Greatest apologies readers! Once again here is a superbly late update! I would spout off the usual excuses, but you probably don't want to here them...if you've stayed with us this long, then you would probably rather skip right to the story than listen to us rattle on about lame reasons why we are such slow, scum of the earth.

Please forgive us, and we hope this chapter can help soothe your anger :D

Disclaimer: nope, RuroKen still isn't ours...but Katana is :)

Till Death Do Us Part

Part 21 (by baka)

Whoever had decided to stick Katana and Misao in the same car of the same train for an entire day had one sick sense of humor.

At one point, the car had been filled with many other passengers; however, the disagreements frequently happening between Misao and Katana caused the passengers to relocate for their own safety. By the end of the nine hour ride, both of the girls' clothes were in disarray; their hair looked somewhat afro-ish, and scrapes were evident on both of their arms.

"TRUCE! Ok? Truce!" Misao screamed as Katana threatened her with one of her own throwing knives.

"You only want a truce because you don't have any weapons left," Katana smirked, taunting the other girl. "AH-CHOO!" She sneezed suddenly, completely ruining her menacing glare.

"No, I want a truce because I don't want to get arrested as soon as we get to the station for disturbing the peace. Besides, you'll keep spreading your infectious germs everywhere if we keep this going, " Misao retorted defiantly, sitting down in one of the slightly shredded seats.

"Since when have you ever been worried about getting arrested?" Katana demanded, sitting down across from the other girl. "Achoo! And it's just a cold. You're just tired aren't you?"

"Yeah, this is kind of tiring; I mean we've been going at it since we left. Besides, I have that resort trip to worry about...I can't really enjoy my stay if I'm a wanted criminal there. We should probably act more like mature adults."

Katana stared open-mouthed at Misao, waiting for her to crack a smile, then realized she was completely serious. "Us?" Katana snorted. "Mature adults? Did I hit you on the head a little too hard? …..Oh-OHH! I see! You want to start behaving because of your little school girl crush!"

"What! I do not have a school girl crush!" Misao growled, her cheeks glowing red.

"Really? Then what's Aoshi?" Katana baited the other girl.

"Aoshi is not my crush!" Misao whispered furiously.

"Yes he is and you're just too chicken to do anything," Katana remarked while ducking a chunk of couch padding thrown from the other girl.

"I am not a chicken!" Misao snarled, digging her hands into one of the many holes dotting her seat.

"Oh that's right…you just sudden become desperately fragile, weak in the knees, and faint when you see him." Katana overdramatically stood and fainted in the aisle.

Misao's eyes narrowed. "Well, at least I'm not afraid to admit I like someone!"

Katana threw her hands up in the air. "UGH! For the last time, I DO NOT LIKE SOUJIRO! End of story! And by the way--your little plot back at the dojo was way, way out of line."

"And you pushing me under the mistletoe with Aoshi wasn't?!"

"That was payback--and you know what the say don't you? Payback's a bi-." Katana was cut off by another sneeze.

"Look--we have to come to some sort of agreement. I mean, after all we are going to be staying in the same room at the resort and we won't be able to enjoy their 'fine dining, European styled rooms, hot springs, and luxurious beaches' if we keep fighting" Misao quoted from the resort's brochure. "And besides, you know that spa Kaoru and Megumi keep talking about? Well…I sort of got their appointment time mixed up with two other certain people…" Misao smiled evilly.

"They're going to be pissed." Katana stated her own wicked smile mirroring Misao's.

The girl's conversation was interrupted by the loud sound of a train whistle. The train began to slowly ease to a stop, and the passengers began to hesitantly return to the car to retrieve any luggage forgotten during their hasty departure.

"Looks like we're here," Misao mumbled, grabbing a bag and tossing another to Katana.

"Where are they?" Kaoru asked in an annoyed voice, tapping her foot on the train station floor dramatically. "We should be heading to the resort by now."

"Gosh Kaoru, what's your rush?" Yahiko questioned.

"Megumi and I have an appointment at the spa today and we don't want to be late." Kaoru answered, frantically searching the crowd for the two missing girls. "Why can't we just go ahead and let them catch up?"

"You are going to a spa?" Yahiko asked, stifling a laugh. "I don't think a spa can help you…ugly." Kaoru's face contorted in a look of pure malice, causing Yahiko to shrink back. She turned around to confront him when a hand on her shoulder stopped her.

"Don't listen to him Kaoru. You look fine." Kenshin said calmly. "I think I see Misao and Katana." He motioned to the opposite end of the platform and sure enough, both girls were walking towards them.

"What happened to you?" Megumi asked with disgust. "I can't believe you would go out in public looking like that."

The girls looked down at their torn and dirtied clothes, vainly attempting to smooth out some of the wrinkles. They sighed in unison, giving up their attempts entirely.

"So? We had a little…disagreement," Misao answered.

"Still, they will never let you into the resort looking like that. My god I'm embarrassed to be around you. Couldn't you straighten yourselves up before we arrived?" Megumi shook her head in disgust.

"Sorry Megumi, but we don't have hours upon hours to waste trying to look appealing." Katana snapped.

"What do you mean trying?" Megumi asked, anger coating her tone.

"Well…some people may like your- um, style, but all in all, it's not working for you. In my opinion I mean." Katana smiled innocently.

"Okay! I think we should head on to the resort." Kenshin hastily cut in, taking one of Kaoru's arms and then one of Megumi's as he led them away from the station.

"Aww… come on Kenshin! It was just about to get good." Sano smirked, walking after him. "Cat fights are always good entertainment…and I bored as hell on that train."

As the group moved on through the crowded resort city streets, Sano and Yahiko lingered towards the back of the pack.

"Hey Sano," Yahiko began in innocent curiosity, "Why is Kenshin always sucking up to Kaoru?"

"Huh? Ohhh. That's because he wants to get some," Sano replied simply.

"Get…some?" Yahiko asked in his childlike naivety.

"Sometimes you're so clueless it's hilarious." Sano chuckled, swinging his arm around the younger boy's shoulders. He leaned over and rapidly whispered in a hushed voice what 'get some' meant. Yahiko's eyes grew wider and wider, and his jaw dropped, nearly hitting the floor.

"He…he wants to do that with Kaoru?" He choked out. "But…why?" His whole body shuddered in disgust.

"Yahiko…you're still too young to understand," Sano stated matter-o-factly, completely oblivious to the point that maybe Yahiko was too young to be told any of this in the first place.

"We should head to our room," Misao yawned, twirling their room key around her fingers. "We have time for a nap before we head to the spa."

"Yeah…I could use a rest. When do you think Kaoru and Megumi will find out about their appointment?" Katana asked, glancing at the people around her. They all stared back at the two girls. "Geeze! Someone should take a picture or something."

"Just ignore them." Misao mumbled. She seemed to be partially sleepwalking towards the elevator.

Katana's gaze continued sweep around the resort's enormous and elaborate entrance room. It was like nothing she had ever seen before. Plush rugs with intricate designs covered the slick wooden floors. The upper levels overlooked the large, open lobby below. A huge chandelier hung from the ceiling and illuminated the entire room. It was remarkable. But it was something--or rather, someone--to the left of the chandelier on the balcony of the first floor that caught her eye.

It was an extraordinarily good-looking man; he was young and tall with a handsome face. He was surrounded by a group of swooning girls who obviously like the tall, dark and handsome style. For a split second, their eyes met. Katana felt a shiver shoot down her spine as the man's eyes narrowed, glaring furiously at her.

"Misao, do you see that guy? The one upstairs, left of the chandelier?" Katana asked. There was a nagging feeling at the back of her mind; one of familiarity toward the handsome man. She just couldn't place him.

Misao rubbed her eyes and turned to look at him. "Hmm, he's cute." She stated as she stopped walking.

"I don't want to know if you think he's cute or not!" Katana growled, grabbing the other girl's arm and pulling her towards the elevator. "Does he look familiar? At all?"

"I don't know, not really. Why?" Misao asked.

"He's been glaring at us since we walked in."

"Uh, Katana, everyone has been glaring at us since we walked in. They must think we're diseased or something." Once they stepped on to the elevator, Misao glanced at the man again.

"But--nevermind. Forget about it." Katana mumbled as the elevator doors shut. The man's cold eyes never left her face.

"Crap! We're going to be late!" Misao shouted as she plowed through the people in front of her. "Ugh, how could we sleep for three hours? We have five minutes to find that stupid spa for our stupid appointment!"

"Hey, you're the one that signed us up for that remember?" Katana groaned. The nap had been wonderful--at least until Misao woke up screaming at the top of her lungs that they were going to be late. All of Misao's griping and cursing had given her a headache, and her throat was now beginning to feel sore. She had tried to talk Misao into letting her stay in the room, but no, Misao wouldn't go to the spa alone. It was uncharted territory as she called it, and it was always better if you went with someone else. In other words, if it sucked and was incredibly boring Misao wanted someone familiar to kill time with.

"Shut up Katana! --and would you hurry up? You don't want to run into Kaoru and Megumi do you? Once they found out what we did, they'll be on the war path!" Misao said stepping through the door of the spa.

"We? Did you have a partner in crime I don't know about or something? Because I had nothing to do with you taking their appointment," Katana stated taking a deep breath of the spa's incense. Well, the place certainly smelled nice. Maybe this wouldn't be so bad.

"Good afternoon ladies. You must be here for the 4:30 appointment. If you'll follow me I will take you to your room," A sweet older woman dressed in a light pink kimono said as she bowed deeply. She led them past the reception desk and down a hallway towards the back of the building. "Now if you'll both wait here, someone will be in shortly for your facials."

"Uh, Misao, what's a facial?" Katana asked hoping up on one of the padded tables.

"I don't really know." Misao answered, sitting cross-legged on the table across from Katana. "It can't be that bad, can it?" Katana felt her stomach flip. She had a very bad feeling about this.

"My face is covered in green muck! How can people enjoy this?!" Misao demanded, annoyed. She and Katana were now in soft fuzzy kimonos, lying on top of the tables. Their hair was pulled back into a tight bun and their face hidden under a layer of green mush with cucumbers over their eyes. "You know I think we did Megumi and Kaoru a favor in taking their appointment. This is torture, and we can't even eat the freaking cucumbers! I'm already bored. Katana? Katana are you even listening to me?"

"Well it's kind of hard not to listen to you. Especially when you're breaking sound barriers." Katana groaned again and rubbed her throat. "Just do what they said and relax. Go to sleep or something. I've got a killer headache and you aren't helping. So just be quiet for a few minutes would you?"

"Ugh. Fine." Misao mumbled. "Do you think this green stuff is toxic or something?"

"Misao, shut up!" Katana growled with threat evident in her voice.

"Cause I mean, those ladies didn't look too happy when they left. They could have…" Misao continued blabbing on.

"Misao they were pissed because you threw a bowl of this stuff at their head!" Katana remarked getting more and more annoyed.

"Well, you told me too." Misao stated defensively.

"I didn't think you'd actually take me seriously. Now, would you please be quiet? My head is pounding—I want to try and sleep it off," Katana said, trying to zone the other's voice out.

Katana slowly sat up on the table. Her headache was gone, but she still felt a little...odd. She looked around the room and realized that Misao was nowhere to be seen. "I guess she bailed." The door to the room slowly opened and to Katana's surprise, Megumi walked in holding a syringe in her hand. "Megumi?" Her voice was an octave higher than normal. "What are you doing here?"

"You know if you would take care of yourself, you wouldn't be getting sick." Megumi squeezed the air out of the syringe and rolled up on of the sleeves on Katana's arm. "Now this might hurt a little." Megumi warned her.

"Wait! Hold on, you're not going to poison me are you?" Katana asked looking over at the older woman.

"No, of course not, now hold still." Megumi raised the hand that had been holding the syringe, but somehow a long slender sword had replaced it.

"Megumi! Wait--don't!" Katana screamed, closing her eyes as she waiting for the blade to stab her. But nothing happened. She slowly eased her eyes open and saw the room was empty. "Ok, now this is getting weird." Katana mumbled, stepping down from the table and heading towards the door. She heard a soft dinging noise and the door in front of her slid open, revealing a small room with a desk in it. Cautiously Katana approached the doorway. "Kaoru? Is that you?"

"Don't just stand there! Step inside. We don't have all day." Kaoru ordered without looking up from the papers on her desk. Katana obediently stepped inside the room. The door behind her shut and she realized that it wasn't a room at all; it was an elevator.

"Kaoru what's going on?" Katana asked getting more and more confused by the minute.

"Do you have an appointment?" the other woman asked, finally looking up from her desk.

"Appointment? No." Katana stated.

"Then why are you wasting my time? If you don't have an appointment you shouldn't be here." Kaoru said looking back down at the papers on her desk. The door behind Katana slid open once again and Katana felt herself suddenly pitch backwards.

She braced herself for impact but soon realized that she was standing. "This is way too weird..." She mumbled, rubbing her temples. Looking down at herself, she saw she was wearing a long white kimono with silvery, intricate designs running up the side. On the floor was a long red carpet that cut between two aisles of benches, and led up to a stage at the front of the room she was now in. Bells seemed to toll faintly in the background but she couldn't really tell because her head had begun throbbing again. Her feet moved without hesitation and her body flowed forward down the aisle. She began staring at a man in front of her. His back was too her but she recognized him. She tapped him of the shoulder. "Soujiro? What's going on?"

He turned to her smiling. A warm, carefree smile that swept across his entire face. It was infectious and she couldn't help but smile back. For that moment everything seemed to stop, even the throbbing of her head, but then something behind him caught her eye. She reluctantly looked away from his face and found herself staring into the eyes of the man she had seen earlier. A sudden wave of realization hit Katana like a ton of bricks. She looked back at Soujiro and felt herself falling again.

"Oh, shit." She mumbled as she continued to fall into the darkness.

Misao shot awake when she heard a loud THUMP! "Katana? Are you ok?" Misao rushed over to her friend, poking her to make sure she was all right. "Geeze girl, you just rolled off the table, and SMACK! …That was pretty funny."

"What-? Huh? Man, that was one weird dream." Katana mumbled almost incoherently. She remembered she had something important to tell the other girl but she couldn't remember exactly what. "Misao stop poking me." She ordered as she attempted to stand up. Her skin felt like it was on fire and she felt even worse than she had before she had drifted to sleep.

"Here, come on…lets wash that gunk off you face." Misao suggested, getting a rag and water. Her playful attitude had changed to one of concern when she realized the other girl really wasn't feeling well. "Katana you're burning up. You need to get back to bed." Misao stated, taking charge of the situation. She hurriedly checked both girls out of the spa and led Katana away from the building and back towards the hotel.

Then it hit her.

"Wait Misao!" Katana said frantically, pulling her arm out of Misao's grasp. She swayed a little bit, but managed to keep her balance. Her heart was pounding furiously in her chest and her stomach was twisting into painful knots. "There was something I needed to tell you! It was about that guy from earlier…I remember where I've seen him…we are so totally screwed."

Misao sighed as she pulled Katana along behind her. She quickly turned, cutting into a small alley that would hopefully get them back to the hotel faster.

"Katana you just had a weird dream--don't worry about anything. You're not making much sense. Just--" Katana slammed into Misao's back when the latter stopped suddenly. "What do you want?" Misao asked defensively.

Katana peeked over the other girl's shoulder. Her eyes met the same menacing pair from earlier. She whimpered softly, her hands gripping tight fistfuls of the back of Misao's shirt. "See," she whispered frantically, "I told you we were screwed. Do you remember that one statue thing…with the swords and the gold…?" Looking around, the two girls realized that they had been surrounded by a group of not-so-nice looking guys.

Misao's eyes widened with realization. "Ah, crap." Misao groaned as one of the men stepped forward to grab her, but she quickly twisted away from his grasp. Her hand shot toward his nose, and a loud crunching sound ensued as he fell backward; blood poured down his face. Misao smiled and looked back at Katana, but her smile slowly began to fade when she raised her arm and realized there was a dart sticking out of it. The smile was replaced by a look of shock as she suddenly slumped to the floor, unconscious.

The handsome man from earlier leisurely made his way toward Katana. A sick smile had spread across his face. Katana looked down and realized that there was a dart sticking out of her own body. She could already feel its effects coursing through her. She tried to stay on her feet as long as possible, but in her weakened state she quickly lost the battle, pitched forward into the darkness.

Apparently, then Kenshin-gumi needed a vacation.
So we gave them one...with a twist.
We decided it would be best to give you all the wonderful background story of how Misao and Katana met. :)

Hope you enjoyed! We will try hard to get the next one out faster! Please stay will us--we greatly appreciate you all!
Without you, this story wouldn't be possible :) You fans keep us going...slowly but surely, we keep going :)