Through the Cracks Ch4 bit – Tactics

Ow. Ow. Ow…. Sano shook his ringing head, wincing as a clumsy shopper dropped a pot in a clang of steel. That swift smack of Kenshin’s energies against his – yow. Feels like I ended up on the wrong end of Kaoru’s bokken.

:Are you all right?: Megumi asked.

:Just sore,: Sano answered sheepishly, moving out of the way of a team of chestnut geldings drawing a cart of cloth bolts. Right now he was doing his best to pass as “horse, ordinary, not worth paying attention to”. No matter how much his head hurt. :I think I’ve pushed it past “Companion, treat with kid gloves”, through “odd friendly acquaintance”, and into “annoying horse-shaped idiot”.:

:You really think irritating him will work?:

:Best plan we’ve got so far,: Sano shrugged. :Either he’ll get used to me and relax his guard the way Yamato do with family, or he’ll get ticked as hell and draw his ki all the way so he can thump me a good one.:

:Or he’ll bounce blunt steel off your skull again,: Megumi pointed out dryly. :One fight on the riverbank wasn’t enough?:

:Hey, I didn’t say it was perfect.: But his ears flicked back guiltily. :How’s Kaoru holding up?:

:I’ve managed to siphon off a lot of that… fury, before it dragged us both in.: Megumi’s shudder echoed through her Mindspeech. :It makes us both cranky, but we haven’t killed Yahiko. Yet. Kenshin’s calmed down, though. For now.: Unease rippled through her thoughts.

:He’s calmed down?: If Sano’d had eyebrows, he would have raised them. He couldn’t read Kenshin’s feelings; the ex-hitokiri had too much control to leak anything. Which meant the only window they had into what was going on in Himura’s head was the subtle pulse of emotions filtering through Kaoru. Emotions she’d finally agreed to pretend to be clueless about, once they’d explained their evil scheme – ahem, well thought-out and  reasonable plan. So far as they could tell, Kenshin had handled his very real fear of being attacked (by his enemies) or disposed of (by his supposed allies) by diligent efforts to look utterly, entirely, ridiculously harmless.

A harmless facade Kaoru could now see through like a pane of stained glass, sensing what that clueless smile hid: a mind as tactically aware as any Weaponsmaster, that could never – quite – stop calculating how to kill.

Though he came close. With the children, surrounded by a quiet garden… he came close.

Still, if Kenshin had any idea Kaoru could feel him as easily as he felt her….

He’d bolt, Sano knew. Probably wouldn’t stop until he hit Lake Evendim. If then.

12 thoughts on “Through the Cracks Ch4 bit – Tactics

    1. It shows that she probably has more sense then both of the Companions combined.

      Admittedly not hard to do considering that Sano has negative sense, thus dragging poor Magumi down.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Why do I think “talking” should read: Discussing things while Kenshin figures out how in the Makai Karou got those rope knots set up so that he: A) Can’t break them; B) Can’t cut them; C) Can’t untie them. Because tied and bound might be the only way to get Kenshin to sit still long enough for him to scuttle his (slightly reasonable) panic and //listen//.

        Methinks when Hiko finds out about this “conversation” he will wish he was there with a bowl of popcorn.

        Liked by 3 people

  1. On the one hand, oh this could go so spectacularly wrong . . .

    On the other hand, they do have a point that if Kenshin knew at this moment, he would bolt. As fast and as far as he could go – and that’s pretty far and pretty fast. He doesn’t feel secure enough here and around them not to.

    If you think your “allies” are just as dangerous to you as your “enemies” if not more so because you have at least pretend you don’t know your allies might take any opportunity to slip the knife in . . .

    On the third hand, I can’t think of a better idea. Kaoru probably can’t either which at least one of the reasons she is going along with this . . . for now.

    Liked by 2 people

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