Author's Note: This is my first ever story request. Here's a shout-out for Raymonde *insert hysterical fan-girl screams* His idea for this YukimuraxOC fanfiction was absolute brilliance. If either of us had the time, it could well have been a complete miniseries. We collaborated for days on end via email to get it as perfect as we could. It was difficult at first because of the language barrier (I'm just a stupid American, and he is French but progressing with English), but I think I brought across his thoughts well. My own little tidbits added to his plot really made a great (but long) one-shot. A round of applause and a pat on the back is deserved for both of us if I do say so myself. Enough of my chatter. Read on!
"Sasuke-chan, Kyo-chan!" Yukimura Sanada yelled as he crested the hill, catching sight of the motley crew.
The call tore the young ninja's gaze up from his child's toy. He tried to cover his happiness with a scowl but failed miserably.
The crimson-eyed demon just gave one of his patented glares and continued walking down the dimly lit road, not slowing or speeding up his pace. While everyone in the group was wary of the guy who had defected to the Mibu's side, they couldn't help but be excited to see him as well. Traveling together as companions did that to a person.
"What's the rush?" said man cooed. Yukimura continued pestering the deadly samurai even though Kyo was trying his damndest to keep the group moving. He wanted to continue traveling until the sun went past the horizon, but the newcomer's arrival was going to shoot his plans from the sky. "It's not like your body isn't going to be there in the morning. Let's just find an inn and some pretty girls." The handsome general already had the sake covered.
Kyo couldn't disagree with the second part, but before he chewed him out, Sasuke piped in, "Yukimura, I'm sick of dragging you when you're hung over. Quit your constant drinking. Jeeze." The boy seemed to forget that he was technically no longer on Yukimura's side. He grabbed the sake bottle out of his master's hand nimbly, swinging it around his finger.
"Oh Sasuke-chan, you've grown so mature. How cute!" He glomped the poor kid, knocking him to the ground. The young ninja blushed a thousand shades of red, stuttering his complaints.
"You've always been too fond of your women and sake, Yukimura." The voice startled everyone in the group. Weapons were trained instantly on a silhouette coming steadily from a side road. Skin the color of porcelain looked paler against her white outfit. Flowing black hair reached just past her shoulder blades, bangs hiding part of her face. As she got closer, piercing forest-green eyes locked on the man she had spoken to as if she couldn't see anyone else. Even Akira, the blind swordsman, could sense the anger and feelings of betrayal in those glowing orbs.
"Hm, who might you be? Another Mibu, maybe?" Bontenmaru mused, snapping the woman back into reality.
"Yes." She said surprisingly politely for someone with so much hatred in her soul, gesturing to her nicely fitted kimono and the yin-yang sign on her sleeves. "I apologize if I startled you."
Sasuke turned to Yukimura who had frozen in place the moment he heard the melodious voice. Somehow, he had drawn his sword, but his conscious mind was in another place. "Akihime…" the man breathed.
She made a schizophrenic turn of personality and snorted. "I thought you would have forgotten me after all these years, Sanada-sama." Her tone was disgusted and sarcastic as she took a careful half-curtsy, using her open coat ends as a skirt.
Akari puffed up, obviously jealous of how this woman had stolen Yukimura's attention. "How do you know little Miss A-cup?" S/he eyed her breasts critically.
The newcomer turned slowly on the cross dresser, her voice cold. "I don't believe that is any of your business, Akari-san." The pink haired wo/man backed down; fast. Akihime cleared her throat and drew her own sword. "I'm afraid that I can't let any member of your party pass this point without participating in a fight."
Hotaru spoke up for once, agitated at the challenge. "Bring it on!" Flames swirled around him in a raging inferno, eyes blazing just as bright. Benitora and Yuya tried to get him to calm. Their efforts were futile. He got closer and closer to the front of the group but his target didn't even flinch. The fire user stopped in his tracks when a blade was thrust in front of him.
"I'll take care of this. After all, it is a Mibu matter." Yukimura's explanation was unnecessary. The green-eyed stranger was definitely out for his blood. "Shall we take this somewhere else?" His polite tone seemed strange. Unlike any other beautiful women Kyo's party had encountered, the general made no move to seduce or flirt with her. He was teetering on the precarious balance of a woman's wrath and he tread carefully. He even proffered his arm for her when he neared, but Akihime flinched back at the gesture.
Sasuke stepped forward to follow. A hand blocked his path. With wide yellow orbs, he looked up to see Kyo shake his head. "Never get in the way of a personal fight." was all the demon said. The boy was shocked. He had been living with the Yukimura for years as part of his Jyuuyushi and never once seen this person. Yet somehow, there was a feeling of recognition emanating from his very soul. So the kid watched his master, his reason for living, walk into a dense thicket of greenery with no one to watch his back but the woman who wanted him dead.
They were silent as they made their way through the forest towards a clearing better to fight in. Yukimura was so nervous it almost struck him down where he stood. When was the last time I spoke with her?
"Five years." Akihime whispered, answering the question that was thick in the air. "Five years since you last came to visit your own wife." She stood there, a dangerous female warrior basking in the shadows the setting sun cast around her.
Instead of an explanation, the blue-eyed man said calmly, "You are member of the Sanada clan and oldest daughter of our head household. You shouldn't be allying yourself with the Mibu. How can you even think of betraying your family?" It seemed like the logical thing yet it sounded strange coming from his mouth.
The cold fury in her eyes was like nothing Yukimura had ever seen before. She jumped forward, slashing down at him with her blade. Such an amateur maneuver should have been easy to evade. What caught him by surprise was how she twisted her cut sideways mid-stroke, almost severing him in two. "How dare you talk about loyalty to me? You betrayed me long before siding with the Mibu. You left me all alone to deal with your estates and manage your armies. I had to sell a good part of my dowry to keep your crazy adventures supplied. And don't get me started on the women." With each attack, she got closer and closer to landing a blow. "Do you know how many whores came to me, asking to see you? Then other people started to notice them coming around. Now the rumor is that you have dozens of illegitimate children with prostitutes. You can't even begin to imagine what it was like."
For once, Yukimura's buttons were being pushed. This woman seemed to bring so many foreign emotions from him. He leaped quickly out of rampaging woman's range. "So you think this is all fun and games for me? I'm doing this in the name of the Sanada clan. I wished with all my heart I could go home, but I can't." Those eyes that once gazed at him with such respect were icy with rage.
Again, there was that disgusted snort. "Then why didn't you ever visit?" He began to cook up some lie to cover his real reasons, but Akihime interrupted. "You tried keeping your secret meetings with the clan leaders from me. I may not be as great a general as you or as skilled as your ninjas, but I have my own network of information." She lunged, bringing their two blades clashing together in a blaze of sparks. They were eye-to-eye, ocean blue to emerald green. "I wanted to help out our family with my knowledge because I couldn't do my duty without you. It was useless. No one listens to a woman, not matter how useful she could be. If you had been at home or even within letter carrier's distance, I could have relayed information to you and saved so many lives." Yukimura bored down on her, trying to force her to submit without really causing her harm. She rushed back and turned into a spinning maneuver. Her husband dodged just in time. "When the Mibu got wind of my skills, they became quite interested in me, hoping I could find Demon Eyes Kyo's body. That is when I joined."
"But they started searching years ago!"
For a split second, there was sadness in her eyes that made Yukimura's heart break just like it did back then. "And you never found out that I was gone, did you?"
He was completely speechless. Kosuke was supposed to be keeping an eye on her while I was away. Both of the warrior's blades dropped for a moment, letting the agony and surprise wash over them. Akihime's voice was whispery when she sighed, "Don't blame your kagemushi for not telling you. I made her promise, as a friend, not to give away my secret. I have my own look-a-like standing in for me at home for the time being. No one noticed besides Kosuke."
"Why would she make such a promise?" Yukimura asked, curious. The two hadn't been friends from what he had heard. He stepped forward a little, but she put distance back between them.
"You left her in our room whenever you had to go in the middle of the night so I wouldn't find out. Eventually, I told her she didn't have to, and we became friends." She answered the silent question, her voice filling back up with that unquenchable anger she had. "I saw right through it the first time. Kosuke acted too normal when she was in the room. You would always stare at me as if you thought I would stab you in the back the moment I had the chance." Yukimura had just enough time to pull up his blade before she decapitated him. "I know that it was an arranged marriage, but you could have learned to trust me. Two years we were married before you left and never once did you truly sleep while I was in the room."
They began their dance of death again. It went on for a few minutes, neither one landing a blow, though Yukimura never tried. He knew that he could crush his wife in an instant, but listening to her speak so candidly about her feelings in this way was enlightening. After those tragedies, she had locked herself inside a frosty bubble, flinching at his every touch and word. Now, it was as if she was back to the person she once was, if only for a moment.
"It wasn't like that, Aki. I never…"
"Don't you dare call me by that pet name! You lost the right to endearments when you left me all alone. How could you? How could you do that to me?"
Yukimura's soul cried out, I wish I could show you how sorry I am; I wish I could have stopped myself from hurting you so, but this is the only way I can think of to repent. However, she could not read his thoughts no matter how hard he willed her to. Aki's eyes were glossy with unshed tears. "Couldn't you see how much pain I was in?" He choked on his own breath at the words. That split second he was off guard was enough to slash a cut right down his sword arm.
"Couldn't you see how much it killed me that I couldn't carry a child?" Another strike, this time on his thigh. A third cut across his cheek landed. It was difficult before, trying to defend himself while not trying to land blows. With such a deep injury, it was nigh impossible.
"Couldn't you see how much I needed time?" By now, Yukimura was frantically dodging attacks, being slashed in numerous places and bleeding profusely. A particularly deep wound above his heart was agonizing. Huh, how ironic.
"Couldn't you see how much I need you?" This was it. Akihime had backed him up to a tree, her sword to his throat and her face inches from his. The tears were flowing freely, unnoticed by her. "And then you left me." She broke skin, letting blood trickle down his chest to mix with the rest of his wounds. "Yukimura, I don't think I can ever forgive you."
"Don't forgive me, Aki. Never forgive me, for I can't forgive myself. Just do it. I deserve to feel all of the pain I put you through throughout the years. My death is not nearly enough, but it is all I can give you." He pressed the cold blade closer to his jugular, drawing more blood.
The woman's hands trembled and she couldn't get a sound out between her shaky breaths. The famous general continued. "After you miscarried the first time, I saw how broken you were. I should have let you mourn our child. I should have never guilted you into trying again so soon. I should have stopped when I saw how scared you were when I touched you, how mechanical you were while I took you a second time." Akihime pushed forward once again, remembering her reasons for fighting. "And when you lost another baby, I knew for certain I had lost you."
"W-what?" She breathed.
Her husband didn't seem to hear her. "You couldn't even look me in the eye afterwards. You flinched away from me as if you were being burned. So I left, hoping I could bring back glory for you or die so you'd never have to see me again."
She sucked in her breath, eyes going wide with astonishment. "Why?"
"Because despite barely knowing your name when we got married, I became attached to your presence. How you blushed but laughed quietly at the dirty jokes my men told brightened my view of this stupid aristocratic world. Your interest in swordplay showed that you weren't just the delicate flower your parents raised you to be. Your determination to carry out your duty by sleeping with me even though you didn't want to was astounding. And at the end of the day, watching you slumber assured me there was peace somewhere out there. Aki, I grew to love you. If taking my life will ease your suffering, do it." Those bright blue eyes were sincere. Then he closed them, waiting for the final blow that he deserved. I'm so sorry. I love you.
The blade was removed from his neck but never returned. There was a clatter of metal on stone. Akihime slumped to the ground, clasping at her chest as if it was on fire. "It can't be real. I'm just imagining it. After all these years, I thought you'd left because you were ashamed I couldn't carry a child to term. I thought all of those prostitutes were a result of you trying to have an heir, even an illegitimate one. This is all just some crazy fantasy I cooked up." She looked up at him with a gorgeous smile on her tear soaked face. "But for all this may be a dream, I don't ever want it to end. Please don't let it end."
Yukimura knelt down and encircled his arms around her in spite of his injuries. He had survived much worse. She slowly did the same as if he might turn to dust at her touch. When Aki felt he was solid, she squeezed him so hard that he had to suppress a squeal. Tears mixed with the blood on his clothes as she finally expressed the feelings of sorrow over her children's deaths that she had kept locked away in her heart for so long. A scream of anguish was rent into the night. For what seemed like forever, she wept as Yukimura whispered sweet nothings in her ear and pet her hair.
After a while, Aki's almost hysterical sobs softened and she clutched at his shirt. Gently, he cupped her face in his hands and wiped away the tears. He let a mischievous grin cross his features that she couldn't see with her eyes clamped shut. Yukimura started pressing butterfly kisses across her puffy lids and tasted the salty tears. Green eyes opened as he moved on, looking up at him in half shock, half wonder, her mouth in an adorable 'o'. He continued his little course, making her cheeks flush bright red.
Just as he was about to land a gossamer kiss on her lips, she pushed out at him, her hands pressing on the wound on his chest. "Ugh," he moaned, collapsing.
"Oh my God, Yukimura!" Aki gasped, leaning over his form on the ground. He was unresponsive. "Wake up. I'm such an idiot. I should have treated his wounds. Please, don't leave me now. Yukimura!" She hovered just inches from his face, a look of worry etched into her features.
Yukimura landed a peck on her nose, startling her. "Gotcha." For a moment, it was deadly silent. Then there was a loud 'thwack'. "Ouch, watch it, I'm injured." He complained, rubbing his head with his good arm.
"You are such a child sometimes." Aki scolded, but the look in her green orbs and the tone of her voice said something completely different.
He gave her a devilish wink. "I know. But since you were the one who hurt me, could you kiss it better?" The puppy dog eyes he did were able to break through even Sasuke's stony heart. His wife didn't stand a chance.
She sighed. "Just this once… but we have to get you bandaged up. Besides, after you've healed, I've got a bone to pick with you." Yukimura quivered under her piercing gaze.
"What would that be?"
"Don't think I've forgotten about the prostitutes."
"Aki, honey, darling, I can ex…ouch!"