Last chapter of Kismet.
Could be happier with it I suppose.
Oh well. I can always re-write it later
Kaoru woke up the next morning with Kenshin snuggled beside her, one arm thrown around her waist and using her shoulder as a pillow.
Kaoru snorted softly and played with the ends of his hair that spilled across her shoulders.
A glance at the clock said it was late – late for them to be in bed.
In bed and asleep that was.
'No more energy drinks or alcohol for you,' Kaoru told Kenshin grumpily.
One or the other she could handle but not both.
Kenshin yawned against her shoulder, stretching in a manner not unlike a cat.
Kaoru shook her head easily imagining whiskers and cat's ears and a tail on him.
'Good idea for the next time I wake up and he's still asleep on me,' she mused wondering how Kenshin would take to having his face drawn all over.
"Morning," Kenshin murmured sleepily.
'Morning,' Kaoru replied silently, kissing his cheek.
"How are you feeling this morning?" Kenshin winced slightly as his eyes adjusted to the light.
'Better than you,' Kaoru shrugged.
"Hungry?" Kenshin nipped at her shoulder, eyes slightly golden.
Kaoru swatted at him, 'for food yes!'
He snorted softly and kissed the tip of her nose. "Should I get up and make breakfast?"
Kaoru shoved him off her and in the direction of the door. 'Would you rather me make it?'
Laughing softly, Kenshin grabbed a hair tie from the dresser and braided his hair quickly. It swung behind him, cutting through the air as he left the bedroom.
'Cat indeed,' Kaoru decided.
She lay in bed a few more moments before the smells of coffee and bacon started beckoning to her.
Kaoru found Kenshin humming under his breath, the radio playing – him thankfully not singing along to it.
She sat down at the table and smiled as he handed her a cup of coffee.
How did this become so normal so soon? She wondered.
It had only been a few days ago that she had been railing against him and determined not to have anything to do with him.
Now she was sitting in her kitchen, wearing one of his shirts and watching him cook breakfast for her.
'Okay – whoever you are – I'll say thanks. Thank you…. Don't make me say it again.' Kaoru told the unknown entity that played with her life. 'But if anything happens I will act on my previous threats to you – got it?'
Kenshin set the plate of bacon, eggs and toast down in front of her and pulled up his own chair.
Kaoru eyed him as he stabbed a piece of her egg and started eating it.
"You're running low on food," he told her, chewing.
Kaoru raised an eyebrow. 'I just bought food a few days ago… scratch that – this is Kenshin we're talking about…' She sighed and grabbed her own fork and started eating.
"I'll go out and get groceries later," Kenshin kissed her cheek. "Deal? And then I'll make a nice lunch for us."
'I swear if I wasn't already in love with you – I'd love you for the way you fed me,' Kaoru sighed repeating an earlier comment and snuggled against him.
Kenshin continued to hum softly and she rolled her eyes as she saw him split the food, giving her a larger portion.
"Eat," he told her firmly.
She stuck her tongue out at him but did as he told her.
After eating Kenshin picked up the dishes and packed them away in the dishwasher. He found a notepad and pen and started writing down what he was going to buy.
"What do you want?" He asked pushing the notepad over to her and hand her the pen.
Kaoru wrinkled her nose at the list – granola, soy milk, tofu… somebody was a health freak…
She scribbled down ramen, ice cream and pizza – nice unhealthy food.
Kenshin raised his eyebrow and gave her a look.
Kaoru smiled sweetly in return.
He shook his head and pocketed the list. "I'll be back soon," he promised.
Kaoru nodded. 'And while you're gone I can get some painting done.'
She watched him leave and then went into her studio intent on getting some work done.
Finding the sketch she wanted in her book she started to transfer it onto the canvas.
She was happily engrossed in it when a vision hit her so hard she reeled and nearly fell.
Enishi eyes were a blaze of hate. Kaoru caught he glint of a gun in his hand.
Ahead of him was Kenshin and Kaoru felt fear race through her as he raised the gun.
The sound of it going off rang in her ears and then everything turned black.
Kaoru felt her pencil drop to the floor from her numb fingers.
'Kenshin… oh god no!'
She raced out of the apartment.
'Where is he! How long has he been gone?' A sob rose in her throat and choked her. 'Please, please, don't let me be too late!'
She reached out and tapped the part of her she had never dared touch before – the place inside of her that the visions came form.
'Please,' she begged. 'Let me get to him in time. Let me stop this please.
Something inside of her clicked and then…
She knew where he was.
The spark that was him pulsed brightly – a mixture of crimson and gold and violet that swirled and threaded and looped through itself.
Kaoru followed it.
She caught a flicker of red at the edge of her vision and felt some of the tension inside of her drain.
He must have heard her because he paused suddenly, head jerking in her direction.
His eyes met hers and Kaoru smiled in relief.
Something cold touched her then.
Fury so hot it had turned cold – a riot of silver and blue and seething black.
The sun glinted off the gun he held in his hand.
Kaoru screamed his name without even realizing it.
The gun went off simultaneously.
And everything went dark.
Really, fucking annoying.
Kaoru tried to pry her eyes open and bit back a whimper of pain as harsh light assaulted her eyelids and she closed them quickly.
'If this is heaven I'm going to have a nice long talk with God about how it sucks,'
"Are you awake?"
Had Kenshin died too?
'No idiot,' she scolded herself. 'You hurt so you're alive. Kenshin is speaking so he's alive – unless he turned into some kind of ghost. So we're obviously alive. I just have no clue where we are exactly. '
She breathed deeply the scent of antiseptic, sterile and clean in her nose.
Opening her eyes again she was relieved to see the blinds had been pulled and the light was dimmer.
Kenshin was sitting beside her bed… why was she in a bed? His hand was bandaged and there was a bruise on the left side of his face but otherwise he looked unhurt.
He was alive.
Kaoru felt tears of relief slip from her eyes.
"Kaoru…" he leaned over and brushed a kiss across her forehead.
Kaoru raised her eyebrows, 'what happened?'
"You were shot."
Kaoru eye's widened. 'Shot! But…'
"He shot you."
Kaoru felt a lump grow in her throat.
It hadn't been Kenshin's death she had seen – it had been hers.
'Enishi?' Kaoru felt tears unexpectedly burn her eyes.
"…He said he hadn't meant to kill you… he was trying to kill me… and then he turned the gun on himself…"
"Kaoru…" Kenshin said softly, reaching for her.
Kaoru pulled away, closing her eyes tightly.
"Kaoru…" Kenshin's voice was a sigh. "…who was he to you?"
"B-brother…" it came out cracked. "H-he… he…was my brother."
Kenshin stilled amber-edged eyes going wide. Whatever he had expected it had probably not been that.
"My…family's messed up," Kaoru murmured softly. It hurt so much to talk after so long being silent. 'And I'm the most messed up of all.'
She started to cry again silently.
Enishi had killed himself.
It didn't feel real.
But in a way it made sense. Enishi had never attempted to harm her – or laid a finger on her since Tomoe's death. And hadn't Kenshin said that he had been trying to kill him (Kenshin) and not her?
He must have thought he'd killed her…
Kaoru didn't want to think about it.
Kenshin moved and then she found herself being held gently. Even so, it sent a flicker of pain along her side and she bit her lip to choke back a whimper.
Kenshin sighed softly and buried his face in her neck. "I'm sorry." She didn't know what he was apologizing for.
She shook her head silently. 'Not your fault.'
Kenshin eyes widened as she suddenly twisted, shoving at him.
"Kaoru?" He murmured.
'Go!' Kaoru cried silently. 'Leave! Go away! Away from me! Don't come back!' He touched her shoulder and she started to cry, beating at him.
"Kaoru…" Kenshin caught her hands easily, his expression confused. "What is wrong?"
"G-go!" She choked out. "Leave!"
"I'm not going anywhere," there was a soft growl in his voice.
"I-I nearly got you…" She sobbed softly, twisting and ignoring the pain in her side as stitches pulled.
She yelped as she suddenly found herself shaken lightly.
"You're the one who got shot!" Kenshin snarled.
"H-he meant to k-kill… you!"
"I'm still alive if you haven't noticed," Kenshin said softly. "You came a lot closer to dying today than I did." The look on his face when he said the last sentence was not pretty.
Had Enishi not killed himself, he probably would have ended up dead in another – more painful manner.
"M-my fault." Kaoru whispered.
"How is your brother trying to kill you – your fault?" Kenshin asked.
"I-I killed our sister," Kaoru murmured.
Kenshin's eyebrows rose. "You killed your sister?"
"Not directly," she murmured.
Which was how she ended up explaining all about her nifty, aggravating visions.
From her first visions to Tomoe's death to her visions of him.
And Kenshin damn him, seemed more amused by it than anything else.
"So that's why you were trying to kill me when I first started talking to you?"
"Yes," Kaoru muttered. "Stop looking so damned pleased with yourself."
He smiled at her and she growled.
The look on his face had her blinking.
"You said my name. Out loud."
Kaoru had a sinking feeling in her stomach as she watched the swirl of amber and violet in his eyes.
"I've said it before…" She gulped.
"Yes, when you thought I was about to be shot." Kenshin reminded her.
"Yes…" Kaoru's eyes narrowed. "What are you thinking?"
"Do you still make those sounds…?"
Kaoru's face flushed, "I'm in pain, with stitches in my side… and god only knows what drugs they have me on… if I'm actually talking to you it's because I'm delusional."
"Just say it," a grin was tugging at his lips.
Kaoru blinked, "Ken…shin?"
She felt her eyes cross when he dropped a kiss on her nose. "You haven't spoken in year's darling – you have a lot of speaking to make up for."
Kaoru groaned, "Doomed."
Kenshin smiled at her. "Yes you are."
'Did I just say that out loud?' Kaoru let her head fall back against the pillow with a whimper.
"Going back to sleep now," Kaoru mumbled.
"Mmm," Kenshin kissed her cheek gently. "I'll be here when you wake up."
"Stupid…overprotective… idiot," Kaoru muttered.
"Heard that," Kenshin remarked.
"Drugs!" Kaoru wailed softly.
His only response was a laugh.
Kaoru stayed in the hospital for three further days – with Kenshin hovering over the entire time.
The few moments she got to herself was when she sent him to go to Larry's for coffee and muffins since his opinion of the hospital food was well… very bad and Kaoru refused to let him bring any of his cooking into the hospital on the grounds she wanted small meals not full-fledged four course dinners.
And he kept her talking the entire time.
Kaoru was not happy about it.
Especially since it soon became obvious that when you spend so much time talking to yourself in your head or not saying things out loud you don't realize exactly what you say.
Until you say it that is.
Which led Kenshin to wonder where exactly she got her repertoire of curses from.
Kaoru really was the cutest thing ever when she was annoyed.
Which was nearly constantly.
Kaoru hadn't let go of her habit of biting and Kenshin was now sporting several teeth marks in various places.
"You ever try to feed me again and you will LOSE that finger!" Kaoru snarled.
"Eat then," Kenshin replied.
Kenshin glared back.
"Kaoru… how are you feeling?"
"Good…" Kaoru blinked. "…Why?" The look in his eyes made her uneasy and she started to inch away.
"Oh good," Kenshin purred.
Which was how she found herself tossed over his shoulder and kidnapped into the bedroom.
"How do you feel?"
"We didn't open any stitches if that's what you're asking," Kaoru growled. 'Not for lack of trying on his part.'
Kenshin merely purred, playing with her hair.
"What are you so happy about?" Kaoru grumbled.
"You said my name."
"Yes…" Kaoru blinked.
"You said my name."
"Oh," Kaoru blinked again. "Course I did. Whose else would I say? Aoshi's?"
Kenshin growled softly. "Mine."
"Yours." Kaoru murmured.
"You're name?" Kaoru sighed.
"Yes," Kenshin smiled. "Or I can give you incentive to…"
"Kenshin," Kaoru growled.
Kenshin smiled. "That wasn't that hard was it?"
"Kenshin," Kaoru sighed in defeat and he kissed her forehead.
Kaoru snorted softly and let him wrap his arms around her.
Sleep claimed both of them quickly.
"Keep your eyes closed," Kaoru instructed.
"Why?" Kenshin asked but kept them shut regardless, his hand in Kaoru's as she led him through the hallway to the art wing. He could hear the sound of others talking and fought the urge to open his eyes and peek out.
For the past several weeks Kaoru had cooped herself up her studio – drawing and painting almost constantly. She came out only when Kenshin made something to eat or dragged her out forcibly.
"Am I finally going to see what you've been working on?" Kenshin queried.
"Yes…" Kaoru said softly.
"I still don't understand why you wouldn't let me see them until now." Kenshin grumbled.
"Because they were works-in-progress and they change almost constantly. No one is allowed to see any of my paintings until they are done. That includes you." Kaoru informed him.
She stopped and he stopped beside her.
"You can open your eyes now," she told him.
Slowly Kenshin let his eyes open.
"What do you think? Kaoru asked a bit nervously.
Five paintings faced him in a semi-circle. The farthest left was a painting of Tomoe done in grays ranging in shade from dove to thundercloud. Kaoru had painted her as she remembered her – the slight smile that would curve her lips and the gentle look in her dark eyes. She was wearing her favorite white kimono with plum colored obi and wrap. Kaoru had titled it 'Memories'.
The painting next to her was Enishi – Enishi as he had been as a child. Before his hair had turned shock-white and his eyes had been dark and not haunted-blue. The title underneath it was 'Innocence'.
The one beside the Enishi one was a collage of Enishi and Tomoe. Tomoe hovered in the background in a faint ghost-like outline. Overlapping that was child-Enishi and then finally – Enishi as he had been when she had seen him last. His hair white and eyes blazing with hatred. The title for this was 'Innocence Lost'.
Turning from the three paintings of Enishi and Tomoe were happier ones.
Kitty-Kenshin curled up on the couch cradling their newest addition to the household – Shinta in his lap. Shinta was a black and white kitten with eyes the color of copper pennies. He had more fur than should be legal and Kaoru had nicknamed him the powder-puff.
Kenshin eyes had been turned into slitted-cats eyes, reminding her of a tiger. Around his neck was a velvet ribbon from which hung a bell and he had whiskers and a long curving tail.
Kaoru had titled it simply 'Meow.'
The last one was Kaoru's personal favorite.
A rumpled-sleepy looking Kenshin lounged in bed. The fall of his hair and bangs hiding on eye – which blazed gold from between the crimson strands. His braid snaked along his shoulder and hung off the edge of the bed. A cross shaped scar was visible on his left cheek and the muscles of his back were accentuated in shades of gold and crimson.
Kaoru had managed to capture the look on his face perfectly. It was the look he gave her when he thought she wasn't looking. Possessive yet tender at the same time. It was a look that said 'you are mine and you can do nothing about it.'
Though she had at first hated it – Kaoru had grown to understand that just because she was his didn't mean that her freedom was gone.
She was his.
He was hers.
If she was stuck with him, then he was stuck with her.
He could do nothing about it.
She could do nothing about it.
They were stuck together.
Just how it should be.
Kaoru had drawn a blank when titling it and so had dubbed it 'Crimson and Gold.'
And judging from the crowd of girls swooning over it – Kaoru had indeed done well with her painting.
"So…?" Kaoru prodded gently. "What do you think?"
"Love it. Love them all." Kenshin's grin turned a bit wicked. "Especially the last one."
"Heh," Kaoru rolled her eyes. "Knew you would."
"Like the scar – but did you have to give me one?" Kenshin asked.
Kaoru snorted, "They'd think you were a girl otherwise."
Kenshin snorted and tugged her into his arms. "Just as long as you never think I am."
Kaoru snorted again, "no chance of that," she promised and placed a kiss on his mouth.
"So… what other pictures do you have in mind for me to be in?" Kenshin asked conversationally.
"That's for me to know and you to find out," Kaoru replied.
"Oh?" Kenshin's narrowed. "Really?"
Kaoru nodded quickly. "Yep, most definitely."
"Guess I'll just have to settle for being your muse," Kenshin sighed and Kaoru laughed.
"You make an excellent muse."
Kenshin quirked an eyebrow, "do I?"
"Yep…" Kaoru looked away slightly. "Lots of ideas…"
"What kind of ideas?" Kenshin pressed.
Kaoru muttered something softly that sounded like 'whip cream and strawberries.'
"Oh that is an excellent idea," Kenshin grinned.
Kaoru blinked, "…did I just say that out loud?"
"Yep," Kenshin replied and proceeded to drag her out of the art gallery.
An artist was only as good as her muse and Kenshin was indeed very creative.