Title: Mibu no Monogatari A Mibu Story - Shieikan Chapter 1
Series: Peacemaker Kurogane/Shinsengumi Imon Peacemaker
Although it is listed as a PMK fic, it's a historical fan fiction with a combination of elements from PMK, Shinsengumi, and other literature with an interpretation leaning towards that seen in PMK. Also, this is FICTION, which means that it's not necessarily true.
Rating: PG-13 Mild-language and implied sexual situations
Disclaimer: The characters by no means belong to me--they are who they are, but if they must be credited, they would most resemble Nanae Kurono's creations.
Summary: A simple tale about how nine-year old Okita Souji came to Shieikan and later became a member of the Shinsengumi. Covers events at least up to almost the beginning of SI Peacemaker manga/anime.
Edo - 1850
"Have you heard? This time, the master is taking in a small child."
"Only nine years old, and without a mother or a father; poor kid."
"He is coming to work as a servant here because his family cannot afford to send him as a disciple."
Voices whispered excitedly and anxiously through the Shieikan dojo in the lapse of practice. Not only were the women excited, but the men too picked up on the rumors as well. Kondou Shusuke, the master of the Tennen Rishin kendo style motioned for silence, and indicated that training should proceed without interruption. His wife, Fude, was in an annex with her 18-year old son Kondou Isami.
"Mother, why did you pull me aside from practice?"
"I can't believe your father has agreed to accept another free-loader, and a small child too. We are already in financial straits, and all you and your father ever do is spend money."
"But mother, the child is the brother-in-law of one of uncle's relatives. Shouldn't we show some hospitality in times of need?"
"What can a child do around here? He will only be a burden. It was enough managing you. I refuse to be a baby-sitter all because of your father's charitable whims."
"Mother, please," Isami tried to reason with her, "You can't say that when you never even met the child. And nobody expects you to look after him. I will do that myself. He will be to me as if he were a younger brother."
Suddenly a shout interrupted their conversation, and one of the maids bowed quickly before kneeling in front of Fude and Isami.
"Okita Rintarou, his wife Mitsu, and her younger brother Soujirou are here."
Fude said nothing in response and simply crossed her arms over her chest. Isami quickly glanced over at his mother, then back to the maid.
"Please show them inside. I will prepare the tea."
A young boy in a dusty yukata clung tightly to his older sister's kimono. Both the boy and his sister had dark hair with almost violet highlights, and deep lavendar eyes. It was easy to see the resemblance between the siblings. Beside the woman stood her husband, a samurai who carried his swords at his waist and wore the hakama that symbolized his status. Okita Rintarou was a kindly and gentle man who smiled often at his wife and her younger brother. Together, with a mule, they approached the gates that marked the Kondous' Shieikan residence.
It had been a while since he saw his cousin Kondou Isami. At that time, Rintarou had been Inoue Rintarou. He picked up the Okita family name after marrying Okita Mitsu--it was a very uncommon practice for the man to pick up the woman's family name. At the time Rintarou stayed in Shieikan, he had learned that the young master was a farmer from Tama named Miyagawa Katsugoro who was adopted into the Kondou family. Despite the fact that Isami was adopted, he was a skilled fighter and destined to be the next Kondou heir.
Several maids and servants opened the front gate, and ushered the Okitas inside along with the mule that carried the familys' possessions. The small boy gripped his sister's hand tightly and tried to hide his face in her kimono as unfamiliar faces from the servants and disciples pressed close to take a better look at him.
"Isn't he cute?"
"He's very skinny--it's hard to believe he's a samurai's son."
Okita Mitsu glared at the curious bystanders trying to catch a glimpse of Soujirou, and they quickly retreated and parted for them to pass.
Kondou Shusuke appeared at the doorway flanked by Fude and Isami. He welcomed them with open arms and led them into the main hall. As they sat down at the table on the tatami, Isami reached out and clapped Rintarou on the back.
"It's a pleasure to see you again."
Rintarou returned the smile. "You look well, Ka-chan."
Large violet eyes peered out from behind Mitsu's kimono, and fixed upon Isami. The young man noticed the child just then, and immediately brightened.
"So this is Soujirou!" He reached out picked up the young boy from Mitsu's lap. Soujirou cowered away, but the young man was smiling, that he soon lifted his head and looked up at Isami. "What a cute kid!"
Mitsu smiled and patted Soujirou's hand in assurance. "So you will take him?"
Fude, who had been standing impatiently along the side watching her son, scrutinized the young boy with an air of disdain. "The boy is of no use to us. Look at how skinny he is. I doubt he can even lift a bucket of water."
"Maa Fude, don't say that. We aren't so poor that we can't feed such a small child. The cub could someday become a lion, or a tiger." Shusuke knelt down next to the Soujirou, who regarded him seriously with wide violet eyes. "Okita Soujirou?"
"Hai," the boy replied with a bow.
"You have good eyes. Make yourself at home here at Shieikan."
Shusuke turned to Rintarou and Mitsu, who each bowed to him. "Okita-san, you and your wife may stay at Shieikan too, as guests."
And that was how the Okitas came to stay at the Kondou residence. Little Soujirou also began his duties as a page that day. Life became more difficult for him: his sister and her husband had spoiled him as a little boy, so for the first time in his life, he experienced the hardships of manual labor. Fortunately, the students and other members of Shieikan were friendly to him, and some even set aside time to play with the cute little boy. However, the master's wife Fude never opened up to him. She remained cold and distant at best, but quite often, she would find fault with him and heckle him for hours. When young Isami came to Soujirou's defense, his mother would throw a temper, and force her son to back down.
And so life continued in this way until one day, about a couple weeks after Soujirou joined Shieikan, a medicine peddlar appeared at the Kondou residence.
"Young master, there's somebody suspicious just outside the gate. Should we let him in?"
"Suspicious?" Isami repeated, lowering his wooden sword, and hastily bowing to his sparring partner. "Let me see him."
The man just outside was a good-looking well-built youth roughly the same age as Kondou Isami with his hair pulled back in a long ponytail. Currently, he didn't look too good for the wear, and there were a few bruises on his face--apparently from a recent brawl. He carried two round wicker baskets and wore a round straw hat. He was dressed as a simple peasant, and was missing one of his sandles. He regarded Isami with a deepening scowl.
"H-H-Hijikata Toshizou?" Isami exclaimed in surprise. He had not seen this one ever since he left Tama. Isami's face broke into a grin. "What brings you here? What happenned to you?"
"Ka-chan," the other man acknowledged somewhat reluctantly, "May I stay at your place for a little while? Until I can get back at the bastard who did this to me."
"Toshi, why are you always getting into fights?" Isami voiced his concern as he helped his friend inside and had a servant take the baskets. "Don't tell me it was over a woman again?"
"If it were that simple!"
"One of your schemes backfired again."
"I knew it! What were you trying to do this time?"
"Can we not talk about it right now?"
As the two men walked towards the back of the dojo, Soujirou, who was doing the laundry by the well, overheard their voices--particularly the very loud voice of one of them. He looked up in time just as they were passing by, and he couldn't help but gasp in surprise at the sight of strange man. The gasp did not go unnoticed. Immediately, the dark narrow eyes of the unfamiliar young man spotted him and pinned him in place.
"Ka-chan. You have a kid around here too? When did you start a nursery?"
"Aaa! Well, he's a page we picked up recently. He's from a poor samurai family, and he has no parents."
"Stop staring, kid!!" Hijikata yelled at the young boy, and quickly ignored the youngster.
"Toshi! You didn't have to do that!" Isami chided coaxingly, then turned to notice that the child was not there anymore. "Look, you scared him away. That's not very nice!"
"I hate little brats." Hijikata ground his teeth. Isami only shook his head sadly, then led his friend into a room to have his wounds treated.
"So what kind of medicine do you sell?"
"Some cough medicine and Ishida powder--supposed to heal up injuries rapidly. But it doesn't work." Hijikata shrugged.
"Is that so?" Isami mused. "Maybe I'll have some of it to try on my students."
"You can take as much as you like."
End of Chapter 1
Notes: I apologize for the abrupt close to the chapter, but look forward to the next one. As you can see, I borrowed so much of the background from NHK Shinsengumi!! However, I have tried to keep the characters similar in personality to those in PMK.
Updated Notes: This is basically the original version listed on my LJ. It's unedited, but will be fixed again at another date.