Disclaimer: Sadly Neither Rurouni Kenshin/Samurai X or Harry Potter belong to me. If they did I would be rich. It's a good thing I'm not because I've already stored up my treasure in heaven. I don't need to make money off of Harry Potter. Ha! Beat that J.K. Rowling. No, just kidding. You know I love all of you.


Consider it pure joy my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. James 1:2


Kaoru's progression home on the wide sunlit street was for the most part in a straight line, that is, she didn't stray off of the main road, but wasn't exactly in a hurry, as the late July sun felt good on her back and the blue far above her was accented only with feathered pony tails. Besides, she was in good company, giggling with her friends at anything and everything. They were still dressed in their formal school kimonos. Together they resembled a group of blue butterflies as they danced down the street from home to home, always leaving one of their number behind to alight on her house like on a flower. Despite the war, the world was still a wonderful place to live. Indeed the word, war, held no meaning to the children of Hiroshima. They gave no thought to the mistakes of desperate countries and none at all to the future beyond the weekend.

"Goodbye Tomoko! I'll see you Monday."

"Bye bye Kaoru-chan!"

Only a year ago Kaoru's mother would have walked her home, laughing along with Kaoru's friends as if she herself were only four years old too, but that was fading, though it would never fully be forgotten.

'I'm always the last one left walking home. I always have to be alone.' Kaoru pouted mentally, but perked up at the sight of her mother's old friend Mrs. Tendo, across the street. 'My mother always called her Sayaki-chan' Kaoru remembered after a moment. 'When is Mommy coming home? She went away and never came back. Sigh. I hope she will come home soon. I can't remember what her face looks like…Oh well.'

"Hello Mrs. Tendo!" Bellowed Kaoru from across the not-so-busy street.

"Hello Kaoru-chan." Mrs Tendo crossed the street and walked along with Kaoru. "How is your father?"

"He is well thank you, but a little sad I think. I make sure he eats well."

Mrs. Tendo laughed and gave Kaoru a motherly smile. "You tell him I said Hello alright? We all miss Kaori-chan."

"Yes Ma'am!" said Kaoru with clear bright eyes. In a twirl of ebony hair Kaoru twisted to see her home directly off the main road. Hardly able to wait for the much loved sight of her father Kaoru skipped at an alarming pace to the walkway leading to her house. In an afterthought Kaoru popped back around the wooden gate and waved a tiny hand.

"Sayonara Tendo-san"

"Sayonara Kaoru-chan." echoed the woman kindly.

Mrs. Tendo paused in reflection of the tiny girl. 'She looks so much like her mother, so beautiful. I can see her father in her too. She is strong, very strong. Little Kaoru can make even the coldest heart love her,' with this last thought Mrs. Tendo turned both her gaze and her mind to her own family awaiting her return at home.

"Tadaima Otou-chan," said Kaoru to her father standing in the walkway. He waited here for Kaoru like he had for the past two years when she came home from school. Only now she came home by herself. This fact stung her father every day when his daughter arrived home without his beautiful wife by her side. It still felt like she was alive somewhere, but she couldn't be. Tatsu had seen her wither away with his own eyes.

"Konbanwa Kaoru-chan"

"Otou! Otou! Look at what I learned today!"

"What did you learn little firefly?" Said Tatsu as he kneeled to scoop Kaoru into his arms.

"This!" Kaoru pulled out her wand and held it in a steady grip. "Lumos!" A little light appeared at the tip of the wand and faded slowly. "It was a lot brighter at school!" she said, disappointed.

Her father laughed, "Kaoru you were inside and it was dark. Of course the light seemed brighter."

"How did you know I was inside daddy? "

"What a silly question Kaoru. You know that I am a seer."

"Daaaaddy I'm five years old and I still know that you don't see little things like that!"

He laughed again. "Alright, alright I know it was dark in the classroom because that is how I learned the light spell when I was your age. It makes it easier to see when the room is dark." He then paused, apparently in some type of contemplation..."I have a surprise for you Kaoru." he said finally.

"What is it daddy?" The sun shining into Kaoru's eyes reflected a cloudless sky. Her father always had the best surprises! No other father could compare with hers. Why, he could even beat up everyone else's father if he wanted to, but he never did cause he was too nice. He's the…the smartest, strongest, bestest, er, most wonderful daddy ever.

"I will give you your surprise when you go to bed tonight. Let us go inside to have dinner, shall we? It's your favorite Kaoru. Tatsu smiled softly.

"Yeahh! Omake," squealed Kaoru. "This is like a birthday!" she squirmed around in her father's arms and he set her gently on the ground.

Little Kaoru ran inside as fast as her small stride would permit. Behind her, her father's smile melted from his face and he sadly listened to his daughter's joy as she laughed delightedly at the smell of her favorite food.

'Kaoru, You look so much like your mother that I almost feel as if she's with me... almost.' Tatsu stood from where he knelt to embrace his daughter moments earlier and with a new smile to mask his sad reflections, he strode dazedly into the house that did not feel like his own anymore, without Kaori.

As the sun died in a blaze of color over the horizon, the moon rose to take its place. Dinner was long since over and a drowsy eyed Kaoru was led by the hand to her room.

Kaoru climbed onto her futon wearily, where her father tucked her in, as if tonight were any ordinary night.

"Kaoru I will give you your surprise now."

A previously sleepy Kaoru stopped rubbing her eyes in mid yawn and looked at her father with rapt attention and a lot of not-so-well concealed excitement. Her father smiled and with a chuckle, took his bokken and waved it over Kaoru's head.

"Lumoschromasia" After the last tones of Tatsu's deep voice faded from the room a multitude of little colored lights appeared, dancing and twirling about the room like fairies.

His daughter's eyes reflected every pinpoint of light as she examined each in turn.

"Thank you daddy this is the best surprise EVER!" Kaoru finally burst out in a fit of girlish energy. She undid all the tucking in by jumping up to hug her father. He smiled sadly and hugged her back. Then he gently placed her back onto her futon.

"Kaoru, you know why I give you these surprises?"

"Because you love me papa. What a silly thing to ask." Kaoru knew by now how to answer this question, because he told her every day how much he loved her even if he didn't always say it out loud.

"That's right Kaoru. I love you more than anything. No matter what happens I love you. You will always be my daughter."

"I love you too daddy," said Kaoru, confused at his odd behavior.

'Usually Daddy sounds happy when he talks to me, but now he's sad.' Kaoru watched her father with an oddly perceptive gaze. "Are you sad papa?" she queried, always one to voice her thoughts.

"Yes dear, I am." Tatsu watched the ground so Kaoru wouldn't see that she was the real reason for his depression.

"Because you miss Mommy?" Kaoru tried to catch her father's gaze by leaning forward into his field of vision, but he looked down even more so his dark bangs blocked her view.

"...yes Kaoru I miss Mommy," came Tatsu's voice after a deep silence.

"Don't worry papa you will see her again in heaven!" Kaoru smiled brightly, hoping that it would cheer her father.

"Yes Kaoru you are right, I will see Mommy soon." Finally he was able to look into his daughter's eyes. "Oyasumi little firefly, my Kaoru… my angel."

"Oyasumi Otou-san. I love you." said the little girl as she curled back up underneath the covers and closed her expressive eyes.

"...Love you sweetheart," replied Tatsu absently after a pause.

The disillusioned man stayed by his daughter's bed and watched her drift into the sleep of a child. She slept without worries or doubts if tomorrow will indeed come.

The fairy lights still floated through the air. To Tatsu they seemed like an extension of his daughter, bright and so very alive that the world became a more beautiful place just because she existed to give it light. There was one other person who lit Tatsu's world and for months now it had seemed a darker place because she was gone. Kaoru's father took a fairy light in his hand and looked deep into it, as if he could see memories there.

"My last surprise to you Kaoru. Goodbye" Her father took his bokken from his side and muttered a few words. Kaoru fell into a deeper sleep, Her breathing slowing and becoming more rhythmic. Tatsu picked her up as if she where made of glass and with a 'Crack' disappeared from his home and apparated to a dim room of a European townhouse. Tatsu gingerly handed his daughter to young witch with bottlenose glasses who stood waiting for his appearance.

"Thank you Tatsu, I will watch over her as if she were my own."

He smiled "Yes Sybill I know you will. I just wish my brother and your sister were still here to care for her also,… but you will do a fine job. Kaoru is a loving child. She resembles her mother in that aspect." He forced a smile onto his face.

"I believe it," said Sybil enthusiastically, "Your wife was a beautiful kind woman. She cared for me when my parents were gone... but Kaoru is like you also. She is stronger than Kaori. She will live where her mother failed."

Tatsu smiled faintly, but didn't speak his next thought out loud. 'I won't have to bear the loss of my daughter for long. At least here I know she will be safe. As long as everyone thinks she is with me when…' He looked up quickly at his sister-in-law, who was beginning to look suspicious of Tatsu's odd expression.

"Goodbye Sybill." I hope that she will not burden you too much." He slid a mask into place over his worries.

"She'll never be a burden Tatsu," said the witch sincerely, "I'll see you when you come to pick her up next week."

"Yes.." The man looked away not meeting the young witch's eyes, "in a week."

Sybill frowned at the man as he disappeared with a familiar crack.

She looked down at his daughter. He had many reasons to be sad, but still his entire demeanor had seemed …off somehow. It was a little bit like that evening a year ago when he'd told her about his vision...

'but then Tatsu had a reason for his sadness,' thought the witch pensively as she absently studied the features of the sleeping child in her arms.

Only half of Kaoru's face could be seen in the flickering candlelight of the room and Sybill saw something glittering on the girl's cheek, but they couldn't possibly be tears. Kaoru never cried. She was the most disturbingly upbeat person the Sybill had ever met. So she paid them little mind and took Kaoru to a room that had been prepared for her in advance.

The first nightmare Kaoru ever had, was of her father, saying goodbye.


A week later on August 6, 1945 8:15A.M., the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.

Kaoru's home and past life were destroyed like that of so many others. The only difference was that her father knew what laid in her future. And it was not death.


2 years earlier in late August 1943


The sun shone dimly through the low hanging clouds and the cool morning air was soft with water. The forest below covered the low Tennessee Mountains to the horizon in every direction. The song of the birds and cicadas below filled the air with a constant hum. This sound was music to Kenshin's ears.

'He can't hear me through this noise.'

Kenshin let out a silent breath of relief. He was perched high up in the branches of an ancient pine, only now did he let himself relax, releasing his tightly controlled breathing in a near silent sigh.

'I've lost him.' The newly thirteen-year- old boy relaxed against the tree, his flame red hair formerly pulled away from his face had all slipped free from the makeshift tie he ripped from the sleeve of his gi. It now hung limply about his face and down between his shoulder blades.

'Stupid tie,' huffed Kenshin. 'I'm hot, sweaty and my STUPID HAIR is sticking to the back of my neck! "zzzZZZZZzZZZzzzzz ... SMACK" 'AAAAAhhhh! Stupid BUGS! Do I LOOK like food to you, you disgusting obnoxious little... Thinking of bugs, and birds. I can't hear them. It's too quiet. It's almost like the time when...'

Kenshin tensed looking about the tree for the predator. The distinct sigh of metal against wood whispered in his ears. 'To the left! Kenshin leapt down from the middle of the 30-foot fir somehow managing to land softly into a kneeling stance, his hand poised over the hilt of his katana wide eyes searching the tree above him fearfully. His head snapped around to the right and his body followed. He whipped his sword from its sheath and jumping backward, deflected the attack with a crosswise block.

"Good one, stupid boy. Only a week ago my sword would have been at your neck by this time in the morning."

Kenshin scowled at the 'stupid boy' comment and jumped backwards again to put some distance between them.

"I learn quickly, master," said Kenshin with a decidedly sarcastic tone.

"Don't get too cocky boy. You still have three hours until lunch." The master grinned, showing his white teeth. "And look you're tired already, pity really. I had hoped that my stupid student would put up a good fight."

"I had a bad dream. I couldn't sleep." Kenshin's sarcastic tone turned defensive, as he stood straighter trying to hide his fatigue. He lunged forward aiming for his master's heart. The tall man easily deflected the blow by stepping aside and striking downward with his sword.

"Not fast enough boy, you need to..." his words were cut off as Kenshin turned his forward momentum sideways into a sweeping cut aiming for the man's neck this time. The man fell backwards into a roll to avoid it and ended up with a nice haircut.

"Ha. Ha. Ha." said Kenshin in a superior voice "I thought you needed a trim. The ladies will love you now that I've gotten rid of those split ends."

"I've had better haircuts." The dark haired man fingered the end of his now not so long ponytail. "You're looking a little scraggly yourself Kenshin. Perhaps I should take a little off the side. Don't be angry if I remove an ear or two."

Kenshin's eye twitched, and he fought the urge to reach up and cover his ears.
"What comes around goes around boy." Said his master vindictively, and then he disappeared.

'Above!' Kenshin's instincts screamed. He barely lifted his sword in time to meet his master's attack. His master's full 200 pounds of weight were behind that steel and little Kenshin barely broke 100.

'I can't lock swords with him. It's a losing battle.' Kenshin dropped onto his heels and tried to sweep his master's legs. He hoped that his sudden lack of resistance would disbalance his master enough for a low attack to work.

Kenshin's brief hopes where dashed when his master jumped backwards avoiding the sweep and kicked off of a tree to propel himself forwards again this time with even more momentum.

Kenshin knew he couldn't even hope to block this incoming attack so he sheathed his sword and dove to the side, hoping that some distance and maybe a few trees in the way would help his situation. At the end of his roll Kenshin brought his feet beneath his body and with a jumpstart he began weaving through the trees at top speed.

'Maybe I can lose him again,' he thought desperately as the trees blurred past. 'Then I can catch my breath.' Kenshin heard a twig snap and jumped away from the sound. Sadly he found himself backed against a huge maple's trunk as master's sword flew towards him. He barely had time to duck and the blade shortened only a few strands of Kenshin's liquid fire hair before embedding itself about half a foot into a large maple's trunk. The force used to put it there could have easily separated a much slower person's head from their body.

Kenshin swallowed thickly and looked up at the blade just above his head with a sick feeling. He shouldn't have wasted time sitting there however, because his master abandoned his katana and kicked Kenshin in the side, with enough force to send him flying. Kenshin grasped his side in pain and turned his flight into a clumsy roll. He ended up sprawled upside down against another tree gasping in pain and wishing he'd gotten out of the way faster.

When Kenshin was finally able to speak he did so through clenched teech, "Kuso! That hurt Master!" hissed Kenshin, trying not to double over as he slowly attempted to right himself.

"Good. It was supposed to. Now get up and fight," said the man as he continued working his sword free from the offending trunk. The tall dark-haired man was beginning to feel irritated at his student's display of weakness… and this tree's stubborn grip on his katana.

Meanwhile Kenshin sat with his arms around his midsection trying not to breathe to deeply.

'I think he broke my ribs! God, I hope none of them punctured my lungs. I'm too young to die!' Kenshin thought dramatically as he prepared to stand.

His master finally succeeded in pulling his sword from the offending tree and again started for Kenshin.

The flame haired boy weakly propped his sword, still in its sheath, up on the ground and used it along with the tree he was leaning against to pull himself up. It was an agonizing process. Kenshin was about to pull his sword free when his master stopped halfway on his journey to his student and began looking around suspiciously. His blade was still leveled in Kenshin's direction.

"I think we have company boy," said his master in a lowered voice. "To your left." Kenshin raised his blue-lavender eyes to the forest on his left. In a rustle of leaves his master disappeared again.

Kenshin quickly ducked behind the tree he had been leaning against all the while holding a hand to his aching ribs. He was curious as to who would be up in this particular area of the forest. Especially when everyone around these parts knew how dangerous his master was with a sword. Yet this one was sneaking, or attempting to sneak and doing a bad job of it, through the woods, obviously looking for trouble, but where was he? Kenshin could tell he was very close by the feel of the man's odd ki nearby.

'I should be able to see him. I know he's right in front of me,' Kenshin thought desperately as he looked into the small clearing behind his hiding place. Kenshin's master suddenly reappeared holding his sword level, eyes narrowed at the space at the tip of his blade.

"You might as well uncover yourself. I know you're there.

"Ha ha ha! Wonderful! Marvelous!" Clapping rang out from the spot where Kenshin's master pointed his blade. Then a man in a black business suit (think secret service) appeared holding a pair of sunglasses in his hand. Kenshin almost fell over in shock.

"Wha How did you? Huh?" Kenshin uttered intelligently.

"He's a wizard, a magic user," said Kenshin's master without looking at Kenshin. "But what I don't understand is why he's here." Kenshin's master eyed the 'wizard' suspiciously.

"Ahh I believe I can answer that one for you" replied the man in black. "I'm here to kill you." The man jumped backwards and pulling something from his jacket pointing it at Kenshin's master, who cut the object in half before the man had even raised it halfway.

Water sprayed all over both of them. His master blinked in confusion.

"A squirt gun." He said flatly.

"Yes, precisely" said the man in black. A cricket chirped.

'Who is this guy?' thought Kenshin, now completely mystified.

"I was testing your abilities, and you passed. Not surprising considering you're Seijuro Hiko."

"So you know my name. Do I want to know yours?"

"That depends on whether or not you'll listen to my proposition."

"Start talking, you have until half before twelve."

"You're going to eat lunch early?" the man questioned with wide eyes.

"No no of course not. My stupid student over here needs time to prepare it."

"Oh that's alright then." The man nodded with a knowing smile on his face.

Kenshin just stared. 'What the heck are they talking about? How is it that Hiko can hold someone at sword point and still not have a serious conversation?'

Kenshin finally found his voice "How did you, you know become invisible like that?" the man's shocking appearance had still not left the boy. The two men turned their heads to look at him.

"Oh that." Said the brown eyed, brown haired, completely forgettable man. "Well these sunglasses have an invisibility charm on them. And even more interesting they block 50 of UVA and UVB radiation."

"What?" said Kenshin "I think I understood the first part and then you said that other thing... whatever," Kenshin gave up trying to understand and just watched the two men, waiting to see what they would do next.

"Anyway, Seijuro Hiko I am an American agent representing the Allied forces. I have come to request your assistance."

"Keep talking," said Hiko in a bored tone. He lowered his sword and sheathed it managing to look wholly uninterested in what the man was saying.

"Shouldn't I speak to you alone?" said the black suited man looking pointedly at Kenshin.

"Whatever can be said to me can be said in front of my pupil."

At this admission Kenshin looked sharply at his master and then slowly a proud smile crept onto his face.

The man looked back at Hiko and sighed, "Alright, you win. I'll get right to the point. The Japanese are predicting our every move and then relaying the information to the Germans. We need to get rid of their seers. According to our spies they also have a group of college professors and some students researching the use of nuclear fission to create a bomb. They must not complete their work. They and their research have to be eliminated quickly. There are also a number of higher up Japanese wizards that need to be taken care of before they cause much more trouble."

"So you want an assassin." Hiko deadpanned. "Why don't you get some sniper guy in those places with a gun."

"Science doesn't work in places of high magical concentration. Any gun within an accurate shooting distance couldn't produce more than a puff of smoke and a little flag out of the barrel saying, Kill me I'm a muggle…"

He gestured to the weapon at Hiko's side. "Your sword, however, is just a piece of steel and it works all the same." The man paused with a thoughtful look on his face.

"Those Japanese wizards actually believe that their emperor is a god on earth. The belief of thousands of wizards is a powerful thing. Their emperor actually does have some godlike powers, because they unknowingly give them to him. If we could just take away their belief then they would have no power left. Then both Germany and Japan will fall."

"Have a wizard do it then."

"The Japanese have a ... system. They can detect any intruder using magic to cloak their presence and no unknown person is going to just walk in waving a wand around," the man waved his hands in the air like a conductor of an orchestra.

"Don't you magicians know the meaning of stealth! You're supposed to sneak in," said Hiko in a disgusted tone.

"We umm don't have anyone with those skills," the man looked at his feet sheepishly.

"I won't do it." Hiko said flatly "and you are wasting my time."

"But America can't lose! Do you know what will happen if the allies lose?" The man's voice had a hysterical edge to it now.

"I never get involved in useless wars!" yelled Kenshin's master. "All I get is blood on my hands and guilt. If I say yes you'll have me killing not only those men, but their families as well, and I will NOT be a part of that."

"But, if you help it will save lives, Mr. Seijuro, hundreds and millions of lives. All of those soldiers and those people in the German camps. They need y-"

"I won't fall for that. Now if you don't leave immediately you will be leaving in several pieces."

The man gulped and then quickly glanced in Kenshin's direction. Hiko conspicuously laid his hand on the hilt of his katana.

"I, I see that we cannot agree," the man stuttered at the obvious threat. "Good day Mr. Seijuro. Good day Kenshin." he nodded at each of them in turn. He then reached inside his sleeve, pulled out a long polished piece of wood, muttered a few words and disappeared with a-


"Where did he go master!" Kenshin blurted out, his mind having trouble coping with the man's sudden appearance and disappearance.

"I don't know. It doesn't matter anyway." Seijuro turned away from Kenshin and started for their hut. "Its time for more important things. Now hurry on ahead and start lunch or this time I'll take more than a few hairs off of the top of your head."

"Like what I cut from yours," muttered Kenshin under his breath.

"I heard that," came the deadly calm voice of his master.

Kenshin sprinted all the way back to the hut despite the pain in his side.

The next day...

The birds were chirping all around a scenic little clearing. Smoke came out of a rude cabin made from surrounding trees with a thatched roof and a small hole in the middle to let out smoke. A small pile of firewood lay next to the door and a cute little chipmunk skittered up a tree, disturbed by the loud voices coming from within the hut.

"Kenshin I'm out of sake go down to the Japanese goods store and get me some more."

"Master, America is in a trade embargo with Japan. That store was closed down last week."

"Kuso! Damn war! What am I supposed to do without sake?"

Kenshin's face developed a smirk when his master's voice assumed a whining tone.

"Alcoholism is a disease." Kenshin said with the aforementioned expression.

"So is stupidity, and your case will be terminal if you don't learn to show more respect."

Kenshin's expression became a bit strained. "Yes master. Shall I buy something else for you to drink?" 'Like acid,' Kenshin said tightly controlling the level of sarcasm in his voice.

"Now that you mention it, I would like some tea, preferably green, but if you can't find it just get black, and I don't want any of those fancy girly flavors that you like so much."

"Lemon is not a girly flavor! Is there anything else you need?" Kenshin bit out, obviously annoyed.

"No, we get all our other essentials from nature. Just don't get lost on the way to town and maybe you should leave your katana. Last time the cashier thought you were trying to rob him and I had to bail you out."

"I would like to try and forget that particular incident," said Kenshin looking slightly disturbed.

"Make sure your wakazashi is well hidden. I think you should bring it along even though it's unlikely that you'd be attacked by anyone in town." added Hiko as Kenshin walked out the door. Kenshin rolled his eyes and continued down the overgrown path to the small town not three miles south.

He broke through the last of the trees around five in the afternoon. The sweltering August sun made the asphalt of the parking lot about ten degrees hotter than the shady forest that surrounded his home. Kenshin trudged to the sidewalk and then turned south to the grocery store. The people here no longer stopped and openly stared at Kenshin or his master when they occasionally showed up in town. Instead they threw wary glances at Kenshin when they thought he couldn't see them.

'I am Japanese after all,' thought Kenshin, 'and these clothes don't help.' Kenshin reached down and fingered the well-used cloth of his gray hakama

'Oh well, they're more comfortable than those tight pants these Americans wear.'

Kenshin didn't even think that people with fire red hair and big violet eyes are rare in any society, especially Japan. Kenshin was also short for his age and, sadly, rather pretty. The poor youth was at risk of confusing quite a few straight men when he got older.

Kenshin stepped inside the door of the grocery store and sighed when the cool air washed over him. The fact that the door took a little too long to close didn't escape his attention so he continued walking until he was alone in one of the aisles.

"So, how long have you been following me?" asked Kenshin casually.


"Look I know you're here, so just save yourself the trouble." Kenshin continued annoyed.

"I cannot reveal myself when there is a chance a muggle will see me," said the voice from yesterday.

"Ahh I see, so I am supposed to pretend that I'm talking to myself instead of you finding a nice secluded place to reveal yourself and then entering the door visibly," Kenshin pointed discreetly towards the front of the store.

"Yes. People in towns this size are highly suspicious of strangers, especially when they are dressed as I am. They start asking questions. Believe me its easier this way,"

"Alright fair enough" said Kenshin as he grabbed the last box of green tea from the shelf and walked up to the cashier. He handed the man exact change showed him the object and walked out the door. The whole process took less than five seconds.

"Well you're a friendly one boy," stated the invisible man as he walked along beside Kenshin.

"I'm not welcome in town," said Kenshin, "and I don't appreciate you following me around for your own amusement."

"Ahh, but it's not for my amusement, boy."

"Then get to the point, and stop calling me Boy," snapped Kenshin.

"What should I call you then? Kenshin is too informal."


"Alright Mr. Himura. I have an offer to make."

Kenshin stopped, unable to believe what he had just heard. "You want me to come and work for you?" Kenshin's eyes were wide with disbelief.

"Why not?" said the man with an eager note in his voice. "You sensed me back there in the store didn't you?"

"Yes..." Kenshin said slowly, "but..."

"But what?" said the man desperately.

"I'm only thirteen," Kenshin finished.

"Oh is that all. I thought you were going to side with your master." The man sounded extremely relieved. "You're strong enough. Not as strong as your master I suppose but what really matters is your speed."

"I'm as fast as my master," boasted Kenshin, "and almost as skilled." (That was only half lying. Kenshin is fast but not nearly as skilled)

"Are you now?" said the man slyly. "Come with me then."

"Okay..." said Kenshin suspiciously. 'I'm not an idiot. I know he's going to attack me or something.'

Kenshin followed the deliberately loud footsteps to an abandoned warehouse.

"Our meeting place," assured the man. "Follow me."

"Whatever," Kenshin rolled his eyes. He stepped into the open door of the warehouse his senses on high alert. The man stepped in behind him, took off his invisibility sunglasses and pulled out his wand. He said a few words under his breath. A ball of light appeared and floated up to the ceiling to reveal a largely empty warehouse with a dirt floor and a desk and a few chairs in the middle.

"What were you expecting?" the man asked curiously. He had noticed Kenshin looking about quickly as if he was in search of something.

"Nothing!" said Kenshin quickly.

"Oh, well then, have a seat." The man gestured to the chairs in the middle of the room. Kenshin strode over to the desk and sat in a generously cushioned office chair. The brown haired man sat opposite him and leaned on his elbows towards Kenshin across the shiny metal desk. "I assume you remember the conversation between Mr. Seijuro and I yesterday."

Kenshin nodded.

"Then you understand the situation I'm in. I was ordered to bring Mr. Seijuro to our aid and I failed. I can't force someone like him to help the Allies. I'd just end up on the wrong side of his sword. Which is why I need your help." The man spread his arms palm up in a helpless gesture and then folded his hands on the desk.

"I won't be able to change his mind, if that's what you're wondering," said Kenshin in a calm voice.

"No, No I want you to take his place Mr. Himura. Will you come and work for us? It would save lives."

"I don't think..." started Kenshin.

"Do you know what the Germans are doing?" the man interrupted hastily.

"Uhhhh...no?" answered Kenshin confused at the outburst.

"They've taken thousands millions of innocent muggles and put them in death camps. Women, children, boys your age are being murdered all because some insane tyrant has taken control of Germany. The Japanese are actually supporting them. Do you want that to continue?"

"..." Kenshin sat stunned for a full minute. Then he shook his head, trying to rid himself of the disturbing images brought to his mind by the new information.

"What does 'muggle' mean?"

The man blinked, clearly expecting a different response. "Oh that. It's the word wizards and witches use to describe people who can't use magic.

"So I'm a muggle," said Kenshin thoughtfully.

"Strictly speaking, yes," said the man. "Which is one of the reasons I've asked you to help me. No one in the magic world has ever heard your name or seen your face. You will be able to slip by their magic sensors without setting off any wards used to detect the wand of an invading wizard. The wards can also be set to specific people. If they don't know your true name they can't keep you from entering their domain. The Japanese know all the names of our spies and potential spies already and we know theirs. We need someone who is Japanese so they can blend with the crowd, and a muggle so they will be ignored. You fit that quota and your age helps too. You certainly don't look threatening."

"Thanks," said Kenshin sarcastically, scowling at his reflection on the desk. 'I wish I was taller' he thought wistfully.

"Well back to the point. Will you help us?"

Kenshin looked up from the desk through his long fiery bangs and met the man's intent brown eyes. He thought of all the people already in the war, the soldiers, doctors...wizards. They were supposed to fight to protect their families, but those camps, the entire families slaughtered for what? The whim of a maniac? 'I have to stop this' Kenshin decided.

"Will the war end sooner if I come with you?" asked Kenshin in a serious voice.

"Yes," said the man without pause.

"Then I will work for you," said Kenshin, determined.

The man rose from his desk, a sincere smile on his face. "Thank you Mr. Himura. This is a noble decision you've made."

Kenshin walked back to his home in a daze. 'I will help this war to end and no one will stop me... but I don't know anyone in Japan, not anymore. I'll be alone.'

He stopped in the middle of the darkened forest path and listened to the cricket's constant song. The fireflies were drifting gracefully into the air, lazily dancing along the path and winking in and out of sight. Kenshin watched their light display wordlessly from underneath his bangs. His eyes followed the progress of one of the lights as it wandered away from the rest and crossed as it landed on his nose. He smiled and gingerly took the lightning bug from its place and watched it light up in the palm of his hand, it's glow glittered in his eyes, offering comfort for the pain in his past... and in his future. Finally it crawled up his finger like it would to the tip of a blade of grass and lit into the air rejoining its kind along side the path. Kenshin smiled softly and left the scene behind to continue his hike up the mountain.

'I hope they have fireflies where I am going.'



The handsome man laughed as he tossed his small child into the air. The little redheaded boy laughed when his father caught him and yelled in glee every time he became airborne.

An amused voice spoke up from behind the happy father and son.

"You know it used to make me nervous when you tossed him around like that."

The man caught his son and then looked over his shoulder at his wife, "I know, that's half the reason I began doing it." He smiled mischievously. "The other reason was because Shinta likes to fly." He looked down at the boy whose tiny arms were thrown around his neck.

"Don't you Shinta?"

The child nodded enthusiastically.

The woman laughed good naturedly, as she sat on the floor next to the redheads.

He set the child down to the floor and turned to kiss his wife in greeting. She pulled the toddler into her lap and looked serenely into his wide lavender-blue eyes.

"They're just like his Grandmother's," she whispered to her husband in awe. I hope he'll be as kindhearted as mother was.

"Of course he will," he said in an agreeable manner. Both parents sat in silence, each remembering their own mother and father.

"Well the hair's definitely mine," said her husband after a pause.

She whacked him on the arm. "I was trying to be serious." The toddler giggled. One could tell the couple had spoken this conversation many times. Both parents looked at their child as he sat and reached for a stray crayon, and promptly started chewing on it. His mother sighed and tried to distract him enough to get the crayon away without causing a tantrum. Both parents knew that their child had a powerful set of lungs from past experience.

"Shinta, come now, give mommy the crayon. Oh, Shinta do you want to play in the wawa. It will be wots of fun widdle munchkin."

Shinta looked up at his mother with large violet eyes, "Wawa he said slowly. Baff?"

"Yes dear. With bubbles," his mother placated, smiling as he relinquished the crayon in hopes of a nice warm bath. His mother sighed in relief and handed the offending crayon to the boy's father.

"Ewww why did you give this to me he's chewed on it."

"Ha Ha. Very funny. You've dealt with ten times the slobber on that crayon without so much as flinching. Now go and get Shinta's night clothes."

"Closs" echoed Shinta


Kenshin awoke early that morning. He had tried several positions to reduce the weight he put on the left side of his body. Finally he ended up drifting off in a sitting position against the wall. The pain in his side had lessened somewhat. At least now it wasn't throbbing constantly. Of course it still made its painful presence known whenever he slouched, stood up, sat down, breathed deeply, laughed, or did anything else otherwise stressful on his midsection.

Kenshin mumbled groggily to himself as he rubbed the sleep from his eyes, "ve dealt with worse… ll' be gone in a few days."

He slowly stood and pushed off the wall. He crossed the hut and dug around in the small cabinet for the vegetables he'd picked yesterday and for the stock of dried venison his master cured periodically. He tossed the meat in a pot and went out to the well to draw up a bucket of water all the while mumbling curses at his master for not getting indoor plumbing.

"Every one else is getting it. The cheap jerk." Kenshin's flow of derogatory comments was interrupted by a large yawn escaping his throat.

When finished with this job. He loaded his arms with enough fire wood to cook breakfast and pushed it unceremoniously into the cooking pit at the center of the room.

He stroked the dying embers from last night to life and yawned again as he waited for the new wood to catch the flames.

"And electricity would be nice too," he grumbled as he poked at the fire one last time and went to retrieve the meal fixings.

He carefully placed the pot with the meat and water onto the metal rack stretched over the newly built up fire and chopped the vegetables as the water came to a boil. The daily routine worked its subtle magic and soon a fully awake Kenshin was now nervously glancing back and forth between the doorway and the cooking soup.

'I shouldn't be so afraid of what my master will do when he finds out I'm leaving. I know it's the right thing to do, but still,' he glanced again to the open doorway.

Kenshin mentally berated himself, 'What's my problem? '

To Keep his thoughts from running away with him. The thirteen year old opened a huge barrel in the corner of the hut and measured out some rice into another pot of water which he also set on the rack above the fire. He poured the remaining liquid into a tin teapot and put some of the green tea he'd bought yesterday into the container. Then the teen put both above the fire with the soup.

While the food was left cooking he slowly gathered his few belongings. Even though he took his time neatly folding his clothes it still didn't take long. He only had one other set of clothes besides the ones he was wearing. His other gi and hakama fit neatly into a deer hide rucksack along with a spinning top he'd always remembered having. The boy left the bundle on the ground next to his rolled up futon.

When the food was finished he pulled it off the rack and divided it up into several ceramic bowls, placing them on the low table. Kenshin wasted little time savoring his food as he quickly downed his soup and rice. Just as he finished and stood to cross the hut to pick up his rucksack, a shadow blocked the light streaming through the doorway causing Kenshin to start like a child caught stealing from a cookie jar.

Hiko eyed Kenshin with an unreadable expression on his face and then looked over to where his apprentice's traveling pack lay.

"Where do you think you're going?"

"To help stop the war," answered Kenshin his chin held high. He crossed the room and picked up his things, all the while very aware of his master's stony gaze resting on his back.

Hiko's eyes narrowed and his face darkened. "No you're not," he said threateningly.

"Are you going to stop me?" replied Kenshin defiantly as he stood and turned to face his teacher.

Hiko looked away from Kenshin sharply and glared at the breakfast steaming on the low table with his unreadable expression in place once more. He looked back at Kenshin.

"Do you know why we are living in the United States Kenshin?" he asked, his voice dripping with barely controlled anger.

"Be...because the Japanese government chased you from Japan," said Kenshin now afraid of his master's obvious fury. He fought not to shrink away from the man on the other side of the room.

'Did he just get taller?' thought the teen wearily.

"We left Japan because they tried to kill me when I wouldn't aid them in their little war preparations. Those damn wizards wanted me to kill for them. I had to leave Japan and the entire East because the bastards wouldn't leave me alone."

He paused and sucked in a steadying breath, causing his nostrils to flare.

Kenshin was suddenly reminded of a dragon about to breathe flames down on an unsuspecting village.

"You were lucky I found you when I did Kenshin because the next day was when I left Japan forever. I can never go back, because wizards have long memories and their emperor does too. They ruined my LIFE because I wouldn't become their little toy and kill for them."

His eyes glowered into Kenshin's. "Do you want blood on your hands Kenshin, because that's what you'll have, blood and guilt. You've never had to kill someone before. You're lucky."

"I'm still going," said Kenshin, steadfast in his decision.

"Go then" said his master in disgust, "you are no longer my student. You were a mistake." Hiko stepped aside to let Kenshin pass.

Kenshin walked through the door looking down, fighting the tears trying to spring into his lowered eyes.

His master's, no, former master's voice filtered quietly through the door, but Kenshin heard what he said quite clearly.

"I hope you live to regret your decision."

"Goodbye... Master" whispered Kenshin in a broken voice.



Sean's spot

(alas poor Hiko will no longer have a young boy to keep him warm in the middle of the night)

Please disregard this last comment. I let my dorky older brother write something funny at the end of each chapter. Sadly, funny and perverted suggestion often mean the same thing. I just wanted you to know he got several dirty looks and an ewwww! For writing this one.

If you want to read Sean's story, a DBZ Ranma ½ fusion, you can find it under the name Arinson Tidochi. The story is called Joining. It's very good.


The spot of Meow (The even older brother)

(Hiko will have to go to town himself to buy sake from now on. And he will have to drink it alone also. I've heard sake tastes better with company. Considering how bad it tastes normally it could only get better from there.)

Meow, aka eternal wanderer, also has a story on It's called ninja fates. It is a Naruto, Ah my Goddess fusion. It is very interesting. Please read it!