|Disclaimer||RK isn't mine! If it was, I'd snuggle Enishi and then force him to get together with Kaoru. ^_~|
|Author Intro||Based on the manga version of RK. It's more my version of a moment Enishi and Kaoru might've had while he held her captive.|
|Author's page ::: Post a review at FFnet ::: Main fan fic index|
::: Alt. Events
by Jen ::: 08.Sep.2003
The gardens were beautiful. She'd never seen anything so lovely. But then when you had money, she supposed this is what you could do with it. Still... it pleased her to sit here everyday, even if her thoughts were driving her mad. She hated him, and then he would do something kind. She liked him slightly, and then he would do something cruel. It was as if he were constantly striving to throw her off balance. And no matter what had happened between him and Kenshin, she couldn't understand his never-ending hatred.
Reaching out, she fingered the soft petals of a rose. Tending to the garden and weeding it was the one thing she'd requested of him. While he hadn't exactly shown it, she thought she'd confused him. But she wasn't going to explain to him that she was used to being busy and this sitting and waiting for something that would never happen was making her crazy.
"I told you he wouldn't come," a quiet voice said from behind her.
A scream remained trapped in her throat, and the only outward sign of her distress was her fingers gripping the edge of the bench so tightly she nearly scratched marks into the stone. She could not, would not give him the satisfaction.
He came into view from her periphery, staring down at her. Keeping her gaze steady, she stared ahead, raising her chin slightly. "I don't believe you."
"You continue to say this, after you've been here this long?"
"I don't care what you think. I know Kenshin will find me."
He said nothing after a moment, and then. "May I sit with you?"
"I can't stop you."
"You've only to say no, and I'll go away."
As if to test him, she turned and stared directly into his impassive face. "No."
Inclining his head, he turned his back to her and began walking. And to her own surprise, she suddenly found herself wanting him to come back. She was beginning to acknowledge her only loneliness. His servants brought her food and then left. None of them would talk with her. He himself rarely ever came into the part of his house he kept her, or the gardens.
Pathetic, Kaoru, when you'll take Yukishiro Enishi's company over being alone. But it only made her want to weep.
"Wait," she found herself saying.
To her surprise, he paused. But he didn't turn.
"I... I was just seeing if you'd do it."
"I don't lie."
Her temper rose up with a ferocity that even startled her. "How can you say that?! You tell me Kenshin won't come for me and then you have the nerve to say that? The Kenshin I know is a kind person. He wouldn't leave me here with you."
Sometime during her words, she'd risen to her feet, fists clenched. And he'd rounded on her and came back, so that he was looming above her, frowning. Fear -- sharp, painful, and humiliating -- rose up to strangle her, but she refused to look away. He couldn't know he intimidated her.
"Himura thinks you're dead. He won't come for you," he told her flatly.
The color her temper had put into her cheeks fled. "No... Thatís not true." Grasping onto the front of his clothing with her fist, she added, "It's not!"
He remained unmoved. "He hasn't come yet, has he? Since when has he failed to rescue any of his friends in the past?"
Tears were threatening and she hated them. "It's all your doing. You're a hateful man."
His eyes narrowed. "You've no understanding at all of what Kenshin is capable of. My sister is dead because of him and I have every intention of seeing him suffer as much as I have."
Dropping her arm, Kaoru looked away, whispering. "That's wrong..." But she knew. She knew he was right. When Kenshin became too close to turning into the Battousai she grew frightened of losing him to that side of himself. And she had no idea just what he would do or if he would even recognize her.
"Even you have to acknowledge it as the truth."
Whirling, she pinned him with a glare. "I have to do no such thing."
He reached out, wiping a tear from her face. "You care that much, that you are willing to overlook everything?"
Confused at his gentle touch, her words held no rancor as she nodded. "That's what caring for a person means. Everyone deserves a second chance."
She frowned. "Well... yes, I suppose everyone."
His expression was very piercing, very personal, as if he were picking her apart and piecing her back together again. She suddenly felt self-conscious and stripped of all barriers.
"You're a strong woman. You remind me of my sister." And the sudden anger in his face had her stumbling back and away from him.
The anger faded, gone as quickly as it had come. "I wouldn't harm you."
It was true he hadn't. Since she'd been here, he'd fed her, clothed her, and all but given her free reign of his house, except the area he lived in. He stayed away from her for the most part and had never lifted a hand to her. The most he'd done to bother her had been to say terrible things about Kenshin when he did see her. And even then, it was all based on his own perception, leaving her to wonder why it bothered her so much if she didn't believe him.
Closing her eyes, she acknowledged with a slow pang of dread that it was because she'd seen Kenshin lose his gentleness. She had seen what he was capable of, and the cruelness of it wasn't so different from what she had accused Enishi of. And that was something she hadn't wanted to own up to in him where she could easily accept it in Enishi.
She opened her eyes. "I know. I... suppose I could thank you for at least treating me well."
He merely nodded.
Why was it that Kenshin made her feel clumsy and unfeminine, where Enishi made her feel as if she should wrap herself up and away from his gaze? Everything about him was entirely too intense and she couldn't have ignored him even if she wanted to. Especially not now when she was forcing herself to realize that he was far less cruel than she accused him of being, or than he liked to make himself out to be.
Looking away from him, she murmured, "You aren't as cruel as you pretend to be."
"Don't speak of things you really don't understand," he corrected.
She fingered the kimono he'd given her. "This is silk, isn't it? Do you always dress your hostages in silk?"
"It means nothing."
There was something like... heat in his tone. Was she truly forcing him into displaying some emotion? The wonder of it had her throwing caution aside and looking at him. The severity of his expression made her catch her breath.
"You're not that different from Kenshin..."
"Don't compare me to him. Ever again."
She flinched, but didn't look away. "And you've given me this garden to do with what I will."
"It's just a garden."
"Why are you so determined to make me hate you?"
"Because you're supposed to!" She all but smiled at the frustration in his tone.
"Well I don't," she admitted on a sigh. And it was true, she didn't. She couldn't change his mind about Kenshin, but then she didn't have his viewpoint. She hadn't lost her sister.
"I don't understand you," he surprised her by admitting.
Kaoru did smile then. "I don't understand you either."
He further surprised her by reaching out to touch her face, tracing a finger down her jaw line. "He understands no more now than he did then."
Bemused, before she could demand to know what he was talking about, he bent his head and pressed his lips briefly to hers. The warmth was there and gone, leaving her shocked system little time to process. He said nothing to her, only turned and walked away as she sank to the bench, fingers pressed to her lips.
Her first kiss, and it was from him. Her first kiss, and it had left her wanting more.
Pressing her hands to her face, she wavered once and wept.
|Author's page ::: Post a review at FFnet ::: Main fan fic index|