7 Colors of Love : Red
"Good morning, Karou-dono."
The first thing I had noticed about Himura Kenshin was his bright, wild hair. It spilled messily down his back from a ponytail in a futile attempt to keep the locks in some semblance of order. I clearly remember thinking what an incredible color it was before I tried to pummel him for being Battousai, which at the time I really didn't know how correct my guess was. Who would've thought that such a skinny little man could be the infamous Battousai? To this day I still don't know what possessed me into attacking him. Nor what I would've done had Kenshin not been as sweet as he was.
I wonder what he was thinking when I attacked him? I must have frightened him somewhat… I know I would have been terrified if some strange woman had started swinging her wooden sword at me and accusing me of being the infamous man killer all the while spouting words of injustice. Hn… it is rather embarrassing, now that I think about it. I must have been a bizarre sight to behold, the poor fellow. I have to apologize to him about it somehow…
Now what was I saying? Oh yes. Kenshin's hair had to be the reddest I've ever seen in my entire life! Well… actually he is the only red head I have ever seen… okay, so even if I have never seen another red haired person, his hair color is very unusual here in Japan. It only serves to further tickle my curiosity of where he got such brilliant red hair. Did his parents have the same hair coloring? Were they foreigners? No… I remember Kenshin saying that they were farmers. So where did all that red come from?
A darker part of me whispers that it came from all the blood he shed, but I hastily destroy that thought. I don't want to believe such a vile idea. Kenshin—Kenshin is much more than the blood on his hands, and he is so kind. I think that the red comes more from the blood he's given, the internal bleeding he's had to suffer for everything. The tears of blood he had to have cried when no one was looking. Oh, Kenshin!
There are times when I want just want to hold him so tight that I want to squeeze out those persistent bad memories that haunt him. Other times I just want to shake him so hard so that all his worries would just fall away. But he keeps them so close to his heart that I wonder if I'll ever be able to get through them all before I can be that close. Will he ever let me? No. He wouldn't want to worry me. The idiot.
When is he going to learn that I worry about everything and anything! If it were the clearest day in the entire world I would worry that it may rain and ruin it! I worry! It's ingrained into my head, embedded somewhere inside my soul. Worrying was the only thing that I could do when I was alone. It was the only thing that kept me living through out the days. I worried about the dojo, the students, and other silly things. Since Yahiko, Sanosuke, Megumi, and most importantly Kenshin came around all I've done is shift from my menial worries to them.
I worry the most about him, though. He always pushes himself so much further than what is humanly possible. He's human just like the rest of us… When will people see that? When will he see that himself?
But I worry. A lot. Sometimes I worry about the silliest of things, like his hair. Today his hair was messy. I mean really messy, like he had fought with a comb and lost, gravely.
The red ends were standing in all sorts of directions, curling and twisting oddly. It was quite comical in a way because it seemed as if his hair was trying to run off his head hurriedly without care or concern. It amused me to think that he didn't particularly care how he looked this morning before greeting me. As if a part of his mask had finally fallen off and he allowed me to see another part of him that no one else saw.
While, yes, I can admit that getting worried over his hair may sound rather weird but I do have a reason! When I first meet Kenshin his hair was wild and messy, I'm quite sure the humidity from the fog was doing quite a number on it too. Even after I asked him to stay with me it stayed that way, wild and untamed. It wasn't until after the Shishio Makoto affair that it began to change. It became tamer, flattening down even. His bangs lost most of their bounce and just framed his face nicely. Those little hairs at the top that used to like to fly away from his face had finally conformed to the rest of the strands and began to curve downwards rather than up. It had a healthier shine too, almost like it was glowing on its own will power. It was as if his hair had realized that he had a home to come to everyday and it finally… relaxed.
Which is why I was worried. It was a small mental tick that was constantly taunting my heart reminding me of that night when Kenshin left me by the river. I couldn't help it but recall that evening, the words, and hurt. That moment will be forever carved into the back of my eyelids and I shall continue to relieve it every time I close my eyes. Even blinking could be so painful at times.
There are times that I have this dream where I am calmly talking to Kenshin about rather bland things and he tells me he has to leave again. He turns around and I desperately try to hold onto his kimono to keep him from going away. I always fail to do so though and I wake up crying clutching my covers in an iron grip.
I wonder if he has ever heard me cry those long nights?
Ah… er… Did I take to long to respond? Or was it because I was staring at him so intently… again "Good morning, Kenshin. Did you sleep well?" I asked smiling as brightly as I could, all the while trying to ignore the faint beating of my own heart. If I fainted now he might run off before I could stop him.
He stared at me for a while, most probably trying to decide if he should venture into asking why I took so long to answer or to ignore it. Oh I so hope he ignores it. I don't think that I can smile through this one right now. Eh? What's that look? Oh no! Kenshin, stop thinking about it! It's nothing! Really! Just ig—
"Is everything alright, Kaoru-dono?"
I could feel my face turn a faint pink in embarrassment. Why do I even bother trying to hide it from the second largest worry wart (apart from me of course)? Continuing to smile, I reply softly. "Yes, I'm fine Kenshin."
He gives me a look that shows he is not at all satisfied with my response. Before he could continue to poke at the re-opened wound, I shyly pointed to the top of his head trying to keep my eyes away from his yet not fully ignoring him. "It's just that," I slowly venture, not really sure if I would sound too strange to say that his hair was taking on a mind of its own. "Your hair… it's a bit…" Wild? Unruly? Springing off the top of your head?
He rolled his eyes upward to get a better look I suppose, his left hand already reaching to pat his hair. "Oro!"
I laugh sharply then before degenerating into a fit of giggles. He had the most humorous look on his blushing face. It was somewhat torn between mortification and amusement. He turns his dark colored eyes towards me and I try very hard to control the giggles that threatened to leave my mouth. Then the most wondrous thing happens! He smiles! Not that fake, silly rurouni smile, but a real smile that sends my heart spiraling towards my stomach.
It took me a while to find my voice again and I felt daring. Reaching out, my fingertips touch his red hair with feather soft strokes. "Ne, Kenshin did you fight with your comb?" He chuckles a bit the deep rumbling tone, sending jolts of electricity through my fingertips.
"Sessha has been having trouble with it lately, de gozaru."
I smile and pull my hand back looking directly in his eyes. "Let me brush it then. My comb happens to like me very much." His eyes fly open wide and for a moment I thought he might very well deny me this tantalizing treat. But then his eyes softened and he nods slightly, agreeing to indulge me this pleasure.
My smile widens and anxiety slowly started to build from my toes helping me into an excited flight. "Sit down I'll be right back!" I think I heard him mutter a soft 'oro' as I run into my room to retrieve the wooden object. When I return, he is already sitting patiently and has let the red strands free from their imprisonment. They float softly on the soft breeze while he swings his legs underneath the low porch as he stareas out to the sky in thought. He looked so much like a little boy that I slow down my pace so I can enjoy the view longer before kneeling behind him. He merely turns to look at me before going back to stare at the white clouds that float by.
I begin slowly at the bottom working my way up, untangling all the knots I could find and essentially finding order to the chaos that was his hair. I was done after a few minutes but I continue stroking the red strands enjoying the feel of them slipping between my fingers. Kenshin didn't say anything to me as I did this. Maybe he too was enjoying it. I couldn't tell.
Again I think about how such red hair could have appeared on this man that was by every other indication, Japanese. What village could have kept such a great secret? Speaking of villages… who ever gave him his last name must have been mocking him. Honestly! Or perhaps knowing Kenshin, he created it. If I didn't know better I would have thought Hiko-san created such teasing name. Man from the red village… honestly why not add in short? And yet… if it were not from someone important than why would Kenshin keep it?
Before watching Kenshin and Saitou fight I had a very hard time picturing my sweet, gentle Kenshin as the killer of the rumors. Of course afterwards I had no trouble! Still, I had never seen him with his hair up. What did his enemies think when they saw him with his ponytail waving in the dark like a red banner? I was almost terrified to ask him to put it up like that for me to see. He might end up brooding the entire day and then I'd have to waste my precious energy into knocking some sense into him! Honestly! Does he think I actually enjoy hitting him incessantly over the head? Well… okay so I did enjoy it a little… BUT only when I was really angry! Kenshin, you idiot.
I really do love his hair though.
Why can't my hair be this smooth? It feels just like silk! An idea springs to my mind and I pick up a few strands and bring them to my lips kissing them softly. The silken strands tickle my lips and I giggle out of ticklish sensation or the sheer silliness I don't really know. However, Kenshin felt the kiss and he turns around his face flushed as he looks at me curiously.
I smile, closing my eyes and once again kisse the shining strands sighing against the feel of the soft tresses against my lips. Yes… I think I feel in love with his hair first before falling for the man attached to it.
AN: The thought to write this came to me when I was reading the manga in one sitting and noticed that Kenshin's hair was not as scraggily as it was in the beginning. The idea that is expressed in the story stuck to me until I could stick it down to paper. Also, the act of social grooming suggests a sort of intimacy and trust. Most people don't like to be touched so letting someone do so is a sign of friendship and trust.
Writing Kenshin's particular speech is hard without leaving in his 'sessha, oro, and de gozaru' since there really is no English equivalent. Thus, I have left them in his speech pattern to not lose his character. Also, Kaoru is such a bubbly character that I tried to keep her thoughts as upbeat as I could without making her sound stupid. Let me know what you think. :)