I do not own Rurouni Kenshin

Peace, Be Still

It's too quiet.

Hiko cast a quick, subtle glance over the small room and to the clearing lying beyond the open door. After four months of living with an eight-year-old, he had learned that this type of silence, unless it came at night when the boy was tucked into his futon and enjoying a nightmare-free sleep, was unnatural.

He had sent the boy outside four hours before with the assignment of three hundred swings. He had expected Kenshin to finish early – the kid was improving day by day, getting stronger before his very eyes. It was a nice summer afternoon, and he had assumed the child would take the rare chance for free-time and run with it. The last time, the boy had wound up climbing a tree too tall for him and gotten stuck, unable to come back down.

No doubt he'd gotten himself into some sort of similar predicament.

With a sigh, Hiko stood, deciding it would be dumb to risk losing an apprentice he'd invested four hard months in. Almost subconsciously, he reached out to touch Kenshin's ki.

He found it not far away, barely a stone's throw behind the house, just inside the border of the forest. It was surprisingly (and suspiciously) calm and lacking in activity.

Probably caught up in watching a cricket or something. It was just the type of thing Kenshin would do.

He strode out the door, heading for the back. Turning the corner, he came to an abrupt stop upon seeing something that definitely hadn't been there this morning.

What in the –

He approached soundlessly, as though floating over the ground, wanting the chance to observe before alerting Kenshin to his presence.

On closer inspection, he concluded that it was meant to be a little makeshift house – though that might be too pretty a name for it, seeing as how it was more like a caveman's grass hut than anything else. It was a crudely-made structure of long branches, sticks, and grass. How Kenshin had managed to make it stay together and upright was a bit beyond his comprehension.

The opening was on the other side, and he experienced a moment of amusement at seeing the boy's legs sticking out. Small as Kenshin was, the hut was smaller still.

Don't tell me he managed to fall asleep here.

But there was no other explanation for the stillness of the ki. Reaching down, Hiko carefully took off the hut's removable roof.

The little redhead was indeed fast asleep, half curled up inside the tiny enclosed space. His shinai laid just beyond his fingertips, temporarily forgotten.

Hiko simply stared down at the small boy for a moment, wondering half-heartedly if he ought to wake him up. But Kenshin looked so peaceful in his sleep, so different from the scared, timid little boy he was while awake. True, he was much less tense now than he had been those first weeks, but still, this, this was a pure bliss the waking hours just couldn't offer him.

Kneeling there, Hiko mused quietly if he himself had ever crawled under a makeshift house and fallen asleep, feeling completely secure, completely safe.

Shaking his head bemusedly, he went to get a blanket before the boy caught a cold as dusk began to fall. A few more hours of sleep surely couldn't hurt a growing boy.


Kenshin shifted a little in his sleep, a smile teasing at his lips in response to his dream, a memory of days long past, a place he never though he could find again.

"Kaachan, Touchan built me a house! Come and see…"


Short stories are fun!:D And little Kenshin is so fun to write. Thanks so much for reading, please leave a review!