Disclaimer: The characters of Rurouni Kenshin belong to someone other than me. This story was not written for sale or profit but pure enjoyment. So please read and enjoy.

I wish to thank Midori Natari Himura for writing the prologue for "Somewhere in the Middle". She has been there for me when I needed her help.



Somewhere in the Middle



Prologue



The rain was coming down in torrents, but Kaoru's father and cousin insisted on braving the storm to run out to buy a few things for them to eat.

 

Kaoru waved good-bye from the doorway, turning around to enter the house once again. But suddenly the screech of metal against metal sounded in the night as lighting flashed in the drenched sky.

 

Glass shattered as Kaoru felt her heart clench in her chest.

 

She was running, running, but it felt as if she would never reach the overturned car. Screams filled her ears. It took her a moment to realize that the sounds of agony were coming from her own throat.

 

She reached the car in seconds, but it felt like an eternity. Falling to her knees, she peered inside, shards of glass cutting into the sensitive skin of her palms. She knew instantly that her father was dead. His face was a bloodied mess, his head twisted at an odd angle.

 

Her cousin, Cho, lay crumpled in the passenger seat, seatbelt still secure across his slim chest. His legs had been crushed, entangled in the twisting metal. The car was on fire, the streaming droplets of rain doing nothing to quench the raging flames.

 

For a moment, Kaoru stared at his face, feeling indecision flood her body. If she didn't pull him out, he would surely die. Her father was dead, but her cousin could possibly be saved.

 

Closing her eyes, Kaoru leaned back, getting to her feet shakily. Turning away from the car, she ignored the pathetic whimper emitted from Cho's throat as the flames neared his body.

 

Hair plastered to her face wetly, Kaoru slowly turned walked a few steps before sinking to her knees. Seconds later, the explosion from the car seemed to rock the very earth. Kaoru slammed her eyes shut tightly, hands coming up to cover her ears.

The cold dark surrounded her as she said over and over… It's not my responsibility…it's not my responsibility…it's not my fault…IT'S NOT MY FAULT!!!

 

Kaoru sat up in bed with a scream, hand flying to her chest as she breathed in painfully.



TBC.

Thanks for reading.