Thunder boomed in the distance, promising one hell of a stormy night. "Kuso...Figures it'll rain...." The horses snorted in reply as the old carriage driver urged them into a faster gallop. "Better speed it up," he thought, "Last thing I need is a cold in the summertime...." The horses suddenly bucked, almost overturning the entire carriage before he managed to get them under control. "What the hell's amatter with ya...." Then he saw the woman. She was just standing there, staring at him blankly...Dressed in a simple blue Kimono that had seen better days. It paled in contrast to the owner, however, who was definitely the most beautiful woman the old man had possibly seen. (Although he wouldn't say that in his wife's presence, he thought ruefully.) Inky black hair that flowed down her waist, framing her lovely, sad features which were probably the envy of many. But it was her eyes that arrested the old man's attention most of all. Coal black. Empty. Like the dead.... "Gomen." She said softly. "I should be more careful. Forgive me for startling you." She kept walking, the old man catching a whiff of an unusual perfume as she passed. Plum blossoms, perhaps? His wife was such a fanatic when it came to perfume that it rubbed off on him as well. Can't leave her alone out here.... "Miss?" She stopped. "Do you want a ride to the nearest town? Free, of course...." She turned and nodded. "Agratou..." The old man sighed ruefully. Never could resist a lady. Still, getting a cold's better than the guilt (And his wife's tongue lashing.) for leaving her alone out here. "Excuse me," The old man asked as she stepped into the carriage "Do you mind giving me your name, Young lady?" She smiled. "Himura....Himura Tomoe...." In the darkness something slithered...a breeze of wind marking it's incredibly fast passing. Something inhuman. Premium Spirit Productions Presents... A Rurouni Kenshin/Ninja Scroll Crossover Darkness before Dawn. By Sentora Rurouni Kenshin and all it's characters belong to Nobuhiro Watsuki, The great guys at Sony and Jump magazine, I'm just borrowing them for this crazy fic. The new ones, however, belong to me...So ask nicely if you want to use them, Kay? ^_^ Chapter 1: Three little words, a whole lot of trouble. The next day, near evening WAP! WAP! WAP! CRUNCH! "DAMNIT! Hit the nail! I'd like to at least have a few fingers left, Yahiko!" "Then quit moving! Bad enough I'm reduced to common work!" "Oh shut up, Yahiko-Chan!" Crunch! "STOP CALLING ME THAT!" Sano bopped him upside the head, nursing his sore fingers. Yep, things were certainly back to normal. Well, almost. Kenshin no baka. It had been a month since that hellish fight between Kenshin and Enishi... A month since he'd left the Dojo and went god knows where.... Sano growled at the memory. They'd almost lost Kenshin after the fight, dying from the poison that had been Enishi's parting gift. Before he blacked out he told Karou He wished he could tell her how much he loved her...Then after they just managed to cure him and nurse him back to Health he just packs up and vanishes as soon as he can walk, leaving behind a note that he would be back in a month. It was something he had to do on his own. Kenshin....You Dumb ungrateful bastard....pulling this shit after Megumi saves your ass, leaving me to suffer with Karou's cooking....Ougtha smack you upside the head... CRUNCH! Sano danced around the yard in pain, his hand throbbing five times it's normal size. 'DAMMIT!' "Maybe you should keep your mind on the job, roosterhead!" "Gimme that!" Sano snatched the hammer from him, Yahiko holding up the last piece of wood. I don't know what's pissed me off more: Kenshin leaving, Karou pissed off over it, or that I have to fix the wall because she throws a temper tantrum and punches it! Me and Kenshin are definitely gonna have a chat when he gets here..."There, finished!" He stepped back to admire his work. "Not bad if I say so myself." "Sano..." Yahiko glanced at the wall. "Are you sure that's the right way?" The wall resembled a giant X's and O' board, the X's covering the holes made by Karou pretending it was Kenshin when she hit it. "What's wrong with it?" he demanded. "Never mind." Yahiko rolled his eyes. "Sano! Yahiko! Could you come here for a moment, Please?" Uh Oh. Sano and Yahiko looked at each other. Now what...? Karou had taken the news better than last time. Instead of crying herself sick and making herself miserable, She cried the first week....Then made everyone at the dojo miserable. Wild, violent mood swings and treating Him and Yahiko like a practice dummy (Under the excuse of needing a 'sparring partner') when she wasn't demolishing the dojo the second week, and this last week....Sneaking around with Megumi and Tae all of a sudden, like they were planning something.... Their fears were confirmed when the moment they walked into the kitchen, Karou beaming at them as she shoved some money into Sano's hands. "Why don't you two go eat out tonight? My treat?" Sano was about to protest when he found a Shinai point in his face, Karou's smile warm and friendly but her eyes glinting dangerously. "I'd REALLY appreciate it." Sano chuckled nervously. "Er, Hai, Jou-chan...Come on Brat..." Sano dragged Yahiko behind him. Yep, Jou-chan was planning something allright, and Kenshin wouldn't know what hit him. He almost felt sorry for him. Almost. ** Not too far away... "So this is Tokyo. I'm not impressed." There wasn't anything really noticeable about the three travelers now entering Downtown Tokyo. At least at first. The leader was a man in his late twenties or thirties, with long dark hair that peeked from under his large straw hat and Dressed in a simple brown Gi and Hakama. Not much could be seen of his face, but the Katana he carried over his shoulder, a blue headband tied around the hilt, was definitely noticeable... The second was also a young man, Shorter and more slender than the first guy, bluish black hair framing delicate features that could be mistaken for a girl's. The only things that really stood out was the unusual Katana he carried at his side...And that haunting smile... The third couldn't help but be noticed. First, she was short, even for a girl, barely at five feet. She was heartbreakingly cute though, despite her tomboyish appearance or because of it. The outfit she wore, something that in it's previous life was a ninja uniform, was now hacked scandalously short at the legs and now covered with all kinds of Shuriken, daggers and even bits of chain mail armor here and there. But what really stood out was the gigantic Shuriken she wore on her back with an unusual sun like design and serrated ripsaw edges... "What was you expecting, Miko?" The first man said. "Streets of gold or something like that?" "I'm not paying you to be funny, mister." "You haven't been paying me at all so what's the point?" The second one chuckled. Miko glared at him. "Tokyo has its good points, Miss Shuriken." "Like what? And it's just Shuriken. Shuriken!" "Hai, Miss Shuriken." She swung at him and missed. "The man I was telling you about lives here and we can probably stay there tonight." "This Kenshin you were telling me about?" She had to see this guy for herself to believe the stories he told her..."I can't wait." The first man grinned. A feral, wolfish grin. "Nether can I." ## Home. I'm finally home.... Kenshin grinned. He liked the sound of that. This had been the longest month of his life but now, as he walked up to the doors of the dojo, he was back with the ones he loved. Assuming they didn't kill him first, he chuckled, Karou especially. But he had to make sure....He couldn't lose Karou like he lost Tomoe... Well, he dusted himself off, straightened his clothes and sighed. Here goes.... Just as he was about to knock, the door opened. Kenshin's jaw hit the floor. "Oro?! K-K-Karou Dono?" Karou was standing there in doorway, smiling that heartstopping smile of hers, as always... Beautiful, as always....but now she looked like a goddess. Her hair was free of its usual ponytail, flowing riverlike down to her waist and adding a dark halo around her. She wore a red kimono splashed here and there with white flowers and stunning on her, Kenshin almost forgetting to breathe. "Kenshin..." Her voice was almost a whisper. "Welcome home." Kenshin gulped. He expected Karou to be angry, upset, anything but THIS...."It's good to be back, Karou-Dono. I'm sorry I... She placed a finger on his lips. "Shush. Let's go inside. Dinner's getting cold." She led the dazed Kenshin inside and to the Dojo. The lights were low, the single red candle burning on the table she set up giving the room a romantic glow. Oh, boy. "Sit down, rest. You must be tired." Kenshin did as he was told, Karou sitting next to him and leaning her head on his shoulder. "I've really missed you, Kenshin..." Her voice was soft, almost seductive. She looped an arm around his, and blasted him point blank with another of her smiles. "Did you miss me too?" "Hai. Very much." Despite the screams of RUN!! HIDE!!! ESCAPE!!! From his mind, Kenshin was paralyzed by Karou the same way a snake hypnotized a mouse. "I'm sorry that I worried you, Karou,But it was something I just had to..." "No need to apologize." Karou carefully disarmed him of his Sakabatou, Kenshin too overwhelmed to even notice. "You're here now so it doesn't matter anymore." "But I need to talk to you about...." "Hush, Kenshin." She cupped his chin in her hands, Now almost close enough to kiss. "I said it doesn't matter." "Then you're not angry?" Kenshin ignored that little voice in the back of his head screaming something about 'Kill you.' "Kenshin..." She whispered....caressing his hair.... "Hai?" The caress turned into a hard jerk. "I didn't say that." The next thing Kenshin knew he was flying....then smashing facefirst into the wall hard enough to rock the Dojo to it's foundations and sliding to the floor in a heap. "Orororororororo...." Through the stars he could see Karou stalking toward him, Shinai somehow in hand. "Karou dono...." "Don't you 'Karou-dono' me, you Baka!" Her voice was a growl, eyes flaming. "Do you have..." charged at him, swiping at him repeatedly as he ducked and dodged every blow he could....which wasn't many "Any IDEA..." Kenshin bolted for the door, finding it locked and running for his life...."THE HELL YOU'VE PUT ME THROUGH?!!" "-Oro!-If you'd calm-oro!- down-oro!-I can explain..." Outside.... "Onegri?" "Don't mind if I do." Sano grabbed one from Megumi's plate, never taking his eyes off the 'lovebirds' from the Dojo windows. They had all snuck back to watch the show. "He'll fight Saitou, Aoshi, even freaks like Shisho but he runs from Karou. Embarrassing." Megumi humped. "Shows he's smarter than you, Sano dear." Yahiko rolled his eyes. Damn Flirts.... "How long you bet he'll last?" "Sano! That's mean.....20 yen on five minutes." "You're on." Back inside.... Kenshin found himself bruised, tired, and trapped against the wall, feeling like he was staring down a tiger as Karou slowly closed in. "I know you're angry with me, Karou-dono...." "That's an understatement." "But you don't understand...." "WHAT'S TO UNDERSTAND?!!!" She yelled, Kenshin wincing. "You said you loved me Kenshin....Then you just leave without a single word to me about where you're going...." Her voice suddenly broke, Kenshin surprised to see tears gathering in her eyes."....Or even to say goodbye...." The shinai dropped to the floor, Karou sobbing into Kenshin's chest as hugged her to him and stroked her hair. "Why couldn't we just talk to each other, Kenshin? It's hurts whenever you act like this..." Kenshin sighed. "Gomen, Karou-dono. I never meant to hurt you. I.........I had to do this before I could tell you how I felt." "Do what?" "Recover from Enishi's Jinchuu. My body had healed, Karou, but my mind hadn't. I didn't want to endanger anyone, especially you. So I left to find myself and let go of the past once and for all with Sensei's help." Karou couldn't help but smile a little, wiping her tears. "You went to Hiko?" "He came to me, actually. Wasn't a mile out of Tokyo before he jumped on me for 'dishonoring his teaching by losing to trash like Enishi.' Which meant he was worried. To make a long story short He knocked some sense into me..." His eyes got serious as he held her back a little to look at her. "And made me realize I should of done this a long time ago..." He got down on one knee, and took one of her hands in his. "I-I don't have much to offer you, Kamiya Karou....But....will you....will you marry me?" Karou started to cry again, but this time out of joy. "Hai, Kenshin....On One condition...." "Oro?" She knelt down and cupped his chin in her hands. "Don't pull another stunt like that again or I'll use a real sword next time." "Yes ma'am...." He said as she kissed him. Outside, Sano chuckled. "About damn time, you two." Yahiko snickered. "I guess we have to work on you two, next..." Both gave him the evil eye. "What was that?" Large sweatdrop. "Nothing." "Oh, and Sano? Pay up." "Put it on my Tab." ## "Kenshin......" Kenshin snapped awake in his bed. No....It's not real.... He didn't tell Karou all of the truth....not of the voices he'd had started hearing before he left. Voices of the dead. It was just your imagination, Kenshin, remember? Just your guilt talking.... "Come to me....Kenshin." A flash of movement by the window....a glimpse of glowing red eyes.....Kenshin grabbed his Sakabatou, keeping his eyes on the window. Something's out there....But is it really..... He crept out of the house, silent as death, and after making sure no one had heard him leave he prowled around the house. Could've swore I saw..... Something sprinted past him so fast he barely saw it....Kenshin seeing a figure heading toward the riverbank.... "Oh no you don't....." The river seemed to be of molten silver in the moonlight, unearthly quiet when Kenshin got there. Not even the cicadas were singing. Something's....not right here....I feel it....He drew his sword, ready to pounce. Something.....evil.... "You have no need for that, Kenshin." He whirled, facing the shadow by the tree. "I'll decide that. Step out where I can see you." THAT VOICE...! There was a giggle. Kenshin almost reeled. It's some kind of trick....it has to be.... "As you wish...." Shadow became flesh as she stepped into the light. Oh gods.... Dark hair, framing a sad but beautiful face... No! White plum blossoms filled the air, almost choking him.... NOOOOOOOOOOOO! Tomoe Himura smiled sweetly at him. "Anata...." ## In the darkness, something chuckled to itself....."Soon.....So very soon Battousai...." ## Kenshin felt his body going numb with shock even as he raised the Sakabatou with shaking hands. 'WHO THE HELL ARE YOU?!!!" She sighed, her smile faltering a bit. "I see you need evidence, dear Kenshin." She opened her Kimono, almost baring her entire left breast.... And the massive scar that ran down it and beyond. Kenshin felt his blood freeze in his veins, the sword dropping forgotten from nerveless fingers. "Tomoe...." Before he knew it, she was embracing him, weeping into his chest as his own hot tears fell into her hair. He had often dreamed of this in his Rurouni days, holding her again....That he'd saved her that snowy night instead of what really happened...."Tomoe....But how...." "I wish I could explain, dear Kenshin....But I can't now. They're too close...." "Who?" Kenshin cupped her chin in his hands, ignoring the deathly chill of her skin. "Is someone chasing you?" "The ones who brought me back to life, Kenshin...." She looked up at him in pure terror. "I escaped and now they're....." Her eyes widened as she looked past him. "KENSHIN!" In one graceful motion, Kenshin pushed her out the way and dove for his sword just as something BIG launched out of the water at them....Kenshin blocking the strike but the sheer force sending him flying through the air....Kenshin landing on his feet beside Tomoe. Their attacker landed on his feet and turned to grin, Eyes glowing red in the darkness as he grinned. "Battousai....." What the hell.... Saying he was big was an understatement. The guy was easily over 6'5, and just as WIDE with so much muscle it was freakish. Massive hands gripped the biggest Katana that Kenshin had ever seen, The blade almost the size of the Zanbatou and with a nasty saw toothed edge. His face didn't help matters,giving one the impression of some demonic bird with his beak like nose, shark like teeth and red eyes. All he wore was a green Hakama and some unusual sack around his waist..... "Give us the girl and we might let you live, Boy." "Like hell I will...." Kenshin growled. "Get out of here...."Then he noticed she was already gone. How did she...."Tomoe?" Birdman attacked then, Almost taking Kenshin's head off as Kenshin ducked and blocked the manic but skillful strikes he pounded on him....The force almost driving him to his knees with every one.... Strong, faster than he looks and has a reach....not good.... Birdman suddenly blew some kind of thick smoke in Kenshin's face, choking and blinding him at the same time....A powerful blow to the stomach sending Kenshin flying to the ground. "Daisho can't kill you now, Battousai...." Birdman sneered. "But we can have fun can't we brother?" Brother? The sack twitched....Kenshin rolling as it exploded and the snakelike thing inside shot out like a spear....looping into the air and turning back....Kenshin getting a better look as it dove to attack and still couldn't believe his eyes. Gods....They're Siamese twins....still attached! The 'twin' circled back toward it's brother, making the two seem like a bizarre but deadly Scorpion as they cackled....The 'twin', hideous as hell with it's snakelike, malformed body, overlong arms ending in claws and madly rolling eyes, adding it's raspy voice to his brother's deep bellow. "We are Daisho, of the Himino Clan....And you better give us Tomoe next time she appears if you know what's good for you and your little family...." "What the hell is going on here?" The twin, stretching it's lengthy coils-No....Umbilical cord...Kenshin realized-To laugh in his face. "It's hell that's going on here, Battousai....The hell we will bring to Japan....And your pretty little wife's the key to it all." Kenshin's eyes narrowed, Amber flashing briefly in them. "Is that so?" The twin's response was cut off by the insanely fast sword swipe that spun it back into his brother's chest....Kenshin already behind the Birdman before he could even blink...."RYU-KAN-SEN!!" Birdman flew for real as his sword smashed into the back of his neck, both twins briefly landing in a heap before rolling back to their feet and attacking again as a team, The twin circling constantly and attacking from every direction while birdman attacked head on....Kenshin blocking what he could and jumping out of the trap.... And was grabbed in the twin's coils, both laughing as they shook him violently as they slowly crushed him then flung him into the air....Kenshin seeing the birdman raising his sword to stab him...."DAISHO IMPALER!!!" Kenshin grinned like a shark....waiting..... "RYU-TSUI-SEN!" Daisho's sword barely missed Kenshin's side as the Rurouni slammed him to the ground with his sword....immediately going into the Ryo-sho-sen as the twin tried to loop around and backstab him and got uppercutted for his trouble, Kenshin flipping away afterwards as both staggered to the ground. "Now tell me what's going on or else...." Before Kenshin could react the twin flicked a dagger.... Which got no farther than halfway as an another one smashed it out of the way. Daisho growled. "Next time, Battousai...." A flash bomb was smashed down and they were gone by the time it was cleared. Kenshin swore, wondering what the hell was going on as he turned to thank the dagger thrower.... And got the second shock of the night. "As popular as ever." The man stepped out of the shadows, a familiar face that Kenshin had hoped to never see again. The man lifted the straw hat and winked. "Long time no see, Battousai." "Jubei...." Kenshin growled, raising his sword again. "Jubei Kamagami...." What else could go wrong? ## Not far from the scene, something grinned in the darkness. "The gang's all here.... good......" It laughed. End of chapter 1. Author's notes. Whew! Finally done. This is a rough draft of course, so something might change later. "Still suffering from writer's block. I guess you figured out where the inspiration for Daisho came from: The two swords samurai carry. Are they too freaky for RK? (I don't think so after reading the revenge arc and seeing Enishi's crew. What do you think?") Of course, this is just the beginning. It's gonna get uglier from here when Daisho's boss shows up. (A hint on who SHE is, let's say she the sister of a certain badass from Jubei's past that's resting at the bottom of the ocean.^_^x) Next chapter: Bad things..... Later! Sentora.
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