Stories by Mika Matsumoto
Time Goes By
Completed on May 11, 2000
Memories have a funny way of fading with time. One day, the hand of death passes over your soul; the next day, serenity and family are in their place. The days of fighting seem like they were so long ago, so misplaced from this reality that I call ‘home’, but it fades. It always will . . . it already has.
~ diary of Himura Kenshin ~
Kaoru Kamiya, now Himura, peeped around the door to watch her husband writing intently. Recently, he had taken to the art of writing, claiming he wanted to chronicle everything that had happened to him so that later generations would learn from his mistakes. He had become so sentimental of late, and after giving his Sakaba to Yahiko, it seemed that the last vestiges of his life as a samurai were at an end in that one act.
He didn’t seem to hear her calling out to him, his eyes still fixed on the scroll before him. Kaoru often wondered what he wrote about, but she never dared to read his private scrolls. In time, she hoped the two of them would be able to share in his memories, to sit down on one of many cold winter nights and reminisce.
“Kenshin . . .” Kaoru said softly, lightly treading into the room. His head lifted, turning to acknowledge his wife’s presence.
“Kaoru-dono . . . what’s wrong?” he asked gently, a tender smile creeping onto his face.
Kaoru shook her head, belying any fears he may have had.
“It’s just that its lunchtime. Kenshi’s taking a nap right now, so I thought maybe we could have a private lunch . . .”
He stood before she could finish speaking, brushing off any invisible dust from his hakama. The scroll he was working on was rolled and tucked away inside a makeshift chest near the wall.
“That sounds like a good idea. What’s for lunch?” Kenshin approached Kaoru, lightly resting his arm around her shoulders. The two exited the room, tiptoed past Kenshi’s room, and went outside onto the porch.
Strangely, as Kenshin passed through the doorway, a moment of déjà vu violently hit him. It was so violent in fact that he halted in his tracks. Kaoru felt his arm slip off as she took another step forward, then turned around to face him in question.
“Are you ok, Kenshin? What is it?” her eyes and voice echoing concern for the look on his face.
He closed his eyes a moment, internally focusing on calming the tumult that rose from his mind. Kaoru’s concerned voice droned out of recognition as memories flooded his consciousness. Visions of a tattered Sanosuke floated by, remembering the bloody battle with Shishio Makoto. More images of the past came to the surface, of a young Yahiko, not the man he had so quickly become.
Kaoru’s hand reached out to caress Kenshin’s cheek, her eyebrows drawn deeply together. She had seen Kenshin go into trances like this more and more recently, and it worried her extremely. Sometimes, it seemed like Kenshin wasn’t even there, his eyes drifting off past her into the distance, thinking about a time long ago, even before her. Was he regretting his past? She could never truly tell. Kaoru knew his past better than anyone, but even she couldn’t decipher the fury of emotions that inundated Kenshin so often.
It was a memory of Kaoru that forced Kenshin to open his eyes. He had to savor the moment, though, remembering its importance. It was the day the two had first met, some ten years ago. Kaoru had been the first in years to accept Kenshin for Kenshin, nothing more. That moment meant the world to him, and truly signified the beginning of his new life. He had so much to thank her for, and day-by-day, he tried desperately to show how much he was glad to have her in his life.
“Kaoru-dono . . .” his eyes opening, a smile once again gracing his lips. “It’s been so long since I’ve walked through this door without thinking about the night we first met.”
Kaoru’s head crooked to the right slightly, a finger pressed to her lips. Her eyes grew wide upon memory recollection, then floated back to Kenshin’s deep violets.
“I remember that night well. It was the night everything changed,” she began, her voice soothing. “I’m glad that you came, Kenshin. I’m even MORE glad that you stayed. So much time has passed since then, it’s almost amazing that you’re still here. Rurouni . . .”
She chuckled, her hands reaching up to rest on his shoulders. Instinctively, Kenshin’s hands encircled Kaoru’s waist, drawing her close to his warmth. Moments later, the two were in a deep embrace, each hoping to reinforce some level of hope, for the past and for the future.
“I miss the others, Kaoru . . .” Kenshin admitted sheepishly. “I write about them to remember them, but my memory isn’t as sharp as it once was. . .”
“The Dojo has been quiet without them here this last few years,” confessed Kaoru. “I miss Megumi’s advice most of all. She was like a big sister to me.”
Kenshin’s eyes rose to the sky, holding Kaoru tightly in his arms. Sanosuke, he thought. Their reunion 5 years previous only resulted in a letter from him, confirming the traveler Sanosuke had become in such a short time. He had always been that way, the roaming kenka. That still didn’t stop Kenshin from missing the one man that had been like a little brother to him. Not quite THAT little, he thought, laughing to himself. Kaoru felt the reverberating laughter inside him. Curious, she looked up from the shoulder she was resting on to see what was so funny.
“Kenshin . . .?” she asked, the question unsaid.
“Oh, I was just thinking of Sanosuke . . . I wonder where he is now . . .”
“I’m sure he’s still traveling. Perhaps he’s in America by now . . .” Kaoru speculated.
“Kaoru-dono . . .I realize that all we have now is Kenshi,” he said softly, releasing his hold on her. He held her back a short distance, looking at her closely. She had grown into a lovely young woman. Kenshin had watched Kaoru blossom from a precocious adolescent into a diligent, albeit bullheaded woman. “Yahiko’s no longer with us, so we’ve got to live our lives to the fullest. That’s what our family would want.”
“Our family . . .” Kaoru whispered, a tear brimming on the surface. “Yes, our family, Kenshin. Let’s do just that . . .”
As they approached the open yard, they sat down at the table they had for so many years, and set a table for eight, in remembrance of their family, wherever they may be: Yahiko, Sanosuke, Megumi, Genzai-sensei, Ayame, Suzume . . .
Kaoru and Kenshin . . .
[box type="info"] Characters and some settings noted in this fanfiction story are used without profit and are owned by the author, media distributor and/or publishing company as noted. This original fanfiction story was previously published at Koneko Pavilion and is the story itself is the original work of the same author. The content of the actual story is under ownership of Mika Matsumoto. Some rights reserved.[/box]