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 25- A Soul to the Rescue

He clenched his fists and watched as the courtroom emptied quietly.  The Archangel had long departed with his Advocates.
 " This isn't over yet--" He thought angrily. " No way… I'm NOT giving up this time!"  Kenshin whirled around to face Thanatos.
 " Thanatos." He said low and cool.  " How can we fix this mess?"
 " Huh-- Umm... Himura-- the Archangels word is final. There's nothing I can do.  "Thanatos looked down at Kenshin sadly.  Kenshin shook his head.
 " No way.  I'm not giving up hope yet!  There HAS to be a way! Who could override the verdict?"
 " The only person higher than the Archangel is God himself."
 " Well-- then we'll just have to appeal to God." Kenshin said.
 " WHAT?! ARE YOU CRAZY!?" Thanatos looked at him stunned.  " God doesn't just accept any normal court appeal.  That's why he leaves things like this up to the Archangel!" 

 " I'll handle the appeal." Came a voice from the far side of the room.  The two men turned to face the middle aspect of Fate. Lurking in the Shadows.  The middle aged woman stepped out to greet them.
 " Lachesis." Thanatos said startled. " You-- what?"
 " Oro?"
 Fate approached Kenshin and bowed respectfully.  " Hajimemashite, watashi wa Lachesis desu."
 " Oro… Sessha wa, Himura Kenshin de gozaru.  Doozo Yorushiku." Kenshin hastily greeted her.
 " I am the middle aspect of the Incarnation of Fate. The other girls are with me as usual. But I think it's mainly my fault that you're in such a bad position."
 " Fate?!" Kenshin gawked.
 " Yes." Her face took on a pained look.  "I wasn't paying attention to your threads and they got all tangled.  I need to do something to fix this mess that I've caused."
 " No, it's not just you Fate.  I think we all got tangled up in this mess." Thanatos said calmly.  " But, you honestly think God would accept a court appeal?"
 " This is a very unusual case Thanatos! The whole history of the afterlife has never faced a case such as this before! And Himura Kenshin is quite a popular name around here." She smiled at Kenshin; he looked to the ground.  " I have a feeling I can convince God to look over the appeal."
 " Fate, thank you." Kenshin smiled up at her.  " But-- what about Kaoru?"
 Fate bit her lip.  " She's already been taken to Hell."
 Kenshin's teeth were immediately set on edge. Whenever he thought of her-- in that PLACE… He just went out of his mind.  Quickly pushing down the raging Battousai inside of him, he clenched his teeth and looked up to Fate determined." I have to do something! I can't stand thinking about her in Hell.  She doesn't belong there!"
 " Well-- at least it's only the FIRST level of Hell…" Thanatos said, trying to cheer him up.  " Umm-- the torture isn't nearly as bad as say, the second or third…or ...any...other…" He trailed off at the stern look Lachesis gave him.  She patted Kenshin on the back encouragingly.
" Well, you don't have to worry too long! As soon as God sees this appeal, Kaoru'll be taken out of Hell for a second trial! And hopefully things will go smoother then."
 " When was the last time God held a trial?" Thanatos asked.
 " Well-- he's a very busy Incarnation you know-- being God is not as easy as everything thinks." Lachesis muttered.  " But-- If he does have a trial, I think that all seven of the major Incarnations will be called to Jury."
 Kenshin blinked. "  Only seven? I thought you needed 9 on a Jury."
 " Yes, Death, Time, Nature, War, Evil, Good, and the Three Aspects of the Incarnation of Fate make up 9 jurors."
 " Three aspects?" Kenshin blinked at Fate. Lachesis immediately changed form to that of a lovely young lady, about Kaoru's age with honey golden hair and long lashes.
 " I am Clotho, the first Incarnation of Fate who spins the threads of Fate."
 Then she quickly turned into an old grandmotherly lady, garbed in a black shawl and conservative looking Grey dress.
 " I am Atropos, the third Incarnation of Fate, who cuts the threads of Fate."
 " And you've met me." Lachesis appeared before him again, the old woman disappearing. " I measure the threads of Fate and weave them into the tapestry of Life."
 Kenshin didn't notice his mouth was hanging wide open. He quickly caught himself staring and then shook his head in amazement. " Oro-- well, it's nice to meet all three of you Ladies."
 " Yes-- now, the only problem at hand…" Thanatos trailed off, deep in thought. Fate and Kenshin looked up at him questioningly.
 " Yes?" Fate asked.
 " Well, how long is it going to take you to see God?  Sometimes it takes years to see him after you've booked an appointment."
 " YEARS?!" Kenshin looked at Fate horrified.  He wasn't about to wait years to save Kaoru from Hell.  Angrily gripping his Sakaba he started towards the door.
 " Ah-- where are you going?!" Death called after him.
 " I'm going to go to Hell." Kenshin said angrily.
 " Masaka-- you can't go to Hell! You're not dead!"
 " But YOU can take me to Hell, can't you!?" Kenshin whirled around.  Fate hung back, watching their exchange in awe.
 " But…"
 " You've been there before-- Kaoru told me that Incarnations are human. You're NOT dead! That proves Mortals can also go to Hell!"
 " Yes, but I'm immortal, there's a difference!"
 " Still, you MUST have a way to do it!" Kenshin challenged him.  " Tell me!"
 " But-- no… it's way to dangerous. You'd be up against Satan yourself!"
 Gaea's words ran through Kenshin's head.

 " Her fate will depend on you from now on.  Be brave Kenshin, don't let yourself be consumed by grief-- you must never give up again.  No matter what happens."
 " I'm not going to let that stop me. I'll face Satan if I have to."
 " But--" Deaths voice cracked with worry.  " But… You've never tangled with a character such as Satan before in your life! He's devious, the Prince of Lies and Deception!  Tricky and--"
 " And you're wrong." Fate interrupted him. Death whirled around giving her an angry glare.
 " Nani?"
 " Himura-san HAS faced him before…" Fate stepped forward, facing Kenshin.  " I'm sure he'll remember, his old enemy-- Shishio Makoto…"
 Kenshin's throat was suddenly very dry, he managed to mutter the words.  "Satan-- is… Shishio Makoto?"
 " Hai-" She nodded her confirmation.  " Perhaps, if there's one person qualified to go to Hell to save Kamiya Kaoru-- that one person would be you, the very man who sent him to Hell in the first place."
 " FATE! SHUT UP!" Death bellowed.  " You have NO idea what you're saying! Kenshin was a match for Shishio Makoto on earth because Shishio was mortal at the time… but now he's the Prince of Evil.  He's an Immortal who's got all the powers of an Incarnation and probably the only person that would be even CLOSE to fighting him would be God!"
 " You DON’T know if Shishio will want to fight Kenshin or not!" Fate countered.  " I've dealt with Satan before and he enjoys playing cruel games and making challenges more than hand to hand combat.
 " That was his Predecessor!"
 " QUIET!" Kenshin broke in between the two.  He looked up to Death sternly.  " I appreciate that you're thinking about me.  But understand that I promised Kaoru I would protect her no matter what.  Even if it means facing Shishio again. I'll do it! I have to get her out of Hell-- I can't wait years for God to agree to the court appeal, I have to get her out NOW!"
 " But--" Death looked at him nervously. " You must be a soul to enter Hell."
 There was a long pause. Kenshin looked at the ground, as if in a deep inner conflict with himself.
" Himura-san…" Fate whispered.
Kenshin looked up at Death, burning fires of determination lighted his eyes. " If that's the way to do it-- then fine."
" WAIT!" He stopped Kenshin, putting his hand on the hilt before the Rurouni could unsheath his Sakaba.  He shook his head hastily.
" Death, take your hand away." Kenshin ordered.
" No--" Death swallowed hard.  " There's another way to get your soul… a way without killing your body."
Kenshin looked at him sternly " Please-- tell me."
Death hung his head in defeat.  " You must allow me… to take your soul for you."

Kenshin sat down on the comfortable couch in Thanatos's study.  The Incarnation sighed long and hard.
 " Now-- you understand the risks? If I take your soul from your body, you're body will remain here- completely vulnerable to anything around it.  Your body can survive without your soul for up to 24 hours providing it's in the same state that you left it in. "
 " 24 hours…" Kenshin repeated. " I have to find Kaoru within that time."
 " I've been to Hell before, and I know a bit about where things are on the first level.  But I doubt Satan will make it easy for us. So you have to be on guard.  While in Hell you can't prevent your soul from being tormented or even tortured, despite the fact that your current balance would take you to Heaven.  I can't be harmed because I am an Incarnation, but those rules don't apply to you."
 " Has Fate has gone up to Heaven, to see God yet?"
 " Yes, she left at the same time we did from Purgatory.  I only hope God sees this matter important enough to take precedence over the other things he's doing."
 "Ok then… let's go." Kenshin closed his eyes and sat back.  Death stood up nervously and approached him.
 " Ok-- just yell out if you want me to stop… This will not hurt but you may feel a little out of sorts for a moment." He extended both his bony hands towards Kenshin's chest.  Kenshin sat stiffly, he closed his eyes tightly, envisioning Kaoru's smiling face.
 " Kaoru… I'll find you!"
 He didn't even feel Death's hands enter into his chest.  But then a strange tightening sensation took over him. An odd feeling of parting washed over him-- As if he was a flower, which was carefully plucked from the rich soil so that the roots were still intact.  Cold flooded his bones and he panicked, he opened his eyes abruptly to see Death had his soul pulled halfway out.  It looked like a thick spider web protruding from his chest.
 " Let it go." Death said soothingly.  " Don't fight it."
 Kenshin closed his eyes again and let out a long breath.  Blackness overtook him for a moment before he opened his eyes again to see himself slumped over on the couch.  Kenshin looked back over to Death, who was supporting him at his shoulders.
 " Are you ok?" Death asked him.  Kenshin looked at his hand, surprised that he could see straight through it, he was truly just a soul now. It was strange, that he felt no different than when he was in his body.
 " Y-Yeah I am." He muttered.  To his relief, he found his Sakaba still at his belt.  And Gaea's flower and Kaoru's ring safe in his sleeve.
 " I guess that sword of yours is truly a part of you. " Death commented.  Kenshin smiled.
 " A warrior and his blade must become one if he is to fight the way of the Hiten School…" he repeated what his Master had once told him.
" Where did you get that flower?"
" Gaea gave it to me."
Death's voice betrayed his surprise. " Gaea!? You got a visit from Gaea!?"
" Yes."
" My--she's a mysterious one all right, she's very picky about who she meets.  And to have received a gift from her--" He shook his head in disbelief. " You really must be someone special.
" Oro…"
" Keep that flower close-- it will prove invaluable somehow-- I'm sure."
Kenshin nodded and stowed the flower away again, then quickly turned towards the door. " Let's go!" He walked out of Deaths reach and immediately found himself sinking into the floorboards.
 " Baka!" Death grabbed his arms and pulled him out of the floor.  " You JUST became a soul-- you need to adjust.  Concentrate on keeping your feet on the ground!"
 Kenshin bit his lip. "I don't have the time for this!" He thought.  "I've gotta save Kaoru… But-- damn it…Ok-- here it goes." He closed his eyes and concentrated, willing himself to stand on the floor.
 " There-- good."
 Kenshin felt Death's grip on him lighten, he opened his eyes to see he was standing on the floor all on his own.
 " Ok-- let's go." Kenshin walked from the room.
 Death was close on his heels " I can't believe you talked me into this-- " he mumbled under his breath. " You just learned how to stand, and now you're going off to face Satan? Jeez…"
Kenshin ignored his grumbling.  "Does your horse know the way to Hell?"
 "… Yes-- to the Gates of it."
 " Good enough--" 

 The sleek white Limo was waiting for them when they left the house.  Death opened the door for him and Kenshin got inside without hesitation.
 " Mortus!" Thanatos called out loud and the engine hummed in greeting.  " Take us to the Gates of Hell-- and quickly!"