I do not own Samurai Champloo… or Jin… worse luck…

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A Conversation

"So, then I told them I would be fine on my own – boy, was I wrong! Why am I always so wrong? Do you think I lack discretion?"

"Hmmmm…"

"Do you know what discretion is?"

"More importantly – do you?"

"Well – I'd like to think so – but reality is so different from w hat we think is really happening – I mean – there's always more to things than meets the eye. Like Momo-chan – at first glance all you see is a flying squirrel – but really we all owe our lives to Momo-chan – right? Right?"

"Ummmm…."

"Or take you for instance-"

"Ehhh?"

"When I first saw you, I thought your manners and actions would live up to your looks – but in reality, you're no better than that ape Mugen!"

Jin stiffened, frowned, turned his head away sharply and sniffed.

"How rude! Brat… comparing me to him!"

"What DID YOU SAY?"

"Nothing."

"You really need to learn how to speak up – look at Mugen – he's always able to defend himself – how far in life are you going to get just saying 'Hmmmm'?"

"Hmmm.."

"See what I mean – what kind of girl do you think is going to fall for that?"

A heavy silence ensued.

"Okay. There WAS that chick – what was her name? Kohara? Rohana? Whatever. Although, Mugen could be quiter, huh…"

"Yeah."

"Still, I wouldn't want him to die – even if he is annoying… where IS he? Didn't we send him to get food?"

"Tch. Lunatic."

"Oh no! What if he was killed by a bear – or – or – some sort of tiger?"

"There's not enough meat on him –"

"But he might have run into robbers – or – some yakuza…"

"In these woods?"

"You never know! Weird things happen around you guys. It's like you people are attractive to trouble. And you know how sidetracked Mugen can get."

"Hmmm…."

"It remaind me too much of that one time…"

There was a long silence – and finally Jin raised his eyes to look sideways at his partner – Fuu. The young girl was frowning down at her bow – very despondently – as she turned her little pink lacquered knife around in her hands.

The samurai blinked.

What to do? He wondered. I'm not a comforter – at all… not by nature. What can I say to a fifteen year old girl like her?

"He'll be fine. He can't die until I kill him anyway."

He waited for her to respond snappishly – with the usual:

"NO KILLING UNTIL WE FIND THE SAMURAI WHO SMELLS LIKE SUNFLOWERS!"

But she didn't. She just frowned harder and fiddled…

Jin tried again, now anxious.

"You shouldn't worry – he's a big boy and –"

The girl's face turned – her little hand rose up – Jin leaned forward in concern.

Her eyes quivered with unshed tears –

"It's – it's –"

A pause.

"Broken!"

In her palm, lay one of the dice which used to dangle from her pink sheath. Her lip quivered – Jin leaned back, relieved – trying not to roll his eyes.

Girls! What a waste!