Just a Little Longer

Summary: When Kenshin goes to say goodbye to Kaoru just before he left for Kyoto, what if his moment with Kaoru lasted just a little bit longer?

As he pulled her into a hug, caused her to gasp in surprise. It was an action she was not expecting. The second she felt his hand grasp her wrist her heart began to race. Yes, there were several times he would hold her hand or grasp her wrist, but the way he did it this time was nothing like before. This one was more sensual. Before her body collided with his own, she saw the sadness in his eyes. But there was something else she saw in those lavender eyes. His eyes were narrowed, showing the hint of his true self, but those eyes held gentleness. Soon her vision lost his eyes as the pink of his Kimono jacket came into view.

Before she arrived, he was fighting his inner demons. He wanted to say goodbye to his friends, but he couldn't get the heart to do it. He didn't want to hurt them, but seeing their sad faces, he knew it would make it harder for him to depart. The two little girls, Ayame and Suzsume, were very special to him. They would probably be mad at him for breaking their promise but it would break his heart even more seeing them cry.

It always brought a smile to his face when their faces would light up in happiness with just seeing him. From the first day they met him, they were calling him 'Uncle Ken'. At first it shocked him to be called that, but with their smiling faces, he couldn't help but enjoy the name. It made him one-day want to have a couple girls himself. His thoughts switched to the young woman standing in front of him.

She was eleven years younger than him, but she held wisdom beyond her years. He was nearly too old for her, but he couldn't help what he was feeling. Yes, at times she would act very childish, especially when her and Yahiko would argue, but that was the one thing he admired about her. She was so innocent. She never had the hardships of growing up like Sanosuke or Yahiko did. The two were orphans while Kaoru was not.

Until this moment, he wasn't sure in about saying bye to her, but now that he saw her, he had to. He had to say goodbye to her. She was special to him, even more so than Genzai's granddaughters.

"I thank you for everything you've done for me," he whispered into her ear. "You're the first woman I have met in a long time who did not run in terror once learning who I once was."

"Ken…shin…" she breathed, eyes tearing up. "Please…don't leave…"

"Miss Kaoru, you know I must," he insisted. His hands gripped tighter against her back. "But I also wish to stay, that I do. If I could stay behind, I would, that I would."

"But…" she started.

He pulled away but only far enough for his hands to move from her back. They soon rested against either sides of her face. He could feel her cheeks burning from a flush. It was a good thing it was dark or he would see her flushed cheeks. His thumbs brushed the tears that loosely fell from her eyes. Her heart was now racing like mad. She had never before been touched so closely.

"Please," he pleaded. "Don't make it harder for me then it already is. Miss Kaoru, you have seen how many people attack me because of my past. I do not wish for you to be in the middle of the battles. I promise I will come back. I have come to feel Tokyo as a home for me. I shall miss you. You have made me feel like a man again. And for the first time in my life I feel like settling down."

More tears fell from her eyes, splashing against his thumbs. His eyes were so gentle but remained narrowed. His reverse blade sword, rested against his left hip and from the closeness of her own body to his, she could feel the hilt of the sword brushing her right hip, through her kimono.

He removed one hand from her face, but the other stayed. His hand stretched into his hair, releasing the band holding his red hair into the ponytail. The red locks soon fell against his shoulders. This was the second time she saw his hair completely down, which caused another gasp to release from her lips.

His other hand moved away from her face, but only to grasp her hand, turning it so her palm faced upward. Taking the band from his hair, he rested it into her hand and then closed her fingers around it.

"Now you have something to remember me by," he replied.

Her fingers tightened around the band as his hands found their way back to the sides of her face. More tears fell, forcing her blue eyes to close. At that same moment, the clouds uncovered the moon, causing Kaoru to glow in a heavenly glow. She looked very beautiful.

His own heart was beating fast as he watched the beautiful woman in front of him. As her eyes closed the moon continued to shine down upon them, sending them into a regal glow, there was only one thought that came to his mind. He struggled within himself for a few moments wondering if he should do it or not. But his heart won out as he felt himself slowly lean in. Though he promised he would return, the promise was empty. He had no idea what the outcome in Kyoto was going to be for him therefore this could very well be the last time he would ever see her beautiful face or the sound of her sweet voice. He just had to do it.

"Kaoru," he breathed, not using the 'Miss'.

More hot tears fell from her eyes at hearing her name, not realizing what he was doing. This was his chance and he couldn't blow it. He finished the distance, lightly touching her lips with his very own. Her eyes widened in utter shock. His hands were still on her cheeks, forcing her to stay put. Her heart was racing like mad at feeling his lips. He was the first to ever kiss her. Her hands flew up at the contact, latching onto this kimono sleeves.

His lips were just a gentle breeze across her lips but it was enough to render her body to go limp. The grip on his sleeves tightened as his lips pressed a little harder. The kiss remained innocent and gentle, but yet held something more. Pushing away from her lips, he could feel her body begin to tremble. His hands quickly slid from her cheeks to grasp her back before she fell. The strength of his arms was now the only thing holding her up.

She leaned her head against his shoulder. She was in complete shock. Why did he just kiss her? What was he feeling? With her body up against his, she could feel his heart racing just as fast as hers was. What did all this mean?

"K…Ken…" she tried but her voice betrayed her. His actions were preventing her from speaking. She soon found the strength to look into his lavender eyes.

His eyes were misted over and she could see that he was on the verge of tears. "Goodbye," he whispered. He then leaned forward once again, preventing her from saying anything. His lips were against hers once again, pressing even harder than before. A single tear slipped from his closed eyes, splashing against her face. A hand moved to touch her chin. His thumb pressed against her chin, pushing it down.

Not sure what to do, she allowed his hand to control her jaw. Her mouth opened, giving him what he wanted. The second it opened, the kiss slowly moved to something more. She gave a gasp as something strange invaded her mouth. She was a smart woman, knowing immediately what it was. She had heard stories from some of the other young girls who had experience their first kiss. They would describe in how the young man would kiss with his tongue. And this was exactly what Kenshin was doing.

The kiss was beyond words for Kaoru. As she got used to use this new invasion and his arms around her back, she began to tentatively respond back, causing him to gasp in surprise this time. Her arms left his sleeves to wrap around his back, clutching his clothes, still holding the band that held his hair up.

He wanted to kiss her for a long time now and now that he was leaving, now was the best time to show her how he felt. He wasn't sure if at first kissing her was proper, but he had to do it. She meant too much to him and he wanted her to know that. But his voice was failing him to speak his feelings. The last time he spoke his true feelings, the feelings betrayed him, which is what gave him the scar on his face in the first place.

Kaoru was the second woman he ever kissed and he hoped he would never have to do this again to another woman. He wanted to settle down and he wanted it to be with Kaoru. He would be proud to have her call him 'husband'. His thoughts were quick to change when he felt her begin to respond back to his kiss. At this moment, it was only him and her and nothing else mattered. Not the potential threat waiting for him in Kyoto. Not his other new friends. Not even his past mattered. All that mattered was the woman in his arms, kissing him back and was quickly beginning to kiss him back with the same passion as he was to her.

The need for air came to both of them. Kaoru didn't want to break the contact because then that would mean it was back to reality. He stepped back, slowly, making sure she had her own footing before he stepped too far away. Once he was at arms length, he turned and started to slowly walk away.

No! He was leaving! "Ken…shin!" she cried out.

As he walked further away from her, her body slumped to the ground, she was paralysed. She called out to him again, stretching her hand out. He continued to walk, not revealing the tears that were falling freely from his eyes. It was breaking his heart to hear her call out his name. But he knew if he stopped to look at her, he would not be able to leave.

"I love you," he whispered as he continued to walk, not sure when and if he would ever see her again. "I hope that one day I will get to see your smiling face. And if that day comes, I will be overjoyed."

He continued on walking away, listening to the love of his life sob on the ground. He had a feeling she was on the ground, but he couldn't look back… he just couldn't.

Of course if he had known what would have taken place right after his departure, he would have fussed over Kaoru like there was no tomorrow. But then it probably would have made him proud to learn how she would have gotten the energy to chase after him. If he had known his friends were going to follow him anyway, he probably would have allowed them to go with him. But he wouldn't see them again until after getting to Kyoto.

This is a little something I thought of when watching episode 31 when he left for Kyoto. That moment literally felt the sparks of romance in there and I just couldn't leave it alone. This is my first Kenshin fic.