This story is dedicated to all those who had suffered due to the tsunami which occurred in December.
D/C: I don't own Rurouni Kenshin.
I've wanted to write this story ever since ages, but my friend told me to wait. Well, I can't wait any longer, so here it is! I know this story will be nothing compared to the real thing, I think maybe you'll find it kinda lame, but…anyway, read on…
The water rushed up the sandy shore and pooled around her bare feet. The water wasn't cold, but she still shuddered at its touch. She wrapped her arms protectively around herself and took a step away from the water. Tears welled in her eyes as she stared at the endless blue which was the ocean.
A few feet away from her, a toddler with a mass of crimson hair was splashing around happily in the water. Fear stabbed at her chest as she watched him.
'Kenji! Stay close to the shore, okay?' she called out.
'Okay, mommy!' Kenji replied, without even looking at her.
Kaoru Kamiya sighed. A small wave crept up the shore, and she took an automatic step away from it. Nine months had passed, but she still couldn't overcome her fear of water. Every time she saw water…any form of water…a chill ran down her spine. It was ridiculous, but she even feared the water in her glass; when she looked into it, she, somehow, felt that she was drowning in it.
But anyone who had lived her experience wouldn't say she was being ridiculous, because there was simply nothing ridiculous about the tsunami. Kaoru could still hear the roar of the winds and the waves in her ears, taste the salty water in her mouth, feel the cold water against her skin, its strength pushing her downwards…drowning her. She kept having nightmares about the whole thing. But Kaoru was lucky; she survived…unlike the thousands others who didn't…unlike…
Kaoru's eyes filled with tears again.
'Mommy,' Kaoru looked down; she hadn't felt Kenji tugging at her dress until he had called her name. 'Come play with me…please?'
'Play?' Kaoru repeated. She knew very well that Kenji wanted her to play in the ocean…but she couldn't. 'Oh, no, Kenji; I'm really tired…maybe later?'
Kenji pouted. 'Aw, you're no fun!' he mumbled. 'If dad was here, he would've played with me!'
Kaoru felt a lump rise in her throat, and her grip around the bouquet of red roses she was holding tightened. But she smiled at her son, nonetheless. 'I'm sorry, Kenji,' she said softly. 'But mommy is really tired at the moment, okay?'
'Okay,' he mumbled, slouching off.
Kaoru gazed after him as he plopped down on the ground and started collecting the wet sand around him.
And if dad was here, then I wouldn't have to be here in the first place. I wouldn't have to stand here alone, holding those roses.
The whole incident was still fresh in her memory. When she went back over it, she couldn't believe that that had actually happened to them. She couldn't believe that such a happy day had turned so horrible.
It had been okay for Kenji. He wasn't there; he was sleeping in their hotel room on the ninth floor. When they had first taken the room, Kaoru had complained that it was high, but afterwards, she was really grateful. Point was, he wasn't there with them while they fooled around together on a deserted beach area. She and her husband. Kenshin.
Kaoru straightened up and adjusted the straps of her swimsuit. Kenshin, however, leaned back against the ground, his elbows sinking into the soft sand. His crimson hair and tanned body gleamed in the sun. He grinned at her.
'Okay, I'll stop,' he agreed. 'But you first have to admit that coming here was a brilliant idea…you keep denying that!'
'It is a brilliant idea, Kenshin,' she admitted, and then frowned. 'I just find the idea of spending a snow-less Christmas too weird, y'know?'
'A change is nice,' Kenshin chided her.
'I guess,' she murmured. She gazed at the top of the hotel building, which was visible even from this distance, and the jungle surrounding it. 'Do you think we should go back? I mean, what if Kenji woke up?'
'Ah, don't worry about him, the hotel staff will take care of him,' he told her, but she continued to gaze worriedly at the hotel. He grabbed her arm and pulled her against him.
'Kenshin!' she protested.
'Aw, c'mon, Kaoru, we haven't had this much fun in ages!' he said, stroking the side of her face. 'Relax…there's nothing to worry about.'
'No, Kenshin,' she said, pushing herself away from him. 'I really think we should go now.'
Kenshin scowled, but grinned again. 'Okay, how about we go for a little swim?' he suggested. Kaoru continued to look doubtful. 'Oh, c'mon, Kaoru! A little swim won't harm anyone!'
'Alright, fine!' she said, exasperated. 'But after that we'll go back to the hotel, alright?'
Kenshin nodded. He got up to his feet, pulled her up and rushed her towards the water. Kaoru pulled her hand away and jumped back as her feet touched the water.
'Cold, cold,' she said, shuddering. Kenshin laughed, and she scowled at him. She gazed out at the ocean. 'Looks like there's gonna be lots of high tide today.'
'So? It's more fun this way, I've never liked the ocean to be too peaceful,' he replied. 'Or are you scared?'
'What? No! Of course I'm not scared!' she snapped. She walked into the water and swam up close to him, ignoring the iciness of the water. 'See?'
'Okay, let's see if you're as brave when we go further in,' Kenshin said, grabbing her hand and pulling her forward.
They swam deeper into the ocean. Kenshin let go of her hand and she began swimming on her own, taking slow and steady strokes with her arms. Kenshin, a much faster swimmer since he was on a swimming team himself, was ahead of her by several meters. Her arms started to ache after a while and she decided to rest. She stood there, kicking gently with her feet to keep herself floating.
'Kenshin!' she called out to the mass of crimson bobbing a distance away from her.
But Kenshin apparently hadn't heard her, because he continued his progress into the water. Kaoru grumbled. The waves were pushing her upwards, two waves or three at the same time. Kaoru giggled, enjoying the tickling sensation the waves were giving her.
But something was wrong. With each coming wave, Kaoru felt its strength and height increase, until finally a wave came and nearly swallowed her up. She had had enough. Blinking water out of her eyes, she began kicking furiously now.
'Kenshin!' she screamed, because she could no longer see his head. 'Kenshin! Damn it, where are you?'
She started to panic. Where was Kenshin? Why wasn't he answering her? Suddenly, she felt something grab her around the waist. She gasped in shock and whirled around.
'Kenshin! You scared me! What did you do that for?' she demanded.
Kenshin didn't smile. 'Come on, we gotta get back to the shore; the waves are getting too strong,' he said. 'It's dangerous to remain out here.'
'I'm more than willing to go back,' she said, the eagerness too obvious in her voice.
They started swimming back. Kenshin, naturally, was far ahead of her. Kaoru struggled to keep up with him, her arms working furiously against the waves which were in turn trying to slow down her movement; they were getting stronger with each assign second. The shore still seemed far away; Kaoru hadn't realized they had swam so far, and her arms were aching terribly now. They felt like two heavy loads attached to her shoulders.
'Kenshin! Wait up!' she cried in a feeble voice. 'Kenshin!'
It all happened so suddenly. One moment she was calling his name, the next she was swallowed up by a huge wave, higher and stronger than the ones before. Kaoru was pushed underneath the water. She automatically held her breath, but not before a fair amount of water entered. She struggled to reach the surface, but the strength of the water was pushing her downwards. Kaoru tried to swim against it, but she was feeling so very tired now. Stars danced before her eyes. This was it. She was going to die now.
Something…a hand…grabbed her shoulder and pulled her upwards by the strap of her swimsuit. Kaoru got to the surface. She spat salty water out of her mouth and gasped for breath.
'Kenshin! Oh, Kenshin!' she sobbed, throwing her arms around his neck. 'I almost…I…I…I was so scared!'
'I'm really sorry I left you alone,' he told her, patting the back of her head while he buried his face in her shoulder. He held her away from him after a moment. 'But everything's okay now…you're fine.'
'Good, now I want you to hold on to my shoulders so I could swim us back to the shore,' he said, trying to be heard over the wind and the waves.
'But…I'll slow you down!' she cried.
'We'll manage! Now hold on to me!' he instructed her, and she obliged. 'Okay, I need you to help me, Kaoru! Kick as hard as you can, alright?'
Kaoru nodded again. They both started kicking as hard as they can, and in Kenshin's case, stroking. The wind roared in their ears and the waves were surrounding them from all angles, but they continued to swim. Kaoru thought it was a miracle that they got to the shore, because they both could barely move.
But Kenshin didn't give her time to rest. Almost as soon as she collapsed to the sand, panting, he grabbed her arm and pulled her up to her feet. 'Kaoru! We have no time to rest!' he cried, sounding worried and fearful as he gazed out across her shoulder at the raging ocean behind them. 'Hurry!'
He dragged her away from the shore. They ran, hand in hand, she in her swimsuit and he in his trunks, towards the small jungle which lay before the hotel. Kaoru winced as she ran; she felt that her knees were going to give away any second now.
'Hurry, Kaoru!' Kenshin urged her when she started to slow down. 'Please!'
Suddenly, there was a deafening roar of sound behind them, and they automatically turned around to look. Kaoru screamed.
A wave so huge it could've swallowed up a three or four-storey building was rushing towards them. From a distance, it looked like it was a stampede of watery, mystical creatures. It was beautiful. But it was also extremely terrifying. And deadly.
'HURRY!' Kenshin screamed, because Kaoru didn't seem like she was about to move; she was mesmerized by the wave. 'KAORU!'
Kaoru shook herself out of her trance, and allowed Kenshin to rush her deeper into the jungle. He led her over to the nearest, most strong-looking palm tree.
'Climb up!' he shouted.
'You climb up with me!' Kaoru cried.
'No! The tree won't hold us both! I'll find myself another tree!' he said. He was starting to sound frantic now. 'Please, Kaoru! Climb up!'
With his help, Kaoru climbed onto the tree. Its coarse bark scratched her legs and arms, but she took no heed of them and continued to climb. She looked down as she neared the top. Kenshin was still standing there, the wind blowing his hair across his face. He was watching her.
'Kenshin! Go climb a tree, you idiot!' she screamed.
'Hold on tight, Kaoru,' he told her, and a sad smile flitted across his handsome features.
'Kenshin…' she whispered, her eyes filled with horror.
She only had one last glimpse of his face before it was swallowed up by the huge wave. On impulse, Kaoru grabbed onto the tree bark with all the strength she could muster as the water slammed against her body. Kaoru could've almost sworn she heard several of her ribs crack against the bark. Blinding pain rushed into her body and she wanted to scream, but she just held her breath as the water swallowed her up whole. The palm tree writhed and bent against the wave, but it wasn't uprooted. The water level ceased a bit and she was allowed to take a few gulps of air as she stared around wildly, trying to locate Kenshin clinging on to one of the trees which remained standing, but she couldn't find him.
'KENSHIN!' she screamed, as the wave swallowed her up again.
Even now, Kaoru couldn't remember how long she had remained clinging to that tree, how many tree logs had slammed into her, how many jolts of pain she felt as a bone in her body snapped, how many close-calls to death did she get…she just held onto the tree. She felt really exhausted and weary and her hands kept slipping…but she held on. Kenshin had told her to hold on tight and so she did. Point was, she had survived. Her tree wasn't uprooted like most of the other trees. The tree Kenshin had ordered her to climb. She was lucky. But Kenshin…he wasn't so lucky.
Kaoru bent down and placed the bouquet upon the sandy bank. A wave crept up the shore. It bore the bouquet and carried it along into the ocean. Kaoru just stood there, watching it as it drifted off into the ocean; the ocean which had become a grave for many people.
The tsunami had changed their lives forever, no one could argue with that.
Kaoru looked around at Kenji's cry. A smile touched her lips as she saw Kenshin coming down the beach towards them, limping over his cane. Kenji rushed forward towards him.
'Hey there, kiddo,' Kenshin said, smiling. He bent down and ruffled his son's hair. 'Whatcha doing?'
'Mommy won't play with me!' Kenji complained.
Kenshin looked up and his eyes met Kaoru's blue ones. They smiled at each other.
When Kenshin came back to her, alive…broken, but alive…she just couldn't believe her eyes. When the wave had swallowed him up, she was pretty sure that she was never going to see him again…but he had come back for her. From what she understood, as the wave had carried him away, he had managed to grab hold to one tree, and by clinging to it, he had managed to survive. But, unfortunately, he had lost his left leg, and there was a cross-shaped scar on his cheek, indicating the position where he had been hit by flying shards of glass.
But he was alive…that was what mattered. Kaoru didn't care if he came back undistinguishable, she was just happy that he was still alive…and still hers.
Kenshin stepped up before her. 'Sorry I'm late,' he said softly, and he put his arms around her.
'It's okay,' Kaoru whispered, resting her head against his chest. I don't mind you being late as long as you do come back to me, Kenshin…and you did…
A/N: Okay, I'm done. I know this was stupid, I know it is lame, I know it portrays nothing of the real thing, but this is all I could do, after all, I wasn't there, so I don't know what happened. But, anyway, I hoped you liked it, coz I'm waiting for reviews!