Face by The Lady Arianrod

a/n: This is a little vignette as Seta Soujiro prepares to battle Kenshin during one of the episodes... my first story in this section...

disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters or this anime.

Enjoy!

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The shadows slink like predators, curling about the room. He stands still as death, his feet firmly planted on the wooden floor. Wooden.... a term often associated with his carefully etched smile. Seta himself had been the artist that had carved that smile into his own face with excruciating detail, with a burning, rusty knife.

"The Battousai...." he murmurs, his upturned lips smirking the well-known name.

The Battousai will fall.

Seta stands at the center of the room, ruling his own balanced universe with his smile. On either side of his smile, his life is weighed on a curved scale....

Equilibrium.

He never falters, never needs to stop and feel mercy or guilt or fear. He does not feel pain or sadness, not even that twisted joy of shedding innocent blood.

He only manages a smile.

Behind that childish grin, he does not need anything else. Self-control is his idol, and his body is merely a vessel for the spirit of immense control that lives withing him.

Shishio, the Juppon Gatana.... just names. Nothing mattered, only the fact that he had passed the test. He is strong enough to live, to survive. Shishio was impressed by his skill and let him live.

Was Shishio the controller of his destiny, his life or death? It was so at that instant, but now he is free.

Seta Soujiro.

The bright-eyed boy turns to the door as it swings open and reveals more pointless lives. These people... too soft, too kind. They dwell too much on emotion and do not realize their full potential.... they do not control themselves.

Seta Soujiro, born into circumstances that forced him to smile, readies himself for battle. He will yet again prove that only those who are perfect warriors: without fear, pain, or guilt, will prosper.

The young boy grins at the prospect of the fight, knowing that he can frighten death away.

End.

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End notes: well, there's my first Kenshin fic... and it was a creepy one! Tell me what you thought... perhaps next time I'll write a longer story, but remember that this was meant to be short before you demand it to be longer....

Or perhaps I should continue with another character study?