Disclaimer: Don't own Rurouni Kenshin or any of the characters. Am absolutely addicted to this series though, does that count for anything? Errr... if that gets me one of those doctors holding a tranquilizer, forget I said anything. (If this looks familiar to anyone ((is that even possible?)), I have an account on fanfiction.net, and posted this there a while back as Shadow.of.Illusion, just fyi.)
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. –I John 4:18
The brush’s tip whispered across the paper, ink following like a shadowy trail spilling from the delicate bristles. Words stared back at her from their home within the thin page, condemning her soul for what they stood for. She let them stare, feeling her heart grow even more heavy within. This was her punishment. This was her small measure of atonement.
It was her sworn duty to betray him, but could she?
Earlier it had been so easy to carry on with her course, knowing that he would die because of her actions. Revenge had been a sweet desire, fueling her limbs and her mouth to move and act naturally around him. Now that she had come to know the young man within the shell of a murderer, would she betray him?
The shoji rattled open in the front entryway, despite the obvious effort to keep it quiet. Light footsteps echoed in the hall and headed toward the room she sat in.
With trembling fingers, she hastily gathered up her traitorous diary and pressed it closed, hoping the ink was dry. No matter what, this was her memory—it would be preserved whether she lived to regret her choice or died.
She barely had time to gather herself together, to hide away her diary within the folds of her kimono, before he came in.
She both loved and hated his soft smile, the light in his amethyst eyes that would shine only for her. Her heart felt like lead as she inclined her head in greeting, “Welcome back.”
Land and sea, weakness and decline are great separators, but death is the great divorcer for ever. –John Keats
Rough fingers, worn by countless hours of training, glossed over the thin pages of the diary with feathery touches that reflected his love for the woman who had written faithfully within the volume. Violet eyes shimmered brightly, even in the dim light, as sparkling gems do underwater. An emotion he didn’t want to name choked his throat, sealing his voice as he read her unspoken words.
“I hate myself. To do what I am about to do seems to tear out my heart from within my chest. It beats madly within the cage of my bones when I try to think of my mission. This is what I must do, I tell myself. This is the revenge I promised him. This is for our ruined love.
And yet, I can’t bring myself to hate Himura any longer. I’ve tried, I’ve tried so hard to hold onto that hate, for there was comfort and safety in hating the person who killed my future. Now I cannot hate him.
I try to whisper his name to him, but I cannot. It seems that I am not meant to be able to love a man, or hate one either. Perhaps I was born without that love. Enishi, I was able to love you. Do I only possess a sister’s love?
I can say his name to myself, it sighs within my mind, but I cannot utter it no matter how hard I try.
Can I betray you, Himura Kenshin? Can Himura Tomoe betray you? Am I even capable of doing so now? Once upon a time, I believe I was. Now, however, I bear no ill will towards you.
You seem to fill my mind when I try to think of other matters. The gentle sound of your voice, the way you seem to know when to leave me in peace, the tiny sound your footsteps make that my ears can barely hear, the way your eyes glow with an inner fire as you gaze upon me. Do you love me, Himura Kenshin? Would you betray me?
I would betray you, but I find that I am unable.”
Grief took control and wracked the young man’s body with silent, bitter cries. He had lost so much, and gained so little.
He would live; he would live for her. He would continue to fight and would then make an attempt to atone for his numerous sins.
“Tomoe.” A broken plea drifted from his parted lips to fade away with the memory of a quiet woman.