Disclaimer: Not mine. Never was, never will be.

Note: Just a little oneshot, because I haven't been writing in so long. I hope you like it! :)

Interlude

The little boy probably hadn't seen the pebble he tripped over that made him drop his ball.

His mother, however, saw very well the man whose foot the ball rolled to bump into.

Samurai.

In this day and age in the busy streets of Kyoto, samurai blood ran fast and they drew their swords even faster. Everyone knew they were best avoided.

And he had… red hair. Only demons had red hair and, and… golden, lifeless eyes.

The woman hurried to grab her son's arm and jerked him back towards her; stammering an apology, dread filling her as the man bent to pick up the ball. He turned it in his hands as if unsure as to what to do. She shuddered - would he punish them for the annoyance? It wouldn't be the first time…

"Be careful, you could lose it next time."

Blink. The samurai wasn't angry. He was… simply handing the ball back to its owner. Too young to understand this small miracle, the boy happily took it back. "Yes, sir!"

The shadow of a smile on his lips, the red-haired man nodded and straightened up. Another nod was directed at the child's mother. Stunned, she could only blink again before he walked away. Still holding tightly onto her son's hand, she bowed deeply to his retreating back, murmuring her thanks.

As for Kenshin, the short encounter had left him feeling more than he had since… since her. Shame, hurt and resignation at how terrified the woman had looked, but mostly a blooming something at the child's innocent smile. If he was still able to do some good, then maybe there was hope for him after all.