This is a response to the KFFDisc 60 Second Story Challenge, wherein you write a story about something that happened within 60 seconds or less in the anime. It's a SanoxMeg story . . . sort of . . . anyway, you'll be able to figure out what's going on, I hope. All dialogue taken from the AnimeWorks subs. Go subs! :)

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"What the hell do you think you're doing?"

Her eyes stare up into mine, wide and vulnerable. Her lower lip trembles, just a little.

She was going to kill herself.

I hurl the knife to one side, barely hearing the hollow clattering sound it makes against the floor. Her entire body trembles, and she slumps down on the bench, staring at her hands as if wondering where her death-weapon went to.

"The sin of making opium and making people suffer and die . . ." she whispered, her voice tremulous. "I can only repent with my death . . ."

Does she even hear her own words? "Are you still saying that?" I bellow, fiercely glad when she flinches. "Kenshin, Yahiko, and Jo-Chan" and me "have risked everything to save you. Are you going to put to waste all this effort?" I want to shake her until what few brains she has rattle around in her skull like marbles. "You little idiot!"


Kenshin's voice comes from behind me, calm and steady, and very gentle. "Just because you die doesn't mean that the people you killed will come back to life. Instead, using this sword to save just one more soul, is repentance in the true sense. "

He's saying the words that elude me, and I wonder how he does that all the time. He knows. He just knows.

"That is how Battousai the Manslayer lives to this very day, de gozaru."

Her shoulders hunch, and tears slip from her eyes. My hand escapes from its pocket, reaching out to touch her--but then I realize that the palm is dripping blood. Wow. The blade musta got me--funny, I don't even feel it.

She doesn't want my blood all over her nice clean jacket. I use it to rub the back of my neck instead. My jacket's had worse.

I see the blood on the floor--my blood, not hers as she'd intended--and I remember what Kenshin said. He saves people all the time--Yahiko, Megumi, me. I could never figure out how he does it--but now I know. He doesn't think about it. There's no time to think about it.

You just do it.

And if it's your blood on the floor, and your palm that--oh, yeah, that's gonna need stitches all right--well, it's better than hers. Palms can be stitched up, and I'd be able to use it again pretty soon. If it had been her heart-blood on the floor--she would have lost her only real chance to start stitching up the wounds in her own soul. That would have been her eternity.

Instead, she can get started on all that repentence stuff.

I look back over my shoulder at Kenshin, and he gives me his rurouni smile. He knows what I'm thinking--that I'd never realized how good it felt to preserve instead of destroy.