Finally an update!! I apologize for the delay. You might have to read the previous chapter to refresh your memory ^_^ Thanks for reading.
Disclaimer: I do not own Rurouni Kenshin or Hanakimi
Eternity in One Moment
Chapter 6 Miracles
"Hi Misao!" Kaoru chirped the moment she entered the classroom. Aoshi had just dropped her at the door.
"Hi Kaoru!" beamed Misao. "We didn't have the chance to talk about what happened during the walk and after you dropped me off," she recalled. "My mom forced me to clean all weekend, that's why I couldn't talk to you on the phone," she continued to explain. "So, let's get started before everybody arrives," Misao urged. "How was the goodnight kiss?" she asked with a mischievous wink.
"There wasn't any," she answered bitterly while busily searching for a pen in her bag.
"What do you mean? What happened?" her best friend asked in confusion, leaning over Kaoru's desk.
"Aoshi was born, that's what happened," Kaoru replied vaguely, eyes still glued to her bag.
Misao's mouth turned into a perfectly shaped 'O' before consoling her friend, "I'm sure there'll be a next time Kaoru, ne?"
Kaoru couldn't help but break into a smile. "Yup!" she agreed.
"Waaah…I take it he already asked you out again, huh?" assumed Misao, excited for her friend as well.
"Mmm..hmm…" Kaoru said with multiple brisk nods. "And you? I heard from nii-san, you'll be going out again soon," she replied, eyes glinting with amusement.
"He asked me right before we came back to the parking lot," she explained as she settled back to her seat.
"That's great!" Kaoru beamed while fervently shaking Misao's hands.
"Ei, so did anything special happen while you guys were alone?" asked Misao.
Kaoru blushed a tad and quickly tried to cover it up by shuffling through her papers, hoping to avoid further inquiry, but miserably failed to do so.
"Ooooohh…so something did happen!" concluded Misao.
"It was nothing!" she insisted, her blush deepening a shade. "He just hugged me, that's all," she continued, her eyes refusing to meet her friend's sparkly, teasing ones.
"Right, just a hug. I wonder what kind of hug it was," Misao pretended to murmur to herself, but was actually loud enough for Kaoru to hear.
"It was just a hug Misao!" Kaoru continued to insist, but making sure her voice was down so as to not raise any curious gazes from their other classmates. "How about you and nii-san?" she turned the tables around.
"Well, we didn't hug or anything at the shoreline. Just talked," she said before remembering the eyelash incident.
"Really? Then what are you blushing for?" probed Kaoru, raising one eyebrow perfectly.
Misao sighed. They've known each other for ages that it was just impossible to keep secrets from each other. "Well, there was a time when his face was a mere inch from mine," she confessed, while showing Kaoru an inch's length with her fingers for emphasis.
Kaoru suddenly jumped from her chair, scooting over to Misao's, eager to hear more. "And then what?"
"He blew an eyelash off my face," she continued in a rather disappointed tone.
"I was so confused as to what he was doing. I thought he was going to kiss me," she whispered.
sweatdrop "Ei, at least he kissed you at the door right?" cheered on Kaoru.
"Mmm…" Misao agreed, her lips curling into a small smile.
"Can I borrow your notes Kenshin?" Sano asked. He purposely went to school early that day so he can copy the history notes he missed the other day. He knew Kenshin was always there half an hour early before school starts.
"Here," Kenshin answered as he passed his notebook.
"Thanks," he answered. "You look happier than usual," Sano noted casually as he started to take down some notes.
"Ah," Kenshin simply answered with a huge smile glued on his face.
"You look like an idiot Himura," Aoshi joined in while quietly making his way to his desk.
"That's a good way to greet your friend," Sano said jokingly. "Did something happen?" Sano managed to insert while busily skimming over a page.
"I took Kaoru out on a date," Kenshin filled in Sano.
Aoshi simply released a 'Hnn.'
Sano couldn't help but to stop scribbling his messy notes and raised his eyes from the notebook. "Whoa…really? Aoshi, is this true? You actually let Jo-chan out on a date?" asked Sano consecutively.
Kenshin simply smiled back at the shocked classmate, while Aoshi remained silent. "So Kenshin, mind if you tell me the details?" Sano whispered at Kenshin.
Kenshin looked subtly at Aoshi's direction. He found the man staring with cool nonchalance at them, eyes as cold as steel. "Ahahaha, nothing much Sano, just talked, that's all," he replied.
"Ri~~~ght, Kenshin," Sano said knowingly and gave the redhead a wink.
"Really, Sano, nothing happened!" he insisted while sweating bullets. Aoshi's freezing gaze was piercing his back. 'Argh…if he wasn't Kaoru's brother, I probably won't be acting such a wimp around the subject.'
"Fine. If nothing happened, then why are you in such a good mood?" Sano changed the subject, fearing for his friend's life, since he noticed Aoshi's threatening presence.
"Ah, I asked her out for a second date," he answered.
"That's great Kenshin. Did you ask permission from the commander yet?" Sano kid, as he shook his head towards Aoshi's direction.
"He doesn't need to ask me," Aoshi simply said before standing up and leaving the classroom.
'Did I hear that right? Was that a yes?' Kenshin thought in shock, as he watched Aoshi's retreating figure.
"Yo Kenshin?" Sano interrupted.
"What?" Kenshin answered automatically.
"Do I need to copy these?" Sano asked as he reverted both of them back to his notebooks.
'He doesn't need to ask me.
I just said that didn't I? Why would I say that?' Aoshi reflected as he rhythmically hit his forehead on the wall adjacent to their room.
'Is it alright to let Kaoru out on a date with Kenshin?
Was I even thinking when I told Kenshin that he didn't need to ask me? What will happen now?'
"Damn," he murmured, hitting his head one more time.
"It's my first time in ages to see you frustrated and confused at the same time," he heard her say.
"And it's entirely your fault," he answered playfully.
"And why is that?" she answered curiously as she shared the wall he was leaning on.
"Because you didn't remain a child forever," he replied.
"Eh? What did that suppose to mean?" Kaoru answered confused.
Aoshi simply turned around and placed his right arm around her shoulder, pulled her close, and ruffled her hair.
"Stop it, nii-san!" she demanded. "I actually spent time fixing my hair you know," she reprimanded.
"I know," he answered and ruffled her hair once more.
"Mou," she whispered. 'He hasn't done this since Mom and Dad were alive.'
"Are you ok, Ao-nii?" she asked worriedly.
"Of course. What are you doing here?" he thought to ask, as he started to pull away from her.
"Visiting Kenshin of course," she answered with a huge grin.
Aoshi's eyes instinctively narrowed and his grip on her became firmer. "Oww..nii-san, loosen the hold a bit, I was just kidding you!" she explained.
Aoshi's eyes remained as sharp as ever. 'Bad joke to pull I guess,' she noted. "I just came by to tell you to wait for me a bit longer after school. I need to talk to a teacher after school," she clarified.
"Why? Are you having any problems?" he asked with concern, finally letting her sister loose.
"Not at all. I just need to ask her something," she replied, while attempting to make her hair presentable.
"Alright. Just send me a message once you're finished," he informed.
"Ok, thanks. See you!" she said as she rounded of the corner.
"But sensei, is there no other way for me to have another partner?" Kaoru argued.
"Ono-san is a good student. I don't think you'll have a problem with him Kamiya-san," insisted the teacher.
'It's not Minoru-kun's fault. I'm thinking about Aoshi's reaction,' she explained mentally.
"I have allowed the class to choose their partners in the past. I think it's time to work with the classmates you have never worked with. It'll be a great experience!" cheered the teacher. "Besides, your brother will be there so if anything goes wrong, you can always come to him or me."
"Aoshi-nii-san will be joining the trip?" she asked in surprise.
"Yes. The class will be too huge for me to handle outside class, so to make up for that, each class will be joined by two seniors who will act as chaperones. Shinomori-san is one of the seniors who volunteered for our class," the teacher informed.
"Ah, is that so?" Kaoru replied curiously. "Thanks for your time," she bid, and helped herself out of the faculty room.
"Are you busy Ao-nii?" Kaoru asked at Aoshi's door.
"No, go ahead. Please come in," he answered.
Kaoru entered Aoshi's room and found him sitting in front of his computer. She sat down on his bed and began a conversation lightly. "I didn't know, you'd be joining us in our trip, Ao-nii," she started.
"It wasn't finalized till this afternoon," he answered.
Kaoru took this opportunity to let Aoshi know who her partner is. 'Maybe since he's busy the info won't really register in his brain till I'm out of here!' she thought hopefully. "Minoru-kun is my partner for the trip," she said quickly.
All she heard was an 'Ah' from Aoshi.
"So you're ok with it?" she asked in a small voice.
"There's nothing I can do about it, besides Himura will help me keep an eye on you," he answered.
"Kenshin?" a curious Kaoru echoed.
"He's the other chaperone for your class," he explained.
"Ah, ok. Well, goodnight Ao-nii," she said standing up from his bed, and then headed for the door.
He took his eyes away from the computer and turned to Kaoru before answering, "Goodnight Kaoru. Sleep well."
Kaoru nodded, gave a quick wave and exited the room.
'Well, he certainly took that pretty well,' Kaoru thought as she made her way to her room.
The class was standing in front of a gated museum. The museum's main door was at the top of a small flight of stairs. The teacher was standing at the flight's upper landing while the rest of the class was standing in descending order on the stairs. Kaoru and her partner were standing at the lower steps. The teacher was starting to remind the class where they were to meet, which places they should make sure to visit, and other important reminders.
"Are there any questions?" the teacher asked after she thought she has said everything that was needed.
"None sensei," the class answered in a chorus.
"Himura-san, Shinomori-san, please come up here for a while," she requested.
The teacher was busily talking with the two seniors when, Kaoru spotted a little girl, no more than five, playing alone with a cat at the edge of the sidewalk. She pulled herself from the class with the intention to find the girl's parents or at least pull her further away from the road.
"Where are you going Kamiya-san?" Minoru whispered.
"I'll be right back," she said quickly and gave Minoru a small assuring smile, before hurriedly walking towards the girl, careful not to catch the teacher's attention.
Kaoru was just a couple of feet behind the girl when the cat she was playing with ran away from the little girl and crossed the street half-way. The cat stopped in the middle of the road and stared at the currently empty street.
"You shouldn't stand there, neko-chan! It's dangerous!" the little girl reprimanded cutely.
The little girl slowly walked towards the middle of the road to carry the cat back at the side, but just as she reached the middle of the road, the cat reflexively broke into a sprint and made its way towards the other side of the street, leaving the girl now standing frozen in front of a fast approaching car.
"Shinomori-san you are to stay in front of the class. Himura-san, why don't you stand at the end of the line of students," the teacher assigned.
"Hai sensei," both students replied and went to their positions. Just as Kenshin was walking down the stairs, he noticed that Kaoru was not in sight. He quickly glanced around and saw her standing at the sidewalk. He decided to approach her and remind her not to stay away from the group.
Kaoru saw everything, she couldn't believe what was happening and before she realized it, she had run towards the middle of the road herself, and pushed the little girl to safety. She gave a sigh of relied before she began to register the car's horn blaring in her ears. She failed to push herself out of the car's range, and she her legs which seemed like they were glued to the pavement, aren't helping either.
The loud honks that the car released caught the class's attention immediately. Aoshi turned his heads to the commotion and was shocked to see her sister in the middle of the road. He hurriedly ran down the stairs and out the museum's gate in the attempt to stop the accident, although he knew he couldn't make it.
He was too far.
'I…I can't make myself do anything,' Kaoru thought desperately as she continued to stare blindly at the black car. She allowed her eyes to close, bracing herself to feel the impact, when she felt herself flying at a rapidly impossible pace.
"Kaoru!!" Aoshi yelled as the car ran over the spot where she was standing.
'Someone's panting. I could feel his moist breath against my face. Or is it just me?' she thought before she decided to open her eyes.
"Are you alright Kaoru?" a pair of amethyst eyes greeted her. She was sitting on Kenshin's lap, her head resting on his chest, both his hands supporting her weight.
"Kenshin?" she answered before remembering everything, "Car…girl…" she faintly murmured incoherently.
"It's alright now Kaoru," he assured. 'I never thought I could run that fast. I know my speed isn't average, but I think I just surpassed my record a few moments ago. But it was a close call, I'm glad she's alright,' he sighed mentally, unconsciously pulling Kaoru closer.
"Kaoru," Kenshin heard someone say. "She's alright, but I think she's still a bit shaken up," he explained as Aoshi took her frail form, and cradled her in his arms.
"Kaoru, talk to me, just tell me you're ok," he asked desperately.
Kaoru gently reopened her eyes and smiled a bit, "I'm ok. Sorry for making you worry Ao-nii-chan," she apologized like a little girl.
"There's no need to apologize," he answered a small, rare smile curving his lips.
"Kenshin can you carry Kaoru for a moment?" he asked.
"I'm ok Ao-nii, I can stand up on my own," she informed.
"No," he answered sternly, the soft Aoshi that was present a few moments ago, now gone. "You are to be carried until I tell you that it's safe for you to stand on your own," he commanded as he reached for his cell phone.
"Kaoru! Are you alright?" Misao asked panicked as she finally made her way towards the scene, their teacher behind her heels. "Shinomori-san?" the teacher added.
"Yes," she assured, as she tried to release a small smile.
"Send the car in front of the museum immediately and tell the police to go that location also. This is an emergency," Aoshi said before he clicked the end button, not waiting for the person at the other end of the line to reply. He then, steadily made his way towards the car driver who was standing beside his car, face buried in his hands, in total disbelief with all the events that has occurred.
"I'm so---" the driver attempted to apologize but was cut short when Aoshi grabbed him by the collar and banged his back to against his car.
"You bastard! Did you realize that you could have killed my sister!" the usually calm Aoshi, exploded.
"I didn't see them till it was too late! I swear! I'm really sorry!" the business man answered. Though he was at least a decade older than Aoshi, he could not do anything but struggle futilely against the young man's grasp and under his murderous gaze. If looks could kill, he would be dead by now.
"You think apologizing could have brought her back?" Aoshi answered sarcastically, his grip increasing tenfold.
"Stop it Aoshi! You're going break the man's neck!" Kenshin warned, but could not do anything either since he was carrying Kaoru with both arms.
"Makimachi-san, please tell Aoshi to stop," Kenshin pleaded.
Misao nodded unhesitant, though she was still unsure of what to do She steadily approached Aoshi and said in a pleading voice, "Aoshi, please stop this. Hurting the man, would not do anything good. Please, take a hold of yourself."
Aoshi's grip did not falter, not until a full minute after Misao said those words. 'Take a hold of yourself,' his brain finally registered. His hand slowly removed his hold from the man's neck. The driver instantly gasped for breath and rubbed his bruised neck.
Just like on cue, the police cars swarmed the area and one of the Shinomori's cars arrived the scene as well. Aoshi retrieved Kaoru from Kenshin, still insisting to carry her like a fragile child.
"I'm going to take Kaoru to the hospital and then home. Take care of Misao for me. I'm sorry sensei, please excuse us," he said right before he entered their car.
The doctor who checked up on Kaoru ensured her brother that there was nothing wrong with her. He said that she was lucky that she was saved just in time. He signed her check out slip after thoroughly making sure that there was not a scratch on her that was left untreated.
"It's still early Ao-nii," Kaoru argued. They were back in their house. Aoshi was tucking her to bed as if she was back in grade school. It was only a little past five, but Aoshi insisted that she should have some rest.
"Even a nap is alright Kao-chan," he said dearly. "I want you to rest," he said as he pulled the covers to her chin.
"Mou," she pouted.
He turned his back on her before saying, "I realized something today Kaoru."
"Hmm?" she asked curiously.
"Even though I was just a few meters from you, I could not possibly watch your back every second, nor save you every single time. If Kenshin wasn't there, you could have been seriously injured," he shared his thoughts.
"It wasn't your fault Onii-san," Kaoru said, fearing that guilt was eating up his brother.
"Also," he continued. "You have your own mind. You act carelessly. You act upon instinct, without thinking about the events that might happen due to your chosen action," he said seriously.
Kaoru's eyebrows were beginning to furrow as she sensed a sermon heading close.
"I cannot control you, Kaoru. No matter how much I want to, no matter what my intentions are. I simply can't," he admitted, making Kaoru even more curious with his sudden change of attitude.
"That's why I'm letting you date Kenshin the second time," he said.
"Huh?" she asked confused. 'When did I ask permission?'
"Alone. No double dates, no chaperone. I trust both of you," he continued ignoring her perplexed reactions. "Oh and by 'letting' I don't mean that you actually need my permission to date anymore. I'm just giving my blessing, sort of approval," he finished, and then stood up from her bed.
"Thank you Nii-chan," she said happily, although still a little lost at what had happened.
"Just Kenshin, though," he added half-jokingly before closing her door behind him.
A/n: Not much A/M or K/K in this chapter. I had to loosen Aoshi's hold a bit so that Kenshin and Kaoru can date alone. How did I do? Ah, I got the field trip idea after reading DNangel. Speaking of which, I made DNangel wallpapers, some HanaKimi ones, and a Count Cain. Yey! I posted some of them on my website to anyone who's interested. I'll try to upload all of them within the week.
I am not sure when I could release the next chapter. I'm really sorry, but I have a gigantic writer's block right now and have no idea what to write in the next chapter. Suggestions are greatly needed. Please review!