The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
Sometimes, recognition can sneak up on you.

Have I truly not seen his face before now? All these months—I've learned his ways so intimately—in my sleep, I could recognize his movements, his moods.

Her shock at actually seeing him for the first time—dark red hair, piercing blue gaze, already so unexpectedly aware, intelligent. No sounds but his, no warmth but their bare skin, no other face.

"Koishii, such beauty…" Calloused hands reached in, lifted the small, sturdy body from her arms, reverently held it close. The bright red head bent over the mahogany one, violet eyes meeting cobalt.

He whispered, awestruck, "Kenji. My son."

Review Responses: Lolo and Omasu, you both called this piece "sweet". I certainly was reaching for that kind of thing. I wanted to express the simple joy and normalcy that I think came to Kenshin (and Kaoru) finally, regardless of how long they were able to enjoy it (depending on how much weight you give to the "sequel" OVA--hmph!). As usual, I drew on my own experiences for much of the emotional basis (does that make me a "method writer"? grin), this time on the birth of my daughter. IKnowNot, "lyrical"? Wow! And I think you're right about it's missing what you termed "joy that comes after pain feeling", but I think I specifically wanted to avoid that dark shadow in this one. I've found that sometimes one doesn't have to spend much time in happiness for it to feel like one has been blessed with it for a lifetime, and I wanted to get that here. Maybe I succeeded after all, ne?) Anyway, thanks again, my most faithful reviewers!

More Responses: Skenshingumi &Terry-McElrath, ha! See? This is exactly what I meant: no one else really "got it" that this was all about the instant at which you "become" a mother, as well as a father, which is also the point of this story—Kenshin getting a taste of "normal" happiness, undiluted by bitterness or regret, by shadow or threat. This was a completely autobiographical story for me; I just forced Kaoru and Kenshin into my own history for my own gratification. (Isn't it great to be the All-Powerful Author?) Actually, my favorite part is: "Calloused hands reached in, lifted the small, sturdy body from her arms, reverently held it close", I guess, in large part, because it so conjures up for me my daughter in my husband's arms.