Damsel in Distress
By Captured Moon
Summary: An old enemy of Kenshin's from his days as a rurouni has finally tracked him down to extract his revenge, but first he needs leverage to bring him to his knees. "You're after Kenshin…"Kaoru's eyes widened in revelation before they became ablaze and her brows narrowed in exasperation. "…and you're… kidnapping me to get… him…" This has to be a bad joke! Do they not realize she is shihondai of Kamiya Kasshin-ryū?!
Disclaimer: I do not own Rurouni Kenshin or claim any of the characters. This is all thanks to the talented Watsuki Nobuhiro.
A super big thanks to Beta Scarred Sword Heart! This story would have have been a jumble of grammar errors and bad spelling without your powers.
nigiri-basami - Japanese scissors
The air was especially frigid for an early October morning. The sun was just beginning to peak above the horizon, as the occupants of the Kamiya Kasshin-ryū dojo still slept… yet, not all was serene. Several meters from the front gate stood two men smoking cigarettes, glares as cold as ice.
"Are you sure this is where he is living?" asked the shorter man. He rolled his cigarette between his fingers, loosening the tobacco before flicking the butt. "There have been claims of the red haired rurouni before, and all of them turned out false or he already left the area."
"Very sure, Tadao-san," replied the taller of the two men. "We found out from the records we acquired that not only does he reside here, but he is a co-owner."
"Co-owner?" Tadao, the other man, raised an eyebrow, going to light another cigarette. "What use is an old dojo to a rurouni?"
"From the information we've gathered, he has lived here the past four years and goes by the name Kenshin," the taller man motioned at the sign in front of the gate. "Not only that, there have been several battles here, confirming that a short man with red hair and violet eyes lives here. Another interesting fact you might want to know, Tadao-san, is he now has a wife and a child."
Tadao took a last drag of the cigarette before dropping it onto the ground and crushing it. "A family… Ha! This will be easier than I thought it would be."
"Kenji!" shouted Kaoru, running around the courtyard. She looked under the engawa, behind every tree and by the storage shed, but the two-year-old was not to be found.
"Kaoru-dono, what's wrong?" asked Kenshin, walking over to the frantic woman.
"Kenji… he, he…" she stumbled, her face red. She looked disheveled and that made the swordsman feel paranoid. "While I was changing… I was cutting new bandages, and h-he walked away with the nigiri-basami!"
Kenshin stared at the woman in front of him for a second before he chuckled and put his hands on her shoulders. "Kaoru-dono, are you really so worked up over that?"
Her worried blue eyes immediately narrowed. "Worked up? Of course I am! He's my child and he's running around with a potentially dangerous object!" she glared.
"Mommy!" a young voice called out.
Kaoru broke from Kenshin's hold and rushed to the young boy standing by the laundry tub. He held out his arms to her, waiting to be scooped up. The raven haired woman did just that, inspecting him for any sort of injury.
"Kenji, where are mommy's nigiri-basami?" The young boy just smiled, putting his hands up to his mouth to stifle a giggle. Kaoru breathed a sigh of relief and returned her son's infectious smile. "Kenji… you silly little boy. It's not funny to scare me like that."
"See? This one said there was nothing to worry about," chimed Kenshin, walking up beside his young family. "Kenji-chan is a smart boy, he just likes shiny things."
"Shiny things that are dangerous," she retorted. "Do you remember when he tried to draw the sakabatō? He nearly cut himself."
"But he did managed to cut this one, that he did," Kenshin sighed, remembering that particular incident. He had placed his sakabatō next to him while sitting on the engawa one evening, taking a small moment to meditate and enjoy the outside air. Kaoru had come outside with Kenji to join him, and while they talked, Kenji was able to pull a quarter of the sword from its scabbard. As he went to grab the exposed metal, Kenshin noticed and grabbed it first, not taking care to grab any part but the blade. That night ended with Kaoru bandaging his hand while Kenji shouted 'MEAN!' at him for days.
"I'm just worried about him… especially now that walking is so natural to him," she mumbled, looking away. Now that her son was safely in her arms, she did feel a little silly for overreacting. "I don't want to be overly clingy with him… and I know he's a smart kid and he's just exploring, but I still want to protect him. I'm his mother."
Kenshin wrapped his arms around both his wife and son, earning a cry of disapproval from the young boy. "And you are a great mother, Kaoru-dono, that you are. This one thinks your capability of caring for others is my favorite thing about you and I hope you never change that. All this one was referring too was Kenji is a young boy. Of course, as parents, we will do everything to protect Kenji-chan, but young boys are adventurous and can sometimes be head-strong. Like Yahiko before him, sometimes he needs to learn things on his own to grow."
Kaoru leaned into her husband's chest, despite Kenji now trying to physically push his father's arms off.
"I guess you are right…" she then spun around, giving the red haired man a skeptical look. "But you are just as guilty of being a worrier too, especially with me. I can recall all the times you would walk me to and from dojo practices or you want to know the exact time I'd be home."
"Well, you can never be too careful. It's not like Kaoru-dono hasn't gotten into trouble before," he smiled at her.
A first connected with the swordsman's skull. "Oroooo…" he cried. Why had he thought she would not take that offensively?
Kenji, on the other hand, found his father's pain hilarious and laughed as his mother carried him back inside. She still needed to finish getting dressed for tonight's lesson at the Noma Kendo dojo and she didn't want to waste her energy on a swirly-eyed jerk.
"So we're going for his woman, not the child?"
Tadao sat around a group of his finest… well, finest that he could afford now, men, discussing their plan of action. He looked at Masahiro, the taller man that had accompanied him to the Kamiya dojo earlier that week, and gave him a nod to continue.
"Yes, it would be the easiest way to lure him here. The boy is young, so he's never without someone watching him. His wife on the other hand, runs several errands alone and also seems to teach at other dojos in the area. It was be much easier to grab her during one of her outings while the rurouni is with the child," Masahiro explained.
One of the yakuza laughed. "A woman teaching kenjutsu?! That's rich!"
"I think it's a great idea," another one rang in. "Imagine watching tits bouncing up and down, maybe peeping out while practicing swings."
"Idiot, don't they wear armor for it now? That wouldn't show any tits!"
"Some men are just into that masochist thing. Maybe they get off on letting her hit them?"
"Why don't we go for the kid? If she is a kenjutsu instructor, won't she be difficult to abduct?"
"Don't make me laugh! It's just a woman. It wouldn't matter if she has a katana, just one of us would be able to snatch her up, no problems."
"According to the records we stole, she has been captured before," chimed in Masahiro, trying to speak over the gaggle of men arguing.
"Silence!" All noise ceased and the men's gazes went to Tadao. He didn't say anything more, but took out a cigarette and lit it.
After a few long drags, he looked up at his 15 men… all loser thugs and young kids trying to make a living as wanna-be gangsters. This lot was what he was reduced to. Before that stupid rurouni showed up, he had over 150 strong, loyal men. The Kantō-kai yakuza had been well on its way to becoming a big name before he showed up and ruined them.
Eight years ago, that red headed bastard had come into the small village that he had run from behind the scenes. Puppet leadership was in place and the police force was wrapped completely around his finger. Not to mention, since the village was small enough, the government saw no point in standing up to him. While they dabbled in drugs and weapon smuggling, the Kantō-kai was known for human trafficking. If a brothel within the prefecture was in need of girls or young boys, the Kantō-kai could get that for them.
A young man in the village, his lover gone missing, had apparently run into the rurouni and after explaining his story, the swordsman offered to help. His initial investigations led him to the Kantō-kai main house. After seeing almost all his men, including his two personal body guards, taken out Tadao found himself stared down by amethyst eyes. Tadao, not wanting to die like the rest of his men, immediately gave up and pointed out the location of the holding cells. His head was still pressed to the ground in a bow as he heard several footsteps rush past him. He did not dare to look up, because he knew the red haired demon was staring at him.
"It is disgraceful to treat people as property, that it is," the rurouni had told him before leaving. "Atone for your crimes and never tear apart families again."
Apparently, the red headed man didn't kill any of his men. Some were even conscience enough to witness his gutless act of submission. After all their current human slaves were released, things went downhill for Tadao. All of his men left him, some taking the red haired man's words to heart, others stating they didn't want to work with a humiliated loser. Then the village, hearing the stories of all the women and children that had been saved by the rurouni, decided to rise up against the yakuza boss and drove him from the area.
It took him over two years to gain back any followers, and even longer to find out information on the red haired swordsman who had ruined him. All the yakuza leader knew was he had red hair, was short and feminine looking, had a cross-shaped scar and was a rurouni. Tadao had spent all that remained of his fortune looking for this man or hiring people who could find him. And now, after all this time, he not only found him but found the key he needed to subdue him.
Tadao put out his cigarette and looked up at his men. "The woman is our key to getting revenge on the rurouni. He should not fight if we have her life in our hands, and from there we can disarm him… literally. I want this man torn apart; death will come slow to him. I want his hair to be shaven off and burned. And before we cut off his ears I want him to know that our business will start up again, starting with his wife."
Kaoru was still fuming when she left for the Noma Kendo dojo. What Kenshin had implied, though he didn't mean it in a cruel way, had hurt her. Yes, she had needed his help in more than a few situations. Yes, she had been kidnapped before… twice. But that didn't mean she was some damsel in distress that needed rescuing!
She slowed from her fast stride, pinching the bridge of her nose in frustration. Now that she had finally said it out loud in her head, it did sound pretty pathetic. Two times?! Who else did she know had been kidnapped, not once, but twice?! She was supposed to be a shihondai.
'It only happened because it was Jin'eh and Enishi… two swordsmen who were on par with Kenshin,' a small voice said in the back of her mind.
She knew that was true, but it still hurt. Then again, depressing thoughts like this only brought her down. She needed to get to the dojo fast and sweat out all the bad thoughts. The blue eyed girl narrowed her eyes and tightened the grip she had on her bokken. Yahiko was meeting her there, so at least she had someone to knock around and vent her frustrations.
She hummed to herself and picked up her pace, trying to not let the thoughts bring her down.
"Lady! Lady! Please help me!" cried a young boy, bringing Kaoru out of her-self pep talk. She stopped and looked at the boy running toward her. He looked to be in his mid teens, maybe slightly older than Yahiko. She stopped walking and let him catch up.
"Lady! M-My sister and I were fishing by the river and she fell in!" he panted, flustered. "She is holding onto a rock, but… but I cannot swim! Please help!"
She didn't have to think twice about it. "Quick, take me to her."
The young boy turned and sprinted back the way he came from, Kaoru trailing from behind. The kid was quick and only seemed to be getting faster, but she managed to keep pace with him. He turned off the road into a heavily forested area. It was only after running several yards into the trees, did she stop. The boy realized she stopped, and stopped himself.
"W-What are you doing?" he panted. "My sister is in trouble, we have to keep running!"
Kaoru steadied, getting her breathing under control. "What is your purpose for taking me this far off the road?" she managed calmly.
"I told you already! We have to get to the river!" he shouted back.
"Then she must be very far, because the only river I know of in this area is north of here… you are leading me the opposite way."
His jaw dropped, and a look surprised crossed his face before he dismissed it and replaced it with a smug grin. "You're smarter than I thought… usually the 'sister in danger' story works like a charm."
"And you must be pretty stupid for giving up that easily on your story," she snapped back, trying to keep him distracted as she shifted her bokken in front of her, un-doing the knot of the bag and sliding it out of the leather cover. He didn't appear to have a weapon on him, but clearly he was trying to lead her somewhere with other people who may have them. "You could have at least attempted to blame panic for your lack of common sense."
The young kid scowled, reminding her too much of Yahiko. "S-Shut up! You're the stupid woman who worried more about her surroundings then a potentially drowning child!"
Kaoru couldn't help but laugh. This was all too ironic! Her husband had just accused her of worrying too much for her son just this morning and now some punk was accusing her of being too self-obsessed. She brought a hand to her mouth, attempting to stop her snickering. The boy's scowl deepened while his cheeks flushed in embarrassment. He put his fingers to his lips, producing a low whistle.
The young swordswoman ceased and immediately went on guard. Bringing up her bokken in a defensive manner, her blue eyes shifted back and forth. Two men came from the south, one from the east… she could easily make it back out to the road if she sprinted. Those plans were dashed when another two men blocked her path back to the road.
"We had a feeling you'd screw this up somehow, Yori-chan," chided Masahiro, patting the young boy on the head. The kid, Yori, smacked his hand away and glared.
"You idiots are the ones who set up over here! She wouldn't have thought anything of it if the damn river was over here!"
The man roughly shoved Yori to the ground. "Who are you calling idiots? You're the brat who is a bad actor. Just be thankful Tadao-san has need of you, or I'd gut you before you could wet yourself."
While the men watched the argument, Kaoru took advantage to analyze her options. She didn't know what they wanted with her, but it seemed more than a mugging. Excluding the kid, who had no weapon she could see, there were five armed men. She didn't see any others still in hiding, but she was on alert. Three of the men had knives, one club and one bokken. None of them had any sort of stance, but she was sure they had at least minimal experience. The surrounding area was thick with trees and bamboo, but there was a vacant area approximately six yards to her left. She could try to break through and run for the road, but chances were they'd be able to catch her before, and even if she did make it to the road, there may be no one around to help.
"Well, you can never be too careful. It's not like Kaoru-dono has gotten into trouble before"
Kenshin's very words echoed in her mind from this morning…
'Dammit Kenshin… bad karma,' she thought, feeling the weight of those words fall upon her shoulders.
Kenshin sneezed, bringing up a sud-soaked hand to scratch his nose. They say you sneeze whenever someone speaks ill of you.
'One would have to believe it is Kaoru in this case,' he thought to himself. She hadn't spoken to him before leaving, only stating Kenji was down for a nap before stomping out of the gate.
Despite maturing and becoming a mother, Kaoru was still as fiery as the first day they met when she attacked him on the street. Passionate, protective and stubborn… those were the top words to describe his wife. He admired her for those strengths, but he also loved to tease her and play on those strengths as well. Though, she would sometimes take it to heart and let it affect her self-esteem.
'Maybe it would have been better if this one had just said he walks her to and from practices because he enjoys being in her company, and he asks when she will be home because he misses her,' he thought, returning to scrubbing the laundry. 'It's not a lie.'
Kenshin had a strict policy about lying to Kaoru… he would just withhold from telling her certain things instead. There was a time and place for every problem or issue to be discussed and sometimes it was better to keep his wife from worrying about them.
"Oro…" he raised an eyebrow as his hand came into contact with a solid object. He released the towel he was rinsing and picked up the metal object. Speaking of Kaoru worrying…
The swordsman flicked the missing nigiri-basami free of suds before observing the scissor like object. Kenji really was too smart for his own good. His son always seemed to find ways to makes things more difficult for him, finding his pain funny. Kenji had probably dropped them in the washing tub in hopes his father would cut himself while doing laundry.
"You should be less worried about Kenji-chan hurting himself and more worried about him wounding this one…" he muttered out loud, furrowing his brow. Calloused fingertips brushed along the edges of the sharp blade. After observing the item for a bit, the swordsman put it to the side and continued with the wash, cautious for any other items his son might have put in there.
Fortunately for the red haired man, there were no more surprises and he was hanging up the towels when he heard the front gate open and Yahiko announce himself.
"Yahiko, I thought you were practicing katas at the Noma Kendo dojo with Kaoru-dono tonight," he questioned, walking over to the 14-year-old boy.
"We were supposed to, but they had to cancel. Something about the shichou's daughter being sick… which is a lame reason to cancel. Honestly, to ask us to train, then tell us there is no need at the last minute" the young swordsman complained. "Did Kaoru know this and not inform me? Rude woman…"
"No, Kaoru-dono left a while ago to meet you there," Kenshin answered. "You didn't see her? Not even walking here?"
Yahiko shook his head. "Not at the dojo, or on road. Maybe she might have taken a different way, though. She's probably sulking because they canceled like this before without telling us."
Kenshin made a hum, and walked back to the laundry area while untying the binding that held his gi back. "Yahiko, would you watch Kenji-chan for a little while? This one is going to meet Kaoru-dono."
Yahiko sighed, watching the rurouni pick up something besides the wash bin and secure in his sleeve. "Sure, I guess… but don't take forever."
Kenshin grasped the boy's shoulder and gave it a squeeze. "Kenji-chan is taking a nap, so it won't be difficult. This one will try to be back before he wakes."
Yahiko gave him a soft look, but said nothing. The ex-rurouni adjusted his sakabato before exiting out the gate, giving the younger boy a small smile. Even after three years, Kenshin was still recovering from the wounds of Jinchuu. The man whom he titled the 'Number One Sword in Japan' was having more and more troubles with his physical state. Even his mental state was still recuperating from the temporary death of Kaoru… but that was something even he still had nightmares about.
He shook the morbid thoughts from his head, placing his hands behind his head "time to raid the kitchen." It was part of the special perks of being a baby-sitter, after all.
"So, as you can see, you are completely surrounded," stated the man who had earlier been fighting with Yori, the kid who lead her into the trees. She heard the name Masahiro… but she couldn't remember ever knowing someone with that name. There little verbal spar had ended when Yori was sent across the air when the bigger man had enough and punched him. Yori sat, not unconscious but in a daze. "It's best if you drop the bokken and do as we say."
"As if I would drop my weapon," she scoffed. "Do you think I'm stupid?"
Masahiro chuckled, balancing his own bokken over his shoulder. "Well, you did see through Yori-chan's pathetic acting, but that's nothing to be too proud of."
The other men laughed, but Kaoru just glared. "But, I digress. I suggest you drop the bokken and you won't be harmed. We wouldn't want your husband to not recognize you because we had to rough you up."
"You're after Kenshin…" she muttered. Her eyes widened in revelation before they became ablaze and her brows narrowed in exasperation. "…and you're… kidnapping me to get… him…"
'This has to be a joke!' her inner mind screamed at her. If she wasn't busy holding a defensive stance, she wanted to slap a hand over her face.
"Sharp, Miss Swordswoman. You can blame your husband for this little meeting. Sadly, for you, this must be normal circumstances," again, the rest of the men snickered. "Now, are you going to listen to me or what?"
Unlike the rest of them, Kaoru did not find ANY humor is his stupid joke. How could these idiots know about past mess ups?
'They want him alive for whatever reason, but they don't seem to identify him as Battousai…'
"What do you want with Kenshin?" she asked, ignoring Masahiro's threat.
Masahiro shifted his eyebrows, annoyed, but began to talk anyway. "It's our boss that has the problem with him. Little red head ruined the reputation of the Kantō-kai yakuza, so we're going to ruin him."
To the shock of Masahiro, the raven haired woman smiled.
'This is a revenge for his rurouni title, not Battousai… that's strangely satisfying,' she thought.
Masahiro dropped his bokken in an attack stance, pissed off by her smug smile. "Do you think you will get out of this alive just because you are a shihondai? No woman could hold such a title. Don't think you're something just because you had a pathetic father who couldn't sire a son to take on his school! You stupid bitch… even Yori-chan could beat you into submission."
The momentary feeling of pride had disappeared and now the rage she felt previously returned tenfold. How dare he bring the dead into this! She returned his glare and felt the other men move in behind her.
"Well, you can never be too careful. It's not like Kaoru-dono hasn't gotten into trouble before"
'I have gotten in trouble before. I have been used against Kenshin a number of times,' the negative thoughts running through her head told her, but then she felt a power she had always known. 'I have fallen, but I have risen every time. Those times don't make me weak. My strength of pride helped defend my school's honor. My strength of teaching led me help create the next great swordsmen of Japan. My strength of hope led me to follow Kenshin to Kyoto. My strength of understanding led me to accept who he is. My strength of love gave me his heart and our child.'
"Well, if that's what you believe, then prepare for me to prove you wrong," she declared proudly. "I will show you why they call me the Kenjutsu princess!"
The lead man nodded his head and the two men behind Kaoru immediately jumped.
Kaoru felt the influx of their ki even before they moved an inch and in return released her own, quickly turning and counter-attacking. With a parry, the knife flew from the hand of one of the men. During his moment of shock and confusion, the raven-haired woman took advantage of his hesitation and produced a thrust straight into his solar plexus. Before he even collapsed to the ground, she turned her attention to the second attacker. As he swung his club for her head, the raven haired woman could see the slowness and lack of skill he possessed. Dodging, she returned with a counter-strike to his head.
A rush of wind flew past her. She looked down to see her sleeve cut and a small amount of blood seep out of the wound. Looking at the two remaining knife wielders, one had thrown his knife at her.
She rolled out of the way of a second knife and back onto her feet, moving into the open area she had seen earlier. The faster of the two men reached her first, having thrown away his weapon, resorted to fists.
Fortunately, after witnessing Sanosuke's many fights, Kaoru had a pretty good understanding of street brawling. If you knew your body and strength, like Sano did, it could be deadly. …but, like Sano, street brawling was mostly used by meat heads with all strength, no strategy or understanding of your enemy.
She let out a battle yell, and used the advantage of her weapon's range to slash at his exposed side, hitting the kidney. He fell to his knees, a pained growl escaping from his mouth. The raven haired woman spun again, striking his exposed head and finishing him.
Not even half a second later, she brought up her bokken to the knife being swung at her. The other man had picked up the previously thrown knife before attacking her. Wood and steel met, but her bokken was strong and thick while the knife was thin and a poor quality. The knife made a slight scratch on the wooden sword, but bounced off. Using his momentary shock, she used the momentum of her body to send her right fist into the exposed throat of the knife-wielding attacker. He let out a gurgled sound before falling to the ground.
The man with the club, slightly recovered from her first hit, swung at her. Not having time to subterfuge his swing's direction, Kaoru whipped her aching right hand back onto the hilt of her bokken while sliding her left to the base of wooden blade. Using the power of both hands and their position on the weapon, she executed a quick strike targeted to his exposed side.
She felt the blow from the club on her shoulder, but the pain was minimal. Her hit won. With first his head injury, now a side shot, the man cried out as he lost consciousness.
Masahiro and Yori stared with their jaws hanging. It had taken less than a minute for the woman to take down four armed men… walking away with nothing but a nick and labored breathing. Steel blue eyes turned to Masahiro's direction as she took control of her breathing. Their eyes connected, never swaying, as Kaoru leisurely began walking toward him.
Masahiro inhaled sharply, his shock still present on his face. "Y-you…y-you, little bitch," he stuttered. "What the hell was that?! You're nothing but a small woman!"
She stopped and turned her head to the side, almost as to mock him. "You know… at one point in my life, I may have agreed with you. Always training with others who told me I only got the title shihondai because my father wanted to keep the school in the family… that I was supposed to be born a son, but I sinned in my previous life and was punished with being born a woman. It can get into your head… And then when you witness such amazing fights, in which you were nothing than a spectator or hindrance, it can be a blow to your self-esteem."
'Kaoru, do you know why I choose you to be shihondai of Kamiya-Kasshin-ryū?'
The precious last memory of talking with her father prior to him leaving for war filled her head. They had been arguing for days, mostly her saying it wasn't fair he had to fight in war again, especially now that his ideas of katsujin-ken was the path they both followed. Also, doubts of her title he gave her just weeks before still hazed her conscience. The jeers from fellow students who were denied the title were finally getting to her.
'Because I am Kamiya Kaoru…' she answered, finally feeling the self-doubt consumer her.
Her father's blue eyes, the same ones she had inherited, were an unreadable storm. Even now, years later, the intensity of his stare was felt upon her soul.
'Exactly,' her father's brilliant smile lit his weathered face, his stormy eyes clearing and shining like the sun. 'But it's up to you to decide how Kamiya Kaoru will fulfill her duties as shihondai. Will it be the Kamiya Kaoru with the discipline and honor to live and follow katsujin-ken? Or, the Kamiya Kaoru who trains every day, not just body, but soul and mind so she can take up a weapon to defend life? Maybe it is the Kamiya Kaoru whose high comprehension of Kamiya-Kasshin-ryū and Kenjutsu make her the most skilled student? Or, will it be the Kamiya Kaoru that most ignorant people think got the title because her senile old father favored blood over the survival of his dojo?'
Kaoru stood straight and glared at Masahiro, who now held his bokken up in a defensive stance. The look in her eyes held the same pride they had that day her father had wondered what type of Kamiya Kaoru would take on his school. The pride and strength filled her soul and she could feel her heart rate increase with anticipation of proving to this man that her father had made the right decision.
"But, there is no doubt in my heart anymore!" she yelled. "I am Kamiya Kaoru! I overcame the Shin no Ippō! I defeated Great Scythe Kamatari of the Juppongatana and defended the Aoy-ia! I am wife to Kenshin and mother to Kenji! How dare you think you are capable of defeating me?!"
Kaoru sprang forward, closing the gap between her and Masahiro, taking the offensive. The tall man blocked her strike, and attempted to parry with a side slash. The raven haired woman managed to dodge, spinning around and giving a good distance from her opponent.
Again, their eyes connected, challenging each other's will. This Masahiro was skilled, at least more so than the rest of his men. But, his skill level was on par with a 10-year-old Yahiko…
She relaxed, but did not lower her bokken. Masahiro took this as an opening and rushed in, giving off a battle cry.
Everything seemed to go in slow motion as Kaoru waited to time it perfectly… the succession technique of Kamiya Kasshin-ryū, Hadome. Her hands shot up, catching the wooden blade between her wrists. The move shocked Masahiro, his eyes wide with surprise.
"Kamiya Kasshin-ryū ougi," she yelled, sliding her hands along the bokken and twisting her attacker's weapon from his grasp. She deftly spun her own bokken into a striking motion. "HAWATARI!"
Masahiro's form slumped over, he face blue and foam dripping out of his mouth. Kaoru's labored breathing, hitched as both a cheer of joy and a laugh came out.
She had done it! While she had performed the succession technique several times with her students and Yahiko… this was the first time it was successful in a real battle! …well, almost successful. It's considered a cheap shot to aim for your opponent's crotch. She aimed just a little too low. Masahiro let out a high-pitched whine before falling over completely.
'Oh well,' she smiled.
Kaoru almost felt like dancing, but a noise brought her back to her senses. Yori, the kid who had first led her into this pathetic trap, had managed to get a hold of one of the knives dropped by his comrades and was pressed up against a tree several feet away from her. He held the knife before him, a frightened look on his face.
Kaoru gave his a stern look before walking toward the kid, stepping over Masahiro's body, which was curled up in fetal position.
"B-back… Stay back! I'll cut you if you get any closer, you crazy broad!"
Her bokken smacked the knife from his hand before he had a chance to move. Yori, petrified, held up his hands in surrender. This brat reminded her WAY too much of Yahiko and Kenji on his fussy days.
Grabbing the front of his gi, she forced him to bend over and starting spanking her bokken on his buttock. "This is what you get for fucking with yakuza!" She gave one final good hit, and released his gi. "Now go home to your mother!"
Rubbing his behind, Yori pouted at the blue eyed woman before running off. After watching him disappear, she figured it best to do the same. It would probably be best to go report this to the police before they woke up and crawled away.
She made it a point to step back over Masahiro to collect the leather case for her bokken and her discarded gear. Following the path back to the main road, her battle ready mind suddenly sensed another ki presence. Did she miss another attacker?
Swiftly turning back around, she came eye to eye with a familiar pair of violet eyes, with flashes of gold sparkling in them.
After leaving the dojo gate, Kenshin knew things were suspicious. There was a pile of cigarette butts several yards away from the dojo. They were not a brand that was common in Tokyo, but the amount there gave proof that someone had stood there for several hours.
He jogged down the path he knew his wife took to get to the Noma Kendo dojo. About 10 minutes down the path he felt a huge ki presence near a heavily wooded area. Panic set in and he felt his heart rate triple as he walked a small path into the trees and bamboo.
A yell made him stop from going any further. That was definitely his wife's voice, but it was a battle cry, not one from pain for fear.
Behind a tree, the red haired man stood hidden as he watched his young wife strike a man much larger than her with her bokken. She continued to fight the other men, using hand to hand combat and her Kenjutsu skills to take down the others. His mind screamed at him to jump in and beat those who would dare threaten her, but his heart was so absorbed with her dance.
She was fury and grace mixed together. Kenshin had seen her do these moves before with her students, but never with this intensity. Now, she was defending her family and her honor. As a swordsman, he could appreciate her skill.
…And as her husband, he found it insanely erotic. Not the best time for fantasies, but there was no denying he found his wife attractive and this would be a memory to store in his head for later use.
His heart ached a little during her exchange with the last man. As a woman who was raised in a man's world, she had a rough time trying to identify who she was.
"But, there is no doubt in my heart anymore!" she yelled. "I am Kamiya Kaoru! I overcame the Shin no Ippō! I defeated Great Scythe Kamatari of the Juppongatana and defended the Aoy-ia! I am wife to Kenshin and mother to Kenji! How dare you think you are capable of defeating me?!"
Thoughts began racing through his head while watching his wife shine.
'It's most likely because of you she's even in this situation!' That voice that had always been in his head since the death of Tomoe shouted at him. 'Like with enemies before, they will use her to get to you.'
'Ahhh… this is true,' he retorted back to that voice. 'Kaoru will always have danger around her because of this one. Yet, she has accepted this and still wanted to love this one.'
Kaoru smiled, taking in her victory before gathering up her gear and heading back to the road, as though nothing had happened.
'I will always protect her, but the times I cannot… I think she can handle them herself.'
He moved to meet her before she reached the road and was greeted with a surprised yelp of his name. The look she gave him reminded him of a child who just was caught stealing candy before dinner. Did she think he would be mad?
"How'd you find me? Look… we need to get to the police station! Some yakuza called the Kantō-kai are after you and-"
Kenshin couldn't help but cut off her ramblings with a kiss. He felt her stiffen, not expecting the show of affection. He wrapped his arms around her when he heard her bokken fall to the ground and pulled her into his embrace.
After he pulled back, she looked up at him with dazed eyes and pink cheeks. This was a total turn-around from the warrior he had just witnessed minutes ago, but that image was still burnt in his mind.
He removed his arms from around her waist and pulled out the sharp object from his sleeve. "This one just wanted to let Kaoru-dono know that I found the nigiri-basami, that I did!"
She looked up at him like he was insane. "Did you not hear what I just said?! There are people after you! We need to go to the police!"
"I saw you, Kaoru," she froze. He only spoke like that when he was serious. "You were… absolutely beautiful. As a swordsman, you were a formidable opponent and your father would be so proud of how you represent his school."
"Oh… so you saw," she blushed.
"Yep," he smiled, bending over to grab her bokken and gear. One arm hefted the items over his shoulder and the other wrapped around the raven haired woman, leading back out on the road.
"Am I still a liability?"
Now it was his turn to look at her insane. "Kaoru-dono has never been a liability to this one."
"Don't even pretend to not understand," she glared. "Just this morning you set up my bad karma, saying I always get into trouble. Even those idiots back their new of my… mess ups."
He chuckled, but stopped when he saw it upset her. "You are not a liability. You are this one's strength. Even with your 'mess ups', both times, you were the triumphant one. With Jin'eh, you broke his Shin no Ippō and prevented this one from becoming Battousai. With Enishi, you stayed by my side and helped me find a reason to live."
She stayed silent, taking in his words.
"You said they referred to themselves as the Kantō-kai?" She looked up and nodded. "Before we head to the police, this one asks if Kaoru-dono wouldn't mind making a stop first."
"Tadao-san!" screamed Masahiro, his voice an octave higher.
Tadao was in the middle of eating, waiting for his men to return with the red haired demon's woman. "Masahiro, what the hell is the mean-"
"She beat all of us and now she's h-here…" he muttered before passing out. A figure emerged from behind Masahiro… a woman with piercing blue eyes and black hair pointing a bokken at him.
Tadao choked on the bit of food he just swallowed. "W-What… the hell is this?!" he yelled between coughs.
"My name is Kamiya Kaoru… I was told you were waiting for me. Please excuse me for being late."
"Where are my men!" he screamed, backing into a corner.
"They were all taking naps," she smiled. "I really expected a yakuza leader to be able to hire men with a more motivated work ethic." Tadao glared back, staying silent. "All joking aside, I'm here to teach you a lesson… don't underestimate me."
"You should listen to her, that you should," a familiar voice shook him even further. The red haired demon stood behind the woman with the bokken, glaring at him with the same violet eyes. "She can get quite violent when she's underestimated."
Kaoru hit the swordsman on the head before turning back to the quivering yakuza leader. "I think it'd be best if you never come near my family or me ever again."
The look of steel blue eyes pierced him more than the violet eyes ever had. There was fury in them that shook his soul and he knew if he did not comply, he would be in the same situation as the men outside his hut. He found his head placed on the floor, bringing back memories of years prior. Why did he ever think this would be a good idea? Of course the red haired demon would marry something worse than a demon.
After several minutes of no reply, he looked up to see they had left.
"Tadao-san…" muttered a semi-conscience Masahiro. "I think you should find a different career path. Yakuza boss doesn't seem to suit you."
After alerting the police that a dangerous looking group of men were fighting each other, Kenshin and Kaoru walked side by side down the road. Kenshin still held her bokken and gear for her and his other arm was looped with hers.
"I can't believe you had me go with you to finish them," she mused. "I almost feel like Sanosuke!"
"Oro!? Sanosuke? Why would you even want to compare yourself to him?"
"You had never asked me to accompany you on something like this ever before. Sano is your right-hand man in most of these situations."
"Well… truth be told, Sano just usually invited himself," Kenshin considered. "Besides, Hiten Mitsurugi-ryū is starting to be unusable by this one. It's good to know this one has someone to protect him."
"I know you are just messing with me, but it's true. I will always stand by your side, along with Yahiko and Kenji. We'll keep you safe," she laughed.
Kenshin smiled at his wife. She would never know just how true those words were. He would not be in the happy situation he was in now if it were not for her pride in her samurai heritage and desire to honor her father's dojo. She was a true swordsman.
"Speaking of those two… Yahiko is watching after Kenji-chan. We have some time to ourselves for the first time in a while," he mischievously grinned. The memories of his wife's sword dance were still fresh in his head. "We could always make a detour to the 'special' place."
Kaoru felt her face heat up in a blush. This man still knew how to shock her, but she wasn't complaining. "I suppose we could. I do believe you owe me for insulting me this morning."
"It's fact, not insult. Kaoru-dono is always getting into trouble, but I did leave out one vital part," he unlooped their arms and placed his free arm around her waist. "Kaoru can always get herself out of the trouble, that she can."
Several hours after having Kenji dumped on him, Yahiko heard a knock at the gate. Opening the gate, a kid about his age was kneeling with his head on the ground with a middle aged woman glaring down at the boy.
"Uh… can I help you?"
"This is the Kamiya Kasshin-ryū dojo, correct?" she snapped. The kid kneeling seemed to bury his head further into the ground.
"That's right. The shihondai is out at the moment, though."
"I want to enroll my son at this dojo. It took a woman beating his ass to finally be a man for once and come home. I want her to beat him every day until he becomes a quality man!"
"My name is Tanaka Yori, I wish for Kaoru-sensei to train me! Please take care of me!" the boy yelled.
Yahiko just stared at the strange sight in front of him, looking back and forth at the crazed woman and the kid. "What the hell has Kaoru been doing?"
Oh, Yori-chan wants to learn Kamiya Kasshin-ryū now! We all know Kaoru will never turn down a student.
I've been working on this little piece for awhile. Originally it started off as a one-shot about Kaoru not feeling feminine enough, then it totally did a 180 on me and now it's about Kaoru being sick of being the damsel in distress. Girl power!
I got the Kantō-kai name from the actual Kantō-kai yakuza that disbanded after only being an organization for 15 months. I figured since it didn't work out for them, they would mind me using their name. Also, did anyone recognize a particular scene from Kill Bill? While writing the scene for a dominating Kaoru, this particular scene seemed to fit so well. (Quentin Tarantino actually borrowed that scene from Yojimbo, so I don't feel bad for using it).
Also, you may have notice I left Kaoru's surname Kamiya, as well as Kenji having it as well. After reading The Rurouni Settles by abstractular (check it out, it's amazing) and doing some research on it myself, I decided that I liked the idea of Kenshin taking the Kamiya name. It was acceptable for men to take their wife's name if there were no sons to carry on the family name. That being said, it would make sense to keep the Kamiya name alive to carry on Kamiya Kasshin-ryū.