Plums on the Spring Breeze

After watching the Ruroken OVA's I was so inspired I decided to write a
little fanfic. The OVA's impressed me so much! I hope you all enjoy it.
Send you comments about this to my e-mail onegai shimasu. Um, is this
considered a spoiler? Uh . . . do you consider what happened to Kenshin
before Tokyo a spoiler? If you do, then this is spoiler material. This
takes place a year after the events with Tomoe. All set? Good! Enjoy!
Rurouni Kenshin and all related characters, ideas, etc. don't belong to
me. I'm just an enthusiastic fan. ^_^x!

Author: Hitomi-sama

"Even in the tearful nights were I wanna change myself but can't 
I realize I can laugh now even just a little 
This heart full of contradictions I can't trust, it's still shaken..."
-"Love Revolution," Two-Mix

Plums on the Spring Breeze

      The young man opened his eyes slowly. The sun was rising over the horizon and already assaulting the dreamer with it's blinding white rays. Groggily, the young man took one hand off of his sheathed sword and attempted to shield himself from the sun.
      That was the only problem with sleeping out in the open without a consistent roof over head. The sun always came early and wasn't content to rise by itself. In the dreamer's opinion, that was selfish. Yet, he reminded himself promptly, there were more important things to do than sleep.
      Slowly, the young man pulled himself to his feet and dusted himself off. Picking up his weapon, he continued on his way, leaving behind the tree he had passed the night under.
      Kyoto was full of things to do for the man, none of which stirred his heart in the slightest. Things that needed to be done never seemed to be attached to pleasant sentiments.  Pleasant sentiments were few and far between.
      "That's in the past." The young man muttered to himself as he listened to the dying sound of the night's crickets in the field. "What does the Battousai need with pleasant sentiments?" He asked himself. "They'll prevent me from doing what I need to do."
      The Hitokiri, Himura Battousai walked aimlessly through Kyoto. To where, he wasn't certain. Mindless roaming would certainly be more than enough. It was all he seemed to do. Absently wander through Kyoto . . . same as the day before . . . and the day before that . . . and before that . . .
      The entire day seemed to melt into oblivion. It was just like any other day the Hitokiri went through. Nothing was worth remembering. Only doing things that needed to be done.
      Battousai remarked that he felt rather controlled . . . like his life had been already planned for him . . . he was programmed to be an emotionless killer, nothing more . . .
      Had it always been like that? Had there ever been a day that Battousai didn't have a feeling of sick disdain in his heart? Had he ever been more than what he was? More than just an inhuman killer? Had here been a day that hadn't seemed to blur in his mind from the time the sun came up until it went down?
      Battousai looked up at the night sky and sighed to himself as he approached a small group of trees. "Another day . . . gone . . ." The Hitokiri remarked to himself. A light breeze danced around the young man. It was spring, the time of year when the wind accompanied travelers wherever they went.
      Typically, the spring breeze smelt of lightly of dew, especially at night. It smelt of ripe fruits waiting to be picked. Sometimes, one could even smell the cherry blossoms. Tonight's breeze was a fragrant one. However, this did not please Battousai in the least.
      The breeze that caressed the Hitokiri's skin carried a faint smell of fragrant plums that caused Battousai to wince almost as if in pain. "That smell . . ." The young man lamented to himself in a whisper. Trying to put an unspoken thought as far from his mind as he could manage, Battousai rested his back against the trunk of the tree. He felt his eyelids growing heavier as he absently watched a few stars blazing in the night sky.
      *Stars . . .* The Hitokiri thought to himself. *Things for all people to make wishes on . . . that is, all people except me . . .*
      "Battousai can't be selfish and want anything for himself." He countered out loud. "I live for the people, no one else. I exist so that the people of this land can wish on the stars." Battousai added in a cold whisper.
      *If I were to have one wish . . .* The Hitokiri thought to himself as the world around him sank into darkness. *If I had one wish . . . it . . . would be . . .*

      Himura sturred with the movement of the breeze. He could hear it dancing faintly though the leaves above him. Opening his eyes, he gasped suddenly, realizing an unbridled afternoon sun was assaulting his unprepared irises. Had he overslept? Surely something must have happened to cause him to rise so late in the day.
      Taking a deep breath, Himura noticed the fragrance of plums floating to him on the current of the spring breeze. "That smell again." He muttered groggily to himself.
      "Gomen nasai for waking you." Came a gentle voice from behind.
      Himura was perplexed. Wasn't he alone? Instinctively, he reached for the hilt of his sword. His hand faltered by his side and after a moment he realized he was weaponless.
      Immediately on his feet and turning quickly around, Himura was startled at what he saw. His breath caught in his throat and disbelieving tears crept into his azure eyes. "Otsu . . ." The young man breathed, recognizing the tiny house and field he had tended to a year ago . . . and subsequently burned to the ground . . . Standing in the middle of the green field was a radiant woman. Himura recognized her immediately. "To . . . To . . . To . . . mo . . . e . . ."
      "Eh." She replied as she smiled and continued to balance a basket full of assorted vegetables on her hip. "Gomen nasai for waking you."
      Himura was flustered. "W . . . waking me?" He stammered.
      "Eh." Tomoe replied again. "You've been working so hard in the field. When you fell asleep under that tree, I continued working. I tried to be as quiet as I could."
      The young man shook his head. "Iie, you didn't wake me. But . . . I'm glad I'm awake now . . ." Himura approached Tomoe and reached toward her with a shaky hand. He suddenly hesitated, afraid that if he touched her, it might all prove to be a dream and cause her to vanish once again. Tomoe smiled and gently touched Himura's cheek. Her hands were warm which made tears escape the young man's eyes.
      Himura continued to gaze at Tomoe, forcing his eyelids not to blink lest the woman before him disappear. His sapphire irises swam with tears and seemed to Tomoe as if his heart was breaking. She could see the sadness in his soul through his azure eyes.
      "You look as if your heart is breaking." She said. "What is it?"
      The young man touched Tomoe's lips with a trembling hand. "Are . . . you . . . real? Is this . . . a dream . . . Tomoe?"
      "Of course not." Tomoe answered in a calm voice. "I'm just as real as you are."
      Himura tried to protest but in his mind, vivid images of Tomoe's death played. The young man closed his eyes tightly as he tried to push these horrible thoughts from his mind. All he could see was red 
. . . and Tomoe's pale form on the snow before him. Shivers surged down Himura's spine.
      Suddenly, he felt Tomoe gently take his hand. Himura's eyes snapped open to see her smiling face surrounded by the vivid colors only spring could bring. Seeing her face before him, no matter how perplexing the situation was to him, was enough for Himura. The nightmare that had played in his mind was gone as he looked upon her calm face. He smiled and brushed her hand with his lips.
      Content, Tomoe walked toward the middle of the field where she had left a basket full of radishes. Before picking it up, she gazed at the field. "Kore wa . . ." Said Tomoe's soft voice that floated on the wind. It reached the young man's ears as nothing more than a whisper as the arm spring air caressed his cheeks. "Kore wa . . ." Repeated the voice a second time. The owner was gently requesting Himura's
attention. He could see a pale figure standing in the middle of a field, her hands folded in front of her.
      The young man found himself smiling as he slowly approached where she stood. "Tomoe . . ." He said in an equally soft voice. With a
careful step he tread in between the radishes and turnips who's tops
spilled onto the ground like a neat unmoving waterfall.
      Azure irises met the faint smile of the woman who stood bathed
in the morning sunlight. Her outline was hazy amid the pure white rays
of sun. To the young man, it seemed as if the woman was engulfed in a
halo of light. She, standing before him, was nothing more than an angel
beckoning him. "Kore wa . . ." She said a third and final time. "Look."
      "Tomoe, our field . . ." The young man trailed off with a sigh
that quickly died as a faint gust of wind blew by. "I never thought it
would do this well." He admitted.
      The young woman folded her hands and smiled at her companion.
"There will be many radishes to grate very soon." Tomoe said as her
eyes closed. She took a slow deep breath and savored the smell of the
spring air. It was so pure. "I'm so happy."
      "Oh?" The young man said in reply. He sighed contently and
smiled to himself. "That's good."
      "Can you smell it?" Tomoe asked.
      Perplexed, the young man arched his eyebrows. "Smell what?"
      "Everything is so pure." She replied. "So perfect that you can
almost smell the sunlight." Tomoe smiled as she met the young man's
confused look. "Only when you are truly content can you actually smell
the sunlight. It's a smell only pure happiness can bring."
      Himura took a deep breath. Tomoe was right. He COULD smell the
sun. All of the world's happiness seemed bottled up inside the young
man as he refused to exhale for a moment longer. Himura felt so
content . . . so . . . right . . . He could feel his heart being
cleansed of all the Hitokiri's iciness. It was as if in that moment,
Battousai dissolved and remained nothing more than a half remembered
dream . . .

      The air began to adopt a slight chill to it as night crept into
Otsu. Himura sighed and enjoyed the coolness on his skin, all the while
watching Tomoe tending to a fire she was starting for the evening meal. As the logs began to crack, the woman came to sit beside him. She was silent and sat studying his face as if she never wanted to forget the way it looked at that very moment.
      Silently, Tomoe brought her pale hand up to Himura's cheek. He
closed his eyes as he felt her gentle touch. A few stray tears escaped
his realization and splashed upon the sleeve of Tomoe's white kimono.
Slowly, Himura felt her trace the line of his scar. Her index finger
traveled from the middle of his cheekbone down until it abruptly halted
on his chin.
      "To . . . mo . . . e . . ." Himura lamented in a shaky voice as
sobs caught in his throat and threatened to burst forth. Even more
tears subdued the hot pain in his heart.
      The woman was silent. Her finger, finished with it's journey,
was taken off of Himura's cheek. He sighed slightly at the absence of
her touch. However, Tomoe's finger returned not a second later to a new area of his cheek.
      "Scars . . ." She cooed softly, tracing a line that crossed
over the previous one. "I wonder . . . are yours symbols of sadness
or . . . perhaps they are the opposite?"
      Himura's breath caught. His blue eyes snapped open as he
gasped. Were there really TWO scars? Not just one? The young man
pressed his own fingers to his cheek. He himself traced his battle
wounds. One descending his face running to the middle of his jaw
and . . . Himura gasped.
      "This can't . . . this can't be . . . how . . ." He asked in broken exclamations. Himura's mind was flying at the speed of light. "How can
. . . Tomoe!" He said, taking the woman's hands before she
could utter a cry of surprise. "You're here . . . and . . ."
      "And?" Tomoe echoed, raising her eyebrows slightly. Her dark
eyes probed Himura for an answer which he couldn't gather the words
for. Instead, she smiled comfortingly.
      The red haired youth was stunned into silence. Two scars? If
there were two . . . didn't that mean that Tomoe was . . . ? Himura
shook his head slightly. There before him stood the woman he'd lost
smiling a smile he never thought he'd see again. A rare commodity for
her . . . a calm smile . . . one of an honest woman beholding the man
she loved . . . one that could never have been dreamed of . . .
      Himura shook his head after a moment of words fumbling
awkwardly in his mouth. "Nothing." He replied finally with a sigh of
      Tomoe took her hands gently from the young man and smiled once
again. "Would you like something to eat?" She asked. "The radishes look
especially well this season."
      The young man answered with a nod. He watched the woman's
movements in silence. Tomoe diligently cleaned some rice, careful not
to dampen her sleeves in the water of the bucket in the sink. She cut
assorted vegetables with such a happy look that Himura couldn't help
but smile.
      "You're here, Tomoe. That's all that matters." He whispered
softly. Himura picked up the top from his childhood that neatly lay on
the tabletop. Absently, he began to wind it. All the while, he never
took his eyes off of Tomoe.
      Dishes were on the table before Himura knew it. Tomoe smiled as
she took a last satisfied look at dinner. "Hai, dozo." She said as she
began by pouring the young man a cup of sake.
      "Arigato . . ." Himura said, taking a sip and beginning his
      Dinner was eaten in relative silence. The only sound was an
occasional sake dish being refilled. Himura spent this time thinking.
      What was going on? Was he dreaming? This had to be a
dream . . . or . . . was it? Maybe it was his past that was? Something
had to be an illusion . . . It couldn't both be real . . . Which was
it? Was Hitokiri Battousai's life a dream? Or was it Himura's? Where
did the line of reality end? When did the dream begin?
      Once he had finished, Himura turned and faced toward the open
screen. The young man looked very troubled as he sat staring outside
into the currently starless sky. "Battousai . . . Himura . . . which
am I . . . ?" Himura muttered to himself. "I can't . . . tell . . .
anymore . . ." He continued. "I want . . ."
      Tomoe came and sat beside Himura. She took his hand comfortingly and looked out into the new born night as well. "What do
you want?" She asked in calm curiosity.
      "I want . . . I want to be Himura . . . I want Battousai to be
nothing more than a dream . . ." The young man muttered as his hand
trembled within the woman's grasp.
      "You can choose your fate whenever you wish. You control who
you are and who you want to be." Tomoe said in comfort. "You make your own truth."
      Himura sighed. "Himura can . . . but Battousai can't."
      "Maybe so but . . . I know you exist separately from Battousai." The woman smiled. "I know in my heart because . . . I love you . . ."
      "Tomoe . . . I love you too . . ." Himura said, attempting to
hold back his tears as he took the woman in his arms. He could smell
Tomoe's perfume with each breath he took . . . he could feel her long
missed warmth . . .
      Their shadows danced on the wall from the flickering candle on
the table. Even long after the flame had died and all that remained was
moonlight . . . their shadows could still be seen dancing . . .

      Himura sighed as he sat down on the wooden porch of the tiny
house. The wind seemed to play with him, sending strands of his red
hair dancing. Through this sea of ruby, the young man could see the
field, drinking up the last of the dying sun.
      Closing his eyes, Himura took a deep breath that he held within
him until he could no longer stand it. He could smell the faint aroma
of plums . . . Tomoe's smell. Never before had there been something
more welcome and comforting. All of the anger and iciness of Hitokiri
Battousai melted away as he breathed her in.
      Running his hand through his bangs, the young man inhaled once
more. His own hands smelt lightly of plums. Hands that had held Tomoe
close to him. How he had missed that smell, that warmth . . . and that
feeling in his heart, a feeling of utter calmness.
      Himura felt tears appear once more in his eyes. Pleasant
sentiments . . . Hitokiri Battousai had no use for them . . . they got
in the way . . . in the way of him becoming a person . . . one who
lives and loves . . .
      Battousai would never be a person. He would remain only as an
assassin, an instrument for killing. Himura though . . . Himura was
just the opposite . . . he hadn't realized it until he had met Tomoe
again. Himura and Battousai existed separately.
      With Tomoe . . . there was no need for the killer Hitokiri any
longer . . . She was all he needed. Battousai didn't seem to exist when
Tomoe was with him. Holding her, feeling her, smelling her, being with
her . . . Himura felt as if everything was perfect. Battousai? Who was
that? There was only peace in his life. Battousai didn't exist. Maybe
he was right . . . maybe that life had been the dream . . .
      "No matter what, I never want to go back to that again." Himura
whispered to himself as he closed his eyes and breathed in the smells
around him. "I only want to be Himura . . . never Battousai . . . I
want Battousai to be the dream . . ."
      The young man opened his eyes slowly. The sunset was growing
more intense. Had there ever been a sunset with colors so brilliant? It
struck Himura so much that he gasped. The dying sun looked to be
bleeding before him . . . bleeding in much the same way Battousai's
victims had bleed before him in the streets of Kyoto.
      "Iie . . ." Himura lamented in a low shaky voice. He felt the
Hitokiri's iciness creeping into his heart again . . . attempting to
take over his body . . . and his life . . . "Iie . . . not Battousai
again!" Himura cried, scrambling to his feet and rushing into the
      "Eh?" Tomoe looked up from where she sat warming a bottle of
sake. "Daijobu?" She asked in a calm voice.
      The young man approached the woman and silently took her in his
arms. Tomoe was confused but smiled as she wrapped her arms around his waist. Himura sighed, feeling as if he had narrowly escaped some
catastrophe. "Tomoe . . ."
      "Daijobu . . ." The woman cooed as she stroked his head.
      "Tomoe . . ." Himura sighed as he closed his eyes and drifted
into a peaceful unconsciousness as he remained in the arms of the woman he loved . . . a place where Battousai could never reach him.

      The young man opened his azure eyes to find himself lying flat
on the floor. He climbed to his feet, attempting to shake of the
stiffness in his body. Why was he on the floor? Where was Tomoe? The
last thing Himura remembered was being in her arms.
      "Tomoe?" He asked the empty house that did not reply. Rising to
his feet, Himura walked outside only to be greeted by the sight of snow
blanketing the field. Snow? Immediately, the young man knew something was wrong.
      Rushing out to the cold road, Himura looked down to see a set
of footprints that led away from the field. "Tomoe!" The young man
exclaimed as he began running in the direction the prints led. "Tomoe!"
      Himura could see his breath escape him. His heartbeat seemed to
deafen him. Where was Tomoe? Suddenly, thoughts of another snowy day played in the young man's mind. He could see Tomoe's blood spilling all over the pure white ground. His vision . . . everything Himura saw seemed all at once bathed in red. She couldn't be . . .
      "Tomoe! Tomoe! TOMOE!!!" Himura yelled as he ran through a
grove of bare trees towards a clearing. In the clearing, the young man
could see his beloved. She seemed to blend in with the pure white snow. Another figure accompanied her. He was dark and held a shining dagger tightly in his palm.
      "IIE!!! TOMOE!!!" Himura screamed as he urged his body to run
faster. He reached the clearing a second after the dagger reached
Tomoe. The young man watched Tomoe's body arch in pain as she cried out suddenly. With horror stealing his breath away, he stood paralyzed with a feeling of helplessness.
      *It's all happening again . . .* The young man thought to
himself as he sank to his knees. *Or is it happening for the first
time . . . ?*
      The woman's eyes squeezed shut as she fell backwards toward the
ground. Her descent was slow as time seemed to almost stand still.
      "Iie . . ." Himura sobbed brokenly as Tomoe came to rest on the
icy ground. He watched as her blood stained the pure white snow. That red seemed to stain everything in Himura's vision. Red was all he could see . . .
      "Not again!" Himura screamed as a sob burst from his lips. "Don't take her away from me! Don't give me my old life back!" He cried, beating the ground with clenched fists.
      What exactly was his old life? Was it really being Battousai?
Or was that a dream? It had all been a dream . . . all that killing . . . hadn't it? Perhaps this was a dream? Himura . . . Himura had been the illusion then . . . right?
      Everything in the world was suddenly questionable to Himura.
Was he a dream? Or was it the other life he thought he led. Did he
exist only in sleep? He . . . who WAS he really?
      Taking a long look at Tomoe he smiled a final smile. Slowly
bending down, he kissed her now cold lips goodbye. Then, Himura picked up a nearby dagger, the weapon that had just killed his beloved Tomoe.
      "I need to know." Himura said. "I need to know what the truth
is. I need to know who I really am!" He exclaimed as he suddenly
plunged the blade into his shoulder . . .

      "You're slow, Battousai." A member of the Shinsen-gumi mocked
as he drew the blade of his sword out of the Hitokiri's shoulder. "It's
almost too easy to kill you."
      The young man flinched and cupped his hand over the gushing
wound. So this was what the truth was. Battousai was real. Tomoe, then, had been a dream . . . and so had Himura . . .
      "C'mon! We've got to leave!" Another Shinsen-gumi member
shouted. "We're retreating for now!"
      The man opposing Battousai grimaced. *I would've been a
hero . . .* He thought to himself as he ran.
      Battousai watched the Shinsen-gumi run into the darkness. When
they were gone he fell to his knees and wept. Tomoe was gone. Himura
was gone. All that remained was Battousai, an inhuman instrument of
      *"You can choose your fate whenever you wish. You control who
you are and who you want to be. You can make your own truth."* Tomoe's voice sounded in his head.
      "I want to be Himura . . ." Battousai sobbed in a shaky voice. "I want to stop killing and never hurt anyone again . . ."
      The young man gazed at his sword and felt a change come over
him. Tomoe's words struck through his iciness and warmed his heart. He could change when he wanted. Now, though, was not the time. Battousai could feel it inside him.
      He would know when the right time was. When it came, he'd be
ready. Battousai would be the dream . . . Himura would finally be the
reality . . .

    The End

(c) Copyright Hitomi-sama   { 04.27.01 }


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