A New Life

by Lucathia

chapter 1: when a boy meets a girl

"A-choo!" Soujiro sneezed. Oh no...these yellow flowers...I didn't know I was allergic to these kind of flowers! Soujiro smiled and walked down a bustling street in Hokkaido with a bunch of yellow daisies in his hand. He had helped an old lady carry her crops back from her fields into her little cottage. And this was what he was awarded with. He laughed. My, I get some flowers I'm allergic to for payment...and a few cents worth of food...He smiled and continued down the road, with people looking strangely at this smiley boy.

Aww...Soujiro tilted his head and looked at the sky. I like Hokkaido. Lot's of fresh air. Beautiful skies. So calm...Just when Soujiro thought these thoughts, a piercing scream ran through the air.

"HEEEEEEEEEELP!" a voice yelled.

Soujiro's ears twitched as he ran towards the voice. There she is! Sohjiro saw a girl with shoulder length brown hair that was a bit spiky at the ends. A guy was trying to choke her. Soujiro felt no emotions when he saw this, but he hated how her scream disturbed the peace. Soujiro's eyes gleamed as he stood there.

"Help!" the girl screamed again. She struggled violently against the big guy.

"Oh no you don't, you scum!" Yelled the big guy. "I won't let you off your debts this easily!"

The girl kept struggling and yelling for help. She tried to bite the man, but couldn't. It was then that she saw Soujiro.

"Hey, help me here! Don't you see I'm in trouble?" She yelled to Soujiro. Sighing, Soujiro shrugged and vanished out of view. "Hey, where'd he..." not even able to finish her sentence, she found herself in soft arms. She looked up into Soujiro's blue eyes and drowned in them. I wonder if he thinks I'm pretty? The girl blushed and struggled against Soujiro's embrace. "Haven't you held me long enough? Let me go already." Soujiro let her go, dropping her roughly onto the ground. "Hey, what'd you do that for?" She whimpered.

Soujiro smiled and held out a hand. "Suminasen, I thought you wanted me to let you go."

The girl looked at him with exasperation. "Yeah, but not throw me onto the ground! What a way to treat a beautiful lady!"

Soujiro sweat dropped. Beautiful lady, huh? More like some over energetic girl. "Suminasen." Soujiro kept smiling. He looked at the slightly crushed daisies in his hand. "Please accept my apology." He extended out his hands with the yellow flowers.

The girl's eyes shone at the sight of flowers. Oh! He must love me so. I'm just too pretty for my own good! She blushed and took the flowers from him. "I accept your apology!" She giggled behind the flowers.

Soujiro smiled. Finally got rid of those flowers he was allergic to. Finally! No more allergies! He turned around, ready to leave the girl alone in the streets.

"Wait! Won't you even tell me your name?" The girl's pleading eyes locked onto his blank ones.

Soujiro continued smiling and replied in a polite tone of voice. "My name is Seta Soujiro."

The girl managed to smile through all the flowers. "Higashidani Uki." And again Soujiro turned around to leave. "Wait!" And the girl yelled for him again.

He turned around. "What is it?" Uki fumbled with her little bow. "Ano...my little brother is missing...I was just wondering...if you'll help me find him? Pretty please?" She looked imploringly at Soujiro.

He smiled again. "Sure." And of course he didn't really have anything else he wanted to do. Besides...he was trying to perform good deeds to make up for all the torture he caused other people all those years ago.

There was a slight pause and no one said a word. Finally, Uki spoke up. "Don't just stand there! Start looking already!" She started walking towards the end of the road and beckoned Soujiro to go with her. Soujiro sweatdropped.

"Higashidani-san, do you have any idea where your brother is?" Soujiro gave a worried smile, not knowing how long this good deed would take.

Uki shook her head. "I have no idea. Oh! Outa-chan...how you must be scared! It's all my fault! My fault that I was so stupid to have dropped our money and got us stalked by those scarey people! Outa! OUTA-CHAN! Where are you? I miss you so!" She wailed and rubbed her eyes. "My little Outa!" She crumbled and managed to stumble into Soujiro's arms. "Outa!" The daisies waved dangerously in front of Soujiro.

"Achoo!" Soujiro sneezed again. My...my allergy again. Then he looked at the crazy girl in his arms and sighed. I don't think I should have agreed to help her look for her brother. This is getting too crazy. Soujiro roughly pushed her out of his arms. "Daijoubu, Higashidani-san?" Even though his voice held no contempt, his actions did.

Uki sniffed. "I'm fine. Sorry for bothering you with my crying." She shuffled her feet. I wonder how he thinks of girls who cry so much? He probably thinks I'm cute when I do that. "I...I'm so worried about Outa-chan. Let's start searching right now, okay?"

Soujiro smiled. "Sure. Can you give me a description of him?"

Uki nodded and smiled. "Of course! Let me tell you. Hm...how should I start? Well, his height...he doesn't yet reach your shoulder, but then that's okay, he still has a lot of growing to do. And his eyes are dark like midnight and his hair is spiky and brown like brown icicles and his hands are soft as cotton and..."

Soujiro smiled and put up his hands, stopping Uki in the middle of her bound-to-be-long speech. "I think that's enough for now."

Uki blinked and looked towards Soujiro. I guess he's not interested in guys. "Where do you think we should start searching?" His smile is too darn cute for his own good. She gazed at Soujiro's smiling face and pursed her lips.

"What is it, Higashidani-san?" Soujiro just maintained his cool mask of indifference with a wide smile. This girl gets on my nerves!

"Higashidani-san, Higashidani-san..." Uki muttered under her breath, turning her face away from Soujiro. I hate that smile of his, but I like it so much too! I really wonder how he thinks of me. I hate it when people pretend to be polite!

"Higashidani-san?" Soujiro bent down and turned his face slightly to look at Uki's downcasted gaze. He came to an extremely close proximity to Uki's face when suddenly the color of the girl's face deepened to a rosy pink and she quickly stepped backwards.

"Gawd! You scared the heck out of me!" Uki nearly screamed into Soujiro's ear. My heart is beating so fast...it feels like it's going to explode into a million pieces. I guess he really must of scared the daylights out of me. "Don't ever do that to me again!"

"Do what?" Soujiro never let go of his unwavering smile as he innocently neared to girl's face and looked at her. I have no idea why I'm wasting my time teasing this girl. I mean...I'm on this journey to find an answer to life. I don't think that girl would be any part of it.

"J-just don't do that!" Uki backed away hastily and bumped into some barrels, almost tripping over. Her previous confident thoughts slipped away from her mind as she looked around nervously. I've never been this close to a guy around my age before...at least I THINK he's around my age. He certainly looks like it.

Thinking of a way to get out of her embarrassment, she just blurted out what she meant to say earlier. "I don't want you to call me Higashidani-san! Just call me Uki." Her face turned beet red when she said this. I'm certainly being too familiar with him. Feeling extremely nervous, she sped up her speech. "Ano...that'sallIguess! ThanksforyourhelpIthinkI'llfindOutabymyself! Bye!" With that, she turned towards the right and ran away--extremely fast for a person in a kimono.

Soujiro blinked and turned slowly towards the direction in which the girl left. She's a weird one. He shrugged and walked away. She looks like she can run as fast as I can, if that's her regular speed.

Just after she rounded the corner, she stopped running and stopped to regain her breath. "W-Why did I run away?" She slowly leaned against the wall, trying hard not to wrinkle her kimono. "Is it because of embarrassment?" She lifted her hands and cupped her cheeks. "I bet my face is flaming red right now."

She dusted herself off and ran a hand through her messy hair. "What should I do now?" After standing there, doing nothing for what seemed like eternity, she widened her eyes as a troubling thought passed through her mind.


to be continued

A/N: Higashidani Uki is Sanosuke's little sister. I always see Soujiro paired with Misao, so I thought I'd introduce someone not a lot of people wrote about. Romance won't play a big part in this fic though.