A Day in the Life
Disclaimer: Blade of the Immortal does not belong to me. It belongs to Hiroaki Samura.
This is a semi-sequel to Bath Time but you don't need to read that to understand this.
Manji leant back against the side of their shack and pulled his robe tighter around his body. It was getting late in the year, and a cold wind was sweeping down from the mountains rustling the leaves of the trees and sending a shiver up his spine. He huddled closer to the wall, ready at a moments notice to sit up straighter and pretend the cold wasn't bothering him if Rin looked his way.
She had complained to him about her fighting skills again, so he was now forcing her to practice cutting the falling leaves since that was what she aspired to. Just to make it more interesting, he had her doing it in the least amount of clothing she could wear and still be decent. It wasn't because he wanted to see her body. He had seen plenty of woman's bodies. What he wanted to see was how well she could do despite the distraction of the cold.
He peered at her through squinting eyes. She spun around with a determined look and cut through a falling leaf as if it were her greatest enemy's head. Unfortunately, her swing brought her off balance. Her sandal slipped and she fell heavily into the dirt. The sword was flung wildly from her hand and made a dull thunk as it embedded itself into a nearby tree. Manji smirked at the look of dismay on her face.
He stood up and tried not to wince, refusing to acknowledge the fact that his right foot had fallen asleep. He waited a moment for it to stop tingling and then jumped off the porch. Rin had her head down and it looked like she was crying again. He frowned at her.
She cried too much. Children could get away with crying at all their problems, but she was a woman now no matter what he kept telling her. Crying would be seen as a weakness and in this world, she couldn't afford to show any weakness. What was she going to do when he wasn't here to protect her?
"What are you going to do when you aren't protecting her?" asked a small voice inside his head. He frowned at the voice, than shook his head. That was a problem for another day.
"I certainly wouldn't want to be a leaf around you," he said. She looked up at him, and he could see the where the tears had left tracks in the dirt on her face.
"I'm sorry," she said. "I'll never be as strong as you and Anotsu." Hadn't she said that to him before?
"Not if you keep fighting just leaves," he said. He leant down and offered her a hand up. She looked at it for a moment and he realized she was inspecting it for dirt. She had somehow gotten him to take a bath last night and was obsessed with making him stay clean. He still hadn't gotten an explanation for her spending the night on the porch though. He hoped he hadn't said anything to her while he was drunk.
"A samurai's weapon is a sword, but both you and I know that a samurai will not beat the Itto-ryu," he said. Rin glanced down at her father's sword. "Why don't we try a different weapon for today?" Rin frowned at him.
"But which weapon?" she asked. Manji shrugged.
"Whichever feels most comfortable," he said. "Maybe the sword is the weapon for you, but it can't hurt to try out a few others. Some of the deadliest fighters I know don't use swords." He could see in her face that she was thinking of Anotsu and his strangely shaped axe. She came to a decision.
"Show me your weapons," she demanded and he smiled with satisfaction. His hands crept within his robe and fingered over the various weapons that layered his body. He preferred short bladed weapons, but that was only because they were easier to carry. Something with a longer handle would give her a better reach though.
His hands closed over two of his oldest weapons. A shrug of his shoulders made them drop into his palms through his sleeves. He didn't use these that often, so if Rin took a liking to them he could easily give them to her.
They had two prongs at the end like many of his weapons, and a long handle, as long as his forearm to hold them with. He couldn't see any dried blood on them like on many of his other weapons. How long had it been since he had actually used these?
"Here," he said and handed them to her. She took them awkwardly, but them gripped them in a fair approximation of his own grip. His fierce little warrior. On impulse he stepped around her, placing his hands on top of hers so that she was facing away from him. Without saying anything, he guided her hands and body through a few simple movements. She continued doing them once he stopped guiding her, and the only sound was her heavy breathing.
Manji closed his eyes, lost in the familiar movements. He was warm with her against him and his mind drifted back over the hours he had spent when he was younger in these exact same movements. Except they weren't moving. She had stopped and was leaning against him, trembling slightly, though with what he couldn't tell.
He couldn't let this continue. For both their sakes. Unceremoniously he spun her around to face him.
"Now let's see," he said, and drew two short swords from his tunic. She blanched, but gamely held up the weapons to defend herself. He came in slowly and Rin only barely blocked it. He attacked again and she yelled and swung wildly, than came at him like a demon. He avoided her swings, than casually disarmed her. He twirled them around a few times before slipping them back in his tunic. He grinned at her.
"Perhaps the sword is the weapon for you. You certainly look better wielding it." Now why had he said that? She was frowning at him, and he searched for something to say.
"Let's go into town to get something to eat. And we'll get some of those deserts you like. Okay?" She nodded slowly, her frown fading at the thought of the sweets.
"Just let me get dressed," she said and headed for the house. He smiled cheekily at her back.
"Sure," he called. "I'll just head into town and make sure those sweets of yours are up to standard…"
"Manji!" He grinned and started walking slowly towards town.