Hi, peeps! After a very long delay I have returned from the dead! ^^0

IMPORTANT!!: I am going to be modifying Kenshin's diologe from this point on. Instead of saying 'I' and 'me' he will refer to himself as 'this one'. This is a nice little compromise for those who miss him saying 'sessha' and what not. It is used in the translated manga so it works. Slowly, but surely I also plan to edit the chapter to this diologe...later. ( Although it may never get done. -_-0)

Sorry for the short chapter. It was was going to be longer, but I had to get something out for you guys.

Disclaimer: I do not own Rurouni Kenshin. However, I did get some of the manga for christmas. ^^

Carry On Dancing: Smoke

Kaoru shifted slightly from where she and Yahiko were hiding. They were crouched between a narrow alley way between two of the houses in Kyoto. It was musty, damp, and dirty and Kaoru coughed more than once. Yahiko was just as uncomfortable as she was. The hot sun blazed on their exposed necks.

Yet they were not here without purpose, Shishio's plan to burn down the city was to begin at noon, according to what Cho had told Kenshin. He wanted the whole city to be awake to witness the destruction he was planning for their city. Kaoru tried to shift again to see better around the outside of the alley they were hiding in and bumped Yahiko on the head. He glared as she smiled sheepishly.

" Quit it ugly!" he hissed in frusteration, " I'm the one that's on the lookout... not you!"

"Well maybe I want to see what's going on." she stated with a pout. Yahiko shook his head with frusteration. They couldn't fight when they were supposed to be on the lookout, but both Kaoru and Yahiko had been sorely tempted several times. A sudden movement caught his attention and he saw a man dressed in normal everyday clothes. Yahiko was about to pay no more attention to him when he saw something in his hands. Carefully hidden, but Yahiko could see it. He hadn't been a pickpocket most of his life for nothing.

The man was holding matches and was bending down to the edge of a house...

" Kaoru, it's starting! They're starting Kyoto halocaust!" he yelled, not bothering to wisper. He scrambled out into the streets and hit the man on the head with a hard blow, knocking him out. One of the residents came out of their house just as Kaoru followed Yahiko out. She held a trained pidgeon in her hands. The woman looked at Kaoru as if waiting for an answer.

" Send the message to the Aoyia." Kaoru stated simply, " it's starting as we speak...."

The woman released the bird at once as it flew into the air. It would be the signal to Okina to release the messages that Shishio's operation had started to all Oniwaban members and the townsfolk helping them. It probably wouldn't be nessasary however, there were Oniwaban members all over the area hiding in the alleyways and looking for a sign of the beginning of Kyoto Halocaust. Yet one could never be too careful...

" Kaoru! There's more on the way!" Yahiko yelled and there indeed was. Kaoru held her shinai firmly and set her eyes on her attackers.

' This.... is what I was born to do.' Kaoru thought as she held her shinai out, ' To protect people and I'll never lose sight of that.'

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" So, one of those boats is his Battousai?" Saitoh questioned as they all stood on the dock, "Which one?"

Sanosuke glowered at Saitoh for acting as though he was the boss. Kenshin however nodded his head and scanned the port. He finally settled on a very worn looking ship, to the point where it was a questioning matter whether it should even be on the water. Kenshin, however, knew that was the exact way Shishio wanted them to see it.

" That one." he stated as he pointed to it, " It's that one."

" You're kidding." Sano said in a state of disbelief, " There is NO way a rustbucket like that is Shishio's battleship."

Saitoh snorted, " You idiot. That's what Shishio wants you to think, I wasn't a shadow assassain and even I know that much."

" Why you-"

" He's coming." Kenshin stated and indeed there was Shishio coming out of the hull of the ship, " Saitoh and I will confront him head on. To distract him. Then Sano can use his bombs to destroy the hull of the ship."

" How am I supposed to get there? " Sanosuke asked impatiently, " There's not a single boat that isn't used by someone."

As if on cue, a bomb destroyed a good part of the deck and the three only barely got away. The water reacted with a huge splash, spraying the water upon them. The salt water stang Kenshin's eyes as the three of them jumped backwards from the onslaught. Many planks of wood floated in the water from the huge explosion.

Kenshin looked at Saito and he nodded slightly. That was all that was needed as the two proceeded to jump from boat to boat and land on Shishio's ship. Shishio wore a sadistic smirk as he gazed upon them, hard as steel. He eyes showed no mercy for anyone in his path.

'This one showed no mercy once, just like this man does now' Kenshin thought as he stared right back, his hand tighting on the hilt on his sword, ' Never again.'

" I apologize." he said in a mocking manner, " I did almost kill you, eh?"

" This one does not care for you." his eyes narrowed, " Why did you send Soujiro to kill Kaoru? What did it acomplish?"

Shishio only smirked and crossed his arms. " You're asking the wrong person Battousai. Soujiro decided to kill that stupid girl of his own free will. I let him as long as he did nothing to you. It was not your time to die."

Kenshn looked at him with wide eyes. So this wasn't Shishio's fault at all, he did nothing to influence Soujiro's attack. So what did Soujiro have against Kaoru....was it him? Or something else?

Wait. Shishio's eyes seemed not to be focused on him... they would dart to the side of himself and then back. It was a quick glance that manslayers used to be on the look out for any attacks that came their way. Kenshin couldn't risk glancing himself, what if Shishio saw him and thought he was looking at the boats in the harbor?

" Now, the gatling guns!" Shishio yelled out of no where. His men quickly aim the arsenals at something. Kenshin turned to see what they were going to shoot.... it was Sanosuke.

" Sano!" he yelled as the guns were fired. He expected to see Sanosuke dead, but it never came. The water flew upwards as Sanosuke punched the plank of wood he landed on. The force was so great that it was able to deflect each bullet sent at him. His own bombs went towards the ship and exploded. Shishio himself was surprised and irked. The flames were getting close to where the ammo was stored. He showed none of these feelings to thet three now on the ship.

" It seems our time is cut short battousai. If you really wish to stop me so badly, how about this. There is a shrine in the Hiei mountains of japan. There are six torii araches before it. Go there and you will have your chance." He was obviously confident.

Saitoh smirked at his words, " By what you are say, we are to face all ten of the juupongatana. You have no intentions of making this boring, do you?"

Shishio smiled evily " Consider yourselves dead."

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Okay, first off.... YOU GUYS ARE SO TOTALLY CRAZY IF YOU'RE DOING TWO FICS AT ONCE! SPAR YOURSELF! Ahem.... anyway I must be crazy 'cause I did just that. I refuse to delete it though.... I love it so much. (which is the problem-_-) Check it out if you like kingdom hearts! ^^

I'm looking forward to when Kenshin fights Soujiro. I'm thinking of skipping the other fights 'cause I can't make a change to them, it'd be so boring! So.... yey or ney?

Now for the review responses:

Koari: Yeah, she is out of this 'stump' as you call it. To tell you the truth she was forced to accept it before she wanted to, because of Kenshin's sudden appearance. Oi... sorry for not updating sooner.

Crystal Renne: Yep, the fluff this story started with made a guest appearance. Sad thing is it's not gonna be back for awhile...sigh. =( As for the second thing... she isn't going to tell Kenshin unless she has to for the reason in your review. She can't just go up to Kenshin and say, ' Oh hi Kenshin, you killed my dad just so you know.' Yeah.... but that doesn't mean he won't find out. =)

Koishii Sweet: ^^ Glad you think so!

Sofa-chan: ^^0 That's really what it is called, I'm not kidding. Shishio must think of better names for his operations, they're so obvious!

Kaykoha Ayanithne: I'm glad you like it.

Super Sheba: Thanks. ^_^

Catrina3: Thanks for noticing...poor Misao.

Deathbycookie: Thanks ^_^. But seriously, I know that it's bad to make Kaoru cry too much.... but if the love of my life killed MY dad I would cry too.

Pyscho king: Oh, no. I am not gonna let her do that. She's gonna play an important part in one of the juupongatana battles. Kaoru isn't going anywhere. ^_~

Ruruoni Kaoru Kenshin's Love: Thanks! I glad you like it. By the way, how did you review the same chapter 2 times? O_o;

SakuraLuna: Thank you for the feedback. ^_^ I guess we both are lazy, eh?(jk)

Rouroken: Thanks!*winces* Ugh, that had to stink.... reinstalling everything, yuck.

Rar: It was a dream, okay? I don't have the heart to kill Kenshin in the story for real.... mostly for saftey reasons. * nervously watches kenshin fangirls * So please, it wasn't THAT bad.

And for the chapter title, Smoke, I'm sure you guys know why I picked that title. ^_^