rurouni kenshin was created by watsuki nobuhirou-sensei (C) shueisha JUMP, sony, fuji TV, anime works
notes: sorry abotu the long time for next chapter. i'm amist my winter quarter finals and have very little time. but i will continue to try to get the next chapter in. another reference from 'yesterday' at the very end (a big cliffhanger!) sore ja! JillM 12/8/01

Come What May
Part 4: "We Meet Again"

"MAI-CHAAAN!!" Serika cried. She had ran outside in her pink kimono and white shawl to find her daughter lying in the snow. "What happened to you?!!"

"O... Ojichan..." the little girl stammered while she shivered in her mother's arms, "Ano oneechan... she made us very sleepy... Okaasan, I feel cold..."

"I know, Mai-chan," Serika replied. She wrapped her in her shawl and carried her through the blizzard and towards the house. "Please hang on!"

"Kaasan! Mai-chan!" cried one of her sons Jiro. They arrived back at the house and the kids started to help out their mom. "What happened Mai-chan?! Where's Ojisan??"

"I don't know..." Serika replied, "He disappeared de gozaru. Please find your father right away."

"Understood!" Jiro said with a nod and ran up the stairs to look for Hiroya. "Tousaaan!!"

Serika gave Mai to her eldest daughter, Natsu. She then stopped to look out the open door, at the flurry of snow coming down. 'Shinta...'

* * * * * * * * * *

Back in Tokyo, Kaoru sat in the dojo drinking her tea. It had been an entire day from the event that had rendered her defenseless. Drinking her tea by holding the cup with the inside of her elbow, she stared at the scattered wooden swords on the floor.

'Dammit... Why did this have to happen when you're not here? I know you must fight that battle... demo... the Hiruma brothers will be back soon... Soshite...' Her eyes glinted at the stain of blood on the ground left by her wounded student. 'Tsueng...'

Kaoru got up, the teacup slipping from her arm and spilling on the floor. She walked over and gazed at the empty rack. Slowly, she knelt down and reached with her bandaged hand one of the swords. But as her fingers tried to make a grip, a sharp pain surged through her hand and up at her arm. 'Aaa?! Dame desu... It's no use...'

But the sound of footsteps behind her made her forget all this. On instinct, she snatched the shinai and spun around, striking the intruder. "HAAAAAAAAA!!!"

"GWAAAAAAAH!!" Sanosuke went flying and landed on the floor with a large bump on his head. "N-Nan dai yo?!?! What the hell are you doing, Jou-chan!!" he snapped, getting up on his feet. He stopped raging to see her kneeling on the floor, cringing in pain. "Oi, Jou-chan!"

"D-Dame desu..." she uttered, tearfully holding her throbbing hands, "Dammit, I can't!!"

"Jou-chan..." Sanosuke solemnly walked over to her and patted her on the head. "Don't worry. It'll heal. It just takes time."

"I know..." she sighed. After a minor pause, she finally dried her eyes and got up. "I'm just impatient. I'll try to cheer up. Arigatou, Sanosuke."

"Heh, don't mention it. But now that you brought cheering up - there's someone outside who might do the job." he replied, pointing out the door.

"Hm??" Kaoru walked to the door and looked outside. She was blinded by the sunlight for a moment, but after shielding it away with her hand, she finally saw who it was waiting at the gate. "Aa! Masaka!"

"Konichiwa, Kaoru-san!" Tsukayama Yutaro said, with a bow, "I just arrived in town and had hoped to visit... Demo, I heard from Tsubame-san what happened."

"Yutaro-kun!" she cried, running up to him. He was dressed in a brown suit with red tie, his hair nicely combed. "Honto ni! You've matured so much!"

"That's exactly what I thought when I first saw him," Megumi said to Kaoru, going to tie the baby pouch onto her back. While Kenji and Kaoru both looked at her, she turned red and started laughing. "Hohohoho!! Yutaro-kun has grown into a such a handsome man!"

"Oi, oi!" Sanosuke snapped, waving his fists in the air, "Watch yer big mouth, Fox!! I told you NO FLIRTING around if we're gonna stay married!!"

"Hai hai... and I told you 'no gambling' or 'street fighting' if we're gonna stay married..." she grumbled, while crossing her arms. "Anata no baka."

Yutaro nervously watched as the two started to exchange some angry words. "Things seem like they haven't changed much since I was gone. Demo, Kaoru-san, I’m happy to finally meet you and Kenshin-san’s son. Hi there, Kenji!”

”Guuuuu!!!” Kenji happily replied, going to shake hands with him.

“Aa, he’s very friendly. Just like Kenshin-san…” Yutaro’s voice trailed off as he looked towards the house. “I was wondering… could I see Yahiko-yatsu?"

"Un, this way..." Kaoru replied, slipping out of her sandals and leading him down the hall, "He woke up this morning - his wounds were that bad. Demo..." She glanced down to the floor for a moment, with her resting on the collar of her yellow kimono. "Yahiko's pride is more injured than anything else."

"I understand," Yutaro noted, "Demo... it wasn't his fault. Those men's tactics were not sportsmanship. They had no right showing here like that. Therefore..."

Kaoru blinked at him. "Therefore...?"

He put on a determined face, going to take off his coat and roll up his sleeves. "I, Tsukayama Yutaro, am a student of this school!" he said, pointing at himself, "I'm also responsible for the safety of this dojo!"

"NANIII??!!" hollered an angry voice. Kaoru and Yutaro slowly slid open the door and peered into the room. Yahiko, covered with bandages, looked angry as he sat up in his futon. "OI!!! TEME!! WHAT THE HELL YOU DOING HERE??!"

"C-Calm down, Yahiko-kun!!" Tsubame gasped, trying to keep him from getting up. He squirmed for a bit, but luckily Sanosuke arrived and gave him a complete hold. "Yokkata..." Tsubame sighed, "You'll reopen your wounds if you move around too much... demo... Sanosuke-san, please be a bit more careful."

"ITEH!!" Yahiko cried, before Sanosuke finally gave some breathing room. Yahiko did calm down and face the friend and rival. "I didn't ask for your help, Yarou! As number one student, I can handle protecting the dojo on my own!"

"Baka!" Yutaro argued, "You're injured! If you fight, who knows if any of those wounds would heal properly?! I'm in town already, let me help!"

"What are you talking about!? You haven't handled a sword in over six months! How do you think you can be any help at all!! You'll just get in the way! Get out of here, Yutaro!!"

"Dame desu!" Tsubame cried, coming between the two, "I'm the one who asked Yutaro-kun to help. It's because... I-I couldn't stand the thought that you'll get even more hurt, Yahiko-kun..." She tearfully clung onto his arm, burying her face into the woven bandages. "Gomen nasai... I should've done something more when those evil men came... Gomen nasai!"

"Tsubame..." Yahiko stammered, as he gazed at the top of her head. "Iya... there wasn't anything you could've done. They came with one thing in mind. I'm just glad you didn't get injured at all."


"Those bastards will be back," Sanosuke noted, "Yahiko, be reasonable! Kenshin isn't going to be back in time. You and Jou-chan are on the injured list. I'm a guy out on the limb here. Let me have at least some backup."

"Atashi mo!" Tsubame cried, "I want to help!!"

Before Yahiko could continue his angry protest, Kaoru covered his mouth by wrapping her arm around his face. "Tsubame-chan... I'm so proud of your bravery. Demo, are you sure you're ready for this?"

"I might not have physical strength, but I can help with strategy. I want to do as much as I can..." the girl replied.

Kaoru exchanged looks with Megumi; the two of them were happy to have a female representative in the fighting group. "Ganbatte ne, Tsubame-chan!"

"Hai! Arigatou gozaimasu!" she happily said, bowing her head. "Minna-san, let's go prepare!" She and the others started to head for the door.

A very very angry voice startled them. "MATTE OI!!!" Yahiko snapped. They all stared at his big raging face. He finally noted, "Get me my breakfast - I am hungry!!" They just all face-faulted onto the floor. "NANI YO!? Why are you just lying around??! I haven't eaten anything for hours!!"

* * * * * * * * * *
"Grrrrmmmmmpp... grrmmpmmm..."

Kenshin listened to the sounds in his stomach. 'Oro? I haven't eaten anything for hours... Daga, where am I??' He was sitting on the snow-covered ground against a tree, watching the snowflakes flutter down.

“HIMURAA!!” called Hiroya, running up to him. “I’m so glad I found you! Are you okay? Mai has a fever and my wife has been worried sick about you! Come on, let’s go back to the house!”

Kenshin slowly got up and stared him. He then tucked his hands away into his sleeves and shook his head. “Hiro, I can’t come back. It’ll just cause more trouble for you and your family. Just let me handle what I came up here to do.”

”Himura…” uttered his puzzled brother-in-law, “What exactly happened?”

”That mysterious woman keeps trying to keep me away from meeting my opponent. I don’t know why though.” he sighed, “Daga… when I woke…”

Kenshin remembered his strange experience. He had woke up, seeing the woman walking away somewhere in the woods. “Matte!” he called after her, “Why are you doing this… Hanako-dono!??”

Using her name made her stop and she turned back. “Datte…" she said, walking towards him with her long hair flying in the wind. "This time, you must end it.”

”End what?” he asked, going to dust the snow off his clothes and crossing his arms. “What do you mean? I can't help you if I don't understand!”

”The ones who took away my life…" she replied, her eyes glinting a little, "Those bastards still don’t feel any remorse. You must end it… So I can go.”

”Go where!?” he demanded. But there was another snow flurry and she had disappeared from his eyes.

“So that’s what happened?” Hiroya uttered, looking very confused. Shaking off this uneasy feeling, he still insisted that Kenshin should come back. “You don’t look so well yourself, Himura…”

”Iya… I have to keep going. Suman.” he replied, “Tell Serika I’ll come back when it’s safe. And please take care of Mai-chan.”

”Of course I will! You can count on me!" Hiroya replied, realizing he couldn't convince a man who had made up his mind. "Good luck and please take care, Himura!”

But as soon as Hiroya had left, Kenshin regretted it. ‘ORO! I should have asked for food!! Sessha is starving!!’ It wasn’t long before he heard a rustle in the woods. “Oro? Nan de gozaru ka??”

The same group of cops from the town before suddenly surrounded him. “We found him!! The murderer from last night!!” yelled one of them, “Eh?? He’s also the cheap radish-thief from my sister’s store! Get him, boys!!”

”Oro!” Kenshin gasped, as he fumbled for safety but managed to drop his sword in the snow. ‘ORORORORO! Now what am I supposed to do??!’

A great gust of wind hit them all; the strong snow flurry blinded them for a minute. Someone in a brown cloak leapt down from the trees and landed in the middle of the circle. “D-Dare de gozaru ka??” Kenshin gasped, looking up at the tall figure.

The person didn’t speak, but drew a wooden sword from his cloak. The cops didn’t seem very amused and all drew their weapons. In the next instant, the person swung a rotation, and knocked out most of the cops. He underbellied another and left the last one to faint from fear.

“Yapari! These guys were wasting their time!” said the familiar voice, “I’m sure if they ran into the real killer, they’d be big trouble. It’s a good thing I came around and stopped them from leaping off a cliff.”

”Jaa…” Kenshin stammered, still wondering who he had just saved him, “You’re pretty good with a shinai. What school did you come from?”

”You should know,” he replied, going to remove his hood. He had spiky brown hair that fell into his friendly eyes, that were a maroonish color. “We’ve fought before… and I kicked your butt. Remember?”

Kenshin blinked at him. ‘That face…’ He remembered it faintly; it was almost a year from now. “That's right. We have met before in the woods… but you never told me your name."

The young man smiled and pointed at himself. "Ore wa... Miyamoto... Miyamoto Keisuke desu."

‘ORO!!’ Kenshin’s eyes went big. ‘It can’t be!’

Onto part 5
Back to part 3