mouth.

He watched his family silently. Pleased beyond anything that he could have ever imagined feeling. He watched his parents interact with each other lovingly, from a brief touch to a kind gesture here or there – albeit his mother putting more rice on his father's rice bowl or his father picking some of the choicest portions of the fish and placing it on his mother's meal. Everything seemed so natural. The meal was the best he had ever eaten in his entire life. Did he mentions that life was good yet?

His siblings renewed their normal bickering as their mother ordered them to go take a bath before tucking in for the night. Both uttered moans and groans of protest, but obediently shuffled their feet towards the furo with their mother following not far behind them, intent on making sure that they didn't make a mini-pond out of the bath house.

Standing up, he reached for several dishes and various utensils and started clearing the table. His father did the same thing.

He felt weird for some reason. Not awkward, just weird. How was he supposed to reconcile the two conflicting sets of memories in his mind now? Most things were the same but different, and some things were different, but the same on some level. There was that telltale headache forming in his head again. It was just best to ignore it.

"Son?" His father asked as they continued to clear the table.

"Hai, otousan?"

"So which came first… the chicken or the egg?"

- o – o – o - o – o – o - o – o – o - o – o – o - o – o – o - o – o – o - o – o – o - o – o – o - o – o – o - o – o – o - o – o – o – o – o – o – o -

- o – o – o - o – o – o - o – o – o - o – o – o - o – o – o - o – o – o - o – o – o - o – o – o - o – o – o - o – o – o - o – o – o – o – o – o – o -

A/N: Teehee… the name Kiyoshi was nicked from my friend. XD

The award goes to RLC for hitting it right on the mark. XD I busted out laughing when I read your review, because I had Back to the Future on the brain when I wrote the last two chapters. :D I wanted a happy ending and wanted to merge the Back to the Future ending with what I saw on SG-Atlantis before, I think I talked about that in my earlier chapter. hehe.

I'm going to miss this story. I'm going to miss seeing the regular reviews of lolo, carebearchan, hitokiri yume :P, colhan, pnaixrose, lily, myks, meeh, gabyhyatt, wolfdaughter… I wonder where Mini Oro went, but I still remember him since he was my first ever reviewer in the history of ever. XD

Thank you to everyone who read and reviewed this story! (group hug) I didn't want to drag it on anymore, since I said I'd end the story like… several chapters ago and then added one thing and another to it, extending its life needlessly. Heh. I hope none of you will hate me for the sudden end… I just haven't been very inspired lately. Blush I blame Koyuki-chan whom I text constantly and get nothing done. Sticks tongue out.

And that's the end of this story. ) I feel sad, like I'm letting go of my baby. Lol I didn't think I could actually do it, since I've been known to lose interest in things quickly. P But because of the faithful reviewers, people who threatened, begged, made me laugh, made me scared and encouraged me just by reviewing, I managed to actually see it through. XD

To all of you – everyone who read and reviewed - thank you SO much. Kenji wouldn't have completed his journey if it weren't for you.

Lol Crazy Al-Bhed-Girl, I don't mind if you make it a manga… it's not mine, so why would I? XD Anyone who wants to do a prequel or a sequel or a one-shot, feel free to do so… you'd probably want to reference this fic so as not to confuse people though. Hehe, but yeah, I don't own anything on this Kenshin fic except for the sucky plot. P

I had more reviews on than at MediaMiner, but I still enjoyed reading all of them. D In the end, it might not have made much sense (lol) but I'm not a writer! XD My real life friends don't even know that I write. :P I keep my writer identity a secret. Lol

I hope this story was as good for you as it was for me writing it. Until then… See you around! Ja, minna-san! (throws colorful confetti all over)