rurouni kenshin was created by watsuki nobuhirou-sensei (C) shueisha JUMP, sony, fuji TV, anime works
notes: sorry it took so long to post. there's some mystery in this chapter. mention of yutaro, who might come back. oh and some reference to the first volume of the manga (anime buffs might not know this one). send comments. JillM 11/7/01

Come What May
Part 2: "Ordinary Day Without"

Wandering down the solidary dirt road, Kenshin kept on through dawn. The sun peering over the mountains, he shook the red hair from his violet eyes and watched the rising sun. He stopped to lean against a tree. 'It has been an entire day since I started this journey... alone, this time.'

"Oro?" He looked down and noticed that one of his sandals broke. Kneeling down to mend it, his sword became loose from his belt and fell onto the ground with a loud clang. "Oro!" A little embarrassed, but no one around, he quickly scooped up the sword from the dust - looking side to side.

'Traveling alone isn't like it used to. I get tired easily. Not so much physically, but just tired of not hearing anyone else's voice. It's been a long time since I've been without Sanosuke's cussing, Yahiko's new slang jargon, Tsubame-dono's intellectual talk (that Sessha can't understand all the time), and Kaoru's voice... her laughter... her angry lectures... the way she would greet me with a simple 'how are you'?'

Sighing, Kenshin sat up against the tree and gazed down the empty road. Still such a long way to go, but in his younger years it didn't matter where he was going or when he was coming back. Kenshin couldn't bear to think that he wouldn't be coming back the way he had come. Tokyo had become his home and would always be his home.

'But I'm running low on money already...' he noted to himself, taking out his pouch and pouring out all his assets. 'I should've asked for more aid, but I guess I just couldn't... I've never been good at asking for money. And Kaoru already works hard enough. If she knew that I needed more for this journey, who knows how many other jobs she would've picked up to helped me out. No... this time, I'm doing this on my own. Like I should've done...'

Over and over again, the point came across to him that he couldn't go far on his own; that in the end he needed the support of his friends around him. At first, Kenshin refused to think that he actually had to allow his friends to put themselves in endanger as he was doing for them. Then he realized that he had to trust that they could take care of themselves. Now, he wasn't sure if he could take care of himself.

'Do I trust myself?' Kenshin wondered as he got up and started to walk again, 'Being away from everything familiar, everything I love and cherish... Being on my own again... What is going to happen to me when I run into trouble? Who am I to turn to, but myself?'

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
His memory faded to the night two days before he left. It was after a big party in the dojo and Sanosuke, Yahiko, and Megumi were passed out on the floor. Tsubame and Tae were stumbling out the gate and Kenshin had offered to walk them home. He smiled over his shoulder towards his wife and child as he scrambled after the topsy-turvy Tae and the concerned sober Tsubame.

'That night, we were having a going-away party... Kaoru and I were supposed to go together...'

When Kenshin came home, he saw that Kaoru hadn't moved from the spot that he had last saw her. She sat on the walkway, rocking the infant; her eyes fell thoughtfully on the sleepy face as she continued to hum away a lullaby.

"Koishii," he whispered softly, going to settle down next to her and wrap an arm around her, "It's late and I think Kenji would want to get some shut-eye. Let's call it a night de gozaru."

"For some reason, I'm having second thoughts..."

"Oro? About what??"

"About the trip," she replied, turning her face to him, "Kenshin, maybe... maybe I shouldn't go."

Kenshin face-faulted; literally falling off the walkway and into the dirt. Lifting his sore redhead, he gazed up at her in amazement - this was the first time that she had actually refused to come along on an adventure. Up until now, all of their journeys were together.

"D-Dou de gozaru kaa??? Is something wrong??" he gasped, leaping at her and feeling her forehead, then comparing it to his, "Do you feel sick, Kaoru??"

"Baka," she replied gruffly, forcing his hand down and away, "I think this time this is your fight. And I'm not going to interfere like those times I did, because I know you don't need me this time."

"W-What do you mean... 'don't need you'?? I always...!"

"Kenshin, the more I think about it, the more I realize that this fight will happen regardless what I do. But, it has to be between you two otherwise it won't ever end. I know if I go, I'll get in the way or make things more complicated. Besides, right now Kenji needs me more than you do so I ought to stay here and be responsible for once."

He gazed over at her determined face and knew that once she had made up her mind, it was difficult for her to change it. But she had many facts on her side - this battle would go on forever if he didn't do something now... and surely with her there, it would get very much more blown out of proportion than it already was. Also, Kenji was barely a year old; he still hadn't talked and still needed his mama by his side constantly.

Kenshin frowned. "If I go, then we won't be all together... It's taken me years to get used to coming back to this place, to people who I know would stand by me... to go off on my own..."

Kaoru put her hand to the side of his face, covering his scar. With a smile, she told him, "No matter what happens, we'll still stand by you, Kenshin. If you need us, we'll come running to your aid. But, I really think that you need to settle this in your own way."

Finally, he nodded his head, returning the smile. "Hai!"

* * * * * * * * * * * * *
"Hai hai..." Kenshin grumbled as he trudged towards the next town. It was midmorning and already people were up and moving about. Fighting back a yawn, he hid his sword away in his oversized gi and hoped that no one would recognize him as the Hitokiri Battousai.

'This place brings back some awkward memories. Back when I was a rurouni, I saved a number of folks here from some corrupt cops, but got driven out of town after they found out who I was. I didn't plan on staying anyways, but I at least wanted to have a meal before I got on the road again. I worked hard to get those couple of 'en to buy myself some soup, but I hardly taken a bite before they stormed in the restaurant and chased me out of there... But that's what I get for being hitokiri.'

Kenshin chuckled at another incident that happen here when he came with friends. Kaoru had spent all her pocket money shopping, but Yahiko and Sanosuke had eaten the kitchen empty. The four of them were booted out of town before anyone recognized his scarred face. Just in case, Kenshin wore a bandage today on his cheek.

"Did you hear...?" he heard someone chatter in the background, "It happened again. That madman is out there in the woods... the strongest swordsman ever to have lived!!"

'ORO!!' Kenshin tripped on his sandal and fell over on the ground. Lifting his head from the dirt he searched around to see who had said that. 'I'm in for it now!!' Crawling around the moving legs, he followed the conversation until he had rooted it out. 'Those two...'

There were two young cops talking by the grocery store, but thank goodness they didn't see him. Hiding behind one of them, he pretended to be buying a radish, while straining to hear their conversation.

"This Hitokiri Battousai!" chimed the other, "I know once I see him I'll know him! My granddad would tell me all kinds of stories about that devil! He can defeat armies with a single stroke of his sword! He brings fear and horror to women and children with a mere look from his scary yellow eyes!!"

'Oro...' Kenshin frowned; he didn't except the legend of the Battousai to be so popular as bedtime stories. In his clumsy surprise, the radish slipped through his hands and rolled to the cop's foot. "Oro!"

"Is that yours??" as the cop as Kenshin hurriedly went to retrieve it, "You better buy it since you've dropped it on the ground. That's my sister's store - I won't let anyone waste any of her produce."

"S-Shikashi..." Kenshin squeaked, "Sessha doesn't seem to have enough money de gozaru..."

"So, you were going to steal it??!"

"C-Chigau de gozaru yo!!"

Just then, the owner of the store came running over. "What's going on here, Niisan… Are??” She stopped to recognize the samurai. “Aa!! It’s him!! That cheap guy!!”

All eyes turned to Kenshin, who went pale. “Sou da yo! That poor bum who came by here before! Where’s his cheapo friends?!”

”Oro…” Kenshin decided now was the time to run. So he handed back the radish and bolted for the street. Pretty soon there were cops on his trail. “Oroorororororo!!”

“Come back here and pay for that radish!!!”

Luckily for Kenshin, he was able to make it back into the woods. No one could find him now – since he was so short compared to the tall wild grass. Panting, Kenshin caught his breath as soon as the whistles stopped.

“That was a close one… Although I’d prefer being remembered as the cheap bum than the Hitokiri Battousai. I better find out who’s been using my name on the way towards Mitsukou, where Oneesan is waiting for me, soshite...”

The yellow flickered in his eyes at the thought of the swordsman said to be in the area of Mitsukou. There was no turning back now, Kenshin knew he had to fight him either sooner or later. This time, without Kaoru.

Sighing, he gasped up at the sky, thinking about his wife and wondering what she was doing at this hour. As he started to lift his foot to move on, he heard the whistles start up again. “ORO?!”

”There he is!! Get him!!”

”ORORORORORORORO!!!” Kenshin cried, taking into a run again, this time with the cops closer on his heels. “OROOOOOO!! SOMEONE HELP MEEEEE!!!”

And someone did help him. A woman stepped out from the bushes and stopped in between the running rurouni and the cops. The cops, seeing this beautiful woman, skidded to a halt and fell over into a pile. She then reached into her sleeve and took out some money.

“I will pay for this samurai’s radish.”

”Arigatou,” said the cop, accepting it, “I’ll give this to my sister. Jaa… Ore-tachi, ikou!” The cops then resembled themselves and left the two behind.

“Anata wa…” Kenshin stammered, shaking as she turned towards him. In the same instant everything went fuzzy and he fainted onto the ground. The woman smiled down at him, the wind blowing all around.

* * * * * * * * * * * *
“KAORUU!!!” Yahiko stormed into the dojo, holding her baby up by the diaper. “Your brat peed all over me again!!” Kaoru and Tsubame stopped and stared at the stains on his gi and burst out laughing. “OII!! It ain’t funny!!!” he snapped, his scary face making the baby laugh as well.

“Maa maa,” Kaoru said, taking Kenji from him before he did something harmful, “Don’t blame him. I’m sure you did something to deserve it.”

”Nan de?! All I did was change his diaper!”

”Maybe he was thanking you,” Tsubame suggested. Yahiko shot a glare to her that gave her a hint that he didn’t find that amusing. “Jaa…” she uttered, shifting in her seat, “I got another letter from Yutaro-kun today.”

While Yahiko went into jealous rage, Kaoru went over and sat next to the girl. “What did Yutaro-kun say this time? Is he doing well?”

As Tsubame took the envelope from her sleeve, Yahiko immediately charged at her. “Let me see that letter from that yarou!! Lemmee seee!!!”

”No way!” she gasped, scooting behind Kaoru, “He specifically told me not to let you see it.”


Kaoru and Kenji shared a laugh while watching those two play-fight. But the laughter faded as a shadow cast on the door of the dojo. Slowly it slid open and there stood two figures from the past, grinning down at her.

“Aitsu…” Kaoru uttered, handing Kenji over to Tsubame who was just as shocked.

“Teme, how dare you show your ugly mugs here again!!” Yahiko snapped, as he drew his sword in defense. But he suddenly coughed up blood and fell to the floor. "GWAAAH!"

"YAHIKO-KUN!!" Tsubame cried, running to him. She stopped to see that another figure appeared in the room, a tall man with yellow-dyed hair. "How dare you...!"

"Hmp, nothing to it, Nee-chan," he replied, "Your loser samurai boyfriend wasn't prepared for a sneak attack. Cheh, just listen up to what my employers the Hiruma brothers have to say and I might let you live."

Eyes turned back to the doorway where the short fellow, standing next to his enormous brother, started speaking. “It’s been a long time, Kaoru-san. I’ve come for your dojo.”

Kaoru’s eyes sharpened as she glared back at the faces from the past. “Kiheh… Goheh... soshite, Tsueng."

The lanky young man in black grinned towards her. "Long time no see, Kamiya-san."

She had recognized him right away. This was the same person who worked alongside Yashiitomo when he was against her. Supposively Yashiitomo's adoptive son and sore heir to his Kaze-Sakuseigijutsu. But the only mastery that Tsueng had was deception and cheap tricks. Kaoru knew she had to be on guard. "What the are you doing with these guys anyways?" she demanded.

Tsueng nonchalently replied, "Oh, you know, anything to get around. They hired me to help them out on their little conquest. When they mentioned you, I just had to come along."

Goheh turned to his brother. "Niisan, could I have the honors?" Kiheh nodded and let him move up front. "I've been waiting for a long time for this!"

Kaoru quickly grabbed hold of a shinai off the wall. "Tsubame-chan," she said, over her shoulder, "Please get Kenji out of here."

"H-Hai!" the girl stammered, though reluctant to leave the struggling Yahiko's side. But when she tried to run for the exit, Kiheh blocked it off, holding out a pistol. Shaking, she couldn't move at all.

"Nobody gets out of here alive, until we have the deed to this dojo." Kiheh noted, "It should be easier now that Battousai is out of town. Now, Goheh, finish her off."

"My pleasure!" Goheh said, charging at Kaoru with his own shinai. Kaoru turned towards him, going to block his hit. The impact rattled up her bones as she skidded backwards. "That's right... I'm much much stronger than the last time we met!" he chuckled.

"Your strength is corrupted. It's nothing I can't beat." she replied, readying her stance, "Now come at me!"

Goheh smiled and again charged at her. This time as Kaoru prepared to counter, she found that she couldn't move at all. Her limbs had become tied down by Tsueng's thread attack. It was too late for her to do anything as the shinai struck her gripping hands, forcing her down to her knees and her shinai rattling on the floor.

"Aa...!" Shaking, Kaoru saw that her hands were bleeding and that the pain was so unbearable that she couldn't even scream. 'What did they do to me...?'

Goheh stood over her, the massive shadow covering her entirely. "You will never be able to hold a sword again." he said.

Within seconds, he and his comrades burst into laughter. But the laughter and Kenji's sobs were out-volumed by the sound of heart beating as Goheh opened up his trick sword to finish up the job...

onto part 3
back to part 1