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"meeting in the woods"


Kaoru blinked, then looked up to see Sano's concerned face. I must have drifted off againshe scolded herself Baka Kaoru, how can you expect them to treat you the same when you have been acting like a zombie? Not to mention the fact that you avoid them like the plague She was afraid of meeting their gazes. Their eyes spoke the words that they never said. I can't look at them, it's too painful. There eyes are too warm and caring, and too full of questions.

Questions, this was the last thing she wanted, Sano was here to question her again. Kaoru let out a sigh so soft, only she could hear it. For the past three days, ever since she came home that night, they have been asking her what happened. It almost became a routine. It was Sano's turn now. She suddenly realized that he was waiting for her to acknowledge him. She began turning her head to look away when strong hands held both sides of her face.

"Don't even think about avoiding me!" Seeing that she had no way out, she lowered her head to the floor while closing her eyes.

"Jo-chan, why won't you tell us what is going on?" Sano's voice was angry but at the same time, it was pleading with her. When Kaoru didn't answer, he got up, punched the wall and left, cursing all the time.

Relieved that Sano had left, Kaoru opened her eyes, not suprised to find them brimming with tears. This had happened every time they tried to talk to her. She was always afraid that they would notice her tears. It was the same when Yahiko tried. Except that when he left, he was shouting at her from his frustration.

She clearly remembered when Kenshin tried to talk to her. She couldn't even bear the thought of breaking down in front of him. He has already had so much pain and guilt in his life and she knew that telling him would only add to it. Before he even sat down, she got up and fled to her room, barely keeping her composure. When she got there,she tried to swallow her sobs.

You are so selfish! What happened to you can never be compared to what he's been through.

Control yourself dammit! Think of Kenshin!
she would have given anything to have him hold her, the same way he did before he left for Kyoto.. but, allowing him to comfort her would mean making him worry, she would rather die than give him more to worry about. Sure, he's worried now but he would be even more so if he found out the truth. No, I'll never tell him or anyone else!


Getting Megumi was Yahiko's idea. He was trying to calm Sanosuke, and was surprised when Kenshin didn't help him, he should have heard Kenshin's "Maa,Maa's" a while ago. But no, Kenshin was just leaning against a tree, eyes shut. It was then that Yahiko decided that he had to do something. Kaoru wouldn't even look at them, forget talk with them. The fact that she wouldn't look at even Kenshin scared him. So he suggested that maybe she wasn't comfortable talking to guys and needed to talk to another woman. Sano thought it was a good idea but all Kenshin said was "I'll try anything" Yahiko exchanged a look with Sano. He had just realized how hard this must be on Kenshin. He looked completely devastated. That shouldn't have come as a suprise because Kenshin, as clueless as he was about women, cared for Kaoru and it showed. But, Yahiko had never seen Kenshin this concerned or depressed. So, he went and got Megumi from the clinic, filling her in on the details on the way to the dojo. When they arrived, they were suprised to find the house completely empty. Megumi was not happy.

"Is this some kind of joke, Yahiko-chan?" she demanded.

"Don't call me chan, and no it is not a joke! Do you think I would make up a story like that just for a laugh!" he yelled

Megumi immediately regretted saying that.

"Gomen, Yahiko, I just can't believe that Kaoru..

"Oi, Yahiko, foxlady, have you two seen Jo-chan!?"

Yahiko and Megumi spun around to see Sanosuke running towards them. When he reached them, he stopped to catch his breath.

"Where were you and where's Kenshin and Kaoru?" asked Megumi

"What do you mean where's Kaoru, wasn't she with you? accused Yahiko at the same time.

Sano finally stopped panting long enough to answer.

"After you left to get Megumi, Kenshin decided to check on her, but he didn't find her in her room so we look around the dojo and go to look in the Temple when we don't find her at the dojo. But

I don't see her anywhere so I ask Kenshin 'what do we do now?' only to find myself talking to a

tree and that Kenshin is nowhere in sight."

"Where could she have gone? I mean did she take a walk or did she go practice budo? OH MY GOD!

What if she went to kill hers....Ouch!, what was that for!" Yahiko cried angrily, glaring at Sano and Megumi.

Sano and Megumi were both worried enough without having to listen to Yahiko's "what ifs"

After getting him to shut up, they agreed to go look for her. Kenshin was probably doing the same thing. Telling Yahiko to stay at the dojo in case she came back, they took off.



Kaoru looked through the window of Tae's house. She saw Tae fret over Tsubame-chan.

"Can you remember anything about where you were now?" she asked worriedly.

"Honestly, Tae-san, I can't remember." Kaoru noted that Tsubame-chan's voice was lower than usual and was quivering. But, she was relieved

*It worked, Tsubame doesn't remember anything, that means that no one will find out* She looked up and uttered a prayer. She was so

happy that the younger girl didn't remember, It would be too much for her

" But Tsubame, you were lost for almost two days, how can you not remember where you went..." Tae stopped whenn she saw that her waitress's tiny shoulders were shaking as she started to cry.

"I can't remember, all I remember is that I was scared and then someone must have brought me to the restaurant because I don't remember coming here on my own..I don't remember.."

Kaoru watched as the girl threw herself in Tae's arms.

" It's okay Tsubame, we'll go see doctor Genzai, he'll know why...

Tae's voice drifted off as Kaoru moved from her hiding place and entered the woods. She had taken this shortcut before when she carried Tsubame back home. The reason she took it today was because she didn't fancy the thought of all of Tokyo seeing her battered face. The bruises had changed from black to a dark purple, and the cut on her face was nowhere close to being healed.

The goose egg was still frighteningly huge.

At least my clothes cover all the rest she thought wryly people would really scream if they saw...

Her train of thought was interrupted when she saw long, red hair move between the close knit trees. Kenshin? She squinted to get a clearer view of him when she lost him. No! I can't let him see me! She turned to run the other way as fast as she could, and bumped into...


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