Purgatorio Chapter 1:
Yet another new Ficcy from Shiin. This is what happens when your muses are dead, buried and six feet under for a year. Now they've come back to life (kinda like Frankenstein's monster) and this is the result. I wrote this because of my muses pestering me. Well… no that's not entirely true; I wrote this because I had an image of a winged, long-haired, tattooed, dark, and very possessive Kenshin dancing around in my head for a while, but just couldn't figure out a story to put him in. Now he has his ficcy.
Thanks to Ravyn for the beta.
WARNING! This fic is rated M – there will be bad stuff mostly in the area of blood, gore, fighting, cursing etc! And lots of limey scenes of Kenshin gets his way… which he will . You have BEEN WARNED!
The marketplace bustled. Kaoru paused for a moment to drink it in, the sights and sounds and smells. Vendors called out their wares; off to the side a richly-scented food was making sizzling sounds in a pan. The air was laden with perfumes and spices and food. Everything here was vivid – the colors of the draperies surrounding the stall were a rainbow of color – gold, green, purple, pink, deep rich red, yellow, blue… they dazzled her eyes.
'It had been a good idea' she thought happily. To travel the world. To get away from the memories her home held until she was ready was ready to confront them. Her friends had been uncertain of letting her go alone, but Kaoru had managed to convince them. After the wreck her last year had been she needed to be alone.
Kaoru settled her backpack more firmly on her shoulders and walked into the crush and crowd of people. She felt like a fish, slipping into a current a letting it carry her along, her feet moving independently of her mind.
Pausing by a food stall she bought a bun. A bite into it revealed it was meat, subtly spiced and bathed in gravy. One of the best points of traveling, she had decided was that she could try different kinds of food – that and not having to cook for herself any longer. Sure her inheritance was probably close to nil now (the inheritance set aside for her until her 21st birthday and then another would open up), because of the last couple of months of traveling – most of it gone to food and knickknacks she had sent back home for friends – but she was definitely happier without it than she had ever been with it.
'Not that I'm even close to poor,' she thought darkly. 'My parents stocks are still making money and increasing my bank account monthly. Money was what got me into this mess.'
Shoutarou had been attracted to her because she had money.
She tossed the thought of him firmly from her mind.
Chewing on the last of her meat bun she slipped once more into the crowd of people and let them pull her along.
Curled up in the depths, he stirred.
One eye opened slightly.
Something… he reached out cautiously after it. Something was there… Someone was there… A flash of jewel bright eyes was all the impression he got before the wards caught wind of his power and slammed it back into him.
He cursed softly under his breath.
'How long had it been?' He wondered. 'Since I was let out? A century? Ten centuries?' Drifting in the inky darkness of the abyss it was a wonder he hadn't gone mad decades ago.
He could wait now, he decided. Wait for her to come to him.
Blood called to blood.
She would come.
He closed his eyes once more.
"I'm going to come back home twenty pounds heavier," Kaoru murmured as she rolled onto her pleasantly full stomach.
The inn's owner had been more than generous in her ever increasing portions of food, which she had doled out to Kaoru gleefully. Flat crunchy bread with yogurt dip, lamb covered in spices, some sort of rice-like cereal which Kaoru couldn't pronounce and lots and lots of mint-scented tea and a honey covered pastry for desert. Yasmine, Kaoru thought that was the name of the inn owner. Her brain was far too sluggish at the moment, she felt sleepy.
But not before…
Kaoru reached over to her backpack and dragged it across the floor to the bed. Opening it she pulled out a tattered notebook and pen.
"Poem of the Day!"
Her personal way of exorcising Shoutarou from her memories – write poems. Cheaper than therapy, good for her creativity and she could always destroy them (the symbolism was not lost on Kaoru).
Chewing the ends of her pen, she flipped to a blank page and stared down at it for a brief moment thinking.
She lowered her pen to the paper and began to write.
A few minutes later she put the pen down and looked at what she had written. It wasn't the best she could do, but it would do.
Is very hard
Everyone wears a mask that never
Shows their true face
Oh yes, she snorted as she read it.
It definitely applied to Shoutarou.
Sighing, she closed the notebook and tossed it onto the floor, pen following.
"If I could find a decent bathhouse and laundry service, life would be perfect." Kaoru rolled onto her back and closed her eyes.
'Maybe I'll ask Yasmine in the morning…'
She was asleep almost before she had finished the thought.
The night air was cool. It was a counterpoint to the day's heat. One always assumed the desert was hot all the time. Simply not true, at night the temperatures would plummet and even as she stood there Kaoru could feel the air growing colder.
Stood there…. Where was she?
Apparently she was on a cliff, overlooking a plain.
Kaoru recognized it. That was where the town she was now presently living in was situated. But it was nowhere to be seen.
"This is an odd dream," she murmured to herself.
Truth be told, she'd had her fair share of odd dreams the past couple of months traveling. They had started soon after leaving Tokyo but had gotten progressively weirder and weirder the further away she went from the capital of Japan.
Something touched her shoulder and she spun.
A black ball hovered eye-level to her.
Kaoru blinked. 'What on earth?'
It bumped against her chest and Kaoru's arms wrapped around it. It emanated warmth and Kaoru was puzzled to hear a faint purring.
Looking down she saw it had transformed itself into a black cat.
Not, not a black cat…. Upon closer inspection she realized that its fur was tipped in red reminding her of reflected flames. Its eyes were a green-gold, long lashed and slightly almond shaped. She stroked its back and it tolerated her petting, for a few moments before wiggling and leaping out of her grasp. It padded away from her a few feet before turning its head to look at her expectantly. Clearly wanting her to follow.
"All right," Kaoru said. "I'm coming."
It gave a self-satisfied purr and then broke into a quick lope. Kaoru quickened her pace behind it (him?) in order to keep up.
How long she ran after it, she did not know. The cliff she was standing on had stretched into a long flat sloping plain heading downward. Cliffs and odd rock formations rose up around her, interlacing overhead until she felt as if she was running in some long never-ending tunnel.
Night passed by, the stars fading and the first few streaks of dawn appearing on the horizon. Kaoru was glad it was a dream, she had been running for hours after the cat, and had it been real she would have collapsed hours ago in exhaustion.
The cat was tireless, never slowing down. Once in a while he (Kaoru had dubbed him a he) would glance back at her to make sure she was following.
Suddenly he darted to the right and Kaoru skidded slightly as she made to follow him on such a hairpin turn. She slammed to a stop once she saw what it was he was leading her into.
The cat suddenly reappeared in front of her and growled softly, eyes flashing.
"You want me to go in there?" Kaoru asked.
The cat gave her a look that could only be translated as "duh."
Tail high it walked toward her, winding around her ankles and purring encouragingly. Kaoru bent and rubbed its ears.
"Stay close by?" She asked.
He bumped her palm with his head in reply and then trotted a few steps forward and sat down patiently, waiting for her to follow him once again.
"Okay…" Kaoru murmured.
Cat in the lead once more she let him lead her into wherever it was that he was taking her.
It was pitch dark in the cage and Kaoru made a soft noise of complaint. She caught a flash of green-gold eyes and the next thing Kaoru knew the cat was glowing emitting a soft red-gold glow.
Kaoru blinked in surprise, "that's it I've seen everything now. A glowing cat… I must have eaten something wrong for dinner. I think it was the yogurt dip. It smelled funny…."
Nevertheless she followed the cat onward.
For several more minutes she followed silently. Then she noticed it was growing lighter in the tunnel and in response the cat stopped glowing. He sped up into a gallop and Kaoru was once more running after him.
The cave widened unrepentantly into a tunnel and Kaoru nearly tripped over the cat that had come to a stop.
The cavern was brightly lit but Kaoru could see nothing that would do so. Looking upward she saw the hard stone dome of the top of the cavern. So no sun was coming in, that nixed the idea it was sunlight.
Looking around she saw nothing. Nothing at first… On the second sweep of looking Kaoru could plainly see a larger ball of energy that the cat had appeared as. Unlike the black ball from which the cat had transformed from – it was a dark blood-red with golden lightning dancing across it.
"What the heck?" Kaoru asked to no one in particular.
The cat gave a soft meow and bounded forward, disappearing into the ball of energy.
"Might as well get to the end of this," Kaoru muttered. "Sooner I do, sooner I can wake up…"
She walked toward the energy-ball and to her surprise as she neared it, it began to glow brighter.
Cautiously she reached out and touched it and it parted around her hand. 'Least I'm not getting zapped by the lightning,; Kaoru thought, attempting to be optimistic. Stepping into it, she felt it encase her for a brief moment. Her body was suffused with heat at its touch and Kaoru felt languid and pleasantly tired. The feeling rolled through her and then passed as quickly as it had appeared.
Kaoru shivered as the feeling left her.
She turned her head at the sound of the cat purring and froze.
In the center of the energy-ball was a man.
'Way to state the obvious Kaoru,' she thought to herself, staring at him.
No it wasn't because she had just stumbled upon an unconscious man floating a foot in the air. She had stumbled upon one with wings. Rather big and black and feathery wings at that. The wings were tied against his back by a thick red band that flashed and sent out sparks.
His hair was red and fell nearly to his hips in a long curtain. It was pulled away from his face but a few strands had worked their way free of the tie. His upper chest was bare except for a pendant he wore around his neck. Kaoru walked forward and saw on closer inspection it was a circular pendant made of obsidian and set against a circlet of gold and rubies ringing it. He was clothed in trousers made of some billowy white material, his feet left bare.
Red bands were wrapped around his wrists and ankles.
She walked cautiously toward him, pausing just in front of where he hovered in midair. Biting her lip she reached toward him, brushing the tendrils of hair free from his face. His was saved from girlish beauty by the angles and planes of his cheeks and jaw.
With the long hair and short height (had he been standing flat on the ground, he would have barely been a handspan taller than she and she was short). A long rather wicked looking scar ran the length of his left cheek from an inch below his closed eye nearly to the end of his jaw.
She jumped when she felt a puff of air across her palm.
He was breathing!
'Well what do you think he was?' She chided herself. 'A statue?'
She placed a tentative hand upon his chest and started as she felt a heart beating steadily underneath her palm.
'I feel like a pervert'. She shook her head and took her hand away.
Her eye was drawn to the pendant and she narrowed her eyes looking at it closely. The obsidian seemed to suck all the light into it. The rubies and band of gold wrapped around it were a perfect counterpoint. There seemed to some kind of decorative scrolling engraved in the gold band. Kaoru took a step forward to see it more clearly and saw that it wasn't scrolling at all but letters that formed words:
Protect and serve.
"Protect and serve," she murmured aloud.
The energy-ball rippled as if whipped suddenly by a wind. The lightening that crackled across it suddenly grew more frenzied. The cat let out a soft hiss and then everything began to shake.
Kaoru yelped as she was pitched forward right into the man.
There was a sizzling sound and the bands fell away from him.
Arms wrapped around her waist and she looked upward to find herself staring into a pair of golden eyes.
"Wha?" She tried to say but her question was cut off as his mouth descended upon hers.
'I found you,' a voice echoed in her mind.
Like dark chocolate, she thought as she tried to pull her scattered wits about her. Dark and rich and definitely not good for you….A voice that could do bad things to girl's hormones…Especially a girl who hadn't had sex in well over a year…When she had decided to go on her little traveling trip Kaoru had sworn off guys. Seemed like that little vow was going to be broken if she let him…
And his kiss…Yeah, her hormones were reminding her quite strongly of the fact that she had not had sex in year… Kaoru whimpered at the back of her throat and in response he gave a low masculine laugh that had her melting…
Suddenly, there was a sharp crack of something breaking overhead and the next thing Kaoru was flung out of the dream.
Kaoru moaned as she woke up. Her entire body felt like she had just run it through a meat-grinder. Her legs were sore… 'Almost as if I have been running all night.' Kaoru pushed that foolish thought away.
Weakly she lifted her head and the room spun. She closed her eyes and set her head back down upon her pillow.
'Oww!' She whined mentally at her aching body.
'What kind of dream was that? I think you're trying to tell me (quite forcefully) I need to get laid. And you has quite interesting ways of dong it (winged bound hotties oh yum). No thanks I'll wait until I get back to Tokyo then Megumi can hook me up with one of her single hot patient guys. So be quiet and shut up.'
"It was the yogurt," Kaoru said. "I get weird dreams because something was off with it. Also I'm probably suffering from some form of food poisoning. Yes, it's all the yogurts fault."
Her problems neatly addressed and sorted Kaoru got to her feet, ignoring the pain lancing through her legs and made her determined way downstairs.
She found Yasmine in the kitchen working away on some bread dough.
"Do you happen to have a bath?" Kaoru asked giving the inn-keeper her best pleading eyes. .
Yasmine nodded and pointed upwards to the room above their heads. Both she and Kaoru spoke English and Kaoru was grateful for all the language lessons her father had made her take when she was little.
Aside from English and Japanese she could also speak German and Spanish and French. Useful to know when you are traveling or expected to take over her parents company. Course considering both her parents spoke four languages themselves – just Japanese was not going to cut it in their household. So they had gotten her tutored and dropped hints about taking over Kamiya Corp someday…
'Hah! Like that's going to happen. It's managing quite well by itself and it can stay that way!'
Yasmine handed her a small meat pastry and Kaoru smiled her thanks. As she ate it she went back to her room and gathered her toiletries, fresh(-er than the ones she had previously worn) clothes, and some towels for a bath.
The bathroom was larger than Kaoru expected. A tub that could easily have fit three people Kaoru's side took up a good chunk of it. There was also mirror and sink and toilet. It was all much nicer than the one she had in her room.
Turning on the faucet Kaoru found the water nice and hot, just right to soak herself in. She sighed as she slipped underneath it and opened her last remaining bottle of shampoo and massaged it into her hair. The heat seeped into her aching muscles, soothing them and Kaoru closed her eyes in bliss.
'Perfect. Now if I feel better I'll go shopping and see if there's anything nice to buy.'
Reasonably happy with the way she had her day planned out. Kaoru got out of the bath and got dressed.
It was still early in the morning and thus nowhere near as hot as it would get around noontime. There was a slight breeze and it was a beautiful day – blue skies, a few clouds and bright and sunny.
Kaoru hummed as she made her way through the markets, pausing every so often to look at jewelry or hand woven rugs or piece of pottery. She really didn't find anything that caught her eye but half the pleasure was in simply looking.
She paused at a jewelry seller's stall and absentmindedly looked over the bits and pieces for sale. She missed it the first time scanning and her eyes widened when she saw it.
It was the same pendant that he had been wearing in her dream.
Cautiously Kaoru picked it up and held it in her hand.
Yes, it was the same.
The very same. Even the wording inscribed on it: Protect and Serve. Kaoru didn't say it out loud; only half-believing that if she did the winged guy would appear in the middle of the market place.
"Pretty yes?" The seller came over to stand beside her.
"I think I've seen something like it," Kaoru murmured.
The seller made a sound in his throat, "nothing like that. One of a kind."
"How much?" Kaoru asked.
He named his price and Kaoru blinked.
"You're not serious."
"One of a kind," he repeated stubbornly.
Not in the mood to haggle and there were worse things the money could pay for… Kaoru pulled out the bills and handed it to him and walked away, carrying the pendant in her hand.
She stopped inside a café and bought some spiced rolls and a pot of thick, strong coffee. Kaoru had a feeling she would be needing the caffeine. Placing the pendant down on top
of the table she stared at it.
How did a pendant she saw in her dreams actually end up existing?
And where was the winged guy anyway?
'Just a dream'. Kaoru told herself firmly. 'The fact that it is the same pendant is merely a coincidence. I've been up and down the market all week I probably saw it before and it just worked its way into my subconscious.'
With that neat and tidy explanation, Kaoru slipped the pendant over her head and enjoyed the coffee and rolls she had bought and gave it no more thought.
Finishing her snack she decided it would be a good time to head back to the inn before it became too hot. The inn was a good twenty minutes walk from the café and Kaoru set off at a brisk pace.
It was several minutes later she felt a chill run down her spine and she glanced over her shoulder. Trailing her quite obviously were two rather tall muscled men.
"Shit. Knew I should have haggled him down about the pendant." 'He probably sicced some goons on me. Yes guys go for the rich foreigner.'
She slammed on the breaks when she saw a man who could have passed for their twin (triplet) standing not too far in front of her. Ducking left she picked up the pace slightly so that if they wanted to trail her they'd have to work to do so.
Another glance told her they had done just that.
It took another second for her to realize they were herding her as skillfully as a bunch of sheepdogs. Ducking left had taken her into the shadier part of the town. Shit, shit and double shit. No way out except back to where they were.
Kaoru ducked around a building in hopes of escaping them and came right smack dab into a dead end.
She eyed the height of the wall and contemplated scaling over.
"Knew I should have stocked up on pepper spray when I was in Ennis," she muttered recalling a rather boozy older guy attempting to hit on her in a pub several months back in Ireland.
The sound of the men behind her made her tense.
'Please say they just want the money,' Kaoru thought.
She knew how to fight. Her father when she had been alive had made her take martial art lessons. Kaoru had preferred her Kendo and neglected them in favor of a bokken. She wished there was something she could use as a sword right now, but a quick scan of the alley showed nothing.
Kaoru eyed the men as they approached her. Each was a good foot taller than she herself was and probably out weighed her by least one hundred pounds. Trying to fight them would have some not-so-pleasant consequences for her and might give them ideas of what else they could do to her.
Kaoru was really wishing she had bought pepper spray.
"You want money?" She asked.
One of the men grinned and Kaoru choked down a curse.
"Here," she pulled out several bills and tossed them at their feet.
"I'm just a rich foreigner." She held up her hands in a placating gesture. "Take the money and leave."
"Pendant," the middle one jerked his head in the direction of her chest, where it lay.
"Fine," Kaoru lifted it over her head and held it out toward them. She'd rather lose the pendant and the money than being raped thank you very much...
The second her fingers touched the pendant it began to grow hot and she let out a yelp as it started glowing. Something flickered in its obsidian depths and there was a flash of light that blinded her.
'Hello dream-guy' she thought as he appeared between her and the goons.
The goons to give them credit didn't immediately turn and run. They did pale a bit but for the most part held their ground.
Wing-guy appeared to be ignoring all of them at the moment. He stretched and fanned out his wings and Kaoru thought she heard him mutter, "Finally! I get some action!"
'Huh?' Kaoru shook her head at the innuendoes her hormones helpfully supplied.
'Am I suffering from heat-stroke?' She glanced skyward. 'Well the sun is bright….'
She blinked in surprise as he suddenly spun around, wings flaring, in her direction. "Hello little one."
Yep it was him. Short, red and straight out of her dreams.
"Hi," she said softly. "Who you calling little?"
He smiled, a flash of teeth that made her think of sharks (what was that poem about sharks and smiling?). "You," he purred.
Kaoru's thoughts scattered and became quite incoherent. A voice like that shouldn't be legal, she thought dimly.
Her eyes widened as he suddenly blurred and she found herself encased in his arms. His wings wrapped around her and she felt him dip his head to brush her neck with his lips.
"Jasmine," he murmured softly. "You are Kasshin." He rubbed his cheek against her neck in a movement that was almost catlike.
'Kasshin? What?' Kaoru stubbornly tried to keep from melting.
"Um… bad guys… watching… we're in public?" She managed to grind out.
He chuckled softly and there went any of her previously, somewhat coherent thoughts.
"What would you have me do?" He placed a kiss just below her ear.
"Stop… touching… please?"
He went still at her words. His arms released her and he stepped back, wings settling over his shoulders. "As you wish." His golden eyes were dimmed but still flickered with fire.
"Shall I dispose of them?" He looked pointedly at the goons who were staring at him with pale faces and open mouths.
"Um… don't kill them?" Kaoru asked.
"Now where's the fun in that?" He smiled at them – a baring of teeth – and whatever composure they had been holding onto broke and they turned, fleeing, tripping over themselves.
"Pitiful," he hissed. "Shall I go after them?" His wings fluttered against his back and the look on his face was a bit too eager for Kaoru's liking.
"No… they're gone…" Kaoru stared at him. "I've gone insane. Yep. That's the reason…. Seeing winged-guys jump out of pendants…" there was a touch against her calf and she jumped a foot in the air.
It was the cat from the dream.
"You too?" Kaoru's eyes widened.
"Demon," wing-guy said.
"Demon?" Kaoru echoed faintly.
"His name is Demon."
"Oh," Kaoru glanced down at the cat that had begun to purr. "Why is he named that?"
"Because that's what he is; he's a demon."
"So the cat's a demon… what are you?" Please say a (rather-hot) figment of my imagination.
Any of the smile that had lingered about his face faded. "The bastard son of a Fallen Angel."
"Oh," Kaoru said faintly. She began to feel very light-headed.
'No I won't faint! I won't!'
'Dammit,' was her last thought as she passed out.
When she awoke Kaoru was back in her room.
"Great it was just a dream… I am never eating anything with yogurt again." She murmured.
Then she went still.
Demon was curled up at her head purring.
There was a touch at her hip and Kaoru jumped.
Wing-guy was lying next to her in the bed, eyes open and watching her intently.
"What are you doing here?"
"Trying to get rid of me?" He asked.
"Yes," she replied.
"Sorry lovely, you can't." He stretched languidly and Kaoru was suddenly fascinated by the play of muscles beneath his skin. Yum, very yum… His wings flexed and then settled against his back. Kaoru fought the urge to pet them.
He chuckled and Kaoru tore her gaze away from his chest and stomach.
"Why can't I get rid of you? I can just sell the pendant." Her morning voice was cranky at best at best and being woken up so unexpectedly gave it an extra bite.
"Ah, but can you sell your blood?" He said smugly.
Kaoru bit back a smart comment 'yeah it's called blood donation.' Instead she asked, curiously, "What do you mean?"
"I'm bound to your bloodline. I protect and serve your family." His voice lost some of its smugness and his eyes were bland, void of their previous heat.
"Then how'd you end up the back of beyond in the Middle East? I live in Japan." Her eyes widened as she tried to figure out a reasonable explanation and came up with nothing.
"What year is this?" He avoided the question, he had ducked his head and his bangs were hiding his eyes.
"We're in the twenty-first century." Kaoru said, carefully.
His head shot up and he stared at her for a moment eyes wide. "Fifteen hundred years." His voice was so soft she almost didn't hear it.
"You've been cooped up in that thing for fifteen hundred years!" Kaoru gasped.
Kaoru tried to comprehend it, "no wonder you were so um… touchy-feely." His smile made her wonder if she should run. Fast. Very Fast. Very, very, very fast.
"So what's your name anyway?" She asked desperate to change the subject. Anything to get his eyes off her that way!
"Kenshin," he replied. "My name is Kenshin." He really should not be allowed to have the voice that he did… Kaoru fought to keep her scattered thoughts together.
Topic! New topic! Something to make him stop speaking like that because if he didn't she was either going to jump him or allow him to ravish her silly.
"My name is Kaoru." She made a valiant effort to not look at him as she said it.
"Kaoru," he rolled the syllables and the slight way he accented them made them sound exotic. Kaoru felt her body tighten. Darn, if he could do that with just his voice… What would it be like if he touched her with her permission?
Her hormones were happily offering suggestions and she slapped them. Bad hormones! Behave!
She pulled herself out of her thoughts to find Kenshin watching her. He gave her a slow, smoldering smile that was far too intimate and secretive for her liking.
"So how do I get rid of you?" Kaoru asked.
"You can't. I'm bound to you now." The smugness was back in his voice, along with the purr.
"There has to be someway," Kaoru insisted.
"There isn't. I was bound by magic's that are unbreakable. The last of their kind… I must serve you and protect you and do what you wish me to." His amusement grew as she sputtered.
Kaoru's hormones were cheerfully pointing out the possibilities of such a bond. Kaoru mentally slapped them again.
If this was what she was like after a year of no sex, she could only imagine what Kenshin was after fifteen hundred years. She was surprised he hadn't gone mad or jumped her bones the second he had appeared.
"So, I'm stuck with you." She murmured.
"Yes," Kenshin said simply.
Kaoru could only imagine Misao and Megumi's reactions when she arrived back in Tokyo with a winged guy in tow.
Suddenly she felt very, very tired.
"I'm going to go back to sleep," she announced. For a brief second she contemplated kicking him out of the bed but decided against it. "Good night or whatever times it is." She closed her eyes and was almost instantly asleep.
When she awoke it was bright.
Kenshin had apparently opened the curtains and sunlight flooded the room. As her eyes adjusted she saw him silhouetted in the sunlight. His wings had disappeared and were replaced by a large scrolling black-wing tattoo on each shoulder blade. He had braided his long red hair and it gave her a perfectly unobstructed view of the way his muscles rippled and bunched underneath his gold-tinged skin.
Kaoru blinked as she realized what he was doing. Katas. The movements were both exquisitely graceful and containing deadly promise.
'Well this is one way to wake up in the morning,' she eyed him appreciatively.
Kenshin stilled and looked over his shoulder, pushing his bangs out of his eyes.
"Morning," Kaoru said.
"Good morning," Kenshin replied.
'What are we going to do today?' Kaoru wondered. 'Buy a ticket to some place that could bring me – us – back to Tokyo, for one. Get Kenshin some modern clothes for another.'
"Stay here while I go get us some breakfast." She swung her legs over the side of the bed and got up. Demon gave a sleepy grumble at being woken up and then moved to take her vacated spot in the bed.
Once out of the room, Kaoru felt like she could breathe properly again. Going to the kitchen she selected some food from the generous buffet Yasmine had set out. Ignoring the innkeepers all too knowing look, she grabbed a carafe of coffee, two mugs, and piled her plate high with food. Balancing all of that took some coordination, but Kaoru managed.
Kenshin was sitting cross-legged on the floor, cradling Demon in his lap who was purring loudly as Kenshin's fingers scratched his chin.
"Food," He breathed softly as she entered. He was watching her now with a whole different kind of hunger – eyes locked to the plate she carried in her arms and darting between that and the carafe she dangled in her hand.
"I hope I brought enough," Kaoru set the plate down before and sat directly across from him. She really had no clue how much he would (could? Did? Did Kenshin actually eat food – she hadn't gotten a chance to ask, she'd been too distracted) eat and so she just grabbed as much as she could carry.
Kenshin plucked an orange from the plate, and peeled it deftly. Placing a piece in his mouth he chewed and swallowed an expression of bliss darting across his face.
"I've almost forgotten what it is like to taste food," he said softly after a moment.
"How did you come to be trapped in that pendant?" Kaoru asked quietly, she was acutely aware of the heavy weight of the pendant, resting against her breastbone. She didn't remember putting it on, it had been there when she had woken up earlier.
Kenshin's eyes dropped to it and his mouth tightened. "I've been bound in that thing since I could remember. Its part of the binding they placed on me."
"What would happen if I smashed it?" Kaoru asked.
Kenshin shook his head, bangs falling across his eyes. "Destroy it. Destroy me. The bastards that trapped me also made it so that I cannot take it from you without your permission."
"What did you do to deserve this?" She asked slightly disbelieving. Either he'd pissed someone off or been very, very bad. With her luck it would be both.
"My father raped one of the lords of the Kasshin's daughters and I was the result. She died giving birth to me. Thus I am what I am. The bastard son of a Fallen Angel and a human woman. Too human for hell, too tainted for heaven. And the sins of the fathers shall be visited upon the sons." He murmured.
"I'm sorry," almost without knowing it, Kaoru had scooted over to sit beside him. She touched his shoulder lightly, half inquiringly. He wrapped an arm around her waist and leaned into her, burying his face against her neck. It was nothing sexual, just the need to touch and have someone touch you and know that you are not alone.
'He's been without any type of human contact for fifteen hundred years,' she thought wonderingly. How he had kept some measure of sanity and not gone mad was amazing.
Two days later Kaoru had a car booked to take them the nearest airport that could bring them to Tokyo – an 8 hour's drive in the car. She had also managed to find Kenshin some clothes. Having him walking around barefoot and shirtless – though it was eye-candy in the highest degree – was not acceptable in most societies, her own included. She'd have to buy him some more clothes once she got back to Tokyo in order to give him a decent wardrobe.
For his part, Kenshin seemed to be taking his transition back into the modern world fairly well.
That was until he first met a car.
"What is that?" He eyed the black jeep, belching smoke warily.
"A car," Kaoru said.
"Car… what do you do with it?" He would have taken several steps backward had she not grabbed him.
"You ride in it. It's faster than a horse." Kaoru was glad they were speaking Japanese. Kenshin could speak it with ease. The Gift of Tongues came from the angelic side of his heritage and every language she had spoken to him, he had understood and replied in perfectly.
As it was the driver was eyeing the two of them with undisguised curiosity.
Kenshin seemed reluctant to come any closer to the car, ignoring Kaoru's murmurs that cars were (for the most part) harmless.
The matter was decided however when Demon darted forward and jumped into the jeep giving Kenshin an infuriatingly smug look.
Kenshin muttered something about Demon's mother mating with a hell-hound and walked forward, every muscle in his body tense. He settled gingerly down upon the seats and Kaoru slid next to him.
He was so tense, he fairly vibrated.
Kaoru moved closer to him and laid her head on his shoulder. Some of the tension left his body and he played with a loose lock of her hair. He started violently when the jeep lurched forward and shot a very loudly purring Demon a dark look.
'So far so good,' Kaoru thought optimistically. She just hoped he didn't start running when confronted with his first plane.
Demon crawled over Kenshin who gave him another dark look and settled in her lap. She rubbed his ears. "My life has just gotten very weird Demon." She informed him.
He blinked at her solemnly. You'll get used to it. A voice that was not her own, echoed in her head.
I hope so, she replied.