Kenji sat quietly in the den of his dear friend, Myojin Yahiko's house, his dark brown eyes watching his Father's, well, now Yahiko's Sakabatou intently, wondering just how much it'd weigh if he were to pick it up, wondering if he was old enough to swing it properly yet, it was more then likely.
He was thirteen years old now, and he was quite skilled at using a Shinai, a genius, if he may be so bold, which he definately was!
He didn't share this fact with either of his Parents just yet, but he could predict his opponents moves in an instant, and mimick them at a mere glance, it was all so, obvious to him, the art of the Sword flowed through his mind like water, ran through his bloodstream like a disease, and he understood it down to the last, minor detail.
but though he strongly believed that he was ready to carry the weight of a real sword, chances were that his Mother and Father would not let him,
He had trained under his Mother in the Kamiya-Kashin Ryu style for as long as he could remember, she always told him the sole meaning of its name,
Swords that give life.
The naive ideal passed on by his GrandFather, Kenji used to listen to her teachings almost religiously, but these days, he had often found himself in question about it, it, no longer made any sense to him.
So he simply cast it aside, ignoring all the warnings that lay with it.
But he would never share this with his Mother, he loved her dearly, and would hate himself if he were to ever hurt her.
He didn't tell his Father of his spiritual abandonment of his Mother's cherished style, but somehow, he figured that his Father may have already noticed it,
Noticed the blank stare his Son possessed when listening to the other Students chatter on like idiots about its meaning,
Or the way he basically sleptwalked through each training session, yet still easily overpowering his classmates, like it was already a second nature, like he had grown bored of it, and longed for something more.
Kenji's thoughts came to a screaching halt when he heard the shogi door slide open,
The teenaged Swordman looked in that direction, and saw his Father walk in with that serene smile of his.
41-Year-Old Kenshin had let his red hair grow out again since he cut it when he settled down with Kaoru, and it had reached the same length as before, reaching midway down his back, but he still wore his usual white Hakama and red Haori,
And he still maintained his youthful appearence, looking decades younger then he actually was, though his face had matured very slightly since he was younger,
Which was fine, if it didn't, he'd look idenicale to his Son.
" There you are, Kenji, your Mother was starting to worried, that she was." He said as he knelt beside his Son.
" And what about you?" Kenji asked, smiling back.
" I know that your fully capable of taking care of yourself, but still, you should consider your Mother's feelings about you always wandering off." Kenshin lectured.
I don't tell her about my distaste for her sword style, how much more considerate can I get?
Kenji gave a frusterated groan." Dad, come on, I'm 13, I don't need to be babysat for all the time anymore!" He protested.
" I know that, Kenji, but you shouldn't be so reckless, your still technicaly a child, and you won't be considered an Adult for another two years, and trust me on this one, you don't want to grow up to fast." Kenshin replied patiently to his angered Child.
Kenji just looked away, irritated at being lectured.
He had definately inherited his Mother's temper, that he did. Kenshin thought, smiling proudly.
But Kenshin was no fool, he could see his Son's impatience with, well, everything!
Kenji naively thought that his sopposed 'Pokerface' was flawless, but to Kenshin, he was more transparent to him then a ghost, a rather frusterated, discontent ghost.
Kenshin saw very clearly, that Kenji felt trapped in the peaceful life that he'd been living,
Like he was standing still, unable to move, or find a way to move forward,
Bored with the ever present peace,
Kenshin could see the Warrior's blood that had been passed on by him to Kenji was burning within his veins brightly, with a fury much greater then anything Kenshin ever possessed, even in his prime, it was there, just under the unintentional deception of a child, dying to escape the prison otherwise known as peace.
He was unaware, but he wore his anger like a stain, always glaring at, and warning Kenshin of what may occur if he wasn't careful.
Kenji, much to Kenshin's relief, also inherited his Mother's naivety, and did not know how easy a read he was to his Father.
" Kenji," Kenshin began.
" Yeah, what?" Kenji sighed, still annoyed.
" Yahiko says that you've been coming here a lot lately, and staring at the Sakabatou for many hours, with, according to him, 'A scary expression on your face.' Think you can tell me why that is?"
Damnit, Yahiko! Kenji thought, annoyed. Now I gotta give an explanation to Dad, damnit, I hate trying to lie to him, he always knows, I don't know how, he just does!
" No reason, really." Kenji said with a nonchalant shrug.
" Kenji." Kenshin replied, his expression calm, and the tone in his voice telling the younger Swordman that he didn't believe that.
" really, its nothing!" Kenji insisted, starting to get a bit defensive.
" I think its something." Kenshin replied, smiling.
" Well, Dad, I'm afraid your mistaken." Kenji said, his voice lowering, darting his eyes away from his Father's knowing gaze. You wouldn't understand anyway. He thought bitterly.
" I don't believe I am." Kenshin said, his smile not fading, knowing his Son was just afraid to confide in him, but far to proud to admit it.
" Well, you are!" Kenji said, his voice begining to raise from frusteration, still looking away.
" Kenji, there is no need to be defensive, I just want to know whats troubling you." Kenshin explained calmly.
" Nothing is troubling me, okay?" Kenji spat, finally looking at his Father with stubborn eyes.
" Are you wondering what its like to weild a real Sword?" Kenshin asked, his smile fading, violet eyes becoming more dark, and his voice becoming low, and serious.
Kenji felt his stomach sink to the floor, and his heart beat speed up as he froze in place at his Father's words.
" N-No! Of course not! Mother has always taught me the Kamiya Kasshin Ryu style since I was old enough to swing a Shinai, and had taught me well its meaning, the Sword that gives life, and I am the style's heir, a position I don't plan to put in vain, and in this day and age, the Meiji era, why would a real Sword mean anything to me?"Kenji said, struggling to hide the fear that threatened to plague his face, and was already creeping into his young, Adolecent voice.
Kenshin could see that he had just hit the nail on the head," Kenji, theres no need to be afraid." He said, his voice and expression softening when he saw how afraid his Son was to tell him what was bothering him, though he didn't understand what the big deal was,
But then again, Kenshin was an orphan since age 6, and thus didn't have to grow up with the lingering worry of disappointing his Parents, like Kenji has.
Kenji took a deep breath, trying to calm himself a bit." Theres nothing wrong, Dad," Kenji began darkly, standing up." I don't care about the Sakabatou, and I don't care to learn about the more serious side of Kenjutsu, so will you just leave me alone now!" Kenji demanded angerly as he started to dart to the Shogi doors, as he was about to storm out, he heard his Father speak once more.
" You constantly spit out the Kamiya Dojo's teachings, like its venom in your mouth, but while it poisens you, you also use it as a mask to hide behind, am I right?"
Kenji turned around quickly, with a look of horror at his Father's many searing sentences,
Sentences that spoke a truth he was afraid to admit,
When did he become so obvious?
But what bothered him the most was, why is he so worried?
What was there to really be afraid of?
He knew that his Father was a kind-hearted person and would understand his discontent if he told him, so why is he so afraid to tell him the truth?
And he then noticed the serious look in his Father's Violet eyes, the former Hitokiri sat there still, awaiting an answer from his Son.
Kenji lowered his head, dreading Kenshin's gaze.
" That, isn't true," He lied once more, he felt like the lowest creature on the planet for faking the very foundation of what his Mother had so passionately taught him." I do believe in the Kamiya Kasshin Ryu, its just-" He cut himself off.
" Just what?" Kenshin asked, standing up as well, his expression softening once more, now more curious then angry on what Kenji's answer would be.
Kenji let out a frusterated growl," Nothing! Just leave me alone!" Kenji yelled before quickly running outside.
" Wait, Kenji!" Kenshin yelled after him, he ran to the doors to go after him, but saw that he was already gone.
The red haired Samurai let out a sad sigh." Its seems this'll be much harder then this one had first anticipated, that it will." He sighed wearily, knowing how stubborn his Son could be.
Kenshin hated having to be so harsh before, but he didn't know else to do, Kenji doesn't exactly make it easy to steer him in the right direction.
It sure didn't help that Kenji believed he knew everything, and always outright refused anyones advice or help out of his misplaced pride, and Kenshin feared that his reckless behavior will one day result in something irreversable happening in Kenji's life.
Though Kenshin hoped that just this once his keen perception was wrong, somehow he knew that it wouldn't be,
So he would have to try to do everything in his power to try to help Kenji through this difficult time in his life.
Kenji walked down the busy street in a rage, still fired up from the argument he had with his Father.
That damn Yahiko, always having to inform my every move to Dad, its so damn irritating! He thought, still angry.
Still, he couldn't help but feel slightly guilty,
His Father didn't do anything wrong, except be a good Father who was worried for his unworthy, and ungrateful Son.
He never got along very well with his Father, though it was mostly on his end, meanwhile his Father was nothing but kind to him most of the time, smiling that same serene smile of his, a smile that hid many secrets behind it,
A smile that Kenji found himself distrusting of.
Though he had no reason to be, he knew that his Father loved him, (no matter how much he probably didn't deserve it,) and his Mother, very much.
His origins for his misplaced anger for his Father, was unknown even to him, but he was well aware that he was a good man none the less.
Yahiko, Megumi, Tsubame, Misao, and Sano and even Aoshi saw to that, telling him tales of the great Swordman his Father was before his body had succumb to his injuries from the many battle he endured throughout his life.
When he was little, he'd always hear these stories, and see his Father as something of a hero in his eyes.( Something that he'd never, ever admit to him out loud!) And a small part of him still did.
But now, he also was begining to see him as an object that he had to surpass,
Kenji wanted to be the greatest Sworman in history, to create his own legend, and to do that, he would have to become stronger then his Father, Himura Kenshin,
And the Battousai.
The only hinderence in this was that he, at the end of it all, loved his Father and could not quite bring himself to see him as a rival,
He wished he could express his gratefulness to his Father more often, but he just could never quite bring himself to, probably because of his pride,
His stupid, undaunting pride.
" Kenji-Chan!" yelled a young voice from behind him.
He didn't turn around, he knew who it was.
Kenji turned around to see the 7-Year-Old run up to him with a happy smile on his young face.
" Hey, Shinya." Kenji said, sparing his best friend a smile.
He had known Shinya since the day he was born, when Kenji was 6, and they'd grown up along side eachother since,
And Kenji was happy to admit that they were like Brothers.
And like Brothers, they would always have eachother's backs.
" I heard you and your Dad argueing, is everything okay?" He asked, worried, his dark eyes were sympathetic in a way that was reminiscent of his Mother, Tsubame,
Though he physically resemble his Father more, the cat eyes and dark spiky hair included.
The only notable difference was that his complexion wasn't as dark as Yahiko's.
" Yeah, we're fine, we'll just make up later, like always." Kenji said with an indifferent shrug.
Shinya's brow furrowed into a nonbelieveing stare at the older boy." Are you sure?" He asked suspiciously, he knew Kenji's temper, and how his personality clasked with Kenshin's often.
" Yeah, I'm sure, besides, if we didn't, we'd both have to answer to Mom, and I don't either of us want it to come to that." Kenji replied, shuttering at the thought of his Mother's anger.
No matter how strong he got, or how much he grew up, he'd always worry about that.
" And is it really of your business, Shinya?" Kenji asked, getting irritated.
" Yes." Was all Shinya said with a cocky smirk.
Kenji chuckled lightly and pat his surrogate Brother on his spiky head, an act that annoyed the boy underneath.
" I guess thats just how it is." He said, smiling as he walked away.
Shinya fixed his hair with a pouting look, but then allowed a smile to appear on his face as he followed Kenji.
Shinya then caught up with Kenji, then folded his arms behind his head." So where are you going?" Shinya asked as he walked along with his Friend.
" To the Bamboo forest, to practice." Kenji answered, looking straight ahead, with a serious expression.
" Cool, you wanna spar?" Shinya asked.
" I'd love to, put I think I'm a little beyond your level right now, you might wanna wait a little while longer first." Kenji replied bluntly, though he was still hoping that he didn't hurt his feelings.
Shinya got aggrivated at Kenji's answer." I'm strong enough!" He protested, running in front of the Teenager.
" You are strong, Shinya, very strong, you will definately become a great Swordsman one day,but," He stopped short.
" But what?" Shinya asked.
Kenji leaned down slightly with an unpleasent smile." But you will fall against me, because when I fight, I aim to win, and people get hurt, very hurt." He answered in a harsh, raspy whisper, his eyes becoming a deep Amber for a vivid moment, so fast that Shinya questioned whether or not he actually saw it.
Shinya felt a strong chill down his back as Kenji walked past him, Shinya looked toward his surogate Brother walk away, his Dark Hakama and Haori flowing behind him, he looked like a ghost along the streets of Tokyo.
Shinya let out a sharp exhale and started to stride along behind him, he hated it when Kenji got like this, it was like he was a totally different person, a scary, cold, almost evil person, that Shinya found it scary being around.
" Hi Kenji, hi Shinya!" A feminine voice called out to the two boys.
Kenji and Shinya both looked in the direction where the voice called from.
It was Chizuru.
" Oh man! Its Chizuru!" Kenji said nervously with a blush on his face, he always found himself tougue-tied in her presence, unable to form words, so he usually just stood there in silence.
And unfortunately for him, Shinya was well aware of his crush.
" Hey, Chizuru." Shinya said back, waving to the sweet young girl, prompting her to approach then.
Kenji glared daggers at Shinya for doing that! " I will destroy you as soon as we're out of sight!" He whispered harshly to him while squeezing his shoulder very tightly.
" Ow, ow, ow, ow!" Shinya cried out softly, but sucked it up as Chizuru approached.
" Hi there, guys, what are you up to today?" She asked with a sweet smile.
Kenji, though standing stoic, was always amazed by how pretty she was, the way the afternoon sunlight shone upon her perfect fair skin, and glistened her beautiful ebony hair, the top half tied back by a cute ribbon she always wore, Kenji thought it was cute, He mentally sighed at himself for being such a wimp, he wished he could actually muster up the courage to speak to her, but he just didn't have it in him, not yet.
He couldn't quite guess why he couldn't either,
Okay, maybe that wasn't entirely true.
He knew the reason, at least, to an extent, his biggest problem was, he didn't quite understand what the feeling he had were, and that made him feel threatened, so he instinctively ignored it.
Though it wasn't easy when a girl like Chizuru, who was by herself such an Angel, was talking right to him,
And he felt like trowing himself into the sea for treating this amazing girl like she didn't exist, like she meant nothing to him.
But that wasn't true, not in the least, she meant the world to-
Whoa, what am I thinking? Kenji thought, frantic. Don't get your hopes up, Kenji, if word were to ever reach her about your Father's past, she'll just come to see you as nothing more then a demon child as well.
Bitterness suddenly overtook him once again as he turned and began to walk away from his two friends.
" Ah, Kenji, where are you going?" Chizuru called out to him, but with no answer. " I wonder what has him so upset." She pondered out loud.
" I dunno, he's been pretty spacy lately," Shinya replied, then gave Chizuru a reassuring smile." But don't worry, Chizuru, its not your fault that Kenji to chicken to tell you how he feels."
A deep red blush appeared on Chizuru's face as Shinya said that." W-What are you talking about?" She exclaimed, completely embarassed.
" Geez, I hope I don't become like this when I become a Teenager," Shinya sighed warily," Anyway, Chizuru, you don't have to hide it, it wouldn't matter anyway, I'm not stupid, and neither is anyone else I know, "
" What do you mean, Shin-Chan?" She asked.
" Chizuru, your's and Kenji's constant 'Will they? Won't they?' thing is pretty obvious. Everyone notices, trust me on that." Shinya replied, nonchalant.
" Oh, s-so he returns my feelings?" She asked shyly.
" Yeah, he does." Shinya said with a smile." But don't tell him I told you, he'd kill me if he found out!" Shinya exclaimed, with a worried expression.
" Okay, I won't." Chizuru replied, smiling.
" Thanks a lot, you have no idea how serious I am about that, he'd seriously kill me, anyway, I should go catch up with him, see ya later, Chizuru!" Shinya said as he ran after Kenji, waving as he ran.
" Bye!" She called back, wayching him dissappear into the crowd.
Chizuru was happy to hear that her childhood crush actually liked her back, he always seemed so focused on his training, so focused that nothing else in the world mattered outside of his desire to get stronger, like he existed alone in his own world.
But she was happy to hear that there was a chance, at least a chance, that she could tell him how she feels, and he would return her effection.
Kenji darted through the town, wanting to get away, he was getting that feeling again, where he would become Angry, very, very angry, and he didn't know why, all he knew was when he got like that, he ended up hurting someone, either emotionally, or sometimes even physically.
He hated losing control like that, but he couldn't help it, it was like there was a monster inside of him, wanting to break free...
He then thought he felt someone following him, he figured it was Shinya and stopped and turned around.
But to his surprize, it wasn't Shinya, it was three suspicious looking middle-aged men, Kenji could see plainly that they were going to be trouble.
" Hey kid, we're looking for someone, think you could help us out?" One of the men asked.
" I'm not partial to helping out Criminals." Kenji stated fearlessly.
" What makes you think we're Criminals?" Another one of them asked.
" You should do a better job at conceiling your Swords." Kenji replied bluntly, pointing to the exact spot one of then had it hidden.
All the men gasped in amazement at Kenji's vivid perception.
" Now I'll ask you, what are you really doing here?" Kenji demanded sternly.
The one who spoke to him before, evidently the leader, dicided that telling Kenji what they were planning might prove interesting.
" Fine, kid, I'll tell you." He said, causing the other two men to look at eachother in curiousity over what he was planning.
Kenji to was confused at the sudden cooperation.
" I'm listening." Kenji said, diciding to play along to his little game, at least, for now.
" Well, you see, we were sent here to find someone, someone our sources tell us you know." The man explained, his smile becoming more sinister.
" And who would that be?" Kenji asked, starting to feel worried, wondering who they may be after.
But who ever it was, Kenji would protect them, no matter what!
" The Battousai." He hissed evilly.
Kenji's dark eyes widened at his Father's former title being uttered by this man!
" Do you know him?" The man asked, somehow sensing Kenji's sudden discomfort.
" No, the Battousai was before my time, he's probably dead by now, if not, he's just some old man,"
Kenji couldn't help but chuckle a little bit inside at saying that.
" Why would you want to kill someone who's probably to old to fight back?" Kenji asked, lying through his teeth, he couldn't believe that there were still people who sought his Father's demise!
" I didn't say that we'd kill him, just capture him." The man explained.
" Why's that?" Kenji asked.
Kenji tried to keep his cool, but he was really worried for his Father, and to make things worse, if they were to find his Father, he would be powerless against them, he was unable to use the Hiten-Mitsurugi Ryu style now!
" Let's just say, kid, that he has an old score with our leader." The man, Reishi, Answered.
" Why send a bunch of goons to do his dirty-work, why doesn't he just come here himself?" Kenji asked, getting a little angry.
" Your getting awfully worked up for someone who doesn't know who we're looking for." Reishi said smugly.
" No, I don't, I just have a strong dislike for cowards who send other people to settle their scores for them, and besides, what makes you guys think I would know him in the first place?" Kenji demanded.
I have to admit, I admire this Kid's passion. Reishi thought, " Well, for one thing, you look just like him." Reishi pointed out.
" I doubt that." Kenji protested, though he was aware that it was true, there was no way they had proof of it. "There is no way that I bare such an uncanny resemblence that you could just pick me out of crowd because of it."
" Actually, you do, here, I have a composit sketch of him from the Bakumatsu." Reishi then showed Kenji a very well drawn scetch of a boy that looked almost idenicle to Kenji himself, only with more fierce, jaded, and even Demonic looking eyes, and he even wore his hair the same way Kenji did in the present day,
But the tell-tale feature was that crossed shaped scar on his cheek,
It was his Father.
And he had a hefty price on him back then to.
" That is indeed strange, I admit, an odd coincidence, but I stand by it, I don't know anyone like him." Kenji said, he wasn't lying on that last part, Kenji didn't know the Battousai, or anyone like him, he knew his Father, and only his Father, the Battousai died long before he was born.
" And why are you going so far out of your way to tell me what your mission is? Not to professional, is it?" Kenji asked arrogantly.
Then to his horror, he saw Shinya walking toward him and the goon's, Damn, this isn't good, I'm tauntingt a bunch of Criminals, I can't have Shinya be here, he'd be in danger! Kenji thought, worried for his Brother's safty.
" Your right, but I'm only honest when I'm sure I'm on to something, and when I don't plan to let the one I'm telling all this live." Reishi answered with an evil smile.
Kenji felt his heart sink and his blood run cold, if they were on to something, they may already be aware of his relation to Kenshin, they may just be messing with him at this point,
He didn't even consider that untill just that moment, that he might lose, he thought he had all the cards, that they had nothing on him, that they had no idea of his real idenity,
For the first time in his life, he was scared, not just for himself, but for Shinya, and his Father, he had to stop them, somehow...
Then Kenji and the men jumped at the sound of a shrill whistling!
" Police, freeze! Put down your Swords!" A Policemen yelled, promting the leader to tell the others to run away!
" We'll be back!" Reishi yelled after him, but Kenji stood in silence, still a little worried of what lay ahead, yet a little confused as to why the very people who claimed that they could take on the Battousai would run from the Police,
If they truly were sincere, they'd take them head on.
Kenji then felt somewhat disappointed...
" Hey, what was that about?" Shinya asked, walking up to him.
" Oh, it was nothing of importance." Kenji said, sounding somewhat distance to Shinya.
" Okay," He replied half-heartedly, felling like something was off with Kenji.
" Kenji, are you alright?" An Osakan Accent sounded off in a worried tone.
Kenji turned to the voice and saw Tae, with a worried expression.
" Tae? What are you doing here?" He asked his God-Mother, feeling a sting of worry that she may have heard what those punks said to him.
" I saw those scary men approach you, I got worried, I saw that they were armed, so I told the Police that they had Swords, are you alright?" She confirmed, still looking worried.
Kenji sighed, Tae was always so worriesome for him, she still treated him like a small child, he tolerated it, but it still caused him some irritation.
And he just knew that Shinya was glaring at him right now, now knowing about his lie from before.
" I'm fine, Tae, thank you for your help." He said honestly, he was still grateful for her assistance.
" You don't have to thank me, Kenji." Tae replied, calming down a bit.
" Yeah, so did you hear what they were saying, Tae?" Shinya asked, glaring daggers at Kenji for lying to him.
Kenji froze, what if Tae did know? And if Tae knew, pretty soon everyone in his Family would know!
" No, I'm afraid I didn't, Shinya." Tae replied, then, she looked to Kenji. " What did they say to you, Kenji? Your starting to look pale." She asked the Teenager.
Kenji didn't know what to say to that, but then again, why was he so determined to keep it a secret?
Then, in a flash, it came to him, like a wave washing over him, it was as clear as crystal to him now.
" I dunno, there were just talking nonsense, I believe that they mistook me for, someone else." Kenji lied once again, this time, however, he didn't feel the same guilt as before,
This time, he was going to do something worthwhile with his dishonesty.
" Really?" Shinya asked, his cat eyes narrowing in disbelief.
" Yes." Kenshin replied, sending a scary glare at Shinya, as though warning him to keep quiet.
Shinya was taken aback by the very fierce and serious glare, and did as the glare told him.
Tae sensed that something was amiss, but she trusted that Kenji would at least tell his Parents about it.
" Okay, well, you boys be careful, okay?"
" We will, and thank you once again." Kenji replied, smiling.
" Okay, you boys, take care." She said, giving a single wave as she walked away.
Kenji felt Shinya's eyes shift angerly to him.
" Mind telling me what's going on?" He asked, angry.
Kenji gave a solem sigh." I'm sorry, Shinya, but I think its best you drop this whole thing now." He said seriously.
" Why?" Shinya asked.
" Look, you need to have as much deniability as possible." Kenji replied, avoiding the question again.
" For what?" Shinya pressed on.
" I can't tell you, that's the point of deniability." Kenji said, starting to get annoyed.
" What could possibly be so terrible that you can't tell me?" Shinya asked, getting frusterated as well.
" I already said that I can't tell you, okay?" Kenji said, raising his voice.
Kenji then quieted down as he realized that he was starting truly worry Shinya.
" I'm sorry, Shinya, but I need you to keep quiet about this, at least for now, okay?" Kenji asked, his voice and expression softening as he placed a hand on his friend's shoulder.
" I-I guess, I can, but does that mean that I can't even tell my Dad?" He asked.
" Especially not Yahiko!" Kenji said, his voiced darkened slightly as he walked away.
And again, Shinya stood in fear of his surogate Brother, and questionable sanity.
" Kenji, please don't do anything that you'll regret." Kenji pleaded to whoever may be listening to him in the heavans that Kenji will be okay, and then turned around and continued to follow him.
Kenji felt bad for scaring Shinya again, but he couldn't get distracted by it, not this time, he finally had a goal, as well as a chance to finally test his skills in an actual battle,
But first things first, he had to get a real sword...
Kenji walked into his house, and took off his Sandals, he had already walked Shinya home, and he had already promised to keep quiet about what happend, so Kenji was in the clear for now.
" Welcome back." Kenshin said, smiling.
The sudden intrusion of his thoughts made Kenji jump.
" Geez, Dad, you move like a damn ghost, you scared me!" Kenji shouted!
" Sorry about that." His Father replied.
" Its, fine, Dad." Kenji said back awkwardly, remembering the fight they had earlier, as well as the ghost of his Dad's past coming back to haunt him now,
Kenji had to find out what it was that his Father did, but he didn't know how to go about it, he'd never asked his Father about his past before,
Sure, he told him long ago that he did some bad things when he was young,
And as he grew up, his Father had gradually told him the truth...
" Dad, look, I'm sorry about before." Kenji apologized, though sincere, looked rather irritated.
But if he wanted his answers, he needed to clear the air somewhat.
Kenshin smiled." There is no need to apologize, I should be the one apologizing to you, actually, I had no right to get so agressive." Kenshin replied.
" Well, let's just agree that the argument is over now, agreed?" Kenji said.
" Agreed." Kenshin replied, with his usual smile.
" Kenji, welcome home." Kenji turned to the voice that spoke, and their stood his Mother, Himura Kaoru.
" Hello, Mother, Father said that I worried you with my sudden disappearence earlier, I'm sorry for that, Mother." Kenji apologized.
" Its alright, Kenji, I'm just happy to see you and your Father getting along so well." Kaoru said with a smile.
Kaoru, being 30 years old now, was still as lovely as when she was that young Tomboy that fell for the legendary Samurai 13 years earlier, her hair style was slightly different from then, but other then that, she aged very gracefully.
And she was still very skilled at her Family's Kenjutsu, and hoped that Kenji would one day succeed her in the Style, and take over the Dojo.
She had such high hopes for him, he was already incredibly skilled at Kenjutsu, and grew stronger everyday, and she couldn'y have been more pround of him.
But She had no idea of the devious plan that was slowly forming in her beloved Son's mind,
A plan that would shatter the peace that their Family have grown accustomed to,
And it all could be owed to the deranged love of a Boy to his Father.
And his malicious attempt to defend his Father's honor.
It was around 9:00 PM, and the Himura Family were getting ready to sleep for the night,
Kenji stood silently by his doors from the inside of his bedroom, he was waiting for his Father to pass by, there were some questions that he wanted to ask him,
And he didn't want to ask him in the presence of his worrisome Mother.
After a few moments of waiting that seemed to him like hours, he heard his Father's footsteps.
He then slid open his doors, and grabbed Kenshin by his arm, which surprized him a bit." Dad, can I have a word with you?" He asked calmly.
" I soppose you can, what is troubling you, Kenji?" Kenshin asked, looking a little confused at how Kenji was acting,
For one thing, he didn't usually want to ask Kenshin something, let alone act all secretive about it.
Kenji pulled his Father into his room and shut the door behind him, which caused Kenshin to sense that he was up to something strange,
But he dicided to wait and hear what Kenji wanted to say to him first, before he made any assumptions.
" What's going on here, Kenji? You seem a little, tense." Kenshin pointed out as the two of them kneeled down on the wooden floor.
" Well, its kind of a strange question, and I understand completely if you don't want to talk about it with me, but-" He began, looking downward, a bit nervous.
He had never asked his Father about his past before, and he didn't know anything that his Father didn't tell him, but he was worried that he would bring back some bad memories for his Father,
That, and having the excellent intuition that he has, Kenshin may detect something strange is amiss.
But Kenji knew that he had no choice, so he'd have to risk it.
Kenshin smiled understandingly." You can go ahead and ask, Kenji." Kenshin replied.
" Okay," Kenji said, then took a deep breath." Is, is there any chance that, something that you did in your past would come back to haunt you?" Kenji asked, struggling to hide how nervous he was about asking such a question.
Kenshin seemed a little surprized by his Son's question, he didn't expect Kenji to ask that." Well, its difficult to say for sure, why?"
" No reason really, I was just wondering." Kenji replied, putting on the calmest mask that he could manage,
But to Kenshin, it was like peering through glass, he could see that Kenji was scared of something.
" Kenji, did something happen that would cause you to ask me that?" Kenshin questioned further, trying to remain calm as well, while he was worried about the reason for Kenji's behavior, he didn't want to scare him further.
" No, its just something that I've been thinking about a lot lately, about what would happen if something like that did happen, the peace that you spent so long trying to find, would all just disappear, and I would hate to see something like that happen to you." Kenji said honestly, with a sad look in his dark eyes peering through the mask.
Kenshin neither saw nor sensed a lie this time, but he did feel a small level of surprize to see Kenji confess something of such sentiment to him,
That's proof enough that something scared Kenji into asking him about the past.
" Kenji, theres no need to worry about that, I know that the thought of my past can be, scary at times, and yes, I probably have a lot of unsettled scores, even to this day, but the chances of someone from my past actually tracking me down all the way to Tokyo after all this time are very slim, so there is nothing to worry about."
" But what if, theoretically, someone did? Since you can't use your sword style anymore, wouldn't that mean that you'd be killed?" Kenji asked.
Kenshin smile did not cease, but he appeared to have a more knowing look gleam into his Violet eyes.
" So you believe that just because I can no longer use the Hiten Mitsurugi-Ryu style now, that I'd be helpless in a fight?" He asked Kenji, almost playfully.
" Well, maybe, I guess, I don't know, am I wrong?" He stammered, not knowing what to say.
Kenshin chuckled at his Son's reaction to his question.
" Relax, Kenji, I was only teasing, but don't worry about me, I'd be fine." Kenshin assured his Son, who was not amused at his teasing.
" Come on, Dad, I'm being serious." Kenji said, frowning.
" As am I." Kenshin replied, while his smile was still present, Kenji could see that he was being honest with him.
I thought he couldn't use the style anymore, well, he didn't say that he still could, but he didn't say that he couldn't! Kenji thought, not knowing what to make of his Father's strange explanation.
" Okay, I guess your expierienced enough to hold your own still, so maybe I shouldn't worry about it, and if it means anything, your past doesn't scare me, Dad." Kenji said, while he was honest, he was still childishly avoiding his Dad's gaze, not used to being so open with him.
Kenshin felt his heart overfill with joy to hear those words, while he never doubted that Kenji was okay with it, an actual, verbal confirmation was what Kenshin had needed to hear all these years to know for sure.
" I know, Kenji, thank you." He replied, grateful.
" Theres no need to thank me, I was just telling the truth, thats all, the Battoasai is long gone, and that was all a long time ago, no one has the right to condemn you for it now!" Kenji proclaimed, tones of anger and sorrow and an indomidable conviction hindering in his voice.
While Kenshin was happy that Kenji was defending so fiercely, Kenshin was now sure of it, Kenji had seen someone who was looking for him, or rather, who he used to be...
Kenshin didn't know how to get Kenji to tell him the truth, he'd probably just avoid it at all cost.
So Kenshin would just have to be patient a bit longer,
Kenshin had faith in Kenji not being so reckless as to go after them himself, if he truly needed help, he would have already asked him.
" Well, its getting late, Mom will probably wonder whats keeping you, Dad." Kenji said quickly, ending their converstaion abruptly.
He's started to get nervous again. Kenshin thought.
" Perhaps you are right, but before I go, is there anything else you want to ask me?" Kenshin asked, calmly.
There was a brief pause before Kenji simply replied," No, thats alright," He lied once agian, " But thank you for answering me, Dad, I wasn't sure that you would." Kenji admitted, a little embarassed.
" Remember this, Kenji, you can always come to me if you are have any kind of trouble with something." Kenshin promised his young Son.
To which Kenji smiled," Thanks, Dad."
It seems he isn't going to answer me tonight. Kenshin thought, while he wondered very strongly, he had no plans to force Kenji to tell him, he'd just have to trust him to do the right thing.
Kenji had his faults like anyone else, but Kenshin knew that deep down he was a good kid.
" Your welcome, Kenji." He said as he stood up and made his way to the doors.
" Goodnight, Dad." Kenji said, nervous.
" Goodnight." Kenshin replied before walking out of his room.
Kenji listened as his Father's footsteps disappeared down the hallway.
He was alone now.
He exhaled at the darkness, enjoying the silence.
This was the best he and his Father had ever gotten along,
Kenji had finally come to acknowledge just how much his Father means to him,
And he had to ruin it completely in order to protect the honor of the Father he loves dearly!
He almost felt like crying at the realization of just how much this would destroy everything he has ever loved and depended on, but he didn't have a choice now, not if he was to protect his Family.
Please forgive, Mother...Father...Shinya..!
He thought with quiet desperation, as he pulled out a Sword that he had bought secretly from under his Totami mat.
He never told his Parents about his purchase, for obvious reasons!
He unsheathed it slowly, his dark eyes glaring into the reflective surface of the shining sword, his eyes as cold as the steel blade.
" You vermin, you will not get my Father as long as I'm alive!" He swore to to the darkness,
On his honor as a Swordsmen,
On his love for his Father,
And on protecting the good name his Father spent so long trying to get for himself,
He would defend that, to his very death!
And all that was needed, was the deaths of those other men.
It was at the break of dawn, Kenji tiptoed through the house, trying desperately not to trigger his Father's inhuman senses.
Which had happend many times in the past, he could usually never be able to get away with anything growing up.
He wore a Navy Blue Haori, and the same color socks, and Black Hakama, with a black cloake draped over his shoulders.
And he had his Sword in hand, ready to end those men...
Dad probably won't forgive me for this, but I can't allow him to die at the hands of bitter old men who were unable to let go of the past. Kenji thought, with a sting of sadness stirring throughout his heart.
I hope at least Shinya will understand my reasons, but even if he does hold a grudge against me for this, I had no choice.
Kenji stopped at the Akabeko, assuming that tis was where those thugs may be hiding out, and slowly and silently stepped inside.
When he stood within the Tavern run by Tae, the voices of over a dozen stranger's flooded his mind,
He hated such public places, it made him so, uneasy.
Like he was being sufficated.
He forced out the other chattering voices of unknown people, then closed his eyes, and struggled to try to hear what he could not see with his eyes.
And there, clear across the Tavern, there they sat!
All of them, most likely plotting his Father's demise...
Kenji gritted his teeth as the rage returned, and began to swell up inside him!
Then, he detected a familiar voice,
It, or he, was speaking his name, as though trying to get his attention about somthing!
Kenji zipped around to where the voice was coming from, and then, with eyes shot wide open, saw someone he did not expect to see for a long time,
" Hey Kenji! " The 32-year-old former Fighter for hire said with a wide grin as he patted the Son of his closest friend on the head.
Kenji cringed a bit under his hand, not liking being treated like a child, but nonetheless, smiled slightly, happy to see Sano.
" What are you doing back here in Tokyo, Sano?" He asked, eyes brimming with curiousity, all the while keeping a feel out for those thugs, but in a way as to not allow Sano to notice.
" I was just passing through, just thought that I'd get in touch with everyone, and to be honest, I thought that you were Kenshin for a second, I swear, you look just like him from a distance." Sano said carelessly, earning an angry pout from the 13-year-old.
" I do not look that much like him!" He protested.
Sano laughed at Kenji's funny reaction," You have no idea just how wrong you are, kid." He replied, then started laughing again.
Kenji just rolled his eyes in mental sarcasm and allowed Sano to get it out of his system.
Then an evil smile appearedon his face, he thought of a way to get back at him.
" So, did you come back to see Megumi-Dono?" Kenji asked,'Innocently'
Sano paused for a moment, then turned back to Kenji," Not really, I don't even know where that Kitsune-Onna is in the first pace, and I see what your trying to do, Kenji, and inspite what our friends think, I'm not in love with Megumi!" He answered, seeming irritated at the question.
Mission accomlished! Kenji thought, smiling triumphantly inside.
Then started to feel those men leaving the Akabeko!
Shit! Kenji thought, sweat trickling down his brow!
" Didn't you hear, Sano? She's back here in Tokyo, she's actually back at her old Clinic if you want to see her." He said, rather hastily.
Sano could see that something was bothering his young friend, he wondered what was wrong.
Sensing this, Kenji slowly tried to conceal his Sword a little more then it already was,
Just in case Sano saw it.
Sano then saw the Sword inspite Kenji's best efforts, and he saw very clearly that he was shaking with nervousness over something, he leaned downward so that they were face to face.
" Kenji, what's wrong?" He asked with genuine concern.
" I don't know what your talking about, nothings wrong." Kenji lied, feeling all the more nervous as he glanced with the corner of his eye at the men leaving.
Sano had to admit, he admired the boy's skill, he concealed his weapon and veiled his intentions almost flawlessly,
No one but himself, Kenshin, Saito, Aoshi, and even Yahiko would notice, a regular person would see it otherwise,
There was no denying Kenji's raw talent,
But it was in expierience that he was lacking.
" Kenji, I'm not a complete idiot, I know you have a sword with you." Sano whispered, leaning in closer to him as to not draw any unwanted attention to them.
Thats not true, according to Yahiko, your a total moron. Kenji thought with a mental grin.
Kenji gave a placid stare at that.
"why would I possess a sword in this day and age, its now the Meiji Era, not the Bakumatsu, there is no need to carry a sword in these peaceful times." Kenji preached calmly, hiding his worry well from Sano.
Your really gonna make a struggle outta this, aren't ya, kid? Sano thought, annoyed.
Sano then reached quickly for the concealed weapon, before Kenji could catch his bandaged hand, he already grasped the handle of the Katana from behind his cloak!
Then pulled it out slightly, not so much that other people would see it, but just enough that it was in his and Kenji's view.
" Don't have a sword, huh?" Sano asked, his neutral expression now turned serious.
" Well, I," Kenji stuttered, stepping away slightly, knowing he was caught red-handed.
He had no idea how to cover his ass this time, and those men were getting away, he had to think of something quick, or else his Father was doomed!
" Kenji, what's going on?" Sano asked once again.
Should I tell Sano?
There you go, R&R, I don't RK.