Through the Cracks Ch6 bit – Energy

It can’t be true. Kaoru curled on herself in one of the small trysting nooks in Companion’s Field, lost in misery. Here she could cry, and curse fate, and bite her own sleeves as she sobbed, and no one would try to talk her out of it. People came here to be alone, or almost alone; no one would enter while Megumi stood guard outside. It can’t be.

:It… would explain many things.:

:Megumi, no-:

:Why there’s always a pressure on our bond,: Megumi went on inexorably. :It’s never much. It’s never interfered. But there are times I have to consciously reach out to touch you.: The Companion’s mind brushed hers, prickling at her ki sense. :Damn. No wonder we thought it was Empathy.:

Kaoru blinked, tears blurring her vision. :What?:

:It “feels” like us, Kaoru. Like the energy-sense of any creature of spirit bound to flesh. But we knew you were human. So – we thought you must be reflecting what you felt from us-: Her attention jerked away. :You! Haven’t you hurt her enough?:

Silence.

:Oh gods, don’t do that.: Megumi’s anger was turning to mortification, and shame. :Not to me, damn it! Never to me!:

“But you too are a warrior against the dark, Megumi-dono. Should one not honor a fellow warrior?”

Curiosity trickled through the gray haze of shock. Kaoru pushed herself to her feet, wobbling out to the entrance.

Kenshin was on one knee before Megumi; the formal bow of a soldier to a greater lord. Quiet. Composed.

And from that slight upward curve of a smile, quite willing to hold that pose until one particular Companion died of embarrassment.

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22 thoughts on “Through the Cracks Ch6 bit – Energy

  1. You know, Kenshin has always tuged at my heart strings but this fic is really good at leaving me at the edge of tears every time our favorite rorouni shows up. Good thing I know your a fan of earned happy endings or I would be really worried.

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    1. Unfortunately we have to remember that people are people. And even if the Heralds and Companions all say that Hanyou and Yamatoians are 100% OK doesn’t mean that people will just follow along.

      After all, remember Tostig’s explanation to Kaoru:
      “Herald, far be it from me to tell your Circle how to work, but I can tell you many of our citizens don’t really care how the mage-storms stopped. Valdemar got along for centuries without mages, or Karsite priests, or strangers like the Yamato – no offense, Lord – and now that the storms are over, why should we keep them? I don’t buy it for a minute, we in the Guard know the Eastern Empire’s still out there, but that’s Plesuron’s point of view. And it appeals to a lot of people.”

      Also 10 to 1 there are other Oni out there and with the majority of Valdemar not taking the proper precautions the Jiki Incident won’t be the only time a possessed individual starts a ruckus.

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      1. Wasn’t expecting anything different. Because you are the kind of author that goes: Alright evil is defeated and the hostages saved! Now what’s going to be the fallout from the hero doing XYZ and so on?

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  2. Kaoru is probably more upset about not being briefed by her dad. Especially since being Chosen could potentially have killed her.

    But yeah, finding out that you personally are related to extraplanar beings and animal people is a little more upsetting than finding same thing out about your super-nice boyfriend with whom you have mental and emotional links that assure you he is Good. And finding out your kids might have claws is worth a couple doses of maternal hormone crying, I would say.

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    1. It’s, slightly more Fridge Fear on my part here. Enough stress can wake the youkai in the blood, and I think I’m hearing an implication that that holds true for *adults* as well as kids and teens. They’ve circumnavigated a large part of potential stressors where a bandit ambush spells “Violence is the answer, and if it’s not, use more,” which might cause a late awakening. But there’s always the possibility of a drunk or malice attacking Kaoru in a back alley. And all things considered, there is no way that Koshijirou had active blood. That would not be covert at all, so before Kenshin, she had no youkai kin around her. She’s basically discovered she’s an unexploded landmine.

      She could have had a late onset trigger and gone on a bloody rampage across the city of Haven until someone killed her. And given her bond to Megumi and the fact that it’s *not* Empathy and a Companion wouldn’t have much in the way of shields against ki, she could have dragged Megumi on that rampage *with* her. Likely? Not really, not with the Star Eyed presumably meddling with Megumi as part of a cross cultural horse exchange. And it’s possible Megumi could have pulled Kaoru out of it. But, and this is what would stick in the minds of the Yamato, she wouldn’t have a sealing blade. All she’d have was a precarious balance with Megumi doing her best to hold her in place. Best case scenario Megumi becomes a living sealing blade. Worst case scenario the both of them are killed.

      There are potentially a few people who’re going to feel very upset with Koshijirou for what he didn’t tell Kaoru. Yahiko may be the only one blunt enough to point it out to Kaoru, he may not be though.

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  3. Even with her Valdemarian mother making it unlikely for her to manifest without major interference (through given this is a setting with actual gods, major interference is not outside the realm of possibility. Not saying it will happen just that is unlikely, not impossible), Koshijirou should have told her.

    Yes, it was unlikely for her to manifest. It was unlikely for her children to manifest. Provided she married a Valdemarian or the like. But since he knew that Yamatoans coming to Valdemar was a possibilty, he should have taken into account that she might marry a Yamatoan. One who may or may not have hanyou blood or be a hanyou. Heck, maybe even a full youkai would take interest. He had no way of knowing.

    Of course, maybe Koshijirou thought he would be there to explain all of this to Kaoru when and if his people showed up (aka when it might be relevant . . .)

    OTOH, it’s not a good idea to lie to your children about who and what they are because they don’t tend to react well to it. Plus he apparently didn’t do a very good job of explaining ki sense since she apparently thought it was oddly manifested empathy.

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    1. Actually, this brings up another possibility. If Koshijirou had known Kenshin during the revolution, maybe that’s part of the origin of Kamiya Kashin-Ryu’s philosophy in this setting? “If the Hitokiri Battousai himself is able to be peaceful and generous, turning away from killing and anger even when it would be expected, then maybe all we need is enough self-control and strong will! We’re in a new era of peace, maybe the time for Hanyou is past, and sufficiently strong will can keep us from risking that.”

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      1. I was having trouble coming up with appropriate words for “isn’t all RAWR! Kill!, or being all touchy about stuff like normal even for regular samurai. he actually gives enemies a chance to live by not being enemies.” Which by comparison with the expectations is “really nice and peaceful and generous”, even if it’s done in a “quiet and murderous” way. And that this might have lead Koushijirou to think “I don’t have to warn Kaoru about the real story about what Samurai/Hanyou/Youkai really are, because sufficient willpower and self-control can make us actually have a chance at peace!” Not as the complete story, but as a potential factor in his decision making. A case of “this time, the misunderstanding is because they’re of the same culture, but the one isn’t quite acting like would normally be expected by that culture.”

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      1. On the one hand, not giving her the same boogie man type horror stories about Battousai might be of the good. In that just hearing who he was doesn’t make her lose control of her bladder. And her head hasn’t filled with a bunch of nonsense like how he was eight feet tall or lived on the fear of humans and snacked on kittens or something.

        On the other hand, it seems to make it kinda of hard for her to understand why everyone is pants-wettingly terrified of him. She understands intellectually that he was a assassin. She knows that he’s killed a lot of people. She knows that his skills with a blade need a warning label. She’s even seen him be very scary with Jin-e. But I don’t think she really gets the bone-deep terror he inspires in people, especially people who have only heard of Battousai, never actually seen him work.

        Still . . . the only thing I can think of for at least SOME of the things he didn’t explain was that Koushijirou thought that he’d more time “I’ll explain this when she’s older. Or when my people show up. Whichever comes first.”

        There is also the possibilty that he did attempt to tell and explain some of this . . . .but was either bad at it or it was difficult to explain without actually growing up in Yamato or actually having physically present examples he could point to. Plus, being Valdemar probably meant he got a little out of the loop on some things . . .

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      2. Older perhaps.

        He died after the Yamato showed up.

        She got chosen, and it isn’t clear how much that changed what he was willing to tell her.

        Or effectively able. Rolan could have blurred an awful lot of memories.

        She’s pretty much lived her whole life in Haven. We know living in Haven causes developmental delays in Hanyou due to Youki not being nurtured normally. It isn’t clear what effect that, and her being Chosen, had on her development. Koshijirou’s perception of her development would have influenced what he thought she was ready for and needed to know.

        Consider also Koshijirou as the developer of the Kamiya style. He was probably a practitioner of the killing sword earlier in his life. a) shame and desire to avoid criminal liability when talking to his daughter, an agent of the law, about what he did in the old country b) She’s seventeen, and was younger when he was instructing her. We haven’t seen what she was like when he was alive, and he didn’t know what we know about her from canon. He was trying to promote a particular ideology, and pass it down through her. Talking too much about the part demon and blood magic aspects too early could potentially glamorize them. He very well could have been waiting for her mastery, or for her to mature to the point she is at now.

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