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A Rurouni Kenshin fan fiction 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.


The First Night


"Nights of misery are apportioned to me."
—Bible, 'Job' 7:3, RSV

 

… Her eyes had opened at the last second, staring in accusation at the bewildered assassin; even as the life left her eyes, a faint flicker of intelligence and something more endured on for what seemed like an eternity within those glassy orbs. It was the eyes that bothered Kenshin the most. Filled with hatred and resentment, not in the least dimmed by fear… those disturbing brown eyes stared back at him.

"Murderer."


He stared down at the dark concoction in his hands, watching as the wisps of steam floated lazily upwards towards one of the paper lanterns that hung suspended about the rafters. The tavern was one of only a few that stayed open so late into the night in that part of the city; it was a place of ill-repute, frequented by drifters and the various other dregs of society. Amber eyes took in the patrons scattered about the seedy bar, before returning to stare at the cup of sake sitting idle in his grasp.

… Murderer…

The sound had caught the assassin off-guard, and at first he had stared in horror at his victim's lips, believing for a second that they had moved in death. The very thought shook the Battousai to his very core; images of the of the dead woman came unbidden to his mind's eye, images of her corpse uttering barely discernible accusations, those large glassy eyes staring up into his…

The by then lukewarm sake went down in a single gulp, and Kenshin slammed the porcelain cup onto the table, cracking the delicate material ever so slightly. He had broken out into a slight sweat at the recollection, his heartbeat racing and his breath short. The burning sensation of the drink winding down his throat had served to shock him from his thoughts, though the image of the eyes still lingered at the edges of his consciousness.

His actions had drawn an audience, and Kenshin peered up through a mess of crimson bangs at his observers, piercing yellow eyes staring down the curious rabble. "Turn around," he muttered to those still looking on, feeling his body begin to tense in anticipation. Fortunately for the onlookers, they heeded his warning and resumed nursing their drinks, only daring to cast quick peeks at the brooding redhead.

He faintly registered a cracking noise, and looked down at the cup, now shards of porcelain, in his grasp. His callused hands still felt the tiniest pricklings of pain from where a few of the larger pieces had embedded themselves into his palm, but the Battousai paid his wounds no heed. He reached over and retrieved himself another cup, and slowly poured himself another round. Pausing only to pick out the bits of porcelain from his hand, Kenshin retrieved the new cup of sake and brought it to his nose. The smell was somewhat unpleasant, but after a moment's hesitation, he still drank the heated liquor, face devoid of any emotion as he sipped upon the foul brew.

The red-haired assassin carefully set his cup down upon the wooden table, and turned his gaze out towards the dark night sky. The rain had not yet let up, and the streets were slick with water, making walking something of a hazard for those still out and about at that late hour. But Kenshin's thoughts were elsewhere, the distant look in his eyes belying his seemingly focused, calculating demeanor…


Earlier that night…

… He had allowed his wakizashi to slip from his grasp, the short sword clattering noisily onto the stone pavement as he stared at the corpse lying sprawled on the doorstep. Her mouth hung agape, and a thin line of blood escaped her open maw. Blood began to pool at the base of her neck, the life fluid seeping out of the wound on her neck in rather copious amounts. And those eyes…

*Fatigue.* The assassin stood there in the rain, mentally berating himself for even humoring the idea that the woman had spoken to him. In all likelihood, it had been the wind that had seemingly whispered the word into Kenshin's ear. Though the slightest traces of doubt still clouded his features, the assassin thought no more of it, and retrieved his sword, flicking off the water that had gathered in small beads on the tempered steel before resheathing it.

As an afterthought, Kenshin reached out with one hand and gently closed his victim's mouth, idly wiping away the thin line of spittle and blood dripping down the side of her face. Faltering for only a moment, he then reached up and closed her eyelids; rummaging about in his pockets, he retrieved a couple of coins and placed them onto the eyes, to act as weights to ensure that they wouldn't suddenly open wide, as though she were still able to.

The rain had begun to intensify at that moment, and the assassin, sparing one last look back at the corpse, dashed off in search of cover, his heart still racing despite all of his reassurances…


… After some time had passed and the rain had ended, Kenshin stood and gathered together his things, setting his money down upon the table as he made his way to the exit. He left the rest of the sake to cool, not wishing to drink anymore of the liquor. Thoughts of Hiko made their way to the forefront of his mind, and Kenshin growled in annoyance.

The sake had left a bitter aftertaste…

 

To be continued.


Author's notes: Wow, only about a month in-between updates for this. ^^;;

Sad to say, that was probably my fastest update. Well, like I said before, this was written on a whim, with no real planning beforehand. I hope I made the right decision by trying to take the psychological path in this story. It's a bit short, but I said what I wanted to say in it, so I'm happy. Hopefully, the Second Night will be out pretty soon; writer's block, or Bob (that blasted li'l bugger), has elected to keep me company during this mid-term week. -_-

I'm hoping to clear him out by week's end, though.

Anywho, it seems that all I'm capable of working on right now is this li'l ficcy and my other soon to be posted RK ficcy, Atonement. I'm not complaining, mind you, but I had hoped to be able to finish chapter 6 of Waters of Change for a long time now. Ah well, maybe later. Hope you enjoyed reading this, and please, feel free to read my other stuff. I hear they ain't half bad… ^_^

Shameless, ain't I?

Ja, peoples.

—Kess

Written to the musical stylings of Faye Wong.

Chapter 2
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