Disclaimer: I don't own any of it, it all belongs to Watsuki, may he and his creations live and grow forever in the hearts and minds of fans and fanfic writers alike. I'm only borrowing, and I'll put everything back where I found it when I'm done.
Author's Note: This is an interesting concept that came to me as to the Seijuro/Kenshin relationship. It's not really meant to be taken as canon, just an idea I decided to play around with, one of those it won't leave me alone until I write it kind of things. It's been around in my head for a long time, it's just been a struggle to 'put it on paper' so to speak, I rewrote this one countless times, I swear Hiko's head is harder to get into then just about anyone else in the series…I hope I can do it justice…
Some Things are Better Left Unsaid
Never argue with a 14 year old.
The only thing you'll get for your efforts will be a headache…sometimes more literally then others.
That little idiot actually had the nerve to hit me over the head with the flat of his sword, then went on to tell me how stupid I was being for not letting him run off so he can go play war! Damn stubborn little baka.
Teenagers. It doesn't matter what you say, they won't listen to you anyway. It's as if by virtue of being fourteen they know more then someone with more knowledge and experience then them. It's him that doesn't realize how stupid he's being; he doesn't know what a powerful thing he wields, and how much it's capable of. Or not capable of. It's a powerful technique, able to turn the tide in any fight, but it's not able to undo it's own damage if it's used recklessly, and that's what he can't seem to see. He's too young and untrained to run off now, someone will grab him to use in their own cause, and he'll be too clueless to realize it until it's too late.
I just don't want to see him make the same kind of stupid mistakes I made when I was his age. Yeah, it's an amazing thought, that the great Hiko Seijuro could a mistake, or do something stupid. But I was every bit as much a stubborn, idealistic jackass at that age as he is now. I thought I could save the world from itself, that being the up and coming master of the Hiten Mitsurugi-Ryu made me some kind of indestructible force, something that no matter what I did no one would suffer for my actions, least of all me. And now I see him trying to do the same thing. What that boy doesn't realize is I'm trying to save him from himself. To stop him from ending up nothing but a pawn in someone's sick game, so he doesn't end up doing things he'll hate himself over for the rest of his life.
I would never say that to him though. Some things just aren't meant to be said, and how much I actually care about that baka is one of them. And in the end, the less he knows about such things, the better. I've never been sentimental, and I sure as hell am not going to start now.
In fact I just want to grab him, shake him out of it, and tell him to stop being an idiot. To tell him he has to finish what he started, not just run off to play a hero. But I wonder if maybe I brought some of this about as well. I brought him here, and then expected him to ignore everything happening around him, just as I have done. If I had told him the truth before, would it have made any difference? Or would it have just driven a deeper rift between us? But fighting with the past won't change anything, and it's too late to undo it.
But telling myself to leave the past alone, and actually doing it are two different things. He reminds me of his mother more every day, and I wonder what she would say if she could see us now. She used to say my arrogance would be my undoing, that I was cocky, too over sure of myself. I hated her…but I grew to love her, and I didn't care what anyone thought or said about it. In the end though it was my stubbornness, that same arrogance that was her undoing. I thought that I could protect her…but I never thought I'd have to watch her die, watch her life bleed out and know there wasn't a damn thing I could do to save her.
I hate to admit it, even to myself, but her death shook me, and I made the one decision I've regretted the most in my life. I abandoned those that did need me. I was young, stupid, and scared out of my damn mind. The son of a farmer had a better chance in this world, maybe not at a better life, but at living to see it, then the son of a swords master, I reasoned with myself. What did I have to offer him? Nothing. I couldn't save his mother, how could I protect my son? So I left him in the care of others, and let myself disappear. I wanted no more part in the bloodshed going on everywhere; I wanted only to be left alone.
The time-honored Hiten Mitsurugi-Ryu was to protect, but the corrupted people refused to see this, wanting only bloodshed and even when I tried to help, I was often only in time to bury the dead. I decided not to pass on what I knew, I would have no part in creating anything that could be used for such purposes, and my technique would die with me. I shut myself away from the world, scorning everything about it and it's corrupt views, secure in my own superiority to anyone else. I did what I wanted, and the rest of the world be damned. Damned for what it had done, and for everything it stood for. Man could burn in his own anger, hatred and corruption, but I would have no part of it. And this is how I would have stayed, locked away with my arrogance and my sake for company, growing more bitter and dissatisfied as the years went on. I often thought about what I had lost, and that only made things worse.
Until I met him. At first when I saw the child I thought little of him, just another child, another victim of this relentless, vicious society we created for ourselves. I told him to go to the nearest village; someone there would help him. I had no reason to help just another kid, there were so many in this time that I couldn't have helped them all anyway, even if I had wanted to. Which I most certainly did not. He would have to either learn to live, and to thrive, or he would die, and then he'd be out of his misery. This is what I assured myself, but that boy wouldn't leave my thoughts, he haunted my dreams, and every waking moment, the stunned looking child with her eyes, and her red hair. Finally I came back again, I was sure he'd died, but I had to see for myself. As soon as I saw him for the second time I knew it…I knew him. I'd been given the second chance to make up for what I'd done to him years before. So I took the chance, and took on a student.
I trained him. I drove him almost beyond the endurance of his very limits, always pushing him to be more, to be better. I insulted him, taunted him, did everything in my power to keep him at arms length, yet despite it all he clung loyally to me, despite the complaints he did what I wanted of him, glancing towards me for an approving word, glance, anything that told him I was pleased with him. It rarely came, but inside I was. No, more then pleased. Proud, even honored. He was my student, but not only that, my blood. But he would not know these things, instead he would look back on me as a driven master who always pushed him further, as it should be.
And now I stand by and watch, as my son wants to leave, too eager to save the world from itself. If he really wants to leave, he will regardless to anything I do. And if I did manage to keep him here, all it would do would be to spawn resentment and discontent. So as much as I want to, I won't stop him. He has to make his own choices, just as I did.
And whether he stays or goes, he still won't know. Some things are better left unsaid, it's better he think himself the son of a farmer, the product of a loving family…then the blood heir to Hiten Mitsurugi-Ryu, and the child of a father who abandoned him because he was too damn afraid of what he'd done or might do.
So I let him go.
I will return to my life as I knew it, and I will continue on. It's that will to live that matters most, without it we are nothing, only shells of men. But not Hiko Seijuro the Thirteenth. I will thrive on my own company; I have everything I need, with or without him. I know that whatever he does, he's going to shake all of Japan, whether towards good or evil only time will show.
All he saw was my anger at his leaving; he won't know hard his leaving…this betrayal…hit me. He won't know that I loved him, or that I'm proud of him. Some things are better left unsaid.
Wow, I'd only intended for this to be a short piece, but it kind of kept growing on its own. This was probably the hardest piece I've ever written though, trying to really capture Hiko. Technically it could have happened, after all he would have been about 15-16 when Kenshin was born, and that was about the age people were married off and starting their own families in this era…I mean, Kenshin was about 15 when he was with Tomoe…
I'm trying to decide if I should write the backstory that leads up to this piece, or keep it as is….what do you think? Longer story or one shot? Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed!