Moments of Mind and Self

Yamamoto reflects on the meaning of being a born killer. Character Sketch, I-3

Character(s): Yamamoto Takeshi

Yamamoto Takeshi had never killed.

He knew people didn’t believe it, and doubly didn’t believe it after they’d seen him with a sword in his hand. It amused him, in a wry sort of way, that none of them ever seemed to stop and think that he was one of Tsuna’s Family, after all.

The only person he knew believed it without question was Squalo, and that was because Squalo threw monumental temper tantrums over it, yelled at him that Takeshi was being false to the spirit of his own goddamn sword, attacked him in the middle of the mansion gardens purely to draw him out.

It was probably very bad of Takeshi that he was always extra careful not to cut with his edge in those fights, but the way Squalo glared at him was so funny.

And he thought that, really, Squalo did understand. When the fights were over he gave his critiques in a level, precise voice, and the courtesy of being truly serious was all the accolade Takeshi could ever need from him.

He knew, he thought, what it was they all saw in him. It was the odd calm that came to him, that let him stand in the way of strange weapons and deadly intent and still think. He’d never decided for himself whether it was a narrowing or a broadening of his focus; he just knew that it felt like a current of cool water in his mind, and it let him stand and watch, in the hot boil of deadly danger, and choose his moment.

He supposed he could use that moment to kill, easily enough. He just didn’t see any reason why he should.

Sometimes, when he sat after he practiced his form, all still, the thought came to him that one day something might happen to change his mind—that he might, one day, truly feel in his heart, and in his sword, that he had reason to kill. If it did he knew he would, would strike from that cool current without hesitation. But it hadn’t happened yet. He fought to win; that was where he found his edge and sharpness.

That was the edge he liked to feel cutting into his opponents.

He hoped it wouldn’t change. If it ever did, he thought he might lose the smile Reborn had told him he should keep.

Sometimes he wondered what Reborn was steering him towards, with his comments about being a born hitman, and his directions to keep a hold on the joy the sword brought to Takeshi, his moments of openness and his faint, knowing smile. He would think about that later, though, in another deep, quiet moment. This moment was ending.

Takeshi opened his eyes and drew a slow breath and let it out and rose from the floor of the dojo. He was smiling, eyes light, as he opened the doors and stepped out into the evening.