Author's Note: Ok ok, I've come back from my little vacation (later than expected) and am feeling great! I had such a good time seeing all my close friends that I haven't seen in so long. Wow it was wonderful!
Well, anyway I'm back with another chapter of Heavier Than Heaven ready for you all to read!... and hopefully review! Haha, yes thank you very much for keeping up with this fic for as long as I have, most of you anyway, lol. Well, please read and review! Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I don't own Rurouni Kenshin
Chapter Thirteen: The Heart Will Shake
The flames of the candles on the surrounding walls of the dojo did not dance, they were still, motionless.
There was no wind, no interference, at least not yet. Not before Aoshi and Matsuo would begin their battle. But for this moment in time, the two of them only breathed… waiting for the other to strike the first move, time was passing.
Aoshi felt right now, that this battle could end in either two seconds, or two hours. It all would depend on if he planned his, and Matsuo's moves just right.
The evil lord seemed to be looking right through Aoshi, right through his eyes, his very soul. He was trying to figure just exactly what his first move would be, his plan on what he would do to get his kodachi back from the wall where they lay out of his reach.
Aoshi made a mental note in his head of how to get out of this mansion place once he planned on beating Matsuo. That was, if he could beat him. But Aoshi was a determined man, when he says he is going to do something, he always does it. And this moment remained to be no exception. However, feeling Matsuo's eyes piercing his own, he couldn't help but get a minor chill of what terror could possibly come to pass. Aoshi had to be careful. If he wasn't, his life would surely end before the sun would rise.
But then it just hit him, again. Aoshi had no idea how to get out of this wretched place. He was unconscious when he woke up in his prison chamber. He didn't know how he had gotten in, and that fact just made it so much harder for him to figure out how to escape freely, and hopefully in one piece. Well, without doubt there were many doors to this mansion, right? Aoshi knew he would eventually find an escape whether it be through a door or out a window… or even through a wall if Aoshi were to become that frustrated.
Aoshi had to make this count. This was one battle he deeply had to win. He found himself wanting to go back to his home and just continue to live in the peace that he has been blessed with for the past two years. He wanted to go back to Misao.
Moving into battle stance, Aoshi prepared himself. And for the first time in his life, he had never felt two years feel like such a short time of happiness and peace that he swore now that he would never take for granted ever again.
And that was only if…
If he were able to get out of this.
Misao was getting every gasp of air in her lungs that she could as Hideki continued to pull her hand along the way to the mansion, hiding behind trees here and there on the way just to make sure there were no guards surrounding the place.
Misao groaned inwardly in pain as she held her side with her free arm. She then gasped and stopped abruptly, tugging Hideki with her and now falling to hide behind a tree. She landed on the ground, her back to the tree and Hideki was still holding her hand as he practically landed on her from the strong force of her tug. Hideki leaned his back against Misao's front and breathed hard from all the running.
He turned his head to try and look at her, "Hey, what was that for?" He asked in one quick breath. And then blushed very slightly because his just discovered that his head was near her chest.
Misao put a quick hand over his mouth and pointed about twenty-five feet away from them. There were three guards together, talking calmly, and pointing in different directions.
Hideki looked where Misao pointed, just as she put her hand back down and narrowed her eyes, 'probably looking for intruders, us.' In any other situation, she would not have hid from those guards. But she was wounded, so she had to be careful and save her energy to get Aoshi back. She didn't know why but she had a feeling of great danger that would come.
Oh how she loathed those feelings. Misao wished she could rid herself of the negative feelings she had trapped in her.
Hideki slowly took Misao's hand away from his mouth and breathed quietly. He could feel Misao's fear, her caution; he felt sorry yet again that she was injured. He became instinctively more determined to protect her in that moment.
Misao whispered, "We can't run anymore. I'm sure we can take them down, but I don't want to risk you getting hurt as well."
They both relaxed very evidently once they saw the guards run in the opposite direction of them.
Hideki let out a tired laugh and sighed in relief loudly as he laid his head back to rest on Misao's shoulder, "Woh-hoa. That was kinda close huh." He stopped as his is blush became more apparent and his heart raced slightly when he realized how close to Misao he was.
She laughed nervously, "Ehh, yeah. Pretty close." She looked away and blushed vaguely.
The young swordsman swallowed loudly and raised his head back up and off of her. He suddenly felt his heart drop as he was wondering if he was crushing the poor girl and making her injury possibly open up.
He turned around quickly, apologizing, "Misao I'm so sorry are you ok?" He spoke quickly and gently took her hands away from her middle to see if there were any fresh crimson stains.
Misao hesitantly pulled her hands out of his, and back to herself as she nodded, "Yes I'm ok," she gave him a small smile and raised her eyebrow, "you don't have to be sorry."
He looked at her for a couple of seconds, and then nodded, "I… I guess we should start walking then. Shouldn't we?"
She smiled more, "Yes, let's go." She took his hand that he offered her to stand up. 'Aoshi, I'm coming.'
"Let's go!" Matsuo roared. He was the first to step forward and dart in the direction to Aoshi, his body becoming a blur to the untrained eyes. But Aoshi was already on the way to dodging this oncoming attack, his eyes widened slightly in surprise. Matsuo was getting ready to strike, grabbing a firm hold on the hilt of his katana as he continued to charge.
Aoshi could not help but feel somewhat intimidated by this man's speed.
'He's so damned fast… Faster than that other man Misao and I had fought before.'
Aoshi had in fact dodged cleanly to the side, making his body turn to face Matsuo's right side. Matsuo turned his back to Aoshi for a second as he unsheathed his katana, and swung it horizontally toward his blue eyed opponent.
Aoshi ducked down, extending his left leg out while bending his knees and elbows as his fingertips were placed on the hard wooden floor. He brought his leg back in for one instant, laid his hands flat on the floor and spun instantly, bringing his leg back out and knocking Matsuo down by striking his ankles.
Matsuo felt his feet giveway under him and he began to fall just as Aoshi was jumping to stand. As he did this, he had taken this chance to get a better look at this man's face, since the room was so dim from the candle light.
Aoshi widened his eyes, 'Matsuo… He… He looks just like –'
Matsuo gripped his sword tighter and in the swiftest motion he back flipped and landed on his feet, his knees bent and he at the same time he swung his sword toward Aoshi once again.
And this time.
It hit its target.
"So… Hideki, are you going to tell me the things about your father, and this, clan like you said before?" Misao asked hesitantly.
They were walking now, in a fast pace, but still steady enough to not tire themselves so easily. They desperately needed to regain their lost energy, hence them not running anymore.
Hideki bit his bottom lip subconsciously and rubbed the hilt of the dagger with his thumb that hung next to his sword on his hip. The memories were coming back.
His eyes looked as though they were looking into nothingness, and for a second Misao regretted what she had asked, judging by the look of guilt in her eyes. She nudged his elbow gently and asked in a whisper, "Hideki? Are you ok?"
He looked down at her, his eyes coming back to life again and asking a faint, "Huh?"
Misao made a face, uncertain. She didn't want to ask anything that would hurt him. If he didn't want to talk about it after all, then that would be ok.
Hideki's eyes dawned with realization to what Misao meant and he looked down, "Oh… Um, I'm ok it's just…" he looked ahead of himself, avoiding her eyes, "I am in a way shameful of what my father had become, in this clan of his… He was, slowly changing… into a different person… a person I didn't know… someone I became scared of." He was silent for a moment, taking a deep breath and watching his foot steps carefully.
Misao remained quiet, she could tell Hideki was about to continue.
He shook his head, "This group of people, their lifestyle, their beliefs in killing… they changed him. I wanted no part of it, and so I disappointed my father, and got out of this clan when I was about twelve." He looked ahead of himself once again, his voice grave, "that was the last I had seen of him, regret in his eyes, disappointment… doubt." He finished from the memory.
Misao now looked undoubtedly sad, "Oh Hideki… I'm.. I can't imagine.. I'm so sorry that happened… I-"
"No Misao. Don't be sorry, it's not your fault at all. No one knew of this. It was my own predicament to deal with in life."
Misao looked up at him, "But that still doesn't mean that I can change how I feel right now."
Hideki stopped and put his hands on her shoulders, "Please… Don't. It's really ok now. I just don't want to burden you with any more than you already have to…" He lowered his voice, "You don't deserve it, Misao, none of this… of this heavy burden."
Misao swallowed and took a quick breath. All of this time… When they were kids… He was in that clan then, right? He had lied to her then, right? Misao looked down, it was not his fault though. He was probably sworn to such secrecy that the slightest whisper about the clan would cost a life from the voice of which it came.
Hideki sighed and looked down in shame, "My older brother was joined in it as well… But he did not escape them like I did." He whispered.
That bad feeling in her gut was coming back again. Misao stopped breathing for a moment… Wait… Could it be possible?
She held his hand that was on her shoulder, "Tell me… What was his name?" She breathed uneasily.
Hideki looked back up at her, somewhat confused as to why she would ask that question, and still held sadness in his voice as he spoke, "His name is Matsuo."
Misao's heart sank.
This world suddenly came to a screeching halt.
Okina did not falter as he raised his voice slightly, "There is information from the government of a possible new dangerous threat to the entire country of Japan."
Okina explained to Misao...
"What! Again?" Misao stood up from her chair... "How can this be? Why would this guy think he could get away with this when Shishio could not? Is this man so deprived from society's news that he has not heard at all from anywhere that Kenshin totally defeated Shishio?"
Her voice was quiet, "And… this Lord Matsuo thinks he is superior to Shishio?"
Okina nodded, "I believe so…"
Misao looked at Hideki with frightened eyes, 'His brother, is the one trying to conquer Japan…'
Misao was in the most difficult situation as of right now. How was she supposed to tell one of her best friends that his brother was on the brink of taking over their country?