Our Hikos

He started out as a rumor, a possibility we speculated about amongst ourselves. We were curious to see the man who had trained the legend.

We didn't know what to expect. Guesses were made, and we waited impatiently for the truth to be revealed.

What we discovered took our breath away.

We saw him first from the back. As Our Kenshins approached, all we could see was that long, Jade & Black hair flowing over the large white mantle.

Then with a snap of a katana being loosened in its sheath, we beheld dark eyes narrow just before he disappeared from our sight in a move too quick for the eye to see. From a standing start.

The practical few of us, who had sworn never to fall for a character, took one look and promptly forgot our names.

He was abrupt. This startled us, for we were long used to hesitation and empty bluster. Every word he speaks is backed with reason and conviction. Even his sharp comments have a ring of truth to them.

It irritated us. It intrigued us. We stayed and watched some more.

Our surprise turned to amusement as we watched Our Kenshins squirm at his taunts. We had never seen our redheaded Rurouni so off balance with anyone before. His self-satisfied smirk attracted us to him, drawing those grown weary of tentative, harassed boys. We were immediately mesmerized by ebony eyes that seem to laugh and challenge at the same time.

We saw his willingness to sacrifice his own life to succor the teetering soul of his wayward pupil. We beheld as he complimented his opponent; those sharp eyes seeing beyond the surface to the true heart of one labeled a monster.

We label him a character that would rather cough up a lung than admit that he cares. He brings out the best effort in people as they strive to improve just to spite him. He lets people make their own mistakes, and they never realize what a rare gift that is.

We recognized that, cynical though he is, he still respects guts, frank truth, and determination.

Little was known about his background, so we expand on it, making up stories of his youth and origins. We are both amused and touched as we create scenarios with his little baka deshi, looking for those precious moments of understanding that he gives out like the rarest of jewels.

We made him into a drunken hermit, falling for his act like so many others. He became a gruff father figure, a childhood bully, even a king or a forest spirit in disguise.

We speculate about his eye color. We make fun of him in outtakes and parody. We turn him into an obstacle to overcome.

We sicced love struck ninja girls on him, just to see if he'd react. We even married the poor guy off.

He appears seldomly in our stories, briefly touching on the lives of the others. Yet wherever we take him, he leaves an impact. His attitude goes before him like the prow of a ship. Too perfect, we don't use him much. Where would the other characters be, in that long shadow?

We could never have anticipated someone like him. We were looking for someone else. Certainly someone shorter.

We are sometimes annoyed by his arrogance, but have to admit that he has earned the right. He makes no pretenses at being a lesser man than he is. We noted his lack of concern for people's opinion of him, and could not help but envy him that freedom.

He speaks his mind, every word conveying a lesson. We made him the ultimate teacher, though one that few would have the patience to learn from.

He keeps his word and inspires respect, albeit grudgingly, in all he meets.

His attitude is catching, and we often find ourselves smirking along with him as friend and foe alike are stumped by his manner.

After all the politeness and bluster we'd seen, his self-satisfied, self- assured attitude was surprisingly refreshing.

He makes those of us sick of the status quo crack up as he uses his knowledge like a blunt object, whacking people over the head with it. We laugh ourselves silly at all the embarrassing situations we make up for him to recall about his poor student.

Throughout all we take him through, he has always remained a sarcastic, irreverent, antisocial braggart who delights in remembering embarrassing moments and irritating baka deshis.

And we wouldn't have him any other way.

Our Kenshins stories go on through the generations. Are Our Hikos destined to fade away into obscurity?

Not if we can help it.