* Disclaimer* All rights to the Rurouni Kenshin Characters are Watsuki-sama's, Jump Comics, etc. All right to the character " Incarnations" Are property of Piers Anthony. There are references made to his book " On a Pale Horse." But you do not need to have read the book to understand what is happening. =) This is only a little fanfic by a crazed Kenshin fan, I'm a poor college art student, and not even worth suing! Enjoy!
Well, I came up with this fic when I still believed Kaoru was dead. But I liked the idea of it so much that I decided to keep on writing it. (Even though it's been established that, yes she IS alive) Consider this a "what if this happened" fic. Kind of like an alternative where Enishi does actually kill her. I know, it sounds awful, but believe me; this ISN'T going to be depressing! I'm determined to make it happy! And to appease all those Kenshin and Kaoru fans out there well >=)
? A little pre-fanfic know-how about "On a Pale Horse."
The incarnations mentioned in this fic are taken from " On a Pale Horse." In Piers Anthony's book, he takes these aspects of life and creates people for them-- much like we imagine there being a "Father Time," and a "Mother Nature." Here, I will be making references to human incarnations of " Death," "Fate," "Time," and "Nature." ( so far-- I don't know what other ones I shall bring in from his book yet.)
CHAPTER 7 - Devoted to You
( MUSH MUSH MUSH!! ::hearts for eyes:: )
Kaoru arrived at the clinic to find the place in complete chaos.
" What do we do? AOSH-SAMA! WHAT DO WE DO?" Misao blinked back tears.
" Don't loose your head idiot-- we'll find him!" Yahiko smacked her on the head with his shinnai. Misao turned on him with a fierce vengeance and grabbed for the wooden sword.
" DON'T think you can just WHACK me with that thing-- I'm the leader of the Oniwa Banshuu! GIVE IT TO ME!"
" QUIT IT!" Yahiko whacked her again. " We've got more important things to worry about-- like finding Kenshin!"
Kaoru stood in the distance. Her heart stopped. Kenshin was missing? She turned towards the door and flew straight through it towards his room. Aoshi got that same chilling feeling he'd experienced earlier that day.
Misao noticed the visible shudder and stopped stomping on Yahiko. " What's wrong Aoshi-sama?"
Aoshi revealed nothing. " Just a chill in the wind, I'm fine. Why don't you and Yahiko go to find Sanosuke and Megumi, I will go to Kaoru's graveyard, perhaps Battousai went there "
" Oh-- but-- what if he didn't?" Misao looked at him nervously. Yahiko got up and brushed himself off.
" Yeah-- what if he went back to that Rakuninmura place?"
This time it was Misao's turn to shudder.
" You two find Sanosuke and Megumi first, then go to check out Rakuninmura. Have them go to the Kamiya Dojo."
Kaoru searched the room frantically for Kenshin.
" Kenshin! If you're hiding this isn't funny! Everyone is looking for you!" She waited but no answer came. She sighed. " Heaven isn't going to like this-- how can I loose my client so easily? Damn it-- I've got to find him before he hurts himself!"
Sano sat slumped over with his back to a tree. He casually
tossed a stone into the river and began pulling at the grass around him
" Stupid Megumi--- I don't know why I even try " he muttered under his breath. " I mean, what does Kenshin have that's makes him so appealing to women? The famous title? I know I can't compare to him in skill but still--" He grimaced and then threw another stone into the river with more force. " DAMN IT!" He got up, grabbed a larger rock with both hands and then, using the momentum of his body tossed it as far as he could. It made a large splash as it entered the water. Sano stood panting from the exertion when he heard footsteps coming up behind him.
It was Megumi, he turned around to look at her, he could see that she'd been crying. She was clutching her sleeves nervously, and afraid to look at him.
Sano went and sat under the tree again without a word. Megumi bit her lip; she felt the walls of her courage falling down around her.
" Sit down " he muttered and Megumi nodded. She sat next to him, not knowing where to start.
" Sano-- I--"
" I know what you're going to say Megumi. That you're sorry "
Megumi looked up at him; she could feel the tears pooling in her eyes again.
" I guess-- I deserved the wake-up call though " Sano smiled bitterly. " I mean--- I should have known with my lifestyle, that it's not adequate to support umm--" he trailed off, looking at her and blushed deeply. " I mean-- No woman would--" He tried to tip toe around the word marriage but it wasn't working. Megumi quickly put a hand on his arm and he stopped. He looked at her face and saw a smile there.
" Sano-- No what I said was completely uncalled for. I guess it was due to all the trauma and pent up stress I've been putting myself through for the last few days. I don't want you to think that I don't like you! And your life style really doesn't bother me at all truthfully."
" But-- what I said about Kenshin-- that was really uncalled for to I-- know that you like him " He leaned back against the tree, Megumi's eyes widened. " And-- when Kenshin gets out of his depression, which I'm sure will happen eventually, now that he's back I wish you luck."
Megumi couldn't believe she was hearing this. Sano was just giving up like that? He was giving Kenshin to her? Her mind instantly flitted to the time when she'd decided to give Kenshin to Kaoru. She knew that Kenshin loved Kaoru-- Megumi had loved him too, but at the time, it wasn't as painful as she'd thought it would be. She knew that the two belonged to each other. Kaoru had been there before she had and established a special place in Kenshin's heart that she could never hope to fill. Megumi had gotten over that. She was seeing a side of Sano that she didn't know existed, a gentle, caring, emotional side of him that he usually tried to keep hidden underneath the rough, bad-ass attitude. While she heard him speak like this, something in her, a dull pain, had surfaced. She felt the need to be held in his arms. She didn't want to be without him.
" Sano--" she felt her cheeks grow hot, she must be blushing furiously. Megumi took a deep breath; the truth was finally made clear to her. She needed him. " Sano-- I don't love Kenshin."
Sano looked up at her in amazement. " But-- you--"
" He's my patient, and a very special one at that." She bit her lip. " Kaoru-san wouldn't forgive me if I didn't take excellent care of him. But-- It's you that I--"
She trailed off, Sano's eyes widened. Megumi knew what she wanted now-- and she could get it if she could only find the courage!
" Do it Megumi! Baka! And be happy!" her inner voice told her.
" I love you!" She blurted.
She felt hot tears rolling down her cheeks and closed her eyes against them. But they continued to pour. She felt herself being taken into Sano's arms. He held her tightly, almost possessively.
" S-Sano " She didn't protest or pull away, it felt good to be in his warm embrace. She felt protected and safe with him. Her arms slid up around him and she returned the embrace.
" Hey-- no need to cry now right?" he couldn't help but smile. " I'll be the one to protect you, from now on. You don't need to worry."
Megumi laughed lightly. " I can't believe it took me this long to realize---"
Just then Sano caught sight of two forms stumbling down the slope
towards the river. It was Yahiko and Misao. They looked panic
stricken. Sano quickly let go of Megumi and they assumed more appropriate
positions as the two approached them.
" SANO! IT'S HORRIBLE!" Misao yelled as they stopped in front of them. The two panted, trying to catch their breath.
" What-what's wrong?" Megumi looked up at them confused.
" K-Kenshin!" Yahiko muttered in between deep breaths.
Megumi's eyes widened and she jumped from her seat. " WHAT? WHAT'S WRONG WITH KEN-SAN!?"
" Oi! What happened Yahiko?" Sano stood up after her; he grabbed the kid by his Gi and shook him. " Get ahold of yourself! What's wrong with Kenshin!?!"
" He's GONE!" Yahiko finally blurted it out and Sano released his Gi. Misao waved her arms around wildly.
" Aoshi-sama and I were just having lunch and Yahiko had gone to the Akabeko-- and when we came back he was gone! He took his Sakaba sword and everything too!"
" This is serious-- Ken-san shouldn't be out and active with his injuries!" Megumi looked up at Sano worried. Sano nodded to her.
" We're going to look for him. Megumi is coming with me, where's Shinomori?"
" Aoshi--sama went to Kaoru's grave to see if Kenshin might have gone there."
" Sano." Yahiko took on a very mature orderly voice. " Go to the Kamiya Dojo with Megumi. See if he went there. Misao and I are going to go to Rakuninmura. We'll all meet back at the clinic in 2 hours."
" Hai! Come on Yahiko!" Misao turned and dashed in the opposite direction.
" OY! WAIT FOR ME!"
The two broke off at a run.
Sano grabbed Megumi's arm. " Come on!! We've gotta find him!"
Kaoru searched all over Tokyo for Kenshin. She felt a desperate
need to know he was ok. It tore at her inside and it frustrated her
to no end because she didn't know where he would have gone. She didn't
even know where he used to live. She didn't know where SHE used to live
for that matter.
" What do I do? How do I find him?" She landed on a bridge overlooking the riverbank, feeling her confidence wane. " Im not a good guardian angel " She took off the halo and tucked it in her sleeve. " I've already lost my first client I should be watching him constantly. Ohh-- Kenshin no baka! How dare he just walk off like that when he's in that kind of condition!"
She leaned on the railing and looked down at the water, then her eyes widened as she caught the flash of red hair. She flew up and hovered just over the edge of the bridge. Kenshin sat on a log next to the riverbed, his sword rested against his shoulder.
" Kenshin!" She was overjoyed to find him. Kenshin heard the voice and looked up to see Kaoru heading straight for him, her wings arched gracefully.
" Oro!?" Kenshin's eyes widened. Before he knew it she'd come in contact with him, the force of her decent made him topple off of the log backwards as she grabbed him in a huge embrace.
" OROOOoooo "
" KENSHIN NO BAKA!" She lay on top of him and looked down at him with tears in her eyes. " How DARE you go off like that?! You scared me!"
Kenshin blinked. He'd gone to that place to wait for her, and there she was. It was true!! There was no doubt in his mind. He was fully contious, and an angel was talking to him!
" Kaoru-dono-- how is it that you're here? You're-- umm... you're dead?"
He noticed the position she was in, with her legs straddling his and her arms wrapped around his shoulders.
Kaoru noticed this too and blushed deeply. " Oh -- Oh I'm sorry- I was just so excited at finding you I " she got off of him carefully but not without giving Kenshin an accidental full view of her cleavage thanks to the off the shoulder Kimono that she wore. He felt his entire face grow hot with embarrassment, he found that he couldn't tear his eyes away.
Kaoru was unaware of the view she'd just given him. She dusted her white Kimono off and then sat upright on her knees, her feet tucked underneath her.
" Shall I help you get up? Are you strong enough? Oh no! You're nose is bleeding-- here...." She offered him a handkerchief.
" Oro?" Kenshin's face could have matched his hair, he took the handkerchief and held it to his nose. "Oh! I'm ok-- really thank you K-Kaoru-dono " He sat up carefully but winced as the pain shot through his chest. Kaoru took no time in supporting him.
" You should take better care of yourself! I'm in charge of looking out for you now-- so I suggest you do what I say in the future." Her tone was demanding. Kenshin smiled, she was an angel, but even as an angel-- she was the same old Kaoru.
" Oi? You listening to me? Kenshin?"
" Oh-- Hai de gozaru!" Kenshin nodded vigorously. His nose had stopped bleeding and he tucked her handkerchief into his sleeve. " I'll wash your handkerchief for you and give it back."
Kaoru smiled at him. " Oh-- you really dont have to, it's not a real handkerchief."
Kenshin blinked, he looked in his sleeve again and found it gone. " How did it?"
" I just conjured it up. One of my little tricks that I can do." Kaoru winked at him. Kenshin smiled and shook his head.
" My guardian angel huh? It's going to take a little while to get used to But-- Kaoru-dono " he looked around nervously. " What if someone sees you? What'll you do?"
" No one can see me but you." She said matter-of-factly. " And I'd appreciate you not telling anyone about me too. I'm supposed to just be YOUR guardian angel. My job is to watch over you, keep you out of trouble, give advice, comfort, that sort of stuff." She grinned at him. Kenshin couldn't believe what he was hearing.
" You mean-- forever?"
" During the entire span of your life, yes. I'm devoted to you."
" But-- how can you when I-- I failed in protecting you?" Kenshin looked at her earnestly. Kaoru felt her a shiver run up her spine. Kenshin kept bringing up the "protection" issue, she desperately wanted to know just exactly WHAT had happened to her. She was going to have to find out sooner or later. But something in her couldn't bring her to tell him that she didnt remember a thing of her former life. She knew that it would cause him distress. She'd have to tell him when he was fully recovered.
" Baka--" she smiled at him. " I told you before, I forgive you for all that-- "
Kaoru put a finger to his lips, silencing him. "You shouldn't dwell on the past Kenshin-- try and look towards the future. I'm concerned for your happiness."
" But-- I'm a failure I devoted my life to protecting you, Kaoru-dono "
Kaoru tried to hide her surprise. But she could tell with the way he looked at her, That they were supposed to be much more than just friends like Death had described.
" Oh no--" She thought to herself. " Oh no-- I'm going to have to break his heart I can't! Death-- why'd you do this?"
She couldn't let on just yet about rule number 3 though. She wanted to put his mind at ease as much as she could while he was recovering. " Kenshin, Under those circumstances, there was nothing that you could have done! You're definitely not a failure-- never say that about yourself. You brought me more happiness in my lifetime then I'd ever known existed." This seemed to ease him. Kaoru smiled and ran her fingers along his scarred cheek. " But-- the important thing now is that-- " she forced the words out of her, knowing that sooner or later, they would cause him pain. " That we're together "
Kenshin knew she was holding something back, but he took it as her usual innocence that was a true virtue in Kaoru. He put his hand on hers that was caressing his cheek and held it tightly.
" I still can't believe-- that you came back for sessha "
" I couldn't leave you--" Kaoru felt that voice in her again, that one that was detached from her. The one that had spoken to him the first time they'd met. The words poured from her tongue of their own volition.
Kenshin closed his eyes and smiled. " I've probably caused everyone back at the clinic a lot of worry I should probably get back there huh?"
" Not the way you came you're not!"
Kenshin opened his eyes, surprised as Kaoru brought her arms around him. She arched her wings around them both protectively. He felt the comfortable heat radiate from her feathers. She closed her eyes and the two vanished in a flash of brilliant white light.