I'm sorry about the massive delay...see profile. Please don't flame me for bad spelling I've spent over six hours today writing this.
Disclaimer: Don't own, don't sue.
"So the Battousi is back, is he," Shishio stated, rubbing his chin.
"Yes, Misao and I saw him," Kamatari said rather breathlessly.
"And you're saying his little lady, Kaoru, works for you. Is that right Misao?" He asked.
"Yes…but I don't want you to hurt her," Misao answered hesitantly.
"She's not who I'm fighting, but we can use her," Shishio deliberated, "After all she's always been his weak spot."
Misao felt uncomfortable discussing the fate of Kaoru. In the short time Misao had known her she had become attached – they had so much in common.
"And I presume the Battaousi has Shinomori with him," Shishio said.
"Whoa what does Aoshi have to do with this?" Misao asked, Shisio frowned at her.
"Why Aoshi Shinomori is the infamous leader of the Oniwabanshu," Yumi purred from her seat next to Shishio.
"So you've met Shinomori," Shishio said, "interesting, so how did you like him?"
"Um he's um creepy," Misao said, blushing at all the attention focused on her.
"Misao, be weary of him," Shishio warned.
"Aoshi Shinomori is very observant, not much passes him or the Oniwabanshu. You're going to have to be very careful around him," Hoji Sadojima said.
"Yes," Misao said, a hard lump of unhappiness forming within her throat.
"Is there anything else that needs to be discussed?" Shishio asked.
The Juppongatana members, standing within the large hall shook their heads.
"Well then, meeting dismissed," Shishio stated, looking at Kamatari, a secret message being passed.
Kamatari knew what Shishio was asking and laced her arm through Misao's, proceeding to drag her from the room, babbling incessantly about the latest gossip.
"Shishio what does this mean?" Hoji asked as they left the room.
"Aoshi is back to reclaim Misao," Shishio stated.
"But that's the balancing coin! If she goes back then we're in trouble!" Cho exclaimed in his distinct drawl.
"We have to prevent this," Yumi said worriedly.
"Yes; Soujirou you keep an eye on Misao – make sure she doesn't fall into their hands."
Soujirou nodded smiling happily, then darted out the door in the same direction of Kamatari and Misao.
"Excellent, the rest of you are to keep an eye on the Battousai and the Oniwabanshu," Shishio instructed.
There were nods around the room then the members quickly filtered out, leaving the hall empty and desolate.
"What happens if they do – despite everything – get her?" Hoji questioned worriedly, his permanent frown increasing.
"Then we'll simply have to eradicate her," Shishio stated calmly.
Misao sat at her desk, a whirl wind of emotions running through her. How did she so drastically loose control of everything – she was knee deep in shit. Fiddling with her fluffy pink pen she gazed blankly down at her sketch of Aoshi.
So he was trouble, she needed to stay away from him – he was the enemy. Misao felt sadness clog her throat and hot tears brimmed within her eyes.
"Stop this!" She snarled, roughly wiping her fist across her eyes, "You barely know the man, how can you get upset."
Picking up the sketch book she tried to rip the picture – but she just couldn't. Sighing frustrated and over emotional, she hurled it into the furthest corner and stormed from the room, ignoring Kaoru's calls. Exiting through the back of the building, Misao roamed within her bag and pulled out a pack of cigarettes. Placing an ivory stick between her lips she lit it up and breathed in the smoke.
Almost simultaneously she began to choke, wheezing and spluttering. Recovering from her rather inelegant lung clearer, she looked sceptically at the smouldering cigarette between her fingers. How on earth did people like this junk? She wondered, and tried again, this time with a better success. By the end of the cigarette she had mastered the skill – despite watering eyes and a sore throat – and vowed never to try this anti-depressant again.
"There you are!" Kamatari burst through the door, "I've been organizing the fashion show while you've been smoking like a chimney – you know smoking kills."
Misao raised her eyebrow, "I think I'm safe."
"Well fine! You may be immortal but smoking is a dirty habit especially for a lady!" Kamatari exclaimed, "It prematurely ages you – oh wait that doesn't apply either."
Grabbing the cigarette box, Kamatari threw it to the ground and stomped on it with her Prada boots, maliciously grinding it with her stiletto heel.
"There!" She said flicking her hair, "All sorted."
"You know you have obsessive tendencies."
"Do not, now come on we have a fashion show to prepare! Do you know how many people will be coming and we still haven't finished your new 'lovers' line yet."
Misao blushed, "I don't have a lover."
"Sure, sure," Kamatari said with a wink.
Geesh if only she knew.
Hours later, Misao stood up and winced at the pain in her knees, she had been on the floor too long. Giving her back a stretch, she viewed the many mannequins dotted around the room, all wearing the gorgeous new line of fashion outfits.
"Congrats guys I think we're done!" Misao said to the multiple people in the room.
"Well the main body anyway. There are still some minor things to tidy up," Kamatari said.
"I think this is the best line ever," one of the sewers piped up.
"Yeah, she was quite inspired – weren't you Misao," Kamatari prodded.
Misao blushed, "Give over Kamatari."
Kamatari giggled, "Okay I think we'll call it a day."
Misao nodded and glanced at the clock – 11.22 pm.
"I'm gonna go home," Misao managed between a large yawn.
"See ya," Kamatari said, giving Misao a quick peck on the cheek.
As she walked through the door Kamatari yelled, "Don't forget you'll need to make a dress for the show."
Misao groaned, she didn't want to touch another sewing machine let alone make a whole complicated designer dress - maybe she could go in a bag. Debating on colours and designs for her dress, she eventually got home and was ready to drop dead onto the couch.
As she walked into the lounge she jumped in fright as Soujirou popped from the kitchen.
"Are you trying to give me a heart attack!" Misao shrieked.
"Sorry Misao," Soujirou said, smiling, "But you wouldn't have died anyway."
"That's beside the point, it's a figure of speech," She said slumping onto the couch, "And why are you here?"
"Oh I just had a feeling you'd be working late," He said happily, "So I made you something to eat."
"Aww Soujirou! You are too sweet," she said, her bad mood evaporating.
Taking the bowl from his hand, she grabbed her eating utensils and began to tuck into the stir fry and rice, "Hey this isn't too bad."
"Thanks Misao," Soujirou smiled, "But if you don't slow down you'll get ill."
"Pfft," Misao snorted incredulously, increasing her speed.
"Done!" She said, showing her empty bowl.
"New world record," Soujirou said, Misao poked her tongue at him.
"I'm going for a shower," she said over her shoulder on the way to her room.
As she passed the mirror adorned closet she paused and gazed at her reflection. Revolving slowly she eyed her body critically – would Aoshi like her body? She was so short opposed to his large frame and though she had an attractive figure, she was rather diminutive to other long legged, big breasted beauties.
Shaking her head she recalled the meeting with Shishio – it could never be. Misao never really had a problem with avoiding relationships but she didn't think she'd be able to deny this one. She craved the passion that Aoshi promised in those stormy blue eyes.
Sitting on her bed, shower long forgotten, she chewed her lip and let go of a long suffering sigh. If he was part of Kenshin's gang then he too would be a vampire. Slumping back into her bed, she loosened the collar of her shirt and gazed up at the ceiling, her brow furrowed as she thought.
Is being part of the Juppongatana worth it anymore? For the first time I've felt a connection with a man and now because of Juppongatana I can't have him!
"Misao?" Interrupted her thoughts.
"Soujiro," Misao jumped, "What are you doing here! What's up with everyone poppin' up all over the place!"
"I came to see if you're okay, you've been awfully quiet," He said, assessing her with a smile.
"I'm fine, just tired. Do you want me to set up a bed for you?" Misao asked.
"No, I'm going to leave soon, Shishio needs me."
"Oh, okay. Well see you," She said, this time making it to the bathroom.
"Good night Misao," Soujiro said pleasantly.
Taking a quick shower, Misao wrapped a towel round her body and made sure Soujiro was gone. Once certain, she went to her closet and selected a pair of worn jeans and her favourite 'elephant' jumper. Sliding on some panties, she proceeded to dress, slipping on the jeans and pulling the enormous grey jumper over her bare torso. Grabbing some colourful socks (embroidered with cartoon cats) she shoved her feet into a low pair of boots and left the apartment.
Not bothering with her car, she walked down the lit street, relishing the frigid wind passing through the knitted jumper and biting her unprotected skin. Very soon she found herself outside a small, children's park. Walking through, she glanced at the swings and seesaws moving crazily; a small smile formed on her lips as she remembered her own blissful childhood so very long ago. Seating herself on a park bench, she gazed up at the iridescent stars winking up in the dark sky. Finally the tears came, pooling in her eyes, making the scenery before her blurry. They streaked down her cold cheeks like boiling water, but she couldn't stop and they kept coming, faster and faster.
"Misao," a soft voice whispered.
"Who's there?" Misao called her voice hoarse.
Slowly, from the shadows, Aoshi materialized, wearing his usual tan trench coat. Misao didn't move, she just watched him as he advanced. Feeling ashamed of her crying, she quickly swiped her hands across her cheeks and stood up, turning around to leave.
Great, this is all I need when I'm in emotional turmoil! She thought ironically.
"Misao," he said again, grabbing her shoulder.
Misao shivered, not from the cold, but his deep voice saying her name. Turning slowly she made the mistake of looking in his eyes. They glowed eerily – a deep hypnotizing blue, unconsciously she relaxed and her crossed arms fell to her sides.
Aoshi looked down at her vulnerable face and engulfed her tiny body in a warm hug. She didn't respond at first then, she wrapped her arms around his torso under his coat. She trembled like a mouse in his embrace and he gazed down at her, she can't look after herself, Aoshi realized. She was under dressed and underweight. He had been fooled by the huge jumper she wore, but now pressed intimately against him he could feel how thin she was – he was sickened. This diet had to stop!
Breaking the hug, Aoshi looked down at her, "We should get you home."
"Don…don," Pausing Misao tried to coordinate her words, "Don't want to go home."
Turning around she smartly walked away. Aoshi watched her through narrowed eyes then, a rare grin formed on his face as he remembering how stubborn she was. But he was a patient man – that's why they matched so well.
Misao didn't appear to be affected by the coldness, despite the grey jersey sliding dangerously low on the one shoulder. Intercepting her path, she tried to turn away but Aoshi held onto her upper arms.
"Look Mr." Misao snapped, shaking from his grasp, "I'm fine, I don't need you!"
"But I need you," he whispered, jerking her back and slamming his mouth upon hers.
He could feel her shock, but she didn't reject him and he rejoiced. Sliding his arms around her waist, he pulled her encouragingly closer and coaxed her mouth open for him to enter. Tentatively her arms encircled his neck and she pulled herself up until her toes barely touched the ground. She tasted so sweet and Aoshi felt on a high – addicted to her.
Breaking for air, Aoshi's arms tightened around her body and Misao buried her head in his neck – feeling comforted, elated, wanted.
"We're taking you home," he said firmly and Misao, this time, didn't object.
Placing her back onto her feet, Aoshi draped his arm over her shoulders and led them to his car. Making sure she was seated he started the engine and drove to her memorized address. After five minutes of travelling Aoshi looked over at Misao and smiled – she had gone to dream land curled up in the passenger seat. Parking, Aoshi carefully – as if carrying glass – carriedMisao to her apartment, where he found her key still in the door. Rolling his eyes, feeling concerned, he found the master bedroom and laid her onto the king sized bed. Lying beside her, Aoshi pushed some stray hair away from her face and roamed her features, tracing them softly with his fingertips.
"I'm sorry," He whispered, "I'm sorry for not being there when you needed me, but this time things will be different."
Laying a final kiss on her brow he took his leave, determined to keep a closer eye on her, especially after tonight, she really did need someone to look after her.
"Misao!" A voice screamed in her ear.
"No! I don't want to get up," she grumbled turning over.
"We have a fashion show to prepare! You can't just laze around!" Kamatari yelled.
Sometimes Misao really hated that woman, and she stubbornly burrowed deeper in her bed. Remembering last night Misao jolted up straight, wide awake and clamped her hand over her mouth to stop the loud giggled escaping, a crimson blush staining her cheeks.
"Are you alright, have you got a fever?" Kamatari asked, bewildered by the sudden change in her friends demeanour.
"And why are you dressed to go out?" Kamatari asked, then put two and two together, "Ooooh you had a rendezvous with your lover last night, didn't you! No wonder you can't get up, you only just arrived back home."
"No!" Misao objected.
"Oh cut the crap," Kamatari snapped, "You can deny it but I know the truth."
"Kamatari, you don't know anything," Misao sighed.
"Tsk, well then I think I should leave instead of giving you the dress I made you last night."
"You made me a dress? Why? I thought I had to make one," Misao asked.
"Well, after much deliberation I came to the conclusion, that if I left you to make a dress you'd probably come in a bag. As great a designer you are, you don'thave great personal fashion sense," She stated, distastefully eyeing her gigantic, ill fitting jersey.
Misao scowled, "What's wrong with my fashion sense?"
"Nothing," Kamatari said, but Misao swore she heard, 'if you like dressing like a hag.'
"So now girlie…strip!" Kamatari said, holding a dress over her arm.
Grudgingly falling out of bed in a twist of sheets, Misao slipped out of her jeans and pulled the jumper off, over her head.
"Good," Kamatari said, kicking the disgusting jersey lying innocently on the floor, "Now put this on."
Talking the dress Misao stepped within and shimmied it up her hips.
"You know," Kamatari chatted as she did the dress up, "You could have been a model if you weren't so short."
"Voila!" Kamatari exclaimed, "I can turn even the most difficult subjects into a princess!"
Misao rolled her eyes and turned to the mirror. The air in her lungs whooshed out, Kamatari was certainly right; she really was a master worker. The material was extraordinary, morphing from ocean blue to jade green bringing out the colour of her rare eyes. The dress was cut to compliment her figure, starting with an unusual neckline that split dramatically almost to her navel, held together by crisscrossing ribbons. The dress flowed into a cone shaped skirt that clung to her hips, and through a large split in the side, revealed an influx of gauzy blue and green materials artfully arranged.
Had Misao saw it before she put it on, she would have thought it trashy. However now, though very daring, it had an elegant class to it.
"Um, don't you think the necklines a bit too revealing?" Misao squeaked, blushing madly.
"Nonsense girl! Stop being so prudish!" Kamatari scolded, "You look fantastic, men will melt at your feet."
"Then we'd have to pack life jackets, and that would be inconvenient," Misao spluttered.
"Stop making excuses! Your lover would appreciate it," Kamatari sneered.
Misao grabbed a pillow and hurled it at Kamatari, hitting her square in the face.
"Hey! That's no way to treat a world renowned fashion designer!" Kamatari smouldered, advancing on Misao.
"Stop!" Misao laughed, "You don't want to damage the dress now do you."
At once Kamatari stopped, thinking about her actions, "Just wait until you change."
"You know, I think I like this dress so I'm going to wear it forever," Misao said, walking to the kitchen.
"Oh no your not, I don't want breakfast on it!"
"Good morning class, I would like to introduce a new member to this class, Yahiko Myojin."
Yahiko nodded, acknowledging the class and focused his brown eyes on the girl near the back. Smiling at her, she blushed and looked away fidgeting with her stationary.
"So class," the teacher said, "I expect you to make Yahiko welcome and show him around, why don't you take a seat over there."
To Yahiko's dismay, it was a seat at the front, on the other side to Tsubame. Silently cursing, he took his seat and watched the middle aged teacher spring into action, trying to explain the political system.
Great, first day of school and I'm already bored, sighing he glanced at Tsubame, watching her push her hair back and dip to take notes, well it could have been worse.
Saito sat at his desk and glanced impassively at the horrifying photo's before him. With a quick flick of his wrist the photo's landed on his desk and he leaned back, taking a long drag from his cigarette.
Picking up his phone, he quickly dialled a number.
"Hello," a pleasant voice said.
"Battousai, I have a rather delicate subject that needs to be discussed," Saito drawled, "Come tonight, anytime that suits you, and bring your lapdogs."
With that Saito put the phone down and killed his cigarette, dropping it in his overflowing ashtray.
"Damn you Shishio."
Thanks for your reviews :D they really helped to inspire me.