Guidance
By Henrika

Henrika- Hello everyone! I come to you today with Terry McElrath's gift fic! It's been a while since I've done RuroKen, but after reading the prompt she gave me, I was able to come up with the inspiration for this. Therefore, I dedicate this to her! Enjoy and review!

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Dulled eyes peered through a curtain of rain-soaked crimson bangs and finally took in the surroundings in front of them.

There was nothing spectacular about the countryside of Japan when one was unable to see it through the thick rain and fog that had permeated the land and the bones of one particular traveler for weeks.

The man in question was something spectacular if one could see past the covering of mud that had thoroughly coated him. Perhaps if he had a decent bath or three, a person could see the unusual red hair, the fine network of wiry muscles, and the eyes that were far too deep and wounded for a man of his age.

It was this man who fell to his knees in a field, staring in awe at something that normally seemed so innocuous. He remembered that he used to garden with his mother and father, a memory that was all but crushed under the weight of thousands of others. For that tiny sliver of an innocent sun to survive under the onslaught of sanguine nightmares, he wondered how deep it had been buried. Perhaps it had been buried like this flower, waiting to bloom.

He had passed several fields of flowers, both in his old life, and in this new one, the one of a rurouni. He had passed them by with all their bright and dull colors.

But this flower now, the one in front of him, stood out in the rain. It was beautiful, the only word he could think of to describe of it considering that he had been chilled for days now. His sluggish mind struggled to think of its name.

Iris.

It was strange. This flower had never stood out to him before, not even on the brightest of days. As he moved to pick it, he froze.

Tomoe.

That's why he had stopped, he realized. Because this flower was like Tomoe. She had rarely shown her beautiful smile, her gentle soul, or her real self. It was why he hadn't really seen her as more than another person that he might have to cut down to protect the existence of Hitokiri Battousai.

And she had shown him that that existence wasn't one worth protecting.

It was when he saw her in those brief moments that she truly shined. She had shown him in those rare moments that there was still love in the world. That happiness could be sought and obtained, even if only for a short while. And that betrayal and sins could be forgiven, even if the path to redemption she had begun to show him was harder than any other he had trod before.

So he had moved to pick that beautiful flower, the one that reminded him so much of her, and found that he couldn't.

He found that he couldn't stand the thought of cutting down another beautiful flower, the image of her blood in the snow still so fresh in his mind.

Standing, the weight of the sakabato still heavy at his side, he managed to smile as the rain cleansed his tears. He gently brushed one of the flower's petals and gasped when he saw a glimmer of her smile in his mind before it disappeared.

Looking to the muddy path ahead, the one covered in rain in fog, he couldn't help but feel a tiny bit of that bloody snow wash away from his hands.

And deep in his heart he promised that when he had found the answer she had wanted him to find, no matter how long it took, he would return to her with it.

And put irises on her grave.

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Henrika-Seemed a fitting ending in my mind. Though I went and checked my manga (no irises). Thanks for the inspiration Terry! See you all in the next fic!