Sequel to Dry Heat and Cold Rain. Won't make much sense on its own.

Not mine.

Warnings: I doubt any die-hard romantics have stuck with me this long, but just to make sure: fluffy HitsuHina fans will probably HATE this.

As always, feel free to flame.

The Green Blade

Empty Eden

It was late November, or, at least, it felt like it. Evening was coming on. A huddled figure trudged up the hill from the fields toward the manor. It was a large building in the old Japanese style, built low and wide along deceptively simple lines. Despite its size, the place seemed desiccated, like the molted shell of an insect. Like a house that was no longer a home.

The young woman (was she still young?) hugged herself a little tighter, pulling at the thin fabric of her sleeves. Her fading hair whipped around her face as she trudged uphill, dragging her feet through the tall dry grass. The winter sun was sinking into the western woods, and a chill rose across the brittle fields. It always seemed cold, these days.

On reaching the small house, she slipped off her shoes and hurried inside. It was scarcely warmer in the kitchen - the wooden walls and papered windows allowed too much heat to escape. Nevertheless the woman threw another small branch on the stove, blew on the embers, and began to prepare a soup with the wild vegetables she had gathered. Her garden had failed this year, devastated by blight and the early frost.

The woman knelt by the pot while the water simmered, smoothing her plain kimono. Distractedly, she pulled her hair into a bun and dabbed at her face with a small towel. Her husband might come tonight. He did, from time to time, when he could spare a moment from the war.

Despite all her efforts her eyes wandered to the three small alters against the wall, to the three small candles that flickered there, seemingly eternal in their sad vigil. To all that remained of her children.

She closed her eyes, trying not to see the dark figure on her doorstep, the outstretched icy wings. She tried not to smell the blood in the air, to hear the unnatural silence or to feel the bubble of panic in her stomach. So many years later (how many years?), she had to bite her lip to stop herself from calling out to them, from screaming their names and hoping against hope for an answer.

She gasped softly, holding back the habitual sting of tears. And then, as always, she had to fight back a floodtide of anger, and then a sickening wave of guilt. She had believed in him. She had been so sure Sousuke had been wrong; she had screamed at her husband in his defense. The betrayal, this awful war ... She had insisted with all her strength that he was innocent, that Yamamoto or Kurosaki were framing him or controlling him. And, truth be told, she wouldn't have cared if he were guilty. He was her best friend, her only family. She would have forgiven him anything, anything but that.

The soup was ready. Meticulously she poured it out into two small bowls, which she placed side by side on the low table. Then she waited.

Long after the meal had gone cold she knelt there, unmoving. The fire died, leaving only the candlelight to witness the grim determination on her face. For the first time, Hinamori Momo allowed herself to speak the words that had festered so long in her heart.

"Tourshirou," she whispered. The small hands clenched on her lap until her nails cut into her palms.

"I will kill you."


Hi everyone!

So, just before I finished with Cold Rain, I got a new job. No, I didn't lose my last job because of fanfiction, but I decided that I really, really needed to take a break from the old addiction. So I've been very very not here; sorry that I haven't responded to messages and the like. I'm a bit of an obsessive type, so if I want to step back from something I enjoy, I really need to cut myself off cold.

All the same, I got a message from a reader the other day that more or less said: your profile scolds other writers for not finishing their fics and you have not updated since the Jurassic age. Now, in my book, Cold Rain was finished. But I guess the reader has a point - there's quite a lot of unresolved plot points so some of you may not actually have closure on this story.

Long story short, now I have guilt. o.O

So I've decided to dive into a third and final installment. I warn you now, though - I've been playing with some ideas for a while but I'm NOT DONE with this story, like, not even in my head. So I can't guarantee that it won't suck. This first installment is more of a teaser than anything else; everything else will follow as I have time.