Rurouni Kenshin is not mine, but the property of Watsuki Nobuhiro. I'm just borrowing it for awahile.
This fic takes place post-Jinchuu arc in the manga. Knowledge of the events is useful, but not necessary. Many thanks goes to the TFME forum and Stefanie2 for all of their help and inspiration.
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For This Dojo's Honor: Part 1

by DQBunny ::: 27.Oct.2003

It was unusually warm in the fall of 1878, causing the residents of Tokyo to fear for an unusually brutal winter. Enterprising shopkeepers stood on street corners, warning residents to stock up on rice, miso, soy sauce and other commodities that could store well in case there were many storms during the winter.

Housewives buzzed to and fro, cleaning tatami and preparing heavy winter kimono for their family. A few even heeded the advice of those moneygrubbers and stocked up with more supplies than a typical family could handle.

Yet none of this was on Kamiya Kaoru’s mind…no, she corrected herself as she pushed open the gates to her school. Himura Kaoru now. As the summer waned and harvest came, her life had been preoccupied with Yukishiro Enishi’s Jinchuu, then the departure of Sanosuke, Megumi, Misao and Aoshi. Just a few weeks after they left, all except Sanosuke came back to witness her and Kenshin’s wedding.

With all of that going on, one serious problem still tugged at the back of her mind. Kaoru slipped in the gates, closed them behind her and surveyed the grounds.

She still had no students.

She sighed. “I’m home.”

Her voice echoed across the yard. “Kenshin?” Kaoru called out, heading toward the kitchen. She stuck her head inside, looked around, then glanced toward the bathhouse. I guess he went for groceries, she thought, then headed toward the dojo to put her shinai and other training gear away. Once again, she had to go to another dojo to get the training she lacked.

Her eyes drifted to the bare wall when she walked in the dojo. Two plaques remained - hers as shihondai and Yahiko’s as her student. Kaoru put her equipment away and walked over to stare at the plaques. Yahiko now knew the ougi. So did she. Technically, they were on the same level even though Yahiko did not have the years needed to become a master. Kaoru snorted. Like she could talk. She wasn’t a master of her own school either.

She often wondered what it would take to become a master of Kamiya Kasshin Ryu. In a way, she could call herself a master. But that would be cheating - simply because there was something she knew that Yahiko didn’t. There was still one attack left to learn.

Kaoru closed her eyes and leaned her head against the wall. At this point, there was nothing she could do about it. There was no one to teach the final ougi of Kamiya Kasshin Ryu to her. She could teach to Yahiko, but couldn’t perform it herself. What a joke.

“Kaoru? I’m home.”

Kenshin’s faint voice carried into the dojo. She immediately pulled herself together, pasted a welcoming smile on her face. This was her burden, she decided. She’d put too much on Kenshin already. After everything he had gone through recently, he deserved to be problem-free for awhile. Kaoru walked back outside and smiled at her husband, who walked towards her bearing twin buckets of miso.

“Welcome back! What’s with all the miso?”

“This?” Kenshin indicated his burden. “Well…the shopkeeper said we would be in for a long winter and advised me to get as much as I could before it’s all gone.”

“You actually believed that?”

“Not really. But he gave me a good deal and so this one decided to play along.”

Kaoru laughed, relieved that it was a genuine one. “Let’s go make dinner, okay? You promised to help me tonight.”

“So this one did.” Kenshin flashed an answering grin, but it quickly faded. “Kaoru?”

“Hmm?” Kaoru walked toward the kitchen.

“Is something wrong?”

Kaoru closed her eyes, mentally cursed her husband. She faced him, a bright smile on her face. “Everything’s fine. Hurry up, Kenshin! I’m starved!” She ignored the slightly annoyed look on her husband’s face as she walked off ahead of him.


What is Kamiya Kasshin Ryu? Could it really protect? What good was a sword style if she could barely function with it?

Kaoru stared at the ceiling, listening to her husband’s deep breathing. It was one of those nights again - the ones where her mind was filled with so much that it couldn’t settle down to sleep. She hated the nights like these, and really hadn’t had one since she was on Enishi’s island. When she came back, taking care of Kenshin had taken priority. Then, he’d taken care of her. She felt herself blush. He’d taken care of her alright.

She quickly pushed that thought aside, focused on the bigger issue. She’d been surprised at how long it took people to venture near the dojo again, or even look her straight in the eye. At first, she thought it was of the false Hitokiri Battousai using the school’s name. Then she thought it was because she was housing the real Battousai.

But ever since she got back from Enishi’s island, she heard snippets. Bits and pieces of conversations, dropped words and nervous glances that darted away when she walked in a room. The problem, from what she pieced together, wasn’t what Hiruma Gohei did or even Kenshin’s presence.

The problem was with her.

It was her fault, Kaoru realized. For a school that was suppose to protect, she hadn’t been able to stand up to Hiruma Gohei. Sure, she’d taken down Kamatari, but that was with Misao’s help and that was also in Kyoto where no one other than the Oniwabanshuu saw. She’d failed to protect herself, wound up being trapped by Enishi and taken to his island. All she could do as Kenshin nearly killed himself to save her was stand, watch, and try to take a bullet for him.

No one, save her friends, had seen that last act either.

Kamiya-san’s little girl’s still playing around with her shinai. That’s what she overheard one of her father’s old friends say earlier that day when she was practicing at the dojo across town. I thought she married, the old man had commented. Why isn’t she home having babies like what proper women do?

Kaoru snorted and turned onto her side. Idiot man. Still, he had a point. What use was a sword style if the shihondai couldn’t use it? Her failure to defeat Gohei shattered what little respectability she retained after the entire Battousai incident. With everything that’d happen to Kenshin, it was only now that she realized what a joke the school had become - that SHE had become.

She closed her eyes, didn’t stop the tears as she cried herself to sleep. She also didn’t notice her husband lying awake in the dark, staring at her.

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