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 20- Learning a Lesson

 " Greetings, Anata…"
Kaoru stiffened.  Did Tomoe really remember? Had she been tricking her the entire time? No-- Tomoe wouldn't do that…Kaoru remembered the first time she'd seen Kenshin, there had been a small voice that had taken her over that knew the right thing to say.  She didn't know what it was-- but Tomoe may be experiencing the same thing.
 Kenshin's mouth was suddenly dry. After so long, he was face to face with her-- he never thought he would ever see her again.  She was dead, after all.  He ran over in his mind the thousands of things he had wanted to tell her, all the things that had been plaguing his conscience.  So many times when he had been wandering alone, he thought of all the things that he'd never told her and wished that he had.  And now, she was in front of him, and he couldn't bring himself to say a single thing.  He hung his head, unable to meet her face to face.  Guilt washed over him and an incredible feeling of shame.
 Tomoe appeared to not have noticed Kenshin's reactions.  She turned and inclined her head towards Enishi.
 " Greetings, My brother…"
 " Nee-san… you…" he slowly rose up to his knees. " Nee-san it's REALLY you!!!??"
 Tomoe nodded her head. " Enishi, I'm sorry to have left you so early in your life.  You must have been lonely."
 " No-- Nee-san what do you mean? You've always been with me!"
 Tomoe closed her eyes and shook her head.  Enishi's heart skipped a beat.  She looked so sad.
 " Nee-san, don't be sad! DON'T BE SAD!"
 " Enishi, I haven't been with you all these years."
 " B-But--"
 " I've been in Heaven." Her sad eyes cut straight into his heart.
 " But-- you're smile… you… you've always been there for me!"
Tomoe just shook her head again and sighed. A panic seized Enishi, and he frantically thought of something that would make her happy.
" Nee-san… I've devoted my life to avenging you!"
" Enishi…"
A sudden idea surfaced and he rose to his feet excited.  " Listen! Listen Nee-san, you'll be so proud of my Jinchuu!! I destroyed the man whom you despise! "
Tomoe looked at him in horror, then back at Kenshin.  Kenshin didn't move.  She turned back to Enishi; her voice shook slightly, betraying her feeling of disbelief.
" Enishi… you…"
Enishi took a step towards her, his eyes lighted up with insanity. " But he recovered.  Help me complete it! I'll destroy Battousai's life! Like he destroyed yours!"
 Kaoru watched Tomoe carefully.  She was doing a good job at keeping her composure.  But she could see her soul was shaking slightly.  Tomoe looked down at the ground, folded her hands together and shook her head.
 " I won't help you."
 " Nee-san…"
 " Enishi, Kenshin did not intentionally kill me."
 Kenshin's head shot up. Enishi's eyes widened considerably.
 " I was the one who threw myself in front of him.  He had meant to kill the man who had kidnapped me."
 " But--"
 " No-- I brought it all on myself." She turned to Kenshin.  " And-- without realizing it, I'd created so much trouble for you… I'm sorry."
 Kenshin shook his head; still no words would come. Kaoru wondered what he could be thinking.
" Then… my Jinchuu is--" Enishi looked at his sword, still clutched in his hands, " No-- I WON'T believe it! I SAW HIM! HE MURDERED YOU! I WON'T FORGIVE HIM!" He swung around Tomoe and lunged towards Kenshin.  Kenshin didn't move.
" KENSHIN!" Kaoru screamed.
Enishi raised his sword and swung down as hard as he could.  He smiled as he felt it meet flesh.  Yes-- and that sweet coppery scent of blood… but wait--
His eyes opened wide, retracting to mere pinpoints.  He smelled…
That scent…
The scent of white plums filled his nostrils.  It was the calming scent of his sister.  He watched helplessly as she collapsed before him by the blow of his sword.
" TOMOE-SAN!" Kaoru's knees gave way and she sunk to the ground.  Kenshin looked up horrified.  He'd been expecting the deathblow, but the spirit of Tomoe had stopped it!  How had she done that?
Enishi froze, his breath caught in his throat as he let the sword drop to the ground.
" N-Nee…san…" he choked out. A terrible wail of agony soon followed as he sank to his knees. " What have I done!? Nee-san! NEE-SAN!!!"
"…" She opened her eyes, and looked up at him as he gathered her into his arms.
" Nee-san… forgive me!" He cried out in anguish, he rocked back and forth, holding her to him tightly.
 " It's not me who you should be begging forgiveness." Tomoe said softly.  " Do you see, Enishi-- what hate does to you?  What it has turned you into?"
" Nee…-san…" He cried.  " No-- it wasn't supposed to happen this way! I was supposed to kill the Battousai!"
" Yes-- and do you see… how mistakes can happen…" She looked up at him, her soft gaze calmed his heart. " I didn't want Kenshin to be killed… so I jumped in front of him-- to protect him… as I did just now.  Don't you see? You never mean for these things to happen-- Enishi…" Enishi slowly raised his head and set his gaze on Kenshin.
Kenshin watched the scene as if he was relieving his own past.  Two tears rolled down his cheeks involuntarily.
" Nee-san… " He whispered, closing his eyes tightly, blinking away his tears.  "What should I do? Help me!"
 Tomoe smiled for him.  That smile was so small, but it warmed his heart.  She shook her head.  " Be brave Enishi-- life will be difficult from now on.  But do the right thing, and I'll be smiling for you."
 " I will nee-san! I will!!" His voice shook with determination. He held her tightly.
 " Do you understand what I am saying?"
 Enishi nodded.  " Please-- forgive me!"
 Tomoe closed her eyes and shook her head. " No no-- don't apologize to me." She looked over towards Kenshin earnestly.
 Kenshin still couldn't manage to speak; he met eyes with Enishi.  Both were filled with anguish, and pain, and self reproach.  Without words, they acknowledged each other, and were somehow linked.  From fighting over and over again-- and in that moment, a strange kind of understanding took them. As soon as that passed, They tore their gazes away from each other.  Enishi continued rocking her back and forth softly.
 " Nee-san… what about you?!" Enishi whispered.
 " Me? You don't have to worry about me.  I'm fine. I'm already dead-- remember?"
 And she faded from his arms. Enishi looked around frantically.
 Her voice floated down to him from above.  " I'll be watching you from heaven, Enishi.  Do the right thing from now on-- and I'll be smiling for you."
" Nee-san…"
" I'll always be with you-- even if you can't see me."
 Enishi rose to his feet, he called up to the clouds. " Farewell, nee-san!!"
 "T-Tomoe!!" Kenshin finally managed to blurt out.  He rose to his feet.  Kaoru watched him wide-eyed. Enishi said nothing, he only looked away.
"… Anata…" The voice responded.
Kenshin swallowed hard, he had to say it-- or he would never forgive himself.  " F-Forgive me?! Tomoe?"
"…" There was a long pause.  And then her voice had a ring of cheerfulness in it.  " Leave the past in the past… You are Himura Kenshin, the Rurouni… and you have a whole new life before you."
" Tomoe…"
" Please-- be happy with Kaoru-san from now on."
Kenshin bowed his head, a smile swept across his face. " Hai de gozaru ka."

 Even though Tomoe was invisible to the two men.  Kaoru could see her plainly.  She had no blood on her.  It was evident that she had put on a show for Enishi, to teach him a lesson.  She was brighter than she looked.
 Tomoe nodded to Kaoru. "I can't linger here any more.  Heaven will get suspicious."
 " Thank you, Tomoe-san."
 Kaoru stood up shakily.  She took a deep breath and raised her hands once more in prayer.  She felt the world spinning about her as she concentrated to send Tomoe back to Heaven.  It was going to take the last of her strength to do so.

 Kenshin and Enishi saw Tomoe again, just for a moment as she disappeared into Heaven, and she was smiling.

 There was a long silence in the dojo yard.  Sano, Aoshi, Misao, and Megumi all exchanged looks, each silently asking the other if they'd seen the same thing.  Sano of course had NO idea what had just happened. He hadn't been able to see Tomoe either. But he'd heard her plainly.
Kenshin sighed in relief and looked over to where Kaoru had been standing. But instead he saw her lying on the ground. She was not moving.  " Kaoru!"
Enishi watched silently as Kenshin raced over to her and took her in his arms.  The tall, silver haired swordsman turned his back on them, and began to walk towards the Dojo entrance.
 " MATTE!" Sano yelled after him, in a flash he was behind him and grabbed Enishi by the shoulder, yanking him around. Enishi looked at him straight in the eyes.  Sano froze.  They were-- normal eyes…
 Enishi turned his face away from Sano.
 " You don't need to worry."
 Sano blinked at the sane tone of voice he used.
 " I will not harm your doctor… or anyone else related to Battousai." Sano let go of his shoulder and he continued walking. " You will not see me again."


 " Kaoru? Kaoru?"
 Kaoru awoke to the sound of her name being called.  She blinked a few times and then turned her head slowly to see the worried faces of Kenshin, Sano, Megumi, Yahiko, and Misao.  Aoshi stood leaning against the open doorframe with his arms crossed.
 " Kaoru-dono?" Kenshin's voice was filled with concern. She realized he was holding her hand.  She smiled at him reassuringly.
 " I'm ok Kenshin… thank you."
 She could feel the tenseness in his grip relax slightly.  But he still held her hand.
 Megumi stepped forward. " What happened to you? I-- I can't diagnose any problem because I can't examine you."
 " I--ohh..." Kaoru bit her lip.  Her eyes shifted to Kenshin.  She was paying the price for breaking the rules… she needed to tell him-- but she wanted to tell him first alone, before she told anyone else. " It just took a lot out of me to send Tomoe-san back to Heaven.  I guess I exerted myself a little too much.  I just need to rest."
 That wasn't a lie-- it just wasn't the whole truth.  But Megumi seemed to be fine with that.
 " Well-- do you feel feverish at all? Ken-san… touch her forehead."
 " Oro--" Kenshin put his hand to her forehead.  " I--" He withdrew his hand, seeming confused.
 " Well?"
 " Ohh-- I don't know-- I don't feel a temperature. It's the same as the air."
 " Baka--" Kaoru managed a weak laugh. " I don't have a body… I can't be running a temperature-- I don't even have a pulse."
 This didn't seem to encourage them.  She sighed and closed her eyes.
 " I'll be fine-- just let me rest."
 The group slowly rose and began to file out of the door.
 " Himura-san." Misao hung back, Kenshin was reluctant to leave Kaoru's side.  She walked over and put a hand on his shoulder. " Let Kaoru-san sleep. "
 " Oh-- just a little longer…"  He gingerly wiped a few stray strands of hair out of her eyes.  Misao leaned over and whispered in his ear.
" Kaoru-san would not want you to worry over her.  You need to be treated by Megumi-san too!"
Kenshin sighed, he actually felt just fine.  Only a few bruises and scratches… Enishi was the worse off from their fight.  But he gave into Misao and reluctantly let go of Kaoru's hand, she was already fast asleep.   Misao nodded with approval and followed him out.
 " Do you think she'll be ok?" He asked nervously.
 " She'll be fine. " She reassured him.

 Kaoru awoke a second time to an uncomfortable feeling.  She sat up in bed and looked around her into the darkness. Her drowsiness from sleep vanished with a rush of adrenaline.
 " Is-- someone there?"
 She felt a strange presence.  Something was watching her. Kaoru was ready to scream, but then Death suddenly materialized in front of her.
 " Thanatos!" Kaoru's tension eased instantly as the dark figure nodded to her in greeting.
 " Kamiya-san… I---" He shook his head and put one bony hand to his forehead, as if deep in thought.
 " H-Hai?"
 " Kamiya-san…" he tried again.  " Do you KNOW what you did yesterday?"
 " Yesterday?"
 " You let an unauthorized spirit visit the earthly realm-- and what's more… you let her interact in the affairs of humans… The Archangel is furious!"
 Kaoru inhaled sharply. " They know?"
 " Yes they know!" Thanatos threw his hands up into the air and paced around the room.  " And when they come to interrogate you-- they'll know even more…"
 " What do you mean."
 " I mean THAT!" He pointed to her Grey wings. Feathers littered the ground and the futon she slept on.  " Do you know what that means?"
 " That I'm sick?"
 " Well, you could say that yes-- it means that you've broken the rules, that your soul is laden down with sin… that you're wings are becoming inoperable because you're being pulled down towards Hell-- THAT'S what it means!"
 Kaoru looked at him in shock.  "…"
 " I'm sorry-- sorry… " Death sighed loudly.  " I didn't mean to get carried away. You're not going to Hell… Not-- yet… at least…"
 "… To… Hell?" Kaoru choked the words out. " But-- Kenshin…"
 " That's EXACTLY what I mean! Kenshin!  Oh God save you… he's the only one who can!  But I doubt he will-- after all the rules you've broken and twisted."
 Kaoru shook her head. " WHY! Why all the STUPID rules?!  I love him! Why can't we just be happy together!?"
 " Because you're a Guardian Angel!"
 " That means NOTHING to me!" Kaoru yelled at him frantically. " Rules like that are stupid-- nothing good comes of them! If two people want to be together, then they should be allowed to! It's as simple as that! Even a place like HEAVEN, and a person like GOD should understand that!"
 " Well SAY it to the jury when you meet them!"
 Death hung his head.  " You're to be taken to trial tomorrow-- I don't know when they'll come for you.  I suppose tonight is the time to say goodbye."
 Kaoru blinked, it took a moment to register in her mind. " They're-- taking me away? Why?"
 " There is a punishment for what you've done--- maybe if you beg for mercy you'll get off with being stuck doing community service in Purgatory-- whatever you do, you DON'T want them to send you to Hell… because that very well could happen."
 " Me? Leave here? But-- No! I'm Kenshin's Guardian Angel!" She banged on the floor with her fists. " THEY CAN'T DO THAT!"
 " …" Death sadly nodded his head. " They can-- and… they will.  I just came tonight to tell you.  There's really nothing you can do but wait for them to come.  You certainly can't hide from them."
 " But-- can't you talk to them!?" Kaoru pleaded.  " Straighten things out?! PLEASE!?"
 "… If it was in my power-- I certainly would.  But, I will try to do everything I can to help you.  I am partly responsible for this too…"
 " Thanatos."
 He kneeled down next to her and wiped a stray tear from her cheek with a skeletal finger.
 " Remember how I said I'd look after you?"
 Kaoru nodded deftly.
 " Good.  I'm sorry it's come to this.  Be brave.  And make the remaining time you have on earth, your best."
 Kaoru shook her head. " No…" she whispered, still denying that this was happening.  She closed her eyes and envisioned Kenshin's smiling face.  All the vows to him that they would be together forever-- would be broken. " NO! THANATOS NO!" She opened her eyes but he was no longer there.  Slowly she rose from her bed.
 " Thanatos?"
No answer…
"Forget him…" she thought.   She turned towards the door and slid it open silently. " Kenshin…" She whispered.
 There was still hardly any moonlight that night.  Only a sliver was shown high in the air.  She could see it was about midnight.  She began to walk along the hallways towards Kenshin's room, wondering if he was asleep.  She had to see him-- she wanted to be held in his arms and comforted more than anything at the moment.  She wanted to pour out everything to him.  Everything that she'd been keeping hidden for so long.  Rule number 3, the truth, her condition… everything.


 She approached his room.  The light of the lamp was on, which was a good sign.  She swallowed hard, gathering up her courage.
 " Kenshin?" She called softly through the thin paper door.
 " Kaoru?"
 Within moments the door slid open and Kenshin stood in the doorway.
" Kenshin-- I…" She swallowed hard.  " Just-- wanted to see you…"
Kenshin abruptly gathered her up into his arms.
 " K-Kenshin!" Kaoru said surprised.
 " Gomen, I just--" He hugged her tighter.  " I couldn't sleep… you made me worry so much!" He held her away from him to look into her eyes concerned.  " How do you feel now?"
 " I-- That's what I needed to talk to you about..." She smiled at him nervously, trying to keep her voice from trembling and thus betraying the tears that wanted to resurface.  She really wanted to be strong for him this time.  But the idea of leaving was so unbearable. She couldn’t control herself any longer; she buried her face in her hands and wept.
 " Oro? Kaoru?!" Kenshin helped her inside and shut the door behind them. He led her over to the tatami mat near the lantern and sat her down.  He sat close so she could lean against him.
 " I'm sorry-- sorry." She wiped the tears away and sighed heavily. " They come when they want to. Heh--" She tried to laugh, but it just ended up sounding like another choked sob.
 " Kaoru…" Kenshin put his arm around her shoulders.  " Tell me what's bothering you."
 " I-- I've been lying to you." She confessed.  " And I'm not ok… my wings changing color are not something to be taken lightly."
 " What do you mean?"
 " I--" she spoke through her tears.  " I broke a rule, a very important rule for a Guardian Angel."
 Kenshin got a sudden, sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach… he could already guess what that rule might be.
 " You-- fell in love with me?"
 Kaoru looked up at him shocked. " You knew?!"
 " No--" he sighed heavily.  " But-- I could guess.  Is that why you avoided me for so long?"
 " Avoided your affections? Yes-- I'm not allowed to fall in love with any mortal, especially my client.   But it wasn't so hard to avoid you when I didn't remember you--"
" --Kaoru…"
" No--listen to me." She gave him a stubborn look, she was determined to tell him everything.  Kenshin reluctantly nodded and she continued. " Little by little, I gathered my memories back.  By reliving past memories I shared with Yahiko and Misao-chan, and that time you said goodbye to me-- It was enough to make me remember my feelings for you.  They came so strong that I couldn't ignore them any longer. I couldn't deny the fact that I was in love with you. Especially when I thought you and that foreign girl were together…  And then my heath deteriorated."
 Kenshin was silent, but she could feel his grip on her tighten. Kaoru took a deep breath, and went on…
 " I thought it was just a weird sickness that would pass at first.  But it became really bad.  I couldn't fly-- I couldn't do as much magic…My feathers fell out and changed colors. I've been feeling weak and dizzy…Oh Kenshin!" She buried her face in his Gi.  " I love you so much and yet to do so is costing me my life!!!"
 Kenshin sat completely stunned as she sobbed into his chest. He rested his hands on her shoulders, wondering how it would be best to comfort her.  Her light frame shook so violently.  He realized that since her death-- she'd become so fragile, like porcelain.  Kaoru the Angel didn't practice Budo…  Not yet at least.  What reason did she have to practice?  Slowly, he slid his hands around her back until he held her in a tight embrace.
 " Kaoru, I-- I had no idea… if I'd known then I wouldn't have--"
 " -- I know…" she cut him off.  " Then you wouldn't have pursued me? I knew that perfectly well.  But by that time I was so in love with you and I wanted to be with you! I didn't care about the consequences.  I thought that if I could be with you-- then I could get through anything.  I really thought that it would be ok. So I never told you about rule number 3…"
 " …"
 Her arms wrapped around him, she hugged him tightly, wanting to be closer to him-- but his embrace wasn't enough… she wanted to feel more.  " At first I didn't tell you because I didn't want to smash your hopes that someday we would… be together…" Her words came out breathlessly as he responded to her soundless need, she felt his hands running down her bare back and over her shoulders in soft caresses.  The touch was tantalizing, and aroused such an amazing feeling in her.  He was all she'd ever wanted.
" And?" He smiled, continuing the gentle massage, he could feel her body quivering with delight at his touch.
"And then--" she whispered.  " I didn’t want you to know the truth, because I… wanted you to love me so badly…Kenshin…" She couldn't continue.
" What can we do?" He asked her, His fingers ran through her silky ponytail, playing with her hair.
" What can we-- Huh?" Kaoru looked up at him slightly shocked.
" No-- I mean… what can we do to avoid you getting sick?"
Kaoru shook her head.  "I… don't think anything can be done.  Kenshin--- I…I just… don't want to loose you!"
 Kenshin started to rock her gently.  " Shhh… you won't loose me.  I'll always be here." He tilted her head upwards to meet her gaze.  Deep pools of blue stared back at him, filled with so much love, want, and fear.  He had to do something to ease that fear. "I'm going to protect you, remember?"
 " But--"
 He didn’t let her finish.  His mouth met hers, cutting off her retort.  Kaoru didn't fight it.  His kiss made her heart flutter, and all her problems seemed to momentarily disappear.  She opened her lips slightly to allow Kenshin's tongue entry.
 " I want to be like this…" Kaoru thought, he left her mouth and ran soft, wet kisses down her neck and shoulders.  " I want to be with him forever-- But, after all I've done, do I really deserve his love?"
 " Kaoru?" He sensed her self-reproach, looking up from his gentle exploration.  He traced the contours of her face with his fingertips.
 " I love you… aishiteru, Kenshin." A fresh flow of tears beckoned, and slid down her cheeks.  Now he frowned concerned, as he wiped them away with his callused thumbs.
 " Why are you crying now?"
 " Because-- I lied to you…and…" but she was stopped by him a second time with a long, lingering kiss. Again, Kaoru didn’t fight it, his kisses affected her with such an exciting shiver that sent her whole body alive with sensation. When he broke away again, he shook his head.
 " Aishiteru." He responded, though his voice was shaking.  " I don't care if you lied.  I guess I'm partly glad you hid the truth from me too…"
 Kaoru laughed through her tears at that, Kenshin pushed her bangs back from her eyes, setting one lock of hair behind her ears.
 " If you hadn't, then we would probably not be how we are right now…" He took her left hand in both of his and held it to his lips.  He kissed the knuckles gingerly, and then worked his way down with feathery kisses to her fingertips. " We'll figure a way through this.  As long as you still love me-- we can work things out." His fingers traced over the ring he'd given her. " I believe we can get through this." Kaoru blushed deeply.  Her tears stopped.
 " Kenshin--" She tore her hand away and threw her arms around him tightly.  Kenshin smoothly swept her up and into his lap. Kaoru buried her face in his shoulder, she could smell his hair, the rustic, outdoors scent of his Gi… it was Kenshin's smell, and it ignited her senses with an exciting, passionate fire.  If she would have to leave tomorrow… this was her last chance to be with him.  She didn't care if she was sent to Hell for what she wanted to do.
  "Kenshin--" she repeated his name softly, lifting her head from his Gi, she pushed his bangs back out of his eyes and smiled up at him.
 " Aa?" He looked down into her face.  She was so beautiful; even with the tear stains still on her pink cheeks, they only made his desire intensify.  She needed him more than anything… he was the only one to ease her pain. She looked up at him with so much trust, love, and longing… and he realized how much he wanted her in that moment… all of her.
 Her whispered voice was so quiet, and so low that it was barely audible.  She swallowed hard. Her hands gripped the cloth of his Gi tighter as the words left her mouth.
"Kenshin … make love to me."