Note: Onigumo claimed his compensation in this one.
"What?!" Chizuru exclaimed in surprise as Onigumo carried Makoto. "Wait! You can't..."
"I'm sorry" Onigumo said with a frown then he touched Chizuru's forehead. "This would be good food for my newest catch"
Chizuru shuddered and felt sleepy all of a sudden. "What...are you doing..." she fainted but Saitou caught her.
"What did you do?" Saitou pointed his sword at Onigumo.
"Just took the payment. Take her home. She'll be fine. I got to get going now" Onigumo turned to go.
"Wait! Where are you taking him?" Saitou inquired.
"He'll be just fine. He made a deal with me and this is part of the payment. I'm sorry but I have to take him with me." Onigumo explained as he continued forward.
Saitou wanted to go after the man but he has Chizuru to take care of. He glanced down at her then the moment he looked up the old man was gone and so was Makoto.
Chizuru sat in the main room absent mindedly, having tea on her own. "Something feels wrong...something...is missing" she thought as she looked across her. Suddenly tears started welling in her eyes and they dropped one by one on her cup of tea.
The door slid open and Setsuna entered. "Mama I tried making some rice balls for you" he extended the plate of rice balls to her. "Mama are you crying again?" he asked worried about her.
"I'm sorry Setsuna" she smiled at him and wiped her tears away. She took a rice ball and tasted it. "This taste great"
"Are you going to be alright?" he asked. He noticed that she got thinner and dark circles formed under her eyes, because of her lack of sleep and loss of appetite.
Chizuru nodded. "Don't worry about me."
Setsuna nodded with a small smile then left the room.
He doesn't understand it but after that night when Saitou brought her home, both of them had splatters of blood on them, she wasn't the same anymore. When she woke up she didn't even looked for his father and what bothers him more is that she doesn't have any recollection of him at all. He asked Saitou about his father but he just said that he went somewhere and didn't say when he'd be back with a straight face. Setsuna thought that maybe his father was dead but he doesn't feel like he's gone. Something must've happened that night but it looks like no one can tell him what. Many times he tried to tell her about his father but she would always say she doesn't recall him or worse she would have a bad headache and faint.
Setsuna stopped in front of his father and mother's room. Upon opening it he was surprised that the room was a mess. His father's clothes were on the floor and so were his notebooks and writing materials. With a deep sigh Setsuna entered the room and started picking up the mess.
"Setsuna" his mother's weak voice called him. Chizuru leaned on the door; her cheeks were soaked with tears. "I can't remember...There is someone missing... I have a husband... I sleep here with him...have tea with him every afternoon...but I can't remember" she fell on her knees and grabbed the nearest robe and held it tightly. "Setsuna..." she fell down and lost consciousness.
"It's really quiet tonight" Onigumo said as he sat down on the field, placing down his staff next to him. His companion didn't reply and didn't even sit down. "Do you regret that you made the deal with me?"
Makoto sheathed his sword. "No. I knew what I was getting into when I accepted the deal. Besides it's better that she forgets about me if I won't be able to stay by her side. It would at least save her tears"
"Then what's with the look on your face?" Onigumo laughed. "Well, just keep that face. It's perfect for intimidating those arrogant demons."
"How long do I have?" Makoto inquired looking down at Onigumo.
"A couple of weeks" came the casual reply.
"I'd make a deal with you"
Onigumo glanced at him with a grin. "What is it?"
"I'd catch that demon that needs to be sealed up right away. He'd make a good addition to the demons you've tamed right?"
"Oh you mean the one we ran into the other day?"
Makoto nodded. "I'll get him without your help." he paused "In return I have a request"
"Alright. I guess that would be fair enough" Replied the old man.
Chizuru collected the fallen leaves in front of their house. It would be winter soon and the cold afternoon breeze made her shiver.
"I'll go pick up some wood for tonight" Setsuna said as he left to go to their backyard.
Chizuru decided to take break. She sat on the steps and let her mind wander off for a while. She wasn't sure how long he was standing there but upon looking up, Saitou was standing at their fence watching her.
"I'm sorry I didn't realize you were there" She smiled at him.
He smiled back and walked towards her. "Are you feeling better now?"
She smiled weakly. "I don't know"
"So you still can't remember" he muttered.
"I don't get it. Both of you have tried to tell me about him but I'll faint as soon as I remember bits of him then I'd forget again. I can't even remember his face." She clenched her fists in frustration.
Saitou placed a hand on her head and gently patted her head. "It's alright. No one completely forgets"
She smiled and wiped away the tears that welled in her eyes.
"Too bad... I won't be able to watch the last of them fall before winter with you" Makoto smiled weakly as he looked up the blossoms that fell as a strong gust of wind blew by.
Each step he took felt painful. He has already weakened and he was aware that he wouldn't last long. He dropped on his knee and clenched his fist. "Damn it" he pulled himself up and endured the sharp waves of pain throughout his body. "Just a little more" he thought knowing that he would arrive at their house soon. He dragged himself to the side of the road and caught his breath. He closed his eyes for a while to allow the dizziness to go away and as he opened his eyes a wave of relief overcame him.
"Are you alright? You look really pale..." Chizuru knelt next to him and took out a handkerchief and wiped his sweat away.
"Chizuru..." He muttered with a weak smile as he reached his hand out to her. "Is that you?" She looked confused but concerned at the same time as she looked at him.
" How...how do you know me?" she inquired.
He chuckled. "So you really don't remember" he held her hand which wiped his sweat away.
"I'm sorry..." Chizuru was about to pull away from him, since he was a stranger to her, but as he held her hand suddenly she didn't want to pull away.
"I thought I wouldn't get to see you again" he smiled then pulled her to him. "I'm sorry but... I'll have to leave you again"
As he held her, random fragments of her memories with him flashed in her mind. The mind might forget but the body remembers they said and it was true for her. She held him back tightly and tears rolled down her eyes.
He pushed her a bit away from him, so he could have a look at her face. He wiped away her tears. "It was really hard to be with you in this life...a lot of things just wanted us apart. I also made you cry a lot. I'm not such a good lover I guess." he chuckled. Another wave of pain coursed throughout his body. He groaned and leaned forward, resting his head on Chizuru's shoulder.
"I'll go get someone who can help..." Chizuru said in panic.
"Don't" he lifted his head and looked her in the eyes. "Just stay here." he held her hands. "Chizuru...in our next life, I promise to make it up to you"
"Ma...Makoto" she finally remembered. The joy of being reunited with him and the fear of losing him welled inside her.
"Chizuru..." he uttered weakly. She removed her hand from his, held his face then kissed him. Her lips were warm and he thanked the gods that he had a chance to feel them against him one last time. He embraced her tightly not ever wanting to let go but his time was running out fast, slipping from his hands like sand.
"Chizuru..." he muttered as his hold of her loosened and he fell forward to her once more "I..." he whispered to her ear. He wanted to tell her he loved her but he already breathed his last breath. He closed his eyes leisurely with a peaceful smiled on his face. He wasn't able to tell her he love him but he was sure she already knew.
"Makoto..." Chizuru started crying quietly. She let him rest on her shoulder and caressed his skin which turned from warm to cold. She ran her fingers through his raven hair and planted a kiss on his forehead.
From a distance Setsuna was standing, watching the tragic scene unfold. He went out to look for his mother and when he arrived he saw his father kissing her then before he can even run to him and embrace him he fell forward and his mother started crying. That moment he knew his father was gone. His legs felt as heavy as stones but he dragged them forward. Upon reaching his mother he knelt down next to her. Looking at his father, it would seem as if he was just sleeping. He knew that his father told him that he shouldn't cry but he knew that this is an exception. He started crying his eyes out then he rested his head down his father's chest.
"Setsuna..." Chizuru placed a hand on the boy's head. "It's just the two of us now but don't worry...he'll always be watching over us." Chizuru looked at Makoto. "In my next life I'll find you" she paused and smiled weakly "Rest peacefully, my love."