|An Unexpected Reunion
||[Apr. 28th, 2008|07:20 pm]
Master of the Dark Hadou
Honestly. What better use of being flung back in time than to see long-lost family?
And Goutetsu was lost so very long ago...
Leaving the pile of impertinent Army rabble behind, Akuma flew up half-remembered slopes, feet barely seeming to touch ground. Every step awoke another shock of déjà vu, just this run in just this place so many years ago, as he turned his head and half-expected to see his brother breaking ahead-
No. I left him behind decades ago.
..Well, technically, decades to come, but time travel nonsense can just be ignored.
Right up until he sees the old dojo, and two young boys being taught outside.
One, with hair like fire as he struggled to master the katas taught him with furious intensity, mistaking and correcting and grinding forms into his stubborn body until they came as second nature. He had talent, yes...
But it was clear the older boy, brown-mulleted and clever, was far ahead in that resource. The techniques seemed to come second nature to him, practice only imparting further sheen to moves that seemed polished from their first effort. He worked hard, yes, but his inborn ability buoyed him upward; by the admiration in the younger boy's face, it was clear who took the lead.
The little girl on the dojo steps didn't have eyes on him, though.
Seeing the tableau from the outside for once left Akuma suddenly shaken. To see his brother shining in the leaf-dappled sun was as a punch to the heart, the master's daughter alive and even now staring so made him feel liked he'd been kicked by a rhinoceros... And then he saw his master, and it all seemed to slip away.
Not the the same as he'd always remembered, no. Years younger and a headwrap lighter, a hard man with a crooked beak of a nose and piercing eagle eyes. Overseeing the children's practice with a stern hand, he remained patient through debacles and never missed -or forgave- a slip. A hard man... yet one who had a gentle smile for his daughter, and words of encouragement for the boys as he gestured them inside.
And then turned, looking Akuma directly in the eyes.
Akuma, rocked back in surprise, still managed to be amused at his own reaction. Yes, it's been decades since anyone has spotted me when I didn't wish it. So what? This is he who TAUGHT me. Coming forward through the three crimson Shinto gates, he strode to the other man, moving lithely with an almost insolent stride...
Right before kneeling at Goutetsu's feet. "Master."
Looks like Akuma can give the old man a shock too.
-Some Time Later-
The two old warriors laughed, sharing tea as they caught up. Both were amazed at the parallels to be drawn from their respective wanderings; Goutetsu seemed to be able to adapt to the concept of time travel well enough, and was enjoying Gouki's recounting of some of the challenges he'd overcome. Akuma, in turn, was AMAZED to hear some of the stories his master had thought to spare from younger ears; the circumstances of his fighting Li Shuwen and how he began a rivalry with Oro were no less than astounding!
"WHAT? That scoundrel makes it THAT long!?" Goutetsu nearly spluttered in shock. I knew his kenjutsu was a powerful style, but still!"
Akuma actually smiled, easy as breathing. "Be at ease, Master. Your ansatsuken has proven to be fully a match; I did forge ahead as he rested on his laurels. Still, it is a privilege to know that I face one of your old opponents."
Goutetsu chuckled, clapping his old student on the back. "I always felt you had the seed of greatness, Gouki. Still, what happened to your brother? And my daughter, Sayaka? I wish to know all!"
"..." Shaking his head, he looked over at his mentor with a look of utter seriousness. "One of the many, many things I have learned, Master, is that knowing too much of the future can change the past, and cause untold catastrophe. So please, do not press for details when I tell you that Gouken becomes a mighty warrior, with two strong disciples of his own. And Sayaka..." He breaks off for a moment, large hand coming to cover his face. "Our child is strong, and I have never stopped loving her."
Wordlessly, Goutetsu reached over, patting him on the back in commiseration, just above that redly glowing kanji. The same mark that two boys can't seem to stop staring at from a distance... one in revulsion, one in fascination.