Forbidden Dreams

Unforgiven
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by Kai Himitsu

Japan, 1767. A war has begun to end the tyranny of the Tokgawa Era and begin the new era that will be known as the Meiji, a peaceful era with a new emperor and new government. Imperialists were the patriots who fought to give ideas and hope to the people and preserve the ideals of the government. Yet there are those who think the Imperialists are scum not meant to walk the Earth placed beneath their feet. Those who’d rather die than succumb to the rules of the government the Imperialists fought for. One such is Sagara Hikari.

Chap 1: An Old Friend

Ten years have passed since the Meiji Era and peace resides best in Tokyo. The people are happy and care-free, abiding the rules of the government. Those who belong to the Kenshin-gumi know full well that even with all that’s been done, the revolution isn’t over. People still fight what they think should be the people’s rights instead of those the government has passed. But as for today, it’s just another day in the life of a rurouni.

“Kenshin!!!!!” Karou yelled. Kenshin gulped and went to hide but was too late. He turned to face Karou and her fiery wrath. “I told you to pick up the groceries an hour ago! Where are they?!”

“Uhh...in the kitchen...”

“Then why can’t I find them?!”

“I put them away already.”

“Oh.....” Karou blushed. “Sorry. Then.”

“Who’s up for lunch at the Akebecko?” Sanosuke walked in smiling. Being nearly two feet taller than everyone else, especially Yahiko, he had to look down at them.

“We don’t have the money for that!” Yahiko yelled at him.

“We do know!” Sano held up his usually empty pouch to show it was bulging with gold coins earned possibly from gambling.

“Wow! You actually won?” Karou asked.

“Actually, no.” Sano said, sweat-dropping. “This is only half of it. I had a friend play for me, and we split the winnings.” Everyone sighed letting Sano know they were proud of him in a very sarcastic way. “Anyway, he had to leave so he didn’t divide it evenly. That’s lucky.” He smiled. “Well, let’s go. Come on. Unless you’d rather eat Karou’s cooking.” Yahiko and Kenshin ran out faster than a train. Sano was right behind them with Karou chasing holding a wooden sword high, ready to strike him.

“I’ve told you a thousand times, it’s......”

“No! That’s unacceptable. I will not settle for a low price.”

“Then the deal is off!” Conversation filled the entire restaurant as the Sano, Kenshin, Yahiko, and Karou ate peacefully.

“So many people, and so much arguing. It’s a wonder we come here at all anymore. Oh, well.” Karou sighed as she popped another chunk of meat into her mouth. Sano downed his glass of sake as the others ate trying to ignore the ruckus. The sound a glass shattering and a metal pan banging filled the air.

“You stupid wench! Who’s gonna pay for that?!”

“You, of course! I ain’t got nothin’ to do with it!”

“You’re paying for that! It’s your fault!”

“Bite me!” A fight started near the back. It was between some drunk and a woman obviously not in a good mood. The fight ended as soon as it had started, the man with a broken bone and bloody face. The woman was panting trying to catch her breath, but she smiled all the same. She had short, dark brown hair, light brown eyes, and she wore a uniform similar to Sano’s only the shirt buttoned for obvious reasons and the clothes weren’t as loose. A red head-band tied around her head, the ends trailing down her back.

“She seems familiar....” Sano mumbled. Yahiko smirked.

“Is she your girlfriend, Sanosuke?”

“You wish!” The two started fighting.

“Well, I’ve had my fill of fighting for one day. Time to head home.” The woman walked past their booth. As she did, Kenshin saw the ‘aku’ mark on her back.

“Bad?” He blinked. Sano looked up. He saw it, too.

“Here, Tae. Sorry about that.” The woman handed Tae, the restaurant waitress, a few coins.

“Oh, it’s alright.” She said in a bit of a southern accent. “You don’t have to pay extra for the damage.”

“No, I’m not that type of person.”

“Well, thanks, Ms. Sagara.” Tae bowed. The woman nodded and left.

“Sagara....” Sano walked over to Tae. “Hey, do you know her name?”

“Why, yes. It’s Hikari Sagara.”

“Hikari?!” Sano ran out, the others following him.

Hikari was half-way down the street when she heard her name being called.

“Hey, Hikari!” She turned sighing.

“What do you....” Her eyes widened. “Sano?” She blinked. He stopped nodding. She smiled. “Sanosuke!” She ran over, near hugging him, but instead they punched each other’s fist, a street fighter way over saying, ‘hello’. “Son of a gun. It is you. How ya been? Long time, no see.”

“Yeah. Too long, seems like. I almost didn’t recognize you.”

“Oh, well. Who’s your friends?” She looked behind him. He turned to see the others walk up.

“Sano, who is she?” Karou asked, catching her breath.

“Oh, I’m Hikari Sagara. Only daughter to Captain Souzo Sagara.”

“I’m Yahiko Myoujin. I come from a long line of Tokyo samurai.”

“I’m Karou Kamiya. Assistant master to the Kamiya dojo.”

“And this one is Kenshin Himura....” Hikari’s eyes immediately went dark.

“Himura.....as is Himura the Battousai?”

“Well, a long time ago, yes, but....” She held a low growl in her throat. Kenshin gulped. “Has this one done something wrong?”

“Yeah. Your Imperialist friends murdered my father and friends of the Sekihoutai! I don’t ever want to see you again. Show your face around me, you’ll lose it.” She turned to Sano and muttered, ‘Traitor’ before walking off.

“What’s her problem?” Yahiko asked.

“Think about it. She doesn’t know who Kenshin really is, and he’s an Imperialist. The Imperialist did murder the Sekihoutai to cover up their own mistakes. And her father was Captain Sagara. You think she can forgive that so easily?” Karou, Yahiko, and Kenshin stared at him.

Chap 2: A Cruel Past

Hikari walked into the darkness of her house just oppisite of the street of Ruffian Row. A small burst of light came from the match as she lit a candle sitting on the shelf. Light filled the room from the paper enclosed lamp. A futon lay under the window which showed the night sky speckled with stars. A square cut out of the floor held an arrangement of rocks and burnt logs where she usually cooked her meals. She carefully lit the fire there which allowed more light to pour into the room. AS she sat down, the flame on the candle burnt out. 'Perfect. I'll have to get a new one tomorrow. For now, I'll rest.' The flames danced making it seem more alive. Firelight flickered on her face giving it a glow like a goddess. Her light brown eyes in the firelight seemed darker as her dark brown hair seemed to be more of a bronze. She stared silently into the fire as images of the past caming creeping into her mind.

So much blood. Chaos, fires, deaths. Everything seemed to lay in ruins as the war for the Meji Era continued. A small troop of soldiers made of farmers and merchants walked through deserted battlelands. Red head-bands flowed and danced as the wind gently blew at their faces. A young man in the front led them on, doing his best to avoid gazing at the burnt and collasping figures, but even still he felt he sick to his stomach. Blue-grey eyes took in everything that lay before them. The bangs of his black hair hung down in front of his right eye. The uniforms they all wore were black pants and shirts with yellow squares at the elbow. A red vest was worn over this. A long red head-band was tied around each of their heads. Walking beside the man was a young girl. Short dark brown hair frolicked at her neck as the wind blew and light choclate brown eyes were wide with terror and interest. She didn't wear the same uniform her father did. Hers was a black and white pants and shirt with markings on the sides. Thick black strips lined the hems. Her fair skin was suddenly pale as if she were sick.

"Daddy, why must they kill each other? It seems so wrong." She looked up at her father, trying to not to look horrified at the sight.

"It is only because of this war. The Imperialists are fighting against those who want the tryanny of the Tokogawa Regime to continue. Thus they fight, and they end up losing many lives from each side. But you shouldn't worry about that. You're much too young." He replied all the while trying to keep a positive smile for her. She blinked.

"I'm older than eight." She protested.

"You're nine. That's only a year older. You're still too young." He ruffled her hair, and she laughed.

Hikari smiled at the memory. Her father had been so wise and caring. He was the man she would always turn to when she had a question or a problem. She couldn't say anything to her mother for she had been killed the day after Hikari was born. All she knew about her was that she had the same hair and eyes as her. Her father tried hard to raise her after that, and she couldn't have been happier. Then the worst thing possible happened. The Revolution started, and her father was chosen to led a group of men made up of farmers and merchants to help the Imperialists fight. One simple mistake was all it took to turn the Imperialists against the Sekihoutai.

"What?! The Sekihoutai is a false army?!" One of the men asked. The lieutenant Imperialist nodded with a smirk. (I don't know his name.)

"I'm afraid so. You've spreading false rumors of tax cuts, and you must be punished."

"What?!"

"Why you.."

"Enough." Captain Sagara commanded. Everyone turned to him. "You told us that the new government would be able to cut taxes and insure everyone had a fair share. But due to financial problems within the government, the promise for cutting taxes can't be done. And the Imperialists are placing the blame on the Sekihoutai, saying we're lairs." The lieutenant chuckled as if Sagara had said something incredibly stupid or incredibly smart. Hikari glared at him from behind her father. How dare he laugh at her father! It was an insult.

"Very well, Sagara. You got us. But little good that will do you." He snapped his fingers. A flash of silver and the curtain fell to the ground revealing Imperialists soldiers, guns at the ready. Everyone's eyes widened as gunshots filled the air.

Hikari struggled against the grip of soldier who held her. They had found her father, cornered at a ledge. He had thrown a boy over the ledge to save him. The soldiers raised their guns, taking aim. She fought harder to free herself. Loud bangs and flashes of light distracted her as she watched them shoot her father.

"NOOOOOO!!!!!!!!" She cried.

"Leave her. Not even a little kid deserves to die." The lieutenant ordered. The soldier dropped Hikari, and she ran over to her father as they left. Tears filled her eyes.

"Daddy........" No answer. He was dead. She hugged him as tears fell onto his chest. "Daddy!!!!!"

Hikari clenched her fist remembering that day. 'That was the worst day of my life! My father died because of the government's lie. They all did. I will avenge each and every one of their deaths until the day I die. There's nothing else for me to do. I've lost my father, my friends, and my fiancee is probably dead. I've got nothing left. Nothing.' She laid down, putting out the fire. Darkness filled the room as she fell asleep, her dreams unwanted visitors.

Chap 3: Long time, No see

Hikari walked through the streets, aware of the dark clouds above. Rain was soon coming and everyone was gettting inside. She, however, didn't care. Come Hell or high water, she would walk right through it, not caring that it was a danger to her safety. Soon the streets were barren just as a drizzle started. An old shopkeeper closing his store noticed her.

"Best get inside, young lady. Wouldn't want to be caught out in the storm."

"Yeah right." She quickened her pace to get out of the rain.

After awhile, the rain came down hard. Hikari was soaked and freezing. The sky was darker than before making the afternoon seem like evening. She took shelter under the veranda of a closed shop.

"I'll stay here untill the rain lets up." She leaned against a post and sighed. Then she spotted someone walking down the street towards her. Whoever it was, they were wearing a long brown coat, boots, and a straw hat to keep the rain off them. She guessed the person to be a man. His hat hid his face. "I wonder what he's doing out here. Oh, who am I kidding? Why would I even care?" As the man walked past the porch, he stopped.

"What's a pretty thing like you doing out here?"

"Mind your own business." He laughed silently.

"All I'm saying is that it's pretty cold out here. Why not come stay with me until this storm passes?"

"Would you leave me alone." She demanded harshly.

"Oh, Hikari. Now, I'm hurt." Her eyes widened. She looked at him. She still couldn't see his face, but she could see a smile.

"Who are you and how do you know my name?" She'd had enough of games, and she was too cold to deal with a stalker.

"Why, Hikari, don't you recognize you're own fiance?" He looked up revealing his face, and her eyes widened. He had brown hair, some of which hung in front of his face, one eye was green and the other was brown, and he had a gentle expression.

"Shinyo, you're alive?"

"Would I be standing here if I wasn't?" She hugged him tight catching him a little by surprise.

"I've missed you so much." He smiled and held her to him.

"I've missed you. But I'm here now. And no one will ever harm you. I promise." She nodded and felt like crying, something she hadn't done in awhile.

"Well, well. We're in town one day, and you've already found her. That should have been obvious." Hikari looked around and saw a young girl the same age as her standing on the porch behind her. Her was long and chesnut-colored, and her eyes were the same as Shinyo's. She wore a coat to keep the rain off her. Hikari smirked.

"Well, hello to you, too, Chikara. That's a nice way to greet someone."

"I know. It's been a long time since we saw each other. Let's get out of this rain and go catch up." Chikara smiled, happy to see her friend again. The two were like sisters and would someday be considered sisters. When Hikari and Shinyo were young, their fathers agreed to pair them up to marry each other someday. A crazy idea to them back then, but they were glad it had been arranged. However, when the Revolution began, they saw less and less of each other. Finally, it got to the point where they didn't see the other at all, assuming they were dead. "Well, let's get out of the rain and go catch up." Hikari nodded as Shinyo took his jacket and wrapped her in it with him. They started off down the street.

From around a corner, someone peered. He wore olive hakama pants with a blue gi. He was wounded, near death. He reached into his gi pocket and pulled out a gun.

"That brat..... He's going to pay." He aimed his gun at Shinyo, the barrel shaking. Just as he was about to fall over, he pulled the trigger.

Chap 4: A little catching up

The gunshot rang in the air as Hikari fell, blood flying. Shinyo caught her right before she hit the ground. He held her to him as her body shook, racked with pain. Blood mixed with the muddy ground.

"Hikari!" He'd finally found his fiancee after ten years of being apart, and she gets shot! As in some similar situations, he didn't know what to do. Chikara gently pulled at Hikari's shirt, and Hikari winced a little. "What are you doing?"

"We need to see how bad it is." Chikara pulled away enough of the shirt to show her shoulder. Blood flow was starting to slow, but not much. A hole in Hikari's shoulder showed where the bullet had gone. "The bullet stopped at her shoulder blade. Still, we've got to get her the clinic." Shinyo nodded and picked her up into his arms. They rushed off down the street.

Sanosuke, Karou, Kenshin, and Yahiko walked down the street towards Meagumi's clinic. The rain had let up, and they decided to visit Meagumi and the girls, Ayame and Suzume. Each held an umbrella to keep themselves dry.

"You like her. You know you do." Yahiko was still pressing the matter that Sanosuke liked Hikari. Sanosuke hit him.

"I do not like her."

"Yeah, you do."

"Would you two just shut up?" Karou had had enough.

"Hm? Looks like Ms. Meagumi will have more than just us as visitors." Kenshin thought aloud. Karou, Yahiko, and Sano looked to see two people rush into Meagumi's clinic. One was carrying someone. Sano and the others stared for a moment before deciding to go and see what was up.

Shinyo sat against the wall, staring into space. Chikara was sitting across from him, feeling sorry for him. 'He's been waiting all this time, and someone just shoots her... I can't imagine how he must feel.'

"Shinyo...I'm sorry."

"I know, but you had nothing to do with it."

"Do with what?" The two looked up.

"Who are you?"

"Yahiko Myoujin, Karou Kamiya, Sanosuke Sagara, and Kenshin Himura." Kenshin said introducing them all at once.

"Sagara?" Shinyo stood up and walked to Sanosuke. "Who do you think are?"

"What's it to you?" Sano asked putting on the street fighter attitude. Shinyo glared menacingly. Chikara knew that Shinyo wasn't in the mood to be messed with. A fight was close to breaking out.

"Please!" All turned to see Meagumi in the doorway, glaring. "This is a clinic, not one of your street-brawls, Sanosuke. Shinyo, she'll be fine. Let her rest for a few days." Shinyo nodded, relieved.

"Can I go in? See her?" He asked. She nodded, and he went in closing the door. Karou, Sano, Yahiko, and Kenshin all stared at her.

"Who? Who was hurt, Meagumi?" Karou asked.

"Some woman named Hikari. I only caught first names."

"Hikari? What happened to her?" Sano demanded.

"She was shot in the shoulder. But she'll be fine for the time being."

"And you'd better leave them alone." Chikara said from her corner. Karou looked at her.

"And you are?"

"Shinyo's sister, Chikara Shinomori."

"Okay........ why does he even care about the street rat?" Yahiko had probably said the wrong thing, for Chikara gave a look that sent shivers of fear down his spine.

"He cares.....because she's his fiancee."

Shinyo knelt by Hikari's beside. She was sleeping, still passed out from loss of blood. Her shoulder was neatly bandaged and little blood stained the wrappings. He stroked her bangs.

"Hikari Sagara... you'll be fine.....we'll be together..... I'll never leave you...I swear." He kissed her forehead and continued to stroke her bangs. He heard the door open, and Kenshin entered the room.

"Something seems to trouble you more than her getting shot." He sat down, his sakabatou laid across his lap. Shinyo looked at him.

"Hn. After all I've done...those I killed... is it even right for me to ask forgiveness? Not even that. Just Hikari's health and happiness?" Shinyo held Hikari's hand in his own, giving it a light squeeze now and then.

"Hmmmmmm..... this one asks for forgiveness every morning and every night. I always get it. Somehow. I protect those I love from those who wish to harm them. But sometimes this one can be a little careless. If she truly loves you, then she won't care that she was shot. She'll forgive you no matter what. She'll just be glad you're there beside her. To protect her if she needs it. That is all this one can say for now." Kenshin stood and left closing the door. Shinyo stared after him. 'Just to protect her..... I love her, and I won't let anything horrible happen to her again.' Shinyo sat back against the wall.

Hikari woke in Shinyo's arms. He sat against the wall, his arms wrapped around her. He was still awake.

"Hey. Nice nap?" He asked. She smiled.

"Might as well have been."

"How do you feel? You alright?"

"Other than a burning pain in my shoulder, I'm fine. You okay?"

"Mostly. I've been worried about you."

"Hm. Don't worry about me. I've lived these past ten years on the street just fine and got worse than this." He smiled some and pet her.

"Which reminds me, how've you been surviving all this time? No family, no home, no food." She sighed and stared at the floor.

"Such painful memories I was hoping never to remember."

"I'm sorry. You don't have to tell me."

"No. It'll hurt worse if I don't tell you. I've been wanting to talk to you for so long, and now that I'm with you, everything I've kept inside is starting to hurt more than this wound." He nodded and got ready to hear about her story. "Well, after my father died, I wondered if I would even survive the winter. I just walked through the forest, a burning hatred for the Imperialists in my heart. I went from village to village staying for days at a time. Then when winter came around, I nearly froze to death. Luckily, I was found by a street gang in Yokohama. They taught me how to fight and defend myself, fed me, took care of me, and would send my clothes to the tailors to get another set made every time I started to grow out of them. I stayed with them until I was seventeen. Then I moved here. That's about it. And since then I've been drowning in my own misery, counting every day that passes." Shinyo hugged her tight.

"Well, I'm here now. You don't have to worry. I promise no one will ever harm you." She smiled and snuggled up against him.

"And what about you?"

"I was kidnapped by Kanryou. I was there for awhile before Chikara freed me. After she did, I came in search of you. People said you were probably dead, but I didn't listen. I know you were still alive. Somewhere. I just had to find you. And I have." He kissed her, and she returned it. When they pulled back, she started to fall asleep. He rested his head on hers. "Ai shiteru."

"Ai shiteru ni." Hikari replied, yawning. She fell asleep, and he soon went to sleep as well.

Chap 5: One Special Moment

While Hikari recovered from the shot, she found herself talking more and more to Kenshin. At first she resented it, him being an Imperialist and her father had been killed by them. But she soon became adjusted to it, enjoying his company and that of the others. She'd been alone for so long, being around people as friendly as the Kenshin-gumi was a big change. And, of course, Shinyo didn't leave her side. They caught up more on their chldhood growing up during the Revolution. Hikari really didn't care for the past. She was just glad he was back with her. The day came Hikari could leave from Meagumi's. Five days of careful watch was driving her nuts. Her and Shinyo decided to go to the dojo with the others.

Night was settling into the land of Japan. Bright pink and purple clouds dotted the painted golden sky. An orange sun was sinking beneath the tree tops ever so slowly. Standing in the courtyard watching it was Hikari. She watched the bright colors in the sky unfold in front of her like a flower in the spring. She remembered spending evenings like this with father when she was younger, growing up on their little farm home.

Flashback

Souzo brought the hoe down into the brown earth and wiped his forehead of sweat. All day he'd been working in his crop trying to gather food for sell at the market so that he and his daughter would have some money. A soft grunting came from behind him. When he turned, he saw a young girl topple over, a basket of fruits and vegetables spilling onto the ground. Light brown eyes looked up at him.

"I sowwy, daddy. I didn't mean to." He smiled at the five year old. She couldn't pronounce her 'R's quite right yet, but he understood her. He picked her up, allowing her to sit in the crook of his arm.

"It's alright, Hikari. Just look at that sunset." He turned her to face the setting sun. Her eyes grew, taking in the vibarant colors that filled the sky. Birds were flying in the distance and the orange sun painted the land a beautiful shade of green. She was silent for what seemed like minutes.

"It's pwetty, daddy. I love it" Hikari exclaimed excitedly. Souzo laughed some at his hyper-active daughter.

"Alright, alright. Now, let's get inside and eat."

"Okay." The two gathered up the spilled harvest from Hikari's fall and went inside to prepare a meal for themselves.

End Flashback

Hikari let a sigh and smiled. 'Nothing much has changed since then. The sun's still that color and the sky is still so beautiful at sunset.' She was so caught up in her thoughts she didn't hear the sound of foot steps behind. Two arms wrapped around her from behind. Shinyo. She laid back against him some.

"Hikari, there's something I want to tell you." She blinked. 'What's up with him?'

"Hai, Shinyo" She could sense that he was nervous. But what about?

"I know that we're already..." He paused searching for the right words. " What I mean is...uh..." He sighed and turned her around to face him. This was better. He wanted to ask her face-to-face. "What I'm saying is...Hikari, will you marry me" Silence. Absolute silence. Nothing was said for what seemed like hours. Finally, she smiled.

"Do you know how long I've waited to hear that" He smiled back at her.

"I'm guessing that's a yes"

"You bet it is." She kissed him. He kissed her, pulling her close. When they broke away for air, she nuzzled her head into his chest.

"Ai shiteru, Hikari." He whispered into her ear.

"Ai shiteru ni." She whispered back. In the sunset, their joined shadows stretched across the courtyard.

-

Chikara was watching them from a distance. She smiled and nearly jumped for joy.

"Bout damn time." She turned. Aoshi was standing behind her.

"Father? What are you doing here"

"Same as you. Spying on them. Don't stay too long. They'll suspect you're here." He walked off. She blinked and went back to watching them. Hikari had broken away and was running around the courtyard playfully while Shinyo chased her.

"Try and catch me, Shinyo." She called. He smirked. Without a second glance, he was beside Hikari and caught around the waist.

"Ha ha" He swung her around lovingly. "Now what are you going to do" He pulled her close to him. Chikara smiled from her corner.

"They're like kids." She walked away and let them be.

-

Hikari kissed Shinyo as her excuse of what she was going to do. He smiled at her, his expression as loving as it could be.

"It's going to get cold tonight. You can share a room with me." He suggested. She looked at him, strangely. "What"

"We're not married, yet. Keep such thoughts to yourself." She hugged him. He hugged her back and laughed.

"Alright."

"But I'm not going to leave your side. I spent these last ten years thinking you were dead. I don't want to leave your sight."

"I won't leave you. I promise. Nothing will tear us apart, I swear. I love you, and you know it. Don't worry about it." She smiled.

"Okay. As long as you're there beside me, I don't care what happens." He nodded. They headed inside for the night.

Written by Kai Himitsu, who only claims Hikari Sagara, she does not own any one else. She did ask me for permission to use Chikara and Shinyo.