Author: Syngen Segumi PM
Continuation of the Dual-Edged Blade. Kenshin's passage beyond life holds more than he could have expected. Changed rating due to language and sexual content in the new chapter. I don't know if its really appropriate for a 13 year old.Rated: Fiction M - English - Supernatural/Drama - Kenshin - Chapters: 14 - Words: 40,519 - Reviews: 15 - Favs: 3 - Updated: 01-02-03 - Published: 10-24-02 - id: 1029774
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
I couldn't resist continuing this story. Obviously, I don't own any of the Rurouni Kenshin characters. I do own Hikari. I do not, however, own Sano. And if you can tell me who does own Sano, you will get a point. I don't know what my points do..maybe I'll proof one of your chapters for free or something.
Hikari perched on the railing of the bridge, watching the pair pass by underneath. She was unseen; she intended to be. Until Farral was replaced, there was little for her to do in her own realm. Rather, she had chosen to take the opportunity to promote herself in the mortal realm, hoping to establish a place as a true kami, and not the shadow of the Kami of Wisdom, or the remnants of a land forgotten and ancient. Firrin still had not found forgiveness for her, now, years later. She could only look at the water in apology for what she had to do. But watching the couple, knowing that the time was drawing near, it had been worth it.
She focused on him, he was starting to almost show his age. Time, and battle had caught up with him. He had called out to her several times before. And each time she had come, unseen but felt. She had given her word to him, and she would live up to it. She would always be there for him.
He hadn't changed too much. Still the same wickedly red hair and shining smiling gaze that looked like the pre-dawn sky. Sometimes gray, sometimes violet, sometimes neither and both at the same time. He had new clothes. Well, new compared to when he had first found her, and she him.
The boat passed under the bridge and she leapt to the other railing. She leaned over the rail, her toes almost leaving the ground, and reached out to him. Her fingers brushed his hair, barely. He twitched and brushed away whatever had tickled him. She grinned and tried not to laugh. It was one of her few amusements. She played this sort of demented game of hide and seek, though she would never be found, and he wouldn't look too far.
He wasn't there for her anymore. It had been ages since he had called out to her, so she watched him. And her. Despite the passage of time and her forgiveness, Hikari did not approve of Kaoru. She pondered the reasons why as she hopped off the rail of the bridge to glide up to the boat and perch on the stern, behind the pair. It was the mix of selfishness and selflessness, she though, crouching down and spreading her wings so as not to alter the pitch of the boat. How can a selfless person be a selfish lover? Hikari didn't understand that. She pulled her hair from the water, where it was trailing behind the boat, and wrung out the ends. Keshin turned at the sound of the drops, but saw nothing. His face was so close to hers, she smiled at him, though he couldn't see her. Or wouldn't maybe, she couldn't tell.
She leaned over his shoulder, her breath falling into his hair and against his ear, until she gasped. There was a child there. Oh how wonderful! Kenshin swatted at the tickle of Hikari's breath. She dodged aside and tried to move around for a better view. Kids were the best, and Hikari adored every one she saw. She wasn't paying the best attention as she slid along the beam of the boat to perch in the center of the starboard beam. She peered down at the little boy and grinned at him. He grinned back.
She had gotten used to young children ignoring the rules. They could see her if they wanted to, and seemed to bypass a lot of the rules of engagement. She stuck her tongue out at him and he squealed at her, raising his hands toward her. She reached out his and let him grasp her finger, which he did, and squeezed.
"Kenshin," Kaoru said, "Doesn't look like he's holding something?"
Kenshin looked at his son and nodded, "That he does." He lifted his head for a moment, feeling a change in the air. Hikari looked up as well, knowing that it wasn't her he was sensing. She scanned the horizon behind Kenshin, as he tried to get his bearings.
"You look most motherly," said a voice behind her. She turned her head, and looked at the man sitting down beside her. He was very Japanese. He still wore the vest with the symbol of the Tokugawa, though his life and duties had long since passed on. He was once the Sosaken, or Chief Investigator to one of the Tokugawa Shoguns.
"Sano," she smiled at him, "You look wonderful." She and Sano had become good friends since Kenshin's accidental excursion into the Realm of the Spirits. Sano had been dead for almost 150 years, he reflected himself as he was in the prime of his life, a time frought with trouble and irritation, and one of his favorite times. He now worked for Tokugawa Ieyasu, as an ancestor. He had been a sort of culture guide to Japan for Hikari, who was trying very hard.
Sano nodded his shaved head toward Kenshin, "I think he senses me."
Hikari looked at her most precious mortal and saw the apprehension still in his eyes, "I think so. You don't do as much walking around here as I do. You've got to get better at hiding yourself." She nudged him affectionately, and tried to extricate her finger from the little boy's grasp.
Kenshin blinked a couple of times, the breeze seemed to be whispering to itself. He could almost hear fleeting voices. They danced just outside of his perception. But that wasn't the only thing that distracted him. He knew he smelled almonds. Not roasted almonds. Almond oil, like samurai once used to keep their coiffures in tact. He knew the smell because it didn't smell like almonds should. He remembered it so vividly from his past.
Kaoru peered at Kenshin, "What's wrong?"
Kenshin shook his head, "I thought I heard something, or smelled something. I don't know. Just enjoy yourself."
Kaoru passed him a warning look, not willing to drop the subject, but for the sake of quiet, she did, for now.
Sano shifted uneasily beside Hikari, "I make him nervous."
Hikari nodded a little, still trying to get her finger back from the boy, "Remember how his career started out. He used to kill people like you."
Sano nodded pensively, "I know. I still don't know what you see in him."
"Life," Hikari whispered, finally slipping her hand free from the tiny grasping fingers. There was an instant of tranquility that stood only as a warning before the little boy screwed up his face like a squashed tomato, at about the same color and consistency, and let out a wail that even made his loudmouthed mother cringe.
"You are horrible to children," Sano said jokingly, "You should have let him hang on to you for eternity."
Hikari cocked her head and sighed, "I couldn't let his father hang on to me, I couldn't possibly give to the son what I denied the father."
Sano could hear Hikari's thoughts about Kaoru and commented, "I don't know how I feel about all these modern women with their modern ideas. You Westerners were a bad influence."
Hikari almost rolled off the boat trying not to laugh too loud. Normal sounds went largely unheard, but a good guffaw, like the one building in her now, would have turned the boat over. "You're wife was ten times the impudent obstinate fool this one is, Sano Ichiro. And yes, we are a horrible influence. Flog me. Please?" She added the hopeful tone into her question to tease him. Sano had a fabulous sense of humor, despite his upbringing, or perhaps because of it.
Sano shook his head at her, "You are a wicked temptation, and my wife was not this bad."
Hikari corrected him, "Your wife would have thrown you over the edge of the boat by now and told you to swim back or give up your secret."
Sano sighed in mock resignation, "I suppose then, it is a good thing I am a good swimmer."
Kaoru had picked up the baby by then and was trying to shush him. Hikari stood lightly on the beam of the tiny boat and offered her hand to Sano, "Need a lift?"
Sano took her hand as she flapped them up off the boat and onto dry land nearby. She brushed herself off and straightened up, trying to look more dignified. She wore awkwardly tied hakama over and under beautifully coordinated Kimono. Her hair was pulled up in a severe topknot, mimicking Sano's in a sort of friendly way.
He looked her up and down appraisingly, "A little masculine, don't you think?"
She rolled her eyes at him, "Okay so how do I fix it?"
Sano shook his head at her and pulled the Haori off of her first. Then he untied the hakama and dropped those. He unbound her hair and tied it loosely between her shoulder blades and then handed her the Hakama and short kimono jacket, or Haori. "Those were overkill."
She looked at him confused and then threw the clothes over her shoulder, where they vanished in a puff of air. "Can we go now?"
Sano gave her one more spin before saying, "We can go."
The pair walked down the road toward what Sano had once known as Edo. They held hands like old friends, which they were by this time. Sano was one of the few ancestors who were welcome in the lofty heights where to kami lived. Hikari liked him because he had lived his life for Truth and Justice, despite the ease of cutting corners. Sano had been someone she had nurtured and protected, but delighted in just sitting back and watching him work. The only thing she would ever do to sway him was to show him what would happen if he chose a darker path. He was one of the mortal with which she had become fascinated and she enjoyed his company even more now that he was an ancestor and had the time to play.
She wanted Kenshin to meet him. She wanted to show Kenshin that there were mortal enactors of Justice before he came along, and they would be there forever after. Of course, then again, when she thought about it, how long had it been since Kenshin had called her? What if he had forgotten her?
Sano shook his head listening to Hikari's anxiety, "We don't forget things like you. You haven't been abandoned. You have to remember how much time and energy I spent on my own son when we had one. I didn't forget my job, and I didn't forget my promises."
Hikari half shrugged, she hated taking these tiny baby steps in the kimono. If she tried to actually walk, she would trip all over herself, get tangled up in the kimono, and fall down. Since they were now as visible as anyone, she had to at least look Japanese. Sano had taken her on trips like this to let her practice blending in.
She sighed and looked around, enjoying this little game between them. They chattered back and forth about absolutely nothing as they walked, enjoying the relaxed atmosphere. Sano looked around him, enjoying seeing the world from this angle and how much it had changed.
They were so involved in saying so very much about so very little, that they almost ran into Kenshin and Kaoru with their little boy. Hikari hopped back two steps and Sano came with her, avoiding stepping on any little toes. Sano immediately bowed low and said, "I beg your forgiveness. The loveliness of the day has distracted our attentions."
Hikari followed suit, quickly, and straightened up a little too soon. Kaoru looked at her.
"Oh that's quite all right," Kenshin said brightly, "I can understand."
The group started to move around each other, until Kenshin looked at the pair. It was a samurai and his wife? He carried no swords, but he wore the Tokugawa mon on his shoulders. He was about 200 years behind in style, complete with the top of his head shaven. His wife..his wife? Kenshin recognized Hikari as soon as he saw her, even in the kimono. He looked back and forth between the pair, confused.
Sano moved into place to protect Hikari, a habit that bothered her, but she knew was customary, "Is everything well, sir?"
Kenshin looked at the samurai, "Yes. And no."
Sano looked at him confused.
"I normally wouldn't say anything and assume you were on important business, Tokugawa-sama," Kenshin said, almost hearing Kaoru's eyes widen, "But your company makes me think that perhaps our paths were meant to cross?"