So this was meant as a gift fic for someone I met recently but I don't think I have the guts to give it to the person. Hopefully, she would chance upon this and read it. I hope she would like this and the rest of you too.
It's not done as well as I hoped since I was sleepy and had to finish this in less than two hours while doing other things. There might be mistakes that I missed out too. It's possibly OOC with all the rush and I don't think I grasped the two characters that well yet. It's counted as AU I guess.
Before you read this, I should explain a few things.
Hajime/Souji and all the words in normal font stands for the present them.
Saito/Okita and all the words in italic stands for the past them and the dreams Hajime are having.
The fic is written by concentrating on Hajime as the main character.
Do you believe in past lives? That is a question Saito Hajime has been asking himself over and over again. In the past, he did not believe in such things but lately he kept having dreams where he saw someone with the same name and similar looks as him.
More like he was seeing through that person's eyes and feeling what that person was feeling. How he knew they had the same name and looks was simple enough, people called him Saito or Hajime and he chanced upon his reflection once. The only difference between them was that he did not have long hair and he was not as into sword fighting as the other person was.
Hajime was not sure but the 'him' in the dream must have lived in the past since no one uses swords anymore and Japan had long stop having an Emperor as a ruler. His only clue was the group Shinsengumi that his dream self seemed to be part of.
For months he would have those dreams and forget what he had dreamt. He was always left with the feeling that he was forgetting and the only times he actually remembered about his encounter was during his sleep. But recently, he had started having memories of all the dreams he had since the beginning and it gave him a headache whenever he tried to think into it.
After some researching, Hajime found out that the Shinsengumi really did exist and in fact he was named after one of the surviving core members of Kondo's faction group of the Shinsengumi, Saito Hajiime. Was it coincidence or fate that he was named after the person he was dreaming about? The fact that they had similar appearance was another factor he had to consider.
What he saw in his dreams matched what he researched. The Ikedaya Affair of 1864 in which the Shinsengumi prevented the burning of Kyoto was really did happen and his dream self was indeed leading a group of men to help during that time. He had seen the affair happened and all the things he had seen through his dreams had matched the facts that were listed in history books.
The Shinsengumi regulations were just as it were in the dreams. The code had existed of the five articles, 1. Deviating from the samurai; 2. Leaving the Shinsengumi; 3. Raising money privately; 4. Taking part in others' litigation; 5. Engaging in private fights. The penalty for breaking any rule was seppuku. In addition, the Shinsengumi had these regulations: 1. If the leader of a unit is mortally wounded in a fight, all the members of the unit must fight and die on the spot. ; Even in a fight where the death toll is high, it is not allowed to retrieve the bodies of the dead, except the corpse of the leader of the unit.
Even the uniform was the same as the one his dream self was wearing. The standard uniform consisted of a light blue haori and hakama over a kimono, with a white cord called a tasuki crossed over the chest and tied in the back. He could distinctively remember his dream self wearing it whenever he went out for patrols or battles.
The things were far too real for him to just brush it off as coincidences when everything matched the real facts. Hajime had never heard of the Shinsengumi till he started having his dreams so the possibility of him hallucinating after studying the history of the Shinsengumi was not possible.
But why was he having these dreams? There must be a reason for it. Was there something that his possible past self failed to do and was passing the beacon to him by showing him his memories? He had always liked Sakuras for some reason and there was always this longing feeling whenever he looked at them. What was he waiting for? Each year he would go and look at them and a sigh would escape his lips for unknown reasons. His mood was always much depressing when he left the place. Maybe this had something to do with it?
When the dreams had shown up to the death of Hirijikata Toshizo , Hajime thought that it would be the end of his dreams since the Shinsengumi was gone already. Was there any reason in his dreams? All he saw was the Shinsengumi and nothing else.
He was gravely mistaken when he started having dreams again. This time, his dreams were much different than the others. He was still in the Shinsengumi, and unlike all the other dreams this dream was focused on his interaction with one person, the First Division Captain, Okita Souji.
At first he thought nothing of it but slowly he had picked up that his dream self's relationship with Okita Souji was different than the relationship he had with the other Shinsengumi members. There was always a nostalgic feeling whenever he had heard Souji call him "Hajime-kun." And the emotions were much too overwhelming for him to pin-point exactly what he was feeling.
The emotions confused him and each dream ended without him figuring out what their relationship was. He had a feeling that the thing his dream self wanted him to know was about Okita Souji and the past dreams were all just to give him a better idea of who Saito Hajime was in the past.
His answer came after two weeks of dreams of Souji. Unlike the other times, the two were alone. He could feel the words and expressions form through the body naturally, almost like he really was that Saito Hajime. The emotions were a lot less confusing than before and he could read them as worry and love. His consciousness was fading off and he knew he was now reliving as the Third Division Captain Saito Hajime.
"Are you sure that you're alright, Souji?" Saito questioned the coughing male. Okita seemed to be putting on a strong front and it worried him. "It's nothing to worry about, Hajime-kun." Okita hurriedly kept the handkerchief he had used when he coughed.
Okita had walked ahead while Saito continued to look at him worriedly. He had a hard time buying that when Okita had been coughing more and more each day. "Hajime-kun. Aren't you coming? I'm going to watch the cherry blossoms by myself if you keep standing there."
Brushing his worries aside for the moment, Saito quickly walked towards his lover. Things seemed to be the same as always, maybe he was mistaken earlier? Okita was acting like he always does, teasing him and trying to get more reactions out of him.
"Nee, Hajime-kun." Saito looked away from the trees and glanced at Okita instead. "What is it Souji?" The tone that Okita was using was not the playful one he usually use when the two were alone. Saito had a bad feeling that what Okita was going to say would be something important.
"You look so serious, Hajime-kun. I just wanted you to know something. No matter what happens, how much time passes, I will always love you. No matter how long it takes, I'll definitely find my way back and be together with you again. We will definitely meet again." He would tease Okita for being cheesy if it was not for the unusual tone of voice Okita was using.
It had made him really uneasy at how this seemed to be Okita's last words to him. "Me too." His words were a lot softer compared to Okita's since this was a little out of character for him. He was never good at expressing himself and he was really shy about things like that.
"I know, Hajime-kun." The tone of voice was still the same and it made him worry more. Instead of trying to force the truth out of Okita, Saito decided to just ignore the bad feeling for now. "Souji. Let's come and see this again next year." He was still watching Okita's face carefully and he was slightly relieved when Okita responded.
"It's a promise." Okita would keep his promise right? Somehow, his heart knew this would be the last time they would be able to do this but he refused to believe it. This could not possibly be the last time he got to see this with Okita. He closed his eyes and stopped thinking as Okita kissed him.
His dream had ended there and Hajime woke up with tears running down his cheeks. For the first time, he was actually looking forward to night and to continue his dream. He wanted to know if Okita had survived or not and what exactly was he sick with.
Unfortunately for him, he had gotten into a small accident and ended up staying in the hospital. He was too distracted by the events of his dreams that he had not paid attention when he was walking and ended up being knocked down by a bicycle. He would no doubt lose his life if it was something else.
The strange thing was, Hajime did not remember seeing a bicycle at all. Even if he was distracted, he did still notice the road he was walking. The bicycle just came out of nowhere and just ran into him. He did not catch who it was and there was nothing he could do about the incident.
The dream still came and whatever injuries he had suffered were not present on his dream self. That was a good thing; he would be able to move freely this way. Would tonight be the end of his dreams? He was troubled at how unstable his emotions were when you thought of Okita. Hajime had never fallen in love with any one before and now the feelings of love he could feel were of someone else's.
Did that emotion even belonged to him? Was that what he should feel when he does fall in love? All he had were more and more questions and none of them had answers. His heart was aching and he knew tonight's dream would not end with a happy ending.
"Souji. You shouldn't be getting up." Saito had just came back from his mission and rushed to see Okita immediately after he was done giving Hijikata his report. Okita had naturally gotten up to greet him when he entered the room. "I'm not that weak, Hajime-kun."
His heart ached once he noticed how pale and flail-looking his lover looked. His left hand reached up to cup Okita's cheeks and he frowned. "Have you been eating? You look even thinner than before." Okita had laughed and placed his palm on top on his hand. It was cold and Saito knew Okita's condition was worsening.
"You worry too much, Hajime-kun." The tone was as playful as ever but Saito knew it was all an act to not make him worry. He closed his eyes and pretended that everything was alright, this was what Okita wanted. Okita had made it clear that he did not want Saito to treat him any different from before and Saito was going to fulfil that wish, no matter how hard it was for him.
He knew the time they had left together were decreasing as each days passed and the man he loved would soon die. "Hajime-kun, I'm not going anywhere. You can relax." Subconsciously his other hand had grasped Okita's free hand in a tight grasp and he placed a small kiss on their connected knuckles.
"Souji, here." He had almost forgotten about the candy he had bought back for Okita. "Thanks a lot Hajime-kun!" Okita immediately started eating them and Saito smiled. At least Okita still seemed fond of the candies. He had recalled having a conversation with Okita before and Okita telling him that it was the food that Okita could spend his whole life eating.
"You're not stopping me from wolfing these down?" Okita questioned teasingly as he popped more into his mouth. Usually Saito would tell him how unhealthy it is for him to eat so much at a time. "It's rare to see you have such a big appetite so I'm not stopping you even though I still find them unhealthy." Okita had laughed and ate even more of the candies.
Saito knew the packet he gave Okita would be all eaten up soon. "Just for your information, I know you're aware that I have more. You're not getting any more for today though." The expected pout was present on Okita's face and he instantly looked away. He would not want to fall for Okita's ploy to get him to relent and give it to him.
"How mean." The remark was ignored as well. Saito wondered just how much longer could they continue to act like this. How much longer could he hear Okita's voice and see him smile? He was never good at expressing his feelings and he was grateful to Okita for never forcing him to say them out."Hajime-kun, stop ignoring me." His attention was back to Okita again and he knew he had failed when he started talking to Okita. Why had Okita caught an illness that had no cure? Of all the people why him?
The scene had changed and Hajime found himself standing at the spot that Saito and Okita were watching the cherry blossoms earlier. The feeling he was experiencing made it obvious of the outcome without him watching or listening. He was sure he would wake up with tears again once this was all over. He found himself lost in the dream once again and all thoughts belonging to him were gone.
"Souji. You're here too right? You wouldn't break your promise with me would you?" Saito spoke to the wind that showered him with Sakura petals. Was this proof that Okita was here? "Even if you're dead, you're still the only one that I love. I won't stop loving you even if I die."
The words that used to be so hard to speak out flowed naturally out of his mouth. What was the point of being embarrassed when there would not be those familiar teasing anymore? "I'm sorry that I never said them to you directly before." It was his biggest regret that he had never been able to say those three words to Okita back when his lover was still alive.
"No matter what happens, how much time passes, I will always love you. No matter how long it takes, I'll definitely find my way back and be together with you again. We will definitely meet again." Saito wondered if it was his imagination or was he really listening to Okita's voice. The wind had stopped blowing and he smiled softly to himself.
"That wind was almost like Souji was here." The wind had started blowing when he first came to the place and it had stopped exactly when he heard those words. It was alright to believe in those words right? "We will definitely meet again, Souji. And next time, I'm not letting you go ever." His voice was full of determination and he walked away without another glance. He would be here watching those cherry blossoms with Okita again for sure one day.
The dream had ended and Hajime woke up. His heart still hurt and the tears were flowing down his cheeks at a much faster pace compared to yesterday. "Was that what I was supposed to fulfil?" He had a strange feeling that there was something else at the end of the dream that he had forgotten. Someone was talking to him, he was certain the person was talking to him and not his dream self. But that could not be possible right?
He gave up wiping his tears away when it was apparent that they were not stopping anytime soon. "It's not like I can just meet Okita Souji just like that. Besides, would someone with the same name and face as him even exist? Even if he does, it must be rather impossible for him to hold the memories too."
Hajime had left the hospital room later. While waiting for his parents to finish his discharging papers, he spotted someone eerily familiar. The name came out of his mouth without him noticing it. "Souji." A pair of green eyes stared into his own as male turned around to face him. "How do you know my name?"
Hajime regretted his decision instantly. He could not possibly say that he knew this guy from his dreams and their past selves were lovers right? "Just a hunch. I was named after one of the Shinsengumi Captains and you looked a little like one of the ones I saw in a history book." It was a lie. The first lie he had ever come up with.
"It's obvious you're lying but I'm indeed named after one of the captains. Not just any captain, the First Division one. So you're right to assume my name is Okita Souji. What's your name anyway?" He was asking for his name, so he really was right to assume this person did not know who he is.
"Saito Hajime." He wanted to speak more with this person but his parents were calling him. "I will see you around, Hajime-kun." A piece of paper was shoved into his hands and the male had faded in with the sudden crowd of people.
The voice that said Hajime-kun sounded exactly the same as the one from his dreams. "Even the tone sounded the same." He muttered to himself. The piece of paper in his hands were forgotten till he had gotten back into his room. He had been blindly grasping the paper without noticing it and he was relieved that the paper was still there.
Written in a slightly messy handwriting was an email and the Sakura patterns on the paper caused him to flinch. Was it just a coincidence that the person he met just happened to like Sakura as well?
It took him a week before he had managed to come up with an email to send to him. He had spent all his time trying to think of the perfect thing to say but everything just seemed inappropriate or not good enough. Souji's reply was an amused one and he had correctly guessed the reason why Hajime had took so long to send him an email.
"Hajime-kun~" Hajime looked up from his notebook and greeted his companion. "Souji. " It had been three months since they started emailing each other and two months of being in the same school. A month after they had texting emailing each other, Souji had transferred over to his school. Souji never did tell him the reason why he did but Hajime was not going to complain that they were going to be classmates.
He could always smile more when Souji was around and he was questioning his emotions. Were they of his own or were they of his dream self's? Was there even a difference between him and his dream self? The was a strange similarity between them that he could not place his finger on.
"Hajime-kun. Are you listening to me?" Hajime hectically shook his thoughts away from his head, earning a chuckle from Souji. "I was asking if you wanted to see the cherry blossoms with me tomorrow." The question had caused his eyes to widen and his mind instantly went off again.
This really was not a coincidence right? That was the very thing his dream self was certain would happen again. Hajime agreed to the invitation and spent the rest of his time questioning his relationship with Souji. What exactly were they? They had clicked rather quickly and emailed each other every day.
Once they had started attending the same school, Hajime found himself finding school more enjoyable. The emotions he felt towards Souji were a little similar to the emotions his dream self felt towards Okita. Did this mean his emotions was not his own and he was only feeling this way towards Souji all because of his dream self?
The feeling or not wanting to lose him and wanting to stay with him forever was his own right? But there was still this doubt that everything he felt was a lie and not his.
That night, Hajime dreamt again. The dream he had stopped having for three months. The dream of the other 'him'. "So you met him?" The man in front of him definitely had his image, especially when the both of them had short hair now. "You mean Souji?" He could not help but ask.
A nod was his answer. "Don't let him go." Hajime stared at him questioningly. "For you or for me?" He wanted to know if those feelings of love belonged to him or not. "For yourself. My life with him ended already but yours is just starting. But you know the real answer to this question already don't you?"
Hajime smiled. He was right, he had gotten the answer a long time ago. "There's no me and you between us. Our soul is of one and the same, just like the two of them. I'm you and at the same time, I'm myself. Our feelings are entwined but at the same time I have my own. Yours only influenced mine and whether or not I feel the same depends on me. I ended up falling him on my own will."
"Be sure to tell him those three words this time." The dream was ending and his other self was already fading away. "I will. I won't commit the same regret twice." His dream self, no he was certain it was his past self; smiled at him. Hajime knew it was the last time he would ever dream of him, there was no longer a purpose for it.
The pair were on their way walking towards to see the cherry blossoms. Just as they were approaching the place, Hajime peeked at Souji for a while before smiling.
"Souji." Hajime was the one to speak up first this time. "What is it?" Even if this Souji does not remember or feel the same way as him, he still wanted to say it. His feelings for him would not change whether or not Souji returns them. "I love you."
They had reached the place and the wind was just like how it was in his dream, they were showered by sakura petals. "No matter what happens, how much time passes, I will always love you. No matter how long it takes, I'll definitely find my way back and be together with you again. We will definitely meet again." Hajime stared in shock when he heard those familiar words.
Souji was grinning teasingly at him. "I promised we would see the cherry blossoms together again didn't I?" The longing feeling was no longer there, he had finally managed to see this with the person he had always been waiting for again.
"It might have taken me more than a hundred years but I kept my promise, Hajime-kun." He could feel his eyes tearing up but no teardrops fell. This was not the time for him to cry. "It's fine. I wouldn't mind waiting forever for you."
His answer had shocked Souji and Souji was soon laughing. "You're less shy compared to before aren't you? Ah well, it's expected when the both of us aren't the exact same person as before. I was curious as to whether you had the memories like I did so I put it off till now. I knew I would get my answer if we came to watch this together. I didn't expect your confession though."
He knew Souji was teasing him but the blush appeared on his cheeks anyway. "Stop teasing me, Souji." The lips that met his were familiar and at the same time different. They were not the exact same 'Hajime' and 'Souji' as before but it was enough. "I love you too, Hajime-kun."
This time, they would be able to continue watching the cherry blossoms till they grow old. Neither one would be leaving the other prematurely. They would stay together and live the happy life that they did not have the chance to before. They would be together for their own sake and for their past selves' sake. It would be forever this time and there would not be any regrets between them.