Constellation

MysticShadowWanderer (formerly known as DarkShadowHuntress)

Disclaimer: WHOO! Party on, dudes!

A/N: YAY! The pre-story A/N! I'm excited, how about you? This story is looking extremely promising, and like a good book, I couldn't put this first chapter down. So I finished it at about 1.45 A.M., and had to stop myself from writing more. I have a feeling I'm going to have fun with this one, and I've already got some plot twists planned for down the road. Now, I know I have quite a few fans of my lemons, and this story is another dark one, but I don't think I'm going to have any lemon chapters posted for this one. However... they will be written, I'm sure, so I'm sure I'll have them posted on other places like... say... my own site! Yay for sure-fire plans to get people to see your work ^_^ But seriously folks, I wanted to write one that everyone could enjoy without taking any offense or having to skip chapters, so I'm going clean. (Well... sort of. I didn't say there wasn't going to be any citrusy-good content. It IS a dark fic, keep that in mind.) Now that I've gotten to make my pre-fic spiel (or "schpiel" as I like to say ^^), enjoy the story, because I'm having a hell of a good time writing it!

*****

Chapter One: The Road To Revenge

"What are you getting yourself into, Kamiya?"

The words rang in Kaoru's head as she cut through the park, striding quickly through the brisk autumn chill. At the time, she hadn't answered, she hadn't known what to say. Now, once she had gotten some time to herself and quietude in which to think, she had found the right word to respond with. Unfortunately, it was too late to reply, as she was already well on her way. Nevertheless, she spoke aloud, as if someone who cared could actually hear her.

"Hell."

She wasn't sure how she'd gotten herself into this situation in the first place, the last few days were all becoming blurry, unwanted memories that she wished she could believe never happened. One moment she'd been eating a pleasant dinner with her father, and the next she was gagged, tied, blindfolded, and shoved in the back of a car. Kicking at some of the crisp leaves under her feet, she tried to keep herself from crying as she remembered all the horrible things that had happened that day. Her kidnappers had jerked her out of the car and hauled her along behind them until she was thrown to the floor.

When the blindfold had been yanked away from her eyes, she saw that she was in a dark, dusty, abandoned building; it had looked like a warehouse to her, from what she could make out. Kaoru's father had been no where to be seen, but she didn't dare ask what they'd done with him. Two men that, from Kaoru's viewpoint, looked absolutely humongous, were standing on either side of her, they acted as if they were guarding her.

After what she estimated to be fifteen minutes of struggling uselessly against the cords that were tearing the skin from her wrists, she had slumped down dejectedly. Obviously no one was going to help her, it never happened that way in real life. Especially when you were Kamiya Kaoru. She had mentally cursed her family at that point, all of them were suddenly reduced to cowards, starting from the moment they had refused to associate with Tetsuro and his daughter; her once-loved family members, all of them!, had called him crazy, delusional, and all for nothing more than being brave enough to chase a dream.

'In the end, it came out to mean nothing,' Kaoru thought bitterly as she wrapped her arms around herself in a vain attempt to combat the biting wind that whipped leaves around her and forced her to continually shove her now-loose hair out of her face in annoyance. She'd never felt more helpless in her life than she had in these past few days. Being taken from her home by a gang organization was sure to put a black mark on just about anyone's day, and it had all careened wildly downhill from there. Teardrops streamed down her cheeks now, but she payed them little mind, just so long as they were gone before she reached her destination. Her hand briefly caressed the hilt of the gun that was hidden beneath her jacket before she once more clutched at her sleeves.

They had killed her father; she had heard him. But apparently his screamed pleas had been entreated upon deaf ears, because soon after the shouting began, she heard the muffled shot of a handgun and her father's voice was lost to her ears forevermore. That was when her tears had first started, and it seemed that they hadn't yet stopped five days later. After they shot her beloved father, they'd blindfolded her again, and dragged her kicking and yelling down the hall to a room, where she was bound to a chair. By that point, she'd given up struggling, and simply sat in her own darkness. If she could have burned a hole through cloth with her glare, the blindfold they'd placed on her would have been up in flames by then, but unluckily for her, that sort of thing only happened in fairy tales.

"So, Kamiya Kaoru, the daughter of the 'great' Kamiya Tetsuro, is finally here, right within my grasp." The voice was low, raspy, and speaking in heavily accented English. She scowled, refusing to answer; this all felt as if it were a badly scripted mob movie from America. But that wasn't the typical "mafia accent," and she couldn't quite place it, something else that greatly bothered her. "The quiet type, are we?" he continued. "I wonder how your pretty little mouth can be forced to open..."

Kaoru heard shuffling, heavy footsteps and then felt warm, humid breath on her face. Her upper lip curled in disgust. The man made a sound of irritation and brought the back of his hand across her cheek forcefully. She gasped and flinched, but refused to give him the pleasure of hearing her whimper in pain. In the dense, still atmosphere of the room, she could feel the air displacement of every move, and she threw her hands up to shield her head as the man lifted his hand again. Her defensive measures were never put to the test, however, because with a sudden rush of air and a few whispered growls, the threat to her person had been removed, along with her binds. With shaking hands, she'd removed the cloth from her eyes, and looked behind her. She was in a small room with a desk and a single electric light, but there was no one else with her. For the first time in her life, she was completely, totally, and utterly alone.

Alone. It was a frightful word to Kaoru, who'd always been surrounded by the warmth of her father's love. Now that she didn't have even that, she wasn't sure where to turn. The woman who'd come to get her after she'd wandered the warehouse, lost, for several hours, told her that a man that went by the title of Hitokiri Battousai was responsible for her father's death. The woman had come from a government agency, or at least her badges said as much. Kaoru had been wary at first, but with time, she'd become almost desensitized. All she needed now was a name and a gun with a few shots; the rest would all fall into place, she decided with a sniffle.

'No more tears,' she reprimanded herself. 'From this point on, I am made of ice and stone. I will not cry again. Ever.'

She didn't know who she was trying to fool as she increased her pace when she reached the edge of the park, did she really believe that she was strong enough to do this? Could she stare down a man, aim a gun at his forehead, and then pull the trigger? In her father's name, she thought that, just maybe, she could.

'Just a few more blocks,' she thought as she rubbed her arms in order to rejuvenate her circulation. She hated the cold, hated piling on layers of thick, constraining clothes, hated the flu, and hated the way everything could be so pristine in the frigid, frost-tinged air when her father had so recently been murdered.

"Why?" she asked the starry heavens, not for the first time. "Why did it have to be him?"

As usual, she got no answer, only the detached twinkling of the distant stars and the cold silence of the night. On nights like these, she hated everyone and everything, especially herself. Somehow, she knew she should have done something to save her father, though she didn't know what. She'd been trained in kenjutsu, self-defense, the lot of it, but it wasn't enough when it came down to life and death.

"Dammit!"

She wasn't this way before, she knew she'd changed, and likely for the worst. Once she'd been an innocent, or maybe a bit less than innocent, loving, carefree daughter whose only job in life was to do well in college and love her father unconditionally. And she'd been doing so well, until her father was taken from her. Now she was a emotional train wreck, though outwardly played the part of a serene murderer with flawless ease. Those acting lessons as a child had hardly gone to waste, she thought with spite.

When she reached the front of an apartment complex that was luxurious in appearance, she stopped, her heart pounding in her throat and her mouth going dry. This was it. There was no turning back once she entered his apartment; it was kill or be kill now. With firm dedication and a defiance of all that was holy, she pushed on the door to the building, only to find it locked. Checking her watch, she decided that nine thirty at night was certainly not too late to call for him. The doorman answered the intercom, and she very politely requested to be granted permission to enter the building, stating that she was there to see Battousai on "business." Inwardly, she was grimacing at having to put a sultry connotation on the word, but it couldn't be helped at a time like this.

Being allowed entry, she conned the doorman into giving her a key to the Battousai's apartment; men were all too easy to manipulate. Her head held high and stride confident, she stepped into the elevator and, with a last flirtatious wave at the doorman, whom she'd decided was a complete idiot, she pressed the button that would take her to the twenty-sixth floor.

'Penthouse,' she thought with contempt. 'It figures.'

By the time the elevator reached the twenty-six floor, she was tapping the toe of her leather boot with impatience. This murder thing was becoming too much stress for her, but she was going to have to go through with it now. Her father deserved this, if she had no other thought to drive her forward. She would see the Battousai dead if it was the last thing she lived to do.

Silently, she praised all the years of martial and swords arts she'd taken as a child and young adult, because they were finally paying off in the stealthy way she was able to slip down the short hall to the door of the Battousai's penthouse. It was a bit more difficult to put the key in the lock and turn it without causing a commotion, but adrenaline lent to her finesse, and she accomplished the task fairly well. She didn't want to let herself get arrogant, because she knew it would be her downfall, but she couldn't help but feel at least a bit proud of her skill thus far. The door, luckily, swung open on well-oiled hinges, and she left it open a crack to avoid the click of the doorknob as she stole into the apartment.

It was almost eerily quiet, so Kaoru remained absolutely frozen for a few moments, just listening. The room was dark, and the whole apartment would have seemed to be empty if she hadn't heard the slightest sounds of clicking, it sounded like silverware on a plate, and seen just the faintest glow of electric light coming from underneath a nearby door. Catching herself before she swore aloud, she made her way quietly toward that door, gun in hand. Taking a moment to steel herself against her quickly-building nerves and to catch her breath, she leaned against the wall and snaked her hand out toward the doorknob. It turned easily and noiselessly; it seemed the Battousai had a fondness for things that were in perfect and silent working order. Efficiency, as she must have herself as she blew his brains out all over his expensive flooring.

The door made no sound as she pushed it open, moving it fraction-of-an-inch by fraction-of-an-inch. It was now or never, she told herself, and she eased the door open just far enough so that her body would fit through. She peered around the corner and saw him there for the first time. He was calmly slicing an edible-size piece of meat from the steak on his plate; he hadn't seemed to have noticed her. Though she dared not linger on her task, she couldn't help but notice the striking crimson hue of his hair and the way his tight-fitting black shirt outlined lean muscle. She raised her gun to the back of his head and cocked it back with a quiet click.

"I wouldn't even try that if I were you," he said sedately, not pausing in the motion of raising his fork to his mouth until she pressed the barrel of the gun into the back of his neck. "I really wouldn't, woman."

"Give me one good reason why I shouldn't, would you?"

"It'd be a shame to have to kill you when I don't even know you."

Kaoru only scoffed for a split second, because that was all the time he gave her. Within that short span of time, he spun, grabbed her gun, and had her pinned against the wall with his body and her own weapon held to her temple. Her eyes were wide enough that she feared they might fall out of her head, and she could feel her body starting to tremble in shock, which she would have cursed if she could form anything that even resembled a thought.

"I don't believe we've met," he said, as placidly as though they were at a business function. "Tell me, what's your name, sweetheart?" Kaoru just glared at him, and one corner of his lips tugged upwards. "Not in the mood for talk? I see... I suppose I'll have to be the one doing the talking, anyhow."

Kaoru merely stared up at him, for some odd reason she couldn't seem to look away from his eyes. They were unlike any others she'd ever seen, amber and full of a vicious power that called to her. How she hated this man that she'd never met.

"You hate me already?" Kaoru started, had he read her mind? She decided against that, he'd probably just read her eyes.

"You really should give me a chance, you know. You don't even know me yet." He gave her a grin that came off as nothing less than completely wicked. "I'm really not a bad guy."

"You lie," she spat.

"That hurts, especially coming from a woman whose name I don't even know," he said sardonically. "First thing's first, I suppose. I am, as I'm sure you know, Hitokiri Battousai. It's a pleasure to meet you, though I have to say I'd rather have met you under better circumstances. It's never a good way to start off by having a loaded gun aimed at your head. Now, I really do need your name."

"You need nothing from me," Kaoru replied.

"There's going to be no living with you, is there?" he asked in pseudo-exasperation.

"What?!"

"You can't honestly think I'd just let you leave here after you've made an attempt on my life, can you?" He didn't pause long enough to let her answer. "I think not. You're mine now, and you'll do whatever I tell you. Just feel lucky that I haven't killed you yet." Anger suddenly flared in his eyes, which roared to life in a flash of amber hatred. "I don't like to be threatened, woman," he growled. "If you weren't as beautiful as you are, and if I didn't make it a practice not to kill women, I would already be scraping your brains from my wall."

Kaoru whimpered slightly as he pressed his body harder into hers until she could scarcely breathe. Battousai smirked and dropped the gun to the floor with a clatter, and ran his now-empty hand down her cheek, where she bit at him.

"I think we're going to get along quite well," he said when she did so. She watched his eyes intently, the anger was still there, but it was dying down to the level it had been at earlier. "Now, what's your name?" Kaoru gasped when he bent his head to press his teeth into her neck. "Tell me or I'll bite you. And I don't bite gently."

"K-Kamiya... Kamiya Kaoru," she replied quickly.

With a satisfied nod, Battousai nipped at her neck quickly and released her. Kaoru sank to the floor immediately and pressed a hand to the small wound he'd left. If she could make someone explode with just her eyes alone, the arrogant man in front of her would have been reduced to bits and unidentifiable pieces, but things never seemed to work out that well for her. She should have foreseen something like this happening to her before she even set out; life seemed to have it in for her.

"Don't look so hostile, sweetheart," he said casually. "I'm sure you're going to like it here. I'm not as bad as I seem once you get to know me. By the way, it would be nice to know exactly when you wanted to have my corpse lying on the floor, as impossible as it would have been to accomplish."

"You killed my father."

"Did I?" He paused to think. "It's possible, I suppose, but I don't remember killing anyone who could have been the father to something as pretty as you."

Kaoru pressed her hands into her eyes, desperately trying to stop the tears that she'd sworn to herself that she'd never cry again. She was on the verge of breaking down when she felt a hand on her shoulder. Looking up, her blue eyes met with his amber, and she thought she might have seen a trace of sympathy before he closed it away.

"Listen, if I did kill your father, I was only acting on orders," he said gruffly, as if that were supposed to be some sort of comfort. "I had nothing against him, whoever he was."

"Kamiya Tetsuro," Kaoru said with a sniff. "He was a great man."

A look of puzzlement crossed Battousai's face. "I'm quite sure I didn't kill him."

"I don't believe you."

"You wouldn't, would you?"

Kaoru turned her face from him and shoved his hand from her shoulder. He growled quietly and grabbed her by the chin. Yanking on her face, he forced her to meet his gaze. There was no need for words between the two, his face clearly said "You belong to me now, you will do what I say, when I say, or I will be forced to put you in your place." Kaoru's, on the other hand, read "I will defy you with all that I am, and you'll have to kill me before I will obey you."

"If that's the way you'll have it..." he said darkly. "I'll have to teach you some manners."

Ignoring her shrieks of protest and her fists beating his back, Battousai swept Kaoru off the floor and over his shoulder as if she were nothing more than baggage. He carried her down the hall until he reached the door he wanted, which he kicked open, and hauled her inside to throw her down on a bed. She attempted to escape, but was not at all close to being fast enough to get away from him before he crushed her to the mattress with all his weight. Kaoru cried out and struggled against him, but he was far too powerful for her to contend with. She'd never in all her life been treated this way, and it was both terrifying and exciting to her, all at once. She would be lying to say that he wasn't a beautiful man, part of that beauty coming from his formidable bearing, but she would also be lying to say that this was the position that she wanted to be in at the moment. Was he going to rape her? Was it truly rape if she was at least a slightly willing participant?

Battousai entrapped her wrists above her head and forced her to look into his eyes. His forehead touched hers as he laid on top of her, both of them completely motionless. Kaoru was quivering, though she wasn't sure what exactly the reason was at that time, and that didn't pass Battousai unnoticed.

"Don't worry," he said in a low voice. "I wouldn't take a woman unwilling. The very thought disgusts me. I'll wait until you're good and ready."

With a quick bite at her lips, he shoved himself off her and the bed and went to stand in the doorway. She sat up, breathing heavily now that her lungs could fully expand, and ran a shaky hand through her hair. Battousai smirked at her.

"This door locks from the outside. You have your own bathroom; there are no windows. I think there are some of my shirts in the closet, and I'll wake you in the morning when I deem it fit to do so. Try not to make much noise, even assassins need to get a few hours of sleep, and I still have work to do."

Kaoru just stared at him until he shrugged and left the room, closing the door and locking it with a gentle snap. When she heard his light footsteps moving off down the hall, she flopped down on her back with a heaving sigh and covered her head with her arms. How had she gotten herself into this?

'Well, I've certainly gotten myself into hell this time.'

Maybe if she got some sleep, she would be able to better sort things out. Her mind never worked as well when it was running on pure adrenaline, which it was surely doing by now. She got up and shuffled to the closet, where she found an oversized navy blue v-necked shirt. Kicking off her boots and shrugging out of her jacket and button-down black blouse, she drew the soft cotton shirt over her head, noting that it only fell to about mid-thigh. After some thought, she slipped out of her black slacks and tossed them in the corner on the pile of her other clothes. It didn't really matter now, she decided as she turned down the comforter and sheets on the bed. She laid down and drew the blankets over her with a yawn.

Whatever happened in the morning, she'd be ready for it.

*****

A/N: :coughIlikereviewscough: Don't we all though... Anyhow, Battousai is a little... different, I know, but I likes him like that. I likes him gooooood. Damn... we should all have a Battousai to play with... Ok, I better not even get started on that topic. Anyhow, uhm, well, yeah... I can't really think of anything else to say, and it IS really late, so... yeah. That's chapter one... I'm MysticShadowWanderer (formerly known as DarkShadowHuntress)... and dammit I miss my old name. I like this one, but DarkShadowHuntress was just... me. Damn. Oh well, I'm still the same old Shadow, but with a little more wisdom and a lot more creepy ideas to test on Kenshin/Battousai and any other various characters I happen to pull out of thin air. Ja ne!