Disclaimer: I'm getting sick of typing this all the time... I don't own Rurouni Kenshin. Am not making money off of this fic. Am writing this just for fun. As a fan. Which is why it's called FANfiction. Grr.

Notes: A Valentine's Day tribute to my favorite Rurouni Kenshin couple. And a special surprise treat for those of you who've been waiting anxiously for me to get back from my break... Nyaaaaah. ^_^ (I didn't know I was capable of writing such... FLUFFY... *choke hack cough hack*... stuff...) Also, I was listening to "Fields of Gold" (Eva Cassidy version) over and over again while writing this. I seem to have developed an unhealthy fixation on that song. XD Finally, this one-shot has nothing to do with "Seiya no Kinen", "Kakusei," or anything else that's a part of my whole saga. Though if you want to think of it as part of that universe you're welcome to. ^_^

~ Beneath Azure Skies ~

They lie together in golden fields beneath the azure skies. The wind whispers to them, of memories of the past, of promises of the future. Quietly they listen, as their hair mingles, black strands against a golden sea.

And they smile.

For they have dwelt too long in the past, and they have never thought too much of the future. They live for the present now, and they are content.

They are no longer young. The fire that burns within their souls shall never be extinguished, until perhaps the day they pass away from this life, but it has died down. It is no longer the passionate, searing fire of their youth, but a gentle warm glow, steady and bright.

They are no longer young. They were already old when they finally realized their love. He had been thirty-two, and she had been twenty-eight. Perhaps they had already been old when they first met. But it does not matter, anymore. Just the other day he found a streak of silver in his hair. When he showed her, they laughed together. He had always thought he would die a violent death.

In all their wildest dreams, they never thought that they would fall in love with each other. Their friends never even considered it possible. Himura Kenshin, whom she had once loved, always assumed that she would never learn to be comfortable with him, for he had been her captor, and had even tried to kill her. Himura thought it would pain her too much, and that it would bring him guilt, for them to even be around each other. Kenshin's wife Kaoru, on the other hand, always suspected that she had not gotten over her love for Kenshin, and never would. And both the Himuras encouraged him to learn to love his ward, the ninja girl Misao, for they thought only the little weasel could teach him to smile again. And little Myoujin Yahiko was convinced that she would someday fall for the roosterhead Sanosuke.

But then they fell in love.

Perhaps it had been written in the stars; perhaps it was but an ironic twist of fate... But they fell in love, against all expectations, beyond all reason, and... there was no changing it. For love is love, and there is no logic in love.

It was not always easy. When the roosterhead finally returned to Japan after years of wandering, it was hard to tell him the truth. Because the roosterhead had loved her, and perhaps she had loved him too, once. It was hard, too, when the weasel girl found out. Because the weasel girl had loved him, or at least she had thought she did, and he had loved her too, but their love was that of a brother and a sister. And Himura Kenshin had worried, because they were all his friends, and he did not want any of them to be hurt.

But people change, and they had fallen in love.

In the end, because friends are friends, and friends will understand, Himura and the others gradually realized that their love was true, and they were happy for them, and so they were married.

It was not always easy. When they finally settled down in a home of their own, rumors flew around. For they were newlyweds, yet she was already far past marriageable age, and she was a doctor, and that was a man's job, not a woman's. And he frightened the locals with his cold unsociable ways, and they had heard he had once fought in the war, as leader of the ruthless Oniwaban group. And so no one came to her for her medical expertise, and no one dared do business with him.

But they were passionate, and they were stubborn, and they were in love, and they were determined to make it work.

And gradually, people realized that though she was a woman, she was skilled, and she was dedicated, and she cared. Patients began to flock to their door to seek her help, no longer shunning her for her sex. They realized, too, that though he was cold and withdrawn, he was extremely polite, and he was intelligent, and he was an honest man, and likable, and they no longer feared him. Customers were drawn to him, and his business prospered.

And through it all, their friends stood by for them, encouraging them.

But there came a time when they could no longer look to their friends for help. For their friends had families, lives of their own. And the troubles that had arisen were the kind they could solve only by themselves.

Some time after they had settled down into their new lives, they discovered that she had become pregnant. And they worried, for it was unheard of for a woman her age to have a child. He blamed himself for being so inconsiderate, and she blamed herself for being so careless. As a doctor, she knew that there were certain drugs available, brews that could be concocted and taken to induce abortion. But she was a doctor, sworn to heal and to protect life, and she had sworn too, long ago, that she would never involve herself in suspicious drugs again. And as she sat there, the day of their discovery, beneath summer skies bluer than the deepest ocean, she knew that she could not take the drug. She simply could not. And as he sat there, watching her face as she made her painful decision, he knew that he would never regret loving her, no matter what happened in the end. He understood.

She began to have nightmares. At night, as stars twinkled merrily in the black velvet mantle above, she tossed and turned in her sleep, and he could do nothing but watch helplessly at her side.

She was afraid. She, who had never placed much value on her own life, thinking herself unworthy, was suddenly afraid. She did not want to die, now that she had found reason to live...

He was afraid. He, who had thought himself brave, willing to throw away his life, other's lives, for nothing but honor and glory, was suddenly afraid. He did not want her to die, for she had become his reason to live...

And above all, they mourned for the child, the child that might never be given a chance to discover life as they had...

But there was nothing they could do but wait.

The child came a month early. They had been sitting together quietly, beneath light blue skies, pastel shades melting together as if in a dream. He was frantic, though he did not show it. Instead, he remained calm for her sake. She was frightened and hurting, but she bore it, for him, so that he would not worry. And together, as they held hands in the dying light of the afternoon, they placed all their faith in each other and let go of all their pain and regret and worry. For they wanted to believe.

Miracles... they are rare occurrences. It was a miracle that brought them together the first time they met, to stand by for each other even as they fumbled their way out of darkness. It was a miracle that saved their souls and gave them a second chance to live, even when all had seemed lost. It was a miracle that brought them together, once again, years later, a miracle that caused them to fall in love. And there are only so many miracles that can happen in a single lifetime.

Yet they believed.

They had to.


Because they...

They loved each other.

Alone, they had been cursed. She never found the lost brothers she searched so desperately for, after her return to Aizu. He never found the truth he sought for through hours and hours of meditation in Kyoto. And on their own, neither of them had ever been able to let the past rest in peace and find the happiness they so deserved.

But together, it seemed that they had been blessed.

For not only was the expected child born without incident...

She gave birth to twins.

It was not always easy, raising twins, but they loved each other and so they watched, together, as their children grew and the years flew past like brilliant leaves of autumn caught in the wind. The firstborn, a boy, grew ever into the spitting image of his father, save for his wild, untamable spirit, and his eyes, a playful cinnamon shade. And the girl was growing to be as beautiful as her mother, but with eyes a crystal icy blue, and a calm, solid nature that veiled the true passion within her.

They are no longer young.

The red hot fires that once burned so fiercely within their souls burns now in the souls of their children.

Once upon a time, perhaps, they would have missed it. But now...

But now they lie together, and the wind whispers to them, and they are content. The past is the past, and the future is the future. It no longer matters, for they have each other, and they have their twins -- a family, friends, a place where they belong, a place they can call home... and they are content.

And so they lay there, hair mingling in the gentle breeze, and they smile as they watch their children run, laughing, through golden fields beneath the azure skies...



I seriously can't believe I actually wrote this... It seemed like a good idea at first, but... I'm really not satisfied with the end result, and I feel uncomfortable with the style and wording in several places. (I seem to be experimenting with a lot of different styles lately...) My favorite part of the whole thing was probably where Aoshi shows Megumi his gray hair. (Says who Aoshi can't laugh? :-P) I know, I'm weird. XD

Also, someone please tell me if I mixed up my lie/lay/laid stuff... I can never get it right... (If it's wrong you can blame Microsoft Word's grammar checker. Haha.)

Well, whatever. Happy Valentine's! ^_^

This piece was inspired by Zefyr's "Twenty Five Years," a Gundam Wing one-shot. It's shounen-ai, and features a couple I usually don't like, but it is INCREDIBLY moving. I highly recommend it, even if you don't like slash/yaoi or Gundam Wing. It's not your typical angsty and/or sappy fangirl yaoi fare. In fact, it's so realistic that you don't even need to have seen GW to love the story. I swear. Be warned though, that while my story ends happily, there's a sad ending in Zefyr's piece.

When am I ever gonna get back to work on Kakusei? Err... soon? :-P (Hopefully this FLUFF is enough -- hey, that rhymes XD -- to tide you over until the next installment... *coughs*)

I really should go write a Sou/Misao one-shot now... as an apology to Sou for what I did to him in "All That Mattered"... XD *cracks up*