They say that still waters run deep.
To someone of Kambei's age, Kyuuzo appeared little more than a child, a boy like Katsushiro who should not yet have been anything more than a student. But where Katsushiro was still a child, his trusting nature telling of his naivety, Kyuuzo was a samurai, his skills honed through battle instead of katas.
The first time that they had fought, Kyuuzo had looked as though he was barely moving despite his speed, fluid and undisturbed, the clash of swords not even creating a ripple. Those empty depthless eyes...
Kambei had never been able to resist throwing stones.
Kyuuzo was the better swordsman, the better samurai, Kambei knew this and still he cast the first stone. The touch of his hand against Kyuuzo's had shattered that calmness, drawing the hidden currents to the surface. The blond's eyes widened at the touch, the spark of rage and confusion in crimson eyes making the increase in violence more than worth it.
Shichiroji, he thought, had noticed his interest, always far too astute to allow Kambei to hide anything from him. The considering frown on Shichiroji's face when Kambei asked Kyuuzo to join them and the cold man agreed proved that he hadn't changed in all the years of their seperation.
Taunts and teasing and veiled words until Kyuuzo came to him, surface agitated and broken, stunning in his silent rage. And even though Kyuuzo was the better samurai, Kambei kept throwing pebbles against that calm surface.
Kyuuzo's lips were soft and unsure, an odd mixture of confusion and amusement in his eyes as Kambei pulled away the layers of clothing, broke the surface. Kyuuzo beneath him, still silent as Kambei cast stone after stone, drinking in every movement, every wave and every flicker across that perfect face.
When Kyuuzo stilled again, pliant and sated, the ripples calming until they vanished, he curled up next to Kambei, apparently uncaring about what had just occured, no trace of embarrassment.
But Kambei remembered the hidden currents, what lay in the darkest parts of the water.
Shichiroji smiled enigmatically the next morning, asking him if he would ever stop throwing stones.