I couldn't help it, I was hit with the urge to write. And since I never did a one-shot, I decided to go for it. After all I need to practice writing less. So first one-shot with a rather less popular couple. Hints from Samurai Warrior 3: Empires.
This is obviously base on the Koei counterpart of Kiyomasa and Nene. Because historical Kiyomasa was not so nice.
Anyways, hope you enjoy, and review!
Disclaimer: I don't own any of this. But I enjoy writing about it. :)
"Kiyomasa, we're allies now. If something is bothering you, don't hesitate to ask! I'll do anything for you, just name it!"
"A-Anything! Then, Lady Nene, I have one such request..."
"Uh-huh, what is it, Kiyomasa?"
"No, I mean. Please punish me for thinking such nasty thoughts!"
~Nene and Kiyomasa ; Samurai Warriors 3: Empires
A broken house...
Kiyomasa Katō always focused on war. He felt truly free when he was fighting on the battlefield until his spiked sickle ran crimson.
Kiyomasa was a warrior and only that.
He never questioned his belief until he met Hideyoshi.
The man had a dream to unite the warring land, and Kiyomasa soon found himself serving the charismatic man.
He joined Hideyoshi with the intention of simply serving him.
But it was Nene who changed him.
The bubbly wife of Hideyoshi, he found her aggravating at first. Annoyed that a woman doesn't know her place in the household. Why did Lady Nene found it necessary to act completely unladylike and play a role in this war?
Warfare was reserved for men, and a woman, much less the wife of the future Shogun, shouldn't be active in fighting enemy soldiers or preforming acts of espionage. It wasn't right.
Nene was incredibly bold too, she talked to him and openly encourage Kiyomasa to interact with the other retainers, especially Mitsunari Ishida and Masanori Fukushima.
And because she was the wife of his lord, he grudgingly felt obligated to do so.
"Kiyomasa!" Nene called out, running faster to catch up. Kiyomasa gave a tired sigh and stopped.
They were marching to battle in Shizugatake near the end of spring. The had to cross a forest, that unfortunately had cherry blossoms raining down all around them, further aggravating Kiyomasa. He hated anything that can potentially cause Nene to start rambling about the beauty of nature, or how it was a nice day to go kite flying.
When Nene finally caught up, she flashed him a bright smile before presenting him a small wooden box. Kiyomasa made a perturbed face.
"What is this?"
"Food silly, I made lunch for my son."
"I am not your son."
Nene cocked her head to one side, oddly making him nervous. "Why not? We are under the same house, you serve the Toyotomi, so you are my son."
Seeing that Nene was standing firm by her stance, Kiyomasa merely sighed. "Fine, but I don't need your food. I'm a warrior and I can go for a few days without it."
Nene pouted and suddenly smacked him, causing him to gape in shock.
"D-did you just hit me?" he demanded incredulously. If she was just some village wrench he would of killed her right there. "What kind of person are you-"
"You need to eat," she repeat sternly. "You're a growing boy and you need your food. If you fight on an empty, or starving, stomach...well you won't do your best!"
Was it odd that he found Nene adorable then? The way she seemed determine for his well-being was odd but left his chest feeling warm.
The warmth was something Kiyomasa rarely experience, and never as strong like this.
"Eat," she ordered again before handing him the box. He took it dutifully, earning an approval smile from her.
The feeling didn't left when she turned off to pester Masanori. Kiyomasa stared at the simple box in silence, attempting to calm the rising beating of his heart. The familiar shot of nerves that he had felt on the battlefield are now what he feels with Nene.
Kiyomasa soon realized he was attracted to Lady Nene. It was a painful infatuation and it made him act different from his usual self.
They tease him about it. Mitsunari and Masanori. The two also voiced their slight disturbance on the matter, because Kiyomasa always seemed like the more mature member out of the three.
Whenever Nene was around, he becomes horribly nervous and acted like an inexperience boy in love.
If Hideyoshi knew, he clearly didn't care, or simply had better things to do in uniting Japan.
At times, Kiyomasa wondered why he found her so appealing. But the longer he stood by her, fighting alongside her, he realized a few things.
She was actually very much a true wife. He had doubts at first, but she was caring and dutiful to husband. Nene attempts to please Hideyoshi by helping him on the battlefield.
She was also very beautiful. At times when they worked together, his eyes would wander quickly over her body. The ninja attire she work hugged her frame wonderfully, showing all the curves of her feminine body.
It was distracting for him, but it probably helped distract the many enemy soldiers they fought too.
"Whoo!" Nene shouted out after a victory battle. The enemy forces were already fleeing and they manage to secure a stronghold. "Good job Kiyomasa! We make such a great team!" she grinned happily.
Kiyomasa started to stammer nervously, inwardly cursing at his fall from grace in the hands of this woman. "T-thank you Lady Nene! It was a pleasure to fight by your side. I would never have it any other way because I love-I mean I..." his speech falters pathetically causing him to feel upset.
Nene frowned with concern. "What's the matter Kiyomasa, I'm happy to hear that you love me."
"Wait, really?" he said hopefully.
"Yes, it makes me glad to see that you care for the Toyotomi name so much," she beamed and petted him on the shoulder.
His expression falter, and for a split second he felt anger. "Oh. Don't get me wrong Lady Nene, I love the house of the Toyotomi, and I serve Hideyoshi with much pride. But I care you greatly."
Nene turned red with slight embarrassment. "Oh, don't flatter me Kiyomasa, I'm just doing what is necessary for Hideyoshi to rule this land..." she seemed distracted suddenly, her eyes fixated on the destruction and dead bodies lying on the battlefield.
"It's so sad to see all this," Nene sighed.
"It's the way of life Lady Nene," Kiyomasa spoke softly.
"I hope when Hideyoshi rules, he would make this country wonderful again. Trees would blossom and childeren will be laughing. Everyone would go to sleep feeling safe and no one has to see another war. Everything will truly feel like home."
"War is inevitable," Kiyomasa spoke out, oddly wanting to disagree with Nene. "We are warriors in the end, such chances of peace are impossible for long."
"Did you ever have a family?" Nene asked suddenly.
"Wait, what? Of course I do. I lost my father at a young age, but I have a clan. I have the Toyotomi." Kiyomasa still felt confused because Nene continued to look back with melancholy eyes. "Am I wrong to simply believe a warrior's life?"
Nene shook her head. "No, you are not, but it feels hollow."
He merely shrugged back.
"Because," she continued, "to simply fight, it only brings sadness and makes your heart empty. The people we all kill, they are at no fault. My life in the village...I was born of low ranks, I saw the destruction first hand. The soldiers here, they are fathers, brothers, uncles, and husbands. People that have someone waiting for them at home, people that are just like nobles. Just like you and me."
Kiyomasa understood then. "Is this why you care for everyone, like they are your children? How you make sure to never kill an enemy, or how you always attempt to make them surrender first?" he spoke softly back. "It must be terrible to live like this."
"I'm fine with it. Because I have a drive."
"Sort of. It's complicated, but it's more for a home. It goes back to family."
"Home? As in a house?"
She giggled slightly. "Something like that. Say, Kiyomasa do you have a home? A place where you can feel truly safe, where you can laugh, smile, and love. Where you see everyone living their lives and not fighting...I hope to build that type of home with Hideyoshi. But not for just ourselves, but for this whole land. To make it beautiful again and proud."
"A house like that is possible?" Kiyomasa questioned. He still didn't entirely get what Nene meant, but he was starting to believe it simply by her optimistic words.
"We'll never know if we don't try, right?" Nene smiled.
"I think you're right Lady Nene. This home...I hope to help you build it," Kiyomasa grinned back, feeling happy to see Lady Nene smile again.
That moment was perhaps one of the most intimate and serious moments he had with Nene. He realized that she rarely let her sadness show and that moment of genuine emotions made him realize something.
She hid her pain and emotions with a smile to keep going.
The image she keeps up hides her own insecurities and fears.
But he didn't mind, it made him love her more that day
Hearing her confession and her dreams, it help to drive his love for their house more than ever.
After Hideyoshi's death, things start to fall apart. Conflict broke out and the land was pushed back into chaos.
Kiyomasa had just left after a meeting with Mitsunari, furious that the idiot was willing to challenge the Tokugawa. Couldn't the fool see that the Toyotomi rule was over? That their house was no more? The Tokugawa had won.
He knew the next time he saw Mitsunari, it would be as enemies.
Mitsunari had tried to persuade Kiyomasa to fight under his cause, but he would have none of it.
Kiyomasa left more angrier then when he came. Storming out of the castle, disgusted with Mitsunari's vision for the Toyotomi.
Kiyomasa's angry expression melted when he saw Nene. She was actually dressed in modest gray nun robe, different from her usual tempting ninja attire. After Hideyoshi's dead by illness, Nene had taken up the role as a nun.
"Lady Nene," he spoke with restrained anger, "why are you here?" Did she hear that he was going to met with Mitsunari?
"Don't try to stop me," he snapped, ignoring the familiar nervous flutter in his chest. He looked into Nene's sad brown eyes.
Nene touched her heart. "Please, I know what you are about to do...do you know how much it hurts me?" she begged.
And for a second, Kiyomasa felt his will falter. "Lady Nene..."
"It hurts," she spoke firmly. "To see all my childern fighting...killing each other and breaking apart this family."
He stopped then.
Maybe that's what hurts the most. The realization that even with his adoration and love towards the Toyotomi, even when he was willing to sacrifice everything, he desired the one thing that can't be obtain. This loyalty towards the Toyotomi felt empty now.
Hideyoshi was dead, this house was no more, and the family was gone.
The only thing holding him back now was Nene.
He realized that he desired Nene. It bordered almost a painful obsession at this point. Even with the years apart after Hideyoshi's death, she was still beautiful.
It was wrong and completely insane.
But he had no regrets.
He reached out fast, too fast for even Nene to know. Grabbing her and pulling her close.
She gave a surprise cry but it was stopped by his mouth.
He kissed her roughly, ignoring all gentleness and courtesy that he was suppose to exhibit.
Her smell, the soft touch of her skin and tiny body pressing against him.
Her eyes widening in horror, her hands attempting to push him away as he held on.
He ignored it.
Kissing her and feeling her mouth stay shut. She didn't want it. Tears were starting to form.
It was selfish of him.
So despite how difficult it was, he finally broke away.
His body was still burning from the kiss and looking into Nene's confused expression only made him want to do it again.
Nene took a shaky breath before taking a few steps away from him. "W-why Kiyomasa? You served Hideyoshi-"
"I once did," he spoke tonelessly. "Now I'm technically the enemy."
She bit her lip and Kiyomasa braced for the accusations.
"You're still family to me," she spoke softly back.
He stared back at Nene, feelings of anger rising again. "Is that all I am to you Lady Nene?" he demanded furiously. "Why can't I have something more?"
She flinched and shrank from him. "Please, regardless of what you did...I still care for you."
"I care for you too, but you never understood it," he stated bluntly. "Don't you understand? I always liked you! You were so eccentric from the rest, always so unselfish and diligent. I wanted you! Damn it, all these years and you never knew!"
Nene glared back now, offended and hurt. She looked ready to state something but stopped.
"You can come with me," he spoke softer, "I can take you back to Owari and we can live there together."
Nene looked surprised at his words, but shook her head. "No. It's better for me to honor my late husband and go to a temple."
"You would rather go to a temple to honor a man who treated you poorly? Who slept with concubines and neglected you?"
"How can you say that about Hideyoshi!" Nene screamed back, tears falling down, her anger finally breaking. "You served him and-"
"He was my former lord, I would never call out Hideyoshi on his honor as a warrior and leader, but as a husband he was something else."
"Don't you act like it matters to you," Nene hissed back, taking Kiyomasa by surprise. "You were born in nobility, you would of took concubines just as easily. Hideyoshi was different, even if our marriage was for convenience, we were both of low status and wealth. And for years we worked together to make it this far. It was only after he risen high enough that he needed a heir..."
"And that's where you had to prove yourself, right?" Kiyomasa stated back. "That's why you had to be a ninja, you were no use to him anymore because you couldn't bear him a child. That's why you decided to fight on the battlefield."
Nene looked down, tired of arguing this. "Please...you've just fought with Mitsunari...must I also fight with you?"
"I will treat you right Nene," he said breathlessly.
Nene shook her head. "My duty is for this family, it stays firm."
Nene lost everything, and she was just as stubborn as Mitsunari. Why can't everyone see that the "family" was over?
Kiyomasa gave a disgusted look before turning away, heading to his horse and ready to leave the idiocy of Mitsunari and Nene behind.
"Kiyomasa!" she cried out.
He wanted to stop again, turn around maybe and listen to what she had to say. But seeing her would only fuel his anger.
"Kiyomasa!" she called out again. "Please don't die!"
He paused for a brief second, before riding off.
Hideyoshi and now Mitsunari.
Both gone and the land now at peace under the Tokugawa. How funny was it that Kiyomasa once thought they could be a family.
How funny was it that he had hoped the good times would last forever. Sitting together under a tree, laughing and teasing each other.
Hideyori, the son of Hideyoshi and the concubine Yodo, calls at Osaka. And the feelings of loyalty, long buried by anger and regret start to surface. He knew it might be his last fight, but his mind went back to the memory of the house of Toyotomi. Of Mitsunari and Masanori. And especially of Nene.
Was it so wrong to desire a widow?
The memory of the kiss still haunts him. At times he would wake up in the middle of the night, demanding his sleeping wife or a concubine to satisfy his urges. Even after he was done, he felt empty and bitter.
Nene had gone to a nunnery during these last few years, but he knew she would fight at Osaka in the name of the Toyotomi.
But he was eager to see her. Perhaps, he hoped for some closure before his potential last battle, so he would die with some dignity and no more regret.
He stood ready to fight at Osaka that summer. Determine to protect his "house." He believes that after so many years, he finally understood what Nene meant. It was hopeless now, their house might not stand. But he will keep trying until the end.
Nene walked past him, her eyes focused at the castle gates, ready to charge out.
"Lady Nene," he spoke quietly. "The years at the nunnery did little to hide your beauty."
She turned back to look at him, her eyes wary. "Thank you."
He wanted to say more, but she walked away.
"Don't die, okay?" he called out desperately. He wasn't even sure she heard his words and it came out almost pathetic.
She paused briefly, before flashing her sweet and familiar smile.
"I've died a long time ago."
And Nene kept on walking.