A/N: I know this chapter should be posted tomorrow, but I'm getting all emotional and just want to get it over with. So let me go ahead and get all weepy and say thank you to everyone out there – readers, reviewers, and lurks alike. Big, giant, special thanks to the reviewers and readers that have been with Power since the beginning, or very nearly so. I'm so glad to say that I've made new friends through Power, and I am staggered by the kindness of this fandom.
Special thanks – as always – to Jav-chan, who has been a huge cheerleader for me, and one I've desperately needed.
I hope to see you all back when the angstquel arrives; I'll make Yahiko keep your seats warm. ;)
Disclaimer: I do not own Rurouni Kenshin.
Kaoru does not fool herself into believing, even for a moment, that the trials of her new marriage and life with Kenshin are over. There is simply so much that is unsettled; this business with the Obiwanbansu, who long for the title of the strongest, for one, and all the others who have hatred in their hearts for the Battousai are never far from her mind.
She is not nearly naive enough to believe that enemies will not come knocking at their door.
Spring has come. The snow melts, and grass emerges, as green as dark jade. The sun grows warmer, hanging like a bright lantern in a vividly blue sky. Yahiko trains in the yard, diligent (for the moment) and promising. Kenshin adjusts the boy's elbows, line of his shoulders, the stance of his legs.
Sanosuke and Katsu laugh like children, whispering, falling silent when Kaoru or anyone else come too close. She suspects something is about to go up in flames, but she can't blame them for celebrating - so long as it isn't their home that has a flame taken to it.
Megumi joins Kaoru on the engawa, beaming quietly.
"I've accepted a position with Dr. Gensai," she informs Kaoru after a time of watching Kenshin expertly - and happily - teach Yahiko. "After I save up some money, I'm going to hire someone to look for my family. I'll do it the right way, without hurting anyone."
"I'm glad, Megumi-san," Kaoru means it, from the bottom of her heart. What would she have done, if her family had been taken from her? Anything - anything in the world to bring them all back. "I hope you find them."
"Dr. Gensai was kind enough to offer me lodging at his clinic, so I will be leaving tomorrow. I wanted to thank you for all your kindness, Kaoru-chan, for giving me a home when I needed it, and for helping me even though I was dishonest."
"I'm glad to have done it. Just promise you'll come visit us often."
"You only want me to cook!" Megumi chortles, and perhaps there is the rustling of fox ears under her hair. Kaoru laughs with her, rolling her eyes upwards for a moment before nodding.
"Well - yes, you are very good at it."
It doesn't matter what the future brings, because Kaoru knows she will be strong enough to withstand it. Her strength is in these walls that her father built, and that her mother turned into a home. It is Yahiko, Sano, Katsu, even Megumi - but especially in Kenshin.
He catches her eye, and beams. Kaoru's heart flutters.
For just this very moment, there is absolutely nothing wrong in the world. They are, at long last, at peace.