A/N: Zig-zag is baaaaaaaaaack! Okay… I wasn't going to post this until AFTER I got done with Violet Eyed Angel, but because of all the trouble I've had with Amber Eyed Angel… I did anyway. So those of you wondering why Violet Eyed Angel hasn't been updated, I'm still not going to update it until I fully get Amber Eyed Angel back on fanfiction . net. You'll just have to enjoy this until I get back to Violet Eyed Angel.
For those of you who are new to my fanfics… don't except anything nice. I'm a mean, violent fangirl, you don't like seeing violence or bad things happening to Kenshin, and I mean BAD things, DON'T READ MY FANFICS! This is set during the Bakumatsu, it's a war, people die, bad things happen… get over it and leave me alone. For people who LIKE that sort of thing… I welcome you! I'm a pretty nice person, so please, stick around!
Nekotsuki is once more my beta reader! Gotta give her hugs for that! THANKS NEKOTSUKI! Oh! And updates may be slow due to the fact that even though I'm not updating it, I'm still working on Violet Eyed Angel, got my work cut out for re-posting Amber Eyed Angel, and I'm busy with school. I'll try to be timely at updating… but don't expect too much.
Chapter 1 - Not a Hundred Percent
Kenshin groaned as he stretched his back, and tried to get comfortable against the wall. He wanted to go back to sleep, but the light that was flooding into his room made it hard and the pounding in his head made it even harder.
After while, he gave up trying to sleep and rose to his feet.
He was surprised by the sudden sense of vertigo he felt from standing. He dismissed it for not getting enough sleep recently. He changed into his gi and hakama quickly, and pushed his katana and wakizashi through his belt. He took note of the time before he headed downstairs to see if there was any breakfast left. He had slept late.
He could hear the murmur of others behind the closed shoji that lead to the dinning area. Sliding the door open; a hush fell across everyone when they saw Kenshin standing there. With his blood red hair, cross shaped scar on his left cheek, and those glowing amber eyes, he frightened most men. By now, Kenshin was used to this reaction and thought nothing of it. He sat down and tried to enjoy his meal.
The noise began to pick up once again and so did Kenshin's headache. He poked absentmindedly at his food; he really wasn't that hungry. He left his food, untouched, and went back to his room to escape the noise, and hopefully, this headache.
Back in his room he felt tired again; it felt like he was being weighed down by something. He moved towards the wall and sank down against it. 'I'm just tired.' He shut his eyes and tried to sleep, but for some reason, just couldn't get comfortable. With a sigh, he opened his eyes and looked around the room until he spotted the futon folded in the corner. The one he never used. It really had no point being in his room.
He wondered why it was really even in there as he started to unfold it. He pressed the creases that had formed from it being folded for so long and then lay down on it. He didn't even bother to change out of his clothes. He felt dizzy and just wanted to rest, and right now, lying on a futon sounded like a good idea.
Kenshin groaned as he forced his eyes open. He felt even worse now, than when he had gone to sleep. His mouth felt dry and his body ached all over. After blinking the last remnants of sleep from his eyes, he noticed that it had grown dark. Startled that he had slept so long, Kenshin quickly sat up, and immediately regretted moving so fast as the room started to spin.
He closed his eyes and held his head for a moment until the sensation of spinning left, and then he opened his eyes with a groan. 'What's wrong with me?' He wasn't stupid; he knew he was sick. Kenshin didn't get sick very often, and when he did it wasn't too bad. Guessing this was one of those times, he settled back down and decided to sleep it off.In the morning, Kenshin was feeling a little better. He still slept in rather late, but he stood up without the sense of lost balance. He stood and once more placed his swords through his belt. He went to breakfast and this time his appetite had returned.
After eating, he thought about wandering around for a little people-watching. He was heading outside when someone called his name.
"Himura-san!" He turned to see who was calling for him. It was Reizo, a man of about 23; he had dark brown hair and was a whole head taller then Kenshin. Like most of the men Kenshin knew, he wore his hair up in a topknot. "Where are you heading, Himura-san?"
"Out," he replied, quickly and quietly.
"Mind if I come with you?" Kenshin shrugged. He didn't really care if anyone came with him or not.
They walked together; Reizo attempted a few times to start a conversation with Kenshin, although he hardly got more than a shrug from the quiet redhead.
"So, what dojo did you learn your swordsmanship from? It must be pretty small, because I never heard of it until I met you."
Silence for a reply.
"So what are your plans for after the war?"
"I don't know."
"Any family to go back to?"
"You must have family somewhere." Again, Reizo was met with silence. Kenshin never really understood Reizo, but ever since the two had been introduced, Reizo always seemed to want to talk. Not that Kenshin minded too much; it was nice to finally meet someone who wasn't completely terrified by him before even getting to know him. Although on a day like today, Reizo was just giving him a major headache.
"You ready for tomorrow?"
The question pulled Kenshin from his silent grumbling over his headache. "Huh?"
Reizo shot him a look that seemed to ask if Kenshin had been born yesterday. "Tomorrow is the day we head out. Don't you remember?"
Kenshin rolled his eyes slightly. "Yes, I remember," he said with a sigh. There had been word that a troop of shogun warriors were staying in a nearby village. Tomorrow, they were supposed to intercept them, and stop them.
"You nervous?" Reizo asked, with a hint of sarcasm in his voice. His reply was a soft grunt. "Of course… being the great and almighty Battousai, you have nothing to worry about." He was joking, but to Kenshin, his words were anything but joking.
Reizo saw that his teasing had upset Kenshin. He fell silent and walked quietly next to Kenshin. They walked for a little while longer and stopped for lunch. After they finished eating, they walked a bit more before making their way back to the inn. Even without Reizo's constant banter, Kenshin found his headache to have worsened.
"I'll see you at dinner." Reizo said his goodbye, heading towards his room. Kenshin watched him go; he really wasn't that hungry. He felt tired and his muscles ached slightly, and this headache was killing him. Rubbing his temples, he headed back to his room, stopping to tell one of the maids that he was not to be disturbed.
Inside his room, he didn't even bother to change out of his clothes. He placed his wakizashi respectfully on its stand. His katana he kept with him as he sat himself by the window. Propping the sword up against his shoulder, he bowed his head in an attempt to sleep, but it evaded him.
Kenshin walked down the street once more. He listened to the laughter of a group of children as he passed by. He felt calmer listening to them, and his headache was gone. He walked along, continuing his journey that had no destination.
"Battousai!" an angry voice called out.
Kenshin stopped walking, silently cursing the man that had ruined his day. He thought about just walking away, acting as if he hadn't heard or that he was not who the man accused him to be. He thought about turning and fighting the accuser. Not here; he would not fight in front of the children and their mothers that he had just passed.
"Battousai!" the voice called once more.
Kenshin finally turned to address the man calling him. To tell him that he would refuse to fight here. He turned and looked for the man calling his name, but saw no one. No one, but the group of children who stood staring at him.
"Battousai!" the voice called a third time. From out of the group a young boy with black hair and sandy eyes stepped forth. "Battousai!" he called, pointing at Kenshin. "You've ruined our lives!"
Kenshin's mouth fell open. He couldn't believe what he was hearing.
The little boy kept pointing; now the other children were glaring at him as well. "You killed our fathers… you made our mothers cry… you ruined our families!"
Kenshin moved his mouth as if to speak, but said nothing. What could he say to these children? That he had to do it for the new era? That their fathers were dead for the sake of peace? That they could never be happy again so others could? They would never see their fathers again and it was all his fault.
"Murder," the boy hissed, softly and angrily. "Murder!" he shrieked, and the others joined him. Chanting, the children rushed towards him, becoming a sea. "Murder! Murder! MURDER!" They rushed him, their little hands latching onto him, trying to pull him down.
"Stop!" Kenshin cried, trying to pull free of them. "Stop! I didn't… I don't…" He didn't know what to say. One of the younger ones, growling as he tried to pull on him, bent over and sank his teeth into Kenshin's skin. He yelped at the sudden pain that sprang forth from his leg. One of the other children followed the other's example and bit down as well.
Soon Kenshin found himself being bitten all over as the other children joined in. "Stop! Stop! STOP!" He felt his body moving against his command, reaching for the sword at his side. 'No!' his brain screamed at him. 'Don't do it! They're children!' He couldn't stop; his hand clutched the hilt of his sword. Without another thought, his body drew it.
There was a shriek as one of the children fell back, clutching his shoulder. He looked up at Kenshin with pure terror in his eyes; blood was seeping between his fingers. Kenshin could only look down in horror at what he had done. The other children looked down at their bleeding companion in shock.
The little boy began to cry as his face went pale. He glared up at Kenshin through his tears. "Murder…" he managed to choke out. "Murder!" he screamed, right before his eyes rolled up into the back of his head and he slumped forward.
Kenshin looked down at the young boy's blood on his blade. "No! I didn't want to kill him! It wasn't me! I didn't! I didn't do that!"
"MURDER!" the children shouted, new anger filling them. Once more they rushed Kenshin, screaming their chant at him. His body moved without thought; his arm raised his sword once more. Without a second thought, his body defended itself against the army of unarmed children.Kenshin awoke with a start. His body was shaking in small spasms and he was drenched in sweat. The vividness of the dream still danced before his eyes. His ragged breathing came in short gasps. He shot one of his hands up to his face and covered his eyes as his body shook violently once more. 'It was a dream,' he tried to reassure himself. 'I would never do something like that.' Keeping his eyes closed allowed the slaughter of the children to replay over once more; he quickly opened them.
He grabbed himself in a self-hug as his teeth began to chatter. He felt so cold suddenly. He decided to blame it on a mixture of the dream and sleeping next to the window. Peering out the window, Kenshin glanced up at the sky. Night had fallen long ago.
As his shivering continued, he finally caved in and grabbed a blanket. Draping it over himself, his shivering lessened slightly. His breathing was still off slightly and his stomach churned… but the dream had really shaken him. With a shuddering sigh, he attempted to settled down and sleep again, but sleep evaded him. Every time he closed his eyes, all he could see were the children as he massacred them.
The wind blew softly, whispering in the night. Murder.