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Nightshift 36 - M11-M20
shall i prove you wrong?
clockmongler wrote in damned
Nightshift tended to prove just as lackluster as Dinner. At least Tyche was there to give the Gambler company for the previous shift (and she received most of his steak. Enjoy it as he may, he just never felt right about eating it). Without a roommate, there was little to complain about, so he simply watched as the kitten tunneled herself under his blankets and mocked the Head Doctor as he spoke.

He almost wished Mr. Radio would revive himself like the savior everyone else thought he was and get back into Landel's bed so the imbecile would shut up. Really, and Sora complained about his habitual monologues. Though Luxord supposed he would go off just as much if someone handed him a microphone and told him to taunt an entire building. Perhaps that was the issue with Xemnas? He'd have to remember that.

As for the night... yes, he did promise the night to Lust, did he not? It was unfortunate that he had absolutely no idea what her room number was. He'd just have to venture out and hope Luck was on his side once more.

[Went wandering over here]

  • 1
[From here]

He stopped outside Homura's room before knocking, after a hesitant moment, hooking his hair behind his right eat so that both of his eyes were visible. He felt much more vulnerable like this, exposed somehow, but Homura was the same as him and it seemed unfair somehow to hide his golden eye in front of the man when Homura didn't. It felt cowardly and deceitful.

He knocked quietly on the door then. "Homura?"

Homura had wasted no time when the night was announced. There was too much too do, so much he wanted to be finished with even before it began. Allelujah's visit would be a welcome one. Okita's would be a trial. The importance of this night for himself and for his group weighed heavily on him, but the demi-god had made his choices, and he would regret none of them.

Or so he hoped.

He left Shito to his own business, ignoring his roommate for the purpose of changing. Homura found himself caring less about what Shito might see than he had before, though he did still try and angle his body and his clothes so the other wouldn't seen anything he might not want to. It only took a few moments before he had everything on, except a final piece. His cloak.

Homura took out the garment, but after looking at it for several moments, placed it on the bed. The knock came then, and he grabbed his sword before heading into the hall. He had to talk to Allelujah about the bulletin from that day, and find out just who it was he would be looking out for in his travels.

"Allelujah." Homura's smile was warm enough, though he hadn't forgotten the events of last night. Even as fear of what this person might really be flared in his mind, he pushed it back, refusing to let that sort of wariness taint his interactions. "Thank you for this. I'm sure we'll find a way to make use of them."

Allelujah smiled at Homura when the door opened, glad to see the older man like he hadn't really been glad to see anyone else in this place. He held out the makeshift bag, pulling one corner open to show what was inside. "It isn't much," he said apologetically. "I only made a few last night because I wasn't certain if it would work or if they'd even be there the next morning, but I can easily make more now I know that I have the mixture right." He pulled one out, rolling it between his fingers idly. "They're smoke bombs," he explained. "If you light the fuse, when the bomb actually begins to burn, it releases thick smoke. I thought you might have a use for them."

If they were accepted and useful, then he could make more tomorrow night, or go back to his room and make some more quickly before heading out. It would be easy enough to do.

Why Allelujah was acting like this gesture was somehow less than it should be was beyond Homura, and taking the bag, he smiled. "You owe me nothing, and yet you're still helping me. Anything you offer is appreciated." He listened carefully to the instructions about the bombs, noting that they would need a fire source to make full use of them. Of course it was then that he realized that he had no idea what the members of his club already possessed, and what they would still need to find. That would have to be taken care of on the coming day.

"I won't be able to tell you immediately how they work, but yes, I'm certain we will." Everything had the potential to be useful, and considering that some members of his group--most of them, in fact--remained unarmed, a diversionary tactic would be ideal.

The transfer taken care of, Homura grew more serious, meeting Allelujah's eyes. "Do you have time to talk? I wanted to ask you about that person on the bulletin who kept posting your description." Which was almost identical to Homura's. Even if he had no loyalty to Allelujah, the similarity alone was reason enough for concern.

Homura's words caused a little flush to appear on Allelujah's cheeks, not used to praise like that. It felt like he owed Homura just for being the same as him, accepting what he was and not being an enemy like the others had been, like that girl Super Soldier for the HRL had been. "Good. I'm going to be looking for matches or a lighter too. Hopefully some method can be found." They would be pretty useless without that, but Badou had said that someone had matches, so it was possible to get them at least. He just had to find them.

He straightened slightly when Homura met his eyes, the seriousness of his expression worrying Allelujah a little. "I have time," he agreed with a nod, wincing slightly at the mention of the bulletin. "I met her a few nights ago, my second night. I was crossing the Courtyard." The words fell off his tongue like he was giving a report to Sumeragi or Tieria. "She attacked me, unprovoked. She could control lightning, it seemed like." His expression hardened. "She used it on me, several times until Ha-... until I managed to gain the upper hand. I incapacitated her and pushed her into the pond." And it was just unfortunate that she didn't die Hallelujah murmured.

A blush? Homura still didn't understand the reason, but that ultimately didn't matter. He nodded in agreement when Allelujah said he'd be looking for some method to start fire. "I'll have my group members keep an eye out for such things as well." Homura too thought it was likely that such things were somewhere on the grounds.

He listened carefully to the recollection of that night, not failing to notice Allelujah's near slip. He let it go, however; whatever it was that had been about to be said, Homura knew he would be told when the time was right. What was more important was that this person was vicious, striking out for no reason, and now putting up Allelujah's description for no apparent reason.

"What does she look like?" Homura knew he'd have to keep an eye out for this woman, and instruct others to do the same. Fighting among the patients seemed an unnecessary waste under most circumstances, but for this, he would easily make an exception.

Allelujah was relieved when Homura either didn't notice, or didn't seem to want to question his near mention of Hallelujah. It wasn't something that Allelujah was comfortable talking about. Multiple personalities usually meant that a person was crazy after all, but there was also a thread of possessive jealousy there. Hallelujah was his and he was Hallelujah's and they'd always been together. And if they knew, they might consider him too dangerous to associate with.

"Short, maybe five-one or five-two," Allelujah replied, recalling her appearance with ease. "Slim and blond. Blue eyes. A cute face, tries to pass herself off as being innocent. Very child-like," he added, remembering the childish insults and behaviour at times. She'd been very odd. "She's probably injured too at the moment. She was attacked by a demon last night on the balcony over the Sun Room."

Recent experience made Homura very tempted then to run back into his room and grab something to write the information down with. He resisted the urge, however, knowing that being so paranoid about his memory would only make the information more easily obtainable by people who shouldn't have it. Instead he listened, committing the details to his memory. It would be practice, in a way, now that he was to be the leader again. Homura thought he'd need to remember a great deal, after all. Better to start off with something that could be repeated if necessary.

"I'll keep an eye out for her." Homura had nothing else he needed to talk to Allelujah about just then, and another appointment pressing. Okita had yet to arrive, though that would likely change shortly. Thinking of the meeting made his heart pump faster, if only because it was the impending reminder of all the issues he still faced, and that couldn't be avoided. "If that's all, I don't want to hold you up any longer. Be careful tonight, my friend."

skipped from here

When Okita came upon Homura's room, he could hear voices inside. Through the door, he couldn't quite make out what they were saying, but he knew it had to be the "appointment" prior to his. Whoever it was hadn't left yet, so Okita stayed outside for now. When it was his turn, Homura would call him. Until then, he had a moment of peace to himself.

For all the good it did him. Okita put a hand on the hilt of his sword and leaned back against the wall, closing his eyes as he soaked up what he could of the conversation inside. The meeting was almost over and Okita tried his best to clear his head. Moving as quickly as he had made him feel nauseaus, but he wanted this whole thing over with. Homura, if he were back to his real self, would probably lecture him, possibly throw him out for breaking the truce - who knew. All he could do now, was wait.

"Be careful around her. She's unpredictable and sadistic," Allelujah said. he didn't want Homura to get dragged into a feud on his account, but knowing that he had some kind of support was always welcome. More reason for him to keep Hallelujah his own secret. His own sadistic side.

He smiled warmly at Homura and nodded. "You too. Good luck with what your group is doing." He turned to leave, only to nearly bump into someone standing in the doorway. A woman? No, too muscular for that, like Tieria. "Ah, sorry," he said, stepping around them and glancing back at Homura for a moment. "I'm leaving now, if you're waiting for him," he said to the newcomer before setting off along the corridor, only remembering too late to make any difference to smooth his hair back over his eye. Well, if he was seen, he was seen.

[To here]

Homura had been able to surmise Allelujah's warning from what he'd been told, but he still nodded if only to offer the other man reassurance. "I will." That was a large part of the reason Homura had brought it up, after all. And he didn't want Allelujah to leave their meeting worried about him. There was enough to focus on.

As expected, Okita was waiting for him when Allelujah left. He nodded a farewell to the departing man, then looked to the newcomer. "Come in." Now that the moment was here, Homura hesitated, unsure of exactly where to begin. Again, that feeling of lacking crept up, and Homura turned to face the other man.

"I heard everything about last night." Homura's voice was firm, so much that it almost surprised him. "Do you intended on going after Himura still?"

The other guest left and Okita was treated to an unusual sight - another man with eyes similar to Homura's. He thought there weren't anymore of what Homura was, though, meaning Okita couldn't help but follow after the stranger with his eyes as he passed. Someone else to remember for later.

Homura ushered him in and Okita followed, quiet as always when he knew he was about to get scolded. The drugs made him much more cautious though; afraid he'd say or do soemething he wouldn't normally due to their influence. It didn't take long for Homura to cut straight to the heart of the matter and Okita's anger flared at hearing that Homura already heard 'everything.' He likely heard it from Himura and that friend of his and decided that was enough. Okita wasn't allowed to make a report of his own and that irked him. Standing a little too stiffly just to be sure he didn't falter because of the drugs, he met Homura's gaze as evenly as he could.

"The truce is broken. I see no reason to adhere to it." Unless provoked, he wasn't allowed to attack Himura. Well, he had been provoked (albeit on rather shaky grounds) and he had attacked. The truce was over and even if it wasn't, Okita saw no reason to maintain it. "If I see him, I must finish what I started."

“Because you’re dying?” When Homura said he had heard everything, he did not mean that he wouldn’t listen to Okita’s side of the story. He meant that he had heard both of the confrontation, and of the cause. It wasn’t just because Hijikata had vanished, but because of his disease. Homura had no doubt of it, though he fully expected Okita would try to deny it. It seemed the kind of person he was.

“What do you expect to gain from attacking him?” There was some curiosity when he asked the question, and not solely because Homura wanted to know Okita’s answer. There was something about the choice, if not the conversation, that seemed familiar to him. That same sense that had sparked when he first heard of the disease again renewed itself, and for the first time Homura realized that this was how he had felt each time some memory returned. A thought, foreign at first, but that fit so naturally into place among all the other memories he couldn’t deny it was his. Perhaps it was simply the importance of this recollection that made him aware of it; regardless of the cause, Homura was aware, enough to again be certain that the answer was the memory.

“Are you hoping to die?”

"Because you're dying?"

This was the second time today that his world had stopped and he wasn't able to keep the shock off his face. How the hell had Homura heard about that? He'd been careful to cover it up and keep his coughing quiet. It hadn't even been that bad lately, nothing compared to the Ikedaya and yet--

Himura. That little- Fury broke through the shock and the drug haze to sharpen Okita's mind on a single point - Himura had to die. He had no place telling their leader that Okita was ill. He had no place talking about his disease at all! It changed everything from the way people handled him to the way they looked at him and it was an unforgivable blow to his pride. He was a swordsman and that meant he either died of old age or on the battlefield; not by wasting away like a weakling. Okita's grip on his sword tightened and his eyes narrowed as he faced the demi-god.

"I'm hoping to kill him for the dishonor he's given me. It's my duty as a Shinsengumi captain to follow my Commander's orders, and his last orders were to kill the Choushuu rebels if provoked." And oh, was Okita provoked now. Himura was going to learn just what he shouldn't talk about just before he never talked again. The swordsman's voice was cold as he took a step back toward the door. Himura's room was M55 and he'd be moving slow thanks to the sword and pen wounds. Okita could easily catch up and take his head. "Throw me out if you wish, but I will kill him. He had no right telling you about that."

"I'd rather not do that, Okita." Homura didn't miss that Okita was moving towards the door, nor that their position gave the other man the advantage when it came to reaching it. The demi-god tossed the bag he'd gotten from Allelujah onto his bed, then turned to face the other swordsman. He had remembered Kenren's instruction from last night, something that now seemed to be common sense to him, but words he would always be thankful for.

Throughout the conversation, Homura hadn't once let go of his sword. Now, as he calmly looked at the man so obviously enraged, he was ready to use it however he had to.

"He told me because in this place, I am your commander." As he had been or as he was now, it was the role Homura played. And though there still were so many uncertainties, gaps in memory that needed to be filled in, questions he had no answers for, Homura had made his choice, and now he would walk the path it led down.

He raised his sword up, watching Okita's movements carefully. Homura knew not to take this man lightly, that despite whatever was killing him, Okita would fight with all he was in order to make his wish a reality. That alone deserved respect; the caution came from the man's skill. Homura had seen Himura's condition, after all, and Himura hadn't had his memory stolen.

Yet letting Okita do as he pleased in his fury was not something Homura could allow. The effects would be devastating, and everything the demi-god had worked for would crumble. He would not let that happen.

"I will not let anyone tear apart the efforts made so far. And that includes you, Okita."

His commander was gone. Homura had been a good substitute for awhile, but then he'd left as well, in another way. Kenren had taken the position, but lacked the drive Okita looked for in a leader. If only Hijikata had never come, if only he'd never left - so many 'if only' situations and not a single one helped in any way. He had to face the present and the fact that Homura had his sword raised at him.

Okita's eyes narrowed and he took another step back, changing his grip on the hilt of his sword. If he needed to draw it, he would. Against a god, he hardly stood a chance, but a samurai never backed down from a battle; especially not a soldier in the Shinsengumi. It was written in their laws that either their enemy died or they died, leaving no room for a middle ground. Okita had already broken that rule when he left Himura bleeding in the hall, so he wasn't about to do it again.

"You were my commander, Homura-san, until Hijikata-san came." And when he left the first time, it had been Homura who stepped into the role. "And when he left, you told me it hadn't been his choice - you lied." Everyone lied. "Then you left and even now I can see you're not back." As much as it seemed he was, there were hesitations, the commanding voice that had once gotten Okita to leave a pen in Himura's arm rather than drive it again through his eye was still missing. "I'm sorry, Homura-san. I must finish the Choushuu here and now; or reap the consequences of failure."

The katana slid free of the cloth loop at Okita's side and he turned the blade around, sliding one foot back to settle into a defensive position. The tip dipped down low to the ground and Okita's eyes focused on Homura's shoulders and hips. The moment his opponent moved, so would he. "I can't allow you to stop me."

Homura watched with a wary eye as Okita drew his blade. The position the man took left them in a stalemate, for the moment. There were no openings in Okita's stance, nor in Homura's. The knowledge that had returned to him the previous night came naturally now, allowing Homura to see the whole of the situation. Being the one who issued the challenge left the demi-god in an offensive position, which was to his advantage. Okita would have to drop his guard to leave, or adjust his blade to strike. Either of these would create delays Homura would easily be able to take advantage of. So for the moment, he didn't advance. Okita had trapped himself, and Homura intended to make use of that.

"I left?" He knew that it was grief that fueled Okita's words, but Homura grew angry all the same. Left, as if he had a choice. What was it that made Okita think that about the demi-god, and especially about Hijikata? They were in a prison. Homura had been tortured, and Hijikata vanished! What about that could possibly be of their own volition? "I had my memories stripped away, and no, I haven't yet recovered them all. But I have enough of them to do what must be done."

Except there was still that piece missing, that nagging gap that demanded to be found. But there was no time to focus on it then, so instead, Homura pried into what he could. He ignored Okita's chosen mission, and instead went into the heart of the matter: Okita's uncertainty. "Why are you saying that Hijikata chose to leave? What makes you think he would ever do such a thing?"

As trapped as he was in the defensive position, he preferred it that way. The defense meant he had the first opportunity to learn about his opponent. Okita had never actually seen Homura fight, but he knew about the fire and he knew that Homura was, for all intents and purposes, still hesitating. His stance was instinctive, no openings, a perfect stalemate. Okita had been in stalemates so many times before. He had the patience to wait out his opponent, no matter what they said or did.

"Then do your job and leave me to mine," he said quietly. The memories were returning faster than he could have imagined. Perhaps it would have been wiser to kill Himura two nights ago, back before Homura had a chance to know that he wasn't supposed to die. Back then, though, Hijikata had been around. He hadn't...given in yet.

"He told me." Okita's grip stiffened around the hilt at the memory and he felt that little bit of fog break through his concentration. The damn drugs. With the adrenaline pumping through his system, he'd almost gotten over it, but no - it was back. Remembering Hijikata standing in the waiting room, telling him to stop this charade, asking him to come home with him was too much. The sincerity, the look of shock and pain when Okita had attacked, the frustration of not being able to reach his subordinate - all of it had been Hijikata.

The last few vestiges of the man Okita would have followed to the death shook the swordsman to the core. If Okita and the duty at home wasn't enough to keep him within these walls, then what powers did Martin Landel really have? Or, worse, how little did he matter to his friend?

Anger and grief focused him again and he regained himself, loosening his grip again. "He said as much to my face today. He remembers everything that happened here, Homura-san. Everything. And he still..." Okita was going to die separated from him yet again. "...he still left."

"Your job will tear the group we've organized apart." Even more than Landel could, with his manipulation of mind and memories. To have that outside force acting against their efforts was one thing. Painful and difficult to overcome, but easily identified as attacks by an enemy, someone they know to be working against them. This, however, would be destruction from within. For Okita to attack Kenshin under these conditions might be loyalty to his causes at home, but in this prison, it would read as betrayal. "Or have you forgotten that the war in your world is not the only one you're fighting in now?"

Part of him understood. Okita was dying, and to him, Homura could only guess that killing Kenshin, or being killed by Kenshin, seemed to be the only obtainable goals left to him. Death was something final, a deadline that couldn't be pushed back or somehow bypassed. Homura knew that undeniable fact--

--And yet something in him said it was wrong.

He listened as Okita recalled his visit from Hijikata, then shook his head. "You know as well as I do how this place can alter a person's mind. It can warp memory, take them away or implanting them." The conversation with Sanzo only a few days ago hadn't been forgotten, after all. Kenren had suffered the same. "He told you what what he believes because they twisted the truth in his mind. It's not Hijikata that left you. It's this place that took him!"

Homura didn't falter in his stance, even as his voice began to resonate with the intense anger he suddenly felt at this hell they were in. At their prison, and at Okita as well. The man was pressured, yes, but Homura had more faith in him than this. He knew that Okita was stronger; why else would he have been the one he chose to save Rinrei? "Are you going to throw away the time you have left on the Choushuu, or are you going to try and save Hijikata?! He didn't leave of his own choice, and you know that, Okita. Are you going to abandon your commander to this prison?!"

Okita had never forgotten - not for a moment - that the world he lived in and the war he fought here were not his own. The world he lived in was long gone and would remain destroyed forever. Even if he went home, he would still be walking the same path and be heading toward that same destruction like moths flying toward a flame. The world he could never live without was the world he could never change and it would kill him and everything precious to him. He understood all too well that all of the deaths and the battles didn't matter here. Here he had a different duty, but that didn't mean he couldn't erase at least one man who might change the tide of battle. One man might change the whole of the world he was fighting to return to - it might save them all, even if nothing could save him.

Saving Hijikata would mean bringing him back here, and then, ultimately back to Kyoto where he would face defeat and sorrow and eventually death on the cold battlefields of Hokkaido. Bringing him back would be good for him, but for Hijikata...? Perhaps that was what hurt the most. Wanting him back and yet knowing that he had a better chance at life in this world than the had back in Japan. It didn't make any sense, but Okita was selfish and he didn't want Hijikata to die. Nothing made sense. Nothing in his head seemed settled and, damn it all if the drugs weren't making it harder to think!

But he remembered warning Homura once about saying such things to him, even if Homura didn't. "I told you once to never question my faith in him, and I won't have you doing it now!" The sword tip jerked forward and Okita ran at him, not caring about the pain in his chest or the voices in his head telling him he was being irrational, stupid, out of control and a million other things. He shouldn't fight Homura. He knew that what Homura said was true, but the Battousai and his infuriating refusal to fight was a constant reminder of Okita's failure and his future ruin. A man couldn't face that everyday and not go crazy after awhile. Switching the blade in his hands, he slashed up diagonally across Homura's chest.

Homura saw Okita's strike coming, but regardless of that, it was difficult to block. The man was incredibly fast, even with something seeming off about it, and desperation only fueled that speed. Yet Homura trusted what he had recalled the night before, not fighting against the knowledge and the instinct that had come back to him. He brought his sword down against Okita's, stopping the blade before it could cut into his body.

And then the advantage was his. Okita perhaps had speed over him, but Homura easily had the greater power. Add into that the position of the swords, with gravity working against his opponent, and Homura easily was in the better position of the two.

"I wouldn't question your faith if I had no reason to." Homura didn't remember Okita's warning from before, though its mention made images of stained glass flash across his mind. Regardless, what he knew Homura couldn't deny, nor would he allow Okita to. "You are the one assuming he left you of his own free will. You are the one who said it was his choice to abandon his cause for the lies. What sort of faith is that, Okita?"

But if words alone would work, they would have by now. Homura suddenly added pressure to his sword, forcing Okita's down further as he stepped in to the man's space. Though he fought with a blade, it wasn't the only way Homura could fight. Gravity and the strength of one arm would suffice, and in the same smooth movement Homura released a hand and punched hard at Okita's jaw, intent on sending him reeling.

It was easier to believe he'd been abandoned than to think he had failed. That was why - and it gave him a reason to give up as well. He was tired of fighting against an invisible enemy and he wanted to stay with Hijikata. He knew his commander was here now and if he could just stay with him, maybe the last year of his life wouldn't be spent fighting night after night for a cause he wasn't devoted to anymore. It was easier, and he hated himself for thinking that way.

He didn't have an answer for Homura and he wasn't about to give one. Not that he could at the moment. The punch connected solidly with his jaw and Okita's hand slipped on the sword as he was sent crashing into the opposite bed. His hip cracked hard against the bed frame and he hissed in pain, regaining his grip on the sword. His vision blacked out for a moment and he squeezed his eyes shut. This wasn't good. Fighting with an unclear head had never gone well for him. He needed to calm down and just focus on killing his enemy.

Even if Homura wasn't the enemy. He'd been the one Okita turned to time and again to regain his footing, but now he didn't have that anymore. Homura was almost back, but he was still... missing somehow. And the loss of both leaders at once was almost too much to bear. He'd broken when Hijikata left the first time, and now this? Stolen away because Okita couldn't protect him? Broken because this place was stronger than him? How could he fight if Hijikata was able to break?

Reaching into his haori, Okita flung two scalpels like darts at where he knew Homura to be and followed soon after with the sword, slashing at his body.

Silence. Was there no answer because Okita had no answer, or because he didn't want to say the one he had? Homura waited as Okita recovered; this fight was sparked by the other man, and while he wouldn't hesitate to use whatever measures were necessary to end it, there was no point if he didn't reach Okita in the process. Homura had no desire to kill him. That was the absolute last resort, one that would only happen when it became clear that Okita had given up completely.

The scalpels came flying at him, but unlike novice fighters, Homura didn't move his blade to block them. So long as they didn't hit vital points the damage would be minimal, and that was why Homura only twisted his body, not caring that the blades cut into his shoulder as they passed. The scalpels were a distraction, one meant to get Homura's focus elsewhere besides the man with his blade, and the shallow cuts he suffered to his right shoulder were the far better option between the two. From above this time, and Homura swung his sword again to block, not stopping with just contact but following through to try and open Okita's body to another blow, specifically a hard knee to the exposed side.

There had to be an answer. Okita's silence was Homura's opportunity, and he decided to take advantage of it. "Do you know why the gods created the title of Toushin Taishi?" Perhaps he did; it was possible Homura had told Okita this story before. Regardless, it came to his mind now and seemed significant; a stable enough straw to grasp at. "It's because the gods are forbidden to kill, yet wish death to heretical beings. So they send them out in the name of Heaven, hoping that something will do their dirty work because it's stronger--or because the abomination has given up the desire to live."

Was that what was happening here? It was possible, Homura decided. To die in battle instead of by illness; somehow, he thought he could understand that wish.

Edited at 2008-11-02 07:51 am (UTC)

Rather than let another hit get in, Okita saw the motion and let his sword go with it. Resistance would leave him open to a worse attack. The sword slipped up with Homura's block and he pulled the sword back, twisting his body to jump back to narrowly escape the knee to his side. Given his current injury and the rather nasty force that was likely behind the blow, that could have put him out of commission for awhile.

Okita didn't know what Homura was getting at, until he reached the end of his speech. The Toushin Taishi - he couldn't remember now if Homura had told him about the title, but he knew it was a position Homura wore with pride even if it wasn't the best job. He had taken the position and owned it - made it into something specifically his in a way. It had been enough to convince Okita to follow him, at least. Now, though, he saw the truth behind it - it was a death sentence.

He fought because he had to, and lived to defy the ones who wished him dead. Okita could understand that, but at the same time - he wasn't about to let this place be the end of him.

"We're men fated to die in battle, Homura-san," Okita finally said, bringing his sword around again. He knew his fated wasn't to be that way, but he wasn't about to let someone else's history lesson dictate his life. He would die with a sword in his hand or not die at all. He'd bring Hijikata back and somehow manage to keep him alive past the war. He'd do something, anything, everything to save his friends and help them win the war. To do that, though, he'd have to do what he could - and that meant killing Kenshin. Stepping back, Okita opened his stance and held his sword in front of him. "Whether the war is there or here, it's still the war I must return to. Whatever I can do to tip the scales in our favor, I will do it. Even if it kills me."

And it would.

"Then fight to do something that will accomplish that goal." Homura had the vague sense he had told Okita this before, but that didn't matter. Obviously, if he had, the man needed to hear the words again. "Himura is from your future, when the war is done. As he is, there is no point in killing him. It won't affect how your war ends."

The momentum of his strike put him in a precarious position; Homura had intended for his hit to end this. Yet with Okita's dodge, Homura's body was left at an odd angle with nothing to show for it. He'd been left vulnerable, and Okita's next blow couldn't be properly blocked. The demi-god instead tried to jump back, but the move wasn't fast enough, and Okita's blade opened a cut along his chest. The wound was shallow, but the pain would be an annoyance to have to work through.

Fated to die in battle. Something about that resonated in Homura's mind, and before he fully grasped it, he began to reply. "Fated? We have more control than that. I chose to die fighting for my wish, because I refuse to believe in any fate but the one I make for myself."

Chose? Had Homura meant to say that? Certainly he would make such a decision if it came to it. But why chose, the past tense, as if it had already happened? Then the final piece clicked into place, and even Homura faltered as a complete memory played out before him. Not his life flashing before his eyes, no. It was his death.

He was dead. It shouldn't have been possible, considering that Homura was standing there, bleeding because his heart was beating. But it was the truth, and he couldn't deny it. Not when he could recall feeling the staff break through his skin, the pain that came with it--and the satisfaction that even the agony couldn't touch. He had died, and been glad for the method, because he had died by the hand of someone he had found worthy, in battle, and not--

There was still more. He was right there, on the verge of remembering, of being able to guess at it. But still it wouldn't come, and Homura gripped his sword again. If he got his memories back in battle, then so be it. He would fight until he had them all.

Edited at 2008-11-02 05:11 pm (UTC)

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