Author-chan's notes: Hello everyone! This is Author-chan speaking! I'm out with a new fic! My first Rurouni Kenshin fic too (well, at least it's the first RK fic that I've posted. I've written others, but I haven't posted them yet). Anyway, this fic is set after the last OAV, after Kenshin and Kaoru's deaths. I've been intrigued by Kenshin and Kaoru's son Kenji for the longest time. I've never understood his personality very well (mostly because he never appears in the anime series, as far as I know, and only briefly in the manga, making that the only info on Kenji that I have is from the OAV and various fanfics.) So I decided I wanted to take a crack at trying to unravel Kenji's persona (like so many other fanfic writers out there). And although Kenji is probably going to be an interesting character to write, I have to admit I love Kenshin way too much not to have him in my first RK fic. ^_^ Kenshin is so kawaii!!!

*Disclaimer: Author-chan does not own Rurouni Kenshin. Author-chan is too unworthy to own such an amazing anime. However this does not mean that Author-chan does not have happy little dreams about Rurouni Kenshin. ^_^

Like Father Like Son

(Chapter One: Memories)

The young man stood amidst the stately trees. His eyes took in the serene picture that the grove made, instantly seeing every detail of the gnarled branches, heavy with pink blossoms. However his mind barely registered the scene splayed out before him. All he could remember was the two figures that he had found there two years ago, the cherry blossoms falling about them like snow…

***

Two years ago…

The young man was running, faster than he had ever before. He had just got back home to the Kamiya dojo, only to open the shoji doors and discover the place completely empty. A fear like no other had gripped his soul then, a fear similar to the fear of the unknown. But somewhere in his heart he knew what had happened, but he refused to except it. Not when he was just beginning to understand everything…

So the young man ran, his hair whipping behind him, trying to think of every possible location of where his mother could be. Could she be by the docks, waiting for his father, the father he barely knew, but was beginning to understand after just a few days of carrying his sword? No, that was impossible. She was too sick now to walk that far. She must be nearby, but where?

Turning a corner, the youth found himself facing a long line of cherry trees. Feeling his heart tug in that direction, the young man began to step forward to the grove. But then, he hesitated. What if his instincts were wrong? What if she wasn't there? He had to find her quickly, she would only make herself more ill by going out. And there was something he had to tell her. He had to tell her that he was beginning to understand his father, understand his father's guilt, his ideals, and his sorrow. He wanted to tell her he wanted to know his father, and not to shun him. She would be proud of him once he told her that, he knew. But where was she?

After a few more minutes' hesitation, the young man entered the cherry tree grove. Inside his discovered his mother…and, lying on the ground with his head in her lap, his father. Himura Kenji rushed over to his parents, opening his mouth to speak.

"Kaa-san, tou-san!" Kenji cried out, "You're here! I-I have something-"

"He can't hear you, Kenji," his mother's voice interrupted him quietly. Kenji suddenly noticed that his mother had been stroking his father's cheek. Kenji's eyes widened as he stared into his father's gently smiling face.

"T-the cross-shaped scar!" Kenji whispered in awe, "It's gone!"

"That's not all that's gone," Himura Kaoru murmured, a small sad smile on her face. Slowly, she lifted her face to look into her son's eyes.

"W-what's going on, kaa-san?" Kenji whispered, noticing the unshed tears in his mother's eyes.

"He's finally free, Kenji," she answered, closing her eyes and letting the tears drip down to splash on her husband's healed face, "After all these years, he's finally free."

It was then in that instant that Himura Kenji realized that his father wasn't moving. He even lacked the telltale movements in the chest that signified breathing. Kenji collapsed on the ground, bitter understanding rushing over him. His father, Himura Kenshin, was dead.

'Why, tou-san?' Kenji thought, his throat tight, 'Why didn't you wait for me? I wanted to know you, damn it! Why didn't you wait for me to get to know you? Or at least say goodbye? WHY, DAMN YOU?!!!'

***

Back in the "present"

Kenji felt his throat tighten again as he remembered that moment. Why didn't his father wait for him? Why did he have to leave this world then? Kenji felt his hand tighten on the hilt of his sword -his father's sword, the sakabatou. He could feel his hand tremble with unshed sorrow and anger.

Kenji closed his eyes and tried to calm himself. He could remember that, a few months later, his mother had also died. This time he had been there to watch her die. He remembered the look in her eyes. She was happy that she was going to see him again.

Kenji gritted his teeth. Two years ago, after his duel with Yahiko, he had begun to understand why his father always left his family to travel around the country seeking atonement. After being hit by the sakabatou it felt like to Kenji that he was bearing his father's burden. All of his father's pain was thrust upon his shoulders and he had no choice but to buckle under the heavy sword. He was beginning to forgive his father for always leaving, until, until...

Until his father left this world forever. Kenji couldn't help but rage in frustration that he would never know his father now. He couldn't forgive his father for leaving that one last time. At least when his father left all those other times both Kenji and his mother knew he would come back. Now, Himura Kenshin could never come back. The dead could never return to the land of the living…

…Or could they?

Author-chan's notes: And so chapter one is finished. Er, it's kind of shorter than most chapters I write, but I couldn't resist leaving the chapter off there. It was way too perfect of an ending! But don't worry, hopefully the next chapter will be longer.

Also, notes on Kenji's personality. When I watched the OAV I got the impression that Kenji was angry with his father all the time 'cause Kenshin always left him and Kaoru to wander around Japan looking for atonement for his sins. But I noticed near the end of the OAV, after his duel with Yahiko, Kenji seemed to be a bit more understanding of his father. I don't think Kenji truly understood Kenshin, but he was beginning to understand. Anyway, in this fic, Kenji hasn't forgiven Kenshin 100% for leaving all the time to wander about, but he has forgiven him a little bit. But what really makes Kenji angry with Kenshin is the fact that Kenshin died before Kenji could get to know his father or even say goodbye.

Well, until next time, ja ne! (Don't forget to R+R)