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

"What!?" Enishi stared at him as though he had taken leave of his senses. "What are you talking about?""Think hard, please, Enishi," Kenshin pleaded intently."Well, she’s really strong. Most of her strength is in her upper body." Enishi marked off a place around his waist and moved his hands up to his shoulders to show where she was most powerful."Did she own any swords?"Enishi’s eyes widened in understanding. "Her father’s sword. She keeps it away from Iida but she takes, took," he corrected in the same breath. "Took it out and looked at it a lot."

Kenshin leapt up and gestured for Enishi to follow him. Enishi dashed close on Kenshin’s heels, asking as they ran, "Are you implying that Otomi was a ninja of some sort?""No, nothing like that I’m sure. Aoshi would know about that. After he returned to Kyoto he searched out every ninja still alive in Japan and keeps close watch over them." Enishi felt a pang of guilt.‘Gein,’ he recalled. ‘He fought with Shinomori and was killed. I guess he isn’t about to let another mistake like that happen again.’"I’m guessing that Otomi-dono was prehaps trained in kenjutsu long ago but wasn’t able to practice with you around.""Why?"

Enishi and Kenshin slowed their pace to a jog as they moved closer to the city center. Enishi saw the Western-style police building rising out of the surrounding wood and paper houses as they grew closer. A few lights burned in the open windows. Two silhouettes moved back and forth in the mellow rectangle of light. Enishi recognized the outrageous hair of Sawagejou Chou. He clasped his forehead in frustration and turned to somebody further back in the room."I have a feeling that Saitoh will be able to explain it to us," Kenshin replied, rounding the final corner and stopping briefly to speak to the guards at the gate. They shook their heads and grasped their heavy staffs tighter.

"Himura-san, I just can’t let you in after hours," one of the men said."Captain Fujita will be around for several more days. You’ll be able to speak to him tomorrow."Enishi waited impatiently next to the gate. As Kenshin continued to argue with the gatekeepers, the younger man leaned against the strong stone of the wall around the police station. The sky was clear and a yellowy moon illuminated most of the street. ‘Nee-san,’ Enishi said softly, ‘I’m worried about Otomi.’‘That’s good that you worry,’ Tomoe comforted, ‘but she’s fine for now.’‘But how much longer will she be okay?’ Enishi sighed and tipped his head up. The stars he saw were reflected in his glasses. The sounds of the neighborhood were muffled by the humid night.

Otomi lay on her back on the hard wooden floor, staring out of the porthole opposite her. Stars illuminated her surroundings. Around her women and girls were scattered around the hold, sleeping. A few were awake, but they were sobbing quietly.Next to her, the young girl that had been unconscience for most of the time awoke with a loud cry. Otomi sat up and covered her mouth quickly. Other girls stirred but slept on. Otomi met the other girl’s eyes and smiled, holding a finger to her lips. The girl nodded and Otomi removed her hand."Are you okay?" She asked in an undertone as the girl wiped at her sweat-soaked brow. The girl was small and slightly heavy. Her slightly wavy dark hair was pulled back in a braid. Her skin tone was darker than Otomi’s. She wore nice clothes, though they were a little ragged from the journey. Her healthy complexion and innocent confusion hinted at a life of privledge. When Otomi repeated her question the girl looked at her blankly."Good?" Otomi made a point of appearing too happy, then dropped her expression into one of pain and sadness as she said, "Bad?"The girl contiued to stare, then replied, to Otomi’s surprise, in a foreign languige. She mimed reading, then looking up in surprise. Through her actions Otomi gathered that she had been studying with boys and girls when a large group of people burst in. They took both boys and girls, but mostly girls. They asked her to do something, but the girl didn’t want to do what they had wanted. They took her to a prison full of other girls where she had gotten ill before they put her on a ship and took her to the retaining island where Otomi had met her Then she and Otomi were placed on the same ship.

Otomi nodded in understanding, then pointed to herself, "Me, Japanese. You, what?" The girl shook her head. "You." Point to girl. "China? Korea?" The girl shook her head in confusion. Otomi shrugged and sighed.‘She’s obviously from somewhere besides Japan. I don’t recognize any of her languige, but I should recognize some of just about any language.’The girl began to cough and Otomi patted her back gently until the coughing passed. "Good?" The girl shook her head and showed Otomi the hand she had covered her mouth with. Otomi gasped at what she saw. A few drops of blood trickled down the girl’s palm.

‘This is bad!’ Otomi thought after she had help the girl clean herself up and get back to sleep. ‘Not only are us prisoners from different countries, alone, but we’re getting illnesses we can’t fight.’She looked down at the girl, sleeping peacefully once again and absently moved away from her a little. ‘How fast can these diseases spread?’

"Himura-sensei!"Enishi was startled out of his thoughts as A young man with close-cropped hair hurried down the walkway towards the gate. The two other men turned to the new one and saluted."Shin’ichi-kun," one said, "Himura-san says that he must speak with Captain Fujita immediately.""I’ve got to speak to you, Himura-sensei," Shin’ichi asked in a slightly strained voice, "if you have the time.""Of course," Kenshin replied, following Shin’ich through the gates. Enishi hesitated by the gates, then settled back against the stone. "You, too, Enishi," Kenshin said, slightly raised voice."Enishi!?" The guards exclaimed, staring intently into the night. Enishi materialized in front of them and they tensed for an attack. Enishi felt an urge to shove them forcefully out of the way, but he realized that it would get him nowhere."I’d like to pass, please," Enishi said firmly but politely. Kenshin smiled a little. Enishi felt Tomoe smile, too."Let him in, already!" Shin’ichi ordered impatiently. The other officers reluctently drew back. Enishi hurried to catch up with Kenshin and Shin’ich before they dissapeared into the imposing building.

Saitoh ground out another ciagrette in frustration. He had been granted a vacation from his superiors to find his wife, but all the leads he had encountered ended in dead-ends."An-san," Chou said warningly from across the room."What is it?""Battousai and Enishi have just entered the building with Shin’ichi," Chou turned away from the window and slumped on the couch against the wall with a tired sigh. "I don’t want to deal with him right now."

"Shut up and quit complaining."

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