*Now I will tell you*

*What I've done for you*

*Fifty thousand tears I've cried*

A calloused hand brushed away the threatening drop from it's owner's eye. It seemed most of his tears had to be terminated that way. If the boy ever allowed them to fall, it would be a sure sign of weakness.
'Strong. You're strong, Myoujin Yahiko.' He told himself over and over, 'You made it this far. You can still pay off the debts. Keep clean the family name.'
The rafters squeaked around his head, as he picked absentmindedly at the tatami mat. He supposed he should be sleeping, but his own thoughts never allowed him to rest. Memories; memories of his family. For a while they helped him sleep, giving him pleasant dreams and hope for life. But the more he dwelled on it, the more he felt the striking reality that they were never coming back.
This very concept wrenched a hard knot deep in the pit of his stomach, that he never quite could dissolve. How could they really be gone? He knew all about death, and it's permanence, and that it happened every day to all different kinds of people, but still... why them?
In his unrest he cried; unbeknownst to the world. Nobody ever got past his rough looks and wise attitude, and that was the way he wanted it.

*Screaming*

*Deceiving*

*And bleeding for you*

Involuntarily, he tensed at all the sounds that might have been footsteps, clenching his hand over the bruise on his arm. He usually did as he was told by the Yakuza, and made his payments by pickpocketing, but still somehow, it wasn't enough. Sometimes it came to the point where he would wonder, 'Is my family in enough debt, that I need to stay here for my whole life?'
"Boy!" a gruff, but hushed voice came, accompanied by a nudge in his ribs by the man's foot. "It's far past sunrise, and you still haven't gotten near to making your monthly payment. It's due by today, you know."
"Didn't I already make enough?" He grumbled stubbornly.
"Are you kidding? You haven't nearly worked off your worthless father's debt, worm!"

*And you still won't hear me*

Yahiko stood up and slipped on his zori. The chilled morning air made the hair on his arms raise while he scoped the market place for new pockets.
Casually, he feigned interest in the various products and knockoffs of imported goods that the sellers had laid out on their stands, and bobbed along inconspicuously amidst the stream of early shoppers.
Stepping to one table his attention was caught by the small, but impressive display of katanas. They were all in their sheaths, well polished and taken care of. He gripped the hilt tentatively and felt the weight of it. So heavy.
"Those are all decorative," An old man beside the stand said, "They were crafted for war, but never used. None of them have sharpened blades, but they are very popular for display."
The boy nodded and smiled.
"They're heavy." He said, feeling the smooth metalwork, "They really use these to fight with?"
"Well, not those ones." The man said, sensing Yahiko's sincere curiosity, "But I have a real one." He led Yahiko around the stand, and produced a parcel wrapped in an old blanket.
"This sword has been in my family for several generations." He said, unwrapping the cloth and revealing the perfectly kept sheath.
"You can take it." He held it before the awestruck boy.
"Really?" With extra care, he took the weapon and studied every inch of it with reverence. These were the kinds of swords that warriors and Samurai handled. Samurai like the ones he was descended from. His fingers trembled at the touch of this sword; that had taken so many lives, and fought so many battles, and protected so many people.
"You could get in trouble for taking this around," Yahiko warned, handing the katana back to the old man.
"Yes, this I know. And yet, I can't seem to part with it. Most people don't care to keep their swords with them. Too many memories. Too many ghosts that haunt it. Although I feel this aura as well, there is also a great sense of pride. The pride of handling the weapon that protected the honor of my family, through many years. That defended my forebearers, allowing my generation to exist... I'm sorry. I'm rambling on, aren't I?" The man granted a kind smile, as he gently set the wrapped katana into a beaten case.
"Mm, mm." Yahiko shook his head, "I like hearing about it."
"Do you intend to become a swordsman one day, young man?"
"I dunno. I haven't really thought of it."
"Hm. I can tell that you're strong willed and proud. You shouldn't let your strength go to waste. Find a way to use it in order to help people."
By now Yahiko had grown ansy and rather guilty. The man's words were really getting to him. He was discussing pride and honor, while he was supposed to be pickpocketing.
"Uh, I have to get going. Thank you for showing me your sword. Arigatou." He bowed and left.
Apart from the crowd, he saw a red-haired young man looking quite off gaurd. Judging from his looks, he was probably a foreigner, an easy target, and with plenty of money.
Using all his skill and agility, he slipped past the man, grabbed his coin purse and ran.
"Hey!" to his surprise, a girl's voice cried out, "Kenshin, he just took your money!"
Yahiko had dealt with whiny girls before, many of which he was able to rob of several yen, and supposed that this one was no different; easy to outrun. Feeling a little complacent, he didn't even notice the advancing steps, until it was too late, and she was right on him.
In a big swing of gravity, he was tackled down, and the girl, who was not quite so weak as he thought, was wrestling him to the ground.
'Dammit, this ugly girl is strong.' was the first thought to shoot through his mind.
"Give Kenshin's money back, you little creep!" She ordered, red in the face.
"Get offa me, Busu!" He spat back defiantly. In spite of his efforts, she got back the money and returned it to the red-head, who judging by the way he spoke, was not likely foreign, nor was he all that young. What surprised Yahiko most, is that when he recieved his coin purse back, he didn't clutch it and walk away arrogantly, but looked at it for a moment, studied Yahiko on the ground, and walked over to him.
"Here," He said, with a well practiced smile, as he dropped the parcel into Yahiko's hand, "Just don't get caught next time."
For a moment, he couldn't say anything as the redheaded stranger turned and left. He was just apalled at this act, and it only made him more angry.
'The son of a Samurai dosen't need charity. I don't need his help. I have some dignity!' With this thought, he hurled the money back back at it's owner.
"You can keep your stupid money!" he yelled, terribly ticked, and stomped off.

*Don't want your hand this time*

*I'll save myself*

*Maybe I'll wake up for once*

Stomping off, it didn't take him long to run into the Yakuza. He panicked for a second, and then remembered what had happened with that red- head.
"It's about time you paid up." One of the men said, rubbing his fingers to indicate he wanted money.
"I don't have any stupid money." Yahiko muttered, his eyes cast down.
"What'd you say, punk?"
"I said I don't have any dirty money for you. Stealing is wrong!"
"Looks like the kid has a big attitude today," One of the men scoffed, his arms akimbo.
"So you think you can just give up with it?"
"I'm not saying that! I'll work to pay off the debts! I'm just not going to steal anymore!" This final statement he made with a defiant glare and clenched fists. The group burst into laughter.
"Ha! Debt? What debt? There never was any debt!"
"Ara?"
"The point is that you belong to us now, and you'll do as we say!" A fleck of spit flung out of the man's mouth as he screamed.
'So... so, everything they said...?'
"So you better get all those crazy thoughts out of your head and start pickpocketing again, or it'll be your head!"
'I-...I can't believe it was... all for nothing!'

*Not tormented daily*

*Defeated by you*

*Just when I thought*

*I'd reached the bottom*

Once again he was in the Yakuza hideout, and on the floor as always. It now seemed hopeless, that his dirty work had no end in sight.
A quick blow to his head jolted him farther into the bitter reality.

"Just where do you think you're getting these ideas, punk?" Gasuke yelled, at him. He simply kept his head down on the floor.
"Answer me!"
Having no response earned him more beatings. Each strike made him feel as though it would shatter his body. This beating was far more severe and painful than those he normally recieved. And yet, he felt numbed to it.
He turned to his side and spit out the metallic taste of blood that filled his mouth, and forced his weight up on his trembling arms.
"So tell me how you come off with this? It's about time you learned who owns you!" The boy was kicked back down to the tatami floor. He wiped the red stream for his mouth with the tattered sleeve of his gi, and pushed himself up again. The Yakuza was furious.
"You've got some ner-"
"No."
"Huh?"
"I won't cave now. I found my pride and I don't care what you do now!"

*Go on and scream*

*Scream at me*

*I'm so far away*

After always believing this would all be over soon, the realization that he was going to be owned forever brought him back; back to knowing that stealing was wrong, that the Yakuza was wrong.
Even when he felt the weight of the fist in his stomach, he stood firm, the fitting image for a Samurai. And he knew it hurt, yet he smiled. A smile of satisfaction.
'You can't shatter my pride again' was his last thought before he swooned out of consiousness.

*I won't be broken again*

*I've got to breathe*

*I can't keep going under*

*

*

*

*

****A/N: Grrr.... okay, that sucked. It sucked eggs. I'm terribly sorry you had to see that, and I got a lot of stuff wrong. I promise the next chapter will be better. Just drop a nice lil' review (or flame) there please. Arigatou! And, Ciao!