Shinjitsu no Shi

By Silver Miko

Chapter 12: My Heart Draws a Dream

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Look, the wind has started blowing

Still, I'm not giving up yet

I can feel the sun beneath the clouds

even through the headwinds….. My HeartDraws a Dream, Larc en ciel

To say it went wrong would be a great understatement. Neither Kenshin nor Sanosuke had witnessed her stoic entrance and exit from the Kamiya dojo. No, the first glimpse of Misao they saw was her literally bursting on the scene in smoke.

They had been in the trees hiding outside the compound, watching. Aoshi was being held inside, and Kenshin was sure he was still alive. The low-lives knew by now he was Oniwaban, the double kodachi a dead giveaway. Aoshi was a man of subtlety, but his reputation was not.

Sanosuke had wanted to simply go in with brute force, but there were most likely firearms involved . Kenshin wanted to go with a more thought-out plan of action. When Aoshi had been captured to allow both Sano and Kenshin to slip away, the two had no choice but to return to the Kamiya dojo. Sano had sustained a large gash on his forearm which needed stitching, and Kenshin a blow to the ribs which needed bandaging.

Now here they were, watching as Misao stormed into the compound with the aid of smoke bombs. She was at least smart enough to jump high enough to not be initially seen, but such an all-or-nothing entrance meant her going unnoticed wouldn't be for very long.

"I'll say this much, the girl has guts." Sano murmured, as he and Kenshin rushed into the compound through the clearing smoke and behind the guards chasing Misao.

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She had, of course, been caught.

As she was being held a gunpoint in the back room where all the low-life thugs and their apparent leader were assembled, her eyes never left Aoshi. He was tied to a chair in the middle of the room and had some bruises on his face and a split lip.

She was sure the stupid thugs probably thought they'd beaten him well, but to Aoshi it had probably but a trifle. The important thing was that he was alive. Whether he remained that way depending largely on what would come next.

"Such a pretty little thing causing such trouble? Tell me, what brings you at our doorstep?"

He was slick, this leader, in his Western clothing and smelling of tobacco. She would have to be careful with her words. Guile was a tricky business when you had a gun to your side. She cleared her throat and threw an insolent look on her face.

"You have something of mine."

"Oh? And what might that be? Did one of you boys steal our guest's purse?"

The thugs laughed ad the leader just smirked.

"No. Him." She said, pointing to Aoshi.

She felt the hand around her arm tighten.

"You're Oniwaban, then?" he asked, his voice tighter.

Careful, Misao, careful.

"Was, until he forced me into marriage and then out of the Oniwaban business."

"Oh ho, so you've come to save your husband then? How sweet."

Misao snorted.

"It had not been my intention until we were notified of you having him and forcing my hand. So I volunteered to deal with this myself to make sure there's no loose ends. Had you just killed him upfront you'd have save me a lot of trouble."

The hand around her arm loosened just a fraction.

"So then you're not here to save him then? Really? How interesting. How am I sure you're not just a charming little liar who'd say anything to buy herself time?"

"He abandoned us when I was a child and then comes back years and years later and forced me into marrying him based on some stupid old promise just so he could take charge and then he kicked me out of the one thing that was mine by birth and has expected me to live under his thumb since. So why the hell would I save him?!"

The entire time her eyes has never left Aoshi. He was watching her, his eyes piercing and blue as always. His face betrayed nothing, so whether he knew she was lying or believed she was telling the truth was unknown. She hoped he understood.

" I knew you were a cold-hearted bastard by reputation Shinomori, but so much even your wife wants you dead! This turn of events has truly made my night."

She felt the gun lower away from her side, and hold on her arm was gone. She fought the urge to punch the man in the face or kick him somewhere where it'd really hurt.

"Well then my dear, shall you do the honors then? Not that I'd trust you with any of our guns. Strangling perhaps?"

Misao rolled her eyes and pulled her sheath of kunai out from in her sleeve.

"I prefer these, my speciality."

"The little missus likes to play with knives! By all means, but don't be offended that my men stand on guard."

Misao unsheathed two of the kunai , unable to stop the slight tremor of nervousness that shook her body. No one else would have noticed, except for the man whose eyes never hers.

"Misao," Aoshi began, "do it."

She nodded slightly while the leader laughed, thinking Aoshi was asking her to kill him.

She threw, two kunai whizzing through the air. One landed next to his side, the other a half-inch from his legs.

"I thought your little knives were your speciality! You missed!"

Misao finally broke her gaze from Aoshi's and turned to face the leader slowly.

"Oh no, I never miss."

It was very quick, so much so the other thugs barely saw it coming. One moment Aoshi was perfectly still, the next he was free from the chair a blur across the room. Misao recognized it, the Water-Flow Technique, in which he moved so fast it looked like there were many of him. He took care of the thugs immediately, one whom displayed the audacity to try and use his own kodachi against him.

He turned to face the leader, who had recovered from momentary shock and once more held Misao at gunpoint.

"Don't move Shinomori, unless you harbor some secret desire for your wife to die. Or would that be a clever ploy as well?"

Aoshi didn't move, but his eyes grew colder. Misao knew this to never be a good sign for the person who caused such a change.

"And isn't this quite familiar? Except last time it was that spiky-headed brawler with the gun to his back."

Misao blinked.

"That's how they caught you?! You let yourself be captured to save Sagara?"

"You say that like it was some bad thing, Misao-chan, especially when me being alive is pretty handy to you now."

There was a punch noise and Misao watched the leader collapse to the ground and a smug looked Sanosuke cracking his knuckles.

"Eh?! What if he had pulled the trigger when you punched him! Do you want my ghost to haunt you!" Misao yelled, red in the face.

"Have you two been outside the room this whole time?" Aoshi asked, sheathing his kodachi.

Both Sanosuke and Kenshin were standing before them.

"Yes, we were waiting for the oppurtune time to help." Kenshin said with a smile.

"You mean you two waited to come in at the last minute and look cool!" Misao yelled, as she pulled her kunai from the chair.

" Now Misao-dono, it was nothing of the sort." Kenshin said, hands in front of him.

"So what do we do with them?" Sanosuke asked, looking around at a room of unconscious men.

"I believe I was followed here from Kyoto by a certain wolf. This is a mess best suited for him to clean up." Aoshi murmured and he gravitated to Misao's side.

"Is that so, Shinomori?"

They could smell the tobacco a moment before he appeared, surveying the scene with a bored look.

"Oh and let me guess, you waited in the bushes until everything was taken care off." Misao remarked.

"You all seemed to bumble your way through ending up alive. Though had you left this whole affair in the hands of the police you would have saved yourselves the trouble."

"Fine then, it's in your hands. Let's go, everyone!" Misao declared and she grabbed Aoshi by the hand and began walking out of the room.

"I didn't say your husband could go just yet. I am curious as to how the Oniwaban fit in all of this."

Misao narrowed her eyes at Saitou.

"They don't. As far as you need to be concerned, my husband and I are in the restaurant business and that is that. Don't bother us unless it's soba you're after. Let's go, Aoshi."

Kenshin and Sano both just blinked at her as she dragged the much taller man out of the room.

"I think that's our cue to leave now. I trust this is all taken care of?" Kenshin asked, slightly wary. Despite an uneasy truce, he still didn't trust Saitou. Old habits, and all.

"At least you left them all alive to be of use to me for information. Now get out."

Kenshin merely nodded in reply and he and Sano left to catch up with Aoshi and Misao.

Saitou looked around the room and smirked.

"Well now, let's see how you rats like tangling with a wolf."

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It late into the night, after more patching up by Megumi and lecturing by Kenshin on being too rash, that eveyone had settled in for the night. They were in one of the guest rooms in the corner of the Kamiya dojo, the moonlight casting a blue glow on the futon they shared.

She couldn't sleep, and she was sure he was awake. They hadn't said anything to each other since leaving the compound. She wasn't sure what he was thinking, but for her, she had been so worn by the whole event that she didn't think she would even know what to say.

She sighed and turned to face him, and sure enough her eyes met his.

Neither still spoke, but she reached out a hand slowly and rested it on the side of his neck. Her thumb brushed against his jaw softly. She bridge the distance completely, pressing her lips to his. He wrapped his arms around her tightly as they kissed, and she held him to her just as tight.

She didn't need words right now, it didn't matter. They were together, alive, and there was a tomorrow for them.

The End

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AN: This took longer to finish than I had originally planned, but life is funny and I've probably been in like 5 incarnations of where I am at during this whole story.