Rurouni Kenshin OVA (Independent Series)
By: Goddess Nekko
Disclaimer/Warning: I do not own Rurouni Kenshin or any of its characters, I just felt like creating my own OVA series, and so I will. Do not bother to sue me, I have no money anyway - and I will NEVER give up my Tomoe and Kenshin doujinshis!!!!!! This chapter will be rated R because of Battousai, a little angst, swearing, and adult situations, but no sex. I figure I should add I was kinda depressed when I first worked on this, so I think it is obvious where some of my angst leaked in, however it would have been there had I been in that kind of mood or not, so sorry (?). I think it's safe to say Tomoe and Kenshin really endure a lot of hardships trying to be together, but the thing is, they never give up. True love, man, true love.
Author's Notes: Hi again! With two weeks of spring break, I am really dedicating myself to my fic! However, if I finish two chapters, I will not post them at the same time. That way I can have constant updates and time to work on future chapters, along with other fics I am trying to start. Well, as I mentioned, I constantly proofread, as I have done chapter 3, but if you read all my chapters in one sitting then I don't think you need to worry about it (for now). This chapter will be very cool, mainly because it's exploring Kenshin's darker half - a trip indeed. I'm just playing with the controversial issue of who and what Battousai truly is. Enjoy!
Thanks again to Midori who gave this a look over for me, and has always been giving me such support! If you haven't read her fics, then I really recommend you do! I also recommend Kracken cuz she really inspired me with her fics! My faves she's done are for the FAKE series, and oh man are they awesome!
Chapter 4: I Will Protect You
He should die!
Kenshin stared ahead at the land before him, eyes open but not really seeing. He could not fight the words plaguing his mind, tearing at his very soul, as the boy's voice continued to repeat with relentless force in his hazed thoughts.
That man should die!
The wind carried its bitter agreement, whispering softly into his ear. Unable to concentrate on where he was going, he simply kept walking, victim to the phrases resounding in his head. The forest seemed silent around him, willing him to hear only the tormenting exclamations.
How can you let him live after what he's done?!
The pain of betrayal, the pain of failure continued to lash out at him, slicing at his heart while his soul fell deeper into its agonizing disarray of confusion. He sought answers, yet none came, only the hurtful words he was never supposed to hear.
He is Battousai!
Kenshin grunted slightly as the stray branch of a tree swiped against his neck, his hand instantly reaching for the katana absent at his waist. He fisted his hand, losing the feeling of security and comfort that came with the weapon.
Have you forgotten?!
Halting mid-step, Kenshin stared at the quiet waters lying before him. His legs had led him to the hotspring, a cruel joke against his aching soul. Such love, such trust had been displayed in this very spot, and now he tainted the memory with his very presence.
He destroyed your life - destroyed ours!
Without thought he untied the sash at his waist, shrugging out of his dark yukata as he stared at the steady water. He stepped out of the fabric, slowly easing into the heat of the spring. His sore muscles found this to be a soothing balm, but he was unable to acknowledge it.
How can you stand to even look at him?!
Leaning forward, he splashed water onto his face. The dirt on his skin was being cleaned away, and he stared at his callused hands. For years he'd known no companionship except for the sword always at his hip - the only companion he had ever trusted. Amidst all the chaos, however, he had found a woman - a mysterious woman who had come to love him, and taught him how to love. Such warmth, such soothing emotions had begun to fill his life, giving him a purpose, a reason to go on. Yet, just as everything in his life seemed to have found some kind of steady direction, his world once again began crumbling beneath him.
Idiot. You knew nothing of her true intentions and gave yourself to her willingly.
"No. That's not true. There's no proof ..."
The boy's words. You know not what they mean, but you do understand. Who did you kill?
"So many... Too many... I..."
Fool. You were not meant to love, you cannot, you don't deserve it.
"I don't deserve her..."
But she is yours. She is your wife. She belongs also to me.
"You are a danger to her. You are not fit to be with her..."
Yes. I make you slaughter. I make you kill. But you are the one who conceived me.
"No... I did not want to destroy life... I wanted to safeguard the future of the common man..."
You swore your miserable life to her. I will not watch you stagger.
"Stay away from her. In time... she will come to me, tell me the truth... I believe..."
Stupid boy. She is your light, yet you are still running from the truth.
"This is not your place to interfere... When the war is over, you will no longer exist."
I will always be here. I love her. I lust for her.
"You shall return to hell."
Not before I know she is safe under your protection.
Your heart wavers. I will not wait. Her truth is yet to be told.
"You have no business here. You don't know love, you know only bloodshed and death."
And you are ignorant and indecisive. I know your fears.
"You know nothing..."
She... The only one who would truly mourn your death.
"Shut up, damn you!"
Kenshin's fingers curled into a tight fist and he lashed out at the water, a faint, horrible laughter echoing in his mind as his reflection was destroyed. His breathing unsteady, he fell back roughly against the wall of the spring. Just like his dream that morning... The constant, confusing battles within himself... Battousai, lusting for his wife... Kenshin growled angrily as he brought his hands to his face, trying to hide, trying to find control over the emotions raging inside him. There was no peace... Even finding answers, there was no peace. Her brother, speaking of revenge and indulging in thoughts of his demise, left Kenshin's soul torn and bleeding feeling nothing but betrayal from his beloved.
What can I do...? Tomoe... I want to believe in your love... I want to believe in the truth of the words you spoke to me... But I don't know what to believe now...
A shadow seemed to pass over Kenshin's face as he dropped his hands to the water. He stared up into the sky, stray clouds glowing in hues of orange and pink as the sun descended to the horizon.
I will not lose her to silence. I will find out the truth. I will find out what secrets lie hidden beneath that gentle mask of understanding...
In exchange for the courage to face her, the strength to force from her the answers he sought, Kenshin gave himself over to the darkness within. His features were void of feeling, emotions buried deep where they could not reach him, and he grabbed his ponytail as he stepped out of the spring. Squeezing the strands, the excess water fell glittering to the earth, catching the fading light of evening as he lifted his clothing from the ground. Brushing the dirt from his robe he quickly drew it over his body, carelessly securing the sash around his waist. In the back of his mind he knew that to approach Tomoe in his current state was a less than ideal decision, however he was dead set to his task and could not be deterred from it.
The wind softly swept past him, speaking no words except of the welcoming of the night. Kenshin's heart pounded in his chest, but he could not allow himself to turn back. He was trained to act without hesitation, a basic survival skill when one is in the hands of danger. The danger lurking now was the loss of his true beliefs, the entire reason he had ever lent his sword and skills to the war, the Ishinshishi.
As he approached their home, more and more of his conscious thought was being silenced. There was the matter at hand, and until it was resolved, his emotional self would be locked away. His duty to his country, himself, and his wife was to know the truth of her purpose. If everything had been a façade, she a spy as he once suspected, he would have to treat her as such.
No... I could never...
Kenshin flinched inwardly at his own cruel state of mind. Was he truly seeking the truth or seeking his own type of revenge - revenge against the hurt she had caused, the pain of the lies and betrayal he suspected to be true...
Grunting slightly with disapproval, Kenshin immediately silenced his thoughts. To be emotional at this time would be his greatest downfall. This decision made, he pulled open the door, halting slightly as he entered finding Tomoe sitting at the fire, staring sadly into the dancing flames. Surely she had heard him enter, but as he slid the door shut with much more force than needed, she still acknowledged only the crackling fire.
Slowly raising her head to meet his gaze, Tomoe's lips parted in surprise. Kenshin stood before her, features accented wildly by the firelight dancing across the darkened room. Yet, this was not the Kenshin she had come to know. He stood before her like the man in past memories, face hardened and emotionless, eyes clouded. Tomoe's own reflex was to become expressionless, the sudden change drawing them both back to square one.
Kenshin regarded her for a moment, then walked to the dresser where his katana and wakizashi sat waiting, nestled against the wall. Tomoe watched him through her lashes, the scar upon his left cheek drawing her attention, finding it a great contrast to his light skin, suddenly more conspicuous than she remembered. She decided then, his drastic change in mood must have been caused by her brother's appearance earlier that day. She, however, still had no story to explain his presence. She was also hindered by the greater sadness that she had to lie to him, no matter how much she tried to avoid it.
"Tell me... who are you?"
Tomoe gasped silently, yet moments later her features softened and she turned her gaze once again toward the fire. Though his tone was low, his voice even, there was an unmistakable sound of authority that demanded an answer. She closed her eyes, feeling his cold look upon her. He had every right to be angry, especially since she had been lying to him from the very beginning.
"I... I don't know anymore," Tomoe replied quietly. Kenshin released a displeased exhale in response to her answer, absently reaching for his wakizashi and lifting it from its resting place.
"No more games, no more lies. Your brother... what was he doing here?" Kenshin asked, his voice still an authoritative, demanding monotone. Tomoe's fingers gripped her kimono, fearful of the sound of his voice.
"I will not lie to you. He did come with a purpose to see me," Tomoe replied, her voice surprisingly steady, submissive. Kenshin's responsive look was less than pleased.
"Even if you don't lie, you are holding back too much information. Am I to truly believe you are not a spy?" Kenshin inquired, his serious tone piercing Tomoe's heart, she finding distrust and hurt evident in his voice even if he was trying to hide it with his suddenly cold exterior. She looked up at him then, Kenshin casually averting his gaze to his weapon. After a long moment of her silence, he again looked towards her, eyes dancing with suppressed anger.
"Well?" he demanded, his voice rough. She gave him a pained look before she once again dropped her head from his view. Kenshin watched her carefully, his first impulse to hold her, though instead he neared her and firmly gripped her arm with strong fingers. She called out quietly, yet kept her head bowed in submission, taking a deep breath before she dared to speak.
"Yes... I have been lying to you ever since we first met..." Tomoe breathed. She felt Kenshin's grip tighten painfully around her arm until he released her moments later, throwing his wakizashi with a loud, resounding bang against the opposite wall. Tomoe looked up at him, wishing nothing more than to tell him the truth, silent as she found his back turned to her. Unbeknownst to her an intense adrenaline was pumping the blood in his veins, and when he heard her movement as she began to rise, he swung round on his heels and gripped both her shoulders in his hands, falling on his knees before her.
"Everything... everything has been a lie? Everything has been damned lie?!" Kenshin growled, Tomoe silenced by the flashing golden eyes that peered threateningly into her own. She wanted to tell him, tell him everything, but neither her voice nor her body would respond to her silent pleadings.
No...! That's not how it is...! I love... I...
Tomoe looked away from him, finding so much pain in her beloved. Kenshin closed his eyes, his grip tightening upon her shoulders until suddenly he released her. Yet, as Tomoe turned to look upon him, his hand shot out to her, gripping her hair in a tight fist as he pulled her against him, crushing his lips upon her own. Tomoe's cry of surprise was muffled by his mouth, trapped against his body by his tightly encircling arm.
Surely the truth in your kiss...
For long moments he forced himself upon her, grinding his lips against hers, forcing his tongue inside her mouth. He plundered the sweet cavern recklessly, ignoring her small sounds of fright, indulging in her fear and vulnerability until he abruptly pushed her away from him, panting softly.
Tomoe met the floor with a hard thud, breathing heavily against the cold wood. A horrible, tense silence followed, eased only by their unsteady breaths and the crackling of the fire. Tomoe didn't dare move to rise, still too unsure of Kenshin's actions, suddenly aware of the faint taste of blood in her mouth. Slowly she brought her hand to her face, trailing her fingertips across her lips, a smudge of red liquid present as she looked upon her skin.
"I'm sorry... I'm sorry... If you want my death, so be it, but if you're love has been a lie... Let me live, because there is no worse pain you could force me to suffer through than that truth," Kenshin whispered, his voice suddenly tired and weak. Tomoe took a deep breath, unbelieving of the words he spoke. Very cautiously she pulled herself up, forcing herself to gaze upon the man she called her husband.
She felt tears well in her eyes as she looked upon him, Kenshin's dejected form kneeling on the ground before her, head bowed. A horrible pain shot through her chest, a single tear sliding over her cheek as she moved toward him, taking him into her arms. Immediately he stiffened, his emotions still in bitter turmoil, torturous phrases repeating through his mind no matter how he tried to silence them.
"My love, please listen to me... Let me tell you my story, how things have come to be..." Tomoe whispered softly, unwilling to release her trembling partner.
"That is all... I have wanted," he answered softly, his tone just noticeably unsteady. His body remained rigid under her touch and Tomoe released a calming breath, bringing her hand to stroke soothingly over his soft, dampened hair as she sought to continue.
"Late last year... I was engaged to be married," Tomoe began, Kenshin silent and unmoving, though his eyes widened slightly anticipating the direction of her story.
"He was very kind, very loving, yet he wanted to become an eminent man because he thought that was what I desired. In my heart I was utterly against his decision to leave to Kyoto and work as a bodyguard for the Shogunate, but I never told him so. I did not stop him because I could see he wished to do it not simply for me, but also for himself. However, my silence was the true reason for this tragedy... A few weeks after his departure I... I received word he had been killed in the streets of Kyoto, and in all my sadness and anger I turned my vengeance and rage against... the man who had killed him," Tomoe admitted softly, surprised as she felt Kenshin relax in her arms. Yet, his body hung in dejection, holding more hate and contempt for himself than ever before.
"That man... that damned man was me... I stole that precious life from you... The boy was right... How can you stand to even look at me?" Kenshin voiced, his low tone bitter and disgusted as he gently took Tomoe's wrists into his hands and pulled her arms away. She fought against him at first, but found herself suddenly weak, able only to watch as he turned his face away from her. Yet, she was surprised by his words, suddenly fearful of the information he presented.
"You... heard us?" she asked quietly, watching him with saddened eyes. She could again feel the chill from her brother's dark words, spoken with such misguided hate.
"Yes. When I went to retrieve my tool next to the house, I overheard a small part of your conversation. You should hate me, yearn for my death, but you do not. Or do you? Your true intentions remain a mystery to me," Kenshin explained, pain evident in his voice. In response Tomoe merely stared at the floor, brown eyes brimming with unshed tears as her emotional self became hard and unfeeling - the only way she could bring herself to tell him the truth.
"I sided with a group supporting the Shogunate. They eagerly took me in, and I have stayed with you because it was all part of this intricate plan to... to destroy you... I am ashamed by my lust for revenge... And though part of me will never forgive you, the other cannot ignore that I have been witness to the real man you are. All your struggles, your insecurities, your battles within yourself - it never occurred to me that you could be so human. I suppose the only reason I can accept you, that I can love you, is because I know the guilt that plagues you over every life you have taken... If things had been different, had you been out of reach of the war, you would never have taken up the sword," Tomoe explained softly. "I believe that..."
Kenshin raised his gaze to look upon Tomoe. Even now she was so understanding, so gentle. Yet, she looked as though she was in pain, carrying a heavy burden that was slowly but surely consuming her. He watched silently as a tear escaped down her cheek, leaving a glittering path across her pale skin. His expression softened, regarding her with sadness, his blue eyes shimmering with regret.
"But things are as they are. I have done much that I will always regret, that will be in the back of my mind every waking moment, but I cannot deny that you have given me hope. For the first time I felt love, could offer it in return, and it gave me a breath of the true meaning of life. I cannot change what has happened, and I will have to take many more lives before this war has ended, but I will never forget what you have taught me. I love you. I always will. If you left me now I would still feel the same," Kenshin confided softly, carefully raising his hand to brush his finger across her cheek, lightly wiping away the tear.
"I will not leave you. I cannot... Every day I suffer knowing I should hate you... that my feelings are sinful, but I... I couldn't... You are so dear to me..." Tomoe whispered, several tears escaping down her cheeks. Ever so gently, hesitantly, Kenshin took her into his arms, holding her as she sobbed silently against his chest. His heart ached at the pain in her voice, feeling absolutely helpless except for the yearning to comfort her, to make sure she didn't suffer alone.
"I am eternally sorry for the suffering and devastation I have caused you. I would never allow for you to forgive me. I am not worthy of it," Kenshin whispered. Inwardly he felt as though his heart had been run through, stabbed carelessly over and over, leaving him on the verge of death but conscious enough to suffer from every ounce of pain there was to feel. Yet, he endured, finding it a suiting punishment, and dedicated himself ultimately to soothing his lover's pain.
"You did not know it was him... You did not know... He would have done..." Tomoe repeated softly, desperately, complete thoughts broken by her sobbing. In response Kenshin held her tighter, gently hushing her.
"There is no excuse for what I did, but I swear it, Tomoe... I... I will protect you. To offer what little respect I can, I swear to you, to the man you loved... I will protect you," Kenshin whispered. Tomoe embraced him tightly, hugging him close against her. She had been afraid that whence the truth had been spoken, Kenshin would have wanted nothing more than to leave her. But now she felt his warmth as he held her against him, shaking ever so slightly. She flinched inwardly thinking of what he might have done in her position, how foolish and weak she must seem to have fallen in love with the man who had killed her late fiancé. She hated her heart, the instability, but she knew this man before her was not a cold-blooded murderer. He was a soldier during war times, killing because he had to. Everything was strategy and survival. He fought for the future of peace he believed in, and she knew deep in her heart that had he been any less skilled, Akira, or anyone else with the same passion, would have killed him. Even her deceased beloved would have murdered if placed in the position. As gentle a man as she knew Akira to be, he was only human, and just like the man holding her now. That was the truth that permitted her to love him…
"I hate it... I hate this war... All this unnecessary bloodshed..." Tomoe whispered bitterly, salty tears gliding over her flushed skin. Kenshin frowned slightly in silent agreement.
"But as I promised you, it will end, and you will see the dawning of a new era, koishii," Kenshin breathed against her ear. He would never lose sight of that single goal, the hope that gave him the passion and willingness to go on even if he had begun to forget it as the years wore on. His words pulled a slight smile from Tomoe, born from the vow he whispered to her, and she leaned away from him, seeking to gaze into his eyes. As she had hoped, the dark sapphire oceans shimmered with gentleness, looking upon her softly.
"Anata... I love you... I love you so much," Tomoe whispered, caressing his cheek with the gentle stroke of her hand. He smiled softly then, turning his head to place a kiss against her palm.
"We will get through this. We will create a new life... A life where I can give up killing, where we can begin a family in the safety of the new era," Kenshin promised, losing himself in the warmth of Tomoe's soft smile.
"Yes... A life where we can live in peace..." Tomoe responded gently, breathing deep of her husband's musk as he inclined his head, caressing her lips with his own. Carefully he brought his hand to cradle her head, his free arm sliding around her waist as he eased her onto her back.
Tomoe parted her lips slightly, tasting of Kenshin's with the tip of her tongue, urging him to respond with a deeper caress of his mouth. He answered her tenderly, bidding his tongue to lick lightly against the small wound he had inflicted before carefully slipping past the pink flesh. His tongue stroked gently against the velvet of her own, settling himself over her as they engaged leisurely in the delicate, reassuring movements of lips upon lips, tongue against tongue. The heat of their bodies mingled between them, Tomoe guiding her hands over Kenshin's back as he lay comfortably between her thighs. He loved the feel of her hands against him...
For long, lingering moments they kissed gently, slowly, indulging in the sweetness of such intimacy. The truth had finally been spoken, feelings and emotions untangled as new trust embedded itself into their relationship, offering them a new beginning. A beginning without lies, without deception - a real chance for life. Yet, many unanswered questions and uncertain matters lay before them, the future still a very dark and dangerous place.
Reluctantly Kenshin broke the kiss with one last caress of his lips and tongue against her own, sighing deeply as he situated himself to let his head lie at the base of her breasts. Tomoe closed her eyes, breathing in the moment, gentle hands stroking over his hair as he nestled himself against her. He was surprised by the comfort he felt lying against her in such a way, but he simply closed his eyes as he cherished the thought and their closeness.
Always so warm, so soft... Tomoe... My beloved...
Yet, his ever-interfering mind quietly but persistently insisted he must confront the matter at hand. Kenshin sighed deeply, upset he had to end the moment though he knew it was unavoidable.
"Tomoe, who is it that manipulated you? He's not long bound for this earth," Kenshin voiced in a low tone, truly hating the person who had so cruelly taken advantage of her shattered, vulnerable state.
"His name is Tatsumi, a general from one of the Shogunate's troops. He plans to meet with me in the near future, but I'm not sure where he would be now. And... and I'm afraid that if he has even the slightest suspicion I would betray him... he will kill my brother," Tomoe replied, her soft tone angry but fearful. Kenshin suddenly recalled the youth, the already complicated situation doubled.
"How did he come to be involved with them? And..." Kenshin moved his head slightly, as if trying to get more comfortable, not really sure if he wanted to ask his second question. Tomoe opened her eyes, staring at the ceiling with detachment as she absently continued to stroke Kenshin's hair.
"He says he followed me here, and they found him wandering the streets. I suppose they were so willing to recruit him because they could have him to use against me," Tomoe stated, her soft tone hardened at the thought. Kenshin was quiet for a moment, analyzing the situation as he searched for a plan.
"Tomoe, who else is involved? There must be another spy among us since the only people who know about me are a few select members of the Ishinshishi but someone from the opposing side knows I'm here. They would not have been able to use you if they had not known of my whereabouts," Kenshin replied, recalling his earlier thoughts. Tomoe frowned slightly, knowing the information may hurt him. It was never easy to face the truth that someone you had trusted had ultimately been betraying you.
"Yes, there is someone. He had been cooperating with Tatsumi for a long time before I came... and is someone you are familiar with," Tomoe answered softly, feeling Kenshin jerk almost undetectably. His eyes widened as he recalled a face, the one man who had come to visit them, that Tomoe had never been able to stay in the company of...
"Iizuka... I should have known!" Kenshin bit out, angry with himself for having been so blind. All the pieces seemed to be fitting together, past suspicions he had instantly dismissed suddenly flooding back into his mind. All those times he spoke of Tomoe, urging him inadvertently to become closer to her... His hand fisted, but Tomoe gently hushed him, placing her hands upon him in a restricting manner as he moved to rise. He turned his head to look at her, and she quietly shook her head, Kenshin acknowledging her with a detached nod of agreement as he resettled himself against her. He closed his eyes, listening to the steady beating of her heart.
"Yes, becoming enraged now will solve nothing... For the time being it is too dangerous to do anything that will rouse suspicion, but tell me Tomoe, when does Tatsumi plan to make his move?"
"Enishi told me he wished to meet with me at a cabin in the woods after the second snowfall to discuss you," Tomoe replied, the same anticipating fear from before creeping into her somewhat relaxed state. She suddenly felt the urge to ask Kenshin to hold her, to wrap her in his arms and never let go, but remained silent as he began to speak.
"Hm... When we go into town tomorrow I will see if there's some way I can relay a message to Katsura-san. He must know about this as soon as possible," Kenshin replied, talking more to himself. "But for the rest of tonight, I don't want to think of it."
"Hai," Tomoe agreed quietly. She smiled softly as Kenshin's stomach suddenly made a small sound of disapproval, alerting Kenshin to his neglect. He let out a small chuckle in response, the tense anger he had been feeling broken in that moment.
"Today has been such a blur, I'm so sorry I haven't prepared anything yet," Tomoe voiced apologetically as she moved to rise. Kenshin put his hand upon her in a restricting manner, not wanting to move from the comfortable position just yet, but another resounding grumble from his stomach won the argument.
"You have spoiled me, koishii. I've gone days without eating and never had so much trouble," Kenshin replied with subtle amusement as he sat up. Tomoe smiled, but seemed slightly upset at the same time.
"As long as I am with you, that shall never be an issue," Tomoe replied as Kenshin rose to his feet to help her up. He put his hand out, pulling her up as she accepted his assistance. He grinned then, gazing into her eyes as she stood silently before him. The firelight danced in her almond gaze as she watched him curiously, his hands moving to rest lightly on her hips, losing himself in the fathomless, glittering depths of her beautiful eyes. He realized then that he could not picture his life without her beside him.
"Koishii..." he breathed, tightening his hold on her hips as he gently pulled her against him, inclining his head ever so slowly to meet her lips. Tomoe's gaze softened, dark eyes glossy as she raised her lips to meet his. She trembled slightly as he met the soft warmth of her flesh in a feather light caress, his tongue darting out to lick once more against the still lightly bleeding wound he had inflicted upon her. His fingers twitched against her cloth-covered skin, holding her tighter as a strange yet intriguing tingling sensation washed over him, again sampling the sweet, metallic taste of her blood.
I never imagined blood could be so... so...
Kenshin groaned softly as he wrapped his strong arms around Tomoe's slender body, pulling her firmly against him. He wanted more, wanted to taste of her completely, his tongue delving into her mouth for mere moments until he broke the kiss, pressing his mouth against her neck. Tomoe's lips parted, silently panting as he grazed her skin with his teeth, eager hands pulling her encumbering kimono away from her shoulders as he bit into her jugular, sliding his hot, searching tongue over the sensitive flesh. He opened his eyes as she moaned softly into his ear, his gaze falling upon the wakizashi lying on the ground across the room, the flash of partially revealed metal reflecting in his eyes. Unable to prevent it, his body responded to sudden dark, erotic thoughts whispering into his mind, imagining lying Tomoe beneath him and leading the sharp blade across her silken skin, trailing his tongue over the blood that would trickle forth as he listened to her moan... He pulled his hips back slightly, then pressed them forward again, Tomoe gasping softly as she felt his stiffening arousal pressed against her.
Tomoe's body became awash in heat, anticipation pumping her blood knowing full well Kenshin could do anything he wished with her, would if she permitted him... She gripped his robe with desperate fingers, trying to support herself as his slick tongue tasted of her flesh, nipping and biting as he breathed against her. Her heart fluttered restlessly, eyes closed as she indulged in his almost aggressive ministrations. His warm hands caressed her, Kenshin's rational mind intoxicated beyond comprehension as he breathed deep of her natural scent and perfume, tasted completely of her flesh... Yet as his control began to slip away and his hands slid recklessly over the curves of her body, his stomach once again voiced a complaint, halting everything all at once as Tomoe giggled in spite of herself.
"Anata, you need to eat," Tomoe smiled, laughing softly as he looked at her with an almost embarrassed grin, mildly irritated by the interruption, the overpowering lust that had almost taken complete control of him cooled slightly. Desire still sang through his sense, but he decided it was best to stop now, not feeling completely like himself. Especially as he remembered the vision that had flashed through his mind just moments before...
"I suppose you're right," Kenshin replied, taking a deep breath as he brought his hand to slide in a light caress over her pale cheek, watching her with a deeply loving gaze. She smiled softly before turning away, retrieving a bowl to prepare some rice. Kenshin's gaze followed her graceful movements, taking another deep breath as he sought to ignore the pulsing between his legs. He glanced towards the fire, deciding it would last long enough to fulfill its purpose before letting his distracted gaze wander the room. He quickly caught sight of the metallic flash of his wakizashi, walking over to it and lifting it into his hand.
Kenshin stared at the partially revealed blade before he sheathed it and returned it to its original place. He frowned then, realizing these weapons would soon taste of flesh and bone, drink at the splurging blood that came forth. His skill would always lie within the sword, but surely there was a sword somewhere in the world that would never bring death. He wondered idly if such a thing could exist - a blade that couldn't kill.
"Anata?" Tomoe voiced, both curious and mildly worried by his detached look as he gazed upon his weapons. Kenshin snapped back from his thoughts, turning around to face her. She watched him curiously as he approached, setting down the cup of tea she had poured for him. She had pulled her kimono back upon her shoulders, however his roving hands had loosened it and the delicate curve of her breasts was just visible beneath. He swallowed hard, turning his attentions toward the hot liquid, finding his stiff erection very uncomfortable.
"Sorry, I was just thinking of... nothing," he replied, finding his idea foolish as he sat down at their small table. Tomoe regarded him quietly, however she did not speak again until she had set his food before him.
"Thinking of what, my love?" Tomoe prodded gently. He stared at his food, then looked up at her, his expression serious.
"Aren't you going to eat?" he asked, used to her engaging in meals with him. Tomoe nodded, motioning to the bowl she had set down beside her. He looked at it, wondering how he had not seen it before. He knew then, for certain, that his current state was almost the equivalent of drunkenness. As of the moment he was utterly distracted by both thoughts and emotions, thankful for the privacy and somewhat safety of their home. He had no reason to believe his enemy would make an attack if everything was already planned out, that Tomoe should be meeting with him in the coming months. But what exactly was this plan? How many people and parts were involved? Even if they could escape, what would stop the Shogunate from hunting them down? How would he keep Tomoe safe as he rejoined the war? He couldn't deny that he had no intention of leaving his duty just yet, especially if Katsura and Takasugi were simply waiting for an opportunity to regroup and move against the Shogunate. Of course the Bakufu soldiers were still in hot pursuit, becoming almost inhuman in their hunt to slay the Imperialists, but they were still-
Kenshin looked up suddenly. Tomoe was looking upon him with slight worry, Kenshin somewhat surprised she had raised her voice. Unbeknownst to him it was the fifth time she had called for him.
"Your food is going to get cold," she mentioned, her voice much softer. She wasn't sure whether or not she should interrupt his thoughts, but he looked alarmingly serious and she was beginning to feel uneasy. In response Kenshin simply glanced from her to his dish.
"Sorry," he offered as he lifted his bowl, though he sat it back down upon the table as he continued. "Tomoe, you're not safe here. You're not safe with me. When I return to the war, I have to find a place for you to stay. That is, once I find a way to deal with Tatsumi. As long as we don't make a move until the time he has appointed to see you, he won't have a chance to go into hiding or prepare for it."
Tomoe watched him with curious eyes, understanding why he should be so distracted. She stared down at the table, thinking of Edo...
"I suppose it would be too dangerous for us my brother and I to return to Edo temporarily..." Tomoe whispered, wishing he would say it would be okay, that everything would be fine, though she knew his answer would be the exact opposite.
"Yes, right now it would be. Once Tatsumi has been dealt with and I know you can travel safely, maybe it would be good for you to return there for a while, but for now, let's concentrate on getting your brother out of the Shogunate's grasp," Kenshin replied, surprised by her words. It had never occurred to him that she might become homesick. To him that seemed like a luxury, realizing the only true home he had ever known was the house he shared with his beloved...
Tomoe was quiet then, thinking of her brother. She stared at her food, wondering how well they were taking care of him. Surely they wouldn't be able to force him to eat if he refused, probably wouldn't care. She felt sick just thinking of her brother living in such conditions. Yet, this brought another problem to surface. How would she explain to Enishi that Kenshin had become her husband...? That they must somehow become a family... It was a hopeless idea to expect him to accept it, but somehow they would have to get through it...
Kenshin and Tomoe both sat silently, picking at their food as they mused over thoughts of the future. It seemed bleak indeed, but neither could give up that easily. They had come too far...
The fire snapped, and Tomoe looked toward the flames. Kenshin glanced up as well, suddenly awestricken by her quiet beauty as he chanced to look upon her. The firelight danced across her skin, shining like gold, her dark eyes glittering...
Tomoe... You're so beautiful...
"Hm?" she voiced, sure she had heard Kenshin say something, turning her head to face him. He smiled softly, unable to draw his eyes away from her.
"I was just admiring you, koishii," Kenshin admitted, feeling again the waning pulse that had been so troublesome before. Amidst the firelight he couldn't decide whether or not there was a blush coloring her cheeks, but the thought delighted him, gazing upon her as she replied with a shy smile. Such sweet, soft lips... He yearned to taste her once again, to cover her with his kisses, but he held back knowing she must be as emotionally exhausted as himself.
They finished their meal in silence, Tomoe collecting the bowls as Kenshin rose to his feet, moving to unfold their futon. The blankets looked more than welcoming to his weary body, wishing nothing more than to sleep off the day's troubles.
He grinned as Tomoe appeared beside him moments later, slipping underneath the covers as Kenshin ushered her to do so. Once he lay down beside her, she curled up against his chest, Kenshin lazily playing with a lock of her silken hair as he gazed at the shadows dancing upon the walls.
Kenshin's gaze shifted to Tomoe, leaning to place a kiss upon her forehead before wrapping his arm around her, noticing the urgent, fearful sound of her voice.
"What is it, koishii?" he asked softly, feeling the full force of exhaustion pulling at his eyelids. To keep himself awake he continued to play with the strand of her hair, fascinated by the silk between his fingers.
"My... my brother..." Tomoe replied, her words leaving her lips in broken thoughts as she continued to question whether she really wanted to bring up the subject now or later. In response Kenshin let out a deep exhale, giving her a reassuring squeeze.
"He'll be fine, don't worry, Tomoe. You have my word," Kenshin replied, closing his eyes as he held her against him. Tomoe stared at his chest, the fabric of his yukata, finally deciding to tell him what her true worry was.
"I know... I trust you... But, I don't know what will happen when he finds out we are married," Tomoe admitted softly. Kenshin was surprised by her words but found an opening of his own to speak, also worried about that particular subject.
"Yes. I couldn't help but notice he seems to hate me with every fiber of his being," Kenshin mentioned, remembering those dark, hate-filled, spiteful eyes. Tomoe moved against him, a nervous habit as she tried to make herself more comfortable.
"Even before... when I was engaged... You see, he thinks of me as both mother and sister, so it is hard for him to, well, share me... He had some minor fits, but I don't know how he'll react to this when I tell him," Tomoe whispered, the quiet warmth of the moment chilled by memories of the boy.
"He'll just have to get used to it," Kenshin replied, not really thinking, but catching himself thereafter. "I'm sorry, what I meant was that he may hate the idea at first, maybe even forever, but someday he will understand. If not just for you, because he loves you so much, he should learn to be tolerant. I'm not sure how things will happen, how they will turn out, but I will do my best to make sure our lives run smoothly. I cannot stop him from hating me," Kenshin breathed, sure in his mind that the boy may cause serious problems in the future, but confident that Tomoe could calm him.
"It's my fault, you know... That he hates you so much... I taught him all the wrong things..." Tomoe replied quietly. Kenshin instantly took note and dislike of her words of self-reproach.
"It's not your fault, Tomoe. He is still young and naïve, but he still has time to learn. I'm already prepared to face life with you, no matter how it comes to us, and it's my own fault he hates me. I was in the wrong, did something he could never forgive, that you cannot, that I cannot. However, placing the blame now will do nothing. I'm almost glad he should treat me with such contempt. I still wonder how you can look beyond the bloodshed, beyond the killing, but deep in my heart I am selfish and wish not to think of it. As I said before, you have given me a second chance. I will not waste it."
"Anata..." Tomoe breathed, finding truth in his words. Yes, part of her could never forgive him, but she could never deny all she felt for him.
"Yes, I see past the bloodshed, I see past the killing... I see the man who stands with a sword in hand to protect the future... If Akira... if Akira-san had been placed in the same position, he would have murdered as well... That's something I have finally come to understand, to understand that much more of why you do it, how you can..." Tomoe confided quietly. Kenshin gathered her into his arms and embraced her tightly. Tomoe sighed softly, eyes closed as she cuddled against him, comforted by his warmth.
After a few long moments, Kenshin loosed his hold, curled closer to his beloved. Her warmth eased him, quieted his thoughts and musings, and he closed his eyes. Again he was given the privilege, the blessed privilege, to hold his wife in his arms as she slept. He breathed deep of the sweetness of white plums and all that was Tomoe, whispering his devotion into her ear, heart firmly set to keep her with him always, to give her a new life when he had already taken one away.
"All I want to see is the future... the end of the war... with you by my side."
Author's Notes: Aw... so sweet... Well, did you like it? Did you not like it? I hope everyone noticed how he lapsed into the Battousai persona, if it wasn't obvious enough. Very subtle, but some of the things he said it was like 'whoa OOC', but not LOL He's a very interesting, complicated character to analyze! At first I decided a lemon with Battousai might not work out because he would feel too much like he was forcing her, raping her even (thus he pushed her away in fear of himself). But I have come to find that when he has been pulled into that mind-set, the thought doesn't automatically occur to him (thus dirty evil vampy thought lol), so if anyone was disappointed I did not include a lemon and would like me to do so, please say so. I am going to start work on the next chapter immediately. Damn, I got so much inspiration for this chapter and I had so much fun writing and proofreading it! Yeah! Man, it's the best feeling! Well, I wish happiness to you and hope you'll continue with this story!