Imaginary

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AN: hey everyone! I hope you like this one, I've worked very hard on it. This takes place in the OVA, after Tomoe has died and Kenshin has brought her back to their home. I thought they didn';t really show anything in the series, and I wanted to elaborate on it. Hope you like it! Please review!

Disclaimer: Kenshin's not mine, and the song is "Imaginary" by Evanescence

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Alone with the sounds of the night, Kenshin sat in the fields of his small mountain home. How many hours had passed, he didn't know. He had long ago thrown his crimson-tainted sword into the darkness, scared of its strong temptation. As far as he was concerned, he had wielded it for the last time.

*Swallowed up in the sound of my screaming, cannot cease for the fear of silent nights.*

He sighed as he reminded himself to breathe, convinced that he was not worthy of the sweet air that filled his lungs. Yet he kept breathing, knowing it was her one final wish. He would do anything for her, even if it meant living a life that wasn't worth the cost of dirt.

*Oh how I long for the deep sleep dreaming, the goddess of imaginary light.*

Swallowing his guilt, he slowly rose to his feet and made the journey to the front porch, wondering whether or not it was disrespectful to come to her like this. He did not feel as though he should be allowed to enter, even though it was his own home. Yet it didn't feel like home anymore. To him, it was now the constant reminder of what he did to her.

*In my field of paper flowers, And candy clouds of lullaby,*

Entering the house, he took his time to remove the shoes from his feet, as he desperately wanted a distraction. When he finally lifted his eyes, his heart broke again at the sight of her cold, pale body, lifelessly sprawled on the floor. It was too much to bear. Knowing it was wrong to just leave her like that, he squeezed her hand and went to fetch some water and a fresh robe.

*I lie inside myself for hours, And watch my purple sky fly over me.*

Placing the bowl of hot water and rag next to him, he hesitantly lifted her into his arms, slowly extracting her arm from the sleeve of her robe. He shivered in fright as he saw the dried blood that covered her skin, and shivered even more when he remembered it was he who had wounded her such. He wanted to run. He wanted to go far far away, never once looking back at the monster he once was. But he knew he'd never forgive himself if he didn't help her this one last time. He would have had to take his own life to get rid of that sort of shame. Knowing this, he gently began to run the warm, damp cloth against her blood-stained skin.

*I linger in the doorway

Of alarm clock screaming monsters

Calling my name*

He sighed, letting his self-pity slowly slip from his being with every stroke of the warm cloth against her flesh. His sympathy instead went to her as her wound became more and more visible to him. He sat there breathlessly for a moment, cursing himself for scathing such beauty. It was a sin that one life alone could never atone for. He blinked quickly when he felt moisture form in the corners of his eyes, telling himself that men weren't meant to cry, but that only seemed to provoke the tears to fall even more than before. He refused to allow himself to whimper, or even shiver. All he permitted was for two solitary tears to silently flow the length of his cheeks. He then closed his eyes to block any more tears from escaping, and lowered his lips to tenderly caress her gash, as if to prove his sorrow and anguish to her.

*Let me stay,

Where the wind will whisper to me;

Where the raindrops, as they're falling, tell a story.*

When her wounds were dressed and a clean robe draped her, he slowly walked to the other side of the room, daring himself to enter her sanctuary. Pain struck his heart as soon as his eyes fell upon the place that held so many memories for him. How he had spent countless nights sitting outside that room, watching her write, studying her distant expressions; how he'd always fallen asleep doing so, and woke up with her sleeping contently in his arms; how he was before he knew the hardships that would come with loving her.

*In my field of paper flowers,

And candy clouds of lullaby,*

Looking around at her possessions, he closed his eyes and quivered, and his mind's eye displayed how the room had looked when she was alive. It was always nice and neat, and had a subtle smell of her perfume. Now her things were scattered and messed with, and the room no longer smelled like perfume; it instead smelled of the sweat that left his body as he nervously read her journal and first realized where she had gone that very morning. He heaved a sigh and fell to his knees, beginning to fix her desk as it was before. He wrapped the mirror he bought her back into its black cloth covering, just as she did every morning when she was done using it; he placed her hair ribbon beside it, remembering how she put her hair up so it looked half the length that it was. Then his eyes fell upon the tiny glass bottle that contained her perfume, carelessly knocked to its side. He picked it up into his hands as if it were sacred, and after a moment of staring, put it in her top right drawer. If he had opened it and the smell reached his nose, his crying would have been guaranteed. Then, having no other reason to ignore it, he hesitantly lowered his hand to pick up the journal that she treasured with all her heart. Since it would be completely unbearable for him to read a single word, he quickly flipped past the pages that had writing on them, stopping when his eyes fell on a single sakura petal that was pressed into the sheet of paper. Finding it soft and comforting to look at, he ran his hand through his hair, just staring at that one single petal. Then, as if it was telling him what to do, he took her brush in his hand and pressed it into the ink bottle.

*I lie inside myself for hours, And watch my purple sky fly over me.*

When he was satisfied with the amount of ink on the brush, he paused, wondering what to write. There were so many things left unsaid that he would do anything to be able to say to her. Anything. Only he couldn't now. All he could do was write in her journal, and imagine that she was reading every word over his shoulder. He exhaled slowly, and then finally put the brush to the paper, careful not to ruin his words by thinking.

I'm sorry for everything I've said, And for anything I forgot to say, too. When things get so complicated, I stumble, at best, muddle through.

I wish that our lives could be simple. I don't want the world. Only you.

Surprised at how honest he was being, he bit his lip. He never lied to her, but he had rarely admitted his faults to her. Almost never. Yet here he was, on the night of her passing, telling her everything he'd wanted to say when she was alive. He paused for a moment, and only continued to write when his eyes reached the flower petal once again.

I wish I could tell you this Face to face. But there's never the time, Never the place. So, this letter will have to do; I love you.

Sniffling loudly as he finished his sentence, he covered his eyes with his hand, slammed the brush down angrily and carelessly threw her journal into the other room. The grief was too much. His shoulders slowly began to shake, becoming uncontrollably violent when he started to sob bitterly into the palms of his hands. It wasn't supposed to be this way. She wasn't supposed to die a young, beautiful maiden, soon to be married, and who was incomparable to anyone, in his eyes. She was supposed to die 70 years from now, and old woman in her warm bed, with their children and grandchildren surrounding her, holding her dearly as they whisper their last goodbyes. Reluctantly seeing the beautiful scene in his head, he began to cry even harder, knowing life wasn't a treasure he deserved to possess for taking that moment away from her.

*If you need to leave the world you live in, Lay your head down and stay a while.*

Having no one else to turn to, he quickly rose to his feet and ran into the other room, falling to his knees as he held her in his arms. His only wish now was for her to somehow open her eyes, and ask him innocent questions, like where they were, what happened, why he was crying. He'd give anything for that, even if it where only for a moment; just long enough for him to whisper how much he loved her and how sorry he really was. He didn't care if she was angry, or if she never talked with him again. Just knowing she was alive and well would be enough for him. He closed his eyes, letting his tears completely claim victory over his pride, and shook violently with grief as he embraced her one last time, drifting off into slumber as his energy drained with each tear he shed.

*Though you may not remember dreaming, Something waits for you to breathe again.*

Awakening with the sun's soft warmth on his face, he silently opened his eyes, resting them only on her. He had cleaned her up so well that he at first thought she was sleeping, but only for a moment, as his ugly memories started to slip back into his conscious mind. He heaved a heavy sigh and gently lay her down, covering her with her blanket. A thought then came upon him, just to touch her face. A moment of hesitation passed, and he finally lowered his fingertips to her face, running them gently across her features. It seemed almost comforting to him. Not enough to erase his sorrows, but enough to keep him from crying, for the moment. She really was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen.

*I linger in the doorway, Of alarm clock screaming monsters Calling my name.*

Then, all of a sudden, he stopped himself as one question came to mind; what was he doing here? He fought with himself, at first, telling himself that she needed him now. Only, he was wrong. She didn't need him. She didn't need anyone. She was dead. He stopped, processing that logic. She didn't want him here, lingering inside broken memories that he still called his life. She wanted him to pick up the pieces. Move on with his life. Leave her behind. The question wasn't whether or not he believed that anymore; the question was whether or not he wanted to.

*Let me stay,

Where the wind will whisper to me;

Where the raindrops, as they're falling, tell a story.*

Debating the issue in silent torment, he leaned his back to the wall and buried his face in the palm of his hands. He had been sent into a complete daze as soon as he saw the sight of her blood, and reality decided to show its ugly face in his dark, secluded little world again. The only reason he hadn't left the house yet was because deep down in his heart, he was still waiting for her to suddenly sit up and tell him just how credulous he was. And no matter how hard he denied it, that wasn't ever going to happen. After another long moment of silence, he wiped his face and rose to his feet. He had made up his mind.

*Swallowed up in the sound of my screaming, cannot cease for the fear of silent nights.*

He first came to her and brought her blanket to her neck, as if to keep her warm, and nuzzled her neck affectionately. This was his last and final goodbye, and he wasn't about to leave without one last caress; one last kiss. He then retrieved her journal from the floor and reviewed what he had written the night before. He didn't even need to open it and read it, however. The words were already burned in his memory. Yet he couldn't throw it away; it was his last connection to her. He wouldn't dispose of it; he would leave it with her, and hope that her soul would one day come to it and see his sorrowful and true words. He would leave all of her posessions for her, only bringing her blue shawl as a connection to his past. He brought it around his neck before bringing his jacket around his arms, and looked at her one final time as he walked out of the door and closed it behind her. Then, taking his shorter sword from his belt, he closed his eyes and struck the house with the sword with such force that the friction caused the house to combust. He could no longer bear to look at the place he once called home, and dropped his sword on the porch and continued on his way down the path, and as he walked, he allowed the tears to flow from his eyes.

The wind rustled and the fallen leaves swirled around his feet, yet he continued to walk. The sun started to fade from the sky, but he continued walking. Then, finally, he was stopped by an odd sensation; almost like a light kiss pressed to his cheek. He spun around, startled, and found to his surprise that no one was there. He then felt someone's fingertips caress his arm, and started to pant when he realized that no one was there, yet again. But something was calling him, asking him to close his eyes, to listen to the wind's whistling cries. Afraid to refuse the request, he closed his eyes, and felt the wind blow into his ears and whisper soft words to him; words that he thought he'd never hear again. Astonished, he opened his eyes and panted. She had come to say goodbye to him, telling him that she would always be with him, no matter what happened. Turning his head to look at the house once more in the distance, he started to wonder whether or not it really had happened. But then again, he didn't really care; whether she truly had been standing right beside him, or her appearance was imaginary, he knew one thing was for sure; her memory would always live inside of him. Then, at that moment, he did something that he hadn't done for days, and thought he'd never do again; he smiled.

*Oh how I long for the deep sleep dreaming, the goddess of imaginary light.*

~*~ Please review!! ~Suki