In "Reflections" Kenshin seems to have trouble remembering Sanosuke's name, and he's always staring at the seashell chimes in the window... So I came up with this little piece... Angsty for sure, please don't kill me, Kenshin fans. =)

Just a note, this does contain slight spoilers for the Kenshin OVA's. If you'd rather not have a few things spoiled, such as how Kenshin is toward the end, please don't read this. No flames onegai.

A piece of writing in Kenshin's POV. Setting, OVA's.

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Trying to Remember...

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I can't sleep...memories plague my mind every time my eyes slip shut. At least- I think that they are memories I am seeing... A beautiful woman and a little boy...a man with a white coat, and a woman with doctor's clothes...A young man with a sword, training by a pond...an older man with a red manto...and a tall man with a short ninja woman by his side...

I see them while I sleep...who are they? I don't remember... Are they a memory? Or is it some wonderful dream that I wish my life had been once? I've seen battles and fights...and friendships and loss...

I've seen a young red-headed man with his hair in a ponytail...I've seen him kill countless men...and I've seen him kill a woman... He must have loved her dearly... His eyes, they looked so sad...

I saw this man wander throughout Japan...I've seen his whole life it seems... I wonder who he is, to receive such a beautiful gift? He seemed so happy when he found a family... So joyous...

So why? Why did he leave them!? I find myself getting mad at this strange man, who would kill so many, and then live a happy life, only to leave it...

I've dreamt about a little redheaded boy who would run to the man when he came home...and I become so upset whenever I remember....(is it a memory?) that this man had left this boy without a real father for so many years...

I wish I could help them... but I'm so old...I feel weak...and I know that there isn't anything I can do anymore...

I sit most days...and watch the seashell chimes outside of the window of this little shack I call mine... I'm too weak to do much else, but I find the shells mesmerizing, though I know not why...

If I close my eyes...I see her... A beautiful young woman, who slowly fades to an older woman with a wonderful smile...

The door bursts open one afternoon, as I stand by the window, still watching the chimes...My head turns slowly to the door, and I see someone who seems vaguely familiar...

"Who..." I start, but my throat constricts painfully, and loud coughing racks my body.

"Kenshin!" the man in the doorway yells...and he runs to me. "I'll get a doctor!" he says, helping me to lie down. "Stay here!"

After he leaves, I am still puzzled... Who was he? He seems familiar...and I close my eyes...

I see a young man with piercing brown eyes...a red bandanna wrapped around his head, and a large smile on his face. A fish bone pokes out from the corner of his mouth as he watches two little girls play. The woman dressed in doctor's clothes sits beside him, a smile on her face.

Is this the same man? The man with unshaved stubble on his face...and the longer, though still un-groomed hair? The name...it's on the tip of my tongue but...

I wake up slowly and go to the window to see the chimes swirling lightly in the breeze... I don't remember how they got there... I wish I knew...I really wish I knew... They seem familiar in a way...

The man comes back, and seems concerned and curious as to why I'm staring at the shells. And even if I could talk right, I couldn't tell him...

He's cooking something, fish, I think... "Here Kenshin, catch!" he says, throwing the fish at me. It's as if the world for me has slowed down, but everything else has sped up... The fish is coming too fast, and my hand is too slow...

I reach out to grab onto it, and something in my mind tells me I should have been able to snatch it from the air.

The man seems alarmed...his eyes widen as the fish hits the floor... I stare after the fish sadly. He picks up the fish and wipes the sand from it before handing it to me. He makes sure I have a steady grip on the fish before he lets go.

"Is it good, Kenshin?" he asks.

I stare at him stupidly... What am I to say? I'm not sure what I'm supposed to say to that... did he ask a question? I'm so confused...

"S-..." I start to say. "San---"

The name, his name, is on the tip of my tongue, but I cannot remember it. Aren't you supposed to greet someone when you see them? I feel so guilty... I can't remember...what's his name again?

"Don't try to remember anything Kenshin," he says. "It'll just come to you."

Come to me? I...I've been waiting for such a long time for things to "come to me" and I still know nothing...

"You have to get home," he tells me.

Huh? Home...what's...I forget what he said to begin with... I'm so pitiful, I feel so bad... I want to ask him to repeat it, but I can't seem to speak.

"Back to Kaoru."

A picture flashes in my head, and my heart thuds loudly in my ears, just as soon as the name fades from my memory.

"K---"

"I'll find a way for you to go home Kenshin, don't you worry."

I can see sadness in his eyes. Why is he sad? I don't understand...I want to ask... Oh! how I wish to ask him why he seems so sad... but I can't. Talking, it hurts my throat...and that causes me to cough...and that hurts. Really hurts...

I look up, and the chimes swing into my line of vision. I focus on them, they're moving calmly, making a pretty sort of sound as they softly bump into one another. The man's saying something, but I can't hear him...

I wake up (when did I fall asleep?) and look around myself. The man is standing by the door, a horse's bridle in his hand.

"Come Kenshin," he says. "I've found a boat that will take you home."

I'm leaving?

Why am I leaving? Am I supposed to leave? What about my chimes...?

I like things to stay the same... Why do things have to change...why do they have to...?

I'm put on the horse's back, and I look back at the chimes longingly.

I slip asleep on the ride to wherever we're going... And I see in my mind... I see a family...

The man behind me, he is there... The woman doctor is there...the smiling woman and the little boy...and the young man holding the sword... That sword looks familiar to me... and a redheaded man smiling over them all...

But I don't remember why...

When I awake, the only thing I remember is...they were all together... I want to tell the man behind me, I want to tell him about the woman doctor... that they were together in my sleep. I want to ask him why he isn't with her now...

And who the man with the red hair is...

And again, I see the red headed man in my thoughts leave his family... I have yet to see him come back from that last trip...

I want to ask this man to please find the redheaded man and to tell him to go back to his family...they must miss him by now...

But once again, I remain silent.

As I sit on the deck of the boat (how did I get here?!) I see the man on the dock, and I see that he is looking up at me.

I try to reach out my hand over the railing to touch his hand, to say goodbye to this kind soul...

But I still don't know where I'm going...

And I don't remember the man's name...

I feel like crying...I don't seem to remember anything anymore...

I wonder what the end of the redheaded man's story is. I wonder if the man on the dock will ever see the doctor woman again, if the short woman and the tall man will ever be wed (have they already? Did I miss it...?) if the young man and his waitress girlfriend will get together...and if the little boy with the smiling woman will grow into a handsome young man...

"Goodbye Kenshin!" the man yells.

Is that my name? I stare into space, and picture the chimes in my mind. The corner of my mouth turns up, and one of my hands unconsciously goes to touch the hair at the back of my neck.

I look slowly down at the hair twisted lightly in my hand.

Red...

The color is faded, but I would know that hair anywhere...

I just can't believe it's mine...

But I do know one thing now...

I'm going somewhere special. I'm going back home...

By: Kitten Kisses

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=) So, what did you think? I hope you felt sad, that was my intention. I cried (well, bawled) when Kenshin couldn't seem to focus and catch the fish that Sanosuke threw to him. Our red-headed samurai had grown from a professional assassin to a feeble man who can't be cured of a fatal disease.

Also, I know it's rather strange that Kenshin can't remember who the "red- headed man" is. =/ It's really sad, and adds to the angst, I think. But, the way he acted; he was so weak and frail; it doesn't seem all that unusual.

Note: Nobody's sure whether or not Kenshin has leprosy or tuberculosis, but personally, I am opting for leprosy. He had dark spots on his chest- (one sign) and he coughed a lot (which is another). You can live for years with leprosy, but only for maybe a month with tuberculosis (it ruins your lungs).

Now, click the button and let me know what you think! And, if you get a chance, check out my new poems and short writings. =)

And to those who want my Sango/Miroku and Misao/Aoshi fics finished, summer is coming up (Congratulations to the class of 04!) so I'll be updating more in the summer, since I'll have all the time that I would usually be at school. Also, I plan to update "Friends Forever" in the near future. =)

Thank you!

BIO:: UPDATED MAY 19TH, 2004!