Author's Note: I wrote this story months ago. I'm not sure where exactly it came from but it was quite insistent. Since this is my first venture into the realm of fantasy, I am curious to see what you think. Eventually, I'll probably turn this into a series of fantasy-related stories.

Summary: The mischief had been getting out of hand for weeks now. And the kitsunes were to blame. Alternative Universe.

Warning: Unedited

Status: Complete... I think.

The Trouble With Kitsunes

Kenshin was becoming suspicious. At first he thought he was just being overly paranoid but now he was beginning to think his paranoia was justified.

It began small.

At the time, he thought he was misplacing things, little things like keys or nails or rubber bands. But then things he was positive he put in one place would reappear somewhere else. At first he rationalized as being overly tired. He had been putting in long hours in renovated his current residence and strange things happen when a person is sleep deprived. But then one day his wallet disappeared for three days only to reappear in the freezer. That's when Kenshin realized there was a pattern.

Anytime he left the house for more than a few hours, things would disappear in his absence. After the wallet incident, larger items began to go missing before reappearing days later in a different location. He found an old pair of tennis shoes on the roof, his cell phone in a pile of hay in the barn, his hammer inside of the dryer. But his clothing disappeared the most. Old shirts from his high school track days vanished without a trace. His favorite sweatshirt disappeared for two weeks before he finally found it draped across his living room chair smelling like a mixture of jasmine and clover.

It was frustrating but still manageable.

But then the mischief began to get out of hand.

His alarm clock would be changed to go off every hour in the middle of the night. His truck that he filled with gas and personally maintained would suddenly decide not to start on the one day when he needed to head into town. One day he woke up and found parts of his hair sectioned off into dozens of tiny little braids tied off with small blue ribbons.

At first, he thought his house was haunted. Now he was beginning to wonder if it wasn't something more devious.

Something like kitsunes.

He wasn't a man of faith, didn't believe in things he couldn't see but something strange, something supernatural was going on and it defied rational explanation. That was when he heard about the legend.

There were several different versions but they all had at least a few elements in common. The area where his home now sits used to be covered entirely by forests. Supposedly, all kinds of faeries and sprites roamed the grounds. When mortals came to settle the area, the Fae fled further away in order to prevent discovery. All the creatures left save one group. The kitsunes. Curious about mankind, kitsunes remained in what was left of the forest to watch and observe. When they became bored, they would play tricks on the humans who had taken their lands as a way to amuse themselves.

He tried to scoff off the legend, ignore it, rationalize it away but as the pranks got bigger and more elaborate, he was finding it harder and harder to dismiss. Finally, he gave in. Frankly the only other option was that he was going insane and that idea had even less appeal to him.

In desperation, Kenshin tried talking to it- them-The Powers That Be. He asked them nicely to return his things and leave him alone. The next day his entire truck vanished. He spent four hours hunting in the woods searching for it. When he wearily returned home, he found it. Sitting in his garage as if it had never left. Staring at it in bewilderment he almost missed the fading sound of laughter in the distance. It was like a faint whisper carried by the wind and as hard as he tried he couldn't trace the sound back to its origin. It was then he began to think the kitsune thing might be more than just a slight possibility.

He started to research them. Eager to find a way to be rid of them once and for all. The only worthwhile suggestion that his research provided was that kitsunes were a curious lot and in order to trap them he needed to use that curiosity against them.

So, he began to bake. His delicious creations filled the air with lures of sugar, cinnamon and other spices. He pulled cookies and pie, bread and pastries all from the oven one after another and displayed them across the countertop for anyone with a curious eye to see.

Then when everything was set, he took out a book from his shelf and began to read. It was common for him to fall asleep reading one novel or another. But the key was patience. He forced himself to read for an hour, slowly feigning more and more tiredness as the time went on before finally closing his eyes to "sleep."

It took nearly forty minutes before anything happened. Kenshin felt the air seemed to grow warmer, to spark with some unknown energy. Kenshin peaked under his lashes.

A woman stood in his kitchen. Clad in a light green dress she stood on her tiptoes as she peered at the confections on the counter. Her black hair shined like the darkest of ebony and her pale skin gave an eternal glow to her cheeks. She was beautiful and radiant and a complete menace.

"I want to make a deal."

His voice seemed to startle her from her trance. When she spun to look at him he realized that her eyes were unnaturally blue like the color of the ocean on a calm day. She grinned, her white teeth peeking out from full red lips curled in a smile.

"What kind of deal?"

Her voice was lower, huskier than he imagined but he refused to be deterred… or distracted. "I want you to leave me alone."

She laughed. It was the same laugh from the night his truck disappeared but it sounded different to hear it from so close. It reminded him a brook where the water garbled over the rocks. It sounded so natural and relaxing that he had to remind himself just what he was dealing with.

"I want you to leave my things alone," he attempted again.

Her smile widened. "Kenshin, Kenshin, Kenshin," she said as if she owned his very name and a part of him felt awed by it, "what fun would that be?"

And with that, she vanished.

But Kenshin had a feeling that wouldn't be the last he saw of her.