Hello. This one-shot songfic is inspired by and based on XD's "Yesterday's Shadow Is Tomorrow's Twilight", a highly recommended adventure story.  Similar to her warning, if you don't know Kenji, this might be spoiler. Shadow/Twilight assumes that the ending of the Seisou Hen has already happened. I don't exactly like Seisou Hen's way of ending things, but I will follow through with it here. Hope you like.  XD, this is my kudos for such a great story. Hope you like this, too.  ^^  

"Somewhere I Belong" by Linkin Park.

………………………..

It was one of those stormy nights. We had to keep walking and moving forward, despite the rain. We had to make our way to the nearest town. Another assignment, they told me.

I didn't really care about those assignments. They were an excuse for me to keep staying with them, an excuse not to go back home. They thought I was useful, so they let me stay with them, even if I'm just barely 16, and they're way older than me. They. Seta Soujirou and Yukishiro Enishi. A twosome from who knows where, working together as unofficial spies for the government. Everyone tells me they're two men with a terrible past. I didn't care. They didn't care about my past. I didn't ask questions; they didn't ask me questions. We were all fine with that. So I stayed with them. 

I guess, they were like me, and I must've known it, deep inside of me. They wanted to forget the past. They wanted to know who they were, exactly, for themselves, without anyone telling them. It was great, knowing that I wasn't the only one in the world feeling this way. My past does not shape my future! Don't take me for what I was before! Take me for what I am right now!  

(When this began)
I had nothing to say
And I get lost in the nothingness inside of me
(I was confused)
And I let it all out to find
That I'm not the only person with these things in mind
(Inside of me)

But nights like this, forced to trudge through slippery roads while soaked to the skin, I can't help but wonder. Why the heck am I here, with them, doing this?

"Keep your eyes on the road," I heard Yukishiro say from just behind me. I nodded, but I wasn't really listening. He was always like that, Yukishiro. Between the three of us Seta was the big brother, but Yukishiro was the aloof father. Always looking out for everybody, but denying that he does. Whatever. He never got too close to me, I don't know why. It's the hair, I think. But he did keep us away from unnecessary danger.  Just like a good father should.

Even here, my father haunted me. It's not even his ghost that does it. It's just him. Just the fact that he's, he's, he WAS, supposed to be, my father. Most days I just worry about my mother; if she's worrying about me, and taking it out on Yahiko-san. But there are nights, like this one, when I felt the most lonely, it's him I think about. Did he feel like this, too, when he was my age? Lonely? Alone? Empty?   

But all the vacancy the words revealed
Is the only real thing that I've got left to feel
(Nothing to lose)
Just stuck/ hollow and alone
And the fault is my own, and the fault is my own

"Himura-san! Watch where you're going!" I thought it was Seta calling me, but I was no longer sure. The rain poured down hard. I only saw a foot away from my face. It was disorienting. The rain mixed with my tears. My ears filled with my annoying father's voice, carried by the wind. I wanted to call out, but the rain was so loud, and Yukishiro and Seta, they were…………they were…………

"HIMURA-SAN!"

I felt the ground slip and give way under me. Before I knew what was happening, I was falling through air, falling fast and falling far. I thought I heard someone screaming above me, and I thought I saw someone growl then jump after me. I thought. I wasn't sure. A lot of things just didn't make sense that story night. 

After many, many seconds, I hit water. A powerful current, I felt it. It sucked me in and pulled me down, deep into the water. I didn't get a chance to cry out. I just felt myself surrounded by darkness, a darkness I couldn't use to breath with.

I heard shouts again above me. Himura. Himura. Answer, you fool. Himura.

Himura. Always Himura. Never Kenji. Even as I die I have to carry his name. Annoying. VERY annoying. Is that all I would ever be? Nothing more? Will I always just be his son?

I've had enough. I'll just let the dark waters fill me, and take me far away from this life. Far away from my father. 

I wanna heal, I wanna feel what I thought was never real
I wanna let go of the pain I've held so long
(Erase all the pain till it's gone)
I wanna heal, I wanna feel like I'm close to something real
I wanna find something I've wanted all along
Somewhere I belong

I hit something hard. I don't know what it did to me, but everything turned really dark. It's just dark now, absolutely dark. No water, no Seta, no Yukishiro, and no father.

I spoke too soon. It's him again. My father. His voice resonating in the darkness. 

Sorry, Kenji. I did not want to leave you all this way. I apologize for not being the father I should have been to you.

It's too late to apologize, father! You're gone, you're gone! So get out of my life! Get out!    

I'm miles away from the city, miles away from home, and miles away from HIM.  And yet, his memory haunts me, fills me, consumes me. He is the reason why I have run away. I wanted to run away from everything about him. I wanted to escape from everything that is him: his wife, his friends, his enemies, his persona, his being! But no matter where I go, no matter where I turn, I see him, and I am back where I started. 

And I've got nothing to say
I can't believe I didn't fall right down on my face
(I was confused)
Looking everywhere only to find
That it's not the way I had imagined it all in my mind
(So what am I)

People only know me as the son of Himura Kenshin, the unsung hero of the Bakumatsu, the dreaded Hitokiri Battousai. Whatever. People always said I looked like him, especially with my conspicuous red hair. They always said I inherited his skills at using the sword. They always hoped I would be as nice and gentle-hearted as he was. Always him, him, him! It was as if the world revolved around this small man who happened to be my father. They never saw me as me. Never in their life did they see Kenji. They only saw Himura's son.

It was even worse when they buried my father. They all expected me to be really sad. The world had lost a good man and a skilled swordsman, they said. Japan would not be what it was today without him, they said. He will be missed as a good friend, a good husband, and a good father. Oh, sure. This much I know. He was NOT a good father.  The rest of the things they said – were they talking about the same person I knew as my father?  

All I knew about him was second-hand information. My father did not tell stories of the war like the fathers of the other children did. He never told me about himself. I did not know what he was to me, I frankly did not know. I never saw anything of the terrible fighter in him, what little I did see of my father. 

All the expectations! They all wanted me to inherit my mother's school. They wanted to be the best swordsman I could be. In short, they wanted me to BE Himura Kenshin. But I don't want to be my father! I want to be my own man! Why is that so hard to understand?!


What do I have but negativity
'Cause I can't justify the way, everyone is looking at me
(Nothing to lose)
Nothing to gain/ hollow and alone
And the fault is my own, and the fault is my own


 

I don't know what I am. I don't know what I like, and what I don't like. I don't know much about things unrelated to kendo or kenjutsu. I only know what I've been taught, being groomed to be my father's successor. I guess, I should've put my foot down much earlier in life, and forced them to see Kenji, not a little Kenshin. But it's not too late.

I've met a few people who thought like me. They were mostly children of samurai, young people who wanted to make a name for themselves in the new age, unrestricted by restrictions and class. But since most of them were rich kids, they would not dare to go against their parents. Not like me. I had nothing to lose by running away.

So I did. I ran away.

I didn't know where I was going. I just wanted to get away, anywhere! I would think about how to fend for myself later. I just wanted to find out first how it felt to be just me. No mother, aunt, or uncle telling me about my father. Just me.

But I have been made to be my father for so long, that I don't know WHAT I am to be otherwise. Without that looming presence of Himura Kenshin in my life…………….what am I supposed to be? I guess, that's what this running away is about, but still. Sometimes I wish I knew where I was going.  

I wanna heal, I wanna feel what I thought was never real
I wanna let go of the pain I've held so long
(Erase all the pain till it's gone)
I wanna heal, I wanna feel like I'm close to something real
I wanna find something I've wanted all along
Somewhere I belong


I felt somebody take me out of something. The water, I thought it was. Someone had managed to lift me out of the water. Shucks. I wouldn't be allowed to die yet. But I did not want to be alive yet, either.

I felt somebody rub at my chest, with desperation. Breathe, you red-haired fool, the person pleaded. Get off my case, I wanted to tell him. Let me die. Only my mother will miss me, and I don't care if she does.

Unfortunately, the person can't be reasoned with. Fool, you will NOT die on me! Your mother will kill me if you do!

My mother. Right. She's probably crying again. I don't know if she loves me because I remind her of Father. But I do know she loves me.

I took it back. I wanted to live. I wanted to see my mother again, sometime in the future.

I coughed out the water and breathed heavily. I heard another voice, thanking all the gods of the heavens. Never mind the heavens. Never mind my father. I was alive because I wanted to be.

I wanted to be alive, sure, but I didn't want to face reality yet. I allowed myself to sink back into the darkness, and allowed myself to be carried by strong arms. Where? I didn't care. 

I will never know myself until I do this on my own
And I will never feel anything else, until my wounds are healed
I will never be anything till I break away from me
I will break away, I'll find myself today

So I was back in that weird darkness where I last saw my father. And he was talking again.

I do not expect you to take my place, my son. I wanted you to enjoy life. I wanted you to find your own answers.

But you should have helped me find those answers, Father! You shouldn't have gone, helped others, rescued people from themselves, leaving me and Mother alone! You're dead now, Father. So leave me and Mother alone already. Like you always did. Like you always did. I want to find who I am, without you. Father, I will be forever grateful for letting me have those skills, but I want to use them my way. Do you understand, Father? I never cared for your high ideals with the sword!

Those are not ideals, my dear Kenji. They are principles I learned, the hard way. I did not want you to learn them, the way I did. I wanted to shield you from the awful life I saw, and continued to see. That is why I………I stayed away from you.

You are LYING, Father!

I apologize, Kenji. You have a right to hate me, I know. Do not let me stop you from being who you want to be.

Do you actually care what I am and what I want to be, Father? 

Yes, Kenji.

I do not believe you.

Believe what you will, my son. I only ask that you be what you want to be. Do not let me or your mother hold you back. Promise me that, Kenji. 

Alright, alright! I promise! Now will you please go on and leave me, Father?

Because I don't want to remember you this way, Father. As the father I hated with my whole being. As the father I kept waiting for every night. I just want to remember the nice smiling man who used to be my father, back when I was very small. I miss that father, and that is the father I will remember. Not this one who gave us so much pain and sadness. Not this one. I want this father to go away. The father who returned to us barely alive, who barely remembered any of us. And when he died, the father who remembered only my mother, and not me.    

I wanna heal, I wanna feel what I thought was never real
I wanna let go of the pain I've held so long
(Erase all the pain till it's gone)
I wanna heal, I wanna feel like I'm close to something real
I wanna find something I've wanted all along
Somewhere I belong

Everything is dark again. My father has left me. And I am all alone. A young man who doesn't know who he is.

It's rather odd. I remember everybody in my life. My mother, Yahiko-san, Megumi-san, Aunt Misao, Aoshi-san. My head runs through everything they have said to me. Everybody exalted by father above measure. They all loved my father, and they all told me why. 

But now that I think about it, no one forced me to be anything I was not.

They just saw it in me, they kept telling me. I was my father's son. In my manners, in my looks, in my skills. They did not force it on me. I just…….I just……….I'm just living out what I should be?

Impossible! It can't be! It just can't be! I want to be someone else! I want to be someone else! Why don't I have a choice?! I am Himura Kenji! I am Kenji! I cannot be Kenshin! I cannot be my father! I can't! I can't!

I know everyone wants the best for me. But I want to be someone else! Someone apart from my father. Why can't I be someone apart from my father?!

It's in my blood, like a horrible curse. Even if I want to be someone else, my father will live on inside me, whether I want him to or not. I might even leave Japan, and still he will surround me. Like this darkness around me now. He will always surround me, and live, through me. Why, Himura Kenshin?! Why me?! 


I wanna heal, I wanna feel like I'm somewhere I belong
I wanna heal, I wanna feel like I'm somewhere I belong
Somewhere I belong

The thoughts all disappear, and I am plunged into a deep sleep. I don't know for how long. But when I wake up, the rain has stopped, the night has turned to day, and the darkness has turned to a tunnel of light. 

I look around me, and I find myself in a cave, lying over layers of beddings. At the mouth of the cave, I note the silhouette of the taller and more somber man among the three of us. He is thinking his deep thoughts again, as he gazes out at the forest. Beside me, Seta sleeps worriedly, tossing and turning. Poor little man. I've given him trouble again.

I decide to let Seta sleep, and hobble toward Yukishiro.

"You're up, I see," he says without looking at me. "You lost us two days. The Mibu wolf will be furious." 

I smile. Seta would not call me just Himura, so it was Yukishiro who dived in after me. "Thanks." He let on that he did not hear. 

"You were mumbling about your father," he added. I just tossed my head. No way would I admit to that. 

"He's a man you can never get out of your head," he smirked. "Exasperating, yes?"

I've learned from weeks of being with this mysterious snow-haired man that asking what he means is futile. I don't know what he knows about my father, but he did get that right.

It's annoying to realize that. He's a man you can never get out of your head, my father. And my fate is locked with his. The place where I belong, is where he used to be. 

………………….

This little thing is meant to be a vignette and soliloquy, somewhere in the middle of the original story, without being directly related to any of the events in the story. Thanks for reading! ^_^