Disclaimer: I do not own Peacemaker Kurogane or any of the characters,
Violet eyes were wide with surprise, he wasn't sure what to say to the person in front of him. He seemed familiar yet completely different from what he remembered. Although it was a long time ago and Soujiro was just a child, Susumu had been just a few years older than him yet still a boy. Now this person in front of him was not a boy, but a man. The familiarity of the boyish features were somewhat their but they where more refined, more angular, more polished.
"Susumu." Soujiro spoke with a smile, it was the only warning the older boy got before he was embraced.
Soujiro immediately felt the black-haired boy tense up which caused him to pull back quickly.
"Soujiro" The other boy spoke obviously surprised at the embrace.
"What are you doing here?" Soujiro asked quickly forgetting the awkwardness coming from Susumu.
Susumu seemed conflicted on how exactly to answer the question.
"Where is Ayumu?" Soujiro pressed on forgetting that he hadn't received an answer to his first question.
"She's also here." Susumu spoke.
"Where is Lady Ryoujin?" Soujiro wanted to get up and go greet them.
"She's dead." Susumu answered tightly.
Soujiro smiled quickly faded and violet eyes turned away from Susumu. They sat in silence for what felt like eternity to Soujiro. The violet haired boy wasn't sure what to say after that, the way Susumu responded he knew that it was something the other male did not want to talk about.
"Are you okay?" Soujiro finally looked up when he heard the other speak to him.
"I'm fine." Soujiro smiled softly the pain of the split lip forgotten the minute he laid eyes on Susumu.
"Care to tell me what happened?" Susumu asked. "You seemed to have cause quiet a commotion on the grounds."
Soujiro looked away again not really wanting to talk about what had caused him to run away. But Soujiro had picked up many things since coming to this place, since training, since Mr. Hijikata. The smell of blood is something that he has always been able to pick up regardless of how small the trace of it was, and as of right now he could smell it on Susumu.
He studied him carefully, the build and height seemed correct from what Soujiro could see...the same build and height of the person who had saved him from tonight's attack.
"I remember when the tables were turned." Susumu spoke softly.
Soujiro walked into the house and just as he was about to open the shoji Ayumu walked by him, tears streaming down her face. Looking into the room he saw Susumu sitting on the ground with a bloody nose.
"Susumu? Are you o.k.?" Soujiro asked quietly as he made his way into the room.
"Go away!" Susumu yelled wiping to blood off with the sleeve of his blue yukata.
"Your bleeding." Soujiro said moving over to the low table and grabbing a napkin. Sitting down next to him he handed it to him.
Snatching it away Susumu turned to glare at Soujiro. "You can go away now."
"What happened?" Soujiro asked, ignoring Susumu's command to leave him alone.
"None of your business, now leave!." He yelled again.
"Your lucky to have a sister…" Soujiro began. He was cut off when Susumu shoved him harshly.
"What do you know about anything!" Susumu yelled again.
Soujiro was shocked for a minute. "I know that you need to stop being mad at your sister, she's the only one you have in this world." Soujiro yelled back forgetting that the older boy had shoved him.
Soujiro cocked his head to the side before a small smiled appeared on his lips. "I promise to not push you." He thought he had seen Susumu blush before he looked away from the violet haired boy.
"About that..." Susumu began.
"Don't worry about it." Soujiro quickly interrupted. "Thank you."
Susumu head shot up confused at the other boys gratitude.
"For what you did tonight, I know it was you." Soujiro said. As if sensing that Susumu was going to deny it he quickly finished. "I smell their blood on you."
Susumu studied the boy in front of him, As if those six words had revealed something to him that he hadn't been able to see till that moment.
Susumu had remember the violet haired boy that he had met years ago. There was something soft and innocent, a naivety that he carried with him that would never had revealed a trace of what he had been through.
"He's just some stupid kid." Susumu said glaring still.
"Just like you." Toshi stated squeezing out the excess water from the rag. Walking back toward Susumu, he tossed him the rag. "Put this on your nose, bleeding should stop."
"And that dumb kid knows what he's talking about." He commented. "Your more alike then you think."
"Are you done preaching?" Susumu asked.
"He has no siblings, his mother is dead and his father sold him off to a brothel in Shimabara. He has nothing and he still manages not to hate or blame anyone for his misery, even though he should. While your angry at the only person who cares for you, and knows what your going through."
Now sitting here he could see the Soujiro had grown up, his features had sharpened but there was a delicate look to him. But there was an aura around him something that Susumu sense in him that told him that this innocent looking boy was hiding something dark, dark and dangerous.
"You've become a shinobi." Soujiro commented with a smile. "That is what you were training to become when I first met you.
"And you, what have you become?" Susumu asked softly.
To anyone else is was a sweet smile, but the Susumu could see that Soujiro's eyes held a glint of something that was far from sweet.
"Is he back!?"
Soujiro's eyes quickly jumped toward the shoji when he heard the familiar voice.
"Mr. Hijikata is back." Soujiro spoke. "I better go face him, he must be upset with me." Soujiro got up and dusted off his yukata. "I'm glad you became exactly what you set out to become, thank you again." This time the smile he gave the older male was brilliant, there was no trace of the dark aura from before just a pureness that he remembered from long ago.
"Soujiro!" Toshi yelled as he seen the young boy emerged.
"I'm sorry." Soujiro quickly said as he walked toward the older man and stopped in front of him, his head down.
Toshi was ready to yell again but as the boy stood in front of him, he took in his appearance. He lifted up his hand and placed it under the boys chin and lifted his head up. Violet eyes looked up directly into his before they travelled downward taking in flawless skin smudged with dirt, to the petal pink lips that were stained with dried blood.
"He's beautiful." Toshi thought for a second before the thought was completely erased by concern.
"Are you o.k?" He asked removing his hand.
"Yes." Was all Soujiro answer.
Toshi watched him for any sign of hesitation or anything that would prove the words false. Not seeing anything he let out an internal sigh.
"I'm sorry I made you worry." Soujiro spoke again.
"Get cleaned up, and get some rest." Toshi stated still studying the boy. "Are you well to train?"
Soujiro felt eyes on him which caused him to look back his eyes searched the grounds before he glanced at the rooftop directly behind him, his eyes lingered on one particular spot before he turned again toward Toshi.
"Of course." Soujiro smiled. "Mr. Hijikata, Susumu..."
"Ryoujin's pupils are here to lend aid, they will be with us from now on." Toshi interrupted. "No go on,"
Soujiro was about to speak again but decided against it, he would find out what he wanted to know tomorrow for now tonight's events had caught up to him., he hadn't felt this tired in a long time.
The next day Soujiro was up early, he had barely slept at all do to the encounter the night before had fueled the fire that had already been burning inside of him. He needed to get stronger, he needed to train, he need to do what Susumu had done.
Soujiro walked out into the sunlight his violet hair in a high ponytail blowing into the wind, his eyes watching the men that moved about before he headed to see Mr, Hijikata.
"Morning Mr. Hijikata." He opened the shoji with a wide smile on his face, his violet eyes shining bright.
"Soujiro." Toshi spoke looking up from his tea to the young man that walked in.
"I'm sorry I didn't know you were busy." Soujiro smiled sweetly toward Susumu who sat a few feet away from Toshi, dark clothing on and an arm resting on a bent knee.
"Your up early." Toshi stated going back to his tea.
Soujiro sighed and walked into the room smile still on his face as he came toward Toshi. "Let's train Mr. Hijikata.
"Soujiro." Toshi's voice held a slight warning.
"I'm fine, I promise." Soujiro's smile got wider when Toshi looked up and made eye contact.
Toshi sighed not wanting to deny the request but this morning he had some business to attend to. "Your going to have to ask Kondo to train with you today, I have to take care of some things."
"But Mr. Hijikata." Soujiro's voice held a whine.
"Soujiro." Toshi spoke again trying to fight back a smirk.
"Unless..." Soujiro's voice held a bit of mischief. "You want to train with me?"
Toshi looked in the direction of the dark haired youth that sat in the other side of the room
Susumu looked over at the violet haired youth before he turned to Toshi. "I should get going."
Toshi just nodded in his direction before Susumu turned and without acknowledging Soujiro walked out.
At that Soujiro shrugged and looked over at the ebony haired man. "Mr. Hijikata, Susumu and Ayumu their shinobi right?"
"Yes, they are Soujiro." Toshi answered looking over at the teen.
"They'll be doing certain jobs here, right?" Soujiro sat down across from the older man.
At the question Toshi raised an eyebrow." As every man here has a job they must fulfill, we all have a purpose."
"What happened to Lady Ryoujin?" He asked after a few minutes of silence.
Toshi sighed before placing the tea he picked up back down. "She's dead."
Soujiro heard the finality of the question in Toshi's voice, so at that he decided to press no farther about the matter.
"Go and train with Kondo when he is done with the other men." Toshi stated looked at the violet haired boy.
"Mr. Hijikata." Soujiro started again.
"Ayumu should be around back, I'm sure you would like to say hi." Toshi continued before Soujiro spoke again.
Violet eyes brighten immediately before nodded and running out of the room.
"He still acts like too much of child even though he is now a teenager." Toshi sighed to himself.
Running toward the back violet eyes searched again in all directions, it wouldn't be hard to find her at all since there were rarely any women on the compound. His eyes not seeing anyone he headed toward the sides of the small compound to see if maybe Ayumu had gone out to the front of the training grounds.
"How was it?" He heard a male voice speak. Soujiro froze in his tracks. Pressing himself against the wall he continued to listen to the voice he now recognized as Susumu's.
"I'm talking to you." He yelled angrily, at the other persons obvious lack of answer.
After a few minutes of silence Soujiro heard Susumu expel a loud sigh.
"You always do this, ever since..." Susumu's voice trailed off never finishing the sentence. "I wish you would just talk to me." More silence from the other person. "Fine!" Susumu yelled.
Hearing footsteps come toward the other side of the wall from where Soujiro was hiding, he decided to push away from the wall and head back where he was coming from, just as Soujiro was about to turn a hard body collided with him. Pulling himself back he was met with dark angry eyes and a scowl faced Susumu.
"Susumu?" Soujiro question.
Soujiro eyes moved away from the obviously angry Susumu to the cheery voice that called out to him.
She stood there wearing a light yellow kimono with light and dark pink flowers, long ebony hair blowing in the wind with matching eyes and sparkling smile; Ayumu had become a beautiful women.
Soujiro felt Susumu shift away and violet eyes that had been distracted turned back toward Susumu. Soujiro watched how the younger sibling looked at his sister, a frown forming on his lips before he turned and headed away from them and disappeared around the corner and out to the grounds.
"You've gotten so big since i've last seen you."
Soujiro looked on to where Susumu had disappeared, than turned back the the smiling Ayumu.
"Ayumu." Soujiro spoke with a smile before walking toward the dark haired women. He froze in front of her not sure if he should hug her or not but Ayumu had answered his uncertainty and had bent forward toward the shorter violet hard boy and wrapped her arms around him. Soujiro sighed into the hug, the feeling so familiar yet distant.
Realization finally hit Soujiro. "I'm going to the capital. I'm going to the capital with Mr. Hijikata."
Turning around he stared at Keiko before running toward her arms open. The impact of the hug pushed her back a little making her drop the bucket of water to the ground.
She smiled and wrapped her arms around the little boy.
"I'm going to miss you Soujiro, I'm going to miss you so much." She whispered to him.
"I'm going to miss you too Keiko." Soujiro whispered back.
"Keiko" Soujiro thought for a brief moment.
"It's good to see you again Soujiro." Ayumu finally pulled away.
"I'm glad to see you and Susumu are here." Soujiro said with a smile.
"It's been a long time." Ayumu said. "What have you been doing?"
Soujiro smiled "I'll make you some tea and we can talk about what we've both been up too in the last few years."
Ayumu smirked and followed the violet haired youth.