Rurouni Kenshin was created by Watsuki Nobuhiro, published by Shueisha in "Jump," and produced by Sony Entertainment. All rights are theirs. I have no money to speak of, so suing me will not make you rich. This story contains spoilers for the OAV's and corresponding manga volumes.
AN: I know I'm in the middle of "Hanafubuki," but for som reason I felt a certain tugging, a persistent urge to write,something about Kenshin during the decade before the anime/manga opens. He's so patient and polite in the series..I'd like to show a somewhat rougher side of him and writ about his conversion from hitokiri to rurouni (for I don't
believe that it happened overnight).
With each passing day
Memories begin to fade
Still they stay with me
During the first turbulent years of the Meiji Era, scattered fighting still stained the countryside red as belligerent men from a defeated era raised their swords in defense of the only way of life they knew. For while they had held the highest positions underneath the Tokugawa shogunate, it seemed as though there would be little room for the same swordsmen within the newly-formed Meiji government. Warriors who had lived each day of their lives behind lethal precision of their curved blades now found their skills becoming increasingly burdensome to carry as officials and countrymen alike raised their voices in a unified cry for peace.
And into these confusing times walked a young man alone. Barely more than teenager, he wore his hair high on the back of his head, but instead of a samurai's daishou comfortably at his side, he carried a single blade so smooth that it appeared to be virtually new. His gi was dark blue in color, worn in many places but patched only twice. His expression was calm and his movements silent, but although his profile blended into the shadows as though it were as ephemeral as the setting sun, the solid set of his shoulders and the natural stance of his feet bespoke of a carefully-guarded inner confidence and unassuming self-assurance.
If eyes lingered on him as he quietly passed weary peasants on the empty roads, he seemed to take no notice of their observant gazes and low whispers. The sun and the dust battled for control of his hair -- the former wanting to bleach it blond, the later trying to shade it brown, and when at last a cease fire was reached, the result seemed to be a dusty orange. As for the deep scar on the left side of his face, the light skin burned and peeled underneath the unrelenting sun, then refused to darken even as the rest of his complexion tanned brown and roughened as the fierce winds swept down from the wide open sky.
He slept underneath the stars night after night so as to avoid close contact with the local villagers. And always, his footsteps carried him farther and farther away from Kyoto—farther each day from the epicenter of his past.
The air was still as he traversed the barren countryside. The farmers had already gathered their crops in from the fields, and the upturned earth rolled onward in dark waves across the hills. At one crest he paused, looking down first over the landscape and then letting his gaze drift back up into the gathering clouds. There was something in the air... Pregnant with anticipation, the sky sank heavily onto his shoulders, and the light scent of rain seeped into his nostrils with each deep inhalation. The was no mistaking the subtle hints of an oncoming storm.
The swordsman sighed, agitated that he would have to find a place to sleep that night. For as conditioned as he was to the elements, he was well aware that weathering such a storm unsheltered was one of the surest ways to throw one's health to the wind. One hand fell to the hit of his sword as he turned to face the direction from which he'd come. Although the rural countryside stretched onward as far as the eye could see, somewhere in his mind a persistent sense of direction that refused to roll over and die reminded the young man that back beyond the quiet terrain lay the bloodstained streets of Kyoto.
Even as he continued on his journey, hands tucked into his gi for warmth, he could still taste the sharp metallic flavor under his tongue and down the back of his throat. It seeped through his thoughts, a dull stream of red, forever dripping, dripping, dripping. He'd thought that the open countryside would have diluted the steady flow, thought that once removed from its source, the scent would fade. But it hadn't, not as he'd desperately hoped it would.
"Please, I require shelter." Light drops of rain clung obstinately to his hair and clothes, muting the bold shades of red and blue in the fading light. The rough wooden door was opened just wide enough for a slim, under-fed body to squeeze through.
The woman barely glanced up from her sewing as the young man was shown through to the fire -- distrust, fear, and anger creased into her wrinkled features. She said nothing. The swordsman accepted the cool reception as naturally as though he'd never been well-received by strangers. He didn't bow. "Thank you for your hospitality."
"The least you can do is tell us your name, son."
The red-haired man kept his eyes focused on the steaming bowl of rice before him, chewing slowly and meticulously as if to buy time before a response would be expected. "I am a ronin, nothing more. You may call me Himura." He lifted his chin, firm set of his jaw betraying his warrior's pride, and the old man nodded in silent acknowledgement of what was left unsaid.
"Very well, Himura-san, you may spend the night here." The woman's knuckles were white as she quickly buried clenched fists in her lap, and her discomfort hung visibly in heavy folds around her. "There's an extra futon in chest by the door." Her dinner lay virtually untouched before her, and she bowed her head to keep from meeting her guest's eyes.
The old man paused and glanced back over his shoulder to regard the guest one last time before turning in for the night. Himura Kenshin sat silently on the floor, staring into the fire's glowing embers. Bright reflections of red and orange illuminated his violet eyes. Thickly-lashed lids fell closed as he shivered. "Sleep well, Himura-san."
end of part 1
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Yes it's short, and no, I'm not entirely sure where it's going-but there will be a point sometime, I promise! And I justrealized that I said I was going to try to paint Kenshin a bit differently...it's coming, just not in this first part. The nex one(s) will be longer once I get a better feeling for where am. Comments are warmly welcomed! Especially for thisfic your feedback would be wonderful.
- Mir (09.12.01)