UPDATE (April 30 '02): I took out a total of 4 words so there's no need to reread. Basically: KENSHIN HAS NO CROSS SCAR
notes: Tons on the page before
Special Thanks: It'll come.
Disclaimer: You know the drill. Watsuki would probably not like what I'm about to do to her characters. So SORRY! But hope it amuses some fans…
Chapter 1: amber meets blue
I am the only one of my kind. I live in my loneliness – with only the memories of the dead to haunt me.
Innocence is but a sham.
Love is nothing but an illusion.
I am alone.
"Do you understand?"
"She will be guarded well."
"As your little black envelope informed me."
"Don't underestimate her guardians. This is a very important job."
"You have nothing to worry about sir." Said with a slight smirk.
"Battousai," the deep voice warned, "If you screw this up-"
"As I said, you have nothing to worry about. Why all the extra info, sir? Usually you just drop the envelope and let me take care of it."
"It's a very important job."
"It's what I normally do."
A cautious pause, as if the other voice was wondering whether the weight of his words had been fully grasped. Kenshin, clad only in a pair of snug black pants, shifted his weight and waited.
"Very well," the deep voice continued, "She will be in the East Wing of The Takani Medical Centre. Kill her quickly. Don't screw up."
Kenshin heard the definite click, signalling that the line was now dead. He gently placed his phone back on its cradle. He sighed.
Another day. Another dollar. Another person would cease to breathe tonight.
Rolling his head around lazily, Kenshin walked across his one bedroom apartment to the fireplace. On the mantel, an ancient set of Japanese swords rested on their decorative racks. Kenshin reached for the longer of the two Japanese swords and lifted it off the rack reverently.
If Himura Kenshin had ever received guests, they would probably have asked why on earth he kept such old looking swords on display. The long sword Kenshin held in his hands certainly looked like it belonged in a museum – but not because it was intricately beautiful. The sword's sheath was wooden and cracked. The cloth woven around the sword's handle was torn and stained with sweat.
In fact, the sword looked like it could have been used to kill someone the night before.
In fact, it had been used to kill someone the night before.
Kenshin, known on the streets of Kyoto as Battousai, wrapped a rough brown belt around his trim waist and slipped the longer of the two swords through it. He looked up at the shorter sword and thought about taking it along as well. Shaking his head and brushing back his blood red bangs, he thought against it. The Takani Medical Centre was in a cleaner, richer part of town. Clean, rich people were usually easier to kill. He wouldn't need the extra sword tonight.
He picked up a long sleeved black shirt that had been lying over the back of an arm chair and pulled it over his lean chest. The handle of the sword stuck up through the material. With grace unexpected, he threw on an old Japanese-style black over coat.
A man such as himself should wear only black.
Shaking the kinks out of his neck, the Battousai strode back across the room to the door. He shut the lights and emerged from the apartment, the door shutting closed.
The assassin feared most in all of Japan's underground world began his trek to the Takani Medical Centre.
"Okay, that's the last test for the night," Takani Megumi announced as she stood to leave.
"Thank you, Megumi-san," came the soft reply.
Megumi sighed and gathered up her papers and notes. "Get a good night's rest and we'll resume tomorrow."
"Yes, I will."
"I will inform the other guards that we are done for the evening," Megumi announced.
Megumi sighed at the young girl who sat at the metal table with her delicate hands folded in front of her, still as stone. The seventeen-year old girl was breathing deeply, apparently exhausted from the tests and interviews they had just completed. Megumi cast a sympathetic look at the girl's bowed head and left the room elegantly.
"You are pale."
The young black-haired woman looked up at her constant companion, a small smile on her lips. "I am fine, Aoshi-san."
Aoshi stood from his place in the corner of the large, white-washed room and approached the girl. "You are tired."
"I am," the girl responded quietly, smoothing her bangs back. She ran her fingers through her long black ponytail.
"Shall we go then?"
"Ah," the girl smiled, "In a moment. May we have some tea first?"
"Of course," the dark-haired bodyguard replied with a slight bow.
At that moment, the door to the large room opened. The girl's head jerked up in surprise. Aoshi paused, the electric kettle in hand.
Five or six armed guards filed into the room one after the other, each wearing bullet proof vests and carrying very large semi-automatic weapons. Without a word, they took up places around the room. Pushing herself from her chair, the girl shook the sense of dread from her mind and walked over to the wall of windows overlooking the city of Kyoto. Aoshi sighed and continued his task of preparing tea.
"How long will this be necessary, Aoshi-san?"
"Until your legal guardian sees it fit to discontinue their services," Aoshi answered calmly.
"It just seems so…" her voice trailed off. She leaned her forehead to the glass of the windows, "I just want to live a normal life."
"Fate would seem to dictate another path for you," her bodyguard said cryptically as he poured two cups of green tea and set them on the sterile metal table.
She smiled ruefully and returned to sit at the table. Cupping the tea cup with both hands, she brought it up to her nose.
And then they heard the screams from the hallway outside.
Aoshi sprang to his feet. The guards rushed forward, brandishing their weapons. The girl calmly set her tea down and closed her eyes.
The screams died as abruptly as they had begun. An eerie silence settled over the room. All attention was centered on the double doors of the room. Aoshi tensed, his mind rapidly identifying each of the weapons at his disposal.
Then the double doors swung open forcefully. A lone figure, surprisingly short in stature, marched into the room. The doors crashed closed behind him, sealing the finality of the fate of those in the room. The figure stood at the end of the long room, amber eyes roving over each individual – finally coming to rest on the female figure that sat at the far end of a table. The target spotted and the defenses analyzed, the assassin turned and assumed a stance not seen often – the crouch of a trained swordsman.
The guards were struck dumb by the man's lack of modern weapons. Instead, they saw his hand uncover the ancient looking sword that had been hidden under his cloak. That he would try to get past their semi-automatic guns with a relic of ancient times was almost laughable.
Except there had been those blood-curdling screams from the hall.
Aoshi studied the man at the other end of the room. He was dressed simply – only in black plants, and a black shirt under a knee length black coat. The coat intrigued Aoshi – it resembled the shirts worn by the samurai of the warring eras, wide sleeves and folded collar. The ninja noted the black hand guards worn by the strange attacker and knew that the sword was no ploy. Aoshi, through calculating eyes, observed the stark contrasts apparent on the man. Brilliant red hair was tied up in a high ponytail (again as the samurai had once done) and bangs fell messily over slitted amber eyes. Though the man carried only a sword, experience told Aoshi not to underestimate the small assassin. Besides, he himself used the ninja arts to protect his charge. Mentally, he once again ticked off his hidden weapons.
"If you want to live," the unknown assassin whispered, "Get out."
A guard dared chuckle. The amber eyes flicked to the man that dared. Pointing his machine gun at the practically unarmed assassin, the guard opened fire with an almost humorous glint in his unbelieving eyes.
The man died with the same expression plastered on his face.
Even as the bullets rained through empty air, the Battousai was sailing above the man, his sword drawn and deadly. With a silent slash, the guard's head was sliding across the floor, leaving a bloody trail behind it. Too late, the others began firing their weapons. With lightning speed, Battousai was darting from man to man. Before one could even aim, Battousai was behind him. His sword slashed the man in half, from neck to hip. Bullets hit the corpse as Battousai sprinted away and ripped another's neck open. The men fell dead into the growing pool of blood, eyes staring into nothingness.
The last man cocked his gun in a panic and aimed, spraying bullets in every direction. Too late, he heard the whistling above his head. Looking up in horror, he saw the red-headed monster lunging down at him, sword lifted. The man's scream died to a gurgle as Battousai's sword cut through him, blood spraying onto his face and seeping into his black clothing.
Not bothering to wipe the thick blood that dripped from his crimson hair to his cheeks, the amber-eyed killer stood from his crouch and flicked the blood from his sword. Now all that stood between him and his target was the tall dark-haired man.
"Leave or die," the Battousai offered again in a deadly whisper.
Ice blue eyes narrowed at the killer. As an answer, Aoshi ran forward, drew back a long arm and then flung it forward. All that Battousai saw were several points of light rapidly approaching him. He flipped into the air and several daggers embedded themselves into the wall behind him. The daggers hadn't met with flesh but it was all the distraction Aoshi needed. In a flash, both his short swords were out in a back-handed grip. Battousai stepped back as one of Aoshi's short swords nearly grazed his stomach. Battousai countered each of Aoshi's graceful slashes with his sword. Aoshi tried desperately to catch the killer's sword between his two. Battousai smirked.
"You are good," he commented between swings, "But not good enough to protect her."
Just as Aoshi lunged forward attempting to slash the assassin's sword arm, Battousai leapt over him, crouched and swung his sword in a swift silver arc. Aoshi sensed the move too late to leave unscathed. His eyes widened at the pain as Battousai's steel tore through the muscles of his right thigh. Only through a last minute jump was Aoshi able to avoid having his leg torn from his body. Instead, he collapsed with a terrific thud on the tiled floor, his twin blades clattering to the ground. Battousai stood, afforded him a cold glance and headed for the table where the girl still sat, eyes closed.
"No," Aoshi groaned aloud, his hands reaching for the sword that lay only inches away. A spasm of pain from his wounded leg caused him to curse and reach instead for his leg. "I won't let you."
Battousai looked back over his shoulder at the prone man, one eyebrow arched skeptically. He had yet to meet a bodyguard such as this one. Choosing to get the job over with rather than to finish the man off, Battousai again headed for the girl, his sword raised diagonally from his body.
She heard him approaching her, yet refused to look up. What would her killer look like? She had heard the results of his work only moments before as each of the men had fallen. She had been almost relieved when Aoshi's curses had come to her hearing. It meant that, at least, he was still alive.
She pressed her lips together in a bitter smile. It would end at last. Someone had finally been able to break through the defenses around her. It would end. She closed her eyes even more tightly as the footsteps stopped in front of her. The metallic stench of blood assaulted her sense of smell and she could feel the waves of the killing aura that this man emitted. She wondered again briefly what this demon must look like. She felt like cowering but willed her body into stone-like stillness. She would die with dignity.
Battousai raised his sword and prepared to strike.
Aoshi struggled, cursing madly but unable to rise.
"Kamiya Kaoru!" Battousai announced coldly, "Prepare to meet your death!"
Letting her black hair stream back behind her, the young woman tilted her head back slightly and opened her eyes to stare death in the face.
In that instant, angry amber met peaceful blue.
And time stopped.
End of chapter 1, to be continued!