DISCLAIMER: Characters (c) Togashi Yoshihiro [finally got his name right after months...] and Watsuki Nobuhiro. No money is being made out of this, so PLEASE don't sue... Apologies to Cricket-san for using her translations without any permission... please don't sue as well...

Super spoiler ahead for RK Manga 18 and up. YYH Manga... if you consider YYH Manga 3 a spoiler, then please don't continue reading...

Koori no Naifu o Daite

By Pan and Rurouni

Another day... another beginning... The graceful figure slid cautiously amongst the misty morning fog, silver silouette beautifully blending as one with the foliage. He had no idea why he chose to roam the rural areas of Kyoto in the form of a silver fox, but it did make him less easy to spot. A Youko would just raise too many eyebrows, screams and cries of excitement... while Minamino Shuuichi would move too slowly for him to fully cover the area within the day.

Provided he knew what he was searching for.

The air was frozen stiff, with winter in sight. The dreams... it had to be the dreams... There weren't anything wrong or terrifically awe-inspiring initially, merely images and bits and pieces about a scarred kenkaku with the ultimate edge of determination to settle for nothing less than the utopian dream he had always worked towards with such high prices...

Until they started growing personal... until he could feel the link... He could remember... there was always the pleading overtune to the recent batch of dreams. He didn't think they meant anything, since Kenshin had been deceased for many years, but just on his natural instinct, he decided to scout Kyoto, as he happened to be there on holiday with his parents.

There was a ruined temple in sight, and thick vines were strangling it's very form, sprouting witheredly from every crack and pot. The silver fox's ears twitched, smelling something towards the side of some crumbled walls. He sprinted over, cautiously approaching the tall stick growing awkwardly out from a messy formation of rocks beside a running lake...

Or was it a stick?

Instantly he reverted. Youko Kurama stood over the awkward material with renewed interest in his eyes. If his instincts which had never failed him twice in one day were right, this was the unknown force which had drawn him to scout the terrain with no aim whatsoever. Very unusual for one who is usually organized and full of foresight...

The sword was absolutely frozen stiff. Decades of weathering had not crumbled it's facade at all, which was amazing to a certain extent. Kurama put his hand on the hilt of the sword, pulling the weapon out from it's sheath.

"Koori no Naifu..." Kurama mused, sliding his left hand on the blade of the frozen sword. The thin wisp of ice surrounding it merely made it look more frosted. However, it did nothing to remove the dangerous glint still evident in the arc of the once life-claiming blade. He had seen how the scarred kenkaku utilized the blade, with high efficiency and relentless mastery. The number who had fallen were countless. Yet, though it was stained with a vast amount of blood, Kenshin, as Battousai, still treasured this sword like no other. Until, the new era he always hoped for came, this sword represented his efforts in Bakumatsu...

Kurama finished the sentence he left hanging previously, "... o Daite..." and lowered the blade to his side, at the same time, the faint shimmer in frozen lake beside him captured his reflection and attention as a tiny tune composed silently in his head. There was no other statement to fully reflect the stature of Kenshin in both Bakumatsu and Meiji...

Kokoro no izumi no soko ni          koori o haritsumenagara
     [The bottom of my heart's lake is rimmed with ice]
Youko Kurama sat down beside the still upright sheath, holding the frosty sword in his hands. The lake was slowly freezing over, but there was a screen big enough for him to see his own reflection as he gazed in.
Ikite yuku no ga          ore no shukumei
     [I go on, my fate is to continue living]
The lake ripples, and subsides into full screen... while a fox with four magnificent tails sprints across in a hurried state.
Tatakai nuku sono tame ni
     [Fighting to the end because of that]
A shot rings out, and a painful wail follows soon after. The fox collapses in his own pool of blood, whimpering against his will. Memories of Kenshin and Tomoe suddenly appeared... It was funny that he should think of them now, of their love which would have worked out given a new time and new setting... but when it came to living and dying, or fighting and determination, Kenshin... Battousai, always flashed into his mind, be it merely a small split second...
Kokoro no hotori de anata ga          yasashiku ore o yondemo
     [You call gently from near my heart]
As the fox faded into his own memories, Battousai takes over, turning around to a ghostly image of Tomoe, seemingly imploring him to stop all the carnage... was this merely... a figment of his yearning... ?
Mimi o fusaide          hashiru hi mo aru
     [I close my ears... there is also a day I run to]
He shut his ears to all soft pleadings, turning back to face the group of people standing before him, murder written all over their twisted features. Shinsengumi. There will be a day... when he could finally listen to his wife's peaceful petition, but until that day came...
Koori no Naifu o Daite
     [Embracing the Ice Knife]
The grip on his katana tightened, the sudden movement causing the moonlight to silently rebound off the cold, hard and icy blade. It was the perfect description for the fate of those who chose not to leave there and then too...
     [music interlude]
In a flash, Battousai flits through the entire group of them, in perfect harmony with the quiet beat of the night. As soon as they were all razed to the ground, he halted abruptly. Tomoe's ghostly silouette looked up at him again, her eyes brimming with disappointment, forcing Battousai to look away before the wrenching in his heart could consume him.
Dakedo itsu no hi ka heiwa ga          kono you o atatameta nara
     [When the day comes, this peace will warm the world]
Swirling into his memories again, Kenshin remembered how he'd love to hide behind a tree to observe Tomoe write silently in her diary in their peaceful home and garden, and how one day a silver fox jumped in front of her, scaring her into dropping her brush.
Itetsuku SOURU mo tokedasu hazu sa
     [My frozen soul will melt too, probably]
And her frozen outlook would melt into a breath-taking smile, gently beckoning the creature to her.
Purizumu o hanachinagara...
     [Setting a prism free]
As the silver fox curled up in her lap like a domestic cat, she would stroke the creature affectionately. The entire scene extreme peaceful, a stark contrast to all the bloodshed Battousai was a constant witness to. He shut his eyes, trying to shut out all the pain, all the blood, all the insanity, wishing for scenes like these to occur throughout the chaotic country...
Sono hi ga kuru made
     [Until that day comes...]
He struggled, as he always had, to reach the end of this skeleton filled tunnel, to reach the light beyond it...
Yet when he stepped into the light at the end of tunnel, he was still surrounded... by the corpses of the fallen Shinsengumi troop. Tomoe's disappointed image faded away, leaving him to wonder why he kept on going, kept on fighting, not even stopping...
Mirai o shinjite kirikome
     [Fight to believe in the future]
What was that? A voice... a voice singing to him... Battousai looked up from his hunched position to try to pinpoint the exact location of the newcomer to this gruesome scene. Someone was telling him to "fight to believe in the future"...
Ikiru koto wa kake dakara
     [That's why we stay alive]
Again! Battousai whirled around violently, probing every shadow in the area with suspicious eyes. "Dareda!" He yelled. There was no response, none save the soft singing that continued to haunt him.
Jibun o shinjite tobikome
     [Jump into believing in yourself]
There it was, but this time, Battousai turned fast enough to catch a wave of silver hair dissolving smoothly into the shadows.
Jidai o tsukuru tame ni          WOH HO HO
     [In order to build an era]
Before he could react, however, something was thrown at him. Instinct took over, and he caught the single fresh, red rose with his bare hand, momentarily finding himself caught in the gaze of steady, golden eyes before everything disappeared...
     [music interlude]
He examined the rose petals. It was red, blood red, just like all the blood he spilled each night, and it was fresh... Images of people dying, and of blood marking the pavements in the alleys, they all engulfed Battousai with a fierce hatred for himself. But he knew he could not stop, for if he did, those who died to create a new era would have died in vain, and he would never be able to redeem himself... Perhaps the singing voice was right. The only reason why he stayed alive, was that he fought to believe in the future, and if he believed in himself now, the era would come soon... Battousai clutched the rose tighter. Let the petals of this rose be a symbol of the new things to come...
Kitto itsu no hi ka chijou ga          rakuen ni kawaru you ni
     [Surely, when the day comes that the Earth changes into a paradise]
A sword flies through the air, neatly caught a while later by Battousai. A different Battousai, one who looks as if he is about to go on long-term departure... The sun slowly rises behind him, enhancing the utter look of shock and disbelief etched on his youthful features, as he watches the master swordsmith Shakku Arai turn and walk away.
Ore no buki sae tokaseru hodo no
     [Even my weapons will melt]
He remembered vividly how he fought his final battle of Toba-Fushimi before sheathing the katana and leaving it stuck upright in the ground, satisfied that the future he'd fought so hard to believe in was finally here.
Hizashi ni afureru you ni
     [Overflown in sunlight]
As the sun shone upon him, holding Shakku's sword, he fingered the hilt lightly, before pulling the sword out to let the sun catch it in it's glory... it was... a sakabatou, a reversed blade sword...
Sono hi o motomete
     [We ask for that day...]
The Seikihoutai gasped in shock as cloth boundaries ripped away to reveal soldiers with rifles trained on them.
The unceasing halt of bullets rained down upon them, the ground ran red with the blood of the betrayed. Sagara Souzou led his team into a furious battle against the gunmen, courageously blocking off every attack they could to preserve their lives for more meaningful fights. When Sagara got shot in his arm, young Sanosuke refused to stop. Supporting both his captain and his captain's sword, he struggled to make his way to safer grounds...
Mirai e no hashi o watarou
     [Cross the bridge to the future]
In three split screens, Saitou, Aoshi and Battousai stares for a split second, then Saitou removes his Shinsengumi uniform to don a Meiji police uniform. Aoshi grabs the tied up hair behind him to cut it off with a rough estimate. Battousai releases his ponytail from high to gather them at the base of his neck again. The three happen concurrently.
Ikiru koto ga kake naraba
     [And if it's life that's risked]
Saitou draws out the sword by his side, releases the sheath and slides into a Gatotsu stance with the Kanji 'Aku, Soku, Zan' flashing behind him.
Kooritsuku tsuribashi datte
     [Even if it's a frozen bridge]
Aoshi taps the sword by his side, taking one last glimpse at the sleeping Misao before hardening his heart to depart from Aoiya.
Hashitte watatte yaru          WOH HO HO
     [I'll run across it]
Kenshin grips the sword by his side, and as soon as he does that a police whistle shrieks at him, his customary 'ORO' eyes bulges out as he runs across the most rickety bridge in the entire Japan in an attempt to flee from being caught possessing a sword illegally...
     [music interlude]
One by one, as Kurama the silver fox continues to stare at the fast approaching demon catchers, faces of Kenshin's comrades, flash past in fast succession. Kenshin, Tomoe, Sanosuke, Kaoru, Yahiko, Megumi, Tae, Tsubame, Aoshi, Soujirou, Saitou, Misao, Okina... That's right! Kenshin's determination earned him many worthy companions, who loved him for what he was. I will not give up now. The silver fox narrowed his eyes...
Mirai o shinjite kirikome
     [Fight to believe in the future]
... and in a split second forced his soul out from his youkai body, tranversing through worlds, from Makai into Ningenkai, and into the body of Minamino Shuuichi.
Ikiru koto wa kake dakara
     [That's why we stay alive]
And whenever he fought back to back with worthy comrades like Hiei, which he was now, he knew his staying alive to believe in the future was worth the while... fruitful...
Jibun o shinjite tobikome
     [Jump into believing in yourself]
He drew a rose out from his hair just as Hiei summoned the Kokuryuha to swallow the youkai they were facing, the sheer force of the black dragon coalesced by fires from the pits of Makai blinded him temporarily.
Jidai o tsukuru tame ni          WOH HO HO
     [In order to build an era]
For a split second staring at the rose, Kenshin's image floated up to him, remembering the night when he as Youko Kurama coaxed Battousai into fighting for his future, which he himself was about to do now. He smiled, and with a diagonal slash across transformed the beautiful rose into a deadly "ROSE WHIP!".
Hiei scans the terrain with his Jagan and spots something. Mouthing the words, "Yukina", Hiei flits away.
Kurama summons his Rose Whip and lashes out at the youkai in front of him while the Yuusuke and Kuwabara stand behind him, injured.
"YUKINA-SAN!" Kuwabara screeches in an inhumanly high-pitched voice. He runs over, only to trip over his own big feet halfway through and ironically land at the feet of Hiei instead. Hiei smirks as he looks down at the sprawled boy.
Kurama's Rose Whip (TM) fails to defeat the youkai and he gets thrown back. Kuwabara supports him while Yuusuke summoning the final reiki he possessed... "REI GAN!"
Kokoro no izumi ni kakaru          niji no hashi o miru hi made...
    [Until I see a rainbow-bridge built across my heart's lake]
Rurouni Kenshin stands, in the 11th year of Meiji, in the streets of Tokyo. He looks at the rose thrown to him as an encouragement so many eons ago, and smiles. The rose was still unusually fresh, despite having been separated from it's source for years... something which still made Kenshin tremble every now and then. Right now, he had no more need for it. With a swift movement he hurled the rose backwards and proceeded along his way, never looking back... Youko Kurama catches the rose and smiles at the fading figure of Kenshin, before lifting his head to the skies to spot the formation of a beautiful rainbow...

Kurama detached himself from the memories and looked at the lake again, staring at the reflection of the familiar red-headed Minamino Shuuichi.

 If my memories of Kenshin hadn't provided that extra spark... Kurama quietly pondered. ... I'm afraid I won't be Minamino Shuuichi now... He laughed at himself. He had always thought Shiori was the first human to ever present an immense effect on his life, yet once or twice in his long life, during his short visits to the 'ningenkai', interesting characters do pop up, like Kenshin... and his alta-character Battousai...

He stood up, dusting the ice off his clothes. Kurama saw Kenshin as a source of comparison, while his precious 'Kaasan Shiori was the source of love. There was no real contest between them. Still... Kurama gingerly handled the sword in his hands.

This sword was the only remaining evidence of Battousai's deeds for the future, but it was a painful burden from the past, and if Kurama knew Kenshin any better, he wanted to rid this eyesore from the beautiful new era and peace reigning in modern Japan now...

No wonder the dreams were getting more and more imploring. Kurama reached out to pull the sheath from the hardened rocks as well. He still cared for the people and peace, even if it meant a small artifact like this was tucked away in some long forgotten corner of the world...

Sheathing the sword, Kurama reached into his hair to pull out something.

The young farmer blinked his large violet eyes, his short red mane flapping awkwardly behind him. The sword, solitary and strong, standing there (according to his father) for over a century... was...


The farmer laid down his belongings and knelt down at the spot where the sword had last been seen. Just as he was getting used to the mysterious object too... no wait, there was something there... something...

He reached out to pull the object out from the hole where the sword last stood. Trying not to be too rough in handling it, he brought it closer to sight, where he could see the luscious beauty of the rare flower right up at his nose...

It was a beautiful, blood red rose.

"Ow!" He complained softly as one of the thorns pricked his left cheek, where a birthmark of something which looked vaguely like a cross sword scar was. For a moment, he contemplated bringing the beautiful rose home, but seeing the land barren of the katana was bad enough...

He placed the rose back where it belonged and went home.

Koori no Naifu o Daite
Sung by: Kurama (Ogata Megumi)
Lyrics: Mori Yuriko
Composer: Yamamoto Takeshi
Translator: Cricket, July 20 1997