Rurouni Kenshin was created by Watsuki Nobuhiro, all rights reserved to Shueisha JUMP, Sony, & Anime Works.
Fanfics Notes: The storm continues! Gomen if I took a while to put this up, I've had a lot of school work to finish. It's been raining here in Seattle all the while. Great inspiration if you ask me. Sa, I hope you enjoy this installment! Jill 10/31/00

Part 3: Nightmares

The promise I made with you
not to cry over your memories
I am afraid I won't keep it.

Even your harsh words you didn't intend to say
Can't make me forget about you
I know (I know)
That you always come next to me and fall asleep

Megumi walked back into the house, drying her eyes and shaking the umbrella. Inside Kenshin’s room, Yahiko was examining the Battousai from a careful distance, his bokken at hand. “H-how did this happen?”

“I’m thinking that it’s because of the combination of the sake, the cold, and his unsettled thoughts.” she replied, going over to the somewhat frightened boy, “Ken-san is so confused right now, he allowed the Battousai within him to take over. An easy way out from dealing with reality, I presume.”

“So what should we do?” Yahiko stammered, “Usually, when he turns like this, it’s Kaoru who gets him out.”

“We have no choice.” Megumi sighed, picking up the empty bottle of wine. She walked towards the angry-looking hitokiri, “Ano… Battousai-san, would you like some more sake?” He nodded, eying her up and down, then licking his lips. Megumi scowled. “Fine then, but first…” She then slammed the bottle on his head, shattering it, the hitokiri falling face flat onto the floor. “Gomen, Ken-san.” she said quietly as Yahiko came running to her side. “Yahiko-kun, help me clean up all this glass.”

“Okay…” he uttered, looking at the mess. “Uh, Megumi…” From the doorway, she stopped and turned to him, “Is this because Kaoru said she didn’t want to marry him?”


Yahiko stared down at Kenshin. “He shouldn’t have kissed you. This is his own fault!”

She agreed quietly and bent down to pick up the spilt groceries on the floor, “Come on, let’s get this finished, then I’ll cook dinner.” He nodded slowly and went to help.

Everything had happened so quickly. Both Kaoru and Sanosuke had disappeared into the reckless storm outside. Megumi wasn’t sure on what to do. The way that Sanosuke had reacted nearly broke her heart. He was holding her part to blame for something she had no control over. At least she resisted. At least she let him know that he was the only one for her.

But it was as if he didn’t even hear her. ‘Being a doctor shows your feelings for Kenshin.’ She had said that… a long time ago. It wasn’t like that anymore. “The only person I want to be with is Sanosuke.” she uttered to herself in the kitchen as she chopped up some vegetables, “Perhaps it was him all along…”

She remembered the first time they met, how she ran into the gambling hall and, without a thought, Sanosuke saved her from her assaulters. Then later, it was Sanosuke who stopped her from killing herself, holding back the knife with his hand, not caring about the pain. But that look he gave her before he left just now was full of pain. Megumi lowered her head and closed her eyes, not wanting to think about it.

* * *
Kaoru stopped running by the time she reached the riverbank, her body tired and completely soaked. As she caught her breath, she felt someone was behind her. Turning around, she wiped away the water in her eyes to see a tall man with long black hair and an eye patch. “It’s you…”

“Yes, what a pleasure to see you again, Kamiya Kaoru.” the man said, walking over with an umbrella, “It’s been what… about three years since our last meeting. Do you know why I’m here in Tokyo?”

“Hai.” she uttered, “But I don’t know why you are here now.”

“Just wanted to give you a message…” he replied, “I know you’re still not holding up to your end of the bargain. And I know you’re in no condition to handle this. I’ve sent some of my men to check out your so-called allies, and let me tell you, even though they are strong, they won’t be able to stop me. I am a man of my word.”

“I’m sure you are.” she replied bluntly, “Is that everything you wanted to say?”

“No, not everything.” he noted, “You’ve still got time. All you have to do is what you’ve been told.”

“I have no intention of doing that!” she angrily exclaimed.

“You are a stubborn woman, Kamiya-san.” he said rather annoyed, “Just give your father rest! You know he’s probably rolling in his grave, wondering why he has such an impertinent daughter!”

“Otou-san…” she uttered clenching her fists, “Don’t you dare talk about him! You have no right!”

The man suddenly slapped her across the face. She rubbed her cheek and lifted her eyes. “You don’t either.”

“YAMERO!!!” Sanosuke suddenly appeared and attacked the man, the umbrella dropping to the ground. “Who the hell are you?!” he snarled, throwing a punch, which connected. The man wasn’t even fazed. He merely stepped back and picked up his umbrella. “I won’t let you get away with this!” Sanosuke growled, going towards him for a second round.

Kaoru stepped in the way. “Don’t. Just let him go.” she replied. He stared at her then at the stranger, who had already started to leave. She sighed and turned towards the river. “Time is running out… and I can’t handle this on my own… I have no choice…”

“What the hell are you talking about?!” Sanosuke exclaimed, “Who the hell was that bastard?! What the hell is going on?!” Suddenly, Kaoru collapsed, her exhausted form crumbling to the ground. Sanosuke rushed over and caught her with one arm, his face stunned. “Jou-chan…”

* * *
As Yahiko set the table, he heard a noise outside and decided to check it out. There was a cop waiting in rain gear. “Is Kaoru-chan home?”

“Are you a friend of hers?” Yahiko asked, looking at the katana at his side.

A voice interrupted, “Kuma-dono.” Both of them lifted their heads to see Kenshin standing in the doorway, his hair tied back, his eyes warm and violet, his head extremely sore. “Why do you need to see Kaoru?”

“It’s important… I need to talk to her. She’s not here?”

Kenshin shook his head, rather regretfully. His memory of what happened was strong in his mind. He couldn’t believe that he had done such a thing. He couldn’t believe that look on her face. ‘Kaoru…’ He had just gotten up and was going out to look for her, when he heard the cop’s voice. There was something he had to know. “Kuma-dono, why are you back in Tokyo?”

Kuma stared at him. “I was transferred here…” he started, then stopped. He finally finished, “On a special mission.”

“Does it involve Kaoru?” Kenshin asked. Kuma nodded. Yahiko looked back and forth trying to figure out what was going on. “Sou de gozaru ka. That’s why you and Hachi-dono have been sneaking around the dojo.” Kenshin uttered, “Is she in any sort of danger?”

“Yes.” Kuma replied, “But I really shouldn’t…”

“If it involves her life, I have to know!” Kenshin exclaimed, “So I can go find her and protect her from whatever danger this is!”

The cop stared towards the emotional rurouni. “She’ll be fine for the meantime, so don’t worry. It’s not time yet to worry. It won’t do to run all over town looking for her either… Kaoru-chan has no other place to return to. She’ll be back safely.”

Kenshin was stricken by the thought of just staying here and doing nothing but waiting. Yahiko stared at him, watching his face fill with disbelief and worry. “Daijoubu, Kenshin.” he said, “Kaoru’s one tough girl. She’ll be okay.”

Kuma turned to leave, but Kenshin stopped him, “Wait, Kuma-dono, if you’re not busy, could you please tell us a bit more information?”

“I really think it should be Kaoru who talks to you about this, Himura-san. Sumimasen.” Kuma said, finally going. Kenshin sighed, and stepped backwards towards the house. He could hear Megumi calling them for dinner.

* * *
“Ken-san?” Megumi uttered as she saw him enter the room with Yahiko, then sit across from her. He simply bowed his head and picked up his chopsticks. “So… you’ve all right now?”

“Hai de gozaru. Sessha is truly sorry for what happened. Please forgive me, Megumi-dono.” he said, his head still lowered. How could she forgive him? An angry look fixated on her face. “I know it was a terrible thing to do, if I could go back…”

“But you can’t.” she snapped, “And Kaoru-chan saw you. She’s probably more upset than I am.”

“I know…” he sighed, agonizingly, “I should have gone after her. But I didn’t…”

Megumi let out a deep breath and shook her head. “It’ll be all right. Kaoru-chan will forgive you, like she always does. I’m more worried about Sanosuke than that girl.”

“Sano was pretty mad.” Kenshin uttered, “Still, it’s my fault for messing up things between the two of you.”

“No…” she replied, “To say that things were perfect with Sanosuke would be a lie.” Kenshin blinked his eyes; he and Yahiko stared towards her curiously. She crossed her arms, “Really it’s none of your business.”

“Oh?” Yahiko asked, stuffing his mouth with rice, “I heard Sanosuke fussing about how you not wanting to be his woman. How you’re doing everything in your power to make him miserable and feel like shit. That’s what he said…”

Megumi’s mouth had dropped open. She couldn’t believe that was what he was thinking. She would have never guessed. “Sanosuke…”

Kenshin looked worriedly towards her, then to his dinner. “Daijoubu de gozaru. Sano may be a loose cannon at times, but he won’t go and do something he’ll regret. He’ll be fine once he gets it out of his system.”

She nodded quietly, going to pick up her tea. She stopped and uttered, “Like that girl…” The guys stared at her again. “Oh, it’s nothing. Just thinking out loud…” The three continued on with dinner, silence filling the room.

* * *
Sanosuke kicked the door to his apartment open. He would’ve used his hands, but they were full, an unconscious girl bundled in his arms. “Shit… where am I gonna put you?” he grumbled, kicking off his shoes and wobbling through the dark room. Finally he dropped her down onto futon, then lit a lantern. Drying his face with a towel, he shivered a bit and shut the door.

Outside, the storm had worsened. There was no way he could have made it to the dojo in one piece. Moreover, he wouldn’t have wanted to go there, anger rising within him every time Kenshin or Megumi popped into mind. But he had to bring Kaoru somewhere. He stopped to look at her with worry. She soaking wet as he was. He could feel a fever coming on, and he was sure she was in the same condition. ‘Yakuso!!’ he cursed to himself, going towards her, ‘I can’t leave her like this!’

Sanosuke started digging in a pile of clothes, trying to find something to change her into. At last, he found a yukata that he no longer used and still smelled all right. Then he snagged a roll of bandage tape. Slowly, he went over and knelt down next to her, reaching over to untie her obi.

Suddenly, a hand came flying towards his face, him flying backwards and crashing into the wall. Kaoru sat up, in her face the ‘look of death’. “Just what the hell do you think you were doing?!” she growled, fists clenched and steam coming out of her ears.

“Teme!” he muttered, rubbing his head, “I was just trying to help you!!”

“Why didn’t you take me home?! Why here of all places?!”

He got up, storming over, his face just as angry. “The dojo’s too far! And you’re so f--king heavy! Besides, why the hell would you wanna go there anyways!? After what happened?!”

“Baka,” Kaoru snapped, “I could care less about what happened there.” He stopped and stared, his face full of surprise. She went on to explain, “I know that man there wasn’t my Kenshin. Kenshin wouldn’t have done that… if not for what I did to him. I should’ve stayed and waited for an explanation, or given one myself… but I was too shocked… I had to get out of there before I did or said something I’d regret. It’s really my own fault.”

“F--k that. Don’t let him off the hook that easily! Just because you told him ‘no’ for once, doesn’t mean you stopped loving him. Battousai or not, he had no right to go betray you! He’s a back-stabbing bastard!”

“Enough! It doesn’t matter to me anymore! I’m sure Kenshin has kissed many other women besides me, and I’m sure he’s even done more. But no matter what he does or what he’s done… I will always…” Her hands clenched onto the bed sheet as she stared off into space. “Sanosuke, the only reason you’re so upset is because he kissed your Megumi-san. If it had been any other woman, I know you would have backed him up. You really don’t give a shit about me.”

Sanosuke lifted his head. “Jou-chan…” She simply turned away, all the while shivering and sniffling. He walked over and picked up the yukata and the bandage tape. “Look, you’re gonna have to deal with staying here tonight. Plus, you gotta get out of those wet clothes. Here, you can use this.” he said, giving her the yukata, “And I’m gonna have to change your bandages…”

“What?” she gasped, her face pale, “You…?”

“Your injuries are probably are wet and need to be re-treated.” he said, “Megumi would kill me if I left you unattended to. I don’t know much about medicine, but bandages I’m good with.”

“I understand.” she uttered nervously. She sat still as he knelt down and undid the knot around of her obi. As the damp fabric came loose, his hands started to tremble. “Dame,” she whispered, “I can do it myself.” Relieved, he backed away and allowed her to pull down the kimono, exposing her bare shoulders.

His face covered with sweat, Sanosuke reached over to remove the soggy bandages. The injuries underneath were red and raw. He proceeded to dry and clean the wound, then wrap fresh bandages around it, pulling the kimono down further as he worked. He momentarily closed his eyes, trying to avoid what was being revealed. Taking a deep breath, he finished on her shoulder and went to get more bandages.

“Now… your ribs…” he stammered, as she lifted her head, her face full of discomfort. “Daijoube… it’s nothing I haven’t seen.” he chuckled, trying to lighten up the scene. Timid blue eyes begged him to stop the jokes and get it over with. “Yosshi…”

Kaoru slid the kimono down further until it was down at her waist. As he worked, she focused on the wall and held her breath. She had never let Kenshin ever change her bandages, look at her no less. Shame burned within her as she felt his hands on her. “Please don’t… tell Kenshin about this…”

“Aa.” he said, finishing up and helping her into the yukata. “I won’t. The bastard doesn’t need to know I had a sneak peak at the goods.”

“Yakusoku yo?” she asked. He nodded to see her slight smile. “Arigato… for everything, Sanosuke.”

“Doitashimashite.” he said, pulling the blankets over her, “You know, you still haven’t explained to me what happened out there, by the river. Just who was that guy? Is he threatening you?” Kaoru bit her lip, not wanting to say. “Jou-chan, you can’t keep secrets like this, especially if it concerns your life…”

“His name is Yashiitomo.” she blurted out, huddling inside the blanket, “It happened a real long time ago… in fact 10 years from next week.” At that moment, the flame in the lantern flickered.

* * *
Kenshin was lying down in his room. He could hear the wind howling and the rain pounding against the roof. He rolled over and closed his eyes, only to see an image of Kaoru in his mind. ‘This is torture…’ he thought, ‘Two nights in a row without her… how can I go on like this?’

He sat up, looking towards his clock. It was already past midnight. Kaoru still hadn’t returned. The knot in his stomach tightened. Where could she be? Was she all right? Was she still upset? He couldn’t stand the idea that she was out there on her own; her thinking that he didn’t care for her anymore.

‘Dammit! Why did I do such a thing! Why did I let my fear take over!’ It was the fear, his anger at himself that allowed Battousai to surface. It had been a long time since he met his old friend, but these rapid events had spun him into an unbelievable confusion.

He got up and left his room, feeling empty, miserable without her soft embrace, her warm smile. Kaoru filled him with so much life, without her he was so lost. And now, someone was threatening her life and he couldn’t be at her side. The thought of losing her made him tremble.

‘Perhaps she knows someone is after her.’ he pondered as he walked around the house, and pulled open her door. He imagined the scenes where he would do the same, then Kaoru would sit up in her futon and give him a welcoming smile. Sighing, he stared at the empty room. ‘That would explain her strange behavior… those nightmares.’

But what bothered him most was that her nightmares didn’t seem like she was afraid, that someone had been trying to get her. He had watched her, that agonizing look in her face. Her guilt, her pleads for forgiveness. ‘What possibly could have caused this? What had she done that she felt bad about?’ Kenshin blinked his eyes. ‘Kaoru is the most forgiving person I know; surely whatever she’s done she deserves to be forgiven for it.’

It looked like Kaoru had wanted to talk to him about it, but he wouldn’t let her. He didn’t want to know, he didn’t want to start digging up the past again. But now, he couldn’t bear to be left in the dark anymore. He needed to know why: why the nightmares, why the threats, why she couldn’t be with him…

Kenshin backed away from the room, gazing out at the storm. ‘Kaoru… I need you. Where are you?’

* * *
From the corner of the room, Sanosuke watched over Kaoru as she fell asleep in the futon. ‘So, this bastard is trying to kill her…’ Wearing the oversized yukata, she had her hands tucked inside, still shivering against the cold. Sanosuke got up and put his shirt over her and the blankets. ‘Yashiitomo…’

“G…gomendesai…” Kaoru suddenly muttered in her sleep. “Onegai…!” she sobbed into the pillow. Sanosuke stepped backwards. He didn’t know what was going on. Suddenly she started thrashing, tears rolling down her face, “Dame! Dame! Onegai!”

He got kicked in the head and fell over. Sitting up, he heard more cries. “Jou-chan!!” he exclaimed, going to hold her still, “Get control of yourself!!” Her eyes flickered open. She stared up at his worried face, still shaking in his arms. “You were having a bad dream.” he noted, loosening his grip.

She nodded, the tears still falling. “It’s always the same…”

“That Yashiitomo asshole?”

“Iie… my father.” she uttered. He blinked and focused on her quiet confession. “I feel his disappointment, his unrest. I’ve gone against everything that he told me…”

“Jou-chan, what are you talking about?”

“He never wanted me to practice kenjutsu, but I wouldn’t listen. He wanted me to get married and renounce my name and my heritage, all that I learned. It was the only thing he asked me to do, his only wish for me. But I couldn’t do as he asked. I’ve done nothing but bring shame onto the Kamiya name.” She closed her eyes, leaning her forehead onto his shoulder, “Sometimes… I wonder… If I should have been born…”

Sanosuke was shocked by her words. He pushed her bangs back so he could get her to look at him. “Jou-chan, I won’t let you say such things! If it wasn’t for you… I know for sure: Kenshin would still be wandering, Yahiko would still be pick-pocking for that yakusa, and I would be doing who knows what! Since we met you, we’ve had a place to belong, something to care about! You’ve brought us all together! You’re the best thing to happen to us!”

“Sanosuke…” Kaoru stammered, not sure what to say. Only more tears and more trembling came. Strong arms held her still as she cried into his bare chest.

“Daijoube, daijoube…” he whispered, “We’re protect you… we won’t let nobody take you away from us… yakusoku yo…”

When he started to pull away, she tightened her grip on him. “No… just a bit longer… onegai…” she pleaded, seeking comfort. Confused, he remained. Silence fell as he held her tight in the dark room.

On some rainy night
You were soaking wet
At the thought of not being able to see me after the night passed
You waited for me with your exhausted body

Back to Part 2
Onto Part 4