DISCLAIMER: Rurouni Kenshin and Rurouni Kenshin characters are exclusively owned by Watsuki Nobuhiro, Shueisha, Sony Entertainment, Jump Comics and associated parties. Please note, this is purely fiction and for entertainment purposes only. This story is not meant for sale or profit.


Author's Notes: This is my first Alternate Universe Fanfic about Kenshin and Kaoru falling in love during modern times. It's not your typical love story and it is OOC. (Drama/Angst/Romance) Fatal Love Fanfiction by Gypsy-chan Enjoy!

Please Note: This story was not written to offend those in the medical profession or in the law enforcement field. It was written from my over-active imagination. The characters, the characters in various professional capacities and the events in this story should not be taken literal in anyway. OOCness and unethical practices will prevail throughout this story. Thank you and Enjoy! ^_^



FATAL LOVE
Part Twenty-Four



As Aoshi held on to Misao's hand, she said, "Yes. I will help you."

Even though he didn't display any outward emotions, Misao knew that he was smiling inwardly.

"We can discuss our strategy tommorrow night over dinner at the Shrebeko," he said.

"I would like that," blushed Misao as she smiled up at him....


********************************

Two days later, Kaoru was lying on her bed staring blankly out the window.

"Kenshin is probably in Kyoto by now. He's there all alone without any of his friends to support him. I wished I could have gone with him, but that is impossible now. I ruined everything. All the long hours of research and the intense therapy sessions I conducted were discredited by the parole board. There's nothing else I can do for him now but wait."

Tears streamed down her cheeks as she whispered his name, "Kenshin."

Tae and Tsubame were in the kitchen preparing a meal for Kaoru. Upon hearing the door bell, Tae left Tsubame in charge of watching over the noodles on the stove while she went to answer the door. As she squinted her left eye through the peephole in the door, she saw that it was Megumi. Tae immediately opened the door.

"Megumi, it's good to see you. Please come in."

"Thank you Tae," she answered while standing inside the door. "I just found out from Yuri that Kaoru is still here".

"Yes, Tsubame and I rushed over as soon as we found out." Tae took Megumi's jacket and hung it into the closet. "Yuri gave us Kaoru's spare key so that we could let ourselves in. Tsubame and I have tried everything to cheer Kaoru up. But nothing seems to work. Kaoru's taking this whole matter with Kenshin very hard."

Tsubame entered the living room carrying a tray of hot noodles. She smiled upon seeing Megumi.

"Oh, hello Miss Megumi. It is nice to see you again. How are you feeling today?"

"I'm fine Tsubame, thank you for asking," smiled Megumi in reply. "The noodles on the tray you're holding smells very good. Did you make them yourself?"

Tsubame blushed slightly. "Yes. Would you like some?"

"Maybe later, I think we better go check on Kaoru."

Tae and Tsubame nodded in agreement while following after Megumi as she headed toward Kaoru's bedroom.

Tsubame placed the tray of noodles before Kaoru. "I'm not a good cook like Auntie Tae, but I hope you like the noodles I made. Please have something to eat."

Kaoru shook her head in response. "No thanks... I'm not hungry."

Tsubame lowered her head in disappointment. Tae rested her hand upon Tsubame's shoulder and glared over to Kaoru.

"How rude! Tsubame stood over a hot stove preparing something for you to eat. How can you be so cruel? We're only trying to help."

"I didn't ask for anyone's help," Kaoru sharply replied. "I can take care of myself. I just want to be left alone!"

Megumi glared down at Kaoru. "You're pathetic. A psychiatrist who has been certified to heal, who cannot heal herself. It's no wonder you were asked to resign, you don't have what it takes be a good psychiatrist."

Kaoru sat up abruptly and scowled at Megumi.

"How dare you come into my home and insult me Megumi," seethed Kaoru. "Your sarcasim is totally unwarranted. I am a very good psychiatrist. No matter what anyone says!"

"Then why aren't you in Kyoto with Kenshin giving him the psychological support he needs?"

"Don't you think I want to be with him right now? This parole board hearing is crucial for both of us." Kaoru felt tears welling up into the corner of her eyes as she thought about Kenshin. She then cast her head downward. "I... I don't want to bring further shame upon Kenshin by being there. Everyone knows that I was forced to resign because of my unprofessional conduct. I've ruined everything for him. I'm sure he wouldn't want me there either."

Tears began streaming down her face. "Please just go away," she cried as she flung her self back down on the bed.

Megumi sat on the side of Kaoru's bed and grabbed Kaoru up by the shoulders.

"Get a grip on yourself," said Megumi as she shook Kaoru harshly. "Kenshin needs you now! You're not doing him or anyone else any good by lying in bed feeling sorry for yourself."

Kaoru threaded her arms upward so as to knock Megumi's hands off her shoulders. "Take your hands off me!"

Tae and Tsubame gasped at Kaoru's sudden abrasive behavior.

Kaoru glared at Megumi and continued yelling. "I don't need your psychologial pity! As I told you before, the members of the parole board will never allow me at the hearing! There's nothing more I can do! Why don't you go!"

"I would go if I had the chance but I have too many patients to attend to. I can't leave them now."

"Are the patients on death row more important than Kenshin's life? You once told me that Kenshin saved your life when a fight broke out between several deranged prisoners in the medical ward. Is this how you repay his bravery?"

Megumi was offended by Kaoru's remark. She took her left hand and aimed it toward Kaoru's cheek in an attempt to slap it. Kaoru quickly blocked Megumi's hand from striking her face.

"You may only know me as a psychiatrist, but I am also the assistant master of Kamiya Kasshin Ryu. How dare you mock my training. I..."

Kaoru's sentence was abruptly caught off when she suddenly noticed Megumi's right hand within inches from her right cheek. Kaoru squinted her eyes awaiting the impact. She slowly opened her eyes one at at time, upon noticing that Megumi hadn't struck her. She glanced up to Megumi.

"Yes, I could tell that you are knowledgable in some form of Kendo, but right now you are not thinking clearly. If you were, you would have been able to anticipate my other hand and block it as well."

Kaoru knew Megumi was right. She recalled a similar situation with her father. Kaoru's father was able to slap her in the face during a practice session when she was caught off guard. Her father scolded her at the time for not concentrating.

"How could I have been such an idiot? I should have sensed her other hand coming toward my face. I just can't do anything right anymore.

Kaoru lowered her head down toward the floor. Megumi gently lifted Kaoru's chin so that their eyes met.

"Silly girl! Stop feeling with your heart and use your head! You're not acting like the strong young woman I know you can be."

Tears began to roll down Kaoru's face. "You're right Megumi," she whimpered, "I don't know what's wrong with me. I can't seem to do anything right."

Megumi sighed deeply at her friend before wiping away Kaoru's tears with a tissue.

"You mentioned earlier that the parole board would never allow you at the parole hearing as a psychiatrist. However, it's a known fact that parole board hearings are opened to the public."

Kaoru's eyes grew wide at Megumi as realization sunk in. "I forgot about that."

Megumi smiled as she noticed she had finally gotten through to Kaoru. "It's about time that thick-head tanuki girl got my point. Maybe now she can stop feeling sorry for herself and go after Ken-san."

Tae could also see the what Megumi said had finally gotten throught to Kaoru. She wasted no time in adding to the conversation.

"That's right Kaoru-chan, you can go to the parole hearing as a concerned member of the community. The parole board can't stop you because you no longer work for the psychiatric ward of the prison...."

"...and technically, I'm not representing Kenshin," added Kaoru as she finished Tae's statement. Kaoru smiled widely at her new found revelation.

"So why are you still sitting around? Hurry and pack your things," urged Megumi. "We don't have time to waste."

Kaoru smiled and jumped out of her bed yelling, "Right! I'm on my way to Kyoto!"

Tae, Megumi and Tsubame all helped Kaoru pack her things for her trip to Kyoto.


IN KYOTO, Kenshin was sitting in his cell awaiting a visit from the parole board assistant. As he sat, he began pondering over his situation.

"The parole board assistant will be here soon to interview me. His visit is evident that the process of the parole board hearing is in motion."

Kenshin glanced outside the window and watched several birds flying effortlessly through the sky.

"Freedom. It's been a while since I've actually tasted freedom. Several years ago, I chaffed at the idea of being paroled, but now I'm on the path to becoming a free man again. Can I make it on the outside without...."

Kenshin was shaken out of his musings by the sound of keys rattling outside his cell. He looked up and saw a guard opening the cell door. A petite young woman stepped around the guard and walked over to Kenshin.

"Are you Himura Kenshin?"

Kenshin nodded and answered, "Yes."

The young woman smiled and replied, "My name is Makimachi Misao and I'm the parole board assistant here to interview you."

Kenshin smiled and motioned for her to sit on the tatami across from him.

"I understand this time you are seeking parole," she snidely stated while keeping a firm eye upon him.

"Hai Officer Makimachi I am," he replied while bowing his head humbly before her.

"You may call me Misao."

"Hai Misao-dono."

Misao studied Kenshin for a moment.

"Hmmm.... so far he's acting the part of a reformed prisoner, but we'll see how long he can keep this act it up. I won't go easy on him, even if this is a favor for Aoshi."

"Himura-san, I want you to know that I take my position as paorle board officer very seriously. My position is a symbol of public faith and trust."

"Hai Misao-dono, I understand," responded Kenshin as he kept his head in a respectful position.

"In preparation for our meeting, I've conducted several interviews with your fellow inmates, victims, former attorneys, perspective employers, prison medical personnel, and other interested parties. I've also reviewed the various psychiatric reports, counselor reports, police reports and your recent activities while imprisoned at the Kyoto and Tokyo prisons. I must admit that you have a very colorful record."

Kenshin still sat respectfully before Misao remaining silent.

"In order to finish my evaluation of your suitability for parole I would like to ask you a few questions. First, I would like to know why you choose to be parole? You've waived your rights for parole so many times in the past, why choose parole now?"

Kenshin slowly lifted his head up to meet Misao's. He paused for a moment to contemplate his answer. He then looked directly at her and responded.

"I have finally come to realize that true repentance is more than self-remorse. True repentance is demonstrated through sincere action. I have dishonored my community by the crimes I have committed in the past. I know that I cannot change the past, but I can do something about the future. I can use the education I acquired over the years to give back to my community. I want to help the troubled teens, the homeless and the elderly. I feel I can do the most good for my community by being on the outside with them."

"Very impressive answer," she replied as she rested her pencil on the side of her ear. "But... are you sure your wanting to be parole has nothing to do with Dr. Kaoru Kamiya? The information I received from Tokyo seem to suggest that..."

Kenshin remained emotionless as he looked into her eyes. Misao began to stutter.

"...that... uhm...."

Kenshin could feel her uneasiness. He smiled at her saying, "Hai Misao-dono, what information did you receive from Tokyo?"

Misao was becoming frustrated.

"Why is he smiling at me like that? I thought he would get nervous if I mentioned Dr. Kamiya's name. But instead, he's smiling. What is he hiding behind that goofy grin?"

Misao quickly cast her eyes down to her notes. "Hmm... I guess I will have to try the direct approach. I'm sure that will wipe the smile off his face." Misao cleared her throat and proceeded with her investigation.

"My reports say that you and Dr. Kamiya had more than a doctor-patient relationship."

"What kind of relationship would you say we have," asked Kenshin.

"I don't know, you tell me Himura," replied Misao as she carefully watched his response.

"Dr. Kamiya is a well-trained psychiatrist who helps her patients to understand what true remorse is. She has helped many of my fellow inmates to go on to live productive lives after they were paroled. Dr. Kamiya treats all her patients respectfully and professionally, the same as Dr. Genzai had."

Misao scribbled some notes down and closed her folder.

"That will be all for now," she stated as she motioned for the guard to open the cell. "The warden will contact you later regarding your parole status and hearing."

Kenshin sat quietly watching Misao's retreating figure fade into the darkness of the hallway. He folded his arms and lowered his head allowing his long bangs to cover his face.

"The interview is over. The warden will contact me shortly. And so it begins. Kenshin exhaled deeply as he thought on Kaoru. "I wished I could have seen your face one last time before leaving Tokyo. Kaoru...."


**********************

As Misao left the prison yard she recognized the long dark sedan sitting in front of the prison gates. The window on the passenger side lowered slowly as she approached. A small smile played across her lips as she leaned over and peered inside the dark car.

"Need a ride," asked the man inside the car.

"I thought you would never ask," she replied nonchantly while opening the car door and stepping in. After closing the door, Misao opened her bag and pretended to rearrange her papers while taking a quick glimpse at the driver. Her heart began to flutter. But she commanded it to be still.

"He's as handsome as ever. Aoshi...."

"How did it go?"

"I think he did well. I feel Himura is ready for the parole board hearing. He stands a good chance of getting paroled from my investigation. However, he will have to go up against Amakusa Shougo and Yukishiro Enishi. They are the real problem. From my research, Enishi is Himura's brother-in-law and the only living relative of Himura's first wife, Tomoe. He has challenged Himura's parole more than once and had Himura's parole overturned. I guess that is why Himura stopped trying to get paroled."

"No, that is not the main reason," Aoshi interjected. "Yukishiro Enishi is secretly involved with the Chinese mafia. I understand several years ago, he had his lackeys pose as Himura's victims. They sent in letters to contest Himura's parole. As extra insurance, Yukishiro bought off a few key members of the parole board adminstration. With those things in place, Himura's parole was overturned."

"That's awful," exclaimed Misao. "And now he's challenging Himura's parole again! Enishi doesn't have the right to challenge Himura's parole. He is still involved with the mafia!"

"That is true, however, no one can prove his involvement," responded Aoshi. "Enishi has never gotten his hands dirty. However, with the latest incident in the Kyoto prison, one of Makoto Shishio's men pointed to Enishi as the mastermind behind the drug smuggling."

"I see...." Misao's eyes suddenly widened. "So that's why he needs Amakusa Shougo to represent him at the parole board. Shougo has a "good" reputation in the public's eye and in the eyes of the Kyoto parole board association. I'm sure Enishi has paid Shougo a large sum to use every dirty trick in the book to keep Himura behind bars. I hate that guy!"

Misao began to shudder the more she thought on Amakusa Shougo.

"No matter what happens, you are not alone in this," said Aoshi as he placed his hand on top of hers. "I will support you. That's a promise."

Misao blushed slightly upon his touch. "Thank you Aoshi."

"We should get going now," he replied as he withdrew his hand and started the car. "It is late and I'm sure you'll need to rest up. I'll stop by your place in the morning. We can plan out our next strategy over breakfast."

"Yes, that sounds like a good idea," smiled Misao.

Aoshi started the car and began to drive her back to her apartment.


**********************


Later that night, a secret meeting was being held in the basement of a secluded building. Several men sat in a dark room discussing the events that would unfold within a few days.

"....and that's the way I am going to present our case before the parole board. Himura will never get paroled," smirked Amakusa Shougo. "I am sure of it!"

A long pause fell across the room. Finally, a tall muscular man leaned on the desk toward Shougo. He pushed his dark glasses upon his nose and then ran his hand through his spikey albino hair.

"Your argument does sound convincing," Enishi dryly responded. "However, we cannot forget the fact that Himura assisted the government in the Kyoto prison incident. I am sure the parole board will take that under consideration."

"Don't worry Mr. Yukishiro, I have that all under control."

"I do not tolerate failure Mr. Amakusa," Enishi cooly replied. "I run my organization by one simple rule, 'you fail, you die'."

Shougo noted the emphasis on the word die. He took one hand to wipe the sweat off his brow and the other hand to loosen the tie from around his neck.

"I understand Mr. Yukishiro."

Enishi nodded for one of his men to escort Shougo out of the room. When everyone had left, Enishi reached in his top drawer and pulled out a picture. It was a picture of him as a small boy standing next to his sister Tomoe. He began tracing over the picture with his fingers. A single teardrop escaped his eye and trickled down his cheek.

"Sister.... I miss you so much...."

He wiped the tear from off his cheek as he continued gazing at the picture.

"Himura is up for parole again. But don't worry, I will avenge your death once more. This time, I will make sure that beast stays behind bars permanently. Once that is done, then I know you will smile for me again."




TO BE CONTINUED.........


Author's Comments: Konnichiwa minna, Gomen for such a long delay. The creative juices stopped flowing for a while for this story. I think my brain is beginning to function again. I hope this chapter came out okay.^_^

The next chapter will be the last (sob, sob) followed by an epilogue (Yay!). I would like to thank everyone for reading this story and supporting my first A/U fanfic. I would also like to thank all those who've written many emails encouraging me to finish this story. It really helped get me going ^_^. Also, I know Misao seemed a little low key, but this is modern times and I wanted to present her as a classy professional in this story.

Okay, this is just a little reminder. The whole parole board hearing drama in this ficcie will be based off of western culture. In my research I found that parole board hearings differs from state to state in America. In some states, the hearings are opened to the public (including the victims) and in other states, it's restricted. There's a lot of drama surrounding the hearings when it is being challenged by the victims and victims advocates.

Now, as for parole hearings in Japan, well I've only read a little about that. I learned that the prisoners never have contact with the public. The hearing is held between the Warden, a few parole officials and prisoner. The Warden determines the eligibility of the prisoner by their records. The prisoner is present but has no say in anything. So in other words, its sort of a cut and dry process (but don't quote me on it ^_^).

As usual, constructive reviews are welcomed as long as they are genuine and not sarcastic. Thank you for reading and being a considerate reviewer. ^_^