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 23 - To Turn Back Time
 " KENSHIN!!" Yahiko cried, he lunged forward towards him as Kenshin began to fall.  His sword clattered to the ground, blood was everywhere all at once.  Misao screamed and hid her eyes.  Yahiko caught Kenshin before he hit the ground. "KENSHIN!!!! NOOOO!!"
 The boy watched helplessly as Kenshin looked up into Yahiko's eyes. Yahiko shook his head vigorously, as if trying to wake himself from a horrible dream.
"Kenshin… no-- NO! WHY'D YOU DO THAT!? KENSHIN!" He screamed at him. " You can't leave--- me!!"
Kenshin didn't respond, he couldn't, a thin line of blood ran from the side of his mouth down his cheek, and his eyes were fastly loosing their light.
" So…" Kenshin thought, " This is what it really feels like-- Kaoru… you had to endure this pain too…"
Yahiko shook his head; his hand had involuntarily gone to Kenshin's throat, desperately trying to stop the flow of blood.  But it was no use.  Those bright purple eyes that stared up at him slowly closed, Kenshin let out a sigh, and his body stilled.  With a strangled cry, Yahiko hunched over the body, crying uncontrollably.  Misao couldn't bear it, she turned and ran as far and as fast as she could down the empty street and turned onto the main road leading towards the dojo.
" Aoshi-sama…Aoshi-sama!!" She stumbled through the crowds, knocking over people left and right, not bothering to watch where she was going for her eyes were too clouded with tears to see.  Kenshin was dead. He was dead! Her invincible Rurouni-- her friend…
 Kenshin was dead.

Yahiko's whole body shook.  He stayed hunched over Kenshin, his arms thrown over his chest and blood stained Gi.  After all they'd gone through-- it wasn't supposed to end like this!
 " Kenshin…" he sobbed. " Kenshin…"
 Unbeknownst to Yahiko, a figure garbed all in black approached, he wielded a great Scythe, and a pale Stallion followed close behind him.  The figure stopped in shock at the display.
 " I’m too late!" Thanatos gripped his scythe tighter.  Sudden anger washed over him.  " THE IDIOT!!  THAT STUPID, STUPID IDIOT!" He stooped down to examine him closer.  " God Dammit! Kenshin-- what the HELL were you trying to do?! Arghh… this won't do at all…" He rose to his full height and lifted his wrist to examine some of the brightly colored jewels set into the bracelet he wore.  He pressed one and instantly everything around him stopped.  Yahiko's sobs ceased, the blood stopped flowing. The entire scene was still and deadly quiet.
 Thanatos looked to Mortus and sighed heavily.
 " Let's get Chronos on the scene." He told the horse.
 He felt a sudden chill and a turned to see a tall figure walking towards him; he was dressed all in white, holding in his hands a glowing hourglass.
 " Chronos! How'd you know to come?!" Death asked him amazed.
 Time shook his head and chuckled. He looked to be in his mid-twenties, and was rather good looking.  Standing next to Death-- they were Yin and Yang.  " I responded to your message that you were about to send me."
 Death sighed. " Yeah-- I keep forgetting, you live backwards, so the future is your past."
 The Incarnation of Time walked up to the dead body of Kenshin and looked down a little distressed.  He gestured to it. " So-- is this the reason you called?"
 " I'm sure you've heard of the Kamiya scandal…"
 " Oh, all of Purgatory is talking about it! Masaka--" Chronos blinked and did a double take of Kenshin. " THIS is the human?!"
 Thanatos nodded gravely.  " He committed an unscheduled suicide."
 " Unscheduled?!"
 " Yes, meaning that Fate had no hand in it-- this must be the tangle she was talking about.  I've frozen time for now to stop the torment his soul is undergoing."
 " What do you mean? His soul hasn't left yet?"
 " He's not 100% dead yet.  By committing suicide, his scales tipped and he requires my services.  I have to physically take his soul.  But I haven't done so yet."
 " Well-- what do I have to do with this?"
 " You should be able to guess…"
 Chronos sighed heavily.  " Yes-- I suppose it's for the best.  That poor boy there--" He gestured to Yahiko.  " He will undergo incredible psychological trauma in his future unless this past changes.  Well-- if it was unscheduled then I don't see why I shouldn't help you--"
 " Thank you." Thanatos sighed in relief.  The sand in the hourglass Chronos held changed color as he tipped it very slightly.  And everything around the two Incarnations and the horse began to move as if it was a film being rewound.  Yahiko jumped off of Kenshin, the blood flowed back into him as he reversed his fall.  Misao was back on the scene and Chronos stopped the hourglass just before Kenshin rose his Sakaba to take the final blow. The scene immediately froze again.  Chronos looked back at the Rurouni.
 " He certainly has been through too much-- I hope you knock some sense into him though... or he will just kill himself again."
 " Thank you Chronos."
 Chronos nodded.  "Well, you won't need me anymore-- good luck."  And he disappeared.  Thanatos pushed another jewel on his bracelet, and time resumed its normal course.
 "Kenshin…" Yahiko repeated sadly.
 " Farewell…" Kenshin smiled at them, and he swiftly brought his sword up towards his neck.
 " STOP THIS!" Thanatos bellowed. And Kenshin turned around startled.
 " Oro----OOO" He stumbled back as Thanatos nailed him a good one right upside the head.  The Rurouni blinked startled, his hand going to his sore cheek. " Thanatos?!"
 " Huh?" Yahiko and Misao looked at Kenshin nervously.  Something unseen has just struck him!
 " Do you think KILLING yourself is going to save her?!" Thanatos yelled at him angrily. " And do you REALIZE what you were about to do to that boy?! SCAR HIM FOR LIFE-- Dammit!  If you're going to kill yourself, go somewhere private and do it!"
Kenshin gaped at him. " But-- how else can I go--"
 " -- You weren't thinking AT ALL were you?  You can't go to her trial if you kill yourself-- kill yourself, and you'll go to HELL… so just put that suicide idea out of your head RIGHT NOW!"
 " But-- I can't just SIT here and let her be banished to Hell!" Kenshin said angrily. " What am I supposed to do?! It's MY fault she's in trouble-- I can't allow it… I can't…" His whole body shook with frustration and anger.
 " Himura-san…" Misao looked at him shocked. " Who are you talking too?"
 Kenshin ignored her.  " Thanatos, how can I help her?!"
 " That's what I've come to talk to you about-- but I’m not saying another word until you sheath that damn sword."
 " KENSHIN!" Yahiko raised his voice angrily. " WHAT'S going on?!"
Kenshin blinked and looked Yahiko and Misao.  His eyes softened and he sheathed his Sakaba. " It's nothing… you should go back to the Dojo…"
 " But-- Kenshin…"
 " Yahiko." Kenshin gave him a stern look.  " I will save Kaoru… I don't know how-- but I'll bring her back here.  I promise."
 Yahiko bit his lip and furrowed his brows, wondering what Kenshin could be thinking.  He had been about to do something drastic, but an unseen force had stopped him.
" Another spirit maybe?" He thought.   He studied Kenshin carefully, but the Rurouni's face gave nothing away.  Kenshin's eyes were lighted with a burning determination, such as when a battle was at hand.   He could at least understand that Kenshin had to do something important.
" Can I help you at all?" He asked Kenshin.
" You could help, by returning to the dojo." Kenshin responded.
With a long sigh, Yahiko nodded in understanding.  He put his hand on Misao's shoulder and turned to go.
 " But-" Misao still couldn't take her eyes from Kenshin.  Yahiko shook his head and urged her to leave.
 " He's not going to abandon us." He whispered to her.
 " Aaa-" Kenshin nodded in agreement.  Misao bit her lip, reluctant to leave, but with another encouraging smile from Kenshin, slowly turned and followed the boy down the street.  Kenshin looked back to Death gratefully.
 " Thank you-- I-- I almost made a horrible mistake." He said.
 " You already did…"
 " Oro?"
 " Nevermind…"
 " Well-- what can I do? I HAVE to save Kaoru."
 Thanatos cocked his head, deep in thought.  " She's under trial as we speak in Purgatory.  The only hope we have is to go to the trial-- and somehow convince the Jury to allow her to stay in Purgatory or something… whatever we do-- we CAN'T allow her to go to Hell! She certainly doesn't deserve that."
 Kenshin was silent. " Can I… GO to Purgatory?"
" You can-- but you can't stay any longer than 2 days.  Your body can't survive on the food and water that we have there.  Even though eating it would sustain your hunger, it has no substance.  And you'd probably starve. Only immortals and spirits can live on that food."
Kenshin swallowed hard.  " Purgatory… eh?"
 " Yes."
 "… I vowed to bring Kaoru back here…" he thought.  " Not let her stay all alone in Purgatory… but-- it's better then Hell… I suppose.  And even if there's no hope for her to come back here-- I have to know that her soul is safe."
 " Himura?" Death tilted his head at him confused.  Kenshin clenched and unclenched his fists and then looked up at him, nodding determined.
 " Let's go."
 Death smiled. " We'll talk on the way." He looked over to Mortus who, to Kenshin's amazement slowly changed form into what looked like a small, but very long, pale white horseless carriage.  He gawked at it amazed.
 " Oro… w-What is THAT?!" He pointed at it in amazement.
 " A Limousine.  Mortus can change into any mode of transportation needed.  Since I'm taking you with me-- this will be easiest. We'll talk on the way.  Get in."
 " Oro… umm-- " Kenshin looked at it a little dubiously as Death opened the back door for him. He walked up to it cautiously and peered inside.  " It's… kind of dark… in there."
 " Just think of it as a futuristic carriage."
 " But-- how can it move?"
 Death was getting just a little annoyed. " Do you want to save her or not? Get IN and SHUT UP!"
 " ORO!" Kenshin hurriedly got in and sat down nervously, he rested his Sakaba up against his shoulder and bit his lip as he surveyed the interior of the ' futuristic carriage.'  Death climbed in behind him and sat on a cushioned seat across from him.
 " Mortus, I'll let you drive today…" He seemed to be talking to the car.  " Take us to Kamiya Kaoru's trial… and quickly!"
 Kenshin gawked as he felt the whole carriage seem to shake with a terrifying roar.
 " That's the engine.  Don't be alarmed.  It's a miracle of modern technology-- courtesy of Chronos."
 " A-Aaa.." Kenshin was speechless as he looked out the window.  They took up into the air and began moving very, very fast, farther and farther away from Tokyo.
 " Soo--" Death removed his hood, and to Kenshin's surprise, the skull face faded away to reveal a real mans visage. " We must convince the jury that she isn't bad enough to have to go to Hell…"
 Kenshin decided to focus himself back onto saving Kaoru-- he'd worry about what he was riding in later.  " Aa--" he looked at Death sternly.  " How can we do that?"
 " You'll have to testify for her-- the jury is consisting of people from Purgatory.  They're on perfectly equal ground.  Anyone from Hell or Heaven would be biased."
 Kenshin could understand that, it made sense.  " So… I just have to convince them… ok…" Kenshin gripped his Sakaba tighter.
 " Purgatory trials are not like ordinary trials-- it's more of a debate.  And seeing how you're just as mixed up in this-- I don't think they can deny that you should be there to testify for her.  I'll make sure of that."
 " Thank you."
 The limousine suddenly stilled and Kenshin was amazed to see that they were in front of a very large, old brick building.
 " We're here." Thanatos said.  He opened the door and Kenshin got out.  He looked around him amazed.
 " W-Where are we?"
 " In Purgatory."
 " But--" He was amazed. The place looked no different than earth did.  The streets were made of cobblestone and people milled about the town.  Everyone looked extremely bored with whatever they were engaged in doing.  Some people picked up garbage along the street.  Others sat on benches staring mindlessly into nowhere.
 " Yes, it looks the same.  Only these souls have been doing the same thing for the past couple of centuries. It's frightfully dull.  But they slowly work their soul's balance up-- and within a few millenniums, they can manage to go to Heaven… "
After hearing this, Kenshin wasn't so sure if he wanted Kaoru to be in Purgatory either.
"Come on." Thanatos urged him towards the building. Kenshin nodded and, with his hand resting loosely on the hilt of his sword.  The two figures walked up the paved steps and entered.
 " Kaoru…" Kenshin thought.  " Hold on a little longer!  I'll really save you this time."