Rurouni Kenshin was created by Watsuki Nobuhiro, all rights are reserved to Shueisha JUMP, Sony, & Anime Works
notes: Raijuta is that big scary guy from the Yutaro arc in both manga & anime. In the manga, Raijuta came to the Maekawa dojo where Kaoru was teaching. He insulted fighting with wooden swords and challenged Kaoru. But Kenshin interfered and fought him instead. Tetsumo is only in the anime. He was the bad guy in the Daigoro Arc, fighting western fencing style. He insulted Kaoru's fighting style and challenged her. But again Kenshin interfered. See a theme? Jill

No Reason At All
Part 4: "First Encounter"

Kenshin woke up, shivering. It was barely morning; the sun hadn’t risen. He looked up to see Sanosuke glaring at him. He and Yahiko also didn’t have any blankets either. “Oro?”

“It’s all your fault… “ Sanosuke grumbled, “Jou-chan said that if you’re going to freeze to death, then we all had to.” Above them, four blankets were caught high up in the tree.

Kenshin couldn’t help but chuckle to himself. “Where is Kaoru-dono?”

"She went off in that direction. She said she wanted to be alone.” Sanosuke replied. Kenshin got up and picked up his sakabatou, turning that way. “Oi, Kenshin, you do realize that this is your chance to finally let her know your feelings.”

“Now’s not the best time.”

“Oh? When is? At the dojo, you didn’t seem to be making any progress either. I swear you act as shy as a schoolboy around her. And she’s too naďve to notice how you feel for her. You have to make it more –obvious -.”

“It’s too soon for her to know.” Kenshin argued, “Sessha don’t want to rush her.”

Sanosuke grabbed him by the collar. “Do you think Jou-chan is a child?! She’s not! She’s a woman. And she loves you, Kenshin. But she’s beginning to think that you don’t give shit about her!”

Kenshin was frantic. “That’s not true! Shessa loves Kaoru-dono!”

“Then tell her… show her.”

The rurouni’s cheeks turned red. “Show her? Oro?”

“You know what I’m talking about! Don’t make me explain in words that’ll wake up poor Yahiko here.”

Yahiko sat up promptly. “Heh, I’ve been awake the whole time. I don’t give a shit of what Kenshin does to Busu, just as long as it means that I get to have the blanket back again. Brrr, it’s cold.”

Sanosuke slapped Kenshin on the back.“You heard that? Yahiko says to ‘go for it’!”


* * *
Quite a distance from camp, Kaoru was using a tree as her practice dummy, which she hammered at with her shinai. Kenshin quietly crept towards her, hoping not to wreck her concentration. Smiling, she knew he was behind her and attempting to surprise him. “HA!” She leaped backwards, swinging at his legs. He jumped up and avoided it easily. “Ohayou, Kenshin.”

“Ohayou, Kaoru-dono... eto, you know you shouldn’t run off by yourself.”

“It’s okay. I just needed to get away for a bit. I can’t let my reflexes fail me when it’s time to fight. Ne, Kenshin, why don’t you practice with me?” She held up Yahiko’s bokken.

He came up with the usual excuse. “Oro… Sessha is not good with wooden swords.”

“Then use your sakabatou.” she noted. Kenshin blinked. He just had to bring that along. Sighing, he drew it and stared towards the determined Kaoru. “Come on. Let me show you what I got!”

‘Better just go along with it.’ he decided. He started running towards her with his sakabatou. She anticipated and blocked his first swing. ‘Okay, be careful.’ He told himself, going for a counter. Kaoru stood waiting for it. He hesitated as he went closer; she didn’t even flinch. He could picture himself hitting her, hurting her. Kenshin stumbled to his knee, sheathing his sakabatou.

Kaoru looked at him, anxiously. “Why are you stopping? Kamiya Kasshin is about defense and patience; not attack and speed like Hiten Mitsurugi. That’s why I need to be attacked. Please just a bit more?”

“Gomen… Sessha can’t.”

“Just pretend you’re fighting an adversary. Or Sanosuke, or even Yahiko.”

“I can’t, Kaoru-dono! I-I’m not able to fight at your level.”

She tightened her grip on her shinai. “Do you even know what my level is?!””

Kenshin blinked. He had merely guessed. He had never fought her before. It was all from observation when he watched her trained with Yahiko. “Eto…”

“Have you ever seen me in battle?!”

The last time was when she fought against Gohey. He had heard she fought well against Kamatari, one of Shishi-O’s underlings but he, yes he, wasn’t one of the stronger fighters. And that was a nearly a year ago. Other times, Kenshin had prevented her from entering battle; like that time Raijuta and Tetsuma challenged her, but he had stepped in. He had never allowed her to fight her own battles.

“You don’t need hold back for my sake. I’ve gotten used to Yahiko and Megumi-san belittling me, but I don’t need it from you!” she cried, turning away from him.

Kenshin deftly watched her. Even when they argued, he was filled with immense rapture. Her voice, her uncontrollable emotions, her open-personality… all of them set him free. ‘Each moment with you…’ He walked over and put his hands on her shoulders, saying softly, “Kaoru-dono, look at me.”

After a pause, her pouting blue eyes met his patient violet eyes. “What is it?”

He suddenly realized just how close they were. So close he could… he could… ‘K-kiss de gozaru!’ His grip became tighter. ‘I’ve always dreamt about… but I never considered doing… will she like it? Kaoru probably hasn’t kissed someone before.’ He thought of Sanosuke with slight envy. ‘But that was on the cheek. I mean, a real kiss… one full of passion and life… just like her… filled with all my love…’

As he inched forward, Kaoru watched with wonder. ‘What is Kenshin doing? Is he… going to k-kiss me? But my breath smells like the fish we had last night! Mou, his breath is always so nice…’ She wet her lips and trembled nervously. ‘Oh, hurry, Kenshin!’

They were now breathing the same air, heartbeats racing. Kenshin tilted his head and opened his mouth partially, moving towards hers. ‘This is it…’

A noise coming from a distance startled both of them. Blinking, Kaoru turned her head away from Kenshin’s reaching lips to look in the direction it came. “What was that?”

He frowned. ‘I swear if it’s Sano and Yahiko… I’ll turn into Battousai and kill them!!’

She pressed herself against him to peer over his shoulder. He became tense and held his breath. She was so close. Sighing, he could feel her heartbeat and her body heat. He could smell the wonderful scent of jasmine flowers coming from her hair. Kenshin was in heaven.

“It definitely was someone. Come on…” She stopped to blink. She felt –something-. “Ano… Kenshin… what is that…?”

“Sakabatou de gozaru.”

“Aa. Sou ka.” Kaoru slipped out from his hold and started walking. “Saa, let’s head back to camp and tell the others.”

Kenshin lingered behind to cool off, sighing in relief that she had actually believed him. ‘Oro... I wonder… what would it be like…’

* * *
“What? You saw someone?” Yahiko was up in the trees, throwing the blankets down to Sanosuke. “What are we waiting for? Let’s head out and kick their asses!”

Kaoru argued, “Hold on. Didn’t you say they have a large arsenol? It’s much too dangerous! Maybe since it’s still dark, we could try to slip by them.”

Kenshin nodded, “Kaoru-dono’s right. Let’s try to avoid battle as much as possible.” But he felt uneasy. The enemy was probably looking for them. “But we definitely can’t stay here. Didn’t you say there was a cave somewhere around here?”

Sanosuke uttered, “Yeah… I saw it back that way. It’s a good place to hide. But Kenshin… those guys are all over the place. Let’s not use any lights anymore and get the hell out of here!”

Yahiko was climbing down from the tree. “Why can’t we just fight! I’m not afraid of them!”

“Baka,” Kaoru said, “Only an idiot chooses his battles. Let them run around the forests all they want. Save your strength for when it matters. Besides, kids should still be in bed at this hour!”

“Same for you then!”

While the two had been arguing, Kenshin and Sanosuke had already packed things up. “Done yet?” Sanosuke muttered, “Come on, let’s go…”

Suddenly, there was a large brigade of what sounded like explosions. A heavy smoke filled the air and all of them started gagging and coughing. “Don’t breath the air!” Kenshin yelled, covering his mouth with his sleeve, while pulling Kaoru along. Yahiko and Sanosuke were behind them. They kept running, as the sounds got louder. “What is that?!”

Kaoru looked ahead, “Kenshin, look out!” Bombs were going off in front of them. Kenshin pulled her closer to him as he steered through the warpath. Flames lighted the dark forest. “There’s too many! Kenshin, let go of me! You’ll move faster if…”

“NO! NEVER!” was his answer.

“KENSHIN NO BAKA!” was her reply.

“Now’s not the right time…!” he started, but stopped to see that the bombs had stopped. Catching his breath, he looked to Sanosuke, who had Yahiko tucked under his arm. The silence was deafening. “Seems like the calm before the storm.”

“Right. What do we do?” Sanosuke asked, releasing the squirming boy, “Should we attempt to stand against them?”

“Just enough to hold them off, while others escape.” Kenshin replied, looking over to Kaoru.

“MOU!” She grabbed him by the collar and pulled him to her face, “You’re going to risk it all against a bunch of crazies with explosives, so that I could run off to safety! What kind of backwards plan is that?! Kenshin let me stay! I may not be as strong as you or Sanosuke, but I can do something, anything! Just don’t send me away!”

Kenshin put his hand over her fist clenching on his gi. “Kaoru-dono, this is more for my sake. If you were here, surely Sessha won’t be able to concentrate, knowing that you aren’t going to protected by me. Please, just go with Yahiko.”

Kaoru stared into his pleading eyes and relaxed under his touch. She couldn’t argue when he did that. She was willing to do anything he ever asked, if he ever asked. Still, a touch of defiance was left in her voice, “All right. I’ll go, but I can do it on my own. I don’t need Yahiko or anyone else with me.”

Yahiko looked relieved, because he wanted to stay with the guys. He had always been sent to look after Kaoru, but he didn’t see any reason in it. Kaoru was able to whoop his butt, so would his presence wasn’t even convenient. He was worried Kenshin would object, but he just stood silent. “Better hurry up, Kaoru!”

“Right! Be careful everyone!” she said, racing into the forest alone.

* * *
As soon as she had left with all their bags, Kenshin let out an uneasily sigh, his shoulders caving in. “Was this right? Will Kaoru-dono be okay?”

“Of course she will!” Sanosuke replied, “The attacks were all coming from the opposite direction. I’m more worried about us. How are they going to try to kill us? And when are they going to get here?”

“You sound like you actually want them to come?” Yahiko muttered, picking up his bokken. “At any rate, I’m rea…” But he wasn’t able to finish as a horde of arrows came raining at them from the sky. “WHAT?!”

“Move out of the way!” Kenshin cried, pushing his friends into a run. But each of them was hit with an arrow, however not in vital spots. Kenshin was hit in leg, Sanosuke in the shoulder, and Yahiko in the arm. The three fell to the ground, bleeding and numb. “They put some sort of… poison?”

“No,” A man in black clothing walked towards them with a small army, “The Reisen-gumi don’t kill without reason. It’s just an anesthetic. You’ll be taking a long nap, so you won’t need those weapons anymore.” A group of men took the bokken and the sakabatou away, then lifted them into a wagon, “Take them to camp and clean up their wounds. I’ll deal with them after I return. Don’t harm them.”

“Yes, Taichou!”

The man in black then climbed onto his horse, “Then search the area for anyone else. Take them in too. If they struggle, then kill them.”

Through his blurring vision, Kenshin saw the man ride off. Sanosuke and Yahiko were already out. He could see his sakabatou inches away from him, but they had tied his wrists together. His strength was fading fast. Not only that, but he kept thinking they’d find Kaoru. ‘No! I won’t let them!’ With every ounce of his strength left, he struggled to stand.

“What do you think you’re doing? You want to be shot again!?” the guard on the wagon yelled, signaling for backup. Two men leapt up with him. “Just sit down nicely and …” Kenshin lost his temper, head-butting him in the stomach. “Ulg!!” The guard was caught by his comrades. “If that’s the way you want it!”

The three men then picked up Kenshin and threw him over just as they were passing a cliff. He went crashing down, everything going black.

On to Part 5
Back to Part 3