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

Blood and Snow
Chapter 18

by: Yasai-chan

           Kaoru sighed and relaxed in the huge hot spring bath that was built towards the back of the house. Enishi had allowed her the luxury after she returned from her "expedition" in the woods.

           All she had really done when she got to the top was listen for the sound of water. Luckily there had been a waterfall on the far side of the cliff. She had followed the river upwards to find calmer water, and found a point where the river split in two. Some of it ran down to a small meadow in the forest, opening to a still pond. It had been beautiful.

           The pond had been filled with wildlife, bamboo lining the edges and heron wading through the waters. The forest, on further observation, almost seemed planted though. None of it really fit with the rest, although it painted a pretty picture.

           A short while after she had made herself comfortable, and eaten some of the plants that she hoped weren't toxic, she discovered that there were also animals that didn't fit in the forest. And apparently she was disturbing one's territory. She spent a good portion of the week running away from a tiger.

           She had laughed afterwards though. In a sense it had reminded her of her former, captor, recent escort, and current master. Enishi had really reversed roles over the last year. She sighed. When she had asked Enishi about the forest, he mumbles something about one of the previous syndicate leaders being eccentric and wanting to leave a legacy.

           As for Enishi… she wondered if he might be using her for his own revenge on Kenshin. It was a distinct possibility, but it didn't seem likely somehow. Enishi was vastly better than her at fighting and from the short fight between him and Kenshin, likely even better than Kenshin.

           She had no clue how she was going to get her "Revenge" if she could even call it that. It had been the spur of the moment, and she had been angry. As of now she had calmed down greatly. It was likely the interlude in the forest. She still wanted his death, she told herself gripping her fist, her other hand rising to brush the scar. Hell, he had told her he would always protect her. He had acted like he cared about her and they had been close!! She had even considered spending the rest of her years with him, despite the fact he was almost twice her age.

           But she hated hypocrites. And she had never before considered him going against what he professed for nearly a year of constant threats. She looked down at the ripples in the water around her. Maybe that had been the only thing she had liked about him before, his ideals… She didn't want it to be any other thing. She didn't want to admit that she really had loved him.

           The Kenshin she had loved was gone, and there was no one left to protect her from herself.

           Enishi lounged on a chair in the "recreational" room, as the former leader had called it, gnawing slightly on the end of his calligraphy brush. He had the same habit as a child, and it was obviously an enduring one. He only did it when there was something on his mind other than what he was doing…

           Needless to say Kaoru was floating about there. Like she was likely floating about the hot spring bath upstairs. A portion of his mind wished to go up and join her. He blushed at his own thoughts. He had never bothered with the company of women, he never had the time nor desire. He coughed nervously into the empty room, going back to writing the message he needed to send.

           An hour passed with him getting nowhere fast. He finally put his brush down with a clink and stood up. He walked down the meandering hallways towards the hot spring in the back. He kept telling himself that it was because she had been in there over two hours, but he knew well from his sister that women enjoyed spending long amounts of time in hot springs. He disregarded it, sticking to his excuse; afraid of any other reason he might be going there.

           He arrived at the door to the spring and rapped politely on it. There was no response from inside. He knocked a little louder

           "Kaoru?" he asked into the door. "You okay in there?" No response. He waited a few minutes before knocking again. Still no one answered.

           His heart skipped a beat as he put his hand on the handle and afterwards it continued, speeding up a bit in the process. He was acting like a juvenile boy, just passing puberty. He had missed that part of his childhood, his mind countered.

           He closed his eyes and swallowed. It's not like he hadn't seen her before. He had dressed her in the robe that first day. His thoughts went silent as if waiting for him to admit something. Ok he hadn't looked, he continued, as soon as he had gotten the top off to see a portion of the swell of her chest, he had panicked and looked away for the rest of the task, avoiding touching her as much as possible.

           It had been an embarrassing moment for him, and he didn't like to think about it. Just as he disliked emotions. He froze as he realized he had already opened the door sometime during his mental debate. It's too late now. His breath caught.

           She was asleep in the spring. He sighed, relieved. He didn't know what he'd have done otherwise. He shouldn't have gotten out of the chair in the first place. He walked over to the spring, walking into the water, his clothes still on. He didn't dare remove them, afraid of any consequences.

           He leaned over and picked her up in his arms, walking out of the spring with his pants soaked up to mid thigh. He fumbled her into a bathrobe, not bothering to dry her off and grabbed a towel, wrapping it around her soaking hair with ease. At least he could do something with ease, he thought carrying her up the stairs to her room

           How did he always manage to get into these situations, he wondered, stepping up the last stair and walking down the corridor, finally walking into her room and placing her on her bed. And then the already bad enough situation got worse. She opened her eyes.

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Disclaimer: Site created by the ExK no Tenshi-tachi. Enishi, Kaoru & other Rurouni Kenshin characters belong to Watsuki Nobuhiro-sensei, Sony, and Shonen Jump. The rest are products of the webdominatrices' imagination. Please don't sue us. We're very poor.