rurouni kenshin is by watsuki-sensei (C) shueisha jump, sony, fuji tv, anime works
notes: here's a new part. tell me how it goes. ok a little 'oro' humor here, but really there is a point to this story! jaa ne! jill 4/7/1

"Only in Dreams" - Part 3

"Eeeh?!?!" Sanosuke and Yahiko were aghast when they arrived at Tae's apartment and heard her story. "HONTO!?"

Tae, her face raging, nodded, though her eyes were never seen. Still the angry squint, her teeth grinding a bit. "Hon-to na!" she snapped, "IT came crashing into my restaurant during the middle of the night tearing up the downstairs, then it came up here and tried to eat me!!"

Sanosuke put his hand on her shoulder. "Daijoube Tae??" She simply grabbed his wrist and threw him aside, still peeved. "Oi oi! It ain't my fault!! Blame the Tanuki-kaishuu!!"

Tae just dropped her head and burst into tears. On her wall of prized nishiki e was a giant gash, right through the head of Shinsengumi 1st captain: Okita. "Yahiko-kun... Sano-han... I seriously want you to find that damn tanuki and kill it!!!"

Yahiko blinked. "K...K...ill...?!"

"Sou ya!" Tae replied, lifting her crying face, that still seemed a bit angry, "Kill it and I will erase all your tabs!!"

Sanosuke got off the floor in a flash, "YOSSHA!! Ya mean it, Tae?? Oh ho, one dead tanuki comin' up!!"

Yahiko rubbed his chin, "I guess it will be all right since this thing is evil... and also it isn't human... count me in!"

Overwhelmed by their 'concern', Tae finally cheered up, "Arigatou ya, Minna-han!"

Sanosuke nodded, taking his partner by the arm. "Leave it to us! We'll handle that Tanuki-kaishuu for you!"

Yahiko just glared at him, "Aren't you the one who's scared...??" The response he got was a good sock to the head. "TEME!!" Yahiko snapped, "Now's not the time for this! We've got to get more info!!!"

With that, the duo rushed out the room. Tae took a moment to stare at her disfigured nishiki e and returned to sobbing. "OKITA-SAMAAA!"

* * *
Back at the dojo, Kenshin was watching Kaoru from a distance as she was bandaging her hand from injuries he knew nothing of. 'Where did she...?!' he wondered, hiding from around the corner as she wrapped around her fingers, 'Why can't you ask her??'

"Oh!" Kaoru suddenly noticed him and gave him a smile, "Nee, Kenshin, what are you doing over there? Come have some tea with me."

"Aa." he uttered, stumbling over to her, and then falling onto his rump. All the while, he could only keep his thoughts inside, 'That cheerful look on her face has to be a façade. How could she just sit there and not tell me what's going on?! And why was she smiling so much!?? Aaarghh!!!'

"Kenshin," Kaoru said, scooting closer, "Nani? You look like something is bothering you. Did I do something to upset you?"

"Iya!" he blurted out, reaching for a cup with shaking hands. He paused as her bandaged hand touched his. "Oro, Kaoru-dono??"

"Sou ne, you have bags under your eyes... you haven't been getting enough sleep?" she asked, examining his face at close range, "Are you having bad dreams again?"

"Aa," he gasped, breathing her in and adding to himself, 'Bad dreams about you.' Clenching his eyes and breaking away, he finally gained control of himself. "Nothing to worry about de gozaru."

She nodded and smiled, going to pour him some tea. He watched her, mentally beating himself up, 'Baka! Why won't you ask her? Where has she been going out at night? Where did she get those cuts on her hands? Is she having an affair with a secret lover?? Why was she in your room, er, fondling you?? And is she really a tanuki?!'

"Kenshin," Kaoru again looked worried as she was holding out his teacup, "Doushite? Why do you keep looking at me like that??"

"D-dakara..." he stammered, thinking quickly, "Your... your gi has come a little loose..."

"EH?!" Kaoru looked down to see that it indeed was loose and her cleavage had been overly shown. "KENSHIN NO BAKA! I HATE YOU!" she cried, red-face and smacking him aside, then running away in tears.

Kenshin felt both pain and relief. When she was close he had subconsciously tugged it a bit open without her knowing. That was one way to get out of that sticky situation, but now he really hurt on the head and in the heart. 'Kaoru won't tell me the truth... and she hates me!! Baka baka baka!!!'

* * *
As for the investigating pair, they found their way to Genzai's clinic. There, Megumi was treating the Tanuki-kaishuu's latest victim. "Now don't harass the poor boy, he's been through a lot." she scolded her rough friends, "Poor Mikyo-kun, he was attacked by the monster last night..."

"Hmmm..." the boy uttered eying the bandaged teenager moaning on the examination table. He looked strangely familiar. Suddenly, Yahiko recognized him, knocking over his partner in the process, "Isn't this kid from the Maekawa-dojo?! Where Kaoru works?!"

"Oh!" Sanosuke gasped, lying on the floor, "Kono koitsu da!" He then grinned, rubbing his chin, "Ain't he the one who has a crush on Jou-chan??"

They all turned to Mikyo who was blushing. "Boku... boku... wa... Kaoru-san... aaaa!"

"Maa maa," Megumi sighed, shaking her head, "Someone needs their medicine..." She paused as there was a big smack on her butt. "KYAAA!!!" she screamed hair sticking up.

"Heh, someone needs to lighten up..." Sanosuke chuckled, still on the floor.

"BAKA!" she snapped, pounding him good.

"Oro..." he uttered before fainting.

Ignoring the feuding fox and chicken, Yahiko crossed his arms and approached the patient, "So, where were you when you were attacked? And give us your best description of it."

"Jaa... I was just walking home from my part time job not far from here... it was a deserted road and pretty late. Demo, I stopped for a bit and that was when I was attacked..."

"Why did you stop??"

"Well, I felt hungry so I took out my leftover manjuu. Then all of a sudden, I spelled a lovely fragrance. It reminded me of Kaoru-san so I didn't run right away. Then this giant hairy monster came out of the bushes. It had to be as big as a grizzly bear. And it's tail was enormous!! It was what hit me in the head and lost consciousness. When I woke, I was aching from head to toe. Soushite..."

"Soushite...?!" Megumi, Sanosuke, and Yahiko asked, all in suspense.

"All the manjuu was GONE!!" Mikyo cried, tears in his eyes.

As Sanosuke and Yahiko face-faulted, Megumi nodded to herself and steered towards the frantic teen. "Yup, it's time to go 'sleep'."

While Megumi was 'calming' her patient, Sanosuke and Yahiko took their leave. "Cheh, so what does this mean??" Sanosuke grumbled, as they walked away from the clinic.

"Well, what we know is that the Tanuki goes where's there's food. And also it's traveling in patterns. If it hit your neighborhood all last week, now it hitting this neighborhood. It will probably strike again tonight. We've got to be prepared..."

"Daga!! Did ya hear that kid?! It's gotta be as big as me!" Sanosuke cried, "Like a grizzly bear! I've never seen one, but those are hella big!"

"Would ya stop being a chicken??!" Yahiko snapped, "Look, if we want to catch this thing and fight it, kill it no less, we can't be afraid of it." He then let out a sigh, "Still, to kill it... how in the world are we going to do that?"

"Hmmm..." Sanosuke thought for a moment. A chime went off in his head as he had an idea. "Yoshi! You know if ya need to kill something, who is the expert!"

Yahiko blinked. "You... You don't mean...?!"

"Hehehe, let's go pay our friend a visit..."

* * *
Kenshin spent the rest of the afternoon in the kitchen, making rice balls as a peace offering. 'There's no way she'll tell you the truth if she won't talk to you. Food always gets her back at least on friendly terms.'

Nervous as usual, he walked towards her room with the tray. "Kaoru-dono," he uttered, standing outside her door, "Sessha has made some Onigiri. Let's eat them together de gozaru?"

"Matte kudesai!" her voice inside replied, "I'm in the middle of changing. I'll be right out!"

Kenshin paused. 'Why did she leave the door slightly open? And then announce what she's doing? It's like it's an invitation!' went the logic in his head. Peering inside a bit, he could see her wrestling with the obi at her waist. It looked painful, her hands flinching as she pulled and adjusted the fabric. Kenshin couldn't help himself and walked right in, placing the tray on the floor and rushing to her side.

"K-KENSHIN?!" Kaoru cried, very embarrassed as she technically wasn't fully dressed. Still, in her surprise, she dropped the obi, her kimono coming apart. Her embarrassment deepening. "G-Get out!!"

He simply picked up the obi and started to wrap it tightly around. Kaoru stood still, her fists clenched to the side. Before she could say anything, he uttered into her ear from behind, "Seems you can't yourself with those injuries on your hands. Where exactly did you get them?"

This was the moment of truth. Kenshin was sure Kaoru wouldn't lie to him. It wasn't in her nature. He could feel her start to gather her courage, to tell him everything that he needed to hear. All the while, his hands had stopped on her waist, him taking in as much of her as he could, becoming drunk on her scent.

"Aa, Kenshin... aa... the truth is... "

"KENSHIIIN!" the door had flew open, Yahiko and Sanosuke yelling at him, "KENSHIN! OI OI!!!"

Kenshin fell over onto the floor. "Oro..."

A little peeved, Kaoru turned around and glared at them, "Mou, what do you guys want?!"

"Nothing with you, we wanna talk with Kenshin." Yahiko explained, "It's really really important, so come out here already."

Sighing, Kenshin got up and nodded. The two high-fived and scrambled out the door. Sadly, he went to follow, pausing to realize that Kaoru was still staring at him with the same surprised look. "A-Ano..."

He smiled and picked up the tray of rice balls. "Sessha made these for you." he said, handing it over, making her blush, "Suman... about before."

"Kenshin," she replied, "Daijoubu, I'm not angry anymore. Nee, let's eat these together after you talk with those morons outside. Just the two of us. There's something I have to tell you..."

All he could do was stare. 'Tell me?? Just the two of us??' Already his blood had started to rush and his heart was pounding so loudly he didn't hear Sanosuke and Yahiko yelling for him outside.

"Kaoru, I too have something to tell you..."

She didn't seem at all startled by his voice or speech change, but a bit relieved, "Yoshi, we'll talk afterwards. Go now to those guys first. Before they break apart my house."

"Aa," he said, taking one last look at her. "I'll be right back." He then turned out the door, going to see what all the ruckus was for.

Kaoru watched him go with sad eyes, her own body starting to tremble. "Demo... watashi..."

* * *
"ORORORORORO!!" Kenshin cried as he was leaped at, binded and then dragged away against his will. It wasn’t until they got into the woodshed and shut the door, did they let him go. Lying on the floor, he snapped at them, "What's with you guys?!?!"

“Kenshin, we need your help…” Yahiko started to say, only to pause to correct himself, “Iya, we need the Battousai’s help!”


Sanosuke nodded. “Sou yo! We’ve got to kill that Tanuki-kaishuu tonight!”

”K-KILL DE GOZARU?!” Kenshin exclaimed, wide eyed, “D-demo!! You can’t kill it!!!”

”Sure we can!” his best friend said, going off with these reasons, “It’s got to be stopped – Tae asked us – there’s a heavy reward – and it’s EVIL!!”

”Demo!! Dame de gozaru yo!! Dakara… Tanuki-dono… Kaoru-dono…!!”

Yahiko and Sanosuke exchanged looks. “Hey, you feeling all right??” Yahiko asked, feeling his forehead, “Tonikaku, you need some rest and we need the Battousai. Time to take your medicine…!”

”ORO?!?” Kenshin screamed as they took out Megumi’s medicine case and were looking for something to sedate him. “IYA! Sessha doesn’t want to turn Battousai!! Sessha doesn’t want to kill Tanuki-dono!!!”

”Ireze!” Sanosuke said, forcing him to drink something he couldn’t read the label. He and Yahiko watched as he passed out. “Eto… what happened?!”

”BAKA YAROU!” Yahiko snapped, “He’s no use to us if he’s out!! Saa, we better get going if we wanna catch and kill the tanuki tonight. Looks like we’ll have to get the Battousai next time!”

And so, the two of them got up and left him there, snoozing in the woodshed.

* * *
Kenshin woke up hours later. Struggling on his feet, he made it to the door and nudged his way out. It was already sunset outside. ‘Oro?! I’ve been out that long?! Masaka!!’

He quickly hopped his way towards house, frantically calling out for anyone to come, but no one did. “Kaoru-dono!! Kaoru-dono?!” he hopped to her room, which was as he feared. Completely empty, the tray of rice balls left untouched on the floor. “KAORU?!”

Frowning, he slumped down to his knees, ‘I took too long… where did she go… why didn’t she wait for me??’ Letting out a sigh, he dropped his head, ‘Kaoru…’

Onto part 4
Back to part 2