A/N: Hello minna-san! I'm back! Finally my finals is over and I have enough time now to concentrate on my newest fic. Also had our prom last February 27. It was okay. Just to give you an idea how I looked like, ummm. . .anyone knows St. Tail? Well, had the same color and style (including the "tuxedo" look) although the skirt was long (of course) and it was an off-shoulder. Argghhh! Who cares? Anyway, I got the idea of this fic when me and my friend were scanning through the RK characters' profile which I had for almost four years now. Jachelle (my friend) "hallucinated" that what happens if she fell in love with someone who is ten years older than her. . .At that, hehehehe. . .my mind poofed a light bulb. I do hope I don't mess with this story. sighs Enough with this babbling! On to the story!



Chapter 1. Death

Kaoru ran trough the polished floors in the corridors of their house. One might say that the compound was rather "old fashioned", but then, the inside was westernized though not loosing its "oriental" flavor. Her little and chubby fingers were holding a story book while her ponytail bopped up and down at the back of her head. Rounding a corner, she stopped at a closed shouji door.

I'll read Papa a story so he'll feel better...Kaoru whispered to herself. For a five year-old child, she was quite a reader. Being able to write and read hiragana, katakana and kanji characters with ease. Usually, she and her father would read story books together and do calligraphy. But for the past few weeks, Mr. Kamiya has been in bed--sick.

"Papa, papa..." Kaoru called out softly placing her small hands over the door and slid it open noiselessly. Peeking, she saw her father tucked up in bed, pale and thin unlike the cheerful and healthy "papa" she had known.

"Papa, look...I brought you a story book. Let's read together!" Kaoru chimed as she drew closer to her father's side.

"Kaoru..." his father called out weakly upon hearing her daughter's voice. "Ikou..." Mr. Kamiya laid all his effort in holding out his hand which Kaoru eagerly took and sat on the edge of his father's bed giggling.

"Papa, Hiko-Sensei trained me and your students while you were gone. He said he wishes that you get well soon because no one masters the Kamiya Kasshin-ryuu other than you. He also said that he didn't want to grow old fast because of training dozens and dozens of "stupid pupils"! Kaoru stated with childish affection.

Mr. Kamiya smiled at her daughter's "news". "What do you have there my child?", he asked catching a sight of something in Kaoru's hands.

Kaoru's wide sapphire eyes quickly looked at the book. "Oh. . .I almost forgot!" She bit her lower lip and then opened the book. "Genzai jii-san gave it to me." She turned her gaze to the book's cover and started to read the title.

"The title is...C-cinderella!" she exclaimed.

Mr. Kamiya nodded. "Will you read it for me Kaoru?"

"Hai!" At that, Kaoru started to read with all her zeal. Comforting and patting his father's chest every time he coughed.

Mr. Kamiya felt comforted and at ease in her daughter's presence. "Kaoru...forgive me...", he said to his mind as he listened to Kaoru's lulling voice. Opening his weary eyes, he gulped and squeezed Kaoru's hand making her stop.

"Papa?" Kaoru asked with all her innocence.

"Wha-what would you want me to tell your mama?", he asked his voice quivering.

Kaoru paused for a moment with her mouth half open and her head furrowing. "Mama..."

Kaoru dug up into her memory trying to remember her mother's face. All she could remember is that she had the same raven hair that she had and the same ice blue eyes. Her mother passed away when she was just two years old because of leukemia. The doctors tried everything to save her, but, unfortunately, Mrs. Kamiya stopped responding to all the treatments and died.

"Tell her I miss her!" Kaoru exclaimed hugging his father.

He couldn't do anything but to pat his hands over her daughter's frail body trying to fight his lingering tears. "I will...don't worry."

"Hontou?" Kaoru asked surprised that she brought her head up to meet his father's gaze. She released from his father's hold excited. "Then, then, tell her I love her so much. Tell her I want to see her again!"

Mr. Kamiya just kept silent and smiled over the matter. She cannot tell that Kaoru can never be with her mother again...

Cannot tell that he was dying...

"Papa, can you not just bring me where you'll see Mama so I can personally tell her what I want you to say to her?" Kaoru asked with naivety.

"I'm afraid not Kaoru. But, don't worry. I'll make sure she receives your message..." Mr. Kamiya replied, pain and guilt tearing him apart.

"Mou...Well, okay...", she pursed her lips and then thought of something. "Hmmmm...When will you be leaving?"

That hit his heart. Those taintless eyes...voice...and soul...

How painful was this! How painful must have it been for a father to be the first one to leave before his beloved daughter. Mr. Kamiya sighed heavily. "T-today..."

"Today?" Her thoughts trailed off. She saw the book that was lying on her lap. "Then I must finish to read Cinderella before you go!"

He sighed again mustering all his strength to speak. "P-promise Papa you'll be a good and strong girl while Papa is gone, ne?"

"Of course! I'll be as good as can be until you return Papa!" At that, he hugged his father again and picked up the book that was lying freely on her lap.

Hearing her daughter's angelic voice, Mr. Kamiya closed his eyes letting an unknown force drain all energy from his body unnoticeable to Kaoru. Sayounara...Kaoru...

After reading the last page, Kaoru closed the back cover of the book. She looked expectantly at his father's face. His eyes were closed and his skin was paler than ever...Even lifeless...

"Wasn't the story nice Papa?" Kaoru asked smiling. She was expecting a nod from his father. "Ne? Papa?" Kaoru asked again gently tapping his hand. No answer.

"Papa!" Kaoru asked rather frustrated.

Kaoru snorted and twitched her lips. She reached for her father's face to brush away the bangs that hung on his forehead. "Papa?" Still no answer. His skin felt cold against her palm. "Pa-pa...?" her voice trailed off into a meek whisper.

"Papa! Papa!" She was tugging at his father's yukata trying to wake him up. Then it struck her. From her blurred memory she could remember that day...That day...That day when her mother passed out. She was peeking at the same shouji she went into today. Everyone was crying...Everyone was in grief. . .

"It, it can't be...Pa...pa...Iya. . ." Tears started to flow from her eyes without her own knowing. She felt like everything shattered into pieces. She felt so lost. How was she going to live now? She was all alone...

Kaoru tried to stand up. She wanted to shout but there was a big lump in her throat. Tears continued to fall endlessly. She ran outside not minding when she tripped and even sprained her ankle. She ran inside the house to find Genzai-sensei.

He wasn't there.

She went to the dojo to get Hiko-sensei.

He wasn't there.

She stopped at the courtyard panting and scanning the area for anybody. The pain was biting at her ankle. Not loosing hope, she stepped down and went to the backyard. Then, she saw a very familiar figure practicing the shinai. Flame red hair swayed gracefully in the air complementing every move that the person made.

Kaoru felt relieved upon seeing him. She ran up to him crying and rubbing his eyes with the back of her hands.




A/N: Whistles How was it? It's already 9:00 PM. I really need some sleep. I wasn't able to get a nice sleep last night or should I say morning? Whatever! well, do please tell me what you think about this one, ne? I do hope you stay with me like before. GTG! Bye! Mwaaaahhhh!

Chapter re-edited and reposted on 14 November 2005