Mystery Head-Cold Theatre 3000 presents:

The Strongest

By Shirou Shinjin.

Disclaimer: I have not, do not, and most likely will never own Rurouni Kenshin, or its characters. They belong to various evil corporations, and the wonderful Watsuki-sama. I'm just going to borrow them for a bit, k?

Additional Disclaimer: This story was written whilst the author was sick and not at all right in the head.


Battousai, the strongest. The man feared across Japan for his deadly prowess. None who challenged him had lived. Well, except for a few Shinsengumi captains. But they don't count.

No, Battousai was unbeatable... vicious... and with a glare that could stop a rampaging elephant.

Which is exactly why Udo Jineh wanted to fight him. To test his mettle. To find out who really is the strongest.


When he had first met him, he had gone up against the rooster man. Bah. What did he care for a washed-up ex fighter for hire? Oh he tried to fight back, but he was no match. His gaze was steady even in the face of death, but still Jineh brushed him aside like a giant talkative ball of lint.

But then he fought the legendary assassin and... felt cheated. This was not the Hitokiri of old... he had gone soft. So he left.

When he found him again, he was with his woman on the side of the river. What a deliciously perfect opportunity. He snatched her from before his eyes, and issued his challenge. He did not really care to harm her, but he wanted Battousai angry. After all, he'd heard the rumours of him doing laundry and cooking dinner... the man had obviously turned pansy.

It had the desired effect. That night, the Battousai stood before him in the depths of the forest, his icy glare levelled at his own.

"Those are good eyes," he intoned to the Hitokiri. "Now all you need to do is drop that silly no-killing vow and go back to the way you were!"

"I will never kill another man, Jineh." His tone of voice had no room for argument.

"Then perhaps I shall make you kill!" Jineh turned his malevolent gave upon the bright-eyed girl restrained within the small shrine behind him. In moments, she was a prisoner of his strongest shin no ippou, the shining blue of her eyes now a dull, flat colour. "You see, Battousai! I have used a technique so strong, her lungs are paralysed! She will die unless you kill me!"

"Jineh," the Hitokiri breathed, shaking with the effort of restraining himself. Yes, yes... so close...

"Why do you hesitate, Battousai? She will die unless you do something. If you have anything to say, say it with your..."

He was cut short as the world span around him. He felt as if he had been struck in the face with a blunt object. The pain was exquisite.

He laughed. "Yes, yes, yes! This is it! The user of Hiten Mitsurugi Ryuu! Hitokiri Battousai!"

He pulled his eyes up and found himself caught in the icy-cold violet gaze of the most dangerous man in the whole of the Bakumatsu. He would enjoy this.

"Come, so I can kill you."

"Now the match begins."

He knew he had to strike quickly. He whipped his head up, and glared at the Battousai with all his might. Just as he had been taught, he concentrated all the rage and hate in his heart into his eyes. The Battousai did not so much as blink. Instead, he returned a gaze of absolute nothingness... it was like an impenetrable wall.

But Jineh wanted the challenge... and so he began his assault. Bracing himself, he began spinning his eyes around in circles, turning the world into a blur. Many a brave (or foolish) man had fallen before his deadly Spinning Eyes of the Demon technique, but the Battousai would not number amongst them. He simply rolled sideways to avoid direct eye contact, and came back to stance with his eyes crossed so far it was impossible. "Hiten Mitsurugi Ryuu—Crossed Dragon Glare!" he shouted.

The Battousai was indeed a formidable opponent, and Jineh was forced back from the force of the attack. Regaining his footing, he turned his eyes on his opponent and rolled them back into his head. Surely his White Gaze of Suffering would defeat him.

But it was a mistake—by taking his eyes from his opponent, he allowed the Battousai to move into position for a devastating aerial attack. "Hiten Mitsurugi Ryuu—Spinning Dragon Glare!" Jineh looked up to see the Battousai bearing down on him with his eyes spinning vertically in their sockets. Surely, he was a monster!

Jineh reeled backwards, shocked by the ferocity of the small man. He charged forwards, intent on blinding his opponent, when the Battousai pulled something from his eyes, cast them upon the ground, and looked up at him.

Amber death. The man's presence was... terrifying. Jineh instinctively jumped to the side, only to find the Battousai studying him curiously.

"What's wrong?"

"Heh. Nothing less from the legendary Hitokiri. Perhaps it is time I took this fight seriously..."

From inside his kimono, Jineh pulled out a small compact mirror.

"Shin no ippou is a technique where you freeze your opponents by forcing your ki through your eyes—like any nirajutsu technique. But the true power of it comes from using it against oneself! Behold—the ultimate technique of shin no ippou!"

With this, he glared at himself in the mirror. He felt the muscles around his eyes strengthen, the eyeballs themselves bulge. "I... am... the strongest!" He straightened himself, and turned to a nearby boulder. He glared at the stone, and he watched as it crumbled in on itself from the power of his gaze.

"Use all the techniques you wish," the Hitokiri flatly told him. "But once I have said you will die, your death is assured."

Jineh watched as the Battousai turned to his side, crouched, and hid his eyes with his long bangs. So they weren't just for show. It was the stance of Battounirajutsu! The fastest and most deadly technique in all of nirajutsu. But all Battounirajutsu techniques were one-shots; they left the user momentarily defenceless as they focused all their energy into their right eye. If he could just blink at the right moment... yes... he could do it! He could win!

"I challenge you, Battousai!" he screamed as he tore across the clearing. As the Battousai pivoted on his foot, Jineh blinked at the last moment to shield himself from the killer's stare. As his eyes opened again, he saw the Battousai was defenceless.

"I win, Battou—"

He never finished his cry, as the Battousai's left eye suddenly bulged from it's socket, suddenly exploding with a rainbow of different colours—red, blue, green, amber, violet—the entire horrific rainbow was there. 'A double Battounirajutsu with the left eye...'

He felt himself fall as the light from his right eye faded.

"Hiten Mitsurugi Ryuu Battounirajutsu—Double Dragon Glare.

"I know the violet contact lenses of repentance are not suited to Battounirajutsu, however I perfected the art of Battounirajutsu, and so I was named Battousai. I have burst your right eye. Your life as a Glareman is over. And now, so is your life as a man."

He raised his fierce eyes to Jineh. He had lost, but he would be granted the honour of death at the hands of the strongest. But still, the Battousai did not seem ready.

"What's wrong with you? Every moment you waste brings that girl closer to death."

"To save Kaoru-dono, I will become a Hitokiri once more!"

"Yes! Let me feel death from your gaze, Battousai!"

"Die."

His eyes began to pulse with his ki as he prepared to make the killing stare. But fate would not let him have his way...

"NO!"

It was the girl. The Battousai turned to her. When Jineh looked into her eyes as she sat there, he could see fire, and light shining from her flawless blue eyes. Surely, she must be trained as a Glareman... no, a Glarewomen to be so strong...

"No... don't return to being a Hitokiri... don't use nirajutsu... to kill..." As she fell, Battousai ran to her, to catch her in his arms.

Beaten. His shin no ippou had been defeated by a little girl. It was pathetic. In the end, it was he who had fallen. He knew then that he would never taste death at the hands of this man. What a pity. Pulling himself up, he stalked up behind the couple. Battousai tensed.

"I can't believe my shin no ippou was beaten by such a little girl."

"Give up, Jineh. You have no chance with only your left eye."

"There is still something left... the clean up!"

With that, he raised his pocket mirror to his left eye and turned his most vicious stare upon himself. He felt his left eye burst, and his insides shatter. He fell once more. This time, he would not rise again.

"Don't look at me like that, Battousai... I liked your eyes when you said you were going to kill me..."


Author's Rambling

Ok, there's a very good and logical reason for this... but I can't for the life of me remember what it was.

See, in any RK fight, there seems to be three distinct components:

1. "Philosophical Deathmatch"—where the combatants attempt to reduce the other's mind to a blob of jelly,

2. "Me Beat You Up Good-Like"—the actual fighting and beating-up of persons, and

3. The staring contest.

And given that the Kurogasa storyline seemed to be even more obsessed with glaring and eyes and so-forth than usual, this seemed like the next logical extension.

Originally, this was set some indeterminate amount of time after Kyoto, so I could get Sano to use his Futae no Kiwami (where he vibrates his eyes sideways very fast and causes things to explode), but I just couldn't resists putting Jineh in there.

Also, in case you were wondering, "nirajutsu" is a mangled version of "niramu jutsu"—niramu apparently means "to glare at". I have no idea what this makes "battounirajutsu" mean...

Ja, ne

–賜狼審神

24th September, 2005