|Disclaimer||I do not own the characters of Rurouni Kenshin, but if I did, I wouldn't feed them tofu. Yick. Tofu.|
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It's a Wonderful Life, Himura Kenshin
by Angrybee ::: 02.Sep.2003
Kenshin lifted the tofu bucket and graciously thanked the market vendor. It was the third time today he had been there to buy tofu, and by now the vendor's pitying looks were really making Kenshin feel stupid. He wasn't quire sure where the other two buckets went. He'd just lost track of them while taking his rather circuitous way home. Kenshin didn't really -mean- to avoid the dojo residents, he just...well...alright, he'd been avoiding them, to tell the truth.
Something had been bothering Kenshin for a week. Weeks, actually. Something Kaoru-dono had said had lodged into his brain and just wouldn't come loose.
"Mou, Kenshin, everywhere you go, there's trouble. I spend more money on bandages for this dojo than I do on food!"
It was true, he knew. Everywhere he went, there was trouble. Even if he just stayed quietly at the dojo, trying to live a normal life, trouble sought him out. Because of him, his friends got hurt, not only physically, but emotionally as well.
'Sessha should have never stopped wandering. Everyone would be so much happier without me. Not having to live in constant peril, not having to worry over me. Kaoru would probably be married with lots of children by now.'
On the bridge where he had first kissed Kaoru, Kenshin stopped. He looked out over the waters as a light winter snow began to fall.
'My life has brought no good to this world. The only people sessha has ever saved are ones I already hurt indirectly with my sword.'
"I wish I had never been born!"
The snow flurried around Kenshin's face rapidly as the winds over the bridge shifted sharply. His thick bangs obscured his view for only a moment, and when he could see again, he sensed a brilliantly glowing ki at his side. 'That's strange. There wasn't anyone on the bridge a second ago.'
Kenshin placed his hand on the hilt of his sakabatou, just in case, as he turned to meet his opponent. Beside him stood a rail-thin woman wearing a red silk kimono with a black obi. She had exceedingly long black hair which she had pulled back from her face with barrettes bearing sprigs of white flowers. Her hands ended in unnaturally long fingers, each one decorated with a different jeweled ring. Strangely, however, the woman had two different colored eyes, the left one being lavender, the right one being cold and piercing amber.
"Excuse me, Miss..." Kenshin began.
The woman sighed deeply and rolled her eyes. She reached out, quicker even than Kenshin could see, and grabbed him by the collar of his gi.
"I am not a Miss," he said, shaking Kenshin violently, "I'm male. Get it?"
"Orororo?" Visions of Kaoru's descriptions of Kamatari popped into Kenshin's head as the rurouni swallowed hard. The kimono-wearing man dropped Kenshin unceremoniously and turned to look at the waters.
"Excuse me, Himura," he began, his voice clipped with a strange accent, "I get a bit touchy about that. I shouldn't have taken out my frustrations on you."
"Does sessha...know you?" Kenshin asked, worried that yet another of the enemies of his past life might have cropped up over the past two minutes.
"No. But, I know you," the other man said with a delicious grin, "My name is Grey. And I the Guardian Kami of Rurounis."
"Really?" Kenshin squeaked. But, internally, he was wondering the best way to get this strange person downtown to the police department. Surely Saitou would know where the closest insane asylum might be.
"No. Actually, I'm just a Kami-in-training. The other Guardian Kami of Rurounis wants to retire. It is why I have to wear this stupid dress. All Kamis-in-training must dress as women. You don't get your gi and hakama until you complete your mission. And you, Himura Kenshin, are my mission."
"Well, Sessha must apologize. You do look rather feminine, that you do. Wait, did you say I am your mission? Are you here to kill me?" Kenshin's grip tightened on his sakabatou.
Grey shifted his weight delicately, rolling his eyes, "No. That would be pointless, Himura. You've never been born."
"Nani? Look, um, Grey-dono, sessha could possibly help you if you will just follow me to the police..."
"No, I don't think so, Himura. Please note the snow falling."
"Eh?" Kenshin looked up. The snow was now falling in drifts, but, strangely, he couldn't feel it against his face or hands. In fact, he didn't much feel the coldness of the day at all. "That's strange, it is."
"Indeed. Since you can be a real baka, I will spell it out for you. You wished you had never been born. And we, the Honorable Consulate of Benevolent Kamis, have granted your wish." Grey smiled proudly, extending his arms outwards to indicate the grandness of the act.
"I don't think sessha likes this, I don't. Anyway, sessha has to be getting back to Kaoru-dono. She's probably wondering where her tofu is..."
Kenshin trailed off as Grey began to glow. Really glow. The snow around him seemed to turn into sparks of white light. The Kami-in-training opened his mouth and pronounced in a clipped voice, "Snowflake Dragon Dash!"
Kenshin was about to squeak another "Nani?" but, before anything could come out, Grey's hand darted out and grabbed the rurouni by the shoulder. The snow around them both intensified and became brilliant points of light, obscuring Kenshin's view of the world around him.
As the light died down, Kenshin realized they weren't standing on the bridge anymore. In fact, Kenshin -knew- they weren't even in Tokyo anymore.
Because he knew where they were. He'd grown up here. Hiko's mountain hideaway.
Kenshin looked into the distance. There, draped in his patent cloak, stood the mountain of a man who had taught the Kenshin the Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu. And he was squared off, against a young man no older than fifteen or sixteen with spiky black hair. Both men effected perfect battoujutsu stances.
"Shisho!" Kenshin called. "Shisho, are you alright?"
"Can't hear you," Grey explained.
"Are you saying...shisho has gone deaf? Sessha knew he was old, but I never thought he'd lose his hearing, I didn't."
"No. I mean you were never born. He can't hear you, can't see you. Nothing."
In the clearing, the two men started for each other, each yelling terrible battle cries.
'Oh no,' Kenshin thought, 'That's...the Amakakeru Ryu no Hirameki! They'll...'
In an agonizing moment, Kenshin watched as his master and the strange man flew past one another. In the next second, Hiko's chest split open, spraying blood everywhere. The man who was a mountain fell to the ground with a thud.
"SHISHO!!!!!!!" Kenshin cried. As he ran towards his teacher, he noticed that Hiko's attacker was doing the same. The young man with the spiky hair knelt at Hiko's side, screaming loudly. And, in fact, the word he was screaming was the same that Kenshin had just uttered, "Shisho!"
"What is this, Grey?" Kenshin, said, whirling on his heel, "What is going on here? Is this some sort of trick?"
Grey lifted his hand and examined the back of his fingernails as he said calmly, "Himura, you were never born, so...someone else became Hiko's student. And that student didn't have a sakabatou when it came time to inherit the succession technique."
Kenshin dejectedly looked from Grey to the sobbing pupil and back to Grey. "Sessha supposes it is what he wanted, though. I mean, Hiko -was- old, he was."
"Look around, Himura. Do you see a kiln?"
"Nani?" Kenshin turned to where Hiko kept his kiln and pottery shed. They were missing. "No. Sessha doesn't...but..."
"We didn't just travel to the mountain, we traveled back in time. Currently, it is shortly after the Bakumatsu."
"The Bakumatsu..." Kenshin repeated as everything began to sink in. "But, then...I was never the Hitokiri Battousai. Right?" Kenshin breathed a small sigh of relief. The mistakes of his past would have never been committed.
"Right. You killed no one. Good for you," Grey intoned adjusting his obi with a frown, "Of course, there were several other hitokiris who took your place. None of them were quite as effective as you, and the Bakumatsu dragged on for three extra years. Hundreds, if not thousands, more people died in the bloodshed."
Kenshin's shoulders dropped dejectedly as he searched the ground, attempting to understand the gravity of the Kami's words. "But Tomoe...at least..."
"No. Tomoe's fiance died by an assassin's hands. When she went to have her revenge, she tried to kill him, but was killed instead. The assassin himself died only the next month. Because he had no one upon which to focus his rage, Enishi's insanity consumed him all the more quickly, and he gouged out his own eyes. He is still alive, but hardly coherent."
Kenshin dropped to his knees as snow began to fall once again. Even if he hadn't been born, the atrocities of the Bakumatsu would have marched on, in ways even more bloody and horrific than he could imagine. 'Could nothing have stopped these terrible events? Even if I hadn't left the mountain, the blood and gore still would have flooded the streets of Kyoto. Why...why are the innocent doomed?'
"Why are you showing me all this, Grey-dono?"
The effeminate kami braided a small lock of his own hair as he replied, "It is my job...my mission. I have to get you to unmake your wish. If you don't, I'll be an assistant Kami forever and..." Grey sighed deeply, "Turn into a girl. I'll be forced to become a courtesan for the Benevolent Council."
"And what will become of me?" Kenshin asked, speaking more to the snow gathering at his knees than the man in front of him.
"You'll become a spirit. Which will be nice, hm? From what I understand, they don't feel anything. That is really the essence of your wish, now, isn't it? Not to feel anything anymore. No worry, no sorrow, no guilt, no regret. No pain."
Kenshin's heart, heavy with witnessing the death of Hiko, leapt at the idea. No pain. No more struggling with his violent side, no more reconciling the past and fretting about the future. It did sound horribly...comforting and peaceful.
"Come on, Himura. We have several more stops." Grey looked up from his braiding, "What in the Seven Lights of the Magnificent Palace are you doing now, you crazy Rurouni?"
"I just want to check on shisho's pupil, Grey-dono." Kenshin walked to where the young pupil of the Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu cradled the fallen master's upper torso in his arms. "Will he be alright, Grey-dono?"
"I suppose. He's the master of the Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu now. And we both know exactly how much happiness that knowledge brings to people."
"Let's go, Himura," Grey said, tapping the other man on the shoulder three times quickly. As the mountain faded into white light, Kenshin heard Grey ask. "Say Himura, do you think I should paint my nails?"
"Where are we now, Grey-dono?" Kenshin whispered. It seemed right to whisper. The place was so quiet and so dark. Kenshin could only barely make out a small shoji nearby.
"The Saitou household," Grey replied, "And you didn't answer my question."
"Oro?" Kenshin shook his head sadly, "No, sessha does not think you should paint your nails, Grey-dono, that I do not. Anyway, what are we doing at Saitou's house?"
A candle was lit within the small room. A woman in her mid-thirties sat up on her futon. Nearby, three children all huddled together on another makeshift futon. Their blankets were worn and in bad need of replacement, and the walls of the room seemed all but covered in soot and ash.
The eldest child awoke. "Mama?" He crawled towards the woman who had since stood and begun to fold away her futon. "Are you going to work this early?"
"Yes, my sweet. I'll be back after sundown. You take care of your brother and sisters..." The woman suddenly caught herself and frowned deeply, "Sister."
"Where's Saitou?" Kenshin asked looking around the place. It was pretty shabby, even for a cop's pathetic pay.
Grey didn't answer immediately. He seemed to entranced by the swift ways the woman was wrapping her hair into an elegant bun. "I could do that. I have much nicer hair, too."
"Oh. Right. Saitou Hajime died fighting ShiShio. He had to fight that wacko and the entire Juppon Gatana alone. He did pretty good, got all the way to Soujiro. But, even you, Himura, didn't have to take on the entire Juppon Gatana alone, did you?"
"So, this is his wife, then?" Kenshin looked at the infamous Saitou Tokio. She looked pretty normal. Neither a Buddha, nor a demon. Just a simple woman, trying to live her life.
"And his children. Well, most of them. The youngest girl was sold into slavery when Tokio-san couldn't feed all of them anymore. Being a washer woman doesn't pay much, you know."
"Nani? Slavery? The Meiji era doesn't have any slavery, that it doesn't." Kenshin rolled his eyes. Obviously the preening Kami was pulling some sort of joke.
"Don't be stupid, Himura. Weren't you listening? ShiShio wasn't defeated. Half of Japan belongs to him now, and the other half is in nigh chaos trying to defeat him."
Kenshin sighed. He had always assumed if he were never born, there would be no ShiShio. But of course, that young man would have become a hitokiri for the IshinShishi with or without his sempai's existence. "What about Aoshi? The Oniwa Banshu? Surely they could have helped Saitou, they could."
"He doesn't know them. You're the link that brought them all together. Anyway, Aoshi is..." Grey trailed off, seemingly fascinated with batting his own eyelashes for a moment, "...still working for Kanryu. A slave for Kanryu, actually. All of the Oniwa Banshu who were with him, as well as Megumi-sensei. Kanryu cleverly addicted them all to opium. They're alive."
"Alive," Kenshin whispered, "Me being never born would have saved the Oniwa Banshu, it would. How can you deny that, Grey-dono?"
"Sure. They're alive. But, they're all ghosts, ghosts addicted to opium, who will linger and die in shame. They all hate themselves, the Oniwa Banshu, Megumi, Aoshi. You were never there to restore their pride."
Kenshin sighed deeply. He had thought for certain that Aoshi, at least, would never have had to go through the tragedy he did if Kenshin hadn't been around. Suddenly, a burning question popped into the rurouni's head. "What about Misao, Grey-dono? What happened to Misao?"
"Misao is fine. Heartbroken, but fine. The Kyoto Oniwa Banshu live quite normally until ShiShiO sets the city on fire and the Aoiya burns. They all survive, but scatter to the wind. Eventually, all the 'genki' is squeezed out of Misao and she lives out her life as a hermit on an island in the south."
'How sad," Kenshin thought, 'But, at least she survives. Though, I am not sure I can stand the thought of a non-spirited Misao, I can't. A broken and world-hating Misao just doesn't seem right.'
Saitou Tokio bent to kiss her children goodbye, ignorant of the invisible men in her one-room house. She sighed deeply and looked at the ceiling, "Oh Hajime. If only you could see how much they have grown."
Grey shifted his weight delicately and put his hands on his hips. Pursing his lips he asked, "Seen enough, Himura?"
"Ready to take back your wish, or do I have to show you the rest of it?"
Kenshin took a deep breath. "Show me the rest, Grey-dono." Maybe someone's life could be salvaged yet. Maybe someone's happiness...
Snow began to fall.
"AIEEEEEEEEEEEE," a female voice shrieked.
Kenshin found himself on a back alley. A woman streaked past him, screaming loudly. Kenshin did a double-take. The woman was so very familiar.
"Don't you recognize her, Himura? We're in the future now, and that is your young friend Tsubame."
Kenshin looked again as Tsubame hid her body behind a pile of stacked barrels, dislodging a black cat that had been sleeping there.
"Mrrrroooow!" the cat declared as it sped in the opposite direction down the alleyway.
Grey suddenly gasped and ran off after the cat. "Kawaiiiiiii! Kittykittykittykitty...." All but knocking the confused rurouni over as he passed, the lanky Kami fluttered his hands in the air while chasing after his prey.
"Orororo..." Kenshin said, spinning around to avoid Grey. Gathering himself together, Kenshin stepped forward to take a better look at Tsubame. She looked alright. And she was wearing her Akabeko uniform. Definitely a good sign.
"Tsubame!" a familiar voice called. Kenshin looked at the end of the alleyway that led to the street. In it stood a silhouette that Kenshin would recognize anywhere. That spiked hair, those dark eyes and skin. Yahiko. Though, he had grown greatly. He appeared to be in his mid twenties. How confident he looked as he strode forward, tall and muscular, his bokken at his side.
"Tsubame, I know you are back here," Yahiko called, "You might as well come out.
'So, Yahiko and Tsubame ended up together after all, they did.' Kenshin thought, relieved.
Tsubame stood up and stepped out from behind the barrels. "Myojin-sama," she squeaked, "I...don't..have your money right now...but..."
"But what, Tsubame?" Yahiko asked, his hand going to the end of his bokken. Wait. Kenshin looked again. That was no bokken. That was a sword.
Yahiko drew the sword swiftly and pointed it at the quivering woman as he approached, "You had until today. I want the money and I want it now."
"Tae-san was sick," Tsubame said quietly, "I had to pay for a doctor. Please don't hurt me, Myojin-sama."
"Yahiko! What are you -doing-?" Kenshin yelled. Jumping in front of the young woman, Kenshin drew his sakabatou. "Leave her alone, Yahiko. Come to your senses."
But, Yahiko struck nonetheless. Kenshin watched uselessly as Yahiko's sword passed right through the rurouni's own body and struck Tsubame on the cheek, leaving a deep gash. "That's for being late with the money. Next time I'll have your eye. Get me my money by the end of the week, or else."
With that, Yahiko turned on his heel and strode confidently out of the alleyway. Tsubame collapsed to her knees, sobbing heavily.
"Tsubame..." Kenshin whispered. His fists clenched, "Yahiko..."
Grey strode up from nowhere, the black cat in his arms, "He's known as the Terror of Tokyo. He never escaped the yakuza, in fact, instead of setting his sights on becoming a strong swordsman, he set his sights on becoming a strong yakuza boss. And he did, indeed. He's consolidated all the gangs in Tokyo under his power at a very young age."
"But...Yahiko, he would never do such a thing. He's a good, compassionate, kind boy!" Kenshin protested, kneeling down beside the bleeding Tsubame.
"No. He is all those things because he had you and Kaoru as role models. Without you, his ego turned to arrogance rather than pride. He's a monster, Himura." The cat in Grey's arms let out a loud "MRRROWW" and attempted to claw the Kami before jumping down and running away. "Beast!" Grey called after it before bursting into tears.
"For someone who wants to be thought of as a man, Grey-dono, you sure do act like a woman, you do," Kenshin muttered, placing his ghostly hand on Tsubame's shoulder. The young girl stood moments later and left the alleyway, drops of blood leaving a trail as she walked.
"It's not my fault!" Grey protested, "They've already put the spell on me to turn me into a girl. If I don't change your mind..."
"What about Sanosuke," Kenshin demanded, changing the subject, "Are you going to tell me he continued to be Zanza all his life?"
Wiping away his tears, Grey stated, "Sanosuke joined up with ShiShiO, Himura. He never got over his anger at the Sekihoutai being betrayed. When ShiShiO offered to help him exact revenge on the Meiji government he hated so much, Sano took the offer without much hesitation. He joined the Juppon Gatana and was defeated by Saitou."
"No. Sano wouldn't...he wouldn't..." Kenshin felt distraught. His best friend, destroyed. Good-hearted Sano, part of the Juppon Gatana. It couldn't be right.
"He's sustained a lot of physical injuries since you two have been friends, sure, Himura. But, the one injury you healed, helping him overcome his anger, was the one he needed to survive."
"Grey-dono," Kenshin said darkly, "Take me to see Kaoru. I have to know. I have to see her -now-."
"As you wish, Himura," the Kami replied, grabbing the rurouni by the sleeve of his gi as the world dissolved into white light.
"This is the dojo, it is!" Kenshin exclaimed happily, "And it looks fine!"
'Please let Kaoru-dono be alright. If Kaoru-dono is alright...if she is happy...then maybe sessha could let everything else go. Just maybe...if she is happy...'
Grey, on the other hand, was standing near a pail of water by the dojo well, looking at his reflection. "Ahhh, I'm so pretty!" he squealed. "You ever seen a complexion like this, Himura? And my eyes, so exotic, don't you think?"
"Grey-dono..." Kenshin warned.
"Right," Grey replied, turning around and crossing his arms over his chest in as manly a pose as he could. "Kaoru Kamiya, Assistant Master of the Kamiya Kasshin Ryu." Grey waved his arm, and almost as if on command, a shoji slid open and Kaoru stepped out onto the engawa.
A teacup flew out after her and beaned her on the head, followed by a bowl of rice. "You impudent wench. Can't you cook anything? Can't you do anything right?" a voice called from inside the room.
Kenshin immediately growled and started off towards Kaoru, intending to protect his beloved from whomever might be harassing her. Fortunately, Grey picked Kenshin up by the back of his hair and held him aloft.
"You can't do anything, Himura." Grey said as the small rurouni struggled. "Calm down."
"I said -calm down-!" Grey demanded. Kenshin felt some sort of strange buzzing at the back of his head where Grey held him. His entire body instantly seemed heavy and sleepy, even though his mind stayed awake.
Kaoru bent down on the engawa and scrambled to pick up the thrown teacup and bowl. "I'm so sorry, Reiki. I'll get this cleaned up right away." But, even though her voice sounded cheerful, tears streamed down her cheeks.
"What...happened to Kaoru-dono, Grey?" Kenshin hissed.
"She needed help to defeat Gohei. So, she asked another dojo-master who had been hinting for quite a while that he'd like to marry her. In return for his help, Kaoru married the man. He isn't, as you can tell, extraordinarily kind to her, I suppose, and has been known to slap her and push her around. The marriage is loveless and Kaoru cries constantly. Because she wasn't able to keep her independence, her spirit was broken. But, she got to keep her dojo, so I suppose that is good, right?"
Kenshin let out what Grey could only decipher as being a growl. "I'll kill him. I'll kill him..."
"Hold on there, little Battousai boy, you can't kill him, you're not even alive, remember?"
Kaoru bit her lip as she stood and burst into another round of sobs as she ran towards the kitchen and disappeared.
"Do you understand, now, Himura? The lives of everyone you have met. They have all been changed due to knowing you. And changed for the better I might add. Your regrets are selfish. Your self-pity is futile. What happened to you is sad, indeed, but sad things happen to everyone every day. And most of them have the strength to get over those tragedies and find happiness in their lives."
"But...I...." Kenshin murmured as Grey finally put him back down on the ground. He stood very still for quite a while, almost perceptibly trembling as his mind reeled over the events of the past hour with Grey. Everyone. Everyone would be hurt if he had never been born. If he gave up his pain and decided to enter the spirit would, that pain would be transferred to everyone he knew. The Kami was right. The only way was to get over his sorrows, his regrets, his past, all on his own.
"Do you have something to say to me, Himura?" Grey asked, clicking his long fingernails together sharply.
"Grey. I want to live, that I do."
The sun was setting in the distance over the water of the river. Grey leaned his back delicately on the railing, looking up at the sky. Beside him, the simple rurouni known as Himura Kenshin stared out over the sparkling waters as the light winter snow grew ever less intense, eventually stopping altogether.
"So, I suppose this is goodbye, then, Himura," Grey intoned
"Thank you, Grey-dono, for everything."
"No, thank you, Himura. Being the Guardian Kami of Rurounis will be so much better than my last job," Grey declared with a wicked smile.
"And what was that?" Kenshin asked.
"Assistant Guardian Kami of Catfish."
"Ouch," Kenshin agreed, "Anyway, I suppose sessha should be getting back to Kaoru-dono, that I should." Kenshin smiled his trademark rurouni smile and turned to walk towards the dojo.
Kenshin looked over his shoulder, "Yes, Grey-dono?"
"Find yourself some happiness, alright? Find it, and cling to it."
The ex-hitokiri nodded brightly and continued on his way as the sun set over Tokyo.
"KENSHIN!" Kaoru exclaimed, opening the gate of the dojo. "I sent you out for tofu FIVE HOURS AGO. Where have you -been-? We were all worried sick!"
"And where is the -tofu-?" Sano added, grabbing his friend by the collar and shaking him vigorously, "What in the hell am I supposed to eat?"
"Orororororooooo..." Kenshin squeaked, swirly-eyed. "Oh, the tofu! I'm so sorry, Kaoru-dono, sessha lost the tofu. Sessha ran into someone and there was a bit of an incident..."
"Incident?" Yahiko repeated, "Was there a fight?"
"A fight?" Kaoru asked, suddenly becoming sober and concerned, "Oh Kenshin, are you alright? Are you injured?"
Sano extended a hand to his friend to help pull him up off the ground as Kenshin said, "Maa, maa, not to worry. Sessha didn't get in any fights. You see there was this Kami...and some catfish. No, that isn't right. There was this Kami who was a girl but also a guy and she took sessha to Hiko's mountain because..."
Kaoru felt Kenshin's forehead, "Are you ill? No, you don't seem warm."
"Forget it Jou-chan," Sano grumbled, "He's just naturally crazy."
Yahiko shifted his weight impatiently. "But that doesn't change the fact that we don't have any tofu. And I am hungry. I'm a growing boy!"
"Eh? I thought you were a -man-, Yahiko-CHAN.", Sano interjected.
Kenshin laughed inwardly as his friends fought amongst themselves. 'They are all alright. Everyone is alright. I'm so glad. So glad they are my friends, so glad to have met them, so glad to be alive. They don't care about the mistakes I have made, they don't see the hurt I have caused them when they look at me. Why should I dwell on it? I should be happy for every moment I have with them.'
"Kenshin, are you even listening to me?" Kaoru asked. "Do you still have the money I gave you for the tofu?"
"Well," Kenshin grinned sheepishly, "I..."
"By the Unearthly Delights of the Magnificent Gardens of Heaven, would you three stop giving Himura such a hard time? He's had a long day."
As the three Kenshin-gumi all looked up at the strange voice and uttered various forms of "Huh?" "Nani?" and "The hell?", a lanky man with long black hair and two different colored eyes stepped out of the shadows across the street holding a bucket. He wore a white gi and white hakama with a long flowing black silk haori.
"Grey-dono!" Kenshin exclaimed, "You....aren't dressed like a girl!"
"Yup," Grey said, "I completed my mission. I'm a full Kami now! Though I kept the rings. They are rather nice, don't you think?" Grey sighed, "I have such beautiful fingers, you know."
"Anyway, I thought the least I could do would be to bring the bucket of tofu you left on the bridge. Can't have you lynched by the hungry dojo residents, you know?"
As Grey handed Kenshin the bucket of tofu, Yahiko whispered to Sanosuke "Who is this guy?"
"I don't know," Sano replied, "But he -does- look rather girly. I don't think we have to worry about...urk."
Grey picked up Sano by his neck, a hard thing to accomplish, considering the two men were about the same height. The Kami shook the other man roughly, "I'm a man, get it? A MAN. Can I help it if I have delicate features?"
"Maa..maa...Grey-dono, thank you for bringing the tofu," Kenshin said, gently prying the ex-streetfighter from the Kami's grasp.
"Anytime, Himura. Well, see you around!" Grey said, bowing elaborately before taking off.
"Goodbye, Grey-dono!" Kenshin said, waving. "Wait. Wait. Did you say we'll be seeing each other again?"
The Kami only laughed and shook his head. "Of course. Of all the Rurounis who need Guardian Kamis, I'd say you need one the most!"
And with that, the Kami disappeared in a blur.
"Tofu!" Sano and Yahiko cried, both hugging each other gleefully. As they realized what they were doing they pried themselves apart and left in opposite directions, whistling, hoping no one else had seen them embrace.
"Wow, Kenshin," Kaoru said, taking the bucket from her red-haired friend. "You really did have an adventure today, didn't you?"
"Yes, Kaoru-dono," Kenshin replied, "And I am very, very glad to be back with my friends."
Kaoru smiled and nodded, "And we're glad you're here, Kenshin. Welcome home.
|Endnotes||If you enjoyed this little story, please take a look at my other fictions here on ff.net. Hope you have a wonderful life, as well!|
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