by Tari Gwaemir

"Miss Kamiya, may I have the pleasure of this dance?"

Kaoru glanced up in surprise. The man who had spoken in such genteel tones was dressed in last year's fashion, and the color of his coat clashed with his shock of red hair. But the cadre of society mamas behind her immediately began to whisper excitedly, and Megumi, with a triumphant smile, gave her a sharp poke in the back.

"Well, what are you waiting for?" Megumi hissed into her ear. "That's only Lord Himura, Earl Battousai, known to possess a fabulous fortune and the romance of a tragic, mysterious past! He hasn't set foot on the dance floor for years. What a catch for your first dance of the Season!"

At her prodding, Kaoru took a nervous step forward. Lord Himura smiled at her kindly, his white-gloved hand held out gracefully. She looked into his face again and saw that the smile did not reach his dark blue eyes, which still seemed haunted by some nameless sorrow.

She took his hand and curtsied.


Rurouni Kenshin belongs to Watsuki Nobuhiro.

Written for Pei Yi (lacewood) and Tin (team7) for Christmas.