Beginning Note: Yeah, it's been a while. I apologize. It's been a rough few months. No inspiration. Lots of working. Lots of unneeded drama. Same old. Not the best, but not too shabby. I'll have several more chapters out… Eventually.
Disclaimer: I don't own the RuroKen characters… I just screwed them up for my own purposes. They belong to Watsuki Nobahiro.
Baby, It's Sick
A thin tendril of smoke sparsely from the cigarette the young woman held loosely in her fingers. She blew her bangs from her eyes as she scanned the busy campus for her best friend.
"I thought you said that you were quitting," came Misao's voice from behind her.
Kaoru waved a pale hand at the approaching girl. "Next semester."
"You say that all the time," Misao pointed out, flipping her long braid over her shoulder. She glanced at her best friend with critical turquoise eyes. "You smoke too much and don't eat enough, Kaoru."
"What are you, my mother?' the raven-haired girl asked as they wound their way back to the dorms, a half a mile away from campus.
"No, but you worry me sometimes."
"It's just stress, Misao," Kaoru said, trying to reassure the other girl. "Enishi is being a jerk and all possessive and that stupid Lit paper has me living at the library most of the night. Thank God it's just about finished."
Misao rolled her eyes at the mention of Kaoru's long-time boyfriend.
"Why do you even date that creep, Kaoru? He's a total ass and you guys fight all the time."
The other girl shrugged as she crushed the rest of her cigarette under her caramel suede boots.
"It's, like, what my family expects, you know? It's stupid, but since our dad's rely so much on each other for the business, it's less of a hassle to just date him and deal with the drama," Kaoru explained half-heartedly, not even believing what she was saying.
"Puh-leez, Kamiya," the shorter girl exclaimed, wrinkling her nose in disgust. "That's such a load of bullshit. Why don't they make Tomoe and your older brother date? That doesn't seem fair."
Kaoru hiked her school bag higher on her shoulder and gave Misao a look.
"I know, but you know how my dad can get." She puffed out her chest and deepened her voice to match her father's tone. "Enishi will be a very important part of this family, Kaoru. He'll own half of everything his father and I have built. It's up to you to help inherit this. Tomoe doesn't want anything to do with the business, nor does my brother."
Misao slowed as the dorms loomed over the two teenagers.
"Wait," she said, holding out her arm to stop Kaoru, eyes wide in understanding. "That sounds a lot like forever for you and Enishi. As in white picket fence forever."
The dark-haired girl nodded, azure eyes serious. "Exactly."
"That's crap," Misao raged as they entered their dorm and climbed the stairs to the suite they shared with their friend, Takani Megumi.
"Tell me about it," Kaoru said, glancing at her phone as it beeped, indicating she had received a text message from the hot guy that sat next to her in British Literature. He asked if she was going to the party to his fraternity house. "Hey, open the door while I respond to Sanosuke about tonight."
Misao did as she was asked and burst into the suite loudly. Megumi, studying on the couch, didn't look up from her notes.
"Must you, Misao?" she asked, tone annoyed.
"I must. Kaoru's getting married!" the braided hair girl sing-songed, dropping her bookbag unceremoniously on the floor.
"What!" Megumi exclaimed, head flying up from her Organic Chemistry textbooks and notes.
Kaoru rolled her eyes as she entered the room, sliding her phone shut.
"Enishi popped the question?" the pre-med student asked, eyebrows arched over her cinnamon eyes in surprise.
"No," Kaoru said, scowling at Misao, who ignored her and peeled the wrapper of a Baby Ruth she had in her school bag. "He hasn't, but it's pretty much already planned. Has been since I was, like, six."
"Shit," was all Megumi said, pen still poised over her notebook.
"Shit indeed," the other girl said as her phone beeped a text message again, this one from Sanosuke's best friend, Kenshin, also asking if she was going to tonight's party.
"God," she exclaimed. Misao and Megumi stared at her.
"Explanation?" Misao asked, mouth full of candy bar.
"Kenshin and Sanosuke are panting," Kaoru said, sitting down and easing off her boots."
"Heavily, I might add," chirped Megumi, turning her attention back to her textbooks.
"What?" she asked as she felt her two roommates stare at her. "Kenshin bugs me all the time in Organic. And Sanosuke's in my Countercultures class. It's like a couple of dogs begging over a treat."
"Appropriate description," Misao giggled.
"Oh, shut up, Weasel," Kaoru said, throwing a book at her. "Just because you and Aoshi have the perfect relationship…
"At least you have a relationship and you still have two guys coming at you like you're a bitch in heat."
"What's with the dog references today?" Misao asked.
"Because Kaoru's such a dog," Megumi joked.
The other girl turned her nose up at her friends. "I hate you both."
The three of them dissolved into giggles at the raven-locked girl's attempt to be disdainful.
"Please tell me you're going to take a break from studying to come to the party with us?" Misao begged Megumi, turquoise eyes in full puppy-eyed mode.
"I have two huge tests on Thursday," Megumi moaned. "I can't go."
"Please!" the short girl cried, plopping herself in the future doctor's lap, on top of all her notes. "With cherries?"
"God! Misao, get your fat ass off my notes!"
"My ass isn't fat. It's cute," she protested.
"I don't care what it is," snapped the cinnamon-eyed doctor-to-be, wisps of hair escaping from her ponytail and floating around her face. "Get off!"
"Say you'll come. You need to be stress-free to take a test, which isn't until next week. It's Friday. A day to relax, drink, and not study," Misao complained.
"Come on, Weasel," Kaoru said, pulling Misao off of Megumi, who began frantically smoothing out her notes. "I didn't even said I was going."
"What?" cried Misao. "I thought you were going!"
"That's why Sanosuke and Kenshin have been blowing up my phone all day, you dolt," the girl said. "I have to finish my paper."
"You guys are a pair of old ladies," the tiny girl accused. "Take a break, please! We haven't gone out in forever!"
Megumi looked up from her notes.
"She does have a point, Kaoru," she said, giving the lounging girl a pointed look that was completely defeated.
Just then, Kaoru's phone beeped, signaling yet another text message.
"Ah! Fine! Between Kenshin and Misao's begging and Sanosuke's pouty lips –"
"Sexy pouty lips," Misao whispered loudly.
"This party had better be the best party in the world," Kaoru finished, glaring at the happily dancing Misao, whose braid was swinging around dangerously.
"Yes!" she exclaimed. "Finally something fun to do!"
"You are such a five-year-old," Megumi said as their overly excited roommate flung herself in their rolling desk chair and spun wildly. She looked her watch. "Well, it's 4:30 now. Whose in favor of an all out pampering, courtesy of my father?"
She held up her credit card.
"Totally in," Misao squealed.
"Me too," Kaoru chimed in.
"You both need a haircut anyway," Megumi commented, inspecting her own hair for split ends. "Here's the plan. The mall for clothes, then the salon for our hair and nails."
"Good plan," Kaoru said, running her fingers through her shiny black tresses. "I'm going out for a cigarette. Come down when you're ready."
Misao frowned at the lithe girl's retreating back.
"She's been smoking too much lately."
Megumi sighed, standing up and stretching out her long model-like legs.
"She's been frustrated since her dad made her quit kendo and soccer. The whole expectation thing with Enishi is a whole other issue."
"I don't get it," Misao said, scratching her head. "She doesn't love him."
"Love has nothing to do with it. You're lucky," the pre-med student said, going into her bedroom to change out of her study outfit. "Your family doesn't have the expectations for you like Kaoru's and mine do. You have Aoshi and you love each other. Kaoru's stuck with Enishi and I'm still waiting for my parents to set me up."
Misao scrunched her nose in disgust.
"It's stupid that they expect so much from you. I guess I did get lucky since Gramps will be running the restaurant forever and that Aoshi is basically part of the family, but in a good way.
The taller girl re-emerged from the bedroom, dressed in a purple long-sleeved Henley tee and a pair of well-fitting dark blue jeans. She had released her long, thick hair so that it fell like a curtain down her back.
"I'm just afraid of what my parents are going to arrange," Megumi said as she gathered up her purse and keys. "I'm at least being left alone at the moment."
Misao followed her friend out of the suite common room and down the stairs. The two glanced at each other as they caught a glimpse of Kaoru through the glass of the front entrance to the dorm. Her eyes were red-rimmed and her cigarette was clenched tightly between her lips. Her two roommates approached her cautiously, Megumi slipping an arm around her thin waist.
"What happened?" she asked softly, pretty sure she knew the answer.
"It's Enishi," Kaoru said, letting the cigarette dangle from her fingers, exhaling smoke angrily. "What else would it be?"
"What's that jerk's problem now?" Misao asked angrily. "You're not allowed to go out and enjoy yourself?"
Kaoru shook her head as she took another drag of her cigarette. "Apparently not," she said. "I made the mistake of telling him I wasn't just going out, I was going out to a party. With boys other than him."
She waved her hand.
"You know how he gets."
"Jesus, Kaoru!" Misao burst out. "Look at what he's doing to you! I can't remember the last time I saw you eat properly and you're basically chain smoking like Saitou."
Saito was the captain of the campus police, notorious for chain smoking and wolf-like stare.
"She's right, Kaoru," Megumi said gently, easing the other girl's half smoked cigarette from the thin, trembling fingers.
Kaoru deflated like a balloon, rapidly losing air.
"Can we just drop it?" she asked, sounding sad and tired. "I just want to enjoy my mani-pedi and be able to flirt aimlessly with Sanosuke and Kenshin."
Megumi and Misao exchanged doubtful glances while Kaoru looked at the ground, defeated. Megumi shrugged at the smaller girl in concession.
"Fine," Misao said, slinging her arms around her roommate's shoulders. "But you have to promise me that you'll flirt shamelessly with both boys beyond the point of patheticness."
Kaoru let out a weak laugh.
"And whoever's heart you break tonight, send them straight to me," Megumi chimed in. "Preferably Kenshin. I can fix anything that's broken."
The raven-haired girl snorted in amusement. The three university students ambled off to the mall in search of the perfect ensemble. Later, as Kaoru lay on her back, Sanosuke trailing open-mouthed kisses down her next and his large hands deftly unhooking her bra, guilt burned in her stomach.
She wasn't stopping herself from what could be a big mistake, but it felt wrong when Enishi touched her like this. With him, it felt like a dirty act, as if a brother were undressing his sister. She should care that this could destroy everything. But in that moment, with Sanosuke nipping her collarbone, she pushed aside thoughts of her future fiancé and lost herself in a defining moment, leaving Kaoru to forge her own dangerous path.
A/N: Alright. I'm going to admit. This isn't my best. Written a while ago. I was struggling. I've tried to write an Enishi/Kaoru fic several times. Here's one of them. Another has been swirling. It will eventually make it onto paper. Please be kind.