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 22- To Save the One I Love

I want to softly take note of when you're tired of walking,
Because of the two of us, a door that is always left open becomes visible.

I'll always be waiting for you there,
Say anything, and I'll give you the answer.

Whatever things may happen to you,
I want to keep the truth from hurting you!

I love you, from my heart
I love you, I beleive in it,
I'm in love with you, only you.

There have been days, my heart has felt tight, and days I've wanted to cry,
And everyone but myself has wanted to become gentler.

You've let me understand these feelings,
Ever since I met you, I've wanted to be by your side,

Like choosing clothes I'm comfortable in,
Right now I want to be held closely to you.

I love you, from my heart
I love you, I beleive in it,
I'm in love with you, only you.

( ' I Love You' By Two Mix, translation by Allison Auld)

 ^_^;;; Ok-- please don't read this if you have an important exam or something tomorrow-- I don't want to be responsible for loss of sleep due to the ending of this particular chapter...

" FATE! I'M COMING IN!"  Thanatos slammed open the door of Fate's hut in purgatory.  Fate's home was something that looked very much like what a spider would make.  The walls, furniture, everything… it was all made of very tightly woven threads.  Colorful tapestries lined the walls and rugs covered the floor.  Fate was comprised of three different, feminine aspects inhabiting one body.  And she always kept the place looking immaculate.
 " Thanatos! To what do we owe this pleasure?" The middle aspect walked into the room.  " The girls and I were just about to sit down to dinner, care to join? There's enough food for four."
 " Sorry ladies…" Death said through clenched teeth. " But--- there is more pressing business at hand that I need an explanation too."
 The middle aged lady looked at him startled for a moment and then nodded her head in understanding.
 " Oh-- of course, I'm sure we can put off dinner for a moment or two." She gestured to the couch. " Please, have a seat."
 Thanatos sat, and Fate sat in front of him. Promptly, Thanatos put his skull between his hands and shook his head, as if trying to rid himself from an awful headache.  Fate saw that something serious was indeed going on.  She changed to her older, grandmotherly aspect.
 " Thanatos-- please, tell us what's wrong." Atropos said.  Thanatos looked up at her.
 " This question is for Lachesis…"
 Promptly, the middle aspect appeared before him once again.
 " Ok--" Thanatos began. "When you came to visit several months ago.  I asked you if there was anything to be done to save Himura Kenshin from his supposed death.  You said that there was one thing that would."
 " Yes--if Kaoru Kamiya returned to him."
 " But-- You told me that if she returned to him, they would be happy together! Live a happy, normal life with kids, a dog, and a dojo…. That's what you said!"
 " Yes--'
 " Well, WHAT HAPPENED!??" He bellowed at her.
Fate hastily rose her hands up and threads appeared on her fingers in that familiar cat's cradle.  She looked into them and instantly recognized his distress.  There was a very large, very ugly looking tangle in the thread of Kenshin's life.
 " I told you…" she began  "That future would occur only under the said conditions.  Those conditions being, that she came back to him alive and healthy…"
 " Well--- she did!"
 " I said ALIVE and healthy! Kamiya-san may have been healthy, but she certainly wasn't alive.  I hadn't anticipated a tangle like this one.  I've been so busy recently I haven't been checking up on his threads. Oh-- Oh dear… this looks very bad."
 " W-What?" Thanatos said hoarsely.
 " It's really hard to see, the tangle is so bad..."
 " Well? Where does the tangle start?"
 " It starts after she's taken.  Himura Kenshin's fate becomes very obscure…"
 " How do you mean?"
 " I mean-- there's no way of knowing what he'll do!"
 " How in the world did such a tangle occur in the first place?"
 Fate shot him an accusing look. Thanatos hung his head.
 " I happened because we've meddled in the life of a human-- who's fate was to die… and now he's alive when he shouldn't be-- I never should have agreed to help you-- Just LOOK at the mess you've created!!!"
 He grabbed his scythe and started for the door. " I know! That's why I've got to do something-- but… Damn it-- I can't DO anything to help her! If Kaoru could only STAY and be healthy-- then things would work out fine… but only God can change the rules!"
 " But his fate is obscure-- he may pull through this… or not…  there are several loose ends here… all leading to the inevitable."
 He shot a horrified glance at her. " Inevitable?"
 " Death." She said matter-of-factly. " But-- there are other ends that lead off other places."
 " Argh--" Thanatos punched the wall.  " What about the Kamiya girl!?"
 " I have no idea."
 " WHAT?"
 " I SAID-- " And Fate turned into the older aspect.  " I have no idea what happens to souls after they die.  It's not my department.  We keep track of peoples LIVES… not their deaths. As far as I know-- Kamiya Kaoru-san could end up in Heaven, Hell, or Purgatory… but I have no way of predetermining her future."
 " Only Kenshin's future…"
 " Yes--but the tangle makes it a little difficult right now to predetermine."
 " Oh-- this is just great… JUST GREAT!" He angrily yanked the front door open.  " I come here to find answers and leave with more questions..." he muttered under his breath as he slammed the door behind him in parting, leaving Fate more than a little rattled.


 People who were out and about early that morning barely had time to blink as Kenshin raced down the street.  Some claimed to have seen a red "streak" race by-- but no one was able to identify it… and merely passed it off as nothing more than a trick of the light.
 For Kenshin though-- his fear was very, very real.  Kaoru was shockingly light in his arms.  She had always had substance before, especially last night when they'd made love.  But this time-- she seemed nothing more than a frail, empty soul… as light as a simple blanket.
 " Kaoru-- hang on!" Kenshin's voice shook as he clutched her tighter.  " Please-- be ok!"
 It had taken him seven minutes total to make it to the doctor's clinic.  Megumi always opened early, but he was surprised to find the front gate tightly shut.
 " Today of all days…" he muttered under his breath.  He banged on the door. "MEGUMI!!!"
 He impatiently waited, rocking Kaoru gently.  But he heard no footsteps approaching. He banged again and bellowed.
 Still there was no answer.  Then Kenshin remembered her honeymoon. He swore under his breath as he turned from the door in agitation.  Dr. Genzai certainly couldn't help her--- he didn't know of her existence.  How could he treat someone he couldn't see? And…
 The worst thought of all…
 " Can this be treated?" Kenshin swallowed hard, allowing the thought to take hold, shaking him to the core of his own soul.  She looked so peaceful and innocent, lying there with her head resting lightly against his shoulder.  A few strands of hair running across her cheeks, her lips slightly parted…
 A lump rose in his throat as he looked at her, gazing at her more and more-- she was so alive yesterday… last night… just when he was getting optimistic about things… this had to happen.  And-- was he the reason? What could he do to help her?
 "Kaoru…" Kenshin sank to his knees.  He held her head up close to his to rest his cheek against her own.  He shut his eyes tightly, willing to keep the tears from rising. He rocked her back and forth gently. " Kaoru… can you hear me? Please-- wake up…Please!!" He raised his head towards the heavens, watching the white clouds harmlessly floating by in the gentle breeze.  The sky was a deep cerulean blue.  Kaoru's favorite color was blue…
 " God…" He whispered upwards hoarsely.  " I haven't asked for much-- no… I've never asked for anything from you before… But-- make Kaoru wake up! Please! Make her wake up and recognize me!!!!  Kami-sama…Onegai!"
 And, miraculously, he heard something-- something very light that you could mistake for a breeze that whistled next to your ear.  But Kenshin knew it wasn't that.  His body froze as he heard a sigh escape Kaoru's lips.  Frantically, he brought her away from his face, still cradling her in his arms.
 " Kaoru! Kaoru!!" He called, shaking her slightly.  Relief washed over him as he saw her crack her eyes open slowly. She looked up at him, confused for a moment, and then her mouth drew up into a faint smile.
 " Ken…shin…" she whispered.
 " Kaoru…" He shifted himself so that she could sit more comfortably in his lap.  He held her tightly, still supporting her head.  " Kaoru--" he repeated, his voice merely a whisper.  " Don't move-- I'll find a way to make you better! I will…" Tears were in his eyes now.  He clenched his teeth, doing everything in his power to keep from breaking down completely in front of her.
 Kaoru blinked. " I… can't-- move…"
 " Shhh--- it's ok! It'll be ok!"
 She remembered then about last night.  And new what was happening.  She had crossed the line completely just as Death had warned.  Her eyelids were so heavy… but no… she couldn't sleep now-- she knew they were coming for her.  She'd thought that things would be ok last night-- but now, she wasn't even able to move a single muscle in her body.
 " Kenshin…"
 " H-Hai?"
 She tried to her best to smile at him reassuringly.  " No-- no… don't cry…Kenshin… It'll---be ok."  He looked down at her; his red hair created a canopy around both their faces.  His eyes shimmered with unwanted tears.  And his lips curled back around clenched teeth, desperately trying to control his sobs.  That look gave Kaoru such an incredible heart wrenching pain in her chest. It was unbearable.  Tears sprung from her eyes as well… she knew she was going to leave him soon.  She had to say goodbye-- while she had the chance too.
 " Kenshin." She whispered again, she strained her left hand to move. To reach up and touch his face.  But it wouldn't respond to her silent demand.
 " Just one last touch…" she thought in earnest. " Let me-- touch him… one last time! God-- please!!"
 She felt her fingers in her left hand curl.  She flexed and unflexed her hand.  And slowly raised her arm towards him, her muscles screamed.  But her hand inched ever closer.  She lay it against his wet cheek, and smiled. Hastily, he took that hand and held it there, closing his eyes as he did so.
 " Kenshin… you have to-- promise me… that-- you won't give up." She said slowly and quietly.  " Not-- like you did last time… promise me… that you'll live on-- and, take care of Yahiko…Be the father he never had…"
 " Kaoru… what are you saying?" Kenshin's eyes shot open in horror.  " Kaoru-- stop talking like that!!"
 " Kenshin… I was so happy to have been with you-- I want…you…to know…" She ran her thumb over his trembling lips.  " That-- I don't regret… anything… "
 " -- Kaoru!  No-- I don't understand! Did I DO this to you?" His voice broke with a loud sob as he tightened his grip on her hand.
 " No… It-- wasn’t your fault-- none of it was…" She paused, it was becoming painful to talk now.  Her tongue felt as though it were numbing.  " I'll never ---forget you… and… always--" She felt her eyes closing of their own volition. She was so tired.  She wanted to rest again.  But managed to force her final words from her mouth before she let her herself slip away again.  "-- think…of …you------ Ken…"
 He felt her tension slack.  The thumb caressing his lips stilled-- and her hand was once again lifeless.  She was lifeless.  Her eyes closed, one single, final tear trailed down her cheek. Kenshin blinked, he swallowed hard, slowly shaking his head from side to side.
 " No…no…no…don't leave me again…" he repeated, not wanting to believe it was true. " NO! KAORU NO!!!!! KAORUUUUUuuu NOOOo-o-o----!!" His words were choked with sobs as he leaned over her shaking her, reality refusing to register in his mind.  Madness took over as he yelled at the top of his lungs. " WAKE UP! WAKE UP! WAKE UP!!"
 But she gave no response.  It was just like this morning.  God had given Kenshin his one wish for her to awake-- and now… no more…  He cried out loud, sobs coming in large gasps and tears showered down onto her still figure.  Time stopped as he suddenly couldn't feel the flesh within the fabric he'd wrapped her in.  The fabric was real-- but she was becoming non-substance… a mere spirit… and nothing more.  He could see his hands through her.  Gasping in horror, he was powerless to stop it.  She faded before his eyes.
 " KAORU!!" He couldn't see her--- she was gone…all that was left… an empty blanket… and his ring… He picked it up, and clutched it his chest tightly, squeezing his eyes closed. "NO! YOU CAN'T LEAVE ME!!! YOU'RE MY GUARDIAN ANGEL! YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO COME WHEN I CALL!!!"
 " She is no longer your Guardian Angel." A deep voice interrupted him.  Kenshin's head shot up.  He expected Death-- but no… Three tall figures stood before him.  The tallest being in the middle, with two shorter angels to either side.  All were garbed in brilliant, shining white Toga's.  They all were donned with enormous wings, and halos that shone as bright as the sun.  Kenshin had to shield his eyes in order to get a look at them.
 " Wh-Who…?" He found it hard to complete a sentence as he looked up at the overbearing figures.  The tallest held his arms outward, and Kaoru appeared in them.  Kenshin had hastily thrown her Kimono on before he wrapped her in the blanket.  She hung loosely within the angel's arms, her Kimono falling partly open with no Obi to hold it in place.  Her head fell to the side; her long hair almost touched the ground.
 " I-- am the Archangel." The tallest one holding Kaoru said.  " The other two are my advocates.  We are here to take Kamiya Kaoru to trial."
 " Trial?" He could only manage to repeat.  He looked at Kaoru horrified.  The Angel was not treating her with the care she deserved.  He held her so carelessly.
 " Yes.  There, we shall decide the fate of this soul."
 " What?" Kenshin tried to stand, but only succeeded in getting up on his knees before falling over, catching himself with one hand before he collapsed completely.  He stared down at the ground, his eyes shot open to pinpoints.
 " As a result of her careless behavior, she's been striped of her rank as Guardian Angel.  Her soul is heavily burdened-- to the point that it can no longer function on earth.  She must return to the Heavenly Realm… where we shall decide her fate."
 " What-- fate-- would…that be?" Kenshin whispered.
 " …" There was a long pause.  The Archangel seemed to be considering telling him.  " Whether or not… we send her to Hell…"
 The words sliced through Kenshin unlike any blade had managed to do before.  Straight to his heart and it burst.  He looked up at the Archangel; yellow eyes instantly addressed him in a tone of sheer-- complete-- and undeniable fury.
 " You. Will. Not. Touch. Her." He said coldly.
 The Archangel's face was unseen by the bright light surrounding his head.  Kenshin rose to his feet.  His hand resting easily on his sword.
 " Now… hand her BACK!" He demanded.
 " … Watch what you say… " The Archangel said unabashed.  His voice carried an ethereal quality that even Battousai couldn't shake.  " Bid farewell to your lady once more.  You shall not see each other again.  For, you can not go where she goes."
 " Kisama…" Kenshin drew his Sakaba and lunged for the Angel's head.  But surprise took hold as he sailed straight through and crashed to the ground.  He rolled up to his feet within seconds.  The three angels turned to face him again, this time they were fading.  He could see through them.
 " Farewell… Himura Kenshin." They said in unison.
 " NO!!  GIVE HER BACK! GIVE HER BACK!!!"  He screamed in fury.

 As Yahiko and Misao neared the clinic, they heard his insane screaming.  Yahiko doubled speed, using up the last of his strength to cover the last 100 yards in mere seconds. Misao was close on his heels.
 " KENSHIN!" Yahiko called.  He saw him standing and panting heavily.  His Sakaba was drawn and the Ken-Ki he was emitting made both Misao and Yahiko stop in their tracks.  Overwhelming fear crept deep into their bones and they froze in place.  Paralyzed.  Kenshin slowly turned to look at them.  Yahiko and Misao both gasped as the yellow light of the Hitokiri burned into them. But when he saw them-- and their registered terror.  The light seemed to flicker, and slowly fade to purple.  Kenshin lowered his sword to the ground, Ken-Ki fading with it.  He closed his eyes and looked down, shoulders slumped in defeat. His face was hidden in shadows by his hair.
 " K-Kenshin?" Yahiko cautiously approached.  " W-What---" He was afraid to mention Kaoru's name.  Misao put a hand on Yahiko's shoulder to steady him.
 " Himura-san…" she said softly.  But was startled as he abruptly lifted his head to gaze upon them both.  Tears poured from the Rurouni's eyes.  And they both knew, somehow, that Kaoru was gone, and she was not coming back.
 " Misao-dono…" Kenshin whispered. " Take care of Yahiko… And tell Sano-- that this time… he mustn't follow where I go."
 Yahiko gasped. " Kenshin-- you're-- leaving?"
 Kenshin nodded.  " I'm going to save Kaoru." He smiled softly at them.  His eyes seemed to quiver,  "Yahiko-- you've grown into a fine, young man.  I'm very proud of you.  It's now your responsibility to carry on the legacy of Kamiya Kasshin Ryu-- like Kaoru-dono would have wanted."
 " Kenshin…"
 " Farewell…"
 He lifted his sword up swiftly.  And, before Misao or Yahiko could react-- he slit his throat in one swift, deadly stroke.