Disclaimer: I do not own Rurouni Kenshin- I only play with the characters.


A strangled cry of rage tore through the forest. The thundering rain nearly drowned the sound out as it pummeled furiously onto the forest below, as if angry for some unknown offense. Dense leaves caught the liquid and flung it off again as howling wind ripped through the trees. The water that did manage to pound its way through the canopy of trees fell onto the foliage below or spattered into the mud puddles that littered the ground.

All normal sounds of a normal spring storm, save for one thing.

Another shout rose up through the trees.

Muffled cursing and the heavy rustling of underbrush quickly followed it. The smaller inhabitants of the forest fled as a figure stumbled into a small clearing among the foliage. His chest heaved in time with heavy, chugging breaths. Yellow eyes darted about, fiercely searching. He exuded fear itself, a red demon plaguing the forest with his searing presence. His red claws flexed; rain splattered onto red skin and drooping ears. The pounding water mimicked the sound of rain on leaves as it hit his leathery blood-red wings. Nothing with a heartbeat was foolish enough to stay anywhere near him; though upon close inspection it became obvious that he was injured. Numerous lacerations could be seen oozing blood under his tattered clothing. If he noticed, he gave no indication of it. By all appearances, he was a creature escaped from the underworld.

He was running for his life.

Another figure burst noisily into the small clearing. If the first creature was a demon, this one resembled a cyborg. Both of his hands, as well as his right eye, were mechanical. Even his thick tail had been mostly covered in metal parts. The thing that drew the eye the most, however, was the tall metal crest that sprouted from his head. It took the place of hair, the front edge sweeping up and away from his forehead to form a cluster of sharp points at least two feet high.

This monster carried a sword already lightly speckled with the blood of his prey. He spotted his quarry in the clearing instantly and lunged forward with a wordless yell, intent on coating every inch of his silver blade in the lifeblood of the other.

With a great thrust of his wings, the first shot upward. Muttered curses drifted up from below him as his assailant tried frantically to locate him. The red demon reached a peak, hanging in the air for one frozen moment.

The moment ended.

Wings snapped shut tightly against his back and the demon plummeted back down towards the earth. The monster on the ground looked up just in time, raising his sword with a startled cry. Claws raked across metal, the harsh clashing reverberating through the soaked clearing. A grunt of effort, and the one holding the sword pushed away the winged creature. Using the shove as a launch, the demon flipped backwards, landing in a crouch several feet away. The metal monster didn't wait for him to recover, attacking again instantly. The demon jerked to the side, one clawed hand going to his hip in reflex, as if reaching for a sword. He growled in frustration when his claws met nothing but air. The sword was no longer there and he mentally cursed the person responsible for its absence. Unaccustomed to fighting with only his claws and agility, he was at a slight disadvantage offensively, a fact of which his heavily armed attacker was taking full advantage.

His eyes raked over his opponent again. The tall monster carried not only the katana that he was currently using, but also had various kinds of swords strapped to every conceivable spot of his body. He most likely had some hidden inside the mechanical portions of his body as well.

The red creature shot forward; trying, not for the first time, to get close enough to steal one of his opponent's many swords. The heavy tail lashed out at him. He dodged aside again and barely managed to keep himself from tripping. He shook his head, trying to rid himself of the dizziness. Damn cyborg. Every time he got close, the monster did something that messed with his ears. It was playing havoc with his sense of balance. Attacks that he should be able to avoid easily were leaving him with a myriad of scratches- minor scratches, yes, but still…

He flipped backwards again, becoming aware of a long clearing at his back.

A chuckle. A chuckle?! His attention shot forward. That monster was laughing at him? No one laughed at him! Amber eyes narrowed. How in all heaven had it come to the point that his opponents laughed at him? Muscles flexed as he sank into a crouch.

He was tired, angry, weaponless. Time to end this. He would be in his element in that open space that he sensed at his back, where there would be room to use his wings fully.

The next round of attacks came. He began giving ground. The clearing came closer, closer… The pair burst from the last layer of trees onto a road.

Too late, the demon realized his mistake. The rain, previously somewhat tempered by the trees, now fell with unhindered fury upon the two invaders of the forest. Whereas windy days usually put the demon in his element, allowing him to fly higher and faster with less effort, today the heavy gusts were a severe hindrance. When he reflexively opened his wings to steady himself, the wind caught the membranous sails and knocked him around.

The hissing swoosh of rain upon flying metal assaulted his ears as his antagonist switched to a nearly silent attack. The red creature's wings snapped open, ready to jerk him aside. The wind chose that moment to send an even stronger billow ripping through the tunnel formed by the tree-lined road. It slammed into him, jerking him around. The blade that had been aiming for his heart was imbedded in his shoulder instead. He hissed, reaching up to jerk out the short knife that his opponent had thrown. The wind blew around again, knocking him off balance and keeping him from hearing the next coming attack. Movement caught his eye just in time and he twisted to the side. He yanked the dirk from his shoulder and used it to block one of his opponent's oncoming blades. However, he didn't move fast enough to block the lower of the simultaneous attacks. The sword in his opponent's right hand plunged into his side.

He stumbled backwards as his opponent kicked him square in the chest to free his sword. The bloodied katana was raised for a final blow when a sound thrummed through the rain. A car was approaching on the road. The swordsman hesitated, glancing at his staggering prey. The sound of the approaching vehicle grew louder and he made his decision, turning and leaping into the trees.

The wounded creature took in a ragged breath, struggling to remain upright. He couldn't fall here, in the middle of a road! Not like this… he could not afford for anyone to see him like this!

His vision went black as the wet road rushed up to meet him.


Another's Note: I know, I didn't name either of the characters, but if you can't figure out who they are, don't worry, their names will be given later!

Comments and criticisms are both greatly appreciated, as I do hope to improve my writing with this story.