* Disclaimer: Rurouni Kenshin is the property of Nobuhiro Watsuki.

Faithfully
Prologue: Happily Ever After?

Kenshin Himura was one of the members of the infamous Heart of the Sword, a rock band that consisted of five men. Each one of these five was enough to take any girl's breath away, but Kenshin was the most exotic of all. His fiery red hair that reached the end of his back was usually tied in ponytail at the base of his neck. And then there were his eyes. Many people thought that he wore contact lenses, but violet was really the natural color of his eyes. Oh yes, Kenshin was definitely one of the most attractive male walking on earth…

Together with the other members of Heart of the Sword he had earned his place among the greatest rock-musicians ever. Celebrity life was always associated with popularity, glamour and arrogance, but Kenshin was a very modest and polite person. His day-to-day clothes were usually simple. He rarely turned away fans who asked for his autograph or wanted to take a picture together. And he and the band contributed quite generously to charitable trust. Shortly, fans adored him and public respected him. However…

Despite all of the fame and wealth he had achieved, Kenshin had never had any serious relationship since he broke up with the only girlfriend he ever had ten years ago. Occasionally he dated someone, but it never went further to the second date. Even with fellow celebrities it was just the same. When asked in an interview, all he said was 'no comment'. On the contrary to his friendliness to the fans, he hated the press. He always avoided unnecessary interviews. That's right, the redhead was very secretive about his personal life.

There were female friends, a few among them quite close to him, but he hadn't found a woman yet with whom he wanted to spend the rest of his life. A handsome and rich eligible celebrity at the age of 30 was almost unheard of. Kenshin kept claiming that he had no time for relationships, and that music consumed most of his time. That was until he bumped into a certain sapphire-eyed woman in a CD shop…

Kaoru Kamiya had taken two majors for her education at the Royal Conservatoire at The Hague, the Netherlands: Classical and Jazz Piano. Having finished her degree with distinction at the age of 22, she went back to the United States to teach at the Boston Conservatory, the youngest teacher ever admitted to the prestigious music school. Both of her parents were respected teachers at the school; in fact, it was where every Kamiya for generations had been teaching and practicing music. As the only heir of the Kamiyas, the young prodigy came back from Europe to continue the tradition.

In a year that passed she won several world-class competitions and performed numerous times at international events. Her first solo recording was about to be released next month.

Despite her background, Kaoru loved almost every genre of music. Her choice of majors had proven it. On the contrary, her parents loathed every genre of music except classic. They weren't particularly happy with their daughter studying jazz, but they had no reason to complain since Kaoru did very excellently on both subjects.

Rock was her favorite number three beside classic and jazz. She had several preferences in that genre; 'Journey' was one of them. There's this album from that band that she had been searching for years. It finally led her to a CD shop where she bumped into a certain redheaded rock star…

***

"Are you sure you have that CD in the Rock section?" Kaoru Kamiya squealed in delight as she spoke to one of the employees at the Rock Palace, the biggest CD store in Boston. It had the most comprehensive CD collection, especially rock music. "Geez, why haven't I visited this place sooner? Thanks a lot!" She shook his hand excitedly and set off to find the CD.

"Uhm… section F… section H…" The woman murmured softly to herself as she wandered through the large rock music section of the store. Rows of shelves full of CD's filled the room. The CD's were grouped according to the artists, and sorted alphabetically. "Section I… Section J!! Now where's Journey?" She was so engrossed in her excitement that she didn't pay attention to someone who was coming from the other end of the row.

There it is! Her eyes widened in joy as her eyes came upon a CD with dark blue cover. Frontiers!!! I finally found you after all these years!! And it's the last copy! Talk about luck… Her slim hand reached out to take the CD off the shelf…

…only to find that another hand was holding onto the CD as well. Startled, Kaoru turned her head around and in that instant her eyes were locked to the most beautiful violet eyes she had ever seen. Well, not that many people had violet eyes anyway…

"Uhm… sorry, Miss…" A voice snapped her out of her reverie. "But I got this CD first."

"What do you mean you got this CD first?" Kaoru's temper flared up immediately. "I've been looking for this CD for years and…" She trailed off as she put the man under her scrutiny.

"And what?" The man raised his eyebrows. There was a hint of annoyance in his voice. He wasn't really comfortable with the way Kaoru was staring at him.

Kaoru kept looking at him intently. That man wasn't really tall; only a bit taller than her and Kaoru wasn't a tall woman to begin with. But his hair was the most beautiful shade of red she had ever seen. Violet eyes, red hair… there's only one person with such eyes and hair… Then she said aloud, "You're Kenshin Himura, aren't you?"

Oh great… Kenshin Himura groaned inwardly. There it goes again… sometimes I wish I had a wig… He sighed. "Yes, as a matter of fact I am. Now would you mind to let me have the CD?"

"Geez…" Kaoru snorted, her hands didn't loose its hold on the CD. "I thought you were nice. People said that you're always friendly to anyone. Is it just a façade?"

"I am usually nice to anyone. But when it comes to my favorite band I can---"

"Mister Himura, is there any problem?" A feminine voice interrupted them. A tall blond woman with a very thick make up on her face was standing behind them. A nametag on her left chest showed that she worked there. She batted her eyelashes and smiled seductively at Kenshin. A frown appeared at her pale face when she saw the CD at Kenshin and Kaoru's hands. "Do you want me to call the security and get rid of this… girl?"

"What?!!" Kaoru exclaimed indignantly. "You…"

A finger on her lips silenced her protests. "No, there's no a problem at all. Thank you for your concern." Kenshin smiled politely and nodded at her. "I'll let you know if I need some help."

It was an indirect gesture to dismiss the blond. She only shrugged. "If you say so, Mr. Himura. Just call me anytime you need assistance." She cast a glare at Kaoru one last time and left.

"That woman had the nerve to…" Kaoru was fuming. "And you!" She glared at the rock star. "What was that all about? You could've just sent me away and gotten the CD! Why didn't you do that?"

The redhead smirked. "Like that they said, I'm always nice to everyone."

"Yeah right…" She rolled her eyes and muttered under her breath. "What an arrogant jerk…"

Kenshin sighed deeply. No one had ever said that he was a jerk. "Look, Miss, you obviously hate me. But I don't want you to get into a trouble just because of me."

There was a considerably long period of silence before Kaoru said softly, "Who says I hate you?"

Kenshin was puzzled. "Huh?"

"You would've never guessed it, but Heart of the Sword is my favorite band beside Journey." I'm not gonna admit that he's actually my favorite among the five… "Yes, I'm actually a fan of Heart of the Sword. I really love your music."

"Uh, well… Thanks…" He scratched his head, not really knowing what to say.

"You don't believe me, do you?" Kaoru shrugged and smiled. "Well, I can't bla---"

"No, no!" Kenshin cut her in hastily. Her smile is so beautiful… "It's not that I don't believe you, it's just that…" He trailed off.

"What? That I don't go swooning and fainting at the sight at you? That I don't go screaming your name and ask you to marry me like what those girls do?" She smirked as she saw a blush creeping into his face. "Just not my style…"

"Why?"

"Because you're a human too…" Kaoru looked at him as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. "Just because you're a celebrity doesn't mean I have to regard you more than I regard that beggar sitting outside. As human being, I believe we are all equal." A sincere and apologetic smile appeared on her lips. "Sorry to disappoint you, Mr. Himura. But I'd like you to know that if I had brought one of your CD, I would've asked for your autograph…"

Kenshin had that wistful look in his face as he said, "I wish everyone thought just the way you do…"

Now it was Kaoru's turn to be puzzled. "What do you mean?"

"Exactly what you meant. I'm just a human. I don't really like people putting me on a pedestal and worshipping me. I'm not God, you know… I just wish that people would treat me as their equal instead of their superior. But then again, there's a price to pay for being famous…"

A moment of silence followed. "Well, you're nicer than you look after all." Kaoru gave him a friendly smile. "I take that back. You're not an arrogant jerk… Now would you please let me have the CD?"

Kenshin suddenly laughed. "Persistent, aren't you? Well, here's the deal…" For the first time in my life I meet someone who sees right through me. If I didn't take the chance, I'd forever regret it… His expression turned serious as he gazed straight into Kaoru's sapphire eyes. "You can have the CD, if you want to drink a cup of coffee with me."

"What?! Are you trying to bribe me?" Kaoru glared at him. So much for saying that he's not a jerk. "Thanks, but no, thanks." She began to loose her hold on the CD. "For all that I care, you may have---"

"Please…" Kenshin caught her wrist before she turned away, his eyes pleading to her. "Just one cup of coffee, I promise you. Nothing more if you don't wish for it."

Kaoru judged him for a few moments that seemed like an eternity to Kenshin. A rock star is practically begging me to drink a cup of coffee with him? And he doesn't even know my name! It's unbelievable... She couldn't help but notice the sincerity she found in his eyes. He does seem different. And maybe it's not just a façade after all. Come to think about it, I've always wanted to know Kenshin Himura. Not the man he is on stage, but the real Kenshin Himura…

"Oh well…" Kaoru finally answered. "Just a cup of coffee wouldn't do any harm." Kenshin's lips curved into a joyous smile. "Besides, I can tell my friends that Kenshin Himura asked me out." She winked at Kenshin, who had slight red spots on his cheek. "Just kidding… Anyway, just tell me where and when."

"Now. And you pick the place." The last think he wanted was Kaoru feeling uncomfortable at unknown places.

"I know a small café not far from here. Nothing glamorous and fancy, but it's clean and the atmosphere is nice. How about it?"

"The Little House? Fine with me." And Kenshin finally let go of the CD.

***

Kenshin didn't get the CD he had been searching for. Instead, he found something else that day, something far more precious than just a CD. He found Kaoru Kamiya.

It turned out to be more than just a cup off coffee that night. They were so engaged in their conversation that they stayed until the café was about to be closed. In face, the owner had to send them away after he had asked Kenshin's autograph for his daughter.

This time, it went beyond the first date, if you could call it a date anyway. They went out together numerous times after that to various occasion. Kaoru even accompanied him to the Grammy Award where Heart of the Sword received yet another award for their latest album, and Kenshin was frequently seen at her recitals.

One year had passed since that fateful day, and today is their wedding day.

***

Only relatives and close friends attended the wedding ceremony at the church. The other members of Heart of the Sword were naturally present. Enishi Yukishiro, the drummer and Kenshin's best man for the wedding, was that day for the first time seen without his sunglasses. He would've worn it anyway had it not been for Kaoru's request. Soujirou Seta, the ever-smiling keyboardist, sat behind the piano. He was to accompany the whole ceremony. Sanosuke Sagara and Katsuhiro Tsukioka, the lead guitarist and the bassist, sat at the front row with their respective partners. Kenshin had no living relatives; the band members were practically his family.

Next to Sanosuke and Katsu was Aoshi Shinomori, the manager of HotS. His wife, Misao Shinomori, who had become a close friend to Kaoru over the time, had the honor to be the bridesmaid that day.

The grim looking Mr. and Mrs. Kamiya were seated beside Aoshi. They didn't really approve of their daughter marrying someone outside the Boston Conservatory – a rock star no less – but they knew their daughter well enough to try to change her mind.

Among other guests was Makoto Shishio, the president of Rengoku Inc., the record company that produced all of HotS' albums. Yumi Komagata, his current lover, was spotted right beside him. Enishi's sister and her husband, Tomoe and Akira Kiyosate, were also present. Tomoe was rocking their 6-month-old son in her arms, while Akira was trying to keep their daughter calm.

The deep voice of the priest called everyone's attention. "If anyone here finds a good reason why these two should not be joined in holy matrimony, speak now, or forever hold your peace." The room was perfectly silent; even the rambunctious little Kiyosato watched the bride and groom with her eyes widened full of interest. "All right then…" The priest nodded to Enishi, gesturing him to bring the rings forward.

"Will you, Kenshin Himura, take this woman, Kaoru Kamiya, as your wife? Will you love her just as you love yourself, just as God has loved you? Will you cherish and honor her for better or for worse, in sickness and health, till death do you part?"

Kenshin took Kaoru's hand in his, and said aloud, "I, Kenshin Himura, take thee, Kaoru Kamiya, as my wife. As long as I shall live I will cherish and honor you. For better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and health, I will remain faithful to you and you alone. This I promise you, that I will love you with all of my heart, my body and my soul, till death do us part…" He took a deep breath as he slipped the ring into Kaoru's finger and said solemnly, "And hereby I pledge you my faithfulness…"

Then the priest turned to Kaoru. "Will you, Kaoru Kamiya, take this man, Kenshin Himura, as your husband? Will you love him just as you love yourself, just as God has loved you? Will you serve and honor him for better or for worse, in sickness and health, till death do you part?"

Kaoru's voice was crystal clear as she proceeded with the wedding vow. "I, Kaoru Kamiya, take thee, Kenshin Himura, as my husband. As long as I shall live I will serve and honor you. For better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and health, I will remain faithful to you and you alone. Come what may, I will love you with all of my heart, my body and my soul, till death do us part…" She slipped the ring into his finger with a slightly trembling hand. But she managed to keep her voice steady as she said earnestly, "And hereby I pledge you my faithfulness…"

The priest's voice rang through the church. "Today, witnessed by God and your family and friends, I pronounce you, Kenshin Himura and Kaoru Kamiya, as husband and wife. What God has united, may men never separate." He raised his hands as the couple bowed their heads solemnly. "The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord lift His countenance upon you and give you peace. The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. Amen…"

***

And they live happily ever after, right? Wrong.

Whoever believes that 'they live happily ever after' is gravely mistaken, for it is a myth that exists only in fairy tales. Why would 'in sickness and health' and 'for better or worse' be a part of the wedding vow anyway?

The wedding day is not the end; it never is. It is the beginning of a new journey as two different worlds merge as one. Many couples walk down the aisle to the altar without being aware of this long and difficult journey they are about to make, starting at the moment they say 'I do'. A journey that lasts a lifetime, and not without pain, trials and temptations along the way. For where there is joy, there is also sorrow. Where there is happiness, there is also sadness. And where there is love, there is also pain…

This story explores the marriage life of Kenshin and Kaoru, the good and the bad of it, as they take on that journey, and teaches you the true meaning of 'till death do us part'…

- End of Prologue: Happily Ever After? -

Author's Note:

* I didn't intend the prologue to be this long, but I thought a bit background was necessary to this story.

* I know I'm crazy for starting yet another fic, but this one's been bugging me recently. Most drama/romance fics I know end at weddings, but like what I said above, wedding is never the end. I'd like to try a different approach with this fic. Personally, it's a challenge for me… I could've made a spin-off from 'In Search of The Lost Sapphire', but I'd like to see Kenshin as music man… ^_^x

* Pardon the choice of the wedding ceremony, but it was done in the only way I'm familiar of, i.e. wedding at the church.

* HotS stands for 'Heart of the Sword', the name of Kenshin's band. I didn't know what else to call the band. *sighs* I'm so pathetic…

* I have no idea either there is a CD store named 'Rock Palace' in Boston or a café named 'The Little House'. I made it up. But 'Boston Conservatory' and 'The Royal Conservatoire' at The Hague, the Netherlands, do exist.

* If you wish to be mailed whenever I post a new chapter, do not hesitate to do so. You can just put your email address in your review.

* I think that's all I need to say… Oh yeah, please tell me what you think of it by clicking that tiny button down there… ^_^ *hint, hint* Should I continue or not?
Thanks for reading (and reviewing)!