Ignorance is Bliss
A Rurouni Kenshin Fanwork
by Gemini

Rated: R for flesh bokkens and such. :p
Spoilers: If you don't know about the Revenge Arc, Tomoe and Enishi, don't read this.
Timeline: After the Revenge Arc, although this does not stick faithfully to the manga.
Disclaimer: Rurouni Kenshin is property of Nobuhiro Watsuki, Shueshia, Shonen Jump, Sony and most notably, NOT me.

There was a bite in the air, subtle, but still there, a sort of tinge that warned the observer that fall was moving slowly but inevitably towards winter. Kaoru lifted her nose and sniffed the air, breathing in the earthy scent of leaves and wood smoke. This was her favorite time of year, when green trees blushed scarlet and hot, muggy days of summer turned cool. She swung her legs back and forth from her perch on the engawa, enjoying the peaceful quiet of a lazy afternoon free of Yahiko's insults and Sano's freeloading.

The wind picked up a bit, its cold fingers dancing across her, playing with her hair and her kimono. She shivered. Soon she would have to go about making winter preparations at the dojo. She tapped her chin thoughtfully as she tried to recall just how many quilts and how much warm bedding she had in the storage shed. Would there be enough for Kenshin, Yahiko and herself?

Of course, if she and Kenshin shared a futon, they wouldn't need as many quilts to keep warm. She blushed as red as the trees and giggled to herself. For quite some time now, such thoughts had been rather commonplace, assaulting her when she wasn't prepared for them, always stopping her in her tracks. Even though she had long been in love with the wandering swordsman, she had tended to think of him in romantic terms, not sexual ones. Her occasional naughty thoughts had been naïve and childish, products of a girl not too familiar with the machinations of sex.

She was definitely more knowledgeable about the whole thing now, thanks in no small part to Megumi. The sly doctor had taken it upon herself to educate Kaoru as soon as the bedraggled Kenshin-gumi had returned to the mainland, weary and saddened by Enishi's jinchuu against Kenshin.

The doctor had invited Kaoru to the clinic and Kaoru, in her naivety had thought the invitation had been a social one, a chance for the uneasy friends to catch up. She should have known better, really. Megumi had greeted her at the clinic gates with a mischievous glint in her expressive brown eyes that had immediately put Kaoru on her guard.

"It's very important that I speak to you, raccoon girl." The doctor had said as she pushed Kaoru into the clinic and down the narrow hallway into a private examination room.

Kaoru had been at first puzzled, then curious and finally, mortified as Megumi pulled out dozens of nishiki-e, all of them graphic to the last detail.

"It's only a matter of time now, raccoon. I am certain that as soon as Ken-san has recovered, he will make sure that you know just how much he missed you." Megumi tittered behind her hand, watching with amused eyes as Kaoru's face went from confusion to understanding, burning beet red in the process. The younger girl sputtered and shook her head, unable to form a coherent protest.

"What? You don't want him to?" Megumi began to ask, one elegant eyebrow raised in curiosity.

"No…I mean, yes, but…it's just that…" Kaoru tried and failed to explain herself, her hands waving in an attempt to clarify herself.

"Well, then quit being prudish and listen closely. I'm going to tell you everything you need to know about coupling, and a few things you don't really need to know, but that could prove useful in the future." Megumi flipped through the stack of lurid drawings before her, choosing one of the less graphic ones. "It all begins with seduction." she said, mischief lighting up her eyes.

Megumi's education had been thorough. Kaoru had gone from relative innocence to knowing as much about the art of sex as a wizened old prostitute. Of course, she hadn't had the opportunity to put any of the doctor's lessons into practice. Even though his wounds had mostly healed, even though she knew, thanks to the others, how he had suffered without her, and, even though she had gone out of her way to make herself available to him, Kenshin had not done a thing. He never discussed Enishi's jinchuu or their relationship. He never said anything except trite, polite things, comments about the weather or observations on laundry or cooking. It was as though nothing had happened, as though Enishi hadn't kidnapped her, hadn't left that grotesque puppet in her place, as though the whole thing had never happened.

Now annoyed, she scowled at the muted blue sky that she had, moments ago, been smiling at. "Mou!" she muttered out loud. 'Kenshin-no-baka!' she thought irritably.

"Kaoru-dono? Are you all right?" The object of her affections suddenly appeared in her field of vision, causing her to jump in surprise.

"Kenshin! Don't sneak up on me like that!" She scolded, pressing a slightly shaky hand to her thudding heart. She immediately tried to erase all dirty thoughts from her mind or else she would not be able to look at him.

"I apologize, Kaoru-dono. I didn't mean to sneak up on you." Kenshin rubbed the back of his head, a rueful smile plastered on his face, his rurouni mask firmly in place.

She wondered what he would be like in intimate moments, if he would drop all of his polite speech patterns and silly expressions, if he would be like he was when he fought Saitou, intense, focused. She wondered what he would say to her, how he would touch her, how he would taste. Her thoroughly inappropriate mental wanderings came crashing to a halt when Kenshin cleared his throat, waving his hand in front of her to catch her attention. She turned bright red again.

"Kaoru-dono?" Kenshin cocked his head to the side, eyeing her with concern. "Are you okay? You look a little flushed. You're not coming down with something, are you? Should I get Dr. Genzai?"

She stood up, hands clasped to her red face. "I'm fine!" she exclaimed, her voice slightly hysterical. She was deeply embarrassed. He was very good at reading people, if he even had an inkling of what she had been thinking…no! She didn't want to contemplate that. "Just fine!" she babbled, eyes firmly locked on the polished wood planks of her porch. "Nothing to worry about!" Suddenly aware that she was digging herself into a deeper hole, she offered him a strained, fleeting smile before brushing past him and rushing to her room, where she sought sanctuary.

Kenshin watched her rush away, a puzzled expression on his face.

A/N: According to my e-mail, this fic was written in November of 2003. It's a sort of companion piece/earlier version of my lime-flavored one-shot, Crave, which is available on my website and on Adult as well. I stumbled across it the other day, and as I read it, I thought, "Dang, this isn't half bad." So, here it is, slightly edited.

Not an original concept, I know, but simply my take on how exactly Kenshin and Kaoru get together. The nishiki-e and Megumi angle was inspired by RikkiTikkiTavi's Wedding Discussion. Great fic!