Kenshin has had three names, two of which are remembered. An AU written for the temps_mort genderswap challenge.
Notes: For the temps_mort genderswap challenge. I meant to write something fluffy and funny, but... well. There shall be a sequel, I think, posted to my fic journal. Thirty minutes just aren't enough.
"Your name is Shinta now," Sakura whispered. Her pale hands trembled in the folds of her dirty kimono. "Remember: you're a boy. Don't let anybody else know."
Kasumi's eyes darted towards the slavers, then back to the newly-renamed girl. She half-smiled at the fear in Shinta's face.
"Don't cry," she said. "Boys don't cry because they're strong, you see?"
"I won't," Shinta promised. "I'll be a boy and I'll protect you."
They could still hear Akane screaming over the lewd catcalls of the slavers, but they pretended promises were truths. They never stopped pretending, even when it was Kasumi's turn and her wrists were ringed with scraped skin, and all of Shinta's bravado could not disguise her weakness.
When Hiko found her, the hem of his mantle dipped in blood, she'd forgotten that she had ever been anyone but Shinta.
/Boy/, he called her. She didn't correct him.
/Kenshin/, he named her, and Shinta became Kenshin with as little fanfare as everything else in her short life.
/Shishou/, she called him, master and teacher both. The only time she'd ever disobeyed him was when he tried to take her third name away from her, after pretending no longer sufficed as a concealment for the truth.
"I'm a boy now," she said.
Hiko watched her carefully, the light breaking in his face, but said only, "I won't go easy on you."
Kenshin nodded. She never expected anything more.