This story takes place before 'To Be Free'.  You should read that as well if you want to fully understand what happened in this fic.  All characters belong to Rurouni Kenshin. 

Warning:  This story has torture, bondage, and implied rape.

Many thanks to EEevee, ek-Kaoru, and SailorEarth13 for all their help.

To Be Chained

By Maria Cline

Snow fell as a tall man stared out of the window.  Enishi sighed as he held the sake cup in his hand.  "I hate snow.  Every time it snows, I think about my sister.  She was a good woman.  All my life, she took care of me and she had such a lovely smile.  When her fiancé died, she just stopped smiling at all.  I hated him for what he did to her and to me.  At least, I used to hate him.  I don't know anymore.  This is the first time I told this to anyone.  You were the first one I met that actually cared about him.  You are his only hope.  It all began, over ten years ago."

*****

He had him.  He had his sister's murderer in his clutches.  Yukishiro Enishi clasped the shackles around his newest slave's wrists and behind him.  "You are mine now, my little slave." Ensihi nearly giggled as he got out a collar and buckled it around the demon's slender neck.  He did admit that he towered over the much smaller man.  Of course, height had always ran in the family.  He got out his knife and cut off the slave's topknot.  "You won't need this." He said as he held the long hair in his hand.

"You are right, Enishi-san." His slave said as he bowed.  Enishi slammed his fist into the man's stomach and he moaned in pain.

"Who gave you permission to speak?!  You will speak only when I allow it and call me 'Master'.  Got it?!"

The smaller man bowed his head down in acceptance. 

"Good.  We will go down to Shanghai and we can get you started on your new life." Enishi tugged at the leash.  "Come along, demon.  Yes, you are my little demon now." He chuckled as he yanked on his leash hard and nearly choked him.  The group walked toward the docks and Enishi kept his hold on his prisoner's leash.  The boat moved out into the sea and Enishi looked at his possession.  Kenshin was just staring out over the sea with no emotion.

"Slave!" Ensihi barked as he pulled at the leash.  "Look at this." He held out the sword and pulled it out of the sheath.  The white haired man gasped to see the blade on the wrong side.  "What is this?"

"It was a reverse-blade sword, Master." The slave answered.

Enishi scowled and punched the smaller man again in the head.  "Do not speak to me without my permission!" He yelled as he grabbed the slave's collar and shook it. 

The man moaned and nodded once.  The master sheathed the sword and stared at it.  "I do not understand this but say goodbye to this sword." He announced as he flung it as hard as he could.  Kenshin cried out as he watched his beloved sword sank below the waves.  He had just got the sword and he had grown used to it.  Now, the sword was gone like his life as a fighter. 

"No slave can hold a sword or any other weapon." Enishi mandated as he tugged at the leash with every word.  "You will obey my every command and I might actually let you live.  I own you for the crimes you had committed and the lives you had taken away." He fingered Kenshin's scar, paying strict attention to the horizontal one.  "Yes, for my sister, you will pay."

Kenshin closed his eyes and bowed his head. 

"Now, we can go to your new home and train you." Enishi said as he yanked at the leash. 

*****

For three years, all he could think about was getting the Battousai for what he did.  The Battousai had killed countless people and made everyone suffer, especially his sister.  He gazed up at his sister who was staring at him.  "Neesan, I will make you smile again." He vowed as he adjusted his shirt and walked out and toward his torturing chambers. 

It was the typical dark damp cave he created for his prisoners.  His main torturer, Yuhui, bowed before him.  "Lord Enishi, the prisoner has been prepared for your personal punishment as you requested." He said stiffly.

"Good." Enishi nodded as he strode toward his prisoner.  He was stripped of his clothes and chained with his hands over his head.  His chains were attached to the ceiling and rigged so he can be turned around when ever Enishi liked.  His long bangs still covered his eyes but he can see everything else.  "Well, my pet, now I can have some fun.  Finally, I can have heavenly justice.  First, I must prepare you.  That 'X' on your face is a good enough marker for your face.  After all, my sister caused half of that 'X' but I want to leave my own personal mark."  He whispered as he cupped the slave's head with one hand.  Forcefully, he flung him around and stared at his back.  He reached to the side to the hammer and dyed needles.  "Now, the message."

Kenshin tensed and then pain screamed down his back.  It was as if every needle pierced his skin and burned it.  He turned his head as he screamed again.  However, he didn't beg to stop.  It was his punishment so he must cope with it. 

After what felt like forever, Enishi stopped and admired his work.  "I am done.  I had put the mark of 'sword demon' on your back to tell others about your sins.  No matter where you go, when people see the mark on your face and the mark on your back, they will know about the blood on your hands."

The smaller man's breathing became ragged as he struggled to control the searing pain.  He nodded and then fainted. 

"Damn it!  Don't go unconscious now!  I can't torture you while you're asleep!" Enishi ordered as he turned his prisoner around and slapped him hard on the face.

The prisoner gasped as he opened his eyes and then closed them again. 

Enishi was about to slap him again and then he saw Tomoe gazing at him pleading.  "Fine." He punched his prisoner in the head to make sure he's unconscious and then unlocked the chains on his wrists.  His prisoner slumped over and the mafia warlord grabbed more chains and buckled him in. 

*****

Kenshin opened his eyes to find that he was lying on his side.  He moaned at the pain on his back and his dry throat.  Just in front of him was a bowl of water.  Slowly, he tried to get up only to find that his hands were bounded behind his back and his ankles were shackled to his hands.  Mustering all of his strength, he nudged toward the bowl of water and stared at it.  Putting away what was left of his pride, he bowed his head down and lapped up the water like an animal.

"Good.  You are learning well." Enishi said as he came up and took the precious water away. 

Kenshin opened his mouth to protest when his master pounded his head.

"Don't open your mouth at me, slave!" He ordered as he splashed the water on his head.  "When I am through with you, you won't even want to talk.  She would want things to be quiet.  Yes, very quiet." Enishi recollected as he tapped the empty bowl.  He looked down at his slave who was staring at the ground.  What should he do with him next?  He could torment him physically but he was busy with business and he cannot avoid that.  "What should I do with you?  I can use you as target practice but you could fight back.  Freeing you is out of the question." He wondered as he put his hand on Kenshin's head and rubbed it.  "I got it!  You will be my new pet.  I can punish you whenever I feel like it and you look nice enough to match the furniture.  I better make arrangements.  You will sleep here."

Kenshin watched his master got up and walked away laughing.  He couldn't believe it.  Himura Kenshin the samurai had now become a pet?  How can things turn out so twisted?  On the other hand, wasn't he a slave before Hiko rescued him from the bandits?  He started out as a slave and he may end up dying as one.

*****

"A pet.  I had a vast assortment of exotic pets, pandas, cranes, several types of reptiles that could not be found somewhere else.  I did have servants and slaves but he was my first human pet." Enshi chuckled as he shook his head.  "He never complained about it.  In fact, he never complained about anything.  Most slaves would have been fighting hard just to maintain dignity, but not this one.  He just folded."

*****

A month passed as things settled down.  Enishi was in a meeting with some of his traders.  He was in his best suit and he was sitting in a western style chair.  "Yes, you may have some of my weapons for the rebellions." He said as he stroked his pet's head.  "It will cost you of course."

"Of course." The buyer said as he looked up.  He didn't know why but this weapons dealer made him nervous.  It could be his white hair, his strange dark glasses, or even his outfit, but what made the poor buyer the most nervous was a small man chained to a post wearing a leather mask dressed in a tunic with his hands bound behind him and his head on Enishi's lap.  He stared at the prisoner and then at Enishi. 

"Ignore my pet." Enishi said as he tugged at the leash.  "I'm still training him."
"Right." The buyer nodded as he got up.  "Thank you." He said as he glanced at the slave again and walked out.

"That man is so squeamish." Enishi laughed as he looked down at his pet and stroked his red hair.  So far, his slave had shown no signs of resistance or complaint.  He was far easier to break than his past prisoners, which was hard to believe since he was an assassin.  Many times, he tried to figure out why he was so easy but cannot think of any reason.  "I need to ask you something." He said as he ungagged his pet and kept the blindfold on.  "Why are you being so obedient?"

The slave bowed his head down and said in a soft voice, "You own this unworthy one.  Sessha owe Master for the lives of Master's sister and her beloved."

"Sessha?  This unworthy one?" Enishi repeated and then smirked.  "Nice, I like that.  You are showing real humility, my slave.  I can kill you any time I wish when I stop having fun with you.  I like this control over your existence.  When you suffer enough, my sister will smile for me again." Enishi sighed as he patted his slave's head again.  "Tell me, have you ever thought about all the lives you stepped on or the lives you ruined?"

"Sessha thinks about it all the time, Master." The slave whispered. "Sessha has nightmares about what this unworthy one had done."

"Yes, and you must not stop.  I will punish you for those who are not in this world." Enishi laughed again as he wrapped his arm around his slave's neck. 

*****

Enishi took a deep breath as he took another sip of sake.  "Strange, this sake seems to get better with every sip.  Anyway, that was the first time I learned of his guilt.  I didn't know of his guilt, I thought it was just an act when I first took him just to save his own hide.  When he told me about his guilt, I just didn't know if I should believe him or not." He glanced at the figure across from him sitting next to the fireplace.  The figure looked up at him.

"Keep talking."

"After that time, I kept my eye on him.  He fascinated me to a degree.  I had to know what he thinks and why did he kill my sister, his wife?  I couldn't just ask him.  So, I kept him around and played with him so to speak."

"You meant torture."

"That too."

*****

Enishi laughed as he normally did as he raised his whip and struck his chained slave repeatedly.  His pet's flesh was marred with whip marks and scars from his previous fun times.  His pet screamed in agony as he tugged at his chains. 

"Yes.  That is music to my ears." Enishi sighed as he looked to the side to see Tomoe looking away and covering her eyes in sorrow.  "You didn't like that, Neesan?" He wondered as he stopped in his torments.  He couldn't help but wonder why his sister wouldn't smile at him yet.  It had been six months since he had gotten his slave and so far, Tomoe had not smiled.  In fact, she seemed sadder than before.  "Maybe, I should give him a different torment." Enishi pondered as he undid the chains and studied his wounds.  "Are you in great pain, my slave?"

The slave nodded. 

"Odd, that should have pleased her.  We'll try something else." He picked up his slave and took him to the healer who was waiting.  "Here, fix him up so I can torture him some more."

The healer, Dawei, bowed as he examined the slave.  "Yes, Lord Enishi." He sighed as he started cleaning the wounds.  "Most tormentors just leave the wounds unclean to allow infection."

"I want to have fun with him and I can't have fun with a dead man." Enishi reasoned as he sat in the corner. 

"Very well." Dawei sighed as he bandaged the wounds.  "May I say that you have been spending too much time playing with your new 'pet'?  You were just so focused before you got this one."

"He is the reason I am who I am today." Enishi said as he glared at the slave.  "The reason I wanted to become strong and powerful was so I can have my heavenly justice.  Now, I have what I had been praying for.  Now, I will make my sister smile from the heavens and have this demon pay for his crimes.  Isn't that right, my pet?"

The slave nodded once.

"Just be careful not to die." Dawei said, "There are those who want your riches and your head."

"You worry too much, old man." Enishi scoffed as he took the newly bandaged slave and put him back in his chains.  "Now, I must go.  Thank you.  Come, slave." He bowed and then walked off with his slave in tow.

*****

Enishi took another sip of sake.  "I should have listened to that old man's advice.  I didn't really plan what to do after I got my revenge.  Everything I did after my sister's death until he walked into my arms was just to get my revenge.  A man cannot leave his past behind so easily, as I learned.  I didn't care about my organization; all I cared about was my new pet."

"I wish you wouldn't call him a 'pet'." The figure growled as he poured more sake.  "Even he deserved some respect."

"Force of habit." Enishi muttered as he took another swig. 

*****

Snow started to fall as Enishi walked through the cold house.  Winter had come and all of the fires were lit up to warm the place.    The tall man strolled outside through the snow to see his pet's shack.  The moon had risen and he wasn't tired. 

"Neesan, it had been over six months since I got him, when will you smile for me?" Enishi wondered as he watched snow glistened off of the moonlight.  Then, it dawned on him.  It made perfect sense, he will just kill off one of his slave's brothers or sisters and then he will feel Enishi's pain. 

"Oh, slave." Enishi said as he opened the door to see his slave shivering.  The slave was dressed in a shirt and pants but his skin was pale and his chains were rattling.  He noticed the blanket was lying to the corner out of the slave's very limited reach.  "Damn lackeys." He muttered as he picked up the blanket and flung it over his slave.

Kenshin woke up and saw the blanket over his thin form.  He gazed up silently and Enishi hunched down.  
"I will not let you freeze to death, my pet." Enishi said firmly as he crossed his arms.  "I need to know, where is your family?"

Kenshin looked down and replied, "Sessha has no family."

The man frowned.  Like always, his slave was telling the truth.  "What about friends?"

"No friends."

"Who raised you?" Enishi asked finally, "Someone must have taken care of you after your family died."

"Sessha ran away from his sensei when this unworthy one joined the Bakumatsu.  His name is Hiko but Sessha doubt you can catch him.  He is much stronger than Sessha and he hates Sessha's guts." Kenshin explained.

Enishi held his head as he took a deep breath.  Obviously, he couldn't hurt his slave's friends and family since they were dead and his sensei was far stronger than his slave and he didn't want to fight someone like that.  "Well, looks like I can't use anyone to hurt you." He muttered as he opened the door.

"Master?" Kenshin spoke up bravely and then waited for a beating.

Enishi just turned and said, "What?"

"Sessha was wondering if Master had any family of his own besides Tomoe-san." The slave whispered meekly.

"Just a father but he never liked me.  He blamed me for killing my mother when I was born." Enishi said calmly, "He's probably dead by now; I don't know." He came up and slammed his fist into Kenshin's head.  "Don't speak about this to anyone."

The slave bowed his head and tried to get the blanket as close to his shivering body as he could.

"Good." The man walked out of the shed and locked the door. 

*****

Months flew by and spring came and went.  Enishi was catching up on his paperwork, looking up various weapons, the hit lists, and lunch orders.  "How can all this just pile up?" He wondered out loud.  "Maybe I am being distracted." He sighed as he looked at his pet who was cleaning.  Kenshin had started getting weak from being chained up constantly so he put his wrists in manacles and attached them to the front of the waist and gave it some slack. He still wore manacles around his ankles to prevent any hope from escape as well a gag. 

The slave just shrugged and kept on sweeping.

"Of course." The man sighed as he continued working on his paperwork.

"Lord Enishi!" Ren said as he came in and bowed.  "Sir, the weapons had been vandalized!"

"Again?" Enishi got up and put away his papers.  "Not even a warlord can get some peace and quiet around here.  Stay here." He ordered his pet and ran out.

Ren chuckled as he watched his boss left and then he looked at the slave.  "Now, we are alone." He said as he undid the gag and then got the leash.  "You know what to do, little demon slave."

The man sighed as he bowed his head and went onto his knees.

*****

Enishi was not in the best of moods as he came back into his office.  While he was going to the weapons storehouse, he had left his reading glasses back in his office.  He paused as he heard moans from the office. 

"Yes, keep it coming."

The man reached behind his back and got out his sword.  He opened the door to see his slave and Ren in a very awkward position.  The slave's eyes widened as he pulled away as fast as he could and curled up.

"What are you doing to my pet?" Enishi growled as he picked up Ren and held him by the throat. 

"Just having some fun." Ren said as he pulled up his pants.  "I mean, you wanted him to be punished for all the crimes he did."

"By my hands and by mine alone." Enishi grabbed his blade and stabbed the man in the chest causing blood to spew everywhere.  "And now I made a mess." He sighed as he looked down at Kenshin who was shivering.  Calmly, he knelt down, gagged Kenshin again, and then bashed his slave in the jaw.  "Don't obey anyone's orders except mine!  Clean up this mess now!" He yelled as he got up. 

His slave bowed as low as he could and then started to get rid of the body. 

*****

"That is sick." The figure said as he stared at his sake.  "You punished a slave for following orders he didn't even want to follow?"

"It was a good idea at the time." Enishi sighed as he watched the snow fell again.  "I threatened to kill any person who dared hurt him or worse.  I made that clear to my lackeys.  I kept him with me at all times just to make sure he was not hurt by anyone but me.  Unfortunately, not even I can keep him with me all the time."

*****

Enishi lay in his bed as he stared out at the ceiling.  Tomorrow, it would have been two years since he had first taken his pet. 
"Oh, Lord Enishi, don't you want to play with us some more?"  Tun said as she and her twin sister Jun laid by him naked under the sheets.

"I suppose." The man replied sounding bored.  Tun and Jun were a set of twins that always did work together.  They were fun for him to use when he was feeling frustrated. 

Tun nuzzled Enishi's neck and whispered, "We can have that slave of yours join in the fun.  After all, everything is best by twos."

"No." The man scowled at her. 

"Why not?" Jun whispered as she drew circles on Enishi's bare chest.  "You seem pretty fond of that redhead.  You know about what they say about slaves and masters."

The man grabbed her wrist and held it.  If it weren't for the fact she reminded him so much of Tomoe, he would have killed her.  "I don't have feelings for my pet.  He is my sister's murderer and a demon.  I can never like someone like that."

"Then, why don't you have him join us?" Jun said as she twirled her long black hair.  "It might be torture for him."

"I… just can't." Enishi blushed as he looked away.  He couldn't understand it.  Why was he so hesitant to torture his prisoner like he used to?  Could it be that he was feeling sorry for his pet?  He shook his head.  /No!  I can't be feeling sorry for him!  He's my prisoner!  He is a monster!  He is my sister's murderer and I cannot forgive him for that!/  "Excuse me for a moment." Enishi ordered as he put on a bathrobe and marched downstairs and into the shed where his pet was chained up.  He was sitting up against the wall as usual with his leash attached to a pole and his hands bound in front of him.  His pet opened his eyes and looked at him.  The gangster gasped as he saw rips in his pants that he knew was not there before and a strange odor.  "They used you again." He growled as his slave closed his eyes and Enishi punched him in the gut.  "I am your enemy.  I own you and I will never forgive you.  You will not obey anyone else but your master." He said firmly as he kicked him again.

His slave just nodded after the blows stopped. 

Enishi took a deep breath and walked away.  For some strange reason, that didn't feel as good as it had before.

*****

Enishi rubbed his temples as he downed another cup of sake.  "I didn't understand how I could feel somewhat fond of him.  I hated him, I dedicated years toward my revenge.  How could I start getting soft on him?  That was when I had to remind myself why I hated him and there was only one place we could go.  Kyoto."

*****

The ship sailed through the seas as Enishi watched out over the side.  He had not seen Japan in five years.  China had been his home and he loved it there but a part of him did long to see his home country.  He glanced at his pet standing beside him in his usual bonds.  "You will not try to escape once we get there, correct?  You won't try to attract any attention from one of your old comrades because if you do, I will kill them." Enishi asked as he tugged at the leash.

"No, Master."

"Good, pet." The man reached down and patted him on the head.  "Now, I remembered Tomoe had a journal.  Where is it?"

The slave looked down and then replied, "Sessha put it in one of the old shrines in Kyoto, Master.  This unworthy one believes it was in the Mibu Temple."

"The Mibu Temple?" Enishi repeated dumbfounded, "But weren't the Shinsengumi's base near the Mibu Temple?"

"Sessha… believed it was the best place to put it." The slave said as he tried to avoid his gaze. 

"Okay, well, we'll go to the Mibu Village for a while." Enishi nodded as he picked up a cup of wine and sipped it.  He stared at his slave who was staring out over the ocean.  He will have to make sure the slave would not recognized.  The Imperialists had been gaining power and stability in the government.  If he were caught with the Battousai as his slave, he might be killed or worse.  After several weeks, the ship docked in Osaka and the two went out of the ship.  The slave was wearing his manacles, leash, and a huge hood over his head and a bandage over his cheek to hide the scar.  Enishi studied him carefully.  With his face covered and his small height, no one would know this man used to be the Hitokiri Battousai.  From under his hood, the slave looked up at Enishi and the man's heart froze at the look of sorrow. 

"Stop looking at me like that." The man growled as he picked up the smaller man by the collar.

The slave stared down and bowed his head. 

"Good."

They took a carriage toward Kyoto and rode it as Enishi stared out of the window and watched the countryside fly by.  After several hours, they ended up in Kyoto just a few miles away from the Mibu Village.

"I can't take you with me; I can't risk anyone seeing you." Enishi whispered as he led his slave out of the carriage and into an inn.  It was a nice looking in and a young woman came up from the desk. 

She was a cute looking girl wearing a kimono and she smiled.  "Welcome to the Iruya.  I'm Sanni, how may I help you?"

"I need a room for a while." Enishi said as he looked down at the girl.  "And a secure place to keep my slave over here."

"Oh…" Sanni looked up and said, "Okay, come this way." Sanni led the two upstairs and they came to a nice looking room. 

"Good." Enishi handed the girl a bag of money.  "And I will give you a good tip if you keep this a secret.  I don't want anyone breaking in and stealing my slave while I'm away."

"Hai!  Your possessions are safe with us!" The girl bowed as she accepted the money.  She ran off and Enishi looked back at his pet. 

"I will go and get the journal." Enishi explained as he got out the manacles and tightened his slave's bonds.  "I don't want you to go anywhere or attract any attention." He said as he gagged his pet.  His slave nodded once and then Enishi carried him to the closet.  Enishi sighed as he closed the door behind him and walked out of the room.  As he walked away, he could not help but realize how light he seemed.

"Now, to find that journal and my answers." Enishi said to himself as he walked out of the room and then out of the inn.

He walked down the road, cautious of anyone seeing him and recognizing him.  A part of him wondered if any of the merchants had seen and remembered his sister.  Another part of him wondered how much had changed over the years.  He passed a gravestone and stared at it.  Something about it seemed familiar, he didn't know what, it was small and had no name.  Yet, it felt special.  "Forget it." Enishi turned around and headed toward the Mibu Temple.

The walk toward the Mibu Temple was quick.  After only a couple of hours, Enishi approached the temple.  It was a modest looking temple that had seen better days.  It didn't get the support it needed since it supported the Shinsengumi.  The young man entered the temple and a monk came forward.

"Greetings, how may I help you?" The monk asked politely.

"I'm looking for a book, a journal left here about six years ago." Enishi said firmly, "The man who dropped it off was small, have a cross shaped scar, and red hair."

"Ah…" The monk nodded, "I know who you are talking about.  He was a troubled soul, a heavy heart.  Let me get you the book." He walked behind a wall and came out holding a small journal.  "Here it is."

"Thank you." Enishi said as he took the journal and flipped through it.  His eyes widened because journal still smelled like plum blossoms despite all the time passed.  A tear came down his cheek as he thought of the days he would watch his sister write in her journal.  She would never let him read it of course.  Instead she just smiled at him.  His hands shook as he flipped through the pages looking for the last entries.  Finally, he saw the last written page and that was when he gasped.

*****

Enishi laughed bitterly as he reached into his shirt and held out the journal.  "I have read this many times on the way back and during my travels.  It has never stopped shocking me with that last phrase." He opened the journal and read, "Enishi visited and reminded me of my mission.  I knew I had to weaken him but I cannot.  He is so nice when he is not killing people, forgive me, Akira, I have given my love to him.  I loved you, Akira, I always will, but your killer has helped eased the pain in my heart and granted me my second happiness."

"Poetic." The figure mused.

"She loved him." Enishi whispered as his grip tightened.  "I thought she had lost her mind but I read the journal many times and she actually fell for him.  How could she fall for an assassin; the same man who killed her fiancé?  In the final entries, she spoke about how she could not ask for revenge for what happened.  She actually forgave him before she died.  I just didn't know what my sister wanted now.  Did she really want revenge for her death?  I just didn't know what to do with him."

"You could have set him free."

"I thought about it… but I never had the courage to do that." Enish sighed as he put the journal away.

*****

Enishi wandered back to the inn and sat on the bench.  He read the journal again, especially the last entry.  How could she actually love him?  He was an assassin, a murderer, and he was the one who took away her happiness.

He climbed the stairs and into his room.  He quickly put away the journal in his jacket and opened the closet to see his slave sleeping peacefully despite his position.  "What should I do with you?" He wondered as he gently picked him up and undid a few of the chains.

The slave opened his eyes and quickly closed them preparing for a beating.  At that moment, Enishi saw how vulnerable the slave was after all he did to him.  "I won't hit you." He said as he put his hand on the slave's head and patted it.  After a moment, he ungagged him and sighed.

"Master?" The slave whispered.

Enishi opened his mouth and then stared at him.  "It is nothing." He said as he looked away and sat down onto the futon.  He should free him now while they were in Japan or at least put him somewhere safe.  Yet, he couldn't.  He didn't want to part with this man.  If he let him go, he will never see his slave again, much like he would never see that backwards sword in his lifetime. 

Months passed after the two returned to China.  Kenshin never asked about the journal or what he thought about it.  Enishi had beaten him up less often, gave him somewhat better food and even stopped gagging him every minute of the day.  Still, he never called him by his name or let him out of his sight.  Every night, the urge to set the slave free grew stronger but he just couldn't.  He was lonely in his grand house; everyone around him wanted him for his wealth or was afraid to death of him.  Kenshin was as loyal as a dog to him despite his torments, or it could be because of them.  If he let him go, he will be alone again, and he cannot handle it.

It had been three years since Kenshin had wandered into his life and was chained hand and foot because of it.  He hated to admit it but he actually liked the runt.  One day, he watched his slave polishing the silverware and he asked, "Hey, slave, I have a question for you." He came up.

"Yes, Master?" Kenshin asked as he put away the silverware.

"Why didn't you try to escape?" Enishi asked, "I want to know the truth.  You could just run away any time you wish.  You could have found some way to free yourself."

Kenshin looked down and replied, "Tomoe would want Sessha to stay and serve you, Master."

"What?" Enishi repeated stunned, "I don't believe that."

"It is true, you were suffering because of this unworthy one's mistake so Sessha will stay and ease your suffering." Kenshin explained, "Is that wrong, Master?"

The man sighed as he put his hand on his head.  "No, not at all." He walked away and sat down in the gardens.  "Neesan, you are right, he is too kind." He finally admitted as he buried his head into his hands.  Tomoe appeared before him and placed a transparent hand over his shoulder.

A shot came out of nowhere and Enishi felt pain in his shoulder.  His instincts kicked in and he stood up to find himself surrounded by a group of thugs.  A few he recognized from his own gang and others were from his competitions.  "I see." He laughed as he reached behind his back and got out his sword.  "I thought that it might come to this."  There were fifty of them and only one of him.  He had been suspecting an overthrow lately but his mind had been on other things.  They stared at each other for a long moment until rain fell from the heavens.  The gang members attacked with their swords and the man pounced at them.  He was outnumbered but he was still 'The White Tiger'.  He was a master swordsman who had killed many times before.  Their swords slashed at his skin but he killed the attackers after he was cut. Blood splattered everywhere and mixed with the rain.

"I'm making it rain blood now." Enishi mused as he took a breath.  He looked up to see more gang members running at him.  His wounds were bleeding and his shoulder starts to hurt.  A horrible truth dawned on him, he could die.  He didn't mind death but he could not leave Kenshin alone.  With what remained of his strength, he ran towards his house and faced even more thugs.  Enishi looked behind to see the thugs there as well.  He was surrounded.

"Master!" Kenshin screamed as he opened the window.  "Save yourself, Master!  Sessha is not worth it!"

Thunder boomed as Enishi stared up at the window.  He was outnumbered and badly wounded.  If he tried to rescue Kenshin, he would die and he could not do that.  "You better not die, Battousai!  I will come back and get you!" He screamed at the top of his lungs as he ran away.  His sword stabbed and slashed at the thugs as he flees his home.  More people piled on him and he kept on killing them.  Finally, he reached a cliff overlooking the vast sea.  If he kept on fighting, he would die but if he jumped, he would still die but the odds look far better for him.

A wind stirred around him and he can hear his sister's voice whisper to him, "Jump."

That was all he needed.  He dropped his sword and said, "I will free you, Kenshin." Closing his eyes, he jumped off of the steep cliffs and vanished under the sea.

*****

"I floated for hours in the cold water." Enishi recollected, "Luckily, I was saved by a group of pirates.  They healed me and dropped me off in Japan.  I spent the next seven years searching for him.  I managed to learn that he had been resold to a man in Japan so I was hopeful that he would escape or that he was rescued by the government or even set free by some kind soul.  I followed every rumor I heard about either a timid slave or a bloodthirsty manslayer.  There were imposters who wanted his reputation for their own means.  I even met this kabuki player who called himself the 'Battousai'.  I never could find anything solid through.  I tried to contact the government but they didn't want to find him.  He had killed many people and the government didn't want him to reveal anything.  Then, I heard about you.  I knew that if anyone could save him, it would be you.  I admit I made a horrible mistake in taking him as my slave and torturing him like that and if there was anything I could have done differently, I would have done it.  Can you help me, Hiko-san?"

Hiko took a sip of sake as he stepped out of the shadows.  His long cape flowed around him as he smirked.  "When I first met him, I saved him from a band of bandits.  Now, it looks like I have to go and save him again."

The End