Out of Time
Chapter 31:Alternate andDeletedScenes
Author's Note: General explanation of how I worked this. The following are deleted and alternate scenes and lines that I had written for "Out of Time." Some I found in my notes, and those had never made their way actually INTO the story. Others were at the end of the story file, dragging along because I couldn't bring myself to completely delete them, even after they were cut. So here they are. I tried to start out each one with a quick explanation in italics of where it originally went in the story and why it was cut (if I could remember). I hope you enjoy!
Original opening intended to be a prologue leading into Chapter One. This was before I had a solid concept of how the story was going to work…
The streets were black. What little light the moon supplied only serving to spread shadows and add to the danger of the night. No one was foolish enough to wander the streets alone, especially at night. Unless you were one of the Shinsengumi. Or perhaps the hitokiri. But there was someone else out that night, wandering through the streets. He was a young, dark-haired boy. A person would have to have a death wish to wander as he did. And this blood-splattered boy did have a death wish. A week ago he'd lost everything he'd ever had. And now, he stood at a bridge, planning on just finishing everything. Not expecting someone else to be out who had also just lost everything.
The boy climbed onto the railing and sat there, trying to decide if the fall would kill him. The last one hadn't. Times like these, it didn't pay to have a hard head.
He sat there for several minutes before he heard a soft voice from the shadows. "Are you going to jump or just look at the moon?"
The boy started and turned to see a teenage boy quietly approach, his face in shadow. The teenager walked onto the bridge and stood beside him. The newcomer wore swords. A samurai then? A hopeful thought struck him. A hitokiri maybe. No. If it were a hitokiri, he'd already be dead.
"Just trying to decide if it's deep enough to drown."
The swordsman didn't look at him, but leaned on the railing. "I'm sure it is. I've come here… often lately, thinking the same thing."
The boy watched the quiet young man. It was so peaceful. The two standing on a bridge watching the moon. He could almost believe there was no revolution. No one out destroying lives.
"But you're still alive."
"Yes. Someone died to save me. Someone I cared about. And I realize, every time I come here, that death would be so easy. Too easy. Especially when someone else spent their life to save mine." The swordsman paused. "It's happened twice now. The first time, I had someone to help me through it. This time, I'm alone."
The boy watched him talk. It was too dark to make out his features, but he got the impression that this swordsman was someone different. He could hear the hollowness in the young man's voice. This was someone who understood.
The boy nodded. "Same here. But now that he's dead… I don't have anybody. I'm nothing."
The man sighed. "Maybe. But you're enough to remind me why I have to walk off of this bridge." He looked up. "They're watching me. I made an oath to them that I would live. I can't break it."
"I made no oath. I have no reason."
"Then maybe you should find your reason. Before you die, find out if there's a reason to live."
The boy slipped off of the rail back onto the bridge. "Maybe. I guess waiting one more night wouldn't hurt. Maybe the captain would want that."
"Maybe." He paused. "You've a strong ki. You shouldn't go down without a fight."
The boy finally nodded. He watched the swordsman for a moment, and finding no words to express what he wanted to say, he just nodded again and left.
The young man watched the boy leave. It felt strange to have protected life instead of taking it. But maybe that was part of his oath, too.
He closed his eyes and let the moon shine upon his face. "Tomoe…"
Originally, this was set to be a portion of Chapter 5—Meiji, but I never could seem to find a slot to put it in…
"I don't like pretending. It isn't fair to them, letting them think I am something that I am not." There was a distant look in his eyes. "That never works out well in the end."
Sano made a disgusted sound. "You're pretending to be an older you. That's all. It's like playing a game… playing grown-up, that's all. You know…" He faltered a moment, trying to explain. "You don't have a clue what I'm talking about, do you?"
"I'm not an idiot, Sanosuke," Battousai cut in. "I know what playing is."
Sano blinked a couple of times, startled. "Oh. I just figured… well, if you were a hitokiri so young, that you mustn't have had time for…" he trailed off.
Battousai wasn't looking at him. "I've been forced to play this game before, after the Ikedaya incident." His eyes grew dark and deep, exactly as Kenshin's always did when drawn into the past. It was strange to see Battousai getting pulled into his past instead of being the past.
Sano turned to see what Battousai was staring at. It was the small top that Kenshin had bought Suzume the day they'd arrived in Kyoto.
Battousai closed his eyes and turned slowly away. He spoke again, his voice smooth and expressionless as always, but sounding somewhat forced. "I went into hiding for a few months in a small village… in Otsu. We played the roles of apothecary and wife." Again, he had that haunted look.
Sano was actually concerned enough that the youth's words didn't register immediately.
This was a portion of the end of Chapter 5—Bakumatsu, cut basically because I wasn't happy with the overall wording of the section, not to mention the fact that I decided I didn't want Hiko (and thus Kenshin) to figure out too much too early. I eventually rewrote the end of the chapter, but I liked parts of this, and couldn't bring myself to delete it from my computer…
"Then you'd better start looking for him."
"Here? In Kyoto? If someone sees me, they'll think I'm—"
"Hitokiri Battousai," Hiko growled, "which you technically are. At least while you're here. Think about it, baka. If you're here, then Battousai is probably in your time."
Kenshin shook his head. "Impossible. I'd remember."
Hiko smirked. "The hell you would. You're the most stubborn baka I've ever known. If something happened to you that didn't make sense, you would have been more likely to brush it off as a dream and forget it than accept it as reality. The practical idealist." He snorted. "You never did make any sense."
Chapter 11—Meiji. This is just a quick start I'd made to the chapter when it was originally going to be written from Battousai's point of view.
Sano didn't follow Battousai to the Aoi-ya, which was a relief for the redhead. He wasn't prepared to deal with any more of Sanosuke's friendly advances. Because in the end Sano had been no different from any of his Ishin-shishi compatriots.
Chapter 12—Bakumatsu. Just a line, but one I really liked and wish I could have kept in. This was originally placed right after Kenshin's observation of Kano, and his realization that he was judging the man based on his predecessor, Iizuka. I cut it out because I didn't really want to hint at Shishio before he made himself known…
For half a second, Kenshin wondered if Shishio had been stained by Battousai's sins, but he forced such thoughts from his mind.
Chapter 12—Meiji. Just a quick line that I cut to reduce overkill in the scene where Kaoru had demanded the truth from Battousai and then left…
He'd killed his own innocence. The least he could do was protect hers.
Chapter 17—Meiji. I just wound up rewording the whole section, so a lot got cut. I kind of liked this part though… so it was never actually deleted from my computer.
He looked closely at his deshi, trying to read his expression. But he was starting to realize that as well as he may have known his baka deshi as a child, and even when he'd returned years later… Battousai… this boy was a different matter.
Originally part of Harada Sanosuke's thoughts toward the beginning of Chapter 17. Just cut because it wasn't really necessary… And yes, an intentional PMK reference as well…
Saito had called him a "Demon of the Ishin," and the nickname had stuck. None of the men would admit to being afraid of him, of course, but Harada hadn't missed that until now it was always Saito or Okita who seemed to be set in Battousai's path. The two samurai who weren't swayed at all by mention of the "spirits" or "demons."
Meiji—This was originally intended to fit sometime during Hiko and Battousai's conversation in Chapter 18. This scene wasn't exactly cut. It was something that popped into my head WAAAAY before I ever got to this chatper, and I threw it in my notes… Again, something that I just couldn't find a spot for…
"You're acting weird," Battousai said, Hiko's concern starting to confuse and scare the young hitokiri. He couldn't understand this, and he honestly was starting to think he'd prefer the old Hiko. At least he knew what to expect. A wicked idea struck him, and trying to play on his shishou's arrogance, he commented, "You've let yourself get old and soft."
Hiko just ignored him.
Hiko raised an eyebrow. "Am I supposed to rise to childish taunts? You used to hate it when I'd criticize you or treat you like a child. What's your problem now?"
Battousai shook his head in frustration. "This isn't you. You're not like this."
Hiko smirked. "People can change, Kenshin."
The redhead shot him a dark look. "You didn't change, Shishou," he said stubbornly. "You don't change. You make other people change for you."
Again, Hiko ignored the biting remark. "Maybe I haven't changed so much. But did it ever occur to you that maybe you have? That maybe the man I know now is a lot closer to my baka deshi than you can imagine being again…" He let that sink in for a moment before continuing. "You don't understand what these people see in a killer, right? Well, they've never known the killer. They've seen a quiet baka who's trying to atone for his sins."
About pottery to Battousai in Meiji—Another small part that was originally part of Chapter 18. I couldn't find a spot for it without the scene feeling forced, which really bummed me out, as it had been in my notes for awhile…
Hiko looked back at his first pot. "You know, that one pisses me off every time I look at it, but it's still my favorite piece."
Chapter 23—Meiji. This was the original beginning to the scene where Megumi went to visit Battousai. I kind of liked it, but in the end, it just seemed better to start with Battousai's point of view…
"He's awake," Aoshi calmly announced as he sat down to eat with the others.
Kaoru and Yahiko were on their feet in seconds, and making their way to the door. Misao was close behind. They were all forced to skid to a stop when Megumi, who had been nearest the door, blocked their exit. "Sit down!" she said sharply. "If you honestly think that I'm going to let any of you see Ken-san before I've completely checked him out, you're mad."
"But Megumi-san," Misao whined.
Kaoru looked about ready to hit the lady doctor. "What makes you think we'll hurt him?" Kaoru demanded. "I just want to see him. To be sure he's okay."
Megumi just glared. "Sit," she snapped. "I know everyone wants to see him, but the fact of the matter is that he needs medical treatment before he needs to be pounced by his friends." She sighed. "Even if those friends do care about him." She placed a comforting hand on Kaoru's shoulder. "I'll treat him quickly and let you know as soon as he's ready, alright?"
Kaoru didn't answer.
"Kaoru." The woman's voice was stern.
"Go quickly," the girl finally replied, reluctantly sitting back down.
Chapter 26—Meiji. Alternate Scene. This was the original ending to the part with Kaoru and Sano realizing where Battousai had run off to (facing Saito). Rather than just figure things out and take off to save him, I'd originally planned on Kaoru running off to talk to Okon in the Aoi-ya before Sano could say much of anything. This would have led into the next section.
Kaoru ran to the Aoi-ya. Sanosuke was only steps behind her, when she slid the door open with a crash, startling Okon, Aoshi and Megumi who were quietly speaking in the entranceway. All three looked up in surprise to see the disheveled Kaoru standing in the doorway with a slightly out of breath Sanosuke just behind her.
"Kaoru, what's going on?" Megumi asked, eyeing the girl with some worry.
Misao and Yahiko burst in the room just then from the hallway. "What's going on?" Misao exclaimed, looking at everyone in turn. "We heard a crash."
Aoshi said nothing, but his sharp eyes were interested.
Kaoru ignored all of them, turning to Okon. "Please, tell me… do you have any idea what that note you delivered said? Any idea at all?"
Okon's eyes widened. "I didn't read it. I have no idea. Why? Is something wrong?"
"He left as soon as he read the note," the distressed girl whispered. "He said he'd be okay. He'd be right back… but you know Kenshin…"
Megumi's eyes widened. "He left? Where? What is he thinking? He's in no shape to be running around Kyoto! I'm going to kill him when he gets back!"
"Shit!" Sano suddenly growled, startling everyone. "Saito… He wanted to face Kenshin again…"
"What! Where?" Kaoru's voice was getting frantic. "He's still hurt. Saito could kill him!"
But Sano had already turned and was racing from the Aoi-ya. "The bridges!" he called. "It has to be. If Saito really is going to go through with it… it has to be the bridges…"
Kaoru was right behind him.
Yahiko only hesitated a moment before he was in motion behind them as well.
"Where do you think you're going?" Misao shouted after him. "You don't even believe he's the real thing."
He hesitated at the door, looking behind him for a moment. "He may not be Kenshin, but that doesn't mean I want to see him get killed…" With those words, he was out the door, disappearing into the darkness.
Misao turned to Aoshi, her eyes wide. "We should help. I'm sure all together we could stop Saito."
"No." The response was quiet but very final.
His dark eyes were distant. "We will be of no use to Battousai. If we follow, we will only hinder him. You can join them if you wish. But I would rather not risk seeing him fall again. We can be of more use to him here, ready to help when he returns."
Originally intended for Chapter 30, the Epilogue… so, yes, a very recently deleted scene… Cut only because no matter what I did (and I really TRIED) I could NOT find a way to stick this in without making the chapter feel wrong… Bakumatsu…
Okami had finally left, to the boy's relief. He had been grateful, as always, for her kindness… her help. But she had refused to allow him to even leave his futon for the past week except for personal emergencies, and even that had been only begrudgingly. He carefully pulled his gi on, careful of his injured shoulder. He then turned to reach for his blades, which Okami had set near the wall.
He noticed his missing wakizashi immediately. What had happened to it? His frustrated confusion was forgotten, however, as his eyes were drawn to the wall above. Kanji was cut into the wall. Tentatively, the boy ran his fingers over the rough wood.
"Kaoru…" he whispered, reading the name. Who was she? He couldn't remember, but he was sure that this hadn't been in his room before. The boy's brow furrowed, as he tried to remember, still running his fingers over the name.
He closed his eyes, feeling the rough wood. And for a moment, he could almost see her. A pretty girl. Smiling at him. His eyes fluttered open in surprise, and the image was gone. Who was she? he wondered. But the memory had faded already, and he found that he couldn't even picture her now.
He finally stood, sighing deeply, trying to shift his focus to other things. Katsura, for instance… but his eyes were again drawn to the kanji. And he couldn't help but notice that something about that name made him feel comfortable. Safe.
"Kaoru…" he whispered again, smiling faintly. So, he couldn't remember… Maybe the girl had just been a dream. He began walking toward the door. But at least she was something to hope for…
Meiji—Honestly, there was never a set place for this. The idea popped into my head while I was still pretty early into the story and had planned on it spanning a few more days… I intended for it to be placed somewhere near the end, after Kaoru knew about the switch. This section had a second part as well, that I DID wind up using. The scene in Chapter 23—Meiji… The argument between Saito and Sano about leaving Battousai to the wolves was originally the second half of this scene, and was intended to be between Saito and Kaoru… but it suddenly seemed so appropriate for Sano instead…
Kaoru's eyes flashed as she glared at the wolf. "He's not like you. He's not some killer."
"Battousai is not a killer?" Saito laughed harshly, then abruptly stopped, his eyes hardening, and his expression turning into a sneer. "Look Battousai in the eyes and tell me he's no killer."
"Don't degrade him!" Kaoru snapped, angrily.
"Listen to what you're saying, girl. You degrade him, not me. I've seen the results of his work. I've faced his blade. If he's not a killer, then he's only a sword that someone else wields. I at least give him the respect of a killer with a mind of his own."
Kaoru glared at him. "At least the sword is innocent of the killing."
"Yes," Saito replied, his eyes glowing. "Innocent and souless. It seeks no redemption. Think on that."
In all honesty, I can't remember where this was to be placed, but I still kind of like it…
He's never even thanked his shishou. Granted, the man had been insufferable, but Hiko had been a father to him. He didn't have to save his life and take him in. How had Kenshin repaid him?
Author's Note: Well, that's it. Officially. However, I do want to make a comment based on a suggestion I'd recieved. One reviewer (I can't find the name now, sorry!) suggested I make up some "bloopers" to throw in this chapter. I really loved the idea, but wasn't quite up for it. (Why ruin a fic with my inexperienced attempts at humor... heh...) Anyway, Shirou Shinjin already has a parody up if you want to check it out. And I'm considering a "blooper" idea. If anyone thinks they'd get a kick out of writing bloopers, go for it. You can either post them on your own site or under your own penname (please email me the link and your penname) or you can just email the bloopers themselves to me. If I get anyone who's interested, I'll post a Chapter 32 with fan-written bloopers (or links to them). So... it's up to you... I just couldn't let the blooper idea go to waste...
Oh, and I forgot to note last chapter when I was thanking people, Big thanks to "gypsy-chan" for posting this fic on her Kaoru and Kenshin site. Sorry I forgot last chapter. And thanks to anyone else who's posted it or helped in any way. Sorry if I forgot to mention you... really... (sweatdrops)
Estalio: I'd like to read your time fic. Is it posted anywhere?
Nemesis Jedi: I'll check out that deviant art site and see if I can get my plushie there. Thanks! Oh, and I'm not sure if there will be more "deleted and alternate" scenes in any other fics. It depends on if I delete or change anything in them that I think is worth keeping... If I do, and the story goes over well enough, I probably would consider posting them at the end...
Shirou Shinjin: Thanks again for posting your fics! They're so great! I'll review as soon as I can, okay? (hugs)
sueb262: Thanks so much for the kind words and all the support. I'm glad you liked the fic, and I hope we can chat again soon!
Myks: Yes, I'm REALLY going to read your fanfics. heh... I just need to get my internet working, so I don't have to use other people's computers to post and review!
Yugata Tenshi: (catches certificate) Thanks... (tries to figure out where to hang certificate on wall...) Heh...
Lady Hitokiri Battousai: Well, like I said last chapter, I intend for a prequel and hopefully at least one sequel and a filler for between the sequel and this fic... And there's Shirou's parody. And WolfDaughter mentioned that she might write an Ushiro and Battousai fic... So, there will be more... (I'm actually more excited about what other people write with it... hehe... it's so much fun to read how others perceive stuff from this fic!)
Lackwit: Thanks for the great review. I was actually kind of paranoid about letting Ushiro and Nozomi have such large roles for that exact reason. And I was really surprised at how well-received they were. I'm glad you liked them!
Kirin'sDaughter: Thanks for being on the Hiko Plushie lookout. As to Sano plushies... I think I've seen some on ebay if you want to check there. They may be under either "sano plushie," "sano plush" or "sano ufo."
And to all other reviewers and readers: Thanks so much for taking the time to read and review my fiction! I appreciate it! Thanks! (Big hugs to everyone)