Disclaimer - I don't own RK.

Forever Mine

Chapter 20 - A Fresh Start

A warm breeze wafted through the partially open door, setting the leaves on the trees just beyond to dancing merrily in the early morning sunshine. Kaoru groaned softly and threw an arm over her eyes in irritation as the sun played hide and seek with the newly budded leaves, trying to hold on to the last vestiges of sleep. Another blast of warm air found its way through the cracked door and Kaoru rolled over in one last effort to grab a few more minutes of sleep.

Nestling deeper into her pillow, she peeked one eye open to check her surroundings and jumped in surprise. Stifling the squeal that tried to break free, she counted to ten in an effort to calm her racing heart. She had completely forgotten he was here. Finally managing some semblance of calm, she slid both eyes back open and let them trail over the peaceful features of the man sleeping beside her. This was the second morning she'd woken like this. She still couldn't quite believe he was here or even that she was here beside him.

A warmth that had nothing to do with the warm air coming through the open shoji suffused her entire body, and she hesitantly lifted her hand to trail her fingers along his sleeping face. It was almost as if she were living in a never ending dream. How many times had she wished for this very thing all those years ago? If she remembered correctly, too many to count.

Tucking her hand between the pillow and her cheek, a slight smile tickled the corner of her lips as she continued to watch him sleep. And yet, if what he said was true she would have many, many more mornings like this. She still couldn't quite comprehend the full scope of what he'd said, but she couldn't deny the truth. She could feel the difference in her body; it felt as if each morning her life was renewed. It was so hard to explain what it was like. The other thing she still hadn't gotten used to yet was the constant feel of him under her skin, she knew when he was angry or happy and she also knew...

A light blush pinked her cheeks and she smiled shyly, she also knew when he was aroused which was playing hell on her ability to keep him at arms length. It didn't help that they had done very little yesterday after they had collected their things and came to this quaint ryokan they were currently calling home. Unfortunately, they were the only guests and Kenshin had decided they should take full advantage of the peace and quiet the location granted them. So, in a nutshell he'd been beside her from sun up until well after sunset yesterday, and thanks to that she'd been unable to avoid the many times his desire would begin to burn deep in her belly. Not to mention her own body had reacted in kind every time it had happened. Needless to say, it had taken every last bit of willpower she possessed not to attack him.

Stifling a sigh, she let her eyes travel along his sleep softened features, thankfully it didn't seem he had any idea the effect he was having on her. At least she didn't think he did, because every time she'd been hit he'd shown no outward sign that he'd felt anything himself. It was confusing and it was damn hard to ignore.

Nestling further into the pillow, Kaoru fought back the heat starting to build in her belly at the thought and let her eyes drift closed. This was not the best thing to be thinking about when laying only inches away from the object of her attention. It would be best to bury those thoughts and go back to sleep for a little while.

Settling in, she nearly jumped out of her skin when she felt a finger trail along her cheek.

"Good morning."

Popping her eyes back open she had to smile at the grinning violet gaze fixed on her, "Good morning. Did you sleep well?"

Kenshin smiled and leaned in to give her light kiss. "These last two nights I've slept better than I have in a long time," he whispered before he shifted a little bit closer to her. Suddenly nervous, Kaoru fought against the urge to shimmy back away from him and tried to ignore the sudden surge of desire that exploded through her body. God, why did her body have to betray her now of all times?! Swallowing, she scowled and did everything in her power to get her emotions back under control before he found out.

"Something wrong, love?"

Startled, Kaoru met his eyes again and blushed. The smirk tickling the edge of his lips told her the truth, he felt it just as much as she had yesterday. There was no doubt he could feel her desire. Beyond embarrassed, Kaoru buried her head under the blanket in an effort to hide her steadily reddening face. She jumped when she all of a sudden found herself face to face with the redhead who had caused all this under the blanket, his hand resting lightly on her hip to keep her from bolting away.

"Kaoru, I promise you I won't touch you unless you want me to."

Touched by the sincerity in his soft violet gaze, she took a deep breath in an effort to get herself back together. "I know you won't Kenshin. It's me I'm worried about."

Kenshin quirked an eyebrow, "Why?"

Suddenly bashful again, Kaoru ducked her head the best she could and mumbled, "Because I don't want you to think I'm like that. W...we haven't known each other that long."

Kenshin chuckled, moving his hand from her hip to her chin he lifted her face. "I know we haven't known each other for very long in this life, but in truth we've known each other for a very long time. I would never think badly of you, Kaoru, ever."

Kaoru blushed even more at the intense look he had fixed on her. And yet, what he said was true. She knew him from this life... and the last. This was her dream come true, so what did she really have to be afraid of? Nothing... nothing at all. She knew this man in the deepest parts of her soul. He was, after all, the one she'd unconsciously been saving herself for wasn't he? Blushing at the thought, she continued to stare right back at him, and there was no denying he wanted her just as much as she wanted him.

Nervously biting her bottom lip, Kaoru closed her eyes and tried to dig up the courage to make the move that would show him she was ready. If she let this go on much longer it was going to drive her insane. Besides, she had never wanted to be with anyone as much as she did him. Ever.

Heartened by the thought, Kaoru slid her eyes back open and met the violet gaze still fixed on her. Unconsciously licking her lips, she leaned in slowly and hesitantly kissed his smile. A small bolt of electricity shot through her body at the touch and she jumped slightly. Blushing, she broke the kiss and dropped her eyes; starting to move away she was stopped by a hand on the back of her head.

"Are you sure, Kaoru?"

Touched by his concern she smiled and met his questioning gaze, "Yes, Kenshin. I'm sure."

A gorgeous smile played across Kenshin's lips and then he closed the distance between them again. Unprepared for the fast action, Kaoru stiffened as their lips met again, suddenly assaulted by a rush of desire and love; the emotions playing along every nerve in her body. Startled, she jerked away from him and just stared at him stunned as she tried to catch her breath.

Trying in vain to calm her now rapidly racing heart she stuttered ,"Wh... what was that?"

Kenshin smirked and propped his head up on his hand. "That is how I feel about you, Kaoru." A sheepish smile played along his lips, and Kaoru had to resist the urge to kiss him again. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have let it all out so quickly."

Kaoru quirked an eyebrow confused, "You mean, you've been holding back?"

Kenshin nodded. "Yes. I didn't want to scare you away so I've been keeping it locked up the best I can."

"Well, it didn't work very well. I felt it all day yesterday." Kaoru grumbled, more to herself than him. But she couldn't deny that what she had felt just now had only driven home just how much she loved and wanted him too. And she wanted this just as much as he did, so there was nothing to be afraid of.

Lost in her own thoughts, she jumped when Kenshin reached over and tucked an errant lock of hair behind her ear. "If it's too much right now we can stop. I've waited over a hundred years for you, I can wait a little longer."

Touched by his sincerity, she smiled and shook her head. He might be able to wait but she couldn't. Without a word she closed the distance between them again and opened herself fully to him, letting her love and desire flow into him as his did the same to her again. Without relinquishing his lips, she wrapped her arms around him and pulled him towards her as she rolled onto her back. She felt him smile against her lips as his body settled along hers and then he nipped her bottom lip gently. Opening for him, she moaned softly as their tongues met in a lovers dance, each playing along the other. The nearly overwhelming sensations it set forth in her body made her shiver and she pulled him even closer.

Finally, the need for air drove her to break the kiss and she panted in an effort to get the much needed oxygen. Looking deep into the darkened violet gaze fixed on her, she whispered, "I love you Kenshin."

Kenshin's face lit up in a loving smile and he leaned in to within inches of her lips again. "I love you too, Kaoru, with every fiber of my being." And with that he captured her lips again as his hand traveled down her side to untie the belt holding her yukata closed. Falling once again into the sensations his lips and the link sent rushing through her body, she let her own hands travel to the opening in his yukata and let her fingers dance across the heated flesh of his chest, exploring every inch she could reach. She shivered as his hands pushed the loosened yukata out of his way and trailed up her side to whisper over the soft mound of her exposed breast.

She whimpered slightly when he broke the kiss, but then her breath hitched as his warm lips made their slow way down her neck to the raised mound of her breast. Her belly tightened as his teeth grazed her nipple gently, the ruddy peak rising at his attention. Shivering again, she let her hands trail into his loose fiery locks, moaning softly as his lips left one breast to trail ever so softly to the other.

Losing herself even more, she jumped when all of a sudden, the shrill ring of a cell phone broke the spell. Growling, Kaoru untangled her fingers from his hair and started to reach for the phone.

"Leave it. We can call whoever it is back later."

Kaoru frowned and met the lust filled gaze fixed on her. She was tempted, oh she was tempted. But...

And then she lost her train of thought as Kenshin slid his hand down over her hip and trailed a finger along her moist center, gently rubbing her heated sex. Gently, he slid one finger into her and she involuntarily arched against his hand, driving the finger even further into her wetness. Vaguely, the thought that he wasn't playing fair flitted through her mind and then he leaned in to within inches of her lips and whispered. "Whoever it is can wait."

Swallowing, Kaoru stared dead into his demanding gaze and wavered at the edge, the heat in her veins calling for more. She was just about ready to give in when the phone trilled again dousing the heat building in her veins. Growling, she shimmed up away from his hand and shook her head as she reached for the phone. "We can't. What if it's someone who needs to get a hold of Misao right away. She was nice enough to let us borrow her phone, so we can't just ignore it." Although she would really love to. Dammit. Grabbing the blinking device she let a seductive smile play across her lips and pinned him with a heated look, "Besides, we can finish as soon as we answer the phone. I promise."

Ignoring the disbelieving scowl that instantly marred Kenshin's face, she flipped the phone open. "Hello?"


Kaoru creased her eyebrows as Megumi's tight voice whispered into her ear, "Is everything ok, Megumi?"

"Can you to come to the clinic right away?"

Confused, she pulled herself completely out from underneath Kenshin and wrapped the yukata back around her, "Why?.. Is something wrong?"

A sigh whispered into her ear before Megumi came back on. "I had a visitor in the early morning hours and he left something here for you."

"Who was it? You don't sound like yourself, Megumi." Kaoru said suspiciously. Suddenly the feeling that she knew just who it was whispered under her skin. It couldn't be could it? He was gone, he'd vanished into thin air the night she'd been shot. They were searching everywhere for him, he wouldn't risk being caught just to come to the clinic would he?

"Yes. It's who you think." Megumi answered, as if she'd read her mind. Kaoru's face paled and she asked, "W...what did he want?"

"I'll tell you when you get here."

"Ok, We're on our way. It'll take us an hour or so to get there from here."

"That's fine. We'll be here waiting."

And with that Megumi hung up the phone. Startled, Kaoru brought the phone away from her ear and just stared at it for a couple of seconds before she whispered, "We?"

"So where are we going, love?"

Kaoru jumped at the question and gazed sheepishly at Kenshin, who had already begun to get dressed. "I'm sorry, Kenshin."

Kenshin gave her a half smile and shrugged as he buttoned his jeans, tossing his dark green shirt over his shoulders. "Don't be. We have all the time in the world. So, where are we going?"

Taking a deep breath, Kaoru pushed off the floor and headed to her suitcase to select a light blouse and jeans for herself. Keeping her back to him, she whispered, "Enishi was at the clinic this morning. H...he left something there for me."

Completely avoiding eye contact, Kaoru slipped behind the privacy screen and began to dress. She still didn't know how Kenshin felt about her and Enishi being together, or whether he knew that she really had loved Enishi, at least for a time. Enishi was the one subject they had prudently avoided since she'd left the hospital. It just didn't seem right to talk about her time with the man who had killed her so long ago, effectively stealing any chance she would have had with the man she loved. Especially with the man he'd stolen her from.

With a sigh she tucked the cream colored blouse into her jeans and buttoned them up. Really, there was probably no reason to avoid the subject. Enishi was the past, and Kenshin was the future. Maybe it was because it still hurt, even after all that had happened, it still hurt to leave him.

Scowling at herself, she tried to ignore the throb pulsing dully in her chest and headed back out into the room. Maybe it was better that Enishi had come, at least this way she would have some kind of closure with that part of her life and she could finally start fresh with Kenshin. Yes, maybe this was just what she... no, they needed. Smiling at the thought, she jumped when Kenshin spoke up.

"Penny for your thoughts."

Blushing, she cast a quick glance at him out of the corner of her eye and shook her head, "It's nothing. Are you sure this is ok?"

Kenshin smiled. "Yes. It's fine. We need to face this and today is as good a day as any to do it." Closing the distance between them, Kenshin took her hand and started to lead her towards the door. "Besides there's some place I'd like to take you to today anyway."

Her curiosity piqued, Kaoru quirked an eyebrow and let him guide her into the silent hallway, "Where?"

"It's a surprise." Was all he would give up, as he led her down the deserted hallway towards the carport where the hired car waited to take them to the train for Tokyo. Opening her mouth to demand the destination, she stopped at the hooded glance Kenshin threw over his shoulder. "Don't even try it, Kaoru. It's a secret."

Resisting the urge to act like a child and stop dead in her tracks, Kaoru instead scowled at his back. So, it was a surprise was it? Hmm, maybe she'd have to hold out on him one more day in payment for his holding out on her. Smirking at the thought she knew there was no way she'd be able to do that, her own body wouldn't let her.

Sighing, she shook her head. She was a lost cause. She was completely and utterly lost to this handsome redheaded, violet-eyed man leading her down the hallway and if the truth be told she didn't mind it at all.

Not the least little bit.


An hour later Kaoru stood in the middle of the sidewalk and just stared at the clinic door only a few steps before her. Was she ready for this? What did he say? What did he leave for her? Was he still here? Was she really ready to face this? Sensing her reluctance Kenshin spoke up from behind her and gave her the last push she needed.

"Are you ready, Kaoru?"

Swallowing, all she did was nod and head towards the door. She was as ready as she was ever going to be. It was time to put the past behind her. Pulling it open she stepped into the quiet of the clinic, only to stop dead in her tracks as her eyes fell on the feline sitting on the receptionist's desk. It couldn't be, could it? And then the cat blinked and she knew he was real and not a statue.

"Raijin!" she squealed, as she shot across the waiting room and scooped up the big black cat into her arms. Snuggling him tight against her chest, she laughed as he head butted the underside of her chin and let out a chest rumbling purr.

"I see you found your gift."

Kaoru jumped and spun around as Megumi came in from the back. "So, this is what he left for me?"

Megumi smiled and nodded; walking behind the desk she retrieved a sheathed blade and offered it to Kenshin. "And he left this for you."

Kenshin hesitantly lifted the blade from her hand and gazed lovingly at the well worn sheath. "My sakabatou. I thought it would be lost in the raid."

At the mention of the raid, Kaoru backstepped and settled into one of the chairs in the waiting room. Sighing, she settled Raijin in her lap and asked, "Is he ok, Megumi?"

Megumi sighed and made her way over to where Kaoru sat staring at the floor. She knew her friend still held some feelings for Enishi, just as he did for her. It was too bad things had ended like this, but with a past like these three shared it was impossible. This had been bound to happen... and they all knew it.

"He's ok Kaoru. His wounds are healing nicely and I gave him what supplies I could to keep them clean and wrapped. Also he..." Megumi trailed off as a part of her and Enishi's brief conversation whispered through her mind again, tell her that I'm sorry and that... I still love her...

Frowning, Megumi bit her tongue. She couldn't tell Kaoru that, especially not with Kenshin standing right here.

"What?" Kaoru prodded, as she gently scratched Raijin's back. She could tell Megumi was holding something back, she had a sneaking suspicion what it was, but she had to hear it to be certain.

Megumi sighed again and settled back into the chair. Avoiding both of their expectant gazes, she whispered "He wanted me to tell you that he's sorry and... and to be happy."

Kaoru smiled, she knew that wasn't all of it. She could tell by Megumi's refusal to meet her eyes that her friend was hiding something. "Was that really all he said?"

Megumi took a deep breath and let it out slowly, there was no way she was going to impart the rest. These two deserved to have nothing hanging over them as they took the first steps into their new life. But, there was one other thing Enishi had asked her tell Kaoru before he'd left.

Reaching over Megumi ran her fingers through Raijin's soft pelt and glanced at Kaoru, "He also wanted me to tell you that he was leaving Tokyo, and more than likely he would never be coming back."

Unprepared for the information, Kaoru felt as if a knife had been jabbed into her heart. "Why?"

"Right now he's a wanted man. He does have his lawyers working to clear his name, but it also seems Saitou Hajime is lurking in Osaka, just waiting for a chance to arrest him for some slight Enishi had done against him. So he's leaving." Finally meeting the sapphire eyes fixed on her, she added, "It's better this way, Kaoru. It's time for him to start fresh and it's also time for you to move on..." glancing to Kenshin, she fixed her attention back on her old friend and smiled, "... besides there is nothing Enishi can do for you anymore. All you need is that man right there."

Kaoru blushed and smiled, "I know its better this way. I guess all I can say is, I hope he finds someone who will help him be the man I know he can be." With that Kaoru pushed out of the chair and loaded Raijin into the cat carrier. Nestling him securely inside she picked it up and came to stand beside Kenshin. Taking his hand, she felt the heat she had grown accustomed to flood through her veins and whispered, "Besides, it's like you said I have all the man I need, right here."

Kenshin grinned and gave her hand a squeeze, "Yes, you do. Forever."

Megumi couldn't help but smile at the pair before her, everything was finally as it should be. How that could be was still a mystery to her but really it didn't matter, all that mattered was they were finally together.

"Is the ryokan going to allow you to have a cat?"

Kaoru's eyes widened suddenly and she glanced at Kenshin who nodded. "Yes. It's mine. She can have whatever she wants."

Stunned, Kaoru fixed a glare on the sheepish looking redhead beside her, "Why didn't you tell me you owned that place!"

Kenshin shrugged. "Because, you never asked." With that he tugged on her hand and started leading her towards the door in an effort to head off an argument. "Come on. It's time to go. We have one more stop before we head back to the ryokan."

At the mention of her 'surprise' all urge to argue vanished, and Kaoru followed behind him as they headed for the door.

"Before you go, Sano wanted me to tell you that you better not forget him just because Kenshin's here now."

Kaoru chuckled and pulled Kenshin to a stop just inside the door. Glancing over her shoulder an evil little smirk tickled her lips, "When you see him tell him not to worry. I'll never be able to forget him, he's like the third arm I can't cut off no matter how hard I try." And with that she tugged Kenshin out onto the busy sidewalk and followed behind as he lead her towards their unknown destination.

"Are you going to tell me where we're going yet?"

Kenshin smiled and slowed until she was walking right beside him. "Now, what fun would that be? I promise you, it'll be worth it."

Kaoru pouted for a minute before she gave in, then shrugged, "It doesn't matter. So, how long will it take us to get there?"

"It's about a twenty minute walk from here."

Surprised, Kaoru glanced up at him, "That close? Are you sure I haven't been there before? I've lived in this area for years now."

Kenshin shook his head and smiled, "Trust me. I'd know if you had been there before, and so would you."

Casting a sideways glance at him, she shrugged again. It really didn't matter, whatever their destination was they would soon be there. She could wait that long. Sighing in contentment she squeezed his hand and grinned as he did the same. In a comfortable silence, they weaved their way through the throngs of people rushing back and forth along the busy sidewalk. She almost pulled him to a stop as they came up to the small park where they had had their first brief meeting. It seemed like years had passed since that afternoon. Thinking better of it, she simply cast a glance into the park and smiled at the few couples sitting beneath the laden sakura trees and beside the pond.

"We can come back tomorrow, if you'd like to visit the park again."

Kaoru jumped at the comment and scowled into his knowing gaze. This link was going to be the death of her yet; there was no hiding anything from this man anymore. Getting herself back together, she let the scowl drop and nodded, "I'd like that. How long to do think it will be before we can move back?"

Kenshin shrugged and led her around a large group stopped in the middle of the sidewalk. "I don't know. They said they should be done with the repairs by the end of the week."


Kenshin smiled at her disheartened tone, "Don't you like staying at the ryokan?"

Kaoru blushed and shook her head. "It's not that. I really like the ryokan and... and being there with just.. you, but... it's weird not to have anywhere to call home."

Kenshin's smile widened at her nervous stutter. "Don't worry, Kaoru. We'll be back into the apartment very soon." And with that he pulled her to a stop. "And we have also reached our destination."

Startled, Kaoru stumbled to a stop and looked up. Her eyes widened as they fell on the small dojo sitting right before her. Glancing at the name of the dojo, she quirked an eyebrow and let her eyes drift to the place where it named the style taught inside. Stepping up to read the old worn piece of wood hanging beside the door, she almost fainted. It couldn't be? Could it? How...?

Stunned, she let her eyes slowly drift to the grinning, redheaded, violet-eyed man beside her, "Is it really..."

Kenshin laughed at the utterly stunned gaze fixed on him and nodded, "Yes, Kaoru. It really is. Would you like to go inside?"

Dumbfounded, all she could do was nod as he led her quietly into the dojo where the students were walking through their warm-ups. Staring wide-eyed at the sight before her, Kaoru felt tears collect in her eyes and dribble quietly down her cheeks and yet she could care less. She had never, in her wildest dreams, thought she would ever find the Kamiya Kasshin Ryu being used in this day and age. She was sure it must have died with her all those years ago. Setting Raijin down, she wiped the tears away and took another step into the dojo, only to come to a sudden stop and just stare as the carbon copy of her age old student came into the room and weaved his way to where they stood.


Kenshin just smiled and stepped up beside Kaoru, "Yahiko, how are you today?"

Kaoru's head snapped around as the boy's name fell from Kenshin's lips. She paled as Kenshin nodded at the question in her eyes. This was Yahiko, her... Yahiko. She felt a new bout of tears burn her eyes and travel unheeded down her cheeks at the knowledge. Not bothering to wipe them away, she shifted her attention back to the boy. The sudden urge to grab him and give him a huge bear hug exploded through her body and she had to resist it with every fiber of her being. She could tell he had no idea who he had been in his previous life. Sniffling, she couldn't stop the small smirk that tickled the corner of her lips, maybe, if she was lucky, he'd be well mannered in this life. That illusion was soon ripped to pieces though when he finally made it to where they stood and spoke.

"What are you crying about, busu! This is a dojo, not some crybaby shop!"

As if it was the most natural thing for her to do, Kaoru shot out her hand and whacked him soundly upside the head, "Talk to me like that again, and you'll find yourself at the receiving end of my bokken."

Yahiko just stared at her stunned. Must be he'd never been slapped like that before. Kaoru smiled at the thought, good thing he wasn't her student anymore.

Kenshin bit his lip to keep himself from busting out laughing, taking a minute to school his features he smiled at the shocked boy, "Yahiko, I'd like you to meet Kamiya Kaoru. The true owner of this dojo."

Kaoru's eyebrows disappeared into her raven bangs, and she and Yahiko both swung their attention to the grinning redhead and said in unison, "What did you just say?"

Surprised by their reactions, Kenshin smiled sheepishly as the entire dojo immediately quieted. Glancing at Satoshi, he tried not to flinch back from the evil look the elder Myojin fixed on him. "Come on. Let's go into the family dojo and talk." Kenshin whispered ushering them towards the back. He almost sighed at the miniscule nod Satoshi gave him at the suggestion. Turning his attention back to his class, Satoshi turned to the oldest boy in the room, "Hira-kun. Take over the class, I need to speak with these visitors." The boy gave him a solemn nod and took the place at the head of the class.

At Kenshin's urging, Kaoru headed to the door separating the two rooms and padded softly to where Satoshi and Yahiko were already seated on the floor. Settling down across from them, she fidgeted nervously under the elder Myojin's scrutiny. Even at this age, she could see the startling resemblance between the elder and younger Myojin. There was no doubt they were the direct descendants of her student.

Following Kaoru into the room, Kenshin slid the door closed, giving them the privacy they needed. Quietly making his way to the spot beside Kaoru, he settled down cross-legged and once again introduced Kaoru to both of them. "Satoshi-san, Yahiko-kun, I'd like you to meet Kamiya Kaoru."

Yahiko opened his mouth again, but was stopped by the hand Satoshi rested on his shoulder. Bowing slightly, Satoshi smiled, "Welcome Kamiya-san. It has been many years since these walls have seen one of your bloodline."

Startled, Kaoru glanced to Kenshin and saw the truth. So Satoshi-san knew who she was. Swallowing, she blushed as he continued to stare at her. Dropping a small bow, she whispered, "It's very nice to meet you too, Myojin-san."

"Please, call me Satoshi." The elder Myojin chuckled, waving his hand at her. Kaoru couldn't help but smile at his easy demeanor, "Ok. I'll call you Satoshi as long as you call me Kaoru."

Satoshi nodded, "Now that we have that settled, I guess it's time to explain what Himura-san said earlier."

Kaoru nodded enthusiastically and cast a glance at Kenshin, "Yes. What exactly did you mean by I'm the true owner?"

"Yeah! What was that all about?!" Yahiko piped up, clearly irritated.

Kenshin cleared his throat and took Kaoru's hand. "It's true. Over a hundred years ago, a deed was drawn up for the dojo that states the Myojin family would oversee the dojo until a descendant of the Kamiya bloodline came to claim that which was rightfully theirs."

Kaoru just stared at him, and then her face paled as the implications of what he said sank in. So, if she decided to take ownership of this dojo then the Myojin family would no longer have any claim to it. Sickened, Kaoru shook her head. She didn't want this. Yes, she was ecstatic to see her family's style live on even in this day and age but she didn't want to go back. She had her painting now, and really that's all she wanted.

"That's not fair, Himura-san!" Yahiko spoke up again.

Before Kenshin or Satoshi could say anything, Kaoru spoke up. "You're right, Yahiko-kun. It's not." Giving her full attention to Kenshin, she smiled at the slight apprehension she saw in his gaze, "You have made me one of the happiest women in the world today, Kenshin. I will forever be grateful to you for keeping my family's style alive through all these years, but..." glancing to Yahiko she smiled, "... but to be honest, I don't want to go back. I have everything I could ever want with you and my painting. I would much rather see Yahiko take over when he's old enough. The Myojin family have been the one's who have kept this alive not me. They deserve the ownership of this dojo."

Kenshin's eyebrows rose and he asked, "Are you sure, Kaoru?"

"Yes, Kenshin. I'm sure." Kaoru whispered, with a smile. "They deserve this dojo far more than I do.

Searching her eyes for some sign that she was giving in against her will, Kenshin finally nodded his acceptance and shrugged. Giving his attention back to the elder Myojin, he smiled, "Well, Satoshi, looks like this dojo is you and Yahiko's problem from this day forth. Tomorrow I'll go to the lawyers and have to deed changed."

Satoshi simply nodded and pushed off the floor. "Now that that's settled, I need to get back to class. Yahiko, you come too. It's time you started teaching some of the younger students."

A barely audible groan rumbled from Yahiko before he stood. "Hai, O-jii-san.."

Satoshi pinned his grandson with a look that made the young man pale, then headed back out into the main dojo. Before following Yahiko turned to Kaoru and bowed low. "Thank you, Kamiya-san." And with that, he hurried out of the room.

Stunned, Kaoru simply watched him go. So he was better mannered than his previous incarnation.

"Are you really sure about this, Kaoru?"

Turning back to Kenshin, she leaned over and kissed him lightly, "Yes, Kenshin, I'm more than sure." Kissing him again, she added "So, are we all done here?"

"Yeah, that's all I wanted to do. Are you ready to go back?"

A sly smile played across Kaoru's lips again and she nodded, "If I'm not mistaken we have something we need to finish, don't we?"

Kenshin chuckled and leaned to within inches of her lips, "You are most definitely not mistaken, my sweet Kaoru. We definitely have something to finish." And with that, he dove in and locked her in a soul searing kiss.

Kaoru smiled against his lips and let herself fall into the sensations he sent rushing through her veins. Relishing the feel of his lips moving against hers, she wrapped her arms around him and hugged him close.

"Would you two get a room? I mean, geez, this isn't a hotel, it's a dojo!"

Kenshin and Kaoru flew apart, mortified embarrassment written all over their faces. Smiling sheepishly, Kenshin nodded to Yahiko as he set the cat carrier down beside them. Without another word, the young man walked from the room leaving them alone again.

Extremely self conscious again, Kaoru mumbled, "Um... I suppose we should get going." Completely ignoring Kenshin, she pushed off the floor and grabbed Raijin's carrier. She was brought up short as a warm hand locked hers in a tight grip.

"Yes, love. Let's go to where we can have all the privacy we want."

Kaoru blushed to the roots of her hair as his voice whispered over her skin, and she looked at him from beneath her bangs, "You are a very bad boy, Himura Kenshin."

Kenshin smirked seductively, "That I am, Kaoru-dono. That I am."

And with that he tugged her towards the exit and inevitably to the ryokan where they could finally get to know one another as they should have so long ago. And that, he had to admit, was all he'd ever wanted. Time with her, that was all.

Just Kaoru, Forever.

The End

And there you have it. Twenty chapters and over a year later and we have finally reached the end of Forever Mine. I'm kinda sad to see it finished but I have to admit I've had a blast writing this story. I hope you all have had as much fun reading it as I have writing it. Also I'd like to take this chance to say thank you to all of you who have read and reviewed or even just read, your support is much appreciated. I do have a couple of other K/K stories already in the works but I've decided to take a short break from chapter fics. FM really took a lot out of me and the muse needs some revitalizing. But for those of you who are fans of the Enishi/Kaoru pairing I am working on a one shot featuring them that will likely be up soon... at least I hope so.

And with all that said I only have one more request... please review, I'd love to know what you thought of this story.