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06 December 2005 @ 05:17 pm
Streets of Edo, Morning

I stand on the roof, looking over the other rooftops of the city. I can't even remember what Neesan called this place...and...it doesn't really matter. I hate moving. I hate it. We always do and I never know why. I want to stay somewhere. Here...anywhere. I sigh and sit down crosslegged, hugging myself. It's cold up here and the wind seems to creep past my clothes. I left before Neesan even woke up this morning--it was still dark. She isn't going to be happy with me, but I don't care. I like to be alone.
ayumu_kunoichi on December 6th, 2005 10:52 pm (UTC)
I wake up early on New Year's morning, but instead of getting up right away, I curl up in my futon and enjoy the warmth for a little while.

Today is a holiday, so no one expects me to come to work... I've only just started, anyway. Another part of town, another cooking job - at least I'll become a real master of Edo cuisine at this rate!

Of course Susumu's probably already awake. He's a real night owl - a good trait in a ninja, but annoying in a little brother. I really hope he hasn't run off already, we should go to the temple together and pray for Mother and Father...

Sighing, I push back the covers and rise, pulling on my clothes as quickly as I can. There's no sound from Susumu's room, but that doesn't mean anything... "Susumu? Are you there?"
jikkenrou on December 6th, 2005 11:06 pm (UTC)
Though it's nice to stay up here, watching the early morning passersby, my stomach rumbles. Might as well go back to the inn. Standing, I look around, getting my bearings, then begin my journey back over the rooftop. I push myself, trying to see how fast I can go. The wind is icy in my face but my heart races at each jump. I see the inn coming up. It's right across the street, a bigger jump then I've ever done. But maybe, maybe if I can run fast enough, I can just make it.
ayumu_kunoichi on December 6th, 2005 11:12 pm (UTC)
He's not there, of course! Run off as usual. Fuming, I dash back into my room to get my outer clothes, then out into the street...

...just in time to see someone running across the roof on the opposite side of the street.

Part of me is relieved it's at least still mostly dark - it's unlikely that people will see him. That's good. Nine-year-old or not, sooner or later someone is going to get suspicious if my brother is always climbing on the roofs, and even if they "only" think he's a common thief...

The rest of me is busy being terrified. Is he going to jump?!

jikkenrou on December 7th, 2005 04:43 am (UTC)
I distantly hear my name, but I pick up speed. I know I can make it. I reach the edge of the roof and push off. The street yawns below me and I can see the dim form of my sister. Then the wall of the inn is coming right for me. I smack into it hard enough to knock the breath from me, but manage to grab the edge of the roof before I drop to the ground. I hang there a moment to catch my breath, then let go and drop in a more controlled way on the street. The force is still more then I'd thought and the next thing I know I've sat down hard on the road.
ayumu_kunoichi on December 7th, 2005 09:53 pm (UTC)
For the first second or so, I'm completely at a loss for what to do. On the one hand, my brother is being an idiot attempting a leap like that, much less in a place where he might have been seen - on the other, maybe I should just be glad he didn't get himself killed!

Frowning, I stride over and pull Susumu to his feet, giving him a brief hug before I start dusting him off and checking him for injuries. "You shouldn't do that. You're too small."
jikkenrou on December 8th, 2005 10:54 pm (UTC)
"I'm not small," I say, even though I know she's probably right. I back away from her. Neesan worries too much. I'm not even hurt. My stomach rumbles, reminding me why I came back in the first place. "Can we get something to eat?"
ayumu_kunoichi on December 8th, 2005 11:14 pm (UTC)
"Can we get something to eat?" he says! I can't help smiling. Sometimes Susumu really is a lot like Father... he also hated it when Mother would fuss over him.

"I made some rice balls last night," I tell him as I head for the kitchen. "We'll have to eat them on the way to the temple though, I want to get there before everybody crowds in."

At least scouting the area these last few nights means I already know where the temple is... getting lost would be annoying.
jikkenrou on December 8th, 2005 11:18 pm (UTC)
"I'm tired of rice balls," I grumble. That's all we ever seem to eat these days. I want some eel like we used to eat back in Osaka, or any kind of fish. "Can't we get something hot, Neesan?" The more I thought about it, the better it sounded, holding a hot bowl between my cold hands and smelling the delicious steam as it went past my face.
ayumu_kunoichi on December 8th, 2005 11:28 pm (UTC)
"Maybe after we've been to the temple, I really don't have time to cook right now!" After a moment, I soften my irritable tone and add "But if you want, we can buy something at an inn on the way home, and walk around for a bit. See the sights."

Not that there'll be much to see in this part of town, I chose it because it seemed dull, after all. Dull and safe. But maybe a nine-year-old will find something exciting. I think there was a dojo further up the street...
jikkenrou on December 8th, 2005 11:36 pm (UTC)
It wasn't entirely what I was hoping for, but it's good enough. I don't really want to go to the temple, but I know better then to argue with Neesan. We always go to the temple on New Years, to bring luck in the coming year or something. But no matter how many temples we went to, we never got any sort of luck.

"Are we going to stay here, Neesan?" I ask as we come into the kitchen. I hope so. I don't like traveling in winter.
ayumu_kunoichi on December 8th, 2005 11:42 pm (UTC)
"For a while at least, Susumu. As long as we can." That doesn't make him look any happier of course - it never does. I wish I could reassure him, even if I would have to lie to do it... but sooner or later he has to learn that we can't afford to get attached to any particular place.
jikkenrou on December 11th, 2005 09:55 pm (UTC)
I sigh. The answer is always the same. For a while. As long as we can. We enter the kitchen and I grab an ungaurded rice ball, taking a big bite out of it.

"Why can't we stay here?" I ask, even though I know it's useless.
ayumu_kunoichi on December 12th, 2005 02:18 pm (UTC)
I hesitate. It would all be so much easier if I could tell him... or would it? Susumu is a child. I would be betting our lives on the chance he wouldn't blurt it to someone, or want to do something foolish to avenge Father...

Then again, I am betting his life, at least, that they won't catch up with us before I have the chance to train him more... before I can warn him so he will not be unprepared. It's one thing to know he's not allowed to talk to strangers, or say where we're from, and another to understand why.

But part of that training includes letting go of the things you love. Even family.

"Because of what we are," I tell him firmly, lowering my voice further even as I listen for anyone else who might be stirring in the house. "A ninja can't afford to be tied to any place, or thing, or even another person." He should understand that last. That was the reason Father told me, for why he was driven out of the clan... though I've always suspected there was more to that.

Am I too harsh? "Susumu, I will look after you as long as I can, because you are my brother. But someday - maybe soon - you'll have to take care of yourself. And when the time comes, if you're still bound up in caring about where you live or who you spend your time with, you won't last long."
jikkenrou on December 14th, 2005 03:43 am (UTC)
I hate it when she says things like that. It's like I'm allready alone. One day she'll leave me and then it will just be me. Just Susumu. A ninja without a clan, a wanderer without a direction. I want to tell her to take it back. I want to cling to her, to tell her to not leave me. But that would make me seem even littler.

"I don't want to go to the temple today," I snap, suddenly both mad and sad at the same time. "You go to the stupid temple. I'm staying here."
jikkenrou on December 28th, 2005 03:55 am (UTC)
But I don't want to stay here either. I want to be out there. Back where I'm free. I turn and run out without another word, longing for the open air of the outside.

(exits thread)