Of Wine and Water By: P.P.V.V.

Disclaimer: I don't own Rurouni Kenshin or any of its characters. This is a Standard Disclaim.

Summary: Because training under Hiko isn't exactly the easiest. And neither is raising Kenshin. [Canon – non-yaoi, mentoring] The bond between Master and Student is deeper than meets the eye.

AN: Hi, everyone! I've made my way back into this fandom and I hope you will allow me to share the musings of my imagination again. Aside from my other works, I wanted to write this piece because I have so much fun playing around with Hiko and Kenshin. Before reading, please note:

1) There may be spoilers for the Manga/Series and the movie Tsuiokuhen.

2) I'm trying to keep this as in Canon as possible. This story will not follow any specific timeline per se. It's best described as a series of progressing snapshots during Kenshin's time under Hiko's tutelage. Expect gaps of time between some chapters.

3) Indications of Japanese culture/language will have translated notes if necessary. The usage of the Japanese language will be kept to the barest minimal – if at all because I generally like to stay away from that as it takes away from the story's mood.

4) Some chapters may be longer than others.

5) This story was inspired through Scarred Sword Heart's story, Alone. Go check it out if you have the chance.

That said, please enjoy.

Chapter 1

- Building Trust -

The first thing that needed to be done was to get to know each other.

It must have been the most awkward situation of Hiko`s life.

Not very sociable, it wasn't a surprise that he wasn't much for conversation and with a child, no less. Inside, he was mentally berating himself for his sudden impulse to pick the kid as his successor.

Since being literally plucked off the street, Shinta – no, Kenshin – hadn't said a word. He followed behind him, hunched over, eyes wide but face otherwise impassive. He was hesitant, his steps faltering time and again as though he were trying to figure out whether or not he should continue to follow or make a run for it.

Well…Hiko couldn't blame him.

He hadn't exactly asked whether the child wanted to learn the art.

He'd sort of just…told him.

The kid must think I'm crazy. Hiko snorted inwardly. Or eccentric. Or both.

For the umpteenth time, he glanced at the child from the corner of his eye, noting the way he held his hands to his stomach and the way his fingers trembled. Again, the footsteps faltered, lagging behind for a few moments before picking up the pace to cover the distance he'd let grow between them.

Hiko decided not to make small talk, giving the boy time to make up his mind. If he decided to leave, he would not stop him.

When well over two hours passed and the boy hadn't stopped tracing his footprints, it was most obvious to Hiko that Kenshin had chosen not to try his luck with someone else.

"Come on, keep up," the man ordered, curtly.

Kenshin's only response was to double his steps.

When he felt the tug on his cloak, Hiko turned slightly to see that one of the boy's little hands hand come up to grasp it. It was then that he realized that for Kenshin, there was no one else.

He was alone.

Somehow, Hiko would have to nurture this child, shape him into a young man that would be capable of wielding the sword and the principles behind it. If he didn't do it right, he would forever corrupt the boy's pure soul. For the first time in a long time, he was terrified.

In that endeavour, Hiko would be alone in his own respect, too.

Stopping his march abruptly, Kenshin fairly bumped into him. With a squeak of surprise, those amethyst eyes rose to meet his in question.

"Hands are very important," Hiko told him, solemnly. "They are a man's way of expressing himself. Be careful what you do with them."

Those peculiar eyes, a shade of the darkest gray to the point where they were almost purple - regarded him as his words were digested. Finally, Kenshin said, "I heard that extending one's hands were a way of showing that they meant no harm if offered to someone else without holding a weapon."


This one was way too innocent.

It looked like there was a lot of work cut out for him.

Right then and there, Hiko was certain he wasn't going to have an easy time raising this kid. At the same time, Kenshin's innocence was almost refreshing.

Hiko decided to let him keep that thought, however naïve it was. He couldn't help but wonder how much hurt the boy had received from the hands of others.

Not anymore.

Without breaking eye contact, he reached out to pry the child's dirty, blood-encrusted fingers from his mantel and enfold them in his overly large hand.

It was small, but it was the first step toward the goal of trust.

From now on, they were linked

From now on, he was safe.

Word Count: 617

Moving forward...

AN: Sorry it's taken me a while to re-post this story. It's been edited, now, so hopefully there are fewer mistakes and reads a bit more fluidly. Thank you for your patience and your support. Don't forget to please review.

Thanks for reading,


Edited: August 24, 2016