Standard disclaimers apply.
Oh I'm so sorry guys for not posting this chapter for so long!! Sorry! Sorry! Please forgive me...
And thank you to those of you who emailed me when I wasn't updating, encouraging me to continue. Thank you very much!
Chapter 9: The Beginning of the End
Kevin stared at the package in front of him. It was a long, white rectangular box. He was in his room, trying to figure out if he should open the box or not.
What is this? he thought. Inside him was this feeling of dread, something telling him that he wouldn't like what was inside. It couldn't be that bad... Gingerly he traced the package's sides with his forefinger, remembering his conversation with his mom at the dinner table.
"There was a package that arrived for you a while ago," his mom said. "It's over in the kitchen."
"Really? Who brought it mom?" he asked, shoving some mashed potatoes down his throat. Between chews, he said, "Mom, this is so good!"
"Don't talk with your mouth full," she snapped, pointing her fork at her son. Kevin turned quiet and gulped his food down. He remembered what had happened the last time his mom pointed her fork at him... Ooh... gory...
"Sorry," he said. "Who brought the package?"
"Well... I don't know," she replied.
"What do you mean you don't know? It ain't so dark outside..."
"The truth is, I came from the grocery store, and when I came back, the package was at the doorstep. Funny that it didn't say who it was from when I read the card. And mind you, it's quite heavy. I had to bring it in with both hands."
And it was heavy, although not heavy enough for him to carry with both hands. Strangely, he was quite familiar with the weight, as if he had already held something like it before. Slowly and carefully, he undid the tape that sealed the package, and then lifted the lid.
Inside was a sword. A Japanese sword in fact. Why on earth would anyone send him a Japanese sword?
It looked familiar. Had he seen one like that in a museum trip before? No. It couldn't be. There was something more to that sword. It couldn't be just an antique... Kevin took the sword and unsheathed it.
The blade was reversed! It gleamed brightly under the light of his lamp making it seem like it had never been used before. He ran his hand on it, feeling its smoothness under his skin. He felt his nerves tingle a bit. There was something oddly familiar about this sword. He knew that he had seen this before, and he knew that he had held it before. But when? Where? How? And why the hell was it reversed?
So it won't kill.
Huh? Why would he want to kill anyway? He didn't have a mortal enemy. And besides, it was wrong... to kill...
But you didn't think that way before.
You used to think that you had to kill in order to create a new era of peace.
Yes. You did. You even fought in the war. You killed so many people during that war. You killed with a skill no one could ever match. And people couldn't forget your name because of that. You became a legend.
A legend? What name...
Battousai. Hitokiri Battousai.
He looked at the sword and thought.
Battousai? How could I become Battousai? But I'm Kevin. Not unless...
That's right. Yes... You're right. His real name was Himura Kenshin...
No. You're kidding...
It's true. I don't lie. You have killed in order to help make a new era of peace. But after the war, you felt guilty, so you traded your katana for a sakabatou.
Sakabatou... So this sword is a sakabatou. But why did I trade my katana for this?
He closed his eyes and focused, trying to remember what had happened in his past life. He gripped the sword tightly.
He remembered blood. Blood was on his sword, on his face, and on her kimono.
She had long black hair, black as a raven's wing, and she was beautiful. He had loved her beauty. He vowed that he would protect her. But then that beauty was marred with pain when he drove her sword into her...
It was an accident... He never wanted it to happen... Not to her... Not to Tomoe...
That's why he vowed never to kill again. He didn't want anyone he loved to ever get hurt again... Never...
You remember... After you traded your katana for the sakabatou, you changed your ways and helped people live. You protected the weak. You protected all those you loved and cared for. But then, you failed again.
Yes... I failed again... And that was... too much for me...
You swore you'd protect Kaoru until your dying day, but you failed. And then you died shortly afterwards.
Yes. I remember everything now. But I don't understand. What does all of this got to do with this sword? Why is it... Oh God... This couldn't be the same sakabatou...
Yes it is.
Suddenly the box fell to the floor. Kevin broke from his reverie and went to pick it up. He noticed a piece of paper lying on the floor close to the box. It must've fallen out. He picked it up. It read in neat, legible script : For your future use.
What the hell...
Kate hummed softly to herself as she drove her black Montero to the mall. She was supposed to watch a movie with Kevin and she didn't want to be late. If she knew her boyfriend well, he was already there in front of the ticket booth waiting for her with two tickets in his hand. She smiled.
He's always early. He always buys the tickets whenever we go to a movie, even though I'm the one who invites him sometimes.
She parked her car and walked briskly to the movie theaters. Sure enough, he was already there, standing in front of the ticket booth with two movie tickets in his hand.
"Hey there," he grinned.
"Early as always," she replied, grinning. His smile just widened and he casually put his arm around her shoulders as they walked together to the theater.
"Want some popcorn?" he asked when they passed a popcorn stand.
"No thanks," she replied.
"Nope. I might pee during the movie."
"What's so funny about that?" she frowned.
"Nothing really," he answered. "I just wanted to see you frown."
She groaned. "Why do you always like it when I frown?"
"'Cause you look so cute when you frown," he replied simply.
She groaned again.
"You know, there's something I should tell you."
"Really? Why don't you just tell me inside..."
Kate squinted at him disbelievingly.
"It's true! It really is true. I'm not joking. I couldn't believe my eyes either when I saw it," Kevin said.
"But why's it with you again?"
"I don't know."
"Who sent it to you?"
"I don't know."
"Really now. I'm beginning to think you're lying," Kate frowned.
"Honest! I'm not lying. Cross my heart, hope to die..."
"Alright. I believe you. Can I go with you and take a look at it?"
"You can, but you may not," Kevin replied mischievously. His girlfriend's eyes narrowed.
"This is no time to joke around Kevin. There are so many things happening now. People from the you-know-where keep on showing up now. That sword might be..."
"Alright, alright, I get it," Kevin interrupted shushing her. There was a triumphant glint in her eyes. "You may go and see it. If you want, we could go now."
"No, not now. I'm watching," she replied. She then put her arm around his and leaned onto his shoulder getting as close as the seats would permit. "Maybe later."
Kevin smiled and snuggled closer to her. "Sure. Later."
Kate sniffed, holding her nose with a hankie. She then blew her nose and wiped a tear from her eye as they went out of the theater. Kevin had his arm draped around her shoulder and he was fighting off a grin.
"You may laugh if you want," she said. "Girls cry during movies you know. Just because you're a guy..."
"You don't have to be so sensitive," he chided gently, tenderly tucking a stray hair behind her ear.
"I suppose so," she replied, grinning and pulling out a pocket mirror from her purse. "I get so emotional sometimes."
She took a peek at herself in the mirror and blinked.
"I have to go to the bathroom," she said. "I look all puffy from crying. I have to fix myself up."
"Alright. I'll wait for you outside," Kevin replied, grinning. She actually looked cute with a puffed up face like that.
She walked to the bathroom along with the many other girls who just came from the theater. As she expected, it was packed, so she had to wait in a long line in order to get in. Seems like everybody cried like I did, or they just have some full bladders. She brushed her black hair a bit and put some powder on her face, and then washed her hands. She was done.
Kevin leaned against the wall, waiting for her. There were so many people going in and out of the bathrooms that he quickly lost sight of her as she went in. He checked his beeper to see if there were any messages. Sure enough, he had missed three beeps.
Wonder who needs me now...
He didn't notice a burly man who was up to his shoulder stand near the entrance to the bathrooms.
It took her a good 15 minutes to get out of the bathroom, and she was pretty sure that Kevin was getting impatient. She walked briskly scanning through the crowd to find him. Just when she saw him, she suddenly felt something touch her back. She turned around and saw a man up to her shoulders in a thick leather jacket pointing a pistol at her.
"Come with me," he said, his country accent evident. "Or else..." She heard the pistol click.
Kate gulped, realizing that there wasn't much she could do. She thought of kicking him in the shins and getting away, but he seemed to have read her mind. He said, "Don't try to get away either. See that man over there?" He pointed to a tall man with shades in a black leather jacket, standing parallel to Kevin.
"He's got a pistol too," he said. "And a mighty good one in fact. He's watching us, you see. And if he sees you resist, he won't think twice in shooting your boyfriend right in public."
She gasped in horror, tears welling in her eyes. No. They couldn't. Even if she thought he was joking, she shouldn't take chances. It was her life at stake, and Kevin's. She couldn't let him die. She'd rather it'd be her than he. No... Not him. She had to do this... for him...
She sighed heavily and let a tear slip down her cheek before she nodded and said, "Alright. I'll go with you."
"Good," the man grinned, tucking the pistol back in his jacket. He held her hand and signaled to the other man. Kate watched as the other man nodded and walked away. She sighed in relief. Kevin would be safe. But then...
"Let's go," she heard him speak. She obediently followed after the man.
"What's taking her so long?" Kevin muttered, looking back. It had been thirty full minutes since she went in, and she still wasn't back. The crowd had already dispersed. "Does it take her this long to freshen up?" He walked towards the female bathroom to get a glimpse if she was still in there. He looked through the open door.
Nope. No sign of her.
Maybe she already went somewhere else. Maybe she didn't see me.
He turned around and walked away frowning. Where could she have gone to?
He found a payphone after a few minute's walking and decided to call her house, just in case if she told her parents where she went. He put a few coins in, dialed and waited for Mrs. Laurence to pick up the phone.