Disclaimer: I don't own Rurouni Kenshin
BANG! BANG! BANG!
"I'm coming, I'm coming! Stop banging the door like that! I just had it polished!" Megumi shouted as she made her way to her front door. She was wondering who in the world it could be banging at her door at such an hour.
"Yes! I'm sorry but we are…Battousai? What in the world…"
"Megumi shut your trap and help me out here!"
Megumi turn her gaze to the passed out teenager in Battousai's arms. It soon hit her like a brick; it seems that Kaoru and Battousai here had gotten themselves into 'trouble' once again, thus resulting in Kaoru's predicament.
"Get her onto one of those operating beds in the first room to your right. I'll get ready the proper instruments and procedures." Battousai proceeded to do what Megumi had instructed.
It has been exactly 1 hour since the brawl had taken place. The police had just left the scene bringing with them the two brutes that had suddenly began their attack that evening. Tae was busy clearing up the mess caused, whereas Tsubame was tending to the Yahiko's wound.
Tsubame kept her gaze locked upon the young boy. She was worried for him; ever since Battousai left with his sister, he remained silent, even when the police had asked him for his testimonial. Thankfully Tae was there to clear up any misunderstanding that may have arisen.
"Alright." Tae suddenly said as she settled herself onto one of the seats next to the young duo. "Would you care to enlighten us about what may have caused the little 'accident' to happen this evening?"
"Tae-san, please don't…"
"Me, Kaoru and our older brother used to be the typical vagrants you will find off the streets in one of those sleazy places in Tokyo that is widely known to be treacherous and dangerous."
"Due to Sano's past, that seemed to be the only place he could ever find a job at. During our time there, we could very well conclude that in such a place, everyone there was your enemy, and you could not trust anyone else besides yourself."
Yahiko took a deep breath before he continued with the rest of his distressing story.
"We soon realized that we had to leave, or we might regret ever staying on in such a place. But it was quite impossible to do so as it would seem that the tycoon our brother worked for would not allow us to leave unless we…were…dead…"
"So what happened next?"
"Yet, nevertheless we knew people will eventually die off one day, it's just a matter of time though. Thus, we decided to take the risk. Before we left, our brother stole a few stuff to sell, borrowed a few thousand here and there…and finally we got enough to leave that place of a pig-sty."
"That means…those men…"
"Those men were henchmen, working under one of Tokyo's most powerful tycoon whom our brother also used to work for. And he was none other then…"
Battousai waited impatiently outside the room Kaoru was in. It has been already an hour since Megumi went in with the injured girl, and since then he has been strolling up and down the aisle.
"What's taking that woman so long? Wasn't she supposed to be one of the very best in Kyoto…She should not be taking that long. Hmph maybe she's losing her touch…"
"I resent that statement."
"Impatient as always. Have you ever thought of taking a course in Anger Management, it will do you good in the long-run."
"Cut the crap! Is she still alive?"
"Of course she is! You should have a little more faith in me, since I am one of the top-notch doctors in town."
Megumi frowned at Battousai. She had thought that perhaps by staying with Kaoru for a while, some of her good character would have rubbed off to him and made him more polite.
"I'm waiting apparently."
"Yes, yes, I realized. Ok, here is the outcome. Kaoru sustained a rather deep cut to her side of her head, causing a rupture, eventually leading to…"
"-.-...She received stitches for her head injuries and should be recovering just fine. Just let her stay here for three days, after that she would be ready to be discharged."
"What exactly happened Battousai? Don't tell me YOU…"
"I leave her in your care then. The rest, I believe, you can find out for yourself another time…from another source."
"But Battousai…" Before Megumi could say anything else, Battousai disappeared.
"Yahiko, I never knew…"
The young boy kept his head low, bangs covering his eyes in shame.
"Well I guess that settles it then."
"I don't think me and my sister would blame you if you fired us Tae-san. I mean after what happened this evening, it comes as no surprise, but I hope you won't sue us or anything like that…."
"Tae-san! You cannot possibly blame them…I mean they had no choice, and right now, they are trying to make an honest living! I mean I am not hurt or anything…so there is no need to fire them right. You always taught me that…'
But before Tsubame could continue on her ranting, Tae was already bursting out in laughter.
"Oh my! Haha…what a nice combo you both make. Haha!"
Both blushed at the comment made.
"Whatever makes you think I am going to fire the both of you in the first place."
"Does that mean?"
"Haha…yes you and your sister can continue to work here. You both had added so much life into this old run-down restaurant and ever since you both started working for me, I have always regarded the both of you as family. How could I ever bear to let you both go."
"Tae-san…" Yahiko's eyes brighten up with hope as he heard what Tae said. It has been ages since he had last heard someone said he was family to them.
"But I have a request."
"That there will be no more such secrets held between us from now on alright? Haha, I wouldn't like to be surprise with such an attack like that ever again."
"Come on…lets get this place cleaned up."
But just as they were about to leave for the back kitchen, they were interrupted by…
"Arh! Are you guys alright?" Sano said as he slumped onto the side of the door. The trio immediately proceeded to help him up onto one of the chairs. As Tae went to fetch more bandages and water to tend to Sano's wounds, Sano told them the story of what had happened at the dark alley earlier on.
"So Battousai-san had been helping us this whole time?"
"You see Sano-kun, the man whom you are all speaking of came to rescue us earlier on when two brutes wanted to take Kaoru-san and Yahiko-kun away."
"Really? So where is he now? By the way where is Kaoru?"
"What happened to Kaoru?"
"She's at Megumi's."
Everyone turned to the front door where the sudden answer had came from, and there stood Battousai.
"Battousai! Where's Kaoru? Did those thugs take her?" Sanosuke exclaimed as he tried his best to get up but was stopped by Tae who had returned by the bandages and water.
"Idiot. If she was caught, she wouldn't be at Megumi's right."
"Oh…yea…but what happened to her? Is she alright?"
"She's fine. Currently resting at Megumi's. Don't make me repeat myself again."
There was an air of silence soon after. No one said anything and all that could be heard was the splashing of water as Tae dressed Sano's wounds.
"Why did you help us? Is it you want something from us? Or is it that you want to gain our trust or something like.."
"I have no gain in helping you."
"Then why? Why would a stranger such as yourself want to help us?"
"Hmph! Foolish boy. If I didn't help, that foolish girl would have been killed. She still owes me a favor and before she repays that, she can't die."
"Then what about Sano? Why would you want to help a brute like him?"
"HEY! Oww! Not so hard Tae."
"I said it before, and I do not wish to repeat myself." Battousai replied as he settled himself down upon one of the chairs.
'Hey1 I didn't ask you this before!'
"Eh…but I did."
"Sano?" Yahiko looked annoyingly at his older brother.
"Hehe, he said he was out exercising."
"Exercising? What kind of…"
'Alright Yahiko, that's far enough. Battousai here helped us, and I guess the least you can do is say thanks right."
"Thanks Battousai! Without you I think I would have lost my life, my family, everything. Owe ya one." Sano said as he looked towards the stoic man, nudging his younger brother to do the same.
"…alright! Thanks, I supposed."
Battousai remained indifferent as he heard the two brothers thanking him.
"Well I guess since this is all settled then. I can see everyone here is tired from today's sudden turn of events, so why not I go and whip up something nice for supper." Tae said smiling, tying the last knot on Sano's wound.
"Aww…that would be…"
"Alright Tae-san. However, I think we have imposed on you too much already. So I suggest we postpone that to another day."
"Are you sure? Your older brother looks famished."
"Yeah! Are you sure you would want to make ME, your OLDER brother…"
"That's ok Tae-san, we have food back at our apartment!" Yahiko replied, cutting off his older brother's statement, nudging him in the ribs.
"Well whatever's convenient for you. How about you Battousai?" All eyes turned to look at the dark figure seated at the end of the room. Yet, they received no answer from him.
"I take that as a no."
"We must be going now Tae-san. See you tomorrow!" Yahiko said quickly as he pulled his older brother off the seat and proceeded to drag him out of the restaurant. Battousai soon followed after.
"Haha! Strange bunch of people we have here, don't you think so Tsubame?"
"Em. But don't you think..."
"Don't you worry your little head over this Tsubame. I'm sure as adults they would be able to settle whatever differences they have…I hope…"
"Hey what was that for?" Sano said angrily as he plopped himself down onto the sofa.
"What's what for?"
'I mean, why did you pulled me away from Akebeko when Tae had offered to cook something for me. Do you know I have not eaten anything since…"
"Well if it occurred to you, Tae-san is very tired as well! So I didn't want to impose her any longer than we should. That would be what Kaoru wanted us to do!"
"Well that statement comes as a surprise, especially coming from you a boy whose mind is always about food!"
The two brothers continued to argue, forgetting that there was still another in their presence. After closing the door behind him, Battousai proceeded to the kitchen, preferably to make 'dinner' for himself. As he was searching the cupboard, he suddenly looked up. Just as anyone would thought that finally the great Battousai is going to say his fair share of words, he said…
"There's no food."
"There's no WHAT?" Sano said as he jumped up from the sofa. Pausing the dispute-taking place.
"I said, there's no F-O-O-D."
"How can that be? Usually Kaoru…" The last word that left Yahiko's mouth, sums the whole situation up. It seems 'Kaoru' was always the one shopping for groceries, and since 'Kaoru' had been busy with her new job and all…
"Great! What do you suppose we do now?"
Before anyone could reply, Battousai picked up his sword, and proceeded to leave the apartment.
"Hey! Where do you think you're going?"
"You're going for dinner right? Take me with you. I'm starved." Before Yahiko could protest, the two men left the apartment, leaving him yo clean the mess.
"Man! There are times like this, that I wish Busu was around."
"Hey Battousai! Wait up!"
"So what's for dinner?"
"Eh…are you always that quiet?"
Sano followed the stoic man as he walked the bright streets of Kyoto. Even though it was already in the wee hours in the morning, the streets were still filled with bustling crowds. Road stalls selling food and other various items added to the rowdy atmosphere. Before Sano could say another word, Battousai stopped in front of a Ramen stall.
"One Beef Ramen."
"I'll have that too."
The two men then settled themselves onto the small wooden table provided. During the whole time there, Sano seemed to be the only one conversing the whole time. Even after the Ramen had arrived, he was constantly talking.
"And…munch…I told her…chomp Look…"
"You really have a lot to say don't you." Battousai suddenly said.
"Ah! You do have a voice after all. Well to answer your question, we have to…"
"Didn't you previously say you owe me one?"
"Yea. I did…"
"Good, you can repay me the favour now."
"Yes. By shutting up."
"Yes, much better now."
Sano was about to rebut when…
"Hey! You two! Get off our seats!"
"You mean us?"
"Yea you rooster-head. And the sissy man next to ya! Get off! These are our seats!"
"Really? I don't happen to see your name written here, broomstick."
"Whatcha called me?"
"I called you broomstick!'
"Why you little rooster-head! Don't cha know who the hell I am?"
"No, do I look like I care?"
A brawl soon broke out, six-on-one, Sano obviously being the losing side. Battousai continued to eat his ramen in peace, as if whatever is happening around him is none of his concern. However just as he was about to leave, he was pursued by one of the six men involved in the brawl. Battousai keeping his promise to Katsura to avoid unnecessary battles, avoided the attack, but as a result, the tip of his red hair was snipped of.
Five minutes later
"It's on them."
"My gosh! Battousai, you were like the devil himself! How, how did you…"
"Do yourself and me another favour. Try to stay out of trouble! Unnecessary trouble as that would only bring about more trouble. And I for one, do NOT like trouble!"
"Ok…chill. You sound almost like Kaoru, except for the murderous aura."
"So...we going back now right? Great I am bushed! All those fighting made me hungry again. Hey that stall just now…"
And that's how it was the whole way back: Sano constantly talking, Battousai all the while listening.
"I understand, yes yes…I…Come in!"
"I hope I'm not interrupting at such an important moment for you."
"Ahh…Saito! My good man." Katsura said as he placed the cordless phone back on its receiver. "Yes, what brings you here to the Ishinshishi's head-quarters on such a good day as such?"
"Haha. If your memory serves you right Katsura, it was you who invited me here today."
"So I did. Yes, yes, I remember now. How terribly forgetful I am. Do forgive me?" Katsura said laughing as he proceeded to pour a cup of coffee for his guest. "You know stress can sometimes cause a short memory. Sugar?"
"No thank you." Katsura then placed the cup in front of Saito as he proceeded to take his seat.
"Yes, the purpose of our meeting today was to discuss some very…disturbing issues."
"Indeed." Saito agreed taking a sip of coffee. "From our analysis, it would seem that there is only one main organization responsible for the current attacks on our vessels and bases."
"Yes, yes, it would seem as so. My men have been telling me the same thing as well. Do you have any idea who this tyrant may be?"
"Haha, I do not have a definite answer yet. But I do have my suspicion"
"Care to share? I, too have my suspicion to which who this treacherous man may be. Perhaps we might suspect the same person."
"Good, good to hear. Here's my main suspect." Saito said as he placed the folder he had been holding onto the desk, pushing it towards Katsura.
Katsura took one glance at the content of the folder and a wicked smile appeared on his face.
"Haha! It would seem great minds think alike. This would happened to be the exact man I have my suspicion for." He said as he shut the folder.
"Welcome back to Earth Kaoru."
"Er…what are you talking about? Where am I?" Kaoru groaned as she struggled to get up with Megumi's help.
"You are at my clinic duh."
"Clinic? How did I get here?"
"One word: Battousai."
"Battousai? How did he…OH MY GOSH! I remember now!'
"Keep your voice down Tanuki."
"Sorry. I remember there was a fight, and there were two brutes. They tried to get Yahiko and Tsubame, I tried to stop them, and after that, everything else is a blur."
"Well, I guess that clears up a bit of the fog."
"I presumed, Battousai must have came soon after and rescued you and your friends from the two thugs. After which seeing you unconscious, he brought you here."
"Well, well, looks like Battousai does have a heart after all."
"Are you alright dear? You seem…red?" Megumi said smirking.
"Eh? Healthy glow I supposed."
"Haha! Ok…whatever you say."
"How long do I have to stay here Megumi?"
"Well, depends on your situation. If you seem well enough, you may go home by tomorrow. Although I recommend staying on for 2 more days."
"2 more days? Oh dear…I wonder how the rest are…"
"Don't worry my dear, they are MEN! They should be able to look after themselves. Plus they got Battousai with them."
"That's what I'm worried about."
"YAWN! Oww1 What the?" Yahiko exclaimed as he picked up a can from the floor. To his horror, the living room was in a total mess. It was as if a twister had come by and had caused a huge rampage of things. Much to his suspicion, the main culprit was lying on the sofa, he himself covered with cans of beer.
"Huh, huh! I didn't do it! Oh! It's just you Yahiko…What are doing up so early in the morning?"
"Look at this room! What did you do here last night?"
"Oh you mean this…well last night after dinner, Battousai suggested a little drinking competition. Loser has to clean up any mess that might have been caused."
"Well, we can clearly see who's the winner of that competition."
"What do you mean by that?"
"Nothing, nothing much. Except the fact that Battousai is long-gone already."
"But that would mean…"
"Well I would love to see you do this on your own but I have work to do at Akebeko's. By the way, don't forget, today is no longer you off-day. Ciao!"
"Yahiko, you brat wait…arh…my head…" Sano grabbed his head in pain. But he knew that this amount of pain was nothing compared to the pain he's going to get when he turns up late for work that day…
"Irashaimase! How may I…Haha, oh it's you again."
"Come to pay her a visit I presumed."
"What no flowers? Chocolates?"
"Just tell me her room number."
"Alright, alright. So touchy already in the morning, same room as yesterday."
Battousai walked down the familiar yet cold corridor as he made his way to Kaoru's room. As he entered the room, he noticed the young, raven-haired girl, asleep on her bed. Battousai walked silently across the room, it was nothing to him as he was trained to do so as an assassin to ensure his victims or enemies do not hear him.
Just as he settled himself down on the chair beside the bed, there was a stir on the bed, followed by a sleepy yawn. Before he knew it, Kaoru changed her position in such a way, that she didn't know she was now facing the silent figure sitting right next to her.
"Emm…No thank you Yahiko, why don't you start on the windows, then the dishes and then the laundry. Ohoho, no need to thank me…"
Kaoru slowly opened her sleepy eyes and just at that moment…
"Sin…Since when did YOU come in?"
"Just a while ago."
"And how long have you been sitting there?"
"Just enough to hear you talk in your sleep."
"Haven't you heard of knocking?"
"You were sleeping, I wouldn't like to wake you when you are having such an…interesting dream."
Kaoru blushed at that comment. She knew once again, she has been caught off-guard by Battousai and was utterly humiliated by him.
"Well…well why have you come?" She said trying to change the topic.
"To deliver a piece of news to you."
'Really? And what might that be?"
"I found work."
"Work? WORK?" Kaoru burst out laughing the moment she heard that Battousai had found work. She couldn't believe that this man, whom she has come to find as a cold and stoic figure, has actually found himself a job.
"And…haha…what might that be may I ask? Haha…"
"As a guard at Akebeko's."
"Haha A guard…at…AKEBEKO'S?" Isn't that where…where I am working?"
"But…but…Why the sudden decision? I thought you were supposed to be on Medical Supervision."
"That's my second reason for coming here today, to get a medical report that says I am fit enough to do whatever I want."
"I have 2 months off work. Surely you can't expect me to go around beating up men to satisfy my boredom. Well that's all for now, I'm starting work in 2 days. See you then."
"Two days, that's when I'm going to be discharge! Hey, HEY!" Before Kaoru could protest another word, Battousai disappeared behind the door, leaving Kaoru behind, feeling dumbfounded as ever.
A/N: Yea, i finally updated. haha...don't know whether some of you are still reading this story, but yea i plan to finish it soon, typing next chapter now. Praying it will finish soon. Hope you all like this chapter, let me know what you think yar...got any deprovements? haha...haven't been writing in a while.
1) Mataku - Expression for sighing.