The Watch
Patience is a virtue. Whose will prevail?

The watcher slips silently through the trees. No leaf shudders. No creature stirs. The chill morning air slides around his form, grey mist parting and re-forming at his back.

It's just up ahead…

The watched one waits. Waits for the watcher. Waits for what he yearns to prevent. Waits for what he knows he will one day have to correct.

He's here. I can start.

Kata complete, Kenshin lingers the briefest moment before leaving the clearing—Better he thinks I don't know. Yet.

Careful to leave first, Yahiko melts back onto the homeward path—My grip still needs work …

A/N: I know this one is vague—I don't know why I'm driven to be so obscure, but there it is. Hope you can enjoy it anyway! Many thanks to SiriusFan13 for her invaluable beta work.

Review responses: omasuoniwabanshi: Thanks for such a nice (and quick!) review. He has no intention, of course, of allowing Yahiko to practice Hiten Mitsurugi ryu, but he's smart enough to choose his moment to interfere. Skenshimgumi: Great idea: a companion piece of a young Kenshin sneaking a peek at Hiko's private kata. You've thrown down the gauntlet, and I encourage EVERYone to take it up! Here are the rules: It must start with (your own wording) of the first four paragraphs, then diverge from there, depending on your own interpretation of the characters and their relationship. It does not have to stick to the 100-word ficlet form, but can be anything from that, to a one-shot, to a chaptered fic, to a poem. It just has to start the same way. SiriusFan13: Thanks so much, not only for your review, but for your beta work! Yes, Yahiko seems to both get it and NOT get it, and Kenshin knows it will be up to him to turn Yahiko to the right path. Peacebunnie: Thanks for taking the trouble to re-read this enough to like it! Unfortunately, "vagueness" isn't something I have to work to achieve: quite the opposite, in fact. LadyRhiyana: I'm glad you find obscurity as satisfying as I do. And I sincerely hope you will take up the challenge—I'd very much like to see what you come up with! Lolo popoki: I encourage you to try this form, if only for the exercise—it's remarkably satisfying! And LadyRhiyana has posted "Perception" in response to Skenshingumi's challenge—I recommend that you DO NOT MISS IT! Shirou Shinjin: That's great you've read the "being watched" stories written in response to skenshingumi's challenge—they wonderful, aren't they? And challenges like that are such fun! I'm glad you liked mine—thanks for R&R'ing!