Disclaimer: All characters and settings portrayed in this work of fiction belong to Nobuhiro Watsuki, VIZ Media, Shueisha. I'm merely fooling around with the characters and will put them back with as little wear and tear as possible.
Collection Title: .blossoms and shadows
Chapter Title: .phoenix on a dusty road
Character(s): Himura Kenshin, Yukishiro Tomoe
Rating: T (PG-13). Rating may go up in later chapters.
Prompt: fc-smorgasbord prompt .81 –- unguarded touch.
Author's Note: All of these chapters are set within the confines of the Blossoms and Shadows universe, within the canon of Rurouni Kenshin. What if the feared hitokiri Battousai, the wise, kindhearted wanderer and the lost, grieving child had been a woman, in those times of war and sweeping change? This is my humble answer to the lack of decent fem!Kenshin stories, especially ones that don't jump through hoops in order to avoid writing same-sex relationships between women.
Warnings:disjointed stream-of-consciousness narrative ahoy.

Otsu, Genji 1 (1864)

And even as they stood there, on that dirt path in the middle of a world that was so different from what she had always known to be rock-steady certainty, Tomoe couldn't help but think of only one creature - a phoenix, as oddly graceful and stylized as it had been on the exquisite artworks from the Heian-jidaithat she had learned of as the child of a samurai. Only this phoenix was all too real - a woman of flesh and bone and sinew and muscle and little steps on those high, wooden geta, instead of an inked drawing on a piece of paper.

She hadn't smiled for Kiyosato Akira-sama and he had died a horrid death at this man-woman-child-girl's hands; she couldn't smile now either, but her eyes were soft as she looked at the girl putting one foot before the other and struggling not to let the obi's weight throw her off balance. Wood and amber and lacquer ornaments gleamed in her fiery hair and the setting sun played on the swirling patterns of her red kimono, the hemline a jagged horizon of mountains lit by an equally dazzling sunset of oranges and pinks and violets. The dark-ocher obi tied into the large fukura-suzume of an unwed girl filled out her back and made it seem as if she would stretch out silk wings and fly away into the skies - and once again Tomoe was reminded of the phoenix of old.

But then there was a scuffling sound and the impression was ruined as the man-woman-girl-child-hitokiri-murderer - Himura Kenshin, she reminded herself quietly - took a wrong step and wobbled in place, arms wheeling around in an effort to keep her steady, the furisode's long sleeves flying every which way. And whereas the phoenix had been quietly awe-inspiring, Himura Kenshin struggling to walk to a festival in proper kimono was strangely endearing. One long-fingered hand reached out on rare impulse, touching a cloth-wrapped shoulder, steadying in its own way. Two pairs of eyes met each other as they both stood there, frozen in that one moment - names and pretenses thrown to the wind, just two young women lost in this maelstrom of uncertainty and lies and fading violence and learning how to live again.

Even with all the festival finery weighing them down, for one heartbeat they were as open and unguarded with each other as they had been in that small room, when naked steel had glinted close to a pale throat.


Softly spoken, the harsh angles on her face now banished, the softness of a smile teasing at the corners of her lips, as Kenshin bowed her head slightly and the straightened her back with a look of determination in her eyes. They were quiet as they walked together, but their thoughts flew with the evening winds and Tomoe would later think to herself that a master of the sword could walk with the same grace as a geisha when it was truly necessary.