Disclaimer: I don't own RK. All original characters are mine to claim.
Synopsis: What would you do, when the only thing you want to run away from…it's yourself? I'm weak. I'm my own enemy. I'm in constant battle with my conscience. I'm Kamiya Kaoru, and I'm a hypochondriac. Modern day AU. KK story.
Italics – thoughts
A/N: MOST SPECIAL THANKS TO MY BETA-READER!!! waves frenetically Okay, so I've been a really bad bad person, since I haven't updated any of my stories for months now. It's just that I've began working in a production company and time has been crazy for me. Also, my imagination seems to be lacking…I was with a major writer's block. You know when you're sitting in front of the computer, with all the ideas swirling in your mind, but your fingers don't move? I was like that…So, gomen ne all of you! I'm so sorry for the delay! Well, that's it!
REVIEW! REVIEW! REVIEW! puppy eyes
On with the story!
Story Of My Life
Chapter Nineteen: A scar
It's the first thing my eyes notice the moment I decide to leave my dreams and greet reality.
The sun is shinning proudly in the sky making me wince at the sudden brightness in the room. Blinking twice, I adjust my blurred vision and furrow my brows when they focus on a massive red hair. A hair which is, curiously, attached to a head, lying on my bed, as the rest of the body uncomfortably sits on the floor.
Himura Kenshin sighs in front of me, continuing in his blissful sleep.
Suddenly remembering the night's events, I slowly sit on my bed, glancing at the sleeping man. He actually slept in that uncomfortable position the entire night…and all because I so intelligently decided to freeze myself to death. I abuse of this man's kindness. And to think we've only known each other for a month and so.
And what a strange and peculiar way to meet someone. Generally, you meet a person either because you have friends in common or at a bar. Not so generally, you meet in a train journey, or at a library, or because you bumped into each other in the middle of the street and, in order to apologise for your clumsiness, you go grab a cup of coffee together.
So, statistically analyzing, people don't meet at a park, crying their eyes out, only to have a light blue handkerchief placed under their noses. And, to add the impossibility to the entire situation, the said handkerchief's owner being a pure and gentle soul, with incredible good looks.
But, I met Himura Kenshin that way. And we spent a few days without even knowing each others names, simply because it wasn't needed.
Then, we met again.
And this time, we exchanged our names.
We were no longer strangers.
But it was as if we were meeting all over again. In those days when we didn't know each others names, our moments together were deeper. Maybe even improper since I was…engaged…but, they felt so right, and I was feeling so good around him that I didn't want to think on the consequences.
We were developing something.
When I entered that clinic and stumbled upon him, it was as if those previous days had never happened. I started being Kaoru-san and he started being Kenshin-san. He was no longer my handkerchief man.
We became more polite towards each other, as we stepped into the real world. A world where our unnamed feelings were left behind. Not that they aren't there anymore…I guess they're just…hidden.
Discarding my thoughts, I glance at him once again. His red mane is tied into a low ponytail that reaches his shoulder-blades. It's a strong hair and yet it looks so soft. The light in the room makes the colour brighter, becoming more livid than the deep blood red I've noticed when he was over to have dinner.
Enishi's hair was…is…was silver white.
Sigh. Stop thinking about him…
Deciding not to let my thoughts wander further, I roll my eyes before landing once again at the massive red sea of hair. I wonder if it is as soft as it seems. Would it be sinful to touch it? Would he mind? Maybe his wife used to play with his locks and I'll end up bringing bitter memories…
I shouldn't even be thinking about this…I've just been abandoned by my fiancé and I'm having desires to touch another man's hair.
I breathe in deeply, before slowly exhaling the air inside my chest. Would it be so wrong to give him comfort when he has done so much more than that for me? After all, he did fell asleep sitting on the floor because of me. Maybe…
My hand is moving even before I'm aware of that fact and I gasp lightly when my fingers touch a red lock. My heart quickens inside my ribcage and I allow my fingers to tangle with the locks. It is soft at the touch, but strong at the same time. His hair reflects himself, for Kenshin-san is as strong in personality as soft with his words. His hair is different than the others, bravely outstanding in its red glory, just as the man before me always seems to have the right words at the right time, with the right meaning. He's always so sure of his words…
Suddenly his voice invades my mind.
"What answer are you trying to find?"
"The answer to change my life…"
"I'm sure it'll come with time. Don't force the situation. One day, you'll find that answer and you won't even need those games."
The sides of my lips tilt up as I remember all the times he so confidently told me to believe that the future will bring me joy. I'm not so sure about that right now…even if he's giving me a sense of peace I haven't felt in a long time. I just lost Enishi…and I was left alone…but just a week after being left all by myself, I have a man I've grown to consider as a friend, sleeping next to me, guarding my sleep, making sure I'm alright.
His head is turned to the side, his left cheek being caressed by the sun strays. His skin appears to be soft, and he has very few signs marking his skin. His features are indeed privileged, making him a very handsome man.
I wonder how his wife was able to leave him.
Idiot woman. Sure, it was her son and I don't even imagine how it feels to lose a son. If it's half close to losing your parents, than I never want to feel a pain like that again. But nothing justifies her actions. Leaving her husband, who tried everything in his power and beyond to save his beloved child and who held his hand until the little soul stopped breathing…it's not fair. Not human. Not an understandable attitude coming from the woman who, supposedly, loved her husband.
To have to endure something like that; loosing his son and wife, having the life he once knew fall apart, I can only wonder how he's able to have the heart to comfort me.
Me and my stupid problems.
"You're not spoiled, neither are your problems insignificant! My son died five years ago and you're the reason for me to stop mourning it so deeply and focus on other people suffering around me!"
Yes, he told me that when I said my problems were insignificant. And as I sit here, gently caressing his locks, I see once again how I turn a little water drop into a tropical hurricane. Here I am, crying and isolating myself from the world, just because my fiancé left the country to pursue his professional career. My best friend frantically calling everyday, trying to talk to me, trying to understand and maybe even comfort me, and I was childishly enough to block her from my head and ignore that I have people who love me and care for me.
Kenshin-san however…I wonder if anyone knocked on his door when his world fell apart.
Had I known him that time, I also would've fell asleep on his bed, giving him my silent support. I would give him everything he's been giving me this past month.
My eyes glance at him, and I gently move my fingers from his hair to his soft and slight tanned cheek, leaning forward so that my elbows are supporting my weight against the mattress. His brows are coloured in a darker shade of his hair, framing the now closed amethyst eyes that had taken my action the moment I looked up from the handkerchief. Eyes that carefully hide his true feelings; what lies deep inside his heart and soul.
Then, I notice something I never saw before.
Leaning closer, I furrow my brows at a firm line on his left cheekbone, starting in his temple and ending under his left eye.
It's a scar.
The skin is damaged, so obviously he didn't have the wound treated, as it should've been, leaving a scar to forever remind him of the occasion.
What could have caused such scar?
Maybe he fell from a bicycle when he was young. Or maybe he fell from a tree. Or even a bad boy punched him and left a scar.
Does it bring painful memories? What if the scar was made in one of the funniest days of his life? It is possible…children are careless and he could've injured himself doing something tricky.
Somehow, this scar on the left side of his face suits him. Call me childish, but red hair, amethyst eyes and a scar on his cheekbone make him look like a character from a movie. But he's not…he's real, and he's sleeping right in front of me.
My fingers slowly trail upwards, inching closer to the damaged skin, until they finally reach their destination. But the minute my shaking fingers touch his scar, Kenshin's eyes shot open and he snaps his head upwards, catching my wrist in an iron grip, causing me to yelp and yank back, in a failing effort to release myself.
For a moment, neither of us moves: breaths caught inside our chests and my wrist still captured in his strong hand. His eyes, clouded from sleep, stare deeply into mine in confusion and, in this brief moment, I can read what's deeply inside his soul: distress, pain, sadness, emptiness…hopeless.
A lost and empty shell.
In this brief moment, I understand he's not as strong as he tries to portrait. In this brief moment I see…he's as human as I am. He's not an angel, he's not a character from a movie.
He is a man. He was a husband. He was a father. He was a surgeon. He had everything.
And he lost it all.
And I can see now, as clear as water. This scar was made right in that moment…the moment he lost everything.
His eyes blink twice and, slowly, his iron grip eases and he releases a breath, letting go of my wrist. My hand falls on the bed as I struggle to calm my fast beating heart, the shock of the ordeal still in my system. Absently massaging the portion of skin previously grabbed in his hand, I watch Kenshin raise a shaking hand to the hair I had just been touching a few minutes ago, running his fingers through the red locks and closing his eyes.
"Kaoru-san, I was…it's just-" He pauses for a long moment, before sighing deeply, looking into my eyes, his hand dropping on his leg. "Gomen nasai…I didn't want to scare you…" He finishes in a pained whisper.
Something stirs in my heart. "Iie, it wasn't my place to touch-"
"No, it's not that. I was just…caught in surprise, that's all. Daijoubo honto ni, Kaoru-san." Kenshin says, placing an obvious false smile at his lips.
Silence invades the room, announcing the increasing tension growing between us. I look down to my hands, suddenly finding my nails an interesting thing to play with.
Can my life become more complicated?
"How was your night? Are you feeling better?"
Refusing to raise my eyes, I nod slowly in remorse. "Hai…thank you for taking care of me." I finish in a small voice.
There's a pause.
"I stayed because I wanted to." He tells me with his honest voice.
Raising my eyes to look at him, I'm greeted with a small restrained smile that I doubt he knows I can see. I smile slightly in return.
Another moment passes in silence, before he claps his hands. "Well, are you hungry? I'll go make us some breakfast. Do you like lychees?" He asks, rising from his position immediately after is question, barely giving me time to answer.
"I can help you-"
"Iie, you go refresh yourself while I head to the kitchen. I'll meet you in the living room, ne?" He says, closing the door behind him.
I stare at the closed door, the wood surface smirking at me, mocking eagerly by closing me inside, increasing the distance between me and Kenshin.
I glare at it, then sigh deeply.
I really messed up this time…
Stepping into the bathroom, I turn to close the door and a sudden sharp pain inside my chest blocks my movements. My hand shots up to my breast, desperately pressing against it, in an attempt of making the pain disappear. Breathing hard, my vision blurs and my head starts spinning and I lean against the counter, trying to support my body weight as my shaking legs lose their strength. For a few seconds, all I can see is dark, all I can feel is pain in my chest and a major lack of air.
Suddenly, it's gone as fast as it came.
Blinking twice, I raise my shaking hand to my face and breathe in slowly, before feeling my heart. It beats regularly now, as if nothing had happened. Trusting in my legs once again, I close the bathroom's door and lean against it.
What was that? I felt like I was fainting…It must be a consequence of my stupid act yesterday. Of course…and adding to the nervous episode just now with Kenshin-san, my nervous system must be a rack of tumbling emotions. I seem to be doing quite a few stupidities lately…especially this morning. I knew I shouldn't have touched his hair, let alone his scar. He looked so lost and hurt… All he has done for me, all the comfort he gave, all the kind and peaceful moments we've spent together, this is how I repay him…by making him sleep on the floor and touching his painful scar, awaking memories I'm certain he doesn't want to remember.
You're really stupid Kaoru…really stupid…
Sighing deeply, I start undressing myself, feeling miserable.
I'm so sorry Kenshin…
My hand pauses in midair, stopping the repeating and boring movement of cutting vegetables. My pathetic attempt in distracting myself with breakfast has stopped working long ago. I can no longer ignore what happened just moments ago. How could I lose it like that? I thought it was over…this aggressive side of me that snaps and hurts without even thinking twice. Why else would I meditate? Why else?
And now, because of this…stupidity…I've scared her.
Kami-sama, have I lost her?
I snort at that thought. Lost? How can I lose something that it's not mine to begin with? And I shouldn't be thinking of Kaoru-san this way. She just lost her fiancé and I am thinking as if she's my property.
"You're an idiot Himura…"
Sighing, I resume my task of preparing her a nice breakfast. She really needs to regain her health. She has grown thinner this past week; I felt her bony wrists when I…
…when I grabbed her forcefully.
Dropping my head in shame, I almost cut my finger when her gentle voice calls my name. Turning around, I hesitantly smile at her approaching form. Stepping next to me, she silently grabs a second knife and begins to peel of a carrot. Looking up at my questioning eyes, she smiles reassuringly, before turning to her task.
Her pink tongue comes out and is caught in between her lips as she concentrates on peeling the orange vegetable. With her face free from any kind of make up, and regaining her natural colours, her beauty astonishes me. It's wrong to think this way, but can someone stand so close to this form of innocence without really appreciate it?
She's not gorgeous. Definitely not a goddess or a model. She's smaller than me and not thin, but not chubby either – perfect. Her features are plain, but beautifully built: small shaped nose, gently full rosy lips, creamy white skin, with only two identical brown spots marking the skin under her right eye…
…and her amazing eyes.
Sapphire blue eyes aren't usually seen amongst Japanese, but they fit her in more ways than one. They say the eyes are the mirror to the soul, and I couldn't agree more – it were those two magnificent orbs that attracted me in the first place. How could two beautiful jewels like those carry so much distress and sadness?
One would think that someone as beautiful as Kaoru-san couldn't be sad, depressed…alone.
But one could always be wrong.
For someone so small, Kaoru-san has showed me her strength, even if she herself is not aware of it. She thinks she's fragile, and she hides her true strength behind her disease…
Then again, her beauty comes from the fact that she's not aware of it.
Blinking twice, I realise I'm staring at her, and turn to my previous and long forgotten task, fighting against the heat at my cheeks. I really shouldn't be thinking any of this…Kaoru-san is my friend – the first friend I've had in five years – who didn't judge me when I told about my son, who spent an entire day with me, fully trusting in my goodness, who gave me the most enchanting smile I've ever received from a woman when I gave her the snow-globe…who's slowly growing in my heart.
I close my eyes at that.
No she's not. Stop with those thoughts and focus on your finger before you cut it off!
Sighing, I glance at her once more, before looking at the potato, allowing the silence between us to become comforting.
To Be Continued…
A/N: HEY GUYS!! HAPPY 2007 EVERYONE!!! (My God, it's so embarrassing to say this in July…) Wow…it's been so long…since September!! shame on me But I've been working…so it was really impossible to have inspiration. Honestly, I needed time to start writing a few sentences at first, in order to have the words flowing from me.
Well, this chapter revealed some interesting things, in my opinion anyway. It's small, but at least I'm back at writing.
I do hope you all enjoy reading it and…
Review! Review! Review!
puppy eyes I know Agnes was a really bad girl, but Agnes really really wants to know if her readers are still interested in her story…poor Agnes… puppy eyes
Hehehe, well people, thank you all for the constant support you give me and for, hopefully, your interest in my fiction!
Bye bye everyone!