Deeper than Words
Mugen stirred a bit in his sleep and he opened his eyes ever so slightly. They were out sleeping on top of straw mats under the twinkling stars like they always were, and like usual his back ached from the hard ground, but that wasn't the reason he had awoken. The fire the trio had made earlier that night had burned out and all that was left were bits of orange smoldering embers and ash that would pick up and swirl around in the wind if it decided to blow.
Mugen shifted his head and saw Jin getting up from his mat, his face as stony and unreadable as ever. That's what the noise was; old fish face was just restless. Mugen watched him closely as he picked himself up and slowly set off down towards the babbling river that they had made camp by. He blinked and rested his head again; he looked around once more quickly, scanning his eyes over his surroundings, everything looked normal, only this time he noticed Fuu was gone from her mat too.
He could hear Jin's soft footsteps as he made his way down to the river, how the rocks would roll under his feet and how his robes would swish whenever he took a step. Mugen kept still, not wanting to give anyone the impression that he was awake, but strained his well trained ears to pick up any noises that would come from down at the river shore. He suddenly heard Jin's footsteps stop and he lifted his head from the thin mat so he could make out the image of Jin silhouetted against the silver moon, staring down at a heap by the river.
"Is there anything wrong?"
Mugen's ears perked up; the heap must have been Fuu. She was hunched over, but once she noticed that Jin was next to her she stood up tall, turning her head toward him. Mugen heard a few muffled sniffles and then Fuu's false cheery voice broke the stagnant night air's silence.
"No, it's alright, I'm fine." But Mugen could tell she wasn't.
"After the Sunflower Samurai, what do you intend to do?"
Mugen had to admit that was a good question. He had been wondering the same thing himself, but never really bothered to dwell on it. After Fuu admitted the Sunflower Samurai was her father he could tell Jin was surprised, hell, even he had been surprised, but the two never really mentioned it again, at least not in detail.
After all was it really any of their business why the girly wanted to find that guy so bad? No, it was only their job to drop her off safely, what's what the whole purpose of their trip was for. He didn't give a rat's ass what her personal life was all about, he didn't even give a shit about his own, save that for some other idiot.
But he lifted his head up a bit more, trying to get a better view, but not high enough to where the two could see him eavesdropping. He wasn't sure why he was concerned if they knew he was listening, maybe because they would get the impression that he cared, which he so obviously didn't, but he couldn't help buy feel a pang of somberness in the pit of his stomach at the thought of when Fuu would meet that Sunflower Samurai. He figured he was just hungry though, that's what the feeling was.
"That's a good question, I should probably think of that," Fuu's voice was distant and thoughtful. He could see her head turn to look off at the flowing river, probably judging it silently as she did with everything else. The dewy silver moon was reflecting off of the smooth river and illuminating Fuu's ivory skin, lighting up her figure in the night air. The giant, ancient green trees around the river swayed slightly in the breeze and Mugen could smell the fresh scent of the leaves and grass around him as they flooded his sinuses on the gentle wind.
"Perhaps I should…" Jin replied carefully.
Mugen went rigid. He could hear the true meaning in his voice and he suddenly felt a bolt of annoyance strike through his chest; his eyes narrowed at the thought of it. Fish Face getting all the action; just like him to try and take all of the credit when he was the one busting his ass to save Fuu all the time. Of course he'd want the last battle, the last chance to show him up in front of Fuu. She'd love it too, Mugen always figured she preferred Jin over him, the way she was always comparing the two. It seemed like Fish Face could do no wrong in that stupid bitch's eyes.
"You know I really don't want to think of that right now," Fuu interrupted, her voice sounding a bit somber, almost as if she was replaying all of the memories she had with them over in her head.
At her soft voice Mugen soothed his feathers and looked on again, trying to get a better glimpse of the two. Fuu was still facing the river, her body was stiff, unnatural; Mugen could tell she was trying to keep something bottled up inside. Although Fish Face was a good few steps from her, he couldn't help but feel that though they were physically apart that somehow the two knew exactly what the other was thinking, that they were close in that way. Mugen's eyes narrowed slightly again and he pouted childishly.
"If you did then that jerk Mugen would…" her voice trailed off shakily, he could hear the tears in the tone though. Mugen's face went slack again at her words, at the way she said them. He thought back to that word Jin had mentioned at the fire earlier. She was being something-mental, what was it again? Sentimental? Whatever it was that's what she was being, but Mugen watched on, his eyes never straying from Fuu's slim frame.
"I'm sorry. Forgive me."
Mugen saw Fuu step toward the stoic Jin, placing her head gently on his chest, her hands curling about her face, her body slowly heaving with tears. Mugen stopped breathing for a moment and watched in silence as Jin finally placed a gentle had on her shaking shoulder, not uttering another word, just letting the moonlight rain down on them.
Mugen blinked and slowly looked down at his own hands and observed them carefully. They were rough and torn from all of his fighting and traveling over the years, and he couldn't help but wonder if Fish Face's were the same. He flexed his fingers a bit and saw the bones bend and curl, the thin sliver of tanned skin over them compress and fold along with them.
His mind strayed, replacing Jin's tall, white figure with his own; his rough and torn hand on Fuu's shaking shoulder, her soft cheek on his chest, their silence. But that wasn't possible, Fuu would never open up to him like that, he knew what she thought of him; he knew she thought he was an idiot, a pervert, a rogue. It wasn't possible for Mugen to be like that with Fuu, why bother thinking about it.
Mugen looked up at the two for one more moment, resting his tired eyes on their intertwined frames and then he gently rested his head back down onto the mat again. He closed his eyes and deciding to think about it another time, even though he knew that time was exactly what he was running out of.