When he got back (and it was a when, not an if - there were no "if"s involved here) he was going to borrow some of Farfarello's toys. Then he was going to borrow some of Masafumi's toys. And if (and this time it was definitely an "if") he felt merciful after that, he was going to put a bullet in each of Masafumi's toys.
Damn Crawford for not foreseeing this!
He was cold, he
was tired, he was hungry, and every arschloch in Japan was trying to
kill him. Oh and yes, he was also lost. He knew enough geography to head south,
but he hadn't yet met anyone educated enough to find out exactly where
'south' he was. So he just kept going, hopefully in the general direction of
It began like any other autumn night - cool and peaceful, chirping crickets performing a dusk chorale. She was sitting on the back porch, watching the slow descent of an exhausted day into the arms of night when he strode around the side of the house. He came to a stop in front of the step; smiled down at her with a familiarity that would have had her husband reaching for a weapon. She hadn't heard any of the dogs barking and for several seconds she just blinked, thinking her eyes were playing tricks. Then she stood, and shocked into uncharacteristic rudeness said,
"Who are you? What are you doing here?"
He placed a foot on the bottom step.
*I'm just a traveller, looking for a meal and a place to sleep.*
The voice inside her head almost made her scream. It also confirmed what he was - although she didn't really have any doubts. Not with that hair as red and wild as foxfur, and those eyes that were no colour she had ever seen before.
When her heart had quietened enough that she could hear more than its pounding in her chest she replied in a stiff voice, unfamiliar to her ears,
"You are not welcome here. Please leave before I call my husband."
He laughed - a hard, bright fall of sound.
*I don't think so. He isn't due back home for two more days, now is he? And you let your servant go home to tend her sick cousin. Very kind of you.*
The flash of teeth held no kindness. She turned and fled for the door, but he was there in front of her, quicker than anything mortal could be. She stood stock-still as he folded arms around her.
*Relax,* the voice in her head sounded amused, *I'm not going to harm you. Now let's go inside, there’s a good girl, and you can feed me. I'm starving.*
He was chilled and weary too, she noted, as he hunched over the heat of the kotatsu with a relieved sigh, stress melting from his pale, pointed face. After she had served him, she knelt opposite and distracted herself by marvelling at the inhuman sheen and weave of his strange clothes. He ate the oden with quick, graceful hands and a fierce concentration. Replete, he yawned, stretched, and then shifted that focus onto her.
"Time for bed, don't you think?" he spoke in a voice with rough edges and an accent she had never heard before.
She unrolled the shiki-futon and when she turned from laying out the bedding he was already undressed and waiting for her, pale body gleaming in the firelight. He was terrifying and beautiful and all male, and he lay between her legs and took her like any man takes a woman. She would have thought him merely mortal because of this - despite his height and colouring - but the sensation of his warmth not merely over and inside her body, but also inside her mind refuted that possibility. And if her cries were eventually more of pleasure than pain - an unimportant incidental to the one who used her, she was sure - at least there was no one to listen to her shame. Even if submitting to a kami carried less dishonour than submitting to a man not her husband. Or so the fairytales said.
Her husband returned home the evening after; a day early and a lifetime late. She never spoke of what had happened while he was away. Not even after Shinta was born and grew to have hair as red and wild as foxfur, and eyes that were no colour she had ever seen before.
Himura Kenshin, hero of Rurouni Kenshin, was born Himura Shinta, in 1849 to a peasant family in Kansai, north of Osaka. For those who don't know, he has red hair and blue-violet eyes (very Japanese!), is extremely fast, occasionally psychotic, and rather effeminately pretty. Sound like anyone we know?
The policy of National Seclusion (sakoku) was practiced officially until 1854, and included execution of any foreigners found in Japan.
Foxtrot's Collection of Kitsune Lore
Kitsune - an amoral fox-spirit, sometimes mischievous, sometimes malicious
Arschloch - arsehole
Kotatsu - a small firepit with coverlet (nowadays a table over a heater), usually in the middle of the main room, and prettymuch the only Japanese version of fixed indoor heating in the pre-electricity era.
Oden - a type of one-pot stew that is simmered for several hours
Shiki-futon - traditional Japanese mattress bed, which is folded up and stored during the day
Kami - Spirit. Kitsune weren't considered gods, but spirits of nature.