Disclaimer: zen zen arimasen. (Trans: I do not own Rurouni Kenshin, it belongs to Watsuki Nobuhiro and other people, but not me.) (Too many hours of Kodacha under the belt by the time I wrote the last portion, and this)
Warnings:
Based solely on anime- Basically a fourth season of Kenshin...
*English* ____ Third and first person mix_____ thoughts
"zen zen arimasen" DOES NOT mean what I say it does.
Instead of having vocabulary at the beginning of the chapter, translations are right next to the Japanese words.


Chapter 8: Ah the dangers of boredom…


I stared at Taketsu with my eyes half closed, getting very tired of playing this game over and over, and over. Sure,. I was winning almost every time, but the fun was still lacking. Every time I tried to call off the game Taketsu would comment on how I was ahead and needed to give him a chance to catch up. Finally, finally- FINALLY it was my last move.
I won again.
I took back what I had said before about it being a big ship. (That was when I was lost, if you didn't notice, it was an excuse.) It was actually a very tiny tiny miniscule ship, full to the brim with seven bored, and (sometimes very IRRITATING) people. Once Yahiko had given up on learning everything Kaoru was learning about the ship, and had realized he wouldn't get to fly it things got so much worse. I had a headache, right in between my eyes- and kitsune and I had been fighting so I wasn't about to ask HER what to do. Dom might have been able to help, but he was teaching, and I was tired, oh so tired, at looking at Taketsu's face.
"Oi, you got anything to do on this ship?" I asked Tacketsu.
"Wanna play a game of-"
"NO." I looked around for something to do and saw nothing, nothing but seats and metal walls- I just wasn't cut out for this kinda life, it was like being in jail.
Its times like these when a person gets to thinking too much. I'd nothing to do on that damn ship, but I couldn't think of any activities I missed- what exactly do I do with my life? Gamble, drink… eat… hang out at the dojo (the dojo's right HERE- inside this less-than-dojo-area of ship), go to the Akabeko (usually with the people right here)…


Damnit. I really do nothing with my life… My thoughts wandered back to Katsuhiro- there's a man just like me, same background, same previous obsessions and problems- but he does something. He writes anti-government articles.
I paused and thought about my past- what I did that was interesting… I used to hire myself out to take people out as a gangster- not happening. Then there was the whole must-get-stronger-save-Japan-from-Shishio thing. Okay, so I'm a fighter- I'm fine with that.
One problem-
THERE'S NO ONE TO FIGHT ON THIS DAMN SHIP!
"Ne, Kenshin…"
"Mm?" Kenshin looked up from his place at the table. He had been sitting idly, propping up his head with his elbow, eyes fixated on the only window in the damn ship.
"Wanna fight?"
Kenshin fell over. After a brief interlude of righting himself in his seat he sweatdropped and looked at me, "Not… particularly…"
"Ug!" I plopped down on the seat. "What are you doing anyway?" Kenshin was back to his original position- being all pensive and silent as usual. He sweatdropped again as if he had been caught doing something wrong and pathetically smiled at me, preparing to lie or something. "Sessha is thinking."
Uh-huh- riiiight. "You're worse at lying than Yahiko." I decided to look in the direction he was staring. Usually I'd believe him, except for his reaction to my oh-so-hard-to-answer question of "What are you doing?" So, he was staring out the window, that's fine, it was fascinating, mesmerizing, I'll admit. Then why the red-handed act? Movement caught my attention- Kaoru turning to ask Dom a question, and then Dom smiled and gave an answer that made Kaoru laugh.
Wait… a … second…
"Masaka… omae wa…"(Couldn't be… you're) I raised an eyebrow and didn't complete my sentence for the moping Kenshin, who was clearly preoccupied. That's what he was doing… moping. Close quarters with the girl he cared for must have been affecting him as well, especially when she was spending all her time with another man. I'd never had Kenshin pegged as the jealous type, after all he lived with Kaoru and he was never bothered when other men took an interest in her… like that artist guy. Then again, he's Kenshin, maybe he didn't notice.
If that guy's not careful one day he's gonna look up and realize that because he has the courting pace of a rock, she just might end up liking someone else. I sat down at the booth and poked Kenshin to get his attention.
"Kenshin, I've got a story to tell you-"
Kenshin blinked and pretended he didn't want to be looking to his right, "Huh?"
"So this uh… fisherman- goes every morning to a lake to fish, and he wants to get a specific fish to bring home and put in his… fountain, and the fish wants to go live with the guy too-"
"The fish wants to get caught? I wish it was really like that…" Kenshin commented on his poor fishing skills…
"Its an enchanted lake with enchanted fish, OK? Anyway-"
"Who enchanted the la-"
"Just shut up. The fisherman is also afraid to catch the fish, because once he puts the fish in the fountain he can't fish anymore."
"Wh-"
"BECAUSE its an ENCHANTED fountain, OK?"
"What did he do to get so cursed?"
I was ready to kill him, "He did a lot of bad stuff a long time ago. And he's an IDIOT. So anyway- the fish really was looking forward to her new life, and waited every single day to be caught. Every day the fisherman would go down to the lake and stare longingly at the fish, and she at him, but he never cast his line. He figured he still had plenty of time, and was afraid to face his fear. The lady fish, to try and get him to cast his line, and because she just likes him so much and is afraid he'll stop even coming for her to gaze at sends him lots of other fish for him to eat and sell- so basically, she feeds this man and puts money in his pockets." That was the only part that seemed to be even vaguely reaching Kenshin. He became thoughtful for a moment, but lost the thread. I thought it was maybe because I stopped using the word fish… I sighed, if I got any more obvious I wouldn't be hinting anymore.
"The fisherman got so careless that one day he was late, and after waiting for him for so long the fish wandered off to… I don't know, cry, or … teach or something."
"Fish… don't cry Sano-"
"This fish does, damnit, its enchanted. When the fisherman got there he didn't think much of it, and waited for a while before going inside. Now every morning the fish would be late, and later and later. And the fisherman never cast his line, even though she still came after so long and he seemed to be loosing her. Then one day, she didn't come at all. He was worried, but showed up and again, again no fish. This continued until it was apparent he had lost his fish. It turns out, that day when he was late she discovered that there was another fisherman on the other side of the lake, and he was very kind to her and loved talking to her-"
"She can talk-"
"Enchanted! She can now! He offered to catch her, but she kept refusing in hopes that her fisherman would cast his line. He didn't though, and so she would spend more and more time being comforted for her broken heart by the new fisherman, and everyday the old fisherman would stand there and not cast his line, so she finally gave up on him, thinking he didn't want her, and went with the new fisherman, and was very happy- but she could never get it out of her mind or heart, that she might have been happier if that fisherman had just cast his line in the first place." I heaved a sigh, "Owari"(the end). "Oh, and by the way, the fisherman lived an unhappy and lonesome life after that, and never fished again, and regretted it forever- the end."
If I was waiting for Kenshin to come to some sort of revelation- I should have brought a pillow and some food. So I pushed it. "So… what do you think?" He was back to mope position number one, and seemed to be even more subdued/pensive/unresponsive. Hmm, maybe I made him more depressed… O well. "Y'know, of the story- Kenshin." I said his name to get his attention, which kinda worked. "Particularly what did you think of the fisherman and the fish?"
"Sessha thought the fish was a very… kind and caring fish, but that she waited too long. She should have gone off to be happy much sooner than she did." I wanted to smack my head; this guy was doomed. "As for the fisherman, sessha thinks he got just what he deserved de gozaru yo."
He really didn't get it… it was saddening, really. "Don't you think the fisherman should have just cast the line?"
"But he didn't."
"Yea, but don't you think he should've?"
"No," No?! You're kidding me! "Whatever reasons he had for not doing so were his, that's the kind of person he was. They were his mistakes, they can't be changed, it's a story, he got what he deserved."
C'mon, Kenshin! I got more urgent and spoke quicker, "What if he was a real person- what if you could go back in time and give him advice, what would you say?"
Kenshin stared at me blankly, became a little suspicious, and answered slowly, "Then I would tell him to cast the line…" Suddenly, it all seemed to click for him- "Sano… Are you asking me-"
I sat up. Yes, c'mon…
"-for advice about Megumi-dono?"
Hopeless.
"No, Kenshin. Who in their right mind would ask you for love advice?" I stood up in disgust and sought out other means of entertainment.
"Actually, I was thinking that myself de gozaru…"
I snorted in dissatisfaction and strode away. The nagging feeling came back with one look around the room. Somehow the closed in metal walls of this tin can reflected my dissatisfaction back at me. The feeling wouldn't go away. Now what to do? I even stooped to playing matchmaker and arguing about the enchantment of fish-- there has to be more to life than that. Back home, on Earth, there was so much more to look at outside so that I didn't have to look within all the time. I had no restrictions; there were no boundaries. The new place I was going- something told me that I would probably be reabsorbed into my surroundings there, at least for a while. But a tin can was a tin can and…
And, well, I had to ask myself- is that good enough?
Is it good enough to jut forget this empty feeling and deal with it later? No… I don't run away from my problems that way anymore. I'm not gonna hide my dissatisfaction with my life underneath a lifetime of fighting and gambling. This was it- I had to deal.
But how, was the next question. I moved into my "room" that I shared with Kenshin and laid down on our counter. (There was only room enough for one person to lay down, so whoever got the floor got the only pillow- which was usually Kenshin because he was so used to sleeping on the floor with his knees up and sakabatou against his shoulder. I closed my eyes against the cramped, dark ceiling.
I was a young guy, all my life ahead of me, plenty to do… but what to do? My plans had been to travel pretty soon anyway, but I was planning on wandering around aimlessly basically doing whatever I wanted and taking care of the bare necessitates.
What can I do? Fight, drink, gamble and talk- that's about it and the only places those are useful for are the backwater, underground gangs and dealings. Then again- who says that can't be helpful? Making connections and being informed about the peoples opinions, as well as the powers in control besides the government was very useful. Surely I could find something productive to do with that. After all, I'd already made a connection with Taketsu-
I decided to go exercise my newfound purpose.
I headed out of the room and back to the booth, and sure enough, Taketsu was around. "Oi, Taketsu!"
He raised his head and gave me a crooked look, "*Yes?*"
I took that as acknowledgement and put in the earpiece he tossed me. "Can you tell me about the place we're heading?"
"Where, Inok?"
Sure, whatever. "Yea, that one."
Taketsu rolled his eyes, "Fine. Inok: Space Station # 9 since the frontier breech. Population- about 65 million residential, a hundred million at any given time. Mostly human population- some other species such as the Lai, Miflis, some unpronounceable race we call the Groog (they gurgle a lot). Many occupations are merchant based, considering Inok is best known as a human trade post. There's a large military presence there obviously- that's why the main adept base is there. The space station's been around a while, its pretty big and well established. You could say it qualified as a space-city. Plenty to do… wanna play cards now?"
Sweat. Drop.

Yes, I'm sulking, de gozaru yo. Leave me alone to my thoughts of self-pity until I get over it. Damn ship.

I hate this ship. I hate this ship. I hate this ship. I hate this ship. With every swing of my shinai I repeated that in my mind. I had loved the ship- two days ago. Now it was small, and full of really irritating people. As long as I could keep that mantra in my head, and train in my room separated from everyone else, I could be productive and not fight with everyone constantly. That is what I did all the time anyway- but there's nowhere to run in here. Plus, considering her training had something to do with the end of the human race -and I had absolutely no clue what Dom was talking about- I probably shouldn't disturb Kaoru anyway.
Besides, training was supposed to be monotonous.

DIGESTION: In your mouth, there is salivary amylase which breaks down the polysaccharides into smaller polysaccharides, then there is mechanical digestion via the teeth, our dentition is suited to an omnivorous diet of plant *and* animal proteins. The bolus then travels down the esophagus, which is not lined with cartilage, unlike the trachea, and enters the stomach, which has a ph of 2, due to large amounts of hydrochloric acid, and there, polysaccharides are broken down into monosaccharides by pepsin, which is actually pepsinogen activated by the acidic hydrochloric acid. After a few hours of this breakdown, the acidic chyme enters duodenum of the intestine, which is basic, to neutralize the acidity of the chyme…
I blinked a couple of times and backed away from the panel- mou, I had sooo much to learn. It made me tired just thinking about it, but whenever I thought about it I also got excited. The advancements made in medicine were beyond my wildest dreams! Bullet wounds, limb loss, chronic diseases, drug addiction, loss of blood, a bad heart, tuberculosis, any sort of internal damage to organs like a punctured lung or a stomach wound- it was all curable! The only people who died anymore were people that encountered Enders, or got a strange and not yet curable foreign disease from non-humans. That, and in places like on Earth where there were just too many people. And of course, the idiots that don't go to doctors.
I clasped my hands together and felt my eyes sparkle- oh to be able to cure anything! I would be the best doctor in the world. No, really. As in, if I went back to our time after studying here- I would actually be the best doctor in the world. I blushed happily. Ohohohoho ^.^ Then Kenshin would-
I stopped that thought right there. I couldn't do that anymore. That is, fantasize about Kenshin and what would get him to return my attentions. It was a habit I had to get out of- the best way to change your actions is to change your thoughts. And I had given up on Kenshin. I really had…
It hurt so much.
I went back to studying about pepsin and polysaccharides, digestion and some other stuff.

"OK? So that's how boosters work," Dom flashed a winning smile at his prize student and closed the window. "I guess I should go save your friend Sano from Tackets before he gets brain damage. Meanwhile, feel free to show Kenshin what you've learned."
"Thanks!" Kaoru smiled back, then reconsidered. "Isn't this a state of the art time traveler Tatnum 6000?"
Inwardly, Dom was extremely impressed, "Yes?"
"Well- I kindof know how to fly it now… why isn't information like this confidential?"
Dom's smile hardly changed, Kaoru could only register the slight raise of eyebrows and understood that he was still withholding his emotions as a teacher. "True, and its restricted unless it has to do with adept business. And, well, your friends all followed you here- so that makes them 'involved'. Or so say I," he winked for effect. "The real confidential stuff you'll learn when we get there."
Kaoru only paused a second considering his words while he walked away before she excitedly went over to Kenshin.
She's coming over here- act like you haven't been sitting here staring at her, waiting for this moment for most of the day!!!! Part of Kenshin answered back, This is pathetic. But he squished it, Shut up you! "Konichiwa Kaoru-dono," it felt weird to say it, since time seemed to stand still on the ship.
"Would you still like to know about the ship Kenshin? Today I learned steering with Dom-kun! ^.^"
Kenshin smiled, but something inside him bubbled angrily. "You seem genki de gozaru."(energetic) There was no need for her to mention Dom- of course I knew it was with him that she was learning stuff, I had, after all, spent the day staring at their backs- and still with the -kun! Kenshin paused, wondering at the course his thoughts had suddenly taken, and shrugged it off as cabin fever.
"It's so fun to be learning how to do this, don't you think? C'mon, I'll show you." She took Kenshin's hand bravely and dragged him over to the bridge. As they sat themselves down she inquired some more, "So, what did you do all day?"
I bored holes into your head as you laughed and enjoyed yourself with that man… "Not much, I relaxed de gozaru."
Kaoru looked at him sideways, "You relax too much, its about time you have some sort of job to do," she teased. "Here, unlock the system this way…"
"Oro?! My life is relaxing de gozaru ka?!" A sweatdrop rolled off his head, I have more scars on my right arm than you have teeth in your head!
Kaoru laughed and smiled at him, "I'm just kidding, Kenshin." Their eyes locked for a couple of seconds. Kenshin found himself calming at her reassuring look, as she resisted the urge to poke him affectionately. He was being so cute; she vaguely wished she could kiss him on the cheek- just a peck.

Dom sighed, another day, another training session, another fight with Tackets.
He lay down in bed, confident that the ship would be fine if he rested a little, and let his mind drift. They would reach Inok soon, and Roxanne would be there…
Roxanne… were they really broken up? It didn't seem real, didn't seem it could be real…
~~~~~Memory~~~~~
Dom nervously kneaded his hands as he walked toward Roxanne. That day she wore a loose blue blouse and tight tan suede pants and tall brown boots. Instead of wearing her LEL around her waist she carried it in a holster strapped from one shoulder to the opposite hip. He thought she looked very fashionable. Only she could manage to do that and wear such casual clothes on a space station, he thought fondly.
He noticed that she was scowling, and that she had chosen to wear her hair down. Her curly black hair caressed her cheeks as she turned to meet him. He smiled as best he could. "Hello."
He noticed that her scowl couldn't help but lighten a little when she looked at him… even though it was directed at him. He smiled again more heartily but also more afraid of what would come of it. "Oh, hi."
They paused awkwardly, he knew why she was angry… but, it was difficult to- "You booted me off the list for this mission," she stated bluntly.
He laughed nervously, "Don't say it that way… I had seniority over you for the mission," he hoped desperately she would buy that.
"You and I both know I'm more qualified for this than you'll ever be," she stated bluntly once again. "And I checked the lists. We could have both gone, but you chose Tackets over me."
"Tackets wanted to go-"
"-I wanted to go." She raised an eyebrow.
"But the difference is that I don't care about what happens to Tackets!" he blurted out in a whisper. For some reason this seemed like it should have been a consolation or something, but Roxanne didn't take it that way.
"So you're protecting me again?" She placed a hand defiantly on one stuck out hip.
Dom held her shoulders and looked into her eyes, "Do you have any idea how dangerous this mission could be? Adept recoveries have a high risk factor-"
She shrugged him off, "You don't realize that you had no right to take my job away from me. You really wanted it for yourself… and not me, right? It's okay for you to go off and die and leave me here alone but not visa versa?"
Dom cringed. She had hit the nail on the head. It was true she would be much better at this job than him as much as it was true that he couldn't bear to loose her. However, the adept recoveries were perhaps the most important of all the parts of the resistance. So by leaving her he could rest assured that she was safe, but she could lose him. That's starting to sound like I'm being selfish.
"Stay," she asked with finality that didn't make it a question. "Tell me either we both go or neither of us goes and I can let it go. We are a team."
He stared into her deep brown eyes for a moment. If he passed up this opportunity then there were others waiting, but no one as qualified for this job as himself or Roxanne. By rejecting her as a partner that indicated that she was not ready for the mission, and she was booted back down to the bottom of the list. She wouldn't be going on such a mission anytime soon.. and Tackets wasn't going to give up this mission for her. He couldn't just change partners… So it was either risk the mission and stay, or kill the relationship and go. "I… have to," he pleaded slowly. "Please understand?"
Roxanne had drawn the same conclusions of course, and she knew what his choice meant. "The job means more to you than me…" She brushed past him icily and with haste and made sure to bump shoulders as she went.
Usually Roxanne wasn't ever violent, in fact, Dom stared after her in shock. He had never seen her do something so hostile to another human being. Enders, yes, but not humans and especially not himself.

Dom sighed with relief, She showed up. "Hi Roxy."
"Dom." If looks could kill… Her dark glimmering eyes shown through her bangs and every so often a strobe light would streak her whole appearance red. She sat down on her chair backwards, as usual, and glared.
He was shaken by her, this was the exact opposite of how she usually acted, but he was together enough to keep his composure when speaking. "Roxy… I'm sorry, its too late to change, or else I would."
"But you won't stay."
"You know I can't… I can't endanger the mission for selfish reasons-" Had he not been so confident, he would have slapped his head.
Roxanne, of course, caught the slip up. "You already have, you ass. I should be on that mission." Dom stared dumbfounded as she ordered a drink.
She… cursed…?
"The problem," Roxanne continued, "is why you made that choice in the first place. It was wrong of you, and you know it. It's got more to do with our relationship than it has to do with the list and how qualified I am. You can't just take choices away from me- you have to trust me."
"It's more complicated than that Roxanne," Dom twirled his drink.
"How so?"
" You just turned 16 and I'm… I'm 22."
"I 'just turned sixteen' six months ago."
"Four."
"Shuttap."
"The point is that I love you, and you've got so much more of your life left… I… wanted to be able to… make you as safe as I could."
"Dom, and I your child or your girlfriend? Could you possibly decide NOW? Cause if I'm your girlfriend you don't have a right to make those kinds of decisions for me. My age doesn't determine how competent I am. Can you never treat me like that again? Swear it." She put her hand out to be shaken.
"But…"
"I'm not your responsibility, I'm your partner," her eyes were pleading his. "Now swear it."
"But… but what if… you die?"
"Dom…" now she was warning him with her voice in addition to pleading with her eyes.
He stared at her long and hard- four years of memories flashed though his head. She was his best friend, she was the coolest person he'd ever met… she'd be just the type to get herself into trouble… and he was just the type to get her out of it. They grew up together in times of great loss and danger. "I'd rather have you alive as my friend than… dead…."
There was a long pause between them. Roxanne stood with such abruptness that the table shook and the glass spilled.
"Roxanne…"
She trembled and turned away.
"Roxy… I still love you…"
Dom walked up behind her and rested a hand on her shoulder. He wasn't trying to comfort her or let her down gently- he didn't want to break up… he was panicking.
She spun around in the strobe light and tears fell from her eyes, "But not, 'that way' right?"
"No- but I do-"
Her voice rose, "Then why don't you marry me?" She paused to see if he would say anything.
He laughed nervously, "B- I- … Marry you? I can't do that…"
Now she pushed him a little, "Why don't you do anything more than kiss me? Why do you need to protect me? Why can't I be an adult in your eyes?! You don't F*%#ing love me the same way!!" She ended it with a weak punch to the eye… he could tell she hadn't hurt him on purpose.
~~~~~~~~~~

Dom sighed and touched his eye.



Notes -.-o:
-Important: Next chapter the plot will get moving, I promise. I planned out the next 4 chapters, and the next one should be long, so look forward to it! This chapter had to happen, because its been in the plan since day one. :P And sorry for not updating for…… a year ^.^o he he he… I was a junior, forgive me~~.
-Did you know? Of course you didn't because no one but me does, but there is an alternate copy of the memory scene ^.^ I'll post it on my site, which is not worth going to right now- but someday!! That one had a lot more cursing in it… as in, I would have had to change the rating of this fic kind of cursing. So that, and the lemons I have planned, will all be on my site- yay!
-Last Note: It has seriously come to my attention that this is my idea for a fourth season of Kenshin- instead of the Revenge Arc, which was brilliant, but let's face it, not in the anime, I've realized that I've been planning on resolving all the stuff that never got resolved in the anime- such as, Kenshin and Kaoru's relationship, such as Sano's non-relationship with Megumi, and Sano's life (in Revenge Arc he ends up visiting his family), not to mention all of Kenshin's inner turmoily guilt things with Tomoe and shat- that'll get dealt with too. So, like much of Kenshin, the beginning is sorta slow and dragged on (maybe you don't agree- but ive seen Kenshin 11 times in its completion, and I feel that it did have unnecessary dragged out parts- Its all part of the fun of Kenshin, the character building, the familiarity… I have no life ^.^o) Anyway- prepare for a more fluid plotty part of Kenshin- I warn you now (if you bothered reading this rant) many of the small things I write from here on in will play major important rolls later on- so keep an eye out for them ^.^ JA!