A Figure From the Past

Another one of my stories that I post just to see if anyone likes them. If anybody does, please review so I will know that I'm not just wasting my time writing something that nobody likes.

Chapter I - - Prologue

Ralin's POV…

"Taro, stay close." The street was very crowded, and my twelve-year-old son looked at me in distaste. "How old do you think I am? Four?" he said, scowling at me. I smiled and relaxed my hold on him a tiny bit. People streamed past in a steady flow, from the shops and restaurants on either side.

We had just arrived in Tokyo after leaving our former home in Kyoto. My family was a very old, and prominent one and were long time supporters of the Tokugawa Shogunate. My father had been a member of the Shinsengumi and loyalty to the shogun had been his mantra. He was killed in the revolution by an assassin, the very same one who later became the father of my child. If my family ever found out that my child was the son of a patriot, the very same Ishin Shishi patriot who took the life of my father, then I would be disowned, and I feared for our safety. Therefore, I was forced to keep Taro a secret from them all while I earned the money we would need to make a life for ourselves outside of Kyoto. Kyoto held too many painful memories for me to stay there. We had traveled with a childhood friend of mine named Yuki. She had fled Kyoto when we did to escape an arranged marriage.

I steered my son into the restaurant on one side and made him stay by the door while I went to talk to someone about a job. A woman introduced herself to me as Tae Akabeko, daughter of the owner. In no time at all, I had a job waiting on people six days a week. "Taro, good news, I got the job!" I said. My voice trailed off when I didn't see my son waiting for me with a sarcastic remark.

Kenshin's POV…

"Kenshin, I need you to go shopping for salt, miso, and soy sauce." Kaoru had told me. I had been starting back towards the dojo when a small boy, about Yahiko's age, pulled on my sleeve. "Excuse me, have you seen my mother? She's not very tall, black hair, green eyes, with a blue kimono? I'm a little lost," said the boy. I smiled at him and took him by the hand. "Young one, what is your name?"

He held onto my sleeve as we wound through the crowd. "It's Taro," he answered. Then he noticed the sakabato. "Why do you have a sword? I thought nobody was allowed to carry swords anymore? My father was a great swordsman, but my mother won't tell me about him. She says he was a great man, who fought for what he believed in, and that she loved him with all of her heart, and that's all I need to know."

Taro sighed and looked down. "It's not fair. We had to leave Kyoto because of me. My family didn't like me, and they got mad at my mom because she wouldn't tell them about my dad." Tears welled up in his eyes and he hurriedly tried to wipe them away. "My father left before I was born. I want to be a great swordsman like my father so I can make my mother proud. She cries about him and it makes me sad to see her cry."

"Taro-chan!" A girl of about eighteen ran up to us and knelt in front of Taro. "What are you doing here? Where is your mother? Why are you crying?" She pulled him close to her and stroked his hair gently as he cried into her shoulder. She looked up at me and when she saw my face, she gave me the strangest look. She took the boy's hand, thanked me, and hurried off with Taro in tow.

I turned around and started home, but the boy's face lingered in my mind for a long while.

Taro's POV…

'My mother is such a pain.' I thought as I stood there waiting for her. I turned a round and looked out into the street. An interesting looking street-vendor was set up across the road, and since my mother was busy, I went to look at them. I crossed the street quickly and saw that the knickknacks were not worth a second glance after all.

I turned around to go back to Akabeko's, but the flood of people in the narrow lane swept me along like a leaf on a river. When the world stopped spinning, I had no idea where I was. A man with red hair walked out of a store nearby whistling, and he looked friendly enough, so I thought I'd ask him how to find my mom. He was nice to me and asked me my name. He had a sword and I ended up telling him about my father. I thought I was going to cry, but then Yuki-san found me and took me to find mom. She started to say something to the man who helped me, but she looked surprised to see him and she took me away really fast. When we walked away, I looked over my shoulder and looked at the man. He had such a funny, confused look on his face that I just had to laugh and I felt a lot better.

When we found mom, she was really pale and scared. "Taro! I'm so glad you're safe! I was so worried!" she said. She hugged me and I could see that there were tears in her eyes. Later we went to find an inn to stay at for the night. At one point Yuki-san whispered something to my mother that must have surprised her because her eyes got really big and she looked like she was going to cry. Later, when we found an inn to stay at, Mom left me with Yuki-san and she left. She said she was going to find an old friend from a long time ago.