October 1884

Kamiya Dojo

Almost there, just a few more inches. Himura Kenji stretched on the tips of his toes and reached with all his might with his right hand as he clung to the shelves with his left hand, trying to reach the ohagi on the top shelf of the pantry. Frustrated, the boy took a little hop to try and reach it, which caused the shelves he was clinging to to loosen and come out of the wall.

Kenji flipped and twisted in the air, landing on his feet while the shelves and food came crashing down, making an unearthly din.


Kenji winced and scrunched his shoulders, his sensitive hearing assaulted by the deafening racket. Hearing footsteps behind him, Kenji looked up into the less-than-pleased gaze of his sire.

"Oro?" he went, looking up with his most disarming gaze.

Seeing Daddy's gaze only become sterner, Kenji frowned. He was used to this type of gaze from Mommy, but not from Daddy. It was a bit disconcerting for him.

"Did your mother and I not forbid you to climb the shelves?" Kenshin asked quietly.

"I wanted some ohagi, but I can't reach it," explained Kenji, meeting his father's gaze.

"You couldn't have asked one of us to help you?" asked Kenshin, kneeling down to pick up the mess his son had made.

"Only babies need help. I'm a big boy," declared Kenji, frowning.

Why didn't Daddy understand?

Kenshin stopped and looked to his little boy. His gaze softened just a bit.

"Part of being a big boy is knowing when you're up against something you can't handle on your own and asking for help," Kenshin explained, repeating the lesson it had taken his whole life to learn.

"Really?" asked Kenji.

"Really," Kenshin assured his son.

"I'm sorry, Daddy," said Kenji softly.

"I'll forgive you if you'll promise not to pull a stunt like this again," said Kenshin.

"I promise," said Kenji.

Without another word, the little boy went down on his knees beside his father and helped him to pick up what had fallen.