|Disclaimer||I disclaim the RK characters and plotline stuff in here. Blah.|
|Author Intro||Here’s a little, weird one-shot that I wrote after a particularly life-sucking HP fic. It’s a little strange, but it was fun writing it. Enjoy~|
|Author's page ::: Post a review at FFnet ::: Main fan fic index|
Over the Sting
by sasori ::: 24.Nov.2002
Feeling cold, Soujirou buttoned his western style shirt all the way up and pulled his outer jacket closer to his slender frame. Autumn was rolling around again, spreading a fiery red and orange on the trees he walked besides. The path he was strolling on was bumpy and uneven, the stones he trod on pushing into the well-worn sandals he wore. Ruefully, he wished he had packed maybe a dozen more pairs when he’d left Kyoto. But, that was two years ago; it made no difference now.
A small wind blew around his feet, piercing the thin cloth of his pants. Shivering, he quickened his pace to a hopping sort of trot. He’d cover more distance that way, and hopefully also generate some more heat. However, either way, he’d reach Tokyo in no time. Then, he’d have to find someplace to sleep. Now that was the real trouble.
Wearing carefully patched clothing and caring a small, light pack, Seta Soujirou did his traveling. For two years, he’d wandered Japan, seen his sights, and reveled in the slow return of his emotions. Now he’d come to Tokyo, where maybe he’d stop to rest awhile. Cut his hair, buy new shoes, find new clothes, and definitely stock up on soap. Then he’d be off to Kyoto, just for kicks and memories.
Before long, his snappy pace brought him to the outskirts of the city, and he joined the thin crowd that was entering Tokyo.
The white-haired man sat in a shadowy corner of the alley, doing nothing but staring dully at the uneven bricks in front of him. His skin was corpse-like, unhealthy and pale. His eyes lacked any light, and anyone else who saw him would think he was perhaps insane. Although it was obvious to a trained eye that this man could be a potentially dangerous foe, to anyone else, he seemed a gangly, puppet-figure, limbs thin and akimbo. White hair, long and straggly, fell in messy, unbrushed clumps around his shoulder blades. A half rotten old book, with barely legible words on the cover sat loosely in his hands.
Soujirou stared at him, and scratched his head uncertainly. He was sure he’d seen this man somewhere, just couldn’t quite place where.
“Hello.” The other barely acknowledged, just a tiny, almost imperceptible flinch. Soujirou tried again, called out another tentative greeting.
“Ah, hello? Sir, are you alright? Do you need help?” he waxed a layer of faux concern over his voice as he crouched down next to the slumped man. “Are you hurt?”
Soujirou blinked. Despite appearances, the man seemed to be quite lucid.
“So you’re conscious. Would you like me to call a doctor?” he calmly asked again.
“Seta Soujirou. Please get out of my sight while you still can, and don’t try that caring crap on me,” came the equally cool reply. Instantly, the smiling wanderer was on his guard. Before his dagger was completely out of its holder though, the formerly prostrate man had, quick as lightning, grabbed hold of the reaching wrist. Soujirou bristled, but maintained his smile.
“I request of you, sir, to please remove your hand from my arm,” Soujirou said, voice strangely friendly. “There might be some serious consequences, not regarding who you are.” The other man barked out dry laughter, startling him.
“You honestly don’t remember me?”
Blinking, Soujirou shook his head, still tense and wary. The man brushed white hair impatiently from his face, then raised his strong chin to stare at Soujirou evenly with dark eyes. For a moment, the traveler stared blankly, trying to grasp the niggling sensation of recognition in his mind. Suddenly, with pop, he realized who he was staring at.
“Yukishiro-san!” flabbergasted, Soujirou stared openmouthed at the ex-mafia leader.
“Took you long enough.” With a grunt, Enishi let go of Soujirou’s arm and stood up slowly, brushing off his pants. “Now that that’s over, I’ll be going now.” He began sauntering away, leaving a startled Soujirou to stare at his retreating back.
“W-Wait! Hold on!” Annoyed, Enishi turned around again. Soujirou stood scarily close behind him, and he took a step back instinctively.
“Don’t do that. It’s just plain disturbing,” Enishi growled at the shorter man.
“Sorry. But…where are you…I mean, er…hey, you want to find something to…eat?” Grasping at straws, Soujirou finally hung onto the one most cliché and ironically, the one that made most sense as his stomach gave a painful toss, reminding him of the last time he ate. Enishi stared at him a beat, wondering if the smiling man really was a bit off his rocker, decided that he was, and turned around completely.
“Sure. If you treat.” Soujirou shrugged and smiled.
The two odd-looking men sat back to back on an outside bench, quietly eating from their respective bowls of noodles. Passersby took the trouble of walking a wide half circle around them, not particularly wanting to strike up an association with them. Soujirou certainly didn’t mind though, and neither did his companion. They both wished the other was on the other side of the river, also. Both were too used to being alone.
“So. Yukishiro-san. How is it that you ended up here?” Soujirou put his words carefully, not wanting to offend the man. Snorting, Enishi finished his soup.
“You can drop the “san”, Seta-san. I’m not worth that anymore.” He stretched the ‘san’ after ‘Seta’ mockingly, as if informing Soujirou that he was as near to respect as he himself was. The smiling one nearly shrugged and also finished his meal. Enishi set his empty bowl aside. “You don’t have to tiptoe with your words either. I know what you meant to ask.”
“Ah, I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be.” Enishi sighed, raking his rough fingers through his tangled hair before he answered his question. “Can’t you see? I’ve been beat. My Jinchuu has failed miserably.”
“I told you not to be. What’s my business got to do with yours?”
“Nothing,” Soujirou admitted.
“What about you?”
“Eh, much the same. Shishio-sama’s plan also dropped through the sky and crash landed.”
“Well, yes, I know that.”
“I guess you do.”
“Then stop restating everything I say.”
“What would you have me say then?” Enishi paused and looked over his shoulder at the slightly annoyed traveler.
“It what terms? Say, physically? Emotionally? Mentally? I could give you a hundred different answers to you, and still come up with ‘yes, I have, damn him’. Well?” Meeting his eyes, Soujirou gave Enishi a pointed look. Taken aback a bit, Enishi opened his mouth and closed it, nothing coming out. Suddenly, he burst out laughing, great, dry, racking waves of laughter that shook his entire body. Soujirou merely sat and stared. Still chuckling, Enishi wiped a tear from his eye.
“Yes, damn him, indeed. That goddamn bastard. He screwed you up too, hey?”
“You would not believe,” Soujirou replied, dryly, nodding in agreement. “Upped the foundation of my entire belief system. Took me ages to get over it, and by that time, I was in Hokkaido.” At the wry, slightly regretful comment, Enishi busted up again. This time, Soujirou couldn’t help joining him.
“At least he didn’t kill your sister, then get away with it.”
“I suppose not. He did in a way murder my father figure and older sister.” Soujirou pointed out. Enishi shrugged, then wondered.
“Fair enough. Does he usually upset the psyche of all enemies he comes up with?”
“He does, now that you think about it. If he had kept his mouth shut, you really think he’d be alive today?” Soujirou rolled his eyes, an act which two years ago would have shocked Shishio out of his bandages. “I’d’ve had him canned and six feet under before you could say ‘de gozaru.’”
The two men left the food stall, walking aimlessly through the streets, chatting in deceptively companionable friendliness.
“Personally, I’m surprised he’s managed to live through both of us.”
“You know him. His life is like a cockroach. Can’t be killed unless you drop something large, heavy, and wet onto him. Like laundry.”
“His wife makes him do it all the time. It’s really sad. You see admittedly one of the greatest swordsmen of all time, and now the greatest challenge he has is to get soy sauce out of his child’s diapers.”
“Oh, so now he has children?”
“One. A boy child, Kenji.”
Soujirou shook his head. “What about me? Does he get everything?” Enishi raised an eyebrow.
“He’s the “good guy”. Good guys get everything. We’re “bad guys”. We’re lucky if we get to die honorably. No one gives a shit about us. We just get to stew in the background and constantly plot on the life of Mr. Hero’s loved ones. In fact oh, look, I’m due to attempt a kidnap of some kid in about five minutes, and be beat down by that red haired sonuvabitch. Want to join me?”
Soujirou declined, grinning. His eyes latched onto the book Enishi still held.
“What’s that book there?” he asked curiously. Enishi looked at it with disinterest and mild surprise.
“That would be my dead sister’s diary. Useless piece of shit.” He looked meaningfully at the cover, his voice filled with disgust.
“Why don’t you throw it away?”
“I’ve tried. Over and over and over. The cursed thing won’t let me let it go. Hangs on to me like a leech. And even if I did chuck it, I think I’ve got all the pages, all the words firmly monogrammed into my head.” Enishi looked thoughtful. “Sad, really.” Soujirou nodded sympathetically.
“Where’re you headed now?” He asked lightly.
“Eh. Back to some abandoned alley to mope and think evil, dead thoughts. You?”
“Wander the world. Fall in love with some poor, destitute, orphaned girl, fight off bad memories, and live happily ever after.” Soujirou paused. “Or, you know, snap, commit suicide. I don’t know.”
“You fancy coming along?” The question came out of nowhere, but Soujirou easily accepted it. It had seemed quite natural to ask it. “It sounds pretty boring, counting chinks in the wall. What do you say?”
Enishi was silent for a moment while they stood still. He didn’t look at Soujirou for a moment.
“…234.” Startled, Soujirou gave him a blank look.
“There are 234 chinks on one square meter of that wall, and yes, I am pretty sick of staring at them.” The two continued walking. “It’s a good idea. Sure, why not. I could use a change of scenery.”
“Yes, that’s great. There’s just one thing…” Soujirou gave Enishi a shrewd look, then smiled in an embarrassed sort of way.
“You mind taking a shower before you continue? I mean, no offense, but, you are sort of…dirty.”
“You don’t smell too good yourself, hotstuff.”
“Which is why now I’m looking for a bathhouse. And you’re coming with me.” Exchanging semi-resentful glares, they both sighed, and set off in search of a bath. Or at least a boiling river.
Short, weird, demented, and a bit OOC. Very characteristic of my stuff. Eh, I needed to write this after having pulled off a really long fic. It’s weird. If you write a long dramatic story, you need to write a short, humorous fic after. Same thing the other way around. Interesting.|
Well, I hope you enjoyed it. I wrote this in about an hour, so it didn’t turn out exactly the way I wanted it to, but, ach, oh well.
|Author's page ::: Post a review at FFnet ::: Main fan fic index|