Author Note: Hello everyone. This is my first fic so please be gentle with me and reviews are highly welcomed XD
few things to say about this fic:
- It is a dark fic. so if you come looking for fluffy love between Kaoru and Kenshin then you are in the wrong place. However, if you are looking for angst, violence, blood and adult themes then look no further.
- It is semi- alternative universe fic. By that i mean it is basicly similar to the anime in terms of the characters pasts and stuff. But i changes few events to suit my story line.
Disclaimer. I don't own Rurouni Kenshin
Chapter 1: Destiny
The pain was unbearable.
She closed her eyes, willing herself to forget the pain.
How long had it been since she was captive? Hours? Days?
She was dizzy from lack of food and blood loss.
She shifted against her restraints. Her wrists were numb.
Suddenly the door was opened, but she kept her eyes shut tight. She knew who it was.
His steps echoed in the empty room as he advanced. He halted few paces away from her.
Still, she did not open her eyes.
She felt his hand caressing her cheek tenderly as if trying to comfort her.
She knew better.
"Look at me," he commanded. She did not comply. His hand moved to her jaw and tightened, forcing her mouth open. His mouth descended upon hers suddenly. The kiss was savage and she squeezed her eyes tight. However, no moisture escaped. Her tears had long since dried. She didn't desire to give him the pleasure of seeing her cry.
He broke the kiss and she opened her eyes only to see his malicious smirk. He leaned toward her one hand around her waist, his mouth brushed her ear.
"My revenge will be complete…soon," his whisper was triumphant. He took one step back.
She glanced down and noticed a small knife in his right hand. Her tired eyes met his amused ones again and stared at him defiantly although inside fear gripped her.
Then he raised the knife to the side of her neck.
All her time spent here, she tried her best not to show him the pain he was putting her through. Through all the torture she tried and tried hard to remain silent. However, as she felt the cold steel near her neck, as the sharp edge cut deeper into her soft skin...
Kaoru opened her eyes and jolted off her futon. Sweat drenched her sleeping yakata and her breaths were coming in fast shallow gasps.
She placed her hand at the side of her bandaged neck. Her eyes wide. She urged herself to calm down. Those nightmares had been haunting her for two months.
She was unable to forget him.
Kaoru sighed and stood up. After folding the futon and she went to change. Then she looked at herself on the mirror.
She had changed.
She had become thinner and her eyes which were always shining were empty now.
And if one looked closer one would see sadness and grieve.
"Good morning, Kaoru-dono," Kenshin said as Kaoru passed through the kitchen door. "Good morning, Kenshin" she smiled at him. Kaoru took a cup to drink some water as Kenshin turned back to prepare breakfast.
"Did you have a good night, Kaoru-dono?" he asked looking at her again.
Kaoru nodded, "yes," she lied. In fact it was one of the worst nights she had since that time.
As if knowing the truth, Kenshin eyed her sharply for a second then smiled brightly at her "I'm glad to hear that, breakfast will be ready in a moment. Could you call Yahiko, please? He is up early today…training."
Kaoru nodded and went out of the kitchen. Relieved to be away from Kenshin.
Things were very different between them lately. It is almost as if they were strangers.
Kenshin was very careful with her, treating her extra kind. And sometimes she caught him staring at her. Different emotions played in his violet eyes. Pain, sadness, rage sometimes, but there was something more to it. Kaoru had yet to grasp an understanding of it.
She walked to the yard and saw Yahiko practising his moves, his back to her.
"Good morning, Yahiko," she greeted him. She saw him stop abruptly and then he turned slowly to face her.
"Ah, Kaoru," even Yahiko's attitude had changed toward her. He stopped teasing her and calling her ugly. Their regular quarrels had ceased. "Breakfast is ready," Kaoru said. He simply nodded and made his way to her.
He walked past her without uttering another word.
Nothing was going to be the same again. Never.
After breakfast Kenshin excused himself and said that he will go to the town before the sun was high in the sky. Kaoru busied herself with the regular chores. And in the afternoon she retreated to her room.
She sat with her legs folded under her and on her lab was a picture. She touched it gently and smiled sadly. It seemed like a lifetime since this picture was taken although it was less than a year ago. In the picture she was smiling brightly. A carefree smile. She almost did not recognize herself.
They were happy, all of them. Life was promising back then. She was the one trying to help Kenshin getting rid of the ghosts of his past whereas now, inside, she was screaming for help.
She remembered her mother telling her that Fate was everything. It can not be changed or cheated. And it had purpose for every event. What was the purpose of her suffering? Kaoru wondered bitterly. Did it make him feel better?
She bit her lower lip and closed her eyes.
"I won't cry," Kaoru whispered to herself. She was tired of crying. All she wanted was to forget, to be the strong, stubborn girl she used to be. She was trying hard but…
Her hand unconsciously went to her bandaged neck.
With this scar it was hard to forget, impossible to forget. It was a constant reminder of that awful night. Sometimes she could still feel the pain.
She kept it bandaged all the time even when she was sleeping. And she refused to show it to the world.
To her it was a sign of weakness.
She opened her eyes and placed the picture inside her diary. She had been keeping a diary since that time because she felt the need to express her emotions. She would never tell anyone what had happened to her during that time. They knew of course, Megumi treated her wounds immediately after they had found her. She knew the extent of her loss.
Despite her effort a single tear slid down Kaoru's cheek.
She had lost her innocence.
"Oi Jou-chan!" Sano greeted Kaoru as she walked to the yard.
Kaoru smiled. At least Sano was still the same toward her. "Hi Sano. Coming for launch as usual?"
He smiled sheepishly at her and scratched the back of his head. "Well it's only a coincidence that I am passing by the Dojo in lunch time"
Kenshin appeared at the door and Kaoru raised her eye brow at Sano.
"Another coincidence," he offered.
Kaoru shook her head smiling and walked to Kenshin to carry some of the stuff he bought.
"I will prepare lunch this time, Kenshin," Kaoru said as she took the bags from Kenshin.
"You don't have to, Kaoru-dono," he replied.
"It's ok I really have nothing to do," she shrugged.
She went to the kitchen and set to prepare the meal. Sano and Yahiko no longer complained about her food. They ate in silence most of the time and Kaoru wasn't sure if she was getting better at cooking or they didn't want to hurt her feelings. Either way she really missed their complaining.
Kenshin, Sano and Yahiko were sitting beside the low table when Kaoru entered the room holding the tray.
"Finally Jou-chan, 'am starving!"
"Good, I made plenty," Kaoru said as she placed the tray on the floor. Kenshin was seated in front of her. She started to distribute the meal between them one by one. As she leaned over to hand Kenshin his dish she felt a warm liquid running down her neck then drops of red liquid fell on her hand and into the dish.
"Kaoru…" Kenshin started. His eyes were wide with fear.
Kaoru dropped the dish and placed her hand on the left side of her neck. When she brought her hand down, her eyes widened. It was covered with blood.
"No…" that was all she said before she stormed out of the room.
"Yahiko, fetch Megumi now!" Kenshin said as he stood up.
Yahiko hurried out of the room.
Sano cursed loudly.
"This is bad."
Kenshin clenched his hands into tight balls, his eyes on the open door.
Sano was pacing the room length as they waited for Megumi. Kenshin was leaning against the wall his head bowed.
"Ah! What is taking her so long?" Sano asked impatiently just as Megumi stepped into the room. Kenshin raised his head.
Megumi was angry.
"The bleeding has stopped," she began, "but she refuses to talk, she won't even tell me if she is in pain or not. She is so stubborn."
Kenshin stood. "Thank you Megumi-dono, I will talk to her."
"Suit yourself, Ken-san, but I warn you she will make you lose your temper."
Kenshin nodded and made his way to Kaoru's room.
Outside Kaoru's room Kenshin halted. "Kaoru-dono may I come in?"
There was no reply. Kenshin sighed "I'm coming in."
He opened the shoji door slowly and saw Kaoru sitting in the middle of the almost dark room. Only few candles were lit.
Kenshin stepped in and closed the door behind him. He made his way to her and positioned himself against the wall where he could view her profile.
Her black hair fell to her back, her head was bowed and her hands were clutching her blood stained Kimono. She did not acknowledge him.
Kenshin leaned against the wall resting his hand on his sword.
"Do you know what day is today, Kaoru-dono?" he asked. Kaoru offered no answer and he didn't expect one. He continued "It is the day I killed Tomoe's fiancé." Kaoru blinked but did not look at him. But Kenshin was certain that he had her attention.
Kenshin looked at the floor. "He had fought desperately for his life because he had someone important to return to, but it hadn't been enough," his expression darkened, "he died at a young age, few years older than you perhaps," his hand went to his cheek, "he gave me the first line of this scar and I remember that it would not stop bleeding for a long time," he lowered his hand and looked at her, "someone told me that if the person's hatred was strong then the scar may never heal and Akira's hatred was strong, I saw it in his eyes..." he stopped for a second "so is Enishi's."
He saw her tense and slowly she raised her head. Her sad eyes met his.
"Sometimes I wonder Kaoru what would have happened if I didn't kill Tomoe's fiancé? I don't know for sure," he shook his head "but one thing I am confident about; Tomoe would still be alive and Enishi wouldn't have lived feeding on revenge. And you..." he paused, "and you would not have gone through all this pain."
Kaoru opened her mouth to speak but he raised his hand to stop her.
"I know that Enishi is the one who inflicted these scars on you but in reality I am responsible for them. If I haven't appeared in your life, if we haven't met in that alley…" Kenshin did not have the chance to finish his words, for Kaoru rushed to him, taking his hand in hers.
"Please Kenshin don't say that, don't put the blame on yourself!" she was crying, "I cannot stand the thought of living without you. I have only myself to blame for what had happened," she raised her hand and touched his scarred cheek tenderly, "I would never blame you Kenshin, I know you have tried hard to save me."
"But I was too late, I couldn't make it on time," his said bleakly, "and when I found you unconscious in your own blood, I couldn't stand to think what you have been through, what he has put you through…"
Kaoru placed one finger on his lips. "Don't blame yourself Kenshin. While I was there, only thinking of you kept me alive. You were the reason I kept struggling. I knew you would come and save me."
"Kaoru..." Kenshin stared at her bright blue eyes. Her hand was still on his cheek.
Kaoru closed her eyes and leaned closer to him.
Their faces were few inches away.
Kenshin placed his hand around her waist to pull her toward him and close the space between them. But just as his hand touched her waist Kaoru opened her eyes wide, images of Enishi tearing her clothes, kissing her brutally and touching her most private parts flashed before her open eyes.
"NO!" she screamed suddenly and pushed Kenshin away, stumbling as she took two steps backwards.
Kenshin stared at her in disbelief for few moments then his eyes soften at the sight of her.
She was shaking, arms wrapped around her shoulders and weeping softly. His heart was breaking; he knew what she had experienced at the hands of Enishi.
"I'm sorry Kenshin, I..." she whispered in a broken voice.
"Don't apologise, Kaoru," Kenshin said forlornly as he rose, "you need to rest," he looked sadly at her broken form for a moment then made his way to the door. He stopped few steps away from it, his back to her.
"You know Kaoru, in my life I have committed countless unforgivable deeds, I have killed hundreds of people and in doing so I have hurt other thousands. However, two of those deeds hunt me every second of everyday. Tomoe's death..." he turned his head to the side, "and your suffering at the at hands of Enishi."
He stepped out of the room.
The full moon was red.
Kaoru stared toward the sky. She was sitting on the porch, leaning against the wooden post.
She could not sleep. She had stayed in her room for a long time after Kenshin had left.
She was thinking of him. Up till now she thought that she was the only one suffering. She did not see the extent of the pain Kenshin was feeling.
He was feeling guilty for what happened. He was taking all the blame. What a fool she was for not noticing.
She was another burden added upon him.
Kaoru shivered and hugged her knees. Her thought traveled to Tomoe's fiancé. About eleven years ago, same day, he had been killed.
Kaoru watched the fireflies dancing around the bushes in the yard.
She wondered what would have happened if Kenshin did not kill him. Akira would have returned to Tomoe and Kenshin wouldn't have met her and killed her.
She wished that she could change this event. She wished she could cheat destiny and save him. More importantly she wished she could take away Kenshin's pain.
Kaoru rose to her feet, still staring at the fireflies.
"I wish to share his burden," with those words she made her way to her room.
If she had stayed few minuets longer she would have seen the fireflies cluster together, forming a spherical shape which was glowing crimson color.
Destiny is inextricable, they say. It operates in a strange way. Kaoru only desired to help Kenshin, to relieve him of some of his burdens. But, had she known what her words would lead her to, she would not have spoken them at all.
So much grieve followed that wish, so much blood, so many people died and so many tears were shed. But on that day under the crimson full moon it was but an innocent wish.
The wheels of destiny have started to turn.