Ah... the end of the road. Thank you everyone for reading this story ^_^ - especially all those who left regular reviews - you guys really encouraged me to finish this... Enjoy!


DISCLAIMER:
I don't own RK!



*Epilogue*


Hunger pangs drove Sano to leave his beauty sleep 18 hours later. It was only ten in the morning, but he was determined to hound everyone to the Akabeko as soon as possible, because he didn't think he could last til lunch. First stop, the Oguni clinic, where he made a deliberate show of acting nonchalant, strolling in casually and throwing Megumi an airy greeting as if he had just seen her the night before. That earned him a painful cuff on the ear - success!

Second stop, this time with Megumi in tow, the Kamiya dojo - where they encountered a strangely dazed Yahiko loitering at the gates. Apparently, Kenshin and Kaoru had been acting fondly over breakfast. A combination of this and too much alcohol at last night's party had driven Yahiko to nausea - Sano y'cched at the mess the boy had made on the little bush just inside the entrance.

Third and final stop, after Yahiko had cleaned up, the Akabeko, where they gathered noisily at their usual booth, and Kenshin was finally able to begin explaining where they had been over the last month. Tae bustled up , and a chorus of greetings met her ears.

I'm glad to see you both back, she beamed. Now , what would you like to have today?

Just a minute! Sano stood up dramatically, waving for silence.

What now? Megumi leaned back, ready to be amused.

Tae-san, you've been extremely generous to me over the years, Sano began.

I'll say, Yahiko managed, still slightly green in the face. A swift kick in the head sent him flying out the restaurant in search of a good deep bucket.

As I was saying, you've been extremely generous to me over the years, Sano continued. However, today, I would like to - he paused for effect, settle my tab.

Five pairs of eyes bulged at him in disbelief.

Tae recovered first. Reaching into her apron to pull out a pile of IOU's, she said breathily, This months'? Or ... this years'?. Her fingers trembled as she leafed through the pile.

My WHOLE tab, Sano said expansively, And here's the cash to pay for it,

The table gasped as he pulled open his shirt, removing a thick wad of bills which he placed on top of the IOUs in Tae's open hands.

Sano... where did you get that much money from? Kaoru voiced the thought on every ones mind. Y..you didn't steal it did you?
Sano blinked, Jou-chan, that really hurts. After all these years, surely you know me better than that...

It's precisely because we know you so well that we're asking, you dolt, Megumi intervened.

He tossed his head huffily, Excuse me. If you really want to know, I EARNED it when I was in the future looking for Kenshin.

Four jaws hit the table. Kenshin merely made an appreciative sound in the back of his throat, Did you earn that much in such a short time? Sessha had no idea modelling paid so well de gozaru.

Four heads swivelled in Kenshin's direction.

Y'see?! I really did earn it! And more than that, in the future, I'm famous. Women throw themselves at my feet. Sano looked pointedly at Megumi. I'll show you -

Almost miraculously, he produced a tightly rolled up magazine from somewhere about his person, and proceeded to spread it flat to a feature titled People we swoon over. Sano's picture was featured prominently, bearing the label Sagara Sanosuke - the gorgeous new face of ActiveMan. He pushed it eagerly under Megumi's nose.

She merely arched an eyebrow. Was that hiding down your pants all this time? Sano spluttered as Kaoru dissolved into helpless laughter. She considered the picture thoughtfully, I suppose this could explain why women in the future are all over you, she continued, sounding dubious. Obviously they've only seen pictures of you and never heard you speak...

Sano bundled the magazine away as she joined in the laughter, fox ears firmly in place.

Anou, Sanosuke..? Tae broke in hesitantly. They turned to her expectantly. she said, blushing in embarrassment, but I really can't accept this... She pushed the wad of bills into his hands.

What? Why not? Sano's fishbone fell from his mouth in surprise, It's okay Tae, I really want to pay you back... Everyone else was equally stunned - business minded Tae actually refusing Sano's money after years of griping?

Tae-san, it's too good of you.... Kaoru whispered in awe.

Megumi picked up one of the bills and inspected it closely. Don't thank her just yet, Sano dear. Tae-san's not cancelling your debt, you know. she purred sweetly, looking up. It's just that your money isn't legal tender.

Kenshin leaned forward for a closer look. She's right, de gozaru... It says here, printed in 1992'...

Sano bundled his bills away just as quickly as the magazine. He threw himself cross legged on the floor. Chikusho! I knew it was too good to be true! he complained, I'd give anything to see that Aoshi-spirit again -! he smacked his fists together threateningly. Then he shrugged, Oh well, sorry Tae. Guess the tab stays. He reinserted his fishbone, So, what are we gonna have today?... Oooy!

He sweatdropped as Tae edged uncomfortably close to him. She giggled coquettishly behind her raised tray. Is she batting her eyelashes at me?!!!

Oh Sano, she sighed, don't worry about the tab. In fact, I'll even extend it... in exchange for that picture of you ^_^...

Sano whipped the magazine out in a flash, he said happily, I knew it would all be worth something!

*****

Miname was busy unearthing her apartment. she emptied a drawer on to the floor and pawed through its contents.

She was due to meet Daisuke and gang at the bubble tea cafe in fifteen minutes - they were having a rematch - How much bubble tea can you take in one sitting before passing out?. She had won their previous attempt, but Daisuke insisted that the result didn't count as he had passed out from needing the bathroom, not from taking too much tea. She had to find her loyalty cards to redeem for free drinks.

she tripped over something and landed on her face. She pulled herself up, nursing her foot, and saw what had cause her to fall - a thick red library book.

The one Natsumi got out for Kenshin, she thought, Boy, is it overdue...

Just then the doorbell rang.

she yelled, leaping over the messy mounds of stuff in her living room, before snatching the door open.

she said, blinking in surprise. A very tiny Kenshin stood at her front door, also blinking his amethyst eyes at her. You've shrunk! she exclaimed.

His eyes went all slitty and yellow, I've not! he protested heatedly, I growed a whole inch this summer - obaachan! How'd you know my name anyway?

Obaachan....??? Why you.... She began to reach for his neck, what happened to your manners you little twerp?!

He ducked and thrust a box into her hands, You're very weird, lady, he said tiredly.

Come on, Kenshin! a bunch of kids were waiting by the gate, ringing their bicycle bells impatiently. Hurry up and deliver your parcel already!

I'm done, he called back. Anyway, my uncle asked me to drop this off here. Bye! He turned and ran to his friends. In an instant, they were gone, sailing down the road on their bikes.

Miname gasped after them. She looked at the box in her hands and opened it slowly. Her pendant was in it. She pushed it aside and took out a weathered piece off paper and carefully unfolded it. It was dated 1881 and said only, Thank you.

Slowly she wondered back into her apartment, watching the play of light on the stone. She lifted the pendant out of the box and fastened it back around her neck.

She caught sight of the library book and picked it up on impulse. She opened it, flipping forward to page 158. She started reading, lowering herself into her sofa. Silence settled over her room as she read, marred only by the quiet ticking of the clock in the kitchen.

Her cellphone went off suddenly, causing her to jump. She answered it hurriedly and nearly had her head blown off.

WHERE ARE YOU? Daisuke roared down the line. Are you too afraid to show up? Let me tell you, I'm all psyched to win today, mwhahaha!!!! Get your sorry ass here, right now!!!!! I won't accept your surrender...!

WHO'S SURRENDERING?! she bawled back, slamming the book down on the table. I'm there NOW!!! she switched her cellphone off and left her apartment in a run.

The book was still open to the page she had not managed to finish reading: -

[Kamiya Kaoru handed the reigns of the Kamiya dojo to her pupil, Myojin Yahiko. Her son, Himura Kenji would eventually develop another kenjutsu style based loosely on the legendary Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu.]

*****
__________________________________________________________________________

Notes: Hurray! It's over!!!! (throws notebooks in the air) ^_^ . In celebration, I did some sketches of Miname and Natsumi for those who want to see' them. I can't put the URL in here for some reason - FFN then cuts out a whole page of my work in punishment... but I'll leave the URLs in my profile page.

And for good measure, a couple of omakes (AkaiKitsune - thanks for explaining! ^_^): -


RANDOM OMAKE #1

Natsumi snatches pendant away from Kenshin and starts to mumble something.

Kenshin: Hey!!!

Whooshing sound and bright lights etc etc. Katsura Kogoro appears before their eyes, embracing a tree.

Katsura: Ah...Ikumatsu... kissy kissy smooooch

Kenshin (burying his face in hands): I thought I'd seen the last of this after the bakamatsu...

*****

RANDOM OMAKE #2

Megumi and Kenshin are in the kitchen, drinking tea.

Megumi: So, the pendant brings people back from the past?

Kenshin: Aa

Megumi (frowning) : That's a pretty dangerous thing to have lying around. Who else knows about it?

Kenshin: Oh, well, Sano, obviously...

Sagara-taicho walks dazedly past the kitchen, followed closely by a happy Sano.

Kenshin : Oh, and Kaoru-dono, of course...

Kamiya Koshijiro sticks his head into the kitchen.

Koshijiro: Oy, sonny! That laundry better be done by the time I get back from the market, you hear!

Kenshin: Hai! And ... Misao heard about it from Kaoru...

Formerly dead oniwabanshu file into the room: Hey! It's the foxy doctor! - Hello again! - Wanna watch my fire-breathing trick?- Himura, what's for eats?

Kenshin: And, unfortunately, Kamatari intercepted the pigeon she sent to Kyoto...

Shishio strides past, waving his sword: Kuni-Tori! Hahahaha!!!! Battousai, I'm having lunch out today...

Kenshin: And of course, Shishio called up some old friends...

Yumi and Hoji: We're eating in...

Kenshin: Anyway, excuse me, I have to start cooking lunch for about fifty...

*****

Sooooo..... drop me one last note yah? ^_^ Thanks for reading this - I had a blast writing it...

Reader responses:

yeldarb1983: uh-oh... sorry! I guess I should have added a spoiler' warning ... but I'm so happy that Kenshin is still getting new fans...!!! I never got round to watching DBZ though... I saw Kenshin dubbed the first time round too - the dubbed version is pretty good, I think - I hope they havn't made any cuts...

faerie-chan: Lemme know when that time machine of yours is up - ^_^ ! First donut huh?

Ryulabird: Sano got a pretty bad bashing in the epilogue.. Feel kind a sorry for him now...

NightRain: You noticed my cop out!!!! You're right! I couldn't make Kenshin say anything sappy...!

Inuyashachic515: Yay! Another new Kenshin fan!

jay: You've been reading this fic for the longest time - thank you ^_^- hope ya liked the epilogue...

AkaiKitsune: Glad you liked the silent Kenshin ^_^ - Kenshin being eloquent about his feelings just didn't sit right with me... anyway, I would have died of embarrassment if he ...


RANDOM OMAKE #3

Kenshin throws lantern aside and takes Kaoru forcefully into his arms

Kenshin: Kaoru -! My flower! The reason for my existence! The anchor of my sanity! I profess that I have long harbored the deepest admiration - nay, I shall no longer seek to hide the truth from your searching eyes - my LOVE for you... I long for you! I worship you! I adore you!!! My queen...!

He picks her up in his arms

Kenshin: I can wait no longer. I perceive a little clearing a short distance from here. Let us make it our bridal bower!

Assorted cutesy, Disney-inspired woodland creatures congregate around them.

Kenshin: Kaoru!

Kaoru: Kenshin!

(smooch smooch...)

[kumo suffers a short-circuit in the brain and collapses in front of her pc]



This is really the end. ^_^ .