Chapter Two: Ravishing Wind

There is a house in the middle of Taito street, a nondescript little
house, with a garden sporting struggling vegetables, and a fish pond which
continually seems to need about three more inches of water. Beyond the
sturdy gate with the iron lock, two little boys sit off in a corner,
making mischief with mud pies as an older boy looks leans against the
fence, daydreaming.

This house, on this street, is the house of a family. The mother is a
woman of dignity and grace, the children are playful and full of dreams,
and the father...

The father is Saitou Hajime.


A gentle smile crossed Saitou Tokio's lips before she even looked up from
practicing her calligraphy. Silently, she set her brush astride the
pages, smoothed her kimono, and stood. Her husband was standing at the
shoji to their bedroom, appearing mildly cross. His severe eyebrows were
knit at the center, creating deep lines which made him appear both stern
and intimidating. No man with such a cutting edge to his gaze could be
considered anything less than the virtuous commander of his allies, and
the vitriolic executioner of his foes. His mouth had been set into a
permanent sneer, cemented into place by years of disdain for most of the
other inhabitants of the planet.

'Ah. With a look like that, Hajime must be in a good mood for some

Tokio tiptoed across the room and waited to be presented with her
husband's hat, gloves, and outer shirt. If she had known he'd be home
early, she'd have met him at the door.

Come to think of it, why was he home early?

As expected, her husband handed her the usual objects. But, in addition,
he also placed into her arms a folded blanket.

Tokio blinked and looked from the expanse of cloth to her husband and back
again. "What's this?"

"It's a blanket, woman. Surely you've encountered them before."

Tokio put the other objects on a nearby shelf and stepped back to
unfold the cloth. She considered it with a light touch, running her
fingers over the edge stitching and tilting her head from right to left
to get a better view.

'That's right, Kitty,' Saitou mused, 'I know you. You can't resist
inspecting another woman's handiwork. Is the stitching proper? Is she a
better seamstress than you? Oh, you like to think your gentle little
heart is devoid of envy, but I know different. How you hate to be
outdone. I do so enjoy watching you struggle to hide how it burns you.'

"I'll be in my office," Saitou stated as he turned on his heel and headed
down the hallway, "I have some files to go over. I'm not to be
disturbed for any reason."

'That'll put her in a dilemma. An engaging war between her sensibilities
and her heart. Which will win today, Tokio? Curiosity, jealousy or
rationality? She's such a fascinating creature, such a diverting
amusement from this world of rampant corruption and declining morals.'

Saitou slipped into the office he had constructed with his own hands.
When they'd built a room for the boys, he'd decided he'd never get a
lick of quiet without his own room, one off-limits to the rest of the
family. This room was necessary for his -sanity-.

Which was not to say that he didn't love his children. Even his adopted
son, Eiji. They were, all three, fine boys. Troublemakers, at times,
certainly. But, what was the -point- of going through the effort of
attempting to mold the world through the use of one's sword without
rearing another generation to which that world would pass? If he were an
old wolf, then they were his pack. And though beyond these walls he may
gnash his teeth at evil, at home he had pups to rear and an exemplary
mate of grace and warmth (even if she was at times, quite possibly,
Japan's biggest prude).

Ah. Tokio. He'd never wanted a wife. On the whole, as a youth, he'd
considered women as nothing more than a distraction. They were pastimes
of men who wished to escape the cruel realities of the world. Men who
were too stupid to play shogi and too dull to appreciate good sake.
Women were like animals in a menagerie. Fine creatures to gaze upon, but
essentially useless otherwise.

And then there was Tokio. How many years now? Five? No, certainly more.
She didn't sweep in and change his life. She didn't fuss and shriek and
shed tears at every little thing. No, Tokio was more like the ivy that
grew on the side of the bathhouse. At first, unnoticeable. Little
sprouts of green clinging to the wood, straining upwards, seeking more
sun. Did the wooden wall even feel it? Did it even realize that slowly,
day by day, it was becoming covered in curling green stalks and
heart-shaped leaves?

And then, one day, that entire wall was covered in greenery. It looked,
it felt, as if the ivy had been there all along. A soft blanket of leaves
had come to shield that barren wooden edifice from the summer heat.
Without being asked, without a word demanding praise, without anyone's

Saitou smirked to himself as he rearranged his papers on the low table,
picking out a few sheets from various files for study. He adored his
wife, though he rarely showed it. She knew of his love, and with simple
sincerity, she returned it. Other poetic embellishments on the situation
weren't necessary.

Though, he did enjoy making her wonder...just every now and keep
her on her toes.

How long would it take her? An hour? No, far less. She'd become much
more bold during their years together. When they were first married, it
might have taken her days. She'd have agonized and debated internally,
waited patiently until she believed it to be the precise correct moment,
and then...she'd say exactly what he'd planned for her to say all along.
The guile she tried so hard to hide behind calm and demure eyes would
drive him mad with inner laughter and outwards lust.

They were both people who hid behind masks. Tokio attempted to hide any
rage, jealousy, cruelty, or annoyance beneath a veneer of patience and
poise. And he...he hid any weakness in his heart for her under the
unflinching warrior who ruled his existence.

Their game was to see who would crack first.

It wasn't long at all before Saitou sensed his wife's presence lingering
towards the end of the hallway beyond his home office. What was she doing
now? Ah. Gathering courage.

Saitou glanced up at the shoji. 'Seven steps to the door, Tokio, can you
walk them?'

Nope. She turned around and left. Saitou picked up a drying page of
script and placed it aside. She'd be back.

Saitou didn't like to describe his wife as "timid", but he supposed it was
an apt enough assessment. Usually, it worked out well enough. Usually.
Of course, there were times when her non-confrontational ways evoked his
ire. Then he'd have to reprimand her, for letting the vendors in
the marketplace overcharge her again, for not being strict enough with the
boys, for going to pieces when she'd accidentally ruined one of his
uniform shirts (which she subsequently hid from him for two weeks).
But, then again, all married couples had their struggles. And really,
putting up with Tokio's inability to be frank and assertive was a small
price to pay for having a woman who stuck by his side, no matter what.

Minutes later, he felt her nearby once again. Like a tide pool of
diffident indecision, Tokio seemed to be waiting, gathering her resolve
raindrop by raindrop. Would this be the time? Yes. Saitou heard her pad
down the hallway, the sound of tiny step dampened by the thick wood of the

Then she was at the door. Just standing on the other side, neither moving
or breathing, as far as he could tell. Saitou supposed he should grant
her reprieve by telling her to come in, thus ending her mental anguish.
But, that would spoil the game of finding out exactly what she meant to

"Hajime..." Tokio whispered finally, her voice as small as a mouse's,
"I've brought tea."

"Didn't I tell you that I'm not to be disturbed? Which part of that did
you not understand, Tokio?"

"Yes, I understood you, teishu."

Would she be thwarted by that little? No, maybe a few years ago, but not
now. Not with curiosity eating away at her soul.

"But, I..." Saitou heard Tokio shift her weight behind the door, "I'll
just put it inside for later and..."

"Leave it there."

The soft sound of Tokio kneeling was followed by gentle clinking as she
rearranged the contents of the tray, worrying at it, fussing at it in
order to prolong her stay. Saitou couldn't help but smirk, knowing that
she must be truly ill at ease about the blanket in order to keep up such a

"Hajime..." Tokio whispered again, after messing with the tea for far
longer than necessary. This time, she even endeavored to go so far as
to slide the shoji open a few inches. Half of his wife's face watched him
from the hallway. Well, rather, it watched a space on the floor about
six feet in front of him.

Saitou did his best to put on his most irascible face, which wasn't hard
to do, since it wasn't far from his normal visage. "Aa? What now?"

"About this blanket..."

Practically amazing. She brought it up on her own, without any prompting.
Of all the incredible things. Next, she'd be walking around at night
unaccompanied, and smoking a pipe. "What about it?"

And then Tokio, a woman of immaculately-trained poise and ladylike
refinement did something her husband had never seen. She squirmed. "Ah,
you see..."

She -really- wanted to ask. The curiosity was getting to her so badly
that Tokio, his Tokio, was fidgeting, squeezing her hands in her lap,
blinking repeatedly, causing a furious wrinkle to appear between her
eyebrows from concentration.

"Spit it out, Tokio. I don't have all damn day."

Tokio winced in response, but seemed jolted into action by her husband's
words. "That blanket, teishu, there's a woman's name on it."

"Is that so?" Saitou tore his gaze away from his wife and pretended to
return to writing. Now, he had only to ignore her, and she'd surely push
the issue further.

"Hajime," Tokio said after a good bit of internal struggle. Her husband
felt his ear twitch. Her tone was so utterly dark, completely despondent.
That wasn't supposed to happen. "Do you love me, anymore?"

What the hell? Where did -that- come from?

He didn't think she's overreact -this- much. Well, maybe he -had- been
spending a bit more time than usual at the office. And keeping an eye on
the Battousai and all his little miscreant friends had been forcing a bit
of preoccupation on the old wolf. But, he never thought she'd get -this-
upset over one little blanket.

Still, there was no need to reward her for her ridiculous doubts. No,
there would be no reason to spoil the woman. The game would continue. He
just needed to change the plan a bit.

"Come here."

As instructed, Tokio stood up and entered the room, dragging that filthy
blanket behind her like some sort of lost little child. Alright, the
image was a bit endearing, but not enough to make him crack. Saitou's
wife kneeled down beside his low desk, and proceeded to stare at her
hands, and the corner of blanket within them.

"Now tell me, Tokio," Saitou said, placing his paintbrush astride his
paperwork, "What makes you think I ever loved you in the first place?"

Tokio couldn't have looked more shocked if her husband had reeled back and
slapped her. She opened and closed her mouth several times, once actually
producing a strangled squeak. Saitou thought for sure she'd break down,
that she'd finally give up this ruse and say what she was actually
-thinking-. But, instead, Tokio only said, "Oh. I see."

But she said it just a little -too- indignantly, just a smidgen too

He was definitely going to win, this time. That timid exterior was just
itching to crack and reveal, at its core, what Saitou Hajime liked best.

"Is this woman," Tokio asked quietly, her fingers digging into her kimono
at her knees, bunching the material, "This Kamiya Kaoru to whom the
blanket she your illicit paramour?"

Saitou had to -literally- bite the inside of his cheek to keep from
breaking into a chuckle. Regrouping, he leaned towards his wife, catching
her chin with his fingers, forcing her to look at his face. "Illicit
paramour, Tokio? Now, let's not use sugary words. You're accusing me of
cheating on you. Can't you even say as much? No, you can't. You're
hardly even courageous enough to enter this room. So, go ahead, Tokio.
Ask me. Ask me bravely, and I will tell you. Ask me if I am fucking
someone besides you."

And at that point, Saitou Tokio snapped.

Her hand swung at her husband's face, rage shining in her eyes.

But, Tokio's slap was interrupted, caught by a callused hand, and pressed
forcibly to grinning lips.

Saitou won, and he knew it. And now it was time to claim his prize. He
pulled Tokio across the tatami by her wrist until she ended up with the
back of her head against his chest. Tokio struggled as best she could,
but it was of little use. There was no way she could physically overpower
her husband unless he let her do so. And he, unlike the Battousai, wasn't
the type of person to shrug off being struck by his woman.

"Be still," he growled menacingly into her ear, "Or, you'll hurt

As Tokio's body went limp with the realization that she wasn't
getting anywhere by trying fruitlessly to beat her husband, her head
rolled forward, casting escaped wisps of hair into her face. Darkly,
her voice now devoid of the humility and softness she tried to hard to
cultivate, Tokio replied, "You're a rogue. A terrible rogue. And I abhor
you. I absolutely abhor you, Yamaguchi-san."

She used his real name. She'd never, in his recollection, ever called him
that. Tokio wasn't just jealous, she was pissed.

"Curse at me, Tokio. I want to hear crude words spill from your lips. I
want you to defile yourself with rage and envy."

"I shan't..." Tokio whispered, her shoulders trembling. She had never
expected her husband to be faithful, or at least she attempted to delude
herself daily that she had no claim over his body, only over his heart.
It had always been her belief, however, that he would at least be kind
enough to keep such terrible truths from her. But, as she realized the
extent of her jealousy, she found herself overwhelmed. "Keep your whore,"
Tokio found herself hissing, "She can utter whatever filth makes you ache.
Use her roughly, if that is what delights you. I shall have no more of

"Would you leave me, Tokio?" His words rang in her ears as they both
became still.

That was what he wanted to know.

What would it take...for her loyalty to waver?

Immediately, Tokio's grim frown turned into a blank expression. He'd made
a miscalculation? Had the Wolf of Mibu actually made a mistake?
Certainly, he couldn't have wanted her to know that he
was...worried...that she might leave.


"I would never leave you, Hajime. Not for this, not for anything. The
shade of your shadow cools my face, the glint of sun upon your sword
brings light to my eyes. Even if you face another woman, I shall trail
behind you until your shadow becomes pitch...until the reflection from
your blade blinds my crying eyes."

She had always expressed herself with such flowery words, despite the fact
that her husband tended to be much gruffer with his manner of speaking.
But, at heart, they were the same.

Wolves in sheep's clothing.

"Are love with her, Hajime?" Tokio asked, tilting her head
against his chest to look up into his fiery eyes.

Saitou snorted derisively, "Now you're just being -absurd-, Tokio. I
already told you, I don't even love -you-."

But, she could tell from his wicked smirk that he didn't mean a word of

Beneath gathering storm clouds, the midday breeze floated through the
Fujita yard, catching at the hems of Tokio's light kimono as she put the
wash out to dry. She hadn't even stopped to put her hair back up after
her husband had pulled out all the pins, so it -too- swayed in the wind,
caressing the still rather flustered face of Saitou Tokio.

That had been...-quite- a romp.

And now, things were back as they should be in the Fujita household.
Tokio returned to her chores, and Hajime returned to his endless and
rather grueling pile of paperwork. Tokio made a habit of checking to see
how many cigarettes he'd smoked during any length of time in his office,
just to find out how agitated he might be on any given evening. But she
knew that there were always -far- fewer after any particularly vigorous
session of lovemaking.

A woman must do her best for the man she that the man she loves
can do his best for the country of Japan. This was the ideal that Saitou
Tokio kept close to her heart through years of war and peace, through
smiles and tears. This was why...they were perfect together.

Tokio raised the blanket on the pole to drape it over the clothesline.
He'd finally revealed to her exactly -how- he had procured it, long after
she'd come to be coated in a sheen of sweat and nestled in his arms. The
story of young love brought a small smile to Tokio's face, despite the
fact that the way -Hajime- told it contained a profuse amount of indignant
cursing and the continued repetition of the word "ahou".

Still, he'd wanted her to hear the story. She knew not if he wished for a
moment that he could have given her tenderness and innocence that Yahiko
and Tsubame had captured, or if he had just wanted to make her laugh.
Either way, she would hold the memory close until her dying days.

The breeze whipped at the blanket as Tokio left the yard to return inside
to make dinner. But, she stopped for a moment and couldn't help but
smile. The sound of the wind tossing the fabric this way and that,
pummeling it and letting it go, throwing it into exalted heights and then
releasing it to float downwards again...

Only Tokio knew the meaning...

That, truly...the blustery air of the gathering storm...

Delighted in ravishing a simple blanket.

Mishima Eiji took only the things he would need for his journey. Some
onigiri that Auntie Tokio had left out in the kitchen, the sturdy bokken
that Fujita-san had given him on the day he turned 13, and the 6 mon he'd
earned by chopping firewood all autumn for the elderly lady living next

What more did a -warrior- need?

Well, there -was- his brother's sword. But, Eiji figured he could leave
that in the hands of the Fujitas until he was ready to return. Return and
claim it -triumphantly-...

After he'd made a name for himself in the world at large.

But, what else did a man need for his journeys? Eiji
searched around the yard, half-moping, half-excited. Now was his time to
make his way into the world. Fujita-san and Auntie Tokio had cared for
him long enough, and he wanted no more than to be able to find a way to
repay them.

But, he certainly couldn't do it by chopping firewood.

Eiji came to a stop in front of the clothesline and looked up at the
blanket flapping in the wind.

A blanket. Sure! A man could make a tent out of a blanket, in a pinch,
or wrap his things up with it.

Eiji reached up and grabbed the corner of the blanket to tug it off the


Now he was ready...

For his journey into the world.

In Our Next Chapter: Mishima Eiji makes his way into the world, only
to be caught in a terrible storm. Who will save him...but a very kindred
spirit...Sagara Sanosuke. As the two share stories...Eiji gets his first
taste of sake.

Thanks to everyone for reading this story! I hope to see you again