Chapter 1: The Letter
Kaoru went pale as a ghost when Kenshin arrived with the post in hand. Amongst several alerts for their late bills, a letter caught her eye. She grabbed the stack from him without a single; "Welcome Home!" and ran off to the other end of the dojo. Kenshin blinked after her. Then shook his head. Whatever she'd seen must have been important and she wasn't willing to share it quite yet. Kenshin decided to leave her too it. He had dinner to prepare after all.
Kaoru grips the letter tightly in her hands; every time she got one it was a challenge to read it. Or she could just lose it; but then she wouldn't know if her family would be coming to see her. Her Mother's side of the family had disowned her mother when she wed a swordsman with a made up style of fighting and no prestige or money to his name.
As far as Kaoru could remember, her mother never resented her father; in fact, for a while the school had been thriving. Even as an assistant master, up until the fake Battousai incident, she'd been able to make a decent wage. Kaoru felt her hands start trembling as she opened the letter.
I hope this letter reaches you in time; I understand that you had to go to Kyoto on business but this simply cannot wait; the family has gathered and talked this "marriage" over and we have decided that it simply will not do for you to marry much as my sister had. We want better for you. (Kaoru rolled her eyes)
Therefore in your best interests, we will be coming out to anul the marriage and you will be marrying Ushio Hideki. He really wants to settle down with a wife and concentrate on his business. It will do you well to sell the Dojo and move nearer to us. Nagoya is beautiful this time of year and I am most certain you'll enjoy it. (she would not!).
I'll be at your Dojo in 14 days from the date this letter was written. With you there or not.
Love always, Kanon.
Kaoru sighed. She took a quick look at the date, only one more week. Damn. She paced her room. Wondering what she aught to do. She could hear Kenshin banging away on pots and pans. Getting lunch ready. Ever since she had returned and Sano's friend had written about their adeventures with Shishio, she'd been having more students sign up. They actually could afford better food now.
She sighed as the bell at the gate chimed; Yahiko, being her number one student, got it. It was his job to welcome the students in now.
Still; the hardest thing wa before her. No longer worried that Kenshin was going to get himself killed by someone he'd never even interacted with during his Ishin Shishi days; she now had to worry if he'd up and wonder again all because of a little lie she'd told to get her Aunt off her back.
"Damn." she muttered.
The sun is turning the sky a bright orange and red as it started to set; Kaoru sent most of her students home groaning about how hard of a teacher she is; however, after Hiko told her and the others a bit about how he raised Kenshin, she didn't feel so bad. Instead, they had talked for long hours about training students and Kaoru had decided to adopt some of his training suggestions.
Kenshin hadn't stayed for most of that conversation; he peaced out so fast that no one saw him besides the cloud of dust he left behind as he ran back down the mountain. Kaoru still teases him about to it.
"Kaoru, Yahiko." Kenshin called. "Supper is ready, that it is." he sounded so happy when he said it. For several weeks he'd been relegated to sitting around and not doing anything. Kaoru understood it galled Kenshin so bad to watch the others do the chores and cooking.
So, when Megumi finally said he could do some things. Kenshin took selective hearing to a whole new level. He wore himself out the first week. Setting him back a little. Megumi verbally bashed him when she came to check up on him. Kaoru finally decided that Kenshin could ONLY do the cooking.
Since she was still crap at it; besides, everyone liked his cooking anyway.
She and Yahiko make their way to room set up for them. Kenshin had everything out and set. They could smell miso soup, Rice, and a huge plate of amashoku*; Kaoru gasped excietly. "Kenshin, when did you learn to make this?"
"Miss Tae told me when I did that errand for her the other day." Kenshin said. "I thought we could try it out, the ingredients are rather cheap and so I didn't think it'd put us out any." he explained.
"Oh, that was nice of her."
"Oh boy!" Yahiko said excietdly. He went for one of the cookies, but Kenshin smacked him lightly. "it's for after, that it is."
"awe man, you're such a wet blanket, Kenshin." Yahiko pouted. Kenshin paid him no heed as he served them the soup and rice. They all ate. But Kaoru knew she needed to tell Kenshin about the letter early and she might as well do it now.
"So....Kenshin...." Kaoru drifted.
"Yes?" he looked up from his bowl.
"I have something important to tell you....just...promise you won't be too mad about it."
"What did you do, ugly?" Yahiko asked and for once didn't get a bowl of rice in his face for his utter disrespect.
"My Aunt had been bugging me about marrying someone and selling the Dojo before you or Kenshin came to live here. I kept telling her that I had students to think about and so on, then.....a letter came after that Fake Battousai incident and...." she took a deep breath.
"Itoldmyauntthatihadgottenmarriedtoyoukenshin." she said hurriedly.
Kenshin blinked; "Oro? miss Kaoru did you say what I think you just said? did you tell someone you had married me?"
Yahiko whistled; "wow."
"I thought it'd just get her off my back for a bit." Kaoru couldn't even look at the red headed swordsman.
"I'm very sorry Kenshin."
"Why don;t you just marry her? Kenshin, or are you stupid?" Yahiko asked.
"Oh shut up, you want to hold her and kiss her and put a baby in her..." THAT did get him a bowl full of rice in his face.
"My Aunt is coming here thinking she's going to annul the marriage and make me marry some other idiot. Who's not MY idiot and I don't want to have a baby with him; I want to have it with Kenshin!" she huffed and crossed her arms.
Kenshin laughed; it wasn't his usual Rurouni Laungh either. It was a delight and true laugh. one that only his friends knew and loved; "Kaoru, I think Yahiko is right."
"I am just sorry that your father isn't here to give his blessing. But, if it would please you, Miss Kaoru. I'd love to be your husband." Kenshin had set his food aside and sat their wait. Kaoru had a moment of indecision. However, she didn't see a reason to say no to Kenshin.
"I'd love to be your wife, Kenshin. Let's do it!" and she launched herself at him. Food flew everywhere and it would be a mess to clean up. But Yahiko earned that job when he teased her about having sex with Kenshin.
He held her to him. "I suppose your Aunt is still going to interfer." he sighed.
"Well, it's nothing we can't handle. She isn't as scary as Shishio." Kaoru said; then started to eat from Kenshin's bowl of rice as fast as she could. Yahiko had recovered from the attacking bowl of rice and is suspisiously quiet.
Kenshin chewed his own food slowly; thinking that, knowing her as he did, her Aunt may be just as formidable.
"Marriage is a big step, Kenshin." Sano says later. He and Kenshin sit on the porch. Watching the stars. Kaoru and Yahiko, along with Megumi, are making tea with a light snack of mochi.
"Yes, but....it's important to Kaoru." Kenshin replied. "I was married once, a long time ago. It wasn't the worst thing ever. but I was sixteen. the Bakkumatsu was in full swing. I never thought Tomoe was out for revenge. I think she changed her mind a bit at the end. Still..." he touched the scar and fell silent.
"Kaoru is different." Sano said. "She loves every little inch of you." he teased lightly. Kenshin scoffed.
"Indeed she does, and I do in return."
"Well, I suppose if it saves the Dojo. But who is this man the Aunt wants her to marry?" Sano asked.
"Ushio Hideki." Kenshin replied. "I think they used to be Tokugawa supporters."
"Well, I doubt Kaoru would have told them what a dirty Imperialist you are." Sano muttered.
"She would want everything to seem innocent." Kenshin said. Kaory had a knack for telling the truth in a certain way.
"Kenshin! look at what I made!" Kaoru came bearing a tray of mochi. Megumi followed and behind her Yahiko with the tray of tea and stacks of dishes.
"Oh, that looks good indeed it does." Kenshin announced. There wasn't a need for it, he did it to watch Kaoru blossom.
"Megumi did most of the work." Kaoru said.
"Oh, but I think Kaoru did a bit too." Megumo winked at Kenshin. "and I heard all about the news, congratulations." then she glared at Sano. "It's about time." she said.
Kenshin coughed into his tea; "Time?"
"Yeah, you guys make mooshy eyes at each other all the time." Yahiko joined in. "It's disgusting."
Kaory whacked him with her bokken, which no one knew she had on her. It was magical. "LISTEN YOU, THERE WILL BE LOTS MORE DISGUSTING THINGS YET TO COME SO GET USED TO IT!"
"I DON'T KNOW WHY KENSHIN WOULD WANT TO MARRY SUCH AN UGLY GIRL AS YOU WHO CAN'T COOK!" Yahiko yelled back.
Kenshin went ignored.
and so the night progressed until Sano walked Megumi home.
Chapter 2: The Ceremony
The Ceremony commences with two days of planning.
I finally had some time to write; I had part of this done but needed to add onto it. I like my chapters a nice length. Not too long and not too short. Also, the vows I wrote are based on a Buddhist one I found online that I actually really like. I went with Buddhist because it's the easiest - they don't seem to have any hard or fast rules about marriage.
the vows are original. But I did draw some inspiration from a blog post that I shall post a link too. Because unlike some authors I know when to credit something. And if ya'll would like full vows I'll give them.
I am also tempted to use Kaoru's. With a more religious bent to it.
anyway. please enjoy
Link to buddhist marriage blessing - https://sacredgroundceremonies.com/2018/04/09/a-buddhist-wedding-blessing/
Also, I went with Buddhist because it's the more prevalent "religion" besides Taoism. and I dunno, it just seemed to fit. or it's my Bohemian nature coming out.
They didn't have much time to throw a ceremony together; usually these things would take an extensive amount of time; and on a budget no less. Kaoru knew a few shortcuts. She and Megumi put their heads to the probplem and put something together in two days. They'd do the ceremony at the Dojo, with a small party afterwards that Miss Tae agreed to provide food for. They'd found a Buddhist monk to do the ceremony as well.
All that was left is what to wear; the Kimono she pulled out of an old box is her mother's wedding Kimono; Kaoru didn't know much about her mother's side of the family, or why they decided to be disappointed with her father.
Kamiya Koshijiro saw the highborn women one day at the market; and endevoured to meet her, but couldn't seem to find an appropriate time until some thugs had tried to kidnap her. That was the first instance of the Kamiya sword style being used; Masami fell in love in that moment. Kaoru had the love letters between her parents; the last few planned out their abandonment of Society values for love.
This must be why Masami's family rejected them; Kaoru supposed that if she had done that with Kenshin that her father and mother might have been mad. But, if they had lived, she liked to believe, that they would have supported this. Though maybe her father might have battled Kenshin just to see if he was strong enough for her.
Well. There is no need to dwell on that; not really. Not when she had to also get the wedding attire for Kenshin ready. From another box she had kept; she found a deep, dark blue Kimono. It, along with her mother's, smelled of cedar to keep moths away. It had a dark grey hakama to go with it. Along the sleeves of the Wedding Kimono. Crains were hand stitched into the silk. an Heirloom, she knew, from Grandfather. It had a bit of wear and tear but nothing a deft needle couldn't fix.
Kaoru's stitchwork isn't something to brag about; however, if she were meticulous; no one would notice. Kenshin wouldn't say a word on it. if anything, he'd compliment her on it if he ever deigned to notice.
She ran her fingers over it. Slowly. Reverently. She'd only seen her father wear this one other time....
When Mother had died...
They'd had a small ceremony for her; and did everything at the Buddhist temple up the mountain. It was the one place they could go to be together early on in their secret relationship. and so it was appropriate to bury Masami there.
A quiet wrapping sound from the entrance of her room had her turn to see Kenshin framed there in the sunset. His silhouette is graceful; "Kaoru?" he asked softly.
"I was just getting my parents things out for us." Kaoru said. "You don't have anything to wear besides that pink gi, right?"
"Yes. that is right." Kenshin said, he couldn't take his eyes off the blue kimono. It reminded him too much of the war. but. It was important to Kaory.
"What's wrong Kenshin?" Kaoru asked. Kenshin blinked his eyes. Bringing his gaze from the Kimono to her bright blue eyes.
"I am so happy to marry you Kaoru; but, after reading the letter, I wonder if there is more to this than what the letter suggests."
"What do you mean?" Kaoru asked; she'd given Kenshin the letters between her and Kanon so that he could gain the context. But, he wasn't stupid either. He'd spent many years reading between the lines of his handlers in the Ishin Shishi.
"What do you mean?" Kaoru asked.
"I want to know if you have any legal papers your mother or father left? I think the clue lies in those." Kenshin said.
"I still don't understand."
"Ah, it could just be the paranoia speaking." Kenshin sighed. "I'm sorry, Kaoru."
"No. It's fine. if it makes you feel better you can look through them." Kaoru can procure the papers easily fropm another box in the closet; she handed them over to Kenshin.
"Thank you." he bowed as he took them.
"Thank you, Kenshin." Kaoru said, face heating suddenly; "I mean...ah....."
"I am sure I am simply being overly cautious." Kenshin blinked at her.
"I dunno....." Kaoru eyed the letters she had set to the side. "I've read these before and there are some aspects that I thought were odd. but didn't pay them much attention. I was very young when my mother died. Then Father...."
"No." she held up a hand. "I am fine. They would want me to be happy. You make me happy."
"....I endeavor to always make you smile."
"Awe." Kaoru felt her heart melt. "Kenshin..."
"Hey!" a voice from the yard distracted them; "are you two gonna kiss yet....?"
Kaoru threw the heaviest thing she could at Yahiko. The vase shattered against the ground, just inches away from him. "HEY! WHATCH WHERE YOU'RE THROING YOUR SHIT YOU UGLY!"
"YAHIKO, YOU'RE GONNA BE LUCKY IF YOU MAKE IT TO MY WEDDING DAY YOU LITTLE BRAT!"
"Now, now..." Kenshin soothed.
The Day dawned bright and clear; The yard is decorated in streamers of bright colored strips of fabric; Under a white awning another bit of white fabric has been laid. In vases about the four corners are Sakura branches with blossoms of jasmin. Kaoru is just finished dressing with Megumi's help. The Doctor prefered a more obvious style of makeup; however, she and Kaoru had both agreed that a more natural look suited Kaoru best. Kaoru had decided that she wanted a bit of red lip paint. But besides that and a bit of eye embellishment - natural it is.
Her soft blue Kimono fits her well. the sail boats along the bottom and the matching bright orange and rust obi - along with its golden embroidery of lotus flowers- is the perfect Kimono for this bright and festive day. She has her hair done up in a bun this time with two simple hair picks to keep it in place.
"You look like a vision, Kaoru." Megumi smiled.
"Thank you for helping, I know it's short notice."
"I cannot wait to see the look on your Aunt's face when she hears about this." Megumi smiled, it's a look that anyone would recognize if one had come across a Kitsune before. Megumi smiled and chuckled at her dark thought. "We'll show them, won't we?"
"You're going to support me?" Kaoru asked.
"Why would I not support you owning the Dojo and marrying the man of your dreams?" Megumi quirked an eyebrow at her, but quickly let it go. They had other things to worry about. "Now, Yahiko is bringing the Buddhist priest down. and Kenshin is getting ready. You're going to be fine, but I want to prepare you for tonight."
Kaoru blinked; "Do you mean?"
"S-E-X..." Megumi spelled. "I need to know that you know what is going to happen, of course Sir Ken will be a gentleman....but....there are things that women need to know. and there are a lot of misconceptions out there about the use of a hymen." Megumi glowers.
"Doesn't it break or...."
"No." Megumi sighed; "No, the hymen doesn't break. It stretches. and I have had a conversation with Sir Ken about it. so don't worry about that. He has promised me to be cautious."
"You....talked to Kenshin about my vagina?" Kaoru asked. Mortified. She couldn't decide if she really hated Megumo or to be thankful to the woman. She had wondered, but felt embarrassed to ask about it.
"Why wouldn't I? I am a Doctor after all. and it's not as if I haven't seen penises and vaginas before. Don't be so childish about it." Megumi rolled her eyes.
Kaoru groaned; "Megumi..."
"Anyway..." and then Megumi launched into a very graphic depiction of sex that would haunt Kaoru for the rest of her life, but would soon come to thank the Lady Doctor for; after all, part of being married is having sex with the person you have pledged your life too.
The small group stands under the tarp, Kenshin and Kaoru are holding hands and facing each other. They both look splendid in their wedding attire. The Monk is dressed in a simple robe. He'd already given a blessing and now had asked for the vows.
Kenshin starts; "I vow to hold you dear, and to hold your happiness dear, I vow to belong to you, to rise for you and to grow a spirit of peace in our home. Liek the trees and stars, you are my blessing."
Kaoru had tears in her eyes as she listened. Then, when prompted she gave her vows. "Kenshin, just as the sun rises and moon sets, just as the stars shine and Sakura blossoms grow, my love will also grow, rise and set. I vow to be all that I can be to you. Forever."
Moreover, with that, they were wedded. Kenshin brought her close and kissed her; a Western tradition that had become popular amongst bridal couples these last,new years of the Meiji government opening it's boarders to Western trade and influence.
The small group around them clapped politely and then it was time to eat. The rest of the day passed in celebration until things needed to be cleaned up. Yahiko sent away with Megumi and Sano. And the evening drifted into the late night; and, with a single lamp to light their way. Kenshin and Kaoru had the croaking of the river frogs toa ccompany their first night of knowing each other.
My apologies Reader; but here we shall leave the happy couple.