Kyaa Kyaff here!
Disclaimer: RK is not mine.
Misao watched the pouring rain hit the pavement. A month had passed since that day she had found Aoshi. Hugging herself to ward off the slight chill she sighed. He hadn't come to see her, and she was just too stubborn to go and see him again. She wasn't going to beg for him, no matter how much she wished to be with him. He must not want her. She had to accept this. She just didn't want to.
Misao had called her parents to tell them she was fine. She refused to return home as they had asked her to do though. Angry they threatened to disown her. She had told them to go ahead and do so and hung up. She spent a lot of time with Jiya and the gang. She liked at the Aoiya. Life was almost normal. Upon her request Jiya had started to train her along with the help of Hannya, Beshimi, Hyottoko, and Shikijo. A bit sore from practice today Misao decided to watch the storm. They really wasn't anything else for her to do. Today was Jiya's birthday, and Misao had already help make the preparations. Her gift was wrapped up safely hidden away in her room. She looked away from the rain.
It seemed so long ago when she was just living a life of luxury with no troubles. Well, no troubles when her parents weren't around that is. She wondered how all her old friends were. It had been forever since she had talked with Kaoru or Megumi. With everything that had happened to her she had lost track. She would have to call them sometime.
"Where is it? Where is it? Oh man."
Misao turned hearing Okon's voice.
"What are you looking for?" Misao asked.
Okon came in carrying a mixing spoon, "I don't have any eggs or sugar to make the surprise birthday cake."
"I can go get some. The store isn't far, and I feel like taking a walk."
"In the pouring rain! No, that's okay," Okon said casting a glance outside.
"No problem. Just give me the money, and I'll go pick it up."
Okon thought this over, "Alright. But put on a jacket, and grab the umbrella. It's by the door."
Going into one of her pockets Okon pulled out some money and handed it to Misao. Taking the money and putting it into her own pocket Misao grabbed a jacket from the chair. Going over to the back door she grabbed the umbrella and stepped out opening it up against the strong onslaught of rain. Mist sprayed on her as she began to walk. Gone from the others she allowed the smile on her face to slip. Why hadn't he come to see her? Didn't he care at all? And if he didn't then why did he act like he did? Misao was beginning to want to strangle him. Before Aoshi she was happy. Even when she did know him, and was going after him, it was better than this.
Misao made it to the store five minutes later and got the stuff Okon needed before heading back out into the rain. Jiya would be mad if he found out she went by herself, but being constantly surrounded by people was wearing her down. It was easy to be cheerful, because that was what everyone expected, but sometimes she just wanted to be left alone. She was reminded of Soujiro and that silly smile of his. She hoped he was doing okay as well. Feeling as if there were someone watching her she looked around and saw no one. Who was crazy enough to walk out in the rain anyway?
As she thought this someone grabbed her around her waist clamping the other hand around her mouth. She dropped the bag startled but managed to keep hold of her umbrella. Misao struggled against the hold as she was dragged into the woods she had been walking beside. Biting the person as hard as she could they dropped her. Scrambling to her feet and whirling around to stare at the figure in the pouring rain she shivered.
She was quickly soaked through as the person in front of her smiled, "Misao-chan."
She held her umbrella up immediately pointing it at him, "I won't go back. You can't make me!"
"You really don't have a choice," Chou said with a shrug.
"Why can't you leave me alone!?"
"You know the answer to that. Now I've been waiting too long to catch you by yourself. If you would just come…" Chou paused and looked around him.
Misao tried to turn and run knowing there was no way she could defeat him.
"Oh no you don't."
Misao felt him just barely grab her shoulder, when his hand jerked back. The sudden change in direction had her toppling backwards. She landed in the mud splattering it on her clothes, and quickly turned around at the sounds of a fight. She blinked not believing her eyes as she saw Aoshi rip Chou's sword from hand and throw it to the ground before shoving him against a tree with a kodachi to his throat. Misao couldn't hear what Aoshi was saying to him, but the look of hatred flashing across Chou's face told her it wasn't something good.
Aoshi then backed up. Chou watched him warily before slowly inching away. Misao continued to stare until she could no longer see him anymore. With one swift movement Aoshi sheathed his kodachi. Misao recognized the design. It was one of the ones she had given him. She slowly stood up as he turned to face her. Her hands clenched as all the feelings she felt boiled down to one emotion, anger.
"What are you doing here?" Misao asked.
He took a couple of steps forward reaching out and drawing Misao into his arms. She didn't resist, but she didn't hug him back either. She just stood there wanting to melt into that hug, but unwilling to at the same time.
"Misao," Aoshi said in a soft sigh hugging her closer, "Gomen nasai."
"Why are you apologizing?" Misao asked quietly.
"It took me so long to come to see you," he stepped away from her, "Let's go somewhere dry."
Misao shook her head, "Say what you want now."
The only sound that followed was the pouring rain. Misao watched Aoshi steadily as he looked away. She wouldn't be the one to throw her heart out this time.
"If you have nothing to say I have to go now. Okon will be worried," Misao said turning away from him.
"Don't leave," Aoshi said with a note of desperation.
Misao stayed staring straight ahead, "Give me a reason to stay."
Misao forced herself to start walking away from him. If he didn't act than it was over, and she would finally and truly give up on him.
Misao ignored the soft plea in his voice that made her want to turn and throw herself in his arms. She refused to. Aoshi had to come to her if he really wanted her not to leave. As she approached the sidewalk she felt like crying. He hadn't stopped her. She had hoped, but…
A hand landed on her shoulder startling her. Aoshi had been so quiet she didn't hear his approach. He turned her to face him keeping both hands on her shoulders. Slowly he reached his hand up as if to wipe away a tear from her rain soaked face reminding her of the time before. She saw him swallow and steel his expression.
"Misao-chan! There you are!" a voice called out.
Aoshi immediately backed up. Misao grabbed him before he could get away ignoring the call of whoever was approaching.
"Say it. Don't leave it at this, because if you do that's it. I won't be here waiting any longer. Just tell me now. Straight out."
Aoshi stared at her and opened his mouth to say something but stopped. Misao released his arm and closed her eyes trying to fight back her tears. She then felt warm wet lips on hers, and opened her eyes as Aoshi pulled her into his arms.
"Gomen. I am not good with words," he said softly against her lips.
"Misao, I do want to be with you, so please don't leave. Stay with me," Aoshi pleaded softly, "I am the one that needs you."
Misao laced her hands around his neck, "Why didn't you come sooner?"
"I didn't have the courage to."
"Baka," Misao said with a laugh before pulling him into a fierce kiss.
Hannya stood off to the side holding an umbrella. He smiled as he saw the two. It sure took Aoshi long enough to show himself. Hannya had sensed his presence watching over Misao for the past three weeks. He was glad they finally worked out their differences. However neither of them seemed to notice the pouring rain, or how cold it was. Walking over he held the umbrella over both of them.
"Hey, you two. You're going to catch a cold no matter how warm you feel at the moment!"
Kaoru shifted around in bed as the doorbell rang making her fully awake. After being discharged from the hospital Akemi had taken her back home. She had moved her things to the first floor, so it would be easier on the both of them. Akemi had patiently taken care of Kaoru throughout the month. Kaoru sat up hearing Akemi cross the living room and open the door.
"Hiko! What are you doing here?" Akemi asked.
"I came to see how you're patient is doing?" Hiko replied.
"She's sleeping right now, so you can talk to her later. She's doing pretty good for the most part."
Then Akemi lowered her voice, and all Kaoru could hear were the whispers of what the conversation was. Standing up slowly in her room, Kaoru edged over to the door. She had been waiting for a distraction to come along as she listened to the pounding of the rain. She needed to get out of the house. Akemi watched her like a hawk though. Kaoru wasn't fully recovered, and Akemi was worried about her. This past month had shown a very different side of Akemi. She was kind and caring, patient and loving. Kaoru couldn't take it anymore. She just wanted to be left alone.
She saw them walk past as Akemi invited Hiko into the kitchen to get something to drink. Taking a tentative step out Kaoru made her way to the front door. Reaching it she opened it up slowly with a backward glance at the kitchen. She then quickly exited making sure to shut the door just as quietly. She didn't bother to grab an umbrella. The rain had turned to a drizzle, and she wanted to feel the drops hitting her. She began to walk not really knowing where her feet were taking her. She barely noticed the people giving her strange looks as she walked past bare foot and in sleep pants and tang top. She didn't care.
For the past month she had tried to be strong and failed miserably. Kenshin's funeral had been a small one with only a few people there. Kaoru had been there confined to a wheelchair and carefully watched. She didn't cry. She hadn't cried since that day in the hospital. Crying got you nowhere. Before she knew it she was standing in front of the cemetery. She should have known instinctively where she was going. She was sure once Akemi found out she was gone; they would look for her here, but for now she was alone. Walking through she made her way around looking at the names of strangers.
How insignificant they were to her. She hadn't known them, yet they had lived and breathed and had affected those around them. So many graves of so many people. Death was everywhere making Kaoru feel small. She wasn't important. One day she would lay in the cold earth forgotten in time. How meaningless her trivial pursuits seemed. She didn't change the world. In no way would she shape history. She was another faceless person among a sea of faceless people. What was the point then of living? Her life had been one bad thing after another. Did it matter? Her one true happiness that had made her feel complete was now lying right under her, marked by a tombstone with his name, birth and death dates. It didn't tell the life he lived. It didn't say how he had suffered to protect his sister, or how he had struggled to rid himself of his demons. None of it was important. Yet it was so important to Kaoru.
She fell to her knees in front of the grave slowly tracing the name engraved on the face of it, "Himura Kenshin."
Two simple words to commemorate a person that had touched Kaoru's life. Kaoru felt so tired. She just wanted to sleep. No more pain, no more sorrow. She would close off her emotions. It was easier that way. She couldn't take Akemi's genuine care. She wouldn't burden her any longer. Sitting down she leaned against the tombstone and looked up against the rain. It felt good washing over her skin, making her feel as if she were being cleansed. She was tired. So tired. Kaoru's eyes slowly closed on their own accord.
Megumi looked out the window with a sigh.
"What a dreary day to go out," she said to herself.
Sano came up behind her pulling her into his arms, "We can always stay here and find other sources of entertainment."
"Baka," Megumi stepped out of his arms with a smile, "No. You can't get out of this one. You actually asked me to go out to lunch, and that's what we're going to do."
Sano laughed, "Alright. Alright. Maybe after we can swing by Akemi's place and see how Jou-chan's doing."
"That sounds like a great idea."
"I'm a little worried about her," Sano said grabbing his jacket.
"She needs time to recover," Megumi replied.
Sano nodded, "You're right. I'm still worried though."
On one of her routine checks Megumi had come across Kaoru at the hospital. Kaoru had been there a few days it seemed and wasn't doing so well. It took the combined efforts of Sano and herself to make Kaoru eat something. After she left the hospital Megumi and Sano visited her at Akemi's place every so often. She was recovering physically, but still remained emotionally drained. Megumi opened the door and they both went out to the car thinking of Kaoru. Getting in the passenger side Megumi sighed. Sano seemed a little nervous when he got on.
"What's the matter?" Megumi asked as he started the car.
Pulling out he spoke, "I was thinking…of us too."
Megumi was surprised by the statement, "What about us?"
"I was thinking we might want to set a date…for our wedding."
"Wedding? Um…where did this come from all of the sudden?" Megumi asked.
"It didn't. I've been thinking about it for awhile."
Megumi shook her head, "We can't get married now."
"Not now. You know in a year or so. By that time I'll have a stable job, and you'll only have a year left before you become a doctor," Sano said keeping his eyes on the road.
Sano was taken back by the abrupt answer, "…Do you want to marry me?"
"Of course! What I meant is…well…it would be better to wait until after I finish up with school. I'll be so busy that we won't have time or the money for a honeymoon. It's not wise to rush into such things."
"I guess you're right."
For the rest of the ride they were silent. Sano seemed a little upset, and Megumi felt on edge. She was thinking of Soetsu and his threat. He hadn't come back, and who knew how long he would be gone. She looked over at Sano praying silently for his patience and understanding.
As they came to the restaurant Megumi spoke, "I love you."
"I love you too, Megitsune."
Megumi smiled sadly as she got out of the car. For now things would have to be this way. As long as she could be with him it was fine. She wouldn't live her life in fear of Soetsu forever. Someway she would find a way to get rid of him, and then she would marry Sano as she dreamed to. Sano took her hand in his with a smile telling her silently that he would wait until she was ready, not knowing the real reason for her hesitation. Unable to resist Megumi leaned over and kissed him softly. With him by her side she could face this problem and any others that would come her way. Always with him.
Akemi had realized Kaoru was gone a half an hour later, when she went to go check on her. She knew exactly where Kaoru had went, so with a sigh she got into her car and drove toward the cemetery. Kaoru had been extremely quiet the past month. Akemi understood but was worried. Pulling up to the cemetery she parked and got out. Grabbing her umbrella she opened it up and proceeded through the gates. She felt a chill creep up her spine. Cemeteries always made her feel uneasy. Coming to the top of a hill where a single lone tree stood she paused. Kaoru was leaning against her brother's grave apparently fast asleep and soaked through. Akemi wouldn't be surprised if she caught a cold. She shook her head placing her hand against the tree.
Another hand came to cover hers, "Akemi-chan, take care of her."
"I will," Akemi said softly still looking straight ahead with a somber smile, "Take care of yourself. I'll be waiting."
With that said Akemi started down the hill without a backward glance.
Hiya! And that's the end of Fragile Balance. Wahhh! It's over! But there will be a sequel. I may take a bit longer to get it out, but I will. I'll send update notices to the usual people and anyone else who would like me to! It will probably be named Continuing On, which starts the real trouble with Shishio. And I know there was no mention of Soujiro, but rest assured he is still around. Well anyway on to those individual thanks I promised you!
Gypsy-chan- Hi! I always love hearing from you! Definitely motivates me to write quicker, when I read it! I'm glad you liked the chapter and story. I hope you enjoyed the epilogue too. I really love Saori's antics as well. She's just the best. Course I wrote her like that. When I get the sequel out, I'll be looking forward to hearing from you once again!
Celenia Crescent- *backs off as she sees the bunny plushie* Well, at least it isn't a sword. I hoped you liked this chapter! Glad to hear from you!
White Moon Universe Guard- Amazing? You think so? I'm glad then! I really try to make it interesting.
Rekka's Angel- Tears…? *hands tissue over* but this chapter wasn't so sad, right? I'll hope to hear from you again!
Chibi-ken14- I was thinking somebody who told me not to kill Kaoru off, but forgot to mention Kenshin would say that! Anyway it's great hearing from you as always! I appreciate your support for my fics! You definitely motivate me to write more!
Tanuki chan- I tried to get the epilogue out just as fast upon request! I love Kenshin too! ^_^ Heh! Hope you enjoyed the ending.
Aniprinzess- it's okay not to keep up. I do that a lot with the stories I read too. Jut drop me a line every once and a while. I love to hear your opinion on things!
Ewunia- ^_^…nice hearing from you!
Omochi- A nap? Heh… well anyway as always your continual reviews are greatly appreciated. It's great hearing what you think of the chapters!
JML- *Kyaa rubs her sore cheeks before glomping JML and going for his ears* Haven't done that in awhile! Sano and Meg are going to have their wedding, but in the sequel. More complications ahead. Just can't have a nice normal day with me.
Dragowolf- Fire!!! I'm not fire proof! ^_^ I hope you liked the epilogue! And I'm hoping you will enjoy the sequel when I write it! Until then…
Lina- I updated quick! See! Thanks for always being there to encourage me to write more!
Kamimura Kaoru- Your welcome for updating fast! There wasn't tons of waff, but there was some. I hoped you liked it. ^o^ Did you like the end? Since there is going to be a sequel and all! Well, I'll talk to you later. And I'll be waiting patiently for you to update your great fics! Til next time!
Monkeys&me- I like your name! It's cute! Anyways…I wrote the next chap! Made sure not to keep you waiting long. Hope to hear what you thought.
Littledrago5- Hi! Hope you liked the chapter! And can't wait to hear from you again!
Val- I updated soon! Like the ending? Hope you did. When I write the sequel I'll look forward to hearing from you again!
Bee- Like Saori? Me too! I find her very easy to write. Here's the update! Enjoyed hearing from you!
furygrrl- Read it all the way through! ^_^ I'm glad you loved it! I try to make it interesting and all! Thank you so much! I hope to hear from you when I write the sequel!
ZenryokuZ- Little kids can be very smart, like saying things that you might not want voiced! Great hearing from you!
genocide ex-sync*in- baka-chan! I've never heard that one before. That's cute. I'll be working on my other fics now. Just was inspired and all, and decided to take the time to write the last chapters without taking to long to update! Tell me what you thought!
Gwenivere- *hands over a tissue* Thanks so much. You really encouraged me to write more with your sweet review. Hope you liked this chapter too.
Random Reader- Hiya! Reading fanfics is way better than homework! In total agreement. Thanks for your wonderful reviews! You're the best, and I can't wait to hear from you again!
Shizuka- *runs after Shizuka with a box of tissues in hand* It's okay! It is! You'll see. More hardships ahead in the sequel, but things will turn out for the most part! Please tell me your thoughts on the ending!
Lere- ^_^ as you can probably guess…you were right! *hands over specially made cupcake* Can't wait to hear from you again!
Kriska- No need to apologize. I don't mind. I understand bout all the other things making you busy! It's great hearing from you. Yep there's a sequel. Hope to hear from you on that one too. Thanks for always being there to motivate me!
Tiggergirl- Akemi can be mean, but never that mean. She actually has begun to warm up to Kaoru, especially now. Love hearing from you. Hope to again.
Mistress of All Worlds- Here's the end! So what did you think? Good? Bad? Going to read the sequel when I write it? Hope so!
Alicia- Hi! It's nice hearing from you! You really love the story that much! *grins* thank you! I can't wait to hear from you again. Hope you liked the ending.
Phoe-chan- It's ok! I swear! Anyways…hope you read the sequel when I get it out. And I look forward to hearing what you thought of the end!
Shopps- Did you like the end? *looks hopeful* tell me your thoughts on this one, k!
Just4smiles- See Aoshi and Misao are all good now! Did you like the scene with them? I hurried for you! See quick update! I didn't want to take too long! Sucked into the story! *big smiles* Thanks so much. *Saori comes running over and gives Just4smiles a big hug*
Jen Jen-chan- *hands Jen a big box of tissues* don't cry! Everything will work out ok! I swear! ^_^! Hope to hear from you again!
Princess Sapphire- holy ducks…it's been awhile since I've heard someone say that. ^_^ I update quick! See! See! So what did you think of the end?
Penggu2000- Don't worry bout missing the chap! Banned...hmm…that doesn't sound good. There will most definitely be a sequel, and I hope to hear more from you then!
Girl- Hi! Don't be in tears. Everything will work out. Not right away, but well when I write the sequel it will come around! Nice hearing from you!
Chitchat- Saori is ten years old, and a very outspoken one at that. Perceptive too. Anyways hi! Love hearing from you! You'll have to tell me what you thought of this chapter too! Hope you enjoyed it!
April- Hi! Thanks for the review! I appreciate hearing what my readers think. It helps motivate me to write. ^_^
Redroseprincess678- Kaoru will be better later on. Everything will work out…eventually. Thanks so much for always sticking around and telling me what you thought. I love to hear from you.
Animelover- Hi! I absolutely am in love with anime as well! Last chapter was sad. I hope this one was a little better. Tell me what you thought, kay!
Kenta Divina- Is the wrath of the readers a little appeased? I hope so. I got a few threats here. ^_^ anyways love hearing from you! Can't wait to hear what you thought of the end!
Bek- ^_^ Hi again! Saitoh can be a pisser sometimes. It's nice hearing from you as always!
Megumi- Cry! *hands over a tissue* There will be a sequel, and I hope you liked the ending for this.
Mythaya- Sano will do some of the beating in the sequel. He's had enough! ~_^ Here's the next chap! I hope you enjoyed it!
LSR-7- I'm glad to hear you like the story! Thank you for the nice reviews! I'll be looking forward to hearing from you when I get the sequel out!
Kawaii Kokkei Tsuita no Neko- I'll have to agree with you on that one. It's good to see everything end the way you want, but it's more real the other way. Can't say the sequel will be as happy as everyone wants…eek. May hold a few surprises…I hope no one kills me! ^_^ Anyways great hearing from you.
And to everyone including those I may have missed, I appreciate all your support and comments on my fic. It helps a whole lot. Definitely motivates! This was my 2nd fic and you guys really encouraged me to write more. So…
Til next time,
Kyaa Kyaff ^o^