Standard Disclaimer: Rurouni Kenshin and Rurouni Kenshin characters are owned by someone other than me.  This is fiction and for entertainment purposes only. This story was not written for sale or profit but pure enjoyment.  So with that out of the way please read and enjoy.

She turned just in time to see the woman bury her dagger into Kenshin's chest.  Time stopped for Kaoru and all she could do was scream, "NOOOOOOOOO."

Kaoru's Christmas Miracle

Chapter 2

As soon as he hit the floor Kenji looked at the woman who had just hurt his father.  Anger slowly started to burn in his chest making him feel a great need to hurt her for what she did.

When she realized the boy was a possible threat she darted out the door and ran down the street.  Her mind was racing asking herself "what have I done."  The situation seemed hopeless; she had planned on using the dagger to scare people and never thought she would actually use it on somebody. 

Across the street was a different scene altogether.  Kaoru was still fighting the sluggishness that comes with that level of disbelief.  'This can't be happening' she thought.  When people started crowding around to see what happened, Kaoru came to her senses and started running toward the open door of the store. 

With reckless abandon she started pushing and shoving her way through the crowd, not caring who she ran into on her way to Kenshin's side.  Her mind went blank as she knelt there looking at his lifeless body; she felt her heart being ripped from her chest and all she could do was softly call his name.

"Where did the boy go?" asked a voice from the crowd that was gathering. 

"He went after the woman," was the response.

"I hope he doesn't do something foolish," came a reply from the first voice.

When Kaoru heard that she felt the panic set in all over again.  It was then that she realized Kenji was not here anymore.  'Not the both of them' she silently pleaded to any god who would listen to her 'please don't take them both.'  

She leapt to her feet and asked, "Did anyone see where my son went."  A man pointed down the street and said, "that way." 

She said a quick "thank you" and started running in the direction the man pointed.

Kenji felt his anger consuming his whole body as he caught up with the woman halfway across the bridge on the outskirts of town.

Subtlety was never his strength, so he did what came naturally and tackled the woman.  The thought of falling over the rail never occurred to him until it happened.  He had been so intent on catching her that he was focused on her alone and not the surrounding area. 

They hit the river with a splash that sent water flying everywhere.  For Kenji everything went black.

A couple out for a walk saw the whole encounter and watched in horror as the boy tackled the woman and they both fell over the side of the bridge

"Have you seen a small boy go by here?" Kaoru asked the couple when she came to the bridge, stopping when they told her what had happened.

The police were right behind her.  They suggested that she return to the Dojo and they would inform her if they found Kenji's body.

Gideon stood next to the river with a small boy in his arms.  His body started to glow with a warm heat that radiated into the boy, drying him off, and warming him up, the color returning to the boys face. 

Kenji opened his eyes to see Gideon smiling at him.  "What happened?" he asked.

"You were a bit reckless and fell into the river," was his reply as he gently set Kenji on his feet.  Gideon straightened Kenji's coat then pulled it tighter around him to help keep him warm.

"My father is hurt.  Can you help him?" he asked thinking there may be hope after all.

The look on Gideon's face gave him his answer.

"I'm afraid I can't do anything for your father.  I'm very sorry," he said waiting for a moment then continued, "But I can tell you this.  Your mother needs you."

Kaoru could not believe what had happened.  Sitting in the middle of her bedroom, she didn't have the strength to move.  She didn't know how she would go on nor did she care, for everything that mattered to her was gone.  Shock finely set in at the thought of living without them. 

"Kenshin why did you leave me?" she screamed suddenly angry with him.  She was so lost in despair that she didn't hear the gate open or the soft sound of footsteps padding down the hall. 

Kenji stared at his mother's hunched shoulders and softly whispered, "Mother," taking small steps toward her. 

The word "mother" seeped into her making her freeze.  She slowly turned around hoping it was not her mind playing some cruel trick on her, hoping…  She couldn't hold back the tears of joy as she held her son wrapped in her arms.  Her heart was suddenly filled with a warmth she thought she would never feel again. 

 "Kenji don't you ever do that to me again," she scolded, squeezing him, her tears running freely.

For Kaoru the tears would not stop.  Kenji had managed to coax her out of the bedroom but she refused to do anything but sit and cry.   Kenji didn't know what to do. 'How do I be strong for my mother?  What can I do?'  Then He remembered what Gideon told him to do if he needed his help. 

"Mother I'm going to make some tea," Kenji said using the excuse to find Gideon.

"No, Kenji, please don't leave me," Kaoru begged through her tears.

"Don't worry.  I'll be right back," he said trying to soother her fears.

He headed towards the kitchen and hastily put the water to boil before going outside; when he was in the yard there was Gideon just like he had promised.

"What do I do?" he asked Gideon.

"Your mother needs to think of happy thoughts about your father.  That will give her the strength she needs to find her Christmas spirit.  Do you think you can convince her to decorate the Christmas tree?"

"Yes I can," Kenji said with a determined look on his face.

"Good hurry back inside," he softly said.

He just made it back into the kitchen when Kaoru appeared looking for him.  Her tears had finely stopped and she needed the reassurance that he was still alive.

Kenji quickly made the tea and handed her a cup.  Making her sit down, he sat close beside her.

As she was sipping the tea he asked, "Are you alright mother?"

She gave him a small quick smile and answered, "Yes," even though her heart refused to accept the fact that Kenshin was gone.

"Can we decorate the tree… for father?  I think he would have wanted…" he hesitated unable to finish.

She slowly turned her head to see her son's face.  The look on his face made her smile again.  "Yes, I think that would be good," she said not wanting to but then she remembered how much Kenshin wanted her to help them decorate the tree. 

"This is for you father," he whispered as he picked up the box of ornaments from where Kenshin had so lovingly placed them.  Gently he made his way to where his father had put up the tree the night before and set the box down in front of his mother.  She looked at the box then slowly opened the top.

All the ornaments in the box were hand made.  But the one on the top was special it was heart shaped and painted red with black letters that read, "Our First Christmas, Kenshin, Kaoru and Kenji". 

"Father made that one special because we were celebrating with a tree this year," Kenji said putting his small hand on her shoulder, "He made all of the ornaments.  He told me that as he was making them, he was filling them with his love for us."

Kaoru gently picked up the ornament and lightly touched the letters.  She could feel all the love that Kenshin had put into making this special ornament.  She suddenly realized that Christmas was not about parties, trees, or money; it was about friends, family and most important of all love.

Again Kaoru had been unable to sleep all night long.  Her mind kept replaying the scene at the store over and over again.  When Kenji came and crawled into bed with her, she pulled him in, her need to know that he was alive over powering her need to put him back in his own bed.  With the first rays if light, she crawled out of the warm pile of blankets into the chill of the room.  She was determined that she would not spend the day crying. 

She quickly dressed and made her way to the kitchen.  She stopped in the doorway to look at the mistletoe that Kenshin had put there wishing that she could give him as many kisses as he wanted. Suddenly She felt a warm feeling that seemed to reach every part of her body. She shrugged the feeling off as a sign that she may be getting sick.  

She started preparing breakfast when she heard a deep sexy voice say, "Good morning darling."

Kaoru froze when she heard her husband's voice.  Her heart leapt into her throat as she turned to look for the voice.  She thought that her eyes were deceiving her when she saw Kenshin standing under the mistletoe looking up.  She slowly walked over to him, reached out, and touched his face not believing what her eyes were telling her. 

Her touch prompted him to look at her and ask, "Are you all right?"   As their eyes met she threw herself into his arms and wrapped her arms tightly around his neck.  The sudden force made them fall backwards with Kaoru kissing everywhere there was exposed flesh settling on burying her face in his neck. 

'Now I know where Kenji gets his strength to knock me down' mused Kenshin as he lay on the floor under Kaoru.

A bit puzzled Kenshin was concerned when he heard the muffled words, "you're alive." 

"Of course I'm alive," he said lying on the floor with her in his arms.

"Kenshin, I love you," she said.

Kenshin rolled over so that she was on the bottom so he could get a better look at her.  She was starting to scare him.  When she reached up and pulled his face to her kissing him.

"I'm hungry," came a small voice as the body attached to that voice sailed thru the air landing on top of Kenshin. 

Kenshin had managed to prepare for the assault by bracing himself.  Then two small arms were wrapped around his neck where moments ago Kaoru's head had been buried.

Kenshin bent down and gave his wife another kiss before standing up with his son clinging to his back.  He gave Kenji a ride around the room before he twirled the small boy into the air.  Kenji gracefully landed on his feet a grin on his face

Kenshin walked over, tousled his son's hair, and said, "good landing.  But we need to eat breakfast, I have an appointment in town this morning."

Kaoru stood up and laughed at her two boys as she went back to preparing breakfast.

"Father can we decorate the tree this afternoon," Kenji asked after they were done with their meal.

"Yes we can pick up the tofu on the way home.  That will give us time to decorate the tree before dinner," Kenshin said looking at his wife hoping that she had changed her mind.

"Mother will you help us decorate the tree," Kenji asked looking at his mother.

"I wouldn't miss it for the world.  But I have to do something before we can start, will you wait for me," She said knowing that everything was going to be all right.

Kaoru walked down the street when suddenly a woman bumped into her.  She quelled her first instinct to stay on her feet and made herself fall to the ground hoping that it looked convincing enough.

"Ouch," she whimpered as she looked up at the woman who had bumped into her.

"I'm sorry, are you all right?" the woman asked as she hesitantly walked nearer to where Kaoru lay.

"Yes but I need some help getting up.  Can you help me?" she asked trying to act helpless.

The woman extended her hand, which Kaoru took and slowly stood up. 

"Oh my," she said holding on to the woman to steady herself, "I feel a bit dizzy.  Could you please accompany me to my destination?"

The woman introduced herself to Kaoru while the two children followed.  By the time they reached the Akabeko the two women were laughing and acting like long lost friends.

"Would you please join me for some lunch?  That is the least I can do for you helping me," Kaoru asked wobbling a little to convince the woman that she still needed assistance.

"Of course.  I would be honored," She said seating her children before sitting down.

"Kaoru, I'm surprised to see you here today.  What can I get for you?" Tae asked glad that Kaoru was in a better mood than she had been the day before.

"I need our usual order plus some nice hot tea," Kaoru said smiling.  She sat and talked to the woman and her children until the food arrived.  

"It has been very nice meeting you and do stop by the dojo sometime," she paused, " I really must be going now," Kaoru said after finishing the last of her tea.

"I will, thank you," the woman responded with a bow and a warm smile.

Kaoru entered the dojo to find it empty.  She raced from room to room the panic building until she heard the gate open.  As she watched Kenshin and Kenji walking towards the house she vowed that she would never again take them for granted.  She walked out to meet them and then they walked into the house together. 

As a family they decorated the tree taking turns putting on the ornaments that Kenshin made.  When the last ornament was placed on the tree they stepped back and stood in awe at the glow from the candles carefully placed around the tree.

Kenshin expected that this Christmas would be like any other day but that was not what happened.  Friends and Neighbors came to celebrate the day bringing food and drinks.  Everyone was amazed at the Christmas tree and trimmings.  

The children as well as some of the adults joined in and played games and the laughter could be heard for most of the day.

But the mistletoe was the favorite spot in the house as there were more people using that doorway than any other.  Even Saitoh and Tokio were able to spend a quiet moment in that popular doorway.

At the end of the day, Kenshin walked the last of the guests to the gate and secured it for the night.  He returned to the house to find Kaoru sitting next to their Christmas tree with Kenji asleep beside her. The candles surrounding the tree made the mother and child glow.  Kenshin couldn't help but think how lucky he was to have them.  He gently picked Kenji up and put him to bed.

He returned to the tree and sat down directly in front of Kaoru. 

"I have a very special present for you." Kenshin said, with a smile on his face.

Kaoru pulled back, looked at him, and said, "I don't deserve it after the way I have been acting all week about celebrating Christmas."

Kenshin reached into his gi and handed her a piece of paper neatly folded and watched as she read what was on the paper.

"What is this?" she asked while unfolding the paper. 

"I found out about the taxes and decided that I needed a job.  There was a job at the police station so I went to talk to the police chief," Kenshin said.

"But what is Juvenile?" She asked reading off the paper.

"I will be working with kids.  It will be a challenge and require me to be away more.  Are you mad at me?" he asked.

"If anyone should be mad, it should be you.  I was wrong to try and take full responsibility for everything," she said looking at the floor to try and hide the tears that were forming.

Kenshin reached over and tilted her head so that he could look into her eyes.  "Kaoru, its okay.  I know that you're just trying to protect me but you must let me help.  And it's just as much my fault for letting you carry the full responsibility.  We must share everything including the burden of responsibility," He said then gently kissed her.

Kaoru closed her eyes, as the gentle kiss became more demanding she responded with equal demand. 

"Can we go to bed now?  I feel a bit… ah… frisky," Kenshin, asked his voice deep and a smile lighting his face.

"Yes," was all Kaoru could say before he had her in his arms and was walking to the bedroom.

Kenji felt cold, still half asleep, he grabbed his blanket and headed for his parents room.  He heard the soft notes of music coming from outside.  He opened the outside door and there was the sparkly snow again.  He could see Gideon standing in the snow waiting for him.

"Thank you Gideon," Kenji said giving a small bow.

Gideon just smiled and replied, "Merry Christmas."

Kenji closed the door and resumed his journey to his parent's bed.

Author's note:  Thank you everyone for reading my story and I wish everyone the happiest of Holidays…