A Hot-Blooded Man Always Serves His Revenge Boiling
They'd taken down Hijikata who was the second best swordsman in the Shinsengumi, and Kondo had gone after them. Okita ran.
[gen - Okita & Hijikata - violence - a Parallelsfic 2012 for thereisafire]
Hijikata was a bastard and an idiot, and he couldn't even breathe on his own. Someone had forced a tube down his throat and a clumsy machine breathed for him, filling his lungs with air and sucking them empty again. The hissing voice was low and steady, and it was driving Okita insane.
"Hijikata-san, you bastard," he said. Not that Hijikata could hear anything through the window, of course, but saying it made it truer. "Annoying me again."
Someone cleared his throat pointlessly behind him. Higa, who should have known better. In a straight and narrow hospital hallway, no one could sneak in without Okita noticing them.
"Okita-san, I could stay here if you wanted to eat something."
The rise and fall of Hijikata's chest was almost hypnotic and Okita had reached a nice lull, staring at it and thinking of nothing in particular. Thursday's soap opera, his shopping list and how Hijikata's had coughed blood all over his jacket. Okita was going to find the most expensive dry-cleaner in Edo and send the bill to the idiot.
"I'll wait for Kondo-san." Hijikata didn't even like flowers but what the hell, if it made Kondo feel better he could buy a garden for all Okita cared. With any luck Hijikata would be allergic to something.
Higa cleared his throat again. "Actually, Kondo-san told me to offer that. He said he'd be gone for a while."
Okita's arm shot out before Higa had finished talking. He was too tall and Okita grasped his collar, dragged him down to eye level. Something tore but since it wasn't Okita's shirt, it didn't matter.
"Where is he?"
Higa had always been a fast talker and this time wasn't an exception, the location spilling out of him like blood from Hijikata mouth. "He took Divisions three, four and six with him," Higa added.
The words washed over Okita like waves of stupidity and loyalty. They'd taken down Hijikata who was the second best swordsman in the Shinsengumi, and Kondo had gone after them. Okita ran.
It's a good thing that he was smart enough to wear the seatbelt. It hurt, digging into his uniform and bruising his skin, but at least he didn't crash through the window.
Okita slammed the car door open just in time to stop the man running past him. He was shorter than Okita had thought, and the blood gushing from his nose made him look ridiculous and ruined his uniform. More expenses for Hijikata-san. Okita couldn't wait to see his face when he got the bill.
"Where's Kondo-san?" The man, Murakami, stared at him with even more Okita-related terror than Okita was used to seeing on his face. Okita wondered briefly what, exactly, Kondo had told them, and then stepped on Murakami's fingers and asked again. "Where ishe?"
"Backyard!" Not that there was anything but backyard. The wretched building was half collapsed, an apartment house that hadn't survived the Joui War half as well as some of its most famous human veterans had. "We've surrounded the building and Kondo-san insisted on heading in first! I swear we tried to talk him out of it!"
Of course they had and of course Kondo hadn't listened, or at least he hadn't stopped. It was all Hijikata's fault, his and his stupid broken bones, creaking so loudly when Okita and Kondo had carried him to the hospital. Okita could still hear them shifting under Hijikata's skin, feel the edges under his fingertips.
He moved a little, letting Murakami pull his fingers to safety. The building had been high and it still was, seven floors standing, all without windows. How convenient. Years of sneaking into Hijikata's room for various reasons had left Okita with plenty of experience of breaking in unnoticed.
"I'll go through the third floor window. Wait until I'm in before you call Kondo-san." Okita didn't look at the whimpering man or say anything else, but he didn't have to. He could make a threat without actively doing anything. As Hijikata often said, he wasa threat, and threatening people with forced seppuku was Hijikata's thing anyway.
On the whole, criminals were stupid and Okita hated stupidity, had told that to both the China Girl and Hijikata with a pointed look and got two in return. At least those two had instincts that mostly kept them in one piece. It made it more difficult to surprise them, of course, but on the other hand Okita never had to witness the kind of embarrassing incompetence that greeted him on the ground floor.
The criminals were armed to the teeth with weapons Okita knew for a fact were highly illegal. Hijikata had absolutely forbidden him from getting a bazooka designed for hexapedal Amanto, the kind that the goon nearest to his hiding place had, on the grounds that Okita had only two arms. Since the goon on steroids was struggling to even lift the weapon, Okita was forced to admit that Hijikata might have had a point.
Since Okita didn't believe in fair fights, especially when he wanted to win, especially when he had a reason to win, he didn't make grand announcements. He dropped from the ceiling and killed the goon with a gun, a neat slice beheading him, not at all like the bleeding cuts all over Hijikata's back and chest. The goon fell, the gun fell, and Okita had slaughtered two more before the rest turned around.
Their leader was easy to spot even over the shouts and the smell of blood, not for size but for the way he held his simple sword. He had the look of a man who had never bothered to count his kills, a look Okita was very familiar with. He was also a man who might have, for example, led an ambush to cut down Okita's own division and then the man who'd had to protect them because Okita had been late.
He was in time now.
By the time the Shinsengumi flooded the room, the walls were painted red with blood and Okita felt slightly better. He felt even better when he spotted Kondo, shaking his head and stepping around the corpses littering the floor.
"Sougo! Didn't I leave you with Toushi?"
"Kondo-san?" Hijikata's voice was like gravel, breaking the silence and Okita's concentration. He sounded like he'd swallowed broken glass and Okita half expected to see blood on his skin again, bloody bubbles spilling from his lips. "Where?"
"Safe. He's signing paperwork in the hallway." The water pitcher shook a little when Okita filled the glass but since Hijikata's eyes were still closed, it didn't matter. "While I'm up to my neck in dead idiots and playing a nursemaid to you. I've always said that you're useless, Hijikata-san."
Hjikata's laughter was just a pained huff and his eyes a sliver of blue, but he did lift his head when Okita offered the glass with a straw to him. "Not."
"And that you have the table manners of a pig." The noises were almost but not quite as annoying as the respiratory machine had been, and Okita just knew that Hijikata was gurgling on purpose. Probably a pathetic revenge attempt for not getting to drink mayonnaise. "That's disgusting."
"Your face is," Hijikata said, letting his head fall back onto the white hospital sheets. He licked his cracked lips and for all Hijikata's numerous and carefully categorized faults, Okita did agree with his priorities. "Go help Kondo-san."
Okita put the glass on the table and stretched his aching back, careful not to tear his own stitches or let a grimace twist his mouth. "I'm not an idiot."
Hijikata's eyebrows could speak entire languages and Okita was fluent in most of them.
"Right, I almost forgot. Here." Okita took Hijikata's hand in his, placing it gently on the call button. "You'll need this when the laxative kicks in."