The Deepest Scars
Equipping the help of Seijuro Hiko, Kaoru and Kenshin slipped the prosecutor's office every bit of information they had about Akira. On record, it was an anonymous tip, with no mention of either of their names. Hiko even had a prosecutor he trusts not to be bribed take over the investigation into Kiyosato's life. Everything was handled incredibly carefully and kept very hush hush.
Unfortunately, it didn't take long before the prosecutor could enjoy the fruits of his labour. In a mere month, his team dug up the evidence indicating that he had previously successfully bribed an officer of the court at his wife's request. Evidently, the charges were pressed against both spouses. With how everything turned out, Kaoru was never gladder that Enishi was locked away in a psychiatric hospital and refused any visitors. She was terrified of thinking what the white-haired man would do if he found out that she was unable to keep her word.
The media took a shine to the story of Kiyosato Akira. For weeks, it became the longest segment on the news as other charges started piling up. No one had any means to escape it, even if they wanted to. However, such a case was rare, as most people couldn't help but glue themselves to a TV screen whenever the topic came up.
In their double rape-murder case, the Himuras made a good use of their and Hiko's connections. Actually, it was laughably easy to get a judge with political ambitions to make a ruling over their case. Getting a not guilty verdict became nearly impossible and, unsurprisingly, the defendant was found guilty and sentenced to a life in prison.
Nevertheless, even before the said case was done, Kenshin and Kaoru's names became plastered all over the press. The pair received more attention than they ever wanted to or were prepared for. Thankfully, it wasn't because someone leaked the fact that they were the ones to provide the information about the bribery, drugs and human trafficking. Though in a way, it was far worse. The public seemed to be so interested in every detail of their lives because they viewed the couple as monsters. After all, they had to be ones for defending Akira, even if they had only been doing their jobs.
The media were the worst offenders. They portrayed Kaoru and Kenshin as Akira sympathisers, same sort of swine as him. In that context, some passers-by found it to be their right to shout vile things at the pair, though most of the time they had enough decency to only whisper among themselves. Though, not like the whispering made it any less hurtful or terrifying.
When they started receiving death threats, it became unbearable. Kaoru refused to let her son go back to the daycare. She was frightened of the mob of strangers lurking around at every corner, ready to lynch them. What would she do if they got her baby boy?
Both she and Kenshin also started doing most of their work at home, with their duties reduced to doing the paralegal work for other lawyers. Though, truth be told, they were lucky to even have that to busy themselves with. Once the shit hit the fan, the higher-ups considered even firing them completely. Their reason was quite simple, actually, – too much bad press was associated with the Himura name.
Eventually, the family of three stopped watching television too. Various talk shows and even the news became nothing more than their and Akira's public execution. But going online was even worse. Every dimwit with an internet connection seemed to have their own opinion about what awful people they were. If having functioning internet wasn't essential to their work, without a doubt, the pair would not have gone anywhere near it either.
Propitiously, neither the journalists or the general public managed to her their hands on their personal phone numbers. Neither of the two adults was confident enough to claim that they wouldn't have simply gone insane if that would have happened.
... ∽∾●∾∼ …
As the second week into their recluse began, Kaoru and Kenshin started wracking their brains to make up the excuses in case Kenji started asking why he hasn't been able to see his friends for such a long time. Due to a smidgen of luck, however, they managed to keep him entertained with old DVDs of films. The ownership of which, both of them had gained well into their teenage years, long before even encountering one another. Of course, their little boy wasn't particularly interested in the said recordings, but at the very least, they kept him from wondering why the tv wasn't on anymore.
By the end of the same week, Kaoru noticed those dreaded question finally worming their way into Kenji's mind. Though the young boy had never voiced them, she had seen him more than once longingly staring out of the window and over the fence. Yet, the cold the young boy caught and the fever he had spiked – as a direct consequence of the said cold – served greatly to take his mind off such things.
Since then, the two adults had gained a perfect excuse for their prolonged stay at home – taking care of their sickly son. It wasn't even that much of a lie, to be completely honest. Under normal circumstances, such an event would've reduced their time away from home drastically. Their version of things seemed even more convincing to the little boy when Kaoru started coming down with something herself.
... ∽∾●∾∼ …
Kaoru was peacefully asleep in the comfort of her own bed until a loud crash woke her up. The dark-haired woman had fallen asleep unintentionally, exhausted from caring for her ill son and fatigue from her lungs trying to forcefully eject themselves out of her body every few minutes. Despite the fact that she had previously been blissfully lost in her tired and feverish dreams, now panic arose in the pit of her stomach.
She yawned while looking at the time on her phone. Her nap lasted twenty minutes at most. The last thing she could recall before falling asleep, was giving Kenshin a memo with all of the medicine they needed written down on it, then seeing her husband leave. Hence, there was no way the redheaded man could have been the source of the unexpected noise. There was simply no way he could've managed to get to the pharmacy and back in barely more than a quarter of an hour.
As Kaoru listened attentively, she couldn't make out anything in the house that could've caused the said sound. Judging from how quiet it was, even Kenji couldn't have been the source of it. If he was awake right now, he would be raising hell as his mother was trying to blink away her sleepiness.
For a moment, the dark-haired woman even considered having dreamt up the sound. Maybe, her dreams weren't as tranquil as she thought them to be. It was a real possibility, as she was never good at remembering her dreams after having woken up.
Kaoru even contemplated falling back asleep. Everything seemed to be okay and she just really wanted to rest a tad bit longer. If it turned out to be Kenji, he would end up waking her up regardless. And besides, Kenshin was bound to return home soon as well.
Having made up her mind to go off into the dream world once more, the bright-eyed woman did just so. That is, until a loud distressed cry echoed throughout the house. There was not a single doubt in Kaoru's mind that the screeching voice belonged to her son.
Quickly, the woman forced her eyes open. Using all of the strength Kaoru could muster up, she got out of the king-sized bed and, after stumbling a bit, rushed to Kenji's bedroom. Though the child's room wasn't that far from the master bedroom, it seemed to Kaoru as if she had miles ahead of her to run.
Time slowed down. With every step she took, the dark-haired woman could hear her heartbeat getting louder and louder. The edges of her vision started to blur as well. A violent scream was threatening to rip through her already sore throat as hot tears started streaming down her face.
Kaoru found the door to Kenji's room open, despite having vivid memories of closing it after her son fell asleep. Her whole body started shivering and she could no longer force her legs to move fast enough.
Just as she was about to take the first step through the doorway, a rough calloused hand violently grabbed her forearm. The action had so much force behind it, that Kaoru was sure that it would leave behind a large bruise in the shape of the man's palm.
"Does the name Yukishiro Enishi tell you anything?" A quiet voice, which seemed to have been hardened by the realities of life, roughly whispered into Kaoru's ear.
The dark-haired woman frantically shook her head in denial, her mind unable to make sense of the man's question. Kaoru's body quivered, overwhelmed with panic and concern for her little boy. Clearly annoyed, the man did not hold back his strength as he shook the woman in his arms violently. The motion agitated her stomach and she could feel her breakfast rising up. Another sudden movement and Kaoru would have vomited all over herself and the man interrogating her.
"Now don't play stupid, love." The man started once again. He had brought his face closer to hers and Kaoru's nose was assaulted by the stench of his sweat.
"At one point, I was his attorney." She barely managed. Her voice just above a whisper.
"Pretending once again, huh? Yukishiro told me that the two of you have been quite close friends for quite a while. You even shared important secrets and all that jazz. He also told me that while he had always been a very good friend to you, you haven't been such a great friend to him. For example, you promised him that you are not going to involve his sister in the mess you were planning on creating. However, you broke that promise as quickly as you made it. That's not a very nice thing to do to a friend, isn't it, love?"
With his last words still hanging in the air, the man ran his hand down Kaoru's back. The action, as well as the terms of endearment he used, made the woman recoil in disgust, her body shaking now even more intensively. In response, the man laughed humourlessly, pushing the dark-haired woman into her son's room.
The very same moment she got inside, a revolting shade of blood red invaded her field of vision. Her mind went haywire. Despite being painfully aware of the truth of the matter, Kaoru tried to find a different explanation for the abundance of that sickening colour in her baby boy's room.
'It's just paint! That man just spilled red paint to frighten her, to drive home his point! It's going to ruin the light wood, but it's not that big of a deal! It's just damned paint!' Her mind screamed.
Nevertheless, the stench of copper invading her senses didn’t let Kaoru believe that the mystery liquid was paint. It was definitely blood. The confirmation was that tiny mangled body, with a part of its head missing, laying in the middle of the puddle of red.
Kaoru's knees gave out. She no longer could force herself to peel her eyes away from the body in front of her. It was the only thing left from what once was her Kenji, her little boy.
The background noise was overwhelmed by the sound of her own laboured breathing and the need to puke, she had endured like a champ for so long. After throwing up a bit in her mouth, the dark-haired woman swallowed it and crawled towards Kenji's still warm body. When she finally took it into her arms, the boy's tiny head pressed against her chest, Kaoru finally let out a sound for the first time after entering the room. She screamed.