I think I'm nearly done with the revisions. Anyway, I'm sure by now you know that any promises I make are subject to being broken. Ah well! If you've read this story before I changed a lot of things, so you might want to refresh yourself. Thanks for reading. Ja.

Black Shadow, Piercing Light

Chapter One - Shadows

Kenshin gazed out of the small window just a few feet above his head. There was not much to see, the occasional insect, then the watchtower, far away. This was his view of the world, year after year. If he were lucky, a bird might land nearby. His cell was located in the basement. His tiny window provided him with a restricted view of the outside world. But it was a view that Kenshin cherished. Waking to the light of day, sleeping with the darkness of night, the ability to judge the passing of time with his eyes was a privilege. After spending years in solitary confinement under a sentence of silent treatment, Kenshin had learned to privately treasure every sight and sound of the living world.

Kenshin stepped closer to his window, fingering the black steel bars on the window.

'This view is for my eyes alone. Only I can see the world like this, from behind these bars. I love all I see.'

Gracefully, he crouched on the floor, wrapping his arms around bent knees. He bowed his to contemplate, tangled, unwashed red hair brushing across his cheek. He needed to prepare himself for the night. Kenshin's cell was sparsely furnished, a tattered worn futon, and small tarnished urinal and sink completed the arrangement. The walls were stone gray and cracked in various places. Though his surroundings were less than beautiful, Kenshin considered himself lucky to have his cell.

Small particles of dirt covered the floor.

Kenshin's thoughts were a strange mix of myriad emotions. Nervousness, fear, anticipation, and trepidation plagued his soul. The world was waiting for him, theoretically.

After ten years he would be part of the world again.

Kenshin stood and looked out of his tiny window. He looked towards the light of the sky, letting his eyes slowly drop to his hands. His hands had done so much, and yet so little in twenty-eight years. His hands, his body, had created and destroyed. He had been god and man, caged according to his own will. He had been taken from the world and restrained in a house of steel and menace.

He would be free. That is, should everything go well with psychological review by the parole board.

A scream rang out down the hall. Someone was being strangled. Kenshin knew these sounds well, having lived most of his life amidst violence. This violence was commonplace in maximum-security prison.

Suddenly he felt compressed by his situation. Even after ten years in prison, his heart had not yet learned to become truly apathetic. Hope for the future, for freedom, for redemption, only served to make his environment of violence all the more real. Juxtaposing hope and reality, Kenshin's heart fluttered and his mind spun with possibilities and realities. He fought against the various emotions boiling inside. Guilt being his most natural and stable feeling, Kenshin embraced it as he lay down on his cot. He wanted to sleep, get away from the memory of his life, the reality that he would have another chance at being a free man. Squeezing his eyes shut, he tried in vain to force bitter memories away from his heart.

Sleep came easy and quickly, despite the fact that his day lacked any strenuous activity of the body. As usual, it was his brain that felt overworked and exhausted.

The psuedo-escape that sleep offered was not to last. He could feel it; the dream was coming back to him. Lately, as the time for his evaluation and possible release grew nearer the dreams had begun to come to him while he was awake. Sleep was never an escape from the pain. Kenshin found that physicality, using his body was his most true and fulfilling release. To channel his emotions through his body, unleash his fire in movement until he was pouring sweat and too tired to worry. If only he had his sword…but they had taken that from him, over a decade ago. Bonded to him, katana understand the fury of his soul and the fragility of his body like nothing else. Katana protected him, strengthened him, killed him, killed her…

Kenshin groaned, realizing his increasingly negative thoughts. The walls of his cell were closing in. It was still daylight outside.

Kenshin closed his eyes. With his stomach regretfully full from the prison mush, he willed himself to drift off to sleep.

Oozing, wet, darkness filled the recesses of his brain. Kenshin was hot. His skin felt wet. He itched.

"It's about life…"

Stumbling in a dark void, blinking blood shot eyes, he tried not to focus on the strange feeling of liquid oozing through his brain. He could feel the liquid seeping into every crevice. With a trembling hand he vigorously rubbed his face, trying to rid himself of that unpleasant feeling, like ants were crawling around inside his head. He groaned in desperation, lowering his hands to his wet forearms, attempting to dry them.

"No. It's about murder."

He was melting away. His skin falling off. The more he rubbed his arms, the more skin flaked away. But he couldn't stop. He was all wet. His eyes twitched in anger, the liquid substance was a part of him.

Bloody ants began to crawl out through his eyes, and down his face. Kenshin moaned, he wanted to scream, but he couldn't find the strength.

There were voices calling to him. Someone in the distance was trying to tell him how to create righteousness and find tranquility. He shut his eyes tight as tears began to stream down his face. He couldn't keep his body together. Everything was falling away.

Falling away…relatively.

Kenshin looked up as he felt warm droplets of dark red rain, descending upon him. So warm…

He liked this feeling. Kenshin turned his eyes towards the rain.

'Random warmth is better than pure defiant cold. You should catch as much as you can if you believe in warmth. Don't you want to be alive?'

Kenshin opened his mouth, trying to catch the rain. He needed this. He needed this red warmth. Kenshin closed his eyes and his mouth. It would be his downfall or his resurrection. But there was only so much of that metallic taste a mind could take. He opened his eyes…

…And there she was, pale and beautiful. Eyes… as black as coal. The red rain fell in thick hard splotches, painting her lovely face a darker shade of pale.

"Look, Kenshin, it's raining."

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