Disclaimer: I do not own Rurouni Kenshin.

Author's Note:

I miss angst and drama, so here's a little one-shot until I can start a new story. The format might be strange, but I'm going for artistic originality, instead of the usual 'Soujiro's totally angsty and Misao has to teach him how to smile for real, etc., etc., etc.,' though they are my guilty pleasures.

It's shorter than my usual one-shots, but it's just a little drabble. This sad one-shot was inspired by one line in The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold: "Lonely, I thought, on Earth as it is in heaven." With that said, enjoy!

It's a lot quieter here, isn't it? I mean, I loved the noises of Earth... But here, it's comforting for it to be so silent.

I didn't know we could talk here... We never said to a word to each other while we were living.

No, we didn't, huh? But then, we were on two different sides. We always thought we were the good guys, but it doesn't matter here, does it?

There are no sides for the departed. We're all just dead.

Mm... It's so strange, speaking to you. How did... How did you... Pass on?

I don't know. It was cold, I was shivering... I never was as strong as Himura-san.

There was always something different with Himura. You can tell, by the way he just smiles at you. But... Why didn't you go inside? It's dangerous to be outside... So, I guess you died of a fever.

I suppose so. And you?

Fire. Aoshi-sama wasn't there... To save me, you know.

He's dead, too. After you died, he committed suicide. It was clean, though. One jab through the heart. He should be around here somewhere, if you want to go looking for him.

No, he shouldn't be. He's somewhere else. I can't feel him here, just you. But... I wonder, how we even got here, to be together.

I don't think we're in... The afterlife.

I can't see you right now... Can you see me?

No. But continue. How did you... Did you feel anything?

I don't know... I remember pain, at first... But after a while, everything just seemed to melt away.

I assume that pun was intended.

Mm. But... I was scared, you know? I wondered why someone wasn't saving me. I thought that I would always be protected.

They all survived. You were the only one in the house that died. The fire started in your room, and everything just went up in smoke before they could get you. A candle toppled over.

You were watching? That means you died before me.

No, I'm watching right now. I can picture it in my mind. I guess that's a perk to being dead.

I never would have thought there would have been perks to being dead. I loved living... But it's not so bad being dead, I guess. At least I have you for company.

Not the best. Never the best.

I hope you're over Himura beating you. After all, you were better than him before you—

Lost control. I hate losing control.

I hated staying in control. I wanted to be free. Even when I took to being Okashira, commanding people. I did it out of love. Did you love anyone on Earth?

I didn't stay long enough to know what love is.

Perhaps I didn't know love, either. I... Aoshi-sama... Well...

You never loved him. You admired him. Admiration is not the same as love.

How would you possibly know? Is that the same with Shishio? Did you admire him, too? Would you have gone across Japan like I did, to look for him?

Shishio-san could take care of himself. And... He had Yumi.

Aoshi-sama could have taken care of himself, too. But I looked for him anyway. I think that is love. When you care about someone so much that the well-being of yourself is forgotten, that is love. I cared for him more than anything...


You don't even know what love is! How could you say what I did and didn't do? You didn't know me.

Does it matter? We're dead. We're never going to be able to go back, to find out what love is. I was never loved, you know.

Was I?

I did not know you. You said so yourself.

You know me now.

I know you with regrets. What were you before?

Happy. Alive. I want to be there again.

I had nothing on Earth. I have nothing here. Perhaps that's why I adjusted so fast. Not like you. You have doubts. You still have regrets. What do you want?

I want to live.

I want to stay here. I'm glad I'm here...


I feel safe here. I had nothing while I was living.

I feel like sleeping. Are we sleeping?


On Earth, I ran from one problem to another. I liked it. I liked the challenge. I wanted to help everyone, solve every problem if I could.

I ran away from problems. I ran away and I never had them again. At least, I thought I didn't.

You run fast, then.

But sooner or later, you tire out.

And your problems catch up with you.


You know? I feel sorry for you.

Why? You are the same as me, only with memories of happiness.

Because you are lonely... You can't hide that from me.

So are you. And I see it as clear as you see it in me.

Mm... Surrounded by people and still as alone as could be... It's strange...

Ara... Misao?


I can see you now. And... You are crying, just like me.


As lonely as it is here... as it was when we were living.