Title: The Drifter and Town Insanity

Author: E_Eevee (with imput from my friend fyyrrose)

Genre: Humor

Disclaimer: I do not own Rurouni Kenshin, not even the tiniest chunk. Doesn't life totally suck? I don't own Colorado or a silver mine or a small, crazy town either. This is done without permission, but I'm a penniless chick so don't expect to get anything out of me. I do have three miniture hellhounds, would you like one?

Prologue: Never Trust a Woman with a Rifle

I leaned back just happy to be riding instead of walking. Buying a ticket on the stagecoach had taken a good bit out of my savings, but it was worth it. Completely.

From under the shield of my thick, coppery bangs I curiously studied the other people swaying with the motion of the stage. There were three men and a woman. All of them were above myself, the poor drifter. Business class. Not like the hard company I usually found myself in. Men that looked like they didn't quite know how to hold a gun or ride a horse. Banks and investments were their choice weapons.

My eyes slid over the men. Nothing extra-ordinary at all. Gray suits with black ties and fat faces. Bland, boring faces may I add. It wasn't that I was looking for trouble. I wasn't. I already had more than enough trouble in my life without looking for more. Reflexively my fingers touched my cheek. More than enough. Now, I was just trying to live my life.

The woman was seated across from me. Unlike the fellow passengers she had a hard look about her. Even though she was wearing a dress it was like she was a wolf in sheep's clothing. Her jet-black hair was curled in a bun and her gray eyes were half-closed. Something deep inside me urged to stay clear. My instincts were always right on the money.

"Hello Miss." Businessman number one said smoothly. I watched, curious.

The woman eyed him briefly. Her eyes were still lidded with contempt. She flicked those stormy orbs over him and turned back to staring out at the landscape. The man seemed annoyed. Not enough to desist his attentions however.

"Now, that's not very nice Miss." He chided with a under tone of malice. I began to wonder if I should step in before it got ugly.

"Missus." She replied disinterested. "Now leave me alone."

The man backed off slightly before a undeniably lecherous grin slid across his features. His hands started to wander downward and I started to open my mouth. How could I make my interference look like an accident? Although I was in front of strangers, I had no intention of letting my true nature slip.

"I'm sure your husband wouldn't mind if we shared mere pleasantries."

Quick as a snake the woman's hand lashed out. I saw a flash of metal before it withdrew back to her side. The man screamed in pain and anger as bright red blood spilled out of his slashed arm. The jagged tear traced up his gangly arm.

"I think he would. My husband is very possessive you see." She replied in the same tone, sheathing her knife back in its hiding place. She ignored the drops of blood that had splattered the hem of her dress. "I am not a whore, I do not expect to be treated as such."

I blanched. Whatever I was expecting, that was not it. I had just watched this lady nearly slice off a man's hand. Now she was staring out the window like nothing had happened at all. The man was whimpering. She had slashed his left arm. Lucky, considering he'd never use it fully again.

An uneasy silence hung over the occupants. I wondered who this woman was and hoped she wasn't headed the same direction I was. Then again, I could always drift somewhere else. With no set path, there were lots of options. If Colorado didn't suit me, I could always continue to head west. West. Towards the Pacific Ocean. Except that California was such a mess at the moment with the discovery of gold.

Staring out at the scenery I couldn't help, but marvel. Snow was already dusting the surrounding mountaintops yet down where it was level, there was green. The trees tended to clump together around a small winding creek. Long grass the color of wheat concealed wildlife. The sky was darkening at the moment. I hoped we would get into town before darkness fell.

We were behind due to a raid on the station before ours. All the horses had been stolen and the staff was slaughtered. The station itself was burned. That of course meant the coach had to push on with tired, harried horses.

I looked forward to a bed. These seats were far from comfortable. The wooden frame on the window dug into my upper arm and forehead as I rested against it.

Suddenly the coach jerked forward and there was a commotion outside. One of the men whimpered in fear while the others looked pale. Me, I was just confused.

"Bandits!" The driver called down frantically. He was whipping the matched team of bays. The horses, catching the frenzy, raced ahead unevenly. They jerked and jostled in the harness rocking the coach. White foam flecked their mouths around the bits and their ears were pinned back.

Sneaking a cautious peek out the window I noted the men bearing down on us. There was only a handful, which made me suspect a trap. But what were they after? So much as I knew there was no gold, just passengers. There was nothing of value.

"Bastards." The woman hissed. She reached under the seat and pulled out a Colt. I gulped and muttered in surprise, "Oro!"

She turned to me. Distant and polite. "I suggest you draw your gun if you wish to live. These men are ruthless and deadly." Her eyes cut across the other three men, "I doubt these cowards know how to even pull the trigger. It is the two of us. Katsu is busy directing the horses."

It took a few seconds to realize she meant the driver's name was Katsu, and wait a minute! She was going to fight? This was no ordinary lady, which made me wonder who she was. How did she know I carried a gun? I rarely used it. If unholstered it tended to unleash my darker half. The one that thirsted for the blood of men, and enjoyed the skill of killing. I had put him behind me. Locked him away.

While I was fighting with myself the woman had leaned out the window. The gun flashed and a man screamed. The three men cringed and hit the floor cowering. I understood that not everyone could be a fighter, but this was going to take their lives! The least they could do was fight back.

One of the bandits drew along side. Under all the dirt and grim that encrusted his face, I could see he was very young. He pulled his gun level aiming for the woman who was hanging out the other side. Without even thinking I reacted. My gun cleared leather with unprecedented speed and the bullet lashed through the man's shoulder.

The bandits slowed already having lost a few men. As far as I could tell the woman shot to kill. Three bodies lay in the dust behind us unmoving. The youth I had taken was limp over his bay's neck trying to tie off his arm with a bandana. Some unseen signal halted them all and I sighed.

"Do not relax just yet."

"Watch out down there! I'm ramming them!"

"Oro!" I yelped, realizing some more men had set up a barricade in front of the coach. The driver had the team of six pounding towards them recklessly. Did everyone here have a death wish?

At the last minute the rider scattered, firing off shots. Lead nicked the wooden coach, but soon we were out of range.

Calming my beating heart, I looked down. The men were slowly getting up, still scared silly. Well, I was scared silly too. All I wanted was a ride, to save myself some walking. I knew that it was dangerous, but there was no money. And those weren't Indians. I decided to get out of this country as soon as possible. Why did trouble always find me?

"Thank you for saving my life. I hope to repay you somehow." The woman said. I looked around then realized she was talking to me. The Colt had magically disappeared under the seat again and she had regained her former position. "My name is Tokio."

Mildly embarrassed, I wondered if I was expected to give my name back. That wasn't something I was inclined to do. Asking a man's name could get you killed. Giving mine was even worse. It could get me killed. I hoped she wouldn't have the chance to repay me. I just wanted to get out of there. Away from her.

She eyed me and I shrank away ever so slightly. Why did I suddenly feel like a lamb being led to slaughter?

The rest of the ride was suffered in silence. I falsified sleep hoping to be left alone, all the while wondering about Missus Tokio. I wondered who she really was and what I was getting myself into. I had a strong suspicion she knew exactly who I was and if not that, she had a hunch. If she did, it didn't seem to faze her. Then again I had just watched her calmly dispatch of some bandits by sticking her body out a careening stagecoach and firing a rifle.

"We're here, all safe and sound!" The driver called down as he hopped off the seat. The lanky man strolled over and opened the door. Missus Tokio accepted his offered hand and stepped down once again in the guise of a lady.

The businessmen stumbled out gathering their luggage with haste. I exited last and having no worldly affects started looking for the nearest place to stay. After all this I figured I could treat myself to a night with a real bed and some hot food.

Unfortunately, fate had other plans. Standing off to the side with a tall, blood bay was a figure I recognized all too well.

A/N: So what do you people think? Am I totally crazy for doing this? I so needed to vent and poor, poor Kenny became the victim. This is just setting the stage. Reviews much appreciated. ;)