happy tomorrow - part 6 rurouni kenshin is by watsuki nobuhirou-sensei (c) shueisha JUMP, sony, fuji TV, anime works
notes: i'm back!! with finals over i will be able to make updates back to rapid speed. expect the next chapter very very soon! as for the great big questions- will sano & megumi ever get married?? will this series ever end?? i really don't know. ehehe, keep sending your comments though. sore ja! jill 6/6/1

Happy Tomorrow
Part 6

Sanosuke sat outside, watching a leaf flutter down to the ground. ‘It already is Autumn… time really flies.’ A certain smell caught him off guard, bringing him back to his reality. In front of him was the laughing baby, waiting for a new diaper. “Chikuso! That’s what that evil grin is for? Heh, you are a mischievous little runt!”

“Tadaima…” Kaoru uttered, walking towards them, her voice somewhat drone. Smiling wearily, she looked down at him holding the nude baby, “Arigatou, Sanosuke, for looking after him. Ano… I’m not feeling so well, so would you mind looking after him a bit longer?”

”You look unwell.” he said, staring at her with concern, “You okay, Jou-chan?”

“Daijoubu. I just need to go lie down.” she replied, turning into her room and closing the door.

“Hmm…” Sanosuke murmured, standing and gazing after her. He looked down at the cheerful, bare-butt baby, “I wonder what’s wrong with yer mama??” Behind him, he heard someone rushing through the gate. “Eh? Megumi??”

The doctor was panting and wiping the sweat off her brow. “Is Kaoru-chan here?”

”Oh, she just got back. Doushita?”

Megumi walked towards him, still tired. “I saw her on the street and tried to catch up to her, but she didn’t hear me… she seemed preoccupied. Demo, I noticed that she might be hurt. I’d like to take a look at her…”

Sanosuke pointed towards the room. “She went to lie down. Maybe you should just let her be for the meantime. She’ll come out and say it soon.”

She paused to eye him over. “Just what are you doing??” she snapped, moving a bit closer, “Holding that baby like that? That’s all wrong! You’ve got to support his head and use both hands… he’s NOT a bag of rice! Honestly, why do Ken-san and Kaoru-chan let you baby-sit if you’re going to endanger their child! Here, let me show you…”

He gladly handed her the baby and watched hold she cradled him so carefully in her arms. He could only grin. “Y’know, looking at you like that… you’d make a cute mother, heheheh.”

Megumi blushed. “Don’t be ridiculous! I’m not interested in that sort of thing. Tonikaku, where’s Ken-san. I’d like to tell him his wife is injured and he should be the one to approach her…” Sanosuke just pointed towards the kitchen. Grumbling, Megumi stormed off.

Sanosuke watched the back of her head, a warm smile on his face. “Cheh, I still think…”

* * *
Kenshin was just about finished making lunch, so he went to check on Kaoru. Standing the doorway, he saw her lying down on the rolled out futon. She seemed to be dreaming something terrible; sweat rolled her strained face as she gripped the sheets. “Koishii…?” he called, knelt down to her, “Daijoubu ka?”

Her eyes clenched. “Iya… dame…” she uttered. The darkness and laughter surrounded her, the air so thin. Barely breathing, she could see the sword coming right at her, an eruption of blood everywhere. “IYAAAAAAAAAA!!!” she screamed, sitting up and gripping her chest.

Her husband pulled her into a hug, trying to calm her. “Kaoru, it was just a bad dream…”

She was still shaking, her blue eyes so lost. “Kenshin… I-it wasn’t just a dream… if there was time I had never felt more alone that was then… I wish… I wish so badly that you…”

“Shhh, I’m here now. Whatever happened, Kaoru, it’s behind you… and you’re with me now… I won’t let anyone hurt you.” he assured her, stroking her back, “Do you want to talk about it?”

She shook her head. “This is something I cannot talk about. Gomen, Kenshin… it’s not that I don’t want to tell you, I just cannot even say… it hurts so much.”

“Daijoubu. I, too, have many things that I cannot tell you. And perhaps it’s better that way. We both understand each other so there’s no need to put our pain into words. Just remember, I’m here for you always, Kaoru.”

“Hai.” she said, slowly smiling, “Kenshin, I don’t know what I’ll do without you. Maybe I’d go absolutely mad or something, but I don’t want to even know… I just want you here with me.”

”At any rate,” he said, lifting her arm and examining the bruises, “Did you get into a fight?”

“Gomen nasai. I wasn’t able to control my emotions. And my big mouth and hot temper seems to always get me into a lot of trouble.”

Kenshin turned a bit serious. “It was that cop, Ishida, wasn’t it? Did he do this to you?” he asked, taking her hand. He was well aware of the cop’s brutal methods, which he had witnessed in last case he worked on. “Kaoru, I should have come with you.”

”Iie, this is something I have to finish.” she replied, tightening her hold, “Kenshin, I won’t be alone… I have you and everyone. And no matter what, I won’t give up.”

He grinned. “You’ve made your decision, so there’s no way I can stop you is there? Maa, let’s go have lunch with the others.” he said, getting up and walking towards the door.

“Matte!” she called out, making him halt. Standing, she smiled mischievously, “Kenshin, tonight – I’m coming along on your night watch!”

“EH?!” he exclaimed, frantically turning around, “D-Demo!! Kaoru!!! You can’t! It’s too…!”

She just giggled and walked past him. “I’ve already decided!”

Kenshin slumped down onto the floor, looking defeated. “Oro, why does this always happen…?”

* * *
During their late lunch, everyone was having their fill when a girl showed up at the gate. “Hah? Miyako?” Yahiko stammered, getting up from his spot, “W-What the heck are you doing here?”

“I need to talk to you, Yahiko-sama! It’s urgent!” she called, her voice different from the frivolous girl he had met the other day. Here, she looked serious, and very distressed. “Onegaishimasu!”

As Yahiko walked towards the gate, Tsubame frowned, staring at the ground. She felt uneasy and awkaward; for the first time, someone else was interested in the person she loved. ‘I don't know what to think... Truthfully, I can’t be open about my feelings… and I'm not the competitive type... Somehow, I know I'm no match... demo…’

Megumi tapped her on the shoulder. “Doushita no, Tsubame-chan? You aren’t eating anything on your plate. Is there something wrong?”

”I-ie!” she gasped, face red, “Kenshin-san’s cooking is always delicious. I was just lost in thought, that’s all.”

“As least you think, that’s good. Don’t be like that baka girl over there, who does things without any thought in her head whatsoever.” the doctor lectured, ducking a flying teacup.

“MOU! Are you talking about me, Megumi-san?!” Kaoru snapped, eyes slanted and fists clenched – Sanosuke and Kenshin fearfully scooting away from her.

“Of course I’m talking about you. This is the second day in a row you’ve come down with injuries. And tonight you’re going off with the boys to get some more. That bit of carelessness for your own body will leave your poor baby without a mother. Just watch, someday you’ll end up with the same condition as Ken-san.”

Sanosuke cut in, “Saa, Megumi, go easy on her. Even if her life is at risk, y’know she won’t give up without a good struggle. Jou-chan is one of a kind … and not too different from us men!" He ducked another flying dish. Laughing, he continued talking, "Shikashi, you worry too much about her.”

Megumi, red-faced, turned away and crossed her arms. “Worrying for this girl!? Not even! It's just that I’m always the one who gets stuck treating whiny patients like kono tanuki-musume. Demo, I never get tired of looking after Ken-san… OHOHOHOHO!!”

Sanosuke and Kaoru glared at her. “NANI!?” Kenshin uneasily continued to eat his lunch.

Yahiko then returned to his seat, going to pick up his dishes. Tsubame turned towards him. “Ano, what did Miyako-san want to ask you?” There was a pause. “Yahiko-kun?”

“She said there’s a meeting of students from Maekawa dojo that her brother has arranged tomorrow. Mikyo wants me to attend. There’s something they want to talk to me about. I don’t know if it has to do the serial killer. She said that I’d find out when I get there… and that I have to go alone.”

“Hitori de?” Tsubame uttered, “Doesn’t that sound suspicious? I mean, what if something bad happens?”

Yahiko crossed his arms. “All of them trained with me when we were teaching there. They’re good guys and we’re still friends. I sense they are a bit worried or scared about something. Kaoru, when are you going to talk with Maekawa?”

She replied, “Maekawa-sensei returns tomorrow from Oosaka. I’ll be sure to visit him and finally ask him if he knows anything.”

He grinned towards her. “Tonight while you guys patrol, I’ll protect the dojo, right? Heh, leave it to me!”

She, in turn, clobbered him. “MOU!! I am NOT a GUY!!”

* * *
That night, the three prepared to set out on their night watch. Kaoru made sure that the baby was asleep, rocking him while singing a lullaby. Kenshin and Sanosuke watched from the doorway, talking in hushed voices. “Sano, tonight… could you watch over Kaoru. I’m…”

”I know, you’re going after the Nightsword. Cheh, it ain’t fair, Kenshin – why do you always get the fun?? I mean, leave some for us. And Kaoru ain’t gonna be happy you sending me to supervise her.”

”It’s not what you think. I’m not doubting either of your skill… just this killer… I don’t know how to say this, but it’s like he’s not normal… he might just be…”

Suddenly, Megumi started coming their way, looking a bit suspicious. “Nee, what are you two whispering about? Hm?? I’m telling Kaoru-chan you’re talking about her behind her back.”

”W-we were not!!” Kenshin gasped, rubbing his head, “Shikashi… sessha-tachi should get going. It’s getting late and who knows when he’ll strike. We can’t let him kill anymore people.”

“Honto!” Kaoru said, walking out of the room, slipping into her cloak, “Megumi-san, please look after the baby for me. I’ll be in the vicinity if you need to get a hold of me. Onegai?”

As Megumi nodded her head and started to go inside the room, Yahiko came running over. “Don’t worry about things here! I’ll take good care of everyone! And Tsubame’s making some hot tea to keep us up till you all come back. There’ll be baths waiting for you.”

”Arigatou, Yahiko.” Kaoru noted, “We’ll take care of ourselves, so don’t worry.”

Sanosuke grinned and put his arms around his friends’ shoulder, “YOSSHA! Leave it us! We’ll kick this bastard’s ass so good he’ll regret all his crimes. Heheheh, and even with Jou-chan around, we can’t lose!”

She glared at him. “What’s that suppose to mean?”

“Datte,” he said, dragging them along, “You’re playing with the big boys now, Jou-chan. You’ve got to put that femininity behind ya.”

“How about I use this femininity to kick your ass??”

Kenshin laughed uneasily, “Maa maa, let’s not argue amongst our selves de gozaru yo...” As they walked along, he hid his worried face. ‘Kedo… this opponent…’

* * *
The evening continued on. The three had parted at a certain point, Kaoru taking the territory closest to their neighborhood. Sanosuke, as asked, stuck around the vicinity, trying to stay out of her sight. But it wasn’t long until she found him out.

“Just what the hell are you doing??!” she snapped, the shinai coming at his head, the edge grazing against his ear as she struck the wall behind him, “Kenshin didn’t made you ‘supervise’ me, ne??”

Sanosuke couldn't speak at first; he was actually feeling a bit frighten. “Cheh, what are you talking about Jou-chan? I-I was just taking a piss. Why the hell should I supervise a grown woman like yourself. I mean, Kenshin would’ve done it if he was so worried about you. But not me! I’ve got better things to do with my time, like taking a piss.”

The glare in her eye darkened. “I still won’t let you get away with this! You’re supposed to be guarding the southern part of town - what if the killer decided to go there!?”

He leaned his head back on the brick and chuckled. “Relax, Jou-chan! It’s only a minutes run for me! If I hear screaming, I’ll get going, okay!!”

“Why you! People could die…!!!” she grumbled, ready to give him the beating of his life. But there was strange sound of something sliding. Both of them heard it and turned towards it. “W-What was that??”

“Jou-chan, look out!!” Sanosuke exclaimed, pointing to the street. A man, dressed as a samurai was standing in battoujutsu form, his long ponytail flying in the wind. “Who’s this bastard??”

“I don’t know, but I certainly don’t like that look in his eye.” Kaoru uttered, shaking a little, “It’s like that of a hitokiri...”

The man smiled towards the two and then broke into a run. Both Sanosuke and Kaoru leaped out of the way, so he swerved around to see them landing in either side of him. Sanosuke readied his fists, while Kaoru readied her shinai. The man chuckled, “Omoshiroi…”

”Dare da?!” Kaoru snapped, “Are you the serial killer, Nightsword??!”

“Who cares who this guy is! He’s gonna get beaten!” Sanosuke growled, charging him. The sword came at him, he sidestepped the attack, ‘He’s fast!!’ Finally able to get past the sword, he was about to give him a good punch, but then he saw him draw his other sword. ‘M-Masaka!’

“Iyaa! Sanosuke!!” Kaoru exclaimed.

Fortunately, he had caught the blade in his hand before it hit his torso. Blood dripping down his arm, Sanosuke struggled against the man, who was lifting his other sword. “Yamette!!” Kaoru yelled, rushing to the scene, "HAAAA!!"

She attempted to swing at the man’s back, but he turned and stuck her in the stomach with the end of the hilt, her flying into a pile of trash. Sanosuke, now free began an exchange of hits with the man, his punches actually connected. But after a while, he realized that none of them had any effect.

‘Eh?! This guy’s just playing with me?!?’

With that, the samurai broke into a strike of sword attacks, too rapid to be scene. Bleeding and exhausted, Sanosuke crumbled down onto one knee. "Kuuu... TEME!!"

Laughing the man lifted his sword to give the final stroke, when Kaoru skidded in the way, lifting her shinai to stop it, her wrists giving the support from not breaking. Looking the man in the eye, she could feel so much hatred and anger that chills went soaring down her spine.

“W-Who are you?!”

“It’s no fun right now.” he replied, smiling, “Not when he is not here.”

“Nani?” she gasped. Without using any effort at all, he gave one final thrust. The wood broke and Kaoru fell onto her back, "Kyaaa...uff!" Shaking, she sat up, clutching her bleeding wrists.

“You’re a brave girl… daga, I don’t have time to waste on you or anyone else. Tell him: I’ll be waiting.” With that, he turned and leapt onto a building, disappearing into the night.

“That man...” Kaoru uttered, gripping at her wounds. “Aa! Sanosuke!!” she cried, looking at his aching form on the ground, “Don't worry! I’ll get you to Megumi as soon as possible!!” she told him, taking off her cloak and tearing it up, tying up her wrists while putting the rest on him.

“Jou…chan…” he uttered weakly, his eyes shutting “Tell Megumi… I … I love her…”

”Baka! Don’t talk like that!” she snapped, making a bit knot on the one of the ties she had made to try to stop the bleeding, “You’re going to make it!!” With that, she knelt down and took him onto her back. With great difficulty, she carried the weight home.

* * *
On the other side of town, two teenagers were rushing down the street. “I told you this was a bad idea! I mean, there’s a serial killer running around, couldn’t we just wait till tomorrow to go to the pharmacy?!” one of them cried.

“Iresai! You know our mom needs her medicine right away. Besides, there are cops all over the place! Do you really think this crazy guy would even think about…!” Before he could continue his words, he saw someone leap out from the alley and start charging at them. “I-it’s Nightsword!!! Aaaa!!”

Kenshin leapt out in time and clashed with the assaulter. He was a young man, dressed in dojo clothes, and he was using a shinai. “Who are you?!” he snapped, the two of them at a standstill. The boy didn’t answer, but smiled a little. Kenshin quickly leaped back and started his next attack, this time, flipping the blade over. “HAAAAAAA!!!” Slicing the shinai, the weapon went flying in different directions. He then flipped his blade again, “Hiten Misturugi Ryu…!”

But the boy had dodged his attack and broke into a run. Kenshin, amazed at how fast this kid was, also noted the look in his eye. ‘As I thought, he isn’t normal. And to kill someone using only a wooden sword… that’s incredible strength… still, I can’t let him get away!!’ Just as he was about to go after him, Kenshin felt that jolt of pain. ‘Not now!!’ Unable to control it, he collapsed onto the ground.

“O-Oniisan??” uttered one of the kids that he saved. “Waaah, what do we do?! This guy was an amazing fighter, but look at him – is he dead?!”

“Iya,” said a voice behind them. They turned around and saw a crowd of police. Ishida smiled. “Leave him to us.”

* * *
Meanwhile, Yahiko was tending to Kaoru’s wounds. After cleaning and bandaging her wrists, he handed her a warm wash towel. “Relax for now. I’ll get a bath ready for you, okay?”

She was covered with blood and downright exhausted from carrying their friend. “Arigatou Yahiko,” she replied, putting a fresh cloak on her shoulders, “I think I’ll go check on Sanosuke.”

She then went to the other room. Sanosuke was lying down on a futon, looking like a mummy. For some reason, Megumi was nowhere to be seen. After taking care of all his wounds, she had disappeared. Tsubame was sitting by his side, sipping her tea. He wasn’t answering anyone.

“Kaoru-san, was it the serial killer who did this?”

“Wakarinai.” she replied, kneeling down beside the tired-looking girl, “That man… no doubt he was hitokiri… Sanosuke and I wouldn’t stand a chance if we continued to fight him. Yet, for some reason, he let us go.”

Tsubame frowned a little. “Knowing your limits… you can only learn that the hard way. Demo, I’m glad both of you were able to come back. I just hope Sanosuke-san will be okay.”

Kaoru nodded and reached for his hand. “I do too.” she uttered, her voice saddening.

“Kaoru-san?” the girl asked, gazing into her face. She then stared down at the tea, blushing. “It’s gotten cold. I’ll go get you a hot pot ne? I’ll be right back…” She scurried out the door. As soon as she had left, Kaoru burst into tears.

Slowly Sanosuke was waking at the sounds of her sobs and the tears running onto his hand. “Jou…chan… are you crying… for me?” She shook her head, despite the splashes of water coming from eyes. “Heh… you are… don’t deny it…”

She just tightened her hold. “Gomen ne, Sanosuke… I’m sorry you got hurt… it shouldn’t have been this way… maybe I should’ve been the one…”

“Forget about that… Kenshin no yatsu… he would kill me if something happened to you… and I… I couldn’t live with myself…”


Slowly he smiled. “Arigatou, Jou-chan… demo please stop those tears … and go find my Megumi and tell her get her cute lil hinny over here.”


* * *
Kenshin woke up. He was sitting in a comfortable chair, in a dimly lit office. Looking around, he didn’t see anyone, but he felt he wasn’t alone. Quickly he realized that his sakabatou was gone and that his medicine was missing from his sleeve. A bit angry, he got up on his feet and yelled out, “Who’s there?! Where the hell am I!?”

Ishida stepped out from the shadows in the corner of his office. “Himura… you’re speaking differently from the rurouni I’ve met before. By the way, are you looking for these?” he asked, pointing to the sword and pouch of medicine sitting on the desk. “Don’t worry, you can have them back. I just wanted to get your attention for a while, that’s all.”

“Ki-sama, what do you want from me?!” Kenshin growled, going towards him. He was convinced that this guy was the one who injured Kaoru earlier that day, and sometime in the past. He knew of Ishida's abusive behavior from the way he had treated other people in his cases, something he couldn't accept at all.

“Himura, let me remind you that this is my case. I will accept any information that you can give me, however don’t get in my way of solving it. Got it?”

“You can’t tell me what to do.”

Ishida tried to stay calm at this resistance. “I was a bit impressed that you were able to fight the Nightsword without dying… but letting him get away was a mistake. The least you can do is give me a vivid description of him. Is he not of the Kamiya dojo??”

Kenshin closed his eyes for a moment. The boy was definitely familiar, and he did look like anyone of Kaoru’s students. But how could he say that it was one of them, she would be upset with him, especially when he wasn’t sure. Trying to think about what to say, he noticed that Ishida was opening the door and calling in Hachi.

“Well, Himura??” Ishida asked, “What’s your answer?”

“Jaa… the young man was certainly familiar and he was a student of kenjutsu… daga…”

Before he could finish, Ishida cut in, “Ameno, arrest all the students and bring me the Kamiya Dojo master right now.”

“Hai, I will do as asked, Chief!” Hachi said, turning around and rushing out, bringing his troops along with him out of the station.

As the self-satisfied officer went to smoke at his desk, Kenshin sat into his chair, glaring at him, “Ishida…” The sounds of whistles were filling the streets of Tokyo.

onto part 7
back to part 5