Rurouni Kenshin Fan Fiction ❯ Maternal Expectation ❯ February ( Chapter 1 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
February, 1880
Kamiya Dojo

Kenshin saw Kaoru standing under the sakura tree. She was wearing only a white yukata and her black hair was loose, cascading in ebony torrents down her back. His heart leapt in his chest and he felt a smile play across his features as he watched her. Kaoru turned to him, smiled and held out her hand. As Kenshin walked toward her, he felt her ki, strong and spirited, as that of a kendo practitioner should be. As he approached her, he sensed a second ki, much stronger and much more spirited.

In confusion, he looked about but didn't see anyone else approaching them. Indeed the second ki was coming from inside of Kaoru! He came to her and took her hand in his own, kissing and nuzzling it. Kaoru ran her fingers through his fiery hair, her presence comforting him. Again, Kenshin felt the flash of strong ki from inside her. He went down on his knees and put his hands on her stomach. The ki flashed again and was now so strong, it knocked him over backwards.

"Oro!" Kenshin snapped awake, his heart pounding. He was amazed to see that his hands were on Kaoru's stomach and she was giving him the funniest look.

"Kenshin? Are you alright?" she asked, looking at him as if he'd gone insane.

"Aa," he said softly, pulling his hands from her stomach.

What was going on here?

The couple fell asleep again and slept through the night. In the morning, Kenshin woke up and went out to start breakfast. As the food heated up and the scent wafted into the bedroom, it brought Kaoru to wakefulness. Usually the scent of breakfast was a welcome one, but today it made Kaoru feel ill. She jumped up, threw open the door to the outside and ran to the outhouse where she disgorged the previous night's dinner.

As Kaoru emerged from the outhouse and headed back into their room, the world began spinning. As she felt her legs give out from under her, she summoned all her strength and called out for her husband.

"Kenshin?" she managed to call out as she collapsed.

Kaoru was only dimly aware of the gust of wind and the strong arms that held her, stopping her from hitting the floor. She could faintly hear her name being called. She tried to respond, but couldn't. She felt herself being moved around and laid out in the futon. She was then left alone. A few minutes later, Kaoru felt her head being propped up and warm liquid being offered. As she drank, she became more aware of things and was able to see better.

"Did I pass out?" she asked confusedly.

Kenshin nodded and helped Kaoru to sit up slowly, supporting her with his left hand on her back. As he ran his right hand through her hair, Kenshin looked at her with eyes full of worry. Kaoru's heart felt heavy, seeing the worry in her husband's eyes. She hated to be the cause of any distress for him and felt very silly for collapsing.

"How do you feel?" asked Kenshin.

"A little better. I don't know if I can stand up though," answered Kaoru.

"I'm taking you to the clinic," said Kenshin.

"I don't need to go to the clinic. I just had a dizzy spell," Kaoru responded.

"Having a dizzy spell and collapsing are not the same thing. I'm..." Kenshin's words were cut off as he again felt the powerful blast of ki from Kaoru's stomach.

Again he put his hand on her stomach and stared at it. There was something inside her, a life, an intelligence. Could it be?

"Kenshin!" said Kaoru, bopping him on the head with her fist when he didn't respond quickly enough.

"Oro?!" went Kenshin, startled at the touch.

"I really don't need to see the doctor," said Kaoru.

"Yes, you do. I need my suspicions confirmed," said Kenshin as he wrapped a heavy, wool blanket around Kaoru's shoulders, bundling her up like a baby before he lifted her into his arms.

"What suspicions?" asked Kaoru.

"That you may well be eating for two," said Kenshin as he slid the door open, stepped out into the virgin snow and took off for the Oguni Clinic at full speed.

Oguni Clinic

Kenshin sat in the waiting area while Oguni-sensei looked at Kaoru in the back room. He was 99% certain of what it was: Kaoru was carrying their child inside her! He was going to be the last thing he'd ever pictured himself being, a father. Just then, the door opened and Oguni-sensei stepped out. Kenshin rose and approached the doctor, carefully schooling his features to hide his nervousness.

"Step back in Himura-kun. Your wife has some news for you," said Oguni-sensei, as he stepped out to leave them alone.

Kenshin approached Kaoru as she emerged from behind the privacy screen, wearing the clothes he'd retrieved for her from home while Oguni-sensei was looking at her. She looked at Kenshin and smiled at him.

"You were right. I'm eating for two," she said softly.

Kenshin approached her and laid his hands on her stomach. For a few moments, he didn't dare speak.

"How far along are you?" he said in a husky voice.

"Oguni-sensei thinks I'm three months along and that the baby will come some time in late summer," said Kaoru.

Kenshin nodded, smile breaking across his face and violet eyes lighting like rising suns. He continued to worship the new life Kaoru carried within her.

That night as they lay together in bed, Kenshin reflected on his impending fatherhood and what it meant. As always, when Kenshin thought, he inevitably started to worry. Would this baby be a boy or a girl? Would he/she be healthy? Would Kaoru survive the delivery? Would he be a good or bad father? Would his child grow up loving him or hating him? Would the child grow up to be a good person or a homicidal maniac? Would he eventually have to tell the child about his past as the Hitokiri Battousai?

"Kenshin, you're worrying again," reprimanded Kaoru, sliding her hand onto his bare chest.

Kenshin snapped out of his reverie with a bit of a start and turned on his side, the light in his eyes quenched by the worrisome thoughts and his face solemn.

"What's going on in that red head of yours now?" said Kaoru. "And don't you dare say 'nothing'."

What kind of father will I be? So many things could go wrong," mourned Kenshin.

"Kenshin no baka. Only you can take something as wonderful as fatherhood and turn it into a worryfest. Stop worrying about what may be only and concentrate on what will be," reprimanded Kaoru.

"But..." started Kenshin.

"No 'buts'. I know for a fact that you are going to be a great father. You're good with Yahiko, and my other young students love you as well. Please, let's just enjoy this moment and leave the future for then. And don't forget, we're raising this child together. I'll help you and you'll help me. I think between the two of us, we'll be able to pull this off," said Kaoru, tracing her finger over the cruciform scar.

Kaoru watched as relief dawned on Kenshin's face as he realized that she was indeed right. This wasn't something he had to face alone. He and Kaoru were partners in this new venture. Each would play an equally vital role in this child's upbringing. There would undoubtedly be hardships, but they would support each other and their child through them. And of course there were their good friends such as Yahiko, Tsubame, Tae-san, Oguni-sensei, Aoshi, Misao, Megumi and Sano, where ever he might be.

"Thank you Kaoru. I won't be afraid anymore," whispered Kenshin.

The next day, Kenshin went out shopping for food, leaving Kaoru alone at the dojo. Yahiko (13) came over for his morning training. Kaoru decided to tell him the wonderful news.

"Before we start training, I have something to tell you," she said.

"What is it, Busu?" said Yahiko, anxious to get into the training hall.

Swallowing the urge to whack him with a bokken, Kaoru began.

"In about six months, the Himura family will be increased by one," said Kaoru, holding up her finger.

Yahiko thought for a second, then his eyes lit. "You mean you're..." he started.

Kaoru smiled and nodded. "You got it," she said happily.

"Way to go Kaoru. I knew you and Kenshin had it in you. I only hope the kid gets his looks," said Yahiko, shouldering his shinai and heading into the dojo.

Kaoru's hormones kicked in, tears welled in her eyes and she launched herself at Yahiko, bokken first. CRACK!!!! When Kenshin got back, he found Kaoru trying to revive Yahiko, who had a large lump sticking out of his head. He smiled and shook his head. No way a child growing up in this household would ever be normal.

The next day, winter weather hit Tokyo with a vengeance, bringing with it a great snowfall. The snow was softly and slowly falling from the sky, blanketing the earth in white. Because it was so cold, Yahiko had retreated into the dojo to do his training. He had just finished going through his katas when Kenshin entered the dojo and approached him.

"Yahiko, could I have a moment please?" he asked.

"Sure," said Yahiko, shouldering his shinai.

"You know that Kaoru is carrying our child now. The next few months are going to be a huge change for her. She will need all of our support. On that, I am asking that you behave like the man you always say you are, and show my wife the love and respect that I know you have in your heart," said Kenshin, looking the young man solemnly in the eye.

"You mean you don't want me to call her 'busu' anymore, eh?" asked Yahiko. Kenshin nodded.

"OK. No more 'busus' while she's pregnant," assented Yahiko.

Kenshin held out his little finger. "Promise between men?" he asked. Yahiko linked pinkies.

"Promise between men. You can count on me Kenshin," said Yahiko.

"Thank you," said Kenshin with a smile, giving Yahiko a pat on the shoulder.