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Affiliates: The Sheath :: The Crouching Tiger's Realm

Blood and Snow

by: Yasai-chan

           Yahiko turned around abruptly, only to gape at Kaoru. She was wearing that weird dress that she had on when she came back. She looked a lot older. Especially with her hair still braided as she had it at night.

           "What are you hiding Yahiko?" she said menacingly. Damn, Yahiko thought to himself, she'd noticed the slight movement of his hand hiding the note he found in his shirt. She was always surprising him with her abilities. He guessed this was one time his pickpocket skills hadn't come in handy enough.

           Kaoru looked suspiciously at Yahiko, she had caught that obvious hide. What could he possibly want to hide anyhow? She frowned at him, waiting for him to bring it out. He did. It was a letter. Her eyes widened as she snatched it from him. That writing was familiar! It was from Enishi, but what could he possibly want of her, or tell her. Maybe it was something about Kenshin. She opened the letter, he eyes drawn automatically to Kenshin's name. Her breath caught as she went to the beginning of the letter to see what it was about.

           Due to certain circumstances, I thought it would be fitting for you to come with me to retrieve Kenshin.

           Kaoru frowned. There was something cryptic in the way this was written. She wished she knew the circumstances. She paled; maybe he was ill or dead? She read on.

           He is, as I thought, in China. We will be leaving three days from now. You have that much time to decide weather to come or not, though I have no doubt you will for your precious Kenshin.

           Kaoru glared at the letter, he was mocking her but he was right, she would come for Kenshin.

           I'm sure you will likely share the news with your friendly community of friends, so I will allow you to bring one and only one of them. Their health will not be assured, though I will not bother with them. Your safety is promised. They need not worry.

           As for a meeting place and time, don't bother, I will come for you.

           The letter ended abruptly with that followed only by Enishi's now familiar signature. Kaoru looked up at Yahiko. He was staring at her in determination.

           "I knew it wouldn't do any good to hide it, because Enishi would come for you" Yahiko started "But I did it anyway" he looked down at the ground. "I want you to bring me along" Kaoru was startled, but in no way completely surprised.

           "You saw what he wrote" she said calmly "I'm safe" Yahiko glared.

           "I don't trust him." He nearly shouted at her. Kaoru slapped him, his face turned to the side with the impact as the air was filled with the resounding smack. Kaoru's eyes widened. What had come over her. She looked at Yahiko with regret as she apologized.

           "I'm sorry. I know you're just worried about me, but you can trust Enishi's word." She paused for a moment, before continuing almost silently "Besides, he can't kill me anyhow." Yahiko stared determinedly at Kaoru. He wasn't going to give up on this she could tell.

           "Fine, you may come." She said "But from this point on you will no longer be my student, and will be acting on your own" she continued stiffly "I will not be responsible for my own students death. Enishi will not protect you, and neither will I" she finished. Yahiko nodded and walked out of the dojo to think. Kaoru looked after him.

           She had changed a lot. Yahiko thought to himself, just as everything had. He was loosing everything once again; everything was slowly falling apart as his life first had when his father had died. Yahiko clenched his fists trying to stop the tears from falling. Nothing was lost yet, he told himself. There was just a big misunderstanding. He stared at the ground guiltily, he wasn't going with Kaoru to assure her safety, but because he had to see Kenshin. He was the only one who could fix everything, He always did. Even when they had fought for him, he had watched on in case something had happened. Or the one time he couldn't be there he had sent his own Shishou to protect them. He just had to see Kenshin before all hope was lost. He would know only then, if everything would be alright in the end.

           Aoshi sat on the roof of the dojo, overhearing the whole argument. He had already read the note before they had woken up, when he saw Enishi come by and place it there himself. Aoshi hadn't interrupted the dangerous warrior. He had no wish to get involved with him. The title of strongest was no longer important. He only wanted to protect what he already had. He had watched as Yahiko walked out of the dojo, clenching his fists in frustration. This was their problem, he thought to himself. He would not interfere, nor did he want to. Enishi was as strong as Kenshin already, and Aoshi could tell he had some more tricks up his sleeves He frowned. All that was left to do was keep Misao from knowing. She would meddle. Then he would have to follow. He wasn't sure he could protect her and that, he couldn't have. Aoshi seemingly melted into the shadows, although there was no one to see anyhow.

           Kaoru grew exceedingly anxious as the appointed time drew nearer. Tomorrow she would leave to see Kenshin. Her hands shook as she paid her respects to her ancestors, burning a new stick of incense. She politely bowed in front of them before taking her leave. She sighed, running her hands through her hair as she wondered if she should pack anything or not. She frowned, wishing that Enishi had put more information in the letter he had left.

           Walking towards the kitchen, Kaoru decided to start dinner. She wasn't particularly hungry, but she needed something to do. As she idly cut vegetables, she pondered just exactly what kind of a person Enishi was. Although she had spent months with him, he had rarely talked, and even when she sparred him, he didn't inturupt with pointless taunts. She paused in her cutting. Now that she thought about it, he hadn't even given her any tips, just waited for her to come to her own conclusions. The way he had helped her was invaluable though. He never attacked the same way, or in the same style, except when she couldn't beat the previous one, he'd repeat it until she figured it out. Kaoru doubted in that whole time she had ever seen his actual style. She frowned. You could tell a lot about someone by his fighting style.

           She knew nothing about him. She frowned. How was she going to do this? Sighing she resumed cutting vegetables. It didn't matter how, she would do it, and she would do it for Kenshin.

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Disclaimer: Site created by the ExK no Tenshi-tachi. Enishi, Kaoru & other Rurouni Kenshin characters belong to Watsuki Nobuhiro-sensei, Sony, and Shonen Jump. The rest are products of the webdominatrices' imagination. Please don't sue us. We're very poor.