Ashes to Ashes


Disclaimer: Rurouni Kenshin and Samurai X © N. Watsuki/Sheisha, Fuji-TV, Sony Pictures Entertainment, SME Visual Works Inc. Well, will you look at that! I just wrote a disclaimer that sounds... serious!

Author's Note:

Another little angsty thing, written because for the longest time, I wanted to talk about Yumi and Shishio's relationship. So many people think that Yumi is just Shishio's whore, while she is really something much deeper. They are like Kenshin and Tomoe, in a different time and place, with different goals. What I mean is, just try to see Yumi in a less biased view. I really enjoyed writing this piece, and I hope you enjoyed reading it, too.

Not more to say, other than that to please leave a comment!

A swift torrent of rain tore through the night, lashing at the trees and all that stood in its way. She stared out into the dark, taking in small sips of the surroundings as lightning struck across the sky. She felt powerless against the storm, pushed to its stony chest.


She turned slowly–the training that had been her life was still in place. She felt wisps of her hair fall and was comforted by the fact that she would never again have to be perfect at all times, sweet and lovely at all times.

"Shishio-sama?" Her voice was a low, with a hint of sultry undertone.

"You are going to freeze."

He walked towards her, cutting a shadowed form against the room. He wrapped his arms around her, burning–always burning–and gently kissed her neck.

She felt unworthy. Completely unworthy in his presence and part of his plan to take over Japan. She herself felt nothing towards the plan, but... For the sake of her beloved, she hoped it would work.

Though she voiced lies about no chance of failure, inside, her heart–a heart of a woman–whispered clever doubts that struck her down and made her toss and turn when the darkness let her.

He did not know... She didn't not think he knew. But... The way he looked at her, the way he smirked, led her to believe that he was there to reassure her. He was invincible, he said. He was only the government's most feared nightmare. Or, their most persistent ghost, he often said with a chuckle.

Yumi sighed softly, relaxing against his hold against her, his arm draped across her shoulder in the most comforting way.

"What do you see out there?"

She turned her head to see his face, to see the licks of flames in his eyes that threatened to burn her soul. She felt like the food of those fires, and when he was done with her, she would only be ashes. But she could not stop him. He was irresistible to her, as a moth to fire, burning...


She could never leave him, could never have him, could never save him from the dangers ahead.

"I see you out there, Shishio-sama. In the storm." The words came to her lips before she could stop them.

"Oh? And why is that?" His voice was low, but smooth, and she felt like she could listen to it forever.

She trembled lightly. "Because I can't stop it, but I can't stop watching it. I can only hope that it will bring good to me."

"And you doubt that I will treat you any better than those of the red light district?"

She shook her head. "That's not what I meant, Shishio-sama. I want... I want to be sure. I can't ever lose you, and I can't do anything to help you. Here. In your plan." She finished off brokenly and hoped he knew what she was whimpering.

He nuzzled her neck, and lightly stroked the curve of her neck, lingering on the spot where he pulse seemed to be jumping out. "Yumi, you help me by comforting me." He bent his head and whispered in her ear. "You keep me sane."

"Do you trust me?" The storm had turned her mind to mush, had turned loose her voice.

He was silent. She wanted to sob. She loved him–adored him–so much. She would die for him. She would let herself be used as a bargaining chip, or absolutely anything, because so long as he got what he needed, she would be fine.

"It's okay, Shishio-sama. You said so yourself–trust and be betrayed. But I would never betray you. You are my life. I would do anything for you." She closed her eyes, willing the burning tears to stay behind those eyelids, so he would not see her weakness.

She winced as he gripped her arm and turned her body to face him. She could not bear to look at his eyes–she looked down to her sandal-clad feet.

"Yumi." He jerked her chin not-so-gently so she had to look into his eyes. "Why do you trust me? Why do you even stay with me? You know that you could die."

"Shishio-sama, I love you." She could feel her eyes fill with tears as she looked at him, with the bandages covering his face.

He let go of her chin, then pulled her by her hands to outside, towards the steps. The rain was still pouring from the heavens. Droplets of water fell on them, onto her bare shoulders and soaking through her kimono, clinging to her body as she craved to cling to him.

"Yumi, will you be like the rain?" He turned and stared at the heavens above. "You have already fallen from the afterlife you once craved."

She did not understand what he meant.

He seemed to know her confusion, because he stopped and thought for a moment. "Will you be persistent towards my cause? You could leave. You could die. To the government, I am dead already. If you follow me, you could be but ashes when this is over. But... In the end, will you be there to comfort me?" He paused and smiled.

"Always." The word slipped from her lips, without a single waver. He was her everything, and that everything deserved her devotion and faith.

"Good." She could see his smile–smile, not smirk–as he bent down, the heavy rain pelting their bodies, and softly pressed his lips to hers.

Softly. She had not known the meaning of soft in a person, for she had long forgotten any kind of love, and especially from a man. It could only mean what he could not say, those three words he could not ever utter because then, he would revel a weakness.

'I love you.'

The raindrops on her shoulders grew smaller and less intense as he turned to walk away and she turned back to the crying sky she was under. As the sobs of the heavens grew more and more faint, Komagata Yumi smiled.