A nice big hello to the readers!

Okay, I know what I said. I told you in my last update that I don't like writing a second fanfic due to school coming closer but sorry, I really can't help it. I can't possibly turn my back on a KenshinxKaoru fic. It would be a huge disgrace to all KenKao lovers. Right?

Anyways, this one is new. Ah, DUHH. Storyline is semi-Bokura ga Ita or in English, We Were There. Yes, it's a manga and an anime series. Have you watched it? Or even ever heard of it? Well, if you haven't then you'd better watch/read it. The story is so cute! And if you ever do/try, I suggest you prepare a box of tissue at your side. HeHe. I'm giving you a little spoiler, aren't I? And about my pen name. It's Phantom Sumire now since there was a typo in Phanton Panda and I can't change it to Phantom since it's already been taken.

And so, I just finished re-watching Rurouni Kenshin: Reflection OVA and here's what I can say. . .I will never, ever accept Kenshin and Kaoru's death. NEVER, NEVER, NEVERRR! Especially Kenshin's! (sobs) So cruel! They showed how he died. I prefer the manga's ending better. He's alive and lives happily with Kaoru and Kenji.

Story/Plotline: semi-Bokura ga Ita

Characters: obviously Kenshin and Kaoru. And the others as supporting.

Others: AU; Modern time; OOCness here and there.

DISCLAIMER: I don't own Rurouni Kenshin nor do I own Bokura ga Ita. I simply write fanfics but that's it.

-o-::-0-::-o-::-0-::-o-::-0-::-o-::-0-::-o-::-0-::-o-::-0-::-o-::-0-::-o-::-0-::-o-

Chapter 1

:: WHITE GARDEN ::

-o0o-

You may not believe me, but. . .

. . Even before he could tell me his name. . .

. . .I felt as if. . .

I already knew who he was.

Kenshin. . .Himura.

-o0o-

Winter; December

The night was lavish in the gleam of the evening twilight. The sky was calm and clear with the moon shining brightly as ever. Frozen vapour that had descended heavily from the endless horizon above not a day ago blanketed the grassy field to pure whiteness; sparkling blindingly like the infinite stars in the heavens. The trees stood coated like branches of white coral, adorned in crystal-like ornaments. Sharp, cold-tempered but soothing breeze hang in the air.

"Snow. Winter is almost over. I should be glad, yet. . . ," Kaoru bent down and scooped a handful of snow, "why do I don't want it to end?" She said with her teeth clenched and swung her arm; throwing the ball of snow as far as she could.

How infuriating.

December meant winter. Winter meant snow. Snow meant Christmas. Christmas meant reunions.

Despite harsh weathers, people still traveled distances to be with their family and relatives. Despite the freezing temperature, children still played outside, playing snowball fights and laying on their backs making snow angels until they're drenched. But Kaoru could never do those things. There was not a memory in her childhood she would gladly reminisce about.

For her, snow meant sadness.

Kaoru watched the ball of snow flew quite a distance and landed gracefully atop something that jutted out on the cotton ground.

She quickly picked up her pace.

The crunching of the snow silenced as the pair of black leather boots came to a halt. And just inches before her stood a fully bloomed flower.

Kaoru stared down at it with a brow raised and crossed her arms, questions running wildly through her head. It was really rare for a flower to bloom in that time of year and especially at evenings. What kind of flower would bloom in winter seasons and out in the cold? She tried to figure out by its structure and color of its petals but she found it hard to distinguish for it just shone brightly under the moon's glow.

She gave a defeated sigh and bent her shivering knee. She swung an arm around her knees and hugged it closely to her chest, wrapping it to warmth her skirt and knee-length pale carnation coat had failed to do so.

"Valiant, aren't we?" She asked almost in a whisper. Her lips curved into a smile.

"How about sharing some of that courage you have?"

Kaoru removed the self-hand knit mitten on her right hand and slowly reached out below, shoving the little snow from its petals and leaves, and with her forefinger, she gracefully lifted the slightly crooked stem upright. She smiled softly as she looked at the flower at a better angle.

And like a fool, she waited patiently for an answer that she was quite fully aware would never come, especially from a non-talking living thing.

"Tomoe?"

A yearning voice broke the little quiet and peace time she had. Kaoru, surprised and scared, spun her head around to see who it was. Her hand tightly balled into a fist, ready to deliver it any time if ever the person attacks her.

"Ah, sorry. How rude of me."

Kaoru's cerulean orbs broadened in more surprise when it as a man, probably not taller than her, that spoke to her from a few feet behind. He wore a dark coloured kimono and a cream coloured hakama pants over it. But that was pretty much it. In fact, that was the only thing she could tell about the man.

The young man stood firmly, the pale blue moonlight as his background, with his hands tucked inside the kimono.

Kaoru slowly stood on her feet and narrowed her blue orbs into slits, studying the young man's flawless features in the limited light, waiting for her heartbeat to return to normal.

"It's a night blooming cereus." He spoke in a cool and composed tone.

"Excuse me?" Kaoru asked curtly.

With the limited light, she could see the corner of the young man's mouth twitched into a smile. "A night blooming cereus." He spoke once again and gestured towards her feet.

Kaoru turned her small body around slightly and gave an 'oh, this' look on her face, before turning her gaze back to the man.

"Night blooming cereus?" She asked in ignorance, her voice still rough and husky.

A low chuckle emitted from the young man's mouth. "We are fortunate. The night blooming cereus is not a flower that can be easily seen. . ." He paused for a moment and gazed downwards. "The flower can be seen only one night a year." he continued.

"Oh."

The word seemed inadequate but she couldn't find a better response as she got more confused than she already was.

Another chuckle came out from his lips.

"Because it starts to bloom at night and fades when morning comes, it is sometimes referred to as the 'loneliness of night'. Aren't they fitting for such a moonlit night?" The young man in traditional clothes asked, his body remained rigid, not moving even just an inch.

Kaoru could still barely see his face in the glow of the moonlight. "The loneliness of night, you say. . ."

They stood in silence, watching each other's faces, both completely forgetting how cold it was out their in the fields.

"Actually," he started again, his voice soft but controlled, "the nickname I like the most is yet another one."

"And which one is that?"

Kaoru waited, but the young man didn't speak. She opened her mouth to ask again but could never deliver the question again.

"The 'short-lived love'." He finally answered.

Then, they stood in silence again. There was not a sound except for Kaoru's raven hair dancing in synch with the wind and the young man's clothes fluttering like the bird's wings.

Kaoru's mobile phone vibrated then inside her pocket, breaking the awkward silence that befell between them. She shoved a hand inside the pocket of her coat and grabbed the vibrating phone. The screen flashed on and off. It was Misao calling. But before she could push the answer button, the incoming call had already ended. She stared at the screen and anticipated the call to come again but it didn't. Only a mail had come. She opened the message and it read, 'Where are you? We're leaving early tomorrow. Don't come crying to me for help with your packing. Come home quick. Old Okina's worried too.'

Kaoru glanced at the upper left of the screen. It was past eight-thirty.

Old Okina, without a doubt, will definitely throw a fit and so will the others at the Aoi-Ya inn. She chuckled at the image of everyone ranting whilst crying with worry once she steps a foot in the inn.

Though not blood-related, they treated each other like a real family. The whole family, which was composed of orphans who were either abandoned or left by their real family, were adopted by old Okina and his late wife except for Misao, who was his real granddaughter by blood.

All four older 'siblings' had already graduated from Tokyo University with master degrees. They were offered high paying jobs from major companies but all rejected the offers and came back to Kyoto and stayed to help at the inn. Not due to loyalty to the old man, but more in gratitude.

"I'm sorry but I--"

The young man's sudden disappearance cut Kaoru off in her mid-sentence. Her brows furrowed in annoyance and she pouted her lips. "Yeah, so rude of you to leave like that without a word."

Kaoru inhaled sharply then and. . .

"It was nice meeting you too!" She exclaimed and shouted at the top of her lungs.

She listened in amusement as her voice echoed throughout the little meadow and waited patiently for it to subside. She then stood motionlessly, her ears listening carefully to every little sound in the air while her blue orbs scanned the area for every little motion. But there had been none of either. Not a sound of footsteps nor a glimpse of the familiar bright hakama pants.

Looking more annoyed than ever, Kaoru turned on her heels and stomped her way back to the inn, cursing the mysterious young man under her breath.

-::-::-

"Hey, Jii-chan," she said, swallowing the piece of meat she had been chewing for quite some time, "do you know anyone who wears traditional clothes?"

They closed the inn earlier than usual for one last family meal. The next morning was Kaoru and Misao's departure for Tokyo. Like all the other siblings, both had decided to study at Tokyo U too. Okina was quite reluctant at it first, doubting that like the other siblings, they might come back to Kyoto and choose to help at the inn too. But after some persuasion and little promises like they'll never do that, Okina finally raised his white flag.

"Why, me of course." Okina chortled.

Kaoru cocked an eyebrow. "Other than you, Jii-chan."

"There is no one other than grandpa who wears traditional clothing around this city, Kaoru." Shiro, the second eldest of the 'siblings', said.

Kaoru took a sip of the miso soup before speaking. "Well, I just saw one."

"Maybe it was grandpa you saw?" The third eldest, Omasu, came in from the kitchen with more food on her hands.

"No." Kaoru answered. "He was young. In his mid-twenties at most."

Misao could no longer help it and laughed out loud, spitting a grain of rice on Okina's face. "She just -- said -- your old." Her face flushed in laughter while she clutched her stomach in pain.

"Hey, I didn't say that." Kaoru defended.

The night continued with little bickers and jokes between the 'siblings' and their treasured Okina. Kaoru finished her packing, making sure she wasn't forgetting anything then went downstairs to join her 'family' for one last twister game. And then morning had finally come. Okina, together with his other four children, drove Kaoru and Misao and saw them off at the train station.

-::-::-

"Kaoru, are you sure you're not going to college?" Misao asked, her eyes remain fixed outside the glass window of the bullet train.

Kaoru stopped from knitting and glanced up towards Misao who was sitting across her. It was a 2 hour and 45 minute ride from Kyoto to Tokyo. Okina and the others offered them for a long drive but both declined, saying it was much cheaper to take the train and it wouldn't be a waste of money for gas.

"I am going to college, but not now." Kaoru clarified and shifted her gaze back to the string of yarn and started knitting again. "I'm going to look for a job in Tokyo and save enough money to pay for my own tuitions. I can't let Okina pay for mine. He's already paying yours."

"What if they find out? They'll sure be disappointed. Not to mention furious." Misao asked, finally taking her eyes off the window to look at Kaoru.

"They won't. Besides, it's just a semester or two."

"But--"

"Don't worry, Misao. I know what I'm doing." Kaoru said softly and gave her a reassuring smile.

-::-::-

Spring; mid-April

It was her second day at work. Luckily she was accepted at a five-star restaurant; despite the high standard requirement. The restaurant was built in western-style by a man named Kenshin Himura for his late wife who was a well-known chef and named it after her image, White Garden. The place was adorned with nothing but white furniture; the floor was polished and clean; and on each table was a plum blossom on the center.

"Hey, I heard Mr. Himura is coming today!"

"Really? That's great! I haven't seen him in months!"

"Do you know what time he'll be arriving?"

"Is my make-up still intact?"

It was only her second day at work. But she was already beat and tired. All the other waitresses did nothing but squeal in delight, gossiping about the big boss's comeback after his long vacation, leaving all the work to the newbie, which happened to be her.

From what she heard, the owner of the restaurant was a man in his mid-twenties. And based from her research, this man was filthy rich, who stands atop both in business and politics. She also heard them say this Kenshin Himura was utterly gorgeous and attractive but Kaoru could never agree with her co-workers and get along with the gossip. Well, she has never met the man.

"Kaoru-chan," Tae, the kind manager, called her from behind the counter, "can you check outside too?"

"Sure!" And she skipped her way through the glass door.

The open air dining area was splendid. It looked more like a garden than what a dining area should be. There were only a few tables outside with two chairs at each. At the far left corner stood a cherry blossom tree and at the center stood a little fountain with a cupid in the middle. A line of bright coloured flowers were planted at each side.

The moment she first laid an eye on the dining area, she got completely attracted to it. It was love at first sight. If it was outside and not in the enclosed room inside, she won't mind doing all the work. In fact, she would gladly accept and do all the work.

Kaoru grabbed a towel from the service cart and wiped the glass table gracefully and lightly like it was something so fragile that would shatter into pieces when wiped with force. A pleasure smile plastered on her face while her hand moved in circles and indulged herself.

A low creaking sound of a gate ceased Kaoru from what she was doing. She frowned in ponder as to why the gate would be making a creaking noise when it was supposed to be closed. No one, not even customers, were allowed to come to the restaurant through the gates. Another creaking sound of the gate filled the air. Kaoru dropped the half soppy towel back in the little bin and walked towards the back.

Still half distracted, with her downcast head, she bump into something and fell on her bottom the moment she made a left turn at the right corner.

Kaoru groaned in pain, her eyes shut closed.

"I'm sorry. Are you okay?"

The moment she opened her cerulean orbs. The moment she heard the familiar voice. You may not believe her, but. . .even before the man she accidentally bumped into could tell her his name. . .Kaoru felt as if. . .she already knew who the man was.

Kenshin. . .Himura.

-o0o-

Jii-chan: a cute way to address one's elders(male) in Japanese. (not sure though)

Hakama & Kimono: Japanese traditional clothing

Night Blooming Cereus: is an actual plant called Epiphyllum oxypetalum.I got the info from wikipedia and the whole conversation between Kenshin and Kaoru from a chapter in the manhwa Bride of the Water God. It's a great manhwa. Trust me. I'm currently addicted to it.

-o-::-0-::-o-::-0-::-o-::-0-::-o-::-0-::-o-::-0-::-o-::-0-::-o-::-0-::-o-::-0-::-o-

And, first chapter is done! Tell me what you think. Just click on the review button on the center bottom of the page.

Spare a minute or two and share your impressions on this one.

Preview on the next chapter: SEARCHING FOR FAKE LOVE

Haha, just the title though. But I know you can pretty much guess what will happen in the next chapter judging from the title.

Have a great day or night or whatever everyone. Until next time~