What would Mother think of me?

She was with me for only a few years, but I can still remember curling up by her side on a chilly winter afternoon, watching her put delicate stitches into one of Father's kimonos. And as she sewed, she told me in her soft, sweet voice about the duties of a wife. Modesty. Diligence. Obedience. Love. But most importantly of all... loyalty.

How I have failed the last. I have conspired against my husband. I have set assassins on his trail. I have planted the seed of hatred in my poor Enishi. I had my excuses. I wanted revenge for Kiyosato's murder. The stories they told me... how a cruel, bloodthirsty assassin cut him to pieces in a dirty alleyway. So I steeled myself and prepared to do whatever it took to get close to my fiancé’s killer, to probe for his weaknesses and prepare for his destruction. And after seeing him killing the chained sword assassin, as the still warm blood fell on me like rain, the tales of the Hitokiri Battousai were all too believable.

But as time passed, I began to see what the killing was costing him. There was no joy in what he did. Kenshin killed because he felt it was necessary, because he truly believed that it was the best way to preserve the greatest number of lives. Because he felt it was his duty. Duty. I understood that. Knowing that Kenshin suffered for his deeds somehow blunted the hard edge of my anger and bitterness, gradually transforming it into a quiet sorrow. It was only after we left Kyoto that I began to see the person Kenshin might have been, if not for all the fighting... the killing. And when he said that I had taught him what happiness meant, my heart truly came alive again.

Then Enishi came. I didn't hate the messenger -- I love my brother dearly -- but I hated the message he carried. In my own growing happiness, I had totally forgotten my mission. Traitors don't deserve happiness. Because that's what I am... a traitor to my vows and to everything my mother taught me. Instead of loyalty, I have plotted with my husband's enemies. Instead of harmony, I have brought discord in the form of my brother and his hatred. Instead of trust, I have jealously harbored my secrets, to my husband's detriment. I'm sure my mother would be horribly disappointed at what her only daughter has done. And I can't even excuse myself by claiming that I was doing all this for Kiyosato's sake. I was lying to myself all along. Kiyosato never would have wanted me to seek revenge like this. I was acting from my own purely selfish reasons.

Guilt. I couldn't stand knowing that Kiyosato's death had really been my fault -- my cursed inability to convey my feelings, however deep and warm, made him believe that I was unhappy... unsatisfied. I couldn't show my joy when he chose me for marriage. I couldn't cry as he told me that he was leaving for Kyoto. It would have taken just one little word... one little tear to make him stay. But I couldn't do it... not back then. Why can I cry now? Why can I say the words now? Now... when it's much too late? I failed Kiyosato, just as I failed Kenshin. Now Kiyosato's dead and I can do nothing to make up for my cowardice. As for Kenshin....

As I finish tying my obi, I glance down at my husband, still sound asleep on the futon we have so recently shared. I want to touch him, but that is sure to wake him. A restful sleep is so rare for him. What should I do with my diary? Hide it? Destroy it? It contains the truth and the truth can be so ugly at times. But some fey impulse tells me to let it bide for now... just in case.

This tanto... it was my mother's. One of her legacies to me, just as her lessons and words are also her legacy. She told me that she had used the blade only once... to defend her honor -- and thus her husband's honor -- from a drunken would-be rapist. I hope that I will be able to put it to an equally worthy use. I started all this for Kiyosato. Somehow I must now find a way to end it for my husband's sake. I will be a true and worthy wife to Himura Kenshin. And then perhaps Mother will be proud of me.

MadamHydra’s Lair