Disclaimer: If I own Sengoku Basara, Oichi's second costume in Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes would have been her alternate costume in Sengoku Basara 2 Heroes (the cute kimono/hakama combo).
Warning: this fanfic makes use the English version of Sengoku Basara 3 (aka Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes) so there would be no Japanese suffixes (and no 'Ichi did her best' sentences... as much as I want to use them). For this chapter, the main pairing is MasaIchi (mainly because it's my SB OTP) but there is 'more than' a hint of IeyaIchi (I like the two of them together too). This fanfic is set after 'Dragon Race in Oshu' but before the final stage on Ichi's red route.
Author's Notes: Well, I couldn't update 'The Dragon and the Demon Queen' because there's a tie between 'Cliffs of Mikatagahara' and 'Kawanakajima Tundra' so this one was written to get my MasaIchi fix of the week. -laughs- Anyway. Ichi's... uh... 'happier', I guess because she's with Lord Happy in this one.
A special thanks to a fellow 'gay for Ichi' fan: Red Okra. Thank you for taking the time to post a review.
Oichi of the Eastern Army
The Blue Flower and The Yellow Flower
"I understand." Ieyasu stared at the boss of Oshu with clear determined eyes as he nodded. The leader of the Eastern Army smiled and said, "With this, we have formed a bond. Together, let us unite the land, One-eyed Dragon."
"Like I've told you before, I am not here to be friends with you or with anyone in your merry little band." Masamune's one good eye narrowed as he explained, "We both have the same enemy: Mitsunari Ishida. Once he's out of the picture, we'll most probably meet as opposing forces next time."
"I understand that but..." Ieyasu gave the blue dragon a grin as he said, "I will not stop believing that one day, we will be able to hold hands and rule this land with the power of bonds."
Masamune smiled sardonically and looked away. With a sigh, he said, "Think what you want but try to leave me out of your chummy fantasy."
"Lord Ieyasu..." A soldier approached them and bowed while the two generals looked at him. He continued to bow as he announced, "The troops are ready to move. We may leave Oshu any time."
"Okay." Ieyasu nodded and turned his attention back to the boss of Oshu. With a smile, he said, "We must take our leave, One-eyed dragon. I shall send a messenger when it is time."
"It won't take that long, I presume." Masamune crossed his arms and Ieyasu lowered his head.
Ieyasu nodded and said solemnly, "Yes. We will fight Mitsunari soon."
"Kill him, you mean." Masamune corrected and noticed how Ieyasu tensed at his words. Masamune stared at Ieyasu and asked, "You will kill him... when you have the chance, right?"
Ieyasu knew that Masamune was testing his resolve. Ieyasu nodded and stared at the older man in front of him as he said, "Yes. For peace, I will kill Mitsunari if needed."
"Good to know." Masamune nodded and said, "Then, I will see you soon enough."
"Yes." Ieyasu said as a confirmation. He turned around and began to walk away. It seemed proper to watch the Tokugawa army leave so Masamune stayed to watch with his arms crossed.
When the army was far enough that Masamune could no longer see it, Kojuro walked towards him and asked, "I presume our alliance with the Tokugawa is final?"
"Pretty much." Masamune sighed and took his crescent helmet off, "Soon, we will meet Mitsunari Ishida in a battle field."
"Is something the matter, my lord?" Kojuro asked and caught the helmet as Masamune threw it towards him.
"Nah. It's nothing." Masamune turned his eye towards the clear blue sky and said, "I was just reminded on how cruel our era is."
"And that is why you must cut open the next era." Kojuro said as he stared at Masamune with determined eyes.
"That's right. This is only another step towards my goal." Masamune said, almost as if he was talking to himself.
"Lord Masamune! Lord Kojuro!" Both men turned around to look at the soldier running towards them. The soldier stopped and bowed while trying to catch his breathing.
"What's the matter?" Kojuro asked.
"T-t-t-the demon queen! She's still here!" The soldier said frantically.
It took a moment before Masamune remembered the woman the soldier was talking about. She wasn't that hard to miss with her long black hair, pink attire and the vacant, almost as if she was in a trance, way she carried herself. Oh. And the shadow hands around her...
"Did she not leave with the Tokugawa army?" Kojuro thought out loud as he tried to think of a reason why she was still in Oshu, "Could Ieyasu have left her on purpose?"
"I doubt it. Ieyasu seemed to treasure her like his own child." Masamune commented as he remembered how the leader of the Eastern army had been worried that she had come. Hell. He even stopped his duel with Masamune just to tell her to wait for him at the stables, suggesting that she should look at the flowers or some other sentences Masamune would hear a mother tell her child.
"Hey. She's not... at the stables, is she?" Masamune asked the soldiers.
"Yes, boss. She's at the stables." The soldier replied, unable to hide his surprise that Masamune knew where she was.
Masamune sighed and got on his horse which had been waiting patiently for its master. Most probably, the child-like woman was waiting for Ieyasu in the stables like a good little girl. Kojuro called him in a questioning tone, "Lord Masamune?"
"I'll take care of it." Masamune said and guided his horse towards the stable. He was sure Kojuro would have an objection or a complaint so he ordered his horse to a sprint.
It wasn't long till he reached the stables. There was a small gathering of soldiers around the small flower bed that had bloomed even through Oshu's cold winter. Masamune got off his horse and said in a carefree manner, "Okay. That's enough staring or we might hear a complaint from Ieyasu about sexual harassment."
"But boss..." One of the soldiers looked at Masamune with unsure and frightened eyes.
"I'll take care of this." Masamune said with finality and ordered, "Go back to your duties."
"Yes, boss." Another soldier nodded and that reply seemed to have made the other soldiers decide to leave. Some left hurriedly while others seemed to hesitate first but all of them left soon enough.
When there were just the two of them and the horses, Masamune finally saw the woman clearly. She was sitting in front of the bed of flowers, picking flowers. Each flower she picked, she handed to one of the dark eerie hands behind her. The shadow hands which had caused fear and terror to many of his men now looked harmless as they carried the flowers delicately. Masamune rubbed his chin as he wondered how he should handle this. The woman acted like a child but the sadness in her words was certainly an adult's sadness.
Or was it madness?
Masamune sighed and walked towards her, the lone survivor of the Oda clan. He couldn't blame her for becoming like this. The pain she had felt must have been too hard for her. Another cruelty of this era...
"If you keep picking them, you'll pick all of them." Masamune joked as he smirked at the woman.
She turned her head to look at him and tilted her head as she asked, "Can I not do that, Lord Dragon?"
Masamune blinked at the nickname. Then again, he heard her call Ieyasu 'Lord Happy'. Better to be called 'Lord Dragon' than something like 'Lord Snarky'...
Masamune chuckled at the thought of being called 'Lord Snarky' and replied, "I'd like it if you didn't. Flowers are hard to come by in winter."
"I see..." She looked at the flower in her hand for a moment before handing it to Masamune.
"Hm?" Masamune stared at the flower offered to him.
"I'll give you the last one, Lord Dragon." She explained innocently, "It's a special flower."
Masamune noticed that the flowers in the shadow hands were yellow. The flower she was offering to him was blue. Masamune crouched next to her and took the flower from her hand, their hands briefly touching. Masamune's one good eye softened as he said gently, "You're cold."
It wasn't a surprise. She must have been out in the cold for a while now. Not to mention, her attire wasn't really one should wear in a place like this, especially now that winter was fast approaching Oshu. But Masamune had to admit, she did have a pair of nice legs.
The thought made Masamune groan. Now wasn't the time to think about things like that. She looked at him with innocent curious eyes and asked, "Is Lord Dragon cold too?"
"Huh?" Masamune was surprised at the question then realized that she must have thought he was groaning because of the cold.
She didn't give him a chance to reply as she wrapped her hands around him. She pulled him towards her and Masamune instinctively wrapped his arms around the young woman's back. She rubbed her cold cheek against his cheek and mumbled, "So warm..."
"What... are you doing?" Masamune asked, hoping Kojuro wouldn't see him in his current situation. Knowing the older man, he'll probably think that Masamune had initiated the contact or may have done something to initiate the contact... which he did, albeit unintentionally.
"I'm warming Lord Dragon." She said innocently before she asked in a sad voice, "Am I not warm enough?"
"No. I mean, yes. You're warm." Masamune wanted to hit his head. While it may seem narcissistic of him to think like that but he had always thought of himself as a cool snarky person who would not get flustered about anything...
... But the innocent actions this woman had done and her innocent words had, without a doubt, caught him off guard.
Masamune sighed and dropped to his side, taking her with him. They both fell on the flower bed and petals flew. Some of them fell on them and only silence followed their fall.
Until she said softly, "Lord Dragon is mean."
Masamune smirked and asked, "And why is that?"
"The flowers are all dead now." She replied and Masamune closed his good eye.
"That's alright. I'm still holding a very special flower, right?" Masamune smirked as he continued, "I'll just use this flower so that the next flowers to bloom will all be specials."
He didn't really understand it. For some reason, he had wanted to destroy all the yellow flowers in the flower bed. He wanted to see a flower bed full of blue flowers.
Most importantly, he wanted to see her pick only blue flowers.
What was happening to him?
"A flower bed filled with special flowers..." She repeated his words and he felt her hold on him tightened as she giggled before she said, "What a pretty sight it will be. I wish to see such a sight."
He chuckled and replied, "Then you would have to stay here for a long time."
"I can't do that." She placed her hands on Masamune's chest and leaned away from him. Masamune kept his hands on her back to stop her from escaping him. She looked at Masamune with vacant eyes as she explained, "I have to stay with Lord Happy."
Masamune stared at the young woman in his arms and asked, "Why?"
"Lord Happy is like the sunshine. Such a bright and happy sunshine..." She replied and closed her eyes. A soft sad smile appeared on her face as she whispered softly, as if telling a secret that only Masamune should hear, "Without the sunshine, I will sleep in the darkness all alone once more."
Masamune tightened his grip on the flower in his hand. It was her way of telling him that Ieyasu Tokugawa had saved her from the loneliness she had to endure. She would stay by his side to thank him and... because she was afraid to be alone once more. Masamune stared at the woman in front of him and asked, "How about if this dragon stays with you?"
Masamune didn't even understand why he had said it. It seemed that she was affecting his mind as well. She giggled and said softly, "Then I will be able to sleep under a clear blue sky. Lord Dragon is like a majestic dragon. You do not give light but you can protect everyone."
She closed her eyes and said in a trance-like way, "Under a clear blue sky..."
"Oichi!" Masamune sat up immediately as he heard the voice of Ieyasu. Ieyasu was running towards them but stopped when he realized the positions of the two other people in the stables. Ieyasu grinned sheepishly as he asked while he rubbed the back of his head, "I'm sorry. Did I interrupt you two?"
She stood slowly and walked towards Ieyasu as she said in a child-like manner, "Look, look, Lord Happy. Look at all the flowers I picked for you."
The shadow hands presented the flowers she picked and Ieyasu's eyes widened. Ieyasu turned to look at Masamune and asked worriedly, "D-d-did Oichi pick all the flowers? Forgive her, One-eyed dragon. She's-"
"It's fine." Masamune waved Ieyasu's worry dismissively. He placed the blue flower by his lips and explained, "I was planning on making a new flower bed anyway."
He stared at Ieyasu as he continued, "A flower bed full of blue flowers."
Ieyasu seemed to have noticed the underlying message in Masamune's words and he replied, "I see..."
Ieyasu offered his hand towards Oichi and said, "Come, Oichi. It is time we return to Mikawa."
Oichi nodded and obediently took Ieyasu's offered hand. She looked back and her black eyes met Masamune's one eye. She turned her head to look back at Ieyasu and asked softly, "Lord Happy. Can we visit Lord Dragon again? When the blue flowers have bloomed..."
Ieyasu stiffened at her innocent words and Oichi tilted her head. Afraid that she had said something wrong, she asked softly as she tightened her hold on Ieyasu's hand, "Lord Happy? Are you alright?"
Ieyasu turned to face her and smiled brightly as he said, "Of course. You can visit Oshu any time you want."
Masamune did not fail to realize that the sun of the eastern army had said 'you' instead of 'we'. Either she did not realize what Masamune had realized or she did not care as Oichi simply smiled at the reply and turned to look at Masamune. Oichi gave him a sweet innocent smile as she said, "I'll visit you again, Lord Dragon."
"Sure. Next time, I'll show you the other flower beds here."
... he'll have to ask Kojuro where they are though...
Oichi nodded happily and turned to face Ieyasu once more. She tilted her head when she noticed Ieyasu was staring intently at Masamune. Masamune turned his eye to stare at Ieyasu as Ieyasu called him, "One-eyed dragon."
Ieyasu's eyes softened as he asked, "In that flower filled with blue flowers. Will you... take care of a pink flower for me?"
Masamune glanced at the woman in pink next to Ieyasu, waiting for him while swaying slightly, completely oblivious to the underlying message Ieyasu had given him. Masamune turned his attention back to Ieyasu and replied, "I was planning to."
"I see." Ieyasu nodded and smiled brightly as he said, "Then we shall see you soon, One-eyed dragon."
"Yeah." Masamune nodded and Ieyasu finally turned around.
The leader of the eastern army began to walk, holding hands with the sister of the late devil king. Behind them, the blue dragon of the north continued to stare in silence.
Will the flower bed be filled by different colors guided by the bright sun? Or will the flower bed be filled by blue flowers protected by the majestic dragon? Either way, a lone pink flower will continue to bloom under their care.