Who and what is she?
Age: 47 at the start of the Kyoto Arc (born October 1830)
Hair color: Black
Eye color: Dark brown
As a child, Hikaru was quiet, almost self-effacing. As an adult, she is serenely self-confident, a woman who tries to create peace and beauty around her. She is beautiful in a porcelain-doll way, very feminine, tall, with a graceful, slender, supple figure and straight ankle-length hair. She seems mild and submissive, but actually she is strong-willed and manipulative. She has a gentle, soft heart and loving nature, and she is loyal. She loves children (although, sadly, she is barren), and she loves gardening. But most of all she loves Seijuro Hiko.
Hikaru began life a street kid in Edo whose mother was a low-level prostitute (unknown father), and she spent the first 6 years of her life eating garbage, begging, and stealing. Her mother's youthful ambition was to be a girl at a teahouse. She was never good enough, but she passed the idea down to Hikaru. When her mother became ill and realized she was dying, she found a way to get Hikaru into an okiya.
In the okiya, Hikaru did exceptionally well in all areas, thanks to a combination of brains, ambition, and determination. She excels in all the expected accomplishments (by which I mean music, conversation, grace in rituals, etc., not just sex, which was actually a very small part of the geisha life), except drawing. She also has a knack for listening (something from her childhood, when listening might mean the difference between eating or starving), has a wise head on her shoulders, and has a great interest in the outside world. Therefore, when she moved to the front rooms of the teahouse, she was a great favorite with local politicians.
She's four years older than Hiko, and she met him when he was 15 and she was almost 20 (see Teahouse). By that time she was fully mature and he definitely was not. At the time they met, he was approaching the end of his training and feeling pretty cocky. He was at the teahouse with his Master (for information/gossip/tea only) and bumped into her in the gardens. She intimidated him, so naturally he put her in her place, so to speak, telling her at one point (untruthfully) that he wasn't the least bit interested in her as a woman. To his surprise, this pleased her, because she found him interesting and wanted to just talk to him. She brought out the tea table, and they ended up talking for hours. It was very pleasant for her to be seen as just a human being, without sex being involved. That illusion didn't last very long - she could see through him a lot more than he knew - but she never let on.
Over the next few days they met often, until his Master took him out of Edo, but they never did anything but talk. They both fell in love over the course of those days, but neither would admit it, even to themselves, never mind each other.
They didn't meet again for more than two years. She never forgot him but assumed he forgot her within a day of leaving Edo, and she went right on with the life she planned for herself. By the time she was 21, she'd married Fujio Murasaki, a much older, very wealthy merchant/politician, and she dedicated herself to furthering his career and bettering his life. She told her husband straight up, before accepting his proposal, that she loved someone else, but that, unless that man came back into her life - something she considered just about impossible - she'd be faithful to him. Since he wasn't the faithful sort himself, that was fine with Murasaki.
Hiko returned to Edo shortly after becoming Seijuro Hiko the 13th (at the age of 18). The very first thing he did was to go to the teahouse, and of course Hikaru wasn't there. He tracked her down, however, through several of her friends (see Summerhouse). She was both shocked and joyful to see him again, and they spent another few hours talking. This time it was a bit more to the point - he admitted lying about not being attracted to her as a woman, she admitted she loved him, and they began a discreet affair. It was a sporadic affair, however, since he wouldn't take her on his travels with him (Masters of the Hiten Mitsurugi style don't travel around with teahouse girls in tow), so they only met when he was passing through town. This went on for about two years, with Hiko visiting her whenever he got the chance.
Then one day he showed up and found the house occupied by strangers (see Waiting). Murasaki had died and no one knew what had happened to Hikaru. The husband had left her provided for, but his son didn't want her in the house, so she'd taken a small legacy and some personal items and disappeared. Hiko wasted a year or so trying to find her, but finally gave up. Then, not long before he got Kenshin, he came across Hikaru, by accident, in the market place in Kyoto. She'd married again, but this time for love - a potter named Toshiro Kimiyama (it was Hikaru, later, who taught Hiko the skill). Kimiyama lived in Kyoto, and she'd been there all along. Now, however, Hikaru wouldn't have anything to do with Hiko except as a friend, because this marriage was very different, and she didn't want to hurt her husband. They stayed close friends, however, and she gave him some very good advice about handling Kenshin (who she adored), most of which he ignored. (She was royally p*ssed at him for allowing Kenshin to leave, and they didn't talk to each other for months after that. See Leaving.)
Five years after Kenshin left, at about the same time the revolution came to an end and the Battousai disappeared, Kimiyama died of an illness and left Hikaru a wealthy widow. She and Hiko picked up their affair again, but they met discreetly, because they both had positions in Kyoto to maintain, and he wouldn't marry her. (Dedicated himself to the Hiten Mitsurugi, remember - a wife would have been a huge distraction, impossible to work around.)
That's how things stand when the Kyoto Arc begins. Being a respectable citizen, she does know the Oniwaban Group and sees them as a force for good, and she was thrilled to see Kenshin again and adores Sano, Kaoru and Yahiko. As for Saitoh... I hate to say this, but they are somewhat kindred spirits. She knows him as Goro Fujita, socially, and she respects and even likes him. Once Hiko (figuratively) passes the mantle to Kenshin, she and Hiko eventually marry and live as happily-ever-after as two such people can.
Their relationship when Hiko was young was very much guided by her, and it still is to a great extent, but he doesn't know it now any more than he knew it then. She's still a quiet woman and almost never raises her voice, but works to create serenity and peace all around her home, something that's difficult with Hiko there. Her sweet voice and placid nature hide a will of steel - she always gets what she wants - but that's something else she's far too wise to let Hiko see. He believes she's the most stubborn woman he's ever met, but also the most interesting one. (Yes, they can still talk for hours at a time.) She actually enjoys his arrogant attitude and adores him, but she does try to gently steer him in a more humane direction, usually with limited success. Naturally, after Kenshin completes his training without killing Hiko (Hiko had "neglected" to inform her about the usually fatal results of that - see Aftermath), Hikaru thinks he (Kenshin) hung the moon.
Part of the problem with writing these stories about Hiko and Hikaru is that nothing happens to them! Neither of them have adventures - Hiko is a hermit and Hikaru is the stay at home type. But I did it anyway.
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