Blanket Scenario
Kenshin and Kaoru

Standard disclaimers apply…In other words, I don't own the characters, I'm just borrowing them.

By:  Kimagure Angel

Warning:  Citrusy Fresh

"Can you see it, Kaoru-dono?  There's a small cabin just a little further ahead," Kenshin called back to Kaoru, who was struggling to keep up.  He was still trying to figure out how they'd gotten this lost in the first place.  It was probably because I was paying more attention to Kaoru than to where we were going…  He decided to end that line of thought right there.  He knew that if they wanted to make it to the cabin alive, he had to stay focused.  If they didn't get out of the cold, and soon, they'd very likely freeze to death.

How can he see anything through this storm?  I can barely see him, let alone anything any further away, Kaoru thought, all the while trying to keep up with Kenshin.  When they had left the dojo, it was just barely snowing, now they were stuck in a full-force blizzard.  And even though they hadn't been stuck in it for long, the snow that was falling now was so wet that it had soaked their clothing through.  The fact was, the longer they spent in the biting wind and wet snow of the blizzard, the colder they got.

"Kenshin…wait up…" Kaoru cried, hoping that Kenshin would be able to hear her over the howling wind.  Before she was able to say anything else though, the cold took its hold on her and she collapsed into the snow.

Kenshin became almost instantly aware that Karoru was no longer behind him.  Turning quickly, he retraced his steps, silently hoping that he could hind her before the cold could claim her as its own.  It didn't take him long to find her passed out in the snow, her breathing, shallow.  "No!  No, kami-sama, not again.  You can't take another one that I love away from me," Kenshin yelled as he picked Kaoru up, holding her close to himself, and headed towards the cabin he had seen.  He knew that if he wasn't able to warm her up, and soon, she wouldn't make it.  Luckily they weren't too far from the cabin.  Hopefully, even this short of a distance isn't too far.  He knew that even a short distance, in this cold, could mean death for either one of them.

Fortunately, Kenshin was able to reach the cabin in record time.  Pushing the door open with his foot, he made his way in, still carrying Kaoru close to him, all the while, trying to stay alert for anything that may harm them.  As he kicked the door shut, his eyes quickly started to adjust to the darkness of the room.

The cabin wasn't much, but at least it would keep out the snow and some of the cold.  As he looked around the single room of the cabin, he noticed that it had been deserted for quite awhile.  Heading towards the center of the room, Kenshin gently laid Kaoru down and started searching for something to cover her with.  After searching for a short while, he found an old woolen blanket wadded in one of the corners.

"Arigato, kami-sama," Kenshin said quietly as he took the blanket back over to where he had laid Kaoru down.  It wasn't much, but it would at least keep them from getting any colder.  It wasn't long, though, before he realized that, even with the blanket, she'd never warm up as long as she was in those wet clothes.  He also knew that if he didn't get out of his own soon, he'd slowly freeze to death, too.

Kenshin struggled with himself for quite a while before he was even able to approach Kaoru.  He kept hearing conflicting voices in his mind.  One part of his mind, the part that was still, in some way, linked to the battousai, kept saying "You know, now's your chance.  You know Jin'e was right when he called her your woman.  Now's your chance to claim her for your own.  To make her yours forever."  All the while, the part of his mind that helped keep an invisible barrier between him and Kaoru, kept yelling back, "Shessha no neuchi ga nai.  She deserves someone better than me, someone who doesn't have the blood on them that I do."

"Gomen, Kaoru," Kenshin said barely above a whisper.  "Gomen."  As he undressed her, he couldn't help but notice how beautiful her body was.  He could see how the years of practicing Kenjitsu had helped shape her.  If he would ever let his mind take down the barrier it had put between them, he knew that she could be his.  But for now, that precious distance had to stay.  He mentally detached himself form the job at hand, he did not need the distraction it was providing.  Right now, he had to concentrate on getting the both of them warm.

When he finally finished undressing Kaoru, Kenshin quickly stripped out of his own wet garments and laid down next to her.  Kaoru, I hope that one day you will be able to forgive me, he thought as he put his arm around her and brought her close to him.  As he pulled the blanket over the both of them, the guilt of what he had had to do to keep, not only her, but the both of them, alive, weighed heavily upon his mind.

It wasn't long after Kenshin had covered both himself and Kaoru with the blanket, that his mind started to fully register the feel of her bare skin against his own.  The softness of her skin seemed to try and drive him to madness.  As his mind started to fall into the madness that was Kaoru, other parts of his body did, too.  He silently cursed himself but knew that, without the extra body heat, neither one of them would survive the night. I wish everything could be different, Kaoru.  I really do.  But we can't change the past.  No matter how hard we try, the past is always there to haunt me, he thought when he finally closed his eyes.  As he slowly fell asleep, a lone tear made its way down his scarred cheek, a constant reminder of his own painful past.

A few hours after Kenshin finally fell asleep, Kaoru started to drift out of her deep, cold induced slumber. It's so nice and warm right here, I really don't feel like opening my eyes just yet, she thought as she curled into a tight ball, trying to hold onto the warmth that she felt.  Besides, the dream I has was so wonderful.  I just wish Kenshin would really be like he was in that dream.  I still can't believe how good it felt to be lying in his arms.  As she slowly opened her eyes, she began to notice a few things out of place.  The first of these things was that Kenshin really did have his arms around her.  The next, which kind of disturbed her, was that she apparently had nothing on.  The third and probably most confusing, was the fact that Kenshin, too, had nothing on (not that she particularly minded any of these facts).

Ok, what happened?  I know we were caught in a blizzard and Kenshin was saying something about how he could see a cabin, but what happened next?  From the looks of it, he found the cabin alright, Kaoru thought, trying to figure out her situation.  I guess the cold must have finally caught up with me.  Poor Kenshin, he had to carry me from wherever I had collapsed to this cabin.

As Kaoru was busy with her thoughts, Kenshin slowly started to awaken.  When he felt her move slightly in his arms, the only thing he could think of was just how grateful he was that she was still alive.  Thank you, kami-sama, he thought as he tightened his arms around her and leaned his forehead against her hair.

When Kenshin tightened his hold on her, Kaoru was quickly jolted back to reality.  "Kenshin…" she said, barely above a whisper, though the surprise was still evident. I can't believe how good it feels to be here in his arms.  I mean really in his arms.  But I've just got to know what happened.  I'll think about how good his arms feel around me later, but right now this is more important.  "Kenshin, what happened?  Why are…" she couldn't finish, her cheeks starting to blush deeply as she finally started to realize the position they were in.

"Gomen ne, Kaoru," Kenshin said quietly as he slowly let go of his hold on her.  Before he continued, he got up and kneeled at her side, not really caring about how much of him she could now see.  Looking down at her beautiful face, he finally continued.  "After you passed out, I made my way here.  You were so cold and wet from the snow, I knew that if I didn't get you out of your wet things, you would have frozen to death.  Believe me, I've seen it happen to more than a few Isshin Shishi during the Bakumatsu.  Anyway, as you can probably tell, this cabin isn't much warmer than the temperature outside.  I could see that the blanket I had found would never be enough to warm you up.  The only thing I could think of was to use the heat from my body to warm you.  If I hadn't taken off my wet things, they would have only made you colder, and not only that, but I would have probably ended up in the same condition you were in.  How could I take care of you then?" he finished, soothing her cheek softly with his hand.

Kaoru looked up at Kenshin with hope in her eyes only to see the rejection in his.  Rejection because of his feelings of worthlessness.

"Stop it, Kenshin!  I don't want to see it anymore.  I hate seeing you torturing yourself, thinking you're not worthy of me.  Don't you know how much that hurts me in the process?  How many times do I have to say it?  I just want you the way you are."  Kaoru slapped her hand over her mouth too late to stop those last words from escaping.  Turning an even brighter red than before, she quickly looked away from him.  Not wanting to see his reaction for that he would only reject her once more.  She didn't know if she could take the pain yet again.

"Kaoru, look at me," Kenshin said gently.  "Let's not think about this right now.  Right now, we've got to concentrate on staying warm and alive until the morning."  He laid down and covered the both of them back up with the blanket."

Kaoru looked back into Kenshin's eyes and saw, not the rejection she thought she would, but it wasn't what she had hoped for either.  Well, at least I have some hope for the future, she thought.  He is right about one thing though.  He's right about us having to concentrate on staying alive until morning.

While she was lost in her thoughts, Kenshin put his arm around her once more and pulled her closer to himself protectively.  I'm sorry I can't give you what you want, Kaoru.  Hopefully some day I can.

As the two slowly fell back asleep, they knew that the future always had a way of taking care of itself.

Owari (maybe)

Author's note:  Minna, please let me know what you think of this.  Right now, I'm not sure if I'm going to continue this or not.  Comments and criticisms are always welcome.


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