Disclaimer: The brilliance of Shinsengumi Imon PeaceMaker and PeaceMaker Kurogane are not mine… and neither is Suzu… regretfully…

Three months after the ambush at the Ikedaya, or the Ikeda Inn Incident. The Choshu are scattered and the Shinsengumi have been recognised for their efforts in saving the capital.

White

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…"Sonno joi…"

;

Cold white walls with but one doorway; also white. No tatami; only cold, hard grey stone of a strange gritty texture- 'concrete' barbarians called it- so cold and flat that it hurt the boy's bare feet and made his skin crawl. Initially the alien flooring had been pleasantly cool but now, hours later, the boy's feet were numb and sore.

The room housed no décor other than a heavy, wooden desk and two wooden chairs on either side.

He had been directed towards the nearest chair and told, in fractured Japanese, to wait. The heavy door had shut with a resounding bang, which seemed to make the pale surroundings all the more daunting. The boy immediately sat himself on the opposite chair so as to have a clear view of the door. The White Room they called it. So blindingly white. His nerves were shot. No life to the room. The youth looked up to the ceiling hoping for any other shade but- white. So bright it hurt his eyes. He closed them against the bright shade, the colour of death; darkness, peace…

This was not Japanese, this was not civilised; it was alien. It did not belong in Japan.

The heavy door slowly swung open with a creak. He opened his eyes slightly. In stepped the palest man the boy had ever seen. Taller than any Japanese, hair the colour of horse hay, eyes of palest blue and skin that was … white. Again, that shade, representative of death in Japanese lore. What were the gods trying to tell him? If there were such things…

The pale man came into the room and closed the door. Another bang resounded around the room. The man eyed the advisory yellow chalk line on the floor squaring off roughly 2m2 around the desk as a safety precaution. He smiled to himself and stepped over the line.

The silver-haired boy heard the man step close. Daring…

The pale man opened his notebook and looked at the sketchy report that had been written up within an hour of the youth's arrest.

Murder of the first degree:

Two youths, one male the other female

Both 16, approximately the same age as the suspect

A maid had seen the suspect enter the room at Shimabara in which the two victims had been

None saw him leave

The next morning the two bodies had been found

Female had been decapitated, the male run through the heart

The boy had been arrested later that day, found sleeping in an abandoned house

His sword had been coated in blood

That was all the evidence needed by the British soldiers, hired by the local Christian daimyo

Two men were killed in the struggle, one fatally wounded in bringing the boy down

He was only stopped after a soldier shot his right shoulder, causing the boy to pass out from pain

And now here he was, within the temporary holding cell of the British legation, Yokohama, 16 years old and already 5 definite killings in two days; the wounded soldier had died from internal bleeding. But why? It was his job to find out.

"Kitamura Suzu…?"

The crimson eyes slowly met the pale blue ones.

"You speak like a civilised samurai?"

The boy's voice was dull and without emotion.

"My Japanese is weak but yes I can speak the language a little," the pale man laughed, trying to lighten the boy's mood.

Suzu did not alter his stare.

"My name is William Willis, or Willis William in Japanese fashion"

Suzu showed no interest as he shifted his gaze a fraction to stare past the European, giving his mind time to grasp the difficult syllables.

Willis walked casually to the vacant chair, believing the boy to be harmless now that he understood William could now speak his language. "Most Japanese just call me 'Wairisu' for easier pronunciation," Willis sat down and grinned.

You're bold, Wairisu, but stupid. Suzu glanced at the meagre distance separating himself from Willis. And the table concealed his body movement. So stupid. Suzu smiled.

Willis widened his grin, certain that the boy's gesture indicated mutual respect.

"So, Suzu, shall we begin? Where were you two days ago when-"

"It's not polite in the Land of the Gods to use a person's first name unless given specific permission from said person," Suzu smiled, inwardly laughing at the stupid barbarian.

"I'd rather use your given name, Suzu, makes it a little less formal, don't' you-?"

"My name is Kitamura," the crimson eyes flashed. "You're in my land."

"Actually, Suzu, we're on British soil, within the British legation and under British law so we will follow British custom, clear?" There was no response other than an icy glare. "Jolly good," Willis beamed.

An uncomfortable silence.

"Then let's start again. Where were you when Shimabara no Osaya and Ichimu-"

"Hey Wairisu …" Suzu sang. "Why have they drawn a yellow box around the table?"

"Oh, well, that's ah," Willis looked at the yellow chalking. "To let people know-"

"-not to get too close?" Suzu shouted as he snapped a kick to Willis's shin.

The tall European did not have time to cry out as the ball of the boy's foot connected with his shin, followed by a distinct snapping sound. Suzu wrenched his knee up past his waist and launched it forward against the adjacent side of the table. The plane of the table connecting with Willis' face, crushing his nose prevented any scream the tall man could have uttered in a few seconds.

"Sonno joi, Wairisu,"

Suzu crouched and raised the table partly so as to see the effect of his training. Blood oozed out of a crushed nose, the barbarian breathing through his mouth.

Suzu squinted at the alien creature. Until now he had never really come into close contact with gai-jin. They had always been an invisible enemy, but now Suzu could put a face to the name. Filthy blonde hair that hurt the eyes more than his own silver hair ever did. It was said that barbarians never bathed. Disgusting. This one was way past overdue.

Yet, somehow, this golden hair fascinated him; would he have a son with golden hair if he had a barbarian girl?- Suzu fought back any thoughts that would have brought him closer to the enemy. Wairisu's blue eyes had interested Suzu. He slowly prised open one eyelid with both hands. He stared at is own reflection. The silver-haired boy found himself immersed in those eyes.

They were unlike anything Suzu had ever seen.

Crystal blue eyes.

He leant closer.

Eyes that came into focus.

Seizing the moment, Willis shot up his hand that was not pinned under the table and dug deep into Suzu's shoulder wound. The boy released Willis' eye and cried out in surprise and pain. Willis ripped off the taped pad's corner with his thumb and then dug it deep into the boy's flesh, rendering his right arm motionless. Suzu screamed and brought his left hand down in a knife strike for Willis' throat. Willis jerked out his other arm and gripped Suzu's wrist. Suzu flexed his captured wrist and clawed his inch-long nails into the European's grip. Willis grunted in pain. Twisting his left hand around, he gripped Suzu's shoulder with his remaining four fingers and ripped his thumb upwards as savagely as he could.

Suzu cried again, louder.

Willis released Suzu's left wrist. He twisted his left grip on Suzu's shoulder.

Suzu twisted, following his shoulder's motion, onto his back.

Too much pain to move.

Too many tears to see.

Suzu kicked furiously into the air, screaming, enraged, clawing at Willis' face, hair, body, anything he could find, blindly flailing in desperation to escape, to get away, get away- I've got to get away-

;

I've got to get away; I've got to get away from here… The Gion festival; the night we were to burn Kyoto. Only, it didn't turn out that way…

The decapitated head he clutched to his chest in the cold alleyway had been dead at least twelve candles… Sensei gone, abandoned by the Choshu, betrayed by his best friend… what else mattered? Seppuku? Live on as a beggar, a drifter? Become a rurouni, a wanderer? What mattered anymore…

Tetsu…

Tetsu, his best friend, his only other friend, had killed the only other thing in the world that had meant like family to him- apart from his brother… also dead… who else was there alive? Who was there that wouldn't run him through with a sword for being Choshu…?

Tetsu…

What else was there left for him in the world?

Tetsu…

Tetsu… that was all he had left now. The one who had destroyed all his hopes and dreams in one movement, like the executor at the chopping block… Was there really anything left for them…?

Yes…

Would Tetsu really leave the Shinsengumi for... me..?

You have to try…

Yes, I'll try… I must find him…

He rose from the littered alleyway, swaying like a drunk, yet not intoxicated by Sake; only anguish.

The bloody bundle he carried slipped from his grasp. It hit the ground with a thud. He bent to pick it up-

Leave it safe; come back for it after…

"I'll be right back, Sensei,"

Wait for me, T-

;

"TETSU--------!"

… and he saw white…

Author's Notes:

This is my very first PeaceMaker fanfic so I hope it's OK! Please review, even if it is just to criticise!!!! Any errors I've made, please tell me-I hate when a story has errors so I don't want mine to have any! I really am going to try my hardest to update this story because I really like where it's heading! My first chapters are always crap so stick around for the second chapter! By the way, the European guy is a British officer, my own OC (original character) and his name in English is William Willis. 'Wairisu' is the Japanese pronunciation of his name. I couldn't help it- I just had to pick a name with difficult syllables! LoL.

Tatami- traditional Japanese matting used in most Japanese homes as flooring for most rooms.

Daimyo- The overruling Lord of a Japanese domain, subject to the Shogun or Japanese militant ruler

Sonno Joi- I understand this to be a phrase or motto used by loyalists in the Edo period of Japan. The loyalist attitude to Westerners, or barbarians, was negative and Westerners were seen as a threat to the Emperor and Japan.

Gai Jin- Japanese term for a foreigner, literally meaning 'outside person'

… at least twelve candles- Japanese time was measured in length of incense sticks. i.e. one candle lasted for around two hours.

Seppuku- Japanese ritual form of suicide for those samurai who had either dishonoured themselves or their family or those who had been defeated in battle. The male form of seppuku was disembowelment using a knife, while the female from was to cut one's own throat using the same kind of knife, the waribashi.