Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters you recognize in this story.
Author's Note: Hello! This is my first attempt at a Rurouni Kenshin Fic. I am an avid fan of the series and am extremely glad to see that a ton of others are also hooked on such a wonderful anime. Anyhow, this story is a combination of action and romance. The romance centers on Aoshi and a female character from the series. I wouldn't specify who at the moment, but I'm sure you will all figure it out after reading this chapter or, if not, after reading the next chapter. Hopefully, in this story, I will do the characters some justice – I'll try not to get them out of character. If, at any instance, I do that, then I apologize in advance. Well then, here's the first chapter. Please don't forget to review once you've finished. It would mean a lot to me, seeing as this is my first Rurouni Kenshin fic. Thank you and enjoy!
Chapter One: No regrets, right?
Three tenants of the Kamiya Apartment Complex stood patiently inside the well-lit elevator, each waiting to reach their desired floors. Two of the three residents, an old couple both with graying hair, smiled cordially at the other person standing across from them: a man with jet-black hair and expressionless eyes, who showed no regard towards the other occupants' presence. As the lift slowed to a stop at the third floor, the man – a cup of tea in one hand and a folded newspaper in the other – gave an empty nod at the two elders, positioning himself in front of the copper-toned doors, ready to exit the elevator.
With his footsteps echoing down the hallway, and the elevator doors silently sliding to close behind him, the raven-haired man walked down the corridor, placing his folded newspaper underneath his arm as he fumbled through his pockets for his keys. He stopped as he reached his apartment, which was marked by a blood-red door with a peephole and three, silver numbers: 383. Pocketing his keys, the man entered his loft, closing the door and looking down at a sealed, brown envelope he had stepped on.
Quietly setting the newspaper on a chair a few feet away from him, Aoshi Shinomori – the top assassin (and considered the leader) of the Oniwaban group – bent down, extending a gloved hand to pick up the envelope that had been slipped underneath his door during his brief run to the café across the street. Silently, he unsealed the envelope, walking towards a black leather sofa as he brandished a black and white photograph of a man wearing thin-framed glasses and a well-tailored suit. Beneath the photograph were two sheets of white paper, one containing a small blueprint of an area downtown, and the other containing information about the pictured man: date of birth, occupation, family, home address, and name.
A light ringing from within Aoshi's coat broke the silent atmosphere.
"I trust you have met your next target, Shinomori-san?" asked the enthusiastic but deeply professional voice of Misao Makimachi through the mobile phone.
Aoshi, eyes wordlessly staring at the photograph, quickly shifted his gaze towards one of the white sheets beneath the photo. "Hmm…" confirmed the man, eyes locked on the target's name. "Ryusei Takani."
"Ryusei Takani," repeated Misao. "CEO and founder of Takani enterprises, the leading pharmaceutical company in Japan. He holds a bachelor's degree in biology from Tokyo University, a master's degree in pharmacology from—"
Aoshi cleared his throat, interrupting the girl.
"I know, I know: you do not require any further information about your target," said the young lady, a defeated sigh escaping her lips. "Now, I have been observing the target for the past three days, both at home and at work. Seeing as he's usually surrounded by people every minute he's at work, the best opportunity for you to finish him off would be during his 'alone time' at home."
Misao paused, the sound of fingers typing on keyboards taking over the brief silence. Finally, she continued. "Takani-san arrives from work between 4:10 and 4:15. Judging from my observations, our target lives by the clock; he does everything at the exact same time, at the exact same moment, everyday." She paused again, catching her breath. "At around 4:20, Takani-san enters his office, sits down and either reads a book or goes through some leftover paperwork. Regardless, the target remains rooted to his seat for three hours. You are to pull the trigger sometime during this three hour period – the exact time does not matter, as long as you finish the job."
"The Takani residence is on the fourth floor of Mishima Complex, Building B. And the target's office is on the southern face of the structure, the fifth window from the left. Luckily, his desk and leather chair are directly in front of that window – giving you a clear and easy shot." Misao casually leaned back on her chair, a faint, squeaking sound making its way to the assassin's ear. "There's a small map included in the envelope. If you look at it, the Akabeko Corporate Building is directly across from the southern face of Takani-san's building."
Aoshi nodded silently, his eyes tracing across the map to locate the said structure. "Continue."
"Your weapon is in a black Samsonite case on the Akabeko's rooftop, behind three blue barrels – that's three floors above Takani-san's office," explained Misao. She heaved a fake sigh. "Now, since you despise our telling you what to do, it's up to you to decide where you'll position yourself and when you'll pull the trigger. Just make sure you inform me of your plans. Now then, are there any questions you would like to ask me, Shinomori-san?"
Misao waited eagerly for a response, face-faulting when a minute of silence passed. "Alright then," sighed the girl, a defeated look on her face. "Be careful, Shinomori-san. And more importantly, do not mess up."
"I never have, and I never will," replied Aoshi, his voice cold but confident as he ended the conversation, tucking the phone back into a coat pocket.
Exhaling sharply, Aoshi glanced at his watch and ran a hand through his hair, lightly throwing the envelope and its contents on the empty spot beside him. He stood up from his position and walked towards a tall bookshelf, grabbing a crimson-colored hardbound from the selection. "Six hours…" he muttered, opening the book as he took a seat in front of a desk, propping his feet onto the table. "The last six hours of your life, Ryusei Takani."
Aoshi sat silently on a wooden crate at the rooftop of the Akabeko building, propping an elbow on each knee as he leaned forward from his sitting position, his hands clasped together and his eyes glued to his watch – 4:20 PM. Wrenching his gaze from his wristwatch, Aoshi glanced at the building across from where he say, directing his gaze towards the window Misao had earlier informed him of. Calmly, he stood up, green eyes fixed on the moving image of a man in a white long-sleeved shirt and a solid red tie, who was taking a seat behind a large, executive desk.
With a resolute nod, Aoshi retrieved the black suitcase beside him, the hem of his coat whipping behind him like mysterious black smoke. Kneeling down onto the gravel-laden rooftop, partially hidden behind a ledge, the skilled assassin opened the case and assembled a silencer and scope on the 6.5 mm sniper rifle he held in his hand. Expertly handling the firearm, a finger lightly on the trigger, Aoshi looked through the rifle's scope, focusing his aim on the target's head.
Quietly, he brought the rifle down from position, his left hand tugging at the collar of his indigo shirt, which was loosely tucked inside his black slacks, its first two buttons unclasped. Breathing evenly, his chest calmly rising and falling, Aoshi glanced at his watch – 4:28 PM. He readied himself for the kill.
Aoshi Shinomori had been placed in a position to kill probably a hundred times – maybe more. But not once has he failed to do his job. Not once has he failed to kill. Not once, in all his assignments, has he felt remorse.
And for that, he is considered as one of the best.
With intense eyes looking through the scope, Aoshi once again aimed at the target's unsuspecting head, exhaling sharply as a gloved finger quickly pulled the trigger. He watched with unblinking eyes as the target lurched forward, blood splattering onto the bullet-holed window. Without a second glance, the skilled assassin disassembled the firearm, placing the rifle back into the Samsonite case, eyes focused and showing no regret.
A scream, cutting through the city air like a knife, suddenly echoed from the whitewashed building across the street.
With both hands gripping the top of the suitcase, Aoshi looked up from his position towards the now familiar window. His green eyes widened in shock: hugging the slumped body of Ryusei Takani – the back of his white polo drenched with blood – was a woman with long, black hair, her face buried on the dead man's neck.
The loud noise of the city seemed to disappear as Aoshi, his left knee touching the gravel rooftop, watched the woman grieve – the sound of her silent sounds amplifying with each second that passed. He was jerked back to reality when his mobile phone rang from within his coat pocket. With one last look through the window, Aoshi grabbed the case and swiftly ran out of the rooftop, taking his phone out of his pocket.
"It's done," he said in a somewhat strained voice, swiftly descending down the staircase as he turned off his mobile and slipped it into his pocket again. As he opened the door out of the building, a black BMW sedan pulled up in front of him with a screech. Aoshi threw the Samsonite case onto the backseat, slamming the door shut as he reached to open the front passenger seat. He briefly looked up at the white façade of Building B's southern face, the image of the sobbing woman replaying in his mind.
Aoshi tore his eyes away from the building, his gaze landing on the bewildered face of Misao. "Let's go," he said in an unreadable tone, getting inside the vehicle without another word.
With a curt nod, Misao stepped on the gas pedal, a smile etched on her lips. "Looks like you did it again, Shinomori-san!" exclaimed the girl, her eyes filled with admiration and enthusiasm. Inwardly sighing as the man beside her remained impassive, the young woman continued the drive in silence, broking her own oath after five minutes. "By the way," began Misao, blue eyes never leaving the road. "Okina told me—"
"I shall speak to Okina some other time," said Aoshi, cutting the girl off, his eyes staring straight ahead. "Right now, it is best if you drove me back to my apartment."
For the remaining ten minutes, Misao held her tongue – not a single word escaping her lips until the black sedan rolled to a stop in front of the Kamiya apartment complex. As Aoshi stepped a foot out onto the concrete sidewalk, ready to get off the vehicle, Misao finally broke her silence and asked, prompting the man to turn his head towards the girl.
"No regrets – right, Shinomori-san?"
Aoshi's gaze did not meet the young lady's curious but concerned stare. Without a word, he stepped out of the sedan and closed the door behind him, not looking back as he disappeared behind the red, paned doors of his apartment complex.
So…was that okay? I hope so…those of you who read this, have you figured out yet who I'm pairing Aoshi with? Heck, I'm not even sure yet…let me know who you think, alright? By the way, if you didn't like this chapter, please let me know. And if you did, then let me know as well. The only way for you to inform me of you opinion is obviously either through email or through reviewing. I highly recommend reviewing – it's much easier and much more convenient for you guys! But I wouldn't mind getting emails…well then, thank you for reading this little old story. Hopefully I'll get enough reviews to continue. If not, then I wouldn't…thanks again and have a wonderful day!