Disclaimer: I in no way own Rurouni Kenshin and any characters from the show. I merely borrowed them and write this little tale.

A.N. Okay, so this is my first attempt at a fanfic, so any and all reviews are welcome. I hope it's okay. I sorta like it ^^;

On with the show!!!

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Secrets of the Revolution

Prologue

Katsura Kogoro made his way towards the training and recruitment grounds where his comrade Takasugi Shinsaku had called him. He didn't like leaving Kyoto but Shinsaku had been adamant about him visiting. He chose one of his shadow assassins to accompany and protect him, even though he was confident he could protect himself. But Hideki had been very persuasive, and no one crossed Hideki. He was the strongest manslayer, even Katsura relented that the boy was very strong.

Hideki walked quietly behind Katsura, his eyes never stopped as he scanned the area. Feeling confident that Katsura would be fine, he left his master and went a short distance away. Leaning against a small shack that was overlooking the training field, he watched the men as they sparred with wooden dummies and remembered the time he had been in this field not too long ago.

Shinsaku was leaning against a tree, grinning down at the training field before him when Katsura met him.

"Look, not even birth status has stopped them, they all want to join and fight in this war." Shinsaku said proudly. He was excited. There were many men here, all whom he himself would lead to battle. "Even children."

A young... person, not quite a man, but too old to be a boy, stood amidst the large men. He had flaming red hair, which was odd to see on a Japanese man. There were a few chuckles from some of the soldiers on the field but the boy didn't seem affected by the taunt. He silently stood before one of the dummies.

Hideki watched the kid intently. There was something in his ki that had grabbed Hideki's attention the second he leaned against the shack. There was something different about this boy. A voice in his head screamed that this boy wasn't to be taken lightly.

"Master Katsura." Hideki said and covered the distance between himself and the two men by the tree in a few quick strides. He never took his eyes off the boy, waiting for him to do something.

Katsura looked down on the young assassin who stared intently at the training field. He followed Hideki's gaze to another young man, who couldn't be any older than Hideki, but still held the features of a boy. He was probably only 14 years old, just like Hideki.

The boy crouched in a battoujutsu position before the dummy. Hideki's breath caught as he felt the boy's ki jump and in a lightening quick motion, the boy unsheathed his sword and neatly sliced through the dummy. Hideki's eyes widened, the boy was faster than he was! But the attack wasn't over yet. Just as fluidly, the boy used his sheath to totally pulverize the wooden dummy.

Katsura, Shinsaku, Hideki and all the men in the training ground stared in shock at the splinters as they fell to the ground quietly. The boy stood straight again, and re-sheathed his sword. He held out his hand to another man who stood beside him. It looks like there had been a bet.

"Master Katsura." Hideki said again, not looking at the man behind him. Katsura nodded.

"Shinsaku, give this boy to me. I'm taking him to Kyoto."
The two men made their way towards a modest home, not too far from the training ground. They were followed by the two young boys. Shinsaku glanced over his shoulder at them both as they followed in silence a few steps behind himself and Katsura.

"Look at them, children, no older than 14. They haven't even celebrated genpuku yet and here they are, one a murderer already, and one who may become one. Hideki's already soiled his hands a countless number of times, he's changed from the innocent wide-eyed boy that we found here 6 months ago." Shinksaku said.

"And I'm sure this new one will be the same." Katsura said grimly. He hated to do it. Especially with those as young as Hideki and this new boy. He felt terrible about the change Hideki underwent. The boy used to smile; he used to be easily read when talking to him. But now, something changed. He doesn't smile anymore, and his ki is totally unreadable, even to a seasoned samurai like Katsura. The kid was unbelievably strong, and fast. A legend in the making.

But this new one.. Katsura sensed something, and he knew Hideki did too. This kid was probably stronger and faster than anyone ever thought possible.

Katsura glanced over his shoulder at the two boys. They were the same height, which was short compared to other 14 year olds, Hideki wore a black gi and grey hakama, and under his gi he wore bandages all the way up to his collar bone. Katsura never questioned the bandages, Hideki always wore them. His long brown hair was pulled back into a ponytail high atop his head. The other boy wore a green gi, and grey hakama. But the mop of shocking red hair was his most distinguishing feature.

Behind the two men, the boys walked in silence. Hideki felt the new kid's ki easily. But then, the boy didn't feel threatened. It was a safe assumption that if threatened, the boy's ki would be unreadable.

The four companions entered the house. A woman escorted them to a private room where tea was already set out for them. Katsura knelt on a cushion and motioned for the new boy to take a seat opposite himself. Hideki sat on the floor, off to the side and away from the general conversation. He leaned against the wall, and propped his sword against his shoulder. Shinsaku took a seat and leaned against the wall as well, but he opted to watch and be a part of the conversation so he sat in between Katsura and the kid.

"What's your name?" Katsura asked.

"Himura Kenshin."

"What style of sword was that?"

"Hiten Mitsurugi."

The room froze, but only for a heartbeat.

"So that was Hiten Mitsurugi. I had heard of it, but never thought it existed today." Katsura said.

Hiten Mitsurugi was a very difficult style to learn, Hideki had respected the boy before, but now it had increased tenfold.

"Boy, have you ever killed with your sword and style before?"

"No."

"Would you?" Katsura said quietly. Himura froze. Hideki felt his ki jump. A silence fell upon the room. A minute crept by in silence. Hideki felt the need to come to the boy's aid.

"Master Katsura, may I speak with him, alone?" Hideki asked quietly. Katsura glanced over his shoulder at the boy, a little startled. Hideki had never shown this sort of.. compassion before. Katsura looked at Shinsaku who held the same expression. They locked eyes, Katsura nodded and both men left the two boys alone.

"I'm Hideki."

"Just Hideki? No first name?" Himura said quietly.

"Just Hideki. For one, you'll never be called Kenshin while you're here. And for another, the three of us should be the only ones you tell that name to."

"Well, it should only be fair that if you know my first name, that I should know yours." Himura said and looked up at the other boy, grinning. Hideki stared and slowly cracked a smile. It was at that moment that a friendship had been formed.

"Honestly, I don't have a first name. I only have a last name because it was the only thing left to me by my pathetic excuse for a father. I'd rather wear an anonymous last name, than any first name he gave me." Hideki spat. Himura was a bit shocked at the outburst, but bowed his head to hide his expression. But it was Hideki that was shocked even more. He had never ever spoken about anything from his past to anyone in the Choshu faction. Not even Master Katsura. And yet, being in the company of this boy made him talk. It was that moment that a strong trust was built between Himura and Hideki.

"I'm sorry; I didn't mean to bring back horrible memories for you." Himura said quietly. Hideki stared at the top of Himura's head for a moment.

"How old are you?"

"14."

"Same age as me." Hideki mused. Himura looked up at the other boy in shock. The second the man named Katsura asked if he could commit murder, Himura knew that Hideki was a manslayer, but he never dreamed that he and this assassin could be the same age. Why did he do it? What brought Hideki here?

"Why do you murder?" Himura asked. Hideki looked up at him and stared, thinking in silence for a few moments. He took a deep breath.

"For peace."

Himura was stunned.

"For peace?"

"Yes." Pause "If my bloodstained hands and those men I've already killed, as well as the many men I'll probably kill in the future, can exchange for one person's peace in the new era, then I'll continue to murder for peace."

Kindred spirits Himura thought. We're two of a kind, fighting with the same beliefs and with the same goal in mind. Hideki noticed the slight change in Himura's eyes. He would murder, using his sword and his style, Hideki knew it.

"I'll tell Master Katsura that you're ready to talk, Himura." Hideki said, as he rose from his position and left the room. Katsura and Shinsaku were both waiting in the sitting room, down the hall. Hideki slide the shoji door open and looked down upon the two men.

"He'll do it."