Everything repeats.

He hadn't thought of that, until now. Sitting in the snow, his tears falling like rain on her cold cheek, smearing the blood on her face, eyes closed as she lay in his arms and he dripped blood on her.

Before, sitting in the wet street, the rain falling like tears on her cold cheek, smearing the blood on her face, eyes closed as she lay in his arms and he dripped blood on her. One, a beginning, later followed by an ending right back at the beginning.

He came into this war, to Kyoto, to protect and instead destroyed; she came to Kyoto to destroy him and instead protected.

Why? Why... when he had killed her fiance? Why didn't she live and he die? Wouldn't that have been a punishment?

But then, it might be this was fate's way of crafting his punishment. Given a chance, a sword style of strength, he had not protected, as he had sworn. Kiyosato Akira had been his final judgment; he had failed.

Had given him a slice through his stomach, like Kasumi.

Another slice across his chest, like Akane.

To finish him, them, everything, a final thrust, a sword through the throat and a wound to silence, like Sakura.

His own folly had created this. Not when he refused to hear his Shisho (was deafened by the peoples' outcry, the dynamite), not when he refused to see what his sword had wrought (was blinded by righteousness, the flash/explosion), but when he struck, ending the life of a weaker, desperate man. (Like the bandits would have done to him.) Tomoe's death was already assured; no force could have moved his blade from its course.

The ground cherries. White plum. He would forever hold flowers together with death. (A fitting symbol; their own death was swift, their life fleeting and fragile and all too easily crushed.)

Perhaps now, though, Tomoe would be together with Kiyosato, happy, as she was before.

(White plum and red together, like on the snow.)

He wanted her back. He wanted them back. It didn't matter, he couldn't have them, would always carry the weight of their lives with him as penance.

Everything repeats.

I can't recall what I was thinking exactly when I realized the deaths of the three girls almost mimic Kiyosato's, but it was stuck in one of my assorted notes files (I have a very scary amount). The more one looks into the symbolism in the OAV, the more awesome it gets. I only had maybe half of this in mind when I started typing randomly last night, but the comparisons kept coming.

RK not mine.