Kyaa Kyaff here!
Disclaimer: Yep, you guessed it. The RK bunch do not belong to Kyaa.
'…' Kaoru thoughts
… Kenshin thoughts
Chapter 16: To lose them once again
After speaking with Enishi, Kaoru had thought over what she should do and found she very much wanted to ask Akira's opinion. He was always dependable, and he would give her some good advice. So first thing in the morning she had gotten up and driven over to Tae's place. She tried thinking up some reason why she would want to just talk to Akira and not Tomoe.
So now she was walking outside in the courtyard with Akira beside her. Once they neared one of the benches Akira stood and with some help he made it over to sit down. Kaoru was glad to see he was improving. He would most likely need some type of support such as a cane, but it appeared he would not be confined to a wheelchair and for his wedding day would be able to walk down the aisle with Tomoe at his side after the ceremony and dance with her at the reception.
"So what's up?" Akira asked once Kaoru was seated.
Kaoru thought a moment. "I'm not sure how to put this…I need your advice as always."
"What's the matter?"
"It's about Tomoe. I learned something, when I was captured by Shishio. It was something he told me, and I believe it's true, which means Tomoe is in danger," Kaoru answered.
Akira waited for Kaoru to continue, and when she didn't he spoke. "Well…what is it? I would like to know what it is. I can't offer good advice unless you tell me exactly what's wrong."
"To put it bluntly…Tomoe is Shishio's daughter, and he wants her to produce a grandson for him. I'm sure he'll be back soon. I know Tae's place is safe, but I just don't know…"
"Hold on one second," Akira interrupted. "You're telling me Shishio is Tomoe's father? But I thought you two shared…"
Kaoru nodded. "The same father, apparently not. That doesn't matter right now or at all. I don't know if I should set up a safer place for you two. On top of that I don't know if I should tell her. Is it that important that she knows?"
"She has a right to know, and if she is in real trouble, it definitely helps to know why, so we can better prepare ourselves," Akira said.
Kaoru briefly mulled over what he said before seeing the sense in it. "But you don't think she'll…be upset knowing that he is her father. Or…I don't even know what! You should tell her."
"No, you should and you know it."
Even though Kaoru felt worry nibbling at her, she also felt relieved talking to Akira about it.
"Thanks. I will. You're advice always makes me feel better."
"I'm here to serve you," Akira joked.
"Unlike Enishi. He was no help with that."
"You talked with Enishi about it before me," Akira raised a hand to his face dramatically. "I'm hurt. I feel betrayed that you would go to another first."
Kaoru smacked him lightly on the head. "Quit your whining. You weren't there, and he was sitting in the spot you usually do out by the pool, so it felt natural to just ask. I probably would have asked the seat for advice. I'd probably still be waiting for a reply."
"Well, as long as the chair doesn't reply, I think you'll be fine."
Kaoru made a face getting up. "I'm going to find Tomoe."
"I think I'll stay here and enjoy the sunshine while it lasts. A storm is supposed to be heading our way. Any problems you know where I'll be."
"Yep," Kaoru called already passing through the doorway.
Walking to Tomoe and Akira's room, she looked inside to see Tomoe folding clothes. She was humming softly and light was streaming in from the window behind her. Kaoru smiled pushing the door that had been ajar all the way open.
A smile lit Tomoe's features. "Come to help me fold clothes?"
Kaoru made a face at the idea. She had never been good at it when compared to Tomoe. Tomoe's were always neatly and cleanly folded, looking quite nice. Kaoru's were folded but definitely not neat. Most of the clothes in her draw at home were just thrown in there.
Tomoe laughed. "Practice, that's all it takes."
"I'll pass," Kaoru replied, sitting in a chair near the door.
"How's Enishi-san doing?" Tomoe asked after a minute of silence.
"He's fine. Working and all," Kaoru said trying to figure out how to bring up the subject she wanted.
"That's good to hear. I haven't seen him in a while."
'Ah well. Best to blurt it out and get it over with.'
"You know Shishio," Kaoru blurted out. "He…told me something. About you being his daughter. And I believe him, and I think you are in danger. And I wasn't sure how to bring it up, and…"
Tomoe's smile did not drop. "I know."
Kaoru just watched her a second before her words sunk in. "You know?"
Tomoe nodded. "Before I was brought into the room where you all were his men were talking about it."
Tomoe didn't know what to think and could only pray that Kaoru and Akira were safe. Wringing her hands together she stayed silent.
"What's so great about her anyway? I mean if Shishio is into traditional beauties…"
"Shut up. That's his daughter, you idiot. Weren't you paying attention at all?"
Tomoe stood stock still, wondering if they were speaking of her. They couldn't be, could they? Wanting to ask, she refused, keeping her semblance of calm. The man holding her arm gave it a squeeze, talking about her as if she wasn't there.
"Yeah, she's the one we've been searching for."
"Never thought he'd have a child," one of the other men said.
"Shut up," the one in charge ordered.
They had come to a door, and as it was opened Tomoe felt and even greater shock. Everything registered at once, Akira, Enishi, even Kenshin were hanging by their hands. Kaoru was being shoved to the ground by some man. Tomoe felt her composure slip.
"At first I didn't really believe it, but given the circumstance. And you only made it seem more solid. It doesn't change who I am, and even if he is my father by blood, it doesn't matter."
Kaoru gave a sigh of relief. "I was so worried. I didn't know how to tell you, but I thought you should know. He's dangerous, and I'm sure he'll come for you."
"Don't stress yourself out. It is safe here, isn't it? That is why we moved here," Tomoe smiled. "I'll be more cautious from now on, and I'm sure you've already or will be speaking to Tae-san. That's all we can do for now."
"Nee-san, you are always so calm," Kaoru stood up frowning. "I should probably stay here to keep an eye out."
"You should go home and rest. There are plenty of people here to protect everyone, and the house isn't that far away. If anything happens, you already know you'll be called immediately."
"We should move you somewhere else. Somewhere safe," Kaoru replied as if she hadn't even heard the above statement.
"Where will it be safe? If that man really wants me, won't he find my anywhere? I know he's very powerful. I feel safer here, closer to home and in the city."
"Fine, fine. You stay here. Happy?"
In bed Kaoru turned onto her side, hugging her comforter close. She had been so worried and Tomoe had known the entire time Kaoru had. It was a relief to know that she knew though. Now all she had to worry about was finding the bastard and taking care of him. She grimaced as she remembered what happened when she had met Shishio.
'It won't happen again.'
Kaoru planned on training more. She was determined to become physically and mentally stronger, especially since she had decided to stop brining herself down all the time. It wouldn't be so easy, but like most everything else, it would be a challenge she would overcome.
Kaoru brought a hand to her face, rubbing her eyes. She was so tired, she just wanted to sleep, but her mind was racing like crazy with thoughts that were keeping her awake stressing over them. Taking a deep breath, she made an effort to clear her mind of all her troubling thoughts. Her eyes snapped open though, when an image of Kenshin came to her mind.
"Of all things," Kaoru sighed, turning over to her other side restlessly. "To think of him."
He was out of her life now, and she was much happier that she wouldn't be seeing him around.
'Liar. You miss him.'
Kaoru shook her head.
'No, I just miss how I felt. Loved by someone other than Tomoe and Akira. Someone I could share things with. Someone to kiss and hold. I was so blissfully happy and ignorant then. If I had been dating regularly, I probably never would have been so caught up in being with him.'
Her thoughts shifted to Enishi. Lately he had been keeping a friendly distance, much different from the flirty bold person she had met. He was acting like a caretaker or something.
'Am I no longer an interest now that Kenshin is gone?'
Kaoru remembered something Kenshin had said the day he had taken her to go see the stars. He'd been jealous after seeing Kaoru dancing with Enishi. Afterwards he had blindfolded her and taken her to a remote spot, where the stars and sky were bright and clear. He hadn't been happy when she turned her cheek to him as he went to kiss her.
"That's good," he said leaning forward to kiss her.
Kaoru pulled from his grasp and leaned back to look at the stars. Next thing she knew she was lying flat on her back Kenshin leaning over her, one arm braced by her side.
"Why won't you let me kiss you?" he asked staring down at her surprised face.
"I don't know what you're talking about," Kaoru said in mock innocence.
"First you won't kiss me. Then you were dancing with Enishi of all people so intimately. And now I learn he is staying with you."
Kaoru eyes widened, "You're jealous."
"You are being silly," Kaoru said bringing her hand up to touch his cheek.
"Enishi has always had the greatest pleasure in trying to take what is mine."
"So I am yours, am I?" Kaoru teased.
Kaoru shifted onto her back. "Pfft. Yeah, this is really helping me get some sleep."
Awake more than ever, Kaoru frowned. Why didn't he seem interested in her anymore? Was it because Kenshin was no longer around? Did Enishi just decide that he just wanted her as a friend?
'That's stupid. I must be overtired if I'm thinking like that. Next thing I know, I'll be putting myself down.'
Closing her eyes, she concentrated on relaxing different muscle groups of her body. Finally she felt relaxed and before she knew it she slipped into a light slumber. It didn't last for long. Kaoru's eyes snapped open as she felt someone press a hand to her shoulder. She went right into action. The person to her side was suddenly thrown off. They didn't land hard though, taking the fall easily. Kaoru tossed her blanket off, grabbing the gun under her pillow. Her other hand went to switch the lamp on, while she aimed at the shadow that was turning toward her.
"You better not move, or I'll shoot," Kaoru threatened as the light switched on.
Kaoru's eyes widened at who she saw. Misao stood before her, holding her hands up. The gun in Kaoru's hand dipped a little before she lifted it back up.
"What are you doing here?" Kaoru asked.
This was the last person she had expected to see. Misao and disappeared around the time Aoshi had. No notice to Saitoh or anything. Kaoru figured she had only been there for Aoshi, considering he was looking for Battousai, same as Saitoh. Misao seemed to be at a loss for words for a second, as she went to speak then stopped before finally deciding on what she wanted to say.
"It's about Shishio. He plans on going to that Tae person's place tonight. He might already be there."
"We don't have time. Hurry and get dressed. I'll explain on the way."
Kaoru's mind raced but instead of arguing with her, she ran to her dresser pulling her shirt and sleep pants off, not caring that Misao was still in the room. She quickly pulled on the jeans on the floor and the shirt on the dresser.
"If you're lying to me, I will make you regret it with every fiber of your being."
"I'm not! Please we have to hurry," Misao spoke with real urgency, quickly leaving the room with a glance over her shoulder.
Kaoru snatched up her purse and keys, following right behind. She took a second to lock the door once she was outside, not hearing the ring of the phone a few seconds later. Misao had the car still running, already getting in.
"No, I'm not going with you."
Misao paused momentarily. "You want an explanation than you ride with me."
Kaoru only took a second to decide to go with Misao, her need to get to Tae's place overriding her normally more cautious and stubborn self. She went with her impulse, something she had been suppressing for awhile. Sliding into the passenger side, she slammed the door shut and wasted no time asking what the hell was going on.
"Kenshin sent me. Yes, I know him and the fact he is Battousai. I've been with him and Sano tracking Shishio's movements. We just found out what Shishio plans, and Kenshin and Sano went ahead and told me to come get you."
Kaoru stared straight ahead. "What about Shinomori?"
From her time with Aoshi, she knew his hunt for Battousai wasn't a ploy. She wondered if he would show up. Kaoru glanced over at Misao when she got no reply.
"I don't know."
"Where has Shishio been this entire time?" Kaoru asked, changing the subject.
"In a second hideout of his. He has them everywhere. The place before was not the main headquarters. Even Sano and Kenshin don't know where that is."
"Don't know either. She wasn't there when I arrived, but Kenshin filled me in on what happened."
Kaoru confirmed one of her suspicions. Misao knew a whole lot more than Kaoru had suspected. She wondered what other information Misao had known and withheld. Maybe she had even tampered with files, because she had the opportunity to plenty of times.
'Who really is this girl?'
Kaoru's questions came to an abrupt stop seeing the building ahead. Kaoru's impatience began to rise to an almost unbearable degree. From a distance there was no noticeable sign that anything was happening, but Kaoru didn't think Shishio would make a big show out of retrieving Tomoe. But who was to say what went through that man's head. Of course Misao could have lied and this could be some kind of setup. Misao switched her headlights off as they pulled into the parking lot. Immediately Kaoru took notice that the two guards that stood outside at night were absent. There were also a couple of not so noticeable guards concealed around the area, however, Kaoru figured if the front guard was gone, the others might have been taken care of.
Misao went to speak but Kaoru beat her to it. "They must be here already. I'm almost sure of it. Don't get in my way."
Kaoru went straight for the front door, not even waiting for a reply, but noted that Misao did not follow. Kaoru slowed her steps, approaching the double doors cautiously. Gun already in hand, Kaoru suspicions were verified. One door was slightly open, and as she went through, four bodies lay off to one side. The only light came from the entertainment room, dimly lighting the entrance area Kaoru was in. It was eerily silent, but Kaoru figured everyone had been alerted and had followed the escape plan in case such a thing happened. The route starting in Tae's room led into a series of caves that would cause anyone to get lost unless they knew where they were going. The right path led to a forest, where a well hidden cabin was a ten minute walk away.
Her first thought was to go straight that way. With how quiet it was, there was the possibility that Shishio's men had discovered the path. However, Kaoru found her feet taking her to the entertainment room. Quietly but quickly she made her way to the door, where she could now hear faint noises from. Peeking in, she felt her eyes widen. Tsubame and Yahiko were kneeling over Tae, desperately trying to help her. She appeared to be badly wounded.
The girl whirled around at her name with tears in her eyes. "Kaoru!"
"What happened?" Kaoru asked walking into the room.
Leaning down next to the unconscious Tae, Kaoru steeled her expression. The wound that Yahiko was trying his best to stop bleeding appeared fatal, unless Tae got help right away. Even then it was a gamble.
"The guards must have sounded the alarm. Me and Yahiko were here and didn't get the chance to follow. Those men were killing the guards as we watched. Tae-san saw us as she led the others away. We tried to hide. Tae-san must have come back for us. She took a couple of them out and kept us from being discovered. This is our fault!"
"Tsubame-chan. Calm down. It's not your fault, but you need to get her help right away. No hesitating. There is a car outside. Take it. There may be a person named Misao out there. Tell her what happened."
Kaoru held out her gun. "It doesn't look like there are any of them out there, but if there is I want you to take this."
Yahiko, who had remained silent the entire time, gently lifted Tae into his arms, as Tsubame took the gun.
"Know how to use it, right?" Kaoru asked.
"Of course," Tsubame replied.
"Thought so. Now do you know if the group is being followed, and how many of them there are?"
"It looks like they might be. And ten of them at least. Thirteen at most," Yahiko supplied quietly.
"Okay. You two stay safe. I want to see you after this."
"Protect Yutaro for me," Yahiko said.
Kaoru pulled her daggers out, giving them a smile before heading straight for Tae's room. Kaoru practically flew up the stairs, going through the open door of Tae's room, ignoring the bodies of the men Tae must have taken care of. The large glass mirror that hid the passageway was smashed to pieces, and the door was hanging by one hinge. This established the fact that Shishio's men were following. Kaoru took the steps leading down, two at a time. Without hesitation, she began navigating through the cave in the darkness. She wished she had brought a light, but she wasn't about to head back. Relying on her memory and senses, she felt confidant that she was going the right way. It only angered her, because she was forced to slow her pace, so as not to run straight into a wall. In the darkness with urgency dogging her steps, it seemed the path had become longer than she remembered. Sweat dripped down her face, adrenaline dancing through her.
A scream up ahead was followed by the glow up light. Kaoru quickly began to run, but her foot caught on the uneven surface. One dagger went flying from her, and as she scrambled to her feet, her knee aching, she tried to catch a glint of her dagger. Seeing it, she scooped it up, touching a hand to her chin, coming back with blood. She had scrapped it in the fall. Another cry sounded, and Kaoru collected herself, running once again in that direction. Coming into the light she watched a man grab a small girl from behind and without hesitation run his sword through her, while another man a few feet away raised his gun and shot down another person pleading for their life. Kaoru felt a rage fill her. They were killing innocent people. She was so tired of this. How could people be so cruel? How could they do this? These men worked for Shishio. They would take away Tomoe and Akira. They would kill all these people. They would kill Yutaro. She had to stop them. She had to help the people who were desperately fighting back for their lives.
With a scream, Kaoru ran up and rammed her dagger into the closest man's back. Viciously twisting it and pulling it up. The man with the gun heard her cry and immediately saw her as a threat. Kaoru used the dead man's body as a shield. Flipping her dagger around she threw it at the gun man. It buried in his chest. He looked a little surprised. Dropping the heavy body in front of her, she picked up his sword, her anger becoming more volatile at the sight of the dead girl. The others were already alerted to her presence. Kaoru dashed over to the other dead man. Picking up his gun she pointed it at the man rushing her. It gave an empty click and she dropped it, taking the sword she held in both hands. With a sidestep she easily avoided the swing of the man. Stepping back she took a powerful slice at his neck. His body fell to the ground, his head a few inches away.
Kaoru found her next target already dealing with someone. She could care less. Her mind became a blank. She would kill them all for trying to take her sister away. Everything became a blur as she dealt with the remaining men. Dragging her daggers across the last of Shishio's men's throat, she smiled with a cold satisfaction. Kaoru looked up ready for more. Suddenly she was grabbed from behind Tomoe yelling her name.
"Let go of me!" Kaoru screamed, the voice of her sister not cutting through the fog that had enveloped her mind.
With a violent jerk she threw the person off of her. Eyes blazing she raised her daggers ready to strike. Tomoe's white frightened face met hers, a look of horror written all over it. The sight of Kaoru was a bloody mess, her hands so slick with blood that it dripped to the floor. The rest of her was just as bad. Kaoru became frozen seeing Tomoe and the expression she wore.
"Kaoru…" Tomoe whispered out softly. "It's okay now. They're all dead. You can stop."
Kaoru's chin began to tremble, but she quickly fixed her expression. Wiping the blades down on her pants, she slipped them back in her boots.
"I'm sorry," Kaoru replied, holding out her hand. "Did I hurt you?"
Tomoe's eyes widened, while shaking her head no, and as Kaoru looked down. She pulled her hand back. Kaoru had been so happy to kill those men. Even now she felt no remorse for their deaths and would do it again if given the chance, but she had never lost control like that. Looking at the bodies she felt disgusted. She could have handled the situation better. She should have…
Lowering her head, Kaoru spoke. "We have to hurry, in case more come."
Tomoe stood, her eyes full of concern, but Kaoru ignored it, wiping her hands off on her pants as best she could. She had never killed unless absolutely necessary and never in such a vicious manner. Although grateful to be saved, Kaoru could see that some of the people were frightened by her and were keeping themselves at a distance.
"Come on, get moving," Kaoru ordered sternly.
This started everyone up. Tomoe walked beside Kaoru, while another man Kaoru wasn't too familiar with walked ahead, holding Akira, who had been knocked out during the attack. Kaoru began to look around the twenty or so people. A tug on the back of her shirt brought her attention to someone behind her.
"Looking for me?" Yutaro asked.
"Actually yes. Your brother is safe," Kaoru informed him before he could even start to ask.
"He left with Tsubame-chan and Tae-san."
Kaoru prayed Tae would pull through. The woman was a fighter, after all she was the one in charge of protecting people, and she knew how to do her job. After five minutes of walking Kaoru decided to take the lead. She wanted to be in the front just in case there were any unwelcome surprised awaiting them up ahead. She was pretty sure no one else would show up from behind. A few more minutes brought the group to the exit. Kaoru signaled for them to stop, going ahead. Using a flashlight she had borrowed from one of the others, she shined it into the darkness, trying to also sense if anyone was near. Biting her lip, she turned back to the others.
Kaoru fully stepped out of the cave and felt a chill slide down her spine.
"I thought you might show up here."
Shishio stepped from the shadows, his men surrounding him with lights.
"Everyone go back!" Kaoru yelled.
Just as she finished saying that loud explosions went off, throwing some of the people off balance who were furthest in the cave.
"The path is blocked!" someone called out after a few moments.
"Now where will you run? I have had a man of mine here to make things go more smoothly. This place is not very secure."
"Let go!" Tomoe cried out.
The man holding Akira, now hand a powerful grip on Tomoe's wrist and was dragging her from the group. Kaoru didn't even get a chance to speak, as Shishio stepped closer.
"Stay put. Remember that man's life is in my hands," Shishio threatened referring to Akira, coming to Kaoru's side. "Now if you even step a foot away from me, I will kill him."
Suddenly one of the men from the group broke free into a run, disappearing into the trees. A strangled cry followed seconds later. One of Shishio's men came back, dragging the body back. Everyone was frightened and a couple people were crying. Shishio remained silent letting the tension grow.
"Please let us go! We have nothing to do with them!" a person called out.
This seemed to be what Shishio had been waiting for. "Kill them all."
Those that could fight readied themselves, while others screamed or began to beg for their life. Kaoru began to tremble.
"Don't even move an inch," Shishio said.
Kaoru felt her muscles freeze up and for several moments she didn't breathe. Her eyes went to Tomoe, who looked just as frantic as Kaoru felt.
"Don't do this! I'll do whatever you want! I'll go with you without a fight! Please don't do this," Tomoe begged.
"You will do what I say either way, or your precious man will suffer."
Kaoru couldn't watch the group, finding herself unable to move to help. They were outnumbered at least three to one, and even as her heart screamed for her to help, her mind yelled at her to stay put for Akira. Even if she fought, the sheer number of people Shishio had with them would kill them all anyway. Shishio's hand came up, grabbing the back of her neck in a painfully strong grip.
Kaoru raised her eyes, paralyzed by his threat. She couldn't do it. Rationalizing not helping did not make her feel any better. This wasn't her. She had to help. Maybe…maybe she could…But Shishio held her in place, the pressure of his hand increasing as he already predicted what she was about to do.
"Who is that boy?" Shishio asked.
Kaoru looked up to see Yutaro whirl around with a sword he must have taken from one of the men, slicing at another that was attacking a woman beside him.
"He has natural skill though it is sorely undeveloped. I have so few that are skilled. He may be useful," Shishio said. "You! Bring the boy over here alive. I've decided he will be leaving with us."
Desperately Yutaro fought them off, but there were too many and the sword was knocked from his hands. He was then grabbed from behind, and kicking and screaming he was dragged over to where Tomoe and Akira were. Shishio held Kaoru's neck the entire time, waiting as his men quickly finished the rest of the people off, showing no mercy. His men then receded back into the shadows. Kaoru almost fell as Shishio moved forward, dragging her along with him. Going into the middle of the slaughtered people, he shoved Kaoru down to her hands and knees.
"Do you know why they died? Do you? They died because of you, because of your father," Shishio said yanking her back up to her feet. "I've realized that revenge is far less satisfying when you kill the person right away."
As he pulled her toward the cave, she tripped again but over a body this time. She was horrified, but she refused to cry in front of Shishio. Slamming her against the rock behind her, he began to strangle her, only briefly loosening up, so she could pull in a few struggling breaths.
"I want you to suffer, suffer as I did in your father's place," Shishio said, jerking her forward before knocking her head into the wall again.
Kaoru felt warm liquid slide slowly down her neck, and her head was becoming fuzzy.
"You are helpless, weak," Shishio for the third time, smashed her head against the rock. "You will die when I choose."
Shishio released her abruptly, letting her fall down to her knees. Blurrily she watched him walk away. Kaoru wished to scream, to yell at him to stop, to get up and help her sister, but her body remained slumped, only mumbled murmuring coming from her lips. She barely retained consciousness as her sister disappeared from sight. A few flashlights were the only things left lighting the area. Her eyes stared at the massacre before her, and finally she let her tears fall. Again Shishio had taken her sister and future brother-in-law away. And again she had been helpless to stop it.
'I have to get up. Get up! Get up! Come on Kaoru! Get up!'
Head pounding, all she managed to do was move a little forward. It had cost most of her strength, and painfully she fell back against the cave wall, hitting the already large forming lump on the back of her head. The grogginess she was trying to hold back was starting to slowly envelope in her as the fire in her flickered and began to dissipate.
'I just want to sleep. It will be easier to figure things out when I wake up. So much easier to just let go. Just for a few seconds. Just for…'
Hands roughly shaking her shoulders brought her back from the blissful sleep she had almost attained.
"Kaoru! Kaoru! Damn it, this looks bad. Kaoru, can you hear me? Open your eyes. Shit, she has a real bad head injury. Kaoru, come on. Stay with me."
'Leave me alone. I just want to sleep.'
Despite the desperate voice trying to keep her awake, Kaoru slipped into unconsciousness, letting everything fade away.
Hey guys! Here's a very long awaited update. I have been really busy and have been suffering writer's block, but now it's gone! Yay. Anyways, I apologize for the huge gap between updates. Again Please have patience with me. Hope you guys enjoyed the chapter, and I thank you for your reviews!
Til next time,