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A Rurouni Kenshin story
by Kesshi Mashin

Disclaimer: Rurouni Kenshin belongs to Watsuki Nobuhiro, Shuueisha, Sony (SME/SPE) and Fuji Television. The US rights belong to Media Blasters and ADV. For entertainment purposes only. No infringement is intended.

Prologue: Murmurs

"Confess yourself to heaven, Repent what's past, avoid what is to come."
—Shakespeare, 'Hamlet,' III, iv,150


… It was simple work to dispatch of the would-be assassin. The black garbed man slumped heavily against the blade protruding from between his shoulder blades, blood already spraying every which way in a gory display of red. His eyes were still wide in surprise, facial features frozen in a mask of pure, agonizing pain. The corpse was roughly extricated from off the katana impaling it, and collapsed onto the hard dirt ground with a dull thud. The light drizzle served to wash away a few of the lighter crimson stains splattered about his still body, but only darkened the now purplish stain where the sword had exited his body in that last, decisive blow that claimed his life. It was all over within the span of two minutes.

Breathing rather heavily in exertion, Kenshin carefully rolled over his assailant's body with a light nudge from his toe and looked over the facial features, in the off-chance that he knew the person, before a light gasp drew his attention. His head snapped up in a second, and amber eyes spied a lithe young woman standing a few yards away, her white kimono stained with the blood of his latest kill. Her eyes were wide in fear, and she stood there for a few precious seconds, not making any attempts to flee from the horrific sight before her, merely settling for staring at the crimson-haired Battousai. *Leave no witnesses.* Kenshin felt only the slightest bit of reluctance as he suddenly surged forward towards the girl, katana drawn back for one quick strike at her-

A momentary bright flash of white light stopped the assassin in his tracks, and he blinked rapidly in confusion before finding himself standing before the doll-like woman; her movements were becoming increasingly listless, suggesting that she was drunk. *If she's drunk, then maybe she wouldn't remember any of this.* Kenshin watched in a detached manner, as the lady fell against his chest, murmuring something softly to herself as unconsciousness overtook her.

"You… you made the bloody rain fall…"

With that, she slumped against the Battousai's body, her knees giving way as the woman fell asleep in Kenshin's arms. The amber-eyed assassin stared down at the pale woman resting in a seemingly peaceful manner against his blood soaked hakama, indecision plaguing his mind; the young Battousai was at a loss over what to do. He stood there a few minutes longer, as the light rain escalated into a moderate downpour, mulling over what to do with the girl.

After much thought, Kenshin carefully lifted the girl and walked towards one of the nearby inns, with her limp body cradled in his arms. Setting the slumbering woman under a nearby overhang to protect her against the pouring rain, he began to raise a hand to knock against the wooden door before he heard it. It was faint, and barely audible above the sound of rain pelting against the wooden shelter overhead, but the Battousai heard it nonetheless. He slowly lowered his hand and turned to face the still sleeping woman. She was talking softly in her sleep, eyes still closed and flickering rapidly about, back and forth, a dream playing itself over within her mind's eye.

"… the bloody rain… amber eyes…"

Kenshin stood there for what seemed like an eternity, lean frame tensed as brilliant yellow eyes stared, fixated upon the woman, seemingly willing her soft murmurings to cease through their sheer intensity alone. After a long pause, the crimson haired assassin slowly reached for the wakizashi at his side, drawing the short blade from out of its sheath. He eyed the gleaming metal, eyes idly looking the edge over for any signs of dulling, before placing the tip at the young girl's throat. Resolute in his decision, the Battousai tightened his grip on the short sword's hilt, and drew the blade slowly across her neck…


To be continued.

Author's notes: I hope that one small change to the Kenshin timeline (well, so far) was enough to pique your interest. This was all written on a whim, with no real planning ahead of time; it was one of those things that refused to stay buried in my mind's eye for very long, and demanded to be written. ^_^ All my stories start out like that… I'm sure this concept has been done repeatedly over the years; fortunately (or unfortunately), I have not had the pleasure of reading too many RK fics over the years (dang Ranma fics, taking up all my time), and so have not read a fic that resembles this one in the least. So I can honestly say that I am not merely beating an old idea to death… at least, not on purpose. ^^;; It's all original to me!

For those wondering about my rather less-than-exact retelling of this particular scene (the flames, the flames!), chalk it all up to creative license. That's right, whenever something doesn't seem right, or it's out of place, blame it on that annoying creative license. Besides, if you wanted a precise retelling of the story, watch the OAV (even that's not exact!) or read the manga. ^_~

Ja, peoples!

~ Kess

P.S. ~ I've seen a few authors randomly throw this in, so I thought, why not. This little segment was written while listening to the music stylings of Megumi Hayashibara and Utada Hikaru, although I mostly skipped over the fast-paced songs; I find that listening to soothing, soft slow songs gets my creative juices flowing the best. Well, that, or I don't listen to music at all, but where's the fun in that? Erm, I'm rambling… ^^;;

Chapter 1
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