AN: First fic in a while. Hopefully I will finish this! And people will read it… Probably rated M, but not yet. It takes place before, during and after the Jinchu arc, so some spoilers for that, however I am changing some details that may classify this as an AU.

Running and Living

Thunder rolled across the horizon over the Kamiya dojo. Humidity and heat filled the air making every breath, every move, uncomfortable with moisture. Even Kenshin- crouched before the washtub as he was wont to do- felt the discomfort. His gi clung to his clammy skin uncomfortably- even the cool breeze ruffling the copper of his hair had little help on his nerves.

It was a tense atmosphere for the ex hitokiri, electricity seemed to crackle upon his damp skin- there was something beyond the storm that was coming, something dark and dangerous.

The red head shook his head slightly- he would of course hide his anxiety behind his rurouni mask, and take care of any problem that arose with all the skill of his former life. Or…at least he would try. After Kyoto…everyone needed a break, he would be sure that none of his friends would notice anything was wrong, not even….

"Kaoru-dono! Okaerinasai!" Kenshin called out merrily as the object of his thoughts pushed open the gate. The honorific tasted bitter on his tongue, he longed to caress her name with something more sweet- Koishii flashed through his mind instantly- but he would not, of course- those thoughts were better left to the privacy of his mind.

"Kenshin!" Kaoru called back, her voice joyous, her smile reaching the sapphire jewels of her eyes easily. As she came around the yard to his position Kenshin nearly ignored the coming of Yahiko behind her, too entranced by the smile sent his way. His heart ached with want, his eyes glittered gold behind violet, until the pint sized samurai yelled his usual insult.

"Busu! Get outta the way!"

Growling lowly, and without conscious effort, Kenshin glanced down to the soapy water. His hand clenched tight around one of Kaoru's training gi's- it was harder today, with the power of the coming storm and his worry- to keep the yellow out of his eyes at the child's blindness.

'Calm down. You must calm down!' The samurai muttered in his mind, 'Yahiko means nothing bad by it. He is like her brother. He loves her, just not as you do.'

Gritting his teeth the rurouni mask slid carefully back into place even as Yahiko and Kaoru began arguing in earnest.

"Maa maa," Kenshin placated when he had control over the pitch of his voice, "Calm down now. Where are our other friends today?"

Even though Sano and Megumi had been married three months- the duo still came around the dojo nearly every day. However today, they were conspicuously absent.

Kenshin watched in hidden amazement, as Kaoru's skin turned a lovely shade of dusty rose, spreading over her cheeks and down the v of her gi.

"They are on a date." She replied almost shyly, darting her eyes over to him then quickly away. Eagerly eating up her visage with hair shaded eyes- glittering nearly gold again- Kenshin responded, "But they are married already…?"

Kaoru's gaze snapped up, much like the shortly following sound of her voice, "Married couples have dates too Kenshin! Marriage is really just a continuation of courtship, after all."

"Except for the sex," Yahiko added snidely. The color that had rose in Kaoru's cheeks deepened as she turned alarmed, embarrassed, eyes to her student.

"Yahiko! Watch your mouth!"

"Why? It's true! You know they are off having sex." Yahiko replied easily.

Kaoru's face turned nearly purple with embarrassment, which Yahiko noticed expertly, his smile turning mischievous and evil.

"Hot sweaty passionate sex. All night long." He grinned and Kenshin was vaguely amazed at the boys crass. It was obvious that Kaoru was also abashed, and he moved to interfere, but Kaoru, red face and all, beat him to the punch. The duo instantly started racing around the yard, Kaoru bokken in hand, Yahiko yelling out insults and taunts.

Kenshin settled from his half risen position back to the tub, but was still disturbed in mind. He was ashamed, and more than a bit embarrassed, to admit that the boys words, with Kaoru so shy and lovely at his side had sent his mind into overdrive.

Hi eyes were dangerously glowing coals- burning with gold fire- he tilted his head further to the wash as his mind wandered restlessly.

After Tomoe, he had never intended, never dreamed to love, or even feel desire for another woman ever again. Even after the pain of her death had numbed slightly, the thought of touching a woman with his blood soaked hands instantly killed any and all libido he had.

That was, until Kaoru.

He had to admit, to himself only, that in that first moment on that night nearly a year and a half ago, the rurouni had thought the ghost of Tomoe had returned to exact her revenge upon his soul.

But then, the glitter on sapphire distracted him- even from her call of Hitokiri Battousai that fell from her lips.

And the next moment she was before him, so different from Tomoe that only a cruel fool would compare them. Cream colored skin, stretched delicately over sword formed muscles, hair so black it was almost blue, and lips the color of young peaches.

Kenshin was ashamed, as he came to know Kaoru and her fire, her love of life, her strength, that he had ever compared the loveliness of her to Tomoe. While he loved his wife, and her memory would stay with him always, Kaoru was another being entirely, different, amazing- a goddess sent down to earth to redeem him. Never again did a comparison between the two most important women in his life cross his mind.

However, after the initial amazement, there came the demon of lust. As a rurouni he had nearly forgotten the potent power that had- in many ways- been the reason that his eyes had remained yellow during the Bakamatsu. He pushed it back, he pushed it down, and he locked it in a tight box with the rest of his 'Battousai' passions, intending to leave it there, as he intended to leave the dojo.

But he did not leave- and every day with the lovely Shihandai caused feelings in his heart to grow- he came to love her.

And with that love, the reigns slipped ever so slightly on his control, heat washed through his body at her loveliness, at the shine of her eyes, the cute wrinkle of her brow. Now, having loved her for so long, early every move she made caused Kenshin's blood to boil.

Instantly he was lifted from his thoughts as Kaoru's face appeared very close to his. A frown on her lovely face Kaoru's delicate soft hand swept gently across his brow pushing back crimson bangs to touch the heated skin of his forehead. Instantly Kenshin's hand caught hers in reflex- eyes he knew were gold met her dark pools of ocean.

Dun dun dun! I….am….BACK! Not that anyone noticed . but..this little plot bunny popped into my head as I was re-reading lovely KK fanfics. I just had to write it down. Hopefully someone likes it. ^-^ Review if you please?