DISCLAIMER: I do NOT own Samurai Champloo, so stop asking! It just makes me depressed:-P

Important note: If some of this dialogue doesn't seem like it's familiar, it's either because it's the Japanese version of the script or I because I altered it to better fit my writing style. This has to be one of my favorite scenes ever in Champloo because of the staggering emotions…and the Fuugen-ness, of course. -P This first chapter is basically my take on the scene and I've obviously changed a few things, but hopefully it's not TOO boring to withstand. The next chapter will contain a LEMON, so with that said, if that sort of thing offends you please do NOT read! Thanks – enjoy! ;0)

CH 1: Deliverance

The blood was coppery and bitter within her petite little mouth, her frail form doubled over as she tried her damndest to stave off Umanosuke's blows with her rapidly dissipating aura of courage. He didn't care if she was brave or not and that was evident – Fuu's growing weakness only made his revenge all the more sweet. Mugen would pay for what he had done…

Rearing back and viciously striking his captive across the jowl with his tanto, Umanosuke reveled in the sick pleasure of watching Seizo's daughter spit up her own blood, his voice cold and hollow as he remarked, "Well, now, I guess I don't have to kill you…there's always the option of leaving you only half dead-" a brief glimmer of hope blitzed out across the girl's irises, yet Umanosuke greedily wiped it from her face once he cruelly struck her before adding smugly, "-Just so long as you're a little bit alive."

Fuu whimpered as Umanosuke's scythe connected with her bruised and bloodied face yet again, her dark eyes squeezing tightly shut in defeat as she felt herself slowly beginning to accept her inevitable death. The Crow Men would come knocking on her door and take her away into the unknown, and yet somehow this all seemed welcome to Fuu since she truly felt as if she had nothing left to live for.

'Oh…there they are, now' she thought, her eyes gradually re-opening as she listened to the telltale sign of slow and labored footsteps coming from outside the church. To her complete and utter surprise, however, it wasn't the Crow Men…

"Mugen" Fuu gasped, her eyes wide and full of fear. Yes, a strong part of her had yearned for him to come to her, but now that he actually had she knew very well that he was in no shape to be fighting.

His wild and typically far from tame black hair was pasted to his tanned cheeks and dripping onto his red gi, the droplets trickling down his toned body in crisscrossing rivulets of water that gave him the appearance of having been through Hell and back. Upon his cheek lay engraved three deep slashes, crimson blood now hard and encrusted in the beginnings of scabs that were sure to scar his surprisingly beautiful face. To Fuu there had always been something animalistic about him, but now that she could see his eyes reflecting like that of fire within the effulgent halo of the glaring sun, she felt as if she had never been more certain of the fact.

"Sorry, buddy, but it's time to give her back now" Mugen finally verbalized, the typically smooth and deep rumble of his voice retaining a weary resonance that spoke volumes to his astonished onlookers.

Umanosuke, however, wasn't that easily intimidated. Giggling in a surprisingly girlish manner for his appearance, the bandit returned in a mockingly sweet tone, "Ooh, at last we meet – I'm so glad!"

"Who the hell are you people?" Mugen demanded, completely overlooking Umanosuke's last statement as if it were of little importance.

"Don't play dumb with me" Umanosuke warned, his tone crisp and filled with severe agitation. "Even if you've forgotten, the three of us will never forget until the day we die. Allow me to help…perhaps this will jog your memory: We three bothers were fairly well-known down in the domain of Satsuma, but soon that all changed We were in charge of a raw sugar ship – the ship that you and Mukuro boarded. Thanks to you, our oldest brother ended up like this."

Mugen still said nothing as his eyes fell upon Umanosuke's lame brother Toube, but it was quite evident that the bandit wasn't yet through.

"We were suspected of being responsible for the raid and were driven out of town" he continued, his anger rapidly cresting in furious waves. "In result, our chances for government services went up in smoke, too. The only thing that keeps us going now is the desire to hunt you down and kill you, you worthless piece of shit!"

To Fuu's utmost surprise, Mugen finally spoke up, his tone completely calm and unwavering as he revealed, "Look, about that ugly brother of yours…I just sent his ass to the bottom of the ocean. Hope ya don't mind."

"Y-you bastard!" Umanosuke screamed, immediately swinging his scythe so that it curved about Fuu's slender neck in an act of desperation. Turning to Mugen, he continued, "You don't get it, do you? Whether this girl lives or dies doesn't mean a rat's ass to either one of us!"

"Hold it" Mugen urged, his resolve never wavering as he unsheathed his tanto and brought it out at arm's length. "I'll put down my sword, but in return you have to let the girl go."

Both Umanosuke and Fuu appeared to be stunned. "What did you say?"

In a flash, Mugen's tanto whistled through the air and connected with the cross that Fuu was currently tied to, her eyes widening as her bindings slowly unfurled and coiled down about her feet like that of a limp snake.

"You can't" Fuu suddenly gasped, staggering forward with a mind-numbing fear coursing throughout her veins.

"Get outta here – you gotta meet that Sunflower Dude. I'm gonna take care-a this guy" Mugen assured her, his typical agitation peeking through his act of heroism.

Fuu immediately shook her head, arguing, "I can't do that…I can't leave you!"

"Aw, cut the crap. What do you think we came all this way for? Get your ass moving!" Mugen urged, Fuu's bottom lip trembling as her stubborn nature gradually began to nudge its way back into place.

"I can't" she persisted, "What if they-?"

"I ain't gonna die…have some faith in me, will ya?"


"Beat it" he interrupted, directing Fuu toward the only route of escape with a jerky motion of the head. When she still lingered he grew irritated, urging more forcefully, "Get going."

Fuu turned as if she were finally ready to depart, only to immediately pivot back around and give Mugen the most defeated look that he had ever seen in his entire life. Finally fed up with the sentimentality, he growled, "Run, bitch!"

Terrified, Fuu took off as fast as her long legs could carry her, her breath coming in short, uneven gasps as she struggled with her footing along the jagged rocks and grass.

"Mugen…no" she sobbed, continuing her miserable trek in an almost drunken-like stupor, her sobs wrenching from her throat in tiny gasps as she found herself wondering what the hell she was doing.

Yes, she had vowed to find her father and give him a good whack for her mother, but she just couldn't leave Mugen behind when he had appeared so defenseless!

To her utmost chagrin, the small wooden shack that she had been seeking now lingered up ahead in the distance, Fuu's pitiful weeping wracking her body about so badly that with each new step she nearly toppled over.

It was now or never: Mugen…or her father? Her father or Mugen?

With an angry crunch of the earth beneath her feet, Fuu forced herself to come to a grinding halt, her tears returning tenfold once she realized that her emotions were getting the best of her. Promise or no promise, she had to save Mugen…

A/N: PLEASE review! I'd really like to know what you think since this took me quite a while! That, and I need to know if you guys really want me to continue…thanks! ;0)

Reviews needed to continue: The minimum is 10 – I'm evil, neh:-P

P.S. If you're bored, I have another Fuugen story on this site that you could check out. :)