Even the longest wanderings have to end. Major Spoiler Warning for RK OAV2 Seissou Hen.

Author's Note: MAJOR SPOILER FOR SEISSOU HEN. My advice? Don't read it if you haven't seen OAV2. I wrote it because it was something that I wanted to get off my chest. I had no prior intention of posting it, but then again, people change their minds. In a way, it's my tribute to Rurouni Kenshin. It was only upon seeing Seissou Hen that I realized that the series has always been a part of me. This was painful to write. I can only hope that it sums up every emotion that RK has allowed me to experience. Domo arigatou.

Sarah McLachlan's Angel was the one song that I felt does justice to one man's search for salvation and peace. I just had to put it in.

Disclaimer: Angel belongs to Sarah McLachlan. Copyright for Rurouni Kenshin belongs to the great Nobuhiro Watsuki, but in essence, Kenshin belongs to the millions of fans who have fought, cried, laughed, and loved – with him and because of him.

The Way Back
dementedchris

He had been gone for far too long, and now he was going home.

***

Spend all your time waiting for that second chance
For a break that would make it okay

She took his comings and goings with a tender smile, the way she took everything else about him. When he had first told her that he wanted to do much more while he still could, she sent him on his way with that smile and a blessing.

"It is the road you have chosen," she said simply.

He didn't deserve her, he knew. She could have lived a simpler life, a better life, if he weren't in it. Maybe she would have been married earlier, and the little boy sleeping on the nearby futon would have been someone else's son.

But he loved her, and she loved him, and that was all that mattered.

He still remembered her words to him. "I'll wait for you, no matter when you will come back."

He left, when the gentle breezes carried sakuras softly to the ground. She stood on the road, waiting for him to disappear from her sight. He didn't look back.

***

Let me be empty and weightless and maybe
I'll find some peace tonight

He came back, time and time again, battered and broken. She took him in her arms and tried to ease the pain away.

It was one of those nights, when Tokyo was illuminated by the light of a hundred fireflies and the air was thick with emotion. Her head was pressed against his chest as she cradled her close.

"Kenshin," she murmured.

Holding her like this, feeling her breath on his skin, he realized that she loved him without question. He had hidden so much from her, in all those years together. And yet she had waited.

When he spoke, his voice had a slight tremble in it that he couldn't hide. "That is the name my master gave me. He said it suits a swordsman. So when my swordsman days are over that name will no longer fit me anymore."

He had never told anyone this, not even Tomoe. But now, he was going to tell her, not because she asked, not because she deserved to know, but because he wanted to hear his name from the woman he loved. "My parents named me Shinta. That is my real name."

"Shinta," she said, trying the name on her tongue.

It felt so good to hear her say it. No one had called him that in a long, long time. He turned to her. "When I come back, will you call me by that name?"

She smiled, and his heart almost burst. He loved her so much.

He left again, one week after.

***

In the arms of an angel

Fly away from here

Angels, those winged creatures that Christians believed would guide them and keep them from harm. Did they always have those dove-like feathers, those golden rings of light? Or did they sometimes have the ebony hair of the woman he loved, her warm smile, her welcome embrace? Would they have waited for him as she did, waited for fifteen years for a man who might never return?

He stumbled onto the familiar dirt road. His steps were heavy, yet his heart felt light, so light.

Around him, sakuras fell.

***

You're in the arms of the angel

May you find some comfort here

He saw her, running towards him with her heart in her eyes. He had been to many different places, but he swore that his wife was still the most beautiful thing he had ever seen in this lifetime.

He collapsed in her embrace, burying his face against the folds of her kimono. As he breathed her in, he realized one thing that eluded him in all his wanderings.

Tomoe's death had made him. But it was Kaoru's life that had saved him, countless times over.

"I am home, Kaoru," he told her. For good, he wanted to add, to assure her that he would never leave her. But the words did not come. Perhaps no other words were needed.

She understood. "Welcome back," she whispered.

A pause.

"Shinta."

He wept in her arms. He was finally home.

END. And so it does.

This is for Chrissie.

Spend all your time waiting for that second chance
For a break that would make it okay
There's always one reason to feel not good enough
And it's hard at the end of the day
I need some distraction, oh a beautiful release
Memory seeps from my veins
Let me be empty and weightless and maybe
I'll find some peace tonight

In the arms of an angel

Fly away from here
from this dark cold hotel room
and the endlessness that you fear
You are pulled from the wreckage of your silent reverie
You're in the arms of the angel
May you find some comfort there

So tired of the straight line and everywhere you turn
There's vultures and thieves at your back
And the storm keeps on twisting, you keep on building the lie
That you make up for all that you lack
It don't make no difference, escaping one last time
It's easier to believe in this sweet madness oh
this glorious sadness that brings me to my knees

In the arms of an angel

Fly away from here
From this dark cold hotel room
And the endlessness that you fear
You are pulled from the wreckage of your silent reverie
You're in the arms of the angel
May you find some comfort there
You're in the arms of the angel
May you find some comfort here