Disclaimer: I don't own RK. Or else the series would be steeped so deeply in crack that it wouldn't make sense anymore.
Thank goodness for Watsuki-sama.
"He has hair drenched in the blood of the damned and eyes filled with the fires of hell! The Hitokiri Battousai is a demon! A demon that stalks Kyoto's dark streets in search of those with tainted hearts and spills their life blood upon the ground with unnatural speed!"
"His swords are stained red from the kills he makes every night, and it is said that you can hear his voice whispering on the breeze, promising death to those who do not heed its warnings!"
"He leaps onto the tops of buildings with ease, perched there like a perverse sort of stone statue until you see his blazing eyes flash with an unholy gleam, and then you see nothing more except for your blood coating the ground and his swords slashing through you!"
"Matakuro-san, be quiet."
Kenshin sighed and massaged his temples. It was useful to know what the gossip on the streets was about himself, but still, enough was enough.
His eyes flashed as a sudden thought occurred to him.
Perhaps, just for one night, he should indulge these gossips.
His mouth curled into a twisted grin that made Matakuro pale.
Yes. For one night.
The Ishin-shishi members gathered in the hidden headquarters of Kyoto had seen many things.
They had not seen their resident hitokiri with actual blood dripping from his hair before.
At least… it looked like blood.
He had even smeared some of whatever the red slightly-sticky substance was across his scarred cheek, to give the impression of bleeding scars.
Something had been added around his eyes that helped the unnatural amber to stand out even more.
Was it –dare they say it- eye shadow?
His clothes, usually immaculate, were spattered with the red fluid liberally. Though they didn't exactly look to be his clothes. They hung loosely around him as though they were several sizes too large…
The swords at his side were not his, either. They were ancient and had not been well cared for, and the blades were red with rust.
And was that a twinkle of mischief dancing in their hitokiri's eyes?
The troops were evenly split between being dumbfounded and scared shitless.
A path to the doorway magically appeared.
The hitokiri paused at the door and turned his head back, a calculating look in his cold eyes.
And then he grinned.
By the time the Ishin-shishi had recovered, he was gone, no more than a whisper in the night.
Kenshin was on a mission.
No, not that kind of mission. He fully intended to return to the inn tonight with no more kills added to his already rather sullied name. This mission was a special mission.
He was going to scare the bejeezus out of as many gossips as possible.
Melting into the shadows soundlessly, he pressed his back against the wall of his chosen target: a local tavern.
The unsettling feeling of unstable ki assaulted him, and he shoved aside the niggling presences to concentrate on whatever drunken ramblings his prey might utter.
"…He'sh got fangsh! Fangsh, I shay! Dey piersh yer shkin an' den 'e shucksh yer life awaaaay!"
"I hear he's (hic) seven feet (hic) tall with great (hic) bulging muscles! (hic)"
"That bloody monster killed my best friend! Shiro and me knew each other since before this blasted war ever came up and then that bastard went and killed him!"
'Three. Time to make an appearance.'
He slipped into the room silently and then flared his ki enough that anyone who was still even slightly coherent would feel it. He had the attention of the entire bar at once.
"Fangs, you say? Seven feet tall? Tell me, where ever do you hear these rumors?" he said softly, a sinister cast to his voice that sent shivers down his audience's spines.
Lifting his eyes to the disbelieving stares of those who surrounded him, he let a slow smile tug at his lips until his teeth were showing.
Oh, the looks on their faces…! It made the red dye he had applied to his usually pristine teeth worth it.
"One such as I does not require such accessories to be fearsome," his eyes flickered between the three he'd heard talk of him. Their gulps were audible.
And then he disappeared, melding with the shadows as he searched for his next target.
Saitou Hajime turned his head slightly, searching out the one who had called his name.
"What is it, Okita?"
Okita smiled breathlessly and nodded. "There are strange reports circulating throughout the local taverns! Apparently, the hitokiri Battousai has been seen in several of them, looking for all the world like a demon straight from hell."
Saitou's curiosity was piqued.
"Oh? Do tell."
Kenshin tried to suppress a smirk as he leapt from rooftop to rooftop in search of a bar he hadn't made an appearance at yet.
He hadn't had this much fun since he put wasabi in his Shishou's tea.
Of course, there'd been repercussions to that. Such as being beaten to a near-bloody pulp the next day in the name of training.
He hoped the repercussions to this stunt of his wouldn't be quite so dire.
The thought quickly dampened his mood, and he considered returning to the inn sooner than he had anticipated. Dropping down to a handy courtyard, he set about cleaning himself up. The red-dyed thickened water was proving to be surprisingly difficult to wash from his hair. Perhaps this idea hadn't been one of his brightest…
"Having problems, Battousai?"
'Oh hells. Not him. Anybody but him.'
He turned around slowly, loose hair dripping pseudo-blood onto the ground.
Saitou had to admit, Battousai had done a pretty damn good job enhancing himself. The bloody accents to his hair, clothing and face gave him the appearance of a mass-murderer.
Though the addition of water somehow transformed him to "drowned kitten".
He smirked slightly at the sight. The great Battousai, wringing out his pretty red hair like some vain peacock. Really, it was quite humorous.
"Shall I help you wash it out?"
The hitokiri's eyes widened noticeably, the glowing amber clearly visible against… oh kami, was that eye shadow? It was!
Saitou positively grinned. He hadn't had this much fun since he'd put wasabi in his master's tea.
From there, the night went pretty much downhill. Kenshin inwardly cursed every kami he could think of for allowing Saitou to see him like that. He had only intended to give the meddling gossips something to really talk about!
Instead he had gotten a thoroughly amused Saitou preening him.
He was mortified.
'At least he didn't take advantage of the fact that I had no decent swords on me.'
It was true. The Shinsengumi captain had simply shrugged slightly and responded, "Aku, Soku, Zan. Gossips are the worst kind of evil."
Which was almost enough to redeem the night.
"Himura-san! I have the most juicy bits of gossip regarding you now! It's rather humorous, really, the silly gossips are saying that you and Saitou of the Shinsengumi are lovers!"
Kenshin spewed out his tea.
Hell with that. The night had no redeeming factors.
"Matakuro-san, please shut up."
Hitokiri Battousai – assassin + master of battoujutsu
Hai – yes
Ishin-shishi – the rebel faction that Kenshin joined
Ki – one's aura
Wasabi – a spicy flavoring used in sushi
Shishou – honorable title for a master
Kami – god, spirit, deity
Oro – Kenshin's made up word of surprise
Shinsengumi – a group of the Shogunate forces
Aku, Soku, Zan – the motto of the Shinsengumi, roughly translated as "slay evil instantly"
AN: I do not know where this came from.
Okay, yes, I do.
It came from crackland. How my muse got there is beyond me.
Thus, that I do not want to know where this came from is more accurate.
Unbeta'd because my lazy beta hasn't been online and hasn't even beta'd the chapter of Shockwaves that she promised by last Monday and whinegripecomplain.
So I snagged one of my other friends and we labored over the same sentence for 20 minutes until it sounded right. Go us.
If you can guess which sentence, I'll give you a cookie. No, wait- I'll give you mochi. Ha.