Well, here is the last chapter of Blue Moon!

Ravyn

Warning: Violence. Death. So on.

Revised 3/5/10


Sano felt raw and Yahiko didn't look much better. Misao had been easy to find; she had been looking for them. There had been an expression in her eyes that had stilled any frantic explanations. Instead, they had piled into her SUV and driven to the bar. Sano hadn't been sure why she had taken them there, but Shinomori had been waiting for them. Once inside, he had taken them straight to a room Sano had never seen before.

"He is on his way."

Who was on his way? Looking over at the shorter woman, he frowned at her.

Misao simply shook her head. "We wait."

It took a second for him to realize who they were talking about. Kaoru's partner. Fists clenching together until his knuckles turned white, Sano bit his tongue. He wanted to demand answers, wanted to know who the man was, why he hadn't been there to protect her. He felt sick and furious and needed something to direct that anger at. Someone. Closing his eyes to try to control himself, his head snapped up at the sound of the sliding panel slamming along the track. Kenshin Himura stood in the doorway, eyes bright as he took in who was in the office.

"Where is she?"

There was a strange note in the normally docile man's voice: hard… cold.

"Jineh took her."

The air had changed, becoming thicker, tightening until it was hard to inhale. Himura's scar was vivid against his cheek as he stared at Shinomori. Why was he here? What good was Himura, now? The redheaded man suddenly shifted, a low hiss snaking out between his clenched teeth. The fire snapped and wavered before going out and the room felt alive. When Himura lifted his eyes, they were hot and yellow. He took a step into the room before he spoke, his voice ragged.

"Where is she?"

"We don't know." Misao said when no one else could get the words to shake free of their throats. The furious gaze was moved from Shinomori to the shorter woman, but she held his eyes.

"The boy can find her."

Every eye in the room snapped to Yahiko.

"He has a student-teacher bond with her. He can locate her." Shinomori said.

Yahiko's pale face was strained. "I haven't been trained."

"Tsubame can act as the catalyst," Misao said firmly. "She has the gift for it. Between the two of them they should be able to locate her."

"He will need a map," Himura said.

Yahiko looked bewildered. "But…"

"Hush," Misao whispered as she walked by, eyes cutting to Himura. "You're the only chance we have to find her before Jineh breaks her."

"But what will a map do?" Yahiko asked. "I don't have the training for this!"

"A map will allow you to visualize where you are hunting," Himura said. "You should be able to use it the way a seer uses a bowl of water."

Yahiko swallowed. "I don't have any strength left from the fire."

"Tsubame will handle that." Shinomori said as he tacked a map down on the desk. By the time Tsubame had arrived, it was covered in stick pins.

"Jineh likes to be near the bloodshed," Misao explained, her voice tight. "We have been searching here, and here, but have yet to locate him."

Tsubame nodded; her little face pale. "If you will place your hand on the map, Yahiko, I will boost what power you have left. You'll have to use your air talent." Yahiko swallowed and nodded.

"Just think about Kaoru."

The air smelled heavy, like walking through a thick fog and Sano winced. Air magic wasn't Yahiko's best skill. He could feel the strain Yahiko and Tsubame were putting on each other, the way Yahiko's hand trembled, but he didn't pant or sway. Just stood there stubbornly, jaw clenched, eyes shut.

"There." He said faintly. The air cleared as he staggered into Misao's side. If Aoshi hadn't reached over, they would have both hit the floor. Tsubame just folded her legs under her and breathed deeply.

"Warehouses. Blood."

"The old slaughterhouse maybe," Misao murmured softly, looking at Aoshi. "We didn't look there because of the ward."

Aoshi was silent before he nodded slowly. "Yes… but that brings another question to mind."

"Who broke the ward?" Misao whispered.

"I am going after Jineh." Himura said flatly. "Keep these two out of trouble."

Sano opened his mouth and shut it. He didn't have what it took to deal with Jineh. He watched as the redhead stalked to the door, pausing a moment before turning.

"If your uncle isn't dead by the time my business is finished, Aoshi, I'll take his soul apart."

"Uncle?" Sano managed, his lips feeling stiff. "What does Himura have to do with Kaoru?"

Misao sighed, a long, heavy sound. "We need food and brandy. Then we'll talk."

X

She woke up with her fingers curled into a fist, pressed against the straining beats of her heart. She didn't open her eyes. She didn't want to know where she was or what was causing the smell of rotting meat to mingle with the stench of human flesh. Her mouth tasted like stomach acid.

It was so cold.

She couldn't' move.

Her entire body felt stiff, wrong. Her joints were locked into place and no matter how hard she tried, they wouldn't bend. Even thinking was difficult. Beyond the slow, crawling pain in her limbs, there was a loud noise banging in her eardrums.

Jineh. She wanted to scream, to scream and scream and scream. Her throat felt raw. The sound of her own breathing echoed back into her mind, burning along the ragged paths that were left from whatever he had done to her. She trembled at the memory, how she had felt each layer of her mind bend and buckle under that frozen, disjoined touch. The way his laughter had sunk into her chest and burned where it had settled. He hadn't touched her, hadn't needed to, and not with the way those spells had eaten away at her defenses. Before she had broken, before he had torn away the last of her internal walls, something hot had pushed him away. Had broken his grip. But only for that moment. He would be back.

The echo of uneven footsteps moving down the hall terrified her. She curled as deep into her mind as she could. He would try to break her again. Try to pull her inner walls apart and leave her bare against whatever he did to his victims.

He would use her as bait and use her pain to cut him.

Kenshin. He was using her as bait for Kenshin. He wanted to hurt Kenshin.

Dragging up the last of her stubbornness, she retreated. Threw herself into that cold, dark place that had sheltered her before, when she had suffered from his attack at the apartments. She wouldn't be used, not as a toy for an insane man. If he couldn't find her, he couldn't break her. She could feel the wrongness of retreating, could almost hear that faint, terrified voice from before – snap out of it!- but she just curled in tighter.

You couldn't break what you couldn't find.

X

Kenshin was angry. It ate at him, twisted his insides around until they formed one hot, acidic knot in his middle. The blade at his hip sang to him, calling him to give death. His thumb moved over the hilt slowly, even as the fingers gripped with a white knuckled intensity.

He was hunting.

Rage was a living thing inside him, churning with his magic and blending in with his chi until he couldn't taste the end of the beginning. He could feel the darkness clinging to him, could feel the way it trembled beneath his hand, demanding its payment for its service, demanded the ice it had already tasted. It called for blood. He would take Jineh's soul apart, rip it from his body and twist it into a scattered wraith and then, only when those screams darkened into agonized pulses of sound, just enough to still be alive… Only then would he feed that soul to the darkness that bent to his will.

Jineh had forgotten. Oh, what Jineh had forgotten. The dark song was a sweet, haunting call that Kenshin knew well, that he had always answered. His black blade was a sign of his sins and a promise of the sins to come. Jineh had turned his back on his oaths; let them twist him into something not human. Until it was him, not his blade that fed on the blood and souls of those he touched; Jineh needed the slow deaths, the pain, to survive. To satisfy the emptiness of what had once been his own soul. Jineh craved the pain and blood of his foes and Kenshin could give it to him. He would soak the floor in it, would twist him up in it and would listen to his screams as he was ripped apart.

He had dared to touch her. Had dared to look at her. Jineh had chosen his bait and now he would deal with the consequences. When this was over, when Kaoru was in his bed and sleeping, protected by magic even Aoshi dared not touch…

Then he would see who else had forgotten the call of darkness and remind them.

X

The old slaughterhouse had been shut down for years, too dangerous for anyone partially sensitive. Too much blood, too much tainted power for even Kenshin to be comfortable; so when the mob had taken this half of the city, they had warded it. Very few could have cracked the ward that protected this place from magic. Jineh did not have that talent.

A puzzle for another night; not when he could taste the fouled magic, could feel the way it was brushing him and his sword. A spark of his own magic banished the shadows. He wasn't interested in those games tonight. Looking around, his eyes narrowed at a sudden laugh.

Jineh.

Teeth clenched hard enough to crack, Kenshin moved into the remains of the building. The residue of fear pulled at his senses, both animal and human… Kaoru. He could taste her, feel the way her screams had echoed off the walls and his rage went cold. So very cold. Lifting his lips into a silent snarl, he unsheathed his blade.

"I broke my little toy. Broke. Shattered under my mind. So very fragile."

"You lie."

"She screamed for me… screamed. Screamed in her little prison."

Because he could still feel her screams in the walls, her terror, he bit his cheek until he bled. The sword in his hand darkened, the kanji glowing hotly. So Jineh wanted to play. The sword came from his right. Twisting his blade around it, he let it hit the flesh of Jineh's neck. A slow bleeding cut. He would take Jineh piece by piece and savor it.

"You lie." Kenshin returned. "Your games won't work with me."

So easy to duck under his defenses, so let his sword drink another sip of that black, broken soul, to feel the way Jineh screamed inside. The way he broke.

"So fun!" Jineh crowed, ducking away, eyes glittering strangely. "So angry. Are you angry yet?"

Kenshin shifted his stance, feeling the way his sword called to the shadows, demanded their obedience in this one thing.

"Where is she?"

"Dead. Broke. I broke her!"

Kenshin snarled and Jineh blocked his blow, his laugh high and mad.

"I win! He thought he would win! Thought he would get to taste your rage! It is mine! Her screams and your rage are mine! He can't have her!"

Kenshin took another piece of his soul, shoving his sword through his gut and wrenching, knowing that with this much blood magic it wouldn't even faze him. A dagger cut the air near his neck. He… someone other than Jineh. However, Kaoru, his Kaoru, was not broken. He would know. He would taste that shattering of her core in the walls. He felt only her screams.

"Such lies," he murmured, shaking the blood off his sword. It hissed against the ground, sparking for a moment. It took a moment for him to think through his rage, to recognize the danger of that movement and then he stepped back, eyes narrowing.

Jineh launched at him, eyes wild.

Kenshin shoved his sword back in his sheath, dodged the attack and slipped into his favorite stance. The next time Jineh lunged, Kenshin took his head. The body hit the floor, and the scent of charged flesh rolled up to Kenshin's nose. Sheathing his glowing blade, he stared down at the floor.

"How clever." His mouth slowly curved. "I think that fate is almost worth your soul, Jineh."

It took time he didn't have to find the spells. They were bound with her screams. His fists clenched until he drew blood. If he had let Jineh bleed the way his anger demanded, he would have opened a gate; a gate bound with Kaoru's screams and his own anger. Jineh would have let them all be pulled into that hell, uncaring about his own soul.

Shadows brushed at him, dangerously tempting when he was this angry. They wanted the rest of Jineh's soul. His sword wanted more. Ripping it from the sheath, he cut through those haunting touches, his snarl filling the room.

No… he would leave Jineh to the gate. It was easy enough to take off the sealing spell, to let Jineh bleed the gate open. Aoshi was hovering on the edges of his senses, waiting to mend the ward. By the time the gate opened, the ward would be in place and Kaoru…

No, he had spent enough time and now it was time to find Kaoru.

X

Someone was calling her from the darkness. The call was softer than Jineh, the sensation of soft fur rubbing against her soul instead of harsh scales and madness. She didn't want to go. It was safer here, in the dark… Yet, no matter how hard she dug into the darkness something kept pulling her up, pulling her away from the cold safety of her own mind. Screaming in terror, fighting with those warm, soft pulls, she gasped painfully when oxygen hit her lungs.

"I have her."

The voice was female and so very weak against the ringing in her ears. She struggled in the grip holding her, weak, frantic sounds in her ears.

"You will hold her."

She froze, hot relief welling in her chest. She knew that voice; knew that commanding tone.

"She needs to warm up. I suggest a hot bath; spells would be too harsh right now." There was a hesitation. "She needs someone to anchor her."

Meg… Megumi. That was who called her. Feeling like she was floating, she gave up on whatever fight she had and sank into a different kind of darkness.

X

Kenshin looked up, eyes still hot. They were outside the warehouse. He hadn't dared take her back to his place, not when her lips had been so blue, her heart hardly beating under his hand as he forced her to live. Misao had arrived moments after he left the building, dragging a flustered Megumi with her.

"I will take her, Megumi."

She looked up, her normal bluster gone from her eyes. "Is that wise?"

"The blade will not hurt her."

"Your soul is…"

"Is enough. I will hold her."

Uncertainty flickered across her face before her mouth hardened.

"I have broken the soul chains. He didn't damage her, although he came close. She will need to be carefully warded until her gift recovers from this. Its… wild, changed. It will react violently to anyone it doesn't know."

"I understand."

There was a sudden loud, cracking noise and the building behind him rattled dangerously. Kenshin looked way from Kaoru long enough to see Misao's uncle's body fall lifelessly to the hard cement. Satisfaction curled the edges of his mouth. Aoshi had decided the best way to mend the ward was with a soul spell.

It was fitting.

Reaching down, he picked Kaoru up and ignored the way blood clung to every line of her body, matted her hair. Her breathing was even, and her skin was no longer so cold it burned to touch her.

"She is mine, Megumi. I will hold her."

Turning, he melted into the darkness.

X

Wet heat beat down on her back and shoulders, forcing her back into awareness. Gasping a little at the unfamiliar sensations, Kaoru blinked her eyes open and tried to focus. Something was holding her limp body up and the dark gray tile told her she was somewhere new. Shower. A hot shower, to wash off the blood. She shuddered, curling a little and the grip on her body changed.

"It's alright. He isn't here, Kaoru."

His voice sounded a little funny with her ear to his shoulder, but she blinked past the water and lifted her head. Kenshin. His hair was damp and his lashes held little beads of water, but he seemed unconcerned as he continued to hold her under the spray. She didn't know what to say, so she just stared at him, trying not to feel lost.

"Welcome back."

She swallowed and then tried to speak. Her voice was gravelly and her throat felt raw, but the words were no longer stuck in her throat.

"Where are we?"

"I brought you to my place. You need quiet and rest, and you weren't going to get it with the other two watching you." A contemplative expression crossed his face. "If I leave you to put together tea and a light meal, will you be alright?"

She stared at him. Would she be alright? She didn't know. Was that sort of thing possible after what had happened? Was it alright to say yes when she didn't know if 'no' was the right answer? He must have read some of it in her face because the hand that had been in the middle of her spine shifted to her cheek.

"I can stay."

Stay. She almost nodded, but stopped. Her brain was slowly catching up with the rest of her, and it was reminding her that they were both naked. Under her hands there was damp skin over hard muscle, and she was pressed up against him in a very personal way. With nothing on. She didn't have the energy to blush, so instead, she shook her head. She didn't want to say she was fine, but she didn't think she would be able to look him in the face ever again if he didn't put some clothes on.

"Alright. Stay as long as you like." His eyes cut to her right. "There is a bar of soap and shampoo to wash your hair." His finger tilted her chin. "If you need anything…"

"Thank you." Her voice sounded rougher than before.

He nodded and stepped back, grasping her elbows as he steadied her. Once she had her feet, he moved back the glass doors and then shut them. She waited until the door to the bathroom shut before sinking into a heap in the middle of the shower. Reaching over to the water, she turned up the heat, wrapped her arms around her middle and tried not the throw up.

She forced her mind away from the events of earlier, away from the blood. She was thankful that he had dragged her into the shower before she was awake enough to realize how much blood she had been covered in. The water was clear as it ran off her skin and hair and she pressed her forehead against her knee.

If she was with Kenshin, odds were Jineh was dead. Which meant all she had to do was pick up the pieces. Reaching up to shove her bangs out of her face, she breathed deeply and concentrated on the feel of the hot water. The longer she sat under the water, forcing herself through meditation, the better she felt. The more her skin felt like her own again. It took some time for the heat to reach her bones, but she had stopped shaking when she finally reached for the bar of soap. It helped that she could feel Kenshin. She didn't know what Jineh had done to her, what the consequences of those actions were going to be, but she could feel Kenshin. Feel the slow, vibrating heat of him against her skin and in her chest; places that had felt hollow and empty once Jineh had finished with her.

It helped.

There wasn't dirt that she could see, but she still scrubbed herself almost raw. Her scalp burned a little from the force of her nails. The faint noises in the kitchen helped steady her, even if the shower drowned most of them out. She had a bad moment when she saw the bruises on her legs, and she had shook hard enough rattle her teeth and sent her trying to scramble back into that cold, welcoming darkness. Except there had been something warm wrapped around those blank edges of her mind, catching and holding her as she shook.

The water was still warm when she pushed herself to her feet and out of the bath. Bruised fingers found a soft towel. Ringing out her hair, she grabbed a second towel and went to work on herself. Once she was as dry as she was going to get, she reached for the pile of soft, ginger smelling clothes that had been left for her. She didn't want to think about her other clothes. She hoped he burned them. Taking a deep breath, she tried to center herself and headed out of the bathroom.

She could smell the herbs before she saw Kenshin. There was a teapot resting on the stove, with little tendrils of steam wafting up from the spout. He turned before she thought she made a noise, eyes running over her before some tension eased in his shoulders. Her bottom lip trembled when she realized he had dragged the recliner into the dining room. There was a blanket waiting on her and she breathed deeply.

"Your tea is almost finished." He studied her. "Are you hungry?"

She shook her head. Food would make her ill. Thinking about food made her ill.

"Alright." He said, moving away from her find a mug. Once she was settled and cradling the hot drink, he returned to what he had been doing. He was chopping what looked liked vegetables and wondered what he was cooking. Curling her legs up under her, she watched him, trying to decide why it soothed the lingering fear in her chest.

There was something… compelling about watching a man like Kenshin move. Even tense and obviously still riled about what he had done, there was a precision, a certain grace that even stiff shoulders and his internal agitation couldn't completely erase. Wrapped in the blanket, tea in her hands, Kaoru dropped her guard and just allowed herself to look.

Muscles shifted and rolled under tan skin, slender fingers moved with skill. She had to fight the sudden urge to stand up and bury her nose between his shoulder blades or to tangle her fingers in that bright fall of hair. She wanted to be afraid that he was able to comfort her with his presence. She had told herself the attraction wasn't mutual. That no matter what he did with his mouth, there was more to a relationship than lust.

Putting her mug on the table, she studied her hands instead of his back. It was getting harder to hide behind that shield. Because she did feel something for the redhead; more than just safety, more than the knowledge that if he was here, she was safe. She didn't know if it was shock or the desperate need for human touch after her ordeal, but there it was. Closing her eyes, she let the familiar sounds lull her to sleep.

Her eyes snapped open and she jerked in alarm, screaming in panic when a male voice swore so close to hear ear. Twisting around, she gasped as her head crashed into something. The material wrapped around her kept her from fighting, and instead she flung herself to the side. They hit the floor with a thud. He had been carrying her. The air was knocked from her lungs and she struggled to breathe as a weight settled over her. Squeezing her eyes shut tightly, she desperately tried to breathe. Scream.

"Kaoru."

She stilled at the sound of Kenshin's voice. The panic died in her chest and she gulped air before cracking her eyes open. His body had her neatly pinned inside what she recognized as the blanket she had fallen asleep in and his fingers were holding her wrists firmly.

"Alright?"

She shut her eyes again and nodded. "I'm sorry."

A thumb brushed the corner of her eye. "Why?"

She worked up the courage to open her eyes again. That thick gloss around her mind, almost like honey, was comforting.

"I think I head butted you." She whispered.

"I'll survive." He returned, a faint smile tugging at his mouth. "I didn't mean to startle you."

She stared at his eyes, a curious mix of gold and violet, and decided that no matter how uncertain she was about where things stood between them, she didn't want to face these nightmares alone. Wiggling one arm free, she wrapped it around his waist, the crease where his shirt and pants bared his skin. He stiffed a little in surprise when she tugged him down, pressing her nose against his shoulder.

"I don't want to be scared." She whispered. Relief was heady as she finally admitted that she was terrified of herself now. His arm slipped under her neck, the other arm hooking around her waist.

"I know."

"I don't understand why he did any of it."

There was a long pause. "Madness doesn't always need a reason, Kaoru. It just is."

"He…" she took a very deep breath. "He said he was working for someone."

The muscles under her hands bunched and twisted. She found herself starring at those eyes again. "Did he say who?"

"No… just… just that I was…" her words died and she swallowed, shaking her head.

"Aoshi is looking into it."

"Aoshi knew?"

Kenshin's jaw worked for a moment. "Jineh also gloated to me that there was someone else."

"Someone else knows what I can do," she whispered, pressing her fingers into his hip. "He kidnapped me for someone else… that means… what am I going to do? I'm a danger to them."

Them. Sano and Yahiko.

He brushed her bangs from her eyes. "I'm afraid that can't be helped now. Cutting them out of your life won't change that, Kaoru."

"I want it to." She whispered, pressing up against his body again, not wanting to see his face. His muscles shifted along his back and she tightened her grip. His breath exhaled, ghosting down the back of her neck and across her collarbones.

"This is becoming a habit."

"It's easier when I don't have to look at you." She mumbled. "I don't know what to say when you're watching me."

Fingers stroked down the side of her neck. "Why?"

"I don't know what to do about you." She whispered.

She could hear the smile in his voice. "I can think of several things."

She dug her nail into his hipbone. "Be serious."

He was teasing? Now, after a madman had been sent to hunt her? After someone could be trying to kill her friends right now?

"I am," he informed her, this time managing to push up to stare at her. "I'm always serious about us, Kaoru."

She reached up and thumped him in the forehead. "Stop that."

He frowned at her. "What?"

"Looking like you want to kiss me," she shot back, feeling desperate. He quirked a brow and she gulped air. "You can't look at me like that."

His fingers left her neck to trace patterns across her collarbones. The heat of his thumb feathered against the hollow of her throat. She swallowed as she felt her heart rate speed up.

"Perhaps," his tone had dropped into that mellow droll that had her hand forming a fist in his t-shirt. "You would prefer me to just kiss you?"

She licked her lips. "I don't know."

The edge of his brow kicked up in a silent demand.

"When you're looking at me like that, I can at least run. When you're kissing me, I forget…"

Her words were lost in the press of his lips. He groaned into her mouth when she bit his bottom lip, his hand slipping behind her head to cradle her skull in his palm. When he finally pulled back, it was hard to concentrate over the pounding of her heart and that rolling purr that washed over her. Blinking up at him, her throat ran dry. He leaned forward, and she shivered as his breath ghosted along the sensitive shell of her ear.

"If you keep looking at me like that," he whispered, teeth catching the edge of her earlobe, releasing only after she gasped. "Then neither of us is going to be getting much sleep tonight."

She hesitated, watching his eyes. "I don't…"

His fingers worked their way free of her hair and slid up to touch her mouth, stopping her words.

"I know."

"I mean," she tried again, mumbling around his fingers. She needed to explain… maybe to herself and maybe to him, but he simply increased the pressure of his fingers.

"Kaoru," he interrupted. "I know."

"Oh."

His thumb stroked her bottom lip. "Things will be alright. They always are."

"Not always," she corrected, lips trembling.

The edge of his mouth curved a little. "With us, they will be."

"That's awfully arrogant," she informed him, trying to ignore the way her heart was pounding at the way he had spoken. Like a vow, an oath.

He shrugged, sitting up in one motion. "Perhaps, but I don't care. You here, now, and mine; I don't let go of what is mine, Kaoru."

Her mouth ran dry at the promise in his voice and eyes. He believed every word, and the knowledge that he would fight for that promise had her stomach rolling with butterflies. What did it mean when a man looked at you with those eyes and made those promises? When they came from a man who had yet to find a barrier he couldn't break? Who carried a black blade with a feral smile and touched her with those fingers in ways that made her heart pound? Yet, he hadn't touched her at all, not really.

There was a strange mix of thrill and terror at the realization that he would show her, whether she wanted it or not. He would teach her how he kept his promises. That he was going to bring her even deeper into his crazy, insane world. When he reached to pick her up, to carry her back to his room, she leaned into his neck and breathed deeply. Maybe she could do this. At least, she could let him carry her. For now.

X

"How is she?"

"Sleeping," Kenshin responded, voice tight as he cradled the phone against his cheek.

"There are only a few mage's who had enough power to tempt Jineh into working for them and fewer still who have power enough to break a ward."

"He is supposed to be dead."

Aoshi's response was neutral. "That is what we were told. Hannah is looking into it, but there are only so many places a ghost can travel."

"He was cursed," Kenshin reminded him. "If he survived that as well as the fire, then there are going to be complications."

"If we can trust Jineh's mad ramblings about someone else," Aoshi's tone was ice. "Then we must also assume that everything that has occurred from the beginning has been an attempt to gain possession of your partner. We are looking at Hiruma's death."

Kenshin gripped the edge of his desk, knuckles turning white with strain. His voice was a low snarl when he finally spoke again.

"She is mine."

"The spells you ordered are complete."

Some of the tension eased in his shoulders. "When will they be delivered?"

"Tomorrow."

"Good."

"You are sure this is the path you wish to take?"

"Yes."

"The girl agrees?"

"She will."

There was a long silence and then the sound of papers being shuffled. "I have upgraded the security on the witch and the enforcer. They will be moved further into Old Kyoto as soon as something opens."

"I shall let Kaoru know."

"If that is all?"

"It is."

Kenshin set the phone down after a dial tone met his ears. Shishio Makato. If it was true that someone had covered up the failure of killing that particular mage… He should let Aoshi handle it. There were other things he needed to prepare for.

Except… there was someone who would know… at the very least, would know who to start killing to find the answers he wanted. Someone Aoshi wouldn't consider contacting until much, much later. Taking a calming breath, he reached for the phone again and punched in a few numbers.

"What?"

"Shishou, I need a favor…"

To clear a few things up – Yes, this is the end of this particular story. Yes, I know, I left it hanging and it is really, really wrong of me. But this is where the muse ended. Do I plan on writing more to this, making it into something like a series? That is entirely possible if I can get my muse to let me write more on it. It would be a follow up of some sort. No idea if it would be a one shot or a chapter fic. I'll do my best to do something but nothing is currently in the works.


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