A future that could never be…

He stood large above the woman who looked like a child. They walked together through thick and thin. Nothing could come between the two walking down the road because they were for each other. Their hands were intertwined and inseparable.

Togame felt red in her face, believing the moment was just too good to be true. Just a year ago, a fortune teller had stalled the two long enough for the Shogunate, who was in rule, to accidentally set off a cannon sent to him as a gift from a foreigner. It destroyed himself with whole tower that housed the swords and at the time…Princess Hitei's minion, Emonzaemon. A strange and unlikely ending to the pursuit, but to Togame it was reality none the less. She looked at the man beside her and smiled. It was just too good to be true. Or was it…

A curse? Chills run though her body as if a cold snake was ravaging her inner core.

Togame closed her eyes in thought, wondering to herself with each day that passes by, the more her original intent for Shichika's end rises strong within. 'I'd more likely want to kill myself…' She felt the feel of gravity pull at her.

A strong hand catches her waist. "Togame…"

She had stepped on a loose stone. Shichika's intense gaze carefully calculates her. Her hair delicately slips off her shoulders like a flowing curtain. He moves her back to balancing upright. She apologizes softly and walks off beyond the man now that their hands were no longer intertwined. His fingers caressing her hair made her slow her pace. Shichika had once said he fell for her because of her hair. Togame laughs aside from the thought.

"Togame, we are almost to where we first started."

"-I know that." Her tone was firm and almost harsh to hear. It was hard for her to come to terms with the ending.

'Will this be our ending? When will I stop telling him lies? Yes. I used him, since the beginning, I used him. But that is what strategians do to their pawns. It is what must be done to win the battle…and when that battle is over, the strategian is for not, is as useless as her pawn.' When one grows up in war, there is no other reality.

She grabbed his hand firmly from her hair. "Shichika, what do you suppose we do now? The map is finished and once we find someone to publish it, then what?" The man noticed the shake in her tone of voice. 'I don't want to kill you!'

'What's the point if you did kill him? Would you kill yourself too?'

"Why do we have to look that far ahead?"

His arms surround her small frame. His hands are placed on opposite shoulders so that he brings her to a close embrace, her cold back against his warm chest. Her soft hair makes a nest a nice resting place for his head, "Didn't you say to me that it's more important to live? So let's live on and be together, please." He made it more like a plea. Her body had not relaxed under his touch; Shichika knew there was something troubling her.

"What if I told you…everything I told you when we first came on this journey…what if it was all a lie. It was a lie so that you could be my pawn-"

"But I used you too. I may have been your sword, but I used you so that I could get out of that island. And how could it be a lie, the life the feelings we share?" he turned her around and looked at her straight into her eyes now that seemed like stone. Togame soften her gaze slightly as she took time to notice Shichika…His eyes are gray… "Wouldn't it all be selfish, to take the burden upon yourself to finish everything?" His hand cups the back of her head.

"Shichika, forgive me."

"Even if you kill me, that doesn't mean you need to die with me. I have fallen for you. Live with me."

'Shichika!' Her arms quickly go round his neck and he lands his lips onto hers.

"May I…fall for you too?"

The moment felt so perfect, too good.

Her figure then turns to cold mist and vanishes before the man.

'Too good to be true' was the understatement of the year.

The same man, now scarred in many places lies next to dying fire. His tired eyes stare at a lock of white hair.

That dream was too good to be true…"Togame…I'm still fallen for you."