They did not need words to speak. Not these two broken souls, frozen in their pain unless they were with each other. Wounded and in pain alone, but whole together, finding some measure of happiness out of the ashes of their lives.
They both gravitated to the silence, and so that was how they communicated. In smiles and glances, a whole conversation held in the twitch at the corner of the mouth, in the fluttering of an eyelash, in slight movements of hand and arm and head.
The harvest was good today; a twitch of a smile on a redheads lips.
Dinner is ready; jet black eyes flicker.
The children are happy today; a twitch of the head sending a long rope of red hair over a shoulder.
The one thing they never say, not in words or looks or touches, is I love you.
He comes close, until death do us part.
As does she, you need a sheath, to hold back the madness, so if you don’t mind…I’m going to stay with you for a while.
But they don’t say it – until it’s too late. A last smile, pained as blood tints the snow pink, it’s alright, this is the way it’s meant to be, so please don’t cry.
Tears from violet eyes, as he presses his lips to her cold, dead smile.
Please don’t go. I love you.
She reminded him of winter, at first. Her kimono, as white as snow. Her skin, even paler than her kimono. Her emotionless face, like the endless snow that covered the ground and hid the treacherous pitfalls that could break a man’s neck. Her cutting words, like a blizzard, clearing his mind and making him question.
Then the ice started to melt, glances like a shock of sunlight on a mountaintop came his way, words, softer and gentler than before, soothing him instead of cutting. A scent of flowers, of white plums, like the scents that wafted his way when he was training in the forest with his master. A touch of a soft hand like the little green shoots that forced their way through their covering to show that spring was coming.
At first, he reminded her of summer. His hair, as red as blood, red as the sunset that set the lake by her house on fire every night. His eyes, amber, glaring yellow, like the scorching sun that burned everything. His hands, with fingernails bitten to the quick and fingers rough with calluses that clenched a sword and took away her happiness, just as the sun dried up the water, spreading the sickness that took her mother’s life when she was still weak from giving birth.
Then she started to know him, to see past the Hitokiri to the lonely, angry, hurting, frightened boy beneath, and it was like autumn had arrived, freeing the air and letting her breathe. She looked at his hair, and saw in it the red-gold of leaves about to fall, that covered the ground and flew in the air at the touch of childish hands. She looked at his eyes, and they were violet now, not amber, the soft violets that her mother used to tuck behind her ear, and which carpeted the little glade in the forest where Kiyosato had first told her he loved her. She looked at him, and knew that she would not let winter come for him.