The Light of the Snow-Red Village
Prologue - Black Candles Burning: When Change Begins
Akai Kitsune


Find me here
Speak to me
I want to feel you
I need to hear you


"Give her back to me."

All he wanted... he just wanted her back...

No more death, no more killing or pain. Just...

'Give her back... give her back to me... I... lo... love...'

The last Yaminobu stood before him, the only obstacle between himself and the cabin. And her.

That man had to die.

But he couldn't win. That was clear.

'If I can't rely on my senses, I'll sacrifice myself, and risk it all on the last blow...'

'Forgive me, Tomoe. Live on in the new era, and be happy...'

He charged, sword raised, eyes clenched tightly. He heard the enemy's acknowledgement, a muffled swish of movement that barely made it through his deafness.

A scent caught his attention, flitting, one of the few senses which had not been affected.

"That scent... white... plum..."

His eyes snapped open, even as his arms flew down to strike.

- her scent, her hair, her body, right in front of him -

In his way...

His sandals slammed into the ground, pushing himself to a stop, and he slipped backwards in the ice, sword hand dropping with him. As he fell, he feet entangled themselves with another's, and the two of them fell into the snow. His breath shot out in a hiss of pain as his cracked spine struck a rock, and he looked up.

And met deep, black, bottomless eyes...

"Tomoe..." he choked, staring up at her in disbelief with almost unseeing eyes. 'Alive... she is alive...'

'If she... if she had died...'

Movement behind her caught his attention, and he forced himself to stand, pushing her aside as gently as he could.

"I don't understand... women..."

He watched, eyes wide, as the Yaminobu fell and died, her tanto deep in his heart. He turned back to her, expression unchanged.

She kept her gaze on the dead man. "It... flew out of my hand..." her eyes met his. "I thought... I was going to die..."

Her breath caught in her throat, and her sentence cut off, as he closed the distance between them in a single stride and held her in his arms.

"Tomoe..." he whispered, voice anguished, his arms tightening, as if she would disappear. "I almost... almost..."
Yukishiro Tomoe, who was meant to die that day, murmured a comforting word and wrapped her arms around his body, tears in her eyes, a small smile on her face.

'For this man's life, I risked everything. I was going to bring him to his death... but that's when... that's when I fell in love with him...'

'I don't want to be the cause of any more death...'

'I was going to die for this man...'

'But... I live, even now...'

'And so, I will live with him... I will stay with him forever...'

'My second love...'

His strength drained, his body weak with loss of blood, Kenshin held her for only a few moments before he slumped against her, forehead resting limply on her shoulder. Gently, Tomoe pulled his arm around her and helped him walk, heading back into the forest. 'This man... my husband, my love... I won't let him die.'

Slowly, they made their way through the forest.


Author's Notes: I've never done a serious Kenshin what-if fic, and this one has become my favourite piece. It's going to be big (it already is, really...) and a bit of a mouthful, but I'm committed now and will definately finish it sometime. ^_^ Please be patient as the chapters do come slowly. Thanks for reading!

Akai Kitsune
Written December, 2001