A Contrast of Past and Future
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. blue .
. blueweber@hotmail.com .
. http://www.megspace.com/arts/colorblue/aoi.html .

You were the symbol of old Japan and what it once was under the rule of the Shogun.

Refined, posed, proper, meticulous and indifferent, at least on the surface anyway.
While beneath the calm mask you wore, your emotions went to war, one between love and hate.
Yet you vied for neither because both emotions were so intense and deeply rooted into you
that the mere dominance of one would mean the extermination of another and either way you
choose to go you would have felt as if you had betrayed the other. And that part of your
soul that was tied to both would be ripped asunder, and you were sure that then you would
become mad with pain and guilt.

You, a samurai's daughter, were afraid of that, weren't you? Of losing the little
control you had left, a control taught to you since birth, one that you were never supposed
to lose.

Those who watched you without pity saw you as cold, manipulative, and merely a shell
of a woman that you once might have been, one who they have never been a witness to. They
thought of you as shallow, and that when all that you had taken for granted, all that made
you happy once, was gone, you had selfishly thrown the blame on the lost little boy who did
no more than break what you had so carelessly discarded. But that was only the mind
speaking, that would be the part of you consumed by hatred and was too afraid to face the
truth because the truth would destroy you.

But that wasn't really the whole truth, just one side of many.

Yes, your childhood lover who embodied your innocence, your youth, your
determination and your blinded, unconditional love wanted to prove to you that he was
deserving of that same love you gave to him in your silence, so that he could prove that he
could take care of you, and so he could see the proud shine in your eyes for him alone when
he had proven his worthiness to be your hero as well. And yes he went because you stayed in
the shadows, too afraid to voice that emotion that overwhelmed you whenever you were with
him, but you cherished every moment spent with him even if you never spoke a word because
you were afraid of admitting your inability to control that volatile emotion. But it was
his decision too, an impetuous decision that fate deemed to be the only path he would come
to choose in the twisted play that would be orchestrated by men and gods alike.

But let us not forget love.

Driven here by anger, loneliness, regret, sorrow, tears, and hatred, you brought
with you a tanto because you were too afraid to end your own life with it, so you decided
that it would be you that would end his. "You would know him by the scar on his left
cheek," they had told you as if you should be proud that Kyosato Akira, the man who carried
your heart like a phantom lantern in your dreams, the only man to ever have been able to
touch this legendary demon. Why should you have been proud? It had cost him his life,
didn't it? It has cost you, him. "And the color of his bloodied hair," they added, and
within you, you saw the picture of a monster because only a monster could have stolen your
innocence so cruelly and so heartlessly.

Perhaps he was a bulky man, stout and marred by deformities; or a tall lanky one,
skinny and gaunt. But both images bore with them the cold eyes that you knew that he must
have had, ones that reflected a crueler heart beneath. How would you have known that he
would turn out to be a boy, perhaps even more lost than you yourself, driven by a dream that
was slowly crumbling under the weight of reality because it bore no real values just like
any illusions would. But when you met him, it was then you began to see that it was a man,
a child, that had slain your beloved and your heart so harshly in his ignorance. Suddenly
you realized that there was no way you could label him a monster and not feel like you were
lying to yourself about it, and that realization must have scared you because at the time
you did not know how to feel anything else but hate, fearing that when that boiling, bitter-
ness melted away, you would be left with nothing but the gnawing abyss of your sorrows

"I am an assassin," he told you with honest belief of his own corruption. "I don't
deserve this type of attention," his eyes added in those depth of purple-blue, a color you
had never before seen except in the violets that blossomed beneath the sad, cleansing rain
upon the walls of your home in Edo.

"If I had a family, then I wouldn't be wondering alone in the streets at night," you
told him in return when he had tried to make you leave, slightly taken aback by his worry
about your welfare, but you were determined to stay even though already you had began to
doubt the course that you have chosen. Yet, still you told yourself, "How bad can it be?
He's an assassin and nothing will change; for beneath those cold demon eyes lay a colder
heart," though his eyes weren't really that cold and the passion that you saw in his silence
beguiled you.

But then you saw him sleep.

It was too late. Your heart was beginning to emerge from the blackness of your
hatred and your pity began to turn slowly into curiosity. On the night of the Ikeada Inn
incident, you were beginning to realize a change in him, and perhaps you yourself as well.
How scared were you then? Or did you lie to yourself again? Because he had indeed taken
someone you had held so close in your heart, someone you never got to say those precious
words within your heart to, someone that you would have given the entirety of your being if
he but asked it of you. And this boy had stolen it all away, only... only...

Only he's just a boy... like Enishi. Maybe... maybe you could...

But thoughts like that never made far before you felt in your heart a guilt that
spoke of betrayal to another, to the one you had loved, the one who had died at the hands of
this little boy -- ignorant hands -- skilled and powerful, but yet still so young and blind
as well. And when you were pushed to help him find himself in the midst of his turmoil and
insanity, you began to see not just the boy but the man who was shaped by the atrocious acts
that he had committed while believing in a dream of the divine that was almost too impossible
to obtain. It was then that you began to realize his naivety as well. That is, until you
looked into his eyes one day and saw not a broken man but one filled with new determination,
and all of it was for...


And somehow between pity and curiosity, you fell in love again and the hatred
evaporated before your eyes until you suddenly realized exactly how wrong you had been. But
you were not sorry because it brought you to him. Now, like the sake he and you had shared,
life began to taste a little less bitter and a little more sweet and beautiful and filled
with hope.

You were the symbol of old Japan.

A turmoil of emotions between love and hate, loyalty and betrayal, idealism and
reality. You went far for all these passions, turning away from one extreme to the next
until you realized that in the end the goal was all the same no matter what mask it wore.
Peace, happiness, security, and love. In the end you wanted the courage to step out of the
shadows and bare your heart, knowing with certainty that not even reality could crush it
because the one you were giving it to would do anything and everything to protect it. He
would do anything and everything to protect your own happiness with hands that were no longer
so innocent nor so ignorant.

And he had promised it too with that same look in his eyes, that same sweetness that
you had once thought him incapable of, mixed with his quiet determination. This time,
instead of just quiet awe, your happiness shone through your eyes, as did your love. Slowly
you began to understand his dreams, the tranquility of it beneath the surface turmoil, the
simplicity beneath all the twisted complications, and it was then that you began to see him
a little better as well, with more clarity than you have ever viewed any man before him.

And for all of that, you still died at the blade of a child and a man. You died at
the blade of a rising new era, with tears of happiness and forgiveness and relief inside of
you, upon the cold, cold snow. You were so tired of it all, tired of the extremes. You
wanted to sleep now and to join your lost beloved because you really did not belong in the
new era, not in that new chaos. But in the end you admitted your heart to him by calling
him by a name you had never dared to whisper into his ears before those final moments had


And so you completed his scar while his bloody-tears and sad eyes begged you to
stay. But you knew, you knew that in order for him to grow he must look past himself and
see that the world was composed of people and not just dreams, sweet as they may be. You
completed his scar so he will always remember that the cost of his dreams and his empire of
peace was built on the blood and sweat and tears of both the criminals and the innocents.
That as much as one hoped, an illusion has no substance that a human touch could bring
about, no motivation as a human will can be, and it will not love you in return for all the
love you pour into it. You wanted to give him one last reminder of yourself, of the era he
had never realized that he had loved until he helped destroy it, of the people that could not
move forward another step because their time has finally passed.

Instead, you and they would choose to stand on the sides of the streams of Life and
Time. With quiet smiles of farewell, you and they watched and sent the children of this
time of peace afloat on the streams with paper lanterns to alight their way through the dark
paths of the unknown future under that heavenly bridge. It was time for the steps of the
young to leave footprints in the white sadness instead of those from the passing of the old,
so that instead of regret they would bring new meaning to the falling snows. Don't follow
me, you told him with your eyes when you smiled, for this is the ending of all people like
yourself and you knew that unlike him, you had no more promises to keep, you had done your
part in this play and had sheltered him from the rain of blood for but a short time. But it
was enough time for him to see clearly for the first time in a long time.

With that you closed your eyes and slept in the white of the cold snow and the
crimson of your once warm and burning blood. Blood that had began to turn pink and dull,
already fading away as your life fades away. And you remembered too, with a smile, that
even in death, Akira had kept his promise and brought you that red plum, his eyes still
shining with love and forgiveness and understanding.

The old era may linger, haunting those trying to move on. And these memories will
last one more generation, maybe two, before it evaporates into nothing but myth and legends.
But as long as he shall live and bear that scar, those that have lived through this time
with you will be remembered, and the conflict fought here between an old age and a new one,
between old traditions and new beliefs, between the heart and the mind, they too shall be
remembered as well.

Akira wounded him first with his determination to live and you closed it with your
love and forgiveness.

Through the gossamer wings of the red dragon fly, he will be able to see the
splintered light of the setting sun without distortion, and remember the cottage you two had
shared while you waited for his return, this time with your first love. You wanted to tell
him that he was forgiven and thank him for sacrificing his innocence for the people, and his
love for you.

"Okaeri nasai."

Your words never reached his ears as your ashes blew into the wind, but that doesn't
change how much you had meant them when you had said them through my ghostly lips as he
walked away into the new era, leaving the ghost of the past to haunt him no longer. And it
was then you knew with a grateful smile that he had finally grown from a lost little boy to
the man who had found true happiness. In the end he learned that he did not want to go home
to the dark, mysterious nights of the past, one that had at last come to a promised
completion in the form of a perfect circle of the autumn moon. Instead he turned his face
to the horizon where the sun has only just began to break through the twilight evenings and
dark dawns, promising nothing and everything in the coming light.

"Tadaima," and the face that greeted him was the innocent smile of the bright future
he had given everything up for to obtain. And he smiled in return, hearing her murmur those
same words that you had as he fell into her arms.

The furtive nights of dangers unseen were over as a new day and a new happiness

"Okaeri nasai, Kenshin." She and the new Japan welcomed him with open arms of
comfort and warmth, and this time his smiles were no longer colored by the shadows of the

This time he was home at last.

. The End .

* Anata - Darling
* Tadiama - I'm Home
* Okaeri nasai - Welcome home; Welcome back
* Tanto - a type of short knife/dagger

I have to thank dementedchris for all that she's done
for me ^_^;; I've unceremoniously stuck her in the
position of my editor for all the stories I've posted
so far, and as my friends and editors in other anime
genre's know, I'm an extremely fickle writer. I always
believe I'm sending the last version and then I go and
change things ^_^;; But I have to thank Chris-chan for
sticking with me through these rough times, I've sent her
some pretty raw stuff! LOL! Anywho, here it is! My
second vignette! Hoped you liked it ^_^v

. blue .
. blueweber@hotmail.com .
. http://www.megspace.com/arts/colorblue/aoi.html .

Extra Rambling of Author's (No need to read on):
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I am not Tomoe's number one fan ^_^;; But I like her a
lot. I can't say that she and Kenshin aren't right for
each other because I don't believe that to be completely
true. I would just like to believe Kaoru and Kenshin are
better off together. After all, that's how it worked
out in the Manga and I'm not about to argue with
Nobuhiro Watsuki-san about who Kenshin loves more. Hey,
my belief is that people never believe they can be in love
until they love someone, and Kenshin is the perfect
example, ne? He fell in love with Tomoe and I'm sure that
that took him by surprise, and then he fell in love a
second time with Kaoru -- don't argue with me here, Watsuki
-san said so and that's law! -- and I'm sure Kenshin NEVER
dreamed he'd fall in love again -- especially not with
someone like our Kaoru-chan. So there! My theory is
proved! ^_^v

As for Kenshin, I'd have to side with Tomoe on this,
I love him and I hate him. Eh, what can I say, I
totally admire Kaoru for her trust in him but some-
times I just want to take a bokken and join her in
beating him good! GRRRR! Kenshin no baka! True he
doesn't mean to hurt our Kaoru-chan, but he can be so
selfish with his guilt sometimes that it just makes me
want to give him a pounding to teach him a lesson
(nothing kinky you hentais ^_-)! But he's can be such
a sweetheart too and he's always so kawaii, ne, ne?
O_O;; Oh dear... I think I'm turning into violent
Kaoru-dono... Ehehehehehehe... ^_^;; *whacks one of her
snickering guy friends* What do you mean I've always
been violent you oaf?! ^_^;;

Anywho, Tomoe-chan is pretty and so kind! She even
forgave the murderer of her beloved and I'm sure not
many women can put a claim to doing that! And I
absolutely ADORE Kaoru-chan because she's real and
strong, and she is the epitome of an independent
woman who looks out herself but also manages to do so
for others as well, forgiving those that made mistakes
in the past with her own kindness. What do you mean she's
naive?! Of course she'll have to be a bit naive! Kindness,
true kindness, is blind because it is the belief that all
people deserves an act of good will no matter what they
had done in the past. You think some cynical, know-it-all
waiter/waitress at a bar would be able to stand Sanosuke's
freeloading, Yahiko's dirty mouth, Megumi's sharp retorts,
AND Kenshin's idiotic "Oro"ing, for more than a week?! I'd
give him/her 24 hours before wiser men and women high-tailed
it out of that chaos! I'm amazed Kaoru-chan's still
Kaoru: @_@ "Oh, pretty men in white suits..."
Urrr... n/m, I spoke too soon.
Kenshin: "Ororororororor..."
Grrrr... Kenshin no baka! Stop pretending to be an idiot
you sexy battousai you! ^_^;; *Whips out a bokken and bats
Kenshin into Saturn's orbit* Hmmm, I think that's a
home run for me! Dun dun dun dun! Thank you for reading
this far! I am amazed that you are interested enough to
get all the way down here... ^_^v Stayed tuned for other
wonderful coming attractions!

But for now, blue out!

[ This production has been brought to you by those at
Insanity In Blue Co. Hoped you enjoyed the ride and
please don't plagiarize, else I'd have to sick a nakkid
Enishi-sama on you and make you drown in your own drool.
Ehehehehehehehe! I'm SO evil! ^_-v Owari! ]

. blue .
. blueweber@hotmail.com .
. http://www.megspace.com/arts/colorblue/aoi.html .