A thick atmosphere hung heavy in the humid air that day, at Nagashino. Ranmaru had been present during the meeting held to discuss their plans. Hanbei and Kanbei would have most of their support, and the muskets. Ranmaru knew he would be staying close to his lord, in the main camp. Killing those who dared to break through, though Nobunaga assured him that wouldn't happen. Nobunaga chose this ruthless tactic for the entire reason of embracing the ways of changing warfare, and because it ensured Ranmaru need not throw his life on the line for him.
Ranmaru was upright and vigilant in the main camp, his eyes darting around, scaling up the walls, searching for anything. Any sign of something that could be going wrong, he flinched when he felt on hand on his head. "Hey! You're pretty jumpy..." Ranmaru turned around and sighed softly. "Well we are on a battlefield..." He responded casually.
"I guess that's right." Ranmaru was talking to the creative, and optimistic Hanbei. Hanbei looked over at Kanbei, who was standing far away, and preparing to head out towards his first station. "I should probably go with him, he's helpless on his own... You just looked so lonely there, why don't you go stand by your lord?" Ranmaru blinked. "Hmm..." He looked over at Nobunaga, who looked calm but had a complicated look in his eyes, Ranmaru did not like bothering him if he seemed to be enjoying his own thoughts.
When he turned back around he saw Hanbei skipping off towards Kanbei, they had a lot to do this particular battle, most of their assignments were together. Ranmaru thought he'd chance getting only slightly closer to his lord, who still had an intense look on his face. Ranmaru knew that the heat of their battle would pick up soon, and they'd hear the chaos erupting all around them soon. Nobunaga must be enjoying what envisioning his victory would be like.
Ranmaru smiled softly and sat down a few feet away from his lords chair, and picked up his lords sword which was laying there on the ground. He had prepared it for battle the night before, but with nothing else left to do he held it up so it wouldn't touch the ground. When Nobunaga finally came out of his thoughts, it was at the intense sound of their armies clashing. He knew the cavalry would be next, and he sent out Mitsuhide to aid the musket unit.
He looked over and noticed Ranmaru. "Hmmm... So is that where you've been all this time?" He asked, Ranmaru nodded. "Yes, my lord." "Hmmm... Come closer. Sit here directly at my side." Nobunaga hide the smile behind his gloved hand as the boy nodded and moved closer to him, sitting down next to Nobunaga's chair.
"Good... Now I can reach both you, and my sword if I need to." Ranmaru tilted his head, tempted to ask why he'd need to be able to reach for him. Ranmaru could hear the muskets rounds piercing through the air, he wondered what it looked like out there. Once the cavalry was finished off, Nobunaga said they'd have nothing else to worry about.
Minutes later Mitsuhide returned from the battlefield, he looked as though he didn't even have to draw his sword. "They are... Retreating, my lord." He reported. "Are they now? Well I didn't think them to be so spineless... After them." Nobunaga stood up and gently took his sword from Ranmaru's hand, letting it linger there for a moment.
"Will you personally accompany me, Ranmaru?" Nobunaga smiled, though he knew he need not ask. "Of course." Ranmaru stood up at once and was at his lords side. "All units are to give pursuit. The Takeda are finished." Ranmaru had his horse before Nobunaga could even yell for it. "Ranmaru... Before we reach the main camp... I'm sure Kanbei has succeeded in destroying any plans of an escape route they have... We have plenty of time to savor the battle." Nobunaga chuckled.
Ranmaru was the first unit out of their main camp to head out towards the Takeda main camp. Though Hanbei and Kanbei had been heading there this entire time, so if anyone was going to catch Katsuyori it was them. Ranmaru knew what was on his lords mind though. As he sliced through soldier after soldier, not caring if they begged, or were fleeing, it become all the more clear to him.
Nobunaga wanted to punish them. To show what happened to those that went against the Oda. Ranmaru wanted nothing more than to deliver his Lords message. Panting heavily with the exertion, it was so humid that day he was drenched in sweat. As well as blood, he noted looking down at his clothes. In fact he was completely covered in blood, without so much as a wound of his own.
His eyes trained to the battlefield once more, it was nearly deserted now. He walked slowly across the fields, inspecting the dead as he went to make sure they were all laying corpses, and not cowards. He didn't see many of his own officers either, in fact he was alone now, had he killed everyone in this area? It was entirely possible, he gave up on counting how many he'd killed quite some time ago.
He stopped when he heard the sound of a horse. One was fast approaching, it could have very well been anyone at this point. He readied himself for anything, but he relaxed when he saw that it was Lord Nobunaga. "There you are, Ranmaru..." He had a sense of urgency to his voice. "My lord... Forgive me I was... Preoccupied." He offered bowing. Nobunaga smirked slowly. "Kanbei was able to turn their unit around and are giving chase to them here, they will try and escape for the west now, and should pass through here. I wanted to be here to meet them."
Nobunaga was looking in the direction that he pointed. "Then it is good that I am here to protect you..." Ranmaru got ready to fight off what was left of the Takeda, and he knew they would have some formidable opponents amongst their ranks. when the flood of soldiers can towards them, he noticed Yukimura and Keiji amongst their ranks. "Keiji?" He blinked in confusion, but shrugged it off shaking his head. He couldn't be distracted or confused, not while he had Lord Nobunaga to protect.
Yukimura came out first, in front of Katsuyori to counter Ranmaru who had rushed forward to meet their unit. "Why do you still persist? Do you not see how futile things look for you?" Ranmaru asked pushing all his strength against Yukimura's opening blow. "How can you even ask something like that? I will never stop fighting to protect my lord. No matter what." Yukimura grated out.
Screams erupted from their back flanks, Kanbei had caught up to them apparently. Which meant Hanbei would be close by wreaking havoc. "Then fight to your last." Ranmaru said without another word, exchanging a few more blows with Yukimura. "Look what I have!" Hanbei offered playfully, leaning against a tied up Katsuyori. "Lord Katsuyori!" Yukimura sped off after him.
"Haha! Oh no Kanbei help, this scary Yukimura is gonna get me!" Hanbei mocked. Ranmaru turned his sights to random footsoldiers if Yukimura no longer wanted to entertain him. "I love it when you're angry..." He heard Nobunaga say from directly behind him. He turned his head slightly and noticed if he leant back just a few more inches he could lean against the mans back. Nobunaga had blood staining his clothes, and a contented smile on his lips.
"My Lord..." Ranmaru found himself blushing.
"Hey it's about time we get the hell out of this place." Keiji's bellowing voice called out to Yukimura, who had been locked in a hectic dual with Kanbei and Hanbei at the same time. "Damn... Katsuyori..." Yukimura pressed on until Keiji's horse that no one dared try to intercept flew past him and he was gone. Taken away by Keiji no doubt.
"Looks like we won." Ranmaru relaxed and looked to his Lord. "Head back." He called out and turned to his horse. "Ranmaru... Come with me..." Nobunaga held out his hand, and Ranmaru tentatively took it and he was hoisted up onto Nobunaga's horse. "My Lord, are you well? Do you have any injuries?" Ranmaru asked. "None whatsoever." They began to ride back to the main camp.
This was an increasingly simple conquest for Lord Nobunaga. "Hehe... My Lord you were right about this... The battle was positively won. From the start." Ranmaru noticed they were out of view of the others and let his head rest against his Lord's back. "Ranmaru... I have much more than just a future to protect now... I need to make sure each victory is a certainty. Or else our future will be lost." He said quietly.
"Lord Nobunaga... I... I do not know what to even say..." Ranmaru blushed at such romantic words. Nobunaga was treating him as though he were his soul mate. "Say... I will always be yours, and never let any man tear me from you..." Nobunaga offered with a playful smirk. Ranmaru found himself smiling. "My Lord is a possessive lover?" He asked.
"Very." Nobunaga laughed. "Hmmm... I will always be yours... And never let any man tear me from you." Ranmaru said shyly, closing his eyes. "Good. That's what I wanted to hear. You always know just what to say." Ranmaru nodded. "That's because you told me, my Lord." He couldn't suppress the effeminate giggle.
"Yes well... That doesn't matter..." Nobunaga wished Ranmaru had been riding in front of him, so he could hold him. "Lord Nobunaga..." Ranmaru felt so much warmth and pride welling up inside of him. What he had with his Lord was so special, but at the same time he felt so important. "Ranmaru... You're the closest person to my heart."
'Lord Nobunaga... He treats me with so much kindness... What can I do to repay him...?' Ranmaru bit his lip, wondering if their was anything. "Once we reach the main camp, we'll ride back to the castle. Though I think our army is so tired, we should stay the night in the camp. We've plenty of provisions to do that." Ranmaru smiled and nodded, his Lord always knew the best course of action. "You're right, many of the men looked tired..."
That meant the night would be boisterous with celebrating, and sake would be passed around by all the men. Ranmaru didn't mind these sorts of things though, he usually would stay near his Lord, or if his Lord wanted to be alone or was for whatever reason not around, Lord Katsuie.
Ranmaru parted from his lord so that he could speak to some of the other officers in private if he needed to. He was interested in what Hanbei and Kanbei were talking about. "Where is Katsuyori?" Ranmaru asked. "Hm? Oh he's dead. I wasn't going to drag him all the way here." Hanbei laughed. Ranmaru nodded, so all the work of this battle was done. The Takeda were finished. "It is not common to see you not by your lords side." Kanbei noted dully.
"Well..." Ranmaru turned and saw that Nobunaga was speaking to a few of his retainers. "Lord Nobunaga is busy. I'm sure he wouldn't mind my company... But I was curious about Katsuyori." Ranmaru looked away, he wasn't always at his Lords heels... Sometimes he had other things to go and attend to. "Ohh! Kanbei! I think you were making a joke! A joke, right? Ahahaha!" Hanbei pointed straight at his friends face and laughed. Kanbei sighed and turned away from his childlike antics.
"Interesting..." Ranmaru said below his breath, studying the two of them. He turned when he heard his name being called. "Yes my lord?" Ranmaru asked running over to Nobunaga. "You should eat something..." He said softly, the afternoon had passed and the sky was beginning to become littered with stars. He sat down next to his lord eating, a fire had been created to keep them warm in the night. Many of the men were celebrating and drinking sake as he knew they would be. Ranmaru smiled fondly.
Of course they would celebrate their Lords victory. What could be more worth celebrating than that? "Lord Nobunaga..." Ranmaru said softly, he had grown tired and was leaning against his Lord's arm. "Yes Ranmaru?" Nobunaga asked, wrapping the arm around him and pulling him in to lean against his chest. Ranmaru had been staring into the fire, for some reason a feeling scared him. A terror in his heart as he stared into the fire.
"I love you..." He whispered very softly, he just needed reassurance. He just wanted this feeling, whatever it was as he stared into the fire, to stop. Why did the fire scare him so? He glared at it, clutching at Nobunaga's sleeves, as if daring it to try and take him away. Nobunaga laughed loudly, catching the attention of some of the men around the fire. "And I love you, Ranmaru." He said in his normal voice, sipping his sake.
"L...Lord Nobunaga!" Ranmaru whinned, hiding his face. He had whispered it for a reason. "Why are you hiding from me?" Nobunaga drunkenly inquired, prying the hands away from Ranmaru's face until the struggle had taken them to the ground. "I think my Lord has had enough to drink for the night." Katsuie howled with laughter.
"Yes... You have..." Ranmaru blushed. "I have... Haven't I?" Nobunaga sat up, helping Ranmaru get up with him. "Are you tired Ranmaru?" He asked, Ranmaru nodded. "I'll take you to my tent." Nobunaga said directing him away from the bonfire. "Y-Your tent?" Ranmaru blushed. "Of course, were else are you going to sleep?" Nobunaga asked him like it was the strangest question he'd ever been asked.
"I want you with me... All of the time..." Nobunaga smiled, guiding him into the tent. "All the time..." Ranmaru repeated it with a smile. "Alright..." He blushed.
"I should stay with the men for a few more hours... Get some sleep, Ranmaru." Nobunaga said exiting the tent. Ranmaru smiled softly and laid down, Nobunaga's tent was... Comfortable.
"All of the time..."
AN/: Finally finished the Nagashino chapter. That was actually pretty fun. It didn't take me as long as I expected I'll never have to procrastinate as long as I did before I got that last chapter in, I want to keep this going regularly, since so much more still has to be done. The upcoming chapter will have some fluffy stuff, perhaps another battle, haven't decided. A lot of Mitsunari and Ranmaru focus, and probably will be the longest chapter in the story thus far because I have a lot of interactions I need to fit in between everyone. So it goes without saying Chapters 9&10 will be the wrap up of Ranmaru and Nobunaga's story together- And the focus will switch to Mitsunari. As happy as this story gets sometimes, it is a tragedy.
So get ready for it x)
To my reviewers~
Hiira: Thank you so much for the constant reviews :3 I'm glad my work gets anticipated!
Violetta-Night Butterfly: Thank you so much for the lengthy review! I'm so glad you can see what I am doing with giving Mitsunari a playful attitude x'3 I know the idea is very fan made to have them form a friendship but when Mitsunari comes into the Sengoku period is just so convenient. It could make him more harsh, and he comes into the story when they are fighting Mitsuhide. I can't wait to put more focus on him and of course his relationship with Sakon! D I'm really glad that you enjoyed my story. 3
Thank you to everyone who has reviewed or saved my story! :D