Warning(s): mild violence
Disclaimer: don't own them. Strictly for entertainment use…
A Different Sort of Lesson
"Attack!" ordered Hiko. The red-haired boy who was now twelve and his old master were by the waterfall close to their humble abode training as they usually did every night when the moon was out completely. Kenshin did as told approaching Seijuro as fast as he possibly could
"Stop" Hiko requested angered making Kenshin pause abruptly "you're not fast enough. Go back. Do it again" he newly ordered. Kenshin frowned
"I'm going as fast as I can!" he yelled in frustration. Hiko stared at the youngster. There it was the annoying attitude again. Lately Kenshin had been testing the old master's limits. Usually quiet during their sessions, the youngster was turning angrier and angrier on him talking back to him when he normally wouldn't and going about things his way. Seijuro had been forced to call him on it several times. The more he corrected the more attitude he would get back. The old master was getting tired of it. He had been waiting for the appropriate time to teach the boy a lesson. It looked like the time had finally arrived
"You think it fast enough?" asked Seijuro with a frown. The man and the boy held their defensive stance ready to attack any second now
"Hai" yelled Kenshin bravely. Hiko smirked
"Go ahead then" he took the standard passive stance as they stared at each other nothing but water puddles between them "let me see what you've got" he taunted. Kenshin approached him as fast as he had done in the first attempt. Hiko Seijuro moved against him only he didn't hold back on his speed taking Kenshin by complete surprise for Hiko had never been this fast on him. Kenshin tried to protect himself with his sword but he was too late. Seijuro had sliced his chest open before he had the chance to back away. Kenshin fell to the floor face first. Seijuro remained standing
"Baka deshi" Hiko put his sword back on its sheath "if I say you're slow, you're slow" he kept his back turned to Kenshin "now stand up. Do it again" he ordered. Kenshin pushed off the ground getting fast across the water puddles. His sword stopped an inch away from Seijuro's back
"Don't underestimate me" he said threateningly. Seijuro turned faster than Kenshin's eye could muster. He punched him square on the face sending him to fly in the air once again
"Don't overestimate yourself" he stared down at Kenshin "that's all for today. You've reached your limit"
"But" Kenshin protested lying on the puddle of water
"You've got a broken nose and an open chest. We will continue tomorrow" Hiko walked away. Kenshin stood from the puddle
"Shisho!" he yelled "you want me to be faster? Teach me!" he added angrily
"You're in no condition to continue Kenshin" Hiko turned to him "both physically and mentally. You're thinking like a fool" Kenshin's eyes widened. He was taken aback. Thinking like a fool? What did he mean by that?
"If you're done with the tantrums" Hiko continued "we will continue tomorrow. If" he walked away with a shadowy expression Kenshin couldn't understand. Kenshin stood still, his sword on hand. A tantrum? It was embarrassing. Did his protests really sound like childish complaints to his shisho? Was he being irrational?
"Get cleaned up before dinner" he heard Seijuro say already a few feet away from their training site. Kenshin stared at his shisho as his figure disappeared through their hut's door. He looked to the ground. You're thinking like a fool. The words resounded in his head. All Kenshin wanted was to do as he was told. Thinking like a fool would imply he had said or done something that was foolish. He didn't mean to take it personally but Hiko Seijuro the 13th had never been crude enough to offend him in such way. Hiko Seijuro had always held a high respect for his deshi's clever thinking; it had been offensive to hear him insult it. What had been so wrong about what he had said enough to cut his training session short? Kenshin frowned. Who did he think he was cutting his sessions short? This was a setback! He could be getting better right this instant!
"Get cleaned up before dinner"his shisho's voice popped in his head. Kenshin breathe out
"Hai" he murmured submissively walking back to the hut …
Hiko took care of Kenshin's wounds before going to dinner something he did quite often after their training sessions. This time, however, was much different. Kenshin didn't move or flinch or stare curiously into the eyes of the man before him wondering the kind of person he was before he became a part of his life. This time Kenshin was holding the pain in looking out the horizon angry that he had wounds to be tended to. Soon after Seijuro was done Kenshin went inside for some dinner. Hiko Seijuro followed his actions with his eyes but turned away focusing on the nice hot bath he was going to take. Sake better taste good tonight. This baka is making me lose it…
Kenshin and Seijuro avoided having to meet each other the rest of the early night by staying away from where the other was at a particular time. While Kenshin ate, Seijuro took a bath; while Hiko rinsed the dishes, Kenshin took care of their plantation outside; while Kenshin practiced his writing (taught by Seijuro during their earlier years) Hiko was looking for water at the bottom of the mountain and so it went on. It was starting to get annoyingly quiet for both of them…
Seijuro walked in their small hut a big wooden pitcher of water on hand. Kenshin didn't budge. He continued his writing ignoring his shisho's presence on purpose. Hiko stared at him. He knew something was with him he just couldn't figure out what it was like most things these days. Earlier during their years together Kenshin was like an open book to him. He couldn't understand what was so different about now. There was something about his young apprentice that was not allowing him to read him quite as easy as he used to
"Oi" called Hiko. Kenshin looked into his eyes
"Hai?" he said submissive
"Come with me" Seijuro placed the water pitcher on a corner to his side "now" he walked away grabbing his sword on the way out. Kenshin swallowed hard. He hadn't forgotten about their afternoon session his chest wound and broken nose were a painful reminder
"Kenshin?" he heard Hiko's hardhearted voice from outside
"Hai" Kenshin moved quickly forgetting to pick up his sword as he moved about. He was much too focused on what was to happen besides if Hiko had his sword there was no need for him to take his. It was too dark outside to train right now. What was Hiko up to?
Kenshin walked outside spotting Hiko seating on a rock near the waterfall right away. He was staring to the sky. The boy swallowed hard again. His ears felt hot. He had known as soon as he had gotten home from their disastrous session that he had been wrong talking to his shisho like that
"Kenshin" Hiko called callously. Kenshin looked to the ground approaching his master quite slow. He knew he was getting it. He was certain
"Would you knock it off and sit already!" Seijuro said gruffly. Kenshin hurried and took a seat on the ample rock aside his master's
"Look at that" Hiko signaled the sky. Kenshin looked up. Out of all the full moons they had seen before this was by far the fullest and brightest one they had witnessed
"It's great, isn't it?" Hiko broke the silence. Kenshin nod soundless. Hiko cleared his throat bringing the boy's attention to him
"Four years ago, on a day like today, I went to a very poor abandoned village to find you. I thought you'd be gone having seen what you saw at that age. I thought you wouldn't be able to understand it" he sighed "but what you did for those people, your caretakers and the bandits, it was something not every boy your age would've known how to do. I knew there was something about you and I brought you here because I was later certain. You only had a set of clothes to take with you along with that stupid toy you carry everywhere" he scoffed referring to the spinning top. Kenshin felt his cheeks burn. He had tried to hide the toy well enough for his shisho not to spot it. He knew he wouldn't hear the end of it if he did
"And so" Hiko continued setting the spinning top issue aside "for four years you have kept opening my eyes to new things. As a swordsman, although you don't possess great physical strength, the style you're set to learn suits you perfectly because of your remarkable speed. You must remember nevertheless there will always be one thing that will make you different from the rest" said Hiko
"What is it?" Kenshin was curious
"The nobility of your heart" he said "it's what drives your ability as a swordsman. You yearn for good to govern a yearning so pure it forces you to stop evilness at all costs and help people that are in need" Kenshin listened intently as his master spoke "in order to protect others, Kenshin, you must first serve your sword. This will soon be your cause of action. Don't forget that" Seijuro stared at the kid as he analyzed every word his master had spoken
"Shisho" Kenshin looked to the ground "gomen nasai. I don't know what got into me" he sounded apologetic
"You have nothing to be sorry for" said Hiko looking away and back to the sky "you're growing up. Things are starting to change around here. We are different people" Kenshin stared at his master puzzled
"What things have changed?" he asked not having noticed
"The way you eat" said Hiko "a saucepan of miso soup and three bowls of rice isn't taking care of your hunger anymore" Kenshin looked away guiltily. He had been eating a lot lately. He just couldn't figure out why that was
"The way you sleep has changed some. Definitely the way you train-"
"The way I train? How has that changed?" asked Kenshin. Hiko Seijuro smirked
"You've become stronger physically and mentally. I can tell it upsets you now when I beat you with such ease" they locked eyes only for a second before Kenshin turned away. He could feel his blood boiling. Yes it bothered him that his master was that much better than he was. Yes he wanted to get at least a scratch. Four years; he had been attempting to get a scrape for four years. So far? Nada. What was he supposed to do? Was he supposed to settle? Give up?
"And that's the way it should be" Hiko stopped his pupil's train of thoughts "you've started to believe that you can take me. You've stopped seeing me as your master and have started to see me as an opponent that's much better than you" he said "that's what I needed you to learn. Your basic training is done. You are now ready to learn the Hiten Mitsurugi style" Seijuro informed almost sounding proud. Kenshin smiled wide. He had waited so long to hear those words. So what if he's too young? Hiko spoke to himself he may choose a path soon. I need to prepare him for that
"You will learn the techniques that will take you to master the style" said Hiko "it will be hardest training you've ever done. I will demand nothing but perfection from every single one of your movements. The style can not be performed without concentration. You must learn to discipline your mind to stay focused at all times. You will train in adverse weather. You will train blind. You will train in the middle of the river. You will learn to take course from the middle of the forest. You will learn balance. You will learn meditation. You will learn to use your mind" he added "but enough talk. There's work to do" he stood from the rock "you owe me five hundred and eighty free strokes"
"What?" Kenshin's eyes went as wide as dinner plates
"Let's go. We've wasted enough time" Hiko ordered
"But?" Kenshin protested "I didn't bring my sword" he muttered
"Use mine" the master offered "your attitude will not be overlooked my baka deshi" he spoke arrogantly "my sword is heavier. It'll teach you to talk back to me" he smirked. Kenshin groaned standing from the rock to grab his old shisho's sword
"Oi" Hiko called "no breaks in between"
"Hai" Kenshin agreed. This is the hardest lesson I've ever learned he kept lamenting in his head I'm never saying a word again. Ever…
The End. Ok so this is my second RK fic. I'm really excited. I've never written fics of other anime series, I've always done DBZ. So anyways I hope you liked my little one-shot (I hope it's not too long.) Thank you to everyone that reads my stories. Leave a review. Let me know how I'm doing :)