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.



A/N—This story was distracting my life wanting to be written. So now I can share this story and let it haunt someone else and leave me alone. I want to thank Midori Natari Himura for inspiring me to write this story. Without her story "Bittersweet—Only Time" I wouldn't have thought of it. (if you haven't read her story, check it out). So I tell her "thank you very much"…

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A Heart's Yearning



Sweet and Sour



The sounds of the party drifted out into the night. The laughter and songs mixed with the evening breeze. Inside the house the moving bodies danced to the songs coming from the ancient stereo.

Everyone was enjoying the night for it would be the last night that they could spend together. The graduation from high school would now send them each down a different path.

Kenshin leaned against the rail of the deck looking out into the pond that was in the back yard. He knew that his friends worried about him but he had to live his life and he was going to live it the way he wanted.

Sano was the first to approach him. "Hey, are you coming in or are you going to sit out here and mope all night?" he scolded him.

"I'll just stay out here for awhile," Kenshin said turning to face him while still leaning against the rail.

"Come on inside," Megumi said urging him inside by grabbing his arm and giving it a tug.

"No not tonight," he said gently taking her hand from his arm.

Megumi left to rejoin the celebration giving Sano a quick kiss on his cheek. Sano stayed leaning against the rail beside him.

"You will find her, you know. You two were connected," Sano said in a hushed voice.

"But what if I can't find her. What if I don't find her in this life, I don't want to live without her. She haunts my every moment, when I sleep, when I am awake. I see her everywhere I go, in everything I do, Every time I see a girl with long black hair I think that it might be her," Kenshin said turning back towards the pond holding his head in his hands.

Sano threw his hands in the air and started walking back into the house to join the party saying, "Your hopeless." At the doorway he passed Misao and said to her, "Maybe you can talk some sense into him," before walking back into the house.

"Himura?" her small voice questioned him.

"Yes, Misao, I'm fine. I just don't feel like joining the party," he said his voice soft yet stern.

"You still have time…" Misao started to say before being cut off by Kenshin.

"Misao, I'll be all right. Now don't you worry," he said leaning forward holding her arms and giving her a kiss on her forehead, "but thanks for being so concerned." He let his arms drop and started walking away.

"Where are you going?" she asked nervously biting her lower lip.

"I am going to take a walk," Kenshin said stopping with his back to her.

"Good maybe some fresh air will help brighten your mood," she laughed coming up behind him giving him a hug then bouncing back into the house to rejoin the party.

"Yeah," he said before resuming his path.



~~~The path he took was the same today as it was yesterday and will be tomorrow. The colors changed with the seasons but the trees, the rocks, the river, they all stayed the same. It was comforting to Kenshin as he walked the path. He didn't have to think just put one foot in front of the other.

When his schoolmates started finding each other, he was filled with joy at the though of finding her again. During his schooldays, each day that went by was filled with his search for her.

He would begin each day, thinking about her and end it with a dream of her. He had such high hopes of finding her. But as time went by the want became a need and the search became more intense.

He couldn't concentrate, so his grades began to fall. If it hadn't been for Tomoe, he wouldn't have been able to graduate at all. She had tutored him on endless nights at the library. She forced him to learn that he still had to survive in the world even if it was without her. And for that he would always adore her.

He was almost to the end of his path when "Thump". A bicycle hit him knocking him to the ground. The bicycle went a bit further before it crashed to the ground also.

Dazed Kenshin looked over where the bicycle fell and all he could see was long shiny black hair. I had to be her, he thought getting up and rushing over to her.

Helping the girl to her feet, he picked up her bicycle making sure that it wasn't broken.

"I'm so sorry, I wasn't watching where I was going," a female voice said looking at Kenshin with tears in her eyes.

"That's alright, I wasn't watching either," he said his hopes of finding her crushed once again.

"Did I hurt you? Are you all right?" she asked reaching out to touch his arm.

"I'm fine, but you really shouldn't be out this late," he said.

"I know but I was late and…" she said the tears falling from her eyes.

"Will you allow me to walk you home?" Kenshin asked holding her bicycle.

He walked her to her door and then politely said good night before making his way back to his chosen path.

Sitting on their log, his heart cried out for the girl that haunted him. The girl that was always just out of his reach.

Getting tired he slowly slipped off the log letting his body fall to the ground. As he lay there thinking about her, he felt 'a warmth' circulating throughout his entire body.



~~~Sano found him the next morning lying with his back against the log his arms clenched around his chest as if he was holding something precious. He gently woke him up pulling him into a standing position and walked him home.



TBC

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