When Innocence is Given

By: Rabid Turtle

Author: Kenshin's POV. I dedicate this chapter to Pego since she flustered me up so much that I had to finish it. Here you go, I hope you guys approve.

Chapter 9: Wicked

"Where is she?" I muttered looking around in the already-crowded building. "Kaoru's going to be late if she doesn't show up soon."

I had been walking aimlessly in small circles ever since Kamitari, Sano, and I had gotten to this 'grand' opening of Smithville's finest hour; a mall had been born. I have never really liked malls and the thought of staying in one for more than a half-an-hour almost drove me into a panic. However, Kaoru's friend Misao had been really enthusiastic about coming and when Misao got enthusiastic you got dragged along for the ride.

Kamitari, who was trying very hard to suppress his excitement of today's shopping excursion, laughed and shook his head. " Kenshin, Kenshin, Kenshin….the poor girl does have a life you know. Kaoru can't just suddenly appear in front of us. Do you remember the traffic out there? It's not like she can fly right over that with her magic car."

"I know that! But…."

Sano and Kamitari looked at each other and burst out laughing.

" What? What's so funny?" I demanded.

"It's pretty pathetic when I guy falls apart just because his girl doesn't show up exactly when she says she would. Hell Kenshin, she isn't even late yet! Quit pacing around and sit your ass down. You're giving me a headache." Sano grinned as he pushed me onto a bench.

" I am not falling apart! And Kaoru is not 'my girl'. We are totally and strictly just friends."

Both Kamitari and Sano suddenly were wearing identical smirks. " Riiiiight."

I sighed and shook my head. No use arguing with these two. How come no one ever believed what I said anymore? Was there some sort of message secretly written on my forehead marked "In Denial"? And anyway, who would know me better than myself? I knew what I wanted, right? I was content with just being friends with Kaoru, right? I definitely didn't need to start a 'serious' relationship with her, right? Dammit brain, answer me.

" And anyway, you know I can't stay for long. I got to be home by 4:00 or my Uncle's gonna kill me…" my voice died out when I saw who was coming straight toward us with a smirk on his face and some girl latched on to his arm. Enishi always knew how to make an entrance.

"Well, well, well, look what we have here! You girls out shopping?" Enishi lazily asked.

" Shut up Yukishiro." Sano growled while eyeing the white-haired teen in front of us.

Enishi smiled, " Oh, don't worry Sagara, I know better than to get this bunch angry. I've seen what could happen, eh Himura?"

I flinched. Oh god, not now, anytime but now. I don't want to talk about that here. Or with Enishi of all people.

Eyeing me with concern, Kamitari spoke up. " What do you want with us Enishi?"

" What, I need a reason to be friendly and talk to people? I'm just making conversation, faggot. You don't mind if I call you that, do you? Your kind likes it when we talk dirty, right?" Enishi suddenly started to chuckle, "Man Himura, I watched you that night at Sagara's party. Pretty impressive. Jin'eh got you pretty riled up, messing with that girl and all. Only you can play with her, huh? Totally respect that man. Got to protect what's your own." Enishi leeringly smirked at the girl clamped to his side.

I could feel my heart beating. Hard. I could see Kamitari subtly position himself between Enishi and me. I half-heartedly smiled inwardly at him. Even now, Kamitari tried to protect me against myself

" No, that is not why I…"

Enishi interrupted me as if I hadn't said anything. "Although, I guess I should have been prepared for it. We all should have known that one day you would go insane on us. It's like your family history. Like mother, like son, right?"

Cold. I felt so cold, as if all the blood in my veins had suddenly been frozen. I watched in slow motion as everyone around Enishi visibly stiffened; even the girl he had brought along. We all knew he had gone too far.

We all knew.

Through gritted teeth, Kamitari growled, " Go away Enishi. Stay away from us."

Enishi was about to give a snide comment until he saw the very intent, and very murderous, look on Sanosuke's face. " Fine. If you don't want to have a nice conversation between friends, I guess I can't force you. Come on, Megumi. This is getting boring."

We became silent when they left. My body still felt…numb. Enishi's words kept on repeating over and over in my head. Like mother, like son…

Dear God, let it not be true. Don't punish me like that. Never like that.

After a few minutes Kamitari spoke up quietly. "I think I see Misao and Kaoru."

I looked up from the ground and I saw her. I faintly wondered if Kaoru knew how much she could light up a place just by being there. Just by breathing the same air as the rest of us. All scattered thoughts flew from my mind, however, as our eyes met.

Her eyes. They had been haunting me for some time now. I knew then, that though I love being her friend, I would love to…like mother, like son… My thoughts, wild and scattered, frightened me.

" Hello Kenshin." Kaoru smiled demurely at me.

"Hi." I smile, hoping she didn't see how tense I was.

"Sorry, we're late. There was an accident just outside the mall entrance."

Everything fell back into place then. I was just a guy, hanging out with friends and she was just a girl, although a quiet and sometimes sad girl, but a regular one nonetheless. Sometimes, I think that simple routines are the best comfort of all.


Author: I am sooooo sorry that this took so long. It still feels sort of incomplete but.. I needed to update to motivate myself. My life is getting ridiculously hectic; not only are my parents on the verge of divorce, but school is taking away all my free time. So I beg all of my reviewers to forgive me. Thank you.

To Reviewers:

half-breed-demon-fox: Thanks for the continued reviewing! It makes me happy to see your name!

WhiteRabbit5: Your reviews never cease to delight me. I'm glad you like the scene with Kaoru's parents…that took a long time to write. But seriously, I love you. I hope you enjoy chapter 9 as well.

Phi-dono: (sigh) I wish I could give Kaoru and Kenshin random fluff moments, I really do. But…for one thing I don't know how well I could write fluff and secondly, I don't want to rush anything in the story as some reviewers have warned me against. But I will keep your request in mind for later chapters. Thank you for your review. It pleased me.

Kik-ting: Lol! Don't worry, I can never be mad at my reviewers…I love you guys too much. I think this chapter answered your question. I doubt though that Enishi is going to play a pivotal role. Just a side character you see… :)

Aoshi-Sama's weaselgirl: lol…I think everyone likes to read a little drama once in a while….

Pego: What can I say to you that can fully encompass my gratefulness? You made me update. Thank you ever so much.

abubi-chan: Yeah Kaoru's mother is a bit…mentally unstable to say the least. Thank you for the review.

Anonymous miss: Lol..i think that is why I love Misao so much. She is so optimistic and yet dramatic at the same time.

Peachie-Chan: I will hurry as much as I can…. lol it seems as if no one likes Kaoru's mom. Poor mommy…no one loves her… hehe

Chikifriend: I'm glad that you approve! This makes me deliriously happy. But please, don't hesitate to give me advice. I will appreciate anything you say.