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Kenshin was looking for Kaoru with Sano. Out of the corner of his eye, he thought he saw her slim figure move between the dojo's trees. Not wasting any time, he quickly took off after her without alerting Sano. He followed her into the woods. She as walking so fast. He wondered why she was in such a big hurry and it was getting harder and harder to keep up with her. He finally lost her when she disappeared in some dense bushes. He frantically searched for her. The thought of not knowing where she was terrified him. After she came home that day, looking like someone who was run down by a horse, he had made sure that she doesn't get out of his sight. This was not very easy because she tended to avoid him; now that's an understatement. But he at least made sure that he knew where she was. Now, he didn't know. As he searched for her, all sorts of thoughts ran through his head. Thoughts that he had tried to avoid and had kept pushed back at the bottom of his mind pushed their way through. Why did Kaoru attack me? Who hurt her and more importantly, how bad had they hurt her. The Kaoru that had attacked him was not the same Kaoru he knew. She was not the same girl that he had first met. That girl had a seemingly unbreakable spirit. Now, that spirit was broken and was replaced by anger. Kenshin knew that the anger was only a disguise to hide the pain and suffering she must have inside of her. He didn't even want to think of what could have broken her spirit like that. It was obvious that she had been physically abused but to what extent. Had she been violated intimately? His mind raged at the thought as his hand unconsciously went to the hilt of his sheathed Sakaba.

All of a sudden, he found himself at Tae's house. Tae-san? How did I get here? I was just in the woods. His questions were answered when he saw Kaoru crouched beneath one of Tae's windows. He had no idea how long she might have been there. He then watched as she got up and entered into the woods. He saw a look of panic on her face and he realized that she must have spotted him. Before she could run off again, he quickly, headed towards her and before he knew it she had run into him.




"Kenshin.." Kaoru couldn't speak. All she could do was stare at the ground. She imagined his eyes. They were like bottomless purple pools of emotions. His eyes are so honest. They always tell what he really feels . She could remember the first time she looked into his eyes. Was it a year ago? Yes, It was the first day she met him. From the first moment she saw those eyes, she became enchanted by them. He saved her from Gohei, admitted that he was the Batthow Sai, and apologized because he didn't tell her sooner. At that time, she had stared in his eyes wishing that she could do so forever. She felt drawn to them; at that time, they were apologetic and almost wistful. She could also tell that they were full of so much more. Those eyes did not belong to a killer. That was why she asked him to stay.

Then, when she thought he was going to leave, she thought ahead, wishing for something to remember him by. Something she can hold on to forever if he left. So, she asked for his name, hoping that knowing his name might make up for the fact that he was going to leave her. In her mind, she knew that there was a lot more to this Rurounin than his name but still...

"Himura Kenshin" he had said in that deep husky voice that made her heart skip a beat. She heard the door to the dojo slide shut and she had never felt more alone in her life. She let out a single, defeated sigh. Her heart then leaped when she heard him say that he was tired from his travels and then heard him say the inevitable. That he was a Rurounin and didn't know when he would have to leave again. At the time she didn't care what he said as long as he stayed. But, those were the words that had haunted her ever since. She was always afraid he would return to his life as a wanderer. They were the words that made her look all over for him when he was getting ready for his fight with Ji-neh. She had wanted to stay with him and felt so helpless when he gently implied that she would only be in the way. The problem was that he didn't know why she wanted to stay. She had solved that by handing him her ribbon and insisting that he return it himself. After he promised to do so, the relief she felt was priceless. His eyes at that time were so full of understanding.

Now however, what was in his eyes, she couldn't tell. She couldn't even bring herself to look into them. Those beautiful eyes that had meant so much to her ever since she first noticed them, were like a distant memory. It was ironic how, once, she couldn't live without them. Now, she felt that she would rather die than look into them. But now, she knew that this was it. Kenshin would not leave her unless she talks to him. It was time to face the facts. She couldn't hide the truth from him anymore. She just wondered what knowing the truth would do to him Why wonder when you already know? a voice in her head asked. don't tell him, don't tell him

"Kaoru-donno... " Kenshin didn't know how to start. He sensed Kaoru's unstable emotions. It was as if there was a battle going on in her head and he knew that this battle would decide whether he knows what happened or not. He realized that this was probably how Kaoru felt, all those times he never told her about himself. Getting a dose of your own medicine, ne? Now, Kenshin started his own battle. Maybe I shouldn't ask her what happened. What right do I have to interrogate her when she never asked me anything? All she ever demanded of me was that I come back so what gives me the right to ask her to do something that I wouldn't do?

Meanwhile, Kaoru was thinking the same thing. Kenshin never told her anything about him so why should she? Her mind however, refused that argument. Che, don't compare yourself to Kenshin! You are nothing compared to him so just tell him the truth!

"Kenshin, I ..., I can't talk to you right know." Kaoru started running further into the woods when his arm encircled her waist and swiftly spun her to him. Once getting her attention, he quickly removed his arm, not intending to make any more contact than he needed to. He lifted a hand to her chin and gently raised to make her look at him but he didn't expect to see her eyes shut tightly trying to block the tears that forced their way out. He was even more surprised when he saw her clutching her ribs in pain.

"Kaoru-donno! He cried in alarm when he realized that as gentle as he was, he had hurt her because he had made contact with an injury he didn't know was there.

"Kenshin, please leave me alone", she begged, her voice thick with pain. She pushed him back weakly with an arm and slowly straightened up from her hunched up position. She turned to leave and as she did, he thought she glanced at his eyes and winced as if seeing them brought pain, but it was so quick, he wasn't sure if it happened at all.

AUTHORS NOTE: for those of you wondering, yes I am feeling very pleased with myself (think evil laugh). I seem to remember hearing a saying that we always torture those we love and keep in mind that I love Kenshin and Kaoru very much. So expect a lot of torture coming up. But, at least you won't be left ignorant to Kaoru's secret for long, I can promise that (wish I could say the same to the Kenshingumi....) Anyway, hope you enjoyed it. Comments, criticism(CONSTRUCTIVE CRITISIZM) and death threats are welcomed with open arms as usual. Sayonara!

More? chapter four

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