A/N Hello everyone! We know that's it's been 9 months since our last update O.O, sorry for making you wait for so long, guys. There are no excuses for us this time. Work, studying and daily routine doesn't count anymore. All we want to say is thanks for not forgetting about our work and keep reviewing it. Thanks for your wonderful reviews, "Through the Worlds to You" will see its continuation.
The "thank you list" is published before this chapter. We really wanted to thank everyone who left their feedbacks.
We hope you will like the next chapter and won't be upset with us anymore T_T
Through the Worlds to You
The realization of the occurred event didn't hurry to come. Saito had no clue what just happened. He woke up from his unplanned nap because he felt pleasant warmth and smooth touches to his lips. The sensation was indescribably nice. He had never felt anything like that before. And when he opened his eyes, he saw her. Yukimura-san was kissing him gently and slowly, but then she looked up at him and great terror could be noticed in her chocolate eyes. Something scared her so much that she unconsciously drew back in fear.
It was him who she scared her for the second time: at first it was in the corridor when she came back from the dinner, and now – right after she recovered from the severe fever she had.
It was easy to muse about the situation now, when she ran away from him as if he was a dangerous flame that could burn you to death. The moment she looked at him, Saito had no thoughts in his head. He was so surprised with her sudden kiss that he lost the inborn ability to think. The next events played like a movie before his eyes. The girl covered her mouth with her palm and said something calling him by his given name. It was another shock for him, like a man grown up in a traditional family, he wasn't used to be addressed so informally.
And then she jumped on her feet and ran away, leaving him sitting alone in the room absolutely inapprehensive and bewildered.
He wanted to go after her, to ask why she did what she had done, but something was stopping him from those intentions. Saito was too absorbed in his own tangled emotions that he couldn't think straight and breathe steady.
He had never kissed a woman and no women had ever dared to kiss him…until today. The girl from Tokyo had ruined his steady, regular life when she crossed a threshold of his house. Yukimura-san wasn't just any other female he had known before. She was special, he realized it not long ago before the incident at the dinner or it would be right to say—the moment he saw her in the semi-dark corridor all wet and trembling from the cool rain. He tried to deny those strange feelings in his chest that appeared the very time he saw her, but that night his well-built façade of steadfastness cracked. The moment his true feelings showed themselves without his permission, Yukimura-san looked at him with those scared chocolate eyes of hers.
If only one could know how painful it felt to see that the person you admired so much was looking at you with horror in her eyes. During those two days of treating and taking care of her, those stabbing feelings of pain and despise to yourself smoothed a little, but today when she woke up and suddenly gave him an intimate kiss, when he opened his eyes from the finest sensation he had ever felt in his whole life and when he realized that the very sensation was given to him by Yukimura-san, a light of hope lit up in his heart. It was a spark that ran within him with a sonic speed. Maybe he wouldn't even have noticed it if the girl didn't look in his eyes. He didn't know why she reacted like that, but the result was the same as several days ago.
He saw fear mixed with regret in her eyes.
But if she was so afraid of him, why did she kiss him in the first place? After seeing her fearful eyes Hajime realized that maybe he wasn't the person she wanted to kiss and caress. But on the other side…he heard her saying his name…
What was going in?
At the very moment of his hard musings, a cell-phone in his pocket rang and interrupted his train of thoughts. The young master of the house reached his hand to pick up the phone. Unexpectedly it was Yamazaki calling.
"Saito-sama, Yukimura-san has been kidnapped," the butler said sternly in a whisper.
"What?!" Hajime cried out jumping on his feet, not believing his ears.
"I'm watching them right now. He took Yukimura-san inside a mansion. The territory is surrounded by security. I think, it's better to wait for the nightfall."
Hajime listened to the servant's every word, his conjectures were scaring him, but he had to know the truth. And he asked:
"Who did it?"
The answer was the one he swore he prayed not to hear.
When Yamazaki noticed a retreating figure of his master's guest, he felt alarmed. During all his life he relied on his 6th sense and this time wasn't an exception. The brown-haired butler canceled his duty of instructing the maidservant personnel and followed the crying girl. She ran fast and the very moment he wanted to call out her name, several black cars stopped on every side of her figure. Yamazaki was about to rush and rescue the girl, but stopped on his tracks when a white sport car blocked Yukimura-san's way. The moment the ruby-eyed blond showed himself before her, Yamazaki hid behind a nearest tree, deciding to observe attentively. He couldn't help the girl right now but he could spy on the kidnappers, and spying was another sphere he was a master at.
When Kazama knocked out Yukimura-san and took her in his car, the bold butler decided to act. He secretly sneaked to one of the black jeeps and hid himself under it. It was risky and dangerous, but it was the only way to stay unnoticed and not to let them get away.
Yukimura-san was in trouble!
Hajime didn't waste time. After receiving a phone call, he sensed his spirit glowing with determination. If he didn't know why he felt so unsteady about Yukimura-san before, it was as clear as water now. He developed deep feelings for her. The young man hated himself for letting such terrible things happen to her in order to realize his affection, but it wasn't time for self-torture. He had to save the lady of his heart no matter what, the mere thought of Kazama taking advantage of her made his blood boil his veins. It wasn't good. As a warrior, he had no right to feel any of those wavering emotions people called anger, jealousy and fury. He had to cool down for her, because he was her only hope, because he would not let anyone lay a finger on her, because she needed a guardian who would take care of her, because he burnt with determination to become the one for her…
…because he loved her.
It was an uneasy realization, especially when it came so spontaneously in his mind, but now it didn't feel wrong to think about it. During the time Yukimura-san had spent in his house, he didn't dare to think of her as a girl you could start close relations with. He ordered his mind and body to see Yukimura-san as a respectful guest and an interesting person to talk to, but nothing more than that. But those self-instructions started to fail when Kazama appeared in her life. In their life.
Hajime felt negative towards the blond man from the first sight. And at that moment he caught himself thinking that Yukimura-san needed protection. Was it jealousy back then? Hajime didn't know for sure but as a result, those cautions were right, but he wasn't too aware of them and didn't listen to his heart when it was screaming to be around the girl and help her if anything wasn't right.
And it occurred.
Saito gritted his teeth but relaxed and exhaled. It wasn't the time to feel aggravation. He needed to prepare for tonight's battle.
He had to fight for his love!
With those resolute thoughts, the young master of the house walked out of his room, wearing a long black leather cloak. He needed to borrow the strength of his ancestors—a family relic, the famous sword of the Saito dynasty.
When she woke up everything was blurry before her eyes. The surroundings were unfamiliar and she didn't remember how she ended up here.
Chizuru brought back the memories of kissing Saito-senpai, the way her body reacted to that forbidden kiss, her escape and her encounter with Kazama. The last remembrance forced her to sit up sharply in the bed she was lying on.
"I see you have finally regained consciousness," a deep masculine voice sounded in the semi-darkness.
"Where am I?" she exclaimed, her voice filled with the notes of anger.
"Let's say that you are my guest, dear Chizuru. But soon you'll become a mistress of this mansion," a power and confidence could be heard in his voice.
"What do you mean?" the girl asked and her gaze fell on her clothes. To her great terror she found herself dressed in a wedding kimono. How did she get in it? And more importantly, who dressed her in it?
"You are musing about the outfit. It's me who had dressed you for the upcoming ceremony".
She was at a loss of words, but soon found her voice again.
"How dare you! Show yourself!" she commanded. Those jokes were too much for her wavering and unsteady nervous system. She wasn't afraid of Kazama. She had nothing to lose now but it didn't mean she had to put up with her destiny. And who said that being with him was her destiny in the first place?
In the semi-darkness she couldn't see his figure clearly. Only when he stepped in the moonlight that shone through the window, she managed to find his face and maniacal ruby eyes, those were looking at her with desire and inner power.
That gaze was burning. Chizuru didn't like how it felt on her skin. And no matter how bravely she tried to deny it, his gaze was scaring her.
He was dressed in a wedding kimono too and there was a clay bottle in his left hand.
"What are you up to? Why did you kidnap me?" Chizuru inquired, drawing back instinctively till her back hit the hard wall.
The man took a step forward. He was devouring her with his wine-coloured eyes and Chizuru felt it with every cell of her body.
"I am making you my wife at first and then, after I take off that kimono from you, I'll show you the reason why I kidnapped you and tied my life with you. I need pure-blooded heirs, Chizuru, and you are the only one who can give birth to them".
The said girl gritted her teeth and hugged herself protectively, sending the man a glare full of disgust.
"I will never betray the memory of my husband. Better think about Osen-san. She loves you!"
"The Osen from this world loves not me but the man who existed before I appeared here. I have no interest in her," he answered nonchalantly, reaching out his hand and offering it to her. "Now, come here. I have no intentions to use force on you on the day of our wedding".
"I said no!" she cried in despair. "Besides, we are both humans, Kazama-san. You will win nothing by taking me!"
"Hm, I think that we should check it out first. Nevertheless, I don't lose hope of finding a way to go back to our world".
With those words he sat on the bed and reached out to grab her arm, but she jerked away and jumped down from the bed. Chizuru rushed towards the opposite wall, all alerted and ready to defend herself.
The blond's eyebrow arched above a garnet eye.
"I suppose, you are not going to share a drink of the ceremonial sake with me on your free will, are you?"
"I better die!" Chizuru barked back.
"Don't say such words, dear. I won't let it happen anyway."
"You are a disgustful beast!"
"There was not a single woman whom I didn't satisfy. It's a question of time, Chizuru. You will learn to love me some day," Kazama's voice sounded confident as he stood up and started approaching his prey.
"It will never happen. The only man I love and will always do is Hajime-san!" she said defensively, watching his every move. He wasn't as fast as he used to be in their world, but he still was dangerous and sly, she better pay attention.
"Then I will make you forget about Saito. He comes in no comparison with me, Chizuru. Besides, he is dead and the Saito from this world is not your husband. He doesn't have any feelings for you, dear. It could be clearly seen in his eyes," and a mocking laughter escaped his thought.
"Stop it!" she answered aggressively.
"Stop what? Is the truth too painful to bear? I know you, Chizuru. I know you better than anyone. I am the only one who can understand you. You lost everything in this life but from now on, I will take care of you. So, drink it," Kazama poured some sake in a miniature bowl and outstretched his hand, offering the drink to the girl.
But she had another point of view. Chizuru's eyes glowed with despise and anger. She brushed away his hand roughly, forcing the cup to slip out of his fingers and fall on a floor with a splash sound.
Kazama's eyes darkened dangerously to her bold action. He shot her a hazardous glare and hissed through gritted teeth:
"If you don't do it yourself, I will make you drink it and there will be no escape for you this time, my dear," after saying those threats he took a mouthful of ceremonial sake from the bottle and moved towards the girl. If he had his powers now, there would have been no problems to teleport behind her and grab the disobedient girl, but he was a human now and all he could do was relying on his reflexes.
But Chizuru was faster. She managed to slip out of his reach just in time. Her brain was working hard on any possible way of escaping. She had to fight the man, she knew that for sure, since the door was out of her reach and she had no doubts that the room was surrounded by security. All she could try to do was knocking out the blond of his senses. But she had no weapon and he was much stronger physically. No matter how you looked at it, Chizuru knew she was going to lose. But even if it was obvious, Yukimura would never give up so easily.
Meanwhile Yamazaki was standing on a high tree and had a perfect view of Kazama's mansion from above. The shadow of the tree crown hid the man's face. He had no opportunity to leave his hiding place and go to change into more appropriate outfit of black colour, but despite all of that, his being and posture showed that he was a professional spy or even ninja.
Yamazaki was analyzing the best way of a secret intruding in order to save his master's guest. And as the last thought crossed his mind, Susumu-san felt a light vibration in the pocket of his butler's uniform. The man picked up his cell phone to answer.
"It's time," said the voice in the receiver. "Follow the plan. Draw the securities' attention away from the east wing. I am counting on you, Yamazaki".
"Good luck, Saito-sama. Please, save Yukimura-san".
Both man hang up at the same time and took a deep breath. The next second Saito witnessed as his subordinate jumped on the other tree and threw a little stone at a head of one of security men, which caused a true commotion on the ground.
Saito waited patiently for the right moment to come. Yamazaki did great job by clearing the security away and taking them to the other side of the mansion. Now, when the entrance was clear, Saito rushed to a high fence and jumped over it gracefully, letting his black leather cloak flutter in the night. He had the main goal in his mind to save Yukimura-san and nothing could stop him now. When he entered the mansion, several men tried to block his way, but he deal shortly with them and all the others who tried to put obstacles in the way. Saito didn't kill those men, since he never unsheathed his katana, but his attacks were strong enough to knock the enemies out of their consciousness. The hardest part was ahead—to find the room where Kazama locked up Yukimura-san.
Saito prayed for her safety.
She could predict any other situation, but she wasn't prepared for such outcome. Kazama was sly. He loved to play with human reflexes and today wasn't an exception. The man pretended throwing something at the girl and she subconsciously tried to dodge it but the vigilance had been lost for a second – a time that was enough for an enemy to make a move. Kazama took advantage of the moment. He grew before Chizuru in a blink of an eye like some sort of mirage and grabbed her roughly by the chin. His other hand pressed the girl's body to his own so hard, that Chizuru started to lose oxygen.
The blond was serious. His eyes were proving that any kind of jokes had stopped right there. His ruby eyes were glowing with intimidation, and for the first time in her life Chizuru felt really scared of this man, so scared that she couldn't think straight. A fear for this man blocked all her well-trained senses of self-defense.
"This is the end!" she cried in her mind when Kazama bent his face to hers. She felt his hot breath on her mouth, which she kept shut all this time. He wanted to pour the ceremonial sake in her mouth through a forceful kiss. And it was unavoidably coming…
Chizuru screwed up her eyes in despair. No matter how hard she tried to escape his rough embrace, it was pointless. He was too strong and he had no intention of letting her go.
"I don't want it to happen!" was her mental sob of hopelessness. She had to push the unwanted man away from her!
The moment she felt his mouth on hers, Chizuru froze for a second but then she gripped all her willpower and instinctively bit Kazama's lower lip with all the strength her teeth and position could let her.
He didn't expect such turn of events. Pain shot through his mind and forced him to break the lip contact with the girl. He let go of her and spilled the liquid out or else he could choke with it. Before he could wipe blood away from his lip and send an incinerating glare at the naughty girl, he suddenly felt a wave of unbearable pain between his legs. It was so strong and agonizing that it forced him to fall on his knees before Yukimura and groan.
After some seconds of aching the blond growled furiously and looked up at the girl with the eyes filled with raving madness. But instead of fear he met a challenge in her mirrors of soul. He knew that look. All of former Shinsengumi members he fought in the past had that desperate look in their eyes when they were up to something careless and crazy. And as a proof to his musings, Chizuru took a step forward and then she bent down to pick up a shard of a broken bottle on the floor. She never broke an eye contact with the man while doing so. Then she stood up and pressed the sharp end of the bottle fragment to her throat. Those actions were dangerous for life, but still they were smooth and beautiful in her performing. It was a slow dance of death played by her.
"You won't do that," he uttered finally, slowly standing up on his feet.
She watched him calmly yet very vigilantly.
"I will, if you don't let me go. I have nothing to lose, but I will never be with you and betray the memory of my husband. I'd rather prefer death to sharing one bed with you!" her voice was low and it sounded like it wasn't her who was speaking.
"I will not let you kill yourself, Chizuru," with those words he started approaching her slowly, smoothly.
She gripped the shard tighter.
"Don't come any closer!"
But he didn't listen to her warnings and continued his dirty intentions.
Chizuru understood that it was the only way to escape the prison of being with Kazama, and when he refused to give her freedom back, the last hope blew out and she decided to put everything to an end. The girl tried to recall the memory of her dear Hajime-san, so that it wouldn't be so frightening to die, and with an image of him in her mind, Chizuru made a sharp inhale and stabbed the sharp end of her weapon deep in her throat.
The moment he opened the door to some room, the first person he noticed was Yukimura-san, who tried to kill herself with some object in her hands. There was no time to think of any other possibilities to prevent the tragedy. Saito, ruled by his subconsciousness, grabbed the first thing he found in his pocket and threw it at the girl's hands forcefully. That object turned out to be his cell-phone, but he didn't care. The moment he was sure that Yukimura-san was out of danger, Hajime rushed to her side and stood in front of her in a protective pose, with his face turned to the man who dared to kidnap his guest.
She felt pain, an unbearable pain in her hand that held a weapon of self-defense just a second ago, before it slipped out from her fingers and crashed on the floor. Chizuru didn't get what just happened, but her hand was aching so much that her vision got blurry. But even in that state she managed to see a man in a black cloak, who shielded her from Kazama with his body.
"My-my, look who decided to come to our wedding ceremony, dear". Chizuru heard deriding voice that belonged only to one person in this room. "Maybe I have to say thank you for saving my bride's life by throwing that cell-phone of yours. She is so tempered and ambitious sometimes".
"You let her go. Now!" said her savior in a low, warning tone. When she heard his voice, Chizuru recognized its owner right away. She sensed that it was him from the very beginning, but she just couldn't believe that he came for her after what she had done in the morning.
"Saito-senpai?" was her bare whisper.
But Kazama wasn't a sentimental type of a man. He preferred deeds to words.
"If you want to take her from here, then fight me, Saito," a scoffing smirk found its place on the blond man's face, as he grabbed his katana from the table.
Saito's eyes narrowed with seriousness. He wielded his katana and took a stance, holding his weapon above his head.
Chikage took his stance as well, pointing his katana at the enemy with one hand.
"If to be honest, I don't want to kill you, but you're always in the way!" the blond said coldly ready to attack.
"Yukimura-san. Please, stay back," Saito whispered, never leaving his eyes from his opponent.
The battle began in an instant. The sound of two crossed blades rang in the room. Both men were professionals in the art of fencing. Their attacks were quick, sharp and merciless. Chizuru watched the battle in alarm. It was too painful to see how the man, who looked exactly like her husband, fought Kazama. Again. She remembered how one of such struggles ended. Kazama had almost killed him, tracking dirt on his severe wounds with his feet. That time the blond damaged not only Saito's body, but also his soul, his spirit. Chizuru wasn't ready to live through a similar situation again. Saito-senpai wasn't her Hajime-san, but he still was too precious to her and she refused to lose him.
The moment the last thoughts crossed her mind, Kazama send a forceful attack, that Saito merely made it in time to block. The impact was so strong that it broke the family relic in two pieces. Azure eyes widened in terror, witnessing the blade of his katana falling on a hard floor, leaving only a handle gripped in his hands. Everything happened too fast, but the scene played in a slow motion before his eyes.
Meanwhile Chikage was furious. That brat, that parody of Saito made him sweat. But it was nothing comparing to the fact he had learned during their fight. Saito's eyes… they had changed from the day Kazama saw him in the Saito's mansion for the first time. Now they were filled with determination to protect someone he cared for. That greenhorn had feelings for his, Chikage's, woman! He knew that gaze too well. The former Saito of Shinsengumi always had that glow in his eyes, when it concerned Chizuru. And he was unbeatable in his Chizuru-mode. Love made people weak. Chikage had always thought that way until he met this man, whose crystal blue eyes could freeze you to death in the name of love. There were no doubts that this sucker was in love with Chizuru. And no matter how shameful it was to admit, Kazama had to acknowledge the possibility of his defeat. But maybe Lady luck was on his side today, ne? Who could predict such a poor outcome? Looking at a weaponless Saito, Chikage couldn't hide a malicious grin. Love didn't help this lad after all. And now Chizuru would be his. There was only one thing left…
…to kill the irksome hindrance!…
And without wasting any precious seconds Chikage flourished his katana at the other man to put everything to an end.One blow - and a sharp blade wouldslash that parvenu's body!
But everything happened too fast to react. There he saw the emotionless face of his opponent that was about to meet his death, and now there was his dear Chizuru that dashed to shield Saito's body with hers. It was too late to stop the attack. Chikage's eyes widened in terror, preparing to witness how his destined woman would die from his own hands.
The same feelings were running through the raven-haired man's head. His body got numb due to shock. He wanted to cry out her name, but his voice didn't obey. He felt helpless knowing that he couldn't save the woman he loved from harm. The realization that she would die protecting him was tearing his heart apart.
Both men were lost in their dreadful thoughts, when Chizuru caught the dangerous blade between her palms. Her stern voice, that sounded so cold and distant, interrupted the suffocating silence.
"You will not take him away. I will not let you kill this Saito Hajime. Never!"
Her eyes were bottomless because of a whirlpool of emotions she felt right now. Her gaze could paralyze you with yearning to protect the person she loved and could give her life away for.
The grip on the handle got weaker. Chikage let go of his katana and stepped back. There was too much stress for today. He could have just killed the woman he wanted in his life. His thoughts were tangling in his mind and it was hard to breathe due to rapid heart beating.
She was alive. And that was what mattered right now.
Saito felt terrible, he felt weak and ashamed of himself for not defending himself and protecting Chizuru. When he heard her words, they brought him back to reality. He was about to tell something, feeling that his voice was back again, but suddenly he noticed as the girl's body became flabby and she started to fall. In a second he caught her in his arms, thanking Heavens that his reflexes were back again.
"Yukimura-san!" he cried in despair, falling on his knees while hugging the most precious woman in his life. But his words didn't catch her attention. She lay limp in his arms, like a vulnerable child. "Yukimura-san! Please, answer me!"
Chikage watched the scene silently. The stressful situation he had faced just some seconds ago cooled his short temper. There were two persons before his eyes: a man, who held his unconscious beloved in a tight embrace, praying for her safety, and a woman, who was ready to sacrifice her life in order to save the man she loved the most in the whole universe. Somehow, that entire situation had a déjà vu effect on Kazama. He witnessed the same scene countless times in the past, but during all those events the role of a weeper belonged to the very girl that he could have accidently killed just a minute ago. She was always by Saito's side, no matter how sever his wounds were, he had always stayed alive. It was incomprehensible to Chikage how a mere human like Saito could heal after being nearly killed. But now Kazama solved the riddle. Looking at the couple, he assumed that anyone would gain the lost wish to live on, to break the chains of death if someone cried over you and begged you to come back to them. It was just like the young Saito was doing now. It was like Chizuru had always done for her husband on the battlefield.
Love. The meaning of the feeling was still beyond his understanding.
There was no need to convince yourself that you had won. Even if it was the right chance to finally kill the fraud and take the girl, Kazama didn't want it anymore. After what happened that night, he lost any intentions to override Chizuru. She was too valued to lose.
And he didn't want it that way in the first place.
"Take care of her".
Saito placed the gaze of his azure eyes on the man, whose voice interrupted his rapid murmurings. The blond looked at him emotionlessly and then shifted his gaze on the girl's face.
"You don't deserve her, mere weakling…"
Hajime was about to say something but suddenly he noticed as the air behind Kazama started to wave mysteriously and a transparent image of a high cliff appeared there.
"…but neither do I… " uttered the blond in a steady voice before turning his back to surprised Saito and starting to walk towards the strange portal.
"Wait!" Kazama heard the other man's voice behind him. He stopped and glanced back at his rival in the affairs of the heart, who looked more confident and précised than before. "I don't know where you are going, but if you ever try to harm Yukimura-san again, I swear to eliminate you."
Chikage's lips curled in a scornful smirk.
"You don't realize who you are threatening, brat".
Without any other words, he stepped into a portal, and all Hajime could see was a retreating figure of a man who was walking on the edge of a cliff with katana in his hand. The vision started to wave and blurry until it vanished the same mysterious way it appeared not long ago in the room.
It was a good time to get surprised and ask questions, but Hajime was too busy thinking of a way to escape. He had to make it out of this mansion before the guard found him here but it was hard to stay unnoticed with Yukimura-san in his hands. He wouldn't be able to protect her nor defend himself that way. His train of thoughts was interrupted by a man who suddenly appeared in the doorway.
"Saito-sama, I advise to get out of here before the drug loses its effect".
There was no need to ask how Yamazaki found them and what drug he was talking about because Hajime knew that his butler was a reliable person and he didn't waste words for nothing. Later that night Saito admitted that he wouldn't have accomplished the rescue mission without Yamazaki's help.
They reached the Saitos' mansion in safety. The trusted butler didn't say anything when his master took his still unconscious guest to his private room. Yamazaki knew that Saito-sama would never harm Yukimura-san, he was too well behaved for that. And also he understood that his master needed some time to put everything together in his mind.
"If I am needed, just call me," was everything Hajime heard from his subordinate before the door to his room was closed.
The young man walked to his bed and laid the girl's almost weightless body on it. There were too many questions and too many suppositions that needed to be answered. But now it didn't matter. Today Hajime found out that loosing someone you cared for was unbelievably terrifying. It scared you to paralyzation in your limbs and you couldn't do anything to help the person you wanted to save. The feeling of hopelessness wounded you from inside. And seeing her struggle for your life made you feel ashamed because it was you who had to protect her from anything and anyone.
Saito sat on the edge of the bed and caressed Chizuru's cheek carefully. Kazama was right. He didn't deserve to care for her, to love her. She was worthy of someone better than him, someone who wouldn't lose control of his own body while rescuing her. Hajime smiled bitterly, bringing back the memories of today's night. He was pathetic back there. And she was a true heroine. If it wasn't for her, he wouldn't even have ended up alive and admire her sleeping face right now. With a sad sigh the young man lay beside Yukimura-san and took her fragile hand in his. Was it even appropriate to act so unreservedly? It ran counter to his traditional behavior. But it didn't matter to him anymore. Right now he had to feel her beside him and make sure that she was safe and unharmed. With one last glance at her sleeping face, Hajime sighed and closed his eyes, while squeezing her hand gently in his.
She noticed his figure from afar. He was standing on a cliff with his head down. Something was telling her that he needed to talk to someone. Maybe it was just female intuition, but when she came closer to the man, she was glad to get the proof of her supposition.
"Why are you so miserable? I thought that you were busy with developing your plan to conquer Chizuru-chan's heart, you low creature. She hasn't recovered from losing her husband yet! " the girl said in an aggressive tone, but after hearing his calm yet quiet answer, she froze to the spot.
"Chizuru is gone".
What did he say? She was gone? Dead? No! It couldn't be true!
"H-how… but… when did it happen?!" she cried in despair refusing to believe his words.
The blond man turned his head to look at the girl. There were tears in her light-pink eyes and she struggled to hold them back. Princesses had no right to show their true emotions, but Osen wasn't a regular princess. She was Chizuru's friend.
Acting by the instinct, Chikage took out a piece of fabric, which he unexpectedly brought with him from the other world, and offered it to the crying girl.
Osen gazed at the man uncertainly, not understanding what he was trying to do.
"It's called handkerchief. Wipe your tears with it. I don't think she would be glad knowing that you are grieving because of her," with those words Kazama turned in opposite direction and started to walk away, leaving the bewildered princess behind.
Osen glanced at the soft piece of fabric in her hands. There was an embroidered writing on the right upper corner.
"For my dear Chikage-san"
She didn't know what to think, but somehow her heart warmed by looking at that beautiful writing. Princess shifted her gaze from the "handkerchief" to the retreating figure of the heartless man, as she had always thought of him. But right now she had a strong wish to follow him and make sure that he would be alright without his unrequited love. After all Chizuru had never been destined to be with him. And he needed time to believe it and accept the fact.
Unwittingly, Osen made several steps towards the leaving blond. She didn't know why but at the very moment it felt right to share some time with him and offer him her support.
And to his own surprise, he didn't mind her company either.
Chizuru woke up by the sound of chirping behind the window. The sun was shining brightly through the curtains but the girl needed some time to notice that it wasn't her room. When the realization hit her, the Chizuru's eyes widened in terror. The nightmare she was having during the night wasn't a nightmare but reality! She was in Kazama's room and the worst suppositions were coming true!
Yukimura turned her head to the left only to get another shock. There was Saito-senpai sleeping beside her, his forehead covering half of his face in an attractive manner. Chizuru's hand itched to brush those unruly strands away from his face, but somehow she found it difficult to lift her hand to do so. When she looked down to see what the reason of her motionless was, her heart skipped a beat when she noticed Saito-senpai's hand holding hers, intertwining their fingers. The feeling for this young man found their way out of the prison she had made of her heart. The chocolate eyes warmed as Chizuru looked up at his face again. He saved her. He did it just like Hajime-san had always done. He came for her despite the fact that he didn't love her, nor he knew who she really was. It would be selfish to think that he shared the same feelings she had for him. On the other hand, she wasn't sure that her attraction belonged to this young man and not to her deceased husband. After all, she was a stranger to this world and she had no right to be here right now. And yet… feeling your beloved's warm hand on yours was the highest reward for the woman who was in love. Yes, she was in love with the man who looked exactly like her first love. It was a cruel joke of fate.
The girl closed her eyes and smiled bitterly. She didn't know where she belonged anymore, neither was she sure about the current situation. The little voice of her subconsciousness was telling her to leave and not turn back, while the other one whispered the words she was afraid to believe in:
Yet Yukimura knew that there were too many "buts" behind the last phrase. The wisest decision would be to leave, leave everything and everyone behind.
To leave him behind.
No matter how hard it was to fulfill, she had to do it. It would be the best for him…for her.
With a strong wish to get her plan implemented, the girl breathed in and prayed for success. She opened her chocolate eyes and…
…saw her own reflection in the depths of azure mirrors of soul that belonged to the only one person in the whole universe.
"I will not let you go anymore. Not now. Not ever."
If only he knew what meaning his words held. Chizuru didn't know what to say, what to object. It was like he read her thoughts and decided to suppress any of her attempts to burn the bridges.
"But I am not the person you think I am," at last she find some strength to answer, though it turnd out to be a weak whisper.
He didn't look upset. More than that, he took their locked hands and brought them to his chest, right between their bodies.
"Then tell me who you are, Yukimura Chizuru".
Saito-senpai was persistent in his demands, yet caring in his eyes. She couldn't fight herself not to look in his mirrors of soul. As it was in the past, they gave her strength and confidence and made her feel secure.
"I don't know it myself anymore. All I know is that I appeared in this world after burying my killed husband." She made a pause to choke down the upcoming tears in order to continue. "He looked exactly like you, Saito-senpai, and had the same name…"
Silence fell upon them. Chizuru bit her lower lip refusing to avert her gaze from his eyes. No matter how hard it was for her to utter each word, but she felt support by looking in his eyes. It gave her courage to move on.
"When I first met you, I didn't remember my past. It happened the day I attended the dinner where Kazama told me everything. He came from the world where I am from. I don't know how it happened, but we ended up here without any memories of our former lives. And after recalling everything that occurred in the past, I found out that the grieving over my husband brought me to this modern world".
Saito listened to her every word carefully, squeezing her hand in his for encouragement. He didn't know what to say, how to help her, but somehow he understood that she needed to have her say everything. After all, he desired to know the truth too in order to understand the entire situation.
Meanwhile Chizuru sniffed a little and brought her free hand to his face only to brush some dark strands of his silky hair away from his eyes. Her touches were so gentle and caring; they made the young man hold his breath in pleasure and unexpectedness.
She continued, not stopping to caress his hair.
"Living in a world without you is something sad and unbearable. I didn't know that my feelings would bring me to you. What am I saying? You're not the person I love the most. You're a perfect copy of him but not him. I wonder what I would have done if you were really him. Sometimes my own vision of things tangles my thoughts. Is it really my destiny to love Saito Hajime no matter what, even if he exists in two persons? I don't know what should I do! "
The girl took her hand away from his face and covered her eyes with her palm in frustration and depression.
"Your appearance, behavior, the way you hold yourself…your voice – everything reminds me of my dear Hajime-san. I can't understand only one thing. I know for sure that I have already fallen in love with you, but is it really you who I have those feelings for? Or maybe it's my vision of Hajime-san in you-"
"Chizuru…" his voice was serious yet caring. He took her hand away from her face and made the girl look at him in the eyes, the same blue eyes Saito once had. "Maybe I'm not him and I don't understand the entire situation, but somehow I started to feel some indescribable feelings for you. I think this is what people call affection. The only thing I know for sure is that these feelings are mine, not his. They developed slowly, much slower than they had to, and it's my fault. I sensed something towards you from the day we met for the first time at my house. Back then I didn't know you. But when Kazama appeared in your life, I don't know what got into me. I couldn't stand seeing him seducing you and my worries didn't fail me. I am so glad that I listened not to my consciousness, but my heart. Today I realized one thing: if I lose you I will not be able to live on. Please, don't cry".
The next moment she was enveloped tightly in his secure embrace. It shocked her so much but his warmth felt so right to her. She felt the same way in Saito-san's arms when he was still alive. This guy…he was a little younger than her dear husband but he behaved exactly the same way.
"Saito-senpai," a tear rolled down her cheek as she whispered his name.
They even had the same names…
Suddenly his hug tightened.
"Don't address to me like that. Tell me, how you called your beloved?" his voice sounded gentle but the tone was serious and firm.
"I used to call him Saito-san at first but after the wedding he became Hajime-san to me".
"Then call me Hajime. Let it be only between us. I will be your Hajime from now on and you will be my dear Chizuru. I will never give you to anyone. I promise to stand beside you, Chizuru".
Her unexpected sobs interrupted his meaningful monologue. The young man averted himself from her and looked at the crying beauty in his arm.
"Why are you crying?" he asked softly. "Please, don't be".
"You have just said the same words Hajime-san had told me at our first day of marriage. I have just remembered it. But he didn't keep his promise. I am so scared to be left alone again. Where is the proof that we will be happy, that you won't disappear, that no one will do us apart? And how can I stay here in this world, when I don't belong here! I'm like a mere shadow-"
She was about to continue her whines but a sudden warmth landed on her lips. The girl's eyes widened in surprise but then she closed them in a total bliss. Hajime was kissing her slowly and innocently. It reminded her of Saito-san's kisses – so cherished, sensual and eternally shy. She didn't notice as her arms found their perfect place around her formal land-lord's hard shoulders. His kiss was magical, it casted all her fears and uncertainties away. There was only him right now and he would take care of her. She believed that he would keep his promise. His lips were the proof, other things didn't matter for now.
The man broke their lips contact carefully, though he wished this kiss could never end.
"Chizuru, I don't know what tomorrow may bring, but until this heart is beating," he placed her small hand on his firm chest "I will take all the responsibility of my words. And to prove my point, I am asking you to become my other half. If there are no you, there is no me".
After declaring it, he found her bewildered face with his azure eyes, in which she could clearly see the rainbow of glittering emotions. Chizuru gasped, covering her mouth with her free hand.
It happened so suddenly. Yesterday they were strangers to each other, or so she thought. But today he saved her, confessed his true love to her and proposed.
And she… she had no strength and courage to say no to him. He was her love, her dear irreplaceable friend and a beloved man. Even if he was a copy of her husband, he was still another person. They were very much alike, but something was still utterly different. She didn't complain at all. She loved Hajime Saito of Shinsengumi and Hajime Saito from this modern world the same way. She had discovered that today. No matter who this Hajime Saito was, she would always love him with a tender and never dying love, because he offered her the same. The memory of her husband would always live in her heart. But now she was ready to trust his voice that told her they would be together again. It was back in Shinsengumi times, and now she was here, in a parallel world, lying close to Hajime. This was what Saito-san meant, she thought, and lifted her head to look in those beautiful cerulean eyes that she adored so much.
"My answer is "yes", Hajime".
Hearing her calling his name in that gentle tone made him breathless. He took her by surprise by sitting up and lifting her fragile body, placing it at his lap. There was an admiring smile on his young face, a smile that showed eternal love and gratitude.
"Arigato," he said while caressing her rosy cheek. They looked in each other's eyes and couldn't get enough of that mute conversation between their souls.
But now both of them felt completed. It was a wonderful feeling and they both cherished every moment of it.
Life was beautiful when you had your special person by your side.
Chizuru found him twice, the same man who conquered her heart. No matter where she was and when she existed, Hajime Saito was always her destined love that she was happy to share her life with.
A/N Oooookay. This is the end of the chapter but not the end of the story ^^' Yeah, you heard right, guys. We know that it took us long enough to write this final chapter, but we promise to update the Epilogue in the near future. And you know why? Because we really want you to know the hidden sense behind this story.
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Kit2000 and Anna