Standard Disclaimers Apply.
Soujirou couldn't have fallen asleep even if he wanted to. The events of the day had left him restless and wide awake. He was also very anxious to see what was in the little package that was tucked securely in his gi.
Stumbling around in the dark, he managed to find a some wood to make a small fire. Soujirou leaned against a nearby tree and pulled the package out of his gi. It wasn't very big, just the right size to fit in his outstretched hand. It was wrapped in aged brown paper and coarse string. Soujirou stared at it for quite some time, amazed. This small package had belonged to his mother. It was the only piece of her that he had left.
With a trembling hand, he carefully untied the string and pulled away the paper, revealing a small, wooden box. It was a simple, but beautiful box. Tiny, intricate flowers were engraved on the sides, and on the lid was a name.
He had never known her name before. It was a simple name, but to him it was the most beautiful name he had ever heard. He lifted the lid from the box, handling it like it would break under the slightest pressure. Inside the box was a small hair comb, resting on folded pieces of paper. He studied the comb carefully. The top of the comb had the same design as the box, four little flowers bunched together. He ran his fingers over it lightly, imagining that he could feel her presence, the warmth and love that all mothers possesed. He wished that he knew what the comb looked like in her hair, but he couldn't even remember what she looked like. He knew very little about her. She had died when he was only two. His father had told him how beautiful she had been and how pure of heart she was. His father was the only person that had treated him with kindness in his childhood. He had died shortly after his mother, when Soujirou was only five years old. After that he went to live with his step-brother's family. He cringed as he thought of how his life was with them. Setting the comb carefully in his lap, he took out the pieces of paper. The first one was a letter. The handwriting was beautiful and elaborate. He positioned himself closer to the fire so he could read it.
I am writing this letter to you because I don't think that I will be around for much longer. My health gets worse every day and soon I will have to leave you. I want you to know who you are and where you came from. I will start by telling you who I am. My name is Tomioka Ikue. I was born in Yokohama, to one of the wealthiest families in the area. Your father is a swordsman from Tokyo. I met him when he came here to visit family. We fell in love rather quickly. During the time that we were together, I became pregnant with you. When I was ready to tell him, he told me that he had to leave, to take over his father's dojo in Tokyo. I became upset and left without telling him about you. When my family found out that I was with child, they disowned me. I was left to fend for myself, working at an inn for food and shelter. When you were born, it was the happiest moment of my life. You were such a beautiful baby. I would spend hours just playing with you and telling you stories. You were all I needed in the world. But soon I became ill. Doctors didn't know what was wrong with me. I became frantic. Fearing for the worst, I took you to Tokyo to find your father. When I arrived, I found out that his family had arranged a marriage for him, and his wife was with child. He offered us a place to stay, but I didn't want to disturb his family, so I left and took you back to Yokohama. I was so desperate. We had no where to go, and my health was getting worse everyday. Fate was kind enough to bring us a friend, a kind old man. Seta-san did everything he could to help us. He bought us food and provided us with shelter, even though his family dissaproved greatly. He has even agreed to take you when I'm gone. Even though I am grateful for him, it upsets me greatly to know that I will not get to be with you. I wish that I could watch you grow into the handsome man that I know you'll be. With this note, I have also left with you a box and a hair comb. This gift was given to me by my mother when I was eighteen. It is the only treasure that I own. I want you to have it now. I've also given you the name and location of your father. I want you to find him someday. I want you to find your real family. I'm sorry that I have to leave you like this. I don't regret my life, because you were part of it. But I do regret that I couldn't give you a better life. You are everything to me. I love you.
Soujirou let out a shaky sigh, reaching up to wipe the tears that he just now realized he had been crying. Now he knew. He knew what his mother had to go through. How she tried so hard to give him a good life. The hardships she had to face. It made him feel guilty to know that after all she went through for him, he lived a life of killing and harming innocent people. He just sat there and cried for awhile for loss of his mother, for the loss of his childhood. He had never fully realised how much he needed his mother, until now. When he was with Shishio-san, he had never allowed himself to look back, only forward. He had never thought of his mother. After he left the headquarters in Kyoto, he had remembered the package. His "father" had given it to him when he died and Soujirou hid it, it was one thing that he wouldn't let his new family take away from him.
Soujirou folded the letter and set it back in the box. It was time, he wanted to know. He wanted a real family.
With a trembling hand he picked up the other piece of paper. He closed his eyes and slowly unfolded the next letter. His heart began to beat faster and he held his breath. Opening his eyes, Soujirou stared at the name, fully taking it in. This was his only living family. His real father. He quietly whispered to himself.
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