When the Purple Settles…
Chapter Two: Amber Eyes
For the past few weeks after their night together, Kenshin had noted the sudden change in Kaoru's demeanor. She was more showy when it came to her affection but she had also became quiet, reserved and most importantly, she was noticeably sad. Kaoru hid her emotions well but her eyes revealed everything. It baffled Kenshin to no end but he didn't know what to do.
That incident on her most memorable night had deeply scarred and bruised Kaoru's heart but she kept true to her vow to love Kenshin. She served him well, loved him, heck, she didn't even hit him with a bokken anymore. She did her best to be a suitable and giving partner to him. In short, she gave her all for their relationship.
Yet, no matter how she had rationalized the condition to herself, she was unhappy and because of that, Kenshin, too, was unhappy. But, both of them pretended to be oblivious to the problem.
One night, Kenshin decided to take the matters in his own hands. He had to know what was bothering his beloved. He had to know why she was unhappy… what he did to make her feel that way.
Little did Kaoru know that guilt was slowly and painfully eating up Kenshin on the inside. She didn't know that the misery she tried so hard to hide was feeding the unworthiness Kenshin felt.
After eating dinner, Kenshin slipped inside Kaoru's room. There he saw her, staring blankly out of the window. He touched her hair softly, making his presence known. He kneeled down to level with her eyes and asked, "Kaoru is there anything wrong? Are you alright?"
Kaoru turned to him, feigning innocence, "Of course I am fine. Why do you ask?"
"Because you don't look fine," he pointed out, tucking her stray hair tenderly.
"I'm just tired."
Kenshin looked down and bit his lip. In a low tone, he began, "So, are you saying that you had been tired every single waking moment since we slept together?"
Kaoru's mouth opened at his sarcasm. She was about to say something in response but she decided against it. She sighed audibly, facing the evening sky once again.
"Kaoru, admit it," he said calmly, turning her shoulders as he searched her eyes. "There is something wrong. There had been ever since we—"
"No. Kenshin, I am fine," she repeated stubbornly. Forcing a smile, she cupped his cheeks, "Why wouldn't I be? I love you and that is all that matters." It hurt her so much to say that but it was true. At that moment, the only thing that mattered to her was that she loved him, even if…
"Why won't you tell me what's wrong!?" his voice surprisingly raised in utter desperation.
"Because there is nothing to tell. Nothing…"
"Then, why are you so unhappy?"
"Huh?" she looked down, not wanting to meet his intense gaze.
He tilted up her chin, motioning her to look at him as he said, "I can see it in your eyes. Why do you hide yourself from me?"
She brushed his hand away, shaking her head violently, "I don't know what you are talking about."
"Kaoru, it hurts me to see you like this," he said, near to tears, wrapping his arms around her, wanting to feel her closer. "Please," he whispered to her ear, "I beg you. Just tell me what's the matter."
"Kenshin, just kiss me." Kaoru pulled back, her eyes brimming with unshed tears. She was so confused. She didn't know what to think anymore. Everything to her seemed like a blur. All her memories with him… all her knowledge about his past… all that that they had been through… To her, everything seemed like an abstract piece of artwork. Beautiful but unintelligible. She didn't know what to do but she knew she needed him. She needed him to make everything alright. She needed his touch to reassure her. "Please… Please, just kiss me," she pleaded once again as she lowered her lips in his for a passionate kiss.
Kenshin responded ardently, pouring out all his love, frustration and grief in that moment of touch. He parted his lips, thrusting his tongue inside hers, wanting to taste her sweetness once again. Inside, he was glad she did this. He needed her to need him. He needed to show her that he was there… that he would do everything to alleviate the pain she was feeling… that he loved her.
Just then, a lone tear escaped from Kaoru's eyes. Kenshin immediately pulled back, only to see sadness imprinted on her once bright face. Slowly, he raised his hand, which trembled because of guilt and fear. Fear to touch the woman he loved most yet hurt deeply as well. Almost reluctantly, he wiped away her tears. "How could you say that you are alright when you are crying?"
"I said I am fine!" she snapped, not wanting to continue with his interrogation. Kaoru stood up, opened the door and motioned him to leave.
At that, Kenshin clenched his fists on his hakama. He took deep breaths to keep his cool, but he had enough. He came there to resolve things and to talk things over, not to be shoved away when obviously there was a problem. Gritting his teeth, he regarded her with cold amber eyes, "Dammit! Don't lie to me anymore! Tell me what's wrong!"
"You know what's wrong!?" she yelled, tears flowing freely from her eyes. She didn't even noticed that Kenshin had cursed. The pain was consuming her inside. She had to let it out, for her sake. She locked her eyes in his, preparing herself for the truth. "You… you don't really love me!" she trailed off, feeling a dagger stab her heart.
"What?" his amber eyes softened as he walked towards her. Despite the hurt that he felt with what she had just said, his overwhelming love conquered it all. He placed his hands on her shoulders and he pressed his nose on hers, "How could you say that Kaoru?"
Kaoru had regained her composure by taking deep breaths. Softly, she explained, "That night, when we made love, you were dreaming of Tomoe."
Kenshin's hands fell limp on his side. He had prepared himself to hear how deficient he was in loving, how he wasn't able to provide for her, how he wasn't able to make her happy. He anticipated all those things except for the truth behind Kaoru's pain.
"Tell me, Kenshin, why were you thinking of her when I was the one with you?"
"Is that the reason why you are mad at me?"
"No, Kenshin!" came her sudden reply. "I am not mad at you. I will never be mad at you for loving someone else but…" she faltered. Closing her eyes, she slumped her shoulders and confessed, "…it hurts. No matter how I try to fight it, it really hurts."
Kenshin raised his hands to her cheeks, pressing a soft chaste kiss on her lips.
Kaoru smiled as she continued, "Please don't get me wrong, Kenshin. I am not demanding anything from you. Not for you to love me as you did her, not anything. I just can help but hurt inside."
"Oh, Kaoru… do you think that I don't love you?"
"No, you've done so much for me to doubt you but—"
Kaoru looked deep into his amber eyes as if peering into his soul. Smiling sadly, she said, "I don't think you'll ever love me completely."
Kenshin's face fell. Her words struck him like a double edge sword. Biting his lip, he asked, "Why is that?"
"Because until now, she is the one in your mind and heart," she uttered painfully.
Kenshin looked down, unable to meet her eyes. It wasn't because what she said was true, he just couldn't bare looking at her, knowing how much hurt he gave her.
"Kenshin," she tilted up his chin as she caressed his arm. She regarded him with loving and understanding eyes as she asked, "Why can't you tell me that you love me? I think I already know the answer but I want to hear it from you."
"I don't know why," he replied honestly. "I wanted to. Believe me, I really did but it just won't come out of my mouth."
"Maybe because it contradicted what your heart is feeling?" Her voice choked on a sob. Despite the pain she felt, she did not turn away from him, facing his reply with a courageous heart.
"No. Of course not. I did love Tomoe no doubt about that, she had been an important part of me but that is all in the past." Kenshin lifted his hands to cup her cheeks, caressing them tenderly with his thumb. He breathed in her scent, staring at her intently, "You are the one I have right now and I love you."
"Do you really?"
"Yes," he nodded. Then, he took one of her hands, placing them in his chest. "Feel my heart. It is beating for you. Without you, I don't even think I would have had the will to live."
Kaoru felt as if a heavy burden had been lifted in her heart. It was just a misunderstanding caused by lack of communication. She smiled sincerely at him as she rested her head on his chest.
Sighing in relief, Kenshin wrapped his arms around her waist for a tight embrace, resting his cheek on her hair. He whispered to her ear, "It is just that… with you it is different. I feel that words are not needed. I just want to give you my everything, my mind, my body, my heart and my soul. I want to show you my love in silence. To let you feel it…" He kissed her hair gently and finished, "but I guess I failed, ne?"
"I'm sorry, Kenshin if I made you feel that way. I should have told you how I felt."
"No, I should be the one who should apologize. Forgive me for not telling you sooner." Kenshin pulled back, his eyes returning to their normal purple hue. "Kaoru?"
"Do you know what my dream was about?"
Kaoru shook her head and asked, "What?"
"I was telling Tomoe that I have found my salvation in you."
Title: The other meaning of the title is Kenshin's eyes. When the purple settles, amber surfaces. In this fic, amber doesn't symbolize Kenshin's rage but the feelings he tries to suppress or hide. When Kenshin's eyes changed hues, it meant that he wasn't holding back anymore… that he was being true to himself and to Kaoru… that he made his feelings naked. I wanted to make the explanation short, if you want me to explain further, just tell me and leave your email add.
Moreover, I also wanted to show the tender side of Battousai. With Kaoru, he could be as gentle and loving as the rurouni side of him.
School is back so I guess, I won't be updating as often as I used to but I will try to update the chaps to my other fics at least once a week. Keep the reviews coming to inspire me!! ^__^
Thank you for everyone who left an inspiring comment! I am glad you appreciated this fic.
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