The Greatest of These

Sometimes, it's what you've left behind that's taught you the most.

Finally, he was surprised.

Surprised by the ease of the vow, by the effortlessness of its keeping.

As the years passed, the realization opened like a flower in his mind: he had never wanted to kill; he had wanted only to protect. Had always suppressed his horror.

In the beginning, he saw no other path. Now, especially now, long since he abandoned steel altogether, now that his weapons were acts of kindness, blessings from the heart, sacrifices of self, he knew the error of meeting violence with violence, oppression with resistance, cruelty with death.

Only love remained. Only love prevailed.

Review Responses: First, I'm so relieved that everyone seems to have liked this! I was really afraid it would come across as sappy.

WhiteRabbit5, SiriusFan13, lolo popoki, Terry-McElrath, Murasahki-chan, LadyRhiyana: As I point out in my profile, I reject Seisouhen completely; it negates all the growth and maturity of the anime/manga, and pointlessly, as well! So, yes, while Kenshin probably always carries his burden with him, it is unbelievable to me that he would fail to find the truth that lies past his pain and his skill alone. Omasuoniwabanshi, omigod, the "queen"? I'm so glad you liked the analogy; I, too, think he would still approach life as a bit of a battle… skenshingumi, I am right with you on the varied appeals of this series. It is satisfyingly multi-layered, and just rife with material for us fanfic-ers, isn't it?