Author's note: I'm back, hey guys I know I said I was done with this but even after all this time I'm getting great feed back for this story so what the hell I'll finish it.
Summery: Kaoru tells all and the big question is where do they go from here?
Megumi checked over Yahiko injuries with a practiced ease. Her body still ached but the lady doctor did not falter from her task her hands automatically doing what was needed while her mind was occupied recalling the horrors of the night before. She had watched as her 'family' fought for their' lives. And in her daze Megumi had not questioned, she did what she normally would have done, fussing over them and their' various injuries big and small. But now that the shock had worn off Gensai's dark haired apprentice shuddered, recalling seeing not only Kenshin killing but also Kaoru. Both were more than justified there was no doubt about that.
'But Kaoru' Megumi thought with a disbelief that was not so surprising.
The Kendo instructor was too innocent to take the life of another. Or had the near execution of her student set her off? Megumi knew that everyone had their' limits and she wondered had the short tempered but sweet Kaoru reached hers.
"How is he kitsune?"
Her hands did not falter as she looked to see Sanosuke enter. The former gangster's usually upswept chocolate locks now hung limply around his face. His skin looked raw from scrubbing and in place of his once cocky smirk was a worried frown as managed to fit his gangly form into the small door.
"He's lost a lot of blood, but his wounds aren't infected so he'll survive everything else is minor and will heal in a few days and he'll probably sleep for just as long", she didn't mention it would take the boy months to fully recover right now he needed reassurance just as much as she did.
Deep brown depths filled with relief momentarily only to be replaced by worry again as he gazed upon her, "And you"?
Deliberately she looked down at her hands as they replaced the dirty bandages from last night.
"I'm exhausted" she admitted softly
For a moment Sanosuke remained silent not knowing what to say. Still he was glad that Megumi was being honest with him and hoped that this nightmare would end soon. For he, two thought of the battle at the Kamiya dojo last night. Who were those bastards he wondered. At first he'd thought they were after Kenshin, what better way to get to the former hitokiri than through his friends? But that made no sense because when they caught sight of Kaoru the intruders went after the petite woman with a vigor that rivaled Kenshin shone in saving Kaoru and that was saying something.
Which brought up the next biggest question Sanosuke had, who in the Kamiya dojo were the bastards after? Sanosuke knew that each of them had their lions' share of enemies even Yahiko. However the former gangster immediately cast out the thought any of Yahiko's former opponents being responsible. Petty thugs couldn't afford skill like that and he had never done anything drastic enough to warrant obviously trained assassins to come after him.
Kaoru's only real problems were ignorant neighbors and Gohei and the question of where she got that sword from or how she even knew how to use it. Though the former could not be helped the later was taken care of very efficiently but the latest would probably remain a mystery. That left Kenshin and Megumi but again it made no sense because neither of them recognized the assailants.
Sighing Sanosuke pushed away his impending headache knowing that there was no use pondering, "some night hah?"
Megumi smiled weakly in agreement, finishing with replacing the bandages that were soiled by Yahiko's blood. They both scooted to other side of the small room leaning on the far wall for support as they stared silently at Kaoru's downed student. It wasn't long before they were joined by Kenshin and Kaoru as the two finally made an appearance with their' respective weapons in hand. Though the question burned true in both of them neither he nor Megumi voiced it knowing better than seeking answers when not so long ago Kaoru had accepted them without question.
"How is he Megumi?"
For the second time in the morning the lady doctor found herself explaining Yahiko's condition and reassuring them all that the little swordsman would survive. But the question that burned in her throat could no longer be held at bay.
"Where did you learn to use that sword"?
Kaoru stilled her eyes downcast, "we need to wait for Misao and Aoshi"
Pursing her lips her dark haired friend said nothing knowing that Kaoru would not answer. She watched as Kenshin move closer to Kaoru, absentmindedly pressing his side against hers, his golden eyes ringed with worried violet.. Megumi turned surprised eyes toward Sano. A wicked smirk answered the curving of her blooded lips. He was smirking with a smugness of a cat that caught the canary, confirming the she-fox's suspicion.
'It's about damn time'
Kaoru unconsciously leaned against Kenshin taking comfort from his touch while she could. She could sense the two ninjas approach and the Shinkan knew that she'd have to explain everything. The trust and openness once held in her house would be sorely tested before the day was up. Her would be lover insisted that this conversation take place and if she were honest with herself, Kaoru knew that she would have told them anyway. But that didn't mean she liked it. The habit of keeping things hidden was ingrained into her very being after all.
"Relax Kaoru there is nothing to be afraid of"
Involuntarily she melted the tenseness leaving her completely, "oh there is plenty to be afraid of" she said bitterly.
"But I am not afraid", she lowered her voice considerably taking note of how though distracted with each other Sano and Megumi were still more than aware of their' 'conversation'.
"I have every reason to fear but I don't", she smiled grimly, "not even you"
Kenshin brushed his knuckles against her cheek, "we'll get through this", he told her knowing that none of them would be unscathed
She closed her eyes leaning further into his touch only to move away as the shoji screen opened for the third time in the morning. Aoshi entered first ducking his head down to fit his tall frame through the rather small entrance. Dressed in only a thin white yukata like the rest of them the former leader of the Oniwabanshu had to carry his favored weapons in plain sight and very uncomfortable doing so but dealt with it with his normal glacial disposition.
Coming in right behind him Misao smiled brightly even though somehow she was less hyper than usual and her hair no longer braided spilled down her waist in a black waterfall of curls. Somehow the Kunoichi had managed to tuck her kunai in her thin linen belt without damaging the yukata.
Kaoru grimaced; Misao was way too cheerful in the morning. And from the look on Megumi, and Sanosuke's faces' she wasn't the only one who thought so. Nevertheless they each returned her greeting with patient eyes. However this patience was not extended to Kaoru as Megumi, Sanosuke, and Kenshin turned to look at her expectantly. She cast a look toward Misao silently glaring at the younger girl for not stalling. Misao merely smiled, this was going to be good. Kaoru shot one last glare toward her petite friend before facing her 'family'. The kendo instructor could not meet their eyes and when she looked upon her student Kaoru felt as if she'd swallowed a lemon. She spoke calmly letting the words flow from her lips flawlessly as she was taught so long ago.
"This sword belonged to a woman called Michikin", she swiftly brought the still sheathed sword in front of her horizontally, "A Shirasaya yet instead of wood there was only steel folded periodically over nine months before the blade, sheath, and handle were even considered ready to be assembled"
Kaoru gripped the sword so tightly her knuckles turned white, "It wasn't even finished until two months after that and for those eleven months Michikin entered the final stages of training as a true member of the 'family' and no longer just a geisha"
"Her own mother showed her no mercy, day in and day out she was taught the ways of kaze no kumori until she couldn't remember her own brothers' faces", she frowned severely, "And this sword became the testament to her coming of age, a 'gift' from a proud mother to her daughter"
Kenshin couldn't take it anymore and grasped Kaoru's hand pulling it away from the hilt and to his lips, kissing way invisible hurts from her calloused snow white digits as she automatically lowered the sword to her side next to his own Instinctually she met his honeyed gaze and lost herself in it. And Kenshin had no qualms about using it against her.
"Kaoru, what was this woman to you", he asked softly
The Shinkan's mask nearly shattered as her shoulders shook with suppressed emotion; her eyes went glassy with memories that wanted to come to the surface.
But still her voice did not tremble, "She was my mother and my teacher and the reason I have lied to all of you for so long"
Megumi and Sano looked ill while Misao sat almost as stone like as her lover whom sat beside her. Kaoru buried herself deeper in Kenshin's embrace, no longer fighting to hold back the tears that wanted to fall. Just as long as they didn't her face she didn't care anymore.
"Years after her 'coming of age' mother met my father and they ran away together until they came here married and had me I've was trained in both Kamiya Kasshin and kaze no kumori ever since I was able to walk, no one else knew I trained in both arts and those who do know and still live are few in number"
She sighed, "When I was eight the 'family' came after us" she paused, "mother and father didn't survive"
"I slaughtered each and every one of those mother fuckers know that they would never stop unless I killed them and then went after the rest of them up until I returned from that little trip last time"; "I thought I had killed the last of them"
"But how did-", Sano sputtered, "Gohei-"
"Was a moron I was too tired to deal with", she explained
His face reached a new level of white, "And Jineh?"
"An insane but very dangerous lunatic that I had every intention of disemboweling had Kenshin not shown up when he did"
Kenshin started, "then why did you stop me when you could have let me kill him"
"Kenshin you weren't ready to let go of your guilt and even if having the loon alive would be an inconvenience the thought of you leaving me hurt like nothing else"
"And your encounter with Beshimi and Hyottoko"?
Kaoru didn't look up at hearing the Okashira join they're conversation, "I'm an assassin Shinomori, and a good spy knows that the better the assassin the closer they can get without being caught and I think I proved how good I am when you came to the Akabeko"
Misao couldn't help the snigger that bubbled from her throat and got two hot glares for her trouble. She fought the urge to roll her eyes, knowing it would probably be better for them both to learn the hard way. Besides it seemed like the only way any of them would learn.
Megumi turned her incredulous eyes toward Kaoru, "you can't honestly think we'd believe that"
Kaoru stiffened, "you saw me kill them Megumi, I know you saw what I did last night", savagely she wiped the tears from her eyes and met the doctor's dark gaze with a glare, "what the fuck do you think?"
Megumi froze at the look in her friend's eyes because there was a feeling of complete nothingness swallowing her whole and she knew that Kaoru wasn't lying. Suddenly she was in Sano's arms being held steady from swaying face first into the floor. She wandered how he could deal with this so quietly. How could he accept his precocious Jou-chan being blood stained without nary a curse? Was she the only one having problems with even imagining Kaoru doing half of what she did last night?
"What about all the things you taught Yahiko, was that a lie two"?
Kaoru's lips thinned, "Don't you dare go there Megumi Takani, do not tarnish my father's greatest gift to me just because you can't understand"
The doctor stilled knowing she was right. How could she understand if the 'training' she went through with her mother was anything like she implied. The lessons she learned with her father must have been her escape away from the bloodshed that surely followed in her wake as a child.
"I'm sorry Kaoru", she said softly, "but you did lie to all of us and Yahiko was hurt because of it"
"I know and I'm sorry I never meant for any of this to happen but the fact remains that nothing can change that"
"Then the question is where do we go from here", asked Sano finally
Kaoru wasn't surprised Sano would still want to be in her presence but was surprised when Megumi, Misao, and Aoshi seemed to want to stick around. Especially Megumi, after the spat that they just had however she supposed their' friendship was stronger than their' differences. The kendo instructor looked at her injured student noting the unhealthy tinge in his completion due to blood loss. And she felt the icy blackness settle familiarly in her heart and an empty smile pull at her lips.
"I finish what they started"
"No we finished what they started", Kenshin corrected her, his eyes ablaze with the intensity of a supernova.
She tilted her dark head, "you do realize that we will have to go to an okiya right and that I must act the part and you must do the same"?
"Its too late to turn back now koi, we are all in agreement they attacked our home and our 'family' and you said yourself that they will never stop"
"What about Yahiko and the girls, what about Gensai", asked Megumi
Kaoru turned to Aoshi, "Can I trust the children with you"?
Megumi had to stop herself from screaming at the Shinkan. Only the knowledge that Kaoru knew what she was doing stopped the lady doctor's distrust for Aoshi to consume her.
"Then take them to Kyoto, Misao I need you and Sano to look for Gensai if he's alive get him to Kyoto as quick as you can"
Sano paled, "and if he's dead"
"Bring him here for a proper burial because if he is then he will be getting company soon"