Disclaimer: Money is an abstract concept. Abstract is intangible.  I think therefore I am, Descartes. Hmm…. Doesn't make any sense. RK not mine. Period.

Note: Ha ha ha ha…. I have a confession to make….. or not. Never mind. This thing has gone too long. (originally planned 4 chapters. What a joke.) Last chapter. For real.

Chapter 11

Shovelicious Lunatics and Nitrogenous Sonicators

The schemer was very much pleased with himself. He was actually going to succeed on something the Great White One failed in: exterminating the Battousai. True, there was no added glory or honor to gain from the master. The Big One didn't give a damn about this Japanese legend. Personal vendetta was the motive of Yukishiro when he entered this venture months ago, but the master allowed him to use the group's resources. Blatant favoritism.

The schemer no longer cared about that. He would show them all how better he was than that blood-lusting lunatic. The Big One was displeased by the White's withdrawal from the alliance; but it wasn't enough for the schemer to witness his archrival's fall from favor. Yes, to succeed in something the White utterly failed in would be the sweetest revenge.

He thought of himself as a genius. Not even the great Hitokiri would be able to defend himself from an onslaught of attacks raining from all directions simultaneously. It took much work to plan the attack but it paid off. They were in.

Obviously, the diversion in the restaurant worked, too, though not exactly in the way they designed. It was better, perhaps, to have both the ex-assassin and the girl at once. Better yet was the developments caused by the White's stupid plans: Himura Battousai was defenseless without his sakabatou.

Very much satisfied with himself, the schemer leered at the couple. He didn't even flinch at the death glare the Battousai was shooting him. He was too confident of his plans. And reasons he had for that confidence.

Kenshin took in everything at once and understood that perhaps this man's confidence was not merely a result of stupidity or bravado. Sure, even with a shinai he could fight them off; but that would leave Kaoru all open. She was defenseless with her injured arm and ribs but the problem did not stop there. These men were not the typical low-level warriors sent to do the dirty work of provoking one was wont to throw around like hay. These were skilled gangsters, merciless, with no scruples nor conscience. Without help, survival was less than fifty-fifty chance with the disfavor on their side.

"Isn't this sweet?" drawled the schemer. "It's almost a shame we've come and interrupted."

"Good," said Kenshin levelly, never taking his eyes off the man. "You know you're not wanted."

"I suppose, I do owe you an apology."

"Let me guess. You got the wrong house. Well then, get out."

"Oh no no no." The schemer laughed. "I am in the right one. I just want to apologize for involving you in something that's none of your concern. You see, I don't have anything against you at all but I'll still kill you. I am after all, a gentleman unlike some of my ex-colleagues, particularly the one you owe this pleasure to. The Great White, Yukishiro Enishi. Sounds familiar?"

"Enishi…" breathed Kaoru, shivering a little in trepidation. "He has returned for his Jinchuu again… I thought…"

"Him, I know," replied Kenshin crisply, not seeming to heed her at all. "You I do not, nor am I dying with curiosity.  You can die named, or unnamed. Either is convenient."

The schemer chuckled again. "I didn't expect the famous Hitokiri Battousai to be inclined to bluffing. Yes, yes. I do know about that silly vow of yours, and that clown's props, that sakabatou. Very nice of the White to keep it for you, ne?"

"There's a first time for everything. I may underestimate the strength of this and commit something unprecedented." He clenched the shinai menacingly.

"Battousai, you make me laugh." Again another of those irritating laughs. "These gentlemen I have brought with me are the best fighters of the Shanghai Triad. And, yes, I am the new triad third. The incompetent fool that Yukishiro assigned was arrested hours after initiation. I'm afraid we're all unlike that insane man."

"Kenshin," said Kaoru. "What's going on?"

"Kaoru-dono," he replied. "Perhaps, explanations are better if kept for later."

"Oh come now," butt in the schemer. "Why not grant the lady's request?"

"None of your business," snarled Kenshin. "You. Motive?"

"Ah. Why do I want your head? That's simple. Because of my hate for Yukishiro Enishi. Did you know how much I worked for the Big One? I slaved over work to be able to reach my position in the group. I paid time, youth, sweat, blood, -and yes!- flesh: all for the syndicate.  But him. Him! That white-haired foreigner suddenly stole the act! Yes. When he came everybody got so taken up with him. Yukishiro this, Yukishiro that. He was promoted swiftly and became the triad third instead of me. Him! And he became the Big One's favorite. That nance actually doted on him! And I, I who had worked faithfully for years was kicked aside. Kicked aside, you hear!?!" The schemer sniffed and blew on his sleeve. "Yukishiro Enishi, I hate you with all my heart!"

For  a while, Kenshin was actually speechless. He was silently demanding why in heaven's name the most unluckiest things happen to him. Kaoru, meanwhile, had more practical questions.

"What does that got to do with us?" she asked as stealthily as she could. "I mean, Enishi isn't exactly in love with either of us, is he? He hated my cooking. And he hit me a few times."

"He hit you?!" thundered Kenshin. "I think you didn't say that."

"You're right. Technically he didn't. It was the door. Besides, I think he's more afraid of me than even you. Mou! I'm not some kind of monster!"

If only you can scare this person away, he thought. Still, he lost the somewhat stymied look, but something lingered in his expression that softened his glare a bit. Hn. Typical rurouni stunt. Well, all right not-so-typical response. Another time he might have even smiled complacently at the raving man before him. But not now. Yep. Not now. He was, after all , interrupted at such an untimely instance…. Grrr!

The schemer was not happy. "I don't need your pity, Battousai!" he shrieked, face twisted in his wrath. "I know your ways. Sympathizing, indeed! It's reverse psychology, a ruse to catch your enemies off guard. Well, you're not taking me in. And I don't think you'll pity me when you find out what I'll do to you and your precious doll. I'll kill you! I'll kill you myself. Yes. He'll hate that! I'll still his so-called Jinchuu from him. I'll execute that simple mission he failed in. Bwahahahaha!!!!"

"Oro…"

The word just popped out. Despite the impending danger, despite the gravity of the situation, the word just popped slipped.

"That's really something new," he muttered.

"Kenshin…"

"It's all right, Kaoru."

"Aa. All right, miss," said the schemer. "It won't hurt a bit. I'll kill you so quickly you're brain won't have time to register pain. I'll make sure you won't experience it at all. He'll hate that as well. See he wanted you to suffer. He wanted you to suffer in his hands. But no! I'll beat him to it. I'll kill you first. I will! Do you doubt me?!" He cackled maniacally.

"Bonkers," observed Kaoru dismally. "I think he's the one who should really be called the lunatic."

"Shut up!" screamed the schemer. "Don't you dare ridicule me! I'm tired of everybody insulting and belittling me. I'll prove you all wrong!"

Kenshin had been sneaking sidelong glances at Kaoru. When finally she realized that he wasn't merely ogling at her, she immediately perceived its meaning. Just as discreetly, she nodded in understanding.

"Then settle your problem with Enishi himself!" declared Kenshin. "I too am tired of being interru- I mean targeted just like you are tired of… of being interrupted from your rise to power. Leave us be!"

"No!"  bawled the schemer, his undernourished frame quivering in his rage. "You will be the ultimate sacrifice! With you I will prove to that despicable White that I am better than him. Hundreds of times better! Look at his stupid plan. It obviously failed! Ha! From what we saw a while, he wouldn't be doing any hackings this afternoon."

"Kenshin," said Kaoru suspiciously. "Are you sure the information really should wait for later?"

"Of course, I am," replied the rurouni hastily. "Later would be good. Let's just concentrate on  offering hospitality to the gentlemen, ne?"

"That's right. I almost forgot!"

Suddenly, with that petrifying battle cry of hers, Kaoru flung her uninjured fist at the jaw of the nearest person to her, stunning everyone present.

"I didn't say now!" wailed Kenshin, himself busy with flaying the frenzied opponents quickly and efficiently as he chased after his spirited girl. "Be careful! Your ribs- Stay near me!"

"I am not an invalid!" She kicked one in the shin and tripped another. "I can take them!"

No, she couldn't, and she knew it, too. Acting with more prudence than she's wont to, she gave one last blow to the man standing on her way. She ran back to Kenshin's side and stuck by him. She helped fend of attacks, trying not to wince with pain. Still, they were too many and too skilled. Again they were surrounded. Outside the circle of the now silent assassins, the schemer giggled neurotically.

"Kill them! Kill them both!"

Cold. These men were cold, as cold as the gleam of the blades they carried drawn. They weren't like the normal run of underlings sent to finish little jobs. Reasoning was pointless. They answered only to one man and to that man only. They were perfect fighting machines. And the space between them and the two was slowly tapering to a close. Still, the Battousai waited, waited for an opportunity to stage an escape without jeopardizing her. And she waited, too, trusting as ever, keeping alert and vigilant of his movements to be able to react accordingly. Still, they came…

Then, from the outside, a wild cry came. It came steadily nearer. That cry…. That familiar cry…

In a blur, the figure rushed at the schemer and felled him with one great blow. The sheathed katana hit its mark and the schemer collapsed, knocked senseless.

"Conceited fool," he said. "You have allowed the Battousai to distract you with foolish talk. That's an old trick in the book."

Meanwhile, the other attackers stood still, frozen while nearly on top of the defiant couple. Kenshin took the opportunity to lunge at the foremost men, catching them inadvertent. Without resistance, he was able to extract both himself and Kaoru from the rabble. Still, the men took no heed of the two of them.

 The assassins were focused on the newcomer. Yes, he was very familiar. It was that tasseled hilt, that familiar sweep of the black cloak. It was those dark glasses, and most of all, the white hair…

"Hail the Great White One! Hail the white leader!"

To the extreme befuddlement of Kenshin and Kaoru, the black garbed assassins rushed at Enishi, bowing before him humbly.

"Master, you have returned!" declared the leader. "We are under your command. Speak and it shall be done."

"Good," said Enishi very coolly. " Shut up and butt out of my designs."

Kaoru clutched rather tightly at Kenshin, wary at what may happen next. To her surprise, he returned the squeeze but casually spoke to the newcomer as if that newcomer wasn't Yukishiro Enishi who tore apart their lives only some months ago. (yup a little like Sano the day before.)

"I thought you said you won't leave your shop?" said Kenshin.

"I will not  be bested by that pathetic cretin," replied the White with much dignity and turned away to attend to the gangsters fawning over him.

"O Great White one!" said the awe-inspired fans. "Long had we awaited this homecoming. Hail the White!"

"Kenshin, what…" asked Kaoru, a little dizzy. "That was weird."

"I agree, Kaoru-dono," he said. "I couldn't agree more."

"We're back to the 'dono'?" she burst out indignantly. "Some respectful samurai that you are! And just a while ago you were-" She stopped, reddening intensely.

"Oro!' he murmured plaintively. "But Kaoru-dono is sweeter, anyway."

"Sweeter my foot!"

"Can I call you Dulcinea then?"

"What? Dulciwho?"

"Er… Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?  Thou art more lovely and more temperate:"

"Eh? What are you saying? Are you-"

"Farewell! thou art too dear for my possessing-"

"Kenshin, did you hurt yourself a while ago?" She felt for his forehead.

"Can I please keep the 'dono'?" he pleaded fervently.

But before things could get any more tangled up (or mushier. ick.), the dojo gates swung open.

"Yahiko will you just tell her the truth!"

"Let me go first, you! You smell like poop."

"Stop bullying Yahiko into your alibis, rooster-head."

"I am not! Yahiko, I'll twist your ne-"

They stopped. Finally they noticed the chaos in there. There was the suspicious sight of Kenshin holding a bandaged Kaoru, and of course, the bizarre scene of grown men kowtowing before the terrifying lunatic.

"Enishi!" roared Yahiko at once. "What did you do to them?"

Megumi gasped, crushing the portion of flesh she had grabbed from Sano earlier. "What is he doing here?" she asked shakily.

Sano yawned. "Signing autographs," he said, obviously not giving a damn. "Oi Kenshin! What's up with the lunatic and his entourage? Is that some weird form of orgy or something?"

"Um," said Kenshin awkwardly. "Let's just ignore them de gozaru."

"Ken-san! Kaoru-san!" said Megumi, rushing to them. "Did he-"

"Oh we're fine," answered Kaoru. "Just confused. Very confused. Kenshin?"

"Ano…" started he. "Ehe… That." He pointed to the prostrated figure whose big mouth was widely opened disgustingly. "That person wanted vengeance from Enishi. He was going to do it by killing us and therefore stealing the Jinchuu."

"Wait. Lemme get this straight," said Sano. "So the lunatic was telling the truth about that? There really is another lunatic on the loose after you?"

"Apparently."

"Of all the sick things…." He shook his head. "What kind of stupid idiotic moron would kill the archenemy of his archenemy just to get back at him? Damn."

"So you were telling the truth…" said Megumi thoughtfully. "I didn't think you were that imbecilic to formulate such an outrageous alibi."

"Of course, I was telling the truth!" snapped Sano indignantly.

"Oh, of course, you told the truth about that," she quipped. "And lied about everything else. Very convenient."

"Did not! You, Kenshin! You back me up."

"Don't bring Ken-san into this! You were probably at the geisha house last night. Wait, don't tell me you're having an affair!"

"With who, fox-lady? Kenshin? Ha!"

"I wouldn't out it past you," she replied darkly.

"Hey! You are going too far!"

"Well, it certainly was no woman. No woman would near you by a mile radius!"

"And what does that make you, woman? Oh right. A vixen!"

"Rooster just tell the truth. You're busted."

"Ano, Megumi-dono," Kenshin finally interrupted. "I'll vouch for Sano. Yahiko really didn't give the letter to Sano until this morning."

"You hear that?" said Sano triumphantly. "I'm innocent."

Megumi eyed him silently, arms crossed. "Ignorance is no excuse," she said, turning away.

"Hey wait a minute!" protested Sano, abandoning his sack o' Yahiko. "That's not fair!"

Silence.

"Hey, don't you dare give me the silent treatment!"

Silence still.

"Baby, sweetcakes, muffin, please! I'm sorry already."

S-I-L-E-N-C-E

"You already punched me five times, kicked me thrice and threw me wound twice! What more do you want!?"

Megumi walked of disinterestedly.

"This can't be happening!" wailed Sano. "What is this world coming to? I can't argue with myself!!"

Meanwhile, Yahiko was busy struggling with his bonds.

"Aurgh!!!" he growled in frustration. He sighted Kenshin and Kaoru just sitting there watching the chicken squawk at his predator.

"You two!" he called towards them angrily. "Are you gonna just sit there all day? And geeze, busu-sama, have a little decency and get off him!"

Kaoru blushed delicately but didn't rush to maim the flustered Yahiko. She primly got of Kenshin's lap and untied her student.

"Domo," muttered Yahiko grudgingly, but was distracted soon after by a statement of Sanosuke's that managed to float within their hearing.

"Really, Megitsune! Blame it all on the brat."

"HEY!" Yahiko ran to their spot to defend himself. "It's your fault you kept interrupting me whenever I tried to tell you yesterday. Then you came here at the dojo at noon a while ago. Where'd you keep Kenshin all night, anyway?"

"Yes," said Kaoru. "Where were you all night?" She sniffed at Kenshin and wrinkled her nose in distaste. "You reek with sake."

At that Megumi's stoic face broke into a devilish grin, fox ears popping out their hiding place.

"My money," she finally spoke. "I want my winnings, rooster."

"W-what?" sputtered Sano. "You can't accuse me of breaking the agreement just because he stinks! Smell me if you want, fox."

"No way! Your current smell hides all other smells. The evidence speaks for itself."

"Oi, Kenshin, tell her I wasn't with you. Tell her you went to the bar alone."

Kenshin very prudently stilled his tongue.

"How can you abandon me after all I've done?" Sano sported a betrayed glare. "Megitsune you gotta believe! Yahiko's framing me."

"Oh yeah?" challenged Yahiko. "So how come you and Kenshin came here together a while ago?"

"Shut up already, brat!"

"Well?" prompted Megumi. "Why?"

"We met! Okay? We just met."

"You said you were having a hangover!" declared Yahiko. "You yelled it all over the place."

"That was Kenshin, you moron!"

"He didn't look like he was having a hangover! You're just a big fat lying chick-"

"Why you!"

Both disappeared under a cloud of dust.

Megumi shrugged. "Challenge me a little next time, rooster head," she said placidly. "I didn't even break a sweat figuring it out."

Kaoru meanwhile was frowning a little at Kenshin. "You were having a hangover?" she said. "I don't care about your sake consumption, Kenshin, but I hope you're not turning it into a habit."

"Of course not, Kaoru-dono," said Kenshin with an angelic smile.

"Nobody wants a second Sanosuke."

"Hear! Hear!" pronounced Megumi, nodding in heartfelt agreement.

"You should have seen him last night," butt in Sanosuke sulkily. "He must have downed drums of sake."

"Sano, that's extremely exaggerated de gozaru," Kenshin protested weakly.

"And he got drunk! Boy did he get drunk. First time I've seen him ever! No surprise, too. He wasn't just matching me drink for drink. He surpassed me a good threefold!"

"I see," said Megumi in a velvety voice. "And what else did he do?"

"Sano…" Kenshin dissented.

Megumi held up a halting hand. "I think we all need to hear this. Why was he drinking that much? Did you coerce him or something?"

"Hell no! He was so depressed last I could have kicked him around and get no reaction."

"Not even 'oro's'?" asked Yahiko gleefully, highly amused by the prospect. (mental image: red worm on the dirt crying "Oro!" every time a chicken feet clawed at him and a spiky-combed head pecked at him.)

"Not even an oro. You should have been there, Yahiko. If I get him to come with me occasionally, I'd probably get much dough. The place's a little too pricey for my taste but I might become a regular there with him as a ticket. Folks there love him. Found him entertaining. Stand up comedy really. But I think they found the dramatics better than the singing."

"He sang?!?" groaned Yahiko.

Kenshin was his gi and hair combined. Beside him, avoiding his eyes, Kaoru fidgeted uneasily. Megumi was smiling slyly, brooding on some impending evil. But Sano didn't notice at all.

"He sang like crazy, boy!" he roared heartily. "He clambered up a table, stole a ladle from one of the other tables and sang: " Sano began swaying and mocking Kenshin in a falsetto.

"Oh Kaoru! I am but a fool.

Darling I love you, though you treat me cruel.

You hurt me. And you make me cry.

But if you leave me I will surely die.

Darling there will never be another, 'cause I love you so.

Don't ever leave me. Say you'll never go.

I will always want you for my sweetheart. No matter what you do

Oh Kaoru. So in love with you."

Sano ended with a guffaw, collapsing on the floor in hilarity. By now, Kaoru was blushing as well. Kenshin, on the other hand, was practically fainting in humiliation.

"Orororororo…" he whimpered.

Yahiko was snorting with laughter. "Hooooo!!! That must have been a riot!" he managed to gasp out. "That was embarrassing Sano! Good thing I wasn't there. I'm so happy you left me. Pathetic, Kenshin. That was pathetic!"

"Ho ho ho ho!" laughed Megumi, fox style, with ears and all. "Sake and a broken heart is a dangerous combination."

Kaoru, though, still beet red with self-consciousness, swallowed hard and patted Kenshin in the back. "Um… Just don't drink that much again, Kenshin."

 "That's right!" agreed Sano, eyes feral with the will to avenge himself. "It's a bad habit for one like you. I mean, you wouldn't want to end up like your Shishou, now would you? Anyway, after all you've been through you haven't developed one yet. Besides, you're gonna marry Jou-chan, right?" He quirked an eyebrow at the rurouni. "You have asked her?"

"None of your business!" snapped Kaoru.

"Whoa there, Jou-chan!" said Sano. "I have enough of females hunting me. I was gonna say it didn't matter anyway since he's been living with you and that didn't made him desperate enough to become alcoholic so nothing will!"

"Why you!" Kaoru swung to gather energy for a big punch.

"Maa, maa…" Of course, Kenshin, the universal pacifist, held her back.

"Don't worry, Kaoru-chan," said Megumi. "I'll do it for you." And without any delay, she gave Sano a whopping upper cut! "Hmph. Filthy unwashed rooster!"

"All right, that's it! You've bullied me long enough. What is it this time?"

"I'll ask you the last time, rooster. I'm giving you a chance to tell the truth and redeem yourself. Where were you last night?"

"I was at ho-"

"You were watching Ken-san croon in a bar! Wasn't that what you just told us?"

"Err…" Sano finally gave up. "Fine. So I did. What the heck? Don't I always?" he exploded.

"Right!" retorted Megumi. "Pay up."

"Maa, maa," interrupted the recovered Kenshin.

"Shut up, Ken-san!"

"Yeah! This is all your fault, traitor!"

"See?" joined in Yahiko. "I was telling the truth. When you dropped off Kaoru last night, you went to a bar, got drunk and woke up late. Therefore, I am innocent. You're fault you didn't read the letter. You're fault you didn't fetch Megumi."

"Why you little-"

"Don't come near him, you dirty fowl!" ordered Megumi, shielding Yahiko. "You'll spread your germs."

"I resent that! I'm betting 400 bucks I take a bath once a day!"

"I won't let you trick me again. You just tried to cheat out of this bet remember?"

"Well, babe." Sano grinned cutely. "You can move in to be sure."

"The nerve!" Megumi stomped off indignantly. "As if."

"Well, then I'll move in! Hey, come on. I need money. Hey!"

"The nerve of you-!" Megumi smacked him hard.

"What? The clinic is empty. Dr. Genzai and the kids are on vacation remember?"

"You pervert!" Megumi flew at him in rage and slapped him again hard. "Stay away from me!"

Sano sulkily rubbed his smarting face. "It's not my problem you think hentai thoughts!"

"Hentai-"

SHING!

The rasp of the blade quickly shut up the quarrels.

"Oops," said Sano. "We just forgot a little something."

Enishi had them surrounded by his men.

"You sure did," agreed Enishi. "A few hours till death. Do you want to shorten the waiting?"

"I thought you said ignore them Kenshin?" said Yahiko. "And give me back my shinai!"

"See you wasted time talking pervy nonsense!" chided Megumi.

"Well, why didn't you bolt?" retorted Sano.

"You didn't!"

"Heh. Didn't know you trusted me that much."

"Couldn't see the point because your stupid enough not to bolt either way!"

"Silence!" thundered Enishi. "So what will it be?"

"Ah, shut up an wait, lunatic," said Sano. "I did all the work."

What do I do now? That Enishi is crazy! I just made up with her a while ago. What if she takes offense and gets mad again? We can't fight our way out of this one. What do I do? What do I do!?!

All right. Calm down. Breath in, breath out. Remember what Sano said. Aggressiveness. Sweep her off her feet. You're a Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu master. You can do it. Yes.

No. No. No. No! Sanosuke is crazy too! Forgive me… I'll probably die either way. Oro!

Kaoru nudged Kenshin in concern. "What is he talking about? What's wrong?"

To her surprise, he didn't answer at all. Under the watchful eyes of everybody else, he did the most shocking thing imaginable. He pulled her roughly to him and kissed her. He kissed her good. He kissed her long. And I mean loooooong.

"What are you doing to her?!" yelped Yahiko in panic. "Kenshin let my teacher breath! Don't kill her!"

Finally, he let her go, ignoring the hanging jaws in front of them and the poor student of Kamiya dojo, aghast and petrified.

"Kaoru-dono," he said. "Let's get married now."

Kaoru was giddy, her surroundings blurred. Even though blood was pounding into her head, she was still breathless and lightheaded. Maybe it was because of the lack of oxygen (maybe the blood went to her cheeks instead of her brain?) or perhaps it was from sheer ecstasy.

"N-now?" she stuttered incoherently.

"Yes." Kenshin nodded enthusiastically, eyes guileless but expectant. He fished from his pockets a ring and slipped it on her finger. "Now."

Kaoru stared first at her finger, then at him, speechless. Finally, "Okay." And swayed on her feet. He caught her and she collapsed against him.

"Whoohoo!!!" cheered Sano. "Way to go Kenshin! That was smooth! That was really smooth! Creaseless, man. Perfect!"

"Hmmm…." mused Megumi. Finally, she gave up. "All right, Sano, how did you do it?"

"It's a secret, fox! Drop what I owe you and I'll tell you the details."

"As if you'd actually pay me if I don't."

"That's the point, babe. Either way it's a win-win situation."

Yahiko on the other hand looked ready to puke. "That's gross! That's disgusting!" he raved. "How can you show such an atrocious thing to my innocent eyes?? You! I thought you were my teacher. And you, you're my role model! How can you do this to me?!?!!"

And so it came to be that Kamiya Kaoru became Himura Kaoru only one day after Himura Kenshin's proposal. Everything went without a hitch. It was  a great day for medicine and science too according to Megumi. That day it was proven that despite the size of it's brain, a rooster can still conjure a scheme and pull it off successfully.

The priest came on time. Sanosuke's friends had taken care of everything for the ceremony. The reception had to be delayed till some few weeks later but that didn't prevent busybodies from snooping around.

Tae-san was there. She cried throughout the ceremony, like a good old mother. Tsubame-chan cried too because Tae was crying. Sanosuke claimed that Yahiko cried but the latter bit his hand when he said it. Whether or not that's true is as good as anybody's guess.

Enishi kept his word. As his wedding gift, he returned Kenshin's precious sakabatou gift-wrapped. He stayed the whole time but didn't cause any trouble at all. (No he didn't cry.) He didn't kill anybody so far and didn't seem like planning to do so anytime soon. But there's no way to be sure, correct?

hr

The schemer was finally awaked, roused by the din coming from the nearby house.

"What's that infernal noise?" he groaned as he sat up.

"A little marital friction," replied the voice. "The girl has just discovered my brilliant stratagem in getting her married to her husband."

Comprehension swiftly struck the schemer. His sleepy eyes cleared and he saw the statuesque form of the White standing before him.

"You!" he snarled. "I have enough of you upstaging me in everything! Very well. I will kill you."

Black figures rose from the shadows and surrounded them both.

"I think not," said Enishi quietly.

The schemer stewed in silence for a while. Finally, he regained composure and gave a shrill laugh.

"You call me schemer," he said. "You should be the one called that. Yes. You do think I cannot see through your plans? You want him to be happy, to gain more and more. The more he gains the more he will lose. The more he'll feel pain. The more he'll suffer. The more satisfaction. That would be a perfect Jinchuu, wouldn't it?  You'd destroy everything later!"

To his surprise Enishi laughed.

"I'm right. I hit the mark, didn't I?"

Enishi stopped his laughter, glaring at the man before him.

"Simple minded fool," he hissed. "Why would I kill them? Why would I rob myself of the enjoyment? Why would I halt my Jinchuu ever?

"You are pathetic, schemer! I thought you understood that the main point of Jinchuu is suffering. Not necessarily death but suffering. Yes. I would always cherish the thought that Himura Battousai would forever suffer. He'll suffer more than he made my sister suffer. Suffer for life. Suffer, suffer, suffer…"

Sweatdrop.

Never mind, let  us all just wipe our brows and check out the newly weds, shall we?

"K-k-Kaoru-dono! Not that! You'd break your father's favorite- No!"

"So we're really back to the 'dono' huh? Take this!" And the figurine hurtled out of her hand in a perfect pitch.

"Orooo!! Ooof."

Kenshin managed to catch the porcelain. Kaoru sighed in relief in spite of herself and slumped down into her haunches in exhaustion.

"Why didn't you just tell me about Sano and Enishi blackmailing you?"

"Because like I said, I want you to know the truth," he replied, sighing and sitting down beside her. "Would you have married me had you known about the conditions? I think not."

"Damn straight. I would have clobbered you all."

"I thought so." He smiled and cuddled her to him. "Sanosuke's style is convenient. Partial truths are still truths."

"So does that mean you're forced?"

"Kaoru-chan let's just forget about that shall we?" he whispered in her ear. "Remember the unfinished business before they came?"

"Yes…" She shivered under his heated gaze. "How could I forget…"

"Well? Shall we?"

"I think…" She stroke his face tenderly. His skin tingled beneath her touch. Her voice increasing his trepid anticipation. "I think…"

SLAP!

"I THINK NOT!"

"Oro?!"

"I'm not falling for that again, sweet talker! Tricking poor naïve girls into marriage. You just did that to protect me didn't you?"

"W-well, yes. No! I mean, that's also a reason but-"

"Forget it, Kenshin. No slipping out of this one."

"Kaoru!"

"So if Enishi didn't come along you would have never asked."

"No! Of course I would have. Sano was planning by himself."

"Oh sure. Thanks to Enishi anyway."

End

8:44:15

122202

Right. Thanks to Enishi. Shall we offer him our gratitude?

"This is my Jinchuu. Mine I tell you! I have succeeded. I am the sole survivor! I'll get a million dollars. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!"

Whew. Finally the finished it!! It was fun playing with them. He he he. 

Thanks to everyone who's read this. (wow. Such patience and tolerance.) To everyone who has commented, you have no idea how much that prodded me to finish this thing. Yep that's it. I didn't want to post this unfinished (that was a loooong time ago. June '01?) because I was afraid I won't be able to finish it ever and I'll just run out of steam. But because of comments , I become aware that someone' s reading this thing and I'd have to finish it because I myself hate it when stories get abandoned. There.  Thank you very much.

Heh. I think I'll go back to writing serious YYH fics now. Hmmm… This was sheer madness.

Right. "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?  Thou art more lovely and more temperate:" That's from Shakespeare's Sonnet 18. And this one: "Farewell! thou art too dear for my possessing-" is from his Sonnet 87. Dulcinae (sp?) is a character from Don Quixote de La Mancha by Cervantes. Grr…. English class is really rubbing on me bad.

I don't know the details about the song "Oh Carol". Just that it isn't mine and I'm just borrowing it. It was for another of Ornery-chan's weird songfic dare and I inserted it here for convenience so I don't have to write a separate songfic. =P Ornery-chan, are you continuing that fic about why Sano failed to match K&K?

Lemons. I can't write lemons. Well, I probably can if I try. But no. Sorry. (Ha ha ha. You'll never get one from me, Seiyo-sama!)