Author's Note: After two years (?) I've gone back to this, and actually decided to try posting it. It's the sequel to a story I wrote called Tokyo Nights, which I more or less think you need to have read to understand this. Basically, the Kenshin-gumi are vampires, werewolves, etc. I hope this makes anyone who's still waiting happy.
Kenshin took a step forward, leaning on the last tree as he passed it, and the world expanded into a snow-filled clearing. A small house was nestled against the trees at the far end. Smoke trickled out from the chimney, and he recognised the scene as home.
He started to walk towards the house, when the door opened and Tomoe came out to meet him. She smiled at him and met him halfway in the snow, in the centre of the clearing.
A small part of Kenshin, at the back of his mind, had the feeling that something was wrong. He knew something bad was coming, but he could only watch in puzzlement as the scene continued to play. The vampire crouched and bared his fangs, hissing like a wild animal. Kenshin leapt at her and she screamed. It didn't sound real, he'd never even heard Tomoe raise her voice in all the time he had known her.
Then he was kneeling in the snow with her cradled in his lap and suddenly everything was far too familiar. The only thing that was missing was the warm liquid feeling of her blood healing his wounds. He looked down in horror, frantically praying to God that this wasn't real. He knew he had no right as a soulless thing to ask for mercy, but still he begged and offered up his life in exchange for hers. His heart felt as if his own nature's toxic grip had closed around it and was wringing the hope and happiness from it by force.
The look on Tomoe's face was one of horror and hatred - a look he hadn't thought she was capable of - but he knew she was right. He deserved it. The dagger in her hand was bloody from her failed attempt to defend herself. Her black eyes despised him with more passion than her dying body should have been able to hold, and she was now the one he begged for mercy.
Blood bubbled between her lips as she spat one word with her failing breath.
Suddenly it was Kaoru in his arms, with that same accusatory glare. He could taste the copper of blood on his tongue. Blood continued to pour from his bite on her neck at an impossible rate, saturating his clothes and the snow around him. She reached up and grabbed the front of his gi, trying shakily to pull herself up, with a violent look of revenge distorting her face. Her teeth were red with blood as her lips pulled back to speak again.
Her whole body was shaking with the effort of keeping herself close to his face. Her blue eyes sparked with betrayal. Kenshin was horrified. He tried to pull her off him but he couldn't bring himself to touch her undead flesh. It was cold and clammy and made it feel as if the Devil was already here to claim his soul and damn it to Hell. He tried to escape her, but his feet and hands slipped in the depth of the bloody slush. The zombie used its other hand to follow him as he floundered in the pool of thick, congealing crimson snow. He felt powerless against the woman he loved as she hauled herself after him with her skeletal fingers wrapped in his clothes.
He could hear the air rattle through her lungs. Behind her, the tall trees stood sentinel, watching and approving as he received his punishment. There was no help or sympathy for him in the entire world. He was alone in the fight for his life and sanity. She reached for his throat, and he knew that if she touched him then a worse fate would begin. He crossed his arms over his head.
"Please, please, I'm sorry, I never meant to – It was an accident, I - " He babbled frantically, desperate for some kind of appeasement.
"Sorry? Accident? Killer! Vam-pire!" cried the creature indignantly. Its voice echoed as if there were legions of voices behind it, two-hundred years' worth of victims, condemning him, demanding justice for the theft of their lives.
"Kenshin..." It was Kaoru's sweetest voice, whispered in moments of true happiness, heavy with adoration.
"It's alright, I don't mind..." It was Tomoe's last words, love beating under the monotone of her soothing and forgiving voice.
Kenshin gasped and sobbed, and the corpse cackled triumphantly above him. Its brain seemed to be decomposing while its body became less and less human. The unforgiving scent of death drifted to Kenshin's nostrils and he sobbed again with grief at having killed his love, both of them merged into one demon sent to torment him. He tried to grab its waist and lift the thing off him, but the loose yellow flesh came free under his palms. He cried out in disgust and self-pity.
The thing murmured in mocking sympathy. "Aw, do you miss us, Battousai?" it said in his ear as he turned his face away and shut his eyes so tight it hurt. "Will you kiss us now, Kenshin Kenshin Kenshin? Dear Kenshin, Kenshin my love? Kiss us..."
All he could do was whimper. He didn't have the energy to fight anymore. It seemed inevitable. All that was left to him now was his own despair to drive him insane. He could already feel his mind fracturing slowly under the torture of this experience.
The thing nuzzled his cheek, emitting a giggling purr, and leaving a trail of slime. Then it was suddenly furious, clawing at his face and shaking him and screaming. His eyes flew open under the attack and he was forced to see the rotting zombie that he had once loved and cherished. The mood swing kept him from settling into his torment, from taking his mind away and becoming desensitised to what was happening to him.
"Guilty!" it shrieked at the top of its lungs, like the call of a bird of prey. The trees rustled in the wind and seemed to murmur in agreement.
"No soul," it said calmly now, sounding almost sad. "Dead like me." It lay down against his chest the way a lover would and squished its pulpy fingers between his, holding his hand. "Mine forever."
Kenshin crushed his eyes closed again in agony as the dream continued.
Kaoru woke before Kenshin.
That was the plan. She lay on her side, watching the clock. Over three years, she had learned the exact times that Kenshin woke up, whatever the season. It was summer now, so the nights were shorter.
"Battousai," she cooed softly a moment before he woke up. It worked, she got the one she wanted.
Two cold amber irises glinted at her through the dark, looking down at where she lay, her head resting against his thigh, in position.
"I've been waiting," she pouted. He didn't say anything. He rarely said much. It was his way, to watch and see what her little game was. Chances were he already knew. It was pretty obvious.
She'd been planning this for a night or two. It wasn't out of the ordinary for her and Battousai to have sex. The Rurouni tasted her blood, after all. In the beginning, the division had been clear, the two men had different interests and different rules. The Rurouni got her body, while the Hitokiri got her blood. That was the way they had both wanted it, having no interest in what the other had.
But somewhere along the way, the line had become blurred. The Rurouni had accidentally bitten her while making love, and then it stopped being much of an accident anymore. He didn't take as much as Battousai, and it was never with the same fervour, nor did he do it every time, but it happened enough, and Kaoru didn't stop him.
As for Battousai, looking back, it had only been a matter of time. The bond between them filled them with a need to possess each other and become one, before violently forcing them apart, of course. It had taken one or two accidents there as well, before Battousai stopped fighting it and moved them from the couch to the bedroom.
However it was only recently that he would go without biting her at all. He was a very different lover from Kenshin, he was much crueller. His favourite game was to push her to the edge, then hold her back, until she screamed and writhed and cursed him with painful and graphic tortures.
That had been the first time Kaoru had ever heard him laugh, low and warm. It was a perfect sound, with no harshness to it. At the time it had only made her be even more colourful in her depictions, until he shut her up by kissing her and finally giving her what she wanted, but afterwards she took the time to be surprised. But it was too late then, he'd returned to normal, and didn't like to be reminded of his moment of weakness. But she knew now how happy he could be with her, even if it was only when she was wishing him dead.
The Hitokiri had also relaxed somewhat in the past three years with her. She could tell he had been nervous of spending the day in her bed, when he would be defenceless. He did it, because he knew rationally that she would never lift a finger against him. But now he always waited to see if he was in danger, before acting, instead of automatically assuming the worst.
Part of this was probably due to all his effort with the bond between them. Accepting that he was stuck with it, he had worked at levelling the playing field. Kaoru could still force him to do things against his will, or they assumed she could as the need hadn't arisen in a while, but now Battousai could use his end of the bond to get in her head, to experience what she was feeling and where she was. It wasn't one-sided anymore.
It had taken three years, but Kaoru finally thought he was secure enough to pretend that she was the dominant one for a while. She would never actually use the power she had over him, or she knew it would be immediate Game Over, but she was relieved when Battousai decided to wait and see when he awoke naked under Kaoru with a glint in her eye.
She could see the remnants of the old wariness, the suspicion. He didn't like being blind-sided. The only thing that kept him still was the knowledge that he was infinitely stronger than her, and that she wouldn't dare incur his wrath by putting him in a situation he couldn't get out of. He knew he would be able to put a stop to whatever she was planning at any moment, and if she had wanted to betray him, she wouldn't have waited until he was awake.
But still she tried to reassure him, brushing her fingers along the inside of his thigh, and watching as it had the desired effect. Obviously he couldn't be that unhappy. She lowered her head and kissed his abdomen, looking up the length of him to monitor his mood. She was waiting for him to realize the extent of the position he was in, it wouldn't be any fun if he didn't. She kissed him again and let her tongue trace little southbound spirals, still glancing upward now and then.
Finally, he tried to move, to reach down and touch her somehow, only to find that his wrists were tied to the bed. Kaoru smiled. It was only ordinary rope; he would only be restrained if he allowed it. A flash of anger went through his eyes in the dark. Kaoru knew those ropes wouldn't last for long, so she quickly swallowed as much of him as she could to appease him, feeling him grow harder and bigger in her mouth. He growled softly, his top lip raised in a faint snarl, something Kaoru had long since learned was not a threat. He expressed most of his emotions that way, whether pain or pleasure.
He sank back into the pillows as Kaoru continued. She let him feel her teeth grazing him slightly as she moved over him, and his knee pulled up, the only physical reaction she was likely to get. But she was pleased, she knew he would have preferred not to move at all or show that he was affected in any way, so it meant that she was doing something right. She brought in her thumbs to massage anywhere she wasn't already reaching.
She moaned for him, and the vibrations made the muscles in his abdomen jerk in anticipation. He was close, but not quite close enough. The heat of her mouth had warmed his cold flesh, and she could taste him. She pressed her tongue hard against him and glanced up at his face. He looked calm but his hand was gripping the rope fiercely.
She started to move more slowly, and he looked down at her in frustration. The sparkle in her blue eyes told him what this game was about. This was about revenge, about turning the tables. She wanted to play with him the way he played with her, deliberately keeping him from achieving his end.
Ha, as if he'd ever allow that.
The only warning Kaoru got was the sound of the ropes snapping like rubber bands. Then she was hauled upwards and planted firmly on her back.
"Aw, spoil my fun," she said, pouting at him. His luxurious scarlet hair spilled over his shoulder to tickle her neck. His eyes were burning with revenge.
"You're my fun now," he said in his beautiful, dark voice. He was happy again, that pure, unadulterated, untainted happiness that he only seemed to feel when one or both of them was being evil. Revenge was something he truly enjoyed, it was a comfort zone for him. His sense of keeping up appearances melted away in these moments, and he was even free enough to crack little half-jokes. It was times like this that Kaoru got to know the real Battousai.
She gasped as his fingers sunk mercilessly deep inside her. She couldn't pretend this hadn't been her plan all along. She had of course known that it would end this way. But she had a plan, something she'd been wondering about for a while. She hadn't really been satisfied with her little show of dominance, a man like Battousai was too volatile for that game, but she had hopes of doing a number on him now.
She let him think he was punishing her, she let herself get aroused as she watched him enjoy his power over her. Wriggling a bit, she managed to stroke his arousal and run her hands over his chest and back. She ran her nose up his neck and nibbled his collarbone. Then she reached down inside herself, found the glimmering nugget of gold that connected them, and tore it open full force.
Battousai almost fell on her as his mental walls vanished. He reflexively went on the defensive, but Kaoru drew him into her own mind. They had never been connected this way without blood being shared. Kaoru began feeding him her own pleasure, clenching her walls around his fingers and grinding herself against his hand that remained almost forgotten. She felt him shudder against her, and smiled with smug satisfaction.
Battousai surprised her by responding with tenderness. He kissed and nuzzled her shoulder. It was cute, and it caused the love that Kaoru felt for him to well up inside her. She felt Battousai explore it in her mind with a readiness that made her realise that it had been his plan. She also felt a small pinprick of hurt that his actions hadn't been sincere.
Kaoru was embarrassed, knowing that Battousai considered the love she had ended up with an inconvenience at the best of times, and a sickening weakness at the worst. But his summoning it deliberately confused her. Why did he want to feel her love for him? He never had before. She couldn't quite gage his reaction to it though because he stroked his fingers through her again, and she was too busy feeling it.
Soon he removed his hand and entered her fully. Their minds were as tangled as their bodies were, so it was hard to tell who was doing what and to whom, but whoever came first pulled the other with them. Echoes of the orgasm ricocheted between them until they were both spent and heavily satisfied. Battousai withdraw back into himself, rolling off her silently, and she was too weak to move just yet. Kaoru couldn't tell who had won the game in the end, but she committed herself to a rematch with a smile.
They each showered and got dressed and ready for the night. By the time Kaoru left the bedroom, Kenshin was just finishing her breakfast. Battousai didn't usually stick around very long after they had sex, Kaoru suspected he was sleeping it off in Kenshin's sub-conscious. That or he was ashamed. She didn't mind however, as she sometimes found herself with a horny Rurouni to keep her company.
But as soon as she smelt the food, which in itself was harmless enough, nothing out of the ordinary, a wave of nausea hit her. She groaned and turned her face away in disgust.
She heard the beginnings of an old argument they'd been having a lot recently, and headed it off. "I'm just not hungry, Kenshin!" she pleaded.
He sighed heavily, "You haven't been hungry for two weeks, Kaoru. You should go to see Megumi-san,"
"But I feel fine the rest of the time!" she repeated for what felt like the hundredth time.
"What harm could it do just to check?" he reasoned.
"I don't want to trouble her over nothing, I'll just eat more later,"
"It might not be nothing, and you know it's not about how much you eat in the day, it's about why you can't eat now,"
"But I feel fine!"
And so the conversation would go, round and round, until one of them gave up and started talking about something else. This time Kenshin sighed heavily and walked up to her. He took her hand and looked her deep in the eyes.
"Just check, Kaoru. For me," he said.
This sly sincerity was the Kenshin equivalent to puppy dog eyes. Kaoru squirmed and whined, but Kenshin kept his hands wrapped around hers, holding it close to his chest, and looking down at her.
"Oh, all right!" Kaoru cried, caving in eventually. His devotion was his biggest weapon against her. Though she had to admit that she didn't want him to worry about her as he obviously was doing, and it would stop him from bringing it up every evening.
Kenshin smiled and kissed her hand, "Thank you," he said.
"I hate you," she said petulantly once he had turned his back to clear up her uneaten breakfast. Kenshin only laughed,
"Well, that's too bad because I love you," he replied. Kaoru just grumbled.
She sat on the examination table down in the infirmary, swinging her legs. The nausea had already passed and she really felt that she might like to eat now. She didn't feel that she needed to be here, which only made it worse. Megumi stood opposite her.
"Alright, Kaoru, what are the symptoms?" she asked, her arms folded. Kaoru rolled her eyes and sighed.
"I feel sick when I get up and skip breakfast," she said. When Megumi remained silent, waiting for more, Kaoru added an explanatory rant. "Kenshin made me come, okay? He's always worrying about the tiniest little thing. It's probably nothing. I feel fine the rest of the time, and I hardly ever actually throw up."
"No, no, Kenshin was right to make you come, better safe than sorry, though I can't make a diagnosis on only that. I'll take some blood and send it off for some tests, and get back to you. You might be right, it's probably nothing dangerous, but it'll be nice to know what causing it, won't it?"
So Kaoru had to sit through having her blood taken, not for the first time in her career. The Dojo had a policy of keeping a stock of employees' blood just in case. She always hated giving blood, and the hypocrisy of that was not lost on her.
Megumi had adjusted well to her new werewolf condition, though she never wanted to talk about it. She and Sano were now living together in a bigger apartment in the Dojo. From the outside, things seemed to be going well between them, more stable than Kaoru thought Sano's personality would allow.
But it was true that every once in a while there seemed to be tensions, cracks in the relationship. Kaoru would ask or say something and Megumi would press her lips tight together and change the subject, or Sano would look away. Kaoru could never have predicted that they would get together - they just seemed to value different things - but they had seemed so happy in the beginning.
Kaoru didn't ask, she didn't want to pry and she knew she wouldn't get an answer. Megumi much preferred to handle things privately and on her own.
"The results should come in a few days, I'll give you a call when they get here," said Megumi, finishing and packing up.
"Okay, thanks," Kaoru replied, bending her elbow over the little plaster Megumi had put on to stop the bleeding.
"And don't worry, if nothing hurts then I don't expect it's anything serious," she said.