Don't own any of these characters, I promise you this. Also, for this story Soujiro keeps his past and everything, just think of him three hundred years in the past.
If you're unfamiliar with Soujiro, he's from Rurouni Kenshin. He's also one of the most interesting characters in existence, in my opinion anyway.
Soujiro really knew much better than to walk around without paying any attention to his surroundings. It was actually more difficult for him to do such a thing than for a normal person to pull off. After all, he had to ignore over a decade's worth of training and his natural instincts to be aware of everything around him in order to walk around while being brain dead to the rest of the world. He would soon learn it was not practical to do such a thing. He was learning so much on the road.
He wandered down a road near some high grass and a large snake demon shot out at him. It had to be thicker than a tree and taller than a house. He did not even notice. He did not move nor did he at least put his arm out to block the reptile's long fangs. The thick, green serpent attached itself to his left shoulder and all he did was turn to glance at the creature that assaulted him.
A large boomerang came through and severed the demon's head from the rest of its body with great precision. Soujiro calmly turned to see who had come to his aid and he saw it was a woman. He grinned at her as her weapon turned to her and she caught the huge bone with practiced ease. She approached him, stopping a few feet from the attacked young man, trying to figure out what to make of him. He continued to smile at her while casually yanking the demon head from his wounded shoulder and dropping the head to the dirt. He did not seem hurt.
"Are you all right?" Sango inquired, even though she figured the fact he was still standing spoke of his physical condition.
"Fin…" Soujiro fainted before he had the chance to assure her that he was quite all right. She had expected as much since he really should not have stayed on his feet for as long as he had. He seemed to defy everything she knew about the serpent demon that assaulted him because most people collapsed as soon as they were bitten.
When Soujiro regained consciousness, he noted that he was on his back, staring at an unfamiliar ceiling. The smell of earth and stew filled the air, as well as something pleasant, like flowers, wafted just underneath those things. There was a sharp pain rushing through his left side from his shoulder to the tips of his fingers. He winced as he tried to move in order to touch his injured side.
"So, you're awake," a female voice commented.
He turned his head away from his shoulder to acknowledge who was addressing him. She was a complete and total stranger, but in her eyes, he saw something he was unaccustomed to. Her chocolate pools were warm and concerned for him. He did not understand why she was eyeing him in such a way. He smiled at her; his usual smile.
Sango thought that it was bizarre for the young man to smile at her, especially after his ordeal. He should have been in too much agony to even consider smiling at someone. He did not look like he was in any pain, though, which she thought was weird.
"Sorry for causing you any trouble, miss," Soujiro said in his usual light, almost carefree tone of voice.
"You didn't cause me any trouble, unless you count almost getting killed and coming very close to dying as trouble," she remarked. She sat by a pot of stew, stirring it when necessary and making sure to keep the fire going.
"Really? I guess you should've left me," he commented with another smile. What was he doing with life, after all? He did not even know how to cherish such a gift, so he doubted that it would mean anything if he died now.
"Left you? Why do you say that?" she asked with a confused face. How could she have just left someone to die? It was not in her nature.
"Well, it wouldn't have inconvenienced you," he pointed out, sounding as if this was perfectly acceptable. No sense in being a burden to anyone in his opinion while he was still so useless to the world.
"I told you, it wasn't any trouble. I was tracking that snake anyway. I wanted to make sure he stayed away from the village and didn't get me in my sleep. He got you pretty good, though," she commented while motioning to his shoulder.
"Oh?" Soujiro turned his head and inspected his bare shoulder to see that his whole left side was covered in bandages. He laughed a bit, like being hurt was funny. "I suppose it was a bit careless of me to wander around with my head in the clouds like that," he replied, continuing to speak as if his wound was no concern of his.
"You don't sound too worried. You could've died considering how much venom that viper injected into you," she informed him.
"Venom?" he echoed in a puzzled tone, as if he did not know what such a thing was.
"Yes, when the snake bit you, he pumped you full of poisonous venom. I had antitoxins here in the village. There's some damage to you left arm, but it should be fine as long as you take it easy for about a week. I've got medicine here that you should take, too," she explained.
"Well, thank you, miss," Soujiro said politely with yet another broad smile. He really did not care one way or another about the state of his arm, but he knew it was best to be civil toward a person that just saved his life, whether he cared or not. He could not really help what happened the last time he cared if he lived or died.
"It's Sango," she introduced herself.
"My name is Sango."
"All right, Miss Sango. Thank you." He was silent after that.
"What's your name?" she asked when she figured that he had no plans of introducing herself. Part of her noted how nice it was to have a conversation with someone, even if he was a bit strange. She was the only one in her village, after all.
"Oh, forgive me. I'm Seta Soujiro," he replied. He doubted that she heard of him, even though he was a deadly warrior, most people that knew his real name were quite dead and unable to tell others about what he had done. He avoided infamy for the simple that he was quite good at his former job.
"Pleasure to meet you, Seta-san."
"It's all right to call me Soujiro," he assured her.
"All right, Soujiro. So, what are you doing around here?"
"Nothing, only passing through," he answered.
"It's rather dangerous to just pass through anywhere on your own without any means of defense," she pointed out.
Soujiro smiled again. He guessed that Sango had taken a look at his sword while he was unconscious. It was not really a weapon any more, only a reminder. It was the sword that he used in his last battle. The battle where he learned there might be more than one truth to life, where he learned humility, where he learned that he was not living his life the way that he truly wanted. Mister Himura had taught him so much in that one fight than he learned in his whole life from Mister Shishio, but he put equal stock in their words at the moment. His two teachers in life used to be the same and then ten years later they were opposites and he wanted to understand how that was possible.
"I don't mind the danger," he assured his hostess with a smile.
"You must be going some place very special," she commented. She bet he had a family somewhere that he was trying to see, maybe a girlfriend or wife. How nice it must be to have a family, she thought.
"I am," he answered with a solid nod.
"Where are you going? To meet your family?"
"No, I'm going everywhere."
"Everywhere?" she echoed in a puzzled tone.
"You see, I met two men who started out the same, but they became opposites after a decade. They were both very strong men and I don't even know which was stronger. I admire them both greatly. I was like one and I was beaten by the other. Now, I don't know which one them was right. I don't know what's the path for me. So, I thought I'd do what they did and eventually come to what's right for me," he explained as best he could.
Soujiro was not sure if his logic made sense to everyone else because if he had learned nothing on his journey, he had learned that he was not like other people. He was not normal. He just did not know much else about himself. He did know that he did not want to kill people and that he needed to stop smiling so much. It was easy to do the former and he was working on the latter.
"You'd do what they did?" Sango asked.
"They parted ways for ten years," Soujiro answered and that was putting things mildly.
"So, you're going to wander around for ten years until you come across one of them?" she asked in a confused tone, shaking her head slightly.
Sango really did not see what made her guest believe he would survive such an endeavor. From what she saw when she bandaged him, not that she looked very hard, he appeared thin and malnourished. Not to mention, the sword that he was carrying around was a joke. It was all broken and shattered. Where does he think he's going with that ratty thing? He couldn't take anything down with it.
"I thought it would be the right thing to do," Soujiro answered with a grin.
"How so?" Sango inquired with an arched eyebrow, still bemused by her guest. She checked on the food before turning her complete attention back to him.
"Because that's what they did. I want to find my path, like they did," he replied.
"By copying those two men?" she asked in a slightly teasing tone. She thought it was strange for him to be looking for his own path by copying others. He would still be walking their path no matter which man he ended up like.
Soujiro laughed a little bit because his plan did seem ridiculous now that she questioned it. He never questioned what he was doing and he usually did not tell anyone because no one asked, so no one else could question it. Maybe he was making yet another wrong move in his life.
"Finding my path by walking another's…" Souijro's forehead wrinkled as he thought about it.
Soujiro considered that was his problem from the very beginning, always listening to what other people were saying without really thinking on their words. He never thought on his own. First, he believed his family, then Mister Shishio, and then Mister Himura. But, it seemed like he was doing just what Mister Himura taught him not to do. Apparently, he was in the presence of a very wise young woman.
"You're very smart," Soujiro told Sango as if it was nothing.
"Not really," she replied.
"You seem to know what you want from life."
"I suppose…" she answered in an unsure manner.
"You killed that creature that attacked me. Why?" he inquired in a very bewildered tone.
"Because it attacked you. It would've killed you," she answered as if it was that simple and it was to her, but from his question, she guessed that it was not so simple to him.
"It would've killed me…" he repeated and he considered the words. He would have died had she not been there to kill for him. He laughed a little bit.
"What's so funny?" she asked.
"It's just a long time ago, I cried for you, just like I cried for Himura-san. I wanted somebody to save me then. It's weird for you to show up now," he answered and he was still smiling, but he wanted to do something other than smile.
"What do you mean?" she inquired curiously.
"I didn't think I needed help now. I'd never call for it now," he informed her.
"Well, you'd be quite dead now if I hadn't happened along. That demon snake venom is pretty potent," she pointed out.
"Well, good thing you were there, I guess."
"You guess? You'd be dead if it weren't for him," she reiterated because she did not think he understood he would be scaled worm food right now if it were not for her.
"That I would," he concurred, still speaking in an almost mocking tone because he was so casual about almost dying.
"You don't sound very concerned."
"But, I am very thankful," he assured her with a smile. Concerned and thankful were two different animals.
"You seem to be forcing it. You're a strange man," Sango commented with a warm smile to avoid offending him.
Soujiro smiled back at her, but Sango noted that it was a peculiar expression. His smile was peculiar in a way that she could not put her finger on. His smile just was not normal, beyond the fact that he should not be able to smile with all the pain that he should be in, but was not showing any signs of.
Sango looked into the injured man's eyes to try to understand how his mind worked. They were not the eyes of a smiling man. She had never seen such eyes before. They seemed to conflict with each other by housing innocence and guilt, naïveté yet knowledge on how the world worked to a tee. They were the eyes of a demon while being the eyes of a baby. There was everything in his eyes, yet nothing at all in his eyes.
"Do you have any questions about your condition?" Sango asked to halt her thoughts about him. She figured loneliness was making her think too much on her guest.
"Not really," Soujiro answered honestly.
"What about where you are?"
"I'm here, of course."
"But, you don't even know where here is," she pointed out.
"It is where I am," he replied in a nonchalant tone. What was a place to someone going nowhere?
Sango wondered where her guest would be when he was no longer where he was, namely in her hut. She could not help thinking he was probably going to die sometime soon after he left her. He just seemed less alert than a rock mentally and physically he was rather lean. He did not appear to be particularly strong. Well, at least he would live while under her care and that was about all she could offer. It was the only way she could thank him for the company.
Why did I do this? Well, I really like Soujiro and I wanted to write a story with Sango in it.