I was sick.
A nasty cold was all, but being sick still aches all the body, and since Megumi had left to go back home to Aizu, and Doctor Genzai was visiting his younger sister…only Kenshin was left to take care of me.
I could feel him looking down at me. It wasn't strange, or self-conscious to me…I was used to it now. It had been 3 months after Enishi's Jinchuu, I was safe…I was protected by Kenshin who now was instructed by Megumi not to use his Hiten school because of his weakening body…it should have been devastating to Kenshin, but he took it bravely. I was so proud of him. A reason why I really wasn't letting so many things bother me as before.
He placed a calloused hand over my forehead and I could tell he was frowning. I cracked open an eye and sighed. It was just a cold and a stomachache…he always got so nervous.
"I'm okay Kenshin…" I said, weakly smiling at him to reassure that it would be okay if I were left alone.
"This one doesn't care." He said, removing his hand and fetching a cold towel to replace where his hand had been.
I rolled my eyes, "What if you get sick…no one will be able to take care of me, right?"
"Wrong, sick or not…you are most important."
He was so thick.
"Kenshin…can I tell you something?" I said shyly and randomly. Hiding half of my face under one of the blankets.
He looked at me, and nodded. He sat in a mediation style and rested back on his hands…finally getting comfortable.
I really did feel ill, I was getting better…but I was still sick! However, I really needed to tell him this. "Kenshin, you know…" I turned my face away from him and giggled in a nervous rush.
"Sorry, sorry." I said, finally controlling my giggles.
"No reason to apologize." I could tell he was smiling. I turned my head slightly, and in fact did see a smile plastered to his face, his eyes dancing. He was happy with my laugher.
"You know," I started again, turning and sitting up, "I had a dream about you, Kenshin."
"This one?" he asked, shell-shocked. A red blush came to his cheeks, but he still remained in his relaxed pose.
"Yea, it's kind of embarrassing…do you promise not to laugh?" I gave him a weak smile, my silent way of saying 'Pretty please with sugar on top!'
"This…" I stopped him by covering his mouth with my somewhat clammy hand.
"This one, shmis one, I asked YOU if YOU would promise not to laugh…jeez, you needn't be humble with me…" I groaned and fell onto my headrest laughing. The fall got me a little dizzy but I chose to ignore it.
He sighed contently and nodded, "I promise not to laugh Kaoru-dono."
I would knock him for that later.
"Well, it wasn't like any other dream I've ever had before, it must have been effected by these thoughts I've been having for…quite…awhile now." I coughed.
He looked at me worriedly. I shook my head. "Don't worry, it was more of an embarrassed cough then anything!"
He smiled at me warmly. "Thinking about what?" He asked, going back to his relaxed position.
"About you…about how we could become closer." That came out easier then I thought. I looked at him; he seemed fine…I went on.
"I mean it just started really simply. I wondered, are we already really close, so close that this relationship is almost touchable? Or is it so far away…will it get any closer?"
He actually nodded, like he had had these thoughts too, like he really understood. I was so glad!
"So, tell this…me about your dream…I want to know what happened Kaoru-dono."
"Well," I stretched my arms and titled my head back, feeling a new rush of energy, I started, "It took place on the seaside, the place when we went to visit my father. Remember?"
He nodded in recognition; "It was nice of the couple to let us stay there that night, right?" he smiled. I did too…it was nice being so close to him, during the night, I mean…
I nodded, pushing my other thoughts away. "Anyway, I was walking on the beach, and it was a really hot summer day, so different from when we first went." I smiled, recalling everything from my dream. "Then, I stopped and walked into the water. I kind of did a little dance."
He chuckled, and I scowled. "You said you wouldn't laugh Kenshin!"
"I'm only laughing, because you're probably the most adorable woman in the world." He tucked a stray hair behind my ear and I blushed. "Can I continue please?"
"Well anyway, after I did my little dance among the waves," I glanced at him, loving that he was smiling like a little kid hearing a bedtime story, it was heartening… "You came out of nowhere."
"Out of nowhere?"
"Well, it is a dream."
"Right, that makes sense."
"Kenshin, stop interrupting!"
"Oro…Right, right, sorry."
"Thank you! Anyway, you came out of nowhere and took my hand and then we started dancing together in the waves under the hot sun, then we fell and hit the water." I mused for a moment, trying to remember the next scene of the dream.
"I've never danced before…" he said to himself.
"Kenshin…" I said, my voice growing in my irritation.
He cringed and didn't speak.
"Oh right, so then, you helped me up and we started walking along the beach, hand in hand."
"That sounds nice Kaoru-dono." He smiled and started to get up, butI grabbed his hand quickly. "I didn't finish."
"Oh," He said, surprised and sorry. He sat down again and listened. "What happened after our walk?" he smiled at me warmly to reassure I had his entire attention.
I blushed, well, I have to tell him about this…there's no one else to tell. "Well, we stopped at a blanket that rested in the middle of the beach, I went down first, then you followed and we just rested next to each other…then…I closed my eyes…" I stopped. I was losing my nerve! What if he was freaked out by what I tell him? What if he got distant because of my feelings?
I didn't want that to happen.
"Kenshin, before I finish…do you promise that you'll always be close…I don't want you distancing yourself from me…ever." I had already told him I wanted to stay with him...forever…I couldn't ask for anything more.
He nodded, "Of course, no matter what." He nodded, "Now tell me your dream so you can sleep and get better, okay?" Oh my dear Kenshin, such the worrywart.
I bit my bottom lip and took his hand in mine. "All of a sudden, a little boy came up and started pulling your hair." I looked towards the ceiling for a brief moment then back at him.
"Pulling my hair?" He asked, concerned for himself more then anything else.
I laughed despite my worries, "Yes, he was tugging kind of hard too, you didn't seem to mind but it did look like it hurt." I shrugged my shoulders and rolled my eyes at his false innocence.
"Kaoru-dono, as much fun as that sounds…why did you dream of a little boy pulling at my hair?" He paused, and then blinked slowly, "He was little wasn't he?" He asked, afraid of my wild answer.
"Of course he was little Kenshin!" I said, slapping his arm playfully, "Why would some older boy like Yahiko come up and pull your hair?"
"It was a dream." He said, trying to defend himself.
I giggled at his expression, and then I found myself frowning and turned my head away from him to hide the fears still lingering in my mind.
"Kaoru-dono, are you alright?" He leaned in closer, "Are you feeling ill again? Do you need anything?" He started to get up, ready to do anything to make me smile again…
It wasbest I faked one for him.
I turned my head back and beamed at him brightly, "No, no Kenshin!" I shook my head and put my hand out to call him back, "I'm perfectly f…" I stop short, feelinga sharp pain twisted in my lower abdomen. I tighten my hands into fists and leaned down, pushing the blankets into my stomach to make the pain go away.
"Kaoru." Kenshin said, dropping the –dono and placing one his hands on the small of my back. "Kaoru, what's wrong?" he voice was so full of unease that I felt bad to be in pain like this.
"It's nothing serious…" I told him softly, tears coming to my eyes with the sharpness of the sting. A took a quick breath in and then, finally, felt the pain erode away. I sat up slowly and looked at Kenshin, his violet eyes filled with worry and hurt for my well-being.
I smiled at him, "You really care a lot about me don't you, Kenshin?" I asked him like I had just figured all this out. Like it was a mystery.
"Oro, of course I care about you Kaoru-dono." Kenshin said it like itwas common fact.
Which it was.
I grinned at him again, not minding the reiteration of it all. "Do you think I could finish my dream now? I feel as if I don't tell you it'll just keep bugging me." I sighed and brought my blanket-covered knees to my chest. "Please?" I gave him a full tooth grin then laughed softly at myself.
Kenshin smirked, "All right I suppose, but you promise after this you'll go to sleep so I don't have to worry about anymore pains like that, right?"
I nodded and smiled at him, reaching for him, "Come, come!" I said softly and he sat down next to me once again, ready for anything I said to him
"So where was I, do you remember?" I asked him, just to see if he was actually paying attention.
Kenshin cringed, "The little boy was pulling my hair…" He said flatly, then, he cracked a smile to assure he was joking with me.
"Ah right, of course, I remember now." I took a deep breath and spotted his hand resting near me, I took it and started fiddling with his fingers as a sign of nervousness.
I loved how he didn't seem to mind.
"So, the little boy?" He asked, starting to fear the worst of my hesitation.
"Oh no!" I said, clutching his hand harder. "It wasn't anything like that!" I shouted, thinking he was thinking the worst
"KAORU-DONO!" Kenshin half-shouted backed, surprised out of his mind. "I wasn't thinking anything like that."
"Oh…" I squeaked, embarrassed. "Sorry…" I took one last sharp breath and looked him straight in the eye, he looked back nervously and I caught the pink that tinted his cheeks. I was relieved I had a fever so he could detect my blush like I could see his.
"I opened my eyes and I met a mess of red hair, in my dream I mean." I giggled nervously.
"My hair?" Kenshin asked, "Right?"
"No? Yes? ORO!"
"Kenshin the red hair belonged to the little boy." I said, desperately hoping to end the looping conversation of yeses and nos.
"The little boy had the same color hair as me…?" Kenshin wondered aloud, trying to decipher the mystery of the dream…
…I did it for him…
"And bright blue eyes."
He stopped his thoughts, "Red hair and blue eyes?"
"That's right." I said, feeling my insides shrink with dread. I let go of his hand and backed away from him as far as I could without falling out of the futon.
"So he was…"
"Yes." I said softly, almost ashamed of myself.
"Uh huh…" I looked towards the door, wishing that some of our old friends would come rushing in to interrupt our conversation…like they used to…
There was no such luck.
"Our son, wasn't he Kaoru?"
I couldn't look at him. I couldn't even tell what he was feeling by the tone of his voice. Was he scared of me? Was he angry that I could possibly think of something like that? He didn't even use the honorific.
He didn't use the honorific?
I turned to him, my eyes wide with question. "I believe he was…Kenshin." I narrowed my eyes thoughtfully as I recalled the dream, "We looked so happy…everyone was smiling and laughing. We were in love and we had our family…it was a picture of summer…"
We were silent for a minute. Finally, my eyes glazed over with reality and I looked at him mournfully, "But that's impossible…because you don't see me like that…I'm just…Kaoru-dono, and that little boy is nothing but dreams...and false hopes I suppose." I smiled at him weakly and lowered myself into the futon, covering my head with the blanket.
"Thank you very much for listening to my ramblings Kenshin…I'll keep my promise to you and go to bed…I'll see you tomorrow, goodnight." The room grew darker as Kenshin blew the candle out and I assumed he would leave me for the night.
It was silent for a moment and I turned over on my back, then my heart stopped when the blanket was pulled away and Kenshin was leaning over me, inches away from my face.
"Uh…Kaoru." Kenshin stated, unsure of his actions.
"Kenshin…what's…going on?" I replied, breathlessly. I stared into his dark amethyst eyes and I couldn't speak. No words came to me.
Was there anything to say?
He lowered himself down; hesitant of his next move, "Kaoru…" he said my name like it was a foreign word, something unfamiliar to his tongue. "If I kiss you…will you be angry at me?"
I shook my head slowly and closed my eyes…feeling his lips press against mine. This was so out of character for him, no unnatural. What could have woken up inside of him to make him do this?
While I was sick no less.
I could feelhis passion and…love, maybe…pour into my soul through his lips…there were no words that could possible describe something this…surreal.
He pulled away slowly and I opened my eyes to meet his, full of fire and passsion. "Kenshin, why did you…"
He pressed his forehead against mine and smiled, "It was somewhat hard to resist, but I'll probably get your cold now." He softly chuckled then looked at me, tenderly yet seriously…
"I really had no idea what to think when you told me that Kaoru…about your dream I mean…it did kind of throw me, but in a good way.
"I've never really thought about that idea though…" He stopped suddenly, "Can I tell you something?" he asked me softly.
I nodded slowly and he sat up straight. I watched him do this from where I lay. "I've always felt like a father figure to Yahiko…is that wrong?" He asked like if I said yes it would crush his heart, I could hear the hope and feeling that Kenshin rarely let out.
I smiled at him softly and shook my head. I reached for his face and gently stroked his scarred cheek with my thumb, "Just hearing you say that, I know that you want to be one, deep down…right?"
Even in the darkness of the room I could tell he was blushing at my remark, "I want you to be one Kenshin, I think you deserve that happiness."
"Oh…Kaoru…" he barely whispered, out of words.
"With whoever you wish…I just want you to be happy and finally be able to live again…and I'll be there with you, as soon as I get over this cold…right?" I grinned at him, "Thanks for the kiss, by the way…"
Kenshin cleared his throat, "Uh, right…" He stood up and made his way towards the door.
He stopped and turned back towards me, "Kaoru?"
"Yes Kenshin?""It could only be you…"