I admit that this epilogue should definitely have not taken this long to update… However, I know that all good things must come to an end. At first, my excuse for not finishing this was that I had to study for my exams, then the excuse was that I was too busy, then it was that I hadn't been working enough on my next story, but then… after a few months, I had to admit that it was just because I liked this story so much. I will definitely miss it. :)
I want to thank all of you for being so supportive! You all were really what kept this story going – I, in fact, had to not read your reviews for a while just so I could put off this epilogue as long as possible… but I should get started on my new story! SO, thank you all so very, very much and I hope to see you in my next story. Thank you again.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the Rurouni Kenshin characters. I do, however, own this plot.
While the lights are shining bright
While the music's feeling right
When this world feels so tough
And we've had enough
You'll be holding me
And I'll be holding you.
Kaoru couldn't recall very much of her own wedding.
Tae had insisted on planning it, down to the very last detail. Being a romantic herself, the two women agreed that Kaoru and Kenshin should be married on the beach instead of a traditional Shinto wedding in the nearest temple. Kenshin didn't seem to be too particular about the place of the wedding, so long as it happened. Tae wanted Kaoru to wear the frilliest Western wedding dress she had ever seen. Kaoru opted for a simple white kimono with a silver and blue obi instead. That was the most Kaoru remembered enough to describe. She remembered being caught up in the whirlwind of things, the surprises she encountered – such as Aoshi and Misao's own wedding engagement – and emotions she felt.
The months went by so fast that she suddenly found Kenshin and herself before a priest murmuring their vows. Kenshin had recited his vows perfectly and without hesitation, but when it came to be her turn, Kaoru felt like a deer caught in the headlights. She must've looked it too because Kenshin cleared his throat – twice.
In the party after, Kenshin told her how beautiful she was and how happy he was to be her husband. Kaoru had received these admissions with smiles, but had her mind occupied elsewhere: the wedding night. Her face was probably a permanent and exact shade of a ripe tomato. She remembered Kenshin taking her to the private house they rented for their wedding night and how scared she felt. He had kissed her gently, coaxing her into instinctive response that brought so much pleasure that he suddenly started to lose–
She opened her eyes to find Kenshin kneeling down next to her, his hand gently on her face. The afternoon sun played on his red hair and shone in his violet eyes. She must've fallen asleep on the porch.
"You shouldn't fall asleep out here. You could catch cold," he smiled. Kaoru removed her hands from her swollen belly and moved them to help her into an upright position. She groaned at the protest she felt in her lower back.
"Do you need help?" Kenshin asked, but had already taken hold of her hand and had placed a hand around her waist, pulling her up.
"No," she answered, but accepted his help anyway. She placed a hand on her stomach and murmured to the child inside, "Forced me into a light coma, did you? I should not sleep so much during the day."
"Don't listen to your mother; she needs a lot of rest," Kenshin said in a reproachful tone. He began to lead her back into their bedroom. Ever since Kaoru had begun to show she was pregnant, she had taken to talking to the baby. He had begun to pick up the habit as well.
"It should be any day now," Kaoru said, a smile on her face.
"I still say we should move you into the clinic if it should happen quickly, that we should," Kenshin said. He looked down at her, pulling his hand away from her waist, "Stand here. I will get our futon out for you." Kaoru was so petite; she looked as if she was going to topple over because her belly was so big.
Kaoru's smile disappeared. "I'm not going to sleep, Kenshin. I already slept." 'Stupid, arrogant, bossy…'
He unfolded the futon and laid it out. "You do not have to, koishii. I only want to be comfortable when you eat the miso soup I made while you were napping."
"You made miso for me?" she asked, quite surprised as Tae had been bringing meals regularly so Kenshin could fully occupy himself with taking care of Kaoru. He took the time to make soup for her. 'Sweet, kind, considerate…'
"Yes, and you will eat it all because I made it just the way you like it. Eat it all, okay?" he said firmly, reminding her of her unfinished meal of this morning.
Kaoru frowned and sat down on the futon. 'Annoying, overprotective, hovering hen…' She called out so he could hear her in the kitchen, "I will eat however much I please!"
She glared down at her belly. "You had better take after me."
After the hot soup was eaten and the bowl was taken away, Kenshin changed and proceeded to help her change into her yukata. As he was tying her sash, Kaoru stared down at him with a smile on her face. 'Caring, gentle, thoughtful…' Kenshin then put on her tabi socks. "You know," she said, "I simply can't wait."
He looked up, "For the baby to be born?"
"That, but I also can't wait to see my feet again," she grinned, wiggling her toes.
Kenshin chuckled and settled them into their futon, holding Kaoru in his arms. Kaoru felt as if the world should stop, just for that moment.
And Kaoru got her wish.
The world stopped when she felt the first contraction.
Then the world began to spin faster and faster. Her water broke just outside of Megumi's door and Kenshin was saying things to her that she couldn't hear. She had never hurt so much in her life. She swore that she would kill Kenshin as soon as that baby was out. She just wanted it to end. She squeezed Kenshin's hand until she wasn't sure he could feel it anymore. The world spun and spun. Kaoru once again wished the world would stop, just for that moment.
And then it did.
Her baby's first cries broke through her haze of pain and fatigue.
"It's a boy!" Megumi exclaimed, cooing at the child as she cleaned him up.
"Koishii… we have a son," Kenshin's soothing voice whispered. His voice sounded hoarse, even to him. As he looked down at Kaoru's flushed, perspiring face, and then to his newborn son, he couldn't help but feel a fierce contentment that burned his soul. He would never have thought he would be blessed to such an extent. He kissed Kaoru's hand, his other hand pushing her sticky bangs out of her eyes.
Megumi appeared at Kaoru's other side, immediately helping her into a sitting position with one hand. In her other had, a whimpering boy was being held tightly. "Here, Tanuki," Megumi said, placing the boy in Kaoru's awaiting arms.
Kaoru's eyes filled with a tenderness that caught Kenshin's breath. "He's beautiful, Kenshin…" She looked up at him with tears in her eyes. "What should we name him?"
Kenshin leaned forward and his voice caught in his throat. His son was beautiful. He was small and red. He had his mother's sapphire eyes, but there was no mistaking that thin tuft of red hair on his head. "Kenji," Kenshin whispered, his hand reaching out to stroke the boy's cheek.
"Kenji… it's perfect," Kaoru agreed, staring down at her son. Sanosuke and Yahiko joined the group.
Sanosuke stuffed his hands in his pockets and grinned. "So, you still got five or six more babies to go. Tsk, too bad. I really like you Jou-chan, but you're just scary when you're as big as a whale."
Before Kaoru could even scream in reply, the fox doctor herself kicked Sano through the open door and slammed it without a word. She turned and rolled her eyes, "Roosters," she mumbled, "They just don't know when to be quiet."
Kaoru began to laugh and the other joined in when Megumi continued to stop Sano's attempts at returning to the group. Outside, the stars shone brightly against the dark sky.
There weren't any storm clouds here.
-- The End. --
I hope you enjoyed reading my story and thank you so much for all the support.
For the RK lovers, there will be a story coming up as soon as I can. For my Inuyasha fans, I have a story idea floating in my head about Sesshoumaru and Rin.
Now… as promised, I have a clip from one of the Kenshin stories I've been messing around with:
"Child, it would be best if you didn't ask much about that boy. Do you understand?"
"No, I don't understand. Why can't I - "
"Hush. Just do as I say. You will not ask about your husband. Say it," the nurse said urgently, fear apparent in her voice.
"But -" Kaoru was starting to get scared.
"Say it, girl. You will not ask about your husband."
"I will not ask about my husband," Kaoru repeated, tears coming to her eyes. She didn't know why her nurse was so scared, but it was frightening her. "Why?"
"You need not know," the nurse said quickly. With a weak smile, she murmured, "You are not yet seven summers. You do not need to worry yourself over the secrets of an arranged marriage until you are grown. Just promise me you will not question him."
"I won't," Kaoru said slowly.
"About anything." her nurse added.
Da-dun-daaaaaaah! That's all folks!
See ya next story (still no title)!
It will probably be a while, because I've started school again and I have to prepare for the PSAT, SAT and college stuff… No, not stuff – JUNK is the word. Anywayssss, thank you so much again!!