D/C: I don't own Rurouni Kenshin.
Hello!!!! I'm back with my Epilogue!! Thank you all so much for the reviews you've sent me (there's individual thanks at the bottom, btw), they're really nice!! Well, anyway, I'll stop babbling now, and let you get on with this chapter. Here's a little warning for you; you're in for a real shock! (Man, that sounded lame) Enjoy!!!
Kaoru stared in horror at her husband's lifeless form. Her hands traced her face, the scar was still itched on his cheek...and then she ran a hand down his chest, and felt the spot where his heart should've be beating...except there was nothing. She glared up at Enishi, her vision blurred by tears. Enishi had started to back away, his face chalk-white with fear.
'You...' she hissed. 'You killed him! You killed my husband!!'
Enishi's eyes were wide. 'Go-gomen nasai!!!' he sputtered. 'I didn't mean...'
'I don't care if you meant to kill him or not!! He's dead now! And it's all your damn fault!' she shrieked, tears streaming down her face. 'What good will an apology do me, eh? Will it bring Kenshin back? Will it?'
Enishi averted his eyes away from her face. 'Something must've gone wrong with the spell...' he murmured.
'You bastard!!' Kaoru screamed. 'You made sure something went wrong with the spell when you performed it, didn't you? You hated Battousai so much you didn't care if my husband got hurt in your way of getting revenge!!'
'No, I...' Enishi started.
They both froze when they heard a dry cough from behind them, and they both slowly turned to look around. Kenshin's body was still, and Kaoru had started to think that she had imagined it, when Kenshin started coughing again. Kaoru rushed to his side, her eyes anxiously searching his face. Then, slowly, Kenshin opened his eyes.
'Kenshin...' she whispered. Without saying a word, Kenshin started to sit up, and Kaoru helped him up. She reached out and touched his face, her eyes gleaming with emotion. 'Kenshin...is it really you? Are you really the Kenshin I know?'
Kenshin continued to remain silent, and then, suddenly, he pulled her into a tight embrace. Tears sprung to Kaoru's eyes again, and she felt herself gripping the fabric on the back of his t-shirt. 'Yeah, Kaoru, it's really me,' he breathed into her hair. 'I'm back.'
Kaoru pulled away a bit and looked up into his face. 'And Battousai?' she asked, almost uncertainly. 'Is he...gone?'
Kenshin didn't say anything for a moment, and then he landed a quick kiss on her lips. 'Yes, Kaoru...he's definitely gone,' he assured her, before pulling her into his arms again.
When Kenshin had told her that there was something he had to do, and he'd be grateful if he waited at Sano's place, Kaoru had obliged without any single question, but now, an hour later, she was starting to get rather anxious; what was so important that Kenshin had to go and deal with it now? However, on the outside, she was smiling. She smiled at Kenji, who was sitting in front of the TV screen, watching cartoons. She wanted to hug him and tell him, "Daddy's back!!", but she just contented himself by smiling at him. She looked up as Megumi placed a tray of juice and cookies on the coffee table in front of her.
'Kenji, sweetheart, come have a cookie!' she called to him, as she sat down next to Kaoru.
'Yay!!!' Kenji exclaimed, getting up to his feet and hurrying to her. He happily munched at a cookie and took a sip out of his orange juice, and at a glance from his mother, he turns and grins at Megumi. 'Thank you!'
Megumi beamed at him. 'You're welcome! Have another one,' she told him. She turned to Kaoru, and studied her closely for a few minutes. Kaoru smiled nervously. 'You look different.'
Kaoru blinked. 'Er...different?' she repeated, confused. 'How?'
'When you dropped Kenji off a few hours ago; you looked really tense and troubled...and worried,' Megumi said, and took a sip out of her glass before smiling at her. 'But now...you look really happy!! You look like something really heavy has been taken off your shoulders! Am I allowed to know what is it that you and Kenshin did in these few hours?' She gave her a knowing smile, and Kaoru shoved her. 'What? What is it, then?'
Kaoru picked up a cookie. 'Let's just say...something really good happened,' she said softly, and sank her teeth in the cookie. Megumi smiled knowingly again and she nearly choked on her bite. 'It's not like that, dammit!! Jeez! No wonder they call you a fox!'
'One last kill.'
Enishi looked in horror as Battousai advanced on him, sword raised. He took a few steps back, and when he bumped into the wall, he realized there was no more room to move. He looked around frantically for anything which might be a good weapon against Battousai, but there was none. Instead, he started to look imploringly at him. 'Battousai...I'm sorry, I'm really sorry,' he said, his voice shaking. 'I don't know what went wrong...I swear I did the spell properly!! Battousai!! I didn't mean...I swear I didn't mean to...!!'
Battousai's eyes were a reddish-yellow hue. He shot Enishi a death glare. 'I warned you, Yukishiro...I warned you about what would happen to you if you messed things up, didn't I?' he rasped, and Enishi managed a small nod. 'And yet, you still dared and messed things up? Do you take me that lightly, Yukishiro?'
'Iie!!' Enishi cried out in fright, sliding down to the floor. 'I do not take you lightly, Battousai!! I don't know what went wrong! I swear I don't!!'
'Damare-yo!!!' Battousai snapped. He raised his sword above his head and rushed at Enishi. 'Today you die!!'
Battousai gasped, and staggered to a stop. It looked like he had stepped into some kind of memory, and Enishi was no where to be seen. He stared, mesmerized, at the scene which had replaced him. He was back at his house in Japan. He looked around and saw a younger version of him tending to the garden...and then there was Tomoe, standing a few feet away from him in the shadows of her umbrella. Then, as he watched, she opened her mouth and called his name again. Battousai had forgotten how much he loved hearing her say his name...and it filled his heart with contentment.
The younger version was speaking, too, even if it were only in noises. 'Mmm?' he said.
Tomoe stepped up close to him. 'Battousai, why do you kill people?' she asked him softly.
The younger Battousai didn't say anything for a moment, and continued to pull out the weeds from the soil, although he did it a bit more roughly now. 'I only do what I'm asked to do,' he finally answered.
'Do you enjoy it?' she asked.
Even Battousai was waiting to hear what his answer was going to be. Does he really enjoy killing? Is he really that cold-blooded murderer every one feared and hated?
Battousai blinked. He was in an entirely different place now, and as he looked more closely, he realized he was in the bedroom. He turned around and saw that Tomoe was looking straight at him. He scrambled away a bit.
Tomoe giggled. 'Baka, why are you running away?' she asked.
Battousai was confused. 'You...you can see me?' he asked uncertainly. 'Are you really...talking to me? Honto?'
'Of course I can see you!!' she said, laughing. 'Battousai...daijoubou desu-ka?'
'Yeah, yeah...I'm okay,' he said, feeling a bit dazed. He froze and stared at her, as if seeing her for the first time, then he reached forward and pulled her into his arms. 'Oh, God...Tomoe! Tomoe, it's really you...oh, I'm sorry...I'm so sorry...' He pulled away and cupped her surprised face between his hands. 'Tomoe...it's really you...'
'Battousai...what's wrong with you? You're acting so strangely today,' she said, puzzled.
Battousai smiled, and he kissed her...a deep, passionate kiss. When he pulled away, Tomoe's face was tinged with pink. 'I love you,' he whispered, letting his fingers trace the delicate features of her face. 'Tomoe...ai shiteru.'
Tomoe smiled and removed his hands from her face. 'I love you, too,' she whispered. 'But if you love me...you'll tell me why you go and kill people...naze?'
Battousai sat back. He stared down at his hand...his blood-stained hands. He was ashamed. He knew that Tomoe was watching him, but he didn't dare look up at her. What should he tell her? How should he explain his dirty work to her? No matter what he told her, it wouldn't justify his acts.
'Naze?' she asked again.
'Shi...shiri-masen,' he whispered. 'Shiri-masen...Tomoe, gomen...gomen-nasai...watashi...watashi...'
Tomoe reached out and pulled him into his arms. He buried his face in her shoulder, and for the first time in ages...he cried. Tomoe smiled and smoothed his hair. 'Wakatta,' she whispered. She rested his head on her lap. 'Demo...Battousai, you don't have to kill those who cross your path...do you know who always has the upper hand?'
'Iie...dare?' he asked, looking up at her.
'The one who forgives always has the upper hand,' she told him. 'The power to kill doesn't always mean that you have the upper hand. That who forgives has greater power than that who kills...so, Battousai...what I'm asking you to do is...forgive...ne, Bat-tou-sai?' She smiled down at him.
Battousai felt himself stumbling forward to the ground, as Tomoe vanished. He looked around frantically for her, but she was no where to be seen. Instead, he found himself looking at Kenshin. Battousai recoiled a bit, but Kenshin just smiled and extended a hand forward.
'Don't be afraid...Battousai, I won't hurt you; I promise,' he told him.
'But...you're dead!! When Enishi performed his spell, you died! You're not anywhere in your body now!' Battousai declared. 'How...?'
'Battousai...take care of Kaoru and Kenji, okay?' he said. 'They're the family you've always wanted so...take good care of them.'
'Chotto matte!! Kenshin!' Battousai shouted, but Kenshin had faded away, and he found himself back in the room with Enishi, holding the sword over his head; it seemed as if not a second had passed. Enishi looked fearfully up at him. 'Anata...'
'No, Battousai...please don't...' Enishi begged.
Battousai closed his eyes and let his sword drop to the floor with a clatter. He turned on his heels and walked towards the sliding paper door. 'You...have your aunt to thank for your life,' he told him. 'And don't let me set eyes on you again...because if I do, I'm not going to let you off with just a warning.'
He left the house, and went to his car. He climbed inside, started the engine and drove off without even a backward glance. He kept his eyes fixed on the road, his mind replaying the memories he had been through, and he gripped the stirring wheels tightly. He pulled in front of the building in which Sano resided, and stayed in the car for a few moments, tossing things around in his mind, before climbing out. He headed for the elevator, took a deep breath and got in. He took it to the fifth floor and staggered out. He made straight towards the door and knocked. He waited for a few moments before Megumi finally opened the door.
'Kenshin, where...' she started, but he passed right by her without a second glance. 'Hey! At least say hi!'
'Hi,' he said in a flat tone. He went for the living room and threw the door open. Kaoru was sitting there with Kenji, and they both looked up at him. Battousai felt his face automatically relaxing into a smile. 'Hey...'
'Daddy!!' Kenji exclaimed. He jumped off the couch and hurried over to him. Battousai held his arms open for him and picked Kenji up and lifted him into the air. Kenji laughed. 'Where'd you go, dad? Did you bring me something?'
'No, but I'm about to go and take you somewhere...how does ice-cream sound to you?' he asked him, smiling.
Kenji stared at him, wide-eyes. 'Really?' he demanded, and Battousai nodded. 'Yay!!'
Battousai put him down. 'Now...could you run along to Megumi so I could have a word with your mother?' he asked him.
Kenji scowled. 'You'll make her cry; you'll make mom cry,' he protested. 'That's what happens when you ask me to go away so you could talk to her.'
Battousai paused for a moment, and then he burst out laughing. He ruffled the kid's hair. 'Don't worry, Kenji...this time I won't make her cry,' he assured him, but Kenji continued to look doubtfully at him. 'I promise.' Kenji nodded and left the room, then Battousai straightened up and looked at Kaoru. 'Kaoru...'
Kaoru looked back, totally straight-faced, at him. 'Did you do what you had to do?' she asked quietly.
'Huh? Oh, yeah...yeah, I did,' he answered. He held his arms open for her. 'Doesn't your husband deserve at least a hug?'
Kaoru smiled, her eyes brimming with tears. She hurried towards him and flung her arms around his neck. 'Kenshin! Oh, God! I've missed you so much!!' she choked, burying her face in his chest. 'Don't you ever go touching any sword again, alright? Don't you ever go do that and leave me again, you understand?'
Battousai kissed the top of her head. I'm sorry, Kaoru, but I can't tell you...I can't tell you that I'm really not Kenshin; the truth would be just too hard on you. 'Don't worry, I won't,' he whispered. I promised I'd take care of you...and I will. No more swords, no more killing...I promise.
Japanese Words and their translations:
Gomen-nasai: I'm sorry (polite).
Damare-yo: Shut up
Aa: Yes (informal).
Daijoubou desu-ka: Are you alright?
Ai shiteru: I love you. (passionate)
Shiri-masen: I don't know.
Wakatta: I understand.
...ne: meaning, "Am I right?"
Chotto matte: Wait a moment.
A/N: I'm finished!!! I finally finished it!!! Well...what did you think? I gave you a bit of a shock there at the end, didn't I? See, I didn't want a normal ending, so...but this way Battousai gets the family he always wanted!! I know it's rather sad, but...it was nice just the same, ne? Well, anyway, if you liked it, then could you please review? I'll be back soon enough with another story!! Ja ne!
Ooh, and before I go, I would like to thank...
Bleeding plead, Galaxyangel, Royal blueKitsune, Vathara, erica6060, Valaroma, unicornfan, Reignashii, Sims are awsome, ayumi-dono, Tsubasa-chan02, wh00t, cherryblossomsx, almira, The Mystic Firefly, gabyhyatt, Snow Lepord, tkdl, Adelaide MacGregor, Theblackdemoness, are-en1, Shintachi, kodoma kikilala, skenshingumi, chakitattyla2h8, Kenshinlover, Deal-with-it, Hawk-EVB, Aldailyn, Shimmering Tear, Ken, Blinded, aznmoonstargurl, TheFunkyRaccoon, haruko sohma, SnowLeopard7, Iris Night, GranolaBar, Crystal Winds, krazyANIMEchick, kesha, Shadow Storm of Eternal Destruction, sakuya-kaleido, Sapphire Lupe, Anime Girl, Kaoru4, forever angel, alaine, happyloveygirl, antica, crazy fanfic lover, inuwolf04, JovianShe-Wolf, rklover, ida, miyumi-dono, nilnil. Rurouni, Aya45, Jupiter's Light, Indygodusk, sapphireracoongirl, Hitokiri Musei, Kaori-angel, akanetendo1234, charming dreams, Its My Time 2 Shine, en route, Valinor's Twilight, Jomai, Hitokiri Jinchuu, RKaddict001, Leighbriel-Misokita, Sachichan16, Koukishin, Desanity Rin, GirlWaterShaman, Animebdoll, a rose by any other name71591, Shadow Shunoichi, Kendakawaii00, YamiYugi 342. Tenken's Smile, Mikki G, brenu, demonz8000, Fatcat648, Onhiro, Fishee, rem, Jomai, ZeldaFitz, Wandering Hitokiri, Meet.A.L.E.X., Y.Ling
...for reading and reviewing my story!! Thank you so much!!!
- S. N. B.