Unlikely Love: A Rurouni Kenshin Fanfic
by:Kitty Woolfson
First draft of Unlikely Love, 6/2000.

There was an uncomfortable silence at the table. Saitoh, his cigarettes extinguished at Kaoru's insistance, raised his eyebrows mildly as he figited with his chopsticks between his fingers. Aoshi took a sip of his tea as Sano and Kenshin exchanged glances. Kaoru and Megumi glanced at each other and licked their lips nervously, both having had run-ins with the swordsman. Misao blinked at him then glanced back at her food. Yahiko cleared his throat in the doorway.Everybody looked up at the welcome interlude. "Yahiko! Hello!" Kaoru said happily. "I thought you were eating at the Akabeko."

"I was planning to," He said with a tolerant smile, "But somebody wanted to see his big brother." Iida appeared from behind Yahiko, bowed quickly, then ran to Enishi's side."Iida!" Enishi cried, a large smile lighting up his features. "I thought you were staying with Yahiko at the Akabeko.""Uh-huh," Iida muttered softly as he sat himself next to Enishi."He really wanted to come, Enishi-san," Tsubame chimed from Yahiko's side.

"Well!" Kenshin said in mild amusement, "Everybody's here then."Aoshi looked up for a moment, the most movement he'd displayed since he sat down besides raising the cup to his lips. "So what do you have in mind, Himura?" He raised his head and met everybody's eyes. "Should I tell them?""If you want to," Kenshin said with a nod of his head."Himura and I thought it would be best if we all worked to first find where the women have been taken, then work towards getting them back. From what I've heard from Doctor Takani," He inclined his head towards Megumi, who swallowed her bite of food hastily, "The drug used to render Enishi unconcious is only made by a few people."

"As I told Aoshi," Megumi informed everybody in an authorative voice, "The drug is considered highly illegal and is one of what the government considers it's 'private brew'. I've tried a hand at making it once before, but it is extremely hard to duplicate the formula due to the rarity of the items used and the amount of time that is needed to make even a very small batch.""Tell me about this attempt you made at recreating this potion," Saitoh drawled as he pulled a cigarette out and attempted to light it. Kaoru swiftly leaned across the corner of the table and snatched the cigarette from his lips and folded her hands over it as she placed it on the table in front of her. Saitoh glared at her, but returned his scathing gaze to the doctor.

"Do we really have to go into this now?" Sano grumbled. "It's not like she's making it now, y'know.""Let's just say that I didn't want to be making it, okay?" Megumi said acidicly to Saitoh with a simperingly sweet smile. Saitoh smirked at her. "Anyway, one of the key ingredients that assists in prolonging the effects of the drug is a plant that is found near China. It is possible to obtain them from a few islands west of here, but it's highly unlikely that they came from there due to the potency of the drug."

"So, where exactly in China are we talking?" Misao asked in interest."Just about anywhere," Megumi said in a resigned voice. Misao groaned and pulled a hand across her face. "But it does narrow the options down!" Megumi added with an upraised finger and an optomistic smile."Anything else that would be useful to know?" Enishi asked mildly. Everybody was surprised to see Iida eating out of Enish's dishes while Enishi sat mildly by, reclining against the wall. The small boy was eating just as fast as Yahiko but with a neatness that was surprising. His eyes darted to his 'brother' when he spoke and lingered before he turned his attention back to the food.

"Aoshi-sama and I came up with a theory," Misao added slowly. "But it's only a theory.""Anything works now," Enishi whispered in a mournful voice mostly to himself. His eyes behind his glasses were clouded with grief and anger. Iida looked up."Nii-chan, don't frown, okay?" He chirped with a grin. "Nee-chan didn't like it when you got all mopey, remember?""I know, but I'm feeling mopey, Iida," Enishi sighed with a forced smile. The boy pouted and scoweled at Enishi. "Now who's being mopey, Iida?" Enishi joked with a more genuine smile. He ruffled Iida's straight hair and looked at Misao expectantly. "What was that theory, weasel girl?"

"Keep talking like that and I may just not tell you!" She snapped back, fingering her kunai discreetly."Joking, joking." Enishi waved a hand in the air between them and rolled his eyes. "Your idea?" He prompted."Misao and I were looking through some old reports filed by the Okashira before me for anything that was remotely connected," Aoshi began smoothly."There was this one note about a woman coming from a group of Amazon-like women in China. She was seeking asylum in Japan," Misao took over. "Appearantly these Amazons were really fierce and war-like, but prided themselves on their intellegence. The woman was one of their scholars. She described a culture that was centered around a matriarch and a hereditray chain of command," Misao recited in a formal voice.

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