Disclaimer: RK isn't mine. *sob*

AN: Happy new year everyone! Okay, the last KT scene I actually took from my new roommate and his girlfriend, who was a little jealous of him living with a girl (namely, me :P) Only that… Instead of kiss, she asked for a more intimate means of convincing. So much that I had to go out and stayed at the 24 hours convenience store for an hour (since the act was in the kitchen). I thought it was a gorgeous scene (if only it didn't happen in my new kitchen lol) and decided to use it for this chapter (in moderation). I do hope you like it, and YES, this is a KK fic, but I don't hate Tomoe so I don't mind writing abt her and Kenshin as long as it's relevant to the story. If you hate Tomoe, then this isn't for you. Other than that, ENJOY! Don't forget to review!

:

Tutoring

:

Yumi was entering the bar when she saw someone so familiar was drinking alone at the bar. She remembered that it was the girl he teased Kenshin about. She was sitting; sipping her beer, while on her neck, there was a familiar magenta shawl. Yumi smirked. What would the girl think if she told her that she had worn that shawl so many times before? She was clearly in love with Kenshin.

"Kenshin's friend, right? Are you alone tonight?" Yumi greeted her with a graceful smile. She turned around and bowed a little.

"Ah, nice to meet you again. You're Yumi-san right? The singer?"

"Yes. Thanks for coming that night. It was certainly more fun than seeing a bunch of old guys dancing.' Yumi said with a grin.

"Well, my friend, Sano, insisted that we checked out Kenshin's workplace. I'm Kaoru, by the way. Kamiya Kaoru. I'm one year under Kenshin." She replied, introducing herself politely. Yumi smiled, but she stayed silent while looking at her sharply as if she was waiting for her to continue. Kaoru coughed and took off her shawl. "I… Uh… I want to return this to Kenshin. I hope you don't mind." She said, showing the magenta shawl. Yumi chuckled.

"Why would I mind? Kenshin's not here today, though. You should just return it at the campus or something, no need to especially come here. I assume that this bar is way too old for your taste." She said with a small smile. Kaoru blushed.

"Not really. I've come to like the music. I don't know much about Jazz, but the duet you played with Aoshi-san that night was amazing. Kenshin is good too, but your piano playing made a deep impression in me." Kaoru complimented with a smile. Her smile faded as she looked at Yumi didn't really smile back and only nodded gracefully. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable." She apologized.

"Uncomfortable? About what?" Yumi asked.

"I mean, you, being Kenshin's girlfriend and all…"

Yumi's smile turned into a sneer. For the past three years, she had seen women came to the bar for Kenshin, from the university girls to businesswomen. Most of them were pretty persistent, even though he made it quite clear that he wasn't interested. However, none of them was as smooth as this one. She looked pretty sophisticated, she was subtle, polite, and friendly; she didn't even hesitate to praise her, whom she thought was her crush's girlfriend. If Yumi really was Kenshin's girlfriend, she would probably be a little off guard after the praise. From the look of her clique, they were probably the popular bunch in the campus. It was understandable that she had a high confidence to get whatever she wanted. Yumi couldn't decide whether this woman was just really sneaky, or too innocent for her own good.

"I'm not Kenshin's girlfriend." Yumi told her.

"Eh… then…"

"I have a boyfriend. That guy over there." She pointed at the guy covered in bandages from head to toe like a mummy, despite his nice suit.

"Oh…" Kaoru couldn't take her eyes off the guy, and Yumi chuckled.

"His entire body was burned by his soon-to-be-ex-wife. Funny story, actually. She found out that he's been keeping a mistress, which is me, and then she burned the house when he was sleeping…" Yumi explained with a humorous grin, as if it was a joke she told all the time over a dinner party, knowing that Kaoru was actually wondering about the bandages. Kaoru gulped, but Yumi nonchalantly continued her story. "He owns this bar and let me run it for him. He hates Kenshin so much, but I persuaded him because we needed a decent piano player/bartender who can speak several languages. That kind of person is expensive, you know, and Kenshin was okay with any price I offered him, as long as he could arrange the schedule himself. We're saving money by hiring him. He's a good guy, he takes care of everything around here, and he helps me with my problems."

"I see… He's always like that. He is calm and he easily deals with problems around him." Kaoru mumbled thoughtfully, not realizing that a faint smile bloomed on her lips. Yumi scoffed as she took a bottle of beer for herself.

"So, you DO like Kenshin." She concluded, and Kaoru blushed.

"Wha… NO!" She jumped and shook her head. Yumi smiled.

"It's okay. Falling for someone is inevitable. Most of the time it just happened. I mean, how do you think I ended up with that guy? Let me tell you this though; Kenshin is a good guy. Tricks and seductions wouldn't budge him." She said. Even though she said it lightly and with a smile, it actually sounded like a warning to Kaoru.

Kaoru swallowed and looked away. "I don't actually know how I feel towards him."

"Well, you seem like a good girl, Kaoru, so I hope when you did find out about your feelings, whatever it is, you can still respect Kenshin's relationship." Yumi said softly before taking another sip. "Stay back, I'll sing a song for you." She said with a friendly smile.

OOOOO

Kaoru was about to open the door when she saw a piece of paper attached with a sticky tape on her front door. It was clearly Sano's writing, judging by how hard it was to read.

Jou-chan,

Come to Kenshin's we have food

You have to come!

"Huh?" Kaoru frowned and then walked back to the staircase and started climbing it again, despite how tired she was. She rang the bell and Sano opened the door. There were Misao, Megumi and, surprisingly, Aoshi as well. It was already 11.30PM and they were still eating desserts. Kenshin was in the kitchen, cooking more stuff.

"Whoa, you're so late! We finished your dinner!" Sano exclaimed.

Misao snorted. "No, you finished her dinner!" She corrected Sano, who blushed and grinned.

Kaoru frowned confusedly as she entered the place. Since when did they hang out with Kenshin, at his place? And since when did Aoshi start hanging out with them? Kenshin opened the separator from the living room to the kitchen wider and smiled at her.

"Hey, Kaoru, sit down. I saved some soup and dessert for you." He said cheerfully. Kaoru sat down and looked at everyone enjoying their food.

"So, what's the occasion?" She asked.

Megumi shrugged. "I don't know. Sano suddenly called us and told us to come here."

Sano chuckled. "It's just one of those days."

"What days?"

"You know, when you want to eat western food but you're too broke to afford the good ones."

"That's why we have Chef Kenshin here!" Misao chirped happily as Kenshin entered the room with a bowl of soup, dessert, a big bottle of sake and a few bottles of beer.

"There you go. Soup and dessert for Kaoru, and chilled beer and warm sake for… uh… Are you planning to drink everything yourself, Sano?" He asked while sitting beside Sano. Sano clapped his hands excitedly.

"Of course not, baka!" He exclaimed with a grin. "Let's start this the old Bakumatsu style!" He poured some warm sake in everyone's glass, and Megumi winced.

"Tomorrow is a school day, Sano." She reminded him, and Sano snickered at her.

"School day? What are you, a high school brat? Or are you actually scared that you can't hold your alcohol, Kitsune?" He teased, and Megumi scoffed. She took her glass chugged down the sake.

"I am afraid of NOTHING." She said with slightly blushing cheek and Misao, Sano and Kaoru cheered.

"Drink more, drink more!" Misao screamed before chugging her own drinks.

Three hours later, the apartment became so quiet. Sano was snoring on the floor, while Megumi and Misao occupied Kenshin's big bed. Aoshi left earlier to catch the last train home. Kaoru was sitting in the dark, feeling dizzy and starting to fall asleep every now and then, but the sound of Kenshin washing the dishes woke her up. She sat still, trying to gain her consciousness completely before she was planning to go home and sleep on her own comfortable bed.

Kenshin walked around the house and turned off the lights other than the small night light beside his TV, and took out some blankets and covered everyone around him. Kaoru looked up right when he was about to cover her with a fuzzy blanket.

"Sorry, did I wake you?" He asked with a low, soft voice. Kaoru shook her head.

"No, I'm just sitting here until I feel less dizzy… I want to go home and sleep…" She mumbled.

Kenshin chuckled. "You don't have to force yourself. Just sleep here if you can't walk. There's still some space beside the girls. Do me a favour, Kaoru. I keep my spare key under the rug outside the entrance door, so when you guys leave in the morning, could you please lock up for me?"

"Okay… But why?"

"I'm going out now, and I won't come back until tomorrow."

Kaoru looked at his soft amber eyes, and wondered if his eyes were flickering because of the moonlight that came from the window. He smiled at her gently but she knew very well that his soft gaze wasn't really for her.

"Alright, Kenshin. Don't worry." She said. Of course, she had a vague idea where he was going that night, but she chose not so ask or say anything. She sighed and took the magenta shawl that she was holding the whole night, and wrapped it around Kenshin's neck. "Bye." She mumbled. Kenshin looked a little surprised, but then smiled and rustled her hair, as if she was a little girl.

"Good night." He whispered. Kaoru watched as he quietly put on his jacket and left the apartment.

OOOOO

Tomoe lifted up the rug in front of Kenshin's apartment and frowned subtly. Kenshin was supposed to hide his spare key under the rug, but she couldn't find it anywhere. It had been awhile since she actually came over, so Kenshin might have forgotten to tell her that he had changed the location of the spare key.

She lifted up the rug and shook it, hoping that the key would magically appear. She sighed and put the rug back to the place, before looking under the small window, the mailbox, and finally gave up. She almost regretted buying some groceries for Kenshin. She simply wanted to return the books that he left at her place when he left this morning, but halfway to his place, she decided to stop at the market and re-stock his fridge. Now, she was left with thick books on one hand and heavy shopping bags on the other.

It came across to her mind that Kenshin actually had her apartment key, but she didn't have his. Not that it was his fault, she never asked for it, unlike him. Come to think of it, they never really did anything special for each other unless the other person asked for it. Even simple concepts like exchanging keys sometimes slipped their minds.

She sat and looked at the watch. Kenshin would be there soon, so she should probably wait for another ten minutes.

"Ano…"

She looked up, only to meet a curious, sapphire gaze. In front of her was a really pale girl with messy black hair and sickly face.

"Are you looking for this…?" The girl asked while taking out a key. Tomoe looked at the key, and then nodded.

"Thank you." She took the key and put it inside the keyhole, before looking at the sickly girl in front of her. She looked at her back awkwardly, as if she was trying to find the best way to explain why she had the key in the first place. At the end, she didn't say anything and just bowed politely at Tomoe.

"I'll be going then…" She said before turning around and, instead of walking away, fell on the ground. Tomoe gasped and ran towards her. She checked her temperature. The girl was slightly feverish, but it seemed that fatigue was the one that actually pushed her over the edge. She sighed and dragged the girl, made her lean on the wall, while she was opening the door. The key wouldn't budge, and she sighed. She had forgotten how the key would get stuck inside the rusty keyhole when she moved it too fast. She was rarely there at his place anyway, and he always came to her place unannounced.

"Kaoru?"

Tomoe turned around as she heard Kenshin's voice, calling a name she didn't know. Kenshin was standing not far from them, looking a little shocked by the situation. He ran towards them and examined Kaoru.

"What happened?" He asked Tomoe with a panic tone.

"Help me bring her inside?" She asked him back, ignoring his question, while opening the door, making a way for Kenshin. Kenshin dropped his backpack carelessly and lifted her up, carrying her inside the room.

Tomoe took his backpack from the floor and carried it inside, while Kenshin was already putting the girl on his bed, and covered her with a blanket. Tomoe looked around to see his place in such a mess. He was always a pretty tidy person, so this was the first time she had seen the place with so many empty beer and sake bottles, food crumbs and blankets everywhere. Only the dishes were settled in the kitchen, nice and clean. She started taking the bottles and put them into a big trash bag.

"It's unusual for you to be so messy." She commented, but Kenshin didn't reply. She turned around to see what he was doing and sighed. He was sitting beside the fainted girl and his gaze was fixated on her, as if when he looked away, she would disappear forever. Kenshin, who was always cautious about everything around him, actually didn't hear her comment earlier. Tomoe sat beside him and patted his shoulder, and Kenshin looked like he just woke up from a light sleep.

"Sorry, what did you say?" He asked with a smile.

"Your place is messy." She stated the obvious.

Kenshin sighed. "A bunch of friends came and we drank the whole night last night."

"That's why you had the alcohol breath last night."

Kenshin chuckled. "Yeah. It was uncalled for. I should have known that when Sano's bringing bottles of alcohol, the night would turn a little crazy. She was actually part of it. I think she fainted because she's too tired." He pointed at the girl.

"I see." Tomoe mumbled. "She helped me with the key." She continued, looking at Kenshin with unreadable emotions in her dark eyes, and then stood up and walked to the kitchen. Kenshin followed her.

She started boiling water while Kenshin watched everything she was doing. The silence was getting a little heavy, so Kenshin sighed and coughed.

"Did you go to the doctor?" He asked.

"Yes."

"What did she say?"

"She referred me to another specialist."

"Who? Is he any good?"

"His name is Kiyosato Akira. She said that he is the best in Japan now. I believe Yumi knows this guy too."

"Good…"

Silence again. She opened the drawer, found a can of tea leaves and a pot, and took out the ball-shaped filter inside the pot. Kenshin decided to help her by putting out three cups and put them on the counter.

"I almost thought that you picked up another sick woman." She said expressionlessly as she carefully measured the amount of tea leaves she took.

Kenshin looked at her, his amber eyes flickering. "What do you mean by that?"

Silence. She busied herself with the pots and the cups.

"The water is ready." She announced while pouring the lea leaves inside the filter and clasped the aluminum ball close.

"I don't pick up women." He said, a little too harshly than he intended to be, as he turned off the stove and took the kettle. Tomoe looked at him.

"You're annoyed at me."

OOOOO

Kaoru woke up as she heard the soft sound of the kettle from the kitchen. She was a little disoriented at first, but then she remembered what happened. She also recognized the room instantly as Kenshin's room. With a heavy headache and a sharp stabbing feeling in her stomach, she heard people talking outside. She took a peek and saw the woman she met earlier in the kitchen with Kenshin.

"You're annoyed at me."

"I never get annoyed at you." Kenshin answered calmly.

"Then kiss me."

Kenshin's amber eyes sparkled brightly, as if different kind of emotions were mixed into them. Kaoru's mind went blank as she saw him grabbed the woman's little arm and crushed her lips with his. He slammed her body on the wall, and lifted her body a little in his strong grip, before deepened the kiss, tasting her fully. She closed her eyes and gave into his tight embrace, while clutching tightly onto his long hair. It was the first time Kaoru saw him so bestial, as if he was deprived of her for a long time, and he couldn't hold back his hunger anymore.

Not knowing what to do, Kaoru hid herself under the blanket. The soft rustle caused Kenshin to stop. He looked at the opened bedroom door and saw Kaoru was still within her blanket, and then looked at Tomoe with a troubled face. She caressed his face gently.

"I'm sorry. Sometimes I can't help it. I'm a woman, after all." She whispered as she closed her eyes and hugged him, before releasing him, turned around and took the tea tray to the living room.

Kaoru had no choice but to get up after hearing the couple settled in the living room. She crawled out of the bed and sat beside them. The woman poured her some tea, and she and Kenshin looked at her, until she actually took her first sip. Kenshin smiled.

"How do you feel?"

"Dizzy and starving, but better. I haven't eaten anything since yesterday." She mumbled with a rough voice. She looked at the woman beside her and nodded politely. "I am Kamiya Kaoru, Kenshin's tutoring me in Biology. It's really nice to meet you, and thank you for taking care of me."

"Tomoe. Yukishirou Tomoe." She said briefly. "Don't worry about it." She continued with a cool, expressionless face. Kaoru gulped feeling the coldness Tomoe emitted.

"I… uh… I was here because I left my key behind and took Kenshin's instead. We were drinking the whole night and everyone was sleeping here, so Kenshin told me to lock up afterwards. Sorry about that." She explained, hoping that she would be less cold.

Tomoe looked at her as if she didn't know why Kaoru had to explain. "I see." She commented briefly. Kenshin drank his tea, while Kaoru looked away awkwardly. Tomoe stood up. "I bought groceries. Let me make you some congee." She said, and Kaoru blushed.

"Eh… N-no need to do that!" She stuttered.

"You will get sick if you don't eat anything after a night of drinking." Kenshin said.

"I promised Sano that I would eat with him!" She lied. She leaned back a little and her hand accidentally touched her key which had been lying around on the floor. She picked it up and showed it to Kenshin and Tomoe. "Look, my key! I think I should go and find Sano now… He must be waiting for me..." She continued. Kenshin stood up.

"Alright then… So, see you at the tutoring?" He asked. Kaoru nodded, thanked the couple, bid them goodbye and left. A minute later, she found herself sitting in front of Sano's door.

She couldn't get the kiss out of her brain. After all, she had never seen anything like it before.

He devoured her. Like a predator devoured its prey.

That was a love she never knew before. All of her relationships were the happy go lucky, date in the park and karaoke type. She had her kisses, but she never had a guy wanted her like Kenshin wanted Tomoe. He wanted her, and he demanded her to give herself completely to him. It was desire, passion, lust and things that she didn't really understand. She really felt like an immature kid in front of that kiss.

That woman was the kind of woman Kenshin chose from many others. She was beautiful, not even a hair out of place. They looked too good together.

Kaoru wondered about the choking feeling she had when she looked at her.

"Jou-chan?"

Kaoru looked up and saw Sano looking at her, worried. He was holding his key out and was about to open the door, but Kaoru was in the way.

Sano knows that feeling, right? She asked herself. After all, Sano had been with a lot of women, and Megumi was somewhat more experienced than her as well. They all had experience it, the feeling of craving and desiring for someone more than anything else, to the point that they became animals themselves.

If only someone could show her what that kiss really was, or what the feeling she was feeling when she saw the kiss really was, maybe she would understand love a little better.

"Jou-chan, you're being weird, you know that?" Sano asked anxiously. Kaoru looked at Sano, but the only thing she saw was the kiss that replayed over and over again. Sano sighed. "Dude, move a little. Let me open the door." He said.

"You're annoyed at me." Kaoru stated, her eyes were fixated at Sano's brown eyes.

Sano frowned. "Whaaaat… I'm not annoyed. I just asked you to move so tha-"

"Then kiss me."

Sano looked at her with his eyes almost popped out of the sockets for one good minute, and then started laughing. Kaoru seemed to have realized what she just said to Sano, and started laughing as well. It sounded ridiculous when she said it, and not at all romantic or passionate, unlike what just happened inside. They both laughed and Sano sat beside her. He grabbed Kaoru's head and gave her forehead a brotherly kiss before grinning at her widely and rustling her hair, until it was really messed up.

"See, I'm not annoyed." He said with a small chuckle. "Wanna go inside?" He offered. Kaoru shook her head.

"How about coming to my room? I bet your neighbour's going to be a little noisy right now." She said lightly with a faint smile while pointing at Kenshin's door, and Sano looked at her. His smile faded. Kaoru looked away and leaned against Sano, feeling that he had started to pity her.

She didn't even understand her own feelings, but everyone had already decided that this was some kind of love triangle tragic drama. Or maybe she was transparent to everyone but herself. Maybe she should have people telling her how to feel from now, since everyone seemed to understand her situation better than herself.

Sano inhaled, stood up, and offering his back to Kaoru. "How about a piggyback ride?" He asked with a silly grin. Kaoru smiled and giggled.

"Alriight! Run, Sano, run!" She commanded while jumping on his back.