Author: LadyShiin PM
BK Very dark fic: Kaoru’s a Necromancer hellbent on revenge against the one who killed the person that was most dear to her. Instead, she finds love and the chance for peace where she least expects it.Rated: Fiction M - English - Fantasy/Adventure - Kaoru & Battousai - Chapters: 3 - Words: 18,107 - Reviews: 85 - Favs: 56 - Follows: 62 - Updated: 06-16-06 - Published: 03-15-06 - id: 2846196
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Yay! I finally update Necromancer. This chapter is semi-lighthearted and I'm pleased with how it turned out.
Enjoy and I promise the next update won't take so long.
Traveling with Kenshin now proved to be something of a problem. Since he was no longer in puppy-form it complicated things somewhat. Kenshin said he was quite content to simply run alongside the mare but Kaoru wouldn't hear of it.
So that was how they found themselves riding double with Kenshin's arms wrapped around her waist and her in seated in front of him.
The mare took to it rather easily, but Kaoru made sure not to push her too hard and as a result they traveled slower than they had previously.
It wasn't until Kaoru spied a village over the hill that she realized a new problem.
"Do I have to go back into dog form?" Kenshin asked softly.
"Either that or we give the rest of the villager's heart attacks as I have no wish to be chased by people with pitchforks." Kaoru grumbled.
Kenshin's eyes flashed and she twisted in the saddle, grabbing a fistful of hair and yanked hard. "No killing people!"
"But…" Kenshin pouted.
"You kill anyone and I'll sic their souls on you," Kaoru warned. "You find out what it's like to be haunted for once."
Kenshin grinned ruefully, "fair enough."
Kaoru pushed at him, "off the horse and back into puppy now."
Kenshin sighed and swung down, as soon as his feet touched the ground he was back in puppy form.
"Good boy," Kaoru said.
Kenshin snorted softly and she smiled. "Let's go now."
Kenshin sighed softly and trotted obediently at her side.
Kaoru tensed as they entered the village and a few people glanced their way in interest.
So far so good.
No screaming or paling or fainting or general hysteria.
Kaoru glanced down at Kenshin and he wagged his tail. She stuck her tongue out at him.
Kaoru found a stable for the mare and tended to her first before grabbing her bags and wandering over to a nearby inn, Kenshin trotting at her side.
Kaoru booked a room, dumped her bags in there, warded it against thieves and went back downstairs to have something hot to eat.
Ordering coffee and the homemade vegetable soup as well as a thick steak for Kenshin, Kaoru settled down to eat. Kenshin gobbled his steak up quickly and then rested his head against her hip; Kaoru stroked his head as she finished her meal.
There were bathing rooms in the inn as well and after eating Kaoru made a beeline for them.
Kenshin attempted to follow and go the ward-enhanced door slammed in his face.
Sighing he settled his head on his paws to wait.
He got to his feet as she reappeared, hair tied in a braid and wearing a new set of clothes that were probably the cleanest pair she had left.
She cocked an eyebrow at him and he grinned in reply.
She sighed softly and shook her head and he followed her up the stairs and into the room that she had booked.
She didn't object when he crawled in beside her. She was already asleep and besides the floor was hard, looked like it hadn't been cleaned in forever and a day and gods only knew what were growing on it.
"Can I change back now?" He'd been asking the same question for nearly an hour and a note of whining was beginning to creep into his voice.
"We are within 5 miles of three villages and there are little cottages strewn everywhere. I'm not taking the chance that some farmer sees you and decides to come after us with a pitchfork… again." She glared at Kenshin clearly reminding who'd fault that'd been the last three occasions.
Kenshin's head drooped, ears flattening against his skull and muttered cursed under his breath about flame-colored hair and golden eyes and how much it sucked to have that exact unique combination of coloring.
Red hair wasn't all that uncommon.
Golden eyes weren't all that uncommon (though they were less common than red hair).
But red-haired, golden-eyed demons?
Only one fit that description.
"Stop sulking," Kaoru told him.
"I'm not sulking," he replied. "I'm brooding."
Kaoru arched an eyebrow. "You're too cute too be brooding."
Kenshin's ears perked up. "Did you just call me cute?"
"You're a cute puppy… in the fanged… clawed… sort of way."
Kenshin snorted. "I'm thankful the idiots didn't manage to make me into a bunny."
"So'm I," Kaoru agreed. "Though, you'd probably still be cute as a demon-bunny."
"Demons are not cute!"
"Sure Kenshin… whatever you say…"
He glared at her and she smiled at him.
"We're over the hill now. Can I change back please!"
"Fine," Kaoru sighed and no sooner than she had said it, Kenshin changed forms back into his usual one.
He swung up behind her on the mare and immediately proceeded to wrap his arms around her waist and bury his nose in the junction between her neck and shoulder.
Kaoru rolled her eyes. She had grown used to Kenshin's touchy-feeliness over the past couple of weeks. As long as his hands didn't wander any lower than they already did, she wouldn't feel like cutting them off.
After being alone and isolated for so long some part of her relished the contact, however briefly and Kenshin was more than happy to do so.
"You smell good," he murmured.
"I smell like three weeks worth of dirt and trail," Kaoru grumbled.
"Still smell good," he insisted, rubbing his head against her neck in a manner that was more catlike than the dog form he took.
"Stop that," she swatted at him and felt him smile against the curve of her neck.
"Hmm?" He replied distractedly.
She kicked the mare into a bouncy trot and he yelped in surprise.
He turned his unbalanced-almost-falling-off-the-horse into an excuse to grab her securely around the middle.
She elbowed him and he loosened his grip slightly.
"An Inn tonight?" He asked hopefully.
Kaoru shook her head, "sometimes I feel like all we do is ride around going from one inn to the other."
"With lots of sleeping on hard ground in-between," Kenshin agreed with a grimace.
"Keep complaining and you'll be sleeping on hard ground for another month more." Kaoru replied.
"Not complaining," he defended himself. "Just stating. Tree roots and boulders aren't the most comfortable of beds."
"No they aren't," Kaoru had to agree.
"So… an Inn tonight…?" Kenshin asked.
"As long as it has rooms with double beds," Kaoru replied.
"Those are no fun," Kenshin sighed. "Too small."
Kaoru shook her head, "big enough for me. I'm not even going to think about why you want a bigger bed."
"Several reasons," Kenshin told her.
"Uh-huh, and if you even think about any of them right now I'll knock you off the horse and you can walk to the inn behind me."
"Grouchy?" Kenshin asked softly.
"Mmm… very. Tired too…" Kaoru covered a yawn with the back of her hand. "I need a bath, hot meal and lots of sleep. Preferably all in that order."
"You know in some cultures two people sharing a bath is considered respectful."
Kaoru snorted, "Not in my culture thank you very much."
"Where were you raised? In the woods?" His tone was light and teasing but he was completely unprepared for her reaction.
Kaoru kicked the mare into a gallop and then whirled her around hard on her haunches, sending Kenshin flying.
"You can walk to the blasted inn," Kaoru snarled down at him.
Kenshin blinked in confusion after her.
It was another one of those things she hadn't told him about wasn't it?
Kaoru was remarkably closed-mouthed.
The most he had gotten from her over the past few weeks he'd been traveling with her in both human (human-enough-looking) and dog form was that her mentor had been killed and she was determined to find the person who had killed her mentor and deal him the same fate.
He sighed and raked a hand through his bangs. He'd get answers from her tonight if he had to pull them physically out of her… after apologizing first… Kenshin might be many things but he was smart…
Sighing again he shifted into his dog form and trotted down the trail she had taken, wanting to give her as much time as possible to cool down before confronting her.
When he arrived at the inn the mare was already bedded down in a stall in the stable happily munching hay. Following Kaoru's scent he found himself in one of the smaller inns in the village.
Kaoru was seated in the back of the dining room a plate of carrots and very-well cooked beef in front of her and her hands wrapped around a mug of coffee. Her hair was wet and tied back into a braid, snaking along her shoulder. She had obviously taken a bath.
He padded over to her and she watched him with neutral eyes.
He whined softly and ducked his head, ears flattening. Giving her his best puppy-eyes he saw her lips twitch.
"Don't give me that look," she told him.
Kenshin cocked his head, the expression becoming more pitiful.
"Gah!" She turned away but the tone of her voice wasn't mad.
She picked up the piece of beef on her plate and held it out to him.
He took it gently and swallowed it, swiping his tongue over her hand in thanks.
Kaoru rolled her eyes and took a gulp of her coffee.
Sensing that she wasn't mad he curled up at her feet, resting his head on her knee.
Kaoru muttered something about 'damned puppy-eyes,' and he sneezed to cover his laugh.
She snorted but gave him a pat on the head and he wagged his tail in response.
"Been spending too much time in dog form," Kaoru muttered.
Kenshin merely grinned at her.
"Still hungry?" She asked.
Kenshin shook his head.
"Neither am I," Kaoru drained the last of her coffee and got up.
Kenshin followed her upstairs to the room and changed back as soon as the door closed.
She had picked yet another room with double beds he noted.
"What are you doing?" Kaoru asked as he stepped toward the one of the beds and began pushing it in the direction of the other.
Kenshin smiled, "making the bed bigger."
"It's a perfectly decent size already," Kaoru eyed him.
"So you say."
"But first we have things to talk about." Kenshin informed her.
"We do?" She blinked at him.
"Yes," and Kaoru was quite suddenly aware of his close proximity. She backed away until her knees hit the edge of the bed and she ended up sprawled on it.
Kenshin settled down beside her pulled her into his lap. She squeaked.
Kaoru wondered if she should tell him that the position they were in at the moment was probably the least constructive one for talking that she could think of.
"Talk now," Kenshin said. "Or you will not be talking for a long time."
There were many ways that particular comment could be taken and Kaoru's brain happily came up with a few of them to her dismay (or what she tried vehemently convincing herself was dismay).
"Talk about what?" Kaoru asked a bit desperately.
Kaoru's mouth shut. She did not want to talk about that.
"Can't I talk about something else?" She asked. "Like favorite colors or flowers or foods or things like that?"
"You're favorite color is cobalt, your favorite flower is jasmine and your favorite food is hot chocolate." Kenshin didn't miss a beat.
Kaoru cursed mentally, now remembering the exact conversation they had, had when that he been revealed. Hiding in a cave while raging farmers hunted them…
One of these days she was going to seriously consider turning Kenshin over to any one of the number of villages (it was nearing twenty) that he had ransacked and raided and harassed prior to being cursed into a dog form.
Right now that sounded like a very good idea.
She glared at him and saw him smile.
"Three seconds," she tensed as his mouth brushed against her neck.
"Three…" He bit down gently on her pulse point.
"Two…" His hand slipped under the hem of her shirt, trailing a feather-light touch along her side.
"One…" He shifted suddenly and she found herself underneath him.
"I'll talk!" Kaoru gave in. "Get off me!"
Kenshin crooned against her skin, nipping lightly in a way that had her bones melting and heat racing through her.
"Did…you…not… just hear me… say… I'll talk…?" Kaoru asked.
"Just giving you a chance to change your mind," Kenshin smiled, pulling away and dragging her back onto his lap.
She huffed in exasperation acutely aware of how his hair had fallen free from his tie and was hanging around his face just taunting her to touch it.
It was going to be hard enough without being distracted.
She choked down some colorful expletives and took a deep breath. "I'm a Necromancer," she began. It sounded so stupid. Kenshin merely nodded as if he'd never heard it before.
"It's… not an easy thing to be… We're… very susceptible to possession by rogue souls. Especially when we are untrained…" She closed her eyes. "When Yumi found me, my life-force was being siphoned off by the souls that clustered around me. I was very close to be possessed fully and made into a puppet to do their will." She felt him tense against her and mutter something particularly nasty.
"Yumi… took me, trained me… gave me a name." A bittersweet smile fluttered across Kaoru's face and then quickly fell away. "It all started with Shishio's death. He was… Yumi's… lover. A rogue Necromancer by the name of Jineh killed him. Unlike me, he became possessed by the souls that stalked him. They drove him to madness."
She closed her eyes shuddering slightly. "Yumi and I fought him. He got away. We retreated back to the castle… he attacked in the middle of the night. I woke up to find Yumi dead." Her voice broke at the last words.
Kenshin's arms tightened around her and the sound he was making was very close to a growl-snarl. "And so you've been hunting him ever since." His eyes looked nearly black.
"Yes," Kaoru ducked her head as tears threatened to fall. "Nearly… three years now."
She yelped as he suddenly pulled her sideways, so that they fell back against the bed.
"What are you…?"
"Holding you," he said simply. "Go ahead and cry."
"I'm not crying!" She protested.
"Mmm," Kenshin replied, brushing his lips against the sides of her face. She felt his tongue flick out to swipe away the tears.
She took a deep shuddering breath and pressed her head against his shoulder. "You've spent too much time as a dog."
Kenshin chuckled softly and pressed a kiss to her forehead. "Turn on your stomach."
Kaoru blinked at him, "huh?"
She then yelped as he grabbed the hem of her tunic she found her tunic tugged over her head before she could even think to protest.
"What are doing?" She hissed.
Kenshin smiled, "just relax."
Kaoru eyed him warily but turned onto her stomach.
Kenshin pushed her hair to the side and dropped a kiss to the exposed skin of her shoulder.
"What are you…?" Kaoru asked again and then melted as he threaded fingers through her hair, massaging the back of her skull. "Ooh…"
That felt really good.
He cupped the base of her skull and continued to knead her tense muscles with gentle but firm fingertips.
Kaoru tensed and then sighed softly, going limp as he followed the trail of his hands with his mouth across her back and shoulders. There wasn't an inch of skin that he neglected and Kaoru found a contented purr rumbling up through her throat.
He was a solid line of heat against her back and that and the touch of his hands and mouth was soothing and she found her eyelids drifting closed as her relaxed body demanded sleep.
She murmured something softly as Kenshin pulled her against him and she curled against him, her eyes shut. The beat of Kenshin's heart and his soft wordless crooning had her falling asleep almost instantly.
She awoke the next morning, still wrapped in his arms and him smiling at her.
"G'morning," she yawned.
"Morning," Kenshin replied, dropping a kiss on her nose and making her blink cross-eyed at him.
Kenshin had to smile at the expression on her face, combined with bed-tussled hair, he sighed and buried his face against the skin of her neck content just to hold her and breathe her in.
The moment was broken by the sound of Kaoru's stomach rumbling.
Kenshin opened his eyes and quirked an eyebrow at her.
"I'm hungry," Kaoru said a bit defensively.
"I suppose we should get you fed then," Kenshin murmured. "But do I have to change back into a dog?"
"Yes," Kaoru said and his face fell.
"Fine… I can handle being a dog for a while… I just hope we don't end up having puppies," he muttered half to himself.
Kaoru eyes widened, "…puppies?" She asked faintly.
"Yep," Kenshin raked his bangs out of his eyes and then oofed as he found a pillow being flung in his face.
"We haven't even gotten that far and you're thinking of… children?" Kaoru demanded.
Kenshin blinked, "…yes…"
Kaoru's face broke and he was surprised to see tears in her eyes.
"It was a joke," he murmured, reaching for her.
Kaoru allowed him to pull her against him and was blinking furiously to keep the tears at bay.
"What did I say?" Kenshin asked softly.
"I… Necromancers… we aren't able to have children…" Kaoru's voice was so low he barely heard her and she refused to look at him, eyes locked on the floor as she spoke.
"Our innate close-proximity with death makes it impossible. Even if I could conceive… I wouldn't be able to carry the baby to term."
"I'm sorry," Kenshin said quietly. "I didn't know."
"And… even if a child was born… I don't know what it'd be like…" She shuddered against him. "It may not even look human…"
"I'm not human," Kenshin said.
"But you're also alive," Kaoru pointed out.
"We can adopt," Kenshin told her.
"I don't even know if I'm any good with kids," Kaoru protested.
"You'd be a great mother," Kenshin touched her chin, forcing her to look at him and pressed a kiss against her forehead.
Kaoru snorted softly, "a half-sane Necromancer for a mother and a demon for a father. Pity the poor child we adopt, they'll end up with some kind of complex."
Kenshin chuckled softly. "Unique?"
Kaoru rolled her eyes, "unique doesn't even begin to cover it."
Her stomach rumbled again louder this time.
"Food?" Kenshin asked.
"Guess so," Kaoru sighed. "And before you even ask again, yes you have to turn back to a dog."
Kenshin groaned, pressed a soft kiss against her mouth and then rolled away, hitting the ground on four feet.
He wagged his tail and Kaoru grinned at him, retrieving her tunic which had somehow ended up on the floor.
Then she followed him downstairs in search of breakfast. He curled at her feet while she ate and then after grabbing some supplies, she saddled her mare and they continued on away from the village.
Kaoru eyed the quail Kenshin was roasting on the spit and scooted closer to be fire.
Damn she was cold. And still wet.
"I'm not eating that," she told him. "The stupid thing isn't dead enough yet."
Kenshin eyed her noting she was shivering slightly. "Cold?"
"And wet. Though more wet than cold which is your fault I may add." She glared at him and fought the urge to sneeze. If she got sick she was going to hit him.
"It wasn't my fault."
"Sure it wasn't," Kaoru's eyes rolled. "It was all that mare's fault."
"The girth broke," Kenshin reminded her.
"Yes it broke when you decided to hop up behind me on the saddle so you wouldn't have to wade across the river and get wet. Well thanks to you doing so, we're both wet." Kaoru grumped. "And my supplies and food got carried downstream."
Which were the events that led them to the current situation: Kaoru sitting on the saddle with the horse's still-damp saddle blanket wrapped around her and Kenshin cooking several pieces of meat.
"When was the last time you cleaned the girth and oiled the leather?" Kenshin asked.
Kaoru coughed softly and looked away not meeting his eyes.
Kenshin snorted and prodded the bird gently. "Done yet?"
"No, it's still whining at me, the stupid little bugger." Kaoru glared at the dead-cooking bird. "Shut up already. You're featherless and turning golden – even if I did put you back in there you couldn't do anything."
Kenshin shook his head in amusement. "I did manage to grab your packs for you."
"For that I thank you – but we are still without prepared food – and no offense to your cooking skills but if we're forced to have to catch and kill our own food I'm turning vegetarian until we reach the nearest village."
"Done yet?" Kenshin asked again after several moments.
Kaoru gave the roasting bird an evil look. "It'll go away once I start eating it."
Kenshin took it away from the fire and pulled off a wing which he handed to Kaoru. Kaoru blew on it and took it gingerly and started eating.
"Ha! Good riddance you bastard," she crowed as the soul finally fled.
Kenshin grinned and scooted over to sit beside her.
"I could happily kill for a cup off coffee," Kaoru murmured. "Even if I wasn't allowed to drink it, the heat would be really welcome right about now." She snuggled closer – he had been closer to fire and not in the saddle when it had landed in the water, so thus he was also warmer and dryer than she was.
"Saw some chamomile," Kenshin offered. "I could brew tea."
Kaoru made a face, "I need caffeine."
"Ah," Kenshin murmured and pressed a kiss to her forehead.
Kaoru finished eating and threw the bones as far away as she could.
The mare was tied to a nearby tree – the hobbles had been in one of the packs that had been carried away – and she didn't look too happy at her current situation.
Kaoru tucked her head underneath Kenshin's chin as he lifted her into his lap and sighed softly as she felt some of his seep into her. The urge to sneeze grew stronger and she finally gave in sneezing several times and then sniffling miserably.
"Hate being wet. Hate being cold. I better not get sick." She grumbled.
Kenshin laughed softly, "not a happy Kaoru?"
"Not at the moment anyway," she poked him gently. "Though why do I have the feeling that you wouldn't mind if I got sick?"
"Maybe because I could keep you bed bound and fuss over you?" Kenshin suggested.
"I'm a nasty sick person," Kaoru informed him. "I throw things and get snarly."
"That's where heavy thick blankets come into play," Kenshin replied. "Keep your arms covered by them so you can't throw anything." And the image of her covered in blankets with a bed head was amusing though he kept his thoughts to himself. Kaoru was in the perfect position to elbow him in some very tender places.
"Warm," Kaoru sighed softly, snuggling if anything closer.
Kenshin's lips quirked in amusement," how cold are you?"
"Very cold," Kaoru replied and slipped her hands under his gi tearing a yelp from his throat.
"Cold!" He agreed with her.
"If you turned back into a dog would you be warmer?" Kaoru asked. "Considering you have fur?"
"No." Kenshin told her.
"Because I like where I am at the moment and have no desire to change into a dog."
Kaoru glared at him and he glared back.
"Fine," she tried not to pout.
Kenshin pressed a kiss against her cheek. "Want me to add more wood to the fire?"
Kaoru blinked at him, "and you can do that how… considering you're holding me?"
As Kaoru watched some of the wood he had stacked into a pile levitated over to the fire and dropped down into the flames.
She had almost forgotten that Kenshin had other magic's besides healing and destroying souls.
At the moment Kaoru wasn't sure which one she liked more.
The fire crackled and blazed merrily and she sighed as heat washed over her.
For a moment she was reminded of how she and Yumi would travel. Scenes very much like these occurred… Kaoru always brought around books to read during the idle moments and she had spent many a night curled next to Yumi reading by the light of the fire.
"What's the matter?" Kenshin asked as he felt her tense slightly.
"Bittersweet memories," she replied softly. "Sometimes I wonder if it will ever stop hurting."
"We can name one of our kids Yumi."
Kaoru snorted softly but he was pleased to see a faint smile. "Nice gesture but we're not having kids."
"So you say," Kenshin replied.
"Uh-huh and how many are we supposed to be having?"
"Sure…" Kaoru replied in a let's-humor-the-ever-hopeful-optimist-tone.
"We could always get started on one now…" Kenshin suggested.
Kaoru gave him a look that clearly said she doubted his sanity at the moment. "I'm half-frozen and still wet."
"There's more than one way to heat up."
Kaoru slapped his hands away. "Did you hit your head when we fell?"
"Might have," Kenshin said cheerfully.
"Idiot," Kaoru sighed. "How do I put up with you?"
"Because you love me."
"Mmph," Kaoru replied.
"You do don't you?"
"Would I be putting up with you if I didn't?" Kaoru asked.
"I'll take that as a yes then," Kenshin sighed.
Kaoru grabbed a handful of his hair and used it to lower his mouth to hers. "You better."
Kenshin yelped as he suddenly found himself pushed onto the ground. "I thought you just said…?"
"You're warm and the ground is cold. So I'm sleeping on you." Kaoru informed him.
Kenshin blinked, "oh… all right then."
"Thanks," Kaoru kissed his cheek and nestled closer.
"The things I do because I love you," Kenshin remarked shifting a bit so he wasn't lying against the edge of a particularly sharp stone.
"Y'stuck with me," Kaoru murmured sounding sleepy.
"And loving every minute of it," Kenshin replied. "Go to sleep Kaoru."
"'Kay," she yawned and then proceeded to do so.