Note: Based on the incomparable song of the same name by Billy Joel, this story just came out all in a rush, and I don't even know why I wrote it. I guess (and this is just a guess, mind you) that it came out of the reviews that WithBrokenWings submits for THE SWORD OF THE SOUL. Even though she's not too fond of how I write, she still reads it… so here is a scene that I will never write for THE SWORD OF THE SOUL, about why Nasami and Kyuzo seem to have a connection, albeit not in the romantic sense. Perhaps it's because in a way, he's so achingly familiar…

Note: The relevant song is available on the SamuraikoProductions dot com website.

And So It Goes

Nasami walked silently through Kanna Village by Kyuzo's side as evening began to fall. The villagers were in high spirits after accomplishing so much that day, and the sounds of hope and laughter rang out from house to house. The fair-haired samurai had finally given the peasant men a break in their ongoing archery lessons, and was now on his way back to Rikichi's house, where he and the other samurai were staying. Nasami walked with him, wanting to have a word with Shichiroji about giving her some additional advice on the use of the naginata she'd had Heihachi make for her.

As she had often done over the last several days, Nasami found herself glancing at Kyuzo, wishing that she knew what was going on behind those shuttered eyes. He stared straight ahead as he walked, but without turning, asked in that soft, raspy voice of his, "What is it?"

She started, her thoughts interrupted by his question. "I'm sorry?"

"What is it?"

Nasami realized that she had been staring at him, and he had finally caught her at it. "Oh… I'm sorry, I didn't mean to… It's just that… you… you remind me of someone."

Kyuzo smirked, and she waved her hands. "No, not in looks. More in… personality."

He looked over at her, curiosity in his eyes. "Who?"

"Another samurai that I… once knew." Kyuzo was surprised to see her dark blue eyes fill with a sudden sadness, and when she glanced up and saw him looking at her, she turned her gaze away.

"His name?"

She shook her head. "No one you would know."

He stopped and turned to face her. "Try me."

She wrapped her arms around herself as she stared up at the mountains in the distance that circled the valley around Kanna. "Why should you care?"

Kyuzo shrugged. "Who says I do?"

At that, she smiled sadly. "Why else would you ask?"

He shrugged again, and started walking toward Rikichi's, leaving Nasami standing on the path. She quickly lengthened her stride to catch up to him once again. For a while, they walked along in silence, and then Kyuzo spoke again. "What was he like?"

Nasami smiled to herself. "He was always so secretive and mysterious, maddeningly so at times. And yet, when there were words that had to be said, truths that could not go unspoken, he was always the one who would speak them. Much like you, Kyuzo-sama."

Her hand gently touched the scar that marred the pale skin of her stomach. "He also saved my life on more than one occasion. And in battle, he was absolutely fearless, to the point of reckless. But his true skill lay in Iaijutsu, the art of the duel."

She watched the sun slowly sink beneath the mountaintops, and thus missed seeing his stride momentarily falter.

Nasami gestured to the swords that were sheathed across Kyuzo's back. "Even your technique is much like his."

Once again, her eyes turned slightly sad. "And he was one of the only samurai I could never defeat."

He thought about that for a while, then nodded, and Nasami began walking again toward the farmer's small house. Kyuzo fell in step beside her once more.

"I though that when I left my clan behind, I could leave behind… certain memories as well," she mused. "But it seems that my past still haunts me."

As they reached Rikichi's house, he paused before entering, and turned back to look at Nasami, the last of the fading sunset touching her face.

She was staring off into the distance as the stars slowly began to appear, one by one. But then her eyes met his, and he saw a single tear sliding down her cheek.

"It always does," Kyuzo agreed quietly.