Disclaimer: I don't own Rurouni Kenshin or any of its characters blah, blah, blah don't sue me they belong to Nobuhiro Watsuki.

Chapter 1

The hard cold carbonic steel slid cleanly through her chest, lungs… and heart. It was only a matter of seconds before the blood sprayed vivaciously into the air. Komagata Yumi's lime green painted lips desperately gasped for oxygen but she could already feel the warm blood gurgling in her throat. As if in slow motion, she sensed that her body was falling backwards… towards him. Her eyes watched as the jade spheres that had only moments ago been holding up her lovely locks fly past her in the opposite direction. "So this is it…This is how it ends." The world disappeared around her and for a split second time stopped.

She smiled.

"Lord Shishio, I would have it no other way…"

Some years earlier, it was a rainy day in Shimabara, the red light district of Kyoto. Yumi stared numbly at each rain drop from her futon. She loved the rain, mainly because it made her seemingly routine day a little different. But it wouldn't stop the fact that in just fifteen minutes she would be woken from her nice soft bed and her normal daily duties as Kyoto's most famous oiran would start. Somehow she had thought that the being on the top would be a bit more satisfying. Since the day that her no good father had sold her to the brothel to pay off his taxes, she had thought of nothing but of being the best and getting out of this hell hole. Grant it, her quality of life had improved dramatically since then. At least now she had reached the level where she only saw the elite and even had the right of refusal. But the emptiness inside continue to fester away at her soul and she feared that she had no higher plateaus to climb because no matter what she did she was still being fucked for money. "Money that I don't even get to see much less use!" Yumi thought bitterly as she pulled the covers up tighter around her small but curvy body. Besides things were changing. The Meiji government had recently ruled that prostitutes were no better than common cattle and the oiran was beginning to lose their esteem in society.

She was just about to fall back into a deep slumber when the door slid open. "Miss Yumi!" Shiko, the young servant girl called out.

"You're ten minutes earlier," Yumi moaned, pulling the covers over her head.

"My sincerest apologies, Miss Yumi, but please you must get up right away!" The little girl pleaded, already running over to the futon. "You have a client!" Shiko exclaimed, thrusting the man's invitation into Yumi's face.

"I don't care. Give him to someone else!" The oiran groaned, throwing the invitation back at Shiko before hiding under the covers once more.

"Stop this nonsense!" An older woman's voice boomed into the room. Immediately, Yumi closed her eyes in distain. It was Haruka, the woman in charge of this courtesan house. Although it was hard to believe now, she, too, had once been the most sought after oiran in all of Kyoto. But her beauty faded with age and she was now just a stern, bitter, old woman who held no sympathy for anyone. She firmly believed that if she could live through it so could any girl. "Get up, Yumi! You do not have a choice in the matter!" Her crackled voice roared.

Hot with anger, Yumi violently threw the covers off of her and stood up. "What is the point of having the right of refusal if I cannot use it?!" She spat, "I am the most wanted oiran in all of Japan! I-"

The old woman's wrinkled hand met with Yumi's porcelain cheek with full force. The petite woman fell to her knees in shock. She had not been slapped since she had risen in status. "This must be serious…Who is this man?"

"As I had feared, you have become arrogant with your new title!" Haruka yelled as she picked up the mystery man's invitation off the floor next to a frightened Shiko, "But what you forget, Yumi, is that even though you may very well be the best oiran in all of Japan… you are still a courtesan! But besides that, the man who requests for your company tonight is no ordinary man. He is above the right of refusal…"

"You speak of him as if he were the emperor himself!" Yumi whispered cynically.

"He might as well be!" The older woman said solemnly. Yumi stared up at her in shock. There was fear in Haruka's voice…Never in all the time that she had been under this woman's charge had she seen her experience any sort of fear. Haruka was practically a legend – she had seen it all – but now her entire body seemed to rack with terror. "I must send you into the devil's lair, Komagata Yumi…For if I don't, he will kill us all."

Hidden by the shadows of night, Makoto Shishio stood near the back window of the rented room, enjoying the cool wind against his hot, burned flesh. "Kyoto…" It had been many years since he had been in this city and he would have been lying to himself if he said that he had not missed the place. There really was no other city like Kyoto. "And it brings back so many fond memories," he smiled wickedly. It was a perfect night.

"Mister Shishio," Young Seta Soujiro called out politely. Even in the darkness Shishio could make out the boy's eerie but constant smile. "The woman you called for has arrived. Should I bring her to you?"

"No, take her to the bedroom and tell her to make herself comfortable," he answered without even looking at the boy.

"Yes, Mister Shishio, as you command," Soujiro answered before silently disappearing from the room.

Even a warrior has needs. It had been so long since he had felt the warmth of a woman and all of the running and evading the police had started to wear on Shishio's nerves. He needed to relax… an outlet for release. And just as he had done during the Boshin War, he would look for a woman to achieve this. But not just any woman would do. He was Makoto Shishio after all. "And the Strongest only deserves the best."

Yumi shifted nervously as she kneeled in the dark bedroom alone. Makoto Shishio… The name still rang in her ears and she once again found herself wondering if this was reality or a nightmare. Of course she had heard of him but he was supposed to be dead! Some of her highest clients had even bragged about the assassination to her! Apparently, he had not only been shot in the head but burnt alive as well. Haruka had told her to prepare herself for his deplorable appearance and haughty personality. However, Yumi could have cared less. Whether it was Makoto Shishio or highest ranking general in Japan it made no difference to her. In the end it was just part of the job. Thinking like this was the only way she could carry on in life. Love, friendship, even hate could spell out a courtesan's downfall and she had not climbed to the top for nothing.

She could practically hear her heart jump as the door slid open. It was too murky to make out any of his facial features or details beyond the fact that he was about 6ft tall. Instantly, Yumi bowed in respect and sensually whispered, "Lord Makoto Shishio."

The warrior couldn't stop the grin that sprawled on his lips. The girl was gorgeous. The red silk kimono complemented her fair, soft skin beautifully and her hair was held up in an ornate arrangement. However, it was not only her striking appearance that made his blood hot – it was the lack of fear. The way she had spoken his name was confident and sultry. Grant it, she probably couldn't see him very well but she definitely knew who he was so that either made her very stupid or extremely brave. "And I don't think a woman who has climbed all the way to the top of her profession could be foolish."

"You can call me just Lord Shishio, Miss Komagata Yumi," Shishio answered, using the same sultry tone.

Yumi felt her breath catch in her throat. His voice was captivating. Never had she heard such gruff yet smooth confidence. Not only that, but she had learned that he had enchanting red eyes, which were currently staring her down. "Yes, Lord Shishio, and you may call me by whatever you like."

"No," Shishio told her sternly before sitting down before her, "You will not play your oiran games tonight, Miss Komagata Yumi."

Yumi stared at him in shock. Not because his entire body was covered in bandages but because of his words. A man had never talked so directly to her before. They had wanted to play her 'oiran games' that is what they paid her for! "Lord Shishio, I do not know what you mean."

"I did not ask you to come here to play a part with me. If I am to be with a woman, I want her to be real. Anyone can tell a man what he wants to hear. If you truly are the best Japan has to offer then have the courage to tell me what you really want to say," Shishio dared her with a smirk, "Now what do you want me to call you?"

"Dangerous…" Yumi thought inwardly. Everything about the situation seemed like trouble. Here she was in a dark room with a dangerous man asking dangerous questions, which could lead to some dangerous consequences. Any other woman would have continued with her oiran façade for if she said anything to upset Shishio it could lead to not only her death but the entire courtesan house's demise. But Komagata Yumi was not afraid. What could this man possibly do to her that she had not already experienced? So what if he destroyed the house – it's not like they had ever done a thing to help her in life anyways. "Just Yumi is fine," She answered boldly.

Shishio's smirk transformed into a full out smile. "So I am dealing with a real woman here…Looks like my luck hasn't run out just yet!"

"Would you like some sake, Lord Shishio?" Yumi asked, realizing that he wasn't going to kill her for being audacious.

"Yes, Yumi, that would be nice," He answered seductively.

Yumi once again found her breath taken away. Never had she heard a man speak her name in such a way. It had always been 'Miss Yumi' or 'Miss Komagata' but never just 'Yumi.' But then again none of her other clients had ever asked what she wanted either. In only a matter of minutes, Makoto Shishio was turning out to be the most interesting client she had had yet. She prepared and poured the tea in silence but she could feel his crimson eyes upon her, scorching her soul and searching… "But for what?"

"So tell me something," Shishio began before taking a sip of his sake, "Do you enjoy your position as an oiran?"

Another dangerous question – even more dangerous than the last. However, Yumi was not one to back down. "Not particularly," She said without emotion.

Even Shishio was a bit surprised that she answered the question truthfully. The girl was beginning to spark his interest like no other woman had before. "Why is that? Do your clients not treat you well?"

"Some do and some don't. Fortunately I have risen to the point where I do not have to deal with the ones who don't. But," She explained in a low voice and looked away from him, "Since the government has declared that we courtesans can be compared to livestock it is only a matter of time until I will not have such power."

A long pause followed and Yumi began to fear that she had said too much. She had broken the biggest rule in being an Oiran – the whole night she had spoken about herself when it should have been all about him. He was the one paying. Almost in a panic, she opened her mouth to apologize but two wrapped fingers gently silenced her. "You didn't do anything wrong, Yumi. I am not going to harm you," He murmured huskily. Slowly his fingers danced from her lips to outline her jaw. His touch left a searing tickling sensation on her skin. She could feel her heart thumping wildly but in excitement not nervous anticipation. Not once had she ever desired one of her clients. They had taken her in their desire but it had never been a shared action. However, she could feel from the recesses of her heart that she felt some sort of attraction to the burnt man currently gliding his fingers across her collar bone.

But still, it was not whole desire. The fear of being taken was still there. And Shishio saw it clearly. He may be a manslayer and perhaps evil, but Makoto Shishio would never take a woman against her will. If she did not willingly give herself – her whole self – to him then he would leave her be. Besides, Yumi had made quite an impression upon him tonight and he would not defile a woman he respected. "You have never freely given yourself to a man before, have you?" He asked hoarsely, staring deeply into her purple eyes. Yumi stared up at him, the desire leaving her completely and replaced by fear. This man was too intuitive. It was like he could see into the deepest parts of her heart – parts that not even she wanted to journey into. When she did not answer he moved closer, scarcely brushing his lips against her own. "Or do you just find my burns repulsive?"

Suddenly, she lifted her right hand to gently caress his cheek and sweetly whispered, "Of all the men I have entertained, you are the least repulsive, Lord Shishio."

His crimson eyes narrowed as he tried to decipher whether or not she was playing games with him. But she merely gazed back at him with total sincerity. It was then that he realized that he had found someone special – a form of the highest nourishment. After planting a soft, swift kiss upon her lips, Shishio stood to leave. "Keep your schedule free Yumi, I will call on you again tomorrow night."

Flustered and confused Yumi nodded in daze. "Yes, Lord Shishio but-"

"Yumi, I am a proud man. I will not take a woman unless she truly wants to be taken. Until then I only wish for your company and truthful words. Is that clear?" He asked in a wary tone.

"Yes, Lord Shishio," She answered with an obedient bow.

"Then till tomorrow, Yumi," He smirked.

"Till tomorrow." She watched him leave with a slight smile on her face. How was it that probably the most murderous of her clients ended up being the most human? He was not to be trifled with that was for sure but still Yumi found herself more captivated by him than other before. How could she of known then just how pivotal that night would be in her life?

Author's Note: End of the first chapter! I hope you enjoyed it! This is my first Rurouni Kenshin fanfiction. Although Kenshin is my favorite anime series, I usually write DBZ stories (my first love). I'll just let you know, I pretty much only write epics so this story is going to trace all the way from Shishio and Yumi's meeting until they meet in hell. I'm going to try to keep them in character as much as possible too because I really hate OOC. Since I have two other epic stories going on write now updates might be only once a week but I hope people will like and stick with the story. PLEASE REVIEW!!!