Hey everyone. Happy new year! May 2006 be bright, shiny, and filled with less bad, more good, and copious amounts of nonsense.

This is just a little fictlet dedicated to my friend darksidestories for LJ. She's awesome. This was supposed to be a present-month giftfic, but...I was a bit late in typing it up. So it's just a new year's fic I guess. Hope that works...

Disclaimer: Idea and storymine, characters not. Seriously though, do I even have to bother with this thing? It's fanfiction people.

The minute Soujiro walked into the dojo sporting his usual smile, Kenshin could tell that something was wrong. Each of the younger man's smiles had become quite transparent now, to Kenshin, and Soujiro's usual smile—his old smile, easiest of all to read. It was something the teen fell back on when he wasn't sure what expression was fitting to a situation.

"What's wrong?" The redhead asked, patting the place next to him.

Soujiro's smile flickered for an instant as he hesitated, it reappeared as bright as ever as the teen walked over and sat down.

The two remained like that in silence for some time; seated side by side in silence. Kenshin did not wish to push. Even though the week Soujiro had spent at the dojo had helped some, Soujiro's mind was still very fragile, and just beginning to recover from his previous lifelong mentality.

Kenshin was patient, He understood that the teen needed time and breathing room, and he was happy to give him an abundance of both. Kaoru and the others were out of town on a variety of visits to make and errands to run and would gone for up to a month. Kenshin was taking full advantage of the opportunity to help Soujiro without everyone else's pressures.

Finally, Soujiro took a breathe and asked "What…made you think that something was wrong?"

"Just a feeling this one had, that is all." Kenshin replied. "there are different types of smiles you know."

"Yes." Soujiro said, with his head bowed. "I've…been told."



"What did you do to your leg?"

"What?" The word was spoken almost as a gasp, and Soujiro's eyes widened a fraction before the smile slipped back into place again. "What do you mean?"

"You were favoring your right leg when you walked in." Kenshin said matter-of-factly. "I can treat it if you like. What happened?"

"I—no! I—" Soujiro abruptly stood up and smiled. "No, I'm fine. No, see? I—it doesn't hurt." But as he took is next step, his ankle twisted and he fell. Kenshin was by his side in an instant, assessing the damage.

"It does look like a painful sprain." The redhead said, concerned, "How did this happen?"

"Nothing happened!" The younger man said desperately, his voice getting louder. "I'm fine! It doesn't hurt" The smile slipped away. "It—it shouldn't hurt!"

"Oh?" Asked Kenshin gently. "Why should it not hurt? You have gotten injured before, have you not?"

"Yes," answered Soujiro miserably. "but not for such a stupid reason."

"How did it happen?"

"…" Soujiro turned his face away. "The thong of my sandal snapped. The bottom then caught on the ledge of the staircase as I went down, and I fell…wrong. Stupid."

Ah. This was the real reason Soujiro was upset. A battle injury is because of a worthwhile opponent. Spraining an ankle after tripping an falling down some stairs?


"Soujiro…" Kenshin began. Then, instead, he pulled the younger man into an embrace. Soujiro slowly melted into it.

"Soujiro," the redhead said softly "accidents happen. Carelessness happens. Trouble happens. It is not weak to be human and to face the problems humans face. Please…you must understand this."

"Yes." Said the teen sadly. "Yes I—I…" They sat like that for minutes more, then Soujiro pulled back out of the embrace. He wiped away tears and let out a long breath. "…Kenshin?"


Soujiro smiled, again, but this time it was a different smile; a real, rather hesitant smile. "Kenshin, my…my ankle…hurts…a little."

Comments and Critisisms welcomed and appreciated.