**Pechan does not own any of the Rurouni Kenshin franchise.

~Prelude to Deception~


Tokio Kobayashi fell to the ground, her new kimono probably ruined for good in this mud. She looked up at the carriage that she had to dodge in order not to get crushed.

"WATCH WHERE YOU'RE GOIN', YOU FRIGGIN' JERKS!!" she screamed, waving her fist angrily.

~ In the Carriage~

Okita pulled open the blind, looking outside, "I think there's a lady yelling at us, sir."

Hajime Saito grunted, not at all caring.

Okita smiled at him. "What will you do sir?"

"What do you mean?"

"After we surrender, of course."

Saito looked out his window, where his blinds were open a crack. Outside, it was raining. It pattered against the window, and he found it to be rhythmically soothing. After all, all these years of war and violence and terror were supposed to come to an end. With this new Meiji government. Highly doubtful. There will always be evil. If you crush one, another, just as oppressing will rule. There will always be evil. And as long as there was, there shall always be the creed of Aku Soku Zan. And Saito was damned to carry it out. Till his very death.

"Sir? Did I upset you?"

He looked at Okita. The boy entered the Shinsengumi in hopes to right the world, under the Shinsengumi's brand of justice. Most boys grew into broken men, for most men went insane or depressed after the first kill. But no. He had found Okita ecstatic, gleeful that he had righted a wrong. He had killed a government official that had been bribing his way into office, and eliminating whoever he felt needed to be taught a lesson. Permanently. Okita was so happy, killing his family's oppressors. And he wanted more. He wanted to get rid of anyone that would dare let their greedy hands on this country. Okita was a fine soldier. What a shame it would be if he was forced to put down the sword he trusted so dearly.


Saito closed his eyes, "The Meiji government offered me a job."

"Oh? As what?"

Saito looked out the window. "A spy. A secret agent. A cop, I don't know. I didn't read the whole statement."

"Why not?"

"Okita, I thought I made it clear, I despise the new government. I'll never become a dog. I'm a wolf, a Miburo, and I'll die gladly as one."

Okita nodded, "Ah I see. I feel the same way too, you know."

Saito nodded in acknowledgement.

Okita tugged at his armguards, it had been a while since they had last changed. "..... if things turn out the way we're predicting, I plan to commit seppuku."

Saito raised his brows, "You find no other way?"

Okita smiled, shaking his head no. "No, I do not. I feel.. fulfilled, don't you? I mean, I got all the revenge I need. I've certainly killed more men than I could count, and.... well, I've been thinking.... do you think there's a God who forgives a man who has killed?"

"No God I know of does."

Okita sighed, "I knew there wouldn't. That's why I decided, the only way I can forgive myself by killing so many, is to kill myself."

"That's foolish."

Okita grinned at his long time comrade, "Heh, it's the samurai way. The Shinsengumi way, right?"

Saito just stared at him, then returned to his scene at the window.

The carriage rolled to a large building. The new government head quarters for this sector of Japan. The carriage's driver opened the door. The driver was soaked to the bone, "Your stop, sir."

Okita smiled, "Thank you," and climbed out.

Saito gripped the door frame, and stepped out. The rain was a bit heavier than he expected it to be. He looked up at the sky, darkened with this rain. Okita looked up too, "Are you thinking this may be the last time we feel the rain too, sir?"

Saito wiped his face, wiping off the rain. "We'll see."

~~ On the Other Side of town, at a Dojo ~~

"Kobayashi!! You're late!!"

Tokio kicked off her sandals, and bean to untie her kimono, "Sorry, sensei!! Some idiot nearly ran me over. I tried to clean my kimono-brand new, ya know- well, the water only spread it around, so there you have it, I made it worse."

A tall, gray haired man in a gi glared at her, "Just don't do it again. We have no time to waste, ladies!!"

"Yes, sensei!" responded the two other women.

Tokio ripped off her robe, revealing she had been wearing a silk Chinese shirt and knee length pants underneath. Her sensei ordered her to wear them. These clothes were much more accommodating for fist fighting than a Japanese robe, which were more constricting. Plus, during a fight, they untie easily. No woman in here wanted to show the world what she was born with.

"Do you need more time, Kobayashi?"

Tokio sighed, "No, sensei. I'm ready!" she jumped in the ring.

Sensei nodded. "Good. You'll be my first sparring partner."

Tokio sighed, shoulders dropping, "Take it easy on me!! I just turned seventeen today!!"

"Well, happy birthday. Now get!!" he commanded, pointing in front of him.

Tokio stood in front of him, sighing again. "Okay, but please, no broken bones this time? They just healed."

"No problem, just dodge my hits," he said.

No sooner had the words left his mouth, Tokio caught his ankle, which flew to her face. She had her foot in his hands as his body jumped in the air, and his other foot smacked her face. Tokio was thrown across the room, "ERRGGH!!"

"Ah, Tokio!" said one of the women.

Sensei slowly paced towards Tokio's limp body, "Nobody help her. Or else you'll become my next opponent, Rei."

Rei gulped, and stepped back.

Tokio shook her head, and rolled out of the way of her sensei's heel. She got up, and quickly ducked under a kick, sweeping her own leg, and tripping him.

Sensei hit the floor, grunting, "Errg, good good..."

He sprang up, legs forward, his feet catching her hip, and driving her into the floor again. She grunted, and kicked him off her. He lunged, and struck with an uppercut. She caught his fist, pulled him in, and smacked him right in the face with her elbow.

He keeled back, and sprang at her again.

And on and on it went.

Sensei was beating her senseless at first, but Tokio soon wizened up, and blocked all his moves. By then, she got to parrying. Soon, she began to strike before his fists could connect.

In this way, sensei prized her over all his other female assassins. He just wished her temper could be kept in check. It could end up blowing her cover.

After Tokio kneed his ribs, he dropped on his knees, hands up, "Alright.... alright...... that wasn't.... that wasn't bad....."

Rei stamped her foot, "Hey! That was good for the Shinsengumi!!"

Sensei shuddered, "Uggh, don't say that name ever again."

Tokio wiped her bloody nose, and fingered her teeth. Ah, she managed to keep them all.

"Alright Tokio. That was damn good. And frankly, I think my work here is done."

Tokio looked up at him, her fingers clamping her nostrils to stop the bleeding. "Whug?"

"I said congratulations, you passed the whole class. You're free to graduate, and move onto the next step."

Tokio gasped, "You fwiggin' sewious?!! Oh, GOOL!!!!

The girls laughed.

The shorter girl, Azusa, smiled, "Tokio, stop pinching your nose."

Tokio looked down, and removed her fingers, "Where do I go to sign up?"

Sensei felt the cut on his cheek, "Ah, girls? Could you toss me a towel?"

Azusa threw him one. "Thanks" he said, holding it to his cheek. "Well, that all depends what you wanna kill, Tokio. Are you with the Shinsengumi, the Bakufu, or do you just want to kill people?"

Tokio cracked her knuckles, "I want the Shinsengumi heads!!"

Sensei closed his eyes, "Ahh, yes, they killed your parents, I remember..."

The other girls gasped, and looked at Tokio.

Tokio kept her eyes on Sensei. She hear her blood dripping to the ground from her bleeding knuckles.

Sensei thought, his finger on his chin. Finally, he raised his brows, "Well!! You're in luck!! Since the new government has been set up, they're collecting Shinsengumi pelts. And they pay really well per body. Heh, guess the Meiji wants to get rid of anyone opposing them. I can set you up with someone right away. But first, wait a week."

"Why's it gonna take a week?"

"Heal yourself. If you try to get around with battle scars all over you, then everyone going to be suspicious of you. Remember, you have to not just act the part, but look the part."

Tokio nodded, "Acting, got it. What should I aim for? Damsel in distress? Gutsy geisha? ......... prostitute?"

He laughed, "It ain't that easy. Look, most assassins just kill them in a dark alley, or from behind. Why do you insist on doing it the long way?"

Tokio clasped her hands, "I don't want to kill ALL of them. Just one. ONLY one. Thing is, he's damn good. Even I could see that after one night of watching him kill. So, I know a surprise attack from behind won't work. So..."

"Ah, I see. Girls!"

The girls looked up.

"Yes, Sensei?" asked Rei.

"Take five. I have to talk to Tokio now."

The nodded, and left the room.

He turned back to Tokio. "You're going to try and gain his trust. You're going to be the deceptive type of assassin, aren't you?"

She nodded, smiling, "Yep! That's the plan!"

Sensei sat by the window, looking at the cloth. He was still bleeding. He sighed, "Alright. It is a guy, right?" "Are there any other kinds of Shinsengumi?"

Sensei lifted his brows, "Well actually...... ah, forget. It's too late for that anyways. Okay! What are you going to do? Sleep with him, then kill him during orgasm?"

She grimaced, "I don't want to touch that bastard's body!! I just want to kill him."

Sensei shrugged, "Well, that would've been the easiest way."

Tokio pouted, "Oh please. I wouldn't have been his type. He seems to be the sadistic queer.. bastard type, anyways. Besides," she looked away, "I want to hurt him. Really hurt him. Not only do I want to kill him, I want to kill his spirit. And what better way," she giggled, turning back to Sensei, "than to break his heart?"

He laughed, "You really hate him, don't you?"

"More than words can ever say, sensei." She said very seriously. "Sensei, can you help? You promised me you could!"

Sensei nodded, "I know, Tokio. And believe me, ever since I saw you covered in blood, wandering the streets for help no one would dare offer, I swore I'd set your life to rights. I helped, didn't I? You got a roof and a free meal."

"Free meal? Each meal cost me a rib!!"

"And they heal just fine," he said, smiling. He got up, and dropped his towel. "Well Tokio. I was glad I met you. I really am."

Tokio came up, and looked at him, "What is that?"

"It's a handshake."

"What's it do?" she asked.

He smiled, "It's a western custom. Here," he grabbed her hand. She gasped. He shook it. "There. Congratulations."

Tokio looked at her hand. "Wait, was that to confirm my new job? Do I have membership now?"

Sensei laughed, "Oh, why this country refuses foreign influences is beyond me....."

~~ Back to Saito~~

Okita sat in the room, waiting. Saito emerged, his face stern.

Okita walked behind him, "What did he say?"

Saito was silent as he stared out the window.

Okita sighed, "No more Shinsengumi?"

Saito sighed, "Correct. No more Shinsengumi. I had hoped you grew out of speaking like a child, Okita. You're nearly a man now."

Okita smiled, "Maybe I like being a boy!"

Saito went, "Hnh." And continued to look out the window.

Okita sighed, "So! We are.... disbanded, huh?"

"..... they still offered me a job. That is the reason it took so long."

Okita looked at him. "Oh? You're going to take it?"

Saito shook his head. "No. I've decided I lived as a samurai... so why not go out as one? I have nothing to lose. I have no home to return to, Okita. Neither do you. I see your reason does make sense."

Okita giggled, "Oh.... uhh, about that. Listen sir, I just came up with a cool idea!"

Saito didn't move, so Okita continued, "You know how you've said once, when the Shinsengumi are gone, this country will go to ruins? Well, you sir..... you're the only one the Meiji government will appeal!"

"You're point Okita?"

"Sir, I was just saying..... since we'll all die sooner or later, or leave the country-"

"None of the Shinsengumi will leave, Okita. They are too proud for that."

"They? And what of us?"

"I have already decided death. As did you. We are no different than our brethren."

Okita smiled, "That's where you're wrong! Look, I was thinking, since we're all going to.. well, fade away, you can take the job as a policeman! That's what they want you to do, right?"


"No doubt the reason why they wanted your cooperation was because of your skills, sir. It seems they'd want you to kill for them."

"I suspected as much."

"I know. Here's my idea sir, why don't you live as... as I dunno, a lone wolf. As one of us! Still carrying the rule of Aku Soku Zan?"

Saito sighed, looking at him, "I've thought of that already, Okita. And I'm only one man. One alone cannot make a difference."

"But at least you can still carry our brand of justice. You can carry on our legacy."

Saito smirked, "You speak as if I'm the only survivor."

Okita's voice, though smile still in place, grew somber, "You will be, sir."

Saito finally looked at him. He looked the boy up and down. He wore that Shinsengumi uniform as if there were no other kind in the world. An eager soldier, who never lost his flame. Despite the despair and agony he went through most of the time. He closed his eyes, "Why do you keep calling me sir?"

Okita smiled, "Because I respect you, sir."

Saito grunted again, and looked out the window. Okita chuckled, "Hey, think of me asking you to take the offer as my death wish......... well, not just mine, the entire Shinsengumi."

Saito leaned against the window, his left arm on the sill. "............ looks like I don't have a choice."