Rebirth and Regrets
A Battle Arena Toshinden fanfic short by Kasumi Todoh
Life can be unbearably cruel, Kayin often reflected, but then, there were times when fate and destiny can be even worse.
Naru was almost six now. She growing into a healthy, normal, energetic little girl. She followed him everywhere and had even begun showing an interest in swordplay, despite her young age. Naru had also started calling him "Oto-san", even though he had made it clear many times that he was not her father, at least not biologically. Most of time Kayin was happy with her, and she brought to him a joy that he never experienced before he adopted her. Yet at the back of his mind he worried. Eventually he would have to reveal his dark secret to her, and what would she think of him then?
Five years ago, Kayin received a job from a mysterious company called "Gerad". They wanted him to kill a "tretcherous" Japanese scientist who had betrayed them and was about to sell their secrets to a rival company. They offered to pay him handsomely for doing so.
One thing Kayin had learned from all his years as a bounty hunter was to not ask questions. Just get the job done and collect the money. He accepted their offer and without a moment's hesitation set off to find this guy.
It didn't take Kayin long to locate the man, attempting to quietly sneak away from the Gerad headquarters carrying something in his arms. Of course when the man saw Kayin coming, he fled into some woods. Kayin quickly pursued him for a little more than a hour, losing sight of him only once right before he caught up with and cornered the obviously terrified and now empty-handed man.
He immediately tried to beg for his life. "Please, sir, I beg you. I have an infant daughter. I'm all she has left. Who will take care of her if I die?"
Kayin didn't believe the "infant daughter" bit for a second. He figured the guy was just making it up to fool Kayin into showing compassion and sparing him. In a lightning-motion, he plunged his sword through the man's heart, quick and painless. As he pulled it out, he heard the man whisper his last word.
The mission completed, Kayin turned to head back to the Gerad headquarters and collect his money. He felt no compassion for a man he had never met, and knew nothing about.
Until he heard the cries.
A young child crying, somewhere in the woods. Kayin followed the sounds to a thick clump of bushes not far from the edge of the woods. Parting the leaves and branches aside, he peered down in-and received the shock of his life. There, wrapped in blankets, was a towheaded baby girl. She didn't look much older than a year, or less. Who would leave a baby alone in the woods?
Kayin's heart suddenly lurched as he remembered the man's plea. He also remembered seeing him carrying something, as he fled, yet when he caught with him again, the man had nothing with him. He must have been carrying this child, and had hidden her here, during those few moments Kayin had lost sight of him.
The old man was telling the truth.
Suddenly the realization of what he had done hit home. He had coldly and remorselessly taken away the only father this child had. It brought memories of having recently dealt with the murder of his own father, by an unknown assassin whom Kayin would later learn was also a good friend of his. Filled with guilt for the first time, he bent over the child and apologized profusely, while letting the tears fall.
Kayin never accepted the reward that Gerads had offered him, but they didn't seem to care. Never again would he accept money to kill.
He took the girl home with him that day, at the time he wasn't sure why, but he did. He spent the next two days searching for information about her that would lead to her family. All Kayin could find was that the girl's name was Naru, her mother had died during childbirth, and she had no other known family. Partly from this knowledge, and partly to try and alleviate some of the guilt, Kayin made a decision that would change his life forever. He adopted Naru himself and raised her as his own.
That was five years ago. Naru was still too young to understand, but Kayin knew the day would come. He dreaded that day with all his heart, the day he would have to tell her that the man she had come to love so much was actually her father's murderer. Would she want to avenge her father's death, as he himself had once wanted to do? Kayin knew only time had all the answers.
This is my first (and will probably be my only) attempt at writing a short 'fic, and while it's not exactly my best work (I couldn't think of a really good title), overall I'm actually quite proud of this one.
I actually wrote this a couple years ago, after the idea started kicking around inside for a couple weeks and I finally decided to write it all down. Today I managed to locate the disk that I saved it on and, much to my amazement, found it worked and the story was still there. It's still posted at my sister's now-defunct Toshinden page, but I also decided to put it up here so everyone else could read it too.
Therefore, feel free to read, review and enjoy!