Alive...

Kaoru Dono !
Kaoru Dono !
Grieve, scream, mourn and ...! I couldn't hear his last words No, let it not be...

No...Please.
I shouted her name once again.
I stepped backwards violently . It can't be ! There she was. The sight paralyzed me.
Pinned on the wall by his sword stabbed in her belly . The sword looked like a giant tree in her tiny body.

"Kenshin!" shouted Megumi. "She's still alive", she said pointing her hand.
My eyes grew wide opened when I saw her lifting a finger and tilting her head upward blindly looking for ...me.

"Kenshin! Take the sword out of her body!"
A chance... There's still a chance...Unreasonable hope maybe but.
I ran to her, took her hand and looked deep into her eyes. Kaoru, hold on to me I whispered to her with tears filling my eyes.
I took the sword out as quickly as I could then threw it instantly away to catch her collapsing body in my arms. A flow of blood immediately poured out of her mouth.

Only Kaoru's soft breathing and Megumi's instruments being manipulated frantically could be heard.
Kaoru... onegai... stay with me....stay.
Her hand grip tightened a bit and she tilted her head towards me with a smile ever so weak...while Megumi gathered all her medical knowledge with a fierceful will to save her.
The sound of fabric being rubbed made me gaze away from Kaoru : Yahiko !... He was crawling on the ground despite his heavy wounds.
Sano! I shouted. Sano took the boy and laid him down next to Kaoru and me. "Sensei, don't you die on me" he shouted crying while reaching for her.
Megumi had administrated her morphine to ease the pain; "I have to practice surgery Kenshin...can you keep holding her hand for me ?". I nodded and took her hand with both of mine.

Kaoru winced painfully and squeezed my hand as Megumi started to sew her mortal wound. She distressfully gazed at me for a second before loosing consciousness. My fear grew instantly as her hand grip relaxed.
I turned to Megumi without a word. "That will make my work easier" she coldly stated without even looking at me nor the others. She was sweating a lot but her hands seemed to escape the overall anguish. Her gestures remained extraordinary precise.

When she had finished to sew and bandage her wound she finally turned to me : "I don't know if she'll be able to pull through this".
We'll have to let her recover and see how she's doing before we can move her to any other place, she coldly said.

Enishi had disappeared the moment I had run to Kaoru. I kept asking myself why he didn't kill her. He could have stabbed her heart; that would have killed her almost instantly... and yet he decided to give her a chance.
"A chance" I repeated to myself while my eyes drifted away from Kaoru's sleeping form into the stars, through the broken roof of the dojo. The chance Tomoe never had .
I stayed beside Kaoru, my back resting on a wall, carefully monitoring any change, whispering tender words that I hoped would somehow reach her.
"The will to live is stronger than anything else" these words from my Shishou suddenly came back to me.
"We will all go back to Kyoto together" I recalled her tender words as I laid my eyes back to her.
Yes, I will hold on to that chance, to that hope the same way Kaoru put her hopes in me when I went to fight Shishio.
I tightened my grip on her hand hoping she'd feel my strengh, the strength she had once given me.
"Stay with me Kaoru..." "Stay with me and I'll stay with you forever ...Kaoru ... forever..." "Please" I shut my eyes tightly as the night fell on the dojo and on what had been a battle field a few hours ago .

Two days passed. Anyone would hardly talk. Kaoru was sweating profusionally. Everybody saw to it that her forehead was covered with a fresh wet cloth at all times. Megumi checked her vital organs every hour and administrated her cures every once in a while. She made sure the sword wound and the stitches didn't get infected. I would scrutanize her face to determine whether she thought her state was worsening or improving. After having examined her she would give me her instructions without showing much emotion but still wanting to give me hope.
Then she'd leave to the kitchen to silently prepare her medicine.
I was surprised by the professional way she looked after Kaoru. I guess she must have been thinking that there were more chances to save her if she didn't let a personal feelings get in the way too much.

Megumi had just left the room when a slight movement made me awakened from my drowsiness. "Megumi!" I called, before Kaoru slowly waved a 'no' with her head to gently ask me to shush.
I thought my heart was going to explode when she looked at me with her beautiful sapphire eyes. "Forever" she simply murmured with a weak smile. I gazed at her with indescribable relief and astonishement. How did she...? My head was suddenly full of questions but I only smiled slightly back to her.
"Forever" I replied with a growing smile.

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Epilogue

Five years had passed. Enishi had never been found. It had taken Kaoru a couple of months to recover from what could have been a mortal injury.
While Kaoru was trying to prepare dinner my mind started to drift away a bit as I watched a sakura petal fall on the kitchen window.
Why didn't he kill Kaoru ? Why didn't he fulfill his desire of revenge ? These questions will forever remain unanswered.
Why did he give Kaoru a chance to live ? Give me a chance to repend for my crimes...?

Enishi...Tomoe ...Kaoru ....Thank you

A loud "Oooorrrrrooooo" pulled me out of my thoughts as I found myself running to catch a falling Kenji.
"Kenji !!!" "How many times have I told you not to climb on the dojo's roof !!" reprehended Kaoru with a crossed look on her face.

I smiled at the familiar scene.

"The will to live..." . These words remained a few instants in my head while heading to Kaoru with a laughing Kenji in my arms.
Maybe I should try to give life a chance...

OWARI

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I wanted to give a less dark view on the jinchuu... I thought maybe something really positive could come out of this for everybody. I hope I've succeeded !
Whether yes or no, please, please, please review my story.

onegai : please
sakura : japanese cherry tree