Time: Late night
Ittosai had never imagined his life would turn out this way. After years on the road of carnage, who could have said there would be someone who would ever care for him. After all, hadn't his own mother left him behind? Didn't the heavens frown upon monsters such as him?
If someone had told Ittosai, not more than two weeks ago, that he would give up living for his sword, and a beautiful girl would confess her undying love for him… well, said person would have been skewered on the spot for mocking him. And yet, despite all odds, here he was holding Sayori in his arms as she slept. Had it really been two weeks? The blond stared up at the starry skies overhead. Even if were possible to atone for his murderous rage, he would never do anything to deserve this. Every moment together, every glance, every kiss, every whisper of love was a gift he would never earn.
Sayori sighed in her sleep and snuggled closer to her lover. The action made Ittosai's gaze soften and he rested his chin on the top of her head.
"Baka onna…" he whispered before closing his eyes and smiling.
There were better men out there, better samurai than he, and still, she chose him. Somehow, she saw beyond the murderous sociopath and decided to save him. Sayori was very, very foolish. But then again, falling in love with a woman he'd only just met hadn't exactly been a brilliant move on his part. It was just as well, they could be foolish together…
Dinner for two…
Sayori had finally gotten the hang of cooking over an open fire without singing any part of her body. That's not to say she didn't know what she was doing. Back home she'd been quite handy in the kitchen, however a stove and a campfire were two different things altogether.
Feeling quite proud of herself she stirred sliced vegetables into the metal pot and added a bit of salt before turning to Ittosai who was on he farthest end of their camp staring down a bucket. In that little section of the world there existed only two wills: Ittosai's and that of the wriggling thing in the bucket that was supposed to be dinner.
"Ittosai, do you want me to…"
"I said I'd handle it and I will!" he cut her off in a snippy tone.
Sayori sighed and shook her head. Men could be so stubborn.
"Alright then, lets get this over with," he scowled putting on his most fearsome face as he reached into the bucket and pulled out two small octopi. He cringed inwardly as the little creatures writhed wildly in his grasp.
The blond had seen how octopi was prepared quite often but he had never liked dealing with the little blighters unless they were fried on his plate with a side of gyoza. The disgusting factor rose exponentially as it wrapped a tentacle around his wrist.
"Gah!" he instantly flailed his arm and attempted to dislodge the little mollusk. The octopus put on a brave fight but eventually it sailed off Ittosai's wrist and collided with a tree trunk with a wet smack.
Sayori bit back a laugh and pretended not to notice.
"LATER ONNA I'M BUSY!" he yelled though his voice was slightly frayed at the end.
Sayori shook her head ruefully and continued to feed twigs to the fire. She'd only turned her back for a second when the ronin's voice cut through the quiet afternoon.
"GET IT OFF ME! GET IT OFF ME! GET IT OFF!"
The girl whipped around to see an octopus attached to her lover's face and another latched on to his arm. She tilted her head caught between choking back a laugh and wondering if she should help. Meanwhile, Ittosai managed to pry off the little beasts and quickly unsheathed his battered sword.
"DIE!" he growled as he beat his dinner into submission (and into the dirt) with the dull sword.
Sayori couldn't hold it in any longer, and she went into a fit of giggles that made her fall over onto the ground. Ittosai turned and gave the girl a dark look. It didn't have the desired effect since tears were blurring her vision. So with a weary sigh, he picked up the neutralized octopi and took them to the river so as to rinse them off. He tossed the troublesome creatures into the pot and sat down next to the fire to have a nice long sulk. Sayori soon took the spot next to him.
"You didn't tell me you were afraid of octopi," she said.
"I'm not. I just don't like them sitting on my face," he replied defensively and repressing a shudder.
"I thought they looked good on you," she teased and gave him a peck on the cheek.
The motion made Ittosai melt into incoherence for a few seconds.
"Next time, we're getting gyoza," he stated once he retrieved his train of thought.
Faint whimpers woke Sayori in the pale light right before dawn. She sat up to see Ittosai curled away from her and trembling in his sleep. It had happened only a few times since they'd begun their journey but each time, his pain tore at her heart. She reached out and gently hugged him.
"Ittosai… it's okay… I'm here…" she murmured as she gently stroked his hair.
He awoke with a start and grabbed Sayori roughly by the shoulders.
"No more!" he cried out gasping for breath as his violet eyes stared through the teen. "Please, no more…"
Pain and an all too familiar terror were evident in his wild gaze and Sayori felt her heart ache.
Violet eyes flickered with a hidden pain as his face contorted and he pulled her close.
"Sayori, please…" he shuddered and clung to her as if the teen would dissipate at any second. "Please… don't leave me."
His face was buried against her shoulder and he was shaking like a reed in the wind. The girl returned his embrace and lightly kissed his forehead.
"I'm here, it was all a bad dream. I'm here love, I'll always be here…" she kept repeating the soothing words like a mantra as she rubbed his back.
Eventually his breathing evened out and his trembling faded. Sayori glanced down to see his thin face illuminated by the pale streaks of dawn. He was at peace and looking up at her in adoration.
'If you ever get tired, you can leave me, I won't mind…' he had said that to her hadn't he? He hadn't wanted to think she was obligated to join him. Except now…
I need you so much. I need you to stay. Please stay… And yet now that he was fully awake he couldn't bring himself to whisper the words. Even now, could it be he was afraid of rejection?
"I'll always be here, Ittosai. I'll never leave you…" she whispered and he reached up to kiss her lips tenderly.
Always and never were difficult words to keep in a promise. But he believed her, and besides, "always" was just the right amount of time he wanted to spend by Sayori's side.
A/N: Woo! It had to be done... just finished Ittosai's path through Yo Jin Bo and I had a little plot banni hopping around my brains. I did this chapter in little fractions so as to just give a snip of what happened AFTER they went on that journey of atonement do-hickey! There might be more there might not, depending on if people even read this fic. Haha!