Title: Road to Redemption

Author: xiaou-xijiang

Summery: There are many things that blacken the soul: anger, envy, hate. We live with them and move on. Rei Kashino has many ghosts haunting him. One of which is the woman he loved. The woman he killed.

Disclaimer: I do not own MARS.

Rating: T

Author's note: This plot bunny came to me while I was battling a strong case of insomnia and trying to belch out the next chapter of Hey, Stranger. No worries, that fic is still in progress, and I have everything that I want to happen in my head for that one, this is just a tidbit that I'll be working on in between.


Chapter one: once upon a time

Akira nervously smoothed down her skirt for the third time in five minutes. It wasn't like she was nervous. Even if she was---which she isn't---she had a perfectly good reason. This was her first interview with the subject of her new book. Never mind that he was a convicted murderer sent to prison for 25 years to life. Not that that had anything to do with her being nervous. That has nothing to do with it at all.

She paced around the white room, anxiously straightening the two chairs, opening and closing her notebook, placing her pen in just the right place. This room was what was making her nervous. It was completely white, the ceiling was way too high, and the officers leering at her from behind the glass window were enough to make her palms sweaty.

Akira leaned against the table, crossing her slender legs in front of her. Maybe the skirt was a bit much, after all it only reached to the middle of her thighs and don't felons get a bit frustrated with all this time in prison? She really didn't want to think about that she realized, finding comfort in the two guards with handguns that were hopefully locked, loaded, and ready.

What is taking so long?

Akira glanced at her watch again. Damn it, I hate waiting. She slid back into moving and set up a pattern. Move chair slightly to the left. Move around table, do same thing to the other chair. Adjust pen. Enough ink? Check. Sweep imaginary dust off steel table. Then move chair slightly to the left, move around the table and do the same thing to the other chair.

She settled into this uneasy rhythm until she heard movement outside.

Akira straightened and her brown eyes fixed on the man---the murderer---on the other side of the window.

Alawyer (she guessed from the dress pants, shirt and tie and sauvy shoes) waved the guards away with one hand and with tight fingers on the man's cuffed arm ushered him inside. Akira held her breath.

The man was tall, with long, silky blond hair falling to the middle of his shoulder blades. Through the orange jumper she saw defined muscles that spoke well of his physique. His face was handsome, carefully constructed by an artist.

But what caught Akira's attention were his eyes. Inside deep blue she found a hidden pain, and through his older appearance she saw a boy. Just a little boy…

Akira shook herself and hardened her resolve. This wasn't a boy, this was a murderer. A man responsible for taking the life of three people in cold blood. Akira looked into the eyes of Rei Keshino and saw a cool gaze, one that didn't speak of the suffering of a guilty man with blood on his conscience.

Akira nodded to the lawyer. He gave her a tired smile and exited the room, shutting the door with an almost inaudible click that seemed to reverberate through the walls.

Rei smiled at her. Akira shivered. Something was off about that smile. Something not right. Rei moved forward, the chains on his hands and his feet jingling with every step. His blue eyes, predatory and calculating, stared at her, making Akira feel naked and trapped.

Rei pulled the chair back and Akira jumped at the sound of metal scraping against floor. Rei smirked at her, and seemed to be amused at her discontent. Akira frowned at him, before her frown melted into an uneasy smile as he slipped gracefully into his seat. He brought his arms, chains and all, to rest on the face of the table, his fingers interlocking as he waited for her.

Akira cleared her throat and she too plopped into her seat. "You must be Rei," she began, her statement sounding not like a statement at all, but, to her horror, it sounded like a question.

Rei raised one eyebrow in a show of masculine beauty.

Akira flushed and hurried to move on. "My name is Mishaimo Akira. I've heard a lot about you and I've decided to write a book. I need to hear your story, do you think you can answer a few questions for me?"

Akira's question hung in the air as Rei regarded her with that same calculating gaze. He leaned forward on his arms and Akira instinctively moved back. His eyebrow rose again, just for a moment, before he shifted and brought himself back against his chair.

Akira figured that his voice would be rough and coarse from his years in prison, but she was wrong. His voice was soft, seductive and cold.

"They're dead. I killed them.Was that all?"

Akira blinked and stuttered. "That's not what I---"

"What do you want from me? A blow by blow? A complete map that you can scribble down on your fancy little notebook so everyone else can understand why I did what I did? You say you want to understand, but that's complete bullshit. You don't care, you see the facts. I'm a murderer and it scares the hell out of you. So why should I tell you anything?"

Akira blinked, and stared at the blue eyes that were cold as ice. Anger was boiling. "I just want…" what do I want?

"You no what, you're right. I don't want to know you. I don't want to hear any Hollywood sob story about how you were so misunderstood that you just had to put a bullet into some body's head. What I want to know is why three innocent people are dead. Three human beings are dead because of you. And I want to know why, Mr. Keshino."

Rei stared at her, not moving. Completely still. Akira felt her anger leave her in one smooth rush. I said too much…

Then, Rei threw his head back and laughed. Akira stared at him. He's a murderer and a psycho. This just keeps getting better and better.

Rei calmed down from his mirth and leaned back on two legs of the chair. "You remind me of Harumi. You would have liked her. She didn't take shit from anybody." A boyish smile was lighting his face, a complete change from the icy man a moment before.

He came forward and the legs hit the floor with a loud thump.

His words were deadly soft, resonating from a place deep inside. "I did kill some people. Would it matter if I said I didn't mean to?"

Akira just stared at him hard.

Rei let a ghost of a smile pass his lips. "No. I guess it wouldn't." He sighed, closing his eyes. And in that moment, he truly did look like a lost little boy. When he opened them, blue stared at her, aching and heartbroken.

"Write this down, Ms. Mishaimo, 'cause this is the last time I'm ever gonna say this."

Akira clicked her pen and waited, the ball tip poised over the smooth clean paper.

Rei sighed, letting his fingers clutch each other tightly. He closed his eyes.

"A boy I once knew told me: "The act of killing is a very human voluntary action." I didn't understand it then. I figured they were just kind of …I don't know. But I never really recognized what he meant. What he tried to tell me, until after I saw him dead."

Rei sighed and ran a hand through his hair, sliding the silken strands through his fingers.

"Once upon a time, I killed the woman I loved."


Author's note: SO how's that? This just came up outta the blue, so it might be a bit weird. So is Rei too OOC? Read and Review!

-xiaou