Kyaa Kyaff here!!!

Disclaimer: Kenshin does not belong to me. =/

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'…' Kaoru thoughts

*…* Kenshin thoughts

"…" Dialogue

Fragile Balance

Chapter 1: Kaoru meets Kenshin

Kaoru swung her shinai at thin air quickly twisting around, jabbing the imaginary target behind her. Face focused, she executed the kata movements with fluid grace laced with powerful intensity. Sweat began to form on her brow as she finished her movements. It was early morning, and Kaoru had jogged to the nearby park to practice.

Leaning her shinai against a tree she did a quick stretch before doing some breathing exercises. After that was completed she prepared herself to start the kata again. She lunged forward with perfect balance and form, becoming more and more absorbed in the moves of the kata. Unbidden words began playing through her mind, breaking her concentration slightly.

'You only have me. You only need me.'

She sliced down trying to dispel that voice, those words.

'You can't escape me.'

Pivoting to the right, she ducked low before swinging upward.

'You are mine.'

"No!" Kaoru yelled closing her eyes and lashing out widely.

Her shinai hissed through the air and smacked right into a solid object, jarring Kaoru's arm.

"Oro!" a voice exclaimed.

Kaoru dropped her shinai in surprise on the poor person she had just knocked down. Another oro escaped the person lying on the ground. Kaoru put a hand to her head while looking at the swirly-eyed man.

"Oh no, are you alright?" Kaoru asked.

After a few seconds the man composed himself.

"Sessha is fine," the man replied.

Kaoru gave him a strange look at his choice of words.

"Gomen nasai! Here let me help you up." Kaoru said.

She held her hand out to him. He took it in a surprisingly strong but gentle grip. Standing Kaoru realized he wasn't much taller than herself.

"Don't worry. Sessha should have been paying attention. No harm done," the man replied rubbing the side of the head where he had been hit.

The second thing Kaoru noticed about him was his eyes. They were a peculiar violet color. She wondered if they were contacts. When he smiled she noticed a cross-shaped scar on his left cheek. Kaoru finally realized she was standing a little close to the guy and was staring at him.

'Baka! Snap out of it!'

"Are you alright?" The man asked.

"Yes, ummm…gomen. Kamiya Kaoru," Kaoru said extending her hand while backing up a bit.

Again the nice smile, "Himura Kenshin."

Kenshin leaned down and picked up her shinai.

"You have a powerful swing Kaoru-dono."

Kaoru took her shinai back embarrassed.

"Well, it was nice meeting you. I have to be going now." Kaoru said rapidly.

She walked a few steps before drifting into a steady jog toward her apartment.

'Ack! That was rude. Hit him and then take off. Great job Kaoru. Just forget it! You'll never see him again anyway.'

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Kaoru went home to her shabby apartment. It was comprised of a small kitchen, a living room, one bedroom, and a bathroom. Her few things lay scattered in the room. She had moved in three weeks ago. Kaoru went straight for the shower. She had to go to work soon. It wouldn't be good to be late after only working there for two weeks. She needed the job for the money. Kaoru hadn't planned on moving and had to leave almost everything behind. Having no relatives, she went where her feet took her and found this apartment. It wasn't too expensive, but then again it wasn't too nice either. But it was somewhere to live, so Kaoru counted herself lucky. It could always be worse.

After the shower Kaoru stretched out on the old couch that had come with the room. She had thoroughly inspected the old thing before setting it up for her bed, afraid that bugs might come crawling from it. Thankfully her room was bug free. Kaoru watched the clock waiting for it to say 8:45 a.m.

Once it did she got up with a huge sigh. Off to work. Grabbing her wallet she put it in the back pocket of her jeans. Opening the door she made sure to lock it. She didn't know why she bothered. She really didn't have anything for anyone to steal.

"Oi, Jou-chan."

Kaoru looked over to Sagara Sanosuke, the guy next door to her.

"Morning Sano," Kaoru replied.

"Want me to walk you to work?" Sano asked.

"I'll be fine Sano," Kaoru said.

"All right then." Sano said yawning.

Kaoru gave him a smile as she walked by heading for the stairs. When she had made her way into the city, she had been cold, hungry, and weak. She didn't remember much, but Sano had found her lying on the ground and took her in. After that he had helped her get the vacant apartment. He was a bit of a gambler and was funny. He treated her like a little sister, always calling her Jou-chan, even though they had only known each other three weeks. Sano had asked her nothing, just helped her out. Kaoru appreciated his help. Who knows where she might have ended up if not for him?

Walking through the crowds of people on the sidewalk, she made her way to the Akabeko. It was a small dance club/restaurant owned by a woman named Sekihara Tae. Kaoru was now a waitress there, and although she disliked the work, it was the only job she could get.

"Hiya! Kaoru-san," Makimachi Misao shouted gleefully upon Kaoru's entrance.

"Hi, Misao-chan." Kaoru replied walking toward the back.

Misao followed her chattering away. Kaoru had met Misao her first day on the job. At first Kaoru mistook her for a little girl. But she soon learned Misao was only a year younger than Kaoru. Kaoru being nineteen. Misao had immediately befriended her. Kaoru enjoyed Misao's unfaltering cheerfulness. It was refreshing to meet someone so outspoken and energetic. Kaoru quickly learned of Misao's love for a man named Shinomori Aoshi. He was apparently a regular there. Not much of a talker either. He exuded and air about him that was disconcerting. Misao, however, seemed totally oblivious to his demeanor. She would go over to talk to him nonplussed by his silence. Kaoru began to notice that he seemed to welcome the attention. Other girls who tried to talk to him were immediately dismissed.

"I hope Aoshi-sama is here today!" Misao confided.

"I am sure he will be. I think he only comes to see you. He doesn't seem the type to hang around here."

Misao smiled a huge smile before heading in the opposite direction. Kaoru walked to the back to change into her uniform placing her stuff in her locker. Kaoru left the locker room going over to the counter, where Tae's younger sister Tsubame stood. She was in charge of giving the orders to the chef and keeping the counter clean. She was only fourteen and Tae didn't want her to be a waitress in a place like this. Not that the place was bad, but some of the men were less than courteous. Some were downright lecherous. Kaoru had learned to deal with idiots like that real fast.

A few people began trickling in. The dance club didn't open until night, but the restaurant itself was a popular hangout. Kaoru had an early shift today, to fill in for Takani Megumi, who had a college orientation to attend. Usually Kaoru worked nights.

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By 5:00 p.m. Kaoru was punching out, ready to go home after a busy day at work. Tomorrow would be worse. A night shift on a Friday night equals stress. Well, Misao had the same shift, so it wouldn't be that bad.

Walking home, Kaoru had the feeling someone was watching her. Looking around all she saw was the usual crowd of people. No one seemed to stand out.

'Stop being so paranoid!'

Picking up a newspaper on her way home, she went upstairs heading for her room. Unlocking the door, she threw the paper on the couch. She made sure to relock the door before doing anything else.

"I am sooooo hungry." Kaoru declared opening the refrigerator.

Looking at the small selection of food, she decided to have a cheese sandwich. Putting it together, she sat on the couch holding the paper with one hand and the sandwich with the other. The headlines read:

"Battousai Strikes Again. Three Dead."

Kaoru read the headline taking it in without much surprise. How can one be surprised with such news, when it always litters the newspaper and media? Death, destruction, and more. It seemed almost pointless to pick up a newspaper. Kaoru couldn't help herself though. She loved reading it. When she was younger, her father would read the newspaper every morning. Kaoru picked up on his habit. Reading the article preceding the headlines she was surprised to learn, it had happened about four blocks from where she lived.

'Better be careful.'

Kaoru didn't feel like reading the rest. She was extremely tired from work and began to doze off.

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Strong arms held her in a comforting embrace.

"I love you."

"I love you too." Kaoru replied leaning into the person's warmth feeling their breath tickle her neck.

The strong arms tightened their grip ever so slightly.

"We'll be together forever."

"Yes," Kaoru sighed happily.

Kaoru suddenly felt like she was suffocating, as the arms began to squeeze her tighter and tighter.

"Stop, let go!" Kaoru exclaimed surprised as the gentle hug changed to a violent possessive grip.

"No, you are mine. You can't leave me."

Kaoru began to struggle, but the arms holding her were too strong.

"Please, you are hurting me."

"Mine, mine, mine. Only mine. No one can have you but me." the voice began hissing.

Kaoru tried to scream, but no sound came out. Tears began forming in her eyes. The pain became unbearable, and then unexpectedly she was falling.

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Kaoru woke up in the dark lying on the floor, where she had fallen off the couch. She was breathing heavily and a light sheen of sweat glistened on her forehead. Kaoru tried to calm herself, but the darkness was making her feel panicked. Her dream had been dark, and she could almost imagine the warm breath on her neck. She jumped up running for the light switch. The light flickered on revealing an empty room. Kaoru sighed in relief. She looked over at the clock, 9:00 p.m. She put a hand to her forehead, leaning against the door. Turning to the door she made sure it was locked before going over to the couch. Glancing over at the window she froze. A pair of amber eyes watched her, but just as quickly disappeared making Kaoru doubt what she had seen.

She went over to the window cautiously gazing out from it. Seeing nothing she pulled the shades down. Chilled she went over to the couch wrapping herself in the blanket thrown over it.

'You are safe now.'

Kaoru tried to reassure herself.

'He is not here. It was just a dream. A dream.'

Her reassurances didn't work, however, and Kaoru spent most of the night trying in vain to sleep.

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Hiya! Kyaa Kyaff here!

Hope you liked the chapter. Kinda short, but it's the first chapter!

Review and tell me what you think.

And to anyone reading An Alternate Place and Time, don't worry, I plan on updating every week. I just really wanted to write this one too. Expect the next chapter for An Alternate Place and Time, sometime Friday or Saturday!

Thanks!

Kyaa Kyaff saying hope to hear from you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!