Through the Cracks Ch5 bit – Hard Landing

One minute there was nothing but screams and panic and flying blood as Ishin Shishi hitokiri faced their own government’s soldiers, the next-

Black and deafness and falling and cold, so cold-

And more screams, in languages he couldn’t understand, as a dazed eight-year-old picked himself off streets that looked nothing like Edo.

Gaijin clothes. Gaijin faces. Blue and white uniforms that echoed picture-books of the outland “Eastern Empire”, yet didn’t match those either. Drawn swords, and leveled bows, and so many white horses he thought he’d stumbled into a daimyo’s parade.

Tanishi’s protection had been the best option a lost, orphaned, and – admit it, scared – kid could think of. The yakuza head had… known already how ‘Kaasan had died, he never brought it up. Unlike his thugs.

But that day on the bridge, calm violet had weighed Yahiko. Known him. Respected him, in a way a young samurai had never thought he’d see again.

If he can live here, honorably, within gaijin law… then maybe I can find a way….

He’d never in a million years expected Kaoru to come after him. She was a Herald, after all; wasn’t she supposed to stick to handing out judgements on gaijin?

But she had come after him, swearing everyone had to abide by Haven’s laws, willing to gamble with her own life to win him out of Tanishi’s debt. And then willing to fight her way out with him when the Yakuza didn’t hold up their end of the bargain, no matter the odds against them.

Really bad odds. Though from how quick the Guard poured into the courtyard after we all left, she must have been MindCalling for help the minute she knew Tanishi’s guys were cheats. I guess busu’s not that dumb after all.

Hauled out over Kenshin’s shoulder, Yahiko had realized it was worth every bruise Tanishi’s thugs laid on him to see the wreck Kenshin had made of the place. Yakuza everywhere. Blasted through walls. Half-embedded in ceilings. Out cold on the floors like grain-drunk doves.

“They weren’t going to let me in, so I had them go to sleep for a little while….”

That was what Yahiko wanted to be. A swordsman who was kind, polite, honorable, civil even to his enemies – and feared no one.

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16 thoughts on “Through the Cracks Ch5 bit – Hard Landing

  1. A swordsman who was kind, polite, honorable, civil even to his enemies – and feared no one.

    Big goals, there, kiddo. Admirable goals. But in many ways a big one.

    Not saying learning the sword skill is beyond Yahiko – it isn’t. But the attitude is going to take some work. Because it’s hard to be civil to people you don’t like or don’t agree with. Calling them poopy-head is much easier.

    He also might want to remember that if he wished to be considered polite and civil, he’s going to have stop calling Kaoru ugly.

    Through I don’t think Kenshin fears no one. He’s confident in his own abilities, yes. But I don’t Kenshin is arrogant enough to believe that no one can beat him. He knows there are swordsmen who match or surpass his skills. He’s met some of them.

    And Kenshin knows to be fearful of what desperate or utterly ruthless or sadistic enemy might be willing to do in order to win.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Based off manga canon, Yahiko’s never quite as civil, peaceful, or serene as Kenshin. But he gives a damn good try (and reinventing Hiten-Mitsurugi-ryu moves based off just seeing Kenshin use them repeatedly before the age of 12, possibly before the age of 11 goes a long way towards arguing that Yahiko will definitely gain the skills necessary).

      Liked by 2 people

  2. . . . So. Canon: Yahiko’s father’s death had nothing to do with Kenshin, since Yahiko’s dad died after the war (well after Kenshin left his blade on the field and was released by Katsura). Given Yahiko’s age that’s probably still true here.

    But in the manga, Kenshin’s identity as Battousai was revealed to Yahiko during Kenshin’s fight with Sano, since Sano had been told Kenshin was Battousai by (the) Hiruma(s, going by manga). Yahiko is… very briefly shocked, and maybe even a bit betrayed when he first learns about Kenshin’s past. But at the same time Yahiko finds out Kenshin explains – to Sanosuke, but while Yahiko is there watching – Kenshin’s ideal that things are not over and how the Revolution continues with everyone trying to build a better future, leaving behind the grudges of the past.

    In the environment of the Meiji Restoration a few years after it fought off a rebellion and proved it’s stability, when modernization was supposed to be the ideal, that’s a very compelling argument. Especially from such a heroic figure for a child in desperate need of rescue.

    Here, however, it’s arguable if Yahiko would still feel Battousai was on the winning side and Yahiko on the losing, since – as Kenshin put it to Sejanes – “We lost” (and I, for one, do Not want to know what a Japan that was shaped even in part by Shishio Makoto looks like).

    You’ve brought up the metaphor of a Samurai pursuing an honorable man who killed their father. And you’ve had Kenshin ruminate that part of the dissension that lead to the Jump was an outcry to return to old ways in the face of disaster and that even those who fled have been clinging to tradition all the tighter since arriving in the new and foreign setting of Valdemar.

    I’m suddenly a bit worried what Yahiko’s reaction will be when he finds out Kenshin’s history in this AU.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh good. You had me worried there. Between this scene, the previously mentioned metaphor, and Yahiko questioning Kaouru about Kenshin’s past earlier I was getting worried you were building to something.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Yahiko cannot be a true hanyou, because he lacks the physical qualities, and is eight and two years older than they show. If Samurai can inherit the portion Kenshin considers most dangerous, they could manifest at ten. As could mind gifts. So, which mind gifts might be relevant.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. …? Not to be rude but… Please clarify the meaning of this comment?

      Canon, and stated here: Yahiko is Samurai, which means in this AU that even if he isn’t Gifted yet, he could/probably will be. Further, he may never show Yokai atavisms, but he doesn’t have to. It’s true that that means his raw durability and strength may therefore never reach a true Hanyou’s level, but he can still learn the skills necessary to be considered Kenshin’s equal.

      True, in this AU if he doesn’t manifest Fetching than he can’t learn several Hiten-Mitsurugi-ryu moves, but that doesn’t mean he can’t recreate some of them. And I’m… not certain that’s actually what you’re trying to get at.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Not meant as a response to your speculation, was meant as a response to the chapter, even if the realization was catalyzed by some of your observations.

        Yahiko is under some stress right now. Ki sense seems to be active since birth, but the other mind gifts may activate under stress. (My memories of Valdemar canon are extremely vague.) Kenshin matching Yahiko with Kaoru may or may not be a sign that Yahiko has latent mindspeech.

        If Yahiko activates mind gifts now, it may cause trouble, which is good for the audience and the story. If he develops youkai mental atavism, it would help blow up the status quo. Low probability, but the power of Lavan Firestorm, and Haven on fire, would shake up things up.

        We definitely know he will develop some mind gift or another eventually, ten is probably old enough, and it could fit some of what we can predict of the story’s conclusion. Or maybe Yamagata has a Hanyou kid that he wants Kenshin’s help with.

        Yahiko probably hasn’t had enough viewpoint sections for the problem to be fixed by him getting cool powers, but it was fun thinking along those lines.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. If it can be arranged, maybe one should introduce Skiff (sp?) to Yahiko? And the rest of them. He might have an interesting view on some of the events, given his background and presence at some of those events.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The Salamander stone, and a latent hanyou with fire powers…

        Worse onmitsu doesn’t mean no onmitsu, and might not mean no onmitsu capable of bypassing Valdemar’s security.

        Setting the guard on Kenshin is a good distraction, but if a Yamato onmitsu choose to do so, they are a risk taker. Perhaps not an entirely wise one.

        Liked by 2 people

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