Disclaimer: I don't own RK.

A/N: I love all my reviewers so very much! -hugs-

Review responses for CH. 10:

StormHornet – Indeed he did! –sings The Cell Block Tango-

Reignashii – I agree! Thx for reviewing!

Rurouni-maxi – That's such a good idea –sigh/sob-

battosaichick – Yes she did! –happy grin-

royal blueKitsune – You're welcome! And I'm glad you love it! –blushes-

Review responses for CH. 11:

StormHornet – Indeed. Stewpidity. LOL!

Dr. Silly – If you think so. –shrug- And, the sad thing is, I sort of agree… -sweat drop-

royal blueKitsune – I shall! Thank you for sticking with the story even through moments of supreme stupidity!

Rurouni-maxi – It is the end, of this one at least. You will find out who Daemon is in the next one… hehe…

Seexxy gal – Okay. If you think the story sucked, as you said, then you might want to put it in a nicer fashion than just, well, saying it sucked. But if you didn't like it, fine with me.

Recap –

He started to yell again and I, for the first time in my 17 years, just walked straight. I ignored his yelling, and just headed up to my room. Then, deciding to be indescribably bold, I turned around, went back into the room and said, "You may be my Father but you cannot yell at me at will now without my saying something. Ever since mother died you have done nothing but yell and scold us. So now I am no longer just a silent, good girl who wilts under your anger, I am a strong 17 year old who will shout back at you if you shout at me." Then, saying no more, I walked out of the house. My Father was silent.

Before The Dawn – Chapter 11

A few moments later I heard my brother and my sister following.

Sanosuke just did nothing but grin at me. "Finally." He kept saying this.

Tomoe was looking at me. "You will be severely punished," she whispered, "Kaoru."

"I know." I stared at my sister through narrowed eyes. Was something bothering her? "Oneesan… is anything bothering you?"

"No," she said stiffly. "I am angry at Himura-san. Nothing more." Though I suspected she was lying I nodded, and led the way into town.

Tomoe walked with a powerful stride and I followed behind her. We had left Sanosuke to go out and roam about, trying to find Takani Megumi.

We arrived in town. I saw Kenshin right away. He was sitting on a bench, slumped over, his head in his hands. Tomoe walked straight up to him and tapped him briskly on the shoulder. He looked up and his mouth fell open, "K-Kamiya-san," he looked beyond Tomoe to me. "Kaoru," he breathed.

"Himura," Tomoe spoke angrily, her head held high. "I heard you played my sister for a fool. You asked her out to dinner and it was all a dare made by your stupid friends."

Kenshin stood up. "I told Kaoru I was sorry. And I am." Surprising both Tomoe and I he came up and hugged me. "I do care for her. I really do."

Tomoe looked at Kenshin and then at me and then back at Kenshin. I saw her give Kenshin a 'hurt-her-again-and-I'll-kill-you' stare.

Kenshin gave her a half-smile, which she did not return. She left soon after. I watched this all with silence, slightly angry that Tomoe seemed to think the problem could be solved so easily. Something was definitely bothering her. Kenshin did not remove his arms. I was going to shove him off when I said, "Kenshin, do not think I have just forgiven you." I pulled out of his embrace. "Oyasumi nasai."

I gave a glance at his heart-broken face and walked back home.

The next day, it started. Kenshin started to be incredibly nice to me. He would leave flowers outside my house (my father was not best pleased about that, though he had quieted down) and other things like chocolate. It was all so very sweet. Once again, beyond my control, I was falling for Sir-Brags-A-Lot Fabulous. I didn't want to. I wanted to stay mad at him forever, to yell at him every time I saw him, but I could not. For reasons even stupidity cannot guess, Kenshin's sweetness has made me fall in love with him all over again. It would never be the same, but it seemed that Kenshin was truthful in his feelings and truly sincere in his apology.

One day I confronted him. "Do you think you can capture my heart with flowers and kindness?" I yelled at him.

He nodded, somewhat sheepish. He was smiling away, just like Soujirou used to. He looked so innocent, so sweet…

It was taking all of my control to not jump into his arms. I knew I should not be feeling this. Most of me didn't want to be feeling this. It was not my fault that I had fallen again for Himura Kenshin. "You are… you are –" and I lost it. "You are right!" I blubbered, "You can and you did!" and, with that, I ran forward into his open arms. Sometimes I am so stupid I cannot believe it.

He held me, stroking my hair and smiling with new energy. "Kaoru…" he whispered. He smiled weakly, and began talking about how sorry he was again. Suddenly we heard a voice from behind us. And snickering.

"So, Kenshin," an irate Raikoji Chizuru glared at me, "What do you think you are doing?"

Kenshin and I stared at her. Then I turned to him, "Aren't you going to answer her, Kenshin?" I knew it was not fair, that I was torturing Kenshin… but it felt good after what he did.

"I… um…"

Chizuru raised an eyebrow. "I didn't know Cho and Anji had challenged you to another dare." She shot a nasty look at me.

"They didn't, Chizuru," Kenshin said finally. "I really like Kaoru and I have for a long time and I feel awful after what I did to her." When Chizuru opened her mouth to complain, Kenshin interrupted her by saying, "I know we were dating for a while, but it did not mean that we would stay together."

"You mean," Chizuru gasped, "that you liked her," she looked at me, livid, "when you and I were dating?"

"Well… yes." Kenshin looked slightly sad, "I'm sorry, Chizuru."

"You… you…" I expected Chizuru to burst into tears and so I started to apologize, but instead she ran up and slapped me. "You little monster!" she shouted in my face.

I stood tall, but when she turned to leave, I stuck my tongue out at her.

Kenshin looked after Chizuru, shook his head and sighed. "Well, Kaoru…"

"I can't talk now." I was speaking briskly and sternly. Even though I had confessed my feelings I still felt so angry, so used… This was very annoying. One second, I'm walking away from him, the next, I'm back in his arms, and now I am once again turning away. I wish my heart would make up its mind.

And suddenly it had. I did not feel like talking to him. Ever.

"But Kaoru…" I ignored him. I turned to leave, leaving a heartbroken Kenshin behind.


That winter –

I shivered and wrapped myself up further in my warm coat. This dress was warm enough, but winters here were so cold that you need another layer.

I had moved to Shiro, leaving my family behind. I think Serras was home to too many horrible memories. A few weeks later, Kenshin joined me here.

Kenshin and I had not spoken. Not since I left him there. I still loved him, but, like I said in the summer, I felt used and like I was unable to talk to him. Yes, I had seen him and he had come up to me, trying to get me to talk to him. I always said nothing. He gave up a long time ago. It is odd though, ever since I turned away, I have not seen him with another girl. Part of me feels sort of happy, happy that I seem to be staying in Kenshin's heart. Misao and I had not spoken either. Not since that incident with Aoshi. That was so many months without Misao's comforting cheeriness…

I wandered into the Shiro's unfamiliar woods. Snow was still falling, and I found myself looking into the frozen river. I could see a creature stuck there inside the ice; a small fish. I brushed my hand over the spot where it was, and whispered, "Gomen nasai."

I got up and leaned against the tree, feeling like I should sing. Smiling slightly, I started to sing a very pretty round that Soujirou taught me when I was younger. He said it was, 'A winter song to wash your pain away'. I sang it, and it comforted me greatly. It brought tears to my eyes. This was such a pretty song. I would not know it if it was not for Soujirou. I missed Soujirou so much.

Suddenly a twig snapped behind me. I whirled around and saw no one. "Nani?" I looked around. Who was there? Feeling slightly frightened, I started making my way out of the woods. Another twig snapped behind me. Once again I turned around to find nothing there. I sped up and soon I was out of the forest and onto the public road.

Kenshin stopped and stared at me. He started to say something but seemed to think better of it. Then something behind me made his mouth open and close like that fish I saw frozen in the ice would have if it were not frozen.

I stared at him for a long moment, and then turned around to come face to face with a man of the likes I had never seen before. His dark hair fell around his face in dark strands. He was quite handsome. His head was bowed, and he said nothing.

"Hello." The man's head snapped up and stared me in the eye. My breath caught in my throat. His eyes - they were blood red and glowed with malicious joy. "Kaoru."

For some reason I could not breathe. How did this man – whom I had never seen before – know my name?

Kenshin seemed quite surprised, too. He unsheathed his katana and took a step forward.

The mysterious man eyed Kenshin and his sword. He then – quite to my surprise – laughed and flung his hand out in Kenshin's direction.

Kenshin, with a cry, was hurled backward and landed on the ground some feet away.

I ran over to him and helped him up, saying nothing. I then turned to the strange man and shouted, "Who are you?"

"I?" the man smirked. "Dear Kaoru," I stiffened, "I am Daemon, Lord Of The Black-Red."

"You!" I gasped and stumbled backward. "I have heard of you!"

"Of course you have." Daemon took a hold of my arm and pulled me toward him. "And I have always wanted to meet you, Kamiya Kaoru, and, if it was not for your pretty singing, I would never had the chance."

I blanched and try to free myself, but it was no use. "Kenshin! I'm sorry!" I screamed as Daemon and I rose up into the air; I was hanging onto him by a thread. We kept rising.

Kenshin ran up after us, "Kaoru!" he yelled, "Kaoru!"

"I love you Ke-" Then Daemon snapped his fingers, and I could not see Kenshin anymore. Suddenly I was sitting in a bedroom on a bed. There was no one around. The room was painted black and it was very dreary. Then I thought of Kenshin and that I might never see him again. I curled up upon the bed and wept.

Fin

A/N: It's over! Don't worry, there's going to be a sequel! It's called The Color Black-Red and I will post it soon! I'll also be coming out with other stories in the mean time, such as a one-shot called Blind to the Obvious and possibly a multi-chaptered story that I'm working on – it doesn't have a title yet.
Ja ne!

Crimson Kaoru