Disclaimer: I do not own Samurai X


Chapter One

Kaoru knew that there were just some things that her late master had not been able to teach her, like say, how to cook properly (really, it was almost the same as brewing potions, a task with which she was competent at, so why on earth couldn't she make a decent meal without using the microwave?), how to control her legendary temper, and most importantly, since this one applied to her current position, how to run away from a demon that she had released.

It had been an accident really. She hadn't meant to release him. In fact, she hadn't even known that the sword that she found embedded on the trunk of that tree had been cursed. Mumbling a train of expletives that would have made any drill sergeant proud as she stumbled on a root, Kaoru mentally kicked her own behind for falling for such a carefully set up trap. She should have caught on that something wasn't right when she had begun to wander out of her house with a sense of purpose and then suddenly forgetting what she needed to do once she was a few steps away from her home. She jumped over two more upturned roots and cursed her lack of judgment. She had let her guard down and this was the price she had to pay.

Like a moth to a flame, she had been attracted to the threads and the peaceful tugging of magic and before she had noticed it, she had been standing in front of that dead tree. She supposed that she should have expected this. She was in the province after all and mythical beings were always more prominent there than in cities. When she had driven by, searching for a new place to live in because she had been discovered, the two story house on top of the petite hill had caught her attention. There was a white picket fence surrounding it and it was beside a lake, a dancing floor for the fireflies that visited every night. It had two bedrooms that were of a decent size, three bathrooms all of which were in working order, a mice little kitchen, an attic that she could turn into her personal study, and a balcony overlooking the lake (a place that she could properly relax and paint at).

And, it was cheap.

She hadn't been worried about spirits dwelling in the place since she knew how to deal with them (it was probably why the place had been a bargain in the first place), she had even thought about befriending the wandering souls if there were any, but unfortunately for her, she also had not stop to think about possible demonic activity in the area. Tsubame, a ghost of a little girl who drowned in the lake, had told her that a long time ago, a couple of kids had been playing with the arts magica and had ended up summoning some sort demon. Luck was on their side though, because someone had been able to seal him, where though, no one knew.

Now, running blindly through the woods uncaring of the gashes she was receiving from the sharp ends of branches of the bushes, she was afraid that she had found his resting area and had released the exact same being that had been sealed by that unknown entity. She should have listened to her screaming instincts. She should have packed her bags and left after learning of that sealed demon within the borders of her land. But every time that she so much as thought of running away, something would always make her feel as if it was a mistake to do so. That she was safe there and no one was going to hurt her.

Kaoru barred her teeth at the thought. It had probably been him. He had felt her, knew that she wouldn't be able to resist taking a peak, and had filled her senses with false tranquility. The protective feeling had enclosed her body and had calmed her soul. The feeling was addicting and it had been enough to get her to stay and settle in permanently.

Stumbling out of the forest, Kaoru stopped for a moment and glanced around. She was at the bottom of her hill. She was near her house! With a burst of adrenaline, she ran up the slope and didn't stop until she had closed the door to her home behind her. She locked it and barricaded it with the couch and the TV. She spun around and locked every other door that led outside, finding things to barricade them with (the chair, the table, the desk, and even the small refrigerator). She closed all of windows and ran up the stairs to the attic where she could properly defend herself.

Opening the door and closing it behind her, she was greeted with the calm familiarity of her space. There were several potions on the shelves and books about her art lay on one corner of the room. There was only one small window and there was a single light bulb but there was no need for it. As she took the first few steps inside, several white flames appeared, lighting the room for her. She had placed those small burning balls in the room to grant light into the dark attic since the artificial light of the bulb wasn't enough for such a big room. They had cost her a bit but they were worth it.

Quickly, she grabbed a box with her house's symbol carved on the lid and opened it to reveal a silver pendant with the symbol of protection on it. It was a powerful artifact that had been passed down from one witch to another in her family and it was designed to incinerate anyone that planned any hostility towards her. She put it on, feeling the tingling sparks as it welcomed her into its powerful embrace. She closed her blue eyes, adjusting to the feel of the old magic swirling around her and was startled as she felt several of her barriers disappearing.

She turned around and stared at the door. He had found her and he was going through every ounce of protection spell she had encased in the house like it they were just sheets of paper. When she felt the barrier on the stairs disappear, she took a deep breath to calm her herself or at least rid herself of the panic that was slowly taking her over, she stood her ground and wrote several symbols on her arm as fast as she could. They lighted up, acknowledging her, and settled becoming temporary tattoos on her pale skin. They were the symbols for attacking spells. She was terrified but she refused to cower. She was Kaoru Kamiya and she was not going down without a fight.

With clenched hands and a fierce glare, she awaited her opponent's arrival.

She was like a beacon of light to him in the never ending anguish that the darkness had inflicted upon him. Kenshin closed his eyes as his body morphed from the figure of a dead tree to his actual form. It was a bit painful but it was a good kind of pain, one that stretching tired muscles caused. If someone were watching, the transformation would have mesmerized them. Gazing at the way the large branches molded into two arms, the way that the trunk shrunk and became a torso, the roots forming into the lower limbs, and the remaining branches twist and turn until it formed a head...it would have extracted a 'wow' from the viewer. That or scare them to the depths of hell. Unfortunately, the latter had been Kaoru's reaction and before he could stop her, to tell her that he wasn't going to hurt her, she was gone with the wind.

He didn't know whether to feel amused at her quick retreat, approve of her sense of survival, or feel a bit annoyed that she still feared him. He had, after all, spent three months trying to get her to get used to his aura, to his strength, to him. And in return, she had fled from his embrace and ran into her house, her very own space, a place where she could find even footing. He imagined her locking all of her doors and windows, preparing protection spells, getting ready to do combat and he smirked. He approved at her way of thinking. Instead of outright challenging him, she had used everything in the area to her advantage before facing him. He had no doubt that she could very well throw some powerful spells at him even when she was away from the protection and the well of magic in her home but she had refused to gamble with fate.

And that was what this was, fate in the making. She would not escape him. Not now. Not when he was so close to having her already.

When he had felt her presence, he had latched onto it, like a thirsty man in the dessert drinking greedily from the fountain of youth. He was amused at the way that she had recoiled at his aura, knowing that it was foreign and that it was possibly dangerous, but he hadn't given up. He had slowly eased her under his wing and waited for her to adjust to his existence until she had let her guard down. Then, he had slowly enticed her spirit to this cave. It had taken a month before she actually moved from her home and into the forest, making her think that she was just restless and needed to kill time by exploring.

He couldn't say that he regretted having to wait for her to release him. During those months that his spirit was carefully wrapped around hers, he had learned a lot about his little sorceress. She had a stubborn personality, as emphasized by the way that she had refused his tugging for so long, and was flighty as a bird. One wrong step and she would fly away. She was also head strong and brave-

And smart, and beautiful, and had those perfect lips that were just begging to be licked and nibbled.

Feeling the last of his prison disappearing into thin air, Kenshin Himura opened his violet eyes and adjusted to his surroundings. Being confined for several years had made him unused to the feel of nature and having sword though his chest had damaged his lungs so he needed to take the time to let old wounds heal before he went on his search for his unknowing savior. Once his body stopped tingling with the force of the magic in the surrounding area and his punctured lungs were repaired, he took the first step away from the crater where he had been sleeping in for ten years. And then another, and another, and another, until he was walking down the forest path towards his beacon, his light, his hope.

He was alive again and he had Kaoru to thank for that. He took a deep breath, smelling the forest and the faint trail of jasmine -Kaoru- in the air and followed the flowery scent. Grinning in a predatory manner, he disappeared into the night. He would make sure that by the end of this night, his little Kaoru was going to stop running away from him.

As he raced over tree tops, the wind easily gliding through his long blood red hair, he remembered how he had gotten stuck there in the first place. His eyes narrowed as the memory surged by, not particularly happy that he should remember such a thing but acknowledged that it was necessary. His instincts were reminding him that he was still alive. He was still roaming the country and with Kenshin's release, he would be back. Whether to seal him again or to kill him this time, Kenshin had no idea but one thing was for sure.

He jumped high into the air, the feeling of flying racing through his veins, and landed noiselessly on Kaoru's front lawn. One thing was for sure, he thought as he stared at the small attic window, he was not going to lose this time around. There was more at stake now than ever. With his eyes casting a determined gleam, he strode up the steps of her front porch, feeling several barriers examining him before letting him through and politely disappearing. Those barriers were to protect her from harm and since harming her was farthest from his mind, they had not hurt him. He was, he realized as he turned the knob, facing another obstacle. The front door was locked and from the feel of it, was barricaded with something heavy on the other side.

The sides of his mouth quirked up in amusement. Trust Kaoru to employ both spiritual and physical defenses when she felt she was being threatened. With practiced ease, he commanded what was left of the spirit of whatever was blocking the door to move and, like an obedient dog, it did. Setting his gaze on the door, he heard the lock 'click' and the door opened for him. Walking inside of her house, he was assaulted with the smell of jasmine and the comforting feeling that always came when one who had been gone for so long had finally returned to one's own home.

Home. Yes. That's certainly what this place feels like.

Closing the door behind him and casting a few wards of his own, he started up the stairs. There, he was met with more inquiring barriers but just like the rest, they let him through without a fight. Once he reached the door that led to the attic and to where Kaoru was, he took a deep breath and opened it.

Instinct was the only thing that saved him from the lightning bolt that came from within. Automatically moving to the right, he successfully dodged the surprise attack and entered the room. He shut the door behind him, sealing both combatants inside the ring.

Kaoru knew that it wouldn't work. He would naturally expect a surprise attack from her but she had to give it a try. There was always the chance, even if it was a small one, that he would expect her to be huddling in fright by the corner or, and her dignity flared at this, hiding inside a closet. Her hand was tingling from the use of such strong magic and it would be for a few seconds yet before she could cast another with such power. She would have to rely on a lower level type of magic. Clenching her hand, a rune glowed and two small fireballs formed beside her. She released one, only to have it dodged once more. This time, however, before he could land, she had released her second.

It headed straight for him. Just a few seconds before impact, he disappeared, letting the fireball hit the wall. She wasn't afraid of the left over fire since she knew that it was going to go out on its own in a few seconds. Backing away a few steps, she looked around the room.


Where had he gone? Narrowing her eyes, she whispered a few words and she instantly felt light as a feather. Her legs tensing, she dashed for the door. She was but a blur to the naked eye and she was confident that she would make it out of the house before her enchantment wore off. She was planning on blowing up the place once she got through the front doors.

She was quite surprised when a muscled arm caught her middle, effectively stopping her dash as well as canceling the effect of her magic. Her back collided with a hard chest. Reacting on impulse, she let out a growl of annoyance and tried with all her might to be free while simultaneously casting another powerful spell. Before she could finish casting, another hand took a hold of her wrist in a firm grip. She felt his magic course through her and, with a bout of fresh panic, saw the runes on her arm disappearing. Like a wildcat she tried everything to get free because she knew that if she didn't, she was going to die.

And she did NOT want to die!

Biting his arm with all the force she could muster, feeling the coppery taste of blood in her mouth, his grip on her slackened with his hiss of pain but it was enough for her. Twisting her body, she successfully made it out of his embrace and ran towards her potions but before she could take more than two steps, she found herself within his grips once more. Kaoru snarled as she was tackled to the ground. Before she knew it, both of her hands were being restrained on above of her head while he carefully pinned her to the floor with his body. He was positioned in such a way that she couldn't knee him in the groin (she'd tried) and just settled to growling at her predicament. It was strange as to why her pendant wasn't repelling him. It should have protected her the moment that he came inside her space.

Breathing hard, she finally looked at her attacker, well not really attacker since she had been the one to initiate the combat and he had done nothing but avoid her spells and pin her to the ground, and froze as a pair of soulful violet eyes stared back at her. She had never before seen a demon with violet eyes. She hadn't gotten a good look at him before, actually she hadn't seen him before because she had fled the moment that she had pulled the rusty blade from the trunk, but now…trapped underneath him, she could see that he had reddest hair she had ever seen. His face was almost feminine but the cross scar on his cheek and the sharpness of his eyes made his pretty features into the handsome lines of an experienced painter's brush.

"Hello Kaoru."

He also had a nice voice but that nice voice of his had snapped her out of her trance and instead of greeting him, she glared and spat out an insult which only had him grinning at her. The rumbling of his chest as he chuckled only added fuel to the fire.

"What do you want?!" she snapped when he wouldn't stop laughing.

Staring at her ocean blue eyes flaring with anger and irritation, really, his memory didn't do them justice, he grinned at her. He could feel her ki lighting up and if he tried hard enough, he could see the white lines of her aura surrounding him, accepting him, even if she herself wasn't aware of it. "I want to thank you," he said in a low voice as his slowly eyes wandered from her own, down to her pert nose, to linger at her parted lips, down to the paleness of her neck, and then finally to her pendant. He raised a brow as he recognized the symbol. It was one of the oldest magical artifacts, the Zephyr. His gaze returned to her eyes and found her eying him with apprehension.

"I'm not going to hurt you," he said as he cupped her cheek with his free hand, "your pendant isn't repelling because harming you is the last thing I want to do."

His statement seemed to calm her a bit but he could see that she still didn't trust him. She was beautiful. It was one thing to see her soul with his own but it was another to see her in the flesh and with her pinned beneath him, he was easily imagining other scenes where they were in the exact same position but with lesser clothes. As it was, his ripped trench coat was covering both of them perfectly.

"Will you let me up?" she asked him. He countered it with a question of his own.

"Will you run away again?"

Her eyes widened and then she guilty averted her gaze to the side. Seeing the pale column of her neck dried his mouth and he had to stop himself from placing small kisses. He had to go slow but one day for sure, he was going to get a taste of that moon touched skin. His grip on her hands slacked and she brought them down to his shoulders. Touching him seemed to surprise her a bit, and he cocked his head at her when she looked at him again.

"I…I won't run away. You'll just catch me anyway," she answered hesitantly but he was appeased with that. Although he was content to stay that way with her, he regretfully stood up. Then he helped her stand up, his hand lingering on her own a second longer than necessary. He didn't stand back but she did and inside, he mourned at the loss of contact. He smiled reassuringly at her and extended his hand, "My name is Kenshin Himura."

She wavered for a moment, contemplating on whether she should accept his hand or not, before giving in. Besides, if he wasn't on the ground burning, then it must mean that he really wasn't going to hurt her. She really hoped that she was right on that account. Holding out her hand hesitantly, she shook his own outstretched one and introduced herself.

"I'm Kaoru Kamiya," she said as she averted her gaze to the side, still a bit guilty that she had tried to kill him before. It was stupid to feel that way since she had thought that he was trying to kill her but she did anyway. Feeling irritated at her reaction, she firmly put the guilt aside and looked him straight in the eye. She refused to cower when she thought she was going up against a blood thirsty demon, she refused to do so now when she was a certain– a tiny bit certain -that she was out of harm's way.

"It's a pleasure to meet you Miss Kaoru and thank you for releasing me from my prison," Kenshin said with a smile.