Rurouni Kenshin Fan Fiction ❯ A Whisper of Yesterday ❯ A Whisper of Yesterday ( One-Shot )
AN: I wrote this a while ago, so it most definitely not my best work, but I was so touched by the Rurouni Kenshin Seisouhen (or reflection) that I HAD to write on it.
Ever since I saw Kenshin's death, it has really, truly saddened me, and I find myself crying every time I watch it. I berate myself then, saying, "Jamie, you're so stupid! You're crying over an animated character!" But you know what? Kenshin was more than an animated character, no matter what other people may tell me. He seemed more real to me than a lot of the people I see around me. And I know watching his series has not left me unaffected.
And so I'm writing this. Why I wanted to name Kenji's girlfriend Saori I don't really know. I KNOW it's not her name. Her name is, supposedly, Chizuru. But when I wrote this, I didn't know. People say that they know her official name, and I've seen it… but I don't really know if it's true. It may be, it may not, it doesn't really matter. I'm not going to go through the fic and change it now. At the time, it sounded right to me. If the name change bothers anyone unduly, then I apologize, and I may very well change it when I have time. But I'm rather fond of it this way.
I don't know how bad Kaoru's disease had gotten at the time of Kenshin's death, but it seems to me she didn't have much longer to survive. This takes place around the time of her death.....but it seemed to me she would have things to say before she died. And it only seemed right that she would say them to the girl who holds her son's heart.
My beliefs also show in this.....I believe very strongly in reincarnation...so one thing that has consoled me is the thought that Kenshin and Kaoru will live - and love - again.
So bear with me. I'm not a great author, but I'm putting my heart into this.
Dedication: To Talaco. Your fics and tributes have really cheered me up. Thank you so much.
A Whisper of Yesterday
"Of all the things I believed in,
I just want to get it over with,
Tears form behind my eyes....
But I do not cry...
Counting the days that pass me by.
I've been searching deep down in my soul,
Words that I'm hearing
Are starting to get old...."
- Michelle Branch "Goodbye to You"
Soft feet padded down the wooden halls of the dojo, hesistating at times, before they decided that wasn't where they wanted to go and continued on their quiet journey. Those were the signs of feet who were not well accustomed to their location... unlike the residents who had made that place their home near to twenty years ago. Perhaps, if one listened, the walls would tell them stories of those people, sad stories, happy stories...stories that some would want to forget and others would want to cherish forever.
However, the girl travelling the halls knew none of this. She was, after all, fairly new to this place, knowing it as only the home of her boyfriend, Kenji. How was she to know about the souls whose lives had changed there? No doubt she soon would. Maybe one day, her story would be added to the others that hung in the still air.
Saori gently pushed back the shoji, revealing a dimly lit room. A blanketed figure lay sleeping on the futon, her dulled black tresses spead around her and her pale skin drained. Blue eyes were closed in painful slumber, and she would at times make small, agonized movements, slightly shifting her bandaged limbs. As sick and weak as she was, the woman was still beautiful... but Saori could tell that much of her spirit had been subdued in the past years.
She moved to kneel beside her, taking the cloth off of the sick woman's forehead and dipping in it the water bowl. She gently reached out put it back gently, carefully brushing some ebony strands out of the way. Kaoru moved slightly and opened her eyes, looking around before focusing them on the girl's face.
"Kaoru-san?" Saori whispered questioningly, not sure if the older woman was really awake.
Recognition dawned in the tired eyes. "Saori-chan."
Saori leaned forward, searching Kaoru's face for signs of discomfort. "How do you feel? Is there something I can get you?"
Kaoru let out a dry laugh. "No, dear, but thank you." Her eyes scanned the room. "Where is Kenji?"
"At Tae-san's. He's letting her know...about..." The girl didn't continue, confident that Kaoru would understand.
She couldn't possibly not understand. A few days ago, Yahiko had found Kaoru by the riverside, cradling her husband in her arms for the last time. When Kenji had asked Yahiko how he knew to go to that place, the man had just replied that it was just one of those things that at the time you knew you had to do. Kaoru came home, but she hadn't been any better. In fact, the disease that had killed her husband had seemed to be taking more of a toll on the woman's body.
Kaoru smiled sadly. "I see. I'm sorry this has to happen to him."
"What does, Kaoru-san?"
The woman looked up. "He's going to lose both of his parents soon. He's strong, he'll be fine, but I'm still sorry that it has to happen."
Saori knew better than to try and deny Kaoru's words. Many would have tried to convince her that she would live for a long time, but Saori could see in Kaoru's eyes the the older woman was not upset at the prospect of dying. In fact, she didn't even seem to much dislike the idea, if it weren't for the pain it would bring to her son.
Kaoru sighed. "I'll see him again someday....maybe in another life he will again be my son." She turned to look into Saori's eyes. "You will take care of him though....."
Saori flushed, and Kaoru let out a small laugh. "Aa, you will."
The girl smiled and looked down. "He hardly needs me....he's so strong..." Her words were cut off by a bandaged hand cupping her chin. Kaoru tilted her head so she could see into her eyes again.
"That's not true. No matter how strong a man may be he will always need someone who loves him. This I know. Having such love is what gives them much of the strength they will find themselves so desparately needing in the hardest times."
Saori blinked away tears that threatened to surface. "You...you gave that kind of love to Kenji's father...."
"Aa....but it was as much of a necessity for me as it was for him. Loving him became so much of a part of me I could not imagine what I was like before it. At first....I was so weak, far too weak to really be someone whose love he could depend upon. But I learned."
"Learned?" Saori was puzzled. How could you learn how to love one better?
"Yes...I learned that I couldn't just give up when it seemed like my love with him was lost. I learned how to show him how much I really needed him, and how he could depend on me to be there when he felt like he couldn't get up again."
"I'm afraid I don't really know much about your life, or Kenshin-san's....Kenji hasn't really told me..."
Kaoru's lips twisted into a rueful grin. "Maybe one day he will. If he doesn't, there are plenty of others who will tell you whether you want to hear it or not!"
Saori laughed. "I would like to hear. Kenji has told me some....such as I know Kenshin-san was once the Hitokiri Battousai...."
"And did you believe him when he told you?"
Saori bent her head, shamed. "It was hard to believe at first....I admit......because I didn't see how Kenji's father could be like that. But also told me that his father had always been very kind and loving. I suppose there are a lot of things I don't know about him.."
Kaoru shifted beneath her blankets, willing the burning pain to go away. "As I said before, that is another thing that you will hear about - alot - without choice. He was the pillar of this family...and he meant so much to all of us..." She tilted her head to the other side so that her eyes would be shadowed.
A new thought came to Saori.
"Will...will Kenji run this dojo?"
Kaoru turned back to look at her again. It was in truth something she hadn't really thought about. In her dojo there had never really seemed to be one person who owned it....she supposed it was hers, but it seemed just as much Kenshin's or Yahiko's as it was hers.
"If he wishes to. He, however, was not trained in Kamiya Kasshin....but rather in Hiten Misturugi, like his father was. He was too spirited for anything else. He might be able to still teach, as unlikely of a picture as that makes. My guess is that Yahiko will run the dojo until Kenji gets another job, but no doubt Yahiko and Tsubame will soon be having a child of their own...and I don't know if they would like to stay here."
"Um......do you think...that maybe....." Saori's words came to a halt, and she was unsure how to ask her question.
Kaoru's eyes narrowed in concern. "What is it?"
"Do you think.......that Myoujin-san might teach me...Kamiya Kasshin? And then maybe I-"
Saori's eyes widened as she saw Kaoru's face light up with a brilliant smile, brighter than any she had seen from her, and suddenly she was very, very happy that she had asked.
Kaoru's voice was soft as she replied. "I know he will. There is no doubt of it." Those words seemed to trigger the pain to begin again, and she bit back a small cry as it seared through her.
Saori's worried voice came to her. "Kaoru-san? Kaoru-san? Daijobu?"
The shoji slid open, and Kenji strode in, moving to join Saori by Kaoru's side. "Okaa? Daijobu?"
Kaoru turned at the sound of her son's anguished voice, and she reached up painfully to stroke the hair out of his beautiful violet eyes.
Tears threatened to arise at the sight of the pain so clear in his mother's eyes. She was leaving him, and he knew it. His mother was leaving him.
"Kenji-chan.....it's okay. I have to go.....you know I do.....and it's not the last time we will meet, I promise you that...."
He shook his head, biting his lip against the tears. He faintly registered the feeling of Saori's hand on his, telling him without words that it was okay for him to cry.
Kaoru's hand fell from her son's forehead, and she looked upon him one last time. "I love you, my Kenji-chan....."
And her voice faded, the bright blue eyes that had for so long watched over all of the residents of the dojo were closed.
Kenji broke down, his shoulders shaking with sobs. Saori's arms wrapped around him, holding him, rocking him gently. Kaoru's words rung through her head, 'No matter how strong a man may be he will always need someone who loves him... This I know. Having such love is what gives them much of the strength they will find themselves so desparately needing in the hardest times..' Saori blinked back her own tears.
Something sparkled at the edge of her vision, and she turned suddenly, her mouth falling open. "Kenji, Kenji, look!"
He raised his head to gaze with her. Standing on the other side of the futon was the shimmering, near invisible figure of his mother. But she was not the sickly woman who lay before him....no....her skin was luminous and her eyes bright, her hair shimmering about her shoulders as she smiled at them, turning and walking towards the end of the room. There stood another spirit, this one a man, standing tall and strong, his own bright autumn hair tied back and his violet eyes, so much like Kenji's, watching lovingly as his wife walked to him.
His arms opened to welcome her, and she walked readily into his embrace. As he buried his face in her shining tresses, the two figures disappeared, leaving only a small shimmer in the air to show where they had been.
Saori's breath caught, and Kenji let out a shuddering sigh. She turned to him, concerned, but he was smiling as he looked at her.
"They're happy now..."
Saori and Kenji buried Kenshin and Kaoru together under the sakura tree by the riverside. So many people came to offer their condolonces. Saori could have sworn the entire city and turned out to grieve! But the most moving people to see were who Kenji had called his parents' oldest friends, a tall, lanky man with long hair named Sanosuke, Yahiko Myoujin and his wife, Tsubame, Tae-san, a sharp looking woman with long black hair called Megumi, and last, but not least, and certaintly the most suprising, Hiko Seijuro. First he had been the master to the father, then to the son, and all were shocked to see the faint glimmer of tears in the huge man's eyes.
"Baka deshi......I hope you're happy." He muttered to himself as he walked back towards his home.
The dojo was suprisingly less strange than Kenji had thought it would be. Perhaps that was because it still felt like his parents still resided there.
Saori, too, could feel them, and sometimes, when getting a lesson from Yahiko in the training hall, she could almost hear Kaoru's laughter.
Kenji found sometimes while in the kitchen he could feel his father next to him, placidly chopping vegetables.
However, the two presences were seldom apart, and it seemed that on the quietest days, you could hear two voices, faint as a whisper.
"We did a good job, didn't we, Shinta?"
"Aa, koishii.....that we did."