AN: I've noticed that everyone says that Kenshin's eyes are violet... but on my manga volumes he has very pretty blue eyes. XD So I'll stick to the manga...
The term sounded so adorably cute, suggesting sentiments of innocence and tenderness as sweet as honey that was almost unbearable.
What was truly unbearable was how we attracted the looks of those who had known us from an early age, those looks equally longing, yet indulgent to the point of smugness. As if they'd known, right from the moment we'd toddled around with our crayons and trucks and dolls or whatever, that we'd be strolling around, arm in arm in a decade and a half.
And we were.
Although, not precisely how they pictured it.
"Are you cold? The wind is strong today."
I opened my eyes from slight irritance. "I'm fine." They'd been closed since I had been so relaxed, lulled by the body heat he unknowingly gave out when I leaned against him, both of us meandering slowly down the road. To be awakened from such bliss was almost a criminal offence for the person who did so, even if he was the person who induced such bliss anyways.
"Are you sure? My jacket is warm. I could give it to you."
"Mou, I'm fine. I said so already. Plus, the reason we wanted to stroll around was because of the wind."
"Aa. I guess so."
He still sounded worried though. At times, he was like another copy of my Mother, who lived to fuss over whether I ate enough and if I had enough clean clothes for the next day. He'd been like that since I'd known him, and my inherent insistence that I 'was fine' never did allay his worry.
I told him he worried too much.
He said I didn't do it enough, which was why he did my share for me.
In the end, it finished like it always did: I got embarrassed by his caring display, and then I hit him to make him shut up. He pouted a little, and then smiled gently at me, the one that never failed to reassure me and at the same time, make me feel like I was reclining in a hot bath: tingly and soothed.
I caught another one of those looks from a passer-by - we lived in small village, you see, everyone had 'watched us grow up' - and scowled. He actually winked meaningfully at our linked arms, and then had the audacity to say -
"No, not yet." Kenshin smiled mildly, leaving the other man to chuckle and walk away.
Any wedding bells yet?
I was going to kill the next person who asked us that.
"Maa," Kenshin tutted lightly, reading my thoughts easily. "Don't get so worked up about it. They're just trying to be nice." He had the benefit of knowing me since I was five, and also the patterns of my mind.
"They have no business saying that!"
"They care for us." He was rational, and in turn, that infuriated me.
"But they don't know! We're not even -"
I heard his faint, "Oro?" before shutting my eyes and wishing I was somewhere else. He sounded hesitant. "What… were you going to say?"
I opened one eye, looked at his bemused expression, then shut it tightly again. Surely the man couldn't be that dense?
We're not even -
"Kaoru?" I felt his warm hand take mine in his, and he stood there, just holding my hand. I sunk to my knees, and he followed, either not caring about the dirt that lay about us in plentiful quantities, or too caught up in the moment to realize.
- a couple.
It was the plain, honest truth. We were in a between a hard place and a rock - that hard place being the stage between friends, and lovers. Because we weren't simply friends - there was far to much telling attraction to say so honestly - but we hadn't made the transgression to being true (and not just mental) lovers.
If you asked me, it was that damn rock.
We weren't actually clear about who wore the trousers in the relationship (it differed in the situation), and therefore we weren't decided at who would make that crucial move. Personally, I was all outward fire but the thought of initiating such brought me cold. Kenshin would simply blush and stutter, "O-oro," even if he was a deadly fighter and one of the most feared men around.
I'd seen him get angry - only once - but it was enough to send shivers up my spine. His mouth would press into a furious line, his brows lowered and settled over piercing gold eyes - eyes that were previously a laughing blue - that promised death to those that offended him seriously. He looked different to the man I knew, the man that laughed with me over my cooking and did my laundry by hand.
The man who blushed and stuttered "Oro," when he got embarrassed or confused.
In every day life, I could safely don the Trousers of our Relationship - to be truthful, he was more of a woman then I was, practically: he knew how to cook (properly), he did our weekly laundry, he did the grocery shopping and other household chores that he would shoulder with a smile and cheerful blue eyes.
But when he got angry…
Well, you could say I was barely left enough material to cover myself below the waist.
"Please tell me…"
Oh, that was right. I'd nearly forgotten him in my thought process - even if half the problem comprised of him anyways.
I raised my head as if it pained me to do so, and met his gaze. Warm blue. That was good.
"We aren't…" he tried to coax it out of me, and God, I didn't want to say it but it slithered out of me, my own words damning me to my own hell -
"Sorry?" He inclined his head closer.
Oh, he was such a idiot. For embarrassing me and for not being able to hear, which led me to being embarrassed…
"A couple." I raised my voice. "We aren't a couple, and everyone thinks that we're together, and waiting for our announcement to get married, and then they'll start expecting us to have children, for God's sake, and-"
His mouth met mine.
My first thought was, surprisingly, not, "He's made a move! A move!" but rather, "He tastes like… sweet ginger." His lips with soft and slightly moist, and it sent tremors over me that soothed and heated me like I was in a hot bath - and his hand slid down to the curve of my waist, where he held me against him gently; his other hand reached up, while my eyes were closed, up to my hair ribbon where he tugged gently and - oh. I revelled in the sensation of his hands running through my hair, the sensation of feeling strands tickling my cheek as my lips were pressed against his, the warmth of his body as it had pressed against mine - but never so closely before.
I pulled back, hearing someone breathing raggedly - and then realizing it was me. His lips turned down in something like disappointment, and his eyes were fixed on mine.
"You -" I swallowed, my own breathlessness affecting my words and tone. His eyes darkened in response. "You kissed me."
"Aa." That was it, no other words from him. His lips curled up softly now, although he was tense - I knew him as well as he knew me - waiting for my reaction.
Don't get so worked up about it.
But I was.
I flung myself back into his arms.
"Any wedding bells yet, then? He is your childhood sweetheart, you know. You should hold on tight."
Later, Kenshin would tell me with that gentle smile that I had a beatific smile on my face, and even though my eyes were cast down demurely they sparkled with sheer joy and smugness.
I had a right to be though.
I did that beatific smile thing and the lowered lashes. "In two weeks."