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Totling ([personal profile] fourstarball) wrote2012-03-02 01:22 am

With Sorrow Aching

Samurai Sentai Shinkenger
PG
Genta/Kaoru

... To die in battle is to die with honor, or so it is said.

--

He'd screamed.

She had been so careless, so very untrue to herself and to her training. It was shameful. But the waves and waves of enemies continued to overcome them, all of them, and she had fared no better or worse than the other samurai.

She was small but able, fast and willing to fight as hard as she had to. The Ayakashi had the Nanashi drive a wedge between all of them, so that they were all too far away to rush quickly to another's aid. Honestly, she should have known better. Just seeing that maneuver should have had her on her guard, raised her defenses and ceased every unnecessary movement.

But she had been careless.

She never saw the Ayakashi take to the battlefield with her back to him and her mind clouded with battle. She had not seen the white hot lightning of his weapon charge, nor heard the hiss of pleasure as he soaked himself in power too immense to control. A "gift" from someone back in the Sanzu River, no doubt. One single shot, a perfect killing blow, but only one. And he had chosen Shiba's true head.

So he'd yelled and alerted the other samurai. None of them could move an inch from their fights against the Nanashi hordes. He wasn't the closest, but he was the fastest with his self-taught techniques, ripping through enough cannon fodder to get to a run.

The other five saw it all. They watched as he leaped through the fight, dodged the worst of the explosions, and tore over to her where she stood. They saw him grab their princess with one arm outstretched and shove her to the ground. Her head slammed into the ground and red clouded the area as her transformation went undone. She realized only then that something was wrong.

In the same instant, he'd screamed. Her name, whispered, followed. "Kaoru-ch...a...n...."

Silence rippled through the field as he collapsed, slamming down to his knees as the suit disappeared from his body, and he landed with his face in the dirt and his torso draped over Kaoru's lap as she stirred, trying to pull herself back upright and into the fray. The heavy weight of Genta pinned her down.

The Ayakashi howled, knocked back by a hundred nameless enemies that swarmed over the fallen pair. He disappeared through a crack as the others closed in, each losing their transformation as they drew close.

Someone, she couldn't tell who, pulled her out from underneath him. She watched silently as the others crowded around him, rearranging him out on the ground and yelling at him. From where she sat, half crumpled in the dirt, she could already tell what they could not bring themselves to believe.

His chest did not rise. He was unresponsive. Mako pulled Kotoha away, tugging the younger girl tight to her chest and burying Kotoha's face in her neck. The southern girl cried out sharply, shouting his name over and over as Mako shook her head.

So she understood.

Chiaki and Ryuunosuke stepped back slowly, both of them shaking, Chiaki half screaming his denial as the taller of the pair choked back on a sob. They pounded the dirt with their fists and shook bodily as if their grief could revive him for even an instant.

Kaoru lowered her eyes to the ground as Takeru reached up and, with a gentle touch, closed his best friend's eyes for the final time.

--

They were inconsolable, all of them. It wasn't just the samurai, but the kuroko as well, and every last customer who had ever graced Gold Sushi. They didn't all know the reason behind it, but they came to the funeral just the same.

Kaoru stood straight, taciturn as always, lips pressed in a straight line. Few knew who she was, and some commented amongst themselves of her coldness. Aside from the very few small children running around everyone's feet who could not understand what was happening, she was the only person who did not cry.

"A life cut short," Hikoma had said. She listened in silence to every word spoken. She watched Takeru leave the room, his fists bandaged from where he had already punched them raw, misplaced anger at the loss of the friend who understood him the best in all the world. But Shiba's princess only watched with dry eyes and offered nothing. When the time came, she stood before them all and said in a clear voice that he had been far kinder and more passionate than anyone she had ever known. Brave and honest, she'd added without a hint of emotion, but his time had come, and so they had been parted.

The other samurai, unable to even speak for him, wept harder.

--

The entire ordeal was dizzying and tiring. The process was drawn out, having to hunt down his traveling father, and bring him to the mansion to collect what little Genta had left behind. She, together with Hikoma, had presented the son's belongings to the parent reverently, and he had thanked them, for the services and taking care of his son as much as they had. He understood the boy's devotion to his cause. The old man stayed with him a long while, speaking in low tones and wiping away tears as they reminisced.

Already more than a week had passed since then, and it was after he left that she returned to her room in silence. Turning the kuroko and their offer of tea away at the door, she'd said she would have no need of them that evening. If something arose, they would be the first to know. They fixed her pillow, turned down her bedroll and made their leave.

For the first time since she was pulled away from the heavy warmth of his body, Kaoru found herself alone.

Her tears surprised her. She hadn't thought she would be able to cry. But there she sat, perfectly still, trembling and weeping until she doubled over. Both hands clawed at her face in a vague attempt to stop her tears, but it was to no avail. Alone again, as the others lay in their rooms beginning to draw back their strength, she broke down completely. Dawn came long before her tears stilled and she hiccuped in the new day, scarcely able to breathe without shaking.

She had known a heart could break, certainly. But she hadn't realized hers had gone with him.

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