A/N

OK, this is the final result of what happened when I was pondering about certain aspects of Rurouni Kenshin and, while I was at it, wondered what it would have been like if the awesome Hiko Seijiro got involved with what was taking place in Japan, just like his 'baka-deshi' did, and what would have happened when he met the adorable and equally awesome Seta Soujirou (while Soujirou was wandering around Japan, of course.)

And while I originally intended on just writing about Hiko and Soujirou, Kenshin crept up and I really couldn't keep him – or at least conversation about him – away from this fic, so I decided to let him stay, going as far as to even mention little Kenji, by which time I thought I might be going off the point, but anyway…

Disclaimer: IfI owned 'Rurouni Kenshin' would I be putting this disclaimer up here?


Of Saké-drinking Swordsmen and Naïve Rurouni:

The somewhat broad-shouldered brown haired man stopped in mid-stride and paused to look around him, a small smile on his face even though he was not in a situation that would prompt a smile from any other person. All around him, the only thing that he could see were trees, trees and even more trees. Blinking, he turned around to stare behind him, only to be met with yet more trees. Looking up at the sky, he saw that it was darkening, as it usually did in the evening. He had forgotten how quickly the day went by in Kyoto. Scratching the back of his head, he let out a soft chuckle.

"It seems that I'm lost…" he said to himself, still smiling. Glancing around him once more, he shrugged, deciding that it would do him no harm to continue walking in the direction he had come. If night fell before he got out of the forest, he could always seek shelter under a tree. Or he could 'quickly' make his way out of the forest. Deciding not to use any of his skills, he selected normal walking, and continued on his way.

He wasn't better off a while later. Night had crept up sooner than he had expected it to – yet again making him feel sheepish for forgetting that this did usually happen in Kyoto – and he could barely see what was in front of him. Curiously enough, he still had a smile on his face, his blue eyes not showing any sign of frustration even though he got the distinct impression that he wasn't getting anywhere. Still smiling, however, he continued walking, and stopped when he came across a small, rough path. Since it was the only path he had seen ever-since he had entered the forest, he immediately took it, not bothering about where it would take him. At least it would take him somewhere. Besides, the path was such that a normal passer-by would have easily missed it.

But he wasn't normal, was he? With his skills, and the countless years of training, it would be heinous if he overlooked the path and continued with his hopeless attempt in getting out of the forest. Running a hand through his brown-hair, he walked down the path, even humming softly to himself.


He was seated outside the hut, on the very same rock that had been there for as long as he could remember. A cold breeze blew around him, but didn't affect him at all. Not only was he wearing a thick, comfortable cloak, but his body was such that he rarely got affected by the weather, unless it was extremely harsh, at which point even someone as great as he was, was affected. On the ground beside him were numerous bottles of saké, all empty, of course, and in his hands was a half-full bottle, just waiting to be gulped down. He had to admit though, that the saké he had been given from the Aoi-ya were the best he had tasted. Shaking his head, he turned his head up to stare at the sky, and spotted a handful of stars twinkling amidst the black sky.

He smirked involuntarily, as he remembered how, more than two decades ago, his now famous 'baka-deshi' had stared up at the sky and had asked him whether stars twinkled when they were happy, and whether they were always happy. The smirk vanished as he thought of his former pupil. From what he was told, the baka had gone off to China to 'help' and had not returned once. In fact, from what he had been told, they weren't even sure whether he was dead or alive. As he stared up at the sky, a picture of his pupil flashed across his mind. The stupid grin was still there along with the familiar clueless expression, the red hair and the cross-shaped scar that had caused him much pain and at the same time happiness.

From what he could remember, he recalled that his pupil had finally married the Kamiya girl, and had a son. He wondered how the kid was doing, growing up without his father. He didn't think that the kid would have a problem growing up without his father, but he was sure that his pupil would have loved to see his son grow up, seeing as how he was generally good with kids (heck, he hung around with kids in his opinion). What had they named the kid now…? Ah, yes, it was Kenji. He shook his head.

"Himura Kenji…" he murmured, staring up at the sky, wondering what kind of an individual he would turn out to be. A second later, his eyes were narrowed ever-so slightly as he turned his gaze away from the sky and proceeded to stare at one of the trees that surrounded him and his hut, nothing about his posture indicating that he was waiting for the owner of the strong life-force to show himself.


The brown-haired man, despite his cheerful disposition, found himself sighing in relief as he reached the end of the small path he had found, extremely glad to get out of the forest that had seemed intimidating for a while. In fact, the forest had seemed so intimidating that he had used the Shukuchi to hurry along the long, winding path he was on. Glancing up at the sky, he saw a few stars twinkling brightly down at him and smiled again, appreciating their beauty. He stopped for a moment when he sensed a strong presence coming from somewhere ahead of him. What made him stop was that the life-force he sensed seemed to be radiating extreme power. He wondered whether he had made a mistake in following the path. He shrugged, smiling. Whoever the life-force belonged to couldn't be that bad. Besides, if he was bad, he could easily use his Shukuchi and escape, seeing as how he wanted to avoid a fight if it was possible.

As he walked into the small clearing, the first thing that he saw was a small hut and another small building beside it, before he spotted a figure seated on a rock in front of the hut, seemingly staring out into space. Despite the bottles of what seemed to be saké that were scattered around the big-made man, he could tell at once that the strong life-force he had sensed belonged to him. Smiling, he continued to walk forward, stopping when he was a fair distance away from the seated figure.

"Ano, I'm – "

" – If you're here for some of my works of art, the least that you could have done is bring me some decent saké," said the big-made man, interrupting him as he nodded at the empty bottles that were around him, "I'm nearing the end of my stock…and I would really have appreciated a few more…" The brown-haired man scratched his head, immediately looking apologetic although he had no idea what the man was talking about.

"Gomen," he said, smiling sheepishly, "I didn't realize that I should have brought saké…" The man shook his head, surprised that the way the man before him acted reminded him strongly of his 'baka-deshi.'

"…I noticed," he muttered, shaking his head. The brown-haired man looked even more sheepish, if that was possible.

"Ano…I'm sorry to be disturbing you as such," he said, "but I seem to be lost, and I don't really know which direction I should head in, to get back to the town…" The big-made man huffed.

"Why did you come this way if you're not sure about where you're going?"

"…Eeto, I was sure about where I was going when I started a few hours ago, but I sort of lost track of the time, and forgot that the day ends sooner here in Kyoto," said the brown-haired man, "And when I realized that it was going to get dark soon, it was too late to try and head back."

"You've been to Kyoto before?" asked the big-made man, watching the younger male carefully.

"Hai," said the younger male, "a few years ago…" He bowed his head despite the fact that he was still smiling. Given the life-force of the big-made man, he was sure that he had sensed his own life-force, causing him to wonder whether he would put two and two together.

"A few years ago, huh?" echoed the older man, still staring at him. He nodded, smiling, before turning to look at the various pieces of pottery and other things that were on a rack in the other side of the clearing.

"Did you make those?" he asked, attempting to start a conversation and wondering whether the man would ask for money or anything if he asked to stay the night. Receiving no answer, he turned back to the man to find him staring hard at him.

"Which one of Shishio Makoto's men were you?" The question, quite naturally, caught him completely off-guard. The big-made man smirked inwardly at the quick look of shock that passed across the younger man's face. "…Well?"

"I – " the brown-haired male closed his mouth, wary of this saké drinking man in front of him. He knew that not many people in Japan knew about him, although some probably knew him as 'Tenken.' And he also knew that, technically, he was still a 'bad guy' who should be in prison for all of his crimes. What if this man here told someone who he was? Even if he left, then people would know that he was still dangerously close.

"You're the ever-so famous Tenken, aren't you?" His head shot up as he stared at the man, his mouth opening slightly in surprise. The big-made man nodded, extremely glad of his natural intelligence. "I'll take that as a yes," he said, taking another sip of his saké. "And now I'm guessing that you're wondering how I figured that out…am I right?"

" – Y-yes," stammered the young man, still in a state of shock. How did this man he had never seen before in his life, know him?

"Firstly, you said that you entered the forest 'a few hours ago' and, having lived here for quite a long time, I know that it would have taken an ordinary man more than a few hours to get through the forest and then get here, especially since almost everyone who comes this way misses the path that leads here," said the man, calmly, "and then, you did say that you'd been here a few years ago…and I know that Shishio Makoto had a protégé who knew of and practiced the Shukuchi, and your sandals, my boy, are ruined…there, at the edges, which is a sign of the shukuchi being used." He stopped, smirking openly at the boy's stunned face, "Is that enough of an explanation then?"

"…Who are you?" asked the brown-haired man, not knowing whether he should just turn around and leave, or whether he should wait and risk whatever was about to happen. The man regarded him carefully.

"Just an old man who likes pottery," he said. He saw the boy's raised eyebrows, and again was reminded of his baka-deshi.

"And who has an amazingly strong life-force that can be sensed some distance away?" The question would usually have been asked sarcastically by anyone else, but this brown-haired man wasn't anyone else…and he didn't even know what sarcasm was, much less how he could use it.

"I don't give my name to those whose name I don't know."

"…Seta Soujirou."

"I know." Soujirou sweat-dropped, wondering just how much this man knew and whether it was a good thing or a bad thing. The man stood up, dropping the empty bottle of saké on the ground as he did so. "I take it that you want to stay the night here and head back early tomorrow morning?" he asked, looking at him. Soujirou nodded. "And you expect me to allow you to do that when you don't even have any saké on you?"

"I said I was sorry," mumbled Soujirou, flushing, "besides, so much of saké is not good for you."

"Just to make things a little clearer for myself, was Himura Kenshin the man who helped you get a move on with your life?" Surprised once again and wondering what that had to do with anything, Soujirou nodded, smiling bemusedly. The big-made man snorted. "That explains it."

"…Explains what?" asked Soujirou, curiously.

"The attitude…" was the mutter that reached his ears, before the man turned his back to him and walked towards the hut. Soujirou stood where he was wondering what he was supposed to do, realizing that he hadn't really got approval from the all-knowing man to stay the night here. "You plan on coming in or not?"

"H – hai!"


A few minutes later Soujirou was seated inside the small hut, opposite the big-made man in the red and white cloak, who was currently busy with gulping down even more saké, forcing Soujirou to wonder whether the man was as healthy as he looked. Seeing that the man wasn't going to be talking to him, Soujirou busied himself by looking around the hut, taking in the simple furnishing.

"…Man, kid, why didn't you bring any saké along with you?" growled the big-made man, putting yet another empty bottle down. Soujirou looked sheepish again, before answering.

"I didn't know I was supposed to bring you anything…" he said. The man didn't say anything after that, leaving Soujirou to think about what he had told him outside. He frowned suddenly. How had the man known about Himura-san? True, the man was a legend, but that was when he had been known as the Hitokiri Battousai. Not many people knew about Himura Kenshin. Then how did this man know him? He looked thoughtfully at the man.

"You got a question?" Soujirou nodded, "Go ahead and ask."

"Ano…I noticed that you mentioned Himura-san's name," said Soujirou, "did you, by any chance, know him?" The big-made man laughed, the sound slightly slurred.

"Did I know him?" he echoed, looking amused, "I knew him, kid, when he was still Shinta." Soujirou's expression was one of bemusement. Who was Shinta?

"…I don't understand," he said, smiling.

"Ah, so the similarity doesn't stop at the attitude; the personalities are the same as well," muttered the big-made man, "idiot." Soujirou continued to smile.

"Gomen, but I really don't understand," he repeated.

"Kenshin's name was Shinta when I met him, a good many years ago," said the big-made man, wondering why the kid smiled even when he was insulted. His baka-deshi's friends – the little kid and the girl from the Aoi-ya would've had a fine time hurling insults at him if he had insulted them. "I took him in and changed his name to Kenshin."

"Oh…" said Soujirou, surprised. A part of him was curious to know how he had come across Himura-san, but he didn't want to ask any more questions about it, thinking at the same time that the man in front of him was old and that saké was definitely not good for him at that age. "…Ano, sumimasen, but…do you still keep in touch with Himura-san?"

"No, not really," was his slurred answer, "Why?" Soujirou bowed his head.

"Oh…no reason, I just wanted to know how he was…" he said, still smiling, "he was, after all, the one who told me to live my life as I saw fit, with killing anyone…"

"Aa, that sounds just like something that baka-deshi would preach to someone," agreed the older man, "It's a pity he had to suffer so much before he realized it…"

"…You mean during his time as the Hitokiri?" asked Soujirou. The big-made man nodded.

"Yes," he said, "and he suffered long after that too…" He looked up suddenly, "what brings you here to Kyoto, anyway?"

"I – " yet again, Soujirou was caught off guard by the question, but he continued to smile. "I just wanted to…come back and…see what things were like…" That was all that he said as, even after all this time, thinking of Shishio-san hurt. It wasn't that he was weak and that Shishio-san showed him a great amount of affection but, whatever said and done, he had helped him become strong enough to survive, and, more importantly, he had helped him learn how to take care of himself after taking him away from the family he had been living with.

"It sure feels strange when you come back to where it all happened, doesn't it?" asked the big-made man, sensing his reluctance to talk further on that topic, "That baka-deshi felt the same, I remember, when he came back here." Soujirou nodded, feeling that he could understand why Himura-san felt that way.

"I guess that Himura-san's still in Tokyo, then?" he asked, smiling. The big-made man paused as he lifted another bottle of saké to his mouth, realizing that the kid before him didn't know what had happened. He put the bottle down, his expression somber.

"No, he's not," he said, quietly, "he's somewhere in China." He paused. "Actually, no-one knows where he is anymore much less whether he made it to China." Soujirou's eyes continued to widen in surprise, although a small smile still stayed on his face.

"China? Why would Himura-san want to go there?" he questioned, curious, "but surely…Kamiya-san must know where he is?" The older man shook his head.

"No, she doesn't," he said, "all that she knew was that, with her permission, he set off to China, at the request of Yamagata. She hasn't heard from him ever-since." He stared at the bottle of saké next to him, "And she's changed her name; they got married, you know."

"Oh," said Soujirou, surprised, "but if that's the case, especially if they have gotten married, wouldn't he definitely send her a letter from China or something?"

"Apparently the ship they went in was wrecked…and it sank," said the big-made man, "so, technically, we don't know whether my baka-deshi's still alive…" He glanced at the kid hurriedly, hoping that he hadn't heard him say 'my' baka-deshi. He never showed that much affection towards the stupid 'oro-ing' man...it must be the saké, he thought. Shaking his head, he noticed that the smile had now disappeared from Seta Soujirou's face, as he stared at him, his expression hard to decipher.

"Demo…Himura-san – he's…he's, well, he's strong, isn't he?" asked Soujirou, unable to describe the feeling that had just entered his gut, "he…he can't die…only the weak die easily like that…"

"Oh?" asked the older man, "wasn't that philosophy the same one that you were asked to discard? Weren't you told that it didn't matter whether you were weak or strong? And anyway, don't you have enough common sense to know that strong or not, when your time's up, it's up?"

"… … … … …" Soujirou bowed his head again, but not before the older man caught sight of the genuinely puzzled look on the boy's face.

"Oy, kid, how long have you been wandering around Japan now?" he asked.

"Six years," was the mumbled reply. He nodded. Six years might seem like a pretty long time, but in reality, in the light of the complete change that the kid was supposed to go through, it was actually not a large amount of time. A wanderer, or a Rurouni as he was sure the boy was hoping to become, needed at least 5 to 10 years in the bag before he was capable of completely transforming himself for the better. And from what he had been told about the Tenken, he thought the kid would need at least 10 years before he started learning about what life really was, seeing as how he was even unfamiliar with showing emotions. And that god-damn smile was annoying.

The silence that surrounded the two individuals was deafening, although the big-made man didn't mind it too much. He liked the silence, which was why he still associated Kenshin's arrival with the loss of blissful silence. He shook his head as his mind told him that he would probably never have to deal with that 'association' again, as Kenshin would never visit him, or anyone else for that matter. Glancing to his left, he saw to his surprise that it was raining outside. He shook away the memories that threatened to overpower him, cursing the fact that the saké was causing him to get emotionally weak.

"Hey kid," he said, without turning his attention away from the rain, "it looks like I can't suddenly kick you out now, like I had planned on doing." Somewhat startled, he sensed the kid look up at him. He nodded at the rain, "Unless you wouldn't mind seeking shelter under the trees in that."

"…I hadn't noticed that it was raining," murmured Soujirou, his spirits dampening somewhat as he wondered what else could go wrong that day.

"Hnn…well, since you're staying the night here, let's arrange some sort of payment, shall we?" asked the big-made man, looking thoughtful, "tell me boy, how much money do you have on you?" Soujirou sweat-dropped as a silly smile appeared on his face.

"Uh…I – I'm afraid I don't have any money on me," he said, smiling goofily, "I'm broke…" He watched the big-made man's face fall, before it brightened again.

"Alright then, I'll have to think of something else," he said.

"Something else?" questioned Soujirou.

"Yeah."

"But…"

"It's only fair, don't you think, that I let you stay here for the night instead of shoving you out into the rain, and that I get some payment for it?"

"I guess so…" The big-made man nodded. He had always been good at getting his own way.

"Good, now let me think of something else," he said, grinning inwardly, "ah, I've already thought about it; you'll clean this place up, starting from the door. And if you have time, then you'll clean the hut with the pottery that's next-door as well." He stopped, only to see Soujirou staring at him with his eyes wide, but with a smile still on his face. "Well? What're you waiting for? Get to work. You'll find cloth in that cupboard over there, and there's water in that bucket in that corner." All Soujirou could do was stare. The big-made man took another gulp of saké from the bottle he had put down earlier. "You do realize that the longer you sit there gaping at me, the longer it'll take you to finish your tasks, don't you?"

"H-Hai…" said Soujirou, standing up with the now annoying smile on his face, and walking over towards the cupboard. Shaking his head and mumbling under his breath, the older man continued to enjoy his drinking, as his 'guest' got to work with cleaning the place up.


It didn't take Soujirou that long to finish the tasks he had been assigned, although the moon was already high-up in the sky when he walked out of the storage-hut that had all of the big-made man's pottery in it. As he stepped outside, he was startled when he felt the raindrops falling, having forgotten that it had been raining before. Keeping the bucket and the wet cloths he had used to scrub the floors and things inside the storage hut so they wouldn't get wet, Soujirou stepped out once more, into the rain.

He let the water drench him bit by bit, and closed his eyes as it all felt so familiar; standing in a clearing late at night with rain pouring down and drenching him seemed all too familiar. During his six years of wandering around Japan, the only times when he felt miserable and close to reverting back to the momentary madness that had gripped him when he had fought Himura-san for the second time, were when it was raining. Some of the memories that he had once been proud of but that he now was confused about usually resurfaced whenever it started raining, but he had always managed to block them out of his mind, smiling although no-one was around, and thinking of other things; forcing the memories to stay blocked.

But now…he didn't know what was wrong with him. Try as he might, he couldn't keep the memories at bay. He had never known that he was this weak – mentally. He thought that maybe he had gotten weakened after hearing about Himura-san. As he pondered about the Hitokiri, he felt a strange feeling in his gut, a feeling that he couldn't quite explain. That man, whoever he was, seemed to have known Himura-san for a long time…in which case what he said couldn't possibly be a lie. In light of that…was he supposed to believe that Himura-san, the man who had helped him to rise up from the darkness he had been surrounded by, was…dead? How could Himura-san be dead?

Fine, leaving aside the fact that he was strong and thus deserved to live, wasn't he a peaceful person? He had thought that peaceful and kind people were rewarded by better lives…not death. And what about Kamiya-san; or rather Himura-san's wife? Wouldn't she, quite naturally, be devastated about all of this? Was life really so cruel that people – even innocent people like Kamiya-san – had to suffer? As he thought about all of this, he didn't notice the emotion that he had gotten worked up inside him and he didn't notice that he had stiffened, as he stood with his face upward in the direction of the sky.

"…Does getting drenched to the bone help you think or something?" Startled, he turned around to find the big-made man standing beside him, although he had an umbrella in his hands that prevented him from getting wet. Looking down at his clothes, Soujirou smiled as he realized that he was indeed, completely drenched.

"Aa, I didn't really realize that…" he said, shrugging as he looked up again, smiling. The big-made man glanced side-long at him, before turning away.

"So are those just raindrops, or have you been crying?" he asked. Surprised, Soujirou immediately raised his hands to his cheeks to find them wet. He would have thought that it was just the rain, but the liquid was rather warm…and he knew that raindrops were cool to the skin. He turned slowly, to stare at the taller, bigger, black-haired man, the naïve surprise clear on his face.

"…N – " He stopped, about to say 'no' when he remembered his old mentor who had asked him the same question. He managed a weak smile despite his apparent tears. "…Yes," he said, softly, "I have been crying…" He turned towards the black-haired man, "but I didn't realize…"

"There's no need to be making excuses; every grown up cries once in a way…I mean, take my baka-deshi for example, I'm sure he – "

" – I'm not making excuses…I just honestly didn't know that I had been…crying," said Soujirou, looking genuinely puzzled, "but I thought people had to know they were crying, if they were crying…"

"Oh for the love of – " the black-haired man slapped his forehead lightly, sounding exasperated, "are you telling me that you know nothing about normal human emotion?" Soujirou blinked blankly at him, causing him to sigh. "Your situation's far worse than I imagined then, kid…"

"I'm, er, sorry…?" said Soujirou, unsure of what he was supposed to say and earning him a glare from the big-made man.

"Honestly, were you always like this?"

"Like what?"

"Like this."

"…Like what?"

"Let me rephrase that; were you always so annoying?" Soujirou scratched his head, smiling.

"Eeto, I don't think I was…" he said.

"Why in heaven's sake do you have that silly smile on your face all the time?"

"Uh, I don't really know…I guess it helps me feel better…" The big-made man shot him a disbelieving glance.

"How can smiling stupidly help make you feel bet – oh never mind," he grumbled, shaking his head, "my point was, have you always smiled like this? Even when, let's say, you were a kid?" He could tell that he had struck a nerve with the boy. Soujirou had stiffened again and had turned his face away from him. His life-force had dimmed somewhat, causing the older man to wonder what exactly had happened to make him as emotionless as he was.

"I…don't really feel comfortable talking about that," mumbled Soujirou, after a few seconds. He could sense the bigger man's stare, but he didn't flinch once. He didn't think that the older man was evil or anything of the sort, but he really did not feel like talking about his past. That was what he had liked a lot about Shishio-san – he had never mentioned what he had witnessed about his family during the long years that he spent with him. Yes, he had referred to his past occasionally, but, as far as he knew, he had not told anyone else about exactly what had taken place. Yumi-san and the rest only knew that he had been ill-treated by the family he had been staying with, and had followed Shishio-san when he had met him. Given all of that, he didn't feel comfortable talking about it all to a man he didn't even know.

"Fine then, it's not like I care," said the bigger man, shrugging, "but I thought that Kenshin gave you a chance to live in order for you to come to terms with your past, just like he eventually did." He shifted the umbrella to his other hand, "It's a rather poor way to repay him by not even attempting to deal with your demons from the past, don't you think?"

"No, I'm not – "

" – Oy, I said that I don't really care," he interrupted, wondering whether he should be relieved that the smile had disappeared from the kid's face, "So it doesn't matter." Soujirou glanced briefly at him, before gazing up at the sky once more, blinking as drops of rain fell into his eyes. He shivered – which was reasonable as he was completely drenched.

"Ano…" he started, after a while, looking back up at the man, with the usual smile on his face.

"Hnn?"

"Who are you?"

"You still haven't figured it out?" Soujirou shook his head. "…Hiko Seijiro…" Soujirou's eyes widened as the man didn't even look at him when he answered. Hiko Seijiro…the man who taught Himura-san the Hitten Mitsurugi Ryu


Soujirou walked outside smiling pleasantly as he saw the early rays of sunlight light up the clearing. He was extremely glad that the rain had cleared up, as he had not been too enthusiastic about traveling in the rain, although if he hadn't had any choice he would have done it anyway. Taking a few steps away from the hut, he turned around.

"Arigato, Hiko-san," he called out, bowing down to show his gratitude.

"You're not welcome," grumbled Hiko Seijiro from his place seated inside with saké bottles around him – as usual. "Maybe I should put up a notice in town asking people to come this way with a supply of good saké…" Soujirou shook his head once again wondering whether this old man who was obsessed with saké had really taught the man who was probably the greatest swordsman in Japan everything that he knew about swordsmanship.

"Well, I'll be going now…" he said, bowing slightly again, "Thank you once again, Hiko-san. It was a pleasure finally meeting you." Especially since Shishio-san himself couldn't figure out where Himura-san's master lived.

"Go on now, get lost. I want my peace back again," said Hiko, waving his hand and looking as though he was shooing his 'guest' away. Soujirou sweat-dropped, getting the hint. He turned around and walked away with a larger smile on his face, heading back towards the path that had brought him here in the first place.

The moment the 13th master of the Hitten Mitsurugi Ryu felt the boy's life-force dim, he let out a long, heavy sigh, relaxing his muscles as he did so. This sudden meeting with the former Tenken had made him realize exactly how much some individuals owed Himura Kenshin. Kenshin had told him that he had attempted to set Seta Soujirou on the right track, but that was all that he could do. Judging by what he had seen Hiko could sense that his pupil really had set him on the right track…but it was up to the young-man to change for himself and not to wait for someone to change him.

He shook his head and lifted the bottle of saké to his lips again. Confused rurouni or not, that brown-haired kid certainly reminded him of his famous baka-deshi. He could only hope that he didn't start saying 'oro' in a few years. As he thought of his pupil, a somewhat saddened smirk appeared across his sharp features. That stupid idiot had never known when to draw the line…even with his so-called 'atonement.' And where was he now? No-one knew; not his wife, not his kid and certainly not his friends.

"Che…that baka-deshi of mine is such an idiot…" he muttered, before gulping down the rest of the contents of the bottle, closing his eyes as he did so.


A/N

Well, that's it I guess. I was thinking of somehow having Hiko Seijiro and Soujirou fighting each other, thinking that it would be cool to see how Soujirou handled the master swordsman, and to see how Hiko reacted to Soujirou, but then, since Soujirou's a rurouni, it wouldn't make much sense for him to get into fights right? Speaking of Hiko, I wonder what it would have been like if he had been actively involved with events just like Kenshin was. It sure would've been cool.

I didn't let Soujirou tell Hiko about his past because not only did I think that he wouldn't have wanted to talk about it to anyone, but, well, he just met Hiko…and I don't think he would've told someone he just met about his past. And Hiko didn't really care about it anyway 'coz, well, that's not in Hiko's nature is it? To be inquisitive and stuff? And I know that, at this point in time (since it's only six years since Kenji's birth) Kenshin's not dead, but I was thinking that, since the ship he was on was wrecked, that no-one would know whether he survived or not. Kaoru didn't believe that he was dead – and she was proved right – but I just assumed that the rest of the world would have been uncertain about it.

Heh, anyway, that's it. I hope you liked this. Reviews will be gladly accepted!

Siriusgirl1