The Enishi & Kaoru Project
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Affiliates: The Sheath :: The Crouching Tiger's Realm

Blood and Snow

by: Yasai-chan

           Kaoru explored the room after both Yahiko and Enishi had left, Enishi leaving through the door to the right. She had to admit, Enishi was really thorough with everything. Once again he had supplied bokens. She wondered if he would help her train again, while they were on the ship to china. She certainly wouldn't have a lack of free time. She sighed, sitting on the cushy bed. She had never even seen a bed like this until the day she was kidnapped. Or had it been the same day, she pondered briefly, it could very well have been the next. She shook her head it didn't matter either way.

           Standing up, she headed over the chest at the foot of the bed. It, like everything else in the room, was bolted down. Likely in case of storms, it wouldn't be good to be crushed by a piece of furniture sliding around. She opened the trunk, wondering what sort of clothes Enishi had in mind. She chuckled

           "I would almost feel like a dress up doll" she said aloud to herself. The sound of her voice filled the room, almost seeming to echo, and Kaoru felt a tear slip down her face at the emptiness. It was almost like things were before Kenshin had arrived. She closed the trunk and buried her face in her arms atop it. She had never told anyone how thinks were before he came. She disliked prying into peoples past, probably because she full heartedly wished to forget her own.

           It had been a long time since she last thought of it. She was alone in the dojo for years after her father had died, and although many people knew her, and she had students to fill her days, the nights were the worst. She would have preferred the company of thieves or criminals, or even to be in the midst of a chaotic war, to being alone. Many times when she was with people she was afraid she'd wake up one day and find herself surrounded by the night again, in an empty room.

           She had often wandered the dojo, over to where her father slept. It was always empty. Many nights she'd end up crawling into the small room used for bathing, because it didn't seem so empty. That's why she had so easily accepted Gohei's brother story, she just didn't want to be alone anymore. Some days she even wished her father had arranged a marriage for her. She had been so happy when Kenshin had said those words.

           "I'm a little tired from traveling…. I'll stay here for a while" She had almost cried tears of happiness. She may have been a little hard on Kenshin… but he had never taken it badly, and if she hadn't thrown herself into enthusiastic actions, she may well have remembered again. The loneliness. Because, she was afraid of being alone.

           Enishi watched her cry on the trunk at the foot of the bed. He had heard her talking to herself vaguely through the walls, and wondered if someone might in fact, be there with her. He opened the door only to see her crying. He frowned to himself. That girl was always crying. He was about to close the door when he heard her whisper to herself

           "I'm afraid of being alone" a broken sob followed and her tears still didn't stop. Enishi watched silently. His sister had been her age when she had married Kenshin. He wondered if she had shed just as many tears. Somewhere inside him, anger grew anew at Kenshin, but he quelled it for now. It wouldn't do him any good. He leaned against the doorjamb watching her cry. She was pretty when she cried. He frowned. His sister had always had that kind of silent sadness following her around after her fiancée's death. She had always looked beautiful as well. Tomoe never came to him though. He was her brother but she didn't trust him, or thought him too young to understand. He understood his sister was hurt, but it obviously hadn't been enough.

           He wondered if Kaoru knew what it was like when someone you loved wouldn't trust you with their secrets. He frowned. Love. That was an emotion he'd never loose to again. No one could possibly be as deserving as Tomoe had. People had said he had a sister complex, when he was young. It may be true, but what was the harm in that when all he wanted was her happiness. Once again he briefly wondered if his revenge on Kenshin would bring his sister happiness, but he knew he was doing this as much for himself as anything else. A part of him knew that it likely wouldn't make a difference, but if nothing else, it would quell the voices inside him, that cried out in pain.

           He made to close the door again, as his mind wandering was starting to disturb him, when he noticed she was no longer sobbing. She had fallen asleep. He strode across the room and picked her up, not knowing what drove him to do it. Something in him wanted to comfort the lost little girl he saw in her, but this was the most that he would let himself do. He set her on the bed but before he could pull his arms away she grabbed his hand. He almost jumped. He hadn't expected that. He sighed in relief as he realized she was still asleep. He wouldn't want her to see him doing this.

           What she did next really did make him freeze. She reached a hand up to his face and placed it along his cheek. He hadn't let anyone touch him like that but his sister.

           "Papa… why can't I remember your face anymore" she said, whimpering in her sleep as another tear ran from her already swollen eyes. Enishi decided then, not to jerk away from her, as he was tempted to do. He waited a few minutes and sighed in relief as her hand fell on it's own. He lifted her other hand from his and placed it to the side. She clutched at him and he frowned at her, but that hand soon fell to her side as well. He pulled the covers over her, and placed both her hands across her chest. He turned and walked away, deciding right there to ignore the whole event as if it had never happened. Yet he couldn't forget the way her soft yet callused had felt on his face.

           Yahiko paused outside Kaoru's room, almost tempted to rush back inside. He straitened his shoulders and walked forward. He would not dishonor his parents. Not when he already had so much to make up for. He hated owing people anything, but Kenshin, he owed everything to, and it would take everything he had to repay him. He finally looked about the ship. It was very occupied, and though there were a few people looking at him curiously, most were going about whatever business they had, or were on their way somewhere.

           It was hard to tell what kind of people they all were, because there was such a mix. Yahiko walked over to a pile of rope, and making sure it wasn't going to be used for anything, sat on it. He surveyed his surroundings closer. Half the people here weren't what they seemed. There was something off about it all. He finally spotted a small man surrounded by four huge bodyguards. They all looked identical except for a strange tattoo on their forehead. Yahiko was startled as one stared strait at him and grinned. What a row of teeth!! Yahiko looked away. It would be best to avoid them. He set to searching out any other people he'd need to avoid. It would be a long trip, and he needed to keep his wits about him if he was going to live through it.

           He smiled at the boy sitting on the ropes. The boy turned away. That must have been Kaoru's companion. Enishi had informed him of the girl he was bringing with him. His secondary goal was to watch her, Enishi had said, and make sure no harm came to her. But likely he wouldn't have to. Enishi needed no help doing something so simple, and besides, his first mission was soon to be over, if he was hearing things right from Heishin. As soon as he informed Enishi, he would likely be allowed to kill the short ugly little man. Heishin's plan wouldn't have worked even if Enishi didn't know about it beforehand. Heishin was a fool.

           Heishin grinned as he briefed the bodyguards on their mission. They were to go after Kaoru in her sleep, and when Enishi rushed in to save the girl, the others would come in from behind and he'd be surrounded. The plan was perfect.

           The boy sneered inside the intricate machinery that he was in. Heishin highly underestimated Enishi. He was almost tempted not to tell Enishi, and watch Enishi kill them all in less than a minute. But since the girl would be involved too, he had to tell Enishi or he would have slipped up on two missions. Enishi would have understood the amusement of the first choice not to tell him, but he would not be amused if Kaoru was in any danger. He needed the girl for something.

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