Disclaimer: I do not own Kenshin, or Hiko, or Rurouni Kenshin the series, or the OAV, or the movie, or.... you get the idea. Thus, should you decide to try and sue me, you'd be wasting your time, because I put in this disclaimer! Nyaaaa! (Pokes out tongue in a most child-like fashion).

WARNING: Rated R, for just about everything! This is quite a dark ficcie, will contain shounen ai, yaoi, non-consensual stuff, abuse, violence, language, and heavy drinking - lots of heavy drinking. Also, Hiko Seijuuro singing. Yes, I think that belongs in the rating. Despite all of that stuff, I'll try to keep it from being too graphic and hope you will read it anyway. If you don't, though, I understand, and would also appreciate people to not complain about that content after all this trouble I went to with the warning. If you don't like reading any stuff that has any of the above content, don't waste our time by flaming me for it - you were warned.

Author's note: Okay! First of all, Hiko-lovers out there are going to hate me! (Probably). Please do not take this personally, I am a big fan of Hiko and originally didn't even want to post this fic because of the sheer number of people who will likely hate it, but the rarely sober friend of mine who inspired this fic insisted, repeatedly, so I will throw myself to the wolves, so to speak. This fic takes place when Kenshin is a teenager, some time prior to leaving Hiko, and is very what-if-ish. Also, contains major OOCness (Out-of-character-ness) for Hiko in particularly. Well, come on, who acts like they normally do when they're completely plastered? Hardly anyone. So despite all this, I hope that maybe one or two people like this fic, and those that don't, I'm sorry, and don't flame me for it, chances are, I already agree with you. Besides, I've had a big self-esteem problem lately and you don't want to feel guilty if your review drives me to suicide, do you? Anyway, reviews and constructive criticism are welcome, but if you're complaining about anything I've already warned about, please, take your words elsewhere.

Well, now that all the bueracracy is out of the way, one with the fic! I sincerely hope, despite all those paragraphs about being so off-putting, that you do enjoy it.



Chapter 1 - Osake

By Sinnatious


Kenshin observed his master, Hiko Seijuuro, 13th successor of the Hiten Mitsuryugi Ryu, with a wary eye. Try as he might, he still couldn't read the expression on his master's face, his stance, nothing. What was it going to be this time? If he was really lucky, which, for the past month, he hardly ever had been, Hiko would just........ sing.

Yes, Hiko, sing. He actually had quite a nice baritone, before he was too far gone and the words started to slur together. The young red-head wasn't entirely certain when exactly his Shishou had begun to drink beyond his holding point - which was quite a lot of sake, more than they probably could afford, wherever it was that his Shishou earned his money from - but every time since he was aware of it a similar thing happened, at least to begin with. It had been going on for at least several months though, that was how long ago since the first 'incident' had occurred. His huge master would sit himself down at the table, as he always did, and begin his nightly drink of sake, like he always had, as far as the young teen could remember, right back to when he had been first adopted by the man. For so long, his master never showed any change in composure, even though he was usually in bed and asleep long before his master finished. Thus, Kenshin was beginning to think that sake must not have been as alcoholic as he was led to believe; that is until his master apparently starting drinking more than usual. Lots more. As in he should have been considering getting order by barrel instead of jug.

Hiko, not for the first time that night, noticed that his apprentice was still awake, sitting against the wall. Kenshin had frequently begun doing that lately, staying up while he normally drank in solitude. He had been patient with it for some time, thinking that perhaps the kid was just beginning to feel lonely or was suffering from nightmares again. However, it had been going on too long in his opinion, and Hiko liked his solitude, so much that he lived by himself on a mountain with the exception of his pupil, therefore this time, he glared at him. "Why aren't you in bed yet? You do know you have a full day of training tomorrow. Baka deshi, if you don't get your sleep you'll just hurt yourself again."

Himura Kenshin didn't move from his position sitting against the wall nearby, or even make any suggestion that he even heard the man, though his master would know from his ki and breathing alone that he was wide awake. He'd go to sleep once he was certain which of the drunken faces his unpredicatable Shishou would assume tonight. Even then, he might not be able to get to sleep. His master wasn't quite drunk yet, though, for which the youth was infinitely grateful.

After getting no response, Hiko poured himself some more sake and drank it. He mumbled something under his breath. Kenshin raised his head, velvet eyes staring out under his red bangs. Once Hiko started mumbling, he was nearly there.

He had tried to stop him once or twice, but came to regret both times. It was easier, usually, to just bear the consequences. Though why he should bear the consequences of some swordmaster getting himself drunk for no reason, he didn't understand. He didn't think his loyalty to his Shishou could possibly run deep enough for what he had dealt with in the past couple of months. The heart was a strange creature indeed.

That, and the fact he had nowhere else to go. What could he do? Join the army? He couldn't even stand up against his own Shishou, taking on groups of rebels or conversely joining the rebels and taking on the army was still beyond him. Maybe in another year or two, if this was still going on, he would be confident enough of his own ability to strike out on his own, but for now....

Kenshin had been so lost in his trail of thought he didn't notice a drunk Hiko standing in front of him until he spoke.

"Baka! Why aren't you in bed yet?! You're such a bother to me! Get your sorry little scrawny behind out of my sight!" Hiko fumed, irrational anger littered throughout his features.

Kenshin swore reflexively, immediately recognising the facial expression as the one he feared the most. He leapt away, pressing himself against the wall, hoping Hiko might decide that an inanimate chair or something else would be a better target.

He never was terribly lucky.

Hiko's face twisted into an expression of raw fury. "You have the nerve to swear at me, boy? Insolent brat!"

The swordmaster took a swing at the younger boy, but even as an apprentice Kenshin was fast enough to avoid the punch of a drunk man, even if that drunk man did happen to be the 13th successor of the Hiten Mitsuryugi Ryu.

"Shishou, I think perhaps you had better go to bed now, that you should," Kenshin implored, hoping that perhaps a firmer stance than the one he usually took might convince the older man that the night was over and it was time to leave his poor student alone.

If anything, it had the opposite effect, as Kenshin feared. He was trapped either way; if he did as his master asked, he called him a wimp and beat him up, if he tried to be firm, he was called insolent and beaten up. He must have been a glutton for punishment; telling his master what to do wasn't a terribly good idea even when the man was sober. Hiko all but snarled at that. "A little pipsqueak like you thinking you can order ME around? Are you trying to challenge me?!"

"Of course not, Shishou," Kenshin pleaded, backing away as the older man towered above him. "I just think that perhaps you have had enough sake tonight, that you have. Please stop, before you-"

"Before I what?!" Hiko's hand met its mark this time, Kenshin being cornered once again with nowhere to run to. The boy cradled his eye, knowing that it would bruise. In a way, he was luck that his Shishou was drunk - had the man been fully capable he was entirely capable of breaking every bone in Kenshin's body. "You think that maybe YOU know better? That some scrawny kid who doesn't even know half of what the Hiten Mitsuryugi Ryu has to offer knows better than the 13th successor?"

"No, Shishou!" Kenshin begged. However, the swordmaster, like most, was rarely logical when he was drunk. He stood there, steaming himself into a rage, until at last as the teen feared it boiled over and he followed through again with a punch to the boy's stomach with his left hand, then his right. With his target now fallen silent, the older man withdrew, Kenshin holding a hand to his abdomen, trying to suppress the urge to vomit, and failing. He fell to his hands and knees on the floor. He hated it when his Shishou became like this. As bad as the other times could sometimes be, when his Shishou was like this, it was always the worst.

"You little shit! Look at what you did to my white mantle! Do you know how hard to clean this thing is?!" Just about anything could serve to fuel Hiko's violence and anger when he was like this. Kenshin didn't struggle as the much bigger man picked him up and threw him against the wall of the hut so hard it caused the entire building to shudder. Kenshin impacted with cry, body sliding to the floor as he was wracked with pain from his throbbing abdomen and now back. Breathing laboured, he waited to see whether or not Hiko would go to bed now, as he usually did, or give him another beating before giving up.

It seemed, though, that the sake had done its work for the evening as Hiko appeared to suddenly disregard him and clumsily make his way to his futon, blowing out the last of the candles and settling in for a night's sleep. Kenshin breathed out a sigh of relief, glad that it was over. His violent episodes had been becoming more frequent and longer lately. Even so, the young flame-haired swordsman didn't dare move for nearly an hour, despite the calm sleeping pattern of his master's breathing and ki. Then, ever so cautiously, Kenshin picked his aching body off the ground and proceeded to clean up the mess caused by his impact with the wall and his vomit. He even went so far as to scrub the stain out of his Shishou's white mantle, placing in its regular position next to his master's katana. Finally, after clearing away all of his Shishou's sake cups and empty jugs and disposing of the last of the evidence, the young student allowed himself to stagger to bed, stoically ignoring his bruises, though it would be difficult to explain how he had received his black eye. He figured he could say he hit it on a rock in training the day before; it was fortunate for him that he had, though definitely not badly enough to bruise as much as this likely would. Hopefully his Shishou wouldn't know that, though.

He collapsed, barely having the strength to remember to remove his hair tie. Kenshin allowed sleep to overtake him, comforted only by the thought that come morning, as usual, his master would remember nothing, and would be himself once again.


Please review. If EVERYONE hates it, I won't bother posting the next chapter. Though I do say that the mood between chapters does swing dramatically, and don't judge the fic on this chapter alone. Heck, maybe I'll put up the second chapter just for the hell of it. Read and review anyway.