Through the Cracks Ch5 bit – Walk

A/N: Yamagata is a reasonable guy. But he is a samurai… and some things do irk him. Ouch.


Himura ignored the hand, head slightly bowed. “My apologies, but… we will walk.”

Yamagata frowned. “Don’t be a fool, Himura! Think of the child.”

“I do think of Ayame-chan, that I do,” Himura said evenly. “And Suzume-chan. And all those who may yet be born, or marry, or simply wish to travel among the folk of this land without fear.” He glanced over the crowd. “And I think of these people, who should watch, and see, and not fear they have harbored something so horrible we scurry to conceal it from them.” Violet was guileless, but unyielding. “We will walk.”

You- you- Fury blinded Yamagata. How dare this man, this hero, lower himself to care what outlanders thought? How dare he imply that they needed these townsmen’s good will, needed anything beyond land to make their own and good swords in their hands against all who’d take it from them? How dare he even hint that those of the noblest blood ever to grace this earth might deign to unite their families with such- such- kami, who did he think he was?

Hitokiri Battousai, the last bit of his reason supplied.

Fury froze. “Send the carriage off,” Yamagata gritted out.

“Sir?” His aide’s voice held concealed horror. A lord had status. A lord had face. A lord did not walk to a greater lord like a supplicant, but rode in full, glorious pride.

A lord, Yamagata thought coldly, must remember that legends have power beyond even steel.

It was why he and others had sought Himura all these years, after all. Katsura’s blade. Katsura’s dragon. The hitokiri whom songs called the greatest of revolutionaries.

The Demon of Kyoto, who left his bloodstained blade standing in the sunset of Toba Fushimi. And vanished, as youkai do, never to be seen again by mortal men.

Gods, the man couldn’t have woven a stronger legend if he’d tried!

And it would not take his men long to realize that legend stood among them. That the legend – the hero – would walk to a gaijin queen, and honor her beyond measure, all for the sake of one hanyou child….

Damn you, Himura!

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18 thoughts on “Through the Cracks Ch5 bit – Walk

  1. >Hitokiri Battousai, the last bit of his reason supplied.>
    Translation: Don’t try and force this guy into doing something he is truly against. You won’t enjoy the reaction.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. >Exactly! Kenshin knows he’s one of the few people who can do this. So he’s going to.πŸ™‚>
        But as you’ve pointed out, most people don’t know/can’t believe he’s not a Samurai. As a result they see this legend, this hero of the rebellion humbling himself like a lowly commoner before a gaijin queen.

        Hopefully somebody whispers to/BeSpeaks to said Queen about how such things are Simply Not Done among the Yamato and she dials up her respectful attitude to Himura and co.

        Because while Himura won’t care, putting on extra airs to make the bitter pill that the Yamato elite see themselves swallowing from all this a bit smaller is worth the reduction in her future headaches.

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  2. You think Yamagata will eventually realize that in Valdemar, THEY are the gaijin? Might put some things in perspective. πŸ˜› Best of luck on your writing!

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    1. When you are an older adult, two years isn’t exactly a long time to change the first instincts that have been engrained over decades. (As opposed to a young adult, who may be much less mentally settled. What one is raised to since birth, the attitudes uniformly cultivated from birth to around six or seven, are enormously influential.) Yamagata is forty. Around thirty in our timeline he was young enough to visit Prussia and be greatly influenced by their ways.

      This sort of first person point of view shows us first instincts in a way that doesn’t necessarily fairly represent final choices and actions.

      When talking to people I know think very differently from me, my first reaction is still anger when they say things that would be dishonest or inconsiderate if they thought exactly as I do. I may still control my response enough to toggle over from my emotions (which are certain everyone thinks as I do) to my reason.

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    1. Well, the Japanese government may have been attracted to Prussia. (I think perhaps a combination of values and military prestige.)

      But fun AH possibilities none the less.

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  3. Someone should probably point out to Yamagata, that THEY are the foreigns here. Foregiens who showed up one day without permission or warning – and never intended to since they intended to appear on the borders of Valdemar and were probably hoping to get themselves settled somewhere before having to deal with these people.

    Which does demonstrate a lack of respect for Selenay’s authority in her own kingdom. An attitude that you lot should be very glad that she didn’t decide to duplicate. Because Selenay didn’t have to respect your autonomy and authority as any kind of leader. She chose to. She chose to honor you, to treat you and your stranded people with respect and courtesy. It might not be YOUR CULTURE’S idea of respect and courtesy but it was there.

    Any other country on that side of the world likely wouldn’t have granted you such courtesy after effectively invading them. You’d be lucky if they didn’t attack first and ask questions later if ever. They might allow you to stay in their borders but obeying their laws would only be the first of many things you’d be expected to conform with. Or get the hell out. And try to find someone else willing to take in. And retain your culture. And remember you would not be negotiating from a position of strength ever.

    Heck, you weren’t negotiating from a position of strength with Selenay when you arrived. And she chose not take advantage of that to screw you over.

    So Yamagata, I suggest you get some respect for that gaijin queen. Because she didn’t have to be this nice.

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    1. And now you see part of why Kenshin has been trying to keep a low profile in Haven while he found out what happened. Because believe me, just about all of the above occurred to him. *Wry G*

      Of course, that was a lot easier for Kenshin to wrap his mind around given he’s spent the past two years wandering parts of Rethwellan and other places on his own, with no armed troops for backup. So he got the whole “I’m the outsider here”, full stop.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. If I remember my Japanese properly, “gaijin” translates to “outsider” not “foreigner”. When the Japanese wish to speak of a person from another country, they say “gaikokujin” which is “outside-nation-person”.

      So, yeah, as amusing as it is to hear a Japanese person talk about their Hawaiian vacation and how the place was full of foreigners… if you’re not Japanese, you’re an outsider, no matter where in the world you are.

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      1. To be fair, from what I was told, it’s actually considered rude nowadays to refer to foreigners as “gaijin”. Possibly on a similar level as Americans would regard a racial epithet.

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  4. Point the second: Yamagata, I realize it was your way of life for most of your life, but if you aren’t going to treat even simple townsfolk and a peasant hanyou child like they matter AT ALL, then don’t claim you were for any kind of change. Because from the sound of your thoughts, you wanted everything to remain the same with a different coat of paint. Which is not a change.

    Which granted is often the result of a revolution. After all, a revolution is a 360 degree turn.

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    1. >Which granted is often the result of a revolution. After all, a revolution is a 360 degree turn.>
      As the saying goes: Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

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      1. It didn’t get quite that bad in canon, but… eh, the Meiji Revolution was a mess, and things didn’t get straightened out for quite a while. If you want some details on how messy it got, check out The Abacus and the Sword: The Japanese Penetration of Korea, 1895-1910 by Peter Duus.

        Long story short: I think Selenay did impress Yamagata, because this isn’t going nearly as badly as it could have….

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