Disclaimer: I regret to inform all of you that I do not own Rurouni Kenshin or its characters, although I do own any created characters that my imagination comes up with.

Struggles of Life


Chapter 1 – A Past Retold


Author's Notes: This chapter is told in Misao's point of view.

My name is Misao Makimachi-Himura. No, I'm not married. Just adopted. Anyway, how are you all doing? I'm just peachy. Anyway, let me give you a brief introduction of my life.

First of, yes, I'll admit it without crying – I was an orphan even before I was born. Apparently, I overheard the nuns saying how it was a pity that my parents decided to get rid of me even before I came out. Yes, at first, I was sad about it. Hell, when I was old enough to understand what it all meant, I cried………always. If you had seen me then, it would have been a pitiful wretch. I wasted ten years of my life at an orphanage.

You may think that because they are nuns, they would keep their dignity and treat the orphans well. But life is not always a fairytale – its reality. We barely got any food, which were two meals a day. One at midday and one at dinnertime. For clothes, we were lucky enough to wear shoes, or some sort of foot coverings. And if one of us kids got sick, ninety-five percent of the time, we died because of neglect. Now that I look back onto it, I'm surprised that I even survived. Maybe that's why I'm considered small and skinny for my age. Whatever, I could certainly care less.

However, I would soon learn that the happiest day of my life would come on May 14th. I overheard the nuns talking about a family coming, looking to adopt a child. I raised my eyes in delight and quickly ran to tell the other children. I didn't care if I got picked or not (although secretly I really, really, really wanted to get picked), I knew that at least one, or even perhaps two of us would start a fresh new life.

The next few days were hectic. All of a sudden, the nuns were pampering us like they would have done to royal figures or people with power. I knew the reason for it, but still enjoyed the attention I was receiving. I guess they didn't want to look bad or something.

Well anyway, the day finally came when the family arrived. Everyone was excited, but if you looked closed enough, there was this look that the nuns were hiding. Once this was over with, they would go back to their evil ways. I remember shivering at the thought and my desperation to be picked sky rocketed.

But things wouldn't go my way. That morning, I was carrying a pail of water from the well, back to the dining room when I tripped over something – I never knew what it was – and yeah, you guessed it, the pail went flying and the water doused a nun, and not just any nun. It was the meanest of them all. Everyone called her Sister Yumi. I remember the feeling I had when she bore me down with her eyes, as she was drenched. I laughed. It had to be the funniest sight my eyes had ever held…….at the time. Yeah, I know – wrong move.

The next thing I knew was being beaten severely and not being able to participate in the adoption program. As I was being dragged to my room by Sister Yumi, who was holding my unusually long hair, which I remember being tied in a braid that day, I spotted some children with smiles across their faces. Then I knew – it was all planned. I suppose they guessed I had the best chance to be picked. Right then and there, I despised every single one of them. And I knew, if I stayed at the orphanage another day, it would be torture.

The next thing I knew was a sound of a click, which I soon found out, was the lock of the door. Already on the verge of crying, I completely broke down.

I had previously thought that my chance of being picked was zero, so I remember crying myself to sleep. That happened a lot.

The next thing that happened, I still don't remember clearly.

I woke up at the sound of murmurs outside my door. I froze in fear. Obviously the child was chosen, the family was gone, and now came Sister Yumi to give me a beating that I didn't deserve in the first place. I quickly hid in the farthest corner of the room – yeah, I know – dumb move, but hey, I was only ten at the time.

The door suddenly opened, and in came Sister Yumi………with a smile on her face. I was confused. The smile she had looked very……strained, as if she was forcing it upon herself. Everything then happened so fast.

In came two adults……that were not from the orphanage, due to their strange clothing they were wearing. At first, I had no clue who they were, and my only logical guess was that they were that family that came for the adoption. But I still held onto the thought that the family was already gone, and these people were some kind of police here to arrest me, or something of the sort.

That next second, my whole life would change. Behind the strange woman's leg, came a kid with red hair. At first glance, he looked as old as I did, only had a few inches of height than I did. Anyway, at that second, I didn't know what was happening, but he suddenly came up to me with a frown. He then brought out his hand. I thought he was going to hit me so I cowered in fear. Then came the sound of his voice, a voice I would never ever forget.

"Hiya. What's your name?"

I stared at him, and found myself stuttering out my name. "Misao." Now that I think about it, I'm surprised he heard me.

He stared at me for a minute, as if examining me, then smiled as he took my hand. "Do you want to be my sister?"

I really don't remember what exactly was going through my mind when he said that. But you could imagine what it could have been. I obviously nodded………and from that day, my life was……well……in my view…perfect.

I soon found out that my parents were extremely nice people. They actually fed me food – three times a day too! And gave me beautiful clothes to wear, even kimonos. I never did find a taste for them, but I wore them anyway. Everyone did say I look beautiful in it.

However, nobody in the world could compare to my brother. What can I say about him? There's so much I could praise about him, but I'm sure he wouldn't like that though. He never took compliments from me…….always saying that I deserved everything I received. But I always did thank him for everything he did for me – at least he took those.

For instance, I remember one night……it was the first year I spent with the Himuras. It was my birthday. My birthday always brought bad memories………usually about the parents that gave me away without a second thought. Anyway, I remember crying that night in my room. I was pretty sure that everyone had gone asleep, but there a silent knock at the door and I heard my brother's voice. I told him that everything was fine and quickly wiped away my tears. He entered anyway – he always did that too. Next thing I knew……I was in his embrace, crying my heart away……relishing the comfort he was giving me……the comfort I never had. The next morning, I woke up to find him sitting in a chair next to my bed, sleeping. As the thoughts of that previous night came back to me, I started to cry again. At that sound, he suddenly woke up and quickly asked me what was wrong. I just shook my head, gave him a kiss on the cheek and hugged him. I think he received my message of thanks because as soon as I looked at his face again, he was smiling.

And yeah, I lived my life like that for some time. It was like heaven, having parents like the Himuras and that redheaded brother of mine. Yeah, yeah, I always did find it strange that his parents both had black hair and he had red, but I didn't care – that just made him all the more special.

But as usual, all good things come to an end. It was my two-year anniversary with the Himuras – so I was twelve, and so was my brother. He only did have a few months above me in age. But that is not the important part. That night we were supposed to go out and celebrate. I overheard (yeah, I'm a sneaky girl, but hey, what can I say?) my new mom talking to my brother about buying me a present. I was ecstatic. I couldn't wait.

So my brother and me stayed home while our parents went out.

They never came home.

It was already midnight and my brother tucked me to bed, but I couldn't sleep. Our parents still hadn't arrived. He kept whispering to me that they would be home any minute, with a huge present for me. I didn't care for the present, I just wanted my parents to be safe.

Two hours later, we heard the phone ring. I saw the relief in my brother's violet eyes. As he picked up the phone, I noticed his expression change from hope to despair in a split second.

He just nodded and put back the receiver. I was going to ask what was wrong, but before he did, he hoped into my bed and lay down next to me, and whispered something to me – another sentence from my brother that would change the course of my life. "Mom and dad died."

For the first time since my eleventh birthday, I cried myself to sleep. My brother was there for me the whole time.

The next morning I heard knocking. My brother was still asleep so I decided to open it myself. Opening the door revealed a guy, a very tall guy, with long, black hair – almost as long as mine. I backed away in fear……afraid that this person was going to take me away and hit me. But then I saw my brother coming down the stairs as he nodded to the strange guy.

"C'mon Misao. We're going with Uncle Hiko." he said, unemotionally.

So, we packed and attended our parents' funeral. For the first time, I couldn't get myself to cry. I just held onto my brother as we watched the gravediggers lower the coffin into the ground.

And so that part of my life was complete.

And the next chapter opened up just as quickly.

We moved from Kyoto to Tokyo.

We lived with Hiko Sejiro.

All in all, he was a strange guy. He would always make fun of us, calling my brother a "baka deshi" and me "a weasel girl." This really got me mad. But I soon realized that it was his weird way of showing us he cared. So I got used to it.

However, there was one strange factor that I never understood why it had happened. My brother's eyes……….sometimes………they would change to an amber yellow. At first, whenever he looked at me with those eyes, it scared the hell out of me. But deep down, he was always the same person I always came to love as a brother. I accepted the change without protest………and we lived life there on.

Uncle Hiko trained my brother in the art of sword fight. He called it the Hiten Mitsurugi Style. Strangely, I found it interesting and asked him if he could train me. He just laughed. I was so furious at that moment, but in the end, he did teach me something. I now know how to throw kunais – throwing knives – with pinpoint accuracy. And I also know martial arts. But I could never compare to my brother. His skills with a sword are immeasurable………and later, he would go on to win tournaments with his skill, always blowing out the competition. As for me, I would win contests too………in archery and martial arts.

I slowly grew content with my new life. But my brother………something seemed different with him. He didn't smile as much, rarely talked as much, and sometimes……became a bit too overprotective (not that I cared) of me. He threw death glares at any boy that would look at me, in his words, "the wrong way." Glares……with his amber yellow eyes, that would scare the shit out of people. It wasn't a sudden change, but a slow one that progressed over the years.

Slowly, my brother confined his feeling into himself, and rarely ever expressed his emotions anymore, well, besides anger for enemies and his compassion for me. No matter how much I tried, I couldn't get him to open up. So I shrugged, and came to the conclusion that if my brother wanted his privacy, I should let him have it. Yeah, I know………probably was a huge mistake.

We attended school like all normal kids……always walking to school rather than taking the bus. I never complained though. I always did want to stay in shape.

However, every few months, we would have to change schools……problems with my brother's behavior and on really rare occasions, acts of throwing kunais at students who looked like the orphan children of my past.

And so, we lived our life like that…………that is until our senior year of high school. We had moved back to Tokyo from Nagasaki, where we were expelled from yet, another school, this time, because of my brother. I didn't care. I never really liked that school anyway.

Once again, another huge turning point in my life would come. Like I said before, my brother and I were in our senior year – both seventeen years of age. There was only one more high school left in Tokyo that we weren't expelled from, so Hiko made us go to that. As both my brother and I would soon learn – "Thank god we got expelled from every other school."

So yes, here I am, in the kitchen of the apartment my brother and I live in. Uncle Hiko is rarely home, usually only once a month or so. Always on some kind of business trip. I don't care. As long as my brother is here to protect and comfort me, I'm fine.

Now that I think about it, you're probably wondering why my name is Misao Makimachi-Himura, rather than Misao Himura. Well, I came to the conclusion that since the nuns at my orphanage were evil in their own way, they might have been lying about my parents abandoning me, so I decided to keep that last name. Out of respect I guess. I mean, my mom did go through nine months with me. That proves something, doesn't it? Whatever. I can always change it later, so no biggy.

Anyway, I'm making breakfast, while my brother got to sleep in. It's our first day of school. As I am stirring our Miso Soup, I see a couple of kids running around – a brown-haired boy………around the age of eleven or so, playing with a brown-hair girl–again, same age. "Cute."

I see a girl with midnight blue color hair with a indigo ribbon in her hair, walk past our window (she looks pretty), talking to some really tall brown-haired guy………with a red headband on. And another girl……this one much taller then the blue-haired girl…….and this one with greenish hair I think? She looked like a fox from this angle.

Moments later, I see another boy walking past my window. I drop everything I have in my hands. Damn, he's hot! Tall, beautiful black hair cascading down in front of his eyes, white trenchcoat on, making his body stature……in one word………sexy. He looks muscular and makes me think if he could win in a fight against my brother. I quickly doubt it. My brother is just too good. I watch this boy dreamily, as I hope he goes to the same school I do.

Suddenly, something burning catches my attention. I looked down and see I have yet again, overheated the soup. I frown. My brother certainly won't like this at all. Yet, despite myself, I giggle. My brother will somehow find a way to compliment me on my cooking anyway.


Author's Notes: Well, this is my first attempt at a lengthy Rurouni Kenshin story here.
Just to let you guys know, not every chapter will be written in someone's point of view. Probably just the first couple.

This story is an ALTERNATE UNIVERSE - so expect so OOC from some of the original characters, although I will try to the best of my abilities to keep them how they would act in the show/manga.

The next chapter is written in Kaoru's standpoint.

And don't worry about the romance. This is definitely K/K with A/M and S/M too!

Please, READ AND REVIEW! Thanx

Till next chapter,