Warnings: Honeysuckles and Moonlight Shreds is a story dealing with drugs, abuse, underage sex, adultery, mental instability and is meant to leave both bitter and sweet after-tastes. I'm aiming for realism. This story is also an Alternate Universe, set in modern Japan (which I know little of). There could, would and may not have inaccuracy, just be warned. Any flames will be regarded as mere matches to be sent back directly or used to lit fires in my backyards in parties to come.
Side note: PLEASE, all reviewers should leave their e-mail address at least once. IT'S VERY IMPORTANT. Thank you
Disclaimers: Rurouni Kenshin is property of Nubohiro Watsuki.
Honeysuckles and Moonlight Shreds
By Eden's Epitaph
Prologue: Cherry Blossoms under a Weeping Sky
Moonlight played silvery shades upon night darken teal color of the room's walls, casting shadows in a myriad of shapes and bluish-greys for the eye to observe in contemplative silence, paying much respect to the magnificence of night. Silky strands of midnight hair reflecting indigo were spread almost invisibly on the dark night-colored shade of the bed linens and summery sky hues of the bed-wide pillow. His hand, though trembling still, never seemed to tire of touching the velvet feel of the alabaster skin that glowed silvery under the bath of the moon. Her chest rose and fell, following a deep rhythm of relaxed breathing, lost in a sea of dreams he so wished to peer into. Her hands rested barely above her head, arm in a graceful arc, thick black lashes resting lovingly upon the delicate flesh of her rosy cheeks which he longed to graze with his burning lips. Only fear of waking her kept the man from succumbing into temptation, as sweet and lovable as it was. His finger grazed the smooth skin of her tender face, tracing the beautiful lines of her sleeping figure.
Amethyst pools stared lovingly at the sight of perfection sleeping with childish abandon on his dishevelled bed. Clothes rested discarded about the room, long forgotten in a hazed passion that had overthrown any thought of morality and promises shoved far away from a consciousness that begged hopelessly for some attention. It all just felt so right, too right to be as damn amiss as society saw it. To give into this sweet madness that had wrapped the both of them, leaving them breathless, completely overwhelmed, and it could not be wrong, no matter the odds.
If sins were so powerfully wonderful, than he craved to be a perpetual sinner, his soul be forever damned to the darkness of hell, he would still have those magical moments of rapture and love engraved deeply in his mind and soul to cherish in an eternity of hellish pain. Yes, he would abide to the Devil's every wish only to remain by this lovely woman's side, should it be in torture. She had captured him and he was unwilling to leave, a liable prey, ready for the ultimate sacrifice of his soul for the sake of her, of what they had.
He sought no redemption, not an ounce of guilt or reminiscence, simply a feeling of fulfillment he knew only she could give. She had brought out the best of him, saw what was beautiful in his gloom, loved him without a question, gave him full understanding and, above all, her trust. It occurred to him that never before had he felt anything quite this strong. Willing to give and not expecting anything in return and surprised when he gave back. He once thought he was in love, elusive feeling cast in shadow by some illusion of reality, had married that woman who could never love him, that he could never love.
He knew now, understood and saw as perfectly as if bathed in daylight, what had united two beings that, apparently hadn't and still wont, have anything in common but their mutual dread of loneliness, that had came along when their world had shattered under their powerless hands. It had took him ten years to realize how wrong he was, clinging to something that never even existed under a promise that had not even made any sense. This girl, latent by his side, lost in the loveliness of rest and reverie, was light. She was innocence and compassion, everything that his wife was not, everything that stirred his spirit toward life, everything he had unconsciously craved for so many years, so long he still had no idea when the need had birthed.
Absently, his hand drifted up her arm, caressing the soft flesh in a tender gesture, loving her with the pads of long fingers, watching intensely every subtle changes that would make her face lit up in the quiet obscurity of the bedroom. This beautiful woman was still so young, so inexperienced in life, yet experienced so much. Pain seemed to be a substantial part or her past and present as well as his and, still, she smiled through it all, head held high and confident. If any guilt should be felt, it was to bring her more worries, trouble and pain, to trap her between his past and his present and add yet more weight to her already heavy burden. And yet, he knew she would never crumble, he knew her to be strong, to be fiercely alive. But the eventuality that his love would be crushed hunted him, but the guilt he should feel seemed to have forgotten about him.
When he had watched her, swathed in the euphoric state that their infatuation had so exquisitely created, flushed and vibrant under him, responding to his every hushed murmur, stirring his every senses awake, touching places that he thought could never be touched, he knew she was meant to be his, and he to be hers. She was never cold, always smiling, a whirlwind of fiery emotion that would light her ocean blue eyes to such a perfect glitter of life that would make his existence worth the ache and suffering, so far from the livid coal of his wife's eyes. She expressed herself in so many different ways, shown him what life really was and brought light to a life that used to be nothing but grey shades.
He smiled genuinely only when with her it seemed. The future no longer appeared to be that long, everlasting tunnel that he had feared so much. Happiness was his to take, and it was laid within this lovely girl that slumbered peacefully, laying next to him in all her exquisite glory. Love was no longer that tearing feeling inside that left him empty and ensnared, but a blissful ecstasy that enveloped his soul, coxing him towards a greater tomorrow wrapped in sun and smelling of newly hatched honeysuckles.
As a long finger played over her skin, gliding up and down the curves of her feminine attributes as if entranced by the soft glow of them, he began to wonder how it started. This madness, as beautiful as it was, had to have a beginning, everything had. He had not fallen into sin so easily, he remembered. Fighting want and lust and that overpowering need with all the might he could muster up, wishing it gone. It had tortured him, rendering him sleepless and agitated, angered him, maddened him, and it suddenly appeared to him that his struggle had been so vain. Kissing the hand he had gently taken hold of as his mind wandered back to that fateful rainy April day, on the skirts of the school campus, where he had first witnessed her beauty under the samurai's tree.
Early spring smelled of damp wood and blooming flowers, a fragrance that would turn all that was repulsive to exhilarating beauty. Nature reunited with life, buds about to burst, birds returning from their migratory voyages and a new school year on the wake. There, under a cherry tree, watching the downpour of a rainy April day was a young woman. Her umbrella rested peacefully on the wet cement of the sidewalk, the usually pale grey coloring of concrete darkening as it absorbed more and more of the celestial cry.
Sapphire jewels observed in quiet passiveness the large droplets beating down on the small pink flowers mercilessly, a few petals giving away under the weigh of the water. They only lived for a few days, those lovely blossoms, cheering the sad world of early spring, so depressingly cast in shadows by heavy dark clouds that loomed, almost permanently, over the citizen's heads. The samurai's blossom, a cultural symbol of the way of the warrior, bushido; the cherry blossom represented life in its purest essence. They flittered away after merely seeing but glimpse of the world in its golden light to give way into oblivion with barely an impression of the world.
School bag in hands, loaded with books, sheets and papers of all sorts, a heavy burden but she did not seem to care, the girl simply stood motionless under the rain. Uncaring of her uniform slowly drenching, sticking to her skin, the white fabric of her shirt turning translucent as the material got soaked, sending shivers down her spine, the girl watched and thought. All she could see was rain, falling endlessly, playing with the wind, almost dancing, and creating a natural music that would linger within her mind, relaxing, hypnotizing.
She exhaled a trembling breath, the clouds moving rapidly, blown away, induced into the wind's foreplay but always they remained the mass of darkness too large to simply disappear down the horizon, traced by the modern buildings and temples roofs of Kyoto. Her long ebony strands, heavily sopping, stuck to her face and the girl passed a delicate hand trying to push away the locks that covered her vision, wishing to see everything, to be enwrapped in this lovely visage of nature and absorb every image it created. Her blue eyes caught the sight of her watch, showing her that time was drawing short, but she ignored it, wishing to stay and watch some more.
Behind her, students were rushing through the school gates, laughing, shouting, chatting like the carefree youth they were. She was left unnoticed, someone who just stood there, like a fool, allowing the cold pour to soak her through. They were too eager to get into the building, away from the rain, to care for a lonely figure under a sakura tree. They resembled a parade of colorful umbrellas, those running students, which came in many shapes and just as many designs. Someone sprinted pass her, the rain-shielding object that was in their hands displayed an anime character, some sort of yellow rat surrounded by thunder bolts, quite the childish accessory. The girl's umbrella was a plain black one, conventional and quite useless now as it lay on the ground next to her, broken and reversed by the harsh wind.
In the distance, a bell rang, loudly bidding the children to there respective classrooms. But the soaked through black-haired girl decided to be deaf, just for a moment, choosing instead to stare, just a little longer, at the downpour, the wind and the delicate pink petals it dragged along, coloring the dull grey of rainy day. Footsteps resounded behind her and stopped. She felt eyes burn into her back, an intense gaze that seemed to observe every little details from her long and wet bare legs to her dripping mane that reached down to the small of her back. There was a vague voice, male, that spoke softly to her before the footsteps started to move forward again.
"You should get in, that you should." it said politely.
She shook her head in a negative. Just a little bit longer, whispered her mind. To feel the caress of water, cool and refreshing on her moist skin was good enough a reason for her to be late. To watch every drop join within the growing pool at her feet and see the movement splinter her reflection on the brown and grey water that acted as a mirror would, she was willing to suffer the consequences of tardiness. She signed, dropping her schoolbag on the drenched ground, sliding open the fastener, the sound, metallic and unnatural, a perjure to the gentle song of nature. The girl shoved her pale hand in between the folds and retrieved a blue silken ribbon, remains of a lost childhood.
Passing her palm over her wet black strands, smoothing them, trying to tame what was wild, and reassembling them in a high ponytail that cascaded down her shoulders, she knot indigo cloth. It felt heavy, darker than it was supposed to be, and most likely tangled, it would be a pain to care for when the day would draw to a close and she would be back to her new home. The girl allowed her eyes, deep sapphires lost in self brooding, to gaze over the rich brown barks of the tree that stood proudly over her and exhaled a breath that suited the ponder of her young mind.
"Silver drops of angel's grief, descending swiftly upon our shattered world, giving life to withering flowers, when all is silence. Who do you weep for, celestial beings, bound in perfection. Do you suffer from our misdeeds? Do you long for our liberation? In the end, we all sought salvation, but tangled in sins, we join in prayer, on hands and knees, hopeless and blinded by false conviction we beg your forgiveness. Living a lie, not believers but wishers, starving for something higher, bigger, right here, under the cherry trees..."
Slowly the drenched schoolgirl, a note-pad in hand, the paper undulated by water and rather inappropriate for writing, pivoted on the heels of her worn out brown shoes, leaving behind the umbrella, tortured by the elements. Walking, she scrabbled on the paper her earlier musing and crossed under the high gates of Kyoto High leaving a trail of wet footprints in her wake and earning herself a few curious stares as well as quiet snickers from fellow students.
She was a remarkable sight if there ever was one. Dripping wet, uniform messed, soaked through, rippled and worn black and yellow backpack, just as drenched as the rest of her. Those old brown leather shoes she wore squeaked with each step, announcing quite unceremoniously her arrival with a fare minute advance. Her socks stained by mud, blue skirt leaving a diminutive pool where she would stop, and her white shirt barely able to conceal as much as it should, almost see-through and water saturated, the girl walked down the empting corridors, seemingly without much of a care in the world.
It was the usual first day cacophony. The young and eager students ranted about their vacation, loud displays of superficial life that many if not all abide to every once in a while. They were of all kinds, from the wealthy family of doctors to the poor employee's children, but all craved for the same freedom and dreamt to, one day, change the world. Such illusionary made them look so adorable even though most of them would never rise and most of those childhood wishes presumably to disappear at the wake of adulthood. Their dreams were bound to be crushed, devastated to better idolize money just as their parents did, corrupted by society, tied to the vicious cycle of consumerism, which they were already deeply confined into. But for a blissful moment, they were free, and that is what made all the beauty of youth.
Silence suddenly overtook the students as a red-haired young man walked into the classroom, an indulgent smile playing on his handsome face, giving him a look of gentle understanding.
"Good morning," he greeted politely.
The teacher let his gaze wander about the room, recognizing most of the young faces, before settling behind his desk and deposing the load of sheets he had carried along with his dirty-brown brief case. It was a repulsive item, worn and ready to surrender life at any moment. It remained a mystery to everyone, staff, teachers and students alike, why he still carried that thing around when it, in all probability, certainly could not induce anything remotely emotional. There was a few silent hushes from the students, most being from squealing hormonal girls, appreciative of the teacher's appearance. This made him smirk as he turned to the black board, a piece of chalk in between his long fingers.
"Please, sit down. I will be your Writing teacher for this year. My name is Himura Kenshin. You can call me Himura-sensei or simply Himura, choose your own personal liking." he stated as he wrote his name in elegant curves. "Just no 'Ken-san', please." He warned eyeing a girl in the front row who just so happen to have whispered that name to her friend. She blushed beat-red and hid behind her hair.
Kenshin was the youngest teacher in Kyoto High and opinions about him were varied. It was obvious the young man had foreign blood, purple eyes and red hair certainly was no characteristic of an Asian. Discrimination was a persistent illness in the city of Temples. There was also a lot of mystery surrounding him, besides the fact that Kenshin rarely ever spoke of himself, there was a large cruciform scar slashing across his left cheek. Rumours whispered that the young man was a wanted criminal in a foreign country hiding in Japan under the guise of a teacher and that the marring of his face was one of many battle scars. Amazing what a bunch of young minds could come up with.
"This year, we'll be having an exchange student from Tokyo." He said turning then paused.
Kenshin stole a glance toward the door, spotted a face, and immediately motioned the unknown figure to make their entrance. The door slowly slid opened, almost hesitantly and a very wet and dishevelled girl crossed the frame, her shoes squeaking and her skirt dripping, leaving watery marks behind. Her gaze was downcast, shying away from the inquiring stares of the class who seemed more than interested but not necessarily in a kind way. Her hands held a yellow notepad that seemed heavily damaged by rain and time, the ink of the words scribbled over the drenched sheets slipping and smothered, deformed and nearly unreadable.
Kenshin took a short intake of breath in surprise as the girl raised her gaze toward him. Such deep, fiery and powerful blue eyes, so alike that of the midnight velvet coverlet that was the sky as the sun slept. She no longer appeared shy to him but uneasy. Though she seemed awfully pathetic, her small form soaked through and shivering, she held her head high and appeared confident. And for a moment everyone thought she was that kind of girl who always cried, clumsy and star-crossed. But when she spoke, her voice was firm, clear and sound.
"My umbrella broke." She explained, pointing at her wet uniform.
Her long ebony strands were restrained by an indigo ribbon, the hair around her delicate face had started to dry and had frizzled in some places. Her hand fidgeted lightly with the pad she was holding, if she felt intimidated, that was the only sign. She shifted the weigh of her backpack, the wet sound it made causing a few chuckles from the overly attentive assistance. She bit her lower lip shoving away the uncomfortable feeling of shyness that threatened to tighten her throat and managed to keep her assurance. She turned a resolute face toward the class, uneasiness only a shadowed memory of the moment and spoke with an unwavering voice, forgetting her particular state of soaked through.
"My name is Kamiya Kaoru. I come from Tokyo, it's a pleasure to meet you all," and then flashed them her best smile before bowing in respect.
"Welcome, Miss Kamiya. Please, take a seat," offered Kenshin.
Kaoru scanned the room, spotted a desk at her right, the second one closest to the door, and made her way to it, her brown worn-out shoes complaining with each step. All eyes were turned her way, watching as the water slowly dripped forming a puddle right under her seat, which she paid no attention to and simply settled at her desk, retrieving her study tools from her black and yellow bag and displaying them on the wooden surface. Kenshin shook his head, trying to push away the sight of the girl and desperately forcing his gaze away from her see-through white blouse. It seemed to be a losing battle though and he felt like slapping himself, confused and scared of his curious reaction. He then spoke in a vain attempt to clear his rampant thinking and consciousness.
"Um… Miss Kamiya, if you don't mind, perhaps you could pay a visit to the infirmary and recover some dry clothes, that you could."
"It won't be necessary, I'll be just fine, Mr. Himura," she said not moving her attention from the paper on which she had scrambled some unknown notes.
Murmurs and chuckles rumbled through students at the intentions of the strange new girl. School-life this year was certain to be very interesting. Along with the usual oddities that went along with every education establishment, this one very wet girl had became, in the lapse of a barely an hour, the center of every gossip that would perturb the student life for the coming weeks. Kenshin, still at his place by the board, coughed in a desperate attempt to regain his student's attention and began his usual first day basic explanation of his educational plan for the term. But it seemed that his eyes were constantly attracted to that girl sitting on the second seat of the first row. This class was going to be a very long and very frustrating one.
The idea for Honeysuckles and Moonlight Shreds came with the title. One night, I was staying at my parent's place with nothing much to do but think and wonder. One thought lead to another and, out of the blue, those words appeared in my mind and I just had to note it. Back then I was still working on Within Souls – which is now discontinued – and did not really intend to start working on that new project. However, ideas just kept coming and, that night visiting my parents, I started to write the prologue with only a vague idea of what I intended this story to be about. My first few notes have nothing or little to do with the current plot line and I must admit that I struggled greatly with the first 5 or 7 chapters. It's only about a year ago that the plot of HMS started to clearly shape itself in my mind and became what you now know. This story has more then one theme and dealing with so many was, and still is, both a challenge and a real pleasure. I never had as much fun writing a story as I am having now and I hope everyone else is sharing, at least a little, my enthusiasm.
Thank you ever so much for taking the time to read and review.
Edited by Guardian Forever