Disclaimer: We the people, of the United Fandom of Rurouni Kenshin, in order to form a more appealing diversion, establish our opinions, insure intercontinental amusement, promote your general interest, and ensure that this fandom will never die, do ordain and establish this fanfic for the entertainment of all.
And just so it is out in the open, no, we do not own Rurouni Kenshin or any of its characters (nor the preamble to the U.S. Constitution, for that matter...). :P
A/N: Hello! This is a just-for-fun experiment of sorts... an RK round-robin story! For anyone unfamiliar with the term, a round-robin is a type of collaborative fiction or storytelling in which a number of authors each write chapters of a novel or pieces of a story, in rounds. The idea for this fic was born between SiriusFan13 and me on a boring car ride during my vacation, and is based off a cute picture of Hiko being harassed by little Kenji that I came across on some Japanese website. There will be four of us working on this fic, and our chapters will be posted in this (tentative) order: me (lolo popoki), SiriusFan13, sueb262, Warg, and then back around until completion. All chapters will be posted here on my account and will have the author's name in parentheses next to the chapter heading. I have no idea how long the story might be... it all depends on how much we want to torture the characters. :P It will be interesting to see what we all come up with. Hopefully, you will enjoy our efforts!
Chapter One: (written by lolo popoki)
It was with a mixture of resignation and anticipation that Hiko Seijuro, thirteenth master of the Hiten Mitsurugi, greeted the new day. Stretching languidly, he kicked the blanket off and sat up, a rare smile gracing his ageless face.
His baka deshi was arriving in Kyoto today.
Two years had passed since Kenshin had last visited. Two years had passed without so much as a single letter. Then, out of the blue, a message had come from Tokyo informing him that his errant pupil and the rest of the motley crew would be in Kyoto on vacation this week. He was glad for the advance warning; Kenshin had the vexing habit of taking long absences, and then popping up when least expected. Hiko hated being surprised.
However, though Hiko would stubbornly deny it to his last breath, he really was looking forward to seeing the little idiot again.
He smiled again, and with a final stretch, he rose to start breakfast. Waiting for the rice water to boil, he quickly dressed and brushed out his long dark hair. He scowled peevishly at the few strands of silver now running through the black. Rounding 50, Hiko Seijuro was still a stunning specimen: handsome, powerfully built, with the youthful features that a 30-year-old would kill for. As minor as they may be, it was the little things he noticed recently that pricked at his vanity and reminded him that he was no longer as young as he once was. The Hiten master generally refused to acknowledge the fact that his age was beginning to creep up on him.
Hiko sighed and then smirked slightly, taking some comfort in knowing he could still beat the pants off his younger apprentice.
Pulling his hair back in its customary ponytail, he went to check the rice.
Two days later, Hiko was glaring down the trail. He hadn't expected Kenshin to pop right on over from the train, but two days was a bit much. Couldn't that little twit have found some time between then and now?
With an annoyed huff, Hiko turned back inside and pulled out the letter he had gotten, double-checking to make sure he had the right dates.
It had been polite, soft-spoken Omasu who had delivered the letter to him, much to his relief. Misao, with her usual dizzying barrage of senseless, annoying chatter, could try the patience of Buddha himself. Hiko, when forced to deal with the hyper kunoichi, often had the overwhelming urge to Ku Zu Ryu Sen her impudent ass right off his mountain. He fervently hoped that Kenshin had the common sense to leave her and the spiky haired brat behind at the Aoiya when he finally did decide to show up. The pair's incessant bickering never failed to give him a headache.
Skimming over the atrocious handwriting, his mouth tightened. The dates were correct. The baka was just late.
Grumbling under his breath, he poured himself a small amount of his beverage of choice. Pensively staring into the clear, smooth liquid, he wondered what was taking the moron so long. His annoyance faded into concern. Could there have been an accident? Illness? An old enemy from the past once again surfacing to wreak havoc and destroy the fragile peace that his deshi had struggled to maintain?
Hiko's gaze suddenly snapped towards the door, sensing the familiar presence making way slowly up the path. The relief he felt was short-lived; the irritation at having been kept waiting simmered back to the surface. He gulped the sake down, threw aside the curtain, and stepped outside, fully prepared to give his student a solid tongue-lashing.
The angry words died on his lips as he took in Kenshin's rather wild-eyed, disheveled appearance, and the small, grinning, red-haired child clutched in his arms.
For a moment, all he could do was stand, staring at the miniature replica of his baka deshi. He hastily hid his shock before his preoccupied pupil could notice, and studied the matched pair with narrowed eyes. It was obvious that they were father and son; the resemblance was almost uncanny. But why the hell hadn't anyone ever told him that his Kenshin had become a father? Resentment at being kept in the dark warred briefly with paternal pride.
Resentment won out. Hiko planted his hands on his hips and glowered ominously at the younger swordsman.
"A son, eh?" he said flatly. "Didn't any of you idiots think to let me know?" His voice took on a sarcastic edge. "Was I not worthy enough to be let in on the news?"
Kenshin winced and adjusted his grip on the now squirming boy. "Shishou, I..."
"No, no." The master waved his hand dismissively. "I see exactly where I stand here; my importance in your life has always been minimal at best."
"I suppose I should consider myself lucky you even remembered to invite me to the wedding." Hiko gave a long suffering sigh, taking perverse satisfaction in his student's stricken expression.
"Shishou, I'm sorry! I really am! I meant to keep in touch, but things... just... happened."
"'Things just happened,'" Hiko repeated, raising a finely arched brow. He smirked, eyeing the small red-headed child. "They certainly did... This kid's, what? Two? You and Kaoru must have gotten busy immediately after the wedding."
Kenshin flushed under his master's knowing leer. "That's really not..." he muttered self-consciously, then bit back a pained yelp as childish fingers grabbed painfully at his hair. "Kenji, stop! No pulling!"
Kenji's response was a high pitched shriek right into his father's ear, causing both men to flinch.
"So, a son," Hiko murmured dryly, rubbing his ear. "I'm wondering whether to congratulate you, or offer my condolences."
With a short weary laugh, the younger swordsman began trying to pry his hair loose from the boy's stubborn grip. "At the moment, I'm not sure which is appropriate either."
Noting the dark circles under his deshi's eyes, and the frazzled state of his ki, Hiko felt a twinge of sympathy. He knew that look. He'd been there himself, years before. Though, he wasn't quite sure which might be considered worse... a hyper-kinetic two-year-old, or a nine-year-old former slave suffering from post-traumatic shock.
Sighing, he motioned for them to follow him back inside the cabin. Retrieving his sake, he casually leaned against his work-bench and poured himself another drink. With a warning look and a stern admonition to behave, Kenshin settled himself on a nearby cushion and set his son beside him, fretfully straightening the boy's clothing and hair.
After watching his student's nervous fussing for several minutes, Hiko grew impatient. "Well, baka," he snorted, cocking his head to one side. "Are you going to introduce the little runt, or not?"
"Oro?" Kenshin gave a slight start, turning his attention towards his teacher. "Sorry! Shishou, this is Himura Kenji, my son." Hesitating briefly, he turned to the boy and continued. "Kenji, this is Hiko Seijuro the thirteenth, the man who raised me. Say 'hello,' will you?" His expression was apprehensive; he wanted so badly for the two to get along.
With keen interest, Kenji studied the huge man. After a moment's careful scrutiny, he broke out in a wide cheerful grin, chirped out something that sounded vaguely like "ohayo," and then launched into a lively round of incomprehensible babble that left Hiko bemusedly shaking his head.
Apparently, the Hiten Mitsurugi master had passed inspection.
Kenshin sagged slightly in relief. "Ah, good... he likes you."
"Naturally," Hiko sniffed. "What's not to like?"
His apprentice chuckled softly. "Do you really want me to answer that?"
"Baka," the older man grumbled, leaning forward to deliver a good-natured swat to his deshi's head.
A delighted Kenji, obviously figuring the smack to be an invitation to a game, jumped onto his father's back and began slapping at the man's head, squealing gleefully. "Baka, baka, baka!"
"Ow! Kenji!" Kenshin squawked, ducking away from the childish blows. "Stop, please!"
Hiko snorted, and then plucked the high-strung wild-child off his father by the back of his shirt. Dangling the giggling boy so they were face-to-face, he raised an amused eyebrow. "You are one crazy brat, you know that?"
"Oro..." Kenshin whimpered from down below, laid flat out and swirly-eyed.
The master swordsman nudged Kenshin with his foot, muttering, "This was the most dangerous man of the revolution?" He shook his head.
Kenji laughed, still squirming in the large man's grip. "Baka!" the toddler announced, pointing at the prone form of his father. "Baka!"
"Smart kid," Hiko smirked. He could like this Kenji...
A/N: Damn... Took me about 3 months to finish this chapter; it was supposed to be posted in early July! Lots of things going on though, including health problems, moving to a new house, trying to get settled in, and some major car troubles that set me back about 800 bucks. My poor car... Also, I seem to have developed a web-comic addiction that's been eating up all my spare time... I blame you, Sam:P
Anyway, I hope you liked how this first chapter came out... I'm not satisfied, but that's hardly a surprise. Next up: SiriusFan13:D
Glossary of terms:
baka – idiot
deshi – apprentice
Shishou – master
kunoichi – female ninja
Ku Zu Ryu Sen – "9 Headed Dragon Flash" - Attack learned before the most powerful succession technique. Strikes with the sword nine times on the 9 vital points, head, right leg, left leg, right arm, left arm, between the legs, the chest, right shoulder, and left shoulder, making this move virtually impossible to block.
ohayo – casual form of good morning
oro – Kenshin's little trademark noise of surprise, dismay, or typical cluelessness. :)