A/n Hi everyone...so sorry about the wait. I've been super busy, but here is the last chapter. This writing exercise had been a trip, and I'm glad to share it with you. I'll be updating my profile soon to talk about my new and upcoming stories. I hope to see my reviewers there. My new stories should pop up here and there in the next few weeks, so keep an eye out for them hehehe. Having you guys with me through this exercise has been fun and I can't wait to post my new work.

Enough of my jabbering…

Disclaimer. I don't own the characters or the story.


"It's time. You need to come get me."

'What?" Kenshin sat on the other end of the line, in his office staring blankly at Sanosuke and the clients seated across from him. his secretary had just interrupted his meeting to say he had an emergency, but Kaoru wasn't due for another six weeks. What could she mean by "it's time"?

"The baby's coming. Hurry, Kenshin."

Kaoru had a healthy, uneventful pregnancy, but the panic in her voice now made it difficult for him to breathe.

"But it's too soon."

"I don't think our son cares. He's on his way."

"Oh boy." Kenshin stood up, sat down, stood up again. Was something wrong with the baby? Why would it come early? "I'll be right there, Kaoru. Where are you? Don't try to walk anywhere. I'll get you."

"She chuckled. "What are you going to do? Drive up on the lawn? I'm at the pay phone on campus, near the library, but I can make it to the front where you usually pick me up.

I'm just a little nervous. I had so many backaches with the pregnancy that I didn't know I was in labor until the pains started coming hard and fast." Her voice became strangled for a second and he heard her pant. "I'm afraid we don't have much time."

They'd been to Lamaze. Kenshin knew that pant meant she was having a contraction.

"Honey, don't be frightened. I'll drive up on the lawn if I have to."

"I'll be waiting by the main entrance."

He slammed the phone down and started from the room almost forgetting to explain himself. At the last minute he said. "I have to go, my wife is having our baby." Then he ran to the elevators, cursed the damn things for taking so long, considered scaling the twenty stories to the ground floor via the stairs, and decided it would actually be quicker to wait.

As soon as the elevator doors sprang open, he hit the lobby button, descended and dashed to his car.

Kaoru was waiting at the main entrance, as she'd said, but he could tell by her face that something wasn't right. He pulled up, his heart in his throat as he ran would to help her in the car.

"You okay?"

"I think so." She reached out to squeeze his hand. "Just get me to the hospital."

"Maybe we should go to the University hospital. It's right here."

"No, Dr. Takani can't deliver here, I already called her. She's on her way, she'll meet us at the hospital."

"What if we don't make it?"

She grinned. "Then you get to deliver the baby yourself."

"We'll make it." he said. "That we will."

Other than one construction delay, traffic wasn't a problem this afternoon. Kenshin wove through the streets, speeding when could safely do so, and turned into the emergency entrance of the hospital only fifteen minutes later.

Kaoru was in the middle of another labor pain. Her eyes were closed and her hands balled into fists.

"We're here." He said gently. "I'll be right back." He jumped out and jogged into the hospital to get a wheelchair, but Kaoru was already wadding in when he returned.

"Here you go." He said, helping her sit down.

They'd toured the hospital shortly after their Lamaze classes had ended. Kenshin knew exactly where to go. He wheeled Kaoru down a long corridor, turned left, passed through a set of double doors, and waved to get a nurse's attention as soon as they entered the maternity ward.

"What have we here?" Asked the nurse as she approached them.

"My contractions are every two minutes or so apart." Kaoru said.

"When's your due date?"

"Next month."

She frowned. "Okay. Wait right here. I'll get you a room."

Minutes later, the nurse returned and showed Kenshin and Kaoru into one of the hone-style birthing rooms they'd visited on their tour. "Has Dr. Takani arrived yet?" Kenshin asked.

"Not yet. You've called her then?"

"Yes. She's on her way." Kaoru said.

"Good." The nurse handed her a gown. Change into this. Then I'll check and see how far you've dilated. Has your water broke yet?"

"No. is that good?"

"If we wait to try and stop the labor, it is. Once your water breaks, stopping it isn't an option. But I'm not sure what Dr. Takani is going to do. She might want to let you go ahead and have it. You're what, Thirty-four weeks?"

"Give or take a few days."

The nurse nodded and left.

Kenshin helped Kaoru change and get settled in bed. "The doctor will be able to stop the labor it it's too early," He said, hoping to convince himself, as well as Kaoru, that they had nothing to worry about. "Even if we have the baby now, it should be all right. I mean people have premature babies all the time, right?"

Kaoru was breathing deeply though her nose at the tail end of another pain. When it released its hold on her body, she took his hand and kissed his palm. "I've never seen you so uptight." She said. "Everything's going to be fine."

He nodded, but he lost too much in a hospital once before to relax now. "Should I have the nurse call an anesthesiologist?"

"Nope. We're going natural remember?"

He grinned. "I thought you might change your mind."

"Maybe I will." She said, giving him a rueful smile. "But I haven't yet."

"What about Yahiko?" he glanced at his watch. "He gets out of school in twenty minutes."

"I called Misao from campus. She's going to pick him up. Everthing's taken care of."

"Did you call your Uncle? He needs some notice so he can make the drive."

"Not yet. You can call him if you want. But I'm not sure he'll talk to you. He's still convinced your going to run out on me."

Kenshin laughed. "He'll come around." When he was old and gray. He thought to himself.

He made the call then alerted his own mother. "They're both on their way." He told Kaoru just as the nurse who'd returned while he was away finished her examination.

"You've dilated to six." She told Kaoru. "At this point, I doubt Dr. Takani will try and stop the labor."

'Did I hear my name?" Dr. Takani entered the room wearing street clothes, whish she quickly covered with a blue smock the nurse gave her. "How are you feeling?"

"Like I need to push," Kaoru said, panting through another contraction.

The doctor pulled on some latex gloves and checked her again. "This is going fast. Bring me a stool and get the bed ready."

"You're not going to stop it?" Kenshin asked.

"No, It's too late for that."

The nurse rolled a stool to the doctor and adjusted the bed so Dr. Takani could more easily reach Kaoru.

"I have to push," Kaoru grunted during the next contraction.

"Not yet." Dr. Takani warned. You haven't dilated all the way, I don't want you to tear."

Kaoru gritted her teeth, letting Kenshin know the contractions were beginning to run together. "I have to push!" She said again.

Dr. Takani quickly checked her cervix. "Hang on for just a few more contractions, Kaoru."

"Come on, Sweetheart, you can do it." Kenshin said, trying to play his part as coach. But he'd never felt more helpless or useless in his life. His wife was lying on the bed, suffering and the baby he wanted for so long was coming six weeks early. Would his son be whole. Healthy?

Suddenly blood gushed from Kaoru as though someone had turned on a faucet. Judging from the look of surprise on the doctor's face, it wasn't normal.

"We're going to need a transfusion here, stat." The doctor barked to the nurse. "And get an anesthesiologist. She's hemorrhaging. We'll do a C-section"

Kenshin started at the growing pool of blood, the doctor's words echoing in his heat. What did it mean? Surely Kaoru's life wasn't in danger. The fear that it might be shot a pain right through his heart.

Oh, Kami, please, not again.

Other doctors and nurses flooded the room, working with quick efficiency. They ignored him until Dr. Takani cried, "Someone take him out while we move her to an operating room."

Kenshin ignored Dr. Takani and clung to Kaoru's hand, feeling naked and vulnerable and terrified.

"Kenshin?" Kaoru looked up at him, her eyes dazed by pain.

Kami, not Kaoru!

"I love you." She whispered. "No matter what happens always remember that."

"Kaoru, don't leave me. I won't let you go." He said but a nurse took him by the arm and dragged him away before she could respond.

… . . …

Kenshin's mother joined him in the lobby of the hospital after thirty minutes of waiting.

"What's the matter, Son?" She asked as soon as she saw him.

Kenshin let her hug him, clung to her too long perhaps, then made himself pull away. "She started hemorrhaging."

Her eyebrows knit together with worry. "What did the doctor say?"

"Nothing. A nurse keeps coming out to say everything is going fine, but she won't get any more specific than that."

"And the baby?"

"I don't know. They're doing a cesarean. And because it was an emergency, I couldn't go with her."

Tears filled his mothers eyes, and Kenshin put an arm around her to comfort her. She talked to him, telling him she was sure everything would work out, but he wasn't listening. His thoughts revolved around the last time he'd had a wife and child in the hospital. The doctors had told him they couldn't save Tomoe and her unborn child. He'd been forced to choose between them and lost them both, and afterwards, in his bitterness, he'd sworn there'd never be with anyone else.

He'd been wrong about that. Even though his relationship with Kaoru had initially revolved around the baby he longed to have, he knew, if he had to make the same decision today he'd had to make with Tomoe, his wife or the child…he'd choose Kaoru.

He didn't understand the human heart or its capacity for love, but he knew that Kaoru meant ever bit as much to him as Tomoe had. She was the cornerstone of his family now, and he prayed he wouldn't lose her.

"Mr. Himura?"

At the sight of the nurse, Kenshin jammed a hand through his hair and stood, his gut knotting in frightened anticipation. "Is she okay?" he asked.

She smiled. "You're wife is in stable condition."

He closed his eyes and let his breath seep out. "And my son?"

His mother took his hand and squeezed.

"He's beet-red and angry at the moment, but he's going to be fine. We weighed six pounds, two ounces, not a bad size for six weeks early."

Kenshin couldn't believe it. He stood staring at his mother for several seconds before he came to his senses enough to ask, "Can I see my wife?"

"Their still stitching her up, but you can come and hold your baby."

Kenshin felt a slow smile creep over his face. His baby. He finally had his baby. And he had Kaoru and Yahiko, too. Feeling as if he was walking on air, he followed the nurse to the nursery, where a rolling cradle just inside the entrance held an infant squalling at the top of its lungs. The nurse lifted the tightly wrapped bundle and placed him in his arms.

"Meet your son, Mr. Himura."

Glancing at his mother, who'd followed them. Kenshin smiled. Then he gazed down to the red, shriveled face of his son, smelled the sweet newness of him, kissed the fuzzy round head-and knew he'd never have to worry about clinging to the edge of the pool again.

For Kaoru, Yahiko and his new son Kenji, he'd dive into the deepest part of the ocean.

A/n The End! I hope you guys liked the story, I'm sorry updates were taking a little longer than normal here at the end but at least I got it all posted. Remember to keep an eye out for my new work And I'm always looking for new ideas and projects so if you have any and want to share, feel free to do so. Thank you for reading everyone! Reviews are loved!