Summary: (A/N: I suck at these) Kenshin wakes up after the fight with Enishi and sees Kaoru sitting next to him. He quickly sees that she is upset by something, but what can he do to help her if he holds back his true feelings?

Disclaimer: Everyday I sit in front of my little Kenshin shrine and pray that all rights and ownership of the manga/anime "Rurouni Kenshin" will be transferred to me. ::sigh:: But I guess some prayers just aren't meant to be answered. All rights belong to
Watsuki-sama and other people with lots of money. Whereas I, am a poor college student without a job….

**Spoiler Warning** Some spoilers for the Jinchuu Arc will be present. And if you don't know what that is, you may not want to read this just yet……


Holding Back

**The Morning After**

All around him, there was darkness. Although he could see nothing, Kenshin could sense that there was someone there, but he couldn't tell who. Where am I? he thought. Slowly, he opened his eyes, fearing what he might see after he had fully opened them. At first his vision was blurred, but as everything came into focus, he realized that he was back in his room at the Kamiya dojo. Was it all a dream? Is she… is she really alive? As his eyes wandered about his room, he gingerly brought his hand up to his head to think. No, he realized, it wasn't a dream. It was all real. All of it. And that means that… Gently, so as not to intensify his pounding headache, Kenshin turned his head to the side, towards the presence he felt in the room. And there she was, Kaoru, sitting cross-legged with her back rested against the wall of his room, (a position he was all too familiar with) asleep, and safe. Even though the vision of her dead body, with a cross shaped scar on one cheek and a sword through her heart, still rang out clear in his mind, he smiled, because he knew none of that mattered now. All that mattered now was that she was alive, and unharmed. Silently, trying not to wake her, knowing what a fuss she would make over him, he sat up and cradled his aching head in his hands for a moment before gazing over at the woman he loved. She looks so peaceful, so beautiful. I almost hate to disturb her but…. If she wakes up to find that I've let her sleep through my recovery she'll be very angry, that she will. He had a brief vision of Kaoru trying to hit him over the head with a bokken while
Megumi-dono held her back shouting, "he's not completely recovered yet!" Kenshin smiled at the thought, painful though it would be were it to come true.

Knowing she would awake at the slightest sound, he said softly, "You shouldn't sleep that way, Kaoru-dono." Instantly, her eyes opened and her head shot up to look at him. "You'll catch cold, that you will." Kenshin continued with the best rurouni smile the injured man could accomplish.

"Kenshin!" Kaoru cried, and in a flash she was away from the wall and sitting by his side. "You're awake! How are you feeling?" She said as she put a hand to his forehead checking for fever.

He chuckled softly at her overly concerned nature. "I'm fine, Kaoru-dono" he said as he carefully lifted her hand off his forehead, though he held on to it much longer than was necessary. Looking past her warm smile and into those sapphire eyes he loved so much, he could tell that she was on the verge of tears.

"I'm… so glad to hear that." She said, trying not to let her voice betray her emotions.

"Kaoru-dono, what's wrong?" he asked, his voice filled with worry for her.

"Nothing's wrong, Kenshin. I-… it's just that…" she lowered her head so she wouldn't have to look at him now that she could no longer keep the tears at bay, "you've been asleep for days now and I… I was afraid that you were… that I was going to…"

Instantly, he knew what was wrong. And before his beloved Kaoru could finish giving voice to all the fears she had been keeping for so long, Kenshin wrapped his arms tightly around her, trying to make all her pain disappear with a simple touch. A small sob escaped her lips and his heart wrenched at the sound of her pain, knowing that he had been the cause of it. Kaoru, the woman he lived for, the woman he wanted more than anything in all the world, and yet could never possibly even dream to be worthy of; he had caused her pain, and for that he could never forgive himself. "It's alright, Kaoru-dono" he murmured as he tightened his embrace and rested his cheek lightly against hers. "You shouldn't worry about me so much..." I'm not worth it… he added silently.

"But… I'm so sorry, Kenshin. It's all my fault!" she confessed as she cried into his shoulder.

Kami-sama, why does she torture herself! "No!" His voice was steady and firm, though inside he was shuddering at the way she blamed herself. "How could you even think such a thing? You are the most wonderful and caring person I have ever known, Kaoru. It is not even remotely possible that any of what happened was your fault!" Kenshin said sternly, still shocked that she could even imagine something so horrible of herself.

Did he just call me…? She shook the fleeting thought from her mind. "But you're wrong, Kenshin. If I was stronger, you wouldn't always have to rescue me, and then you would never have gotten hurt. You wouldn't be in so much pain… because of me…"


A/N: AHHHHHHH! Terrible! Horrid! Really bad semi-cliff hanger at the end! ::gags on her own writing:: This is my first attempt EVER at any form of fanfic, so sessha is very, very nervous. Please, PLEASE review for me if you want me to finish this. And if you don't want me to finish it, review and tell me so. At this point even flames are welcome! (though I can't guarantee I won't flame you right back! ^_^x ) Also, I know that this particular setting has been done many times before but since it is my first try, I just wanted to do something that I thought would be a little easier to write about. So, if it sounds in any way similar to something you've already read or written, please accept my most humble apologies and realize that I am not trying to steal anyone's ideas! Well, okay, so I am trying to steal Watsuki-sama's ideas… ::dodges all the lawsuits thrown at her and runs from angry mob:: HEY! It was just a joke!!!!! Anyway, Review please!