Pairing: KenKao. Not really a romantic pairing, but attraction and the begining of one.
Rating: M, to be safe
Warnings: Mention of blood, guns, knives and terrorism (and climbing out of a balcony and along the walls of an apartment complex is not to be tried at home kids). And this is unbeta-read, while English isn't my first language. So be kind :)
Notes: First posted this on my LJ ages ago, but decided to post it here as well since I haven't been posting a lot of new stories here lately. Enjoy! :)
Kaoru stared at the TV screen trying to make sense of what she was seeing. The part of her brain that was still half-asleep though – which sadly was still outweighing the other part – was eagerly hoping the gorgeous red-head with the golden eyes was single. For a few moments, it didn't really matter that he was being interviewed in the tell-tale uniform of the counter-terrorist unit Special Assault Team of the National Police Agency, nor that he was standing just outside her apartment complex building. She wasn't even sure it was the news channel, and not some lame TV show, until the noises that kept buzzing in the background started to connect with what her shiny new TV was trying to tell her.
It would seem that somewhere during her hours of sleep she – among the rest of the unfortunate occupants in the building – had been taken hostage.
Figures the first night she tried out her new ear props, to shut out the noise of the city, it would make her deaf to the havoc wreaking just outside her flimsy apartment door.
"Himura-san, have you any information to share of how the hostages are faring?"
"We have gotten several phone calls from the people who have yet to be horded by the culprits, and a few more from those who have. They are being used as leverage for these men's demands but there have been no reports of any harm befallen to those captured."
"I see, then what are the demands and how are you going to approach this, Himura-san? There must be at least a hundred hostages inside!"
"We do not negotiate with terrorists, but we will assure the survival of as many as we can. I have no more information to share."
"Thank you, Himura-san. Dear viewers, this is Suzuki Aiko from Tokyo Hoso, broadcasting Live from the---"
Kaoru put it on mute, and took a shaky breath of well needed air. Sitting in only her pajamas, pink, furry, bunny-slippers and bed-hair she was wide awake with a steady flow of adrenaline pumping through her tense system. The cop – Himura-san – had said they had gotten phone calls from people who hadn't been captured yet. She must be one of them, only she had no intentions of calling anyone. Swallowing, she turned the TV off and stood. Looking around, breathing hard and fast, she didn't allow herself to stop and think. She couldn't afford to hesitate; who knew when the terrorists would come barging through her door? She lived on the top floor, and she had no idea where they were.
Acting quickly, she made her bed and grabbed her bokken from her closet before turning to one of the many boxes around to look for a back-up; finally stopping to slip a knife up her sleeve and securing it with a rubber band. She exhaled before turning and making her way out to her living room, wondering if she should exit through her door or step out on the balcony – which faced the neighboring building and was neatly hidden in a still-dim alley – to climb down and hide herself under it until they had searched through her flat and found it empty. Since it was filled with boxes and the walls were left half-done with paint, she hoped they would assume she hadn't stayed the night if she was still moving in.
Deciding that the balcony was the safer choice, she quickly collected her keys and mobile phone from the table in the middle of the room before slipping out and locking the door. The cold air of morning stung her hot, sweaty skin and she inhaled sharply; somewhat disgusted by the fumes and pollution of the city.
Shaking her head, trying to clear it from distractions, she climbed over the rickety fence of her balcony with one hand on the brick wall of her building while the other hand gripped the fence and her bokken in a rather unsteady hold. Turning, she gulped before slowly sliding down and feeling with her feet for the support of the stones emerging from the wall to form a decorative shelf around the building. She was hanging from her hands on the balcony's floor by the time her toes made contact with the narrow leverage and she swallowed nervously before carefully letting go. She ended up pressed against the wall and carefully she managed to the few wobbly steps needed to take her underneath the floor of her balcony. A sigh of relief left her lips when she realized she was now out of sight but pulled her lips down in a frown when she thought of the indefinite time she had to wait before making her next move.
Once the men came searching on her floor, taking all who occupied their apartments, she suspected they would drag them with them to some kind of meeting point. She reasoned they must have taken one of the floors as their base, so they could keep an eye on everyone while not having to split up their own group. I watch way too much action, she thought with a grin, feeling her primal instinct of survival mix with the excitement she had always found when faced with a challenge. Though, this was many times more dangerous than anything she had previously encountered, Kaoru was determined to see this through. The police had a hundred hostages on stake and, at the same time, the unbreakable rule of never, ever negotiating with terrorists. They was she saw it, it would end bloody and the police were quite helpless in these circumstances. But not if they had some…insider help, right? Just a tip-off of what the terrorists were doing, where they were located, how many they were, what they were doing…she could do that, couldn't she?
The sound of her door being kicked in and the loud, threatening shouts of what she could only assume where them made her doubt it, and the following gunshots had her blood turn to ice when she finally realized just how bloody dangerous this was.
Kenshin paced impatiently inside the make-shift tent where all of the surveillance equipment was located, eyeing the many different phones ready to take any call from the building. Other devices were posed to catch all outgoing calls from the building as well, if they were not to the police, but so far they had only managed to catch desperate calls to relatives and friends from the people still left in their apartments. It had been several minutes since the last call from any of the apartments, and the lack of frequent calling could only mean the terrorists had now gone through the whole building and gathered all they could find. A frustrated growl left him at the thought as he stopped by one of the agents standing in the corner waiting for orders, and Kenshin was met with similar frustration form the younger man.
"Kenshin, when will they send us in? I'm itching to beat these bastards up real good!" Sanosuke Sagara hissed, crossing his arms and glaring at him.
"Sano," he replied, voice strained and temper already simmering, "Our orders are to stay put until Commander Saitou gives us a clear. We will have to wait until he deems it necessary to make a move. Besides, you know as well as I do that barging in there now would result in a loss far greater than if we chose the right moment."
Sano frowned, never having been a fan of logic, but nodded all the same. He didn't want to waste more innocent blood than absolutely necessary, but he knew it was unavoidable in this kind of situation. The terrorists' demands were impossible, and they weren't allowed to negotiate with them in the first place. Personally, Sano thought they were just procrastinating and putting off the inventible. He didn't voice his thoughts though, because if someone hated the blood of innocents, it was Kenshin.
"Captain! Captain Himura-san!" a man called, entering the tent in a light job and stopping before the short red-head with a bow.
"What is it, Sergeant…Itou?" he asked, pausing to connect the man's face with a name. The man nodded, his lips set in a grim line that made Kenshin frown. No good news, then.
"We have successfully surrounded the building, but…"
"But what, Sergeant?"
"Sir," he began, seeming to suddenly become quite uncomfortable. "There is a girl standing under a balcony on the top floor, armed with a bokken."
"What?!" Sano exclaimed as Kenshin's eyes narrowed. "What the hell is she doing up there?!"
Ignoring his question, Kenshin eyed the Sergeant. "Have you tried to make any contact with her?"
He squirmed underneath his glare, but steeled his shoulders and shook his head. "No sir, I did not want to draw any attention to her in case the terrorists have yet to discover her. We currently have no way of taking her down safely, I thought it best to await your orders Captain."
Kenshin nodded, a little relieved, and was about to reply when one of the phones began to ring. Instantly, he was by the agent managing the phone, hovering over his shoulder as the whole tent seemed to hold their breath.
The voice was female, lows as if she was whispering, and Kenshin had a sudden bad feeling about this. His gut rarely told him lies.
"Miss, you have reached the police. Where are you?" the agent replied instantly and Kenshin waited, clenching his fists.
"I'm the crazy one underneath the balcony. The men you're after just searched through my flat, and left. I think they have left my floor, probably. I think my apartment was the last to be searched."
Kenshin took over, shoving the other agent out of his way and barely containing the urge to curse. Sano did a good job in his stead.
"Miss, I'm a Captain of the SAT, Himura. Would you mind telling me what you are doing up there? Have someone noticed you?"
A muffled giggle made him frown as he waited for her reply, but it didn't take her long to calm down from her mirth. "Yeah, I saw you on TV…anyway, yes, your men have noticed me. I would appreciate if you told them to stop trying to look up my skirt."
"This is no time for jokes, Miss," he growled, temper flaring despite his efforts. "Now, tell me, what are you doing up there? With a bokken?"
"Oh, I didn't want to be taken a hostage. I thought I'd help you instead."
"You thought you'd help…?" Kenshin repeated with disbelief, ignoring Sano's barking laugh. An offended snort was heard from the other side of the line and he had to fight the urge to hit something.
"Yeah, do you know how many they are? The terrorists, I mean. And where they are located? And, do you know what they are doing?"
"Hey, missy, what exactly do you think you can do hanging off a wall?" Sano asked over Kenshin's shoulder, sounding somewhat annoyed as well.
"Give me your cellphone number, Himura-san, if you have one. Or some SAT cell, whatever."
"And what do you need that for?" he snapped, swatting Sano away when his face came too close for comfort.
"I can't very well be talking out loud if the terrorists decide to come around, can I? What if they hear me, and find me? If I text, they won't hear, and I'll still be able to contact you. If I need help, I mean. And, I'm a bit nervous about my situation. It would feel a bit better if I knew I could contact someone. Please, Himura-san?"
Kenshin sighed, pulling his phone from his pocket and flipping it open. "Fine. I'll give you a number to contact, Miss.." he paused, an agent approaching him with her name after having tracked her number. "Miss Kamiya. But you have to promise to stay put, until we find a way to get you down from there, alright?"
"Alright. I'll just hang up and you can send me a message from the phone. I'll save the number. Thank you, Himura-san."
"Wait!" he exclaimed, but too late. She had hung up on him.
Kaoru stared at the text message, almost hearing him speak the words with a voice tight with anger. Sighing, she saved the number and pocketed her phone, making sure her sound was off before glancing down to the street far below. A few agents were stationed in the alley, watching her as she took a hold of her bokken in her mouth to free her hands. Amused, she watched them speak in their communicators as she began to move along the wall. When she reached the old pipes along the building's wall, she felt her cell vibrate in an incoming call that had her grinning.
Although she had promised to stay put, she'd had her fingers crossed the whole time. With a safe connection to a Captain of the SAT, she felt a little bit more confident about her newest mission. She just hoped all those kendo lessons and various self-defense classes would pay off, and not – she swallowed – end with her death.
Besides, she had another card up her sleeve.
"Shut your kid up woman or I'll fucking cut off his tongue!" one of the masked men screamed, causing Miaso to flinch where she sat behind a desk, the floor cold and hard against her bare legs. A woman's sobbing and desperate pleads were heard, even as the crying of a child continued.
"Calm down, Tanaka! You think the police will be more cooperative if you dismember a fucking kid?!" another man hissed over the noise of people sobbing, hiccupping, mumbling, crying and various other distressed sounds she could make out. She fingered the knife she had managed to smuggle inside after being dragged from her flat to be thrown in here.
The men had taken the whole third floor and made it their base, opening the doors to all apartments and placing a few of their men in each, spreading the hostages out in the corridors outside and as few as possible inside the actual flats. She had been on the floor underneath, and when she had been taken past the large crowd of people her green eyes had tried to find a head of familiar, dark hair and piercing, blue eyes. She had known it was in vain, because they obviously went down and up in their search for people, and Kaoru lived at the very top floor. Even so, she kept glancing over the desk every few minutes in hopes she would catch a glimpse of her friend, and now was no exception.
Nothing. Nothing but scared, crying faces and masked men armed with guns.
Ducking back behind the desk, she sighed, before she jumped in surprise as something vibrated in her pocket.
Holding her breath, Miaso pulled out her phone and gazed at the little symbol of a letter with wide eyes. A text message? Opening it, she read the message with an increasingly widening grin.
Kaoru, I knew there was a reason I love you!
"Saitou! Something has to be done!" Kenshin hissed, glaring at the commander with an almost desperate anger. The man took a drag of his cigarette and blew the smoke in his face, making his growl pick up in volume.
"The girl was stupid enough to go back into the building despite your warnings. We will do nothing until the time is right; messing up the operation to save one girl for her own stupidity is beyond idiotic, Himura."
Kenshin didn't really want to agree with him, but knew defeat when he encountered it. Still, he was far from happy or assured by the older man's words and he didn't bother trying to conceal his discontent.
"How much longer do you intend to wait, Saitou?" he asked, eyes narrow and lips pulled down in a frown. Before the man could answer, the beep of his phone interrupted their conversation. Kenshin pulled it out, staring at the symbol of a letter before quickly opening it with a click.
"It's from Miss Kamiya," he mumbled, frowning as he read the message. His hold of the phone tightened as he finished reading, glancing up to catch the cold gaze of his commander.
"Here," he said, offering the phone before he could send it flying in a fit of rage. Saitou accepted it, raising a brow in question before looking down to read it.
"Himura-san they are on the 3rd floor. All hostages are spread out in the corridors and flats with armed guards. Mostly with guns or knives. There are approximately 20 or more. Will return with more info."
"It would seem she wasn't as stupid as I thought," Saitou commented, letting out a cloud of smoke and he smirked. "She could prove to be useful. Report everything to me Himura, we might not have to wait much longer."
Kenshin bit his tongue to stop himself from picking a fight with his superior, choosing instead to curse him under his breath as he left his tent to return to his team and talk to Sano. Who the hell did she think she was? Where did she think she was? In a Hollywood movie? She was going to get herself killed!
The moment Saitou gave them clearance to move in, he was hunting her down.
Kaoru didn't deny the thrill running through her body as she observed the cowering crowd and armed guards through the bars of the large ventilation in the wall of the stairwells between the floors. She had successfully obtained contact with Miaso, who was somewhere among the people underneath, as well as the police. And now, she was in the best position she could, and dared, find in order to observe the movements of these criminals. So far, no one was aware of her presence; too occupied with being miserable or keeping things in check. She hoped the police would hurry; she wanted this to be over with no matter how exciting it sometimes seemed.
One of the reasons she had managed to keep going was, after all, to sometimes forget the fact that this was real and not some of Yahiko's violent action movies where the hero and heroine always came out of it alive.
Right now, however, she was eying the guns in the masked men's hands and realizing that she would probably never be able to merely wince and keep going should a bullet hit her. It would be lie to say she wasn't frightened, but a thought of her friend within a much closer distance to one of those guns had her biting her lip in anxiety.
Himura-san, please hurry!
Miaso didn't really have much time to react, but when the first gunshot was heard she managed to feel grateful for her position behind a desk before panic gripped at her whole being – which really, was quite small.
Screams and cries and shouts were heard, running footsteps and slaps and curses filled her ears even as the stench of blood reached her nose and made her gag. She reached for her knife and waited, staying still in hopes of somehow gaining invisibility, but she knew it was futile. When one of the masked men came around the desk and spotted her, she was glad her tears had yet to come.
Her Master had always warned her to show weakness in battle.
With a determined frown, her body acted even before he came into full view after years of practice in Material Arts, and the gun was knocked out of his hands even she drove her knife deep into his throat.
The sickening sound of flesh and tissue tearing to give way to a flood of crimson liquid had her emptying her stomach on the floor beside the fallen body of the masked man who – she knew – was human underneath the rough fabric of his clothes and the cold metal of his gun.
Kaoru, I hope you're alright…
They were winning, she realized, but to what price? She watched in horror as several women, men and children bled and tried to hide in the corners of the rooms as chaos broke loose. The police had made their move, and taken out almost all of the terrorists as soon as they entered through the windows and up the stairs. Numbly, she remembered it was she who had gave the masked men their positions away and so the police had knows exactly where to point their rifles.
Creeping along the wall, having left the ventilation long ago at the orders from Himura-san's phone by a Saitou-person to seek out the exact position of the men, Kaoru tried to think. Really, she tried, but nothing came up that made sense. Bokken grasped tightly in her hand, knife in the other, she approached her goal. Think, Kamiya, think! But she was already knocking the man unconscious, his gun dropping to the ground along his body, and his shooting ceased. Breathing in deeply, she tried not to choke on the smell of blood and gun smoke and tears and desperation and fear. She had given her position away, caught attention, and she needed to move.
Diving into the crowd of people getting pushed into the many flats secured by police, she desperately tried to find her friend among them. But, no, there was nothing. No Miaso.
Dread settling deep in her stomach, Kaoru pushed her way through and tried to think of a way to get past the police when suddenly, her phone vibrated again. She pressed herself into a corner and quickly opened the message, scanning it and biting her lip in hesitation.
"Where are you?"
"Kaoru! KAORU!" Miaso screamed, trying to reach her friend over the noise and confusion around her. It was no use; she was turning away and leaving. She is looking for me. Already crying, Miaso screamed her name again; seeing her walk straight back into the crossfire in order to reassure herself of her friend's safety. Stupid, stupid, stupid! She desperately searched for her phone when a hand on her shoulder made her scream in startled fear.
"Calm down Miss, I am with the police," a soothing voice told her, and she looked up into a pair of softening golden eyes. Swallowing, she took in his uniform and nodded, trying to calm down her heart.
"By Kaoru, did you mean Kamiya Kaoru?" he asked, making her gasp before she remembered that Kaoru had kept in contact with the police and given them as much information she could gather. Miaso nodded, eager to help her friend.
"Yes! She's the one who contacted the police! Please sir, you have to find her! She went back out there, looking for me! Hurry, please! She isn't armed with anything but a wooden sword!"
She barely managed to finish her sentence before he left in the direction she had pointed out, and as she watched him leave, she wiped her eyes and looked around for a place to sit. She would have to trust the police, and her friend's stubborn ability to overcome almost all in her way, and she would have to wait.
God, she really hated waiting.
She couldn't let herself be found before she knew Miaso was safe. If she did, they would never let her go. She would be held with the other traumatized victims and no one would be able to guarantee the safety of her friend. No, she couldn't answer him.
She was in the apartment where Miaso had been held captive, but it was empty. Knocked-over furniture, blood and gun holes littered the place and as she moved further in, she noticed the large desk which the younger girl had hidden herself behind, according to her messages. She didn't dare contact her now, in this chaos, should she distract her or bring unwanted attention to the girl. She must be safe, she must be.
Coming closer, she noticed a lock of dark hair peek forth from behind the desk and she swallowed, tears welling up at the puddle of blood marring the floor by the same spot. She dreaded what she might find, but kept going. She needed to know.
"Miaso?" she called, her voice unsteady as she rounded the desk. "Are you there? Miaso?"
Gasping, she stared down into the barrel of a gun.
When he got his hands on her, he was going to…going to what? Hit her? No, maybe try to shake some sense into her, but something definitely had to be done. She was insane, this girl, completely crazy. And she hadn't replied to his message. He tried to stay angry, but worry was creeping up on him and taking a chilling residence in his gut.
Keeping the picture of her his agents had managed to bring him clear in his mind, Kenshin searched the chaos which was rapidly calming down as the last of the terrorists were brought down. Catching sight of a wisp of dark hair disappearing into one of the empty, already raided flats he let his golden gaze narrow.
He trusted his gut when in clenched and urged him on, telling him to run, so he did.
She had been right, she didn't wince. She screamed bloody murder, even before that darn bullet made contact. She had, however, not expected to move after getting shot in the shoulder. Well, she reasoned, she hadn't really moved after getting shot. She had moved while getting shot. And not even on her own will, at that.
Gasping in pain from her place on the floor, pinned by a hard body and shielded from any more possible bullets, she vaguely registered the sound of bone breaking and something clattering to the floor. The pain clouded her already rather useless mind and she thought little of her obvious staring at the gorgeous man lying on top of her. He looked familiar, with his red hair and golden eyes, but she didn't really care. He was warm, and so was the breath against her ear as he rested his forehead against her unharmed shoulder.
"Kamiya Kaoru, if I could arrest you for stupidity, I would," was the last thing she heard before slipping into blissful darkness where the nauseating pain in her should faded away to strong arms, hot breath and tender hands.
End Notes: Before anyone asks, yes, I do plan on making a sequel. BUT, not anytime soon. I'm telling thruth when I say I can barely sit in front of the computer more than a few moments each day, because damn, school is taking over any kind of spare time I might have for creative writing.
In any case, I hoped you like it! Please leave me a review, it would brighten up my mood which is quite strained with stressand fried nerves.