Chapter 1 By Henrika

Henrika-Yo! Here's my first Kenshin fic. It's been in my notebook for quite awhile and I finally got the motivation to post it. Hope you like it, make sure you review!

"Blood." Kenshin thought to himself as he swallowed the sip of sake he had taken. Sanosuke Sagara had practically dragged him from the Kamiya Dojo to go drinking with him. It was a few weeks after his final fight with Enishi and winter was closing in on the inhabitants of Tokyo.

Kenshin stood up abruptly, startling the man across the low table from him. "Hey Kenshin, what's up?" Sano asked as Kenshin drew his money pouch out and extracted a few coins.

"I'm afraid I have to leave, that I do." Kenshin said with a thin smile as he put the coins in front of Sano. "I'll pay for the drinks." Kenshin slid open the shoji and stepped out into the night.

"Kenshin, wait. What's the matter?" Sano ended up yelling as Kenshin padded noiselessly away.

"Nothing." He said icily, causing Sano to flinch. He then reverted to his normal voice as he turned around, "Nothing is wrong Sano." Kenshin faked a smile and slipped into the shadows.

"Kenshin!" Sano yelled. 'He is way too good at disappearing into the shadows. I guess as a hitokiri you'd have to be.' He thought darkly. He returned to his unfinished sake, knowing that no matter how much he drank, he wouldn't be able to free himself from the nagging doubt that something was seriously wrong with his friend.

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Kenshin sighed as he leapt lightly to the roof of his rooms. He had arrived at the dojo to find Kaoru waiting up for him. He had silently offered thanks that she didn't press him about why he was back early, and without a drunken former fighter-for-hire. After bidding her good night and seeing her to her room, he had waited until she was asleep before he stepped away from her door.

He settled down on the roof, sticking his arms behind his head for a pillow. He had always liked looking at the sky when he had problems. He started reviewing the facts in his head. "It's been over ten years since that night in the inn when the sake started tasting like blood." A storm cloud boomed viciously and the rain began to fall. Oblivious to the worsening weather, Kenshin fell deeper into his memories.

"I'd like a cup of chilled sake please." Was the first thing Kenshin ever heard Tomoe say, that night at the inn. He had defended her from two thugs that were hassling her. He remembered slipping into the night. The battle with a shadow assassin who had wanted nothing more than his death.. Tomoe covered in blood, saying "I've often heard in plays about a rain of blood, but you really made it rain blood."

Kenshin's eyes sprung open. The memory had been so intense; he hadn't realized he was slowly being soaked. With relief, he finally snapped out of the memory by realizing that he was soaked with water, not blood. He shivered lightly. "I should get inside before I freeze, that I should." Kenshin said, reassuring himself that he was on a dojo roof in Tokyo, not on a building roof in Kyoto, holding a bloody katana.

He changed to a yukata, laying out his gi and hakama to dry. He settled into a corner of the room, curling his arm around the reverse-blade sword. Like the past several nights, he knew that his nightmares wouldn't rest until they had driven him away from what little sleep he managed to obtain.

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Kaoru Kamiya woke to the sunlight filtering through the walls. "Hey Yahiko," she said as she rigorously shook her student, "Wake up! C'mon already!"

Yahiko groaned, muttering "Tsuba..." before he finally woke up and realized who was shaking him.

"Hey Ugly, I was trying to sleep!" He screamed.

"Dreaming about Tsubame?" Kaoru said with a wide grin.

"How did you...?" Yahiko asked, dumbfounded.

"You talk in your sleep." Kaoru grinned triumphantly. "C'mon, I think Kenshin already made breakfast. She made her way down the hall. Yahiko followed, trying to think of a way to get back at his instructor. "Oh look!" Kaoru stopped suddenly and Yahiko ran into her, knocking himself down. "It snowed!" She clapped her hands together.

"Huh, whoa!" The entire area was covered in at thick, white layer of snow. Yahiko gazed at the snow in wonder until he realized that his sensei was moving down the hall. "Hey Ugly, wait up!" He received a bokken in the head as he walked into the kitchen.

"Good morning Kenshin." Kaoru said as she walked towards the rice bin. Usually they would be running low by the end of the week and she would send Kenshin to get more. "It's half-full." Kaoru realized with surprise when she looked in the bin. 'Has Sano been mooching less?' She wondered as she sat down. 'No, he's been here every day this week. Then how...?' She was startled out of her thoughts when Kenshin set her breakfast down in front of her.

"Did you sleep well Miss Kaoru?" Kenshin asked as he set breakfast in front of Yahiko and the place Sano usually occupied. "I have a feeling Sano will be here soon, that he will." He said as he sat down, answering the questioning (and slightly annoyed) look on Kaoru's face.

Kaoru picked up her chopsticks and began eating, thankful that she hadn't cooked. Mentally, she returned to the rice problem. 'Yahiko and I aren't eating any less, so...' Her eyes fell on the red-haired man to her left. "Ken..." She started to say, but she was cut off when Sano made his loud entrance.

"Good morning guys." He said as he plopped down in front of the bowl of rice that Kenshin had already set down.

"Good morning Sano." Came the collective response.

"I'm going to do the laundry, that I am." Kenshin said after a few moments. He stood and walked out.

"Hey Missy, is something wrong?" Sano waved a hand in front of her face as she stared at where Kenshin had gone.

"Huh?"

"Is something wrong?" Sano repeated.

"I'm just worried about Kenshin, that's all. He hasn't seemed like himself lately."

"Hmm. Maybe you should talk with him if you're worried about him."

"I think I will." Kaoru said as she got up. Yahiko had finished his rice long ago and had begun to start in on Sano's.

"Hey you little brat, give me back my rice!"

Henrika-Not much to start with, but the chapters should get bigger. Tell me what you think and REVIEW!