Chapter 22

AN: RK does not belong to little ole me.

Here we go guys!

"That's what you wormed your way in here to tell me? How did you get in here anyway?" Kaoru held up her hand. "Never mind." She turned and looked through the glass panes of the gazebo window. "Go away."

Kaoru's back was rigid, her arms hugged over the swell of their baby. Kenshin could see her profile, her lips pressed tightly together and her chin trembling.

"I've made peace with my father." Kenshin said softly.

"That's nice." Kaoru didn't look at him. But her tone wasn't so hostile.

There was another awkward silence while Kenshin tried to think of something incredibly brilliant that would persuade her to give him another chance. Finally he just blurted out the words that were reverberating through his mind. "You said you loved me."

Kaoru flinched. "Some things aren't meant to be permanent." She said sadly.

"Kaoru…." Was there no way to reach her?

"If you don't want to get married, we don't have to. We can live together for the rest of our lives without making it legal. Just please.." Kenshin's voice faltered. Stopping for a moment, he closed the space between them and stood directly behind Kaoru. "Kaoru, I don't want to live without you. Please come back to me."

She didn't respond, but she didn't reject him either. Raising his hands, he almost placed them on her shoulders but after a moment, he let them drop. "Please," he repeated. "Give me another chance. I was wrong about everything. Your father, my father, you.."

"You would live with me even though I refused to marry you? Why? So you can hound me to death until I agree to make your child legal?" The words were lightly mocking, but he heard the pain underlying them, and his heart sank.

Quietly Kenshin said, "Some of us learn lessons more slowly than others. It took me far too long to learn mine."

He took a deep breath. "I love you."

Her sapphire eyes widened and he could see a flare of emotion she couldn't hide.

"I love you," he said again. "I should have told you before. I should have trusted you.." His voice broke.

Kaoru put a hand over his lips. "It's alright, Kenshin. We'll make it right now." She cradled his face in her hands and moved closer to his body.

Kenshin gathered her closer and kissed her, relief flooding him. Despite everything he had done, she'd forgiven him. Could she ever understand how much he loved her? His mouth became more demanding as he dragged her closer, his body urging him to show her how much she was loved.

The only thing that saved him from dragging her down to the floor was the moisture on his face.

No, on her face. Kaoru was crying.

He gentled his hands on her, slipping his palms up to cradle her jaw. "What's wrong, Princess? Is it me?"

"No." She shook her head. Her eyes were so blue, wet as the windowpanes around them, and tears continued to flow down her cheeks. She brought her hands up to cover his.

"I'll retain the title," Kenshin said desperately. Though that wasn't the path he intended his life to take, he'd do it in a minute if she'd agree to stay. To his shock, the words didn't bother him as much as it used to.

But she shook her head again. "It's not the title. I'll love you no matter what you want to do with your life."

He brought his hand down to wrap around her waist. "So if there's no problem, then why are you crying?"

"I'm crying because I'm so happy." She leaned toward him for another kiss.

As Kenshin found her lips and claimed his princess, he felt something inside him click into place, something he'd waited for his whole life. He was loved.

AN: Hope you liked how it ended.An epilogue will be posted.

Royally Wed is also not mine.