Early one morning Kenshin was already up preparing the things he needed to do the laundry. As he looked up into the graying clouds he knew that rain was heading into their direction.
"Maybe I can wash one load of laundry before it starts to rain," he thought.
But before he could put the first piece of laundry into the water, he felt raindrops. With a heavy sigh, he gathered his things and moved in doors.
"I guess the laundry will have to wait until tomorrow. I better get breakfast ready. I'm sure Kaoru-dono and Yahiko will be hungry when they get up."
"Hey Kenshin, no breakfast for me this morning," huffed Yahiko as he rushed through the house.
"Where are you going Yahiko?"
"I promised Tae-dono that I would fix that leaky roof at the Akabeko. I have to get there before it starts raining any harder. See you later."
Kenshin smiled inwardly.
"Well at least I don't have to hide the extra portion of food for Kaoru-dono. With Sano off somewhere gambling and Yahiko at the Akabeko, Kaoru-dono and I will have a nice quite…."
"Ohayou gozaimasu Kaoru-dono."
"I don't have time for breakfast this morning, I have a class to teach across town. I'll be back by dinner time."
She was gone.
"Oro. Sessha is beginning not to like rainy days."
Fifteen minutes later, as Kenshin sat on the front porch, he saw Kaoru running back to the house. Naturally, he became concerned.
"Kaoru-dono, are you all right," he asked while carefully scanning the surrounding area.
"Yes I'm fine Kenshin," she sighed. "Because of all the rain we're getting, they closed the bridge off to the other side of town. So I came back home."
"Allow me to prepare a hot bath for you while you change out of those wet things."
"Thanks Kenshin. I could really use a nice hot bath…."
Before she could say another word, a loud rumbling sound was heard coming from her stomach. Kaoru blushed slightly and put her hand over her stomach.
"Sessha will prepare something to eat while Kaoru-dono takes her bath."
Kaoru nodded in agreement and quickly ran inside the house to get her things. As Kenshin heated up the bath water he smiled to himself.
"Sessha is beginning to like rainy days, that he does."
Two hours later, after their meal, Kenshin and Kaoru were sitting out on the front porch watching the rain fall.
"Mou! Why does it have to rain all day? I had so many things planned for today."
"The rain has its purpose for the earth. When it rains, it waters the grass and…"
"Kenshin no baka!"
"Don't sit there lecturing me on what the rain can do for the earth! I already know that! I'm upset because I was prepared to teach today. It's too bad that little brat isn't here. I would spar with him. Now I have nothing to do. My whole day is ruined."
She plopped her face within her hands and pretended to cry out loud. Kenshin took this as the perfect opportunity to sneak away.
"Hold it right there Kenshin Himura," she said while yanking him back by the ponytail forcing him to sit next to her.
"Sessha still has many chores to do," replied a swirly-eyed rurouni."
"The chores can wait."
"What would Kaoru-dono like Sessha to do?"
"Well since Yahiko isn't here today, I thought maybe you could fill in for him and spar with me," she replied in a sweet tone.
Kenshin sat froze.
"Spar with her? I could never spar with her."
Kaoru was wondering why Kenshin didn't respond.
"Why is he just sitting there like that? You'd think I just proposed to him or something. Though that isn't a bad idea. Ohohohoho. Oh, my I'm beginning to sound like that slimy woman. Good thing she is in Aizu this week otherwise she would be all over Kenshin right now. Hey, Kenshin's standing up."
Kenshin slowly rose to his feet. Kaoru looked up at him puzzled.
"Gomen Kaoru-dono. Sessha cannot spar with you. If Kaoru-dono does not need sessha for anything else, sessha will be in his room."
"Hey Kenshin wait. It's not like we're going to use real swords anything? I just need someone to train with… and…. Kenshin?…. Kenshin!!"
Kenshin never turned around. He continued on into the house.
Kaoru sat motionless.
"I can't believe he walked away from me like that. All I wanted him to do is spar with me. Why won't he spar with me? Hmm… maybe he thinks I'm not good enough to spar with. Argh!! I'll show him!!"
Kaoru got up and marched inside the house to Kenshin's room. She stood outside of his shoji and called out,
"I know you're in there Kenshin. You can't hide from me."
Kenshin still remained silent.
"You think just because I'm a girl that you can't spar with me? I'll prove to you that I'm good enough to spar with. From this point on, we're enemies Kenshin Himura. We won't become friends again until after I have captured you. Then you will have to spar with me because I will have proven my worth as your opponent."
With that said, she stormed away from his shoji down to her room.
Kenshin breathed a sigh of relief but knew the battle had just begun.
"Why does she have to be so stubborn? Oro… This is going to be a long day."
Later that afternoon, as Kenshin was in the kitchen preparing lunch, he sensed a presence behind him. He continued calmly cutting up the vegetables when suddenly,
Kenshin whirled around in time wrapping Kaoru into his arms. Kaoru blushed crimson in color at their closeness. She was staring right into Kenshin's face. As she gazed into his deep violet eyes, her heart began to pound faster and her knees started to buckle. Kenshin smiled as he held on to his precious "enemy".
"Get a grip Kaoru. This is war!"
Kaoru grinned widely as she remembered her weapon. She cleared her throat and said,
"Okay, you may be fast, but I still have the advantage. I have a dangerous weapon pointed in your face."
Kenshin smiled as he looked down at the "dangerous weapon" she had pointed in his face.
"This is the first time that sessha has been attacked with a turnip."
Kaoru's eyes widened, "What? A turnip? I didn't have a turnip in my hand. Where's my…."
Kenshin reached behind her and produced a shiny object.
"Were you looking for this?"
"My dagger…. How did you…."
Kenshin release his hold on her, leaving Kaoru standing in the middle of the kitchen trying to figure out what went wrong, Kenshin smiled as he continued preparing lunch. Without turning around he asked,
"Does this mean we are still enemies?"
Kenshin set the table for two. Kaoru looked on in puzzlement.
"Kenshin, what are you doing? I said we're still enemies."
He flashed his famous rurouni smile at her and said, "Enemies have to eat too do they not?"
"Well I suppose so."
Kaoru blushed slightly upon seeing him motion for her to sit next to him.
"It's just a meal Kenshin," she said as she sat next to him. "So don't think we're back to being friends again."
"Why would sessha think that Kaoru-dono? Care for a rice ball?"
"Yes, thank you. The next time won't be as easy as this time. This was like a trial run, you know, something to gauge my opponent's strengths and weaknesses."
"So did you find anything Kaoru-dono? More tea?"
"Not yet and yes I would love some more tea."
Kenshin smiled while pouring her a cup of tea.
"Here you are Kaoru-dono."
"Thank you Kenshin… Uhm, Kenshin."
"How did you switch my dagger with the turnip?"
"Are we still enemies?"
"Then sessha cannot tell you. Sessha only reveal secrets to his friends. Would you care for more miso soup Kaoru-dono?"
Kaoru folded her arms and pouted, "No thank you."
Kenshin smiled inwardly.
"She's so cute when she gets angry. This game is kind of fun. I wonder what she's going to do next? Knowing Kaoru-dono, it could be anything. I had better keep my guard up."
After Kenshin finished cleaning the kitchen, he headed for his room. Once inside his room he sensed her presence. Judging from Kaoru's prior attack, he unfolded his futon and placed it in a spot so that she could have a soft landing once she entered his room
He began counting backwards,
He slid back the shoji allowing an attacking Kaoru to fly through the room, only to fall upon Kenshin's futon.
"Whew… a little bit more and she would have missed the futon."
"Are you all right Kaoru-dono?"
"Yes I'm fine." She looked around the room. "Hey, where's my…."
"Looking for this," he asked while holding up her boken.
Kaoru grew angry as she saw him standing near the door holding her boken smiling.
"Would Kaoru-dono care to stay on my futon and get some rest?"
Kaoru suddenly realized her predicament.
"Kenshin you pervert!! How could you suggest such a thing?"
"Maa, maa, sessha was not suggesting anything."
"Never mind your excuses," she said rising quickly from his futon. "Don't think this is over. I'll be back."
As she walked down the hallway, Kenshin smiled.
"Guess I had better prepare myself for the next encounter. Kaoru-dono is scarier than Udo Jineh, that she is."
Later that evening, the two were sitting down to dinner. Dinner was silent and intense.
"What is she planning? Her last two attempts failed miserably. I thought she would have given up by now. She is one determined young girl, that she is. I am enjoying this little game of hers very much. I especially like the way she felt in my arms this morning. I like that part the best. I mustn't think of her that way. I need to focus on staying alive. I just hope she doesn't plan on cooking."
Kaoru noticed Kenshin sitting calmly eating like everything was normal.
"Mou! I should have known better than to take up a challenge with Kenshin. Not only does he know when I'm attacking, he's always taking my weapons. He's really good, but he's also very stubborn. I know he will never spar with me, but I can't back down now. I'm doing this for a different reason now. I'm going to see this thing through to the end, no matter what.
Hmm… I'm really liking this challenge. Kenshin is so exciting and its fun just to have him all to myself for once. Being wrapped up in his arms this morning felt sooo nice. And I remember sensing something strange from him when he held me in his arms. It seemed as though he wanted to kiss me. I know he has feelings for me. But how deep are they? I've got to find out on my next attack. That attack will be special."
Kenshin glanced over and noticed a wicked grin growing upon Kaoru's face.
Two hours later, Kenshin felt her presence again. But this time it wasn't Kaoru's battle aura he was feeling. It was something different.
Kaoru slid Kenshin's shoji back slowly. As she entered, he was shocked by what he saw. Kaoru was dressed in a royal blue kimono with a suggestively low opening, allowing just enough cleavage, from her bound chest to show. Her white obi was tied to perfection. Kaoru's long raven hair was hanging loosely down her back. Her lips were painted an inviting ruby red.
The closer she got to him, the worst off he became. Kenshin had become intoxicated from the sweet smell of her perfume and hypnotized from her movements.
"This is going to be harder than I thought."
Kaoru smiled inwardly as she took in Kenshin's reaction.
"This is going to be easier than I thought."
They were now within inches of each other. Kaoru leaned in close to him and seductively whispered, "We are still enemies and I will show you no mercy. Prepared to be tortured."
As Kenshin was trying to keep from getting a nosebleed, that's when the red signal went up stirring the Battousai into action.
"Okay, time out! What the heck is going on around here rurouni? Who dares threaten you this time?"
Battousai took one look at Kaoru
"Kami-sama!! Have we died and gone to… to…. well forget about that. I'm in flames just looking at that hot babe over there. So I know where I'm at. Where are you rurouni?"
"I'm right here and No we are not dead and That "hot babe" over there is Kaoru-dono."
"That's our little tanuki?"
"That's Kaoru-dono de gozaru, not tanuki. You really are uncouth sometimes."
"I'm a manslayer, not Emily Post*."
"Okay, so what do we do now?"
"Sit back rurouni and let me handle her. Being tortured is my specialty. Uhm… by the way, I hope you're wearing clean loin cloth, you never know how far things will get heh, heh."
"I will not allow you to touch my precious innocent Kaoru-dono in such a manner."
"She doesn't look so innocent to me dress like that. Heh! Heh!"
"Why you, no good....
Seeing that Kenshin was completely unguarded, she pushed him down on his futon and quickly tied his hands with one of her hair ribbons.
Kenshin's eyes widened at Kaoru.
"Now see where your meddling got us?"
Battousai grinned wickedly. "Yeah right where I want to be."
Kaoru sat on top of Kenshin's stomach smiling.
"I did it!! I won!! I won!! I captured you!! I knew I could be a worthy opponent. Now you have to spar with me. I have rendered you totally helpless Kenshin…"
As Kaoru reveled in her momentary triumph, Battousai had thoughts of his own. He quietly slipped out of his bondage and suddenly wrapped his arms around her waist, flipping her over to where he was on top.
Kenshin was now looking into the face of a surprised Kaoru.
"You really did put up a hard fight," he huskily replied while tenderly rubbing his hand along the side of her cheek. "But you haven't won yet…. Kaoru."
"Beautiful…. Her skin, her face, everything about her is beautiful. Yes she is worth fighting for. Every time. This is my woman."
"That's enough don't go any further."
"Relax rurouni, I'll only go where she let's me."
The sound of his husky voice saying her name, without the honorific, sent chills up her spine and a deep blush to her cheeks.
"So this is Kenshin, the real Kenshin. This just gets better all the time."
"This fight is far from over. I have one more secret weapon."
"and what is that?"
"The Kiss of Death"
Before he could reply, Kaoru grabbed Kenshin's head downward kissing him tenderly on his lips. She suddenly became embarrassed of her actions and pushed away from him.
"I'm sorry Kenshin," she said while blushing deeply. "I don't know what came over me. I didn't mean to…. I shouldn't have… I..."
Kenshin covered her mouth with his locking them into deep and passionate kiss. Kaoru began feeling tingly all over. The rurouni was enjoying this too but he knew they should stop.
"Okay, you can stop now."
"Go away rurouni. I'm busy.
"Oh look, there's some dirty laundry"
"No wonder Saitoh calls you a moron."
Oh no, here comes Shishou."
Suddenly they broke off the kiss.
"Now who's the moron."
"Cheap shot, but I'm proud of you rurouni. There's hope for you yet. Now, can we do something about that pink gi."
"That's magenta de gozaru. And let's get back to Kaoru-dono."
Kaoru was now smiling happily after experiencing her first real kiss. Kenshin gazed into the deep blue pools of Kaoru's eyes while moving stray strands of hair out of her face.
"So I guess that means I win."
"We got her now, smirked Battousai."
"Don't underestimate her yet. Stay on guard."
Kaoru grinned widely. "A good opponent always knows the strength and weaknesses of his enemies. I know your strengths and I just remembered what your weakness is."
Kenshin gulped deeply while Battousai was saying, "Bring it on baby!!"
She breathed in his ear, causing a hot jolt of energy to bolt throughout his body and then whispered, "I know that you're ticklish."
Battousai sighed, "I'm out of here."
"Wait! Don't leave me! I can't stand being tickled."
"You're on your own rurouni. Call me if she wants to do something serious. Otherwise, leave me alone."
Kenshin was desperately trying to keep Kaoru from tickling him, but it was too late. She had already found his tickle spot and was tickling him.
"Ha ha ha ha ha…. No…. ha ha ha ha"
"Ha ha ha ha ha…. No…. ha ha ha ha"
"Come on Kenshin, I can do this all day. Admit it, I'm a worthy opponent and a good sparring partner."
"Hai, hai, you are a very good opponent and sparring partner."
"So I won."
"Hai Kaoru-dono, you won," he admitted while holding his aching ribs.
Kaoru sighed inwardly, "We're back to "dono" again.
"It's funny but I've never had a sparring partner outside of Shishou. When Shishou and I sparred, I always got hurt. Our training sessions were always so intense. It's the only way I know how to train. That's why I didn't want to spar with you Kaoru-dono. Sessha was afraid of hurting you. But sessha has made a promise and…"
"You don't have to spar with me Kenshin."
Kenshin arched his eyebrow at her and scratched the back of his head.
"I didn't do all this just to get you to spar with me. Well actually that's how things started out. But then everything changed."
"Sessha does not understand. Why…"
"…why did I do all this? Well, I wanted to prove to you that I could be just as worthy an opponent as some of the other people you fought. Sometimes you make me feel so useless when you ask Sano and even Yahiko to watch over me. I know I could never match the fighting skills of Sanosuke or take a lot of beatings like Yahiko use to do when he was in the Yakuzas. I may never learn to master sword skills like that of Aoshi or that crooked cop Hajime Saitoh. But I…"
Kenshin took Kaoru's hand into his and smiled, "You never have to prove anything to me Kaoru. I am the one who is unworthy of sparring with you."
"Shhh…. Kaoru let me finish."
She nodded numbly after hearing the honorific dropped again.
"Before the big battle in Kyoto, Makoto Shishio had everyone searching for me. His army, the Juppongatana, Seta Soujirou even Shinomori Aoshi. They all searched, but no one could find me until I was ready to be found. Even Mibu Wolf, Hajime Saitoh, lost track of me at times.
But yet, you were the only one who found me. Kaoru you accomplished something in which all those trained assassins could not do. You searched for me with your heart. I can always be found by you when you use your heart."
Tears were now streaming down her face.
Kenshin pulled her into a warm embrace and kissed away her tears. "Never think of yourself as being useless or not being worthy to be my opponent. You are always worthy in my eyes."
"Arigatou Kenshin," she sniffed out while still cuddled into his embrace. "I feel so much better now."
"Does this mean that we are friends again."
"Sessha is happy. Because sessha never proposed marriage to an enemy before."
Kaoru's eyes widened at his last sentence. She jerked her head back from his chest to stare up into his face.
"What? Did you just propose marriage to me?"
"Hai… Hai… But if you don't want to, sessha would be happy to be your sparring partner."
"Kenshin no baka! I'm going to get you for that."
Kaoru began tickling Kenshin
"Ha ha ha ha ha…. No…. ha ha ha ha…. Stop…..ha ha ha ha"