Title: Healing Wounds
Chapter: 1/?
Author: Kikiam
Anime/Manga title/s: Rurouni Kenshin
Archive: fanfiction.net, pinoy fanfiction ml
Rating: G
Genre: Drama, Angst

Summary: Kenji thought that he had gotten over his father's death, but he couldn't accept the fact that Yahiko would be the one to inherit the sakabattou. However, Yahiko knew that it would take more than strength and skill to possess the sword and it was his job to teach Kenji that fact.

Author's notes: Spoilers: RK OVA 2
'Was inspired by the RK episode when Yahiko took Kenshin's sword...

DISCLAIMERS: Rurouni Kenshin belongs to Nobuhiro Watsuki.

Translations:
» baka - stupid, idiot
» -san - a suffix added to a name to indicate politeness of the speaker
» - kun - a suffix that can be roughly translated as 'young Mr....'
» Oyaji - old man / father
» 'Kaasan - mother

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Chapter 1
Burial
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The orange glow of the sunset shone on Yahiko's face as he icily looked at Kaoru's tomb. It was slowly being carried to the cemetery and many people had come to join the funeral procession. It was a hot summer day. The dirt road was dry and he felt the dust and tiny bits of stone against his socked feet. Around him were the people's sad faces. There was Tae and his fiancee, Tsubame, who appeared to look as reserved as possible though it was obvious that they were holding back their tears. To his right were Ayame and Suzume, now grown women with the same expression of reluctant formality. Right behind him was Megumi, who kept a stern look on her face, walking with small, quick steps. She was strong enough not to show any sign of sorrow or mourning. He missed Sanosuke, who, due to some legalities, could not go back to Tokyo from China.

A bead of sweat fell down his forehead. He was doing his best not to cry, too. After all, Kaoru had been more than a teacher. He was like an older sister to him, who taught him not only the sword, but life's lessons, as well.

Red...

His thoughts were interrupted upon seeing a bright red head walk by among the others. For a moment, he thought Kenshin had come back from the dead to walk in his wife's funeral procession.

Baka. It's just him. Kenji...

Kenshin died in the spring right after coming back from China from an illness he picked up in his frequent travels. Kaoru died in the summer shortly after from the same disease. Yahiko knew that Kaoru purposely contracted it from Kenshin. They had been through so much that she wanted to die with him, leaving their son behind. The kid was old enough to take care of himself, though.

Kenji would be continuing the Kamiya Kasshin Ryu. The kid couldn't accept it at first. Yahiko had to admit that Kenji was a very skilled swordsman, and, if in the right time and place, he would have surpassed the legend his father was. However, in the Meiji era, such skilled swordsmen weren't needed. Until now, Yahiko didn't know if Kenji had accepted that fact.

Ever since his father's death, Kenji had been quiet, glaring at anybody who tried to talk to him. He knew that the kid was guilty for not being a good son: running away while his mother was dying in bed and despising his father, misunderstanding his intentions. At the same time, Kenji was angry for not being able to inherit the sakabattou. Although Kenji never told him that, Yahiko knew that he would feel the same way. Kenji was Kenshin's son after all. However, the prized sword came to Yahiko's hands.

Yahiko tightened his grip on the sakabattou. He knew that Kenshin was happily waiting for Kaoru in the next life, but there was still a job left to be done. However, Kenshin had done enough in his lifetime. It was time for Yahiko to take matters into his own hands and that was why he was the one given the sword.

Kenji.

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He had the same gentle eyes and the same red hair as his father and a fiery attitude like his mother. He couldn't care less. He was Kenji Himura, not Kenshin Himura or Kaoru Kamiya.

"Kenji-kun, are you all right?" a voice asked him gently. He realized that he had been looking down on the ground instead of looking straight ahead. However, he couldn't bear looking at his mother's tomb being carried away.

"Tae-san..." his voice slowly faded away and nodded.

He straightened his back and raised his head. He couldn't look weak and confused. After all, he was the deceased's son. He should show honor and pride in his dead mother, to indicate that the person had done good and honrable deeds in her life. It was true. She was a loving mother and a great teacher, as well. She always smiled at him no matter what, even if his own Oyaji wasn't there to help her raise him.

Yes, that baka Oyaji...

His father left them when he was still young to travel Japan. Why he wanted to travel around Japan, he couldn't understand. His mother told him that her father wanted to help other people. But Kenji thought that he shouldn't help other people if he couldn't help his own family.

He hated his father, who had been a skilled swordsman during his lifetime, in fact, almost a legend. But in being a skilled swordsman, couldn't he live an ordinary life with his wife and his son? There were nights when Kenji could only wonder where his father was, or how he was doing. Or maybe how his life would be if Oyaji was home. His life wasn't bad, at all, in material terms. His mother raised enough money, teaching kendo. He had good friends, as well.

But still, he wanted a father. A father he would want and dream to be, someone that would give him a goal in life. However, Oyaji's blurry face in his mind only confused him. Then, it made him angry.

Why? Why can't I live a normal life with Oyaji?

He didn't know what to do, but he thought being like his father -- and surpassing the legend he was, would show him the answer. Maybe placing himself in his father's shoes would tell him why. He was so determined to learn the Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu and use his father's sakabattou to attain his goal.

Things wouldn't go his way, however. He wasn't spoiled or anything. His mother had taught him well that he can't have everything he wanted in his life. And he had been denied a father's presence to know that this was true.

It was Yahiko. His mother's best student inherited the sakabattou. He knew that when Kenshin gave it to Yahiko as a present for graduating from the Kamiya Kasshin Ryu, Kenji still wasn't of the right age. But now, he was, and he wanted answers as well. When he couldn't have it, he went to Seijuro Hiko and tried to learn his father's technique. Suddenly, Yahiko came to fetch him and bring him back to his mother. Of course he refused, but Yahiko beat him in a sword fight and won against him.

Yes, it was all because of Yahiko. During his younger years, Kenji considered Yahiko a big brother, who stood in his father's place. He admired Yahiko a lot. He was strong and kind-hearted. He also told Kenji many stories of his father. He taught him many things, too. He owed much to Yahiko, but he never expected that he would be the only person to be in his way of finding the answers he wanted.

There were still some ways for him to inherit the sakbattou. That was for Yahiko to give it to him. However, it was a custom that such a possession be passed on to one's son. Yahiko was going to be married in fall, and he'll most likely have a son after that. Another option would be to fight Yahiko's son for the sword, but he still had to wait long for the kid to reach the right age to fight. By that time, it would be too late.

Only Yahiko stood in the way.

What would he do now?

He continued to walk with the thoughts laying heavily upon his mind. At last, they reached the cemetery and the burial rites took place. It wasn't very long, but it was very silent, except for some cries. He watched as the tomb was laid beneath the ground. The men started to cover the tomb with soil. HIs mother was finally being buried.

At the same time, his heart buried ties with a certain man he considered to be one of the most important persons in his life. He didn't want to get into any conflict with Yahiko, but he couldn't wait , too. The matter regarding the inheritance of the sakabattou must be settled soon. He knew it would be against his mother's wishes for him to fight Yahiko, but it was his stupid Oyaji's fault why he had to do it.

Forgive me, 'Kaasan...

~Tsuzuku de gozaru yo~

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