Rurouni Kenshin Fan Fiction ❯ Healing Hands ❯ Day 3 ( Chapter 3 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
The first thing Kenshin became of aware of was that his head was resting on someone's lap. He felt someone's hands tenderly stroking his long hair as he slept. Kenshin opened his eyes and looked up into Kaoru's smiling face. A shy smile graced his features as he remembered last night when they'd confessed their love to each other.

"Good morning, sleepyhead," said Kaoru softly. She looked Kenshin over to see how he was. His eyes were clear and free of the pain that had clouded them for the last few days.

"Good morning, Kaoru-d..." Kenshin remembered to omit the honorific. Last night had been the happiest of his life, eventhough he had been asleep.

"You love me?" he asked, wanting to be 100% certain that he wasn't remembering some sedative-induced dream.

"You weren't supposed to hear that!" gasped Kaoru.

"Perhaps not, but I did," said Kenshin, gazing at her steadily.

Kaoru leaned down and kissed him on the lips. "Does that answer your question?" she said, stroking his bangs.

Kenshin's smile widened into a grin. "Yes," he said softly, as a beautiful smile graced his lips.

With Kaoru still cradling his head in her lap, Kenshin watched as Megumi checked him over. She'd anticipated a much longer recovery time, but this man was amazing her. She looked into Kenshin's violet eyes and noted how clear they were. Kenshin regarded her steadily as she looked him over.

"How do you feel Ken-san?" she asked as she prepared her stethoscope.

"Tired, but alright otherwise," answered Kenshin. His voice was stronger now, though still a bit raspy.

Megumi listened to Kenshin's heartbeat with her stethoscope, then checked his pulse. "Your heart and pulse seem good. If you keep healing at this pace, you'll be out of bed in one week instead of two. You're quite a man, Ken-san. I'll step out so Kaoru-chan can look after you."

"Thank you, Megumi-dono," said Kenshin.

Kenshin's bandages needed to be changed, and as he hadn't had a bath since Megumi had tended him on the ship, he was getting rather rank. After having him move from the futon to a tatami mat, Kaoru carefully removed the bandages from the healing wounds, pouring warm water when necessary to remove the noisome ones that decided to stick to his flesh. This done, Kaoru wetted a cloth and began gently sponging Kenshin's torso, being careful to keep the soapy water out of the still-healing wounds.

Kenshin blushed six shades of red as Kaoru ran the cloth over his smooth skin. His pride disliked being babied in this way, but it felt good to his body. Kaoru's hands were as light and gentle as a doctor's and the warm water felt good against his itchy skin and soothed sore, over-tired muscles. Kenshin closed his eyes and let his mind wander as Kaoru washed his upper body and arms. After she finished soaping him, Kaoru used another cloth from a second bowl of warm water to rinse away the soapy water. This done, she patted him dry.

Kaoru then went to work cleaning the wounds and putting Megumi's ointment on them before dressing them in new, clean bandages. Finished with Kenshin's torso and arms, Kaoru covered his upper body with a light blanket and went to work washing off his legs, which was easier because there were no wounds to avoid. When she finished, Kenshin moved back to the futon. Kaoru covered him up with the blanket. They stared into each other's eyes for a while. Kaoru was very happy that the pain was no longer wracking her beloved and that he didn't need to be sedated anymore. It seemed that slowly, but steadily strength was returning to his body. Kaoru took his left hand in both of hers and kissed it. Kenshin smiled up at her as he closed his eyes and let the oblivion that is sleep claim him once again.

Kaoru watched as Kenshin slept. His angelic face was tranquil and free of pain. Kaoru stroked the flame-colored locks with the soft touch that she didn't know she possessed. A small smile crept across Kenshin's face, though the eyes remained shut. Even in sleep, he knew she was there and appreciated her gentle touch. Kaoru smiled to herself. A dearer and more lovable man had never trodden the soil of Japan, she decided then and there.

As much as she enjoyed watching Kenshin sleep, Kaoru did find herself growing bored after two hours. Silently she rose and left his room, returning with some books she'd purchased, but never had the chance to read before Enishi had kidnapped her. Kaoru sat back against the wall and began reading silently.

She'd been reading for about two hours when she heard Kenshin stir to wakefulness. He stretched out to get the kinks out of his joints, then turned his head and looked up at Kaoru with that wistful expression of his. Kaoru smiled at him, causing that shy, sweet smile to spread across the ex-Rurouni's face.

"Hey you," said Kaoru softly, stroking Kenshin's hair. Kenshin's smile broadened.

"Kaoru," he said, never removing violet eyes from her face. Then he noticed the book. "Is that a new book? I don't remember it."

"Yes. I just brought these so I'd have something to do while you sleep. Watching you sleep gets a little boring after a while," teased Kaoru. Kenshin chuckled, amusement leaping into his violet eyes.

"It's a swordsman adventure book. When I was little, the boys would tell me I should read romance and not adventure stories because I was a girl. I hate romance novels because they're boring," said Kaoru. "I'd ever so much rather read a Sengoku Jidai story. Would you like me to read it to you?"

"Yes please," said Kenshin happily. Kaoru took up the book and began reading. She read the first six chapters, which were very long. Kenshin lay on his back and listened with rapt enjoyment. Presently Kaoru's throat became dry and scratchy. She tried to clear her throat, but it was starting to hurt. Kenshin reached out for the book.

"I'll read now. You don't want to lose your voice," he offered. Kaoru nodded gladly.

"Let me get a cup of water quickly. I'll be right back," said Kaoru. Kenshin nodded and she hurried out. When Kaoru came back, Kenshin started reading from chapter seven while Kaoru soothed her parched throat with water.

After Kenshin finished the chapter, Kaoru indicated that her throat felt alright. She took the book and read chapter eight. Kenshin read chapter nine. The two of them spent the rest of the evening reading aloud to each other, chapter by chapter, from Kaoru's books.

As they took turns reading, Kaoru observed Kenshin. He seemed to come alive as they read. His eyes lit up and his beautiful smile spread across his face. He laughed when they read the funny passages. It seemed like Kenshin was starting to become his old self once again.

************************************************************************ *****************************
Kaoru was walking through the dojo, searching for Kenshin. She could hear him crying out, calling for her, his voice filled with agony. Kaoru couldn't see him in the awful darkness. She called out for him several times, but was answered only by his pitiful cries. As Kaoru rounded the corner that led to the training hall, she saw the most horrifying sight she'd ever laid eyes on.

Kenshin was lying on the middle of the floor, curled up in a fetal position. He was naked with open and festering wounds as well as fresh blood covering his whole body. He was writhing around on the floor and screaming for her. She bolted over to the kenkaku and pulled him into her arms.

"Kenshin, I'm here. You're going to be alright," she assured him. How had he gotten like this? And worse, why wasn't he responding to her? Kenshin continued to thrash about and cry, his eyes a horrid mixture of violet and gold. It was as if he had no idea that she was holding him.

"Kaoru! Where are you? Please don't leave me!" Kenshin screamed, his face contorting in agony. Kaoru shook him to try and get his attention.

"I'm right here. Can't you see me?" she shouted, turning his face to look into hers. Kenshin went still and Kaoru thought maybe she was gaining some ground. As suddenly as the stillness had descended, it disappeared as Kenshin broke into new fit of struggling and sobbing.

"Kenshin! Kenshin please. I'm with you! You don't have to suffer anymore!" Kaoru cried, tears falling freely from her eyes as she held the bloody and delirious man close to her.
************************************************************************ ********************************

Kaoru awoke with a start, her heart slamming in her chest. She looked frantically around the dark room and then held still to listen. Her ears were greeted by the sound of deep, regular breathing. Kaoru turned on her side and was very much relieved to see Kenshin still on the futon next to hers. He was not writhing around on the ground. He was not covered in blood. And he was not screaming out for her. Kaoru felt her heart slowing down to a normal pace as relief washed over her.

She laid back down on her right side so she could see her Rurouni. She was very disturbed by the dream. Sure, she'd had nightmares before, but not like that. Kaoru closed her eyes and willed herself to go back to sleep, but it did no good. The normally friendly darkness of the room now seemed cold and lonely. Kaoru heard Kenshin murmur her name softly in his sleep. She wanted to be closer to him. She wanted to touch him. She needed to feel his body against hers.

Kaoru pushed the blanket off her and crawled out of her futon. Slowly she lifted Kenshin's blanket and settled herself under it, replacing it over both of them. Kaoru slowly settled down against Kenshin's warm body, pillowing her head on his left shoulder and draping her left arm across his bandaged torso.

Even in sleep, Kenshin sensed Kaoru's nearness. Kaoru felt his left arm wrap itself around her as he drew her even closer to his body. Was that a small smile she saw tugging at his lips? Kaoru closed her eyes and finally was able to find sleep next to the man she loved.