DISCLAIMER: All characters, places and situations in this piece of fiction would not be in existence without the genius of Watsuki Nobuhiro. There is no money being made of this piece of imagination


SYNOPSIS: Otsu, 1864

AUTHOR'S NOTES: Another, more successful experiment using the intimate register with Tomoe and Kenshin or in lay terms. ++ Interaction - No dialogue...

Will get to writing the next Chapter of The Assassin now – Sorry folks!



Let the world turn without you tonight

Andrew Lloyd Webber


Otsu, 1864

The shoji slid shut abruptly in front of Kenshin and his right hand reached instinctively for the hilt of his katana. It was not there.

Tomoe watched as her husband's expression shifted from fearful panic to relief, as he remembered where he was, and who he would have attacked. Kenshin clenched his fist beside him as though trying to deny his action. It was not difficult for Tomoe to guess to memory he was reliving in his mind. He let out a shaky breath then turned to face her, the message in his expression clear.

Never do that again.

He reached to slide the door open but Tomoe's hand on the other end of the shoji kept the door closed. His violet eyes narrowed slightly. Undaunted, she held his gaze, daring him to use his strength against her.

Kenshin let his hand drop from the shoji.

Satisfied that he would no longer try to leave the house, Tomoe walked to his side and placed her hand on his forehead. She frowned.

He had a fever.

She had noticed his coughing and weariness the day before and had been unable to convince him to rest. She would've missed his quiet exit had he not started the fire before he intended to leave.

Her hand travelled down from his face to his left arm, coaxing him to relinquish the basket of farm tools he was holding. At his resistance she tugged at the baskets handle and he released it slightly letting her feel a fraction of its true weight. She gasped in surprise.

Had he completely released the handle, the basket would have pulled her to the floor.

Tomoe let go of the basket and averted her gaze, blushing at the quiet amusement in his eyes.

From the way he carried it she would never have guessed that it had weighed so much.

Kenshin placed the basket back down beside the shoji and then turned to face her, waiting. Pleased by his acquiescence, Tomoe stepped forward, then, she paused.

In Kyoto, Kenshin had carried the heaviest most-cruel responsibility of all the Ishin shi shi, made even more burdensome by his determination to cease the suffering and strife which plagued Japan.

Who was she to think she could care for him?

She was nothing more than another responsibility he had willingly accepted.

A gust of wind blew through the house and Kenshin coughed spurring Tomoe into action. She took his hand in both of hers, their eyes meeting. Beneath the uncertainty and curiosity in his clear violet eyes, she saw fatigue.

He looked so tired.

Then she remembered why she had followed him to this place. He needed her to remind him of his limitations, because if she didn't do it, he would not stop until he had managed to expend every resource he had.

She squeezed his hand and pulled him towards her unrolled futon.

He followed her lead, letting go of her hand as she knelt and lifted the thin blanket. He stood by the side of the futon uncertainly. She reached out her hand towards him. He hesitated. Tomoe wondered if the idea of being so vulnerable and unguarded was still beyond him. Even after all they had already shared.

The touch of his hand on hers sent a shock up her arm. Her fingers closed around his hand and she guided him as he lay down, placing his head on her lap.

Tomoe let her fingers run through his hair brushing it out of his eyes and watched as his eyelids fluttered shut.