Disclaimer: Rurouni Kenshin is the property of Nobuhiro Watsuki.

Chapter 3: To Gain and to Lose

6 months later

Kenshin was sitting behind the piano, his mouth humming a nameless tune softly. His slender fingers pressed a combination of the keys, trying to find a suitable chord for that particular part of the song. Not quite satisfied, he repeated the tune and tried a different combination. Still, he wasn't satisfied with the result. He was about to try yet another chord when a shriek from the bedroom startled him so that his fingers struck several random keys unintentionally. He cringed at the disharmonic sound that reverberated through the room. "Kaoru?" Hearing no answer, he closed the lid of the piano and went to check on his wife.

The redhead was halfway there when Kaoru appeared on the doorway to their bedroom. She was grinning from ear to ear. There was a thin rectangular object in her right hand. "Kenshin, look at this!" She held out that 'thing' in her hand to him excitedly. "Do you know what it means??!!!"

Blinking his eyes a few times, he took the object from her hand. A frown marred his handsome face as he put it under scrutiny, all the while turning it upside down. "Uhm… what's this thing?"

"You silly redhead!" Kaoru chuckled as she snatched that thing from his hand. She waved it in front of Kenshin's eyes. "This, my dear husband, is what they call Pregnancy Test Kit."

"Oh…" was all she got as a reply.

"Arghhh!!" She faked an exasperated sigh. "Sweetie, I already knew you were an idiot when I married you. But I didn't realize that you're that much of an idiot…"

"Hey, what's that for?" Kenshin put on an insulted expression. "Only a bigger idiot would marry an idiot, right?"

Sticking her tongue out to him, she pointed to the thing in her hand enthusiastically. "Kenshin, see this blue line???! Geez, do I have to explain everything to you? It's not like you've never seen it in the movies… It means that I'm pregnant!"

His eyes went blinking again. "You're… you're pregnant?"

"Yes." She nodded and put her arms around his neck, their foreheads touching. A happy smile adorned her lovely face. "We're gonna have a baby…"

When his mind was finally done digesting the information he just received, his face broke into a grin also. "We are??" Kenshin gave her a quick kiss and spun her around a few times.

After the initial shock and excitement had worn off, they found themselves sitting comfortably on their queen-sized bed, snuggling against each other. Neither said a word; each enjoyed the other's silent company.

Kenshin's contented sigh broke the comfortable silence between them. Kissing her forehead, he murmured softly into her mass of black hair. "I still can't believe that I'm gonna be a daddy…"

Kaoru smiled as she tangled her fingers in his long red locks that were sprawled across his chest. "I guess vacation really helped, right?"

"You bet it did. One of Misao's brilliant ideas, I must say." He tilted her chin a bit and caught her lips with his own. It was not the kind of passionate kisses they shared when they were making love, but it held a sweetness of its own. Breaking the kiss, he pulled back slightly and gazed down at her lovingly. His thumb caressed her cheek gently. "You don't have any idea how happy I am…"

"As am I…" She responded before settling her head on Kenshin's chest, sighing with contentment. Finally… I've been dreaming about this since as long as I can remember. I married the man of my dreams, and I'm carrying his child. Kenshin's child… A sense of pride flooded through her at that thought. Really, what more could a woman wish for? Come to think about it, I've always wanted a child of my own. Now I'm gonna get my wish fulfilled! I wonder if it's a boy or a girl. Of course, it's way too early to learn about the gender. However, if it's a boy, I would want to name him---

"Kaoru?" Kenshin's voice broke her train of thoughts.

"What is it, Kenshin?"

"Don't you think we should let our friends know?" He ran his hand through her silky hair idly. "I think they would be excited, wouldn't they?"

"Yeah, I can imagine that…" She shifted her position a bit so that she sat in her husband's lap, facing him. "But before that I'd like to go to the doctor first. You know, just to make sure everything's okay…"

"Great idea!" A smile appeared on Kenshin's face as his hand reached for his cell phone. "Shall I call the doctor for an appointment?"

A few days later

Ring… The telephone in the living room of the Himura residence rang.

"Kaoru?" Kenshin's faint voice was heard from the kitchen. He was busy preparing their dinner. The telephone rang for the second time.

"I'll get it, Kenshin. Don't worry!" Slamming the door of the bathroom shut, Kaoru hurriedly ran to the living room. By the time she picked up the phone, it had rung for the fourth time. "Hello, this is Kaoru speaking." She smiled as she recognized the voice at the other end of the line. "Oh hi, Enishi! …… Sorry, Kenshin was in the kitchen, and I was in the bathroom when the telephone rang. …… I know. Don't worry. Anyway, what's up? …… " A blush crept on her cheek. "Yeah, it's true! You're gonna get another nephew or niece! …… Thanks! We're really glad, you know. …… Oh, the doctor said that I'm about one month along. …… Kenshin? I don't know. He's busy with dinner. But I'll ask him. Wait a sec, will ya?" She covered the horn of the phone and called her husband, "Kenshin, Enishi called. He wants to talk to you if you're able to."

"A moment please. I'm washing my hands." came the reply from the kitchen.

Kaoru turned her attention to the telephone again. "He'll be here in a moment. Oh yeah, we're thinking of arranging a small dinner together with the band at the end of this week. You can come, right? …… Kenshin's cooking, don't worry. I don't want to poison my unborn child, you know? And Misao's also, for that matter." Her laughter filled the living room. Regaining her composure, she noticed Kenshin coming out from the kitchen. "Here's the father-to-be," she said to Enishi before handing the telephone to her husband. Picking up the remote control, she zapped through the television channels as she followed her husband's conversation with his best friend absentmindedly. Mostly about her pregnancy and their new project, she mused to herself.

"A date?? Am I hearing things???" Kenshin sounded very surprised, but happy nonetheless. Kaoru's ears perked up immediately. "It's about time, man! I thought you'd die as an old bachelor!" He laughed as the other man grumbled. "Of course, you can bring the lady. And sorry to cut it so soon, but I gotta go back to the kitchen. I think Kaoru here wants to talk to you." He gave his wife a wink. "Nice talking with you, Enishi. We'll talk some time later, right? …… Bye!" Handing the telephone back to Kaoru, he whispered to her, "He's got a date…"

"I know." She giggled as she took the telephone, dying to interrogate Enishi about his love life. "What is this, Enishi? You've got yourself a woman and you didn't tell me about it?" She laughed at something he said. "Just kidding. By the way, who is she? Is she pretty? What's her name?" Again a laugh. "…… Oh, that woman. Yeah, I know her. Kenshin introduced me to her the last time we met at the studio. …… Don't know, I don't really know her that well. I can't give you my opinion yet. But she's beautiful at least. You're a lucky guy! …… Kenshin's right. It's about time! We're beginning to worry about… let's just say, your preference." She snickered at his insulted protest. "Honestly, Enishi, I've known you for almost three years now? And never once have I ever seen you with something that resembles a woman. …… Just kidding, you know." Her tone softened. "I'm happy for you. I really am. You deserve it. …… Okay, I'll see you at the dinner party, right? …… Bye!"

Kaoru rested her head on the couch for a moment. Just then, a pain in her shoulder made her wince. She applied a bit pressure on her shoulder blades with her fingers, and it went away much to her relief. What was that? Shaking her head, she thought to herself. Maybe I'm just too excited… Not finding any program she'd like to watch at the television, she put down the remote control and sighed. I'm bored… What should I do?

A naughty smile appeared on her face as she heard Kenshin being busy in the kitchen. She got up and tiptoed carefully to the kitchen. She was halfway there when Kenshin suddenly appeared in front of her, his eyebrows raised. "What did I tell you about going to the kitchen while I'm busy in there?"

"Mou, Kenshin, you're no fun at all!" She slapped his chest playfully and eyed his clothes. No pink apron.

"Looking for something, Sweetie?" Kenshin smirked as he noticed her eyes ogling at his clothes.

Flashing him an overly sweet smile, she put her arms around his neck. "You're cruel, you know. If you never let me in the kitchen, how am I supposed to learn?"

"Maybe later, when I get my hands on a white, plain apron. A great idea from Aoshi."

"Mou, I've seen you once in that pink apron! It's a bit too late for that, you know?"

Kenshin shrugged as he said, "Twice is once too many. By the way, it's magenta, not pink, and dinner's not ready yet. I---"

"Forget about dinner." She smiled seductively at him and whispered in his ears, "I think I'll have you for dinner instead…"

"Now, now… it's a very tempting prospect you just offered, Sweetie…" His eyes sparkling with mischief, Kenshin unclasped her hands from his neck slowly. "… but you're not skipping dinner tonight." He waved a finger in front of her face, managing the best scolding tone he could. "Dr. Johnson said you had to eat properly and I promised her to make sure you do. Now go prepare the table. Dinner will be ready in a few minutes." Then he shoved her gently to the direction of the dining room, but not before pinching her butt.

Kaoru had to yelp at that. She shot Kenshin an I'll-get-you-for-that-later glare and stuck her tongue to him. Then she disappeared from his view.

The redhead smiled at his wife's antics and went back to the kitchen to tend to their dinner.

Later that night

Kaoru dialed a number. The telephone rang several times before the answering machine answered her call. This is the answering machine of Megumi Takani. Please leave your message… "That woman's never home." Kaoru complained as she paid no heed to the rest of the welcome message. Then a beep was heard. It was her cue to start speaking. "Hi, Megumi. It's me. Where are you, Girl?? I tried to call you a few times, but you never answered. Anyway, call me in the morning, if you please? I have something to tell you. That's all I wanted to say. Sweet dreams and looking forward to your call! Bye!" Sighing, she put down the phone.

"Who's that?" Kenshin yawned. His eyes were tired from all the reading. Time to stop reading and go to bed…

"It's Megumi, a childhood friend of mine. We went to the same elementary school." She replied as she stretched her body, getting ready for sleep. "She's a doctor in a small town a few hours from here. Quite a busy woman, I'd say. She took over the practice of her dad's old friend right after her graduation. I haven't seen her for quite some time actually. The last time was… I believe at our wedding."

Kenshin was deep in thought for a while. Then his face lightened up. "Oh, I remember. Beautiful, long black hair, elegant, sharp-tongued?"

"Yep, that's her."

"I think Sano was interested in her." Kenshin chuckled as he remembered Sanosuke trying to enchant the woman doctor and failing miserably in it. "From the way it looked, Sanosuke ruined his one and only chance. He even called her fox!"

Kaoru giggled also. "You know Sanosuke. Always the wrong words at the wrong time. Now that you mention it, I remember Megumi calling me a few days after that and complaining about a certain 'womanizing, loud-mouthed, arrogant, insufferable rooster-head'. They did make quite a scene during the reception party, didn't they?"

"I don't mind. It was a day not to forget…" The redhead kissed her softly on her forehead. "By the way, have you told your parents already?"

Her face fell slightly at the mention of her parents. "Yeah…"

It didn't go unnoticed by her husband. He touched her shoulder lightly. "Kaoru, what's the matter? Aren't they happy?"

"They did congratulate me, well, Mom did, at least." She shrugged. "It's just that they didn't sound really sincere." Shaking her head slowly, she let out a rather heavy sigh. "I just wish that they're willing to accept my choice, to accept you… They should at least respect you! Mou, sometimes they are just plainly rude toward you, especially Dad. They probably think that me getting pregnant is not a good idea…"

"Hey, cheer up…" He squeezed her shoulder gently, giving her an encouraging smile. "I bet they'll change their mind the moment they lay their eyes on their beautiful grandson or granddaughter. I know I'm not your Dad's ideal son-in-law, but I'll do my best to take care of our baby…" His tone softened as he added, "…and to take care of you."

"You're probably right…" She fell silent for a while, and then her lips finally curled into a smile. "Thanks, Kenshin…"

"For what?"

"For making me feel better. You always do that."

He waved his hand as another yawn attacked him. "It's what husbands do anyway." His eyelids suddenly began to feel very heavy.

Deciding to get some sleep as well, Kaoru settled herself further into her bed and pulled the sheets up to her chin. "Kenshin?"

"Hnnn…?" He felt the sheets beside him rustling.

"Good night." Her voice was no more than whisper.

Though half conscious, he still managed to mumble a 'good night' reply. The last thing he remembered before falling asleep was the feel of Kaoru's soft lips on his cheek.

Weekend was fast approaching. And so the members of the band plus their manager found themselves gathering at Kenshin's apartment for the dinner. Katsu and Tae had just returned from their honeymoon two days before, and the newlyweds seemed to forget occasionally that they weren't in their hotel suite anymore. True to his words, Enishi brought a date, much to everyone's delight and Sanosuke's annoyance. Well, the lead guitarist had been Enishi's rival for Brittany Anderson's affection. She was actually the new pop sensation that currently worked on a duet song with Heart of the Sword. That explained her familiarity with everyone present at the dinner. Soujirou had been going steady with his current girlfriend for several months now. Her name was Jane Koslov, a dark haired woman with Russian blood running through her vein, and she's a renowned R&B star. Sanosuke was the only one without a date, a fact which he resented since he kinda felt left out among the other couples. But it didn't stop him from having fun, though.

The dinner went by uneventfully, and so were the days that followed. Without anyone realizing, several weeks had gone by since then when a nervous Aoshi made a phone call to the Himura residence.

Kaoru put down the phone and hopped to the couch next to her husband excitedly. "Guess what?"

Kenshin had followed her conversation with Aoshi just a few moments before. It was easy to guess what his manager had to say judging from Kaoru's thrilled squeal. "Misao's rushed to the hospital?"

"Yup!" She nodded and sighed happily. "It's time! The doctor expects the baby within a few hours. Oh, I can't wait!!! I hope everything's gonna be fine. We can visit them tomorrow, right, Kenshin?"

"Of course…"

"Can we go shopping for baby clothes?" She batted her eyelashes, looking at him with puppy-dog-eyes that she knew Kenshin could never resist. "Actually I wanted to do it the other day and thus sparing you the grief of having to put up with me…" She gave him a wink. "…but I never got the chance."

He chuckled as he pinched her cheek. "It's not fair, Sweetie… You know I can't refuse you anything when you look at me like that!" He quirked his eyebrows as something came to his mind. "Hey, don't you have an appointment with Dr. Johnson today?"

"It's scheduled at 4 p.m. We can go there after shopping." She stuck her tongue out. "Bad attempt to get away from shopping, my sweet redhead…"

Kenshin didn't retaliate the way he usually did. Instead, his face was etched with concern as he recalled the reason behind Kaoru's appointment with the gynecologist. "Do you still get that shoulder-pain a lot?"

[A/N: gynecology: branch of medicine that deals with the diseases and routine physical care of the reproductive system of women.]

"Yesterday morning." She gave him a small smile, as if trying to assure Kenshin that everything was okay. "Probably just because I was a bit tired. It's been quite a hectic period at the Conservatory anyway."

"Maybe you should rest more. You've been staying awake past midnight these last---"

"Kenshin…" She took his hand in hers and gave it a light squeeze. "I'm okay. Don't worry. Besides, I ain't gonna sit and do nothing like an invalid grandma for seven months! It's way too boring."


"No buts. You worry too much, Kenshin." Sighing in defeat, she finally made a compromise. "Okay, I won't stay awake late at night if that makes you feel better. I'll eat and rest properly. And I promise I'll take maternity leave if need be. There. Are you satisfied?"

"I'm sorry… I didn't mean to confine you to a boring life." Bringing his hand up, he stroked her cheek. "I'm just worried about you."

"I know." She leaned her head into his shoulder. "Just relax. Everything's gonna be okay. I'll keep my words, though. I'll look out for my own health better, okay?"

"That's my girl." Kenshin let out a chuckle, his hands ruffling her hair affectionately.

"Now can we go shopping?"

A few hours had passed since Kenshin and Kaoru set out to buy baby clothes for the (soon-to-be) newest addition to the Shinomori family. It was already 3.15 p.m. when Kenshin decided that if they wanted to be on time at their appointment with Dr. Johnson, they would have to leave now. Boston Medical Center was not that far from the department store they were in, but he was more concerned with the traffic jam they'd be very likely to encounter.

They were on their way to the parking garage when Kenshin's cell phone rang. "Kaoru, would you mind to hold these for a while?" He handed two shopping bags to Kaoru which she accepted without complaining. Fishing out his cell from his pocket, he saw Aoshi's name on the display and answered the call eagerly. "Yes, Aoshi?" The redhead listened excitedly as Aoshi proudly announced the birth of his baby girl. There were hardly any complications during the labor, so Aoshi told him. When Kenshin inquired about the health of the mother, Aoshi said that his wife was all right, just pretty tired from all that pushing.

Kenshin was too caught up in his thrill of having a new niece that he didn't notice Kaoru falling behind a few steps behind him. The sound of shattering glass on the pavement reached his ears then. Knowing that the sound came from behind, he turned around to take look at it while still talking to Aoshi. The sight that greeted him made his blood run cold.

Kaoru had dropped all the shopping bags she held. The shattering noise must have come from the broken crystal glasses in one of those bags. But Kenshin hardly cared about the expensive glassware. His eyes were glued to Kaoru, who was clutching her stomach with her hands at that moment. She was on her knees, barely able to prevent herself from falling to the ground.

He forgot about Aoshi the moment his brain registered Kaoru's dire condition. He rushed to her side immediately. "Kaoru, what's wrong??!!!" He didn't hear Aoshi calling him through the phone.

"Kenshin…" Kaoru emitted a painful moan as she endured the pain that suddenly crammed her stomach. "It hurts… I… don't know what---"

"Ssh… don't talk…" He shushed her and pulled her into his chest, his hand gently stroking her hair. Seeing her in such predicament broke his heart, but he didn't have time to dwell on it. Kaoru needed help, and she needed it fast. He realized that he still held his cell with his free hand. Noticing that the connection with Aoshi was still on, he frantically disconnected the line and dialed the number of the emergency unit of the hospital. "Hello, yes, we need an ambulance! We're at……"

"Himura?" Aoshi frowned when the redhead suddenly stopped talking. It was as if he had been interrupted. By what, Aoshi had no idea at all. One minute Kenshin was telling him that Kaoru and he would drop by tomorrow, and the next minute he heard him shouting Kaoru's name frantically. Aoshi tried to call his name a few times after that, to no avail. Kenshin obviously didn't hear him. One thing bothered him though. He heard Kaoru's voice faintly. Though he couldn't make out what she was actually saying, it sounded as if she was in pain. The last thing he heard was Kenshin hushing his wife, and after that, the line went dead. He redialed his number, but the line was busy. It only served to add to his worries. Himura, what happened?

His thoughts were interrupted by Misao. "Aoshi, what's the matter?" She lied on the hospital-bed tiredly. The newborn baby girl was sleeping peacefully in her arms. Exhausted as she was, her face still looked radiant with happiness. A small frown marred her blissful appearance, though. She had heard her husband's conversation with their friend and the abrupt end.

Fortunately for Aoshi, he stood with his back to his wife so she didn't see his frown. Smoothing his face so Misao wouldn't suspect anything, he turned around and said, "No, it's nothing. The line's been terminated. I think they went into a tunnel." Misao seemed to accept his explanation as the frown in her face disappeared. She shifted a bit, making a room for her husband. Complying with her wish, he went to sit beside her on the bed and kissed her top gently.

"Look at her, Aoshi." Misao whispered softly. "She's beautiful, isn't she?" Her fingers traced the curve of her daughter's delicate face.

"Just like her mother, I suppose…" Aoshi gazed at his daughter tenderly.

"Did Himura say that they're coming tomorrow?"

"He did." Something clearly went wrong and Aoshi knew it, judging by the way his conversation with Kenshin had ended. He didn't want to upset his wife though, not if he wasn't sure what was going on. He prayed that everything would be just fine. I'm too paranoid… I shouldn't be thinking like that. Let's just hope that they're okay… Taking a deep breath, the stoic man tried to relax.

It's just that deep in his heart, he knew that he was nurturing a false hope. Call it a premonition, but he felt that the Himuras wouldn't be coming to visit them the day after. He had to find out. So he kissed Misao's forehead once again and said, "Sleep and rest, Misao. I'll go get something to eat."

Kenshin was pacing back and forth in the large hall in front of the Emergency Room when the surgeon and several nurses finally came out of the ER. Dr. Welch ripped the surgery mask off her face as she approached him. "Mr. Himura?"

He stopped pacing immediately. His eyes widened as he recognized the surgeon that had gone into the ER with Kaoru. Behind her, a hospital bed was quietly moved out of the ER. Kaoru was lying on it. An oxygen mask covered her mouth and nose. She looked very pale. "Is she… is she…" Fear crept into his heart. Kaoru had been in a pretty bad shape when she had been rushed to the ER. Some nurses had muttered something about Kaoru having quite a severe bleeding. Gulping, he tried to steady his voice and asked once again, "How is she?"

"She's doing quite well, actually. She lost a lot of blood, but I assure you that she will be fine, Mr. Himura. However---"

"Thank God…" Relief washed over his feature as Kenshin released his breath he didn't knew he was holding. A heavy burden was lifted from his chest. Extending his hand forward, he held back the urge to hug the doctor and finally settled with shaking her hand instead. "Thank you… Thank you, Doctor, for saving my wife's life…"

She waved her hand dismissively and gave him a half smile. "It is my duty as a doctor. You shouldn't think about it."

"Can I go see her?"

Dr. Welch took the surgery cap off her head and threw it into the nearest thrash can. "Yes…" Kenshin was about to go after the nurses who were moving Kaoru to her own room, but the doctor caught Kenshin's elbow to stop him. "… but first, I need to talk with you."

There was something in the doctor's tone that made Kenshin's heart skip a beat. Kaoru's okay… what could be--- The baby! His eyes widened in alarm as the thought of their baby crossed his mind. A feeling of dread began to crawl into his stomach. "The baby…" He muttered weakly. "Did our baby…" He didn't need to finish his sentence. The doctor's eyes told him what he needed to know.

"I'm sorry, Mr. Himura." Dr. Welch looked at the man with compassion in her eyes. "The baby…" Picking her words carefully, she continued, "…didn't make it."

Suddenly he felt very dizzy. Staggering a little bit, he leaned to the cream-colored wall behind him for some support. "My baby…" He covered his face with both of his hands and his shoulders slumped dejectedly. The irony of the situation wasn't lost on him; that they should lose their baby on the very same day Misao and Aoshi gained a new family member.

Dr. Welch heard him breathing in and out deeply. It was obvious that he was trying to hold back his tears. She felt sorry for him. Oh yeah, she was well aware that the man sitting in front of her at this moment was Kenshin Himura, the rock star idolized by millions of fans all around the world. He is really like what they say he is. Polite, modest and humble… He doesn't deserve the news I'll have to tell him… She thought darkly to herself and shook her head sadly. At times like these, sometimes I hate being a doctor…

The surgeon waited until Kenshin regained a bit of his composure. Then she laid a comforting hand on his shoulder. "Mr. Himura, would you please follow me to my office? We need to talk." She squeezed his shoulder gently as if trying to alleviate his pain. "I'm terribly sorry for your loss, Mr. Himura, but there are some urgent matters I must explain to you. Don't worry about your wife. She's still unconscious because of the anesthetic she had to take. I assure you that you'll be at her side when she comes to."

"I want to see her…" He raised his head to meet her gaze. "Please, Doctor, just for a moment. I need to see with my own eyes and feel with my own hands that she's all right…"

At the redhead's insistence, she finally relented. "Well, I suppose we can take a detour on our way to my office."

Ten minutes later, Kenshin found himself being seated in front of the surgeon in her office. He fidgeted nervously. He felt like a high school student in the principal's office, waiting to be scolded for his bad grades. "So… what is it that you wanted to talk about?"

Dr. Welch eyed him critically for a moment. "Are you familiar with the term 'ectopic pregnancy'?"

"Ecto.. ectopic?" He stumbled through the word in his effort to repeat it. Shaking his head sheepishly, he said, "I'm sorry. I was never fond of Biology during high school…"

[A/N: just in case… Courtesy of Merriam-Webster Online Medical Dictionary
fallopian tube: either of the pair of tubes that carry the eggs from the ovary to the uterus
ovary: one of the typically paired essential female reproductive organs that produce eggs
uterus: an organ in female mammals for containing and usually for nourishing the young during development previous to birth; also called womb
fetus: a developing human from usually three months after conception to birth]

She couldn't help but chuckled at his answer. "It's okay. It's not something they taught at high schools anyway. A moment please." She rose from her chair and retrieved a chart of female reproductive system. Laying it out in front of Kenshin, she began her explanation. "In normal pregnancies, a fertilized egg usually moves from the fallopian tube to the inner lining of the uterus to implant itself in there. The placenta and the fetus will then begin to develop." Her finger traced the said path on the chart. "However, for some reason, sometimes a fertilized egg fails to move down the tube into the uterus. Instead, it implants itself in tissue outside of the uterus. In your wife's case, it was within her right fallopian tube. Are you still with me?"

Kenshin only nodded as to acknowledge her. He wasn't sure where she actually was getting at. Explaining the cause of Kaoru's predicament is indeed important, but surely it isn't that urgent, or so he thought. But he listened anyway.

"Unfortunately, ectopic pregnancies cannot develop normally, because only the uterus contains the space and nutrient rich tissues that are required to nurture a fetus. And since fallopian tubes are so narrow, a developing pregnancy can cause a rupture in the fallopian tube, which in turn, can produce severe bleeding." The doctor paused for a while, taking a sip of her coffee. "This is what happened to your wife. It explains the pain she had in the abdominal area earlier this day. A surgery had to be done in order to remove the developing fetus and to stop the bleeding. I'm really sorry, but it was necessary to save the life of the mother…"

Silence filled the small office as Dr. Welch ended her explanation. His voice hoarse, Kenshin finally muttered weakly, "Well, there was no other way, wasn't it?" Then he looked up to her and said, "If that is everything you wanted to tell me, would you please excuse---" He was going to stand up, but the doctor's voice halted him in his track.

"Mr. Himura, would you please sit down? There's something else I have to tell you."

The redhead did as he was told. Then he saw the expression in her eyes as she watched him under her steady gaze. Compassion. Concern. But most of all, Pity. It was as if she didn't want to tell him what she had in mind. And whatever it was, it could not be any good. His stomach knotted as his intuition told him that the worst was yet to come.

Dr. Welch must have seen the fear in his eyes because she cursed silently. Damn it… I've done this numerous times before, but it doesn't get easier…

"Dr. Welch, what is actually going on?" Kenshin demanded, panic and fear were evident in his eyes. "What happened to my wife? You said she's going to be okay!"

Releasing a heavy sigh, she finally decided to come up with the truth squarely. "She will, Mr. Himura…" Her eyes were sad as she went on, "But…"

- End of Chapter 3: To Gain and to Lose -

Author's Note:

- Teehee… How about a dose of cliffhanger here? Sorry guys, I'm sooo mean, aren't I? Half a year without update, and now cliffhanger? Anyway, hope the chapter's to your liking!

- About ectopic pregnancy, I actually did some research on the internet to find some information about it. I hope I explained it correctly, but since I am by no means a professional in medical area, don't hesitate to tell me if there is any inaccuracy. Oh, and the definitions of the terminology I put in the middle of the chapter are actually meant for younger readers who haven't had the privilege to learn the female reproductive system in their Biology class...

- Any guess to what happened to Kaoru? Cookies to all who guess correctly!

- Here's a little bit info concerning the profiles of the band 'Heart of the Sword', introducing two OCs...
Kenshin Himura: lead vocal, rhythm guitar. Wife: Kaoru Himura
Sanosuke Sagara: lead guitar, background vocal. Girlfriend: none
Soujirou Seta: keyboard, background vocal. Girlfriend: Jane Koslov, R&B star
Katsuhiro Tsukioka: bass guitar, background vocal. Wife: Tae Sekihara
Enishi Yukishiro: drum, background vocal. Girlfriend: Brittany Anderson, pop star

- Next chapter will definitely have some angst in it! You can smell the beginning of trouble… Till then!