This fan fiction is based on the Rurouni Kenshin manga. Rurouni Kenshin characters are the property of creator Nobohiro Watsuke, Shueisha, Shonen Jump, Sony Entertainment, and VIZ Comics. This is a non-profit work for entertainment purposes only. Permission was not obtained from the above parties.
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Kurushimi no Dorei

by tir-synni

I can still remember him walking away. Even after all these years, I can still remember him, red head high, filled with conviction. Now he stands before me again, and while to everyone else, he is a totally different person, I can still see my foolish student. Older, hai, and certainly wearier. But he is still my student.

Iie, now I am wrong. You are surprised to hear me say this? My foolish student has taught me the value of seeing the truth more than anyone else in the world. He sees the truth, I can see it in his eyes. But unlike others, he will never change it. More than all the blood in the world, it is this vital truth that weighs him down, that darkens his eyes with endless shadows.

He watches me now, never making a sound, as I take another swig of my sake. With others, he must wear one of hs masks. But I was there, when the mask first began. I know its true form, thus I am not fooled by it. Finally, he speaks, and I heard the words "Sessha" and "de gozaru" spill from his lips. Only as the Battousai has he ever discarded them. Never will he know how much this pains me.

When I first saw him, I didn't suspect. He sat there, surrounded by blood and death. It dyed his already bloodied hair, it stained white, innocent hands with its putrid aroma. I left him there, amidst the chaos, and when I returned, all the bodies had been buried.

Like a good little slave, he had cleaned.

The pain had aged him. The years of abuse had given him a wisdom he never should have had. He gazed at me with his old eyes and explained to me why he had buried the murderers as well. How many of his fellow slaves had been left by the side of the road to rot? The memories had burned there, in his mind. Perhaps he had sworn that he would never allow that to happen to his loved ones if he had had the choice. Perhaps that was why he had dragged the heavy corpes to their graves. In the end, it didn't matter. He carried the weight of the dead in his tiny hands.

I gave him a new name. I was selfish and ignorant. Unknowingly, I had carried on the tradition. I sealed his fate. I took away a child's name and gave him a title. I labeled him a warrior, and supplied him with new tasks. He took them silently, obeyed them silently, and went about them silently. He obeyed me, though as time passed he rebelled, like any young adult. That was all I saw. I didn't see him, whispering humbly to me and to any animals he passed. I ignored him efficiently doing the dishes and cleaning and cooking. I should have stopped him, I see now. But I didn't, I encouraged him. My guilt shall haunt me. For all my righteousness, I am as guilty as his old masters.

He became the Hitokiri Battousai. Looking back, I understand why. He was following the pattern still. His time as a slave pained him, but he was bound to it. My ways unknowingly kept him to it. He recognized it, though I did not. He sought as the Battousai to keep others from his fate. He was still a slave, but no one knew it. He was a slave of the Hiten Mitsurougi Style, he was slave to Katsura, he was slave to the rebellion.

He was a slave to his past.

That wench had almost saved him. Not from just the Battousai, but from himself. The Battousai had only been an incarnation of his mind. Like a good slave, he obeyed. But she had almost freed him. Her death easily put him back into place, just like a good beating did when he was a child. Again, he moved on, carrying out his ideals...again, he followed the pattern.

For ten years, my foolish pupil wandered, and I never realized why. He never had a choice, I see that now. His mission had been burned into his soul. Everything inside him screamed for him to carry it out. It was what he was taught, it was what he knew. Like a good little slave, he carried on, silently suffering.

The young little brat cemented his fate. He followed the pattern. He became her hero. That was what he was supposed to do, wasn't it? Docilely, he continued his chores, mindlessly following that damned pattern. He found his ideals, he followed them. Never did he have a choice, never could he conceive rebelling. I doubt if he physically could. They will marry, despite his heart's desires. His desires had never mattered. His ideals were more important, could help more people. He himself was worthless, only what he could do was worthwhile.

Even after all these years, he is the perfect little slave.

Occasionally, his name pops up, and I see the light shine in his eyes. His eyes were green once. A dark emerald, going well with his hair. When he speaks of him, I see his true eyes again, not the Battousai's, not the Rurouni's, but Shinta's. Perhaps he can repair the damage I unwittingly inflicted. Perhaps he can find the man's heart, not the slave's. Perhaps he can help him fulfill his own desires, and be his own master.

Perhaps Sagara Sanosuke can break down Himura Kenshin, and find green-eyed Shinta again.

Until then.... I stare into my foolish pupil's saddened eyes. He will always be a slave to suffering.

You have to think, watching Kenshin, how much of his actions is based upon guilt for his days as Battousai and how much was left over from his days as a slave. The way he talks, the way he usually follows any order without question, the way he obsessively cleans. Even getting together with Kaoru. How much was what he wanted and how much was what he felt he had to do? And I'm looking far too much into this...(walks off muttering).
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