I was really starting to worry. Several hours had passed since Kenshin had left to help Yuki. It took all my discipline to stay put and not go and find out what had happened to my friends.
That's when I felt Kenshin's presence again. And I could feel Yuki's too. They were together. I instantly hurried for the gate. Kei and Kiyoshi both ignored me as they tossed another pebble and continued to play their game.
I leaned outside onto the road, and noticed that Kenshin and Yuki were coming towards my home - about fifteen feet away. Hitomi bounded ahead of them and instantly waved to me.
"Hi Aunt Moriko!" she cried, running to me.
"Hey, Hitomi." I smiled back.
She peeked through the gate. "Is Kei inside?"
I nodded and opened the gate for her to slip in and find her brother. Then, looking back at my two friends for some explanation, I suddenly gasped in realization.
"Yuki!!" I stared at her mouth. There was a cut across her lower lip as well as a bit of swelling and redness from irritation, as if she'd been hit. A small crust of blood etched that cut, and the side of her cheek was starting to bruise lightly.
Kenshin smiled. "It looks a lot better then it did, that it does. Miss Megumi fixed it up very well, I think."
I winced. "A lot better then it did?! Yuki-san, who did this to you?!"
There was a pause, and I noticed Yuki took a deep breath. After a moment, she finally replied, "My father."
Well, that was an answer I hadn't been expecting. I could only stare at her in surprise. I didn't even know Yuki had parents. She'd never mentioned them, and I'd never asked. I had only assumed that they were like my parents and Kenshin's - dead.
"Is Hitomi alright?" I asked nervously.
Yuki nodded wearily. "Yes, he pulled her hair and threw her at me, but I don't think he hurt her too badly."
My anger flared at that. I hated people who hurt children - especially innocent children. If there was one way to instantly get on my bad side, it was go off and hurt some innocent child for no reason, or person for that matter. My knuckles went white as I gripped the sheath to my sword in my left hand. "I don't care if he is your father, I hate him." I muttered through gritted teeth. I considered saying 'bastard', but I didn't want Yuki to be angry with me, and I didn't know the relationship she had with her father - if she had any relationship with him. Her reply made me doubt that she did.
"I think we share the same view on that." Yuki answered grimly.
"Kenshin must have shown up just in time, then." I frowned.
She nodded. "I'm glad he did show up when he didů and I'm grateful to you for looking after Kei this morning."
"That wasn't any trouble." I assured her. "He and Kiyoshi have been playing for an hour." Then something else hit me. "Where's that man now? Surely he isn't roaming the streets...?"
Yuki shook her head. "No, he's in jail for the time being."
"Then you must have had a decent officer arrest him." I replied dryly.
I really didn't like half the police force, to be honest. Though I worked for them, most of the lower officers were weaklings who couldn't deal with rough situations. The police swordsmen were arrogant bastards who thought sabers were really important and that they were better then common people, and I didn't trust the spies because I was one myself.
Kenshin only frowned a bit. "He took the man to jail, which is his job. Though I must admit, he was definitely patience trying, that he was. As always."
Patience trying? All the district officers tried my patience, so I figured if one was able to get on Kenshin's nerves, which normally didn't fray very easily, he had to be downright annoying in every aspect. And what exactly did 'as always' mean? My eyes narrowed just slightly.
"Moriko, you need to know this, the officer who showed up and helped me was Hajime Saitoh." Yuki stated bluntly.
I heard my sword drop from my hand and hit the dirt road with a soft thump. But it was only an echo compared to the sudden silence in my soul and my mind. Saitoh was in Tokyo? Why? It didn't make sense...he had no reason to be in Tokyo - unless it was to make my life a living hell. I seriously wondered if the gods enjoyed seeing my misfortune in the world sometimes. After a moment, I realized I'd gotten completely caught up in my reverie, and was simply staring past Yuki and Kenshin, lost in a world of my own turmoiled thoughts.
"Gomen!" I grabbed my sword from the dirt and brushed it off, shaking my head a bit. "I didn't mean to seem so surprised...it's just...I..."
"I can't imagine why he's here in Tokyo..." Yuki frowned. "Unless of course, it's to see you."
This was one point that Yuki and I had always disagreed on. My reasoning for not telling Saitoh or Kiyoshi about each other. There wasn't any reason I could find for Kiyoshi to know of his father yet, especially since he'd never seen the man in his entire short life of 6 years, nor had he ever heard of him directly. As for Saitoh, the bastard would get an ego the size of the Imperial army if he ever found out Kiyoshi was indeed his child. I'd managed to keep the boy's father in question, except for my closest friends. Since Saitoh had a wife and several legal children already, I did not want to deal with an egotistical man who already was arrogant, rude and several other adjectives I couldn't think of at the moment.
"He can't be here to see me." I stated, more or less to convince myself. "I haven't written him, and he probably doesn't even know -"
"Knowing Saitoh," Kenshin sighed, "he does know where you live. You do work under him, Miss Moriko."
I winced again. Kenshin had a point, as much as I hated it. One part of me was aching to see that man again, while another was insisting he go back to Kyoto and leave Kiyoshi and I both alone.
Yuki continued. "Kenshin and I agreed that it would be best to tell you, Moriko-san, so that you wouldn't run into him unexpectedly on the streets."
"Arigatou." I mumbled.
She had a point as well. If I had simply bumped into him in the city, only the gods could have guessed what I might have done. Even I wasn't sure what would have happened then. Finally I gave myself a mental kick. "Gomen nasai, I really don't mean to sound so out of it..." I stammered. "Would you both like to come in and have some tea?"
Yuki forced a smile and shook her head. "Thank you, but no. I'm really ready to just go home and rest. I've got to go back tomorrow morning to answer some questions."
I nodded. "I understand. I can watch Hitomi and Kei this afternoon, if you'd like."
"That's alright." Kenshin smiled in his normal, pleasant way. "We've already asked enough of you today."
I didn't argue simply because I knew it was pointless. Instead, I leaned back inside and held the gate open. "Kei! Hitomi!" I ended up with all three children in front of me, grinning - probably from enjoying the game they'd been playing.
"Come on, kids." Yuki smiled. "We need to get back home."
Keitaro looked up at his mother, and pointed to her lip. "Mommy! Wha' happen to your face?" he asked, his violet eyes widening with worry.
Yuki only shook her head and smiled. "It was just a little accident, sweetie. I'll be okay."
Kei didn't look too sure, but he grasped Yuki's hand and huddled close to her as the Himura family turned to leave. Kiyoshi and I waved to them as they headed just two houses up the road for their own home. I waited for a moment at the gate while my son went back inside the yard after they'd left.
Saitoh was back. No matter how many times I'd told myself mentally in the past ten minutes to ignore this fact, it played in my mind over and over, pulling me in two separate directions. One towards him, and the other towards Kiyoshi. Sooner or later, I would have to run into him, or at least go down to the station and see him, before he went back to Kyoto.
"It's been three years, Hajime..." I murmured to myself. I had no way of knowing why he'd come to Tokyo - and he'd probably only say 'police business', which meant I might not ever find out the real reason for his random visit. Silently, I walked back inside. The beauty of the morning had faded some, leaving me lost in my own thoughts.