|tripleofive (tripleofive) wrote in genderswitch,|
@ 2008-12-02 15:34:00
Pairings: None in this chapter
Summary: How would things have been different, if Himura Kenshin had been born a girl? Genderbender AU, going from the beginning of the series to the end…
Chapter summary: Kamiya Kaoru is having some trouble due to the Hitokiri Battousai, but luckily she’s got these strange vagabonds to help her out…
Kaoru is introduced, and we see Kenshii again, as a grown up this time – but who is this strange person she’s with?
Disclaimer: I don’t own Rurouni Kenshin. It belongs to Nobuhiro Watsuki, Shounen Jump, etc.
140 years ago, with the landing of the black ships in Japan, the Edo era came to a close and entered the period of time known as the Bakumatsu, a time of chaos, violence and destruction.
During this upheaval, a man known only as the ‘Hitokiri Battousai’ emerged. His origins were shrouded in mystery; no one knew who he was or where he came from. As one of the most important Hitokiri of the time, his sword paved the way for the Meiji era, and with the passage of time he became a legend, known simply as ‘the strongest’.
However, at the conclusion of the bloodshed he vanished, never to be seen or heard from again.
In the 10 years since the Bakumatsu had ended and the Meiji Era began, many people attempted to hunt done the legendary Battousai, whether for revenge, to challenge him for the title of the strongest, or simply for money. None found him. Others decided to use his name and reputation for their own ends.
And so our story begins, in the eleventh year of the Meiji era, in
Kamiya Kaoru peered around the corner, her hands gripping her bokken so hard her knuckles stood out white against her skin. This was him, it had to be him. The man had just passed by the mouth of the alley she was hiding in, and she could see from the light of the lamps that he was carrying a sword strapped to his back. Who else would wear a sword despite the sword ban, and wander the streets at night? It HAD to be him. She nodded in determination, took a deep breath, and ran into the street.
“Stop! I’ve finally found you Hitokiri Battousai!”
The man stopped, turned around and looked down at her through turquoise eyes. She blinked and stuttered to a halt, startled. She’d never seen another Japanese with blue eyes before, though the shades were different…
She frowned and shook her head. Focus! It didn’t matter what color his eyes were – this was a dangerous murderer she’d cornered!
“Your two months of bloodshed in the streets are at an end, Battousai!”
Gathering herself she charged, bokken held high. She would avenge her school’s – her father’s – name, and bring this monster in.
She felt a flash of triumph as she realized that the man hadn’t even moved to take his sword out. She’d obviously caught him by surprise. She would defeat the Hitokiri Battousai! She reached the end of her lunge and struck - only to find that he wasn’t there anymore.
She skidded to a halt and blinked, startled. He’d moved so fast she hadn’t even seen a blur. What the…?
She jolted suddenly, as an exasperated voice sounded from behind her.
“Look, little girl…”
The voice was interrupted as she turned around to find the man there, and broke in fuming.
“Little girl?” her voice rose in an indignant squeak at the end. “Who are you calling little girl you-” this time it was she who was interrupted, by a fierce turquoise glare.
“Little girl, shut up!”
She shut up.
“As I was saying,” he looked over to see if she would interrupt again, and seeing her quiet, nodded and continued on, “As I was saying, if you’d listen instead of just rushing in headfirst, I’d be able to tell you that first, I am most definitely not the Hitokiri Battousai – for god’s sake, I was eight years old when he first appeared! And second, I’m a rurouni, a swordsman traveling with no destination and I only just arrived in town, so how could I have been killing people for the past two months?”
Here he took a deep breath and suddenly glared at Kaoru, who felt herself shrinking back at the look of utter contempt in his eyes. All of a sudden she felt small and young and horribly stupid.
“And thirdly, if I was the Hitokiri Battousai, do you really think you could take me out with a big stick?”
“It’s not a big stick it’s a bokken, you arrogant…ooh.” she glared at him furiously with flushed cheeks.
He huffed and shook his head as if he couldn’t even be bothered to correct her.
Kaoru was furious. She had never met someone so absolutely infuriating in her life. Yes, she had a short temper, but this man seemed to be an expert at pushing all her buttons – and she’d only just met him!
“And why should I believe you huh?” Kaoru fumed. “I don’t know how old you really are, or if you really are a wanderer - all I know is that you’ve got a sword, and you’re walking around at night when anyone smart would be staying at home!”
He raised an eyebrow mockingly, “Question, if everyone smart is staying home at night – what does that make you?”
She turned bright red from a mixture of fury and embarrassment. Who did this man think he was?
“You still haven’t explained the sword!” she spat out.
The man rolled his eyes. “And if I do, will you stop bugging me?” he asked.
“Alright,” she said reluctantly, “but I’m not bugging you, I’m interrogating you.”
He rolled his eyes again.
He reached behind his back and drew his sword, and Kaoru blinked – that sword, there was something off about the hilt but she couldn’t see it…and its blade was backwards!
“You must know a bit about swords, even if you’ve only ever fought with a bokken – so tell me, would I be able to kill anybody with this?”
“I don’t understand…”
He huffed. “What’s there to understand? This is a sakabatou, a reverse edged sword.”
With narrowed eyes, Kaoru leaned forward and ran a finger down the blade. “You could still kill someone with this if you tried hard enough…but…none of these nicks smell of blood, and there’s no tallow marks…”
He nodded, satisfied. “Exactly.”
He sheathed the sword.
“I have never used this sword to kill someone, and I don’t intend to break that record.” He turned considering eyes upon her.
“So – now that we’ve sorted that little case of mistaken identity out, what are you doing running around at night chasing after a Hitokiri with a stick?”
“It’s not a stick it’s a bokken!”
“Same difference! And anyway, you’re avoiding the question.”
Kaoru raised her chin to meet his eyes. “For your information – not that it’s any of your business – Hitokiri Battousai –”
Kaoru’s head snapped up. “That’s the police whistle!” her eyes brightened. “It must be him!” and with that, she turned and ran.
Enishi’s eye twitched. “You’re supposed to run away from the fight you idiot girl.” He muttered.
“Go easy on her Eni-Chan – she’s only a child. And besides, I find myself rather liking her.” The voice was soft and smooth – and very amused.
The newly dubbed ‘Eni-chan’ jumped.
“I thought you were scouting around the bars, looking for information on this ‘Battousai’,” he said. “When did you get here?”
A dark red eyebrow quirked above a blue-violet eye as the newly revealed woman answered. “I’ve been here since the little bokken girl called out to you – you just didn’t notice.” She answered, even more amused.
He snorted. “I didn’t notice because you didn’t want me to notice. And how can you like her, she’s an idiot!”
The woman’s eyes narrowed contemplatively. “I don’t think she is. I think she just believes in something, and is doing what she can, what she feels is right, to help, even though others say it’s not a good thing- even if it actually isn’t a good thing…sound familiar?”
“She’s nothing like you!”
Suddenly she laughed. “You’re right Eni-chan – she’s far more like you! Running around and getting into trouble!”
As quickly as she had laughed, she grew serious.
“And speaking of trouble, we’d probably better go help her – if she is going after a man who’s been killing people for the last two months, a bokken probably isn’t going to do much good.”
The man sighed, and ran a hand through his head of spiky black hair. “You’re too kind hearted. Alright, we’ll go save the idiot stick girl – but you owe me!”
“Of course Eni-chan, of course…”
Kaoru felt the cold, wooden wall behind her, blocking off any escape. The giant, masked man was looming in front of her, his sword dripping blood. Drip, drip, drip, Kaoru felt sick. That blood had once been human beings, policemen, people who tried their best to protect the innocent, and now all that was left of those men, men who’d probably had family, homes, hobbies, a life...was that drip, drip, drip.
The burning in her arm where he’d cut her, the splinters in the wood behind her, the warmth of the sun, the coolness of the air and the scent of blood – she could feel it all.
It was as if all her senses had been sharpened by the knowledge that she was going to die here. The vagabond was right, damn him. She was foolish to go up against the Hitokiri Battousai with nothing but her bokken – her bokken that was now broken. She really was nothing but a silly, foolish little girl with nothing but a stick.
She raised her eyes to the blue sky above her, not wanting her last view to be of a monster.
Behind his mask, the giant grinned. His sword swept over and up to come down on the defenseless girl’s head – and then there was a blur of movement, and not only was she no longer there, but his sword was stopped with a clang of steel.
She was being held in a man’s arms, which were covered in the sleeves of a patched gray gi. She knew that gray gi; she’d been bug- interrogating the owner just a short while ago.
“The…vagabond?” she murmured.
“Yep.” Came the answer.
And then he dropped her unceremoniously on the ground.
“Hey! What was that for?” Kaoru growled. Just when he’d done something as gentlemanly as saving her life…
“For being an idiot,” returned the vagabond.
Before Kaoru could answer, her eyes widened as she saw the Battousai standing behind the vagabond, his sword locked with a small female form clad in black with – was that red hair? Red hair tied back with a green scrap of fabric at the nape of the neck. The vagabond followed her gaze and smirked. “Don’t worry about that murderer – my partner has him well under control.”
The giant was confused, though it couldn’t be seen through the mask. Not only had his prey been whisked out from under him and his sword stopped – something that had never happened before, now he was being coolly glared at through amber eyes. Amber eyes that, judging from the outfit, which didn’t leave that much to imagination, belonged to a woman. A woman had stopped his sword, and was now telling him, quite clearly but without saying a word, that if he didn’t give up right now, he was going to die.
The giant might not have been very smart, but he had perfectly functioning survival instincts. He disengaged from the strange woman – and who had hair like that? Like fire, or blood. Was she a demon? – And set about saving face.
“Weak, weak, weak! You’re all too weak! Fools of the Meiji Era – you’re so weak you’re not any sport, even to kill!”
And yet, the woman only smirked a bit, as though saying ‘I know what you’re doing, and you’re not fooling anyone.’
“I am Himura Battousai, known as Hitokiri Battousai, Master of Kamiya Kasshin Ryu!” Then he left, running down the alley.
Kaoru was not at all happy.
“Get back here, Battousai!’
Jumping to her feet she started to chase after the fleeing murderer – only to be stopped as a sharp tug on her ponytail over balanced her and she fell to the ground once more.
“Eh!” she turned around - and found herself face to face with the vagabond from before.
Kaoru looked at the vagabond. The vagabond looked at Kaoru. The redheaded woman looked down the road to where the Battousai had run.
Finally the vagabond spoke.
“Congratulations little girl. You’re even more of an idiot than I thought! You’ve moved on from attacking a man who you think might be a murderer with a big stick, to attacking a man you know to be a murderer, who is twice your height and likely more then twice your weight, in armour…with a broken stick. Well done!”
He clapped mockingly with a lopsided smirk.
Kaoru flushed bright red with rage.
“You…you…how dare you?!” she shouted. “You don’t know what he’s done. That man - the Battousai – he claims to be from Kamiya Kasshin Ryu. That’s my school, my father’s life’s work. And he’s disgracing it! My father believed in Katsujin Ken, not Satsujin Ken. Kamiya Kasshin Ryu is the sword that gives life, which protects people! A murderer would never have been welcome there! And it wasn’t broken when I attacked him!”
“Stop tormenting the poor girl Eni-chan, can’t you see she’s distraught?” Came a soft voice. Kaoru looked away from the infuriating man before her, and into a pair of bright violet eyes. Kaoru blinked. Was today the day for weird eye colour or something? And she’d thought blue was strange!
The strange woman smiled softly and helped Kaoru up.
She was even odder looking than her friend. She was wearing a ragged black yukata that cut off about halfway down her calves, and there was a sword attached to her back. Her hair was bright, vibrant crimson, offset with orange and gold highlights that, along with a slight tan, proclaimed long hours in the sun.
Her eyes were a soft blue-violet, like flowers and on her left cheek was a scar, shaped like a cross.
Kaoru frowned to herself, that scar reminding her of something, faintly, like a story told long ago…red hair, and a cross-shaped scar…before it fled again.
The woman spoke again. “You’re wounded, and upset. Let us take you home and tend to your wounds, and then we’ll leave. I take it you belong to the Kamiya Dojo I saw when I was coming into
“Uh, yes.” Kaoru as confused – how could such a nice, polite woman put up with a man like the vagabond? They didn’t look related- maybe one of those arranged marriages?
“Excellent, then I know how to get there – let’s get that arm fixed up, shall we?”
Kaoru let out a sigh as she sipped some warm tea - which, not having been made by her, actually tasted quite good. It was good to be home. Everything was peaceful, quiet –
“Ow!” she jolted, and cursed as her wonderful, warm tea spilt out over the carpet.
“Sorry, sorry.” The redheaded woman waved her hands apologetically. “It’s been a while since I had to stitch a wound – you’re lucky this didn’t cut into the muscle.”
The man snorted from where he was inspecting the signs up on the dojo wall.
“You’re lucky you’re not dead. Honestly, who the hell goes up against a killer with a katana, with a stick?”
Kaoru stiffened and opened her mouth to argue – only for the woman to interrupt them both with a sigh. “Oh please don’t start that again you two.”
Kaoru frowned. “But he doesn’t get it!” she pointed with her good hand to the wooden name tags. “Read those.” She ordered.
The woman did so. “Kamiya Kasshin Ryu, adjutant master Kamiya Kaoru…and then,” her eyebrows rose in a position of surprise. “Oro!”
“We were a small school, but we had ten students, all working hard – and then, two months ago, the street killings began. One by one, the students left, fearing the name of Battousai, and the townspeople won’t have anything to do with the Dojo.”
Kaoru turned her eyes away from the violet set before her that were looking at her with far too much empathy. “My father fought in the Bakumatsu, and he saw the violence, the chaos and the bloodshed. So he created Kamiya Kasshin Ryu, ‘the sword that protects life’, refusing all murderous aspects. But as a member of the sword bearing metropolitan police, he was sent to the southwest war half a year ago.”
Kaoru slumped slightly as her voice became softer. “He never came back. Kamiya Kasshin Ryu was his legacy, and he trusted me to look after it, but I failed.” She turned her head to meet the rurouni’s gentle eyes, her own flashing angrily.
“I don’t know why he’s striking out at my dojo, or even if he’s really the Battousai-”
Kaoru blinked. The rude man had been so quiet she’d almost forgotten he was there. She was so surprised at him saying something - especially something that wasn’t an insult – that she didn’t see the quick glare that the woman sent her partner through suddenly cold violet eyes.
The man smirked. “He can’t be Battousai.”
“Eh! Why not?”
Behind Kaoru, violet eyes changed to a cold blue, one step away from amber. The man noticed, and his smirk grew wider.
“It’s simple. He can’t be Battousai because…”
Blue became amber, and the smirk hanged into a full blown grin.
“You said it yourself – your father created Kamiya Kasshin Ryu after the Bakumatsu made him get sick of killing – so how could the Hitokiri Battousai, who became famous (or infamous, depending on who you ask) during the Bakumatsu, use Kamiya Kasshin Ryu? So either he’s not using Kamiya Kasshin Ryu, he’s not Battousai, or both.”
As behind her the woman collapsed on the ground oro-ing, Kaoru blinked. It had been two months since the attacks had started – why hadn’t she ever thought of that.
The man snickered, before turning back to the wall as if he couldn’t be bothered looking at the two women anymore.
Kaoru frowned at him – so rude! - before turning back to the red-head.
“Anyway – are you okay?”
The woman smiled apologetically whilst rubbing her head as she slowly sat up. “Yes, just embarrassed. You were saying?”
“Anyway, that’s why I have to stop the Battousai, even if it costs me my life! I can’t allow my father’s sword style to be disgraced by a murderer!” Kaoru’s eyes flashed and her face flushed as she gazed at the still calm Rurouni. “But I wouldn’t expect a Rurouni to understand.
The woman raised a dark red eyebrow.
“And do you think your father, the creator of ‘swords that give life’ would be happy if his daughter gave her life to protect his school?”
Kaoru’s eyes widened.
Suddenly, the woman smiled, head tilting to the side. “And anyway...”
“That arm says no more night patrols as well!”
She got up. “It was a pleasure to meet you Kaoru-dono. We’ll be leaving now. Thank you for the tea.” She turned to her partner. “Time to go!”
And then, after the two strange wanderers closed the wooden door, there was only silence. Kaoru tried to ignore how much that ached.