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

Chapter 7: The First Stirrings of Life 

Misao was in a long hall, filled with buttery, flickering lights. She slowly sat up and looking around, blinking. Her vision cleared and she could see she was in a Buddhist temple. The lights were small oil lamps set in front of gilded statues of the various Bodhi-Satvah. The cool darkness of the long expanse of the hall beckoned to her. Misao rose on unsteady feet and began to walk slowly down the corridor.She didn’t know how long she walked, but after what seemed like days, a presence began to fill her chest. She began to walk faster. Presently, a faint glow appeared. Misao began to run slowly towards the vauguly human-shaped glow. She got closer and saw it was a statue of Kannon. Her bennevolent face radiated tenderness and compassion. The oil lamps all around her were clustered at the base of the lotus. The burnished gold of the statue reflected the golden light onto the floor around her.

Misao slowed and finally stopped in front of the statue. She stood, silent and awed, staring at the golden goddess. Slowly, Misao became aware of another person in the room. She reached her extra senses out and finally found who she was looking for."Aoshi-sama?" she called out hesitently. Her voice echoed down the corridor. She glanced back over her shoulder and saw all the lamps glowing behind her. She turned back around with a shiver and took a few steps towards Aoshi.She peered around the magnificent statue and saw Aoshi sitting on the ground, his back resting against the golden statue. As she came closer hesitently, he looked up and gave her his customary cool look. "Aoshi-sama," Misao said with a smile, "what are you doing here?""I was meditating," he responded blandly. Gracefully, he turned his head back."Oh.""And why are you here?"

"I- I came to see you." Misao sat down next to Aoshi and stared into the darkness that stretched out indeffinately behind the statue.She felt Aoshi’s eyes on her and stared resolutely ahead. Suddenly the darkness roiled and Aoshi was wrapped in vile tentacles of oily black. They wound themselves around his arms, shoulder, head, legs waist. Each strand ended in a vaugue hand-shaped blob. The tentacles thickened and began to pull Aoshi towards the darkness. Misao caught one glimpse of his scared, lost eyes before he disappeared.

"A- Aoshi-sama!!" Misao screamed, reaching after him. The smell of sandal wood incense that she hadn’t been aware of before then dissappeared.Misao awoke with a start, sweating all over. She rolled off the deck and landed hard on the ground, bruising her knees."Ow. Shit, that hurt!" she muttered, sitting up and inspecting her knees. She slwoly began to recall the dream and looked up in the general direction of Aoshi’s room.To her surprise smoke was pouring out from under and around the edges of the door. Unlike the smoke of the incense that was light of gentle, this was the thick, heavy smoke of a fire."Aoshi-sama!?" Misao cried, knowing that Aoshi should have been able to escape the fire. But the memory of the darkness-hands drove her to her feet and up to the smoking door. She lay a hand on the door to throw it open and withdrew it a moment later with a cry of pain. The sap in the dead wood was boiling.

Clentching her jaw, Misao kicked the door open. She staggered back, away from the choking smoke. A cry in Chinese made her turn."Enishi-kun?" she called hopefully. The young ninja rubbed at her eyes until they cleared. She gasped when she saw the masses of black-clothed figures gathered around her. They glared at her with eyes that were hidden. Misao drew back towards the door as several weapons appeared in the crowd. Enishi appeared a moment later, his naked sword in his hand. Misao tried to ignore the fact that he wasn’t wearing a shirt, but she found it very easy when the strange masked people began to attack.

Misao leapt out of the way as two of her attackers lunged at her. She lashed out with two kicks that sent them flying, but when she landed she collapsed. She rolled away in time to avoid another attack and spared a glance at her leg. It had been bandaged, but the white linnen was stained red above her injury. The stain began to spread.