Snakes in the Dark.



By: Daimyo Shi



Disclaimer: All rights and privileges to Rurouni Kenshin belong to Nobuhiro Watsuki, Shuiesha, Sony Music Entertainment, and associated parties. The characters of this series are used without his permission for the purpose of entertainment only. This work of fiction is not meant for sale or profit.



[thoughts]



Aoshi looks down in horror. In front of him lies an unconscious Misao. The doctor just left informing all of them that she might not live through the night. Okina, Omasu, Okan and Shiro sat in the room each almost in tears. Aoshi's own sadness was even greater than theirs. He was learning a lesson. From the past Words from the Former Okashira, Misao's Grandfather echoes in Aoshi's mind. 'You will never miss something until it is gone.'In an instant of realization Aoshi understood what he meant. A second later the irony of the fact that he managed to teach Misao this lesson without understanding nearly sparks a moment of mirth. [Well it is not got yet, perhaps I get a second chance. Hmmmm ok, maybe a third chance.] "Leave." says Aoshi.

Omasu, Okan and Shiro simply look at Aoshi funny. Okina arches an eyebrow at Aoshi.

[Of course, I forgot Misao is the Okashira] thinks Aoshi. "Please?" asks Aoshi somewhat uncertainly. Okina nods and with that everyone gets up and leaves. Now Aoshi is alone with Misao

"Misao? Misao-chan can you hear me?" asks Aoshi in a soft voice.

There was no response, just the sound of Misao breathing.

"Misao-chan, I . . . I . . . Lo . . ." stutters Aoshi. [How can this be so hard, she not even awake? I do love her with all my heart I have been blinded by my own foolishness to realise it. I am quite the fool for all these years. I didn't need to leave. I could have adapted. My pride is my worse enemy it causes me to cause so many people harm. My friend fell protecting me and my pride. My pride caused me to reject who I was, to join forces with that bastard Shishio, I nearly killed my mentor, Okina. I nearly killed Himura-san who fought me for my pride even as things more important stood around needing doing. Even after Himura set me straight I came back and still fought my pride. I still couldn't admit that I love Misao, a woman that has stayed true to me for years. A woman that in the end, is far more superior to me and my stupid pride. It is time my pride died.] "Misao-chan, I love you." tears fill Aoshi's eyes as the ice melted away when his pride was slain. "I am sorry for al the things I have done to you all the pain I put you through. I am sorry I never told you how I felt. I have never been good with my feelings. So often I let my pride get the better of me. You are so more capable of expressing yourself. I have always been a fool, My pride has caused you much sorrow, and it has caused me much sorrow. It is too bad I have always been that kind of person to learn everything the hard way. Oh Misao, don't leave me." cries Aoshi. He leans forward and carefully holds Misao. Aoshi's tears run down his face to the blanket covering Misao.

Misao opens her eyes and stares at Aoshi's face which is down in her blanket. [He is crying? I never though I ever see him cry. I am not even dead.] thinks Misao. Misao strokes Aoshi's hair "I not going anywhere Aoshi-sama. I couldn't break your heart like that." whispers Misao.

Aoshi lifts his head and looks into the blue Sapphire eyes of Misao. Her charismatic smile some what weaker but was still there in all it glory. Aoshi smiles even as a fresh stream of tears run down his face. Aoshi very gently kissed Misao.

She tries to kiss him back a little hard but it seems quite difficult. "I love you, Aoshi. I always have and I always will." whispers Misao.

Aoshi continues to smile and cry. "I never understood quite you meant to me until Shiro brought you here a couple hours ago. I just could resolve the difference between my pride and my feelings for you. Forgive me." says a still tearful Aoshi.

"I have always understood Aoshi, you are a complex man and I would have waited forever if that is what it had taken." replies Misao whipping some tears from Aoshi's face.

"Thank you, Misao, that is the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me." remarked Aoshi.

"You not going to start using Sessha all the time now are you?" asks Misao.

"Huh? No, I don't think so? Why would I do that?" says a puzzled Aoshi.

"Never mind." laughs Misao "I love you just as you are No matter how complex you are. Now Aoshi, I need to speak to Okina can you bring him to me?"

"Hai, Misao-sama." says Aoshi quickly getting up and leaving the room.

"Misao-sama?" responds Misao.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[Funny I though everyone would be just out here.] thinks Aoshi as he starts to walk to Okina's office. Aoshi walks into Okina's office and sees him pouring over a number of documents.

"Misao-sama, is awake and wishes to talk to you, Okina." says Aoshi.

"Misao-sama?" Okina looks at Aoshi. Okina can see Aoshi's eyes are red form crying so much but the most striking feature of his face right now is a huge smile, a smile that Okina has not seen since Aoshi was a boy about six years old. "Aoshi? Are you all right?" asks Okina.

"Hai, better than I have been in years."replies Aoshi.

"I see well I shouldn't keep Okashira waiting." Okina gets up and walks to Misao's room. Aoshi follows Okan, Omasu and Shiro drop their chores to join Okina and Aoshi. They all file into Misao's room.

"Misao! You awake" shouts Okan the beginnings of tears have formed in her eyes.

"Oh Misao you had us so worried" exclaims Omasu.

"Misao-sama, we were very worried about you." remarks Shiro.

"Hai, I am doing better now." replies Misao.

"You wanted to See me, Okashira?" says Okina. The use of Misao's title quickly quiets the room.

"Hai, Okina. I want to tell you about my assailant before I had forgotten the details. He wore a black ninja outfit with a hood and face mask. It likely had some kind of chain armour in the inside because my throwing knives were completely ineffective. He was armed with kodachi. He caught me off guard so he was very good at shadowing. Some passers by scared him off, it was clear he didn't want to be seen if possible. I feel it likely he might come and finish me off. So I want us to be ready him. We are going have a twenty-four-hour watch. I want all of our friends in Kyoto to be notified of this attack since I am not sure what the purpose of this attack was." states Misao.

"At once. " replies everyone as they attend to their new tasks. Only Aoshi remains

"Misao-sama, I have to something about this." says Aoshi.

"I understand, Aoshi. Do what you feel is right."

"Hai, Misao-sama."

Aoshi leaves Misao's room to go toward his own room. From the storage area he pulls out his Twin kodachi and a large box. Aoshi opens the box inside is a ninja uniform. Something he has not worn since he returned with Himura. It was time to put it back on. You could not allow this foe to live. He had nearly taken away that which he valued most. He would take his revenge. Aoshi suits up and then takes his Twin Kodachi and leaves his room. Okina watches from the door of his office.

"Okina, what si he doing?" asks Omasu.

"He is doing what he feels he must do. Aoshi has changed today, he will actively hunt our foe while we defend ourselves. It is what Aoshi has always done best." says Okina



To be continued



Japanese Terms



-chan, honorific means small or little often used between parents and children, sometime between friends can be use between lovers too.

-Sama is a polite way to address a superior.

-San is Mister or Miss, a polite way to address an inferior or an equal. Note that both this and sama are used with family names which in Japan come first

Hai= yes

Kodachi is a small sword simular to a Wakazashi but not worn with at Katana. But by itself. These often are used in kenjutsu styles that have good defensive abilities. Aoshi's weapons[s] of choice.