Chapter 149: Kyoto Epilogue 5--An Early Summer Afternoon
Copyright© 2011 by Murasame
(Kenshin splashes the marker with water, offers flowers and incense, and prays.)
Hiko: Visiting the grave after so long ... You've neglected her for ten years. What brings you here now?
(Sanosuke and Yahiko are walking through the ruins of Shishio's hideout.)
Yahiko: When I was fighting that Ten Swords bat guy, it was like I was in a dream. I didn't understand anything. After the fight, I thought about it a lot. (he holds up a fist) I won! I'm the best! (letting it drop) But, were we the ones who were right? I guess I'm still pretty inexperienced. So it's natural that I get left out...
(Sanosuke kicks him.)
Sanosuke: Quit your whining.
Yahiko: That hurt!!
Sanosuke: Shut up a minute. I didn't come here to listen to you complain.
(They come to what's left of the bridge to the main battleground, which has collapsed.)
Yahiko: This was the final battleground... (thinking) This must be where Saitou died!
(Sanosuke stares down for a moment.)
Sanosuke: I can't believe that bastard is dead. But there's no way he could have gotten out of here alive ... So in the end he won and ran out on our fight ... or, by his logic, I'm the one who's still alive, so I'm the winner. Whatever. It all disappeared in the explosion. Guess the only thing I can do is be better.
Yahiko: Be better? You don't mean better than Saitou?
Sanosuke (walking out): Not just in strength. In everything.
Yahiko (watching him go, thinking) So that's it ... Sanosuke didn't come here to see if Saitou was really dead. He came to settle the fight he lost with Saitou. This past month he never said a word about Saitou, but that doesn't mean it hasn't been bothering him. He's searching for the answer that will turn winning into growing stronger!
(he runs to catch up with Sanosuke)
Yahiko (thinking): That's it. I'll grow past this. If I'm still inexperienced, I'll get over this and move forward! Quit looking back and move forward! (aloud) Hey, don't just walk off by yourself! You trying to lose me? (thinking) If I can do that, I'll be a little closer to Kenshin and the others, to great men!
(Kaoru and Megumi have finished their ices. Megumi gets up to go.)
Megumi: I don't know what will happen next time. Ken-san isn't the kind of man who loves to fight, but if another situation like this one comes up, he'll get involved without thinking of his own condition. And then someday ... So...
Kaoru: So... ?
Megumi (thinking): It's time to tell him about your own feelings. (aloud) So, if Ken-san is going to come back and live a normal life, you have to pull yourself together. No one's death is fixed, but someone who has a strong reason to live will survive better than someone who doesn't. Of course Ken-san is a swordsman born and bred, so it won't be easy for him to give it up. He's a kind man, so he fights for everyone even at the risk of his own life. But ... if anyone can stop him from dying in battle, it's you. The only person in Tokyo he wanted to say goodbye to. I won't let you dwell in the past, like you did before, even if it's over him. That's all I wanted to say. You understand me?
(She starts to walk away.)
Kaoru: Thank you, Megumi...
Megumi: Don't thank me. I didn't do this for you. I'm telling you this for Ken-san's sake.
Kaoru: I know...