Important explanation from the authoress: So, after trying to write the sequel to This Is Forever, for me, it was starting to get a little too cliché, and I was not happy with its progress. I tried to think of how to change it, how to make it work, and I just couldn't, but I could not just let the story become another discontinued statistic, like many other great stories out there. (Yes, I'm looking at you, Linay; please finish "Complete Me"! and Midori; please finish "White Tiger, Jade Concubine"! I doubt they'll ever read this) After a very long time of thinking, I thought the only way to make this story work was if I continued where the original left off. I'm very sorry for the incredibly long wait, and possible confusion I left everyone in, so without further wait, here is the continuation of This Is Forever.
Recap: Kenshin is pulled back into hell, and Kaoru is banished from heaven, because of her love for the demon.
This Is Forever
Chapter 19: Destined To Seek Help
Kaoru would never forget the first time she heard about her mother, Tochi, and her mistakes. Of course, Tochi was still Kaoru's mother, so she still loved her, but her respect for her was less than what it used to be, to say the least.
Everyone makes mistakes, even the gods, but to knowingly make them are not mistakes; it is stupidity.
Kaoru thought to herself how she was going to correct the situation. Not her situation, but Kenshin's situation. He had been down in hell for almost one whole month, and it killed Kaoru every day, because she was certain he was not getting the royal treatment.
It was impossible for Kaoru, because she was no longer in charge of the gates of hell, nor was she allowed in heaven as a goddess. She still remained a goddess, of course, but she had absolutely no power or authority.
She did not have a single friend to help her.
Of course, Kaoru had Aoshi, Misao, and the rest of the Oniwanbanshuu, but what she really needed was a god or a goddess' help.
Kaoru continued to eat her food without tasting it, for her mind was so far away. She had to eat because she was required to. She continued with her thoughts, not conversing with anyone (if they were taking to her), just as she had done for the past month.
When there was no food left on her plate, or rice bowl, Kaoru thanked the Oniwanbanshuu and excused herself.
What would she do without her love beside her? Kaoru gathered her bath items together, and headed to the bathroom for a much needed bath.
Was she really such a fool? She willingly informed her father of relationship with a demon. That was really stupid on her end, because if she still had her original position, she could easily get Kenshin out of hell, and then be banished.
Kaoru meditated on that as she washed herself. It was like she was a robot, completing tasks without being mentally present.
Was she stupid, or just not thinking? The only conclusion Kaoru could come to was that she was devastated, at the time, with Kenshin in hell, and her current physical condition. It was too stressful to be neutral, and she wanted out. She just wanted her own life with the one she loved, and their child.
The problem with stress is it makes a person's thinking ability limited.
Kaoru lowered herself into the warm water, letting it soak all over her body. She closed her eyes, and the memory of Kenshin being dragged to hell flashed before her eyes, as real as if she was living it again. His surprised face, his hand reached out to her, the ear-piercing howl of the wind as demons within the radius were sucked back down into hell.
Kaoru inhaled with a shutting sob, and the salty tears fell from her eyes. She wanted Kenshin back with her, by her side.
"Kaoru-sama?" Misao said, unsure of interrupting the goddess' thoughts.
Kaoru jumped, not expecting Misao to visit her in the bathroom, of all places. She quickly splashed water on her face, pretending her face was wet from the water, and gave Misao a quick smile.
"I was just wondering if you mind if I bathe now." Misao stated as she set her bathing items down on the tile floor. "We have to save on the water."
"No problem." Kaoru replied with a smile.
"So, um, would you like someone to talk to, Kaoru-sama?" Misao asked, unsure, as she washed herself.
"Who put to up to this?" Kaoru almost laughed.
"Everyone," Misao replied, half smiling. "We're all worried about you, walking around like a zombie. It's also not good for the baby."
"Who's baby?" Kaoru asked.
Misao was also pregnant, so referring to a baby would have to be explained.
"Your baby, of course."
"I know everyone means well, but I guess I just have to do deal with this on my own." Kaoru replied with a kind smile.
"It shouldn't be on your own, Kaoru-sama," Misao said. "It makes it more stressful on you."
"What should I do, Misao?" Kaoru asked softly, tears filling her eyes. "What would you do if Aoshi was gone, and he was never coming back?"
Misao was very quiet as she contemplated the question. Her hand slowed during her washing task.
"I would not be able to handle it." Misao said in almost a whisper.
"Arigatou, Misao, for understanding." Kaoru said, and the conversation died.
Misao continued to wash herself as Kaoru's mind drifted off once more. The ninja girl sank into the bath across from the mind-absorbed goddess.
"Kaoru-sama," Misao started. "Is there deity you could go to for help?"
"I've been thinking about that…" Kaoru started, and then suddenly sat straight up. "OH!"
The moment the sun started its climb, Kaoru dressed in her best kimono; a beautiful yellow with pink sakura peddles which looked like they were dancing in a nonexistent wind.
Kaoru fidgeted nervously as she adjusted her already perfect kimono. She took a deep breath and walked downstairs.
"Kaoru-sama?" Aoshi inquired, using just her name.
Kaoru smiled reassuringly, and explained, "I'm going to see about someone who might help me. Hopefully."
"Don't you think it would be easier if someone went with you, for your safety?"
"It's alright," Kaoru answered with a tight smile. "I'm just going to see a friend."
Aoshi stared at Kaoru for a moment before he nodded once.
She walked towards a temple that was high in the mountains, and took a great deal of leg strength to get there.
In fact, with so many stairs, one would only need to climb up the mountainous stairs once to loose fifty pounds, and gain awesomely toned thighs.
Kaoru stopped half way up the mountain to rest. Even though she gained her immortality back, the gods and goddesses still get fatigued, especially in her "delicate" condition.
She closed her eyelids and images of Kenshin flashed through her mind, and her strength was once again renewed.
When Kaoru finally got to the top of the mountain, the small, humble shrine awaited her. She bowed before entering, with hopes against hopes that the minor goddess would hear her.
"Tomoe-chan," Kaoru began, her head bowed with her eyes closed. "I was hoping to talk to you personally, even for just a moment."
Kaoru started to become nervous, her heart pounded loud in the silent shrine. Had Tomoe turned against her?
She had a very uneasy feeling of being very unwelcomed there.
"She's not listening." A very familiar voice behind Kaoru informed.
The goddess quickly spun around, and was greatly relieved when she saw Soujiro. His face was very unusually sad as he watched her carefully.
"Soujiro," Kaoru began. "I know I have no right to ask you this, but, please help me."
"You mean," Soujiro smiled, albeit with tinted sadness. "Help Battousai."
Kaoru opened and closed her mouth, trying to answer in any way possible, but they both knew what she meant; help Battousai.
"Hai." Kaoru whispered.
Soujiro sighed heavily, placed a finger to his lips, in the universal symbolic "hush," and motioned Kaoru to walk out of the shrine with him.
As soon as they were half way down the mountain stairs, Soujiro turned to Kaoru after he looked high and low, all around them.
"It's direct orders from Tengoku-sama to never help you if you came asking for help." Soujiro explained. "Though I don't know why you would go to Tomoe for help."
"She's my friend, Soujiro," Kaoru said. "Of course I would ask her for help, especially when she has the Sword of Heaven."
Soujiro flinched at Kaoru's ignorance.
"You know, Tomoe is pretty upset about losing Akira. Those still on your side are very antsy about her."
"She's my friend—"
"No," Soujiro interrupted. "She's very bitter towards you, and thinks you're to blame for Akria's situation. I would not go near her shrine if I were you."
"If my father gave the order to never help me, then what're you doing here?"
Soujiro hesitated, but finally answered, "There are some gods still on your side, Kaoru-sama."
"Then help me, please, Soujiro." Kaoru begged, feeling desperation creeping inside her.
"The gods cannot help you, Kaoru-sama." Soujiro explained with a very depressed smile.
All the faint hopes that Kaoru had were instantly vaporized from her heart. Tears could not even fall from her eyes.
"However," Soujiro hesitated again. "There is one you could go see… if you could find him."
Kaoru shuddered when she thought of having to go see Death. She closed her eyes again, and remembered Kenshin.
"Where can I find him?" Kaoru slowly asked. "He's always everywhere, never settling in one place."
Soujiro stared at Kaoru for a long while, before he smiled at her.
"You would really go see a demon for help, wouldn't you?" he asked.
"To save Kenshin," Kaoru replied with undoubted firmness. "I would go see Hiko himself if I had to."
"It just might come to that." Soujiro muttered with wide eyes, before he straightened up and answered Kaoru's previous question. "To find Death, you will have to see his son."
"Who is Death's son?" Kaoru asked, bewildered by the possibility of a hanyou being the son of Death.
"You've met him already." Soujiro smiled.
Kaoru shook her head, not remembering who she met that was Death's son.
Kaoru walked into the police station very late at night. She looked around, as she noted the office had only a few working at night. Simultaneously, she hoped that Saitou would be there, for she had no idea where he lived.
"May I help you?" a police officer said to Kaoru.
Kaoru looked at the officer sitting at the desk, and she asked, "Yes, I'm looking for Saitou."
The policeman snorted as he rolled his eyes.
"Chief Saitou went home a few hours ago."
Kaoru's heart sank as she nodded her head. She was about to turn and leave when the officer called, "You could always visit his house. He does answer house calls. He's even answered a three AM call once."
"I, uh, don't know where he lives." Kaoru answered with an embarrassed smile.
"Well, we can't give out that information. Do you want me to call him for you?"
Kaoru hesitated, but then she once again thought of Kenshin, who cannot wait any longer in hell, and she nodded.
"What is your name?"
"Do you have a last name?"
"Saitou kind of… knows me." Kaoru answered. "Just tell him Battousai needs help."
The police officer did a double take at Kaoru before he picked up the phone and dialed a number.
"Sir, there's someone here in the office to see you."
The police officer listened to the person on the line, and then he flinched. The poor guy was probably getting an earful from Saitou.
"Yes, sir, but they say Battousai needs your help."
The officer gave a look of relief before he answered, "Yes, sir."
He turned to Kaoru and said, "Saitou will be here in a few minutes. You can have a seat and relax."
Kaoru nodded and sat down on one of the chairs across from the desk, and the officer went back to typing on his computer.
To her left was a snack machine, and she thought she had better have a snack, especially in her condition.
As Kaoru counted her change, the front door to the police station opened, and then closed. She smelled the cigarette smell from him as she heard his approach.
"You." was all Saitou said.
"Yes, me." Kaoru answered as she raised her chin up in defiance.
"What do you want?"
Kaoru then humbled herself as she brought her chin down.
"Please… I need your help."
To Be Continued…
AN: At last, this story is close to ending. It was so stupid of me to start writing another story in continuance with this one when I could've chosen this current path! I just love Kenji's character so much that I wanted him in a story somehow, but a sequel was not the way to go about it. However, I will find a way for Kenji to be in this story.
During the course of writing this story, I had lost interest in Rurouni Kenshin. I had focused on more "adult" matters of life, and while I never forgot about this story, I had discontinued it. Then I realized it was not fair to the readers who have followed my story, and once again I deeply apologize for that. I dug out my Rurouni Kenshin mangas and started reading all of them (yes, I own all 28 volumes). I started listening to the soundtracks again, and I also started reading fan fics again. Now that I am back into Rurouni Kenshin, I will finish this story. I also have yet another story forming in my mind that I will write, however, I will not post it until it is fully completed so I will not commit another despicable act of discontinuation.