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Author's Note: Ok all this is it! It has been great, but it's neat to be able to say I have successfully completed one story. I hope you have enjoyed it!
Disclaimer: See other parts.

When the Earth Moves..
Epilogue
By Athena

The morning sun was as bright as it always was; its warming rays filtered through the thin rice paper walls. Its warmth filtered onto Kenshin's face slowly pulling him from the depths of an exhausted sleep. Normally he would have lingered a bit in bed. He enjoyed letting the sun warm his face, but right now the heavy bandage that encircled his head was causing him to sweat. And that was causing him to itch. So slowly, ever so mindful of his broken ribs, he sat up.
Birdsong filtered through the walls as easily as the sunlight did, and Kenshin had to smile. That would make Kaoru happy, she loved it when she woke to birdsong. The swordsmen paused, his thoughts where they stood. He had forgotten. Kaoru wasn't here to enjoy the birdsong; he couldn't wander into the dojo and find her in her morning meditations. She wasn't here to smile and bid him goodmorning. She wasn't where she belonged, in the dojo she loved, with the man she loved. Kenshin felt the surge of emotions swell up again.
It had been four days since they had been rescued. His first memory was the blinding early-morning light that had seared his vision as he slowly regained awareness. Sano, who's hands were bloody, nails torn and bleeding, was kneeling over him, having had shaken the life back into his slight redheaded friend. He remembered confusion, and pain, his body and brain throbbing, his lungs burning. But it all disappeared when he heard Megumi's frantic cry to Kaoru. The usually emotionless doctor was working in a panicked frenzy trying to get her friend to breathe again. She was failing. Somehow he managed to get by her side; the sight made him almost wish he wasn't. Kaoru's face was dead white, her lips drained of all color except a sickly blue. His senses were far away, but he could distantly hear himself calling to Kaoru, pleading for her to come back. But her eyes had remained closed, and her body remained still.
But she had begun to breathe.
It was weak, barely a trickle of life, but it was life, and Megumi was grateful for what she could get. Through that day, despite Megumi's careful care, Kaoru's fever grew worse and several times she had ceased breathing. But each time Kenshin was there to plead with her, and each time she returned. In the dark of the night, Kaoru's body decided it couldn't take it anymore, and she fell into a coma. Megumi said that at this point it was a good thing. It meant she was healing and her body was beginning to utilize its own defense mechanisms. And after a two days, her fever disappeared. But she did not wake up. And she had remained that way since then.
Kenshin took a good look at where he was for the first time. He was in Dr.Genzai's room in the clinic. Last thing he remembered was Megumi coaxing him to drink some tea, so when Kaoru woke up he would be alive and healthy to greet her. *She must have put something in the tea. * He rationalized. Slowly he rose from the futon and mindful of his ankle and ribs, he got dressed, not even caring how he got undressed in the first place. He felt so empty. Now that Kaoru knew everything, his heart had been emptied of its burden ready to be filled with her, and what ever future they could have and together. But now, if she diedů *Stop it! * He screamed at himself. Angry that he let he had let his thoughts drift so far in that direction. She was not going to die. She was going to live, and they would be together. Moving out of the room he could hear the stirrings of some of the many other patients staying here. The quake had destroyed may of the buildings and many had died. He moved to Megumi's room. The doctor had put Kaoru in her room so she could keep constant watch on her throughout the night, trading watches with Dr.Genzi and Yahiko. He knocked softly and Megumi told him to come in. Sliding the door open he closed it behind him, kneeling beside Megumi and Kaoru's still form. He looked at the doctor whose eyes were rimmed with dark circles from lack of sleep, and then to Kaoru. The color in her cheeks had returned, but Kenshin had learned not to let that simple fact bring his hopes up.
"Any change?" He asked, not letting hope appear in his voice, for fear of having it squelched. He was not disappointed.
" No, but her head injury is not aggravating it, at least I know that now. Also her infection is almost gone, as is her fever." She paused and checked her pulse. " Her heart is strong Kenshin, that's a good sign. She's strong," She reached over and clasped his hand giving it a squeeze. " Have faith in her, she has never let you down before has she?" He shook his head. "Ok then." She suppressed a yawn." I'm going to get some sleep before I do my morning rounds. I'll check on her later." She rose and moved to leave.
"Megumi."
"Yes Ken-San?"
"Thank you, for everything." He paused. "Even the tea." She smiled tiredly.
"Your welcome." And she was gone.
After the door closed he slid from his knees to sit cross-legged on the floor more comfortably. He kept his back straight to reduce any pressure on his ribs. He squeezed her hand a little tighter. Reaching out, he traced her dark eyebrow, a jagged slash marred it by her temple. Despite Megumi's careful stitching there would forever be a mark to mar its perfect line. Kenshin didn't care, she look beautiful to him no matter what. He felt a tug at his heart. He leaned over slightly, brushing a strand of hair from her still face.
"Kaoru please come back to me. I can't do this without you." He pulled her slender hand to his scarred cheek. He closed his eyes letting the warmth of his cheek warm her cool hand. Its chill frightened him, he yearned for its warmth again. A solitary tear escaped his closed lids. It tickled down his cheek and fell, splattering on Kaoru's silent lips. He squeezed her hand tighter, he was so lost within his thoughts he almost didn't notice that she was squeezing back. His violet eyes flew open, only to be met with her blue ones. All the words that he had planned so long to say when she would wake up, were lost to him now. The relief that flooded though him had swept them away. She smiled at him. That beautiful smile.
" We made it." Her voice was husky from misuse but it was the most wonderful sound he had ever heard. He could only nod and smile, his other hand now resting on her cheek. Suddenly his voice returned.
" Yes, we did." He gently slid her hand from his. He knew he must get Megumi, to make sure that she was all right. He saw the confused panic rise in her eyes. " Shh, its ok, I'm just going to go get Megumi to make sure you're ok." She nodded, the fear subsiding. As he rose, as graceful as one could with a sprained ankle could, she caught the hem of his hakama and held fast. He paused and looked back down on her. "Yes?"
" What we said in the cave.." She dared not finish her sentence, afraid it had all been a fever dream. A smile graced Kenshin's face, and he knelt back down beside her.
" It wasn't a dream." He ran a hand along the line of her chin. " I love you Kaoru. Let us never again let fear keep us apart." He closed his eyes. Those words flowed from his tongue so easily, that he felt like he had been doing it for a lifetime. He could hear Kaoru's smile spread across her face. Her hand, warmer now, held his hand to her face.
She brought his fingertips to her lips and kissed them lightly, calluses rough against the soft tissue. " I love you too Kenshin." She closed her eyes, growing weary again. She could feel Kenshin's worried gaze though her closed lids.
" I'll go get Megumi, you rest." He removed her hand from his, finding the separation almost painful. As he stood she had already closed her eyes, slipping into the darkness of sleep. Her breath still shuddered a bit and Kenshin knew that was the least worrying of her physical injuries. But at this moment he didn't care, she was awake, and alive. They were together at last. No matter what trials lay ahead, he knew that they would be able to overcome it. He would be there for her and she for him. And for the red-haired swordsman the future never looked so bright.


The Endů(Of the beginning)

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