Summary: Kaoru looks at Kenshin and considers the scars she sees there…

Kaoru sat up in bed. Kenshin was still asleep and snuffled slightly as Kaoru brushed the bangs from her husband's face. He laid there in bed topless with the covers thrown down to his waist; however peaceful he was when he slept upright, he was not remotely so once he was laid in bed in good health. Kaoru smiled and stretched out her hand, tracing the scars that covered his waist.

In the years since they had married, he had become a heavy sleeper, (Kaoru theorized that this was his body's way of making up for all the sleep he missed in the revolution and as a wanderer) and no one short of Kaoru and nothing short of the Sun could wake him if he didn't want to be.

Not for the first time, Kaoru started to think about Kenshin's scars and what they meant. As Kaoru looked at the scars that laced Kenshin's torso, she thought back to what she'd heard about the Bakumatsu; A time of bloody uncertainty in which everyone fought only for their own ideals. Kenshin had told her some of what he had done, and why he had done it. He still hurt for what he'd done, and Kaoru hurt for him. No one should have to suffer like that.

Continuing her examinations, she came to a large dimpled area on the right side of his chest. She knew that he had gotten in his battle with Shishio, but as to the exact nature of the wound…


"How did Ken-san come by this wound Sano?"

"I'm not totally sure megitsune. That mad-man grabbed him and then there was this explosion. Next thing I knew Kenshin was lying there on the ground, and Shishio was gloating. Whatever it was, I think Shishio tried to do it again, but somehow Kenshin countered whatever it was and then proceeded to beat the ever-living daylights out of Shishio."

"The wound was probably then, caused by one of the explosions that you saw."

"Will he be okay Megumi-san?" asked Kaoru, who had been sitting in the doorway for some time now. She had also asked that question several times before.

"Kaoru-chan, I've already told you that he would be several times now," said Megumi with an exasperated sigh.

"It's always reassuring to hear it though," said Kaoru looking downcast.

end flashback

…She never really found that out. Kenshin didn't talk much about the battle with Shishio, except to tell everyone that Shishio was dead.

'In a way,' she thought, 'this represents the soul of a hitokiri. Or at least what greed and ambition can do to the soul of one. Kenshin fought to protect his friends and comrades; Shishio fought to gain power. It was a good thing that Kenshin was a kindhearted person, or he could have ended up dead or worse. Her heart shuddered just to think of it: Kenshin a blood-thirsty killer, wandering the streets of Japan.

'But I suppose I have someone to thank for that don't I?' Kenshin had told her of his dead wife and the grief that he felt over killing her. She had been a sheath for Kenshin, a safe hide-away for his soul. To protect it from the blood-lust that so permeated the time that Kenshin fought to change. Kenshin had killed her fiancé while working for Katsura Kogoro. In fact, it was how he had gotten half of his cross-shaped scar on his right cheek. The cut on his cheek continued to bleed, because no one had taken vengeance for Akira. Tomoe however swore to avenge him.

When she found out that it was Kenshin who had done it, she volunteered to hide him away, and he and her would live with each other, posing as a husband and wife. She was playing both sides though, and when the time came for Kenshin to return to the revolution, she betrayed him. Or tried to. Just before the killing blow was struck, Tomoe jumped in the middle to protect him. Just before she died, she took a knife and crossed the bleeding wound on his cheek.

'Vengeance has been taken, now your wound can heal.'

And it did, leaving the scar there on the right side of his face.

He told her this a month before they were married. They became closer and closer all through that entire month. Eventually of course, Kenshin proposed to her and they were married by his foster father and master almost immediately afterward.

Kaoru traced the scar on the side of his face, and kissed him on the lips. For all the hevy sleeping that Kenshin did, Kaoru still woke him up with it.

"Is something wrong Koi?" Kenshin asked groggily as he sat up, forcing Kaoru to do the same..

"No Kenshin. Go back to sleep." Kenshin wrapped his arm around he,lay back down, and did just that.