Disclaimer: I do not own Rurouni Kenshin or any of the characters. All rights go to Nobuhiro Watsuki.
Kaoru frowned, she was sick and tired of being alone all the time. Sure she was surrounded by her dearest friends, socially she was fine, and instead, it was her heart that ached. It seemed as though everyone around her had found their special someone and she was left in the dust.
She had always assumed that one day Kenshin would come around and profess his feelings to her, but that had yet to happen. She had grown weary of pining for him and getting nothing in return. She was a grown woman now! She had needs and they certainly were not being fulfilled. She wanted someone that she could feel safe and loved by.
"Kaoru! Hey ugly!"
Kaoru turned around to see Yahiko waving his arms.
"We're going for beef stew at the Akabeko tonight! So get ready!"
She smiled, "Okay, I will."
"Sheesh, she didn't even yell at me for calling her ugly, which always gets her. I wonder what's up with her; she's been acting weird lately," Yahiko mumbled to himself as he walked away.
Kaoru entered her room and slid the shoji shut. She sighed and started brushing her hair.
'Kenshin has put me off for too long… my feelings for him are fading.'
Kaoru walked slowly, lagging behind the group as they weaved through the people in the streets of Tokyo.
"Miss Kaoru, is everything okay? You seem quite sullen, that you do."
She blinked, and turned slightly to see that Kenshin had dropped back and was walking beside her with a friendly expression.
"Oh nothing, I just have a lot on my mind Kenshin… I'm sure you're familiar with that."
The wanderer smiled in understanding, "If you ever need to talk, I'm here to listen."
The group arrived at the Akabeko and was seated quickly by Tae. When the beef stew arrived, Sanosuke and Yahiko plunged into the meal voraciously. Kenshin laughed nervously at their manners, expecting Kaoru to erupt in anger.
She blinked, her thoughts broken, and turned to Kenshin, "Did you say something?"
"Miss Kaoru you've hardly even touched your food. Are you sure there isn't anything you'd like to talk about?" Kenshin asked with suspecting eyes.
Kaoru shook her head, "I'm fine, really."
Dinner wore on, and Kaoru began to feel faint. She had started by fanning herself with her hand, and graduated to dipping the tips of her fingers in her drink and rubbing it on the back of her neck.
"I think I need to step out for a moment," she suddenly said, standing.
Kenshin looked up and began to stand, but was stopped, "No, you stay here, I'll be right back," Kaoru said quickly.
Outside it was cool, and Kaoru sighed as a nice breeze hit her.
"The Battousai let you out of his sight? I'm surprised."
Kaoru jumped at the silky deep voice that hit her ear drums and she turned hesitantly.
"Good evening, raccoon girl."
Kaoru flinched, "Why are you here, and what on earth are you doing talking to me Saitou?"
"My, my, so defensive…"
"You're a jerk!" Kaoru snarled, turning to go back inside.
"It's obvious that I'm not the only person that you apply that description to," Saitou smirked.
Kaoru stopped moving and looked at him quickly, "What on earth are you getting at?"
Saitou pulled out a cigarette and lit it. He blew out a stream of smoke and then spoke.
"You aren't too fond of the Battousai right now, are you?"
Kaoru looked taken aback, "Well!" she sputtered, "How would you ever know something like that? You wouldn't happen to be stalking me or something would you Mr. Saitou?"
He grunted, "Why would I waste my time on a scrawny raccoon girl? You're about as interesting as a rock."
Kaoru balled her fists and gritted her teeth, "JERK!" she shrieked.
Saitou shrugged, taking a drag of his cigarette with a satisfied expression.
"Those are disgusting!"
The wolf of Mibu glanced up, "You have no taste… and your opinion has no value."
"You'd better get back to your precious Battousai, he's probably concerned about where his toy wandered off to."
Kaoru's eyes became sad and she looked at the ground, "He cares that I might get hurt… but he doesn't care about me in the way that I want him to," she stopped for a moment and looked up slowly.
'Wait a minute! Why on earth am I saying this out loud? To SAITOU no less?' she thought exasperated.
"I'm not going to pity you because no man is remotely interested and you sit here feeling sorry for yourself," Saitou stated bluntly, "Quite being such a crybaby and a nuisance, it's no wonder the Battousai doesn't return your feelings, they're overbearing."
Kaoru's eyes filled with tears, "What would someone like you know about feelings like love? You're a cold callous man!"
"I was married idiot girl, though that's no longer the case…" Saitou trailed off, flicking his cigarette butt to the ground and stomping on it.
"Miss Kaoru? Are you out here?"
She turned quickly to see Kenshin peer slowly through the doorway.
"Sorry Kenshin, I didn't mean to worry you. I just wasn't feeling very well."
Kaoru's eyes widened for a moment and she turned quickly back to where Saitou had been standing, but he was gone. She looked down the dark roads but there was no sign of him.
"It's getting late, we should head back home," Kenshin said, placing a gentle hand on her shoulder.
Kaoru nodded slowly, her mind elsewhere. What on earth had prompted the famed wolf of Mibu to pay her a visit and converse with her? Her stomach turned uneasily and she looked to the ground where his flattened cigarette was still laying.