A/N:Sorry for the long absence, this is just a short anthology consisting of 9 stories (excluding the prologue) and its a bit darker than my first collection of one-shots.

Disclaimer: The characters of Rurouni Kenshin do not belong to me.


Here and Back Again

Another night.

Another town.

A countless wandering that never ends.

From east to west, from north to south; a path forgotten, a path unknown—he took them all, leaving nothing but dust in the wind and a trail of fallen leaves.

He sailed the seas and crossed the deserts; climbed the mountains and explored the forests. He came and he went. No destination. No motivation. In this lonely wandering, his only companion was the spirit of the past, affixed to him like another appendage. Wherever he went a dark shadow loomed; uttering a name he yearned to forget and concealing things he wished to remember.

Life was a tapestry of contradictions—a myriad of vivid and muted colours, woven together so seamlessly it fashioned a life of its own.

Sixteen years ago he left this town.

Mentally drained and physically battered, he disappeared beyond the horizons with a few possessions: the clothes on his back, a broken sword and a blood-stained ribbon. Those eyes were downcast and body weary with fatigue. His candle of life flickered dangerously—between living and dying.

He was just a teenage boy that went down the wrong path and had seen the consequences of his actions. In search of redemption he left everything behind; abandoned that bloody past.

Sixteen years later he returned.

So carefree in his steps, smiles constantly on his face. Clothes were patched, the sword repaired and a faded ribbon still stained with blood. His face had aged—the lines were tales of wisdom and the adventures he partook; yet his eyes remained youthful, burning brightly as the morning sun.

Now an adult with answers to questions of years past, he picked up the broken pieces, no longer running away. He has found solace but there were loose ends he needed to tie.

Sixteen years and thousands of miles; many faces and few names; he returned to the place his wandering began. Fate was up to its mischievous ways once again. He laughed softly as he took a step forward.

Right foot first, left foot next. He repeated the procedure a few more times until his mind took over. It was all coming back again. The pungent smell of fried tofu, the cobbled path ways of the market place and the lively banter of stingy patrons and greedy merchants—it all did not change.

He turned the corner and walked towards the little run down dojo, just in time to see two bodies thrown out the entrance: beaten to a near bloody pulp. A lively young woman stood at the gates, yelling out profanities and brandishing her wooden sword—so vivacious was she that her blue eyes twinkled.

Their gazes met and he smiled.

"I'm home."

A new night.

An old town.

A wandering that was no more.

A/N: The prose above was used as an assignment but I've edited it slightly to confirm that it's part of the RK scene. I'll try to update this within the week (crossing my fingers).