i finally got around to editing some of these! I hope they are a much easier read!


Kaoru woke up to a silent house. She couldn't sense the vastness of the island home she was being forced to stay in and, for a moment, she felt panicked with claustrophobia. As she looked around at the foreign surroundings, she wondered why Enishi had placed her in a different room in the middle of the night. A flash went off in her mind and she remembered she was safe back at the dojo and a smile burst across her face. She got up, and flipped the window in her room open. The sun streamed down onto her face. She closed her eyes and felt the warmth permeating her flesh with a huge grin on her face. With a sigh, she removed herself from the window, dressed, and went down to the kitchen to greet Kenshin with a skip in her step. He wasn't there.

The smile faded as she remembered he was still recovering from his fight with the white-haired man. She debated on whether to check on him or start breakfast but decided on the latter. Yahiko would be very upset if he didn't get his food on time. With another grin, she remembered the young samurai and a feeling of joy overwhelmed her at the thought of seeing him every day from now on.

She had been back in the dojo for three days now and was almost in a state of euphoria after weeks up being shut up with Enishi. There was always an underlying feeling of fear on that island. Enishi was not in his right mind and she was always worried he would snap. It was such a relief to be here and not have to watch where she went and what she said. It was truly a blessing to be free.

Ignoring the fact that she was an awful cook, Kaoru hummed as she cut the vegetables in quick, efficient motions. While sliding the food from the cutting board to the pot, she heard the door open. She turned her head and saw Megumi in the doorway.

"Megumi!" she exclaimed, startled.

"Sorry Kaoru. The gate was unlocked so I just let myself in," she said quietly.

Megumi had been working on Kenshin for the past two and a half days and looked fatigued. Her very aura gave off exhaustion and her face was a sickly pale color.

"Come and sit down, Megumi," said Kaoru, frowning with concern. "You look tired."

Megumi gave a small smile. "It's nothing. I've had worse days."

Kaoru raised an eyebrow in disbelief but decided to ignore her weariness for the moment. "Was there a reason for your visit?"

Megumi nodded. She swallowed and she cleared her throat. "Well, I of course need to check on Kenshin but it's occurred to me that I didn't check to see if you had any wounds." Her lip began quivering and her voice began to show hints of a tremor. "I should have asked if you were okay." She said, looking away.

Kaoru's eyes widened, oblivious to Megumi's discomfort, and she shook her head. "Oh no, don't worry. I only got a few bumps and bruises. There was nothing too serious. Besides, it was more important for you to focus on Kenshin."

Megumi looked down into her lap and Kaoru could see the slender tendons in her wrist as she squeezed her fists together in her lap, "Maybe so, but it doesn't excuse the fact that I ignored my dearest friend." Megumi looked up and Kaoru saw pools of tears swirling in her eyes.

Kaoru froze with shock. Megumi didn't cry and definitely didn't call Kaoru her 'dearest friend'. What was wrong with her? She was obviously more tired than she looked.

"Megumi, it's alright," she said, shifting nervously. Kaoru wasn't sure how to deal with an emotional Megumi. "It's not like it's the first time I've been kidnapped nor is it a first for cuts and scratches." Kaoru patted her leg affectionately—if a little awkwardly—in an effort to calm her.

Kaoru saw several things in Megumi's eyes at that moment. Fear, desperation, and grief was evident alongside love, hope, and joy. She was confused by all the revealed emotions and was even more confused when Megumi managed to blink them away in a heartbeat.

"You're right," she said with a chuckle. She pulled her leg away from a stunned Kaoru and placed her delicate hand over her mouth as she let out an arrogant chuckle. It seemed her usual foxiness was coming back. "I should be used to all the trouble you cause everyone by now."

The fox ears popped up as Kaoru's face got redder. "It's not like it's my fault!" Why in the world had she been trying to comfort that obnoxious fox?

Megumi smirked and rose gracefully, "Of course it's not, you little raccoon. I was just saying we have all grown accustomed to it. I guess it has made life a little more interesting." She swiftly glided to the door and paused in the doorway, placing one hand on its frame. "However," she said, facing the opposite wall. "If you could cut down on the number of kidnappings—," she broke off for a moment, took a deep breath, then started again, "it would set everyone's mind at ease."

Kaoru's temper disappeared. Her eyebrows furrowed together in confusion. "Megumi—"

"I'm going to check on Kenshin now," she interrupted and in a flash was out of Kaoru's line of sight.

Kaoru continued staring at the doorway, her face the epitome of confusion.

What in the world...?