Life with the mysterious drifter came naturally to Yoshi, but that didn't mean it was easy. A glimpse at a life. DrifterxYoshi

I gave the drifter the name 'Westley' in this, but used it sparingly. I thought it sort of fit him. I also thought it'd be funny since Yoshi is from the east and the Drifter is from the west. idk. Let me know what you think.


"No man owns me," the drifter had said as he walked out the door that morning so long ago.

Yoshi lived in a small city, not Nicola's old haunt, but he was happy with it. He was close to the mountains and rivers and caves. He could practice Jin as he wanted. But he was also on the mainland, closer to his cousin. The city wasn't always calm, but it had everything Yoshi needed. Besides good restaurants and generally nice people, the city had held one more very important thing.

It had the man he loved.

Yoshi had left Japan after the death of his father and followed rumors across country lines, searching for the man who had no name, the man who was just passing through. This was the place Yoshi had found him: a tiny town called Som near the eastern coast, by the Pacific Ocean.

Yoshi walked into a bar, his first stop after the train had let him off. Sitting at the bar, still wearing that same hat, was a very familiar face. The other patrons sent curious glances Yoshi's way, but he paid them no mind. If they did not wish to fight him, then neither did he. Instead, he made his way to the stool next to the drifter, bypassed it, and took the one next to that.

The drifter glanced up from his whiskey and stopped when he saw who was sat by him. Yoshi gave a weak smile.

"Are you a friend?" Yoshi asked.

The drifter's eyes never left Yoshi's, though it took him a moment to answer. "Well that depends who's looking."

"I'm looking," Yoshi said seriously.

A hint of a smile lifted the drifter's lips. "Don't suppose you'll look elsewhere, neither." He shook his head and tossed his drink in one gulp.

After that, it had seemed only natural when they started living together. Neither of them had questioned it. Yoshi was paid to train boys young and old the way of the sword; of bushido and of Jin. It was a modest income, but Yoshi didn't mind. The drifter fought both professionally and unprofessionally. Both ways got him money. Both ways earned him respect. For a long time, living together was simply that: they shared a living space.

Then one of the fights didn't go as well as planned. The drifter came home with a cut still bleeding on his forehead, but with money in his pockets. Yoshi fetched a clean cloth and a bowl of water and went to the drifter's room. He was lying in bed with his eyes shut and didn't move a muscle, even as Yoshi set the bowl on the bedside stand and wet the cloth. Only when the damp fabric touched his cut did he open his eyes.

He watched Yoshi in silence while the Asian man worked. When the cut was clean, Yoshi rinsed the cloth once more in the water and the drifter sat up on the edge of the bed, his knees brushing against Yoshi's. Yoshi looked at him then, and he looked at Yoshi. And again, it had seemed only natural, only right, when they'd kissed.

And life went on from there, but with the occasional kiss before the drifter left for work or before they split up for bed. They didn't share a room.

Yoshi didn't agree with how the drifter made his money. The fights were rarely fair – the overly experienced drifter against a man who had barely seen more than a punching bag. And there always seemed to be nothing but anger in the drifter's fights, both professional and not. More than once, the opponent had ended up dead.

"You are so angry," Yoshi said. "You need to learn to be calm; to let go of that anger."

There had been no kisses for days after that.

Many times, when the drifter stayed out for days on end doing who knew what – gambling, fighting, whatever – Yoshi thought that perhaps it was only he who felt emotions in this relationship. The drifter rarely smiled and almost never showed emotions on his face. Yoshi had thought he saw a smile in those dark eyes whenever they had just kissed, or right after the drifter came home and saw Yoshi for the first time. But maybe that had all been in his head. They certainly were not a typical couple, and they never did couple type things. But when Yoshi made a decision, he never went back on it. And he'd decided to stay with this love, to work on it, to do the best he could.

One day, he asked the drifter not to go out. "Stay…with me," he said.

His hand already on the door handle, his hat in his other hand, the drifter didn't look back at him. "Why?"

Yoshi narrowed his eyes. "You do not need to fight. You have earned the respect of the people. You have the fear of the other gangs. Do you intend to become a new Nicola?"

The drifter glared at him then. "I will never be Nicola."

Yoshi held his gaze firmly. "Then do as I say."

The fight that ensued had been expected. As usual, they were just evenly matched. But the last blow went to the drifter, and he left Yoshi lying on the floor of their little house. Then, with a few simple words, he walked out the door.

"No man owns me. No one ever has, and no one ever will."

He didn't come back. Not that night, nor the next, or the next, or the one after that. Yoshi's life went on. He taught his students and worked in the community, fixing things and just generally helping out. He trained for hours on end in the forests and mountains nearby. It felt like he was so close to mastering Jin, and yet so far away. He didn't see the drifter anywhere, but everything was fine.

Except that every time Yoshi got home to an empty house, he felt his heart clench in his chest. And after a month, he finally allowed himself to shed tears. Alone in the hall, just inside the front door, he leaned against the wall and felt the silent tears slipping down his cheeks. Because maybe it wasn't as natural as it felt, maybe they were wrong, but for the first time in his life…Yoshi had felt at peace, no, he'd felt happy. But somehow he'd lost that.

Two months to the day since the drifter left Som, there was a knock at Yoshi's door. And there he was. There was a crash of thunder and a roll of lightening across the sky, giving an almost ominous backdrop to his return.

"'m just looking for a roof out of the rain," he said softly, almost sadly.

Yoshi frowned but nodded and let the drifter in, shutting the door behind him. They walked to the tiny living room they had, but neither sat down. Yoshi stood by the door and the drifter stopped a few steps in. For the first time in a long while, the drifter didn't slip a cigarette from his pocket and light up. It had been a routine upon returning home that Yoshi had gotten used to, if never liked.

"Wes-" Yoshi began, but he was interrupted.

"I never stayed in one place so long as I stayed here with you," the drifter said. And it was true. The title of 'drifter' hadn't fit him for so long. "Maybe the stillness's what got to me."

Yoshi stayed silent, his arms crossed loosely over his chest as he watched this man he'd come to love. The drifter, Westley, rubbed the bridge of his nose with his right hand for a moment. He still wasn't facing Yoshi.

"I don't know how to do this." And then he turned around.

At once, Yoshi knew he hadn't been wrong. He could read this foreigner simply by looking in his eyes. But he didn't need to right now, because the emotion was spilling onto his entire face this time. He looked lost.

"Do what?" Yoshi asked simply, still holding his position at the door.

The drifter stepped over to him swiftly and lifted his hands to hold Yoshi's face. Yoshi had never thought that hands that could kill a man in one blow could also touch him so softly. "This," the drifter said quietly. "I've been on m' own most of my life. I didn't think I could be with one other person so long, let alone one like you."

He brushed a few loose hairs from Yoshi's face but otherwise didn't move. He still looked so lost, unsure of how to express himself. And Yoshi understood.

"Welcome home." He gave the barest of smiles, still off center from the drifter's behavior, but it seemed to be enough.

The drifter pressed their lips together. It wasn't a soft kiss, Westley didn't do soft kisses, but it wasn't as rough as usual either. Yoshi uncrossed his arms and held the front of his drifter's jacket. Then the drifter pulled away and moved his hands to Yoshi's shoulders instead of his face.

"Y'know," he said, "Sometimes I think you're stronger than me."

Yoshi grinned at him. "Maybe we should test that," he suggested. "But another day." He leaned forward and pressed his lips to the drifter's this time, this first time he'd ever initiated it.

When they pulled back several minutes and probably a dozen kisses later, Westley leaned forward to put his mouth by Yoshi's ear while he caught his breath. "I love you," he admitted, and it was like everything else he did: in a way that meant he wasn't taking it back, and if you didn't like it then too bad.

Yoshi stared at him with wide eyes for several long moments and forgot to breathe. At length he laid his forehead on the drifter's shoulder and let out a long breath, a smile on his face. "That's good," he whispered. "That's very good."




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