Disclaimer: I don't own Young Samurai and never will. Now will they please stop threatening to chop me in two with their swords?

Neko rubbed her wrist where the young gaijin had grabbed her. That had been a very painful grab and Neko was determined to avoid ending up in that position again. But there was no doubt about it, the boy was definitely a warrior of some sort. A gaijin samurai perhaps! That would certainly be unique.

There was no point telling the others what lay under his hat. They'd simply despair and wail and claim that there was no such thing as a gaijin samurai. Although she was a deaf-mute, girl, the attitude of most of the villagers made her wonder if THEY weren't the ones who were deaf. And blind as well. They couldn't think outside their own little minds, see beyond the obvious. To them, she was just a stupid cat-girl who couldn't hear or speak.

But you didn't need to hear to see how defeated the villagers were. You didn't need to speak to know how little their daimyo cared. Gaijin or not, their village was in desperate need of protection from someone who could fight. And there was no doubt that the gaijin knew how to use the two swords he carried and the way he grabbed her showed he knew how to fight unarmed.

But what was really keeping her awake, what was running around her head so fast that she couldn't sleep, was the simple fact that his strange blond hair and blue eyes fascinated her so much. She had never seen anyone else with features like that. What else lay out there in the wide world, just waiting for her to find? And when sleep finally claimed her, her dreams were of exotic lands and far away places where she wasn't an outcast but a person who belonged.