Night had fallen by the time they came back to the dojo. Sano and Yahiko had been anxiously waiting for their return.
Yahiko was the first one to spot the approaching group. His attention was immediately drawn by the lifeless form held in Kenshin's arms.
The former thief was followed right away by Sano who had jumped out of the dojo: "Jo-Chan!"
"Don't worry, she's still alive, thanks to Megumi-Dono" Kenshin said with a little smile, trying to reassure both of them.
Megumi was astonished to see how Sano felt proud of her.
"Sano, prepare a futon for her, quick" Megumi commanded.
All this time Misao had stayed behind not wanting to meet what she thought would be Kenshin's glare. She felt greatly responsible for what had happened to her best friend.
Kenshin stepped forward heading for Kaoru's room. "Would you please accompany me? She will certainly appreciate your presence" he said calmly to her without turning around.
Misao was so happy he wasn't mad at her. She ran right behind him into her room.
After Megumi had made sure nothing more could be done for Kaoru she went out of the room leaving Kenshin and Misao with a peacefully sleeping Kaoru.
"Kenshin..." Misao said breaking the silence.
"Yes." answered Kenshin after a pause.
"All she wanted was to help you... to protect you. She'd do anything for you Kenshin" she continued. "And all I wanted was to help her do that; she'd have gone for her plan anyway, even without me ..."
"I know" he said his eyes fixing Kaoru.
"Thank you for having been there for her" he said, finally lifting his head to face Misao's.
Misao nodded and attempted a little smile.
"Moreover it did save the day, didn't it!" she said after a minute of silence.
Kenshin grinned but gave no answer to that remark. Misao's conclusion was that he probably agreed although he didn't want to admit it.
The next morning the sun was shining and a ray of light was falling on Kaoru's sleeping form.
Kenshin was leaning against the wall and Misao was lying not far from Kaoru. All eyes were closed and only bird songs could be heard.
Megumi entered the room and was relieved to see that everybody had finally come to find some rest.
She put her hand on Kaoru's forehead. "Good, no fever." she thought to herself. And she left to prepare breakfast for everybody.
Awaken by the right of light that had now reached her eyelids Kaoru opened her eyes. She turned her head just a little to avoid the light.
Her sight was still a blur, but she smiled when she recognized the pink gi of her favourite rouroni.
Kenshin was the first one to notice some movements coming from Kaoru's position.
Without moving Kenshin opened his eyes too and immediately met Kaoru's gaze. He knew her sight was still clouded so he neared her so she could see his reassuring smile.
But Kaoru had already felt her rouroni had awakened and was smiling to her, and she smiled in return. He took her hand.
Not a word had yet troubled the silence that was reigning in the room.
It was the turn of the ninja girl to open her eyes.
"Kaoru! You're awake!" she shouted. Misao's overexcitement had everybody come running to the room.
Kenshin was a little disappointed that this moment of intimacy and peacefulness had been so abruptly broken.
Kaoru dropped Kenshin's hand and immediately wanted to sit to show she was all right, but flinched at the pain.
Kenshin noted the little red spot that was starting to pierce through the sheet.
His eyes grew wide opened and he promptly put his hands on her shoulders to put her gently down again.
"Hey !!!!" shouted Megumi that had just re-entered the room. "Don't you dare move now and ruin my work, you....!" she said with a mad voice surpassing the agitation that was now reigning in the room.
Kaoru recognized the voice of the very long-haired doctor, and agreed to lie down again. She had not yet spoken a word.
Megumi went to sit next to Kaoru, having Kenshin moved a little to leave room for her. She lifted the sheet and examined her.
She moved a fold of the bandages with one of her fingers and winced in disappointment. Then she lifted her eyelids to examine her eyes condition.
"The knife wound will take a couple of months to heal completely" she said with a little furious expression.
"But your sight should be ok in a couple of days" she declared leaving the fuming gaze for a bright smile. "I'm so glad to have you back!" she continued with wet eyes.
"Thank you Megumi-Dono" Kenshin said calmly from behind her. The rouroni's voice made Kaoru's head immediately turn round a bit.
She was relieved to see his worried face has changed back into the smiling expression he had shown to her a few moments ago.
"Kenshin..." Kaoru finally uttered. Megumi stood up and left the place to Kenshin.
"Enishi... I think he won't ever bother you again. But do you think he will ever be able to forgive you?"
"I don't know. But that doesn't matter now. All that matters is for you to get better." he said while trying to have her blurred eyes meet his'.
"He sister was everything to him... He wanted her to be happy. He loved her like Tomoe loved you, like I ..."
"Sssh... " he cut her off not wanting her to start crying.
"I know..." he said very softly "... Anata" he then added with an even softer voice but with a tone that made everybody turn around.
Kaoru's eyes suddenly focused on Kenshin's.
Everybody stood quiet on the moment, surprised by the way Kenshin had just called Kaoru!
Although everybody had always suspected Kenshin's feelings for Kaoru, it was the first time he had opened up like this.
Kenshin not bothering about everybody's surprised expressions kept holding Kaoru's hand, happy he had finally managed to have Kaoru's eyes meet his gaze.
"Naaa. Who wants to have breakfast?" Megumi said loudly to break the little discomfort after having overcome the surprise.
"Yeah, we all need some food after all these events!" continued the rooster head following Megumi's idea.
Sano, Yahiko and Misao looked at each other agreeing without a word that Kenshin and Kaoru needed a moment for themselves. They all headed for the kitchen.
Megumi was the last one to leave the room. Before she did she turned round and asked "Do you want me to bring you something here, you two?"
Kenshin nodded. "Yes, I think we would both appreciate that..." he said with his usual smile.
"We have a lot to talk about, haven't we?" he said while turning back to Kaoru.
"We do?" she said a surprised expression still on her face.
"Yes." he uttered after Megumi had left the room. Then he gradually leant down towards her, stroked her cheek with his right hand and .....kissed her.
Kaoru's surprised expression slowly left her face as she closed her eyes to enjoy the moment.
Na. This is it : my very first fanfic. English is not my mother tongue (French is), but I wanted to have the largest audience possible for my little K&K drama/romance story. I really hope you enjoyed reading it. Any review will be appreciated.