To everyone who has read this fic, there's nothing new here. I fixed some of my spelling errors mainly my pathetic misspelling of Kaoru's name…duh…I'm an idiot….but that's okay, we all knew that anyway….hee hee….Wow, tanuki, thanks for making me feel old ( wink )…I'm only three years younger than Kenshin at the beginning of the manga! Geez! LOL
Rurouni Kenshin is the creation of Watsuki Nobuhiro. I do not own any of the characters in this story, and I don't have any money. This story is a product of sheer boredom and for entertainment purposes (mainly mine), so doesn't sue me.
I may break some rules here, be warned….
The rain beat down relentlessly against the roof of the dojo and the wind howled like an angry monster. Sharp claps of thunder echoed across the billowing blackness, only to be followed by a brilliant flash of lightening, streaking across the stormy sky. It was a typical spring storm, ferocious in its own right, forcing the people of Tokyo to bar their doors and take shelter for the night.
He was walking through a dark field, bodies littering the ground around him. His thick red hair was tied tightly upon his head and his blue gi splattered with blood. He raised a hand to his face, unaware of the weight of the katana in his other. He stared in confusion and horror as he noticed the deep red stain covering his palm and crusting under his nails. He slowly looked down at his other arm, gasping at the realization of what he held there was not his sakabatou.
"What is going on here,"he thought frantically as he surveyed the carnage around him. The smell of blood flooded his senses, causing his mind to whirl. He shook his head, trying to make the visions go away, and suddenly began to run, unsure of where he was going, but hoping he could flee this insane garden of death.
A new scent slowly mingled with the metallic smell of blood. "White plum!" His heart began to ache with sadness and remorse, memories of his horrible crime flying back into his mind. He fell to his knees, rubbing his hands furiously, trying to remove the blood that covered them. He stripped off his tattered and stained gi, throwing it away from him like a dead, rotting thing.
Covering his face with his hands, he slammed his eyes shut against the onslaught of memories. A warm wetness on his face caught his attention and he hesitantly pulled his hand away and gazed at his palm. "What " he gasped, touching the scar on his face, hissing at what he found. "It's bleeding!"
"NO!" It was more than he could bear. His eyes flashed gold and in a burst of rage he screamed and threw the katana as hard as he could into the blackness before him. There was a dull noise as the blade struck something deep in the darkness. With one hand cupped to his bleeding face, he struggled to his feet, chest heaving, and stumbled forward to investigate. He pleaded silently to the gods to let there be a way out of the madness, to end his suffering. His heart pounded in his chest and the sweat trickling down his temple caused his wound to sting.
It seemed like he walked forever in the pitch-blackness. He began to think that he was doomed to wander through this tormented world forever. A part of him told him it was justice served for the deaths he caused, yet another half cried out that he had paid enough for his sins. Unexpectedly, a pale light illuminated a dark wall before him. His steps faltered and he felt his face go white as his blood ran cold. His breath caught in his throat, making a small animal-like sound as it tried to escape and his heart burned as it ripped in two. "God, no," he whispered as he took in the sight before him, "Not again!" Hot tears stung his eyes.
Pinned to the wall by the sword he had hurled, was Karou-dono. The blade pierced her heart, bringing death instantly. Her large blue eyes were open and dull, staring an empty death gaze. Her usually rosy lips were cracked and a trickle of blood oozed out of the corner of her mouth. On her pale face, a cross-shaped scar, much like his own, was etched into her skin. "Not again! Not again!" His mind screamed and his entire body rocked forward as he felt the life escape him.
" NO! "
Kenshin bolted upright, his chest heaving in mighty gasps and his body drenched in sweat. When he could move again, he touched his scar, half expecting to pull back a bloody hand, but sighing in relief when the only moisture he discovered was his slick sweat. He crushed his eyes together, trying to rid himself of the dream's horrible visions. It had been many months since Enishi's assault on the dojo, but Kenshin's nightmares were unrelenting. The horrifying vision of Kaoru-dono's body pinned to the wall of the dojo would haunt him forever. That scene had literally undone him and caused him more pain than any mortal wound ever possibly could. At that time, he died with her, swallowed up by his guilt, remorse, and loss. He failed to keep his promise to protect her, and he was responsible for her tragic death. His past had killed her.
As fate would have it, Kaoru was not dead, and the puppet pinned to the wall was discovered to be fake. With the devotion and determination of his friends, he managed to regain his senses and bring her back home to him. His friends, or rather his family, stood behind him during all his battles, providing him with courage and love, regardless of the danger. A man such as himself was not worthy of such devotion. He had killed too many, his hands were permanently stained and tarnished; yet they stood fiercely beside him in all he did.
His body, let alone his mind, could not handle another attack such as Enishi's. His emotions were marred and his body too tired; yet the possibility was always there. There was always someone seeking revenge for his past. " No more, " he whispered quietly, his hands fisted in the blankets.
He heard the door slide open quietly and felt the cool draft nip at his bare chest.
"Kenshin? Are you okay?" Kaoru's voice was but a mere whisper in the darkness. From the doorframe she could make out his sitting form in the flashes of light that lit the sky. "He's just sitting there, staring at his hands," she thought to herself. Cautiously, she tip-toed closer, her blue eyes filled with worry, his earlier cry echoing in her ears like a rifle shot.
Everyone was still edgy these days, the Enishi incident still fresh in their minds. Kaoru was shocked to find out about Gien's wicked puppet and the cruelty of the act was beyond her reasoning. Kenshin refused to speak about it to her, or to anyone else for that matter, so Kaoru finally cornered Megumi and forced the horrible story out of her. It took Kenshin quite sometime to recover from his battle wounds, yet the mental wounds were still present and Kaoru was not certain they would ever fully heal.
She stood beside him now, staring at him as he sat in a dream like state in the center of his futon. "Kenshin," she asked again, "Are you okay?" She reached down and touched his bare shoulder, her cheeks blushing slightly at the contact.
"Huh?" Kenshin shook his head, his loose hair swishing across his face. He looked up into Kaoru's worried face and relief flooded his senses as he realized her eyes were shining and alive, not dull and lack-luster. He reached out and brushed her cheek, sighing softly at its perfect smoothness. He could feel the warmth of her hand against the skin of his shoulder. Yes, she was alive, and for that he was grateful. Kenshin shut his eyes and breathed deeply, "I'm fine Kaoru dono," he replied softly.
Kaoru sank down to her knees, gripping the front of her yukata, "He's such a lair," she thought. " Kenshin, I heard you yelling. What happened? " He wasn't going to get off so easy this time. She searched his violet eyes for an answer. Even through his rurouni grin she could see his pain and sadness. Part of her wanted to hold him and sooth away his self-induced grief, while another half wanted to beat him senseless with her bokken for trying to hide everything from her. She reached out and put her hand over his own, "Please let me help you, " she whispered, averting her eyes to her lap, hoping he would not see the tears brewing there.
Kenshin studied the girl's face with moderate surprise. Her unyielding affections always caught him off guard, but he knew he should expect nothing less from this wonderfully caring and loving woman. She opened her arms to not only a reformed killer, but an ex-gangster, an orphan pickpocket, and a drug-dealer-turned-doctor. She did not care about their pasts, only their futures, and she eagerly opened her home and heart to them all.
Just being in her presence made him feel so secure and alive. He wanted so desperately to return the love she gave so freely, and offer her more than just his protection, but the heavy weight of his unwavering guilt constantly reminded him that he was not worthy of such affection. He would not allow his bloody past to tarnish her purity and innocence; instead he would protect it with his life. Yet every time she spoke his name, gave him a smile, or touched him in some way, he felt his resolve become undone and the strings on his heart loosen.
He gave her a slight smile, unable to muster up the strength for his usual rurouni grin, "Really, Kaoru dono, I'm okay. I'm sorry for disturbing you. I did not mean to make you worry."
Kaoru stared at him for a moment, taking note of his paled face and forced smile. His nightmares were becoming a nightly routine. She often stood at his door listening to his restless sleep, unsure of what to do. She felt so helpless not being able to console him and protect him from these dreams. She could not allow herself to stand by and watch him suffer anymore and her helplessness gave way to anger. In his own selfishness he failed to realize that his state of mind affected the people closest to him.
"Kenshin no baka!" she shouted.
Kaoru settled down on his futon and glared hard at him, " I'm not leaving here tonight." It was a statement, not a question and there would be no negotiations. She knew it was improper to be in his room like this, but she no longer cared. Her mind was set and she was determined to chase away whatever plagued his nightly dreams.
Kenshin stared wide-eyed at the young woman sitting next to him. He could see the fierce look on her face and knew he could very well be fighting a battle he couldn't win. "Kaoru dono," he stuttered, "You mustn't…" Part of him ached for her to stay with him and lay in his arms. If she were with him, he would know she was safe and unharmed, but that was a selfish reason. He refused to allow her to dishonor herself for his sake. He could only imagine the scandal that would occur if Yahiko or Sanosuke found her sleeping in his room. He sighed again and patted her hand, "Sessha is okay. Please go back to bed Karou dono." She needed her rest and shouldn't have to be sitting up all night watching after the likes of him.
His sweet rurouni tricks were not going to work on her this time. "I will not allow him to suffer alone anymore," she thought bitterly. She was slightly afraid he would become angry at her defiance and simply leave the room, or worse, pick her up and remove her himself. She watched his face, trying to read the emotions that danced across his features. Taking a gamble, she reached out and touched his face tenderly, "Kenshin, I'm not leaving you alone tonight. I don't care what the others will think. You need someone to be with you, even if you won't admit it. Let me help you," she pleaded, her eyes tearing.
"Kaoru," he whispered, shutting his eyes at her touch and feeling a shiver run up his spine. "You do not need to waste your time worrying about my silly dreams. It's not important."
"It is important Kenshin!" She could hear her voice rising and feel the tears running down her face, "It's important to me! Don't you see? Watching you hurt like this, it hurts me too!" She covered her face with her hands, crying softly.
Kenshin's mouth dropped open slightly at her words. The thought never really occurred to him. He only knew he could not stand to see his Kaoru in pain, but for her to reciprocate those feelings he would have never guessed. He shoved aside his guilt ridden conscious and pulled her into his arms. Holding her tightly to him he whispered, "I'm sorry Kaoru. I never even thought…Sessha…."
"Kenshin no baka, " Kaoru sobbed into his chest, "Don't you know? Aishiteru Kenshin! That's why it hurts me so much!" She was a little stunned at her own words, slightly fearing his rejection, but not really caring anymore. She would never stop loving him, no matter what his reaction was.
Kenshin rested his head against her hair, slowly absorbing what he had just heard. Holding her so close felt completely natural and so comforting. His body relaxed against hers and he felt all the tension wash out of him. He inhaled the sweet scent that clung to her hair and clothing, trying to count the times he had wanted to tangle his fingers through her thick dark locks. A new warmth began etching its way through his body, starting low in his stomach. He closed his eyes and hugged her closer. "Arigrato Kaoru, kioshii," he whispered, "for wanting to help me. I never meant to hurt you, I didn't realize…" He pushed her away from him, gazing into her blue eyes, which were wide, watching him intently. He could see all the love, concern, and fear dancing in them. She had nothing to fear from him, he would not push her away again. He could not reject this woman any longer; doing so would be madness. He brushed her bangs away from her face and gently pulled her close to him again, brushing his lips lightly against hers. "Aishiteru Kaoru, aishiteru," he whispered, slowly pulling her down onto the futon with him.
Okay, I've written some original stories, but this is my first attempt at a fanfic of any kind, so if you review, be kind J . I love constructive criticism, but if you feel the need to be down right rude, go look up the word "tact" in the dictionary then come talk to me. I really debated on whether or not to use any Japanese in this fic, since my knowledge is, well, next to nothing…so if I made some mistakes, sorry, but I figure if your reading RK fiction, you'll figure it out. I'm a huge RK fan, but I don't know everything about it yet. I've only seen the the OAV's, the 12 disks (GAK! I'm dying to see the next one…tapping foot impatiently ), and read the Revenge Arc (I have the manga but read it through translations of course) J As for a time line, I don't really have one, I sort of had to make up my own…you know, Sano and Megumi don't leave Tokyo and such…just a slight altercation…hee hee…There will be other chapters, the next one is in the works, but I have three other projects going on…two fic's and a graphic novel…A huge thanks to DigiBitch for pre-reading for me! I appreciate you help immensely!