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[personal profile] okumen
Drifters
Toyohisa/Butch; Toyohisa, Butch, Sundance



-----

But does he still know Japanese? He wondered that, and was about to ask it. He didn’t get the chance though.

Because he had not been paying attention as his mind raced, Toyohisa startled a little as the man sitting in front of him rose, the only sound being the rustle of the cloth he had previously worn around his neck, the plain fabric that had draped around his shoulders, and the sound of metal against leather as he slid his gun back into its scabbard at his leg. He picked up the other gun from the ground, replacing it as well, and ultimately ended up towering above Toyohisa, who was still sitting crouched on the ground. The man turned toward the other, as the second weapon slid into place with a practiced motion. “I’m gonna go look in on the horses,” he said. “Godspeed t’you, boss,” the man still on the ground said, and Toyohisa saw a frown turn toward the other stranger. “What’s that supposed’a mean?” Toyohisa saw the other shrug through the corner of his eye, but kept his attention on the one who was leaving. “Nothin’ at all,” the man on the ground said, and the one in front of him sighed, threw a glance toward Toyohisa - though he couldn’t read what it meant - and turned with the sound of stones crunching and rubbing together under the soles of his boots. The exchange was quick, leaving no room for Toyohisa to put in a single word.

“Leave it, fer now.”

Toyohisa, who had been about to get up and follow the retreating man, turned his gaze toward the man sitting by the fire. The man suddenly looked amused, though Toyohisa didn’t understand why. “Y’look like an owl, y’know.”

“What?” Toyohisa turned toward him more properly, rising to his full length with the motion. “I don’ look like an owl.” The corners of the man’s mouth quirked slightly upwards, and he nodded to the spot where his companion had been sitting not even a minute ago. The cloak still lay there, discarded by the fire. “It means yer eyes’re round as a owl’s,” the man explained. “Have a sit, would ya?”

A few moments passed, as Toyohisa looked after the man who had already vanished out of sight, but he eventually sat down by the rumpled pile of fabric. It was dirty and covered in dust. “I wanted to talk to him, why’re yew stoppin’ me?” Toyohisa asked. “Butch ain’t all fancying the whole idea of soulmates. I don’t know all’a them details on it though. Maybe because it’s been takin’ ‘til now or because a lotta people on the owlhoot get into mighty trouble because of this whole soulmate business. There’s just as many who marry their soulmate as them who don’t, but most in the kind’a community he grew up in don’t. He ain’t the type t’be bitter but he also ain’t the type to never be unaffected by the injustice he sees since he likes people. And we’ve seen a lot o’that o’er the years as passed.”

The man fell silent, and Toyohisa’s face had developed a confused scowl. The fire crackled, making a hissing noise once in a while, when fat from the bird dripped into its flames. It was the only sound in the night for a while, only mixed with the sound of an owl’s hoot. There was a lot of owl talk going on, did this man like owls or something? But more importantly, he had even more questions than before, now. “What’s it that yew‘ve seen?” he asked, watching the man.

He rubbed a hand over his face, running his fingers over his mustache in silence. “Misfortune an’ sufferin’. An’ a group’a ne’er-do-well’s ain’t gonna fix it, no matterin’ iffen the leader’s a mighty clever one.” Toyohisa’s scowl only deepened. “That doesn’ explain anythin’, an’ who’s the leader yew’re talkin’ about?” The other man’s eyebrows raised, and that amused look reappeared on his face, and he nodded toward the direction his companion had gone. “That’d be yer dear soulmate back there,” he said.

Toyohisa blinked in surprise, momentarily stunned into silence. “Really? I saw somethin’ like’t in his eyes but I didn’t know he’s an actual leader of somethin’. Of what?” The amused expression remained on the man’s face, but his voice held a hint of a fond tone, as if he had had a lot of good times with the group Toyohisa’s soulmate was the leader of. “The Wild Bunch, we’re called. There’re other names for us as well but that’s the one most people back home know the best. Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch was decent famous back then.”

Back when? “Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch?” Toyohisa had never heard of it before. But on the other hand, they were from another country, though he didn’t know how far from Japan that country was located. “Oi, the hell’re yew laughin’ at?!”

Toyohisa felt that his outburst was justified, because the man had snorted and chuckled, covering his mouth with a hand, though it did nothing to cover the sound of his amusement. Was he mocking him? What the hell? “Sorry, kiddo, it’s just that yer pronunciation’s mighty funny. But you’ll get the hang’a it, if you practice. You go ahead an’ tell us if we get anythin’ wrong in turn.” Toyohisa huffed in annoyance. “I would do that anyway,” he assured him. “So he’s Butch Cassidy, then who’re yew?” Although they had already done introductions earlier, Toyohisa had not been very focused on learning new names at the time.

“Just call him Butch, you don’ need’a use the full name. An’ I’m called the Sundance Kid. Pleasure t’be makin’ yer acquaintance, samurai. Jus’ call me Sundance. Toyohisa, was it?” Toyohisa frowned again, though his expression had started to relax. Sundance Kid was a weird name. “Toyohisa,” he corrected, not asking about this man’s weird name for now. He had more important things to ask.

“What sort’a community were yew talkin’ about?” Toyohisa asked, finally getting to one of the other things he had wondered about from the moment Sundance mentioned it. “The Mormon community,” Sundance said. “I ain’t got much knowin’ about it, because I ain’t Mormon, but it’s a branch off’a Christianity, an’ it’s pretty strict in its ways, far as I know. They ain’t much supportive of anyone goin’ off doin’ their own thing, everything’s for the church and Jesus, like gettin’ married early and havin’ lots of kids. He left because that kind’a life wasn’t a’suitin’ him. I know that much. And bein’ a farmer an’ raisin’ broods of kids ain’t anythin’ much I can see him do. He’s way too free-spirited for that. Like a wild horse, perhaps.” The last was added with a thoughtful sound, and Sundance moved to get the bird off of the fire so it wouldn’t char. He got up, muttered something about being right back, and wandered off with the bird still skewered on its stick in the same direction Butch had previously gone. Toyohisa remained by the fire, staring into the flickering flames as his mind wandered, both across what he had just been told, and toward the past.

Overall, Toyohisa didn’t get what sort of community this “Mormon” community was, but he did gather that it was something completely different from Butch’s personality.

He had seen that before. He had had a close friend when he was young, the son of one of his father’s vassals the same age as him, who didn’t like fighting at all, despite being from Satsuma. Despite having the honor of training in the same school, under the same teacher, as Toyohisa and the other Shimazu sons. The boy had, when they were fifteen and had just come out of their first battle, disappeared, leaving behind a letter that explained that the life of a samurai really wasn’t for him, and that as long as he stayed in Satsuma he, no matter how much he loved the place where he was born and raised, would not be able to live life the way that he wanted. Toyohisa had been upset, but not as upset as his friend’s father, who right from the start had not seen how the boy had not been suited for fighting wars. He wasn’t a coward though, Toyohisa’s friend. Toyohisa had seen him on that battlefield, and he could fight. He just didn’t want to.

Toyohisa had not seen him since, nor heard from him, but his friend’s father had not been able to find him, and he was good at surviving, so he was probably doing just fine, far away from the land that they all had loved since the moment they were born.

So he understood, that sometimes, a person was not meant to follow in the footsteps of his ancestors. And farming had never appealed to Toyohisa either, so he could definitely understand that.

He was similar to a wild horse though? That sounded much more interesting than a plain farmer.
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