After I got through moving I found one of my old backup thumb drives and started going through it to see what was on it. Low and behold I found some fics I thought I lost long ago and this was one of them. I cleaned it up since it was so old from when I first started writing fanfics and decided to post it. So I hope you enjoy. Much love for you all. Keva
It all started with a summer thunderstorm his young companion fearful of the storm seeking comfort. Or maybe it started the first time she gripped his gi as they walked along an old dusty road. He didn't know which started it all but either way he liked the feelings it eventually instilled within him.
Though she had two bodyguards so to speak it was always him she gripped on to or hid behind. Her silent hero is what she would call him in a teasing manner in an attempt to get some kind of reaction out of him.
It never worked.
She would huff, call him stuck up, and turn her attention to Mugen easily triggering the reaction she so desired. It was childish on her part to be sure but he figured it was her way of keeping her hyperactivity in check.
The girl who he was sure talked incessantly just to hear her own voice slowly became his sole reason for drawing his sword. However he could never tell her this and barely admitted it to himself.
He looked down at her from the corner of his eye when he felt the small tug indicating her grip on him. With her holding onto him he could ensure that she was safe especially since she had an affinity for being kidnapped. How and why she managed to get kidnapped and tied up or put to work in a brothel was always beyond him. Maybe it was time to have ANOTHER talk with her about her too trusting behavior… or her klutziness… or sticking her nose in business that wasn't hers… or helping every sad soul she meets.
Yet as much as he would warn her and explain why what she did was wrong she would watch herself for a day or two. Then before he knew it he would receive note screaming for him to save her AGAIN. Though what was that saying about himself when he would go after her, sword drawn, cutting down man after man to save her?
"My silent hero."
Those three words, simple meaningless words on their own, together they were his motivation. Her hero, her unwavering belief that he would always come to the rescue… her rescue to save her and her alone. He would always be there maybe a little late but eventually he would come for her. He knew it and he had no doubt that she knew it too.
Fuu sighed as she plopped down in her chosen corner of the abandoned hut. "What I would give for a hot bath right about now." She moaned as she stared at her dirty calves, ankles, and feet.
"Agreed." Jin glanced over at her.
"Wussies." Mugen snorted. "A little dirt won't kill ya."
Fuu glared over at him. "Well not all of us likes smelling like rotted garbage." She nodded curtly.
"Are you sayin I stink?" He growled as he glared at her.
She pinched her nose dramatically and looked away. "You stink so bad I think it's slowly killing my sense of smell."
"I don't stink!" He bit out and for added emphasis raised his arm, took a deep sniff of his under arm, and damn near passed out.
"You were saying." Jin smirked.
Mugen huffed and turned his back to his two companions. "Whatever."
"Well anyway tomorrow we're finding somewhere to get cleaned up." Fuu nodded determinedly. "Oh and food too."
"And a better place to sleep." Jin added.
"Yea I guess." She looked over at him. "But I think food and a bath are more important."
"Hn." He answered as he leaned back against the wall shifting to get comfortable.
"I'm beat." She exclaimed with a stretch and laid down on the floor.
"Yea." Mugen agreed and plopped down with a loud thud. "Time to get some Z's." He stretched out taking up as much space as he could.
Fuu looked at her stinky friend and wrinkled her nose at him. "He's like a mess you can never clean up." She muttered then closed her eyes easily falling into her exhaustion.
Jin watched her through cracked lids and could nearly count down how long it would take before she wiggled her way over to him. He wouldn't be able to sleep until he knew she was secure in her own slumber.
It wasn't long until he felt her little fingers tangle into his hakama just above his bent knee with her forehead pressed against his thigh. Why she even bothered to seek out another spot to sleep was always beyond him. They both knew where she would end up, either curled up against him or clutching his clothing tightly like a life line.
Then every morning she would wake up, blush deeply when she realized how close to him she was, and stutter out an apology. He would never respond only watch and wonder why after all this time it still embarrassed her to wake up touching him.
As he watched her breathe evenly feeling the small amount of heat from her head pressed against him he wanted to lay down with her. He wanted to feel her curled tightly against his chest, the gentle caress of her breath against his neck, and her fingers holding tightly to him.
He would never do that willingly unless she asked it of him. Maybe one day she would ask him but until then he would continue to be honorable to her and to himself.
Though there have been a few times when their exhaustion got the best of them and they awoke curled up with one another. Those were the mornings he savored the most, the mornings when everything seemed to feel so right.
He blew it and not just a little bit he blew it worse than he ever thought possible. A moment of weakness or maybe it was just a moment of a long lost fantasy. A chance in which a long ago dream could become a reality.
Was it an emotional sort of love or was it just a physical sort of thing? A weakness from denying himself the physical form of pleasure? He wasn't sure what it was but in the end it was nothing but one big damn mistake.
It had been nearly a week since they left Hamamatsu and Fuu had stayed away from him. She barely talked to him, looked at him, and she didn't grasp onto him for safety anymore. Not even in her sleep would she come to him, she just stayed in her spot curled up into a little ball… alone.
He was going to leave her for a dream a dream that he got too far lost into. Even Shino knew it was a fantasy and had told him as much several times. He didn't listen just pressed forward to an end he couldn't see; an end that didn't exist.
His dream cost him his reality the real love he had right in front of him daily. He tainted his title of silent hero turned it into something ugly. He was now her silent betrayer, promise breaker, abandoner.
So easily he walked away from her for another man's wife, even if that man was a worthless husband. He could give no reason that would make sense to himself let alone her.
All he could do was apologize.
However she forgave him before word one could leave his mouth. What was worse was she wouldn't let him apologize to her. She told him he had his reasons for what he did and it wasn't her place to question it. What he did with anything in his life wasn't her business so long as he at least TRIED to keep his promise.
He would do more than TRY he WOULD keep his promise to her come life or death.
Though in the meantime he was going to have to do what ever it took to get Fuu's trust back. He missed the feel of her fingers gently tugging on his sleeve as they walked and the way she would find him in her sleep.
Yet what he missed most of all was the way she would smile lightly in her sleep as she held onto him. He was going to get that smile back even if that meant apologizing on his knees to her for his mistake.
The chance to apologize never came and now she was sending him off with Sara to be her escort. This was his punishment or so she thought… well actually she was hoping he would say no.
He suspected the woman had ulterior motives for wanting to travel with them the moment she suggested it. Yet again Fuu's bleeding heart easily gave in for the sake of a sad story and now he was going to have to deal with the consequences.
The woman was a formidable opponent and he nearly cost himself his life. The fall from the bridge was far and the river not deep enough. He hit the water and it felt like he hit hard earth until the water gave way and he hit rock bottom. He lost the air in his lungs and all conscious thought at that moment.
He didn't even have a second to consider any regrets.
When he awoke he was in an old shack with some odd old man watching over him. How was he not dead? He remembers falling from a great height a height that should have surely killed him. Maybe the Kami deemed that he was to live, that he had yet to fulfill his deeds here on earth.
He tried to sit up and found he hurt from head to toe.
"Well look who's awake sleepy head." He aged voice seemed to mock from across the small space between them.
Who was this strange man and where the hell was he? Was he in danger? A captive? Or did this man save him? "Excuse me, who are you?"
"You can't tell by lookin?" His voice still carried that mocking tone. "I'm the man who saved your life."
He was awake when he saved him? He didn't remember being saved but then again he vaguely remembered anything since the battle on the bride. "You what?"
"You know you may be the first guest I've had here."
This man was the strangest man he had ever come across. He didn't come here on a leisurely journey just to meet new people. Theoretically he should be dead or at the very least dying.
"Stay as long as you like."
He couldn't stay here he had someone he had to get back to. Someone whose life was in danger and he had to save her. Sure Mugen was there and could handle any threat that came their way but would he protect Fuu? Did he care to protect Fuu and not just his own interests? He could never get a clear read on the man and as much as he was capable his motives were always just a little left of center.
"Thank you but I'm afraid I can't." He sat up slowly trying to keep the pain down to a minimum. "I have to get back to my companions." That's all he could think about getting back to his friends to warn them and to finally apologize to Fuu.
Near death experiences are funny. They make you realize that any second could be your last second alive. It reminds you to say all the things you wanted to say but never found the time or the courage to say.
He was going to make sure he said it when he saw her no matter what.
"You knew she was going to try and kill you and you went anyway?" Fuu hissed as she wiped Jin's brow with a damp cloth. "If you weren't injured I'd slug you sooo hard right now."
"It was your choice that I escort her." He defended in a weak tired voice. The journey back from the old man's hut by the river took everything he had in him right out.
"Well I didn't think you would actually go with her!" She huffed and angrily threw her cloth into the bucket of water.
"I had to protect you."
She locked deep browns with tired onyx and scowled. "How is leaving to go with someone else protecting me?!" She demanded getting more irritated by his lack of sense.
"She would have killed you."
"NOT WHEN WE'RE ALL GOING A DIFFERENT DIRECTION!" She bellowed her irritation reaching critical mass. She took a deep breath when she saw him flinch and reeled her ire in some. "I mean she's blind how was she going to follow us let alone find us to attack?"
He closed his eyes and sighed deeply her logic made sense to an extent. "She was traveling alone before she met us so it is quite possible for her to follow."
"I guess." She slumped then reached for the cloth, wrung it out, and laid it back across his brow. "I was really scared that you died. What was I going to do if you were gone?"
"Mugen would make sure you fulfill your duty."
She snorted at that. "Yea but it wouldn't be the same without you." She straightened his blanket tucking it around his shoulders. "He protects me when I need it but usually only when he's around. But you, you're always there taking care of me," she looked away. "being my silent hero." She whispered.
"Sometimes in order to protect someone you have to leave their side." He turned his head to look at her fully. "Fuu."
Fuu looked at him as she took the cloth from his brow so it wouldn't fall off. "What?"
"I owe you an apology."
She drew her brows deeply as she stared at him. "For what?"
"Shino, I shouldn't…"
"No," she cut him off with a finger to his lips. "there's nothing to apologize for."
"No." He looked away from her. "You deserve an apology for what I did."
She grabbed him by the chin and tilted his head to look at her. "Jin I wasn't mad because you left. I was mad because it was so easy for you to leave." She looked away from him. "It was like you didn't care about me or the promise you made."
"I did care." He slipped his hand out from under the blanket and grabbed hers causing her to look at him. "I was blinded by a dream I had of a normal life. I thought Shino could give me that." He squeezed her hand. "In the end I realized I would never have that dream. My life has no room for normal."
"You're wrong." She laced her fingers with his. "Our life is normal, normal for us anyway. We, the three of us are family. A strange family but we're all still there for each other no matter what happens."
"Wise words." He smiled lightly at her. "Forgive me." He whispered after a few moments of silence.
She knew what he was asking of her and she was going to give it. "I forgive you." She missed their bond as much as he did.
With that he and Fuu were back to where they were before he nearly destroyed everything.
Jin furrowed his brows as he slowly came awake. Something was off and it only took a second for him to figure out what it was. Fuu wasn't curled against his back like she was when they fell asleep.
It only took a quick look around to find her squatted down on the river bank. He knew the impending ending of their journey was weighing heavy on her shoulders. The fear of being parted from her strange little family. She had no one else but he and Mugen and once this was all over then what?
Would they all part ways? Could they still stick together? Was it even feasible for them to continue on together? All three of them had a past, Mugen seemed to get part of his taken care of and Fuu was working on hers. Yet with his past could he really ever clear his name and bring it all to an end? Perhaps one day it would all end and he could disappear into obscurity becoming just another nobody in the world.
He quietly made his way over to where she was crouching down. "Is there something wrong?"
Fuu wiped her eyes trying to erase all traces of her distress from her face. "No," she stood up feeling she had herself pulled together and faced him. "it's just…" She trailed off as her emotions tired to surface once again.
"What are you going to do?"
She stared up at him her heart falling to pieces with every second they continued to stare at each other. "I don't want to think about that anymore."
He watched her struggle to keep her tears at bay only to fail as her eyes filled until they spilled over. "Perhaps I should…"
"No." She turned to face him. "If you did that jerk Mugen…" She trailed off as her emotions got the best of her. "I'm sorry." She tried to smile only to have it fall as her emotions overwhelmed her. She stared at him and practically threw herself against him seeking comfort.
He placed his hand on her shoulder and rested his chin on her head. Was he going to let her go? Could he let her go? If they parted ways who was going to protect her from her bad choices? He gave her a day at least before she was in trouble and needed rescuing.
Jin stood staring at the dock of the river sans boat and scowled. He suspected she was up to something. For why send them to buy castella cake when they were just in a shop not but two doors away from the little bakery?
"So what do you think?" Mugen questioned from his kneeling position next to him with a mouth full of the sponge cake.
He wanted to call her actions cowardly but on the other hand she was a woman with womanly emotions. "She made her choice." He nearly growled as he stared at the island in the distance. "We have to respect that." He took a bite of his piece of cake and decided it was too bitter for his tastes. It was a tainted piece of cake soiled with her tears and his inability to sense beforehand what she was going to do.
Mugen looked up at him. "So we're just going to let her go? Just like that?"
"What choice do we have?" He tossed the rest of his cake into the river unable to stand what it stood for.
"Hey!" Mugen growled. "What'd ya do that for? That was perfectly good cake."
"Then finish it off." He growled and handed him the cloth with the rest of the cake on it.
Mugen took it from him and glanced back and forth between his companion and the golden cake. He then realized that Jin was head over heels in love with that loud mouthed, bossy, no figure to be had, and constantly in trouble girl. He suspected something was up with the way the two of them always ended up sleeping near each other. Fuu clutching to Jin's clothing like a lifeline in her sleep and Jin just letting her do it. However he never actually saw them DO anything with each other other than the occasional pat of assurance on Fuu's shoulder by the Samurai.
"Only hope can give rise to the emotion we call despair."
He was pulled out of his thoughts by the man that had approached them from behind.
"But it is nearly impossible for a man to try and live without hope. So I guess that leaves man no choice but to walk around with despair as his companion."
"What the hell do you want?" He stuffed the last bite of cake into his mouth as he questioned the man. Who the hell was he anyway to just come up and start spouting off theological advice like he knew them?
"If you're looking for Kasumi's daughter she crossed over to the island."
What were they stupid? It was easy to figure that out being that's where they were headed anyway.
"Do you know him?" Jin questioned already suspicious of the strange man. How would he know Fuu and for that matter who her father was?
"I know he's a felon who abandoned his country and had his soul stolen by that foreign religion."
Mugen rose to his feet to stare at the man not entirely trusting him. As soon as he spoke to them he sensed this man wasn't to be trusted.
"I've heard that he fled here to Quechua and that he was involved Shimabara Rebellion. I also know he's the man who the Shogunate wants eliminated more than anyone else. They've known all along that his daughter was trying to find him. In fact it's helped them."
Jin could feel where this man was going and he did not like it one bit. His hand instantly went to the hilt of his sword ready for the battle this man was about to start.
"They've let her run free this whole time so they are able to discover Kasumi's whereabouts. And now although it pains me to say this I have to insist that you two die right here."
Mugen reached for his sword. "You're taking us on all by yourself?" He snorted. "You sure got a big pair on ya pal."
"Come I hope that you don't disappoint me." He smirked at the duo.
Jin held tightly with his right hand to the side of the boat as it worked it's way across to the little island. His free left hand pressed a cloth tightly against the wound on his side. He had to get to Fuu and make sure Mugen was able to save her.
Plus he was sure that man was going after Fuu and he knew without a doubt that Mugen wouldn't be able to fight him. Mugen's skills were good but no where near the caliber of that laps dog's skills.
Hell he barely survived him himself what chance did Mugen have? He had to get over there and make sure Fuu was alive and well. He would never forgive himself if anything happened to her.
The second he suspected she was up to something he should have kept her in his sites. No matter how she argued he should have kept her at his side from the moment they woke up that morning.
It was slow progress to find her but when he did he felt his stomach drop. That dog had her cornered at the edge of the cliff ready to kill her. A defenseless girl that had done nothing wrong, only had the misfortune to be born to a samurai. It was clear the Shogunate and his dogs had no sense of honor only the need for the senseless killing of innocents.
"Jin." Fuu gasped when she saw him walking towards them. So bad she wanted to run to him and hold him. He was injured she could see but beyond that she had never seen him look so sexy. If it wasn't for the current circumstances and his wound she would be drooling all over him and insisting he wore his hair down more often.
However as it stood things weren't looking so good for them. She was sure Mugen was dead no one could live through an explosion like that and survive. If that man wasn't after her she would be down there sorting through the rubble in hysterics trying to find him. As it stood though her life was in danger, at the edge of a cliff, with nothing but an injured Jin to deal with this assassin.
"You have my compliments. You've somehow managed to avoid a fatal blow. In your current condition however you can't possibly defeat me."
Jin remained silent as his steely eyes focused on his enemy. He had a sense that this man liked to talk for the sake of hearing his own voice. The last time they stood face to face he ran on and on about how close their duel was, who would win, by how close the margin between them really was and so on.
He found it annoying and utterly tiresome.
"Why are you here? Are you trying to throw away a life you so narrowly managed to keep? As I recall you once said there are no lords worth risking your life for."
"That's right." He gave in and answered for what he was about to say was for Fuu's sake not this dogs. "For my entire life I've chosen to fight for no one but myself. My dedication and my study of the sword was for no one but myself." He shifted his eyes over to Fuu who was staring at him wide eyed.
Was she scared he wasn't fighting for her? Did she fear that he couldn't fight injured as he was? Or was it she wanted to run to him and make sure he was alive and well?
"Until now." He finished silently passing the many things he wanted to say to her but couldn't. Their current situation wouldn't allow him more words for her and his mortality was at stake. He may not survive this fight and she had to know this and how he felt. "I swear I always get stuck with it."
Fuu stared at him worried about his condition, worried if he would he win, and what did he mean? Stuck with it? Stuck with what? Saving her all the time? Was it really that big of a problem for him to save her?
She watched wide eyed as they two began slashing at each other. The fight was fast and ended with both men run through. "JIN!" She gasped in a scream when the silver blood covered sword poked out through his middle. There was no way he could survive.
Jin had opened his defense allowing his opponent the opening he needed to defeat him by in turn opening himself up for a counter attack.
"I can't believe you opened your defense." Kariya whispered as the two of them fell to the ground in a bloody heap.
"JIN!" Fuu ran to him when he hit the ground. She was on her knees at his side gently stroking his face trying to get him to open his eyes. "Don't you leave me." She ordered as she continued to caress his face while her tears fell from her eyes and landed on his pale cheeks.
He slowly brought his hand up to her face and gently cupped her cheek. "You're safe now." He stared up at her through cracked lids trying to smile.
She narrowed her eyes through her tears. "Don't you say that! I'll never be safe if you're gone."
"I know." He tried to tease but his words ended in a blood filled cough.
"This is no time for jokes!" She used her obi to clean the blood and saliva from his face. "We need to get you some…"
"Is he dead?"
Her eyes snapped wide at the sound of Mugen's voice some feet away. "Mugen!" She gasped as she watched him limp towards them using his sword as a cane. The old man following close behind with a grim look to his face.
"Not yet." Jin coughed again and slowly pushed himself up into a sitting position.
Mugen stopped and snorted. "I didn't think ya'd go down so easy." He then looked over at Fuu who was still staring at him. "You see your smelly samurai?"
Fuu nodded dumbly unbelieving that he was still alive. There was no way he could have survived that explosion.
"Say somethin will ya." He growled hating the way she kept staring at him.
"I can't believe you're alive." She sobbed into her blood stained obi.
"Dumb broad of course I'm alive." He glared. "Stop crying like a baby, jeez." He hated it when she would cry. It always made her look so weak and pathetic. He couldn't believe that this sobbing mess was the woman that would boss them around so easily.
"Hey!" She glared at him through her tears.
"Save it." He grunted and stared at Jin. "Well there's nothing left."
"I agree." He nodded curtly as he used what strength he could to get to his feet.
"No." Fuu shook her head knowing what they were about to do.
Jin ignored her and held up his sword. "Ready?"
"Ready." Mugen nodded, raised his sword, and used all his strength to attack.
Jin met his challenge head on and when their swords met both blades broke in two. They both fell to the ground in bloody heaps smirking at one another.
"We're pathetic." Mugen snorted before his eyes rolled into the back of his head as he passed out.
Jin agreed and easily joined his friend in the deep black darkness of unconsciousness.
The healing process was long and painful but eventually he eventually felt well enough to return to his normal self. The moment he was dressed and met his two companions outside he knew it was time. The tension in the air between them was thick with an underlying sorrow trying to cut its way through to them.
They stood at the crossroads staring at each other trying to prolong what was about to happen. However they could only stall off the inevitable for so long and Fuu was the first to come to this conclusion.
"One thing guys." She looked guiltily between the two of them. "Remember back when we made that bet about not dueling until after we fond the sunflower samurai?"
Both of them stared at her suspiciously.
"Well the thing is," she giggled. "it actually landed on heads."
"What?" Mugen glared at her.
"You're joking." Jin said at the same moment.
"Yep, it was heads." She nodded.
Mugen huffed as he looked away. "I should've known you'd pull something like that."
"Yea well I didn't want you guys to fight." She smiled wickedly at him. "And see now you're best friends."
"I wouldn't say best friends exactly." Jin nodded thoughtfully.
Fuu stared at him. "Then what would you call it."
"Barely friends." Mugen answered then shook his head. "Well I guess this is it." He smirked at the two of them and started walking down his chosen path. "Send me an invite I'll be in Nagasaki." He waved as he walked away.
Fuu drew her brows deeply. "Invite to what?!" She called after him.
"Oh he knows." Mugen laughed as he continued walking.
"Invite to what?" She moved her question to Jin when Mugen was long out of ear shot.
"Hn." Jin stared at Mugen's figure getting smaller and smaller the further he walked away from them.
"Are you going to answer me?!" She huffed and moved to stand in front of him to get his attention. "What was he talking about?"
Jin looked down at her. "I have no idea." He lied so he wouldn't have to tell her when he wasn't ready to make the proposal just yet.
She narrowed her eyes suspiciously upon him trying to discern if he was lying or not. However as per Jin his face and eyes were completely unreadable leaving her with no choice but to either wait and see what happens or question him to death. Usually the latter sealed his lips even tighter than before so that wasn't much of an option. Plus with them going their separate ways how was she going to be able to wait and see?
"You have to tell me before you go your way and I go mine." She nodded curtly at him hoping that the realization that they were parting ways would loosen his tongue.
"There's nothing to tell." He nodded at her.
"Liar!" She pointed sharp finger at him.
He caught her by the finger and pulled her in close. "I do not lie." He smirked then caught her by the chin with his other hand and pressed his lips to hers.
Fuu just stared wide eyed at him as he traced her lips with his oh so hot tongue. She could feel her legs beginning to grow weak and nearly melted into a puddle when he slipped his tongue into her mouth.
The shock didn't last long but by the time her head had started to clear he was pulling away from her looking rather smug with himself.
"Shall we?" He questioned as he placed her hand against the sleeve of his gi helping her curl her fingers around the fabric.
"Okay." She whispered not sure if she was in fact 'okay'. Though when he started walking she had no choice but to follow for she realized she had a deathly tight grip upon his gi.
Jin couldn't help but smile lightly to himself as he walked pulling her along just behind him. He figured the wedding would take place by next summer if not sooner and hoped that Mugen would still be in Nagasaki until then. He had to get everything prepared for the two of them for he was sure Fuu wasn't going to want to be a nomad for the rest of her life. Plus the prospect of constantly scrounging up enough money day in day out just for food did not settle well with him.
"Where would you like to settle down?" He posed one he felt she had cleared her head.
"Settle down?" She questioned as her brows drew deeply. "What do you mean settle down?"
"I do not wish to continue struggling through life." He answered simply. "It's time we planted roots and settled down."
Then it hit her like being thrown into a freezing river; Jin was going to marry her. That was what Mugen was talking about when he said to send him an invitation. Jin was going to marry her!
Her head started to get all fuzzy like he was kissing her all over again. He was going to be her silent hero for the rest of their lives. A giant grin spread across her lips as she stared at his back and clenched tighter to his sleeve. "Takeda Fuu." She whispered to herself and grinned stupidly. "I like it."
Jin herd her whisper what her married name would be and smiled. Yes he liked the sound of it too.