Rurouni Kenshin was created by Watsuki-sensei; all rights reserved to Shueisha JUMP, Sony, Fuji, Anime Works
notes: Long chapter. But I'm sure you'll like it. We're getting closer, matte matte kudasai! Sou yo, relax and enjoy this chapter. I will have finished the finale soon. Jaa ne! Jill 2/17/1 (revisions 5/16/1)

Hurry Go Round
Part 8

Kenshin felt so content; he was leaning back in a loose yukata, sakabatou clasped at hand and arm draped around the woman he loved. Letting out a sigh, he grinned lazily up at the ceiling.

“Aaa... I must’ve died and gone to heaven… how happy I am right at this moment...ore wa ureshii!”

But Kaoru looked upset. “I still can’t believe you care for that damn sword as much as me! I admit you knew each other longer and are more intimate… but it’s just a damn sword!”

“Oro! It’s not like that! You’ve totally misunderstood!” he gasped, blushing and quickly throwing the sakabatou aside. He then pulled her closer to him, despite his own reluctance – Hiko was in the room and his yukata seemed to be ready to fall off any second. “Aishiteru.”

“Kenshin,” she uttered, gazing into his eyes. She then blinked and got out of his hold, backing away towards the door, “I’m going to get some fresh air. I’ll be right back.”

He looked after her nervously. ‘She really is upset with me. Oro, what am I going to do?’ He then turned towards Hiko who was chuckling to himself. “Nan de, Shisho??” Kenshin hissed.

“Just watching you makes me laugh – you really don’t know how to take her do you? You’ll miss your chance sure enough!”

“Oro… Sessha has tried. Sessha is feeling a bit frustrated too.” Kenshin sat up and tightened his yukata, cradling his slinged arm and frowning, “Sessha thinks Kaoru-dono just doesn’t want to be together because she’s afraid of what will happen afterwards…”

“And what will happen afterwards. Tell me – will the fairy tale be over.”

Kenshin gazed at the floor. “Aa… it probably will be.” he said in a soft whisper, “Sessha wants it to go on forever – being close like this is such a great feeling… Daga – it’s not in our normal behavior to be coupled, we both have independent natures that cannot lie to our true selves.”

“What the hell was all that shit?” Hiko muttered, rubbing his head, “Baka Deshii – quit making excuses… in other words, the two of you are both too shy to announce your feelings openly, and therefore are sacrificing your chances at happiness for your own self-conscience… hmp, that’s really smart. You’re more of a coward then I imagined.”

”TEME!!” Kenshin growled, wanting to strangle him. He eased back down and calmed down, “Tonikaku – Sessha wondered where you got the money from. It really saved us de gozaru yo.”

“Heh, that cop.”

”ORO? Saitou?!”

”Aa, he told me to come here and rescue you two. Somehow he knew about the yazuka’s objectives. That bastard has a keen sense of what’s really going on. Me, I just go with the flow.”

“Ch!” Kenshin turned away from his idle master, not at all surprised that someone like him would become friends with someone like Saitou. He then lifted his redhead, “Sessha wonders why haven’t they allowed us to leave yet? I mean, didn’t they say they’d have someone escort us out de gozaru? Na, Shisho?” There wasn’t an answer. “Soushite, Kaoru-dono sure is taking a bit long… perhaps we should look for her?”

Hiko propped his head to the side, “Something is about to happen… “ There was a long pause. The two of them then felt the room to get small and somewhat spin. “It’s just as I thought…”

”W-what did you think de gozaru?!” Kenshin cried, as the wall opened up and spikes came flying at them. The two of them were pinned to the wall. “Shisho!! What did you think de gozaru!?!”

Hiko sighed, “That bastard… he used us as bait to catch the real culprits. It’s obvious – this yakuza is connected with the ninja. And we both walked right into the trap. We’re as good as dead.”


* * *
Under the evening open sky, a solitude ninja in black was surrounded by Oniiwabanshuu. After a good collision, the ninja finally collapsed and admitted defeat. He was searched and questioned.

Okina glared down at the child as Kuro went on to tie him up. “So the nuisance has been caused by orphans of former ninja groups, is that so? This makes me absolutely furious! Kids these days!!”

Ochika noted, “It seemed he was waiting for a message via traditional style. The sender is probably on his way coming from that direction. What do you suggest, Okina?”

The old guy rubbed his chin. “The rest of us will keep going onto the yakuza base. Omasu-chan, I want you to go intercept that message. It might be something that can clear Kaoru-kun’s name and also give us an insider on the ninja. Please hurry.”

Omasu nodded, about to take off, but stopped to feel a hand on her shoulder. “I would like to come with her.” Shiro suddenly said. Everyone stared at them. “It might be dangerous for her to go alone. Please, Okina, may I?”

Okina looked from Shiro, then to Omasu. “You have a point, but I feel as though there’s something I don’t know about going on.”

”There’s nothing going on.” they both blurted out, then stared at the ground, cheeks flushed.

The old guy shrugged. “Whatever it is, I hope you two will settle it aside from work. Take care!” With that, the two of them ran off in the other direction. The rest also turned to go, but Okina took one final look back, ‘Hm… something – is – going on. Heh, its good to be young!’

* * *
Kaoru was wandering in the halls, ‘Ano baka… he’s making things only more difficult for the both of us. If he wants me, why won’t he just take me? And keep me? Why does he have to go back to being ‘rurouni’ when we go home? Perhaps if we never went back home? And stayed here in Kyoto instead… mou! That wouldn’t work either!’

She stopped suddenly. “Haven’t I been in this hallway before?!” She looked around her. It was the same place she passed for last hour. “How in the hell?!?!” She quickly ran into a room, closing the door behind her, “Something is wrong…”

Then the lights flickered off. Kaoru found herself in pitch darkness. All except for the two beady eyes staring at her. “N-N-NAN DE KOITSU?!?!?!” she screamed.

Running, she tricked over something and fell through the floor, falling on her face and bruising her chest. ‘Mou! That hurt!! What’s going on?! Kenshin – Kenshin, where are you?!?’ She stopped as she heard a thud behind her and evident presence of that strange thing. ‘It’s behind me… those scary eyes… what is it?!?!’

She then lit a match that she had stashed in her sleeve. Turning around, she finally got a look. “KYAAAAAAA!!!” It was herself, smiling evilly at her. Kaoru dropped the match, the room becoming dark again.

* * *
Omasu gazed up at the starry sky. The two of them had been walking for a bit, but no one sign of the messenger had not come just yet. They stopped at the meeting spot that the ninja told them about, and sat down, deciding to wait for it. It was silent for the longest time. She couldn’t help but stare towards him, his thoughtful face, concentrating on the grass.

“Shiro-kun… why won’t you talk to me now?” she asked, going to kneel in front of him, “I mean, you insist on coming with me, but it’s obvious you can’t stand to be around me… why, why are you doing this to me?”

He clasped a handful of grass into his hands, and uttered, “It was what you wanted, wasn’t it?”

She shook her head. “Iie… what I want most are your feelings. That alone, though I know I cannot do anything to change your heart. This is all I can ask for.”

Shiro finally lifted his face to hers. “But it was you… wasn’t it? It was you all along?”

Omasu blinked. “Eh?”

”Do you remember when we were little… we were playing ‘bushido warriors’ in the Master’s den. Misao-chan was always making play those violent games. Tonikaku, I was trying to get Kuro with my ‘special flying hawk multi-hitter’ but he dodged it and I accidentally broke one of the Master’s priced vases. I was scared for my life… the Master could get really angry. So I stayed up all night trying to put the vase back together, only to fail and fall asleep. But in the morning miraculously the vase was glued back to its normal self so perfectly. The Master didn’t suspect anything. When I asked who had done it, no one came up. Since Ochika was standing closest to it… I always assumed… It was then I started loving her.”

”Hai, it was me who put that vase back together. I didn’t want to say anything… just being able to do something for you was enough for me.” she uttered, watching him clenched his fists, “You see, I’ve been in love with you since we were kids… ever since that day you came and took my hand and invited me to come play with you guys. I was always so shy and didn’t know how to make friends, but you… you were always so kind and looking out for me, finding ways to include me. Please don’t be angry, but I…I love you, Shiro-kun.”

He shook his head. “I’m so stupid. All these years… I’ve been in love with the wrong person. I’ve created a lie in my heart… I don’t know what to do or what to think. And it was alarming to hear from Ochika the truth – to hear about your feelings… I had to see for myself, but when I saw your crying face, I- I… lost control. Gomenasai… I didn’t mean to take it that far…”

”Did you mean it when you said you were pretending I was Ochika-san?” she asked, trying to move back into his visual view. He had turned away, hiding his eyes. At last she looked into his face, his eyes filling with tears. “Shiro-kun…?”

”I got scared… I didn’t know what I was thinking and felt ashamed for my actions. Its much easier to say nothing happened. I didn’t want to think that we… you and I … it just didn’t make sense! I never thought of you that way.” he uttered, “Until now…”

Omasu put her arms around his neck and smiled. “But when you held me, I became so happy – that time, it was the happiest moment of my life.”

”Omasu…” he uttered, the two of them leaning forward for a kiss. He held he tightly, the two of them letting out all their emotions suppressed for so many years. But as they tried to draw away, there was a sound like an arrow being released. Shiro quickly tackled Omasu the ground, covering her from the oncoming attack.

“S-Shiro!!” Omasu exclaimed, looking at the arrow lodged into his back. He panted, leaning his chin down onto her shoulder. Holding onto him, she peered behind him to see the same kid who tried to kill them on the cliff. “Anta… you did this to Shiro-kun!”

The kid smiled. “He’ll be dead soon. There was poison in that arrowhead and it’s only a matter of time. Now, it’s your turn…” he said, lifting his bow.

“Yamero!” Shiro gasped, “Omasu – get out of here! You’ve got to save yourself!”

”Iya! I’m not leaving you!”

All of a sudden a wave of blood appeared. The child, sliced in half, collapsed to the ground. Behind him, Saitou stood, flicking the red off his blade. He then knelt down and took the note clasped in the hand. “Hmm… so I was right. That mansion is their headquarters and here’s its map of the ninja maze and traps…”

”A-ano!” Omasu called out, being able to remove the arrow, but not stop the bleeding or pain or poison, “Will you help me?! He’s going to die! Onegaishimasu!”

Saitou was lighting a cigarette. “There’s no time. You must give this map to your friends if they wish to get out of there alive and I have to go into town and get my backup. I’m giving you two hours to also get evidence that will clear Battousai and Kamiya, so you better hurry up.”

”DEMO!!” she exclaimed, but stopped to feel Shiro’s hand on her shoulder.

He smiled slightly, “Don’t worry about me. You have to do this, Omasu, otherwise more lives may end. You mustn’t let me get in the way of your duty.” He closed his eyes for a moment, “I… I will be all right. I’ll hold out as long as I can. And if I’ll die, I won’t unhappy - all I have to do is think about my time with you. Arigatou, Omasu – for your feelings…”

”Shiro…” She wiped the tears from her eyes and nodded. “I’m going – because you’ve risked your life to save me so many times, I cannot waste this life. I won’t let you down either. Your feelings – I’ll cherish them forever.” She then got up and started running off with the map, unable to keep from crying as she hurried through the dark forest. ‘Shiro…’

* * *
Kenshin and Hiko were still pinned to the wall. All of sudden, a crowd of juvenial ninja entered. “Oro, Shisho – what are we going to do de gozaru?! Sessha can’t move, can you?”

Hiko mumbled, “That bastard… he tricked me too! I knew there’s no point in siding with anyone!!”

Then, Nishiwaki and the leader of the orphan ninjas walked in. Behind them were two women in kimono. “K-Kaoru-dono?!?” Kenshin cried, “Why is there two de gozaru?!”

”Kenshiiiin!!!” one of them yelled as the other grabbed her by the hair and shoved a knife up to her neck, “Help!! These jerks are going to send me to the police – I don’t wanna go~!! And this look-alike is really a man … I’m insulted!!! Please do something!!”

”Oro, Kaoru, Sessha can’t do anything right now. I’m hanging up here de gozaru yo!”

Nishiwaki crossed his arms. “The money you gave me was counterfeit, so she doesn’t belong to you anymore. Nor does the weird sword. Both are mine, thank you!”

”OI!!” Everyone turned to see Obaa-chan and her girls, “Nishiwaki-kun, what’s wrong with you?! Didn’t I tell you he’s my ‘grandson’?? You must release him this instant otherwise we won’t do business with you anymore!”

The enraged girls all screamed, “YEAH! RELEASE KEN-SAMA!!”

He looked to the ninja leader, who replied, “On one condition, you must leave the place and don’t come back.”

”Sessha will only go if you give something back that belonged to me.”

”Aa,” the teenage Okashira said, with a nod, “I give you the choice then – it’s the girl or the sword.”

Kenshin looked back and forth nervously. Kaoru was yelling at him, “MOU!! Of course he’ll pick me! Nee? Nee, Kenshin!!? Hayaku!!!”

“Demo, Okashira,” the deep-voiced Kaoru uttered, “What about the police? Weren’t we going to plant the evidence on her and turn her in?”

”Don’t worry about it. I’ve got it all planned out.” Okashira replied, then turning back to the thinking rurouni, “Well, what’s it going to be.”

Kenshin didn’t hesitate further. “Sakabatou de gozaru.”

”Eeeeeeeeeh?!?!” Kaoru cried tearfully, “Kenshin, how could you?! Then all those things you said to me were just talk!? Am I really only second when it comes to your damn sakabatou?!?!”

The ninja were all chuckling as she wailed. Hiko glared over at his student, “Baka deshii, what are you thinking?! She’s going to die and you’re worried about your sword!?”

The Okashira was walking over and putting the sakabatou back in his belt, “We shall release her after we leave. Even now, your sword is useless since your limbs are pinned to the wall. But I’m surprised for your lack of concern towards the lady. I gave you one more chance.”

”Isn’t it your fault to begin with?” Kenshin asked, “Weren’t you the ones who mugged us and took our things – then impersonated us to rob banks… resulting in the murder? Why are you running from your own crimes when you have to atone for them?!”

”I’m in no mood for a lecture. Adults wouldn’t understand what we’ve been through – losing all our homes and families due to the wars you all created. It’s time we took over this town!” Okashira replied, “And we shall rise to power, but first we must get this woman to the police.”

”Kenshin!!!” Kaoru cried, “Please help me!!”

“Kenshin!” Hiko exclaimed, “Aren’t you going to do something?!”

The ninjas all let out their laughs and started heading out the room. Kenshin stared at the floor, then in a split second, release his other arm from the sling, taking hold of the sakabatou. He broke through the pins that had held him up and leaped down, rushing the crowd, people flying left and right.

”GO KEN-SAMA!!!” his fans cheered, swooned, and fainted on the floor.

“Oro,” he uttered, trying to ignore them. Finally, he reached the Okashira and Kaoru-look-alike, “This is as far as you go!!” he said, hitting the floor board, causing it to project on the other side to get the Kaoru-look-alike. He then turned for the Okashira, leaping high in the air, “RYU TSUI SEN!!!”

But as he swung his blade, it happened that he instead hit a log dummy. ‘Masaka!’ He turned around, the Okashira holding cherry bombs. ‘He doesn’t care for everyone else’s lives in this room – ano ki-sama!!’

Kaoru took off her sandal and threw it to hit the switch to release Hiko. He fell painfully onto the floor below. Instead of helping him up, she just started screaming at him, “NEE!! Evacuate the place, Hiko-san! It’s too dangerous!! HAYAKU!!”

”Aa! I’m on it!” he chimed, drawing his swords and scaring the children out of the room. “Get the hell out of here if you want to live!!!”

”KOWAII!!!” the kids screamed.

Kenshin smiled. “Arigatou Shisho, Kaoru! Now…” He turned back to the Okashira. “Do you still intend on killing yourself just to get away from your crimes. You can easily just serve the sentence de gozaru – it’s better than eternal hell!”

”Hmp! You speak like a real old man!” the boy snapped, “I won’t let anyone take me!!!”

The rurouni simply ignored his comment, going for the attack. “KUZU RYU SEN!!!” The nine-hitter paralyzed the boy, making him fall to the ground, the bombs, rolling out of his hands.

Hiko walked over and lifted the kid. “Good work, Baka Deshii. Saa, get out of here!”

Kaoru turned to Kenshin, “You’re hurt!!” she cried, watching him clutch his injury. She quickly cradled his arm and made a sling with her ribbon. “Mou, you mustn’t keep doing that to yourself… it won’t heal properly if you do.”

”Aa, sayo de…” He stopped to see Nishiwaki emerge, holding a bottle of sake and an insane look on his face. “What are you doing!??”

”Just like that kid, I was forced to live a dirty life. Now I have nothing left! I won’t let anyone take my money or me! Nor anyone get out of this place alive!!! Mwahahahaha!!” Nishiwaki then poured the sake onto the floor, striking a match on his elbow. He paused to light his cigarette then threw it down, the room erupting in flames. “We’re all going die!!! Yahoooo!!!”

“Masaka! DAME YO!” Kaoru cried, seeing the reaching flames go for the bombs. She leaped down and snatched them as she dove across the room. She crashed into a wall and disappeared.

“KAORU!!” Kenshin screamed in horror, the room becoming thick with flames, “Where – where is she?!?”

Hiko rubbed his chin. “If bombs aren’t going off – then she must still be alive. Now, let’s get the hell out of here before we burn to death.. na, Baka Deshii.” Kenshin ignored him, leaping across the flames and going into the same trap door. Hiko grinned. “That’s my Baka Deshii for you. Always chasing tail.”

* * *
Kenshin fell through the darkness and landed on his feet. He could see the flames above them, coming at rapid speed. ‘Chikuso! We have to get out of here right away!’ He looked to the ground and saw Kaoru lying sorely, the bombs in her hand. “Kaoru! It’s me – c’mon, we have to go!”

”I… I can’t get up. My leg hurts…” she uttered.

Kenshin knelt down to her, “Hold onto me, I’ll get you out here.” She nodded and wrapped her arms around his neck. He eased himself up, securing a hand at her bottom. She flashed a deadly glare at him. “Oro, Sessha has to make sure not to drop you. Don’t let go de gozaru.”

With that, he took off running, the both of them looking for stairs or an exit. Just then, the ceiling behind them started collapsing and up ahead was a dead end.

“Shimata!” he exclaimed picking up the pace, “Kaoru – a favor! Please draw the sakabatou and…” He didn’t need any further explanation as Kaoru unleased the blade and sliced through the wall with one mighty swing. “Oro…” he uttered astonished at the crumbling destruction. “Let’s go!!”

‘We can’t keep running. The flames will catch up to us. We have to find our way out! Somehow…’ he thought, feeling encouragement by the way she was holding onto him, ‘Daijoubu Kaoru! I won’t let you down!’

Then, they saw a light shining to their left; they rushed over and saw that there was a hole in the ceiling, Ochika and Kuro peering down at them.

“Yo!” Kuro chimed, dropping them a rope, “Glad we found you!! C’mon, we’ve got all the people evacuated; it’s just you guys! We’ve got to hurry!”

”How’d you find us so quickly?” Kenshin asked, taking hold of the rope and being pulled up.

Ochika held up a note. “Omasu gave us the map. We were able to get in and then we heard what happened to you through Hiko-sama. We better hurry – Kaoru-san still has the bombs right?”

”Aa,” Kenshin replied, reaching the floor. He turned to Okina, “Where is Omasu-dono?”

While running, Okina replied, “She went looking for the evidence. It’s sealed in a box somewhere in Nishiwaki’s office. She insisted on going alone… I’m worried about the girl.”

”And Shiro-dono is…?”

Ochika lowered her head, “Omasu said he died protecting her.”

“Sou na!” Kaoru cried, then turning to Kenshin. He just held her tighter and picked up his pace.

* * *
Outside, the police were waiting. Saitou came walking towards the exhausted Kenshin. “Arigatou, Battousai, for delivering the murderer to me.”

”Saitou, you know that Kaoru didn’t do this! You and your warped mind could only believe such nonsense.” he snapped, lowering Kaoru to the ground and pulling off the ribbon. He then drew his sakabatou, “And I won’t allow you to take her no matter what!”

The cop grinned, drawing his sword too. “Heh, fine by me. This is what I really wanted in the first place. Prepare yourself, Battousai! This time we fight until the end!!”

”Iya! Dame!!” Kaoru cried, “Don’t fight! Kenshin!”

He took one look at her and smiled. “Daijoubu, Kaoru.” He then turned back towards Saitou, getting in position for his succession technique. The cop grinned and prepared for his too. Tension was on both sides. Before they could start they stopped to hear a voice.

“Baka Deshii!!” Hiko hollered, “Don’t be stupid as to die in front of your girl – you hear me! It’s so unromantic!”

Kenshin face faulted for a moment. “Shisho…” he hissed, “Don’t interfere!!!”

His fans also started cheering, “GO KEN-SAMA~!”

“Oro… Sessha can’t concentrate de gozaru.”

Saitou was lighting a cigarette. “Perhaps its better to have duel without the crowd.”

He then signaled his officers to go towards Kaoru. “Get away from me!” she yelled, punching one of them. Immediately, they took out their guns. “K-Kenshiiin! HELP!!”

”Leave her alone!” Kenshin yelled, running to shield her, “You bastards even go near her, I’ll f--king beat the shit out of you de gozaru!!” One of the cops got scared and shot. Kenshin quickly blocked the bullet with his sword. But then this made the rest of them ready their guns. “Oro…”

“MATTE!!!” Omasu was running out from the blazing building, carrying a steel box. Stopping at the standoff, she caught her breath and opened the box, handing it to Saitou, “This contains a confession letter and the knife used in the murder case. Kaoru-san is innocent – it says so here!”

Saitou threw his cigarette down and sighed. “Fine, fine. She’s innocent. There goes my duel with Battousai.”

”Another time de gozaru. I assure you, Saitou.” Kenshin said. He then dropped his sakabatou, flinching with pain. Kaoru quickly started fussing over his injury.

Omasu turned back towards the flames. She would have never knew he way around if she didn’t memorize the map and if she didn’t get here on time. ‘It’s because of…’ She clenched a fist, a single tear falling from her eyes, “Shiro…’

* * *
Later, after filing reports at the police station, they all went to the Aoiya. The Oniwabanshuu all felt upset about their lost and didn’t know what to do about Omasu. She had been crying non-stop.

“Daijoubu, Omasu.” Ochika tried to comfort her, “Shiro’s true feelings show by how he protected you. You mustn’t forget how lucky you were.”

”I know… but… it all just begun…” she sobbed, “Shiro-kun, I’d do anything to hear his voice again…”

“Anything?” Everyone stopped and turned back to the door. A tired and worn-out Shiro stood, clinging to the wall, bandages and bloodstains all over him, “Tadaima…”

”Shiro-kun!” Omasu went running over, hugging him. “I thought you died! I thought I lost you!”

“Heh, you thought wrong. I told you I’d hold on. I had a hunch that the ninja also carried the cure on himself so I searched him with the last bit of my strength. I really lucked out.” he uttered, holding onto her for support, “Besides, I wanted to come tell you that I… I love you.”

The other Oniiwabanshuu were shocked. “When in the hell did this happen?!” Kuro cried.

Ochika exclaimed, “Demo! I thought Shiro was in love with me! How quickly could his feelings change?! This is outrageous!!”

Okina chuckled, “Ahaha! I knew something was going on! You two did it didn’t ya?! Now, Shiro-my boy, you must marry my Omasu-chan! It’s only reasonable!!”

Shiro panicked, “M-M-MARRIAGE?!”

Omasu clobbered Okina into the wall. “BAKA!! DON’T SAY SUCH THINGS, YOU DAMN JIJI!!!”

Back to Part 7
Onto the Finale!!