Sentiments of gip-k: -I am sorry for all the errors. I replaced the all the "Tekoia" with "Tokio" so now everything should be fine. Thanks, all of you for informing me of the errors, and now I finally know that Saito's really first name is "Hajime" not "Saito". I am going according to the eastern way of first name then last name, rather than the Japanese last-name then first name. Also, "Enji" should be "Eiji". Again, I apologize for the errors!
Disclaimer:I don't own Rurouni Kenshin… but I wish I did… at least partially. T_T
(A/N:Do all of you remember those episodes when Kenshin first went to fight Shishio? Well, I do recall that he didn't actually get to fight Shishio, but instead fought Soujiro, but the battle was stalled thanks to the 18 year-old cracking Shishio's sword, and Kenshin's sword getting broken. Well, do you remember that little kid, Eiji? The one whose brother got killed? He wanted revenge, but Saito stopped him from moving forward to attack Shishio. Saito later adopted Eiji, and sent him to live with his wife. ^_^ Well, this story is starting from Tokio's house, and so to prevent any confusion, I've decided to remind all of you just who Eiji is, okay? All right, then, that works! ^_^ Now all of you can read without trouble.)
Tokio's mind was filled with frenzy. Her jaw was set, and her mouth formed a thin, grim line. She swept the floor of her small mountain home with outright ferocity, giving little care to the fact that she was thus causing large clouds of dust to appear in her kitchen before a light breeze would kick up and pull them out the open door. Tokio also ignored the fact that her boy whom her husband Hajime Saito had placed in her care, Eiji by name, was coughing and sneezing convulsively.
"Eeke! Tokio, must you sweep like that?" he asked. He sneezed. "It's making me sneeze."
"I've no time for such petty talk, Eiji! You're supposed to be outside working, anyhow," she scolded.
"I came in for a drink," Eiji replied, abashed. He continued in a quieter voice. "If it's not too impolite to ask, Tokio, what is it that's making you so upset?"
Eiji had not always been so bold and open with his foster mother, Tokio Saito. He had always called her "Miss Saito" for many weeks after he met her, and did nothing but work, work, and more work. He seemed to believe that he had to somehow deserve to be under her care, which of course was untrue, and irritated her. She cooked him plenty good meals, which helped put some meat on the thin boy's bones, and made sure that his bed was nice and soft. Also, when he woke up, shivering and crying in the eerie cool of the night, she smoothed his short, silky brown hair, and soothed him to sleep with soft words and lullabies. All of the sort of things any good mother would do. So Eiji in time became accustomed to his new life. He was a bright, charming little boy, and wonderful company. At first she had been quite angry and indifferent at her always-faraway husband for dumping the boy in her arms with little but a smile and a kiss and a "farewell" and "take care". She had wanted to thrash Hajime for that, but curse his smiles and kisses! She simply couldn't bring herself, too, only scold him lightly, and smile up at him, her face beaming moonshine! She hated him so, but loved him even more strongly. That selfish idiotic fool! Wait until she got her hands on him!
"You're muttering again, Tokio," Eiji said, sounding more than slightly embarrassed. "Is something wrong?"
"Why in the hell do you ask so many bloody questions?" Tokio asked, finally stopping her sweeping and setting the broom aside. Yet even despite her harsh reply, her hands were reaching up into the cabinet searching out a cup in which to pour Eiji a drink. While she worked, literally stalking around the tiny kitchen, she accidentally stepped on the tail of her lovely gray cat, which she had named "Miki." She cursed out, and barely got her slippered foot out of the way in time to escape a nasty scratch. It was Eiji who this time rushed to help the poor creature. He paid no heed to her reply. By now, he was quite used to them. While Eiji soothed the cat, Tokio poured him some goats' milk. She also knew he would probably be hungry, so she decided to set some leftover soup on the stove for him. All the while she was still thinking about Hajime. Curse that man! Running off like that, and not even bothering to ever come home. Curse him!
Eiji had set the cat down, and walked over to the table to gulp down his cup of milk.
"Thank you, Tokio," he replied politely after swallowing.
"Your welcome, Eiji," Tokio replied with a dismissive wave of her hand. "I also put soup on the stove, in case you should want some."
"Hai," Eiji replied. "I saw it. Thank you."
Tokio nodded curtly in reply, and then set to wiping everything down. She realized that she was quite a neat freak, especially concerning her kitchen. She did not tolerate one speckle of dirt, here. Eiji had the same mentality, though he did occasionally bring in the accidental tracks of dirt like any normal boy, but was otherwise exceptionally clean.
Then Tokio realized Eiji was staring at her with those dark eyes of his, and from the thoughtful look, obviously studying her, and turning over all of his observations in his mind. It used to make her feel utterly uncomfortable, but now she was used to it.
"What?" she snapped, still in a highly irritable mood.
"Ah, nothing," Eiji said, dropping his eyes.
Then Tokio realized… she was muttering again. She threw her rag to the ground angrily, and stamped her foot.
"That's it!" she said, startling both Eiji and the cat. "I am going down to Tokyo right this moment! I am going to kill that man!"
Of course, from all his observations, Eiji knew who "that man" was. It was the man who had adopted him- the man who allowed him to live in such a splendid, peaceful environment. That man's name was Hajime Saito. Also, Eiji was quite aware that she was serious. Once Tokio Saito decided on something, it was quite final. Eiji's eyes widened to their fullest capacity.
"Eeke! May I come, Tokio? Please?" he asked.
Tokio was filled with a wave of sympathy for a moment at the boy's pleading expression, eyes wide and full of life, teeth sinking into his upper lip in anticipation, and small hands clutching the edge of the table.
"Gomen nasai, Eiji," she said truthfully. "I cannot take you along, boy."
His face fell down so low that Tokio thought she might begin to weep. But she squashed down that emotion.
"Hai, I knew you'd say that," Eiji replied dolefully. "I suppose I have to take care of the farm."
Dear Kami, the farm!Tokio thought for the first time. I'd totally forgotten!
"Yes, of course you do," she said sternly. "Who else would take care of the farm for me? No, boy, you must stay behind. I will bring Mr. Saito home to see you, I swear that unto you."
Eiji nodded numbly, and with a sullen "yes ma'am" began to head outside to finish his work. Then he turned to Tokio. And with eyes filled with emotion, he approached her quickly, and embraced her tightly, lingering with his arms around her. She patted his back lightly, preparing to scold him teasingly when he spoke.
"I love you, Tokio," he said. He let her go but still kept hold of her arms. "Please come home soon."
Tokio was awestruck by this sudden show of affection, and gazed at him, love blooming in her heart like a rose. She freed one of her arms, and sifted fingers through his hair gently, then planted a kiss on his forehead.
"I promise," she said firmly. She sniffled. There was no way she would begin to cry! She rubbed at her eyes, pretending that something had somehow become lodged in them. "Now you go on and get to work, now!" Eiji lingered behind. "Go before I swat your hide!" she repeated in a slightly unsteady voice.
He grinned at her, a beautiful, wonderful curve of his mouth, and then ran out the door.
Tokio sighed to herself. He was a boy of twelve years of age, small for his age, but strong. She was certain he could take care of things while she was gone. Miki would keep him company, and there were neighbors just a few kilometers away who would be more than glad to help if he needed it.
Tokio headed down to her room to pack up her belongings. She took a small pan, a bag of rice, knives, and some darts. All the rest of her food she could gain by hunting, and by picking vegetables and fruits- it was the perfect season for such. She took some numbing poison for the darts along…essential for hunting. Then she, at the last moment, added a small pack of tofu, an excellent thing to take along for a trip.
Finally, Tokio assembled everything together, careful to pack lightly. After all, the only place she needed to get was down to the train station. She reached up into a hidden compartment in the wall above her futon, and then got her money, the one that Hajime provided her each and every year. It was great help, though she made ample money from selling produce at the farm. Then she took the needed yen for the fare- so expensive, were these western "trains!" Then, Tokio dressed into clothes more suitable for travel. They were made of wool, dyed in greens and grays. Finally, she tied her old straw hat on her head, scrawled a quick note for Eiji to show her neighbors, and then slung the only slightly heavy sack over her shoulder. Then, she took a deep breath, set her mind firmly on the task at hand, and then headed out the door.
"Farewell, Tokio!" Eiji called, waving his arm high above his head to her. "Please be careful!"
"Farewell, Eiji!" Tokio said. She snorted in a very unladylike manner. "Nonsense, boy! I'm mountain-bred, in case you don't recall," finally, she gave him a smile. "You take care of yourself, and my farm, you hear? If I come back and things are in disarray, then I'll skin your hide!"
Eiji looked embarrassed, and muttered something she couldn't catch from so far away, but he looked fairly cheerful. Tokio almost considered taking him now, at the last moment, but she decided against it. She certainly didn't want her "friendly neighbors" taking care of her farm, and if she took Eiji, she'd have to take Miki, for Miki seemed for some reason to hate those neighbors. Also, Eiji was beyond most of his nightmares, now. He would be fine by himself.
Finally, with a last glance back at the house, and her adopted son, she headed down the steep mountain slope, which she'd long since mastered traveling on. Oh yes…she would find that man! And he would certainly be in deep trouble…really deep.
* * *
The train screeched to a stop with a slight jolt, thoroughly shaking its passengers. Tokio's face twisted into an ugly snarl and she muttered something to herself under her breath about the trains. Finally, after the conductor said that all passengers could get off, she straightened her hat on her head, and hefted her sack over her shoulder. A man offered to help her down the train- help that was welcome. When she stepped out of the train, she stood still for a moment, completely and totally speechless at the sights before her.
The city was full of people! So many of them, there were! She had never thought she'd seen so many people, or heard quite so much noise ever in her life. The air was much less fresh than the mountain air she was used to, but it was very easy to breathe in such low altitudes. The air also carried a distinctive smell… the smell of food, factory smoke, and simply the smell of people. The smell of nature was somewhere in the background. However strange this place was, Tokio liked it instantly. She liked the busyness, and liked the sights and scents of city life even more. It was so exciting!
Finally, Tokio decided that she had done enough dawdling around. She finally begun to walk, and was a bit irritated at how slowly she was being forced to move, but she supposed that was expected in a big city.
In truth, Tokio did not exactly blend in, with her straw hat, and out-town type of clothing. But she felt as if she belonged here. This was where her husband was, and she knew he was just around here somewhere, if she could manage to simply find him!
Tokio's sharp eyes fixated on a man driving an elegant looking black carriage. She ran as fast as her legs could take her, clamping her hat down on her head with one hand.
"Wait, wait!" she called.
The man stopped the carriage, and looked back at her quizzically. She finally made it up to him, huffing and puffing.
"Where are you taking this carriage to?" she asked, still breathless from her run.
The man blinked at her, and his mouth was agape. What in the planet was he staring at?
"Pardon me?" she asked bitingly.
The man gave a start, and put a nervous, crooked smile on his face.
"Umm… I'm going down to the Kamiya Dojo to deliver a message-"
"And where is that?" she demanded eagerly.
"Down a little way down that street-" he began, pointing with his finger. He happened to point in a direction that was exactly where Tokio was headed. She climbed into the carriage- stupid thing so high off the ground! -And set herself down, arranging her belongings carefully. The man gave a start.
"Ah, that is precisely where I need to go," she said. "I'll tell you when to stop. Drive!"
The man looked even more startled, but then at last his face broke into a grin, and he proudly started up the horses with an emphatic "yah!" and they started going down the street.
Tokio's eyes hungrily took in all of scenery around her. The people selling meet in the marketplace, the boys giving out papers, and the beautiful women with lovely kimonos and parasols walking through the city as though they had not a care in the world. Finally, she thought she saw someone who could help her… a tall man in a white coat, someone who her husband had told her of in some of the few letters that he ever sent.
"Stop!" Tokio shouted.
The man pulled on the reins Tokio gave him a quick word of thanks jumped down off the carriage, leaving the driver blinking and staring after her in disbelief.
She ran after the man- idiot! Why the hell did he have to walk so fast with those long legs of his? -As quickly as she could, holding up her longish robes and leaping over things just to catch up with his "walk".
"Hey you!" she called out to him once she was in distance.
The man turned around, stopping at last. When she was sure she had his attention, she spoke, staring up at him with fierce eyes.
"I would like to know… where is Hajime Saito?" she demanded.
Then she waited for his answer.
gip-k'sPost Chapter Statements: -So… do you like? What do you think of Tokio's character? I'm thinking that I subconsciously took too much from Chi-Chi (the wife of the character Goku from Dragon Ball Z). There may be a little Kaoru and Misao to her character, but I'd say she's mostly Chi-Chi. Wild tempered, hot headed, and fiercely loving. ^_^ Strong, too!
(Oh, and now I suddenly realize! She's a good deal like Nyneave al'Meara, too! You know, from the Wheel of Time Series? :XD No, I won't explain what that is now.)