((An: Don't you hate really good ideas that pop into your head. I swore I'd finish a fic before I wrote down another idea....but this was just too good not to write down. Forgive me Tokio fans. I really have nothing against Tokio san and I actually admire her, after all one must be awesome to handle the Mibu wolf! but for this fics purpose she needs to be bumped out of the picture. Gomen Nasai!

** are for thoughts of emphasis on words.

Mad thanks and also curses to my friend Buffybot76 allegedly my partner in crime for this particular fic! *shakes her fist* Darn these ideas you put in my head!!! ^_^))

Misao had been a ninja far too long not to notice she had been followed. 6 of them from what she could tell. The ringleader was a tall dark haired man with a large clenched jaw. He didn't have any definite distinguishing features that Misao could make out, but she couldn't afford to look back. She kept an eye out for him but continued on her way. She carried her bag of peaches, hefting the bag, and taking some of the weight on her hip.

Her sense of Ki was nothing near Himura's or even her Aoshi sama's.....*not that he was really hers* her mind reminded her harshly. What did she care? He cared half as less as he actually talked to her. So it didn't matter, she told herself firmly. Anyways, although her sense of Ki was not as sharp, she could tell that these men had hostile intentions. This was definitely not good.

She couldn't remember insulting any of the townspeople anytime soon. Aoshi was the one who had been handing most of the matters at the Aoi-ya. Another source of bitterness. When Misao had become the Okashira, she had assumed naively that they would *actually*allow her to assume the title of Okashira, along with the responsibilities. Aoshi was running everything with Okina. She merely held the title, not the occupation. How dare he go so blatantly behind her back! He probably thought she was some weak little child that would run as soon as hardship came. He knew nothing of Makimachi Misao. He only knew a child. That child had long since vanished since he'd left.

She had traveled while he was away, true searching for him, but in that time she had matured, matured because she HAD to. The world was no longer a place of fun and games. She was still young, and that wouldn't change for a while. However, she was ready to take on the weight of Okashira. Aoshi had done it at a young age. Why couldn't she? She wanted to! And more important, she was willing to work to earn that right. Was it merely because she was a woman? She scoffed. They didn't even see her as that!

The men's ki flared as Misao felt a distinctively hard Knuckle connect with her jaw and send her stumbling to her right. Blood flowed through her cheek as it started to throb. Her own Ki rose in fury. Her sea foam green eyes turn into Jade flames as she glared at her attacker.

"What the Hell is your problem?" Misao cried, Kunai in hand, defensively.

"The leader of the Oniwabanshuu is nothing more than a prostitute! The Oniwabanshuu have been dealing with Opium and it's trade for over a decade now! The Oniwabanshuu are nothing by spies selling out our information to any foreigner who'll pay them enough! How dare you proclaim to be an upstanding citizen!" The man cried spitting on her. His spit landed in her eyes as Misao lost all control of her temper.

"What...did.... you say?" Misao said, as his spit ran down the side of her face.

"You heard what I said, filthy dog! You who should claim to be defending the people of Kyoto!

She remembered wiping the spit off and the outrage she felt at a complete stranger. Who the hell was this man to say anything about the Oniwabanshuu? How dare he insult her and more importantly the Oniwabanshuu so vulgurly. He obviously knew she was the Okashira from his tauntings. Call her a whore would he? Her blood boiled.

"I don't know who you are but you have made a grave error in attacking me on illegitimate terms, and secondly for challenging the Honour of the ONIWABANSHUU!" Misao cried springing into action.

Kunai flew through the air and Misao's foot instantly broke the man's jaw. He staggered back caught on aware as Misao continued her onsults. His followers sprang to his aide and Misao found herself in one of the toughest skirmishes of her life. She fought them off, flipping out of danger when needed and throwing Kunai. Finally the cries of people calling for the police, reached her ears and Misao saw the blue uniforms and cursed. Blood ran freely down her eye from a gash she'd received. The men retreated but not without issueing a final challenge.

"Meet me 3 days from now, at the temple to finish this Oniwabanshuu whore!"

The police arrived late, a few of them chasing after the gang of men and a few breaking up the crowd that had gathered to watch. The last came to stand in front of Misao.

"You are under the captive of the Meiji Kyoto District Police" the tight monotone voice came.

"I understand that" Misao said finally, putting her kunai away and examining her own damage. She would have a limp for her leg and ankle, several gashes that would need stitches and various cuts and bruises. She grimaced as the police officer took a firm hold of her arm and dragged her through the streets of Kyoto, to the main offices.

Saitou Hajime, better known as one of his better alias's Fujita Gorou, sat at his office, muddling in his mountain of paperwork. He had as much on duty as off duty and every speck of that was spent in paperwork. Good that he was busy. Detail work kept him from thinking. Thinking kept his mind from concentrating, and alllowed his mind to wander. And as always, whenever it wandered, it strayed off to her. Damn it! He stopped his paperwork and wanted to hurl the desk in frustration.

How dare she do this to him? Wasn't it her call in life to be faithful as a wife, much less his wife? How dare she claim to be a loyal wife! How could he have let her get so close, and not know?...How did he not know about this? Wasn't there some sort of sign. He was a police officer, a detective of his own rights if you will, how could he have not SEEN this? Saitou had a cigarette in his lips in seconds puffing slowly. He wasn't the man to cry, no Hajime was a hard man and as tough as nails. He contemplated on the subject, playing it back through his head, as his amber eyes grew cold.

He was gone most of the time, work called for him to be away and traveling at certain points, but he always made sure she knew of his affections. He wrote to her frequently and often, and came home quickly to see her. She was always happy to see him, now as he looked back on the occasions...too happy. She was always so nervous when he arrived, but he took that as excitement and anxiety for his return. He had been careless. To let such an obvious blunder occur because HE wasn't thinking clearly. It had been a mistake!

He slowly became aware of a constant thumping. Blinking and flicking the burn't ciggarette into the ashtray, which was overflowing onto the mountain of paperwork he was supposed to be finishing, he realized it was the door.

"Hmm" He replied lighting up another Ciggarette and going back to his paper work. The door opened heisitantly.

"Ano...Fujita san, the captain is out at the moment and we have one of the adjitators for another street brawl here. Would you mind handling the suspect, while the captain is away?" The timid officer asked, knowing that Fujita san was never a man to be trifled with, but even more so as his moods had grown increasingly volatile in the past few days.

Saitou sighed and scowled taking another deep drag of his ciggarette. Just like this office in Kyoto. There own people were so incompetent that they couldn't handle a simple street scuffle. This was why the Meiji era was having so much difficulty because of idiots like these men who he had to bail out of their difficulties. He had been transferred here as an attempt to "get away" from Tokyo for a while. Bullshit. He knew his own commanding officer was trying to be sympathetic. Did they ever consider that he didn't want their sympathy? No! instead they shipped him to Kyoto to this damned incompetent force with bad lighting and a smaller office! They didn't even let him keep Chou, his subordiante assitant whom he'd taken from the Kyoto "incident". NO! They switched Chou to a COMPETENT working force and left him high and dry with these fumbling idiots! They didn't even know how to properly FILE the paperwork he did, much less use the detailed information he provided. DAMN THEM ALL!

"Ano Fujita san..here is the suspect" The officer said, pulling him out of his thoughts and bringing in a short, bemuddled and fairly torn up.. boy? No, Saitou grimaced as he saw a long green braid snaking over a shoulder....and an obnoxious pink bow on a ninja gi. The girl, one weasel oniwabanshuu member, refused to look at him and kept her face to the floor.

"Leave us" Saitou snapped, lighting another cigarrete.

Misao looked up, and then regretted it.

"S-saitou?" She questioned, astonished.

"Yea, Itachi, why the hell are you causing problems on the streets? Don't you have anything better to do? Like Shinomori to be stalking?"

Her sea foam green eyes shot up and darkened, it was then that Saitou noticed the gash on her eyebrow.

"What happened?" He asked, examining her from head to toe and taking another drag of his ciggarette.

"It was just a stupid fight, nothing more" Misao replied dryly, looking away.

"You're a shitty liar, Itachi girl, what happened?"

Misao said nothing.

"Listen, itachi. Honestly, it doesn't matter what you did, or why you did it. While I'm in Kyoto, there will be NO street fighting or other random various acts of stupidity on my watch here. If you do end up in another brawl, I will see to it personally that your ass is dragged back here in a jail cell until Shinomori feels sorry enough to bail you." Saitou said standing up.

"Then I guess I'll be seeing you, Saitou" Misao replied, her eyes taking on an icey glare common to Shinomori, but certainly not itachi.She had changed, an interesting development in and of itself. Saitou would have to save this information for later. In the meantime, Misao made a move for the door.

"I have not released you yet Itachi, you still violated SEVERAL laws, and you haven't explained your actions or the other parties involved. I have to file a report" *damn you* "On this incident, and I make sure I'm thorough" He replied.

Misao tensed, her glare boring into his amber eyes with a rather fierce intensity. Saitou let a smirk slide across his features, making her irked glare double in ferocity.

"So...this isn't a warning? How much time do I have to spend here?'

"As long as it takes for you to tell me what went on so I can file the paperwork, Itachi" Saitou replied, sitting back down at his desk and going back to his mountain of paperwork.

Hours passed easily in the small cramped little office he had been given. Occasionally a police officer came in to pile on the paperwork. When they entered, there was such an awkward silence, and such a storm of tension in the air, that he hustled to leave and wouldn't come back. Misao sat there, her jade eyes still full of fury, glaring at him. She could've escaped, but she knew better than to try, less she get more demerits against her and an even more infuriating Saitou. He technically could jail her, and Misao wasn't about to underestimate him for a second. She was within the clutches of the Mibu Wolf....and hating every second of it.

His office, if one could deem such a disasterous place an office, was small. The floor was so old it was starting to peel, along with the walls. It fit his desk and the mountain of paperwork. The only thing that really stood out on said desk, was a blue ash tray which was overflowing onto his paperwork. The last note of interest was the green file cabinet, holding said paperwork and whatever else Saitou did. She cringed as he lit up another ciggarette. He'd already gone through a pack, and the smell was ghastly.

She coughed, every now and then, the smell making her sick, but she wouldn't complain. She was starting to get used to sick smell, but not without consequences. She had splitting headache, a bad temper, and the blood on her forehead had dried crusty, and was itching. Worst off about his damned stupid office there wasn't even a window! She sad idly in her chair, twitching every now and then, but avoiding scratching the wounds. She had lost a bit of blood, and needed to take care of the wounds soon! She couldn't tell Saitou that though. He ignored her for the most part, continueing through his paperwork, occasionally looking up when he put the finished document on another stack, which was gradually growing as the hours went by.

Saitou finished his last bit of paperwork, and stood up stretching and cracking his neck and knuckles. Having temporarily forgotton about Itachi he was midly shocked when she stood up as well. Of course, who could tell when Saitou Hajime looked shocked, though. The hard amber eyes glittered with malicious intent as he looked at Misao. Misao looked away before long, unable to face those eyes.

"Well Itachi, I must say it has been an amusing day. Now I can either go home, and let you get off with a warning, which *won't* happen. Or I can torment you while I file my paperwork and lock you up until tomorrow, or whenever you're ready to speak to me. It is of course, your choice" With an evil sneer he crossed his arms and waited, all the while with that damn smirk!

"He compromised the honour of the Oniwabanshuu" Misao said softly, but her tone was rigid and tense.

"That won't fill my report Itachi. You have to tell me who it was, exactly what happened, and all the details that you gathered from the situation. If you had done this earlier you'd probably remember it with much more clarity, and had a chance that the suspects could've been apprehended, but no...you had to be stubborn and prove something." Saitou provoked.

"He said I was tantamount to a WHORE. He told me that the Oniwabanshuu had no honour and accused us of still having dealings with the opium TRADE" Misao said, biting off a sob. Her eyes turned jade, hardening to keep in the tears she felt coming.

Saitou said nothing for a moment. So..it was a matter of honour.

"Listen Itachi, I don't care what he said about the Oniwabanshuu's honour. You were deliberately breaking the law, when you decided to fight. You shouldn't have let that man's tauntings provoke you into a fight-"

"He hit me first Saitou! And then he SPIT OF ME. Did you not NOTICE my swollen CHEEK" Misao cried standing up. He then took notice of her limp. So...it hadn't been itachi's fault to start off with. He felt pity for her, the claimed "Okashira" trying depserately to defend the honour of the Oniwabanshuu, but he could not condone such acts.

"I'm sorry for your pain Itachi-"

"Spare me Saitou, you of all people could care less" *even less than Aoshi* her mind jeered .

"But my warning still stands, if you fight again Misao, I WILL arrest you, even if he challenged you, and you WILL pay your time in jail."

"and I still hold to what I said Saitou, I'll be seeing you around" With that Misao slammed the door leaving. Saitou didn't try to stop her. He was mildly impressed that she had fought. She had taked her own casualties, and her limp was not missed by Saitou's keen eyes.However, he had the law to uphold and would NOT allow her to continue with such a stupid and reckless decision. He'd have to have her tailed and made a note of it. They usually waited three days, unless it was to occur tomorrow...he'd figure it out in the morning, for now he took his ashtray and dumped it out, grabbed his coat and called it a night. Then he had a better plan.

Misao sprinted from the office as fast as her feet would carrry her. It was already dark, and Jiya and the others would worry. Except Aoshi sama, she thought bitterly. Then she Hit something hard and solid, and fell to the ground.

"Misao, where have you been?"

Misao froze as she looked up into the ice cold eyes of Shinomori Aoshi. With his trench coat on and his Kodachi out, she knew he had been sent to look for her. Damn him, she gritted her teeth. Why were they worried?

"Out." Misao replied, getting to her feet and shirking off his assisting arm. She limped through the streets.

"Don't be pert." Aoshi said grabbing her by the arm. Misao hissed at the pain and slipped her arm away. Aoshi did not fail to notice her cringe of pain.

"Where have you been?" He persisted.

"What do you CARE?" Misao replied angrily, in pain and hurting and feeling the tears rise and fall down her cheeks. *Stop that!* she scolded mentally and forced herself to stop crying.

"The others were worried about you. Okina has been pacing for hours..."

"AGAIN, Why do YOU care Aoshi- sama? It's none of your concern! I'm fine, see?" Misao replied, turning away and walking back to the Aoi-ya.

"Why were you with Saitou?" Aoshi continued. Misao froze. She said nothing for a while.

"Tell me" Aoshi persisted.

"I'm going back to the Aoi-ya Aoshi *sama*." Misao replied continueing to walk and gritted her teeth. Aoshi could not let such an insulent act go unpunished. She would tell him what was going on. He grabbed her other arm and yanked her back, forcing her to look at him.

"Tell me what happened" Aoshi demanded again, his eyes hardening.

"As Okashira I demand that you let go of my ARM" Misao ordered, her usually sea foam green eyes turning to Jade fire. Aoshi released her and she continued on to the Aoi-ya. They were there shortly and she opened the gate, and walked in through the shouji door angrily. Okina looked up.

"MISAO chan! Where have you been my child? We were so worried about you!" Okina asked, coming close to her. Misao brushed him off and went up the stairs.

"Misao?" Okon questioned.

"I'm taking a bath" Misao's curt reply came as she walked up the stairs. "And then going to sleep".

"Omasu, if you would get out the bandages for Misao's wounds and lay them on her bed, Shiro, if you would draw a bath for Misao chan, and Okon if you would get some food for Misao, I will go discuss what happened with Aoshi." Okina ordered. The Oniwabanshuu set out to their tasks, and Okina stepped outside of the Aoi-ya.

"Aoshi" Okina acknowledged and walked towards him.

"Okina" Aoshi nodded, sheathing his kodachi.

"What happened?" He asked.

"She wouldn't say, but she had dealings with Saitou Hajime, for well over 5 hours" Aoshi replied, taking his trench coat off. Misao listened from an open window, upstairs. So they knew she had been at the police station. So what?

Someone came out through the shouji.

"Sumimasen, Okina san, Aoshi sama, One of the customers today said there was scuffle in town. He said that someone had insulted the honour of the Oniwabanshuu and that a fight had proceeded, until the police came and escorted someone off." Okon said.

"Thank you Okon, see to it now that Misao has some food brought up, and tell her that her bath is ready" Okina replied eyeing Aoshi. Aoshi stood rigid and stern as ever.

"Someone questioned the honour of the Oniwabanshuu..."Okina stated softly.

"I will go out tomorrow" Aoshi replied.

"It was obviously Misao chan that was involved in the skirmish, and that would attribute to her wounds and such. Who would dare be so bold with a girl?"

"She is the Okashira, Okina" Aoshi replied.

"You and I both know better, but I assumed the people of Kyoto knew as well."Okina sighed. Misao gritted her teeth against her rising anger. How could he say something like that!

"We will have to keep a sharp eye out for Misao. I do not wish any more harm to come of her. Perhaps it was a mistake, letting her join the Oniwabanshuu and practice the arts. She should start becoming a woman" Okina said. Misao bit back the tears that came to her eyes.

"Aa" Aoshi agreed. "She should stop this charade, and start becoming a proper woman, rather than a would be ninja" Misao couldn't listen to anymore. She headed to the bath, her lip quivering with rage, and withheld tears.

"Aoshi, where is Misao right now?" Okina asked.

"On her way to the bath" Aoshi replied honeing in on her ki.

"Very good. Tommorow then? Oyasumi" Okina said going back inside.

Misao slunk into the tub biting back cries of pain, as her wounds submerged into the water. She had to clean them, but it stung, so fiercely. She wiped the tears from her eyes by submerging her face in the water. Slowly she undid her braid in the water and realized that her own blood was caked into it. She had been holding in the tears for so long. Now she let them out, quietly sobbing in her disgrace, as a girl, as Okashira, as ninja, and obviously as an Oniwabanshuu.

Having cleaned and cried out most of her grief, Misao slipped into some clean clothes and made her way slowly, but painfully, up the stairs. She would be there in 3 days. She needed to treat her wounds but first thing tomorrow she would be training. She would NOT let such a foul mouthed man go unpunished. Like it or not SHE was the Okashira of the Oniwabanshuu, even if they didn't treat her as such. She would defend the honour of the Oniwabanshuu, even if it meant jail, or death!

Saitou Hajime, slunk about the streets of Kyoto, remembering his way through the alleys. Eventually he made his to the door of the Aoi-ya, flicking a cigarrette into the dirt as he did. With in seconds he recognized Aoshi's Ki and brought his sword up to block an oncoming blow. Saitou met face to face with Shinomori, guarding against his two kodachi with practiced ease. He shook off the swords, and Aoshi retreated back a few yards.

"Saitou" Aoshi acknowledged darkly.

"Hm" Saitou smirked. So Aoshi was still as good as he had been a few months ago. Saitou was afraid the younger fool had digressed in his training and was pleasantly surpsied that the younger man had continued, despite his emotional baggage. He still wasn't close to touching Him, but he was a semi worthy opponent, useful at times for information, and not to be under estimated, or forgotten.

"Why are you here?" Aoshi asked, as a comfortable silence flowed through the air. Both preferred the silence to idle chatter.

"I just came by to check up on Itachi" His amber eyes gleamed and Aoshi's emotionless face darkened "To make sure she got home safe" he finished with a smirk.

"Why are you here in Kyoto, Saitou?" Aoshi pressed, knowing Saitou was being irritating on purpose.

"So cold Shinormori! I wanted to see you! Where else can I find such amusement in the form of a block of ice?" Saitou replied with false gusto and another one of his evil smirks.

"Why is a wolf walking a girl home?" Aoshi asked fiercely.

"Perhaps it's because the Wolf enjoys playings with the little girl" Saitou replied, enjoying the angery emotions flaring off of Aoshi's Ki.

"What happened?" Aoshi demanded.

"Oh?" Saitou asked. So the little ninja girl hadn't told him what had gone on. Saitou grinned. This was just too delicious to pass up.

"Wouldn't you like to know?" Saitou baited him, waiting. Aoshi grimaced, his hands on his kodachi clenching in anger.

"Yes," Aoshi said painfully. "I would"

Saitou laughed. Shinomori was so very amusing when forced into a corner. Saitou had to be careful now, because even Shinomori had a temper when he wished.

"What would you be willing to offer for such costly information?" Saitou asked, knowingly that he could not, with a "just" conscience, give out personal information without good reason to do so. Aoshi's teeth clenched and grinded, as he considered his options. He could wait until tomorrow and ask the townspeople, but by then Misao would have planned something and he would have to rely on the hearsay of gossip. By tomorrow Misao would've faced 80 mens witrh lizard tongues and flaming breaths, rather than what *actually* happened and Aoshi would have to slowly mend the bits and pieces together. She would've had to tell Saitou the truth, and it seemed lengthy by the 5 hours she spent there. Aoshi had his suspicitions about that incident too, but for now he would cooperate with Saitou.

"You know the worth of Oniwabanshuu information" Aoshi replied carefully making his point clear without infringing on Saitou's honour.

"Ah, I do" Saitou replied, accesing the information correctly. Shinomori would owe him a hefty favor for this.

"Misao was apparently attacked in the middle of the market place today at about 1:30. She had been carrying a bag of peaches home, when her attacker allegedly punched her in the face and spit on her declaring the dishounour of the Oniwabanshuu." Saitou said waiting for Aoshi to ask questions.

"She didn't start the fight?" Aoshi asked.

"Iie, according to the questioned witnesses."

"Continue" Aoshi said, pondering.

"She paused, going on with her justice tirade, and then proceeded to jump kick the man in the jaw. It would seem from my men's report that she broke it, but they're the very definition of incompetency so" Saitou shrugged.

Aoshi nodded motioning for him to continue.

"His other lackeys joined in and Misao fended them off till my men came to break up the fight. She was reluctantly carried back to my department, where I had to deal with the annoying itachi until she'd told me what she'd done. Need anything else Shinomori?" Saitou asked loving every hated glare he received from Aoshi.

He would save the favor, holding it high over the "former Okashira's" head, and call it in on an important and annoyingly lengthy case.

"Iie, Saitou" Aoshi replied, turning his back on him, and walking back inside the Aoi-ya. Saitou smirked and lit up another cigarrette.

"Oyasumi, Shinomori" Saitou replied sarcastically, and walked back down the streets of Kyoto to his crappy little shack that the department had given him for his use.