Author's Notes: Guys, sorry for the delay in updating. Lost my internet connection at home so actually I'm just using my mobile phone right now to upload. Because of that, I'm sure there are some grammar/typos here. Please notify me if you find something typed incorrectly.

So...I don't know if our dear Rurouni will still have fans after this, but I promise things will still work out in the end. Hope you guys enjoy :)

Chapter 20:

Changing Perspectives part 2

The score was 6 to 4 within the first fifteen minutes. The late afternoon heat prickled their skin uncomfortably while their bodies were flushing heavily with sweat and exertion. Yet no-one was calling for a break as the game continued. Kenshin and Aoshi were winning, but it wasn't an easy lead. Sanosuke and Akira, despite the two-point difference, ensured that every shot Kenshin or Aoshi took must never miss. Both teams were evenly-matched, and halfway through the game, Kenshin began to wonder if perhaps he spoke too soon regarding the ass-kicking he promised.

It was unfortunate that Enishi hadn't shown-up yet, Kenshin mentally groaned as his last throw missed the basket completely and Akira took that opportunity to score for their team. Aoshi was a great player –quite surprising since he never played at any sporting event in school as Kenshin had truthfully claimed earlier– but he was just not as attuned to Shinomori's gaming skills as he would have been with Enishi. If it had been Yukishiro who was playing with Kenshin, he knew Akira and Sanosuke would be having an even tougher time closing the score gap than they did at the moment.

Suddenly, he remembered Aoshi's statement earlier.

'You might want to do so too…'

When he asked why, all Shinomori offered was a vague: "Let's just say he managed to do something that now has him leading by a hundred points. And considering it's already halftime, you don't have much opportunity left." And after that, Aoshi wouldn't say anything more. Kenshin's pride didn't allow him to get sucked into, what he assumed, was such a typical 'psych' so he didn't push for more info.

After twenty more minutes, and with an 11-10 score, Akira finally asked for a time-out. After all consented, Kenshin simply dragged himself to the edge of Sanosuke's driveway before dropping his tired, sweaty body on the cool lawn. Sano handed mineral water to everyone before going inside his house to check his mobile phone. Aoshi excused himself to use the men's room and that left Akira to sit beside Kenshin.

"Whooo!" Akira exhaled as he drank from the plastic water bottle before drenching himself with the remaining liquid. "Great game huh? Who knew Shinomori could move like that?"

"Yeah, he's not bad," Kenshin agreed as he took a swig of his own drink. "The basketball team could sure use a guy like him. That is, if anyone can convince him to join. Don't think he's big on the whole 'school-spirit' thing."

"Hey, speaking of 'convincing'. I need to ask you something man but you have to promise not to hit me."

Kenshin grinned. "You know I never make promises I can't keep."

"Come on! At least tell me you'll try your best to contain yourself."

"I'll try my best not to leave any permanent damage, depending on the offense. How's that? Now quit fussing and just spill already."

That seemed to be enough reassurance for Akira. Leaning down on Kenshin's sprawled body, he told him, "I was gonna ask if you're cool with me asking Tomoe out on a date."


That got Kenshin sitting up and Akira backing away with his palms raised in a placating gesture.

"Well with you dating Kamiya and all, I just thought–"

"How about I see you in hell first?"

"Seriously?" Akira looked genuinely disappointed. "But if you don't want her seeing other people then…does that mean you're planning to get back with her soon or something?"


This time, Akira was now the one who looked peeved. "Well damn Kenshin! Don't tell me you're planning on dating Kamiya while keeping other guys away from Tomoe. Not cool bro, not cool. You can't keep both of them you know. You have to choose."

You have to choose. Something painful wrenched inside Kenshin at those words and that ugly feeling of guilt from before came back with full force. It was a ridiculous situation really – there was no need to choose anyone. Only one relationship was real, the other was just a front. In fact, the fake one would probably be ending pretty soon so Akira could go jump in a lake for all his evil aspirations for Tomoe.

And yet…something inside Kenshin rebelled fiercely at the thought of having to part ways with Kaoru. He found he liked the idea of not having Kaoru beside him as much as he liked the thought of other guys asking Tomoe out – which was not at all.

You have to choose…

It was at that moment that Aoshi came out of the house and joined them. "So let me ask you this Himura… Are you and Kaoru breaking up soon?"

"Whoa! I don't know where this question is leading Shinomori but I'm not staying around for the shit fan. Adios my new amigo, and it was really nice knowing you." After delivering that line, Akira got up and jogged towards Sanosuke. When he was gone, Aoshi repeated the question.

"You wish," Kenshin replied offhandedly, not really taking him seriously.

"Not me. Though I suspect a certain owner of a blue Porsche will certainly be rooting for it."

"What are you driving at Shinomori?" Kenshin was no longer amused. "All these vague hints and whatnot, if you have something to say–"

Kenshin didn't get to finish his question when, as if on cue, Enishi's car came into view before parking next to Kenshin's own Mustang. As if noticing only for the first time, Kenshin noted that Enishi's car was a dark-blue Porsche Boxter S. And then, Aoshi's words came back to him:

'Will Enishi Yukishiro be coming to this game? I want to play against him. And if I may give you a friendly heads-up: You might want to do so too.'

'Let's just say he managed to do something that now has him leading by a hundred points. And considering it's already halftime, you don't have much opportunity left.'

Kenshin quickly turned to Aoshi, and by his expression, the dark-haired boy knew that his companion had finally figured out his hints from earlier.

"What exactly…" Kenshin was struggling with a wild suspicion that turned his gut to ice. "–does Enishi have to do with Kaoru?"

"That's an excellent question. I'm quite curious myself."

"What's that supposed to mean? So you mean you were only speculating?" Kenshin's anger began to deflate, replaced by annoyance. What was Aoshi getting at?

"Oh I'm not speculating about Enishi's intention. What I'm only curious about is the part between Kaoru going to his house last night up to the moment before he took her home this morning. She was changed in a lot of ways after that, almost didn't recognize her myself."

"Kaoru went to the Yukishiro's? When? Why?" There were actually a lot more questions, but Kenshin forced himself to condense his inquiries to the only thing that was screaming foremost in his mind: "What do you mean 'last night' and 'this morning'? Are you saying–?"

"Shouldn't you be asking that to your friend instead?"

Kenshin turned away and marched towards Enishi, blood thumping loud and fast through his veins. Sano and Akira were talking to Enishi when Kenshin suddenly shoved the bigger man that sent him stumbling over a lawn décor in the shape of an angel. That wasn't what Kenshin had intended, but with his current frame of mind, he didn't particularly care at the moment if he caused any pain – intentional or not.

"Kenshin!" Akira shouted.

"What the hell man?" Sanosuke restrained his red-haired friend before he could get anywhere near Yukishiro.

"What's gotten into you?"

"If you're a true friend–" Kenshin was eerily calm, but his mind was clouded with so much anger that he could hardly breathe. "–You'll tell me the truth and you'll tell it now: Was Kaoru at your house last night?"

"Jesus man, why would Kamiya be–" Sanosuke was beginning to laugh the whole thing off when he got interrupted by a quiet reply.


Enishi didn't make any move to stand up. "I see," Kenshin replied in a low voice. He didn't react or made any move to get near Enishi again, but Sanosuke wasn't fooled. He had been friends with the redhead long enough to know how his temper could come so silently and yet explode so spectacularly. Sano would later thank himself for following his instinct when he heard the next words exchanged.

"And she slept at your house?"


"You offered the guest room or Tomoe's room then?"


"So where did she sleep?"

"In mine."

Akira's jaw dropped open quite comically while Sanosuke's grip around Kenshin tightened. From afar, Aoshi's expression offered no clue as to what he was really feeling. And despite the turbulent nature of Enishi's previous answer, Kenshin remained composed and asked his final question.

"You slept somewhere else then?"


And without having to hear the rest, Kenshin knew. Enishi stared back at him with the same familiar eyes that had always expressed gentleness and support for him before. There was none of that now in those turquoise orbs; instead, it was replaced by something that confirmed everything…guilt.

"Let go of me Sano," Kenshin told his friend in a soft whisper that belied his fury as his open palms slowly clenched tightly into fists.

"Look Kenshin, there must be a misunderstanding here," Sagara desperately tried to diffuse the tense situation.

"I'm sure there's a perfectly good explanation for everything. Tell him Enishi!"

The silver-haired boy slowly began to stand up. Without breaking eye contact from Kenshin, he responded gently, "She deserves more. She deserves to be happy. And she will never have any of those because you're completely wrong for her."

It was like pulling the trigger. Kenshin lost whatever fragile hold he had left of his emotions and lunged. Thankfully, Sanosuke was big enough to overcome him, but only just barely. Kenshin may be smaller, but he wasn't captain of the Kendo club and a champion martial-artist for nothing. "Enishi!" was Sano's strangled cry as he struggled to drag Kenshin away. "– The hell man! Are you crazy?"

"I was just offering her my friendship."

"Friendship?" Kenshin spat the words out sarcastically while still trying to break free from Sanosuke. "Funny. So you have to get naked just to be 'friendly' with my girlfriend?"

"She was with me because you couldn't be there for her."

"Shut up Enishi and get out of here!" Sanosuke was shouting just as Kenshin exploded at the same time, "What are you talking about? I'm always there for her! You lying–"

"So is that why she was out in the rain last night while my sister spent the whole night at your place?"

Everyone was sharing the same stunned looks after that bomb Enishi dropped on them. Aoshi had remained a passive observer up to this point but even he looked quite disturbed by the revelation. Breaking from his indifferent stance, he pinned his cold gaze on Kenshin before asking:

"Was Tomoe Yukishiro at your house early this morning Himura?"

When seconds stretched into minutes without a response, Akira violently threw away the bottle he didn't realize he was still holding before angrily marching away. Aoshi turned to look at Enishi before speaking, "I can see I was mistaken in choosing my team."

With that, Aoshi then left the group without a backward glance.


Twilight. Kenshin wasn't sure why he came back to this place…where a lot of his troubles had begun. As he sat there in the sand, a few feet from the surf, he watched the foamy waves billow and crash before him. Over and over, he watched as the waters from the sea started small and calm, then it slowly grew in size and strength until it practically towered above him, only to meet a crashing end before the waters could even reach his toes. It reminded him of how his whole situation with Kaoru played-out: insignificant but seemingly inevitable, and before he knew it, it had grown in intensity, only to come crashing down on him. He twisted his lips in an ironic smile.

How long had it been since he brought Kaoru here? He could remember carrying her to the sea and being swallowed under the swelling waves, with them laughing at each other. It was a rare moment of peace and happiness for them considering what they had just went through previously. Then afterwards, they both watched a falling star as it streaked across the heavens. Was he really so naïve back then to think that wishing on some hot ball of gas in space would give him the answers he wanted?

He heard the footsteps behind him and he greeted the newcomer without looking, "You didn't have to follow me Sanosuke."

His chocolate-haired friend noisily dropped down beside him with a grin. "What? I come here to enjoy the beach, and instantly people will assume I'm just here for you?"

"You're called a lot of things my friend, but never 'Mr. Subtle'. So why not just get it over with? We both know why you're here."

Kenshin said those words dully but without malice. Sanosuke inhaled wearily, knowing his friend was right and there was no point in prevaricating. So with a noisy exhale, he got right into the nitty-gritty.

"So you and Tomoe, eh? I know she's the first girl you've ever dated seriously so I can understand if it's harder to move on than it seems."

Kenshin didn't speak.

"But man… Kaoru's a pretty decent chick too. And I know she's as into you as you are to her. So why did you have to go and–"

It was at this point that Kenshin hastily replied, albeit softly, "I guess we're just really good actors then."


Kenshin hesitated for only a moment before deciding to finally confess everything to his good friend. He left no detail out and Sano's jaw was comically almost touching the ground by the time he finished with the words: "So none of those things were real. Matter of fact, we weren't even friends before that. Or passing acquaintances. Or even civil strangers. Kaoru hated me because I used to bully her when we were kids, no–!" he shook his head to correct himself. "–actually, just last month I drove my car through a puddle where she was walking nearby and splattered dirt all over her clothes. That's how messed-up everything is between us."

"So let me get this straight–" Sanosuke's brows were furrowed with deep concentration. "–You acted like a complete and total ass with her up until a month ago, sabotaged her chances for this play she wanted so much, got in between her and Aoshi who she confessed to you that she likes, and now you cheated on her while pretending to be her boyfriend? Did I get it all?"

Kenshin winced. Sanosuke made it sound like he had been the villain right from the start. His tone became slightly defensive as he responded, "Look, I was just being–"

"–An ass." Sanosuke was frowning at Kenshin. "I'm sorry man but you were, and actually, still are. What did the poor girl ever do to you for you to treat her like that? You're a terrible person for doing those things, do you know that? If I had heard this story from someone else, I would have called them a liar and beaten the shit out of them for badmouthing you. I mean, what the hell! This is not how I know you, man!"

Kenshin turned away from his friend to watch the rolling waves in front of them and felt like running towards it and drowning himself. Sanosuke was right… Actually, Kenshin knew this all along but it took hearing it from his friend for him to fully acknowledge all the terrible things he had done to Kaoru in the past. Oh god…how could she ever forgive him? The guilt was so thick in his lungs that he felt like he couldn't breathe. There was no redeeming him…

"And Tomoe, what about her?" Sano asked with Kenshin's back still turned on him. "I know you said that she's aware of the whole charade you and Kamiya have been playing. But it couldn't possibly be easy to watch her boyfriend acting 'in love' with some other girl, no matter how many times she was assured that it was all just 'pretend'. That's not fair for them both, and they're a couple of really nice girls."

There was a catch in Kenshin's voice and he could hardly be heard over the breeze as he said, "I know…"

"You have to choose, man."

"There's nothing to choose. I told you, Kaoru and I were just acting around."

"And they call me the dumb one," Sanosuke whispered to himself, annoyed. Then in a loud voice, he called out, "Well whatever it is that you and Kaoru have…going on…is none of my business anyway. Actually, if it was me in your position, I'd say keep them both. Solves everything."

Sano smiled when he managed to illicit a short laugh from his friend.

"Unfortunately for you, you're not me. Instead of just (A) hook up, or (B) screw around, you chose the non-option of (Z) get serious, and so, turned yourself into a magnet for unwanted soap drama. Piece of advice? Next time a nice and gorgeous girl like Tomoe and a smart and fascinating chick like Kaoru comes into your life, you better effing run the opposite way and never look back."

"You mean if I survive this for there to be a 'next time', right?"

Sanosuke got up on his feet and dusted the back of his jeans. He placed an encouraging hand on Kenshin's left shoulder with a grin, "Oh you'll survive man, though I don't know if with manhood intact, but I know you will. You always manage to survive every clusterfuck you find yourself into, and you know why? Because even though you suck in trying to be the exact opposite of me, you always have this one saving grace that never failed you before: you always do the right thing."

Sano squeezed Kenshin's shoulder for the last time before finally leaving him alone. Kenshin found it amazing that, despite Sanosuke being the least serious and the least sympathetic friend he had when it came to affairs concerning relationships, the man actually managed to cheer him up.

You always do the right thing.

Kenshin watched the roaring waves once more and finally decided to do exactly that.

Taking his mobile phone from his pants, he typed two very different messages intended for two very different people.

"I'm sorry…for all the hurt I've caused."


"I'm sorry…but I need to end this."

After sending the two messages to their intended individual recipients, Kenshin fell back on the sand and stared silently into space. Slowly, the stars began to gather and light up the dimming skies, forming a glowing arc that made it seem like the heavens were smiling down on him. He smiled back.

No more taking chances. Like what his friend had told him, this time…he was going to do the right thing.


Aoshi wasn't sure at first who the woman was that he found inside Kaoru's room. The girl was kneeling next to Kaoru's bed, her back to him, with silky ebony-black hair that fell in gorgeous curls and ringlets past her slender shoulders. She was wearing a white and violet sleeveless dress with a flared skirt that reached only the top of her knees. She was cradling a black shoe with a narrow three-inch heel in one hand, while her other hand seemed to be supporting her head as if in pain.

Aoshi made no sound at first to alert the girl of his presence; quite content to watch from the bedroom doorway once he realized that it was Kaoru. He heard her exhale softly in frustration before speaking, "Whoever invented stilettos, I hope he or she is happily roasting in hell. I'm never gonna be able to master this torture device."

"And I suggest you don't try. You're better off without them."

Kaoru stood up with a squeak. But when she saw it was Aoshi, she winced at being caught unprepared. He, on the other hand, was rendered speechless upon his first full sight of her.

The overly-prominent braces were gone, replaced by thin, unobtrusive retainers that showed what used to be unnoticeable before: a set of clean-looking, pearly-white teeth. Gone too were the thick, matronly glasses that she used to wear, and was replaced by a pair of colorless contacts that showed the cobalt eyes underneath that could be so fascinating. He also noted that Kaoru's skin: pallid, blemished and sickly-looking before, now glowed visibly with a healthy bloom – an obvious result of her whole afternoon at the spa with her mom. Even her outfit was chosen carefully to not draw attention to her stick-straight and shapeless figure. The white upper half of the dress was adorned with criss-crossing patterns that camouflaged her small chest while the violet-colored lower part of the dress, with the skirt flaring at the hips, hugged her narrow waist nicely while emphasizing a hip size that would otherwise be unnoticeable on other types of clothing.

Kaoru looked the same and yet so different. Aoshi couldn't form a single coherent thought in the midst of all these…stimuli. Suddenly, he didn't feel so comfortable being alone with her in her bedroom.

"I look silly, don't I? You can be honest," Kaoru said to him while chewing her bottom lip as the silence stretched on. When Aoshi still didn't speak, she started pacing the room while sighing heavily. "I knew it! I knew it! I don't even know why I've let my mom convince me to do all these things. I was perfectly content with just having my braces removed, you know. I didn't even want to get contacts because now my eyes itch like crazy and I can't stop blinking like I have some kind of eye epilepsy or something, even though the optometrist said it's a perfectly natural sensation on your first try. And I don't even know why I'm wearing this ridiculous outfit. It doesn't suit me at all, does it? I knew I'm too much of a broomstick to try pulling off 'sexy'. My skin hurts too with all that scrubbing, plucking and waxing. And you know what? I'm gonna go ahead and shoot myself because you still won't say anything and I feel like a hundred different kinds of stupid and moron for thinking that–"

In the midst of Kaoru's babbling, Aoshi snapped out of his daze and cracked a grin after hearing her irrational tirade. Different and same. He was glad that not everything was altered after all. She was still his friend: the same person who got drunk with him, called herself 'Aunt Kaoru' in her drunken delusion of being Oprah, and who urged him to confront his fears and kiss Sayo goodbye. But most of all…she was still the girl he imagined from earlier, the one whom he could visualize riding with him towards the sunset. But now, she was something a bit more…

Truthfully? Aoshi found that he didn't mind some of the things that did change. He wasn't going to lie to himself and deny that he found her new look quite…tempting. With an amused grin, he walked up to her bed and sat on the edge of it before giving her a pointed look. She took the hint and sat down beside him with a heavy 'plop' and an exasperated sigh.

After a beat of silence, she nudged his shoulder and asked him, "May I?"

"Knock yourself out."

She let her head rest on his left shoulder, and for some reason, it just felt right.

"I'm sorry for leaving you earlier this morning… That was stupid and thoughtless of me."


"You didn't wait out for me in the rain…did you?"

"And why would I do that?"

She peeked up at him through her bangs to see if he was joking. When Kaoru only saw his usual lack of expression, she sighed, "Sorry. Stupid question."

"I mean," Aoshi continued, ignoring her comment. "I would have taken you home but it seemed to me you were perfectly content staying with Enishi Yukishiro…among other things…so who am I to get in between?"

"Oh… My… God…"

"Funny story. A silly but sweet girl was given this dare to confess her real feelings for a certain clueless redhead who I think she totally does not deserve, or else she'd lose her pants. But in a not-so-unique but just-as-surprising twist, she winded up in another guy's bed. Weird."

"You–" Kaoru was choking. "H-how did you know that–?"

"So now, I'm just waiting for how this particular story will end. Should be interesting, convoluted as it is."

Kaoru swallowed and looked away. In a teeny-tiny voice, she informed him in a dejected tone, "Well, the sweet but silly –and amazingly stupid if I may add– girl will certainly not be ending up with the clueless redhead, that's for sure."


"Because he's already has 'Miss Perfect'! And then they'll have a perfect life with perfect children and live happily, perfectly, ever-fucking-after. The end."

"Not really interested in –their– ending. But you know what I think will happen?" When Kaoru didn't look up, Aoshi cupped her chin and gently moved her face until their eyes met. "This sweet but silly girl – who is not stupid at all so don't call her that again– will be losing her pants in the very immediate future since she failed a dare, but then she'll move on with her life, albeit painfully at first, go on to achieve whatever dream she sets her mind to because I know, and she knows, that she can, while overcoming her fear of motorcycles –no, scratch that, she won't be afraid of only MY bike; she can go batshit insane over the others for all I care– and then live happily ever-fucking-after. The end."

Slowly, a beautiful smile began to spread across her lips and the effect on Aoshi was both startling and instantaneous. For a moment, Aoshi saw in her the stunning seven-year-old girl from the picture on the mantelpiece: all sweetness, innocence and charm. He was struck with how wonderful she seemed with just that one simple smile; her new hair and clothes could never hope to achieve this kind of glow. She could be wearing moss and seaweed and that smile alone would still leave him breathless.

"You really believe that?"


"You really think I can achieve anything?"

"As long as it doesn't defy the laws of physics."

"And about me riding a motorcycle?"

"Even if my ears bleed with your screaming."

"And that part about my pants?"

"Inevitable. So I suggest that you give up peacefully because there will be no stopping that."

She laughed sweetly, stunning him again for a few seconds, before she finally settled down to the familiar quiet from earlier. Aoshi's hands itched to tuck the stray strand of hair that fluttered lightly in front of her face. Instead, he thought of something else and asked: "May I?" To which, she teasingly replied, "Knock yourself out."

His hand slipped between them to grasp her own palm before encasing it in a warm, comfortable grip. Kaoru, following his lead, returned her head on his shoulders and leaned against him with a contented look.

"You know…" Kaoru began. "It might take a long time before any of those things come true. How would you know that's how the story will really end then?"

"Then I guess I'll just have to stick around until it happens."

"Even if it takes…maybe forever?"

"I'd like to see someone try to get rid of me."

"I guess I can have my mom adopt you. Get you in the family. Especially since you've been with us long enough that some of the neighbors actually think that you are. Do you mind if I tell them you're my long lost first cousin twice removed from the royal side of my mother's family who lives in Estonia or Paraguay or Greece or somewhere? That should be fun."

"Or you can marry me. That way, when we do something not so…proper…we don't have to worry about the men in blue and the guys in lab coats barging through our business. Besides, adoption is way too much trouble and not half as fun."

'When' not 'If'. Kaoru just laughed though, not taking him seriously at all. So is this how it's like to have a close guy friend? It was all new and very refreshing for her. And marriage to Aoshi didn't sound so bad either. To be married to your best friend would definitely give the term 'Best Friends Forever' a new slant. Or perhaps marriage was only legalizing it, since BFF's were supposed to be with you for the rest of your life after all, minus the 'raising-a-family' part.

"Sure, we can do that. When we're both thirty, and we're not sick of each other yet, and if we have no other options…why not?"

"So you're in?" Aoshi cocked an eyebrow down on her. She answered by rolling her eyes and telling him playfully,

"Sure. And since we seem to be playing some kind of 'Let's-enact-every-romantic-movie-cliché-in-the-book' game, next thing you'll tell me is that this is the part where we have to seal it with a kiss, am I right?"

Aoshi's eyes dropped to her lips and the laughter got stuck in her throat. Before they could both think about it too much, his hands grasped her face before sealing his lips hungrily over hers. She, on the other hand, clutched the hem of his shirt for support. But just as the all-too-familiar sparks began to burst in Kaoru's belly, it was all over, and Aoshi was setting her away gently.

"You have a deal."

Aoshi got up from the bed and walked towards her door. But before exiting the room, he gave her a cheeky grin before telling her, "And wear pants next time. Can't really do your penalty with a dress, unless you want to take off all your clothes and get fully naked. Not that I'm complaining."

Kaoru's eyes widened but Aoshi was already gone before she could come up with anything to say. Just as well, he could have stood there for hours and she still wouldn't know how to respond to that stunt he just pulled.

Oh-kay… So maybe having a really –hot– guy friend might be a bit more complicated than she thought…

After a while, Kaoru lied back on her bed and stared at the ceiling, deciding not to give Aoshi's actions too much meaning. Just as she was drifting off to dreamland, the mobile phone on her bedside table started vibrating. A part of her didn't want to reach for the phone, but the desire to check if it was Kenshin was just too big and too strong to resist. So before she could fret over the matter too much, she finally snatched the cellphone and flipped it open.

After reading the message, Kaoru pressed her palm against her lips and closed her eyes to prevent the tears from falling.

She failed.


Tomoe didn't tear her eyes away from the photo album that she was looking even when she heard the message alert tone from her phone which was lying a few feet from her head. She was lazing around, outstretched on the pink, carpeted floor of her bedroom while idly flipping through the pages of all the memories she made for the past eighteen years of her life. She felt a pang in her heart whenever she'd encounter pictures of her with her best friend Kaoru; most of them when they were fourteen or younger. In contrast, she skipped the pages that held Kenshin's photographs.

After five minutes, she got up to go to the bathroom. But before she could do that, the lightened screen of her mobile phone reminded her of the unread text message. After reading the text, she cupped her fingers to prevent the sob that threatened to spill from her lips.

She failed.

to be continued...

Author's Notes

Sooo…I honestly don't know what to say at the moment. Angst much? It seems a lot of people are rooting for Enishi or Aoshi instead of Kenshin and I don't really blame them. Our hero needs a make-over himself and you'll be seeing that too with the coming chapters. Hope you guys won't be disappointed by what I've got planned. Five chapters left remaining, and I'll be able to post the next chapter by next week I'm pretty sure of it. So wish me luck!

Oh btw, I'll be replying to reviewers through FanfictionDOTNet's reply system. So you guys(!) I really urge all of you to log-in (or if you're too lazy, at least indicate your real account name) so I can all thank y'all properly and sufficiently for being such a cool, lovable bunch.

UP NEXT: The 'Big Moment' and a return to Kaoru's 1st person POV. (I've decided to just alternate the POV's to be used. Hope that's okay with you guys.). Also, onwards to that damn play already! Lol.

So again, thanks guys for reading! Mucho love to all of you! :)