It can’t be true. Kaoru curled on herself in one of the small trysting nooks in Companion’s Field, lost in misery. Here she could cry, and curse fate, and bite her own sleeves as she sobbed, and no one would try to talk her out of it. People came here to be alone, or almost alone; no one would enter while Megumi stood guard outside. It can’t be.
:It… would explain many things.:
:Why there’s always a pressure on our bond,: Megumi went on inexorably. :It’s never much. It’s never interfered. But there are times I have to consciously reach out to touch you.: The Companion’s mind brushed hers, prickling at her ki sense. :Damn. No wonder we thought it was Empathy.:
Kaoru blinked, tears blurring her vision. :What?:
:It “feels” like us, Kaoru. Like the energy-sense of any creature of spirit bound to flesh. But we knew you were human. So – we thought you must be reflecting what you felt from us-: Her attention jerked away. :You! Haven’t you hurt her enough?:
:Oh gods, don’t do that.: Megumi’s anger was turning to mortification, and shame. :Not to me, damn it! Never to me!:
“But you too are a warrior against the dark, Megumi-dono. Should one not honor a fellow warrior?”
Curiosity trickled through the gray haze of shock. Kaoru pushed herself to her feet, wobbling out to the entrance.
Kenshin was on one knee before Megumi; the formal bow of a soldier to a greater lord. Quiet. Composed.
And from that slight upward curve of a smile, quite willing to hold that pose until one particular Companion died of embarrassment.