Standard Disclaimer: I do not own Rurouni Kenshin or Rurouni Kenshin characters.  This story was not written for sale or profit but pure enjoyment.  So with that out of the way please read and enjoy.

A/N—Thank you Midori for encouraging me to post this story. This story takes place after the end of the series and it will be part supernatural as well as some action, adventure, drama, and anything else that I can write into it.

{ } denotes flashback

A Quirk of Fate

Chapter 1

~~~Sitting outside enjoying the peace and solitude that only the early mornings could offer, Kenshin sat thinking about the conversation from the night before. A small smile played on his lips when he felt her sit down quietly beside him.

As the sun bathed the two in its golden rays, they sat enjoying the warmth that the sun offered them. Their eyes met when he reached over, laying his hand on top of hers, bringing a blush to her cheeks and a matching one to his. The spell was broken with the soft swish of a door being opened.

~~~The port in Osaka bustled with ships loading and unloading their cargo. A small steam ship had slipped into the harbor unnoticed in the early morning dawn.

"Remember Yu, I will be back in port within a week and I can only wait so long for you to show up." Shura whispered hugging the smaller girl close to her, "don't make me worry about you. You know how protective I can be."

"Yes, yes I know I will do my utmost best to keep you from worrying," Yuri said giving Shura a playful push trying to lighten the moment. "But you know this is something that I must do." Smiling she continued, "I know how to contact you."

Yuri felt the emotions as they flowed from Shura. They had become more that just friends, their relationship had deepened over the years so that they thought of each other as sisters.

Turning to her husband, she said, "I will send word when…" her words trailed off as she felt his hands holding her and his lips pressed against hers. Their kiss turned into a passionate hug as she wrapped her arms around his chest trying to get as close to him as possible.

~~~Walking away from the small steam ship, Yuri concentrated on listening to Shinji's tune, trying desperately to hold back the tears that were threatening to flow.

"Take care of your mother Shinji," Kiseki yelled from the ship as they walked away. His voice gave her the strength that she needed to keep walking. Without her husband at her side, she felt cold and alone. She missed his warmth and the comfort that he always provided for her. She started to stumble when a small hand helped her regain her balance making her realize that she was not alone.

Determined to master walking in a kimono once again, Yuri used her mind to make her movements flow. It had been years since she had last donned a kimono and she was starting to regret making the decision to wear one now. The native clothes of her new country had spoiled her with freedom of movement.

Yuri walked behind Shinji following his tune yet hearing the color of every sound around her. Walking ahead of her, his long red hair, normally tightly braided, hung loosely around his shoulders. Humming his usual tune as he walked along the street, she was confident that his eyes would miss nothing.

"Shinji find a restaurant, we need to eat before continuing our journey," she quietly said interrupting his tune.

"Yes, Mother." Shinji whispered suddenly taking her hand assuming the roll of a scared child to get close to her. "Did you feel that," his voice almost as silent as the wind, his eyes softly glowing then returning to normal.

"We must get inside quickly," Yuri said in a hushed tone squeezing his hand. He tugged at her hand leading her to the restaurant closest to them.

Once inside they found a seat way in the back away from any windows. Ordering for the both of them, Yuri was content to just sit with her eyes closed waiting for their food.

"Mother, do I really have to wear these clothes? They're uncomfortable and they whisper when I walk," he asked with a scowl on his face. Dressing him in the traditional Japanese clothes, she knew that it would be easier to go unnoticed while they were in Japan.

"Yes, this I know but," she said pausing briefly. Leaning closer to him, she asked, "Is this something that I can do and you cannot?" Knowing that her challenge would not go unnoticed she waited for his reply.

Shinji scrunched his face and lowered his eyes. "Hump" he replied fidgeting while trying to work the clothes into a more comfortable position. She was confident that he would master wearing the clothes as the boy never backed down from a challenge.

"Do I have to eat this food?" Shinji complained picking at the food in front of him with his chopsticks.

"Just eat your rice," she scolded him trying hard not to smile, "If you get hungry enough you'll eat anything." She paused then stated, "It is bad manners to complain about everything."

"mmmm" Shinji muttered before putting another bite of rice into his mouth.

Having ordered only soup and rice balls, she was able to finish with her food very quickly letting her thoughts drifted to a kindly old man who had taken her in as a child only to be snapped back by her son's sudden movement.

She stiffened but then relaxed when she didn't feel anything out of place. Having earlier felt a trace of the darkness that invaded her dreams; she felt compelled to finish her business in Kyoto as soon as possible.

It's to soon we are not ready yet, kept going through her mind.

She sighed when she heard Shinji's soft voice whisper, "everything will be ok."

~~~ While fixing breakfast, Kenshin stared at the wall in front of him, his feelings of danger still as strong as they were the night before. But now, what was he to do about Kaoru and Yahiko. There was merit to the conversation they had last night and he knew that they were right. But his heart got in the way when it came to Kaoru and he couldn't willingly put her in danger. Yet she would not allow it if he were to decide to take Yahiko and not her.

"Kenshin?" Kaoru asked waving her hand in front of his face getting his attention.

She pointed to the pot that was boiling over in front of him.

His first reaction was to try and move it but his hands were held back from touching the pot. "Here why don't you try using these," she said handing him some mats to use between his hands and the pot.

He took the mats and moved the pot. Expecting her to be there, he was surprised when he turned and she was gone.

"Yahiko, you little brat! Hurry up! Breakfast is ready," he heard her yelling from somewhere in the house. Amazed at how far her voice carried he finished getting breakfast ready.

~~~Breakfast was earlier than usual this morning. All three sat silently eating their meal each waiting for someone else to say something so they could finish the conversation from the night before.

"Are you going to stay here with us or take off and make us chase you?" Kaoru asked her impatience prompting her to speak first breaking the silence. Glaring directly at Kenshin, she blushed slightly at her forwardness then lowered her eyes.

Kenshin sat slowly sipping on his tea watching her. He knew that there would be no avoiding this conversation when she came to breakfast wearing a kimono. Yahiko's lessons would be late today.

"Kenshin, I felt… well… I'm not sure but something bad is coming and I don't know if we…" Kaoru said twining her fingers together suddenly finding them very fascinating.

"What are you talking about, there's nothing that Kenshin can't beat, especially with us there," Yahiko boasted loudly making both Kenshin and Kaoru look at him.

"Yahiko, I am afraid that it may not be that simple a matter this time. What we may have to fight is more than just another swordsman," Kenshin said softly trying to placate the youth.

"We can do this Kenshin, I know we can. I've been practicing and I am getting better all the time," Yahiko stated in his never-ending effort to prove his skills.

"We shall see. But for now…" Kenshin started to say when he was interrupted by a yell from the yard.

"Are you going to stay Kenshin?" Yahiko asked forcefully. He stood looking intently at Kenshin.

"Yes," Kenshin answered his gaze shifting from Yahiko to Kaoru. When their eyes met something stirred inside of him awaking a part of him that he didn't know existed.

Now that he'd made the decision to stay, he sighed hoping that he would be able to protect her.

All three left at the same time, each going in separate directions to start their day.

~~~Procuring a carriage to take them to Kyoto, Yuri made arrangements with the driver to let them off at the Aoiya.

Shinji helped his mother into the carriage, taking his seat across from her. The constant rocking had a soothing effect on him and it wasn't long before he was lulled into a sleepy dream like state.

Listening to her son's even breathing, she smiled at the thought of him sleeping when he had made such a fuss about staying alert. She was having trouble staying awake herself, so she let her mind drifted back to that fateful night in Kyoto over ten years ago. After all this time, it still felt like it had happened just yesterday.

{Arriving in town late at night she had not been surprised when two men started following her. Running she tried to get away, but being in a strange town she ran into a dead end. They had easily overpowered her. She bit and kicked but all her efforts were in vain then she resorted to screaming for help.}

Her face softened when she thought of the gallant young man who had tried unsuccessfully to save her.

She jerked reaching out to find something to hold onto, when the carriage hit a hole in the road.

"Mother, are you all right," Shinji asked as he reached out to steady her.

She smiled and said, "Yes, my mind was just drifting."

Returning to the seat across from his mother, Shinji sat for a while then without any warning he jumped onto the seat and started doing some of his basic training. He jumped from seat to seat, kicking, and yelling doing some basic kicks and punches. Landing close to his mother, he stopped and punched the roof of the carriage.

"Shinji, what are you doing?" She shrieked the calmness around her suddenly erupting into chaos.

"Practicing" he explained as he sailed through another maneuver "I must be prepared in case I need to fight on something moving."

"Stop before you hurt yourself" she said trying to hide a smile. The boy was always doing things others would never dare to do, she thought.

Too late, the carriage lurched and Shinji landed on the floor. After making sure that he was all right, she couldn't hold back a small chuckle. When he was back on the seat, she said, "Shinji, you must be good while we are in Kyoto. I am hoping to get some information and then we will go to Tokyo. If you get into trouble that will only delay things, Ok?"

"All right" he said "But I still need to practice so that I will be ready for anything."

"I will make arraignments for you to practice in Kyoto, good enough?" she told him. She was very proud of her son's skills in the marital arts.

Satisfied that it would be done, he did a headstand on the seat propping his feet on the ceiling.

"Shinji," Yuri said using a tone he recognized as her no nonsense voice.

"Yes mother," he said settling down on the seat. For the rest of the trip, he practiced singing his mothers favorite songs to help pass the time.

Arriving in Kyoto, the driver had taken them to the Aoiya like she had requested. Shinji held his mother's hand guiding her down the steps of the carriage then returned to get their bags. Yuri stood trying to get a feeling from the town while she waited for her son.

Holding their bags, Shinji took his mothers hand and guiding her; they made their way to the Aoiya.

To be continued…