Disclaimer: Nope, don't own Rurouni Kenshin, never will… Neither do I own the song "Tears In Heaven" by Eric Clapton. Hate this fic, love it to tears, I don't really give a damn (okay, actually, I do). Just be nice a review this after you're done ('cause I'm review junkie). If you flame me, chances are that I'll ignore it. Give reasonable comments and I'll probably thank you for them.

Tears In Heaven By terminal_insanity

Would you know my name

If I saw you in heaven?

Would it be the same

If I saw you in heaven?

"Fall back! Retreat!" Screamed a firm voice.

            Rain fell steadily as the surviving Oniwabanshuu onmitsu ran from the battlefield. The torrents of water hit the dirt, mixing with the blood-drenched soil. Rivers of the same crimson liquid streamed from the ninjas' wounds as the fled, trying to stay alive. Trying to hold back the enemy, as his comrades fled for safety, a single, solitary man stood his ground, daring his opponents to attack.

            The enemy surrounded him, trying to take advantage of their large numbers. But they had underestimated him. With a quick flick of his wrists, four men were down, deep slashes leaking thick blood down their bodies.

            "But…"

            "Now! And do not make me repeat myself!" He shouted at one who dared defy his order. A dark shadow of foes covered his silhouette, and he vanished in to the dark twilight, a furiously slashing angel of death.

            Back at the Aoiya, Misao waited anxiously for the return of her friends. Rain pattered incessantly upon the tiled roof, as she drummed her fingers absently on the counter. She and Okina were the only ones around. They had been gone for hours and the sky grew darker with every passing moment. Where were they? Were they alright?

            Suddenly, there was a loud crash, and four dripping figures stood in the doorway. Omasu fell on one knee, clutching her stomach in pain. Beside her, Okon stood, hunched, supporting Kuro with Shiro's help. They were in a sorry state, each covered in blood, and several patches of a lumpy, greyish substance.

            Uttering a short cry of surprise, Misao raced to where Okina was already helping Omasu up. There was something missing.

            Four of them… Aoshi-sama? Where- She shrieked in fear. "Aoshi-sama! Where's Aoshi-sama?! Where is he? He came back with you, didn't he? Didn't he?!"

            The four crimson-stained ninjas cringed. Of course she would have noticed. Neither one of them knew what to tell her. How could they break the news to Misao? That her beloved Aoshi-sama had stayed back to ensure their safety?

            "Misao-chan, he…" Okon started, trailing off at the end.

            "He wanted to stay, didn't he?" Okina finished for her, muttering a curse. Of course that rock-headed man would. There was nothing more important to him than the lives and safety of his comrades. Not even honour.

            The four fallen onmitsu nodded silently. Misao fell to the ground in shock. Her eyes were blank, devoid of any emotion whatsoever. Then her hands flew up to her face, and she burst into tears.

            Aoshi-sama… You promised you would come back… You promised me…

            They entered the shelter of the Aoiya, not knowing what to do with the weeping girl. A strong gust of wind blew out whatever light there was, plunging the entire room into pitch-black darkness. They stood there, just staring, for several seconds, before Okina left to light the lamps that had gone out.

I must be strong And carry on

'Cause I know I don't belong

Here in heaven

He had just returned with a single, lit oil lamp, when a bolt of lightning lit up the street. Even if it was just for a second, they saw a dark shadow by the doorway. It staggered for a few fleeting seconds, before falling into the Aoiya. There was a harsh clatter of metal, followed by a loud 'thump'.

            Misao looked up, her face streaked with shimmering tears. She glanced at the still form on the floor and jumped to her feet immediately, rushing to his side.

            "Aoshi-sama!" She screamed. He gave no response. "Help me get him upstairs!" She cried desperately to the shocked party around her.

            Don't die… Please don't die Aoshi-sama…

            They had called for a doctor to tend to Aoshi. The sun was already rising, but he had yet to come out of Aoshi's room. Misao had not slept a wink. Just as she was about to knock, the shoji slid open.

            "H-How is he?" Misao stammered, a shiver creeping up her spine at the sight of blood on the doctor's hands. So much blood… Aoshi-sama, you have to be okay!

            The middle-aged man turned to let her in. "Such extensive wounds… I'm surprised he's even alive right now. But chances of him surviving the night are very slim. I-I'm very sorry." He left, sliding the door shut behind him to give her privacy. He was accosted by a rumpled Okina.

            Inside the room, Misao knelt by Aoshi's side, horrified by the number of bandages covering his body. "You have to wake up, Aoshi-sama. You're safe now…" she whispered to him, she voice breaking.

Would you hold my hand
If I saw you in heaven?
Would you help me stand
If I saw you in heaven?

Aoshi felt as if he were suspended within a cloud. He opened his eyes, and found himself staring into a heavily scarred face. He would have been startled, had he not recognized it to be…

"Shikijou…" He shook his head, and looked up again. The muscular man was still standing there. He offered his hand to Aoshi, who stood up and glanced around. "Beshimi…Hyottoko…Hannya…" Where was he?

As if they could read his mind, Hannya replied, "Heaven, Aoshi-sama."

"I'm…dead?" He said, unable to believe his ears.

"Yes…and no." The masked ex-ninja replied. "You are, how do I put this, between worlds."

"So I'm not dead?"

"You have to make a decision, whether or not you want to leave your life on Earth."

Aoshi's answer was instantaneous. "Yes." If death meant that he would be with his old comrades, friends, he would gladly accept it.

"What about everyone back home? What will happen to them if you die?"

Everyone…Okina…Okon…Omasu…Kuro and Shiro…Yes, he would miss them, but they would understand.

"And what about Misao?"

Aoshi froze.

"What do you think your death would do to her?" Hannya asked.

Misao…She wouldn't understand… And she would shatter if he died.

I'll find my way
Through night and day
'Cause I know I just can't stay
Here in heaven

            "Look down at her…and see for yourself." He pointed to a small clearing in the endless clouds that streamed past.

            Aoshi glanced down, and felt his heart break. There she was, a small shaking figure on his still body. Shaking, not from cold, nor from fear, although he knew it had to be what she was feeling, but from tears. He could almost feel them, the endless stream of silver tears that damped his chest, the shuddering sobs that wracked her small frame.

            No, she definitely wouldn't understand.

            "She will get over me in time to come. She will soon forget me." He told them, lying to himself, and to his aching heart.

            Shikijou raised an eyebrow, as if to show that he didn't believe his former okashira. Hannya looked pointedly at him and continued, "So you say. Look again, Aoshi."

Time can bring you down
Time can bend your knees
Time can break your heart
Have you begging please
Begging please…

He did. If his heart had ached earlier, now he could feel it tearing into two. His eyes never left the space in the clouds. It was an older Misao. She had grown by a year, maybe two, but looked thin and haggard. Her long, flowing hair had lost its shine and her eyes no longer sparkled with life and exuberance. She sat in a dim corner of his room, idly polishing her kunai. She dull eyes frosted over, and her fingers slipped slightly. She stared at the thin trickle of blood with mild interest. Then she smiled a small, twisted smile and glanced at the glittering blade.

            No…She wouldn't…Misao!

            With the sick grin still on her face, she drew the razor sharp blade over the smooth, pale skin of her wrist. She watched, fascinated at the crimson line that appeared, and as blood ran down her forearm like a river, turned to her other hand, to give that wrist the same treatment.

            Misao, don't! Misao!

            She couldn't hear him.

            Her sea-blue eyes glazed over as she crawled to his futon, which still lay in its original spot. A trail of blood followed her, staining the pristine white sheets as she collapsed on it, curling into a fetal position. The blood pooled around her heart, as she clasped her hands and brought them to her chest, her lips moving in semblance of words.

            And suddenly, Aoshi could hear her.

            "I'm coming…Aoshi-sama…to be with you…forever…"

            His eyes filled with tears.

            "Forever…" Her eyelashes fluttered, as she slowly slid away from view. The cloud closed, taking her with it.

Beyond the door
There's peace I'm sure
And I know there'll be no more
Tears in heaven

They spilled, trailing down his ivory cheeks. My Misao… He thought, not acknowledging the dampness on his face. Sorry… I'm so sorry…

            He turned around to face his four friends. He had made up his mind. They smiled.

Would you know my name
If I saw you in heaven?
Would it be the same
If I saw you in heaven?

            "I can't stay."

            "Go back to her, Aoshi." Hannya said. "We'll be here waiting, the next time. When you are ready."

            He walked slowly towards the bright oval of light before him. He hesitated, and turned around.

            "We will always be here for you, okashira, as we had before." With that, they faded from view, and Aoshi walked the last step home…to his Misao…

            Misao sobbed, her shoulders heaving. She held Aoshi's large hands tightly in her smaller ones.

Don't leave me…please…

She felt his fingers twitch, and stopped crying. Was she dreaming? Did his hand really move?

"Aoshi-sama?…" She whispered, afraid that it had simply been a figment of her imagination.

She looked up at his face and froze. His long dark lashes fluttered and his glacier-blue eyes opened a slight crack. He squeeze her hand, as if to assure her that he was still alive.

"Misao?…" She heard him whisper hoarsely.

"Aoshi-sama!" She squealed, overwhelmed with joy. She embraced him in a weak hug, tears of absolute joy flowing from her eyes.

I must be strong

And carry on
'Cause I know I don't belong
Here in heaven

He winced, feeling the full extent of his injuries. But he didn't care. He was alive, and he was here, in his sweet Misao's arms.

"Misao…What happened?…" He murmured, as she released him, a faint blush colouring her face. "Are the others…alright?"

She sighed. He was always putting others before himself.

"Hai, they're fine… But you aren't! You promised me you would return! Why did you stay behind?! You almost died!" She raged.

Died? Yes…I almost did, didn't I?

"It doesn't matter any more… I came back, didn't I? So…" He lifted his good hand up slightly, ignoring the ache in his muscles, and brushed her tears aside. "…don't cry because of me anymore…"

"Aoshi-sama…" She murmured in wonder. What ever had happened to her cold, stone-faced Aoshi-sama?

He smiled at the expression on her face. The tugging ache that had been in his heart earlier faded away, and for the first time in a long time, he felt at peace. He was here, with his angel…Misao… He was home…

Author's Notes:

            Ahhh… It's finally done… Took me the whole night to type the damn fic out. I know, you must be thinking, "What the hell is she doing, typing another fic while she's still half-way through Dreamcatchers?" Well, thing is that I've got Writers' Block and I can't think of anything for Dreamcatchers. In fact, I'm thinking of revamping the whole thing altogether. If you have any ideas for Dreamcatcher, put them up in reviews. Please review this and tell me what you think of it. It's not really romance, nor is it really angst either. It's a semi-happy fic. Wait a minute… I just wrote a happy fic!!! And I thought I couldn't!!! WOW!!! Whee!!! *grinz…* Maybe I'm not all that hopeless after all… *jumps around* I don't mind if you critisize this, as long as you maintain an air of dignity while doing so and if you do so with style… Just review this damn it!!! *wheeze* Okay, I think I'm more or less done now. *bounces* Yeah, you can go and review this now. Oh, how to review? That's simple!!! Just click on that li'l rectangular box down in that left-hand corner! ^_~