This is something of a drabble that I wrote for Halloween. Sorry I didn't get it up sooner.

It hasn't been beta-read yet, so there a few mistakes that I will be corrected later. My apologies for them. This was written for fun, so please take it in that context!


There were times when she could hate Sano. Sitting on an abandoned dock, on some little forgotten island in the middle of a lake that was rarely used, with only her beach towel to protect her from the chilly air and colder wind; Kaoru was more than a little willing to strangle her child hood best friend.

She had thought she had learned her lesson not to follow along with his mad schemes. But this time, she had allowed him to mix beer, Katsu's large pontoon boat, and several members of the loud crowd he preferred to run with… well, her nerves were shot for the evening.

Everything had gone smoothly (to her tter surprise) but then they had spiraled down hill like she had known they would. The pair of knuckles heads hadn't checked the gas gage on the pontoon. Five of the original party members were waiting for Sano to return with the boat he had piled as many people into as possible. Kaoru was just thankful everyone had come in two boats. She would have gone crazy if she had to listen to a few of the girl's pop bubble gum for another two hours.

"Ghost stories?" Megumi said in disgust. "Only you would consider ghost stories when we are stranded with only one flashlight in the middle of god-knows-where."

Katsu placed a hand on his heart and batted his rather girly lashes. "You wound me. It isn't a ghost story! It's the legend of the island itself!"

Kaoru snorted from where she was hugging the luke-warm thermos to her chest. It was cold, and her stomach was complaining after having only hot dogs and beer for nourishment that evening. "Legends you probably made up."

"I never lie… when it's important. Besides, there really is a legend!" Katsu sounded defensive. "If Tomoe wasn't off sexing up Akira, she would tell you the same thing. Historian that she is!"

"Katsu, you are not going to scare us silly." The slap of the water against wood hid any noises from the surrounding woods and Kaoru was thankful.

"You're no fun," Katsu whined.

Megumi sighed. "Fine, tell us this spooky story."

Katsu brightened. "Really?"

Kaoru groaned and huddled a little further into her towel.

Katsu rubbed his hands, either from cold or anticipation, a gleeful look on his features. "Most of the legends are old seaman's tales about this place. The lake used to feed into a river that led to the ocean. Humans, bridges, and damns ended up clogging up the river and redirecting to the ocean."

"Get to the point."

"You're killing the atmosphere." Katsu groaned. "Be nice!"

"What are we supposed to listen to?" Kaoru asked.


"Naked women?" Megumi said in disgust.

"Men." Katsu corrected. "You're still ruining the story!"

"Men that used their voices and drown people?"

"The legends are distorted. From what I have been able to glean, the inhabitants of this island were slaughtered, and the accusations of being sirens ran fast. Whatever they were, they were not humans, and some of them were evil. So they brought in a human priest to lock them down, keeping them from luring the human daughters for the evil purposes." Katsu completely ruined the effect of his words by wiggling his eyebrows.

"You're horrible." Megumi groaned.

"I'm not finished." Katsu said cheerfully.

"Now what?"

"So these sirens were bound and locked to this island. Every year, a few kids go missing up here and the old legends get blamed. Why do you think Sano wanted us gone by sunset?"

Kaoru stared at him. "Sano things those things those stories are real?"

"He used to spend a lot of time up here when he was a little kid. One night, he got stuck on the island and spent the night. He never talked about what happened, but he doesn't stay on this island past night fall. Once he joked that he would rather swim the length of the lake instead of wait."Megumi swatted Katsu. "Next time keep the horror stories to yourself." If Megumi was freaked out for the same reason Kaoru was, it wasn't the story itself but the idea that someone believed the story. Belief always added credit to stories, and sometimes gave the myths more life than they deserves.

"Thanks Katsu," Kaoru growled. "I have to pee and I am going to be imagining devils and sirens now."

"Not my fault."

"Don't think I am going with you," Megumi informed her. "I am staying right here and not thinking about ghosts. You deal with the big bugs."

Kaoru scowled at her. "I am remembering this on your birthday; this time when Sano's asks for me to buy strawberry lube and nylons I might say yes."

"My beautiful ass is sitting right here. It's not moving." Megumi's expression refused to change. Kaoru, finally giving up, stood and wrapped her towel a little firmer around her shoulders.

"I'll be back," Kaoru grumbled. "If I don't come back, I would like lilies to be placed on my casket."

"I thought you hate lilies."

"I do. But your allergic to lilies and they will make you sneeze through the entire funeral." She moved down the planks crankily, stomping as she went in the attempt to make as much noise as possible. She had to step around the redhead; she had forgotten he was there. She didn't even know what his name was.

Kaoru was scarring herself silly. She was a hundred perfect sure she wasn't being watched, but she was feeling eyes on her back and that made it difficult to pee while in the middle of the forest. She was thankful that it was too cold for snakes but she still hurried.

'There is no reason to get freaked out,' Kaoru coached herself. 'It's not like Katsu's little stories have a single grain of truth in them.' Taking a deep breath she turned and went to reach for her towel. The towel she had placed on the tree. The towel that was not there. Her stomach lurched into her throat.

'Okay, obviously this island is… in habited by monkeys. Curious, annoying, towel stealing monkeys. There are no such things as sirens! You are not going to freak out, you will not panic, and running will do you no good. Just move silently and quickly and if you see your towel… do not pick it up.' Even her inner voice was high pitched with panic and Kaoru bit her lip hard. 'For future references, even on an abandoned island, you will use the buddy system for pee breaks. No matter what Megumi says, you will drag her into the words kicking and screaming!' Keeping her eyes on the ground so she could move swiftly along the damp ground, she kept up her mental mantra in the attempt to distract herself.

Kaoru shrieked and slipped when warm fingers wrapped around her elbow. Placing her hand on the ground she wrenched her hand away, twisting around the find the redhead standing next to her, his hands held up.

"I didn't mean to startle you."

"Shit!" Kaoru snapped at him. "What did you think grabbing my arm was going to do?"

The redhead frowned at her. "Where is your towel?"Kaoru swore at him and pushed herself up. "Who gives a fuck where my towel is? You scared me out of ten years of my life!" She continued to glare at him, so she noticed the odd expression that crossed his features. This close she could make out his features.

He was silent and Kaoru snapped her fingers in front of his face. His bangs moved as he shifted towards her fingers, dodging them as they came close to his nose. "It's cold and you lost your towel." His voice was chiding as he pressed his hand against her spine and directed her back to the others.

"You know," Kaoru snarled at him. "I don't think I learned your name." The push on her spine became more substantial as they moved, as if he was hurrying her along.

"You may call me Kenshin…" the redhead murmured. There was a pause. "What may I call you?"

Drat. She had been hoping he would forget to ask. "Kaoru. What are you doing over here scaring innocent women?" If he had been peeping…

"I thought I saw something."

"So who invited you along?" Maybe she didn't want to know if he had seen her white behind.

"A friend, do you normally ask so many questions?"

"What if I do?"

"Then I shall prepare myself for them in the future."

"You know, your being awfully sarcastic with a woman who is already jumpy. I might accidentally hit you." It was a little disconcerting when that didn't seem to encourage him to take his hand off her back. The bright side was that his hand was really warm.

Kaoru was relieved when they saw the others. Once they stepped onto the dock, Kenshin seemed to relax a little. That surprised her. Maybe there had been eyes on her back. She shot him a suspicious glance and he just smiled at her, clearly unconcerned. Still, as much as she hated to think it, she doubted there were monkeys on the island. Sitting down close to Megumi, Kaoru wrapped her arms around her legs and glared at Katsu. "Any sign of Sano and the boat yet?"

"Not even a boat runner light." Katsu complained. "It's way too dark out here. There seem to be some over head clouds forming, so we keep loosing moonlight."

"The reason we are loosing moonlight is because you keep telling horrible stories about ghosts and snapping into the darkness and whistling." Megumi said through clenched teeth. Her eyes settled on Kaoru. "What happened to your towel?"

"Kenshin scared me and I dropped it. I forgot to pick it up." Kaoru lied. She didn't think Megumi's strained nerves could take the truth. She was relieved when Kenshin didn't correct her.

"I have been thinking," Katsu said cheerfully. "If we move to the boat, it should help block some of this frigid wind."

"Is that a good idea?" Kenshin asked. "We might not see Sano approaching."

Katsu waved his hand. "It's just a little down the beach. He should find us with no problem."

"I'm in!" Megumi groaned. "It's so cold."

"Hey," Kaoru reminded her irritably. "You have Sano's jacket. I just hope that Tomoe and Akira are done with whatever it is they are doing."

Megumi wrinkled her nose as they stepped onto the beach to move to the boat. "Gross."

"I have blankets stored under the hull." Katsu said. "Blankets."

"You're just now mentioning them?" Kaoru demanded, outraged.

"Um… race you to the boat?"

"Get back here!" Kaoru demanded, giving chase and trying not to fall flat on her face in the sand with her flip flops. They didn't beat Kenshin or Megumi there with much time, so Kaoru only had time to tackle him into the sand before her friends caught up and broke up their wrestling match.

"I was winning," Kaoru told Katsu as he pulled himself onto the boat.

"I'll get the blankets." Katsu said hastily.

Kaoru grinned to herself but before she could push herself up strong hands settled on her hips and easily lifted her up onto the boat. Kaoru turned and looked down at Kenshin in surprise. Especially when he didn't let go right away and his thumbs brushed circles along her waist.

"What do you think you are doing?"

"Your skin is cold." Kenshin commented. Kaoru calmly reached down and grabbed his wrists and pulled his hands away. Megumi snorted in amusement as she pulled herself up and walked over to Katsu.

"I have a no touching policy. Besides, you're already on my bad side. I have gray hair now." Kaoru informed him as she stood up and walked over to where Megumi was poking the blankets curiously. "Are they safe?"

"Safe enough, I don't smell anything funky. If we stick to the floor we should be safe from any residue. The cushioned bench near the captains chair however…"

"Right," Kaoru agreed. If the blankets were clean, that was good. There had been a lot of people on the island that afternoon and the pontoon was just secluded enough from the rest of the beach to be tempting. "So we have two blankets…" 'Oh great. I'm going to get stuck with someone I don't like…'

"I'm not cuddling with Kenshin." Katsu warned, sticking his face around the wheel. "That would be a no."

Megumi and Kaoru exchanged looks and groaned.

"I'll take Katsu." Megumi said with a scowl.

"Thanks." Katsu said sarcastically. "I feel the love. At least I am warm."

"At least you know if you put your hand somewhere Sano will kill you," Megumi corrected. "Kaoru is more capable of hurting Kenshin if he puts his hands somewhere than I am."

"Thanks," Kenshin echoed Katsu. "For that I should cop a feel."

"I'll break your fingers." Kaoru warned.

Kenshin went to get the blanket and Kaoru bit her lip, turning her back to scan the beach line. She swore she felt eyes on her again. Rubbing hands up along the goosebumps breaking out across her arms, she shivered. She knew they were being watched. She shrieked in surprise when, instead of telling her he had the blanket, he scooped her up and sat down, settling her in his lap, the blanket snapped out and over them.

"I should hit you." Kaoru went to twist but he wrapped an arm around her waist and held her in place.

"Now, now," Kenshin warned. "You already had your chance for violence."

"I really hate you."

"You don't even know me," he returned, shifting her in his lap. "But I take it as a compliment that I can rile you up so fast; should make things interesting between us."

"You know," Kaoru told him through clenched teeth. "I think you can keep the blanket." She wiggled in an attempt to get off his lap but he held her fast.

"I would stop doing that." He warned his mouth so close to her ear his lips were brushing her skin. "But I will make a deal with you. You sit still and let me keep you warm and I won't put my hands somewhere you might not appreciate tomorrow."

Kaoru went still and considered his words, her hands clenching on her thighs.

"You can take me at my word or you can keep wiggling and deal with the consequences, but you're not getting off my lap. Right away, anyway."'

"Fine. Keep your hands to yourself." Kaoru snarled. Flopping back against his chest, she growled in warning as he started to laugh.

"Ah," he sighed as he leaned back against the boat comfortably. "Things will never be boring between us."

They eventually settled on a position they were both comfortable in. Her head tucked under his chin and her legs curled around his; she surprised that he smelled like ginger. Even after an afternoon of sand, sweat and lake water.

She must have dozed off, because she opened her eyes and Kenshin was very tense underneath her. The hand that had been stroking her hip (no matter how many times she swatted it) was missing and the air was fairly humming with tension. Lifting her head slightly, she let her eyes scan what they could of the shoreline.

Faint, echoing laughter caught her attention.

"I think our lost couple has returned," Megumi's sleepy voice broke into rising unease.

"I guess so." Kaoru whispered back, surprised that she couldn't manage a tone louder than that. She twisted a little against Kenshin, demanding that he let her go, and he sighed heavily into her hair.

"Don't let them touch you," Kenshin ordered

"What?" She bit her lip when his fingers ghosted down the line of her stomach and pressed her elbow into his stomach in warning.

"I want to touch," he murmured into her ear. "They will want to as well. Do not allow it."

Kaoru bit her lip, both at his touch and the tone of her voice, when the sounds of the couple had her lifting her head. The first thing she noticed was their eyes. They were wild, slightly glazed, and wrong.

Kaoru had the sudden, overpowering urge to curl back into Kenshin's chest.

Tomoe was waving an object that looked familiar to Kaoru. "You lost your towel, silly girl." She bared her teeth in a smile.

"My towel?" Kaoru asked dumbfounded. When had Tomoe ever seen her towel? "Where did you find it?"

Tomoe rolled her eyes. "We found the towel in the woods and we thought it was yours. Look, is there room for us on that boat?"

Kenshin's fingers rose and curved along her breast suddenly, stealing the breath from her lungs in surprise. His fingers moved lazily.

"We are not going to invite you onto the boat," Kenshin called. "Find different prey." His lips brushed her ear before his fingers stopped moving. "You were going to invite them on."

"Hand. Off. Chest."

"I like your breast." He teased. "My hands are cold."

They didn't feel cold to her. "Hands off."

He sighed and lowered his hand to her stomach. "The others are asleep. Stay here," his teeth nipped her ear. "With the others while I deal with this." Something about his tone had a knot forming in her stomach.

"Deal with what?" She asked as he picked her up and set her down, tucking the blanket around her. "Kenshin?"

His eyes met hers and Kaoru felt her mouth go dry. His pupils were elongated, and there was a ring of glowing gold around the pupil. 'He isn't human.' Kaoru realized, horrified.

'He isn't human and if he is dealing with something…' her eyes swung to Tomoe and Akira. 'I bet they aren't human anymore either. They came over her, had sex on the boat, and now are insanely not human anymore. This is Katsu's fault for telling ghost stories.' Her thoughts felt more than a little jumbled and confused so she scooted away from the soft spoken words going on between Kenshin and Akira.

She didn't want to know.

"Kaoru?" Megumi's sleepy voice had her turning her head. "What is Kenshin doing?"

"I think we may have a problem," Kaoru muttered as she scooted back shoulder to shoulder with Megumi. "I am not sure what Akira is doing, but it involves Kenshin and I don't think he is human. How much truth is in those tales of yours, Katsu?"

There was no answer and Kaoru turned to look at her friends. Megumi was rubbing her eyes and looking a little dazed and Katsu was frowning, the wrinkled between his brows marking his confusing. Kaoru leaned forward and snapped her fingers. It did nothing. Reaching between the space between their heads Kaoru slapped her hands together, the noise causing both of them to jump. "Are you awake now?"

There was a loud screeching noise that hurt Kaoru's head and she grabbed her ears.

"Oh my fucking god," Katsu whispered, his eyes horrified as he stared at the deck. "She… she…"

Kaoru turned and shrieked, jumping backwards. Tomoe was attempting to crawl onto the boat, her eyes so large and glowing that it hurt Kaoru to look at her. Megumi made a noise and Kaoru threw herself between her friends and Tomoe. "Don't look at her," she demanded, catching their attention. "Just… don't look."

"Her eyes were glowing." Megumi's voice trembled. "Why were her eyes glowing?"

"Because while we were napping we were dragged into a bad horror movie," Katsu managed. "I really want to go back to sleep."

Kaoru swallowed. "Is she getting onto the boat?" She was terrified to look and terrified not to know.

"I don't know," Megumi whispered. "You said not to look."

There was a howling noise that rolled across their bodies and raised the hair on their arms and the back of their necks. Kaoru bit her lip until it bled.

"I'm going to look," Katsu said finally. "If my eyes start glowing, hit me with something heavy."

"We don't have anything heavy."

"Then just have Kaoru hit me."

"Please don't joke," Kaoru whispered. "If I start laughing I am not going to stop unless it's to start screaming."

"She isn't on the boat," Katsu's voice was strained. "But she is trying very hard."

"We can't stay here." Kaoru whispered. "She is going to…" Kaoru reached over and slapped Katsu who snapped his eyes back to hers and mouthed 'thank you'. "She is either going to get on this boat or she is going to um… lure us off."

"Water," Megumi said finally. "She can't get on the boat because of the water."

Kaoru swung her eyes to friend. "What?"

"The legend." She whispered. "Katsu was telling me about it. Sirens are bound to the land. They can't go across the water that is why they can't leave. The boat is mostly in the water."

"Which means she will get onto the boat eventually." Katsu hissed. "We have to get into the water."

"Damn." Kaoru whispered. "It so cold."

"I would rather um… freeze than end up with them."

Kaoru jumped at the sound of another roar, fierce and dangerous. "Right. The dock?"

"Should work. They wouldn't be able to cross the water line so it would be safer than this boat."

There was a scratching noise and a triumphant screech.

"Time to go." Kaoru hissed, lunging forward and shoving Katsu as shard she could, watching him flip over backwards into the shallow water. Twisting around, she grabbed Megumi's shoulders and they threw themselves off the boat together.

The water was bone jarring cold. She couldn't breathe even after she kicked to the surface; her teeth were clenched so tightly together.

"Oh gods," Katsu snarled. "It's fucking cold."

"Swim," Megumi ordered. "We need to move."

Her words were punctured by another of the nails-on-chalkboard screams so they kicked away from the boat, moving through the water with chattering teeth.

"No one is going to believe us," Kaoru groaned as she kicked. "No one is going to believe anything about this."

"I don't care," Megumi managed. "As long as the funny farm has blankets and hot chocolate."

"Akira!" Tomoe's voice chased them along the water. "They're getting away! They're in the water and not playing fair!" Her voice was high, and raked along their ears painfully. They kicked harder.

"If we die…"

Kaoru surge and dunked Katsu, "no dying." She hissed when he came back up.

"My balls are shriveled." Katsu gasped.

Kaoru backed off and kicked to stay above water. "I don't want to know about your balls."

"They're very nice balls," Katsu informed her as they continued to wade to the dock. "But you don't get to see them."

"I now believe in miracles." Megumi snarled.

The boat ride back to the mainland was going to be miserable. Assuming if they lived that long. They reached the dock. It took them several attempts to pull themselves up and when they finally did, they gasped and coughed.

"We have to keep moving," Megumi groaned. "Jumping jacks or something."

"I hate my life. I hate my hair. Why did I grow my hair long? I am going to be bald once I have enough energy to shave my beautiful hair." Katsu snarled as he pushed the soaking strands from his face.

"Oh stuff it," Kaoru hissed as she pushed herself up and started bouncing on her toes. "My hair is longer than yours and just as cold. And stop starring at my breasts."

"They're bouncing. I can't help it."

"I swear to god I will feed you personally to whatever Tomoe is now if you two don't stop," Megumi snapped, pacing the deck. "You are far too enamored with each others body parts!"

"She's just jealous Sano isn't here." Kaoru whispered.

"Do you think we lost them?" Megumi demanded, ignoring Karou's comment.

Kaoru opened her mouth to comment when she heard someone walking along the beach. Spinning, she crossed her arms and stared into the darkness. "Someone is coming."

Tomoe was snarling at them, her teeth barred and glistening strangely in the darkness. Kaoru took a step back, terrified, when Tomoe suddenly screamed. It was a loud, echoing noise that had Kaoru clamping a hand over her ears. When it stopped, Tomoe's eyes rolled back into her head and she collapsed into a little ball at the sand line.

"What…" Megumi whispered.

"I don't want to know." Katsu said finally. "I do not want to know."

They stared dumbly at the little heap until a breeze had them huddling together like little children, shivering. "I think it's over." Megumi whispered.

"You're not supposed to say that." Kaoru hissed. "That always gets the people who are still alive into trouble."

"Sorry! I always fall asleep in the movies!"

"Figures," Katsu groaned.

"Are you three alright?"

Kaoru jerked her head up and her eyes collided with the bright gold of Kenshin's. She couldn't tear her eyes away. They were… almost pulsing, like little suns, hot flashes of white racing across already burning gold.

"Hey, we're fine man. We were worried about you! Where did you go?" Katsu called, in relief. "Get over hear and get off that shore. That woman is crazy."

Kaoru tried to move her lips to tell them that he was a bad guy, but she couldn't get her mouth to work. The harder she tried to pull away the more difficult to became. The voices of Megumi and Katsu were faint buzzing noises.

Then his eyes were looking away and she could breathe again. Kaoru stumbled backwards when she realized how close he was standing.

"It's alright, Akira is… won't be chasing you anymore."

Turning her eyes to her friends, Kaoru went completely still when she realized that Megumi was starring at nothing, her eyes glazed over. "You did something," she whispered, her eyes swinging back to what she could see of his face. "What did you do?"

His mouth curved into a smirk but before she could answer, Katsu jerked next to her. "Dammit, Kenshin, your girlfriend just had to dunk us all into the water. You might want to check on her, I think she bumped her head."

Kaoru could only stare at her friend.

"I think we should probably go get the blankets off the boat." Megumi said suddenly. "If Sano is going to be gone much longer we are going to freeze. Why don't you stay here with Kaoru, Kenshin, and wait for the boat?"

"Are you sure you want to go alone?" Kenshin question, his voice concerned enough that Kaoru's eyes swung back to him in disbelief. His mouth was still set in that knowing smirk.

"We'll be fine. We won't let some silly legend scare us." Megumi said, waving as she as Katsu moved towards the end of the dock.

"Wait," Kaoru managed, stepping towards them, her eyes swinging to where Tomoe's body had been. "There are…"Warm fingers closing around her cold flesh had her snapping her attention around so fast she felt light headed for a moment. "What the hell did you do?"

"I removed their memories," Kenshin told her, his eyes narrowing in on her mouth. "It was incredible easy to do."

"You… you shouldn't be able to cross the water line," Kaoru hissed, moving away from him.

"I can because of you." He told her before moving so fast she didn't see it, just found herself pressed body to body with him. "You are cold again. Can I not leave you alone for ten minutes without you doing something silly?" He bent his head and kissed her throat.

Kaoru jerked and kicked at his leg. "Stop that."

"I'm just getting started." He warned against her neck. "Your friend with the boat will take as long as I need for him to arrive and the other two will find themselves very tired once they reach the boat." He bit her neck and she dug her hands into his back in surprise.

"Hey!" She sounded breathless. That was bad. She squeaked when he lifted her off the deck, her feet kicking in thin air. "Hey!" She managed to sound indignant that time.

"You're cold," he breathed in the hollow of her throat. "Let me warm you." His hands rubbed along her sides and stomach, moving across her breasts so she gasped in surprise. Her skin was so cold that his hands felt like they were scalding wherever they touched. Shivering as this thumbs briefly rubbed her nipples, she lifted her chin as his hands wandered along her shoulders to chaff her arms.

"You are taking far too many liberties," Kaoru managed. That mouth of his curved and he lowered his head so that his lips brushed hers with each word he spoke.

"I will be delighted to show you what liberties I will take." His mouth settled along hers, roughly forcing her lips to part while he pulled her hands together to rub them between his. He explored her mouth almost greedily, stroking his tongue along hers and letting go of her hands to explore her breasts again, not stopping until she was limp and moaning below him.

"How easy it would be," he whispered as he lifted his head. Sighing, he kissed her cheek, trailing his lips to her temple before repeating action on the other side of her face. "But I have established my claim and I would prefer to take you in a bed."

It was hard to think around the humming in her blood but she tried. "What?"

"Go to sleep, little Kaoru. When you wake, everything will be safe."

She opened her mouth to tell him that she wasn't tired, that she was perfectly capable to staying away and kicking his ass, but darkness crowded at the edge of her temples, the sensation of Kenshin's brushing the lids of her eyes with his mouth was the last sensation before she gave into the darkness.

Kaoru woke up warm. Her memory insisted there should be bone jarring cold. Hot hands. Even hotter mouth. There was a strange noise that she rather thought sounded like a motor and water crashing against something hard. Like a boat moving swiftly across a lake. Low voices caught her attention and she suddenly realized there was a hand in her hair.

"What a night," Misao's voice broke into her brain and Kaoru woke up a little more. The shoulder under her cheek didn't disappear. "First the second boat runs out of gas, then Aoshi shows up to save us, and then you lot decide to take a midnight swim! I can't believe Kaoru managed to bump her head on the pier. What were you watching that Katsu had to dive in after her, Kenshin? I mean really! We expect better supervision from boyfriends around here. After five months you should know that!"

Kaoru attempted to sit up and groaned at the swimming sensation in her head. She felt like she was wrapped in cotton, both inside and outside. The urge to sit back and just go to sleep was strong yet something wasn't quite right. Opening her eyes, she blinked several times before she recognized Misao beaming down at her.

"Hi!" Misao said cheerfully. "Glad to see you're awake. Megumi said that she didn't think you had a concussion, but you were going to be disoriented for a couple hours. You're lucky Katsu was there to pull you out of the water when you slipped and hit your head."

Kaoru didn't remember slipping and hitting her head. She remembered screaming and chasing and cold. Hot breath spilled down her ear before she could respond.

"You don't want to be doing that," Kenshin breathed in a voice so low she was certain she was the only one who could hear it. Misao had been practically shrieking to be heard. "They won't believe you." The kiss laid on the rim of her ear punctuated his words and she shivered at the sensation, realized what she had done, and scowled.

"I am perfectly able," she started but was cut off when her head was lightly pressed back against his shoulder.

"Go to sleep, chatterbox." Kenshin ordered gently. "When you wake up things will be far more comfortable. You freed me from my prison. You're in my keeping now." Those lips curved along her ear and it wasn't a comfortable smile. "My little human."

Kaoru could only close her eyes and be pulled back into comfortable darkness.