AN: SQUEEEEEEEEEE! The End. :) Huggles and cuddles out to my reviewers - I love you all. Seriously. I've never gotten so many reviews before and now you've made me an addict. Heeheehee.

Epilogue: Hiko forevermore

He felt good. Not quite how he'd felt all these years, not knowing where his baka deshi had been and what he'd been doing. Yes, he ached like all hell from his experience with the wrong end of a certain recently taught, obscenely fast sword technique, but it was a good sort of hurt, that came with happy knowledge.

Hiko decided food would do him good. Obviously it was impossible to remain sane when running on an empty stomach while also recuperating. He began cooking some rice, pulling out a bowl and chopsticks as it heated. He stared at his hands and the pottery, contemplating.

Really, it was amazing what a good night's sleep could do for you. He'd almost forgotten that, years back, when his deshi was constantly awakening him with nightmares, crying out in pain; and again, when that stupid boy left to fight in a war he had no business being in. Hiko had worried - not that he'd ever tell the little red-haired fuzzball.

Hiko wrinkled his nose. No matter what his age, the boy was still little - hadn't grown that much in his years away. He'd have to tease Kenshin about that.

Kenshin. What was that boy thinking? Trying to save Japan, again - what next, the world?

Hiko was almost scared the fuzzball would try it.

He ran various scenarios through his mind as he stirred the rice, trying to imagine the fuzzball as a world hero; finally he ended his thoughts with a shake of his head. Idle dreaming was something he'd chided Kenshin for - when the boy was not that much smaller than currently - and he wouldn't be caught dead indulging himself now.

Besides, that would be one hell of a scary world, with people everywhere worshipping the little fuzzball.

Hiko twitched.

Scooping himself some rice, he sat back to eat in silence. After finishing his meal, he rested his hands on his knees, dangling the bowl and chopsticks as he tilted his head back to stare at the roof.

Stupid boy. He'd just been whipped back into shape - the toll of battle would be far too harsh on his body. If he'd just kept up his art, this wouldn't be any wear on him at all -

Distracted by his thoughts, Hiko loosened his hold on the empty bowl, and it shattered on the ground. His face darkened. Had anyone been around to see that...

Leaning forward, he began to retrieve the shards. Slipping on the first one, he cut his hand and began to curse. Before he could even think of going to clean the wound, little sparks of blue lightening danced across the cut, closing it and leaving it healed.

Hiko blinked.