Fandom: Rurouni Kenshin
Publish Date: 10/7/2004
Disclaimer: I don't own Rurouni Kenshin...and I'll cut you if you sue :)
Kenshin was almost motionless, kneeling in the middle of the otherwise-empty floor; the only motion was that of his hands, fidgeting nervously and twisting the pale fabric of his kimono in agitated fingers. He was highly disciplined, but this was almost beyond bearing…
It would happen soon…
He prayed silently for some sort of rescue—somebody to come crashing through the wall to pick a fight with the legendary Manslayer, Sanosuke coming in to ask him to chaperone a gambling visit, or perhaps just the simplest option: the floor could open up and swallow him whole.
Gingerly, he shifted a tiny bit. His hair tickled the back of his neck. It was loose, free from the restraints of its usual low ponytail, hanging around his shoulders like a red curtain. He wasn’t necessarily uncomfortable with it like that, but it certainly wasn’t normal.
Any moment now, they would come for him.
As if the fleeting thought had been some sort of summons, they came.
The door slid open, casting a rectangle of light into the room. The shadow of a person in that doorway fell across the floor. If there had been an orchestra in the background, the music would have hit a dramatic crescendo to signal the potential doom for the hero. Instead, there was just a deafening silence that was broken by the newcomer after a few seconds had passed by.
Two words, a veritable death-knell. Kenshin swallowed hard, and braced himself.
There was a rustle of fabric as the Angel of Death (all right, so he was being a little dramatic) stepped into the room, and another slight noise as the door was closed. Then there was another sound: soft, even footsteps moving towards him.
Kenshin willed himself not to move, when all he really wanted to do was bolt. He did not turn his head; he could see the weapon in that person’s hand. A short blade. It was silver, and sparkled slightly in the dim light. They had come prepared for him.
With every step, the knot in his stomach grew larger and tighter. The most basic of animal instincts were screaming the classic at him—flee or fight. Tradition inclined him to fight. Intuition said to get the hell out of there. Unfortunately, not an option.
So he remained motionless, awaiting his fate.
His enemy—if one could use such a term for the other person in the room—was beside him now, less than an arm’s length away. “Are you ready?” the question came, and he didn’t trust himself to move or answer. If he spoke, he might start swearing, and that wouldn’t be good.
When he gave no response, the person nodded and lifted one arm, holding the dreaded weapon.
The blade was raised. It would strike him in a moment, and then where would he be? There was no place to run, no place to hide. The one wielding the blade was between him and the door. He was armed with nothing he could use in good conscience—he refused to use his sword. Even now, staring this in the face, he refused to attack in any way that would cause harm.
And with silent, deadly accuracy…the blade fell upon him.
He cringed in spite of himself as he felt it. It didn’t hurt—somehow, that amazed him. There was no pain. But there was a sound, like a wildcat snarling beside his ear. A steady crunching sound. His discipline went out the window, and he winced in a rare display; the tiniest, whimpered ‘oro’ escaped him. This was so terrible…what in Buddha’s name was she doing to him?
As the tiniest lock of red hair fell to the ground by his feet, Kaoru sighed in exasperation. “Oh, honestly, Kenshin, it’s just a trim! It’s not the end of the world!”