Little Is Much

Hi, my newest story. This story is dark, and thus, I have rated it PG-13 for LIFE. Life is dark, especially for Misao. She's alone in the world, homeless, and she has nowhere to go. Chased out of village after village, she gets beaten and whipped, scarred and burned. What happens when the 16- year-old girl happens upon the Aoiya?

Read on!

Chapter 1- Memories and Injuries

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She huddled in the back of the dark crawlspace. True, she shouldn't have been there, but they had chased her out of the rotting barn she'd called 'home'. Said sarcastically by you of course, because nothing of that.......degree would ever be a real home. But to Misao Makimachi, that was only one of a string of 'homes' that she'd lived in.

Misao was homeless. She had been since she was just a child. Her father was killed in the war, the revolution in which many people died. Five-and- a-half years before her father left for the war, her mother had given birth to a scrawny baby girl. That baby girl, of course, was Misao.

She'd always been small, and she herself supposed that it had something to do with the fact that her mother had been ill when she'd been born. When she was almost seven, her mother's health started to decline, and, having no relatives or family around- not even neighbors- Misao tried her best to care for the only person in the world she had left. A child such as herself wouldn't be able to give her mother the care that she needed, and her mother passed away quietly, taking with her Misao's unborn baby brother.

Back then, it seemed like time fell to minimum movement. She had to bury her mother's body, which took several days. The first day she started digging she'd gotten far, for a child of her age. But that night it rained and flooded the hole, so she had to start all over.

The farm that her family had been running skidded to a halt, and she opened up the gates for the cows and horses to escape. The chickens were already dead, having been eaten by a coyote or a fox. The only animals she kept were her dog, Kiva, and her pony Fuuso.

Of course, she knew she had to leave. If she stayed, it wouldn't do her any good, as she couldn't run the farm, and nobody in the nearest town would want to take her in. she was too small, and, as far as others were concerned, was supposed to die before she turned four.

Even at her current age of 16, she was only four foot nine, and in that period of time she was considered to be a defected child. Too small to do real work, too scrawny to be a good worker, and unable to do anything constructive.

So she rode Fuuso and Kiva followed, out of the house, out of their former lives, and out of the township in which they lived.

Most girls her age were already married and had a child on the way, but, as life would have it, she had yet to start her monthly procedure. Of course, she didn't know anything about it, as she'd been alone from the age of seven.

She pulled her knees up to her chin and waited patiently. No, patience wasn't her strongest virtue, but after all she'd been through, she'd learned to wait out the enemy. No matter how long it took.

When she was 13, she'd been chased from a rundown shack, and had to seek refuge under a bridge. The bridge was fragile, and the wind was strong. The small jutting piece of rock she'd sat on was no comfort for the girl. Every time the wind blew, her heart thudded in her chest again. The bridge blew closer, and the water below churned faster, but she'd stayed there for a week and a half without moving from that spot.

Without. That had been a word she'd heard long before her parents' deaths. 'I'm sorry Misao-chan, we don't have the money for food tonight. We'll have to do without.' It had become a common phrase in her low, meaningless life. She'd refused to resort to stealing, but, as time passed, her ideals changed drastically. She wouldn't steal money, or from poor people, but.......the well-off merchants could stand to lose a loaf of bread or a fish.

Fuuso had fallen into a hole while grazing and had come up with a broken leg. Misao desperately wanted to keep him, but, when a local farmer wandered by, he told her that she would be better off shooting him. It took months for a break like he had to heal, and she didn't have the time nor the money to wait it out.

So, she'd shot him.

That was another thing she'd taken from the house. Her fathers rifle. It took seven shots to put the horse down. She wasn't the best aimer in the world, and she'd peppered her friend since the age of two with bullets until one finally sunk into his heart and killed him.

The next to die was Kiva. The dog was old, and had been when Misao was a toddler. Now though, the old German shepherd dog was almost solid grey. One day when Misao woke up, the old dog was stiff and very dead.

She'd buried her the next day.

She herself was still surprised that she was still alive, as life is, she should have been dead shortly after her two companions. She called them companions instead of pets because they were just that. She spoke to them when she couldn't speak to anyone else, and she'd given them kisses and hugs like a mother would her child. Back then, she wore her genki grin. But after Fuuso died, it disappeared and was replaced with a half-hearted grin that appeared genki on the outside, but if you looked deeply into her eyes you could tell that it was just a façade.

A mask to cover up how she truly felt. After Kiva died, she had no one to talk to, and so she didn't speak. She knew how, sort of. She'd heard others speak, and had filed away the way that they spoke the words. The grammar and pronunciation as well. But she hadn't spoken in eight years. There was no reason to do so, as she'd just condemn herself if she opened her mouth.

Every time she was caught, they questioned her- asked her if she knew what she'd done wrong- and, of course, she kept her mouth shut. She knew what they thought of her, and she didn't blame them one bit.

She'd been chased out of more villages than she'd like to admit. And she didn't blame the people that chased her either. According to them, she made their society look bad, and she was a walking disease. Who knew where she'd been, or what she'd done? Most of the time she'd left quietly, except when they decided that she needed a beating to go along with getting kicked out.

More than once she'd been thrown out of the city gates beaten so bad she could hardly move. She'd spend a few days in the country to heal up, but, like always she had to return to the city, because that's where the food was.

Footsteps echoed overhead, and she tucked her thin body to herself even more closely. Everything that had happened to her was deserved, or so she thought. She'd even thought that she'd done something to deserve being dragged through a blazing fire. And that was less than a month ago. The burns had yet to heal.

She'd just recently arrived at this current place, and already, after a week, she was being chased out. Hopefully, the dogs and men looking for her would give up soon. She'd been in the dark for hours already. As soon as they left, she would go quietly. She'd leave the village and head to the next town.......wherever it happened to be.

Just then, her nose caught it. Food....... She hadn't eaten for several days, and the people outside knew it. She might have been tiny and naïve, but she wasn't stupid. The last time she'd fallen for that trick had been the first, and she would never fall for it again. She'd nearly died that time.

"Come on out weasel, we know you're in there!" a man yelled roughly, cruelly. It wasn't fair that they were using food to taunt her. Even if she did come out, which she wasn't planning on doing, they'd never let her eat the food.

Of course, she didn't answer. She'd earned the nickname weasel wherever she went. It seemed like she was never around, and she truly did try to hide herself from everyone by living in abandoned buildings, but one time too many she'd been caught and beaten. She came and went silently, just like a weasel did inside the chicken coop.

Nobody knew her real name either, and it was slowly fading from her memory. She'd always kept track of her age however, as her mother told her it was important to know. Right now she was 16. A young woman, who looked nothing like a woman at all. Her body was so thin that you could see all her bones, right through her clothing. She'd stopped growing taller at age 12, and, at age 13, she'd started to gain her 'womanly features'. All except for the one thing that enabled a woman to have children.

But she had still been startled at the extra fat she'd gained on her chest. She was afraid, but there was nobody she could have turned to. So, she'd dealt with it alone. In solitude. By herself. But something, she supposed that it was her mother's spirit, told her to eat. Eating would help, but not to be a glutton. She would only get sick.

The voice in her head had sounded sad, almost regretful, as if regretting the fact that Misao was alone in her time of need. But the spirit had seemed to wrap itself around her, and it told her not to be afraid, that it was normal. And it told her to pray.

She was glad she knew how. And she was also glad that praying didn't require a voice. And so, she'd taken up praying. Her mother was a Christian, and her father was, well, she never really knew what he was. When she'd asked, he told her not to concern herself with things that weren't her business.

Her mother said to ignore him. Pray to God, and he will do everything in his power to help. And so, she ended every prayer with, "Thy will be mine". In her head of course. She didn't always get food, or water. And her clothes were still ripped and dirty. But she was never without a feeling of comfort on those lonely nights when she thought that she was going to die.

And she had a feeling that her mother was in the sky helping God take care of her. Her wounds always healed, and, for some odd reason, she seemed to just know what to use on her burns, scrapes, cuts, bruises, or any other form of injury. And so far, not one of her open wounds had become the death of her.

So she prayed for God to help her in her time of need, she asked Him to tell her mother 'hello' for her, and she prayed to God about her baby brother, who had yet to be named.

He would be eight years old on September 11th, which was the same day he and her mother departed earth. Now it was August 7th. Her birthday was November 26th. Fuuso died on May 5th, and Kiva died June 19th.

That was something else she stole. On the deaths of her friends, she would steal flowers, if she could, from a local merchant. If no flowers could be found, she'd get some from the woods or the fields and carry them around all day. At the end of that day, she would throw the flowers up towards the heavens, as she believed that that was where her family and friends' were.

Things didn't always work out though. Even though she prayed, she was still caught, beaten, burned, teased, tricked, and harmed. But it didn't matter, because she wasn't dead yet, and if God wanted her to get caught, so be it. Maybe He had a valuable lesson to teach her.

A shot rang out in the noisy evening, and loud cursing could be heard from the men in the crawlspace ahead of her.

"Don't try to shoot it, you fool! Do you want to kill all of us?!" one man yelled, and a punch could be heard.

'It' was another nickname she'd received. The only way you could even tell that she was a girl was by her long braid that went well past her behind. It was the only hairstyle she knew, and she made sure to comb it out with her fingers every morning to re-braid it again.

"Come on out weasel, we won't hurt you......." another man crooned. "Just come on out, and we'll get you some food......."

She pressed up against the wall again, her bones hitting the dirt divider. She was almost certain that the men couldn't get so far back in the crawlspace. But just in case they did, she could escape from the almost invisible hatch above her. There were more men up above, more than were in the crawlspace, but there were also women.

A small part of her said that men weren't to be trusted. They weren't always nice. Not like father. But another part of her mind argued and said that women weren't nice either. Though they were nicer than men.

Though there were some women that had been far crueler than the men she'd run into. One woman had beaten her with a broom, and had attempted to cut off her hair with a butcher knife. The woman had claimed that, 'she gave women a bad name with her flat chest and shapeless body'. Misao didn't understand what she'd meant.

Sometimes they had even set the dogs on her. She usually never hurt a dog, remembering Kiva's gentle nature. But after being bitten a few times, she'd changed her mind about them.

The shuffling noise in the distance grew closer, and Misao reached a hand up to touch the handle of the hatch above her head. In the great world of 'fight or flight', she would rather pick flight.

The shuffling of knees on the dirt-packed floor caused her to cringe. She had been hoping that she could wait them out. Or that the crawlspace was too small for them to reach her. But it appeared that God had other plans for her.

She heard a metal 'clunk' and froze. The clunking continued, each clunk bringing the heavy metal object closer to where she sat. A gun. She stiffened like a deer caught in headlights. Guns were....... Her heart sped up, and she gasped for breath. She had to get out, get away.......somehow. It didn't matter how, she had to get away from the gun that was coming for her.

They were more than frightening. They were downright terrifying. The power of killing was embedded in them, and she felt that it was some kind of.......evil. She'd repented, and prayed so much about killing Fuuso like she'd done. After he'd died, she'd left the rifle in a river.

She'd been shot before....... and it only served to increase the guilt she felt about killing Fuuso. How much pain he must have been in before the final bullet struck.

"Are ya scared weasel?"

The voice caused her breath to stop in her throat, and she coughed violently to rid herself of the air going down the wrong pipe. She pressed herself up against the wall even further. She could feel her shoulder blades protest at the grinding feeling they were receiving, but her hand stayed on the handle to the hatch.

"We thought about smokin' ya out......." the voice continued, calm and malicious. "But I thought that draggin' ya out would be better suited." He moved closer, and she could see the glint of his dark eyes.

She had to escape, and fast. Before it got dark. She had trouble seeing in the dark, as everything looked the same and she couldn't tell the floor from the sky. Not to mention that she couldn't see animals, people, or objects either. Night flight was the hardest of all.

He seemed to stare at her hard. "Is that long hair you've got there weasel?" he asked, smirking wickedly. "Cause you must be a weasel-girl. And I like girls......."

Warning bells went off in her head, and she struggled to get the hatch open. Her hands were small, and her body was small. The door was rusty, and the creepy man was coming closer.......

He grabbed for her foot in the dark, and pain shot up her leg, making her immobile for a few minutes. His dirty fingernails dug into her blisters and sores, and puss leaked out onto the ground. She had a lot of water blisters and burns on that foot from being dragged through the fire. A choked sob escaped her throat, and in a moment of desperation she flicked her wrist around the handle. A pop could be heard as a few fingers left their sockets, but the small hatch swung open.

Though she was thin, her legs weren't fat. Everything that was there was muscle. And she used all the strength she had to pull her foot away from him. She hauled herself out of the hatch and into the evening air.

It was almost dark. The light was fading in the west, and she struggled to see where she ran. She had to get away from the men, from the guns, from everything....... There were other towns. She would go somewhere else and stay for a few days.

Her short stature didn't help her when she needed height. She jumped fence after fence, and on the last one, a loose piece of barbed wire cut into her leg. A gash appeared going down her whole calf, but she didn't stop to acknowledge it. She was running on pure adrenaline, and she knew that if she stopped, she wouldn't be able to get up.

She tripped over various objects- her face coming in contact with the ground- but she didn't stop, scrambling up every time and running twice as fast to gain more distance. A rock hit her back, and then all kinds of objects slammed into her retreating figure. Since they couldn't catch her, they'd decided to throw stuff at her.

A shovel struck her across the back, forcing her to her knees. A gunshot rang out, and she got to her feet and ran again, a throbbing pain in her back causing her to collapse outside the village. She laid on the ground, her back burning with pain, until she got her breath back. She was out of adrenaline, and all she could manage was a steady limp.

She fell into a wide field and collapsed into a heap on the grass. It was then that she felt the burning pain in her leg as well. First her foot, then her back, and her leg lastly. She vaguely noticed that there was a lot of blood. But what was it coming from? Her leg, or her back? She would have checked, but she couldn't move. It was as if she was temporarily paralyzed.

Her eyes slipped closed and she breathed in the warm evening air. Her outfit was torn and dirty, and it needed washed badly. But she would have to wait a few days before that could happen. It was as good a time as any to sleep. Nobody would find her out here in grass that was up to a normal person's knees. So she prayed silently with her hands folded in front of her.

Dear Heavenly Father,

I know that I pray a lot, and I just hope that I'm not.......getting annoying. I'm confused still as to why you let these things happen to me Lord. I've done all I know, but obviously it's not enough. I apologize. I ask this every night, but.......please, tell my mother hello for me. And tell brother that I love him, and I'm sorry I couldn't be of any more help. Tell Fuuso that I'm sorry for what I did, and if I could do it all over again, I would have done everything I could to help him. Tell Kiva that I miss her, and give her a steak for me, okay? And please, help me to overcome my injuries once again, for I seem to be gaining more every day. If it's in your will, allow me to wake up once again tomorrow morning. Thy will be mine Jesus. Amen.

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*looks around* Where'd everyone go? ^^;; The title means, a little is a lot. I don't know if I should change it to, "Little is Much if love is in it" or not......hm.......

Ah well, in case you haven't figured it out YET, this story's genre's are angst/romance/spiritual. There won't be a TON of spiritual stuff, and I'm sorry if you don't like it. In which case, you might want to stop reading. It's not spiritual as in, 'let's get everyone in the world saved!!', but she does pray.

Okay, I figure that I need to explain the story thus far. Yes, she's homeless. If you've read the story, you understand that. ^^;; The reason that I added in the more adult theme of her turning into a woman is because when a girl is at the age of 'growing', in which she gets breasts, she usually has parents to tell her about such things. Misao was alone, and obviously, she was very scared at the time. I also added in the part about her 'not' starting her period yet, because she was too thin. Malnutrition and stuff will mess up your menstrual cycle- or in her case- keep it from happening. If she did start at this point in her life though, she'd probably die from lack of blood/food.

No, I'm not a pervert. ^-~ It's life, deal with it. Now, I know you're wondering, 'where's Aoshi??' Well.......he'll show up eventually, but I want to get Misao's lifestyle stuck in your head first. He'll show up within a few chapters, and Kenshin/Kaoru/Sano/Megumi and so forth will show up as well. This is set in a surreal time, as the fact of guns, swords, knives, brooms, horses, etc. And the VILLAGES. ^_^ I still haven't decided if I want to put Kenshin and co. in the story from the Kamiya dojo in a different town, or what.......I'm confused. Lol, if you have an idea, help me!!! Ahhh! Anyway, I hope you enjoyed chapter one of this story, well, enjoyed? More like detested. ^-^ Anywayz, if you have a favorite line or something, put it in your review so I know what my readers like. =^.^=

::Love you all::

~Kitten Kisses

PS. Please, leave a review. I'd love it sooo much!