Standard Disclaimers Apply.

Author's Notes:

I usually do my author's notes on the bottom but I had to warn you… this is really angsty but don't worry… I will never make anything with a sad ending!! This will definitely be a happy ending for K/K or else you'd have to pick me up at a shrink's office after I suffer from depression from my own fic. LOL! Read on and leave me a review.

When the Purple Settles… Chapter One

It was May 14, a year after Kenshin had left her to go to Kyoto. A day she never thought she'd ever look back to with a smile. But Kenshin changed all that.

That morning, Kaoru couldn't help but feel glum. She kept a forlorn expression the whole day, insanely paranoid that Kenshin would leave her as he did a year ago. She knew Kenshin had no reason to leave but her heart couldn't stop worrying. She knew Kenshin would notice her sadness, which is why she kept herself busy doing trivial things such as repeatedly cleaning the same spot on the dojo floor for almost half an hour. However, no matter how much she tried to hide it, her feelings would not pass by unnoticed by Kenshin.

Kenshin knew what was bothering her and it had hurt him so much to see his beloved like that. After the Kyoto incident, they had never really openly talked about it. It was one of those issues both of them felt no need to reopen. Either that or they were both scared to admit their feelings.

Despite the fact that it was long over, Kenshin knew that they had to resolve it.

Later that afternoon, Kenshin mustered up all his courage and approached Kaoru. "Kaoru, will you accompany me to the river after dinner?"

Kaoru looked up and reluctantly agreed, fearing a repeat of history. A deep frown marred her pretty features as she recalled the time Kenshin said goodbye to her. Not trying to hold him back from what he wanted, she replied, her voice cracking, "Sure, Kenshin."

Dinner passed by quickly, although to the couple, it seemed like eternity. Kenshin and Kaoru were the only ones present in the dojo since Yahiko had to stay up late at the Akabeko. A thick blanket of tension plus a deafening silence surrounded them. Kaoru was caught up in painful anticipation while Kenshin was deliberating on what he wanted to say.

After clearing the table, Kenshin held out his hand to Kaoru. "Come on?"

Kaoru nodded, giving him a bittersweet smile as she laced her fingers in his. She sighed in contentment, unconsciously squeezing his hand, wanting to soothe her aching heart with his simple touch. Deep inside, she wondered how Kenshin could stir up so much deep feelings inside her. Oxymoronic feelings such as sorrowful bliss, if there was such a thing.

Subtly, Kenshin glanced at Kaoru. When he saw her unhappy and unsmiling face, he wanted to… he wanted to kick himself for always making the person he loves miserable. At that, his resolve hardened. Even if he wasn't ready for their talk, even if he didn't have the slightest clue on what to say, he knew one thing.

In times when even the most profound words aren't enough, simple gestures of love suffice.

And that was what he planned to do. To show her his love.

When they had reached their destination, Kaoru sat on the log she used to sit. She felt as if she were reliving that same memory, only this time, Kenshin didn't have to save Japan. If he were to leave her then and there, he didn't have a duty.

It was his choice.

Kenshin sat beside her and stared blankly at the river in front of them. Breaking the silence, he cleared his throat and said, "There is no fireflies tonight, ne?"

"No, fireflies," she repeated. Wanting to cut the chase, Kaoru looked deep into his eyes and asked, "Why did you bring me here? What do you want to tell me?"

He knew it was a stupid question but he asked anyway, "Do you remember what happened here exactly a year ago?"

"It's not something I would ever forget. I mean, it was a turning point of my life," she replied sadly.

"It was mine, too…"

Just then, Kaoru cut him off, "Why are you telling me all this? Are you planning to leave me again?"

Kenshin placed a finger on her mouth and whispered, "Let me finish first."

Kaoru nodded apologetically.

"It was then that I realized that I didn't want to be a rurouni anymore. That I was just pulled out of duty."

"So, what are you trying to say?"

"That I really didn't want to leave you then."

"Oh…" Kaoru looked up at him, locking her sparkling eyes with his amethyst ones. "What about now?"

"I'll never leave you, Kaoru. I'll stay as long as you want me to," he smiled, cupping her cheeks. Very slowly, he neared his lips towards hers, waiting for any sign of approval. When Kaoru had closed her eyes, Kenshin parted his lips, taking hers in his own.

Kaoru wrapped her arms around him, following his lead as she opened her virgin mouth, allowing him to teach her the art of kissing. Soon, Kaoru offered him her tongue as she caressed his in a dancing rhythm. Just then, the passion and intensity of their kiss increased as their simple and tender strokes became fierce ravishes.

Finding the need to breathe Kaoru pulled back, gazing at her beloved rurouni's eyes. Tracing his cross scar with her delicate fingers, she whispered, "I love you."

Kenshin smiled at her, sweeping her off her feet, carrying her. He whispered huskily, "Let's go back to the dojo."

Kaoru shrieked at his playfulness as she wrapped her arms around him for support.

Using his god-like speed, Kenshin ran back to the dojo. He closed the gate with his free hand as he effortlessly carried his bundle inside. With his foot, Kenshin slid the shoji door of his room close, laying a deeply flushed Kaoru on his futon. He laid down on top of Kaoru, resting his knee between her thigh as he caressed her cheeks with both his hands.

Kaoru gazed at his handsome features, lifting her hand inside his gi to caress his chest. Once again, she whispered, "I love you, Kenshin." She locked her eyes in his, waiting for a reply but it never came so she repeated it once more, "Kenshin Himura, I love you with all my heart, all my mind and all my soul."

Kenshin nodded, "I know." At that, he lowered his face for another heated kiss, trailing his fingers downwards to untie her obi.

Kaoru's heartbeat raced as his other hand claimed her breast but she made no protest. She loved Kenshin and that was all that mattered.

That time, she was determined to show him as she kissed him back with equal ardor and passion he offered.

~~~~~

Kaoru woke up in the middle of her blissful sleep upon hearing her beloved's soft whispers. She nuzzled her smooth cheek against his bare chest as she lifted her arm, wrapping them around his waist. She rested her head on her free hand, wanting to gaze at her lover's sleeping form. Kaoru smiled sincerely, brushing a stray hair from his eyes as she recalled the details of their lovemaking earlier that night.

"I love you, Kenshin." Her heart ached for him. Even if he was just beside her, her heart would ache every time she utter those four simple words. Four simple words that meant a lot but wasn't enough to show how deep her love was.

She raised up her body, resting her hand on his cheek as she slowly lowered her face to kiss him.

"Tomoe…"

Kaoru froze.

"Tomoe…" Kenshin continued to moan in his sleep.

Kaoru's eyes widened as she felt her mind spinning. Nothing seemed to register in her head. Her mouth went dry, her breathing became shallow, her heart thundered. When Kenshin had said it for the third time, that was when everything sank in.

Tomoe? He had just spent the night with her and he was dreaming of Tomoe?

Kaoru did not know what to do. Feeling her whole being in chaos, she grabbed a yukata and dragged herself out of the room in an almost drunken state. As soon as she arrived at the training hall, she fell on her knees. She stared blankly at wall and not a single tear fell.

Tomoe? She asked herself again. Just then, like a broken dam, everything flooded to her in a single and utterly painful moment. Tomoe, his wife. His only love.

At that, Kaoru broke down.

All those time, she was worrying that Kenshin would leave her. That she would be alone again as she was before. She was so worried about Kenshin's presence that she never considered what was really inside him.

What was really inside his heart?

Grief?

Guilt?

Love?

For whom?

Could it be that he loved her? That he truly and sincerely love her? She never doubted his love. After everything they had been through. After all their good and bad times… their simple and sometimes complicated moments.

After the way he made love to her that very night

She never could doubt it, until now that is.

Why was Tomoe still in his dreams? She knew and had accepted that Tomoe was an important part of his life but …was she that significant that even in their special night, she would still be the one in her beloved's mind?

Was she the one in Kenshin thoughts while they were making love?

Was she the reason why Kenshin could not even say I love you to her?

Why did Kenshin bed her in the first place?

At that moment, Kaoru could not longer take it. She curled up in a ball as she wept. She continued to cry even if her eyes were already sore and throbbing. She continued to cry because that was the only way she could let out her feelings. She continued to cry because… she felt helpless and she didn't know what else to do.

At the back of her mind, she knew Kenshin loved her. She knew it but… was the feeling really there or was it just her hopeful heart? If he did felt something, she didn't want to belittle it. No, he deserves much more than that.

Kaoru choked back a sob as she thought miserably that maybe…

… he just didn't love her the way she thought and wanted him to.

But she loved Kenshin and she was certain about that. And because of that, she didn't want to be selfish. With a new resolve, she wiped away her tears and composed herself. She kneeled down on the floor, raising her hands unconsciously to fix her hair. She nodded to herself in agreement.

She wasn't going to force him to love her as he did Tomoe. She would just be happy and contented that he was there with her and she was free to love him. Yes, she was free to love him and that was exactly what she was going to do. She was going to love him with everything she have, not expecting anything in return.

At that, she felt a part of her die…

…but that was what true love was about, right?

Taking a deep breath, Kaoru returned to Kenshin's room. She slowly slipped off her yukata as she nestled beside Kenshin. She rested her head on his chest, wrapping her arms tightly on his waist. She closed her eyes to prevent another tear to fall but her efforts were futile when a few drops streamed down Kenshin's bare chest.

Kaoru stifled a sob, embraced him tighter and whispered, "I'll love you, Kenshin with everything I have, even if..."

Author's Notes:

This is another character story I am writing. I really love Kaoru's character and I love expounding it.

Title: The title is actually a metaphor for two things, one is for this chap and the other I will explain in the next chap. Anyhoo, it is entitled "When the Purple Settles" because the purple signifies Kaoru's bruised heart. When you say the purple settles it means that the bruise is starting to heal.

Plot: I always want to explore my horizons. I had already done humor, drama, dark, and suspense so now I am doing angst. I am sick with a flu now that is why I am in a dark mood. This is a short ficcie so this issue will be resolved in the next chapter.

Style: Moreover, I am also experimenting on a writing style, I voiced out all their thoughts in third person point of view. I usually do thoughts either italicized first person only or both [italicized 1POV and 3POV]. So send me your feedbacks!

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