He was a glutton for punishment.
Always, against his better judgment, he ended back up at her cottage. He'd show up covered in wounds , stinking of liquor and filth, and she would quietly clean him, cover his wounds, and say nothing of his absence. Even if he was gone for months.
They had fallen into a routine, perhaps not a comfortable one, but a routine nonetheless. Now, once more, he's making his way up the winding path, stumbling slightly, cursing loudly, towards the lantern glowing in the dark.
He was never sure whether or not the lantern is there for his sake, or if it was for the sake of the Mistake. He didn't ask, and tried desperately not to care. His feet come down heavy on the wooden porch, without care if he makes noise, wakes anyone who is slumbering peacefully within in. He knows better than to suspect her of finding any peaceful sleep. Even when he stays, she's always jumpy, never exactly at rest. He can only imagine what she's like when he's away.
As if to confirm his suspicion, she opens the door before he can reach it. Still fully dressed and alert despite the late hour, and a small club clutched in her palm. When she sees him she relaxes visibly, but continues to brandish the club in a stern manner.
"Don't be so loud," she hissed between her teeth, "do you know how late it is?" He rolls his eyes, but treads more carefully past her and into the house. Immediately he drops down into the nearest chair and strips off his shirt.
"Hungry," he grunts, and she closes the door carefully, latching it tight before turning and making her way briskly to the kitchen where he heard the bumping of pans and the eventual sizzle.
After the aroma of food began to fill the house, she approached him with a large bowl of hot water and a rag. She set it down next to him and began to run the damp rag over his back, her hands darting like nervous birds up and down, side to side. His head leaned back against the chair and tilted up to watch her face. Lines were forming along either side of her mouth, and the chubby cheeks that were not so long ago plump with childhood fat were hollowed out. With a pang, he realized it had been seven years, seven years since they separated and she moved herself to this secluded cottage in the woods.
He caught her hand as it fluttered nervously about, and held it still, catching her eye, "You're not so young anymore," he grumbled. Her eyes widened slightly, and for a moment, he was afraid she was going to cry, but quickly her brow lowered into a scowl and her free hand clenched.
"Look whose talking, to be honest, I can't remember a time when you even looked young," she said between clenched teeth. He chuckled lowly and relaxed his grip on her hand, but gently pulled it down to his chest to allow her to rest for a moment.
"I'm just saying, you're not a girl anymore. It caught me by surprise."
"I haven't been a girl for awhile, Mugen, you just haven't been looking hard enough," she said quietly.
As if to prove her point the soft foot falls of the Mistake came toddling down the hall and stopped in the doorway, where it's small form haunched behind edge of the open door, hoping to spy upon the adults in the late hours, hear snippets of their conversation, and perhaps prove it's own suspicions.
Mugen's stomach dropped as his eyes meant the all to familiar smaller pair peering from the darkness, and he released Fuu's hand and turned away from the door, exposing to the child nothing but a scared, tattooed back. The child would find answers in his face, but not the ones it was searching for.
A.N. Hey guys,
it has been a long long long time.
I'm trying to get back into the habit of writing now. Its been a long time since I wrote a fanfiction, and a long time since I've seen Samurai Champloo. Let me know what you think.