Fandom: Rurouni Kenshin
Rating: Pretty darned hard "R"
Pairing: Kenshin + Kaoru
Warnings: Mild spoilers for the Kyoto arc and the end of the manga. Sex. Decidedly weird humor. And, well, anatomy. ;;^^
Archive: Um, I kinda like to keep track of where these hentai things are when I write 'em. So, no archives, no MSTings.
The Bridal Discussion, Part One
It had been an elaborate, formal affair, very different from the hurried wartime ceremony that he rushed through with Tomoe. Perhaps that explained the sense of unreality that had plagued Kenshin for most of the day. Every time he looked at his bride, however, the question ran through his mind: Was this really his Kaoru?
She was as a stranger to him, her face painted stark white, artificial color touched to her lips and eyelids. The wedding kimono was tighter than any of her training outfits, even tighter than her other kimonos. It constricted her movements forcing her into very tiny steps that bore no resemblance to her usual swinging stride. Between the painted face and the rich kimono she appeared as a very beautiful courtesan, one that a lucky man might catch a glimpse of from a great distance away. She looked like a dream and he had felt all day as if he were in one, unable to do more than woodenly go through the motions of the ceremony while his huge wondering eyes remained on her with painful courtesy.
It was not just the way she looked, although that certainly played its part in his general unease. For the last few days she had been nervous and jumpy. Yahiko had teased her about bridal jitters, earning numerous clouts on the head and extra katas for his rudeness. Kenshin, however, had been unable to pry two words out of her. She barely looked at him as they passed at the dojo, barely spoke to him except for the most stark necessities of communication. They had walked together to the market the other day, and he had started to put his arm around her shoulders as he had done often since their official engagement. She shied away so violently that he threw up his hands to shield himself, fully expecting a rain of blows as punishment for some unknown infraction. But she had not threatened him with any physical brutality, merely continued toward the market while keeping the width of the entire path between them. After a pause he had followed at respectful distance, his puzzlement increasing but not at all sure what to do in order to close the more-than-physical gap between them.
After the ceremony there was a small reception at the dojo that was both a celebration for the marriage and a going-away party for Megumi, who was once more returning to her home city of Aizu. She came periodically to help out at the clinic when Doctor Gensai was feeling his age or when there was a troublesome illness making the rounds in Tokyo. Usually her visits put Kaoru on edge as the older woman flirted shamelessly with Kenshin. Even Megumi was not so bold, however, as to try to seduce a man on his wedding night. She made sly eyes at Kenshin whenever Kaoru looked her way, but she remained on remarkably good behavior; at least by her standards. She was the first of the guests to leave, dragging Yahiko off by his ear when he complained that the night was still young. "Precisely!" Megumi said lightly. "And it's not for the rest of us to share, either." She lowered her lashes and gave the puzzled boy her most melting glance. "Unless you have some plans for us together that you haven't told me about yet, Yahiko-kun?"
Yahiko stared at her blankly before catching her meaning. Screeching in revulsion, he didn't stop running until he reached the longhouse where he lived, bolting the doors after himself for good measure. The other guests left more sedately, but all too soon Kenshin found himself moving alone around the grounds as he performed his usual nightly chores, making sure the gates to the dojo were barred and putting out the fires in the bathhouse and the kitchen. He hesitated when he came back in, not sure exactly where to find Kaoru but deciding to check her room first in the theory that familiarity would make that the most comfortable place for her in the dojo.
Although he was relieved to see that his intuition had not played him false he paused before crossing the threshold, uncertain how to interpret the scene in front of him. Kaoru knelt at a small table which held tea cups and a brewing pot. He spoke her name as a question meaning to withdraw if she needed time to herself, but she ducked her head demurely and he cautiously entered.
At her gesture he knelt across from her, accepting the tea cup that was passed to him. There was a fine tremor to her fingers that he could not feel, but the slight ripples in the fluid betrayed her. He cupped his hands clumsily around the tiny cup, staring into it while his mind raced. Usually when she was nervous or frightened she would start screaming to cover it. He studied her carefully through his lashes, wondering if she had her bokken stashed in the kimono ready to bash him over the head. "Kaoru," he said, caution still foremost in his mind, "do you need to be alone for a while?" He looked at the wedding outfit that she still wore, thinking it must be confining for her. "I can come back when you're ready for bed. Where's your sleeping yukata? I can lay that out for you-"
"There's no need to go," she interrupted him, the words formal. "I know what is expected."
He quirked a brow slightly, not sure if he should believe her but definitely unwilling to approach her in this mood. It was all too — cold, somehow. "Perhaps you should tell me what to expect, then?" he prodded carefully. She glanced down at her knees before looking away and he cursed the all-concealing white paste on her face; he couldn't read her at all. He tried for a light tone. "It would be a great help to go over the details. I may have forgotten a few things, that I may have. It's been a very long time since I've been near a woman. Not since — "
"Is that it?" he asked sharply. "Is it Tomoe?"
She shook her head with vigor, the first hint of any emotion other than nerves. "No, no! Tomoe gave you to me, she protected me when I was with Einshi! You wouldn't be you without her." Then she did something that she never did; she bowed formally, putting her forehead against the floor as she did so. "I'm very grateful to her."
He blinked at her. Who are you and what have you done with Kaoru? he almost said out loud. Feeling thoroughly rattled, he sipped at his tea to cover his confusion and nearly choked on it; it had over-steeped and was very bitter. He felt a quick flood of relief. It must be Kaoru; no one else could mess up brewing a pot of tea! He hastily put the cup down, his amethyst eyes filled with compassion as he studied her. "Kaoru, what do you want of this unworthy one tonight?" he asked gently.
She placed her hands primly against her knees, palms down, every inch the dutiful wife. Her passivity was beginning to make Kenshin very worried. He wondered if she could possibly be running a fever. "Don't be shy, Kenshin. I'm ready for you to take your humongeous ... thing out and pierce me with it."
"ORO?!" Kenshin's eyes became little swirls of confusion. He fell over with a loud 'thump'.
A gnawed lower lip was the only concession Kaoru allowed her anxiety. With a patience born of long practice she waited for Kenshin to pull himself together, which he quickly did although his composure was less than perfect. "Ah ... Kaoru ... humongeous ... ?" His eyes pressed into embarrassed crescents as one hand rubbed the back of his head nervously. "As much as I hate to disappoint you on our wedding night, I'm afraid you're going to have to settle for 'average'..."
She dropped her gaze to her hands. "Kenshin, I've seen the woodcuts," she said with some difficulty. "Megumi showed them to me."
"I know what happens between men and women now. So could we just, please ... get it over with?"
Kenshin's eyes reverted to swirls as he pitched over again. Sighing, Kaoru picked up a tea cup, brought it to her lips and then tossed the bitter liquid down her throat as if it were sake and she was in a drinking contest with Sano. It was going to be a long night.
One week earlier...
Kaoru had never thought of herself as particularly sheltered. She was, after all, the owner of a dojo and the assistant master of the Kamiya Kasshin style. She fought with, and usually bested, men on a daily basis. Although not on Kenshin's level by any stretch of the imagination she had more skill than most. She knew all about pressure points and weak spots on both sexes, and even that there were special ones for men. When Megumi suggested to her behind the cover of one elegantly-lifted hand that Kaoru might want to come by the clinic for "the bridal discussion" Kaoru had not seriously considered that there was a gap in her education that needed to be filled.
But when Megumi brought out the woodcuts to demonstrate some of the more ... practical aspects of married life, Kaoru suddenly realized that she didn't have a clue about anything important at all.
Megumi had been very professional, which had just made it all that much worse. If she had been her usual sly, foxy self then Kaoru could have immediately found an outlet for her astonished embarrassment in a good old fashioned cat fight. But Megumi had been counseling nervous young Tokyo brides for some time now — Dr. Gensai was more than happy to hand that part of the practice over to her when she was in town — and her manner was completely clinical as she laid the half-dozen or so wood prints across the desk. "These top few are older ones from the Edo period," she told Kaoru as the younger woman stared in horrified fascination. "I like these last two better. I got them myself from Katsu. Isn't the kimono work much more realistic? Look at how the material folds!"
Kaoru found she wasn't much interested in the various elegant ways in which kimonos could be bunched around waists. "I thought Tsukioka-san retired from drawing?" she mumbled in a very tiny voice as she wondered if she were going to pass out.
"Oh, he had a few of these laying about," said Megumi cheerfully. Kaoru boggled at the idea of such things just casually scattered around Katsu's living quarters, and then again at how Megumi could possibly know he had such things casually scattered about his living quarters. "Obviously not anything his newspaper business needs, but excellent reference material for a doctor's office! Now. What questions can I answer for you?"
Speechless, Kaoru pointed.
"Male genitalia," nodded Megumi. "Anything in particular?"
"I've seen ..." Kaoru thought back to the moment when Kamatari flashed her and Misao. "It doesn't look like that. Does it?"
"During sexual excitement the organ fills with blood, which gives it greater size and," here she did give into her foxy nature and winked, "durability."
And, apparently, the size increase also made 'it' thicker than her thigh and nearly as long as her leg. Kaoru looked nervously at the women in the woodcuts. None of them seemed to be in active agony. But then, none of them seemed to be enjoying themselves, either. They all had blank expressions on their formally painted faces. And little wonder; they were scrunched up in positions that even with all of her martial arts training Kaoru doubted she would be able to contort into, their tiny white hands and feet waving about uselessly. Kaoru imagined that the concentration it took to weave arms and legs into some of those arrangements would preclude a woman from thinking or feeling much of anything. "How often do I have to ...?"
There was just a hint of fox ears popping out from Megumi's head at that question. "With Ken-san, I would hope as often as possible," she murmured, but she quickly reverted to a more professional tone. "That varies between couples, of course, but twice a week is considered reasonable. If you two are planning on having children right away, then obviously more often at first. Oh, and this is one of the better positions for getting pregnant."
Kaoru looked at 'this' and thought, Not for all the tofu in Tokyo. "I'll, ah, keep that in mind," she said faintly. "Megumi, thank you but I've got to go, um, shopping. For tofu. That's it, we're out of tofu."
Megumi appeared surprised but, thankfully, offered no protests as she gathered up the woodcuts to be put away. "Now there's a whole week before the wedding," she reminded Kaoru. "If you have any other questions please don't hesitate to come by and ask. And if Ken-san has any questions," she added, the fox ears popping out again with her sly smile, "you just direct him here and I'll be more than happy to answer those, too."
Kaoru gave a non-committal squeak and fled.
She did not go to the market. Instead she wandered aimlessly for a while until she found herself on the path leading to the river. Following it, she stood quietly on the bank and looked out at the fast moving water, trying to come to terms with the new role she would be expected to take up when she became Kenshin's wife. She would have to waste an hour every night painting her face and wear constricting, tight-fitting kimonos for Kenshin to scrunch into thick pads at her waist. Could she change into something more comfortable afterwards? She hoped so. Kenshin had a kind nature. Surely he wouldn't mind if she did.
Contemplating her new understanding of the more physical aspects of marriage made Kaoru feel just a touch queasy. No, no, she had to be honest with herself; she was completely appalled, so much so that she was not even sure she could go through with the ceremony. Wrapping her arms around herself for comfort, she paused, considering the feeling of her own hands on her arms. It wasn't ... unpleasant. She squeezed the flesh of her upper arms carefully. It didn't hurt, it wasn't uncomfortable.
It wasn't unpleasant when Kenshin touched her, either. She ... liked it when he touched her. When he put one arm around her as they walked together, she felt protected. When he put both arms around her for a gentle embrace, she felt cherished. And there was something else, usually during those accidental brushes of fingers doing laundry or dishes; a startling mutual spark of warmth that would make him jump away muttering "Oro?" as she stood still and blushed for no good reason.
But it seemed that there was touching and there was touching. Apparently marriage involved a lot of intense concentration for those strange interlocking of limbs that left little room for warmth or pleasure. And, oh, did it look uncomfortable! She thought it little wonder that Kenshin had not remarried in the nearly fifteen years since his first wife's death. It must have taken that long to straighten the kinks out of his muscles.
Can I do this? Kaoru wondered. Can I really go through with this?
She remembered how it had been when he left for Kyoto, how life had drained of all meaning for her to the point where she couldn't function. And it had been the same for him; when Einshi took her Kenshin had completely shut down. Without marriage, would he have any reason to remain? And if he left again, how would they both survive?
Resolved hardened in her. If it meant he would stay with her and not resume his wandering ways; well then, Kaoru decided, she would go through with the marriage. She was a strong woman. Surely she could put up with 'that' twice a week or so. Those contorted figures with their frozen faces flashed through her mind and she briefly faltered. At least, she hoped she could.
Quick note: Normally I'm not a fan of Japanese expressions in English language fanfics but in this case I've kept Kenshin's "oro" because ... well, it's quite untranslatable, really; it's sort of an expression of surprise like "huh" or "wha-?" but there's no one-to-one English word or phrase that works for me. However, I'm using "this unworthy one" for "sessha" where I think it appropriate.
Other quick note: If you've never seen erotic Japanese woodcuts from the Meiji or Edo periods, you've missed out on the educational experience of your life! They're nifty. They are also exaggerated to the point of caricature, but how is poor Kaoru supposed to know that? ~_^