Piercing the Darkness
A Light of the Snow Red Village Side-Story/Songfic
by Akai Kitsune ::: 28.Mar.2003
I used to see in black and white
Never something in between
Waiting on the love of my life
To come into my dreams
Everything in shades of grey
Never any blues or greens
I needed someone else to turn to
Someone who could help me learn to see
All the beauty that was waiting for me
'It's so dark outside...'
Kenshin opened the shoji, looking up to see
the moon shining its dull light upon the field below. He followed the path,
slow and observant, letting the moonlight guide him. He needed to think;
indeed, there was much to think about, after the recent occurrences.
He was a father.
He felt confused, almost dizzy, at the sudden
'I never thought...'
'Someone like me shouldn't have this...'
'... this wonder, this gift...'
His wife and the baby were sleeping soundly
within the cabin. They were tired, and rightly so. He, having many reasons
besides anxiety, could not sleep.
'What if I do something wrong? What
if I hurt her accidentally?'
'What if... what if someday... it's
not an accident?'
'... what if...'
He hesitated, casting a glance towards the
cabin again. His sakabatou rested inside, unused since the gift was given
So many gifts.
Allowing himself a small smile, he brushed
his bangs away from his eyes. So many gifts... so many of which he did
A loving wife, a comfortable home...
... a child to hold, to care for...
... such a beautiful child...
He remembered the first moment he had set
his eyes on the little bundle; tired, mewling quietly for her mother, eyes
the same shade as his own gazing curiously at him. He remembered feeling
tears in his own eyes, then.
It was only two days since. Hikari's eyes
were closed now, and they remained that way for most of the day. The doctor
said it was natural, and it would pass soon; that she was merely growing
accustomed to the light.
He shook his head, the smile growing to be
one of amusement. Everything reminded him of her; the slightest mention,
a quiet remark, a sideways glance at the sun or the glow in the eyes of
He looked at the moon again, and closed his
eyes, tilting back his head. The light spilled over his form; the night
wasn't quite so dark as it had been.
When he closed his eyes, the image of his
family shimmered in the depths of his mind.
'... oh Tomoe, do you know what
you have given me?'
I left those hazy days behind me
Never to return again
Now they're just a faded memory
'Cause it's all so clear to see
The beauty that was waiting for me
Tomoe woke, hearing a
soft whimper in the darkness. Rubbing her eyes, she sat up, pushing aside
the pain and objection her body sent to her. She moved towards the futon
beside her, taking the baby into her arms to feed her. As Hikari's cries
died down to contented suckling, settling against her breast, the young
mother glanced around blearily for her husband.
It was unusual for him to leave; unusual,
because since the first moment he had revealed his knowledge of her pregnancy,
he was rarely far away. She sat on the bed, rocking softly and whispering
to her child, and puzzled about her husband's disappearance.
'He won't have gone far. I know
him better than that.'
'But... for him to leave at all...
during the night...'
She shivered, memories of the not-too distant
past of the Bakumatsu coming unwanted to her mind. Memories of waking alone...
seeing the futon empty, and feeling so cold at the sight, regardless of
the temperature. Knowing distantly where he was and what he was doing...
weeping, because of it.
He had so much blood on his hands...
... yet he had been forced day and
night to place more dead souls on his already-weary shoulders...
She shook her head, berating herself. No,
he was certainly not forced, though his sense of honour and loyalty would
not permit him to surrender himself to that burden. He had never allowed
himself go mad, if only because there were those who had depended on his
ability to think clearly.
Sometimes she wondered if...
Tomoe clenched her eyes shut, ordering the
thoughts to be silenced, knowing their very existence was a betrayal of
She had already betrayed him once...
'... never again. I will never do
'Not even... not even for you, Akira-san.'
'I owe him so much... for this child
in my arms, I will always be in his debt... no matter what he does, it
can never match this gift...'
'Anata... do you know what you have
done for me?'
"Anata... don't worry. It will be all right..."
"Anata... come see her..."
"You should have seen her, anata...
her eyes... a moment ago, they were the same colour as yours..."
"Hikari. Our light."
So warm... so bright...
Kenshin stirred, eyes opening to greet the
moonlight. Consciousness returned to him suddenly; and the smile on his
face mingled with an unsettled frown. He was still standing.
'It's been several months, but...
I can still rest like this... like I used to, during the raids...'
A soft wind sliced through the air, sending
an involuntary shiver up his spine. The moon remained unchanged, shining
a deep, enduring light upon the path.
He closed his eyes.
'... oh, love...'
'... oh, love...'
Turning, Kenshin met the eyes of his young
wife, an easy smile spreading across his face. "Aa, I'm here, Tomoe. Did
Hikari wake you, or did I?"
She shook her head, weariness in her eyes,
as she stood, leaning on the doorway of the cabin. "Iie, not you. Hikari-chan...
she needed to be fed." A small bundle was wrapped in her arms, and he could
sense the presence of his child, not quite sleeping.
"Demo," she continued,
heedless of his interrupted thoughts, "You were gone, and... I wondered..."
'... you wondered where I was, as you always have,' he finished in the quiet of his own mind, a sudden
burst of guilt following closely. 'You came for me, despite your weariness,
to seek out your foolish, worrisome husband, muddling over things he shouldn't
be thinking of right now...'
'But... can I really ignore this?'
Light. It was everywhere.
'It... cannot be ignored.'
He moved towards her, silent besides the rustle
of his clothes against the grass. Gently taking her by the waist, he led
her inside and helped her lie down. He smiled again, hoping to make her
more at ease, and took the dozing child from her. His eyes cast over the
baby's face, tender and bright.
Tomoe watched him, touched by the pure emotion
he showed - could not help, could not hide - as he gazed at their daughter,
and she shared his expression. "How does it feel, otousan?" she murmured,
almost - almost - teasingly, reaching out to push a few strands
of hair away from his face.
He chuckled weakly, still tentative and nervous.
"It feels... kami-sama, how do you describe... what it feels like to hold
the world in your hands, and realize how..." he gulped, eyes wavering.
"... how terribly, beautifully fragile it is..."
She stroked his cheek, feeling only briefly
the broken skin across his left cheek. "Hai... fragile, yet... you know
that you will never do anything to break what you hold so carefully."
The smile reached his eyes that time, and
he returned Hikari to her mother's arms, moving behind Tomoe and letting
her lean against his strong body. His arms draped across her shoulders,
holding her close, his head rested against her soft hair. She nestled closer
to him, his body warm despite how cold it had been outside.
Kenshin reached out after a moment, his finger
brushing along the baby's cheek, as gently as Tomoe's touch had been against
his own. Hikari squirmed, letting out a quiet cry. "You're right. Like
a flower, she is..." he pressed his nose into her hair, smelling the plum
blossom perfume that had imbedded itself into his soul as her scent, and
hers alone. "So fragile, yet so strong. Something that needs to be protected...
"She is loved." Tomoe
whispered, kissing the child's forehead.
Kenshin nodded. "She is loved," he echoed.
His voice was soft and... focused; as if he
were battling in Kyoto, were traveling to Otsu, or returning home from
"If you had drawn that sword, you
would have been fighting me."
"Let's live together. I don't know
how long it will last, but... it doesn't have to be for show. Together...
till death do us part."
"I protect... protect you..."
She closed her eyes the memories flooding
her mind, his kind words touching her heart as they had so subtly done
'I didn't realize it then, but...
whenever he spoke like that, I saw a glimmer of Akira-san in him...'
'I saw the man I loved, and... I
fell for him as well...'
However, watching him, she realized it was
far more simple.
'No, I did not fall. I came to him...
and I gave myself to him willingly. Perhaps my initial intentions were
'-I pray he will never know-'
'-But despite it all, we have endured.'
'That's all that matters.'
Hikari whimpered again, mouth left parted.
Upon sudden impulse, Tomoe began to hum, recalling distantly a lullaby
her mother used to sing. The tune was soothing, though slightly fuzzy in
her memories, but as she relaxed in her husband's arms, the notes flowed
easily from her lips. She felt her body move, as Kenshin rocked gently
back and forth, a natural cradle for the small, tired family.
The thought came to her, then; as she half-sung
an old, old song, rocking slightly in the arms of her beloved, feeling
the warmth of the baby, her baby, against her chest.
Life is so much more than merely living.
You... you put the blue back in the sky
You put the rainbow in my eyes
The silver lining in my prayers
And now there's colour everywhere
You put the red back in the rose
Just when I needed it the most
You came along to show you care
And now there's colour everywhere
The world had stepped
out of the darkness; there was nothing left but the light.
Even with his eyes closed, Kenshin could see
the brightness shining through. As he rocked mother and child into peaceful
slumber, he felt a contentment he had not felt...
... can one ever feel this way before
holding a child?
Because at that sudden, perfect moment, he
realized he had never before held a baby.
Though the child of another would not be so
wonderful. He was grateful, in a way; the first child held in his arms
was his own.
Gazing at his daughter's face, her violet
eyes - so like his own, yet so different; so clean, so clear so very innocent
- he made a promise.
'I will protect you...'
'I will teach you...'
'I will guide you...'
'... oh, love...'
'I will... I will love you...'
'And maybe... maybe someday, I will
tell you... what you have changed in my life...'
'Looking back, I cannot imagine
a life without this wonder, this joy...'
'Forever... forever, I will love...'
'... itsumo, Hikari-chan...'
'... you are my light...'
'... protect... I... protect...'
Kenshin let his eyes slip closed at that thought,
holding it in his heart even as he held his wife and newborn child. All
fear and worries momentarily leaving his troubled mind, he followed them
into the comforting bliss of sleep.
You'll hold this world's most priceless
The greatest gift this life can bring
If you can look back and know
You were loved...