Finally have started to long process of going back and tweaking this story just a little.

So hopefully its a cleaner read. Have no idea when I am going to get to the next chapter but this one is done.


Warning: Violence.

Disclamer: I do not own RK.

Myogin Yahiko had quickly discovered a very important fact in his twelve years as a breathing human being. Fire was a bad thing to find yourself surrounded by. Especially when you were in your own home and choking on the thick smoke.

"Busu!" Yahiko yelled, attempting to not let the panic that was thundering through his system to echo in his words. He had a hard time finding the air to yell the words but he gritted his teeth and kept trying.

"Yahiko," the words where faint and a mere whisper against the sound of the flames licking the dry wood. He turned, his expression showing rapid panic. His face grew pale with shock when he noticed the growing stain on her side. She stumbled and hot flames flared behind her, eating her room into ash.

"Busu, don't you dare give up." Yahiko demanded in a voice tinged with terror. The flames where building again, this time around both of them. They had to get out.

Kaoru choose that moment to fall to her knees. Her breathing was labored from smoke and the pain of her wound. Yahiko noticed with horror that there was blood dripping from her clenched fingertips and falling onto her Yukata and the floor. He had to get her outside so he could see how bad it was.

"Kaoru," Yahiko desperately called out. Squaring his shoulders he helped his sister/mother to an almost upright position. They leaned against each other as they stumbled and even crawled at time to the hole in the remains of the delicate rice paper. Yahiko used his foot to make a whole big enough for both of them and they stumbled into the night air; gasping for the fresh oxygen.

Once Yahiko got them clear of the burning Dojo, he helped Kaoru to lie down, terrified and determined to see what damage had been done. Her eyes had gone glassy and he swallowed hard when a single drop of blood spilled from the corner of her lips.

"Kaoru?" He whispered. He didn't even have to look to know how bad it was and that he didn't have much time left with her.

She turned her head and met his eyes. Yahiko had never seen such an expression in human eyes before. They were still the same blue, and even fogged and glassy, her affection was clear. Not even his late mother had given him such a firm expression of her love for him.

"Yahiko," his name was so soft and spoken with such deliberate determination; as if it was difficult to pronounce things and she was using all of her stubbornness to form the words. Even then they were faintly slurred.

"Kaoru," Yahiko shakily replied. "You can't die. Kenshin won't forgive you."

A faint smile tugged at her bloodless lips. "Yahiko," again that deliberate forming of her words.

"I won't forgive you." He desperately replied, attempting to find anything to hold her to him. Anything.

Her glassy eyes cleared for a moment. "Yahiko. Please." There was faint hope there and he closed his eyes and then opened them.

Yahiko pulled in a deep breath. "Kaoru, please. Don't go. Please." He was begging now but he didn't care. He wasn't sure he would be able to loose his mother twice.

"I am sorry." The words where coming slower now, fainter with the edge of determination fading. "Tell Kenshin…."

Yahiko looked at her eyes and knew it was inevitable. He had already known it but the expression there confirmed it. He had seen it to many times in the past seven years not to know death with it came to take those he loved away. Yahiko swallowed and wiped his eyes; forcing his tears back.

He would be strong for his Kaoru. He watched as her eyes lifted toward her family Dojo and pain filled them, a different type of pain from what already ate at her. This was harder for her to take and tears sprang to her eyes.

A pain he knew that he could fix.

"I'll remember."

She turned and looked at him with eyes that where fading fast. "I promise. I won't forget what you taught me. I won't let your Fathers teaching be forgotten." Yahiko's words were fierce and determined.

She smiled a small smile and closed her eyes. "Tell Kenshin…" He knew she believed him and he hoped it gave her some small comfort.

Yahiko leaned close. "Tell him what?"


"Kaoru? Busu?" Yahiko reached out and touched her chest. There was nothing there. Taking a shuddering breath he closed his eyes and didn't try to fight the tears that streamed down his face until he heard a voice.

"Poor little girl."

Yahiko slowly raised his head and saw a figure wrapped in bandages. He was standing in the shadows, his face hidden but his eyes gleamed with malice; with glee.

"Tell Himura that this is a warning."

Yahiko bunched his hand into a fist. "A warning for what? Who are you?" Anger laced his words, but since Kaoru was in his lap he was not able challenge the man in front of him. He would never drop her back onto the ground to be discarded.

"Tell him Makoto Shishio will not forget him. Tell him that I will haunt his footsteps and he will never know a moment of peace as long as I live."

Yahiko watched as Shishio left, leaving behind only ashes of the once happy dojo where he had found a family.

Family's where meant to be avenged.

Kenshin watched the last of the smoke curl from the burnt dojo and felt his mouth twist into something that could only be called a snarl. She was gone. There was nothing left to hold her bright spirit to the earth and she had been taken from him. Shuddering, he held the hilt of his sword as title as he could in an attempt to gain control.


It was Yahiko. The boy had barely spoken a handful of words since the fire. It had been three days and Kenshin knew that the boy had been watching everyone with eyes that needed answers. He was certain what he had found in the changes his trip to Kyoto had wrought was not what he had been looking for. His 'family' was different now.

Kenshin turned and watched as Yahiko froze at what he saw.

His eyes were the color of molten gold that swirled around black pupils. They emotions burned hot: rage, hate, longing, and an eternal sadness so profound that Yahiko thought his own soul would shatter under the intensity of it.

Yahiko suddenly wondered if this was why loving Kenshin had terrified Kaoru. Raw emotion like that was difficult to understand. Raw emotion no other creature dared to match. Such intensity would burn them both up from the inside out.

Swallowing he squared his shoulders. "Kenshin, Kaoru wanted me to tell you something." Yahiko tried to keep his voice from breaking and failed. "She…she told me when…" He closed his eyes and swallowed.

Kenshin lowered his eyes so that his bangs covered his face. Hiding those eyes.

"She said she forgives you." Yahiko blurted out when he realized what his friend was doing. Yahiko watched Kenshin's muscles bunch till he thought they would just snap from the pressure. Yahiko feared Kenshin for a moment and feared even more the message he had to deliver.

He was saved when Sano walked over to stand at Kenshin's side. If anyone was going to get between them it was his crazy friend. "There was a man here," Yahiko finished softly.

Kenshin looked up then and Yahiko went still. He had never seen such hate in the Rurouni's eyes before.

"Who," the voice was soft but held a feral growl to the edges.

"He said his name was Makoto Shishio." Yahiko stumbled to a stop at the look that crossed both Sano's and Kenshin's faces. They knew who he was. They were furious.


"What else Yahiko?" The softness had already bled from his tone.

"He said it was a warning. A warning and that he would never forget and he would always be in your shadows." Yahiko managed to croak out. He struggled to remember anything else and then kicked at the ground as he remembered Aoshi's note. "Aoshi sent a message ahead," Yahiko said quietly. "Someone attacked the Aoiya and in the fight Misao was killed. The only one killed." He felt the world spin dizzily as sharp, twin fangs dripped from Kenshin's upper lip.


The noise that irrupted from Kenshin and Sano's throats where nothing short of growls and it sent chills down Yahiko's neck. The suspicion that had been eating at him since their return rolled down his spine: his friends were not human anymore.

If Kenshin ever had been.

Kenshin was in a full-blown Battousai rage and he knew it. His eyes were where so hot they were almost glowing in the warm sunshine. The sharp fangs were biting into his own bottom lip but he couldn't really care. He had his sharp nails digging into the palms of his hands so hard blood leaked from between his fingers and his knuckles were white with the pressure.

Yahiko looked at Sano and he struggled not to give into his instincts to fear. Sano's eyes were dark with the same fire and he was snarling with rage.

Like a wolf…

Yahiko later decided that it was Megumi's sudden presence that saved the innocents around them. She paused at what was left of the gate and stared with wide eyes, dropping the packages in her hands loudly.

She probably would have continued to stare except Sano launched himself forward. Megumi shrieked loudly as she found herself wrapped up in a set of long arms and gripped tightly against a strong chest.

"Sano!" Megumi snapped in a frightened voice. "Do you mind?"

Sano just buried his nose in her hair and breathed in deep. "He didn't get you." He whispered frantically. "You're safe and he didn't get you…"

Megumi tilted her head to look up at him and gave him an odd look. "Sano?"

Yahiko looked away soon after Sano kissed Megumi. They're where some things he just did not want to see. Instead, he looked at the man he had come to think of as almost a father and walked over to join him.

Kaoru had never feared Kenshin. As her only remaining student and heir to Kamiya Kasshin he would never fear him either. It was the one thing he had always been determined to learn. The courage Kaoru somehow always managed to display

He would learn it.

First he had to get over the fact that his best friends had fangs.

"Kenshin?" Yahiko questioned, his tone soft and hesitant.

Kenshin looked up then and Yahiko blinked. He had never seen Kenshin cry before. Hot tears were filling his eyes and slowly falling down his cheeks.

"Yahiko," His tone was softer than earlier but still held some of the low rumble of anger in his tones. "There is much you wish to ask. We have the time." His eyes were pained and Yahiko wondered how much it was costing him to sit back on his heels for the moment.

Yahiko made a motion back towards Megumi and Sanosuke. "What about them."

Kenshin gave a pained smile. "Sano is just checking on his mate."

Yahiko blinked and grasped Kenshin by the sleeve of his gi and dragged him around the ashes of the dojo. He finally found a place that had less damage than the rest and pinned him with a look.

Some time later Yahiko stared at Kenshin with disbelief.

"So you're telling me you're a Vampire, but you won't need to drink anyone's blood; unless you find Kaoru again so you can claim her as your mate. You won't die and you have gone from god-like speed to simply god speed. The reason that Kaoru and Misao are dead is because Shishio wanted to make a point. If she was still alive you would have claimed her as your mate. Because you're a vampire and not a human." Yahiko ticked off each phrase on his fingers and looked back up and stared.

Kenshin gave a bitter laugh. " That sums it up nicely."

Yahiko continued to stare at him before nodding and giving him a determined look. "Change me."

Kenshin's head snapped in his direction. "Repeat that," he asked weakly.

Yahiko jaw was set. "I don't want to learn Hiten Mitsurgi Ryu. I know you can't teach it. I will learn the rest of the Kamiya Kasshin for Kaoru." Yahiko raised his eyes stubbornly. "You say that there is a chance of Kaoru being reborn."

Kenshin nodded slowly. It was the only reason he himself was still alive. The only reason he had to live. "Yes. The changes are slim," he admitted as he swallowed.

Yahiko shrugged. "Someone will need to teach her families teachings and I will. I will be there when she needs me in the future, and I will be able to protect." Not like this time.

It went unspoken between them.

Kenshin still hesitated. "Are you sure Yahiko? I did not have much of a choice in this that I did not. I do not want you to do this because you feel you have type of debt. Kaoru-dono..." He trailed off then and then continued. "Kaoru would never forgive either of us for something like that."

Yahiko squared his shoulders. "Kenshin, please. not want to live the rest of my life knowing I could have done something to repay her for her love and I did not."

Kenshin nodded his head. He had thought all lost when Hiko had told him what he must become to complete his training. He had not thought Shishio would attempt so insane a stunt and it had cost him the most precious thing in his life: Kaoru. His little female kendo instructor with more courage than good sense.

Yahiko had said it perfectly. Family was to be avenged.

First he would find the patience of the rurouni and wait till Yahiko grew strong enough to be changed. And then he would paint the walls of Tokyo red with Makoto Shishio's blood. For once he stepped onto this path, the path of the Battousai would be the only road left for him. Focusing his eyes on the setting sun he made his decisions. When it rose again it would be red with the future blood of Shishio and his followers.

He would make the dawn bleed.

He would step into his place at Hiko's side as the heir to this darkness no one could control. He would wait for Kaoru and then bind their souls so tightly she could never leave him again. He would wait.

For an eternity.