rurouni kenshin was created by watsuki nobuhirou-sensei
this fanfiction is by JillM; may 30 2002
notes: GOMEN NASAI!! i know it's been like forever and a day, but here is the continuation of this series. i shall finish the next chapter sooner than the last time. so please! do not worry! thank you for sending emails of encouragement. it's been really busy these days. but if you are all patient, i am sure that it will be all right. saa, douzo!

Come what may
Chapter 12: "Testing Swords"

Outside, the snow covered the northern forest. The children gathered around the wanderer and listened to his bittersweet tale.

"The young warrior would not yield - the treasure that he held so close to his heart, he would not give up. So their swords continued to clash in the freezing cold. All the princess could do was watch and wait for a result..."

Serika stood in the doorway with a tray of hot tea as she watched her kids listen carefully. 'This story... where have I heard it before?' she thought, her red hair falling into her purple eyes.

She too was entranced by this tale. They had found this wandering swordsman collapsed in the snow. Even though there was a risk that he could be the serial killer that her brother had been searching for, she and her husband didn't want this man to die from such conditions and brought him in. However, their good deeds were met with graciousness and this kind man seemed to be liked by the children. Her husband also received news that the real killer was caught and jailed, so their worries had ceased for the time being.

The storyteller sat by the fire, the flames dancing in his blind eye as he went on. "But even if he was struck down, he got up right away. The same was with his opponent - the mighty warlord was prepared to take his life in defeating this young man. They fought and fought, skill against skill - the one with the strongest will would be left standing. But the princess knew, with her strength withering away as she watch these men destroy each other that there was only one way to end this. The third option..."

He then caught sight of Serika and stopped talking. He bowed her head slightly as she went to sit down with her kids. "You seem tired. Would you like to rest now?"

"Oh... I am all right. But I would like to talk to your husband. Where is he now?"

"He's standing guard outside." She explained, "Although they have caught the criminal, there is still some concern about dangerous people in the area at this time. He is volunteering to patrol the main road that leads into town."

"I see... I would like to join him."

"Are you... a swordsman?"

"I used to." he replied, "I no longer have a sword, but I can do what I can to help protect this town that has shown me kindness. I may also have some information that will be useful."

"Sou... de gozaru..." Serika replied, "Ano! Please take care. It is terribly cold outside."

The wanderer smiled briefly. "I've been in colder nights than these." He then put on a shawl and went out into the snowstorm.

Serika turned to the children, who were a little disappointed. "We wanted to hear the rest of the story, Mama..."

"Gomen ne. Maybe he'll continue it later."


Serika then got up and went to check on her daughter who had gotten sick before. Mai was lying in the futon, sleeping. The wanderer had medicine with him that would have taken 5 days for them to get by travel. He had saved the girl's life.

'I wonder who he really is...'

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Kaoru's eyes opened. It was the following morning. Small streaks of sunlight came through the cracks of wall, blinding her. "Hmmm..." she muttered as she got up and rubbed her eyes. "Morning already."

She then turned and saw Kenshin, lying on the floor. She had pulled all of the blanket away from her and he was sprawled sideways at the bottom of the futon. His hand then fell into her lap.

Kaoru's face twitched. "W-Why you... HENTAI!!!!" Her punch sent him flying through the screen door. He landed on the ground, right in front of Yahiko. Kaoru stood up and moved to the hole, cracking her knuckles. "Ne! Watch yourself, Baka na Rurouni!"

"Oro..." Kenshin murmured, still half asleep.

"Heeeh??" Yahiko looked back and forth. "Kaoru, do you remember all of a sudden??"

"Remember what?" Kaoru asked, "This guy was being perverted so early in the morning! How could I be married to him!"

Yahiko sighed. "Beats me... Kenshin, why'd you do something anyway??"

"Oro?" Kenshin was clueless. He stood and patted his dusty bottom. "I don't remember doing anything. Ah, Ohayou de gozaru, Minna!"

"Ohayou..." Kaoru and Yahiko sighed.

"Oro? Oro?" Kenshin then realized that he was a little behind. It seemed only a couple of hours before the appointed time. 'That's right. Ozawa is sending some of his men here to test us. Then he will await us at the shrine... That fiend, why does he have to make it so complicated?'

Yahiko pointed at himself. "I've been practicing all morning! I'm going to get that guy for sure!! And make sure that Tsubame is all right!"

"I see... then, Tsubame-chan is... your girlfriend?" Kaoru asked.

"CHIGAU!!!!!!" Yahiko exclaimed, completely red in the face, "You got it wrong!! That girl... s-she's just... a waitress!! I mean, it's not like... YOU KNOW!!"

"Sou... ka..." Kaoru stammered, not sure why he was mad, "Anyways, should I get some breakfast started? Keisuke and Sanosuke should be here soon and it's not good to fight on an empty stomach."

"Oh... right... you do that." Yahiko replied. 'Considering, Kaoru can't fight. I can't believe this! What if we all get in trouble! Can't she do something?? This must be killing her.' He stopped to watch Kaoru cheerfully skip into the kitchen. 'But she's pretty good at hiding it...'

He then turned to Kenshin. "Yahiko, make sure that Kaoru does not even lift a sword."

"Aa, I'll try. But that's easier said than done, Kenshin."

"Still, no matter what, we can't let her interfere."

* * * * * * * * * * * *

In the kitchen, Kaoru looked at the ingredients on the counter. 'I guess I better do what I can... I have to believe in them. I have to believe that Kenshin will protect me no matter what.'

Chopping some radish, she frowned. "But what happened before... Why did he turn into a different kind of person? Just who is Kenshin anways??"

"He used to be the Hitokiri Battousai." said a voice behind her.

She turned around. "Ah, Megumi-san!"

Megumi walked over and took the knife away from her. "Kaoru-san, your hand will get swore again if you handle such things."

"H-Hai... gomen... But what were you saying before? Kenshin... he cannot be the Hitokiri Battousai."

"Why not? What if he was a killer?? Does that change anything?"

Kaoru just lowered her head. "He could have told me. Why does he have to hide so much from me?"

"He's protecting you. That's what he thinks is the best thing."

"I see... I think I understand."

"Sanosuke and Keisuke are here, so Kenshin doesn't have to work as hard. Don't worry. It will be all right. We won't hand you over to that evil man. We're your friends, so... believe in us."

"Megumi-san..." Kaoru uttered, staring at her face that was concentrating on the vegetables, "Arigatou..."

"So," Megumi said, stopping for a moment, "You better not die..."

Kaoru slowly smiled. "H-Hai!"

The two then continued on cooking breakfast.

* * * * * * * * *

"Cheh!" Keisuke kicked away a stone. "I wonder where the hell are those bastards?? Let's get it over with so we can go save Shizuka no yatsu! Aaan, I know she can't handle herself in such a situation! This is driving me crazy!!"

"Would you shut up!" Sanosuke yelled, "You're so annoying - saying so much at once! Shut up shut up!!"

"Make me, dammit!!"

Kenshin quickly moved between them. "Maa maa! Please don't argue de gozaru yo!!!!"

But it was too late. The two were in the middle of starting a punch and their fists connected with Kenshin's face at the same time. He went flying across the yard.


"Oops... sorry..." Sano and Kei uttered.

"You two, knock it off." Yahiko said, still doing his morning practices, "Those people will be here any moment! And you're pissing me off!!!"



Kenshin sorely got up. "Maa... maa... not now, minna..." He suddenly turned serious. "There's something in the air. I think... they're here!"

“Y-You sure??” Yahiko stammered. He looked around, “I don’t see anyone coming… Kenshin, you just trying to scare the hell out of us or something??”

”Iya…” he replied, “A powerful ki… I feel it coming…”

”Heeh??” Keisuke lifted an eyebrow. “Chigau yo… It’s not them… It’s someone else, Himura. Look!!” He pointed over to the trees. There was a woman standing there. “It’s her again!”

”Hanako-dono??” Kenshin stammered, “W-What is she doing here…???”

”Oi, Kenshin!” Sanosuke said, “Who the hell is that? And how did she get here without us noticing??”

”I don’t know,” he said, “For some reason, I think that she isn’t a normal human. Kaoru and I met her back when we went to the seaport Wakana. She appeared to be a living person to the people there, but for her to keep appearing and reappearing, and also for her to survive that fire…”

”So, you acknowledge the fact that I am not normal.” Hanako replied, “I am glad that you finally understand that.”

“So what is it that you want?”

”I told you… I want you to defeat that man, Raiko … So I can finally be free.” Hanako said, her hair flying around Ozawa her face, “I beg of you. Defeat him for good. Kill him.”

Kenshin flinched. “I… I cannot do that.”

”Sou darou!!” Sanosuke jumped in, “You just can’t come here and demand we kill this guy, no matter what he has done! Besides, Kenshin has taken a vow never to kill again!”

Keisuke lowered his eyes. “But if we don’t kill him, this woman’s soul will never rest, soshite…” Everyone turned towards him to hear him finish, but his frantically waved his hand. “Iyaa, it’s nothing! Nevermind!”

”Oi! Spit it out!” Sanosuke snapped.

“Make me, Rooster!!”

While those two fought in the background, Kenshin stared at Hanako. ‘Her ki is very hostile… Yet, she looks so defenseless. Also, wasn’t she the one who did the fire?? And how did she survive. No doubt… she is definitely an apparition!’

“They are coming.” Hanako suddenly said, “I shall come back again later. Still, think about my request. Otherwise, nothing will be resolved. Your friend will be convicted of murder, and your wife will surely die. So, please…”

With that, she vanished.

“H-How in the hell did that happen??!” Yahiko gasped, rubbing his eyes, “I never seen that done before! Is she a witch??!”

”Oi! Over there!” Sanosuke said, pointing towards the road. They could see about fifty men on horses headed in their direction. “Let’s do this!”

Keisuke looked over to the kitchen, where Kaoru and Megumi were peering out. “You two, stay in there! Don’t get in the way!”

”H-Hai…” Kaoru stammered as Megumi pulled her back inside and barricaded the door. ‘Dammit… I hate this useless feeling. I hope they will be okay…’

‘Typical!’ Megumi sighed to herself, ‘They make the women flee and hide, only to come out to look after their wounds…’

‘This is only a test,’ Kenshin thought, as he drew his sword, ‘The real battle is afterwards… Ozawa… I’m coming for you… Just you wait!!’

onto ch.13
back to ch.11