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A Dream Come True

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Swordsmen did not become ill. He could not, off-hand, recall any specific mention of this rule in the teachings of the Hiten Mitsurugi-ryu or in the romantic laws of Bushido, but Kenshin was fairly sure it existed in the Unwritten Laws of Warriors Who Wished to Keep Their Dignity.

When searching his memory, Kenshin could only remember one instance in which illness claimed his normally healthy body. He was a child, living with Hiko, and accidentally ate a few mushrooms that did not sit well with him. (On the other hand, he blamed his sickness on the fact that he had been raised by a neglectful egomaniac, so that didn’t technically count.) As an adolescent, he had lived through countless battles. He had endured cuts, broken bones, and walked the fine line between life and death, but never had he been incapacitated by something as common as a cold.

His face might have burned with shame if it wasn’t already flush with fever.

“Will he be alright, Megumi-san?” Kaoru asked nervously and bit her lower lip.

“Ken-san will be fine, but he needs his rest.” The doctor’s tone was a bit sharper than usual. When Kenshin had collapsed in the dojo earlier, Kaoru had rushed through the darkness of night and awakened Megumi from precious slumber. Although concerned for his health, she seemed rather annoyed by Kaoru’s suffocating behavior. (And the sudden jolt from blissful sleep probably didn’t help either.)

Kenshin could understand Kaoru’s over-protective nature considering the Shishio Incident, to name one, but he was starting to notice that her behavior was wearing on the nerves of the others. Sano and Yahiko had teased her mercilessly – but several injuries and ridiculous amounts of training had curbed that a bit – and currently they were barely on speaking terms. And now Megumi was starting to become irritated by the constant hounding.

“Are you sure it’s just a cold? I mean, he collapsed! Kenshin’s never done that before. What if it’s something more serious, like pneumonia?”

“It’s hardly that serious. All he needs is rest. Perhaps if he had a moment’s peace Ken-san wouldn’t feel quite so exhausted.” There was a sharp edge to her voice, taking the girl’s doubts as an insult to her expertise. And Kenshin could have sworn he heard a growl come from Kaoru’s direction.

But that might just have been a hallucination caused by the fever. Yes, that sounded better.

“What are you implying, Megumi-san?” Her hands moved to her hips. This was most definitely not good.

“I’m saying,” the doctor rose from her seated position next to a now very uncomfortable Kenshin, “that you need to stop playing house and let a professional take care of Ken-san.”

And that’s when all hell broke loose.

“For your information, Megumi, I’m perfectly capable of taking care of Kenshin.”

“Oh, I see, so Ken-san is just faking these symptoms then?”

“Are you saying it’s my fault he’s sick? That’s ridiculous!”

“Is it? With your constant nagging wearing on his nerves this sickness was inevitable. It’s a wonder he didn’t collapse sooner.”

“Now, now,” Kenshin coughed out and waved a hand in an attempt at peace. His vision was beginning to blur a little. “Let’s not…”

“M-maybe you’re right, Megumi-san.”

Kenshin stared at the young kendo instructor in disbelief. Had she actually conceded to Megumi? He made a mental note to go down to the police station and punch Saitou square in the jaw just in case the end of the world was scheduled for tomorrow.

Kaoru lowered her head and the ire in Megumi’s eyes softened. “It’s just that I…I’m not like you Megumi, I’m not a doctor. I can’t care for Kenshin like you can. No matter how hard I try, there are just some things I can never do for him.”

A surge of compassion washed over the rurouni. He knew she was being over-protective, but he had never thought about it too deeply. Was this how Kaoru felt? Useless? Oh, how he wanted to take her in his arms and sweep every worry from her mind.

Of course, it would probably help if he could talk. His mouth felt dry and his attempts at speech came out hoarse. “Kaoru-dono,” he could barely find his voice. “You take care of this one very well…”

“Ken-san is right. I was too harsh on you. I know you mean well Kaoru, and if you want, I could teach you a few things.”

Her blue eyes brightened at this prospect. “Really?”

Megumi nodded, “Absolutely. I can teach you everything you need to know about taking care of a man; about taking care of his every need.”

Wait. Wait. What?

Kaoru blushed faintly. “I don’t know…”

“Come now, you want to please Ken-san don’t you?”

Oh God, no. No. This was not happening.

“But I…I mean, do you think I could? I’ve never…”

Megumi waved her hand dismissively. “Of course you can. It’s not like I’m trying to teach you how to cook.” A glare from Kaoru silenced whatever else the doctor was going to say on that subject. “What I mean is, you love Kenshin, right?

She nodded.

“You want to make him happy don’t you?”

Another nod.

“Then I can show you how.”

Kenshin fidgeted nervously. Oh, for the love of all that is holy, please let them be talking about making medicine or treating a wound or anything decidedly non-sexual in nature.

Although…

No, no. His mind will not go there. Megami would never teach her anything inappropriate. Megami would never do anything inappropriate. After all, she is a professional, right?

Did she just like her lips?

Oh God.

Both women approached the helpless swordsmen and knelt down close to him.

“Oro?” His head was spinning. “Megami-dono, Kaoru-dono, what are you…”

The doctor placed a single finger against his lips to silence him. “Now Ken-san, just sit back and let us take care of you.”

Please don’t let her mean what he thinks she means. Oh, for the love of his sanity.

“K-Kenshin,” Kaoru muttered. “I want you to know that I care about you very much. I want to make you happy.”

Oh Kaoru. Sweet, loving Kaoru. He wanted so much to tell her the same, that he loved her too, that he wanted…wait.

Why was she taking her clothes off?

Kaoru slide her kimono off her shoulders, revealing the pale flesh underneath. It looked so soft, so touchable.

No. No. This was going too far. “Kaoru-dono,” his voice was barely a whisper, “I don’t think this is…” But he never got the chance to finish that thought. Megumi knelt beside him, her hand (usually warm to the touch, but now cool against his hot skin) over his mouth, and she pulled him back until he was leaning against her.

“Ken-san,” her breath was hot in his ear. “Don’t be silly. Kaoru and I are going to take very good care of you. Just relax and enjoy yourself.”

Easy for her to say. She wasn’t the one who felt like their head was about to explode.

A searing heat washed over him until the world dissolved into a swirl of wandering hands and soft murmurs. Kenshin tried to speak, tried to move, but his limbs felt heaved as lead. His vision blurred, but he remembered seeing glimpses of pale flesh and soft curves pressed against his own flush skin. His heart beat furiously and he felt somewhere between a nightmare and the greatest dream of his life.

“I think he’s coming to!”

What? Was that Kaoru’s voice?

“Ken-san, can you hear me?”

Kenshin opened his eyes to see two worried expressions looking down at him. He was lying on a futon in his room with Megumi and Kaoru, leaning next to him, and most importantly they were fully dressed.

“What…what happened?”

“You passed out in the dojo, Kenshin,” Kaoru answered. “I went to get Megumi. Are you alright? Your face is so red.”

He gave a sigh of relief. It had all just been a dream. Nothing more. “I think this one will be just fine.”

“I agree,” Megumi added. “He just needs some rest. Perhaps if you gave him a moment’s peace, Kaoru, he wouldn’t feel quite so exhausted.”

“What are you implying, Megumi-san?”

Oh no. No no no no.

“I’m saying that you need to stop playing house and let a professional take care of Ken-san.”

This was not happening again. It couldn’t.

“For your information, Megumi, I’m perfectly capable of taking care of Kenshin.”

“Oh, I see, so Ken-san is just faking these symptoms then?”

“Are you saying it’s my fault he’s sick? That’s…Megumi! He’s passed out again!”

The doctor turned around to see the rurouni unconscious once again. “That’s odd. He must be more ill than I first thought.”

Kaoru could think of no other explanation.