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 32- Cherished Memories

Authors note: As my best friend Tiffany, chains me to this computer so that I CANNOT escape writing this final chapter, I must digress… I started this fanfic with the idea that “Oh, it should only be like 8 to 10 chapters long.” But of course, knowing me it will ALWAYS be longer. I never would have thought this simple idea with crossing over Rurouni Kenshin with Piers Anthony’s fabulous series would turn into such a saga. This is for those of you who have been so supportive of me. Heavenly Incarnations is really only my second major fanfic attempt, and I built up a lot of confidence in myself through writing this. I say this with all honesty, those that were so kind as to send me ego-boosting e-mails about how you were enjoying my fic…I can only say that this fic WOULDN’T be finished without your encouragement! THANK YOU ALL!

 I’d especially like to say a great big “Thank You” to Tiffy (UmiGoddess), Tae-san, Ardith, Neka, and Sae-san for all your support. And additional love goes out to all the wonderful people on my personal Incarnation mini-list, and my fellow members on the Kenshin fanfiction mailing list. I know I've been a lurker lately. ^^;; I'm sorry for that, I'll try and be better about posting from now on! But-- you know how real life gets in the way. =P

 **** This chapter is dedicated to Hikaru, who left this world before she got the chance to see the end of Heavenly Incarnations. I love you Noemi, and I miss you!***

And now, on with the story!

" What?! What is it?" He demanded.
 God was having trouble relaying the answer-- so finally, Satan opened his mouth.
" …Because Kamiya-san still broke the rules…" He began slowly. " She will return to Heaven, the first level of Heaven… as an ordinary spirit for the rest of her afterlife."
 The circle of faces looked grim. Kenshin slowly sank back into his seat. Kaoru sat frozen, as if she’d suddenly been turned to stone. Indeed she felt stone cold, and there was a sudden pain in her chest.
 “ N-No way…” She managed to breath out.
 “ Kamiya-san?” Gaea looked at her worried. “ Are you ok?”
 The room began to spin, Kaoru's head felt light and her legs collapsed from underneath her. In a flash, Kenshin was there, he would have caught her…

 He would have caught her… if only she hadn't been a spirit…

 “ Kaoru! KAORU!”
 She could hear him in the back of her mind, calling her to wake up, his voice was pleading. Suddenly, she felt herself hoisted up into a strong embrace. Strong, firm hands supported her.
 She opened her eyes slowly to see Kenshin’s worried face. He crouched over her nervously.
 “ Kaoru…daijobu?" He whispered.
 " Kenshin…" She blinked, noticing it wasn't him that was holding her, rolling her eyes and tiltling her head upwards, she noticed that Death was supporting her instead.
 “ You fainted." Kenshin said slowly. " Are you ok?”
 " KENSHIN!" Kaoru sat up swiftly and lunged for him. Wanting so badly to be held in his arms. No-- this had to be some kind of nightmare. It wasn't real! It wasn't!!
 Kenshin moved again to catch her, sheer reflexes… but she passed through him and collapsed onto the ground again.
 " Kaoru!" Kenshin jumped quickly to the side to give her room. "Don't move so quickly!"
 " Kamiya-san. Just calm down now." Fate knelt down this time to help Kaoru sit up. "Are you going to be ok now?"
 " I knew something like this would happen." Gaea shook her head and then threw an ugly look at Satan, who had the nastiest look of smug satisfaction on his face.
 Kaoru had the stunned, wide eyed look of a bird that had just hit a window, and was sitting, too shocked to even move. “ Kamiya-san!?” Fate shook her slightly.
 “ Kaoru…” Kenshin’s voice strained, the pain registering in it bringing her back, she turned her face slowly to look at him.
 “ It—isn't a dream… it’s real… and…”
 Kenshin nodded silently.
 She reached her hand out towards him, shuddering as it passed through his chest as easily as a hand passes through water.
 “ Kamiya-san,” The calm voice of God spoke up behind her. Kaoru turned her head to gaze upon the lovely features of the Incarnation of Good. God knelt next to her, and with one finger wiped a single tear away from her cheek that had managed to penetrate the surface. “ I wish that I could allow you to return to earth with him, but be thankful that you’re at least going back to heaven.”
 “ You’ll see your man when he dies!” War’s deep bravado boomed forth, that sent a shiver down Kaoru’s spine.
 “ Hush up!” Gaea scolded. War ran a huge hand through his wild hair and shrugged.
 “ Heck I was jest trying to cheer her up!”
 Chronos was the next to give her a reassuring smile. “ The time will pass before you know it, I can make sure of that if you’d like.”
 Kaoru smiled sadly and nodded her head. “ Thank you all, and, I understand that you did all you could to help us. I really thank you from the bottom of my heart.” She placed a hand on her chest and turned with a forlorn expression to look at Kenshin.
 “ Sou de gozaru. Having Kaoru return to earth with me, well, it would be too good to be true.” Kenshin began slowly. " But-- knowing that know, for sure, she'll be safe and happy, that was our real goal. Even if it means we must part."
 Their eyes met, Kaoru's heart leapt in her chest, heartbeat quickening as both knew, without words that the time had come to finally say goodbye.
 God could sense it as well and quickly waved one hand. “ I declare this case closed. Meeting ajourned."
 All incarnations faded out save Death, Fate and God. Death nodded to Kenshin stiffly.
 “ I’ll… wait outside with Mortus. Come out when you’re ready.” And he turned to leave.
 “ Thanatos!” Kaoru called.
 Death turned one last glance to her, his face solemn. “Yes?”
 “ Thank you.”
 He nodded, a warm smile spread across his pale face. “ I will certianly visit you in heaven, so this is not goodbye yet.”
 Kaoru smiled as he left the room. Next, Fate gave both of them in turn a hug.
 “ I’m sad to see you leaving us.” She said to Kenshin. “ We’ll miss you and all the trouble you cause.” She winked at him.
 “ Sorry about it all.” He smiled weakly.
 “ Oh, don’t worry, I haven't had this much excitement in centuries. But, it’s straightened out now right?”
 “ Thank you Fate, for all your help.” Kaoru bowed to her, Fate returned the bow.
 “ I’ll be seeing you again my dear, I know it’ll be lonely at first, but feel free to visit us any time.”
 To Kenshin, and Kaoru's surprise, Fate changed form to that of a giant spider, and climbed out of the room through an open skylight.
 “ Fate’s always full of surprises…” Kaoru remarked with a small giggle. Kenshin nodded with a smile as they watched her disappear from sight
Finally, both eyes turned to God. She nodded to Kaoru.
" You may say your final farewells, and then we shall be off-- I"ll escort you back to Heaven myself."
 " God--" Kenshin whispered without lifting his gaze from Kaoru. " Is there-- any possible way she could become a guardian angel again?"
 God sighed heavily and shook her head. " No way… Satan made sure of that… she is not to return to earth, ever."
 Kenshin closed his eyes and lowered his head.
 " Kenshin?" Kaoru whispered, reaching out to him.
 “ I wish I could hold you right now.” His voice was barely audible.
 Kaoru halted her hands approach towards him, and turned her eyes to God. God nodded to her and smiled.
 " Well-- for your goodbye's… I'll grant that… I'll wait outside with Thanatos as well." And she disappeared from the room.
 Kaoru blinked amazed, just like ‘that’ God could grant their wishes?
Daring to even breath. She advanced her hand towards him again. Kenshin brought his own hand up, and their palms met. His callused hand against hers had never felt so good. Kaoru's heart almost skipped a beat at the elated feeling she felt by just this one contact. At this time, after everything that had happened, this was all she could dare to dream of.
 And Kenshin instantly grabbed her up, as if too afraid this moment would only last for a few seconds. He brought up her into his strong embrace. Kaoru melted to his frame, bringing both her arms up to encircle his back.
 They embraced each other, Kaoru could feel the strong beat of Kenshin's heart, and smell the familiar, rustic scent in his hair and Gi.
 " Kenshin, I will never forget you." She whispered.
 " And I you." He responded.
 " Take--" She could feel the tears coming. Determined to keep from crying, she shut her eyes hard and gripped the fabric of his Gi tighter- drawing in even closer to him. "Take good care of Yahiko!"
 " I will…" He whispered. " He'll grow up to be a fine successor to Kamiya Kasshin Ryu."
 " Heh.." Kaoru laughed half hearted and slowly pulled away enough so that she could look into his eyes. " And… when the time is right-- him and Tsubame-chan…"
 " Ahh--" Kenshin nodded, leaned over and kissed the tears away from her cheeks. " I will support the both of them."
 " Megumi's baby--" Kaoru whispered, blinking more tears. " I'm sorry I will never see it."
 " Maybe some day you'll be able to see it from where you are. You never know." Kenshin's voice was soft and soothing, and calmed Kaoru's pounding heart.
 " Heh-- Don't let Sano corrupt it with gambling at too young an age…" she did her best to smile for him. Kenshin winked at her.
 " I promise."
 " And…Kenshin…" Kaoru whispered, " I…"
 This final thing, it seemed the most difficult for her to say. Kenshin waited patiently until she could continue.
 " Kenshin… I want you to know-- that… if you should find someone…"
 She was fully crying now, tears streamed down her cheeks, and Kenshin's eyes suddenly grew wide as he understood what she was trying to say.
 " If you have a chance to be happy…with someone else… then I want---"
 He quickly silenced her, putting a finger to her lips. Kaoru shot a glance up at him, and before she could open her mouth to retort, he stopped her with a passionate kiss. Her lips tasted salty from her tears, but to him, in this moment, they had never tasted sweeter.
 When Kenshin finally, reluctantly pulled away from the kiss, Kaoru opened her eyes and saw him shaking his head slowly.
 " I don't think I'll be able to." He whispered, bringing one hand up to caress her cheek.
 " But--" Kaoru protested. " I want you to be happy! You deserve to be with.--"
 He silenced her again, Once more with a deep kiss, but this time shorter. And when he pulled away, he shook his head. His gaze was so set, and so determined, that Kaoru couldn't fight it, she gave up by lowering her eyes, and Kenshin leaned inward, touching his forehead to hers, his hand resting at the nape of her neck, and the other one massaging up and down her back.
 " I love you, only you." He whispered to her.
 " Me too." She said hoarsly in response.
 Kenshin brought his hands around to cup her face, running his thumbs along both her cheekbones, he wiped away her tears, and then took her hands, helping her to stand up.
 " So…" Kaoru looked at the ground. "This-- is goodbye…"
Kenshin nodded, then suddenly straightened, as if he'd just remembered something important. Kaoru looked up at him inquisitively.
" One last thing… that I almost forgot." He quickly fished around in the sleeve of his Gi and brought forth the ring. Kaoru's eyes lit up instantly as she saw it.
 " Kenshin! You still have it!"
" Of course-- I'd intended to give it back to you when I saved you. It is yours… after all."
Kaoru reached for it, but then hesitated, she looked at him nervously. "Will I, be able to wear it?"
 Kenshin closed his eyes. "This is my final wish--" then took her left hand, and slipped the ring onto her ring finger. Praying all the while that she would be allowed to keep it.
 Kaoru brought her hand up to her lips and kissed the ring. " And mine as well."
 God's soft voice floated over to them, they turned to see her standing in the doorway.
 " Kamiya-san, it's time."
 Kaoru nodded solemnly, and then turned back to Kenshin.
 " I love you." She said, barely able to breath.
 " I love you too. Kaoru." Kenshin smiled warmly at her. " Don't be sad. Let me see your smile once more."
 It seemed impossible to smile fully for him, but Kaoru gave her best effort. And Kenshin nodded his head in satisfaction, wiping away another tear from her eye.
 " That is the vision I prefere to remember you. Be happy from now on. Promise me this."
 Kaoru nodded. " Same for you."
 " Hai de gozaru. I promise."
 Kaoru could now sense the room getting lighter. Not ready to leave yet, she leaned over and gave him a quick kiss on the lips.
" I'll never forget you! I love you!"
" I love you-- I swear, I'll find some way for us to be together! Maybe not right now, but in the future-- I swear it!"
Kaoru was overtaken by that familiar lightweighted feeling, like when she first went to Heaven after Enishi had killed her. She glaced over at God who had her eyes closed. God was glowing, and floating about a foot from the ground, her long white robes billowing out and around her gracefully. And before Kaoru herself knew it, she had also left the ground and could feel the strong but gentle pull upwards.
 " Goodbye!" She cried, keeping a firm grip on his hand until she could hold onto him no longer. " KENSHIN!"
 " Kaoru! Goodbye!" Kenshin couldn't hold her hand any longer, he stood below, watching her floating upwards.
 She disappeared in the stream of brilliant light. And when the light itself faded away, Kenshin was alone in the room.
 He was alone.

 " Himura…" Death whispered when he saw the Rurouni walk down the front steps from Time's Mansion. His shoulders slumped forwards, and his eyes-- downcast.
 "Will he be ok?" Death thought, he held his breath as Kenshin stopped at the base of the steps and slowly raised his head to meet his gaze. He smiled faintly.
 " Shall we go then?" He asked softly.
 Death smiled warmly, and nodded, then opened the door for Kenshin to step inside the car. "Yes--" Death thought, "It will take a while to get over this."
 He walked around the limo and got into the drivers seat. But before he gave Mortus the order to go down to earth. He turned around and asked bluntly.
"Are you sure you're ok?"
"Oro?" He was quiet for a moment, and then managed a smile and nod. Death could tell, it was a little painful for him to smile, but it at least was not a forced smile.
" Hai, I think so. I knew that this would happen. I just didn't want to believe it." He glanced out the window as Mortus pulled away from Time's driveway. " But, she's in Heaven, she's safe, and she can be happy there. And knowing that puts my heart at ease. And-- despite everything that happened, even after what Satan did, I think we still won this fight. "
Death didn't really know how to respond to this. He nodded and whispered the command to Mortus to take them to earth.
 " I'll never forget her, all my memories of her are cherished ones."
 Death glanced back at him. " Cherished Memories…"
 " Aaa--" Kenshin looked out the window, watching the scenery flying by. " And, I don't know what it is-- a hunch probably--" He smiled, suddenly feeling energized with a new hope. " But, I just feel like I'll be with her again someday, and it won't be at my death."
 " Only time will tell." Death said softly.
 " Aaa-" Kenshin agreed.
 " I can ask him if you'd like…"
 " No, I think I've tangled with Fate enough, and now it's time to keep my promise."
 " Promise?"
 Kenshin nodded and sat back, running one hand through his hair. " Yes, Yahiko is waiting for me to come home."

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