Hello again! I am back with another Peacemaker Fanfiction, and hopefully I can finish this one! I haven't given up on my other one, I will update it as soon as I can type up the next chapter! But I really hope you guys enjoy this new fic, it will have some OC in it so please do not bite my head off if you see a character not acting the way he usually would!
DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT OWN PEACEMAKER KUROGANE!
P.s- PLEASE READ AND REVIEW!
Summary: The story takes place four months after the raid of Ikedaya. Souji's sickness is becoming more serious and he is starting to slip up during practice. He still keeps his sickness to himself and does his best to keep Hijikata from finding out. After a few weeks of his not so perfect facade, he finally collapses.
P.S.S- I am going to be using the English honorifics! Sorry it was a request, so to those who are used to the japanese honorifics, please forgive me, but seeing as I am writing this story on request from a dear friend, I will do as they wish!
This story is requested by: Sarah Phillips Manhattan, NY, U.S.A
Chapter 1- Sleepless
Souji stirred in his futon. He could hear the early morning birds chirping away and the light talking of the other members heading to breakfast in the dining hall. He sighed and rolled over and covered his head with a pillow. He hadn't slept a wink last night due to his coughing spell. He had tried to hold as much in as he could so that he wouldn't wake Hijikata, who was a few rooms down from him.
He closed his eyes and was trying to fall back asleep. He was right on the edge of sleep when he heard a soft tapping on his door, followed by it opening up.
"Mr. Okita, it is time for breakfast." Tetsu said, talking softly so he wouldn't startle Souji.
Souji sighed softly and then sat up with his best smile. "Thank you, Tetsu." he said and then stood up and fixed his white yukata. He took a comb and brushed through his hair and then left with Tetsu to head to the dining hall.
Tetsu glanced over at Souji and smiled a little. "Did you sleep well, Mr. Okita?" he asked.
Souji smiled down at him. "I can't say that I had a blissful night's sleep, but I guess I did catch a little off and on." he said. He opened the door to the dining hall and was about to walk in but he ran into a wide chest. He stepped back and rubbed his nose.
"Ouch." he whispered and looked up to see Hijikata towering over him. He smiled widely and waved and bowed slightly. "Good morning, Mr. Hijikata. Did you sleep well?" he asked.
Hijikata blinked but nodded. "I slept fine." he said and then stepped around them and walked down the hall. "Hey brat, bring tea to my room when you finish eating." he called back at Tetsu.
Tetsu grumbled. "Yes sir!" he said and then turned and walked inside of the dining hall. He sat down in front of a tray and began to eat.
Souji walked inside and sat down beside Kondo and Yamanami as he usually did in the mornings. Hijikata didn't stay at the dining hall long, so Souji barely saw him in the mornings. He figured he was busy with work or something. He picked up his chopsticks and began to eat.
Kondo laughed in his conversation with Yamanami and then turned to Souji. "Ah, Souji, good morning. Running a little late today are we?" he said and smiled.
Souji nodded and smiled. "Sorry, I had a rough start this morning, the bed was just so warm!" he hummed.
Kondo laughed. "That's Souji for you." he said and then turned back to his conversation with Yamanami.
Souji turned back to his food and continued to eat. He hummed a little as he ate, but he stopped immediately and covered his mouth. He dropped his chopsticks on his plate and coughed into his hands.
The room went quiet as they stared at Souji's sudden cough attack. Kondo looked worriedly over at Souji. He pat his back. "Did you choke?" he asked.
Souji wanted to answer but the pain was too much. He just nodded and reached for his tea and sipped it lightly. He sighed and relaxed as the sudden spell passed. "I'm sorry, a little rice went down the wrong path." he said, smiling so he wouldn't cause worry.
Kondo smiled warily, not to sure if he was telling the truth or not. He placed a hand on his shoulder. "Listen you can take the day off if you aren't feeling well." he whispered.
Souji shook his head. "I'm fine Mr. Kondo, really I am." he said and stretched. He then smiled. "I think I might go check on Saizo now." he said and stood up. He dusted off his clothing and then left the dining hall. He shielded his eyes from the sun that had just recently risen. He turned down the hall and headed out into the east side yard. He approached the fence where Saizo was and reached in and picked him up.
"Good morning, Saizo. Sorry I am a little late today." he said and sat the little pig down on the ground and walked back around the corner. He was heading over the the sparring hall to watch his unit train. He walked in and everyone stopped what they were doing and bowed. "Good morning sir!" they called out.
Souji waved his hand out in front of him. "Please continue." he said. He went over to one of the pillows that were sitting in the floor and sat down. He stroked Saizo's back as he watched them. After everyone was tired and all worn out it was time for the third unit to come in and spar. He stood up and dusted himself off once again. He walked over to the door and headed out.
"Souji...how are you this morning." Saito asked from close behind him, causing Souji to jump a little. He was wearing his usual blank expression.
Souji smiled and nodded. "I am well." he said. "Work hard today." he said and then waved and was walking off when Saito stepped in front of him.
"Forgive my rudeness, but it seems like you are unwell today." he whispered so only the two of them could hear.
Souji paused for a moment but never let his smile slip. "Yes, well I didn't get much sleep last night, but other than than I am fine." he said softly. He then gave a slight bow and then walked away.
Saito watched as he left and then turned and walked inside the training hall. He could see that Souji was hiding something, something important about his health. He didn't look as fair in color as he used to. He would keep a close eye on him.
Later on that day Souji was just putting Saizo up when Shinpachi walked up to him. "Souji, there is a young man, another shinsengumi hopeful that wants to spar with you, interested?" he asked.
Souji chuckled and waved his hands out in front of him and shook his head. "No thanks, I was just returning to my room for the evening to get washed up for dinner." he said.
Shinpachi looked at him with begging eyes. "Aw come on Souji, just one spar before dinner, we haven't got to see any action since Ikedaya!" he whined.
Souji sighed and smiled. "Alright, I will be there in a moment, let me dress in my sparring attire." he said and walked down to his room. He slid his thin legs into the black pants and tied them tightly to his waist. He reached for a string and tied his hair with it.
He finished dressing and then walked down the yard to the training hall. He walked inside. "I'm ready." he said and smiled. He walked in and looked at the slightly shorter male. He had brown hair to about his shoulder.
"So you are the famous Souji Okita, I'm Akihiko, I have heard of your strength. I will defeat you here and now." he said. "I will take your spot as the first unit captain." he said.
Tetsu and Shinpachi muffled their laughter in their sleeves and sat down to watch the action. Even Kondou had stopped by at the commotion. He sat down in the same place he had sat when Tetsu was facing Souji. He crossed his arms and watched in interest.
"Don't go overboard like last time, Souji." Kondou laughed.
Souji smiled over at Kondou. "Of course, I will not slip up again." he said and then turned to Akihiko. "Pleased to meet you, Akihiko, do your best!" he said.
Akihiko got into position across from Souji. He looked up and saw that Souji was just standing there casually, not putting up any defense. "What, aren't you ready?" he asked.
Souji smiled and closed his eyes. "You need to put on your safety equipment. It is in your best interest to do so." he said.
Akihiko clicked his tongue. "There is no need for stupid protection like that, I can take you on!" he yelled.
Souji's smile slowly disappeared and he was staring at the boy in front of him. His eyes had narrowed down into a calm but cold stare. "Are you sure?" he asked.
Akihiko felt himself hesitate a little. "Yeah...of course." he mumbled with a cheeky grin.
Kondou sighed. "I cannot allow you to face Souji unless you wear protective armor. I don't want Souji to be responsible for your death." he said.
Akihiko growled at the belittling he was receiving. He hissed and then lunged forward, throwing a side-sweeping attack towards Souji. Naturally Souji blocked it.
Souji frowned. "You've disobeyed Mr. Kondou, that just won't do." he whispered and got into his stance, the very stance that he used against Tetsu to send him flying out the door.
Akihiko didn't recognize the stance, he prepared himself for the worst. He waited for Souji to at him.
Souji smiled a quick smile, his eyes still cold, and lunged forward. His wooden sword was just about to connect to the boy's chest when Hijikata yelled at him.
"Souji!" Hijikata yelled, causing Souji to stop immediately and stand up into a normal position. Hijikata walked over to the two of them. He glared and looked down at the boy, who was about the same age as Tetsu when he first arrived. "What's with this brat?" he hissed.
Kondou rubbed the back of his neck. "Oh come on, Toshi. It was just a little fun, besides it was a good match. I wasn't going to let Souji hurt him." he said. It was only then that Souji realized that Kondou was on his feet, wooden sword in hand. He was going to intervene his attack.
Hijikata glared down at the boy. "You almost got yourself killed. You aren't fit for the Shinsengumi, we aren't a preschool, run along home boy before I remove you myself." he whispered in a dark low voice.
Akihiko shuddered at the look in Hijikata's eyes. He pulled back for now and left running as fast as he could. He ran outside the gates and stopped and turned back to look at the building one more time. 'Who are those people.' he thought. He turned and ran off.
Hijikata looked down at Souji, the room was silent. Souji had his head bowed. "How many times...do I have to tell you." he hissed in a lower whisper.
"I'm...sorry." Souji whispered. He looked up and at the same moment Hijikata's hand connected with his face. Everyone in the room looked in shock. Hijikata had never risen his hand to Souji before. Even Kondou was surprised.
"Toshi!" Kondou called. "I told you it wasn't his fault." he thought. He walked over to Souji who was looking up at Hijikata in shock. He reached up and touched at his cheek.
Hijikata looked down into Souji's eyes and he felt regret. He felt bad for striking Souji. He knew he just made Souji look bad in front of his unit.
Souji lowered his eyes and then turned and walked away. He stopped at the door and looked back at Hijikata. "I'm not a child Hijikata. Do not strike me as you please." he said, anger deep in his features. Souji never showed anger towards Hijikata before.
Hijikata was shocked, Souji had never spoken to him in that manner before. He turned and walked out after him and watched as Souji turned a corner and was heading to his room.
"Souji, wait." he called, but Souji kept going. He sighed and shook his head and turned and headed back to his own room. He was feeling even worse about the situation. He would talk to him at dinner.
Meanwhile Souji was in his room pouting. He laid down on this futon and closed his eyes. "I didn't do anything wrong. Hijikata shouldn't treat me like a child anymore, I am no longer a child!" he huffed into his pillow.
He opened his eyes slightly and sat up. He reached over to his hidden stash of candy only to realize his bag was empty. He sighed and took of the dark blue pants he was wearing and was back in his regular white yukata. He stepped out onto the porch and headed around to the front gate.
He ran into Kondou on his way to the gate. Kondou looked down at Souji and sighed. "I'm sorry, let me take you out for a drink." he said.
Souji shook his head. "I'm alright , I was just going to go play with the children and get some more candy." he said, whispering the candy part in case Hijikata was around.
Kondou laughed and rubbed Souji's head. "That's Souji for you." he snorted.
Souji smiled and waved and then walked down the road. He walked to the nearby temple where the children were playing.
"Soujirou! Over here!" they called. Souji smiled and waved and pranced over to them. "Hellooo! What games are we going to play today?" he asked, putting on an excited face.
The kids smiled and laughed. "We want to play Kagome!" one of the smaller boys said. Souji smiled. "Then let's play!" he said. "Who's going to be in the middle?" he asked, bending down to their level.
"We will draw straws!" the younger boy said giggling and holding out straws. He heard the other little kids snickering and he knew automatically he would pick the straw that was it. He smiled anyway and then picked a straw. The children erupted into laughter as he pulled the shortest straw.
Souji smiled. "It looks like I'm it." he said He smiled and then bend down and let the kids form a circle around him. He closed his eyes and listened as the kids walked around him in a circle and sung the Kagome song.
The kids giggled and finally stopped moving. Souji took the silence as a motion for him to guess who was behind him. He smiled and listened carefully. "I think...that Misu is behind me." he guessed. He heard a small playful whine. "You always get it right." Misu mumbled.
Souji smiled and uncovered his eyes. "It's Misu's turn." he said and joined the other children in making a circle. He chanted along with them as they walked in circles hand in hand. Souji really adored children. He love to play games with them.
After time passed it was time for the children to go home. He knew he should be heading back soon. It wasn't safe for him to be out alone and without his sword at this time of day, especially with some left over Choshu clansman around. He sighed and made a quick round to the candy store and bought a brand new bag. He then headed home.
He finally made it back and it was about dinner time. He went and got washed up for dinner. He was washing his hands when he heard someone walk up behind him.
"Souji..let's talk." Hijikata said. He made Souji face him and he sighed.
Souji looked up at Hijikata. "I already know, you are here to scold me again." he said, looking off to the side.
"Souji I scold you because you keep fighting children. How many times have I told you to decline right away?" he said. He didn't speak roughly. He was calmer and composed compared to earlier.
Souji glanced up at him. "I know. It was just harmless sparring. I wasn't intending to hurt him." he said.
Hijikata sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. "I know you weren't trying to hurt him, but the look in your eyes showed that you were about to kill him." he said.
Souji sighed. "I'm sorry." he said looking towards the dining hall. "It's time for dinner." he said. He shifted and a piece of candy fell out of his pocket. Souji looked up as he watched Hijikata's eyes follow the candy as it rolled on the ground. Souji laughed and took a few steps away. "My, my, a stray piece of candy." he said.
Hijikata looked at Souji with flat eyes. "S-o-u-j-i...give me the candy." he said holding out his hands.
Souji stuck his tongue out and laughed and then took off running towards the dining hall. Hijikata was running after him. "SOUJI!" he called, a white flame in his eyes.
Souji ran into the dining hall, causing people to look up. He quickly looked for an alliance. He then ran over to the front of the room and jumped with his arms stretched out. He landed in Kondou's lap softly and then clung to his neck. "Mr. Kondou, Mr. Hijikata is trying to take my candy!" he whined, fake tears in his eyes.
Kondou blinked and then threw his head back and laughed a throaty laugh. "Toshi, you are too hard on our Souji, let him have some candy." he said laughing.
Hijikata walked over to them and he took Souji's wrist and was pulling him out of Kondou's lap, but Souji protested. "Yeah you can say that, you weren't the one who had to stay up with him when he was a brat! He got a big toothache and whined like a baby all night!" he yelled, but not in an aggressive way.
Souji stuck his tongue out. He was about to laugh but a cough came out in it's place. He sat up quickly and covered his mouth and strained himself to stop coughing. He reached for his cup of tea and took a sip.
Hijikata stopped fooling around and then pulled Souji into a sitting position. It was the same cough from the Ikedaya raid. He placed a hand on Souji's back and automatically looked at his mouth.
Souji laughed. "It's alright , I just choked on a piece of candy." he said. He moved the piece of candy he had in his mouth to the front so they could see it.
Hijikata sighed and relaxed. "All the more reason why candy shouldn't be allowed around you." he said. He then looked at Souji's clothing. He saw the imprint of a pouch inside his sleeves. He then took Souji's arm again and reached into his clothing and pulled out the bag of candy.
Souji pouted and pulled away and went and sat in front of his food. "I just bought that bag." he sighed.
Kondou laughed. "Let's eat, we have a meeting later." he said. "I need to see you and Souji in the south yard meeting room." he said to Hijikata in a whisper. "Come alone and don't let anyone know you are coming." he said.
Hijikata nodded, thinking it must be urgent. "What about Yamanami?" he whispered back. Kondou looked at him and shook his head.
Hijikata nodded and glanced at Souji who nodded as well.
The rest of dinner was peaceful. When it was finally over, Souji helped carry the dishes into the kitchen and then headed to the South yard meeting room. He looked around to make sure nobody was watching. He then hurried to the room and slid inside to where Hijikata and Kondou was already waiting.
Souji sat down beside of Hijikata who was facing Kondou. "Listen. There has been some strange disappearances lately in the area. Young women seem to be the targets." he began.
Souji nodded. "I've heard some things about it while in town today. I heard that right after the disappearances, some new young females show up at the red light district." he said.
Kondou nodded. "It seems that whoever is taking these young girls, is taking them and selling them to the red light district. Some say that it was bandits that have been taking them." he said.
Hijikata nodded. "We should go to the red light district and monitor all suspicious activity." he said. "Me and Sou-" he began but was cut off by Souji suddenly coughing.
Souji coughed loudly into his hand. He nodded to the others to let him know he was fine.
Hijikata was patting his back, worry heavy on his face. "Souji?" he asked, concern etched deep into his voice.
Souji finally stopped coughing and sighed. He smiled. "Sorry, I get strangled very easy lately. I tried to breathe and swallow at the same time." he said, laughing slightly.
Hijikata shook his head. "I don't believe you. You're sick aren't you? You look very pale, don't lie to me!" he hissed and took Souji's wrist and pulled him close and pressed his forehead to Souji's. He closed his eyes and pulled back. "You're running a fever, you idiot!" he yelled, causing Souji to jump slightly.
Souji sighed and pulled away from Hijikata's grasp. "I'm fine, it's just a small temperature. I just didn't get a good night's sleep. I will be fine after some rest, I promise." he said.
Hijikata eyed him suspiciously but then sighed. "Take some medicine and go to bed. We'll finish this discussion tomorrow." he said.
Souji frowned and shook his head. "I am fine, Mr. Hijikata. Stop worrying so much." he said with a smile. "It's nothing serious." he said.
Kondou smiled and placed a hand on Hijikata's shoulder. "You're overreacting Toshi, if he says he's fine, he's fine." he said, although he himself was worried.
Hijikata sighed. "Fine do what you want! But if you get even more sick, don't come complaining to me!" he yelled.
Souji looked at Hijikata a little upset. "Don't worry, I won't bother you." he said and stood up. "I'll be retiring for tonight. I hope we can finish talking about our plans tomorrow." he said. "Goodnight, Mr. Kondou, Mr. Hijikata." he said. He turned and walked out the door, shutting behind it.
Kondou sighed. "Toshi, what has gotten into you? You've been riding Souji's case all day." he said.
Hijikata sighed and stood up. "He's hiding something...I know you sense it too." he said. "Why is he keeping things from me?" he whispered and sighed.
Kondou stood up himself. "He does have the right to have a personal life. Toshi, I know you're worried, but you can't keep treating him like a child, he's twenty four now. He's capable of taking care of himself." he said and pat him on the shoulder. "Now let's get some rest." he said.
Hijikata sighed and nodded and headed back to his room. He knew that he was probably worrying too much, but it was better safe than sorry. He had to find out what Souji was hiding. He would watch over him for awhile.
Well that is it for this chapter! I hope you guys enjoyed it! I haven't done a Peacemaker fanfic in a long time. Two or three years maybe? I am still trying to wrap up the other one, which I will be posting later! . Anyway, please review! I love to hear feedback! :D