* 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.)
Oh-- Death also rides a horse, Mortus, which can also conveniently be a car (limo), boat, etc. Whatever Death might need as a mode of transportation in the moment.
CHAPTER 15- The Breakdown
She searched all afternoon, flying up one street of Tokyo and down
another. She checked the river, his usual fishing spots, everywhere
she could think. But he was no where to be found. The sun was
beginning to set when she returned home with no proof to what those officers
" Kaoru! There you are-- What took you so long? Did you find Kenshin?" Yahiko asked her as he saw her land in the courtyard. Kaoru shrugged her shoulders dejected.
" No "
Yahiko blinked confused as she turned and walked into the building without another word.
" Jeez. She's acting weird "
" Konnichiwa Yahiko!"
Yahiko turned to see Kenshin standing in back of him, he was holding a lidded wooden bucket with one hand and the other folded in his Gi.
" Kenshin! There you are. Kaoru was looking for you."
" Kaoru-dono was?"
" Yeah---she's in the house."
A nervous look passed over Kenshin's face as he turned and walked into the building quickly. Yahiko scratched his head.
" Everyone's acting weird today."
" Kaoru-dono? Yahiko told me you were looking for sessha."
Kaoru in the meantime had been taking out her frustrations on a radish. She was slicing it at a speed not too far from god-like.
" I was LOOKING for you all day! WHERE have you been?!"
" Ummm-- I had something to do "
Kaoru finished the radish, pushed the julienne pieces to the side and started on another. " When everyone else was working hard on fixing the dojo? What in the world was so pressing that you had to skip it!? YOU live here too you know " She tried to figure out how she would ask him about this woman. But it was hard to do so without concrete proof that she'd seen the two together. She realized also that if she asked flat out, it would be very insulting to Kenshin if it was just a rumor.
" I'm sorry! Please-- forgive sessha. I brought us home some dinner. Maybe that will make up for it?"
Kaoru stopped her chopping and turned to see Kenshin holding a very large, delicious looking fish.
" Woah--" She momentarily forgot her anxiety as she stared at it openmouthed. " Kenshin-- you didn't CATCH that did you?! It's big enough to feed everyone."
" Heh-- no, I didn't catch it." He smiled and handed it to her. " It was a gift."
" A-- gift?"
" Hai, a friend gave it to me-- well, I'm going to get cleaned up for dinner, see you soon." Kenshin turned and walked from the room. Kaoru stood silently holding the fish long after he'd left. She looked down at it and bit her lip.
" A gift from a friend huh?" She shook her head. " No! It's probably nothing at all! Besides, he brought it home for all of us to eat I'm just being paranoid."
Kaoru awoke the next morning to loud banging coming from outside.
She stretched her wings and yawned. Her eyes were slightly blood shot;
she hadn't been able to get to sleep last night. She couldn't keep
her mind off of Kenshin and that blonde girl.
" What the?!"
She looked over to the far wall where Misao's bed was nicely folded up.
" Misao-chan isn't here " She climbed off of her cloud, which hovered a few feet above the ground and stepped outside to see Sano walking past the room with armfuls of lumber.
" Ah! Sanosuke!"
" AAAAHH!" Sano jumped throwing all the wood into the air. Clutching his heart, he looked around frantically. " JO-CHAN! DON'T SCARE ME LIKE THAT!"
" Ha ha!" Kaoru laughed. " Im sorry, I keep on forgetting that you can't see me." She bit her lip. " I still need to find out why."
" Yeah-- well, could you hurry it up?" Sano grumbled. " Everyone's working on the dojo."
" Kenshin too?"
" Kenshin left before I even got here this morning. "
" Well, I don't know WHAT he's been doing-- but it seems important. Aoshi is at the temple mediating. It's Misao, Yahiko, Megumi and me today. We could use your help. It's slow going."
" Oh sure."
She helped him gather the lumber and followed him around the complex to the practice hall silently.
" I want to go find Kenshin-- but no I'm NOT going to think about this! If he found someone else, then that's better for the both of us!"
Still, she couldn't shake the uneasiness she felt. The anger she'd experienced yesterday was dwindling down to worry and anxiety.
Work progressed quicker with Kaoru there to transfer supplies back
and forth quickly.
"Sano!" Kaoru asked. " Could you pass me that hammer sitting next to you?" Misao looked up from her work and dashed to get it. " I can get it Kaoru-san! Sanosuke-san can't see you anyways Let him do his work.
" Oh! I keep on forgetting!"
" Gee thanks." Sano muttered irritated.
Misao gave him a wicked grin as she grabbed the hammer and skipped over to Kaoru.
" OH! MISAO-CHAN! WATCH---"
" AHH!" Misao stumbled on a loose board and toppled forward, going straight through Kaoru. Kaoru's face contorted in pain and she uttered a cry as a sharp pain entered through her body. She collapsed to the ground.
" DAMN IT! MISAO GET AWAY FROM HER!" Yahiko yelled.
" What happened?!" Sano looked up from his hammering to see Misao quickly scamper backwards. Yahiko jumped off the roof and landed heavily. He ran over to Kaoru and tried to touch her, but his hand went right through her body as always.
" Yahiko--" Misao looked at Kaoru nervously. " I'm sorry! I didn't mean to!"
" She did the same thing last time." Yahiko muttered angrily.
" What was that scream!?" Megumi burst out of the house, she saw Kaoru lying on the ground uncontious. " Oh no! What happened?"
" I'm sorry Megumi-san! I-- tripped and passed through her " Misao blinked back tears. " Is there anything you can do for her?! Megumi-san!?"
" Ken-san will know what to do! He woke her up last time!"
" I don't know where he is. He left early this morning." Yahiko said worried.
" Aoshi-sama can!" Misao perked up. She jumped to her feet. " Maybe he knows where Himura is!"
" Wait-- MISAO!" Yahiko called as Misao sprinted out of the yard.
" Would someone tell me just WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?!" Sano yelled.
Kaoru found herself in a crowded street.
" Where am I know?" She looked around her. " Is this another memory?" The streets were filled with people. It didn't look like Tokyo. Kyoto maybe?
Suddenly, She saw Kenshin walking past her."
" Kenshin! I wonder where he's going in such a hurry?"
At the same moment, Aoshi strode past him, heading in the opposite direction.
" Shinomori Aoshi." Something about this past Aoshi sent a shiver up her spine. The hard stare in his cold blue eyes was not the Aoshi she remembered. And he was not dressed in his ninja outfit.
A few seconds later her past self and Yahiko dashed through the crowds,
in hot pursuit of Aoshi, completely bypassing Kenshin. Next the angel caught
sight of Misao chasing after Kenshin; she accidentally bypassed Aoshi completely.
Yahiko and Misao collided. Both fell to the ground.
" DAMN IT! WATCH WHERE YOU'RE GOING?!" Yahiko said annoyed.
" ARGH! ME WATCH IT? YOU SHOULD!" Misao shot back at him.
" YAHIKO! BE NICE TO GIRL'S." Kaoru's past self scolded the boy and helped Misao to stand. " I'm sorry! Are you ok?"
" Grr-- I LOST HIM!" Misao took a few steps and began to run, " STUPID HIMURA! THAT IDIOT-- ACK!"
She fell to the ground again as Kaoru tackled her.
" Wait! Did you just say Himura? KENSHIN! Do you know where he is?! Hey--"
Kaoru watched the memory fade before her.
" This must be Misao's first memories of me." She said softly. " Heh-- So, that's how we met."
More memories came and went. Kaoru found herself at the Aoiya talking with Jiya. Misao asked her if she seriously intended to see Himura, and if she was strong in her resolve. Then the time when Misao found out the fate of her friends, the Oniwa Banshu that had died by Kanryu's Gattling Gun.
" How sad-- so
that's why Aoshi was Kenshin's enemy?"
the angel scratched her head. " But-- it was Kanryu who killed
them." She sighed heavily. " I don't get it at all
being the strongest thing
The scene faded again and she found herself standing in a lonely room. She could hear weeping. Kaoru turned and saw Misao sitting in the corner, tears pouring down her face.
" K-Kaoru-san " She muttered in-between sobs. " You said you'd wait for me "
Kaoru's eyes widened. " She it must be . My death."
She suddenly felt herself violently yanked from the scene. Kaoru
gasped as everything around her went black; She stood in a void.
" Nani? What's happening?"
" Kamiya Kaoru-san."
That familiar voice. But, it wasn't Kenshin.
Aoshi sat next to the uncontious form of Kaoru. Everyone around looked at him nervously. He sat cross-legged with his eyes closed. He looked like he was meditating.
" What's he doing?" Yahiko whispered to Misao.
" I don't know-- but when I told him what happened he insisted he come here." She whispered back.
A sigh of relief escaped Megumi's lips and Kaoru's eyes fluttered open.
" Thank God " Megumi shook her head. " Baka-- you need to be more careful!"
" Oh " Kaoru slowly sat up and looked at the ring of faces. Aoshi opened his eyes and gazed at her. " What happened?"
" You fainted again." Yahiko said. He had regained his composure again. " Damn it-- Kaoru why do you do that?"
" Aoshi-sama pulled you out of it." Misao said softly.
Kaoru looked over at Aoshi; she inclined her head towards him.
A twinge of a smile escaped his lips and he inclined his head in turn, saying nothing. Misao's eyes widened.
" Aoshi-sama you SMILED!"
Aoshi looked at Misao with sparkling warm eyes. " Thank you for coming to get me Misao."
Misao blushed. " Oh it was nothing "
" Anyways-- so you're ok now Jo-chan?" Sano asked into the air.
" Hai," her voice floated back to him. " I'm fine."
" Ano "
All eyes turned to Misao; she bowed low to Kaoru.
" I'm sorry Kaoru-san I was just careless. It's all my fault "
" Dont apologize I can remember you now too. And all of your memories of me."
Misao blinked back confused. Kaoru grinned at her and she smiled back uneasily, not know what to say.
" Ok!" Sano cracked his knuckles. " Well, with all that drama out of the way, why don't we break for a little while?"
" Great idea! Come on Aoshi-sama!" Misao grabbed Aoshi by the sleeve and dragged him towards the house. " Lets get something to eat!"
Aoshi said nothing, but let her lead him into the house. Sano and Megumi went down to the river to be alone. Yahiko stretched and looked over to Kaoru.
" I could go for a break, hey ugly-- make me some tea will ya?"
A vein popped out of Kaoru's forehead. She eyed him. " What did you just call me? And WHO do you think you're ordering around?"
Yahiko snickered. " I SAID UGLY! GET ME SOME TEA!"
" Grrr--WITH AN ATTITUDE LIKE THAT YOU CAN GET YOUR OWN TEA!" She involuntarily swung a punch at him. Yahiko flinched but Kaoru's hand passed right through him. " Erk!?"
Yahiko opened his eyes one at a time, wondering why no punch had come. He saw her looking at her hand and then back at him frustrated. A sly grin spread over his face.
" Ahhhh heh heh-- you can't TOUCH me right." He snickered. " I can call you whatever I want and you can't do a THING!"
Kaoru backed a few feet from him appalled. " Y-Yahiko " Her eyes narrowed and she laughed retaliated. "You THINK so do you?!"
" Yeah-- besides, It's very UNANGEL-LIKE to hit someone, isn't that so?"
" Grrrrr watch your mouth."
" I might tell Death of your unangel-like conduct the next time he pays a visit." Yahiko snickered. " Ugly "
" Call me ugly ONE more time-- and you're going to get it! I'm warning you!"
Kaoru shook her head. " I warned you!" She put her hands together and closed her eyes. Yahiko noticed her glow brighten and he suddenly felt a drop of water hit his nose.
He looked up to see a black storm cloud gathering above his head. His eyes widened as lighting flashed with thunder. And rain began to torrent down ONLY on him.
" WHAT!!? WHAT DID YOU DO TO ME UGLY!?"
The cloud grew bigger and the thunder made him jump. The rain pelted down and Yahiko was drenched within seconds. He ran for the house, leaving Kaoru doubled over with laughter.
" HA HA! I may not be able to TOUCH you-- but I can curse you!"
The black cloud followed him into the house. She could hear Misao scream, followed by the sound of punches, and a second later Yahiko flew through the paper screen and back into the open yard. Misao stood panting in the gaping hole.
"KAORU-SAN!" She cried. " YAHIKO'S UNDER AN EVIL SPELL!"
" Grrr-- it's NOT ME! UGLY DID-- AHHH!" Lighting struck the ground an inch from his toes. " OK OK! I TAKE IT ALL BACK! I'M SORRY!! KAORU'S NOT UGLY!"
The cloud shrank slowly and disappeared. Yahiko looked over at Kaoru nervously, she stood with arms folded and gazed down at him triumphantly.
" Ok ok-- you win." Yahiko pouted. Kaoru giggled.
" So-- Yahiko-CHAN you can make ME some tea."
" " Yahiko gave her a dagger-eyed look and trudged into the house. " She's even worse as an angel " he muttered under his breath.
Kaoru watched him go inside. Misao also disappeared back
into the room she'd thrown Yahiko from, leaving Kaoru alone in the courtyard.
Kaoru giggled. " Picking on him is fun, no matter how unangel-like it may be." She stood for a long while, surrounded by the silence. " Well-- there isn't much to do now " She bit her lip." I wonder what Kenshin is doing right now."
Visions of him with some beautiful blonde American girl swam through her head. She quickly shook them away. " NO! I'm not jealous-- I'm not jealous I'm--"
" -- Jealous of what?"
" AH!" Kaoru turned around to see Death sitting on the porch in front of the dojo. She relaxed with a loud sigh. " Oh you scared me!"
" Sorry-- there's no easy way for me to warn you I'm coming." Death motioned for her to have a seat. " Shall we chat?"
Kaoru nodded and sat down next to him. She absently began to preen her feathers. " So, what do you want to chat about?"
" I want to know if you've told him yet."
Kaoru froze. She lowered her gaze, tugging at a feather nervously. " Oh?"
" Ummm There's no need to tell him now."
" No need? Why?"
" Because-- he's got a new girl."
" Ah-- that's reassuring news."
Kaoru shuddered. " Oh yeah. Heh heh "
" And how are you taking it?"
" Oh! Me?" She gave him a fake smile. How was she going to tiptoe around this one without lying? " Umm-- it's a little hard to get used to. But, I know it's what's best for him."
Death was silent for a long moment. Kaoru wondered if he could tell she was avoiding the question. She quickly searched for a new subject. " Oh! You know I've shown myself to everyone right?"
" Yes-- you handled that situation pretty well, considering it was such a complicated one."
" Oh-- thank you. Anyways, Sanosuke can't see me. He can only hear me why is that?"
" Well?!" Kaoru's heart skipped a beat. What if he was going to hell-- what if he was going to die... what if--
" You should know."
" I really don't." She looked at him nervously.
Death chuckled. " Tell him to stop gambling, drinking, and mooching off of his friends so much. Then he may be able to see you."
" WHAT?! THAT'S THE ONLY REASON!?"
" He's ok then right?"
" Well-- if he stays on his current path, he should be ok. " Death drew a file out of his long cloak and flipped through it. " It says here that he passed the 50% mark back when he proposed to Takani Megumi-san. He's been teetering between heaven and hell for a long time. But since then, he's gotten a job and he's beginning to stabilize."
Kaoru breathed a sigh of relief. " Oh that's good to hear."
"Well-- I have work to do. " Death closed the file and stood. " I'm glad Himura found another girl. I can rest easier."
Kaoru nodded solemnly. " You never had to be worried in the first place "
She watched him slowly fade until she sat alone in the yard again. Everything seemed so still.
Yahiko ran out onto the porch a moment later carrying two cups
of tea. He looked around.
" Kaoru? KAORU!?"
She wasn't there. He shrugged and walked back into the room. " After I made that tea and everything "
reappeared down by the river. She sat under a tree and watched the
water ripple as the wind blew softly through the trees.
" Kenshin "
" I'm glad Himura found another girl.'
Her heart thumped in her chest. She gripped her Kimono tightly until her knuckles were white. She closed her eyes against the tears that were surfacing.
" Kenshin "
" I hadn't seen him around much, after that Kamiya girl died but I saw him earlier today with some new chick."
" Kenshin "
" I'm going out, I won't be back until late."
" Kenshin "
" It was a gift."
Kaoru erupted in tears. She curled up against the tree, hugging herself tightly. Letting her tears slide down over her cheeks.
" Ken shin "