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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 Second Night

"In spring, cherry blossoms by night. In summer, the stars. In autumn, the full moon. In winter, the snow. These are always enough to make sake delicious. If it tastes bad, that's proof that there's something sick inside you."


"… It looks like you haven't even touched your sake." Iizuka sat opposite the amber-eyed assassin, and spotted the empty cup sitting next to the pot. "May I…?" Getting no response from the stoic redhead, he shrugged and reached for the cup.

A gloved hand snapped out and grasped Iizuka's outstretched arm, stopping his hand short. "Her name," Kenshin ground out, purposely applying pressure to the wrist in his hand. "I didn't call you here for a drink." He relinquished his grip when he noticed the pained look on Iizuka's face, and began to pour his comrade some sake. "I'm sorry," he murmured under his breath, his red hair acting as a curtain, shielding his eyes from sight.

Iizuka gingerly rubbed his wrist, wincing slightly as he felt something pop back into place, but managed to bite his tongue when his eyes fell upon the sheathed blades lying in his companion's lap. The sight alone was enough to clear away any suicidal thoughts he had been harboring in his mind, such as striking the Battousai for his transgression. Somewhat nervously, Iizuka accepted the proffered cup, taking time to inhale the sake's sweet aroma before taking a sip. A sigh escaped his lips, and the Inshin Shishi operative clucked his tongue in appreciation. "Quality sake, if I ever tasted it." He took another sip, and smiled at the pleasant taste. "Very much so."

"I wouldn't know." Kenshin leaned forward onto the wooden table, resting his elbows onto the wooden surface as he stared intently at Iizuka. "Now, I asked for a name."

His amber eyes were bloodshot, and Iizuka finally noticed the dark circles beneath the assassin's eyes, contrasting sharply with Kenshin's somewhat fair features. "You haven't been getting enough sleep, Himura-san," Iizuka commented after a pause, slowly pouring himself another cup. "Katsura-san told me you were suffering from insom—"

Kenshin slammed his fist against the table, rattling both the tea set and Iizuka's nerves. "A name."

Not wishing to incur the Battousai's wrath, Iizuka quickly began fishing through one of his hakama's pockets, and, after a moment's rummaging, came up with a neatly folded slip of paper. "It's a shame she saw you that night." Iizuka shook his head in disappointment, as he handed the note over to Kenshin, who shakily extended a hand to retrieve it. "She was quite the looker, that one was."

He quickly unfolded the slip of paper, and read the script written onto the small sheet in nearly illegible handwriting. He read it once more before quickly crumpling the paper and shoving it into a pocket. "Thank you," Kenshin said, nodding towards Iizuka as he stood and tucked his swords back into place. "Did you find out anything else?"

"No," Iizuka replied, shaking his head softly after taking a moment out to think it over. "All we got was a name." He started as Kenshin began walking towards the exit at a brisk clip, and quickly grabbed a sleeve, halting the redhead's departure. "Hey, you're not staying for drinks?"

Kenshin, making a point to look down at the hand restricting his movement, cowed Iizuka into relinquishing his hold. "I have more pressing matters to attend to," he said simply, before continuing on out into the brisk cold night…

Finally, those dead eyes had a name. The Hitokiri reached into his pocket and pulled out the crumpled piece of paper, eyeing it as though it were a precious gem. His victim had a name. Stepping to one side so that he could utilize the light from a nearby lantern, Kenshin unfurled the paper and gave it one last look, before tucking it away for safe-keeping.

For two nights now, her ghastly image plagued his mind's eye, allowing him no rest or reprieve; for two nights now, Kenshin had frequented the various taverns scattered about the city, brooding silently to himself as he sipped upon bitter sake. For two nights now.

His demon had a name now, and, though Kenshin was at a loss for what to do now, he was at least comforted by that small fact.

His victim had a name.

Yukishiro Tomoe.


To be continued.

Author's notes: Another month, another small installment. I guess it's become something of a ritual now, huh? Well, it's sad to say, but I'm still working on chapter 6 of Waters of Change; it's substantially longer than my norm, with more descriptive detail and whatnot. I hope that it turns out halfway decent. Ah well… Atonement is coming along at a somewhat staggered clip, but the first chapter will be out within…. a month or so. ^^;; I'm really bad with dates.

I hope that you enjoyed your read so far. As for minor flubs and grammatical mistakes, well… *shrugs* Sorry about that. I'll get around to fixing them if you point them out, all right? ^_^ It never hurts to help…

Hmm, seems as though my little side-project-written-on-a-whim fic has attracted the attention of a rather note-worthy RK author. Thank you for the review, Linay-sama! *waves* …. Erm, why am I waving again? Aheh… heheh….

Well, this is Kess, aka Matsuro, formerly known as FXffects, formerly known as Drax, formerly known as F… Gawddammit, I went by a lot of aliases back in the day… Maybe I should start lookin for a nice symbol now, ne? The Writer Formerly Known as…….. *laughs, shakes head* Ja, peoples.

~ Kess

Matsuro: *peers out window* That looks like a lot more than 2 feet…

Kess: Oy, Matsu-chan, I'm going to Ann's!

Matsuro: Hey, baka, don't—

Kess: Huh? *opens door* !!! Aah!!! *buried by avalanche of snow* Mmmff…

Matsuro: -_-;; Dumbass…. *turns to reader* Well, this fic was written to the musical stylings of Staind. Don't be a stranger, all right?

Chapter 3
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Last revision: May 21, 2007

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