Title: Time to Kill, Time to Bleed
Fandom: Samurai 7
Length: 471 words, one shot
Character/Pairing: most of the samurai - Kambei, Gorobei, Heihachi, Shichiroji, Kyuuzou
Prompts: Written for 31_days, January 20, 2007: Make someone else do the job.
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Warnings: Occurs around episodes 12-13.
Summary: A conversation that never happened, a decision that was never made. The kill that no one wants to be responsible for.
Time to Kill, Time to Bleed
Even in war, things had to be assigned.
“I’ll take care of the machinery,” Heihachi volunteered.
“And we have the tasks of manning the immediate defenses and training the villagers all sorted out,” Shichiroji reported. “Along with scouting.”
Kambei nodded. “Then all of the immediate jobs are settled.”
They turned to look at Gorobei.
“There’s still Katsushirou.”
Kambei paused. “We haven’t assigned anyone to the watch yet.”
A chuckle. “Won’t he be disappointed in the fact that you’re merely assigning him to patrol duties? He’ll take it as a boy’s job, when he wants to prove himself the most.”
“It’s fine,” Kambei responded. “Better that he doesn’t get killed because he wants to prove something as unimportant to our cause like honor. None of us came here for that. It’s no good giving him a job that requires experience such as the defenses, and it’s also no good to allow him to take on a dangerous job such as what scouting could become.”
“I say we let him,” Kyuuzou said, voice drifting from the shadows.
“Ah, so you can say something,” Shichiroji drawled as he leaned against his halberd.
He ignored him.
“It’s true that he’s had the least battle experience out of all of us, even less than Kikuchiyo,” Heihachi mused, “but…”
“He’s almost useless the way he is now.”
“That’s rather harsh, Kyuuzou.”
He stared levelly back at Shichiroji, speaking in tones just as flat. “The boy hasn’t even had his first kill. He hasn’t developed battle sense, and his skills are not honed.”
“So you want to send him charging through death’s door, is that it?”
The look in his eyes said otherwise, but he said nothing, still sitting cross-legged and unfazed.
“All right,” Gorobei interjected. “I agree, Kyuuzou, that he needs to improve his skills in the near future. However, sending him somewhere recklessly? That’s not going to accomplish anything. It’s not our place to send him to fight unknown dangers alone.” He paused, thinking. “Besides, with our luck, the Nobuseri will send someone soon, someone who isn’t one of their strongest. If anything, that should be his test. Not this.”
Kambei nodded. “I agree.”
Silence again, until Shichiroji broke it by tapping the pole of his halberd against the floor. “He’ll have enough chances to kill soon, whether anyone likes it or not.”
Pause, a shrug. “And we don’t have to rush in taking his innocence away. The war will do that for us.”
Tap, tap of the halberd.
This time, there was nothing anyone could say.
You know, I was originally going to write this prompt for Gunslinger Girl. Yeah, well.
Thanks to lar_san and rasetsunyo, who looked it over. Yes, I get even the really short stuff pre-read. I’m that insecure. XD And it’s short, so I'm keeping it here unless someone wants me to do otherwise. *shrug*