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"Desperate times"

Kenshin had never felt so helpless in his life. Kaoru's injuries were much worse than he had thought. Kaoru-donno must be in a lot of pain. And she never said anything. She never complained once, never even let us suspect. Tears came to his eyes as he thought of how hard it must be for her to suffer through what had happened to her alone. Yet, it seemed that that was what she had wanted. He winced as he remembered her face and her words. "Kenshin, please leave me alone," she had begged. Didn't she trust him? Why was she so secretive about what happened to her? His other self at the back of his head nagged at him Maybe she doesn't want to worry you, anyway, whatever her reasons are, shouldn't you respect the fact that she wants to deal with this alone? Kenshin shook his head at that thought. He would not allow Kaoru to go through this alone, and, he will find out who did this to her and when he does.. Kenshin's eyes narrowed dangerously as he though of what he would do to the lowlife. I may have to break my vow not to kill soon. I will make sure that whoever harmed Kaoru will pay to the full extent. His mind firmly made up, Kenshin started to walk back to the dojo, an expression on his face that would have made the devil shudder. While Kenshin was making this decision, Kaoru was congratulating herself for making it back to the dojo without blacking out. When she finally arrived at the dojo entrance, she was surprised to see Yahiko pacing back and forth in front of the door, shinai in hand. When he saw her, his face went through a series of emotions. First happiness and relief followed by anger. No not anger, rage.

"Where the *&%^$#^ have you been!" he screamed. Kaoru noticed how his voice shook with vehemence, as did the hand that was gripping the shinai.

"I went for a walk." She said, carefully making sure that her voice showed no trace of pain or fatigue. Her answer only made him angrier.

"A walk huh, who do you think you are kidding? Just because I look like a kid doesn't mean I'm stupid! Do you think that you can just throw off any lame excuse and I'll just nod and say O.K.?" Kaoru didn't say anything; instead, she started walking again towards the dojo. Kuso! She is not taking me seriously. She never did and never will. Well I am tired of this. I've been worried sick all morning and all she does is give me the silent treatment? As these thoughts ran through his head, Yahiko felt his whole body tense up. The hand that was gripping the shinai started to tremble even more visibly than before and his other hand was gripped in a fist so tightly that he felt that his nails would cut through his palm. Just as Kaoru passed him and entered through the gate, a rush of adrenaline erupted from inside of him. He turned around and, gripping the shinai tightly with both hands, swung it towards Kaoru's lower back. Suddenly, he realized what he was doing and tried to stop himself. But, it was too late; he had swung too hard, too fast, and couldn't stop. He shut his eyes tight as if that would help stop what was going to happen; but, he opened them just a quickly when he heard the loud crack that came from the impact of the wooden sword to Kaoru's back. He opened his eyes just in time to see Kaoru's body collapse to the floor. She lay still. "Kaoru!" Yahiko yelled at the same time thinking What have I done!


Saitoh sneered at what used to be a stack of papers in front of him. This new case was going to be hard to crack which was probably why it was assigned to him. The information that the local police had given him was barely enough to get him started. Reading the "chicken scratch" in all those papers made his eyes bleary. But, at least he knew what little facts there was to the murders that have been going on. So far, all the victims have been males, well over the age of fifty. As far as they knew, there have been no witnesses to any of these murders. Also, the fact that intrigued him was that although none of the murders happened in the same area, there was a pattern to them. The first murder was in the heart of Kyoto. Another happened in Aizu and the pattern continued. The last murder happened somewhere just outside of Tokyo. Saitoh knew that that was where the next murder would take place. Something that he thought was a key factor to the case was that all of the victims were survivors of the war. Information on exact roles that the victims played in the wars was classified. Not that that was problem for Saitoh. He after all worked for the government. Taking long, deliberate strides, he headed to the main information room.


Yahiko leaned over Kaoru's still figure. He reached out to her but his hands only hovered around her figure; afraid to touch her, afraid that he might hurt her. She finally stirred a little. He jumped away in surprise. Kaoru kept her face down as she slowly gathered her arms under her and pushed herself up. Yahiko watched, relieved and anxious, as she pulled herself to her feet. She tried standing up straight but stopped abruptly when she felt pain go up and down her spine like shock waves. Yahiko approached her quickly, wanting to help, but wondering how he could show her his face after what he did. She lifted her hand up in his direction telling him to back off. She forced herself to stand up straight and just as she did, she caught his eyes. They were filled with tears of horror and shame at what he had done. She sighed and felt her own eyes mist. Just then Sano and Megumi arrived, Kenshin close behind them. The trio watched as Kaoru went over to Yahiko, and put her hands on his shoulders. Yahiko raised his head to look into her face. She looked into his eyes; his tear strained face, and his quivering lips. She gave him a look of understanding, her eyes still misting but they didn't allow the tears to flow. She gave him a kiss on the forehead and without looking at the others turned and headed inside. Yahiko watched her until she disappeared inside the house, then fell to his knees and started sobbing hysterically. Megumi bent over and tried to comfort him but not before she exchanged glances with the others trying to see if any of them knew what was going on. Apparently, they were as ignorant as she was.

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chapter five

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