It's been a while...but hey. Why not. :)

Maybe it wasn't surprising that spirits kept the same habits they had in life; all four samurai were wide awake little before the sunrise. Heihachi, figuring there was nothing better to do, tried in vain to sleep again, stretched out on the ground before his grave. He soon gave up, and Gorobei remarked that old habits died hard. Unlike themselves.

The reception to that particular joke varied.

Later in the morning, as the villagers all at once begun to stir and go along their routines. Men continued repair on the homes and fences, women strode out into the fields to work. Once in a while they caught sight of the lingering samurai passing through, giving instructions, offering help, or just wandering by.

Things began to settle after the morning rush. The row of graves were slightly apart from the main village; although they were not able from their tombs to watch the daily life of the peasants they had saved, they could hear and feel the vibrating energy from the renewed spirits of the people.

"This is so boring." Kikuchiyo complained, "What are we supposed to do? We can't talk to anyone, we can't move, we're just floating around our graves. This is pointless. We're samurai, we have things to do."

"What things?" Heihachi smiled. "Our job is done here."

"But I see Kikuchiyo's point." Gorobei scratched behind his head. "We can't just sit here and do nothing for the rest of....our...what would you call this? Existence?"

"I dunno." Heihachi didn't seem bothered, except for the bowl of rice a villager placed down in front of each of the graces. "But....I mean....I'm hungry."

"I think we all are." Gorobei stroked his chin curiously. "But we can't touch anything, can we?"

All four of them looked at the food offerings left for them in front of their graves. Between them there was the mutual assumption that they weren't able to actually eat it.

Kyuzo furrowed his brow and knelt down. The other three watched as he reached for the slightly chipped bowl of rice, chopsticks sticking straight up as in the custom of offering. Dismally, his hand passed straight through it, as expected.

Heihachi sighed. "Aw, man...the rice....the riiiicee...."

But Kyuzo's eyes were focused, looking intently upon his hand. With concentration, he reached for the bowl again, more slowly, and this time, to his companions' shock, he came up with the bowl in his palm.

The bowl was still on the ground. An ethereal image, at first semi-transparent had come up with his hand, and become more solid as it remained in his palm until his muscles visibly tensed under the full weight of a rather large bowl piled high with rice.

"WOAH Kyuzo, how'd you do that!?" Kikuchiyo, awed, immediately reached for the bowl in front of his grave, and equally as quickly became aggravated, passing his hands through the untouchable food multiple times.

Instead, Heihachi and Gorobei watched impressed as Kyuzo looked cautiously at the bowl in his left hand, and slowly lifted the chopsticks with his right.

"How did you do that, actually?" Heihachi tilted his head.

"Technique." Was the deep-voiced response. The other two samurai looked puzzled; Kikuchiyo carried on his noisy exploits behind them.

"So you figured out how to lift it? Is it easy?" Gorobei asked.


"Hmmm..." Heihachi looked longingly at his own rice. "How do you do it?"

"Figure it out." Kyuzo muttered, setting the chopsticks back into his bowl. He stepped over to Heihachi's grave, and leaning down, took up the light blue ceramic bowl meant for the lighthearted engineer.

Although he cocked his head slightly, Heihachi reached for in anyway. The result was unsuccessful, and his hand passed through the bowl, at which he let out a dispirited whine, but accidently smacked Kyuzo's hand. If it hadn't been for Kyuzo's nimble fingers that quickly balanced the bowl to keep it from tipping over his palm, the rice would have spilled and Heihachi would have certainly faced another death.

Interested, Gorobei watched in thoughtful silence. Kikuchiyo had given up and joined the entertainer, watching the lesson.

Heihachi pursed his lips in disappointment, which then split into a sheepish smile. "I don't suppose you'd feed me, would you?"

Kyuzo's eyes narrowed dangerously, and Heihachi laughed nervously. "Suppose not."

"Figure it out." Kyuzo repeated.

"How're we supposed to figure it out if you don't tell us!?" Kikuchiyo chastised.

"Concentrate." Kyuzo muttered again.

Tilting his head, Heihachi stared thoughtfully at the rice bowl in Kyuzo's hand, and stroked his chin with gloved fingers. "How did you do it?"

"Focus on it." Kyuzo instructed. "Imagine touching it, and concentration."

Daring another attempt, Heihachi reached for it, and with several more attempts, finally came up with the bowl between his fingers. With a joyful cry, he quickly mastered picking the chopsticks in his other hand and began eating.

Soon after, Gorobei had mastered it. Amused, he watched as Heihachi relished his first taste of rice in days, which the woodcutter seemed to take as a very serious thing.

Kyuzo had set his bowl down, apparently not interested in eating at the moment, and instead gazed at their surroundings while the others ate. Several minutes later he began to step away. Gorobei was the first to notice, but said nothing.

Striding casually away, Kyuzo was soon behind some trees, which the spirit didn't bother to evade. He slid through them, a ghostly image that didn't need to consider the rules of physics anymore.

"Hey, isn't he hungry?" Kikuchiyo wondered, noticing the untouched bowl of rice Kyuzo had set down back on the ground in front of his monument.

"Well, I guess he'll eat later. Better come back soon though, or I'll take his." Heihachi said, then tilted his head with realization. "Hey....has anyone ever seen Kyuzo eat?"

The three exchanged curious glances. It seemed none of them had ever actually seen the almost aristocratic samurai eat. He obviously had to eat, but it seemed he took precaution to avoid eating within sight of anyone else. Appearing only after everyone else had eaten for dinner for what was left, Kyuzo also presumably took food to consume elsewhere for breakfast and lunch.

"What a weird guy." Kikuchiyo scratched his head. "What is he, a squirrel?"

Gorobei shrugged. "Every person has their way."

Heihachi was quiet for a few seconds, then started giggling into his hand.

"What is it?" Kikuchiyo asked, and the rice man only laughed harder.

He shook his hand when they asked him why, his young face split into a silly grin. "Oh, it's nothing, nothing. Don't mind me."

They gave up, and Heihachi never did explain why.

It was already deep into the afternoon when Kyuzo returned. At this point, he only sat in front of his grave. He crossed his legs and held his back straight, in his careful posture. He didn't look at the others, whose eyes were all set on him and the bowl of rice and pair of chopsticks six inches away from his left knee.

What Kyuzo didn't know was that his three companions, bored in death, had came up with the resolution to see him eat his rice. They simply had little better to do with their time. People-watching the few villagers that came through this particular way had gotten somewhat old; and already they were returning home for the night. Feeling they might as well watch the miracle of Kyuzo consuming his rice offering, they had awaited his return.

Eventually, Kyuzo became aware of the eyes intently watching him. Growing increasingly irritated, he glanced around them. With eyes as intimidating in death as they were in life, it didn't take long for modest Heihachi and mild-mannered Gorobei to turn their gaze away, neither wishing to provoke Kyuzo by prolonged staring. Even Kikuchiyo grumbled and wandered a few steps away, unable to withstand the intense red glare.

Dipping below distant mountains, the sun disappeared. The light faded from orange to pink and finally drained to blue. The moon soon put them to sleep, and one by one they drifted off.

The next morning, they were appalled to find Kyuzo's bowl empty.

"WE MISSED IT!" Kikuchiyo was in despair. For some reason it had become a semi-serious game.

"Awh...that's sneaky..." Heihachi laughed and rubbed the back of his head.

Gorobei chuckled and shrugged his shoulders. "Well men, we have plenty of time, let's enjoy the hunt."

Kyuzo had absolutely no idea what the problem was over his bowl.

Heihachi was laughing because he was imagining a Kyuzo-squirrel(It was kinda obvious, yeah?). Some time ago it was a joke in a failed S7 fanfic I started, which I later discarded. Originally, Katsu was the character who died laughing imagining it, but Heihachi's probably the only one silly enough to actually think about it. He'll probably share the joke later with Gorobei, though ;)