Crimson Tears: An Aoshi/Kaoru fanfiction

A castle with a mystery, will award winning journalist Kaoru Kamiya and Detective Aoshi Shinomori solve the mystery of the Battousai or die trying?

(**Disclaimer** Rurouni Kenshin does not belong to me. ~Belle)

Award winning journalist, Kaoru Kamiya, shifted through the various files and folders on her cluttered desk. Her office was the epitome of order and cleanliness as long as that desk wasn't included. She often worked with the homicide division of NYPD and had been provided with some files on the Battousai case.

Back when she was still on the force, two years ago, the Battousai case had become her obsession. All her free time was dedicated towards it. Eventually, because of the fixation she had decided to turn in her badge and become a journalist.

However, she remained active in crime solving. Her articles often provided police more clues to the identity of the perpetrators because with her keen eye her attention to detail was superior to most. Kaoru was sort of a professional puzzle solver. Whenever a tricky case presented itself, Chief Hajime Saito would solicit her insight.

It was a mutually beneficial relationship between old friends. Kaoru got first dibs on hot stories and then Hajime had access to her incomparable crime solving skills. Skills that he sorely missed when she left the force for more than one reason.

A familiar, steady handed knock rapped upon Kaoru's front door, but she was so wrapped up in her papers she paid it no heed. Chief Saito entered with a grave expression on his face as he unlocked the front door with the spare key entrusted to his possession. He walked into Kaoru's apartment and headed for the second bedroom which was converted into her office.

He noticed the young woman absorbed in a mountain of files and papers. Her long, dark hair was pulled into a high ponytail and her normally piercing sapphire eyes were bloodshot from lack of sleep.

Since the woman seemed to ignore his presence he walked right in front of her and stole the report she was reading out of her hands. She looked at him with a question in her eyes.

"Kaoru, I have an assignment for you," the wolf told her in his typical serious tone. Kaoru sighed as she tried to snatch back the report from Saito's grasp. "You know I'm not a detective anymore. I'm a free-lance journalist now," she informed him.

"I know very well what you have become and am still disappointed that you turned in your badge to be a writer. The fact remains that you are one of the best and I need you." He leaned across her desk and narrowed his amber eyes at her.

Kaoru relaxed into the back of her leather chair and crossed her arms in front of her chest. "Fine, but I'm only going to do it because you saved my life. What's the assignment?"

Saito smirked, he knew she would agree. "It's related to the Battousai case." His smirk almost turned into a full-grown smile at how fast Kamiya snapped to attention. To say she was consumed by the case would be putting it mildly.

"I have four invitations to attend a sort of game being held by the British lord, Enishi Yukishiro. He is opening up his castle for two weeks inviting crime writers, forensic scientists, detectives, and generally eccentric guests from around the world. A crime will be staged and the first team to solve the mystery wins." Saito explained calmly as he locked his fingers together and inverted them to crack his knuckles, a habit he knew Kaoru hated.

"So how did I merit such an invitation?" Kaoru inquired, ignoring his obvious gesture to annoy her.

"I'm in charge of picking the American team. I'm choosing you as the writer, Dr. Megumi Takani, you may have met her. She's the forensic scientist that started in your department the week before you left. Special Forces Detective Aoshi Shinomori from LAPD and boxing superstar Sanosuke Sagara will also be on the squad." Saito ticked off each name with his fingers.

"Doesn't this sound a little odd to you?" Kaoru asked, the whole idea of a game solving a murder was always the plot line to some novel where wackos found an excuse to kill off unsuspecting participants. "Besides, don't you hate Sano? Why aren't you going?"

"Of course this sounds fishy, which is why I believe that the Battousai will be there as well. I would prefer to go myself but apparently, Yukishiro chose me to pick the team and that disqualifies me from attending personally. This whole thing is highly suspicious. Why was I chosen out of all America to build the team? I'd like to think it's my reputation but I believe there is something more to it." Saito confided, as he sat down upon the edge of her desk and idly examined the lone picture frame on the desktop. It was a picture of her younger brother.

"I'd have to agree that this is highly suspicious. Why did you pick Sano again?" Kaoru asked him with a grin. She knew Hajime and the rooster head didn't get along at all.

Calmly, Saito placed the frame back on the desk and stood before answering. "Dr. Takani refused to partake unless I invited Sagara."

"I see. So when does all this take place?" Kaoru inquired as she stretched out her arms and popped the cricks out of her neck from sitting at her desk for so long.

Saito laughed at her then. "I also came by here to help you pack. Your flight leaves in one hour." He began to walk towards the closet in the converted second bedroom to search for the suitcase he knew she stored there.

"What!? What do you mean I have one hour!" Kaoru shouted as she rose to her feet and stared at the man in shock.

"Hurry up, the rest of your team is already waiting at the airport." He finally found the suitcase and pulled it out and then walked to the room next door and dropped it on top of her bed. "You might want to help me pack. I don't remember where you keep your clothes." He called while opening and closing various drawers and inspecting the contents with pleasure.

Kaoru stomped into the room, face livid with anger. "Hajime Saito! What do you think you are doing!?" Saito grinned in amusement. He missed messing with the Tanuki. It was so entertaining getting her riled up.

"Well, I did spend most of the time removing your clothes, not putting them up," his amber eyes twinkled in merriment from watching her temper flare.

"I can't believe I ever dated you," Kaoru muttered under her breath as she opened her closet and pulled out some outfits, trying to find nice pantsuits, casual attire, and a few formal dresses.

"You didn't just date me. We were engaged, unless you have forgotten. Say, what's this?" Saito lifted up a pair of red silk panties and dangled them off his index finger before her nose. "This is familiar. Have I seen you in these before?" He couldn't resist teasing.

Kaoru snatched them off his finger and tossed them into the suitcase before pushing him out of the way to pack her things alone. Saito walked out of her room and stood by the front door to wait. "I'll be by the door, if you aren't finished packing in twenty minutes I'm doing it for you."

"Power-hungry, masochist, stupid wolf of man," Kaoru muttered as she rushed to her bathroom to throw in her toiletries. She only hoped that she would get along with Detective Shinomori. Megumi and she tolerated one another and she fought with Sano like he was her big brother. She allowed a small smile to grace her face. At least she wouldn't have to deal with her ex-fiance on this trip.