Warning: Angst.......angst.......more angst.......lots of it.......*hands
out tissues* Enjoy!
Chapter One: Remember Who You Are
He had failed.......again.......
Sound the bugle now
Play it just for me
The carnage was overwhelming.......bodies littered the ground. The bodies
of the men and women whom he had lived with since his youth. His
family.......the only one's who cared about him enough to let him live with
And, once again, he had failed them. As if betraying them so long ago
hadn't been bad enough.......
As the seasons change
Remember how I used to be
If anything, this new problem had his feelings torn and mangled. He stood
shakily, his usual stoic mask clouded by uncertainty. He kneeled next to
the first person he came to. An unusual strangled sound came from his
throat, and he fell onto his elbows, face buried in the dirt. The face of
the man before him was barely recognizable....... Shiro.......
Now I can't go on
I can't even start
The younger man had no pulse, but just by looking at him, he could tell
that he'd passed on. His body sported gashes, slashes, bullet holes, and
blood....... The smell of blood invaded his senses, and he cringed
inwardly. He knew he would have to do it. Slapping on his emotionless
façade, he picked up one of his kodachi's and started digging.......
I've got nothing left
Just an empty heart
'Together', he realized. The members of the Oniwabanshuu would want to be
Leaving Shiro's grave open, he started another beside it. He could retrieve
Hannya, Beshimi, Hyottoko, and Shikijou's remains later, but for
now.......he had to bury his friends.......
I'm a soldier
Wounded so I must give up the fight
Yes, they were his friends. Even if he never seemed to acknowledge it,
they were all the best friends he'd ever had. He went to retrieve the next
body....... Kuro.......what had he done to deserve this?
There's nothing more for me
Lead me away.......
He couldn't even get revenge for their deaths....... the group who attacked
gave no name, and no reason for the Oniwabanshuu's slaughter.
Okon and Omasu had been the first two to fall. Their bodies were sprawled
over one another's, blood pooling over the dirt beneath them.
He laid them in separate graves, side by side, as the two best friends
would have wanted it to be.
He dug the fifth grave slowly, not wanting to go through w it.
Okina....... a dear old friend whom he'd loved like a father for
And the same man he'd betrayed long ago over a stupid disagreement.......
Sound the bugle now
Tell them I don't care
Okina had fallen next-to-last. He gave the fight his everything. He tried
his best to save his home, his friends, his.......family.......
But he met the same fate as the others. He carefully set the elder man in
the hole, arms crossed over his chest.
Then he retrieved his sword to carve out the sixth and final grave.......
There's not a road I know
That leads to anywhere.......
He dug the last grave the deepest of all, for it would belong to the one he
cared most about. The light that had helped to pull him from the dark
recesses of his mind....... even though she herself probably didn't even
Without a light I fear that I will
Stumble in the dark
She was everything to him. His life, his beacon, and his hopes and dreams.
And she'd left him before he could tell her.......
The sight of her broken body brought a foreign emotion to the surface. Was
She had been the last to fall, and her battered body proved it. One leg was
crushed and set at an odd angle, while the other was sliced from mid-thigh
to ankle, and the blood settled around her in a thick pool on the ground.
A sword had left its mark across her stomach, the blood seeping through her
blue and white uniform. One of her hands clutched at the blade of a
dagger, as she had tried to stop it from plunging into her.
One of her shoulders was out of socket, and three kunai had lodged
themselves into her upper body. Her own weapon of choice used against
Several cuts marred her face, and blood covered a head-wound. He pulled out
the kunai and pried the dagger from her hand before gathering her broken
body in his arms.
Lay right down
Decide not to go on
He kneeled beside the grave he had carved out of the earth for her. He
started to lower her into the ground, but stopped. He didn't want to do
this. He didn't want to shut away his ray of sunshine.......even if she had
already burned out.......
He closed his eyes and breathed in deeply, his breath hitching in his
throat as he realized.......
He would never see her again.......
Then from on High
Somewhere in the distance
His eyes widened, and he felt a foreign substance cloud over them. His
vision blurred, and he the words leave his mouth in a rush.
"I can't do it.......I just can't," he sighed deeply, pulling her to him
closely. "How could this have happened?" he asked her still form. "How?"
He felt the need to touch her, and so he did....... He stroked his thumb
lightly over her ocean-sprayed eyes that would never open again to reveal
their light....... Over her slightly upturned nose that he had always
thought suited her, and over her now-chilled lips that he had wanted so
desperately to kiss so many times.......
He was already pining for her laughing eyes that would turn angry if anyone
dared to call her a weasel....... Her genki grin that only faltered when
she was sad or upset by something. He just couldn't bring himself to lower
her into the dark ground.
She was too good for the dirt.......
He froze and glanced down at the young ninja in his arms. But her mouth
had not moved. Confusion lit his eyes.
"Aoshi-sama.......it's just a body......."
The voice was Misao's, but.......where was she? He felt arms wrap around
his chest from behind, but when he looked, there was nothing there.
"Misao......." he murmured slowly, shoulders hunched disconsolately. "I'm
"For what?" she asked, and the pressure around his chest tightened.
"For failing the Oniwabanshuu again.......for failing everyone.......for
"You've never failed me Aoshi-sama....... Sometimes you were frustrating,
but you've never failed me."
"But I have......."
"Aoshi-sama.......the group that attacked today....... They weren't after
"Then who?" he asked puzzled.
"They were just a group of men struggling to survive in the Meiji
era....... They needed food. Their wives and children were dying......."
"But they killed......."
"But we never gave them the chance to explain....... The first thing we did
when we saw them was attack....... If they had not killed us, we would have
"So you died for nothing......."
"I died because of my own stupidity," she retorted. "If I would have been
thinking, I wouldn't have started the attack.
"But nothing Aoshi-sama. I'm dead. We are all dead. Nothing about that
can change. Get a grip Aoshi-sama.......remember who you are......."
There's a voice that calls
'Remember who you are
"Who are you Aoshi-sama?" a whisper of breath curling in his ear.
"I'm a failure. I've failed everyone I've known. I've no honor left, and I
should die and rot in hell for what I've done." He took a breath. "I
couldn't protect anyone......."
"No Aoshi-sama......." He felt her hand on his head. "You're the leader of
the Oniwabanshuu. You have to re-unite the Oniwabanshuu and you have to
lead them. You have honor. "Hannya, Beshimi, Hyottoko, and Shikijou
thought so too. They died so that you could live. If they died for someone
who had no honor, then they died for nothing- for they wouldn't have had
honor themselves. And I know they had honor Aoshi-sama.......and so do
Her hand tangled itself in his bangs, and he closed his eyes. "But what
will I do?" he asked, almost inaudibly. "You're gone, and I never told
"Told me what Aoshi-sama?" she asked, and he felt her head on his shoulder.
"How much I- care for you......." he muttered. "I was going to tell you
soon, and ask for your hand....... I even asked Okina for
"Oh Aoshi-sama," she sighed. "I'm so sorry......."
"Why should you be sorry? I should be the one who's sorry....... You're
dead and I'm not......."
"Oh Aoshi-sama! I do love you; I always have. And I always will. But I'm
not unhappy where I'm at....... Everybody's worried about you, you
know....... We don't want to lose you Aoshi-sama, and we don't want you to
lose yourself." He felt her arms circle around him again.
"I don't know if I can......."
"Of course you can Aoshi-sama!" she encouraged. "You're strong. And to me,
you'll always be the strongest."
Her hand covered his, and he could feel his body tremble.
If you lose yourself
Your courage soon will follow
"Aa," he managed. He looked down at the body in his arms, memorizing her
face, her size, and the way she fit into his arms....... Enough details to
last a lifetime. The only thing that was wrong.......was that she wasn't
So be strong tonight
Remember who you are
He gently lowered her body into the grave and gently brushed her bangs back
to the way she always wore them. He folded her hands over her chest and
stood to brush the dirt from his pants.
"Goodbye....... Shiro, Kuro, Okon, Omasu, Okina......." he muttered in
silent prayer as he pushed dirt over each grave in turn.
Lastly, he came to Misao's grave. He hesitated to push the dirt over her,
and he felt a pair of arms wrap around his waist.
He smiled slightly....... The closest thing to a smile that he could
manage. He had never minded their height difference....... He kneeled down
to match her height and he could feel the invisible weight wrap around his
chest again. If he closed his eyes, it would feel as if he really were
Yeah, you're a soldier now
Fighting in a battle.......
"I would have said yes you know......." she whispered, and a soft yet
invisible weight came down on his lips. "Remember who you are Aoshi-
anata.......I'll be waiting......."
The weight disappeared from his arms and he looked down at the cold body in
the grave before him.
To be free once more.......
"I'll do as you've asked," he sighed, dropping his hands to the pile of
dirt that had yet to be smoothed over the grave.
Yeah, that's worth fighting for.......
"I'll miss you.......koishii, but I'll be waiting for you too.......and
we'll be together soon," he whispered, pushing the dirt into the hole.
Though, before the dirt fell over her face, he could see the corners of her
mouth turned up into a smile, in her everlasting sleep of death.
Maybe it was just him, but he thought that she looked happy. He packed the
dirt on the grave and stood. He would make crosses first, and then he would
re-unite the Oniwabanshuu as Misao had asked.
"Wait for me, koishii......." he muttered, and one lone tear fell onto the
dirt over her grave. "And I'll wait for you......."
And Aoshi Shinomori left the Oniwabanshuu's graves, leaving his icy façade
behind. And where his tear wet the ground.......a flower began to
Sound the bugle now
And tell them
That I'll be waiting.......
Uh.......*rubs the back of her head* I think it sux, but that's my
opinion....... AHEM! Anyway, let me know what you thought of it. I've got
chapter 2 finished already, just gotta type it up.......but I won't bother
unless this one's at least decent. ^^;; The 2nd chapter is a song-fic to
"Unhappy Anniversary" by Vitamin C.......don't worry, the very end will
have a happy ending! XD, I love angst, so long as it ends happy! ^^ Chapter
Three is with the song "Here I Am", ch4 is "Nothing I've Ever Known", ch5
is "I Will Always Return" ch6(the finale) is "Here I Am (finale
So let me know if you like it! ^.~ Please?
-sama- Lord, high respect.
anata- honey, dear, darling, usually from a wife to her husband
koishii- sweetheart, darling, beloved, usually from a husband to his wife
PS. I hope it wasn't too corny.......