A quick little bit of shameless fluff I have saved up for those of you who need some more of Kenshin and Kaoru. Set after the Jinchū arc of the manga! Please leave a review if you feel so inclined. I really do appreciate them :)

Standard disclaimer applies


Heartless

A warm arm curled around my lithe waist. "You should not be practicing in your condition, that you should not, Kaoru," a soft voice murmured, wrenching me out of my little instructor dream-land.

Yahiko took a step back, flinching. "Where the hell did you come from, Kenshin?!"

"Yeah!" I added indignantly, pulling back just far enough to look at him. "You're supposed to be shopping! You only left..." My voice trailed off as my face paled. Kenshin's curious expression was laced with disappointment.

"How long has this been going on?" he asked politely, a hint of passive-aggressiveness in his voice.

"For a couple weeks n-"

I threw my bokken at Yahiko, whacking him in the leg. "Don't tell him the truth, you idiot! You aren't helping!"

"So you've been indulging her in this?" Kenshin asked, letting go of me to fix his gaze on Yahiko.

"Hey!" he exclaimed, throwing his hands in the air. "She forced me into it!"

"Oh yeah right, you dumb-butt!" I hissed, crossing my arms over my chest and fixing my glare on him. "You were all too eager! Missing your old instructor, I bet. Just CAN'T get enough of me!"

"Shut up, Ugly!" Yahiko cried, resorting to the nicknames of old.

"Okay!" Kenshin interjected. "Okay. I get it. There has been a bit of a misunderstanding. "You, Yahiko," he turned to the boy in question. "You should have known better. But, I will deal with you later. For now – " he turned to me. "I would very much like to have a conversation with you. A very important one at that. Yahiko?"

"Gotcha," he saluted, turning on his heel and running for the door. "I'm as good as gone!"

"You come back here!" I cried, reaching for him. "I'm not through with you yet!" Kenshin, unfortunately, held me back, fingers firm on my shoulders. I froze, finally, as the reality of the situation finally sunk in. He had caught me in the act.

Of course, I should have known it would happen. He was still Kenshin, after all. Despite the fact that he always seemed so oblivious, I was an idiot for thinking he wouldn't notice. And, as I drew back to look at him, I couldn't help the sense of guilt that flooded my stomach.

"Kaoru," he began softly. "We talked about this."

"No," I insisted, "You were a dictator about this. Suddenly as soon as I'm pregnant, I turn into some delicate butterfly that's going to fall to pieces if someone so much as pokes me."

"That's not true." He shook his head. "I'm just – "

"You are!" I cried. "Practicing isn't going to do any harm. Dr. Gensai even said I could exercise if I wanted to!"

"Exercise," Kenshin repeated gently, taking my wrist. "Not this."

"Nope! Not what he said!" I contemplated pulling away, but I knew he wouldn't let me, so I gave up before I even tried. "You can't keep me contained like a convict anymore, Kenshin!"

I could tell he was trying very hard not to sigh impatiently. "You aren't some sort of criminal, Koishii."

"Well quit acting like I am!" I cried. "Ugh!"

"Practicing is dangerous," he insisted, attempting to pull us back on topic. "You know that as well as I do."

"Practicing with Yahiko?!" I didn't even bother to conceal my exasperated sigh. "He's seventeen now! His training at this point makes him more than able to attack without using our future child as his ultimate target. Give the boy some credit. I'm the one who taught him – I'm the one who should be insulted!"

He dropped my arm then, taking a deep breath. "Kaoru."

"I hate being all cooped up," I pouted, turning away from him.

"And going behind this one's back is the best way of solving that problem?" he asked calmly.

"It doesn't mean I don't feel guilty," I murmured. "I just can't take much more of this crap. I may almost be a mother now, but that doesn't change who I am. I still want to be who I am. Which means maintaining at least some of my swordfighting skills. How would you feel if you were never able to do the one thing you love?"

After a beat, his arms slipped around my waist again. "And is this swordfighting the only thing you love, Koishii?" he murmured, soft breath rushing against my ear.

I sighed. "Of course not," I whispered. "You, too. And maybe Yahiko. But only sometimes."

"And I you. So is it so hard to understand?" he asked softly. "That I want to protect not only my wife, but my child as well?"

I bit my lip. "Yeah," I breathed, feeling trapped in his arms. "Yeah, I get that. But you're still being cruel."

He chuckled, the sound vibrating against the skin of my neck. "And this one 'gets that' as well. But your safety comes first in this one's life, Koishii. It always shall. And losing a child would serve to add nothing to that, except more pain."

My shoulders drooped. "No more practicing," I promised quietly. "You have your wish."

"No more practicing secretly," he corrected me, and I froze.

"Wait … what?!" I exclaimed, eyes lighting up. "Do you-"

"There will be rules," Kenshin interjected. "Yahiko must know them as well. No harsh workouts. Extreme caution around your body. In addition, this one must be there every time you practice, no matter the circumstance. And, if for any reason whatsoever, Dr. Gensai says you have to stop, it ends. Immediately."

"Are you saying what I … " My voice trailed off, but the question still held.

I could feel him nod against my head, and I couldn't stop myself. Quick as lighting I turned and kissed him senseless, still caged in his arms. His lips were as warm and supple as ever, and I couldn't help but smile against them. Thrums of victory coursed through my veins, and I clung to him tightly.

"I knew there was a reason why I liked you," I murmured, when we finally pulled away for air. "You gorgeous, gorgeous man." He could only grin, pulling me in for more. Overprotective he may be, but heartless? Never in a million years.