Disclaimer: I do not own the Kenshingumi; all you lawyers, please don't sue me. And all you readers, please take note: I don't own anything I quote.

Note to Readers: This is going to be a set of one-shots; tiny scenes from the universe of "Frozen Moonlight," set at various points in the original story. HEAVY SPOILERS FOR "FROZEN MOONLIGHT'! Do NOT read this unless you've either read the original story, or don't mind being spoilered! You have been warned!

Moonlight Moments: Same Old Thing

Amber eyes looked out over the top of a pair of sunglasses, watching the students pouring out of the high school across the street, their cheerful chatter blending together into mere noise, like loud static.

Kenshin sighed as he watched them.

''Sound and fury? Check. Signifying nothing? Also check."

As he continued to watch the students, wincing at a particularly high-pitched giggle from an obviously artificial blonde, Kenshin found that he was clinging to the faint hope that his Master had been wrong, that Shinomori's information had been mistaken, that he wouldn't have to...

"Oh, damn..."

The football players who exited the school, roughhousing with each other and leering at a miniskirted girl-- or possibly her sportscar-- had auras that pulsed darkly against the brightness of the day, twisted black with tendrils of blood red streaking through them.

He grimaced, fangs showing. This was much, much worse than the reports had stated.

"That's not just a couple of kids who are meddling with forces they shouldn't..."

"That's not even anything human anymore."

Somehow, the knowledge that Shinomori had indeed been wrong failed to make Kenshin feel any better. As he turned the keys to his car and prepared to leave, he was already going over the adjustments he was going to have to make to his current plan of attack. This was going to take time, careful infiltration without awakening suspicion about his true nature. He wasn't sure how good the teens' newly-acquired powers were yet, but as long as there was the slightest chance they could sense magic being used, then he was going to have to be as normal as possible.

Well, he corrected, normal in the sense of exercising enough charisma and confidence to join their privileged social circle.

With a sardonic grin, Kenshin thought to himself that that wasn't going to be a problem.

"After all this time, I have the routine down pat... My actions, their reactions... Everything predictable. Perfectly normal. Well, as "normal" as my job gets..."

Kenshin sighed again as he waited for the school buses to pull out of the parking lot. He wasn't bored, not exactly. It was just that...

'"Another high school, another group of idiot teens who meddled with forces they shouldn't have, another group I have to spend time getting to know and inviting over to the house I'm going to have to rent while my non-existent parents are supposedly away for the weekend..."

Grimacing, he remembered the last time he'd invited fellow students over for a party. No matter that the property wasn't really his; no matter that everything was promptly and thoroughly restored by the most potent cleaning magics he could find... That had been one job he had completed with a great deal of satisfaction.

"Thank God I don't actually have to live in any of these places permanently... bad enough that I have to spend all of my time in one high school after another, dealing with insipid, vapid..."

"Why can't there ever be anybody who's at least interesting? A challenge, something... Something other than this, day after day, month after month."

If he hadn't been driving, Kenshin would have been seriously tempted to knock his head against the steering wheel.

"Stop getting maudlin, Himura," he told himself, "There's no point to it; it won't change things. This is what you chose."

Besides which, it wasn't as if he wanted things to go back to the way that they had been. Those had been dark times, times that none of the morons who played with dark powers nowadays would have survived.

Boring was good. Boring meant that it was only a small number of people who would be affected by what was going on. He should be happy with boring.

But somehow...

Somehow, he couldn't shake the twitchy, restless feeling that he had been getting lately at the prospect of another semester surrounded by superficiality. No matter how often he repeated to himself that it was for the greater good, that lives and souls would be saved, no matter how often he tried to console himself by thinking that at least he might get a chance to exercise his fighting skills, it never quite worked.

"And the fighting is never a challenge, either," Kenshin thought, unaccountably peeved. "What am I supposed to do, start fighting left-handed just to even the odds?"

This time, his scowl was for himself. This wasn't about him; it had never been about him. Nothing good could come of that train of thought, even in jest.

"Accept it, Himura," he remonstrated with himself. "It's high school. You know high schools. You know that you're not going to find..."

What, exactly?

He didn't even know the answer to that question.

"Something... whatever it is that I've been wanting. Needing."

Pulling himself away from his attempt to figure out the answer, Kenshin returned to the present and his job. He would have to get a house, with the appropriate furnishings; a more attention-getting car...or possibly a motorcycle... and the right wardrobe. The papers, he knew, were already taken care of.

Now all he had to do was show up and win them all over. And that, he knew, was something he excelled at. It would be a piece of cake. And if things went as smoothly as he was sure they would...

"When this is done, I should take a vacation... I think I need a break."

He braked automatically for a red light, still making a mental list. A flash of silver caught his eye and he idly watched a girl on a bike cross the street, black hair streaming behind her in the breeze, blue eyes catching the light as she passed his car.

"And maybe then... maybe then I can try to find ..."

Author's Note: Hi, everybody! So, while I'm trying to get my brain to actually produce the next chapter of "Frozen Moonlight," I've finally gotten around to a side project I've wanted to do for a while. Well, as you can see, this is set before the start of "Frozen Moonlight," right before Kenshin starts at his shiny new high school. Kind of gives a different perspective and fills some things in, which is what I am hoping to do with this set of one-shots. If anybody has any scenes they'd like to see, feel free to make requests! I have a list already, and will see what I can come up with.

Things which I don't own: "The Princess Bride," in which there is left-handed fighting.