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White Tiger, Red Dragon -- Part two - Not a rock, I'm just Ruth
All Me, no apologies
just_ruth
just_ruth
White Tiger, Red Dragon -- Part two
Hoping to still keep this to three chapters, but there's been a breakout from the "spear carriers."


Title: White Tiger, Red Dragon
Author: Ruth
Series: Rurouni Kenshin/The Last Samurai.
Disclaimers: Rurouni Kenshin is the property of Watsuki Nobuhiro and any other corporations associated with either the manga or the anime. "The Last Samurai"is the property of Warner Bros, Edward Zwick, Tom Cruise and many other people. Characters and situations are being used without permission for entertainment purposes only, no profit is being made from said interpretations. The part of Master Koyama is played by George Takei.
Rating: PG-13 (violence)
Pairing: none.
Warnings: AU, AT, violence
Archive: Dryer Space
Feedback: Anglofans@aol.com
Summary: Nathan Algren wants to return to Himeji village, but he'll never get out of Tokyo without help.
Thanks to Gina Lin and Misanagi for betas
symbols: / =italics
************
Part 2

Omura seethed as he paced the floor in the main room of his great house. /How dare he? How dare that brat do this to me! I put him on that throne!/ He went to the window and looked out. There were soldiers around his house. Soldiers /he/ had conscripted, wearing the uniforms /he/ had chosen and they were guarding /him/ until he could be sent into exile. Omura poured himself a glass of amber colored whiskey and scowled at it.

It was Algren's fault! Why couldn't the man have been as stupid and greedy as all the other foreigners? Why did he have to get infected with the stupid, outmoded ideals of Katsumoto?

Omura drained the whiskey at a gulp and shuddered as the liquid fire rolled out from his stomach. He might have to leave for the boat that would take him to one of the northern islands in the morning, but before he did, he would have Algren's head brought to him as a trophy. It was comforting to think that before the end of the month, he would be rid of any interference from Yoshino province. The railroad would continue to be built even if he was not there to direct it. He looked out the window again. He scowled at the soldiers and turned back for more whiskey. The lights of the room dimmed.

His glass thumped softly on the plush carpet. There was a small man sitting in the middle of the room, neatly dressed in richly textured black silks. He had short, grey streaked hair and a fine-boned face with a strong, square jaw. A large wine-stain rode his right cheekbone, the same stain that had marred the face of Omura's former bodyguard. Two guards, wrapped from head to toe in black, their faces hidden, stood behind him.

"Master Koyama," Omura croaked. "I am s-surprised and honored by your visit." Cold sweat crawled down his back. Master Koyama was the leader of the Ninja clan Omura had hired fighters from to attack Katsumoto in his village. He did not seem like a great or a powerful man, but there was something in his eyes that could freeze Omura to his soul.

Koyama nodded serenely and gestured to the other chair, as if Omura was the guest. "Please, do sit down, Minister Omura."

Omura did as he was told, his mouth suddenly feeling very dry.

"Yuri," said Master Koyama, "go and fix the Minister more of his drink. What is it called, whiskey?"

One of the black guards bowed and went to the bar.

"I regret, Minister Omura," continued the Ninja Master. "That I must conclude our contract with you."

"W-what!" Omura croaked. "But - but surely. . ." The ninja, Yuri, handed Omura a glass. Omura stared at it as if he expected a snake to jump out of it. The thin crystal clattered against the wooden arm of the chair.


Yuri silently returned to his place behind Master Koyama. "Thank you, Yuri. Minister Omura, I have found your employ to be too costly. My clan lost seventy fighters in the attack on the samurai and one of my sons was killed in your employ. And with your assets seized by the government." Koyama shrugged. "I do not see any profit in our continued association."

"Is Algren dead?" blurted Omura.

"No," Koyama shook his head. "He is not. The Emperor has given him protection."

Omura goggled. "Protection? From /you/?"

"You flatter me, Minister." Koyama laughed and made a negligent gesture. "Unfortunately, yes, the foreigner is under the protection of Hitokiri Battousai."

"Battousai?" Omura gulped the whiskey, suddenly furious. "He is one man! Only one man! You command hundreds."

"/Only/?" Koyama raised an eyebrow. "If I sent fifty, a hundred men against Hitokiri Battousai it would not be enough. The man is a killing machine - much like that so-vaunted Gatling gun you used on the samurai." He stood up.

"Surely if anyone. . ."

Koyama stopped Omura's protest by raising his hand. "There is perhaps only one man capable of even touching Battousai. That is Shinomori Aoshi. You would not have his price." The Ninja Master bowed to Omura. "I will leave you now, Minister. I wish you a pleasant journey."

"You can't!" Omura shouted. He stood up and took a step towards the Ninja Master. The lights in the room blazed up. There was no one else there. Omura staggered back to the bar. He looked at the level of whiskey in the carafe. It would not be enough. He gulped another glass.

He would still have his revenge on Algren and on that accursed brat of an Emperor. He had put the boy on the throne; he could take him off just as easily, even from exile. He didn't need some stupid old-fashioned skulker . . .

The sudden wave of nausea startled him. There was a cold feeling in his hands and feet. Omura looked at the whiskey with a sudden, dawning horror.

"/I wish you a pleasant journey. /" said the Ninja Master.

Omura coughed, retched, tried to rid himself of the poison. He staggered for the door, trying to call for help in a voice suddenly choked. Halfway to the door, he fell. Tremors wracked his body.

He would be found in the morning. His death would be attributed to a brain seizure.
**********

"It is ironic, " remarked Master Koyama as he sat down in his private dining room. The popular restaurant had been connected to his clan for years, but very few people suspected this. "That a man so addicted to this modern world chose to resort to the most traditional of methods for disposing of his enemies."

"He did not study all the traditions," remarked one of the two bodyguards who had followed him to Omura's house. A pretty waitress in a traditional kimono came in with a tray of tea. She bowed quickly and left.

At the master's nod, the ninja, Yuri, poured three cups of tea. Master Koyama was offered his choice.

"You were very clever, Yuri," Master Koyama praised.

"I thank you, honored father-in-law," said a low, female voice. "I have a humble request."

"Speak."

The female ninja went to her knees and bowed until her forehead rested on the mats. "I wish to seek out the foreigner. He killed my husband and I ask the right to hunt him down."

Master Koyama frowned a moment over his tea. "You will die by the sword of Battousai."

"If that is my destiny," she bowed again.

"Then go."

"Master," said the second ninja as soon as she left. "Was that wise?"

"It is much better to have her go with my permission than to have her try something without my permission and then have the annoyance of hunting her down." Master Koyama sipped his tea. "Who knows? Perhaps she might even succeed."
*************

Himura Kenshin sat back against the wall, his blade in a ready position. The swordsman studied his charge. /My master is wrong,/ he thought, /this foreigner is not as hairy as a monkey. I have seen other men who have as much hair./ The foreigner was sleeping, but not calmly. He tossed on his mat, groaning softly. He said something, with a tone of desperation. Kenshin listened. He could sense no one outside, but if Algren's nightmare caused him to cry out more loudly. . .

"Ahgehn-san," Kenshin spoke softly. With a gasp, Algren sat up and stared around, as if he didn't know where he was. He drew up his knees, put his head in his hands and groaned.

"Ahgehn-san," Kenshin repeated. "What do you dream?"

Algren shook his head. "Not dreamed this for long time," he struggled with the words. "In dreams - I am back. It was Washita River."

"Washita," Kenshin repeated, it sounded almost Japanese.
"There were people, a village, I said to my leader they are not the enemy. They kill. Women, children kill, I say no, no, but they don't stop." He closed his eyes. "Not good death. Not good."

"Hai," Himura nodded. "This one also has seen such things. It is hard in war to know who is the enemy and who is not." He felt some of his own demons come stealing to look him in the eye. He looked back into the faces of the dead. /This will not happen again, I will not let it./

"I shamed. I keep seeing," Algren paused. "So, I drink whiskey not to dream."

"Ou-ee-skee?" Kenshin tried the unfamiliar word.

"Like sake," Algren sighed. "I stopped dream in Himeji. Why does it come now?"

"There is no understanding dreams, Ahgehn-san." Kenshin rubbed his eyes. "You must watch now, while I sleep a little. Then we must go."

"Where do you take me, Himura-san?" Algren asked. He sat back against the wall of the shed, his acquired kodaichi across his knees.

"Where does Ahgehn-san wish to go?" Kenshin answered with another question.

"Himeji village. Yoshino Province." Algren's voice was firm.

"Then that is where this one shall take him." Kenshin lay down and closed his eyes. /"I drink whiskey not to dream."/ Battousai understood that. He'd seen too many old comrades drinking sake for that reason. He willed himself not to dream. It worked for the short period before Algren woke him. They silently rolled up the mats.

"Ahgehn-san should have this before we go further," said Kenshin and handed over the sword guard that the Emperor had given him.

Algren looked at the two tigers chasing each other. "This should go to Higen." He hunted about the shed until he found a piece of cord that he strung through the sward guard and dropped it about his neck. The stars were still out as the two men crept away from the Doctor's house. By the time the sun peeped over the eastern horizon, they were outside the city and walking along a dirt road. Algren kept his head down; avoiding the eyes of the people coming into the city.

They stepped off the path and out of the way as a carriage rolled through the traffic. A man in European formal wear sat in the back.

"He looks like one of the Genro," Algren remarked.

"Possibly," Kenshin agreed as they began to walk again. "This one does not know all the members."
Algren fingered the sword guard under his haori, he was deep in thought. "Before we left Himeji, Katsumoto made Higen his heir."

"Who is Higen?" asked Kenshin.

"The son of Taka-san, Katsumoto's sister. . ." Algren stopped and looked at Kenshin. "Katsumoto ruled Yoshino, yes?"

"In many ways, yes," Kenshin wondered where this was leading.

"So, now, Higen rules Yoshino. What if something happens to Higen? Who rules Yoshino?"

Kenshin stopped now, suddenly seeing very clearly. "It would be someone the Genro would appoint."

"Someone Omura rules, yes?"

"Hai," Kenshin frowned. "Hai, this one sees."

"That was why I dream," said Algren. "I dream of village attack. Omura attack village once, he will attack again. I must go to Himeji. I must protect Higen. We must go fast." He frowned. A train whistle startled the countryside. Algren suddenly grinned.

"Himura-san, have you ever ridden on a train?"

-tbc-

N.B. Master Koyama's comment was made by my husband during home viewing of the DVD. (I bought it)

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Comments
sharona1x2 From: sharona1x2 Date: May 26th, 2004 03:32 am (UTC) (Link)
I've seen a little Kenshin, and The Last Samurai is one of my current favorite movies. Initially, I wasn't sure how this story would read to someone who doesn't really know Kenshin, but I can see that it really isn't necessary to know much about Kenshin to be able to enjoy this.

I'm most happy with the parallels you've shown between Algren and Kenshin. I think their guilt over things in their past is fascinating, and I'm glad you decided to write about that.

I also have to say that it's a refreshingly wonderful experience to read a gen fic. Sometimes, I do like my action to be happening outside of the bedroom. ^_^

I'll be looking forward to the rest of this.
miko_no_da From: miko_no_da Date: May 26th, 2004 05:32 am (UTC) (Link)
I love you. I really do. I was hoping you'd put out more of this. Thank you!!!

I'm looking forward to more of Kenshin and Algren's interactions. I think they've got a lot in common. And the ninja ROCKED.
gakifang From: gakifang Date: May 27th, 2004 11:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow. That's so very well written, and it fits perfectly with both worlds and with Knshin's and Algren's personalities. Wow. Can't wait for the next part.
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