Fuu wakes up, will things get back to normal?
"Mugen?" she turned her head in his direction. He had fallen asleep sitting by her bed.
"I-I dreamed that it was happening again Mugen. It was happening again and I couldn't stop it! Just like when..."
She trailed off into silence and he watched her bow her head. Tears started running down her checks, dripping off onto her blankets. No sound came from her as the tears ran. He was beginning to get a good idea of what had happened to her...
She squeezed her eyes shut as the memories came flooding back, the nightmares just wouldn't leave her alone. If anyone knew what had happened she would be shunned. They would call her a whore, and deep inside she suspected that was what fate had in store for her. How could she think differently, she asked herself, when that seemed like all she was good for. She had been attacked twice now, other than those attacks it didn't seem like anyone had any use for her. She was a worthless orphan...
Fuu felt his arms pull her in close. Pressing her face into his chest she let the tears fall. Years off anguish poured out onto the familiar red shirt, the red shirt that often flooded her memories...along with a blue kimono.
"Fuu...I'm here Fuu. You're safe now."
She felt his hands softly stroking her hair as he murmured in her ear.
"I'll never let that happen again. We're together now and it's going to be okay."
This was a side of Mugen that she hadn't seen before, a really nice side. She wouldn't have thought the rude samurai capable of being nice. It felt really good though, better than she was sure she wanted to admit to herself...
Hearing her scream, he threw down the rocks and blood stained clothes and grabbed his sword. He raced stealthily back to the campsite. Mugen was talking, he could hear him now. Stopping he listened to determine what was going on. Jin determined there was no danger and put his sword away. Inching closer he saw what was happening. It made him feel good and sad at the same time. Good in the sense that Mugen was finally caring for someone other than himself, and letting it show. Bad in the sense that Fuu was in his arms. Had he waited too long then? In more ways than he had even thought. Had he waited to long to tell her how he felt? Sighing, he realized that he was more like Mugen than he cared to admit. He wasn't a jackass like Mugen, true, but he kept his feelings locked away just as well. How could he have ridiculed the other man for his uncaring attitude when his own was the same? His own feelings were kept deep inside, never a hint of them shown. They were both lonely, he knew that, perhaps they were both scared as well. He felt a strange kinship with the odd samurai as he turned sadly away and walked back to the water.
He felt her warm breath against his neck.
"Mugen, thank you."
"No need to thank me Fuu, Jin was the one that saved you."
"I'll thank him too, but thank you for being here for me Mugen. I-It really means a lot to me."
He felt her head move and her lips press against his cheek.
"Thank you for caring."
Pulling her tighter into his arms, he let his chin rest on the top of her head. It felt so...right...to be like this with her. Ever since their journey together, he'd felt like something was missing, something he couldn't even name. He hadn't been able to get comfortable, wondering what was gone. Now he knew...
She pulled away and he saw her wince as she stood up, wrapping the blanket around herself.
"I need to walk and stretch a little bit. My body is really stiff from just laying there."
Mugen watched as she cringed and reached up to feel the knot on her cheek.
"I have some cream we can put on your cuts again if you'd like. It helps them heal."
"That seems like an odd thing for you to carry."
She gave him a small smile as she walked around the fire.
"I stole it after I got the hell beat out of me awhile back. Figured I didn't need any worse scars than I already had. Pretty soon the whores are going to be requesting blindfolds."
He was sounding like his old self again, Fuu decided. It was both sad and a comfort at the same time. Sad because the new him had been sweet and kind, and comforting because when things changed, it wasn't always for the better.
"So what have you been up to since I saw you last?" she asked deciding it was time to put this latest episode behind her.
"The usual. Fights, women and sake," he said while giving me his trademark evil grin.
"Any woman in particular?"
She really was curious if he'd had anybody special since they parted.
"Well...there was this one woman, she had the biggest-" his words were cut off when the rock collided with his head.
"Dammit Fuu! What the hell!"
"YOU KNOW THAT WASN'T WHAT I MEANT, IDIOT!" she screamed at him. How dare he, she fumed silently. Maybe the new him was some kind of hallucination she'd had!
"I washed out your clothes Fuu, but it'll be awhile before they're dry," she heard Jin say as he walked over to a tree to hang them up.
Jin froze as he felt the small arms wrap around his waist from behind.
"Thank you Jin. Thank you so very much for rescuing me."
He turned and pulled her into a hug.
"You're most welcome Fuu, I'm only sorry that I didn't get there sooner."
Her smaller frame felt so nice against his, warm, soft and comfortable.
She looked up at him then, a smile on her face and pressed a soft kiss to his cheek. He watched as she turned away and walked back to the fire.
"So let's catch up now. Where have you been Jin?"
It seemed she was trying not to think about what had happened to her. That was probably a good thing at this point he decided, now how to answer her question?
"Not much really. Nothing different from what we did together except for no goal in sight."
He heard a little sigh.
"Jin, when are you going to realize your worth? You are meant for more than being a wanderer. It's time you quite punishing yourself for the past. You deserve a lot more than you let yourself have."
"Bitch," he heard Mugen mutter.
When he saw her glaring at him and reaching for a rock it was like dÃ©jÃ vu, and it was wonderful.