A Rurouni Kenshin/ On a Pale Horse Crossover

By Ashley Auld

* 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!

Authors Note-
 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 16 - The Power of Goodbye
( Many thanks to Madonna. ^_^)

" Your heart is not open, so I must go.
The spell has been broken… I loved you so.

Freedom comes when you learn to let go,
Creation comes when you learn to say no.

You were my lesson I had to learn.
I was your fortress you had to burn.

Pain is a warning that something's wrong,
I pray to God that it won't be long.

There's nothing left to try,
There's no place left to hide,

There's no greater power than the power of goodbye."
     (Madonna, The Power of Goodbye)

Kaoru opened her eyes to find herself lying underneath the tree, curled into a tight ball.  Her wings folded around her like a blanket of feathers.  She slowly raised her head and took in her surroundings.
 " I must have fallen asleep." She muttered sleepily as she sat up and stretched.  She stood up and took a few steps towards the river, the sky was a radiant combination of orange, pink and purple colors.  " It's the afternoon already.  I've slept for most of the day-- But-- " She smiled slightly as she put her hand to her face, her cheeks were long dried from her tears.  " It felt good to cry, and to sleep… I feel better now."
 She turned and began to walk along the water's edge deep in thought.  " I guess love is a luxury for the living.  I was foolish to love him in the first place.  Nothing good could come of it.  It's better this way."  She stopped as she heard someone laughing.  A woman's laughter.
 " Megumi-san?"
 Kaoru walked in the direction of the laughing until she came upon Megumi and Sanosuke both lounging near the river, sitting on the grassy bank.  Kaoru quickly hid herself behind a tree.  She didn't want to disturb them.
 " We should name him Souzo." Sano said matter-of-factly.
 " Oh? That was the name of your boss, right?" Megumi looked at Sano with one eyebrow raised.
 " Yeah.  But don't you like that name?"
 " But, how are you so sure it's a boy, what if it's a girl?"
 " Well-- you can name her if it's a girl.  But I think it'll be a boy."  He grabbed her by the waist and drew her too him gently.  Megumi laughed again as Sano put his ear to her stomach.
 " Oi-- you in there… you like the name Souzo right?"
 " Sano-- you baka…" Megumi playfully smacked him upside the head.
 " Hey! I think he kicked! He likes the name." Sano looked up to her with a wide, hopeful grin.  Megumi rolled her eyes.
 " He's too young to kick yet! But-- ok ok… we can call him Souzo.  I think it's a good name too." She smiled back at him.
 Kaoru watched as Sano lay her onto the grass gently.  Supporting her head with one hand and the other still wrapped around her waist.
" I love you." He brushed some strands of hair from her face.
Kaoru turned and walked away with a blush before she could see them go any further.
 " I shouldn't watch that… but--" She sighed as she headed back towards the dojo. " -- I guess I'm a little envious."


 " Hi Yahiko!"
 " Hey Kaoru." Yahiko looked up from his hammering to greet the angel.  He saw some lines under her eyes that he hadn't noticed before.  But she smiled at him, so it seemed to be ok.  " Where have you been?"
 " Oh-- I was just out… thinking."  She walked past him and then surveyed the work.  Misao and Aoshi had the whole wall almost repaired.  And the roof was already good as new.  " You guys are working fast!  It's looking very nice."
 " No thanks to Kenshin--" Yahiko muttered.
 " …"
 Yahiko waited for her to agree with him.  But when no reply came he looked up to see her looking very distant.  It was as if she was in a daydream.
 " Kaoru?"
 " Oh?! Oh!" She quickly shook her head and laughed half-heartedly.  " Yeah-- whatever you say.  Is he back yet?"
 " Hey-- Kaoru… are you ok?"
 " Hm? Me? Fine! I'm just fine.  Is he back yet?"
 " Umm-- no… not yet."
 " Oh.. well-- I'm going to go look for him."
 Before Yahiko could reply, she vanished.
 " Hmph-- I can't figure her out…" he muttered to himself.
 " Just leave her alone." Misao's voice interrupted him.  Yahiko looked back at her annoyed.
 " What's that supposed to mean?"
 " I mean-- Kaoru-san loves Himura-san.  Even if she says she doesn't remember him… I can tell she does.  And Himura-san has been avoiding her recently."
 " Really?"
 " You didn't know? Boy-- you really are slow." Misao snickered at him.
 " NANI?!"


 Once again, Kaoru searched.  She flew over Tokyo.  She spent over an hour in the Akabeko, hoping to find some clue.  (that was the center of gossip in Tokyo, after all).  But no clue was to be had.  Darkness soon descended.  For some reason she was very very tired.
 " I've slept so much today-- why am I still so tired?" She muttered to herself as she trudged back towards the dojo.  She'd flown so much that her wings drooped down, almost trailing in the dust behind her Kimono.  It was the first time since she'd come to earth that she felt so fatigued.  Normally she could fly anywhere for as long as she wanted without getting tired.
 " Maybe Angels get the cold--" She muttered to herself, trying to feel her forehead for a temperature.
 Just then, she heard a familiar voice from just around the corner.
 " I'm sorry, Christina-dono… but I can't."
 Kaoru's eyes widened as she recognized Kenshin's voice. She quickly flew up to the roof of one of the buildings.  Her wings ached from the exertion but she ignored it.  She made herself invisible and perched up high, watching as Kenshin rounded the corner and began walking down the street side by side with what was definitely a blonde haired western girl.  " Christina?" She thought nervously. " That's certainly a western name…"
 " But--I don't like being all alone!" The girl looked up at him pleadingly. She grabbed onto the sleeve of his Gi.  " Please?"
 " What are they talking about?" Kaoru narrowed her eyes, looking at the girl closely was hard from her perspective.  She wore a very expensive blue Western style dress with many ruffles and a long cloak lined with white fur.  The dress made her hair stand out like a lightbulb.  Her hair was done in a western style bun with ringlets that hung down to her shoulders.  And loose tendrils of hair fell over her forehead and white, porcelain-like skin.  She had some Asian features.  " She's probably half or a quarter Japanese…" Kaoru thought.   She spoke with an accent… but she seemed to know Japanese pretty well.
 Kenshin made no move to shake her from his arm.  Which set Kaoru's teeth on edge.
 " I have to get back home or my friends will worry about me." He said instead.  "And I don't want Kaoru-dono to get suspicious."

 " NANI!?!!"  Her cheeks burned hot with rage.  " I didn't think Kenshin was THIS kind of a person!!?"

 " But-- my father is gone… I'll be all alone in that house." She said, holding his arm tighter.  " Please… stay the night."

 " ARRRGHGHHH!! KEN--- SHIN….." She resisted the urge to swoop down and beat him senseless.  She wanted to put a curse on the little tramp. Kaoru clenched and unclenched her fists.  " Does she have ANY sense of modesty?! She's not married-- and… and…asking him to go to bed with her like that--  Americans must be SOOO shameless!!!" She was sure Kenshin would object.  He was certainly not one to take advantage of a young, underage girl.  He knew better…

 Kenshin sighed heavily. And then smiled down at the girl holding his arm.  " Well… I suppose so…"

 " NANI!?" She leapt forward, slipped on a loose shingle and crashed to the ground with a thud.  " Ouch…"

 " Oro?" Kenshin looked behind him, but was quickly distracted by the girl jumping on him, throwing her arms around his neck and laying a big kiss on his scared cheek.  Kenshin almost lost balance himself and took a step backwards.  " ORO?!"

 " YATTA!!"  Christina snuggled against him some more and then grabbed him by the hand and began tugging him impatiently in the direction they were going. " Come on let's go!"
 " A--Aaa.." Kenshin said a little distracted.  He looked behind him but saw nothing.

 Kaoru sat where she'd landed.  Shock soon replaced anger.  Then sadness replaced shock.  She clutched at her chest.  It was like something burst inside of her.  The tears welled up in her eyes again.  She'd cried so much that day already-- and she wanted to cry more.  Just when she thought she didn't have any more tears left…
 She watched, helplessly as the two continued on their way.  In the opposite way of the dojo…

 " No-- I won't chase after him.  I told myself that it's better this way." A gust of wind came up as she stood to make her way back home.  She was alarmed to see several feathers get caught up in the blowing currents.
 " Feathers? But-- angels don't loose their feathers…" she muttered concerned.  Then quickly shrugged it off.  " I must be getting a cold or something…"
 She dragged her feet through the dirt.  Sadness was soon replaced by bitterness.  Even barefoot as she was, the dirt underneath her didn't hurt her tender feet. It mocked her.
 " I'm dead… heh-- what a joke… Of course I can't be with him… It's forbidden." She laughed coldly as she crossed the bridge towards the dojo and began to walk along the path by the waterside where she'd seen Sanosuke and Megumi earlier that day.  She stopped by the spot where the two had been together and looked up to the small sliver of moon that reflected on the rippling water.  Another gust of wind sent a flurry of feathers out over the water, they disappeared into the darkness.
 Then, she noticed them…tiny lights, which flitted about her.
 " Fireflies?"
 She sank to her knees, feeling the cool, damp grass soak through her thin Kimono.  The coldness seeped into her bones.  She suddenly felt, overwhelming, and completely alone.
 " No-- don't cry… don't!" She told herself sternly.  Her heart ached in her chest.  The fireflies circled her.  Something about them made her want to scream.  Like an invisible pressure was pushing at her, harder and harder, until it was ready to burst. She clenched her teeth and shut her eyes tightly against the tears.  But sudden voices behind her made her jump out of her self-torture.  Momentarily forgetting her pain, she whirled around in surprise to see… herself!?
 " A memory? But--" She looked around her.  " No one has entered my body--except…" She saw the fireflies surrounding her.  " Masaka…(no way) "

 She quickly dismissed the idea.  And instead focused on herself standing by the fireflies.

Her past self watched the lake with a worried expression.  Kenshin's voice could be heard from the darkness.
 " Kaoru-dono…"
 Kaoru turned and relief washed over her face as Kenshin's figure materialized slowly out of the darkness.  " Kenshin!"
 He returned her gaze softly.  But said nothing.
 " Ken..shin?" Kaoru's voice hinted her nervousness.
 " Okubo was assassinated this morning."
 " Yes…I know."
 " The criminal, Shishio was his killer."
 Kaoru's looked at him shocked.
 " I can't let him do as he pleases, so…"
 There was a long pause.  Kaoru seemed to hold her breath.
 " I'm going back to Kyoto de gozaru…"
 Kaoru was silent, she turned from him to gaze back out at the water.  " Kyoto…" She repeated softly.  "After you go-- will you return as the Kenshin of 10 years ago?"
 " I don't know…" He gazed at the stars overhead.  "Over these last 10 years, I thought I had put away the Battousai.  " But fighting Saitoh made me realize that the Hitokiri was still living deep inside of me."
 " But…" She clenched her fists, her voice rose in protest.  " But, you could get rid of him! Even though you came close to becoming the Battousai! Kenshin is KENSHIN! A non-killing Rurouni!"
 " If I stay here, I'll put you all in danger,  slowly becoming the Battousai again, little by little…"  He turned towards her slowly.  Smiling sadly.  Kaoru stared at the ground helplessly.  "When I first met you, you told me that you didn't care about my past… I was so happy."
 She started momentarily, then looked back at the ground.  Her lower lip began to tremble.
 " I thought I could just live a normal life with you, just being a samurai…"
 He reached out and hugged her too him tightly.  Kaoru's eyes shot open in surprise as he held her close.  Breathing in her scent.
 "  Thank you so much… sessha is a Rurouni…" Kaoru was silent.  Allowing herself be held in his embrace.  "I going to return to my journey."
 The tears began to pool in her eyes.
 " Sayonara."
He backed away from her past self and turned around.   As he disappeared into the darkness.  The past Kaoru fell to her knees, sobbing uncontrollably.  She brought her hands to her face.  All she could do was mutter the words.
 " Ken-shin…"

 The angel was also on her knees.  Tears running down her cheeks.  She hugged herself tightly.
 " Now--" she thought, She uttered a small cry, the loneliness and the abject sadness overwhelmed her.  She didn't notice the images before her fading, and she was once again alone in the dark. Surrounded by fireflies." I have to say goodbye all over again…"


 Kaoru stepped through the dojo gate quietly.  The moon was already high overhead.  She wiped her eyes again and crossed the yard and entered the building.  She walked along the porch, her tears still pouring down her cheeks.
 " I'm so in love with him…I'm such an idiot." She thought as she passed by Kenshin's room and then abruptly stopped.  She looked back at the closed door.  " Did he really spend the night with that girl?" She bit her lip, and slowly slid the door open a crack.  She peeked into the dark room.  All was silent.  She opened the door a little wider so what little light there was from the moon could spill into the room.  It was empty.
 She walked over to his bed.  Neatly folded in the corner of the room.   She stood over it for a long time.  Then slowly kneeled and unrolled the futon. Before she knew what she was doing, she lay down on it and closed her eyes. She sniffed, letting her eyes adjust to the darkness around her.  This was his room… where he slept-- but not tonight.  She rolled up into a fetal position.
" Goodbye… Kenshin."  She whispered to the darkness.
 That night, she fell asleep alone in his bed, on a tear soaked pillow.