A/N: This was my submission to the live journal rk(underscore)challenge community theme of betrayal.
He felt the cold metal in his hand. It sent a shudder through his body. A grin spread over his face as he gave the money a squeeze. With this money he could start a new life, away from Kyoto.
I'Izuka would never call himself a brave man, but he wouldn't call himself an evil man either. He was just doing what he needed to do to live. Money was so much more reliable than swords.
He didn't care who won. Shogunate or Revolutionists, it made no difference to him. In the end the Samurai would fall, they wouldn't last long against the western technology. He'd secure his future and make sure he would survive.
Not that he didn't care about the boy. Not at all, in truth he hoped Himura would make it out alive, not that it was likely, but he was Battòsai after all.
Thinking about him, I'Izuka remembered back when Kogoro had first brought him to the inn. They were never formally introduced until later, he had merely caught a glimpse of the young redhead. In fact, he first thought Himura to be a girl, but that look on the boy's face stuck with him. How innocent he had looked, how alive he had seemed, and how nervous and shy.
When he finally meet the boy it had been after his first kill. He wasn't only surprised to find that Himura was indeed a male, but how calm he had seemed. I'Izuka had seen many hitokiri come and go, but never have they seemed to calm after their first kill.
After that the two became closer; I'Izuka watched Himura's slow transition from idealist youth to mindless killer. He was good. There was no doubting that. No one could touch him. He watched as Korgoro easily manipulated the boy and molded him into the most feared man of the revolutionists. Now that he thought of it, he hadn't done much worse to Himura as Korgoro had done.
He never feared Himura as the others did. He understood him better than the others. He knew he wasn't a soulless killer. Although he was very surprised when he found out Himura had brought a women home. He had been plotting long before that to have Himura killed, he had hoped that Himura would experience some 'fun' before the end came.
Later he had learned Tomoe's true purpose for being there. It all worked in his favor. Even when he found Tomoe had fallen in love with Himura. Yes, he had seen it, probably long before Tomoe even understood what she was feeling.
In the end it didn't matter at all. They both of them could both be dead by now, or maybe Himura had pulled off another miracle and had survived. It didn't matter, he had his money, he was on his way, if Himura did win and find out he had been the one who sold him out he would already be long gone.
Himura was good, he would survive. Something deep down in his gut told him so. Or was that regret? He felt the coins in his pocket once more. No, it wasn't.
A man blocked his path ahead of him. A smile spread across I'Izuka's face. He should have expected something like this from Korgoro. It seemed like he'd have to fight one more man before his new life could begin. He placed his hand on his hilt, ready to draw.