Kenshin x Tomoe, Hair

He stepped into the small cottage in Otsu to find her waiting for him. She'd lit the fire already and the warm glows transformed her, already stunningly beautiful, into something transcendent, a goddess in a white yukata, light shining on smooth skin and highlighting the shadows of soft curves.

He stopped, breath caught.

This woman, framed by light, eyes dark and mysterious and somehow sorrowful, this woman was his wife.

It still took his breath away even now, caught by the same sheer joy he had felt when she had said yes, standing on a bridge as the sun set before them.

"Anata," came a soft voice.

Pulled from his thoughts, Kenshin blinked. He'd been doing that a lot more lately, drifting off and going into his own world when he never would have in Kyoto – was he finally getting used to the peace of the countryside?

Or was it her?

She made him react so strangely…

"Yes?" he replied.

Tomoe hesitated. Though her face was still expressionless, her body was tense and her hands were clenched tight in her yukata.

She was nervous, Kenshin realised with a start. What could she possibly be nervous of…him?

The very thought of her, the one person who treated him like a man and not a monster or a weapon fearing him.. the thought made his sick to his stomach.

"I…have a request, if it's not too much trouble…" she said softly.

"Nothing you ask for could be." He answered truthfully, relieved beyond words at the realization that she wasn't scared of him, but of being to presumptuous.

Frankly, she could ask for Japan itself and he would move heaven and earth to lay its emperors crown at her feet, just to see the light of happiness in her eyes.

"May I run my fingers through your hair?" she asked softly, eyes lowered demurely, the proper lady even now.

Kenshin blinked.

Why would she want to touch his hair? No-one liked his hair – it scared them, with it's colour like blood. Not even he liked his hair much…

But if it would make her happy…

He reached up and pulled the tie from his hair, causing it to fall around his face in waves down to his waist.

Tomoe sighed softly. His hair was so beautiful, shades of orange and red and gold like autumn leaves.

Ever since she'd first seen it at the inn where he had saved her, she'd longed to run her fingers through it, but it had been improper to even think of it – contrary to what most of the Ishin Shishi thought, she was not having relations with Himura-san whilst they were at the inn.

Frankly, it was still improper, but who was there to comment? And they were married now, though they hadn't consummated that marriage…

Yet…

Tomoe was drawn from her thoughts as her husband sat down with his back to her, and she reached out.

As her gentle fingers began combing through the long tresses, his thoughts wandered.

This felt goood…

But he was surprised at this ability of his to relax with his back to someone – even now he always slept sitting up. Then again, Tomoe was special…

But really, what did he even know about her? Nothing – he knew she wandered alone at night and drunk on sake, he knew she was a good cook, he knew she didn't like the war…

Not much at all really.

Who was this woman? He wondered to himself, slowly relaxing as she started massaging his head. Who was this woman?

Consumed by his thoughts and the gentle ministration to his hair, he slowly relaxed.

Tomoe blinked in surprise as she felt him relax into her – and then her eyes widened as he lay back fully, resting his head in her lap.

She hesitated a moment, blushing – then returned to her gentle stroking through her husbands hair.

Yes, she thought silently, my husband…

His head pillowed on white linen and slender thighs, Kenshin drifted, entering the strange state between waking and sleep, and as he did his mind returned to his earlier thoughts.

Who was this woman, this Yukishiro Tomoe, that could so tame a demon and have him lie his head in her lap with only the soft stroke of her fingers through his hair?

Lying there, at peace for the first time in years, Kenshin knew the answer.

This woman…is my wife.