AN: Came back from the dead, here goes.


That night there was a great celebration, Kenshin and Megumi cooked up a feast that was fit for the former Emperor himself. And there was music courtesy of Dr. Gensi and singing. They all discovered that Ayame had a very beautiful voice and it impressed everyone.

After the rounds of sake for the adults, Dr. Gensi walked the slightly inebriated Megumi home, Ayame and Sasame under each arm fast asleep.

Yahiko, Kaoru, Sanosuke and Kenshin now remained, Yahiko grumbled while washing the dishes, Sanosuke murmured while he helped. Kaoru swept and Kenshin cleaned up the room of its pillows, taking in the last of the dishes that had escaped the first sweep of the room.

As he left the kitchen Kaoru stood in the small hallway "Its time for me to talk to the Battousai, Kenshin." She began seriously.

Kenshin shook his head "Not until Yahiko is in bed. This one doesn't want to complicate the situation any further Kaoru-donno." He said with a grin it was then that he left her… Leaving her to gaze at the moon through the half open screen door.


The moon was halfway through the sky by the time Kenshin came to her, she was sitting in the dojo, doing her deep breathing exercises. Her heart was pumping so loudly in her chest that she was unable to concentrate. The Battousai's words echoed through her like a song, it consumed her now more then ever.

"Kaoru-donno? Yahiko is asleep now we can talk." He walked slowly into the dojo and sat some feet away from her.

"Good" she replied and Kenshin took a deep breath, the lone candle in the dojo flickered and when Kenshin's eyes opened they were no longer the sweet drowning mauve but a golden hue that sent chills down her spine.

"So good to see that you are feeling better Kaoru, it was quite hard to return to Kyoto with Kenshin fighting so hard to take control. He can be such a nuisance sometimes."

Kaoru felt her mouth going dry "Y-you went to Kyoto for me…"

"I do not want my greatest interest to suddenly fall ill. I have so much to fulfill for you." He said his voice a dry deadpan. A wicked smile slipped over his face

Kaoru felt her head begin to spin again

He chuckled darkly "Ah how your heart begins to speed up, like a frightened lamb in the jaws of the lion."

Kaoru was already beginning to edge herself away from the man that she no longer knew. She knew now that her naïve thoughts of talking this through with the Battousai was totally misguided. There would be no negotiating with him, there was only…

She got up and broke for the kitchen, the lamp was still lit meaning that… Sanosuke…

"Clever girl!" he cried tackling her to the ground, one hand over her mouth.

"Don't make a sound," he stated, he wasn't even breathing heavy. The Battousai's hair had come loose from its tie falling around his shoulders in an orange cascade. This reminded her of…

She closed her eyes and felt the tears leak from her closed lids, he released her mouth but remained on top of her body, his lightweight pressing on her hips. Kaoru was still, she could barely breathe not because he was heavy but because… The heat of his body was doing something to her, beneath her fear there was something else brewing in her.

"Please don't kill me" she blurted as he pinned her hands to either side of her head.

"Why would I do that? I told you once before that it no longer interests me, it is you that my thoughts linger upon. And though you are making me very angry I know from Shinta that I must be gentle. For even though you are a master of this dojo you are still a woman. A delicate…"

He bent now to her neck, where he placed a teasing kiss

"Fragile" another

"Flower" he finished, this time his lips pressed against hers with a hunger that she had never experienced before. Her hands were suddenly free and she wrapped them around his body, pulling him closer.

Suddenly her obi thudded some distance away from them and her kimono was slowly being loosened, her careful ties undone. A tongue flicked over her rapid pulse, kisses being pressed into her collarbone and in her hazy fog she remembered her hands finding the collar of his yukata and slipping underneath, touching the smoothness of his muscled chest.

And then everything stopped because the Battousai had ceased his efficient deconstruction of her kimono.

"K-kaoru-donno?" came a familiar voice; it cut through her desire like the local fire alarm.

Kenshin the Wanderer had returned, red faced and breathing heavily he rolled off her and went to stand by the only flickering candle in the large dojo. Kaoru sat up, clutching at her nearly open kimono and took a shaky breath. Kenshin stood back to her

"I do not think that this one can stay here anymore"

"I know that now Kenshin" she said with a heavy heart.

"I think I will go back to Kyoto and see Okina-sama there I can surely find some work… To do… Maybe in another few months… I could return to you and the dojo."

Kaoru turned to him hearing the hope plain in his voice "S-so you're not leaving me.. I mean us forever?" she said quickly fixing her kimono.

"I couldn't" he turned a little towards her, she could almost see him smile.

"Why not?" her heart was thudding loudly again

"Because this one loves you" he replied and then slipped quietly out of the dojo, leaving her for the third time.