Subject: [FFML] [RK][Fanfic][Cont] Itachi To Hebi Chapter 1
From: Ben
Date: 11/19/2002, 1:18 AM
To: FFML


Itachi To Hebi

Well, here it is!   The Aoshi/Misao fic!   Since its about ninja and
stuff, this fic will be more about mystery and intrique with romance
than about action/adventure.   Thus it'll be a slightly different flavor

from Tanuki To Ryuu.   Speaking of which, this fic starts after the
events in Tanuki To Ryuu Chapter 17, so reading the fic will help with
knowing whats going on, but not nessisarily needed.   Well, I think this

is a bit too much for a preface, so I think we should dive into the fic
now.

Chapter 1: The Voyage Home

        Makimachi Misao sat under the shade of a large tree.   She
enjoyed the wonders of nature, especially with Aoshi.   They were both
taking a break from the long trek back to Kyoto after the Kamiya
wedding.   Misao flexed her arms and thought seriously for a moment.
She still had to hone some skills, she realized from her encounter with
that naginata woman.   In frustration Misao struck the tree with a
backhand slap.   The tree shook slightly from the blow that forced
several of its leaves from the branches and they fell all on Misao's
head.   Aggrivated even further, Misao swatted at the leaves in her
hair, then noticed Aoshi's small smile.

        "Its not THAT funny!" Misao protested.   "I'm NOT a prop comic!"

Misao felt her aggrivation rise to the point where she couldn't take it;

that small crease of a smile that seemed to mock and punish her.   Misao

grabbed one of her kunai and threw it right at Aoshi.   Aoshi caught the

small dagger inbetween his thumb and index finger with practiced ease.

        "You have a strong throw and excellent aim," Aoshi stated as his

face went back to expressionless, "but you transmit your intentions far
too easily.   Kunai are best thrown subtly,"   To emphasis his point,
Aoshi's hand twitched slightly and Misao felt a small breeze next to her

head and saw the kunai was stuck in the tree trunk a good 2 inches away
from her face.   The proximity of the throw immediately freaked Misao
out.

        "AHH!" Misao screamed in surprised and leapt a few feet away
from her sitting position.   She then glared at Aoshi.   "I know I've
been trying to make you laugh, Aoshi-sama, but I do NOT wish for it to
be at my expense!"

        Aoshi, though, ignored Misao's protests and grabbed his pack.
"The winds have shifted.   There's a scent of blood in the air.   Stay
where you are," Aoshi ordered before he lept into the trees with his
twin kodachi in their false nodachi sheath.

        Misao felt insulted yet again and leapt after him.   "Hey, I'm
not useless you know!" she shouted as she hopped through the
treebranches after Aoshi.   Misao stopped on the same limb when Aoshi
held his hand out and looked down.   Below them was a small boar,
wounded by an arrow in its side with obvious signs that its hunter was
nowhere in sight.   "The poor thing," Misao said in sympathy.   "Can you

help it, Aoshi-sama?"

        "I'm afraid not," Aoshi replied.   "The arrow struck a vital
organ and I doubt it would live for another hour,"   Misao's face held
shock and grief.   "For now, its best if we put the beast out of its
misery."   Aoshi prepared to leap off the branch when Misao grabbed his
arm.

        "Are you sure you can't save it, Aoshi-sama?" Misao pleaded with

unhappy eyes.   Aoshi didn't wish to hurt the young girl so he thought
of a way to explain it.

        "Every creature must know peace, Misao," Aoshi stated.   "Living

in pain or fear is a terrible thing to endure.   This is the only way I
can save it."   Misao nodded and released his arm, then turned away as
Aoshi leapt off the branch.   Misao grimiced as she heard the animal
wail from a slice of Aoshi's kodachi.   Aoshi cleaned off his blade,
then shouted up to Misao, "Alright, lets keep moving,"

***

        With a somber tone they set up camp that night.   Aside from his

fight with Okina, Misao never saw Aoshi draw blood with his weapons.
At the moment Misao felt very disillusioned.   The choice to kill seemed

like a very powerful choice yet Aoshi made it without waver.   Misao
herself wondered if she too could make such a choice one day with such
little hesitation.   Aoshi started the fire and took out a small bento.

        "We should arrive in Kyoto by tomorrow," Aoshi said to make
conversation.   Even though he would not admit it, he missed Misao's
random banter.   "The days grow shorter still."   Aoshi noticed Misao
still kept quiet.   "You are silent this evening, Misao," he observed.

        "Its nothing, Aoshi-sama," Misao responded as she sat down and
hugged her knees to her chest.   Aoshi surveyed the young girl with
expressionless eyes and Misao just looked down at her bare knees and
rocked herself in uncertainty.

        "Its been eight years since you last learned kempo from Hannya,
correct?" Aoshi asked.   Misao nodded.

        "Yeah, when you all left," Misao stated, the memory sinking her
spirits even further.   Aoshi knew Misao was a strong girl, but her
spirit could only take so much, so he decided to lift them.

        "You need a new master," Aoshi stated.   Misao looked up at him
with a surprised look on her face.

        "What?!" Misao shouted in surprise.   She half suspected another

cruel joke from Aoshi and kept her suspicion.

        "Hannya gave you a good base to work off of.   You need to
increase your level of strength and speed to become truly formidable,"
Aoshi answered.   "You also have the perfect heritage for true
training."

        "True training?" Misao asked, confused at Aoshi's choice of
words.

        "You were the dear granddaughter of the last Okashira.   We
taught you in respect, but never thought of using you as an agent,"
Aoshi answered honestly.   "Thus the training you received was very
different than usual."

        "How is it different?" Misao asked as she stood up and walked to

Aoshi, who still sat calmly.   "I can hear better, smell better, track
animals and men!   I can decieve, sneak around, and fight!"   To
emphasis her point, Misao kicked at Aoshi's face and missed his head by
mere milimeters.   Aoshi's expression, however, didn't waver.

        "At skills that are impressive compared to normal ninja, but
nowhere near that of a field agent of the Onibawanshuu," Aoshi
responded.   Misao dropped out of her fighting stance and sat down cross

legged and hmphed.

        "So you'll REALLY teach me?" Misao asked in suspicion.
"Because I'm not a little girl asking for little tricks, you know,"

        "I always keep my word," Aoshi responded.   Inside his ice cold
features, Aoshi smiled to himself but kept the smile away from his lips.

He liked the fiery Misao more than the one that moped around.   Further
training in what it truly means to be an Onibawanshuu agent would be
sure to keep that fire lit.

***

        The next morning started with Aoshi running towards Kyoto at his

top speed.   Misao's training was to keep him in sight and try her best
to appear nonexistant.   So far Misao was barely able to keep Aoshi in
her range of vision.   Misao focused and pumped her legs even faster
when Aoshi blurred into his watery movement and before Misao knew it he
was behind her.

        "You have to conceal yourself, Misao," Aoshi reminded her.   "If

you focus hard enough you can barely catch up to my speed, but there are

better ways to track a subject of interest."

        Misao put her hand on a nearby tree and leaned on it slightly.
She leaned on the tree for a few seconds as she caught her breath.   "I
don't understand," Misao confessed.

        Aoshi took out a small map of the local area.   "We are around
here," Aoshi stated as he pointed to the heavily woodened area.   "As
you can see, a nearby trail is not far.   You knew my destination, thus
you could have circled around me.   Once a target thinks he's no longer
pursued, he drops his speed.   If you know his destination, you have an
even greater advantage to get ahead and find the best places to hide and

spy."

        "Alright, I GUESS it makes sense," Misao answered.   "But I
thought you were going to make me faster and stronger as well," she
added as she calmed her heartrate and took her arm off the tree.

        "That training is something entirely different," Aoshi answered.

"This is merely to teach you the way to think like a true Onibawanshuu
agent.   Everything else will be taught when I show you more kempo when
we get back.   Training for today has ceased.   Lets move on."   Aoshi
started to walk at a normal pace towards Kyoto and Misao followed
behind.

        "You'll teach me kempo, Aoshi-sama?" Misao asked her companion
as they continued their trek.

        "Of course," Aoshi responded.   "You need to realize it will
take time for you to reach Hannya's level, or even my own, correct?
Not to mention you will have to choose a weapon soon."

        "A weapon?" Misao repeated in a questioning tone.   "Why would I

need a weapon?"

        "If not for offense but for defense." Aoshi replied.   "Before I

studied Kodachi Nitoh Ryu, I used a single kodachi for defense with my
kempo.   Hannya used steel lined gauntlets to turn aside his opponent's
swords as well.   Okina used steel tonfa to block his opponent's swords
as well.   For maximum defense, a weapon would be most wise."

        "Can you teach me how to use a kodachi, Aoshi-sama?" Misao
requested, happily.

        "Yes," Aoshi responded.

***

        Before Aoshi and Misao reached the outskirts of Kyoto, Aoshi
convinced Misao to change out of her ninja clothing.   Aoshi was
changing into something more conventional as well.   The authorities of
Kyoto started to crack down more on people sighted or suspected of
carrying weapons, thus precautions were nessisary.

        "Are you done yet, Misao?" Aoshi asked from the other side of
the tree as he packed away his ninja garb.

        "Yeah, just about!" Misao chirped back, then stepped around the
tree to face Aoshi.   Aoshi looked at Misao in absolute surprise.   She
was wearing that dark blue kimono Kaoru had gotten her, with her hair
out of the braid and tied in a white ribbon.   Misao noticed the way
Aoshi was looking at her.   "Oh no, I didn't get the obi right?" Misao
fretted and looked down at her obi to make sure it was properly tied.

        "Its tied properly, Misao," Aoshi assured her.   "I am confused,

however, as to why you are dressed in a kimono.   I assumed you disliked

wearing traditional women's garb."

        "Oh, its not so bad," Misao replied with an evil grin.   "Ok ok,

I want to freak out everyone out when we get back to the Aoiya!" she
fessed up then grinned and added, "I think it'll work well since I
surprised even YOU!   I wonder how the girls will react?  Hehehe!"

        "If you wish to give them a surprise, then it shall be assured,"

Aoshi stated.

***

        Sorry it took so long to finish this chapter!   I kept having
problems figuring out how to write Aoshi and Misao's interaction without

making it OOC!   Yes, they'll be affectionate eventually!   Yes, I don't

know when!   Yes, I talk like this!   Anyways, I always thought that
Misao could make Aoshi smile more by being her usual energetic/cute
self(with the occasional clumsiness) than by trying to tell jokes, thus
why they fit together!   Misao a trickster?   YUP!

        Oh, and in Chapter 2, you shall see how the Aoiya gang reacts to

Misao's new look and some weapons training for Misao!   Oh, and the
question: Who is the Okashira?!?!



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