Cinder-Kenshin

Summary: Rurouni Kenshin characters with a Cinderella plotline and reversed gender roles. Might be a bit OOC…KenKaoru. Read and review please! (but no flames please. Flames are a stab to the heart)

A/N: Please bear with me as this is the first fanfic I've written in a while.

Disclaimer: I do not own Rurouni Kenshin.

Chapter 1
Our Story Begins

Once upon a time, as all fairy tales go, there lived a swordsman by the name of Hiko. His wife and son had died many years before in a feudal war. One day, there was a knock on the door. Hiko opened it to find a young boy standing on his doorstep. The boy had a tattered and faded kimono and his face was with dirt. Red hair hung loose around his shoulders, clinging to his face and extended all the way down to his waist.

"Sir, would you like me to clean your house?" The boy raised his head. Dull purple eyes shone from underneath the red mop of hair. What a strange boy…Asking me if he can clean my house? I suppose if he needs the money…Thought Hiko.

"Uh…sure. Come in." The boy bowed his head low and entered. Within a few hours, the once messy house was clean. As he was about to leave, the man threw a small bag at the boy. The boy turned around quickly and caught the bag with a single hand, "thank you. Sorry to have bothered you, this is for your time," said Hiko. The boy nodded and ran off.

A week later, Hiko strolled into the town center to buy food. Hmm…what to make for dinner? I suppose miso soup. Hiko let out a sigh; I guess that means buying more tofu. Hmm…and maybe some fish too. Ooooohh…a hot pot restaurant. Maybe I'll have that for lunch. As he approached the place, suddenly many figures crashed through the entranceway. Squinting through the dust, Hiko saw the silhouettes of four people. As the dust cleared, he could see that they stood over something, taking turns throwing punches and kicks. A young waitress came out to try to stop them, but a tall, dark-haired man glared at her and the timid waitress backed off. As the man left an opening in their "circle," Hiko saw a speck of red hair showing through. It can't be that kid, can it? How many other red-heads are there in Japan? As he pondered these things, the whistle of the police force interrupted his train of thought. The four kids scattered leaving the young boy alone. The police began questioning the kid. Fear was plastered to the boy's face. Hiko decided, then, to step in.

"Hello police officers." They ignored him and continue to grill the kid for details on the others. Hiko put his hand on the officer's shoulder, the officer turned around.

"What do you want?"

"I would like you to stop questioning him. It's obvious that my nephew here has no idea who it was that beat him up. Let's go home. Your parents must be worried." The boy, confused but grateful to be out of that situation, nodded and followed Hiko to his home. Once there, Hiko showed the boy a place to bathe and sleep for the night. Hiko then went to the kitchen to prepare lunch. There goes the idea of beef pot for lunch.

"So kid," asked Hiko as they sat down to eat, "What's your name? I can't keep calling you 'kid' now can I?" The boy looked up at Hiko, then back down to his rice bowl.

"It-it's Shinta. Himura Shinta."

"Well then, Shinta, where's your parents?"
"I don't have any." Hiko's face dropped and he lowered his chopsticks in surprise, "They died a long time ago. My mom, my dad, my little sister, and brothers. The house burned down while they were inside."

"Why did it burn and, more importantly how did you survive?" Shinta shrugged his shoulders.

"I don't know why it burned. I just know that it did. I was outside, playing in the river with my older brother. He told me to stay on the river bank and don't leave until he came back. He never did. It started getting dark so I went back home. Only thing was," he let out a snort, "there wasn't any home; just a bunch of burned wood and charred bodies. I buried them in the woods nearby. I grabbed what didn't burn and came here to Kyoto, hoping that there would be something for me here. Guess not."

"How old are you, Shinta?"

"Twelve."

"And this happened when you were…?"

"six," Shinta scooped up the last of his rice into his mouth, "Thank you for this meal." He took his dishes and Hiko's, which had been finished a while ago, to the sink and began to wash them.

"You like to clean don't you?" Shinta didn't look up, he just kept washing.

"Yes. It's how I've been able to survive for the past six years."

"Very well, I won't stop you then," Hiko put up his arms in mock surrender, "however; I will give you this offer: If you can keep my house clean, you are welcome to live here. You won't have to worry about food or clothes or shelter and you can continue to do what you enjoy." Shinta was silent for a moment, then nodded.

Two years had passed. Shinta still cleaned for Hiko and Hiko provided a place for Shinta. They had bonded much during this time and Hiko had let Shinta in on some basics of Kendo. Hiko began to treat Shinta as less of an errand boy and more of a son. On many occasions, as Shinta returned from his town trips, he would have a spot of blood on his kimono or have a small bruise on his face. Shinta tried to hide them from Hiko, but being the master swordsman he is, Hiko saw past Shinta's cover-ups. After hearing that it was that same group of kids he had run into two years previous, Hiko made up his mind then and there he would teach Shinta to defend himself.

"But of course," added Hiko, "'Shinta' is not a good name for a swordsman. From now on, you shall be 'Kenshin'." Hiko trained Kenshin everyday, pushing his pupil to his limits, teaching to him the ancient art of Hiten Mitsurugi Ryuu. Teaching this style is not easy, and many times learned the hard way. By the end of the day, Kenshin would have multiple cuts and bruises. Minor ones Hiko treated himself. But if it was serious or and illness, he took Kenshin to the doctor; the nearest one being the clinic belonging to the famed Takani family. The doctor there was beautiful. Her raven hair swayed in the direction she moved and her voice was a harmonious melody. It was no surprise, then, that Hiko began to fall for this young doctor. One fateful day, Hiko asked to marry her in which she immediately agreed. The doctor had two sons of her own. The eldest was Saito. Even for eighteen years old, he stood tall, his black hair cut short and wisps of bangs hung over the front like willow branches. He wore western style clothing, which fitted him as the flowing robes of traditional clothing would have all but consumed his thin figure. The younger, Enishi, was sixteen years old an also tall for his age. He had spiky black hair and glasses. Western style clothing clung to his well-built body, and beady eyes glared at anything that displeased him. The two men entered the room and saw Kenshin there, standing in the kitchen, preparing dinner.

"Hey kid!" Enishi shouted, "wanna make something for us too?" Kenshin looked up. He saw the two men's faces and recognized one immediately.

"You," he spat out, glaring at Saito," what are you doing here?"

"I live here you brat," Saito spat back, "or didn't your master tell you?" he and Enishi chuckled. Yelling, Kenshin lunged forth at Saito. A hand-to-hand fight was in full swing when Hiko storms into the house.

"What is going on?"

"Shishou (master), what are these people doing in our home?"

"Didja hear that Saito? He is a servant here. Ohhh I'm gonna like living here now!"

"Enishi quiet," commanded the doctor.

"I'm sorry I didn't tell you sooner, Kenshin. I have asked doctor Takani to marry me. These are her two sons. I want you to treat them with the same kindness I treated you when you first came here. They are your brothers now."

"NO! THEY COULD NEVER TAKE THE PLACE OF MY BROTHERS!!!" shouted Kenshin as he stormed off to his room.