Edit/June 20th 2005: I am revamping all of these chapters to get into a feel of SouMi again. I am apologizing now for the lack of updating these fics. My 'helpers' have disappeared so I lost several ideas we were toggling, especially when I lost some files in a hard drive crash. Please be patient with me—if anyone's still reading this XD.
AN: Another Sou-Mi fic. Being revamped. Woo.
Comments and Questions welcome.
Disclaimer: RK and its characters, places and story line is property of Watsuki-sama and all those other people that I do not feel like typing. Take heed, people. I screw up everything that is RK for my own demented purposes. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
To Make a Difference
Meiji 10 (1879)
Seta Soujiro walked down the well-worn path, watching the merchants and travelers who passed by him on their way to make business or meet family. He, himself, had no particular destination. In fact, he really had no clue where he was going. The road was familiar, but alas, he had traveled down so many that they all seemed to blend together in the back of his mind.
The smile still masked his face, Seta having no particular reason to let it go. His clothing was the same; however, due to the heat of the late summer sun he had removed the western shirt from under his gi and placed it in his package of items, which did not consist of much.
He desperately needed a new set of sandals, his old ones looking as tattered and torn as the first pair he wore when he fought Himura in Kyoto. His hair, formerly a cropped cut, was now pulled back into a short pony tail, for he had no real reason to cut it.
And those blue eyes, once void of any emotion, were now filled with traces of confusion, pain, and regret.
He'd been a rurouni for almost a year now, having seen quite a bit of Japan. He'd done his best to stay clear of those who may seek him out being that he was still wanted for being Shishio's right hand. The new start Himura had offered him was a harsh one, having to learn to think for himself proved to be a task worthy of the former Tenken.
Soujiro did his best to avoid thinking about what needed to be thought out. His past, atonement, and future stayed in the back of his mind as often as he could keep it repressed, the fight with Himura having broken the barrier between him and his emotions. Soujiro had picked up the habit of spacing out and day-dreaming, something he found very useful in his avoidance of his problems. He knew he would have to face him but he feared he was not ready.
He didn't want to relive his fight with Himura and the momentary insanity that plagued him right before Himura "Amakakeru Ryuu no Hirameki'd" his ass across the room.
Soujiro shook himself of his thoughts. Once, a boy who displayed nothing but amusement on his face and killed at the request of a madman was now an angst-filled young man, hoping that within ten years of wandering, he would find his own answers.
But first, he had to face his greatest fear...
Soujiro blinked as he stopped in the middle of the street. 'Is this…? No, how could I have spaced out that much? Haha, but it is…'
Soujiro shook his head again. "Heh, I must have taken a wrong turn while I wasn't paying attention. Silly me."
Deep down the sudden realization that he was back in Kyoto made his heart skip a beat. 'Fate can be cruel…'
He walked down the street a bit more. 'It's still Kyoto, perhaps a bit more under Western influence.'
Just as he began to lose himself in his observances he was roughly jerked into a back alley. Soujiro quickly caught his footing, keeping calm as his aggressor pushed him against the wall.
"What are you doing here, Tenken?"
Soujiro calmly pushed his assailant away, dusting off his gi. He glanced up to see a very determined Makimachi Misao.
"Ah, I thought your voice was vaguely familiar. Yes, yes. You're the girl who was with Himura-san in Shingetsu, ne? One of Shinomori-san's comrades, I think…"
Misao's emerald eyes flared. "You're here for revenge on Aoshi-sama! That's it, isn't it! Well, you'll just have to deal with ME, Makimachi Misao! Aoshi'-sama's gone, ya hear? He left."
Soujiro shook his head, "No, no Makimachi-san! You've got me all wrong. I accidentally took a wrong turn and ended up in Kyoto. I'm a rurouni now, surely Himura-san told you?"
Misao frowned, "You may be a rurouni but it doesn't mean you've had a change of heart."
Soujiro nodded. "Aa, I can see why you would think that. But how will you know if you do not give me a chance? And wasn't Himura-san once an assassin? You forgave him, didn't you? As you did Shinomori-san."
Misao's hand smacked across Seta's face. He didn't block it, given he could have. "Ow, Makimachi-san, that was uncalled for; don't you think?"
"How dare you compare yourself to Aoshi-sama or Himura? They had reasons for what they did. Your actions have no justification! You're a cold-hearted killer who has no idea what kind of suffering he's caused!"
Soujiro tilted his head, his voice wavering. "I do believe you've made a mistake, Makimachi-san. I'm trying to make up for what I've done. I have done wrong things and I am sorry for those that I have hurt. Himura showed me that I didn't have to live Shishio's path, I could live my own."
Misao scoffed. "Sorry? How could you be sorry? You don't even know what suffering is, Tenken! You're just some freak who gets pleasure out of killing!"
And those words torn down the small barrier Soujiro had built between him and his torment.
Soujiro's smile was all but gone as he clutched his head. "Stop it! Stop it! I hate killing! I hated it! They made me do it! They were going to kill me! It wasn't my fault! No one came to help me! No one cared! What did I do wrong? Why didn't they love me!"
Soujiro slid to the ground, his hands on his head as Misao stepped back. 'What is he talking about?'
Soujiro shook as he tried to gather himself but as Misao reached out to touch him he shrieked. "No! Get away from me!" And he pushed past the kunoichi as he ran madly out of the alley and down the street.
Misao shook her head. "You don't get away that easily from me." And she took off after the hysteric young man.
Since Soujiro was too upset to think clearly, he failed to lose Misao who trailed behind him. Soujiro made his way out of the city and into the countryside surrounding Kyoto.
'Why? I didn't do anything wrong!'
'I never asked for this! I didn't want to be a killer!'
'Is there something wrong with me? Why was I even born?'
'Is there something wrong with me? Why was I even born?'
Soujiro fell to his knees in a field by a river. "Why!"
Misao ran into the field as she heard his anguished cries to the heavens.
"What did I do? Why couldn't they love me! Why can't anyone love me!"
Soujiro banged the ground with his fists, tears streaking his face.
"They gave me no choice, they never loved me; no one did!"
He then raised his face to the sky. "Why! Is this a joke! Do they get pleasure out of hating me!"
Misao heard his words, an expression of guilt forming. 'What kind of torture did Seta go through?'
She heard his next words and felt her heart wrench. "I doubt anyone cared what happened to me. My suffering means nothing to them."
And at that moment, a voice whispered among the breeze. "Fate can be cruel...but not all of humanity falls into the line of hatred, young one..."
Soujiro and Misao looked up. "Who said that!" Soujiro yelled, frantically looking around. His eyes meet Misao's and locked.
Their gaze broke as a loud crackle was heard and lightning flashed across the sky. Misao gasped as it struck a large tree that stood out in the field.
"WATCH OUT!" She cried as she ran towards Soujiro, as the tree came down on top of both of them.
Misao opened her eyes. She sat on the ground of an unfamiliar road. To her right was the edge of a small rural village. She blinked. "What happened?"
She got up, slowly and dusted herself off. She frowned as she walked into the village. She glanced up at the sky where dark clouds were forming. 'I remember the lightning striking the tree and trying to get Seta out of the way...is this a dream? Am I dead?'
Misao's thoughts were interrupted by two men passing by and talking.
"I still can't believe the war's over."
"Yeah, I know. I'd never thought the Bakumatsu would end!"
"Haha, so now what's all this called? The Meiji Restoration? Watch the government try to control us now."
Misao stared in bewilderment. 'The Bakumatsu ended 10 years ago! Why are they talking about it as though it ended yesterday?'
Misao decided to get some answers. "Ano… excuse me..?"
Both men turned to her, not failing to notice her blue shirt and shorts that revealed a good deal of her legs and arms. To them, she looked like an ex-slave.
"Can you tell me what town I'm in? I've seemed to have lost my way."
One nodded. "Yeah, you're in the prefecture of Kanagawa, kid."
Misao blinked. 'How the hell...?' She was confused, but still… she couldn't believe she had the guts to ask, "What year is it?"
Both men laughed. "This kid's really been worked hard. It's 1868, girl."
Misao shook her head as the men left.
"What? If they're right then how is that possible? And… why am I here? In this place?"
To Be Continued…
AN: Okay on the last part, I didn't do too much research so if there's really any inaccuracy I apologize.
Any and all loose ends or questions will eventually be answered. Just give me time.
Aa: Informal way of saying "yes" (Anime-wise)
Gi: Shirt top (like Kenshin's pink top), that's worn with hakama (the long pants)
Kunoichi: Female Ninja
Tenken: Heavenly Sword.
Amakakeru Ryuu no Hirameki: Kenshin's succession technique.
Bakumatsu: Japanese Revolution
Shukuchi: Soujiro's natural talent. It's that which surpasses Godspeed.
Meiji Era: Restoration Era
Question and comments appreciated. Hope these corrections make the story flow better. They're quick so I may have very well skipped something. Sorry!