IC Date: October 11th, 18??
Characters: Katsuya Suou and Enoha Koinose
Slowly, but surely, night melted away. The birds already played herald for the sun's return.
In the semi darkness of the room, Katsuya rose to his feet. He crouched momentarily, before he picked up the loosely folded bundle of his clothing and began to dress. Once, he looked over where the still-slumbering form of a woman lay curled upon the thin cloth mattress. For a long moment, his gaze lingered upon her.
That early, with still-shuttered windows, it was difficult to see much detail in the room. There were only outlines, shapes, hints of color. But he could see Enoha clearly. He would have even sworn that he could see the slow rise and fall of her chest as she continued to peacefully sleep in face of the coming dawn.
He finished dressing, the cloth belt last and tied off at his waist. As quietly as he could--lest he woke her--he tread across the small room and knelt before a odd long bundle, tightly wrapped in cloth. The samurai he had rescued at Iwashima would have discovered that his sword was missing when he finally roused from his injuries, with no trace of what had happened to it. He picked up the bundle, carefully, so as to not jar what lay hidden from sight within it.
Dreams had taken a strange quality since coming to Maboroshi, at least, to Enoha. They were more akin to worn, favorite films that tugged on her emotions than memories, yet there was no mistaking they were just as real to her. Moving down the corridors of the Suou household, following the taller Katsuya Suou as her child self. Then, the first time she had met Tohru Adachi, whose determination and dedication towards winning her hand made her understand that she was more than just a farmer's daughter.
They were familiar and dear to her, and yet, tinged with a bittersweet pang. Her heart was divided.
Enoha could hear Katsuya move, rustling about his clothing. She moved, rising from the thin mattress to face him with bleary eyes. "... Katsuya?"
He stood, a touch abruptly. The weapon hidden deep within the bundle just barely rattled. "Sorry. I didn't mean to wake you up." He shook his head and exhaled a long low sigh. Truth be told, he... had both hoped and feared that she would wake up before he left.
"Listen. I'm going to go back to Keiza. ...I want you to stay here, as long as they'll let you stay here." He glanced off, out the only slightly ajar window, toward the darkened western horizon. They. It was only a matter of time before she received orders again. She wouldn't run from them as long as they held her father in their clutches. She'd continue to be in danger. He couldn't have that. Not now. Not ever.
He was going to Keiza, he said. He wanted her to stay here, as long as they- the shogunate- would allow her to. There was no notion of not following their orders; Nagisa's efforts made sure the mission was a success. No one could possibly fault her, Enoha hoped, for taking the time to lick her wounds after such a fierce stand-off with the man in white.
"...I'm going to free you. Whatever it takes, however long it takes, I'm going to save your father. I'll bring him back to you." In the semi darkness, Katsuya bowed his head. "I know. Whatever you were going to say... I know. But I refuse to stand by and do nothing. Besides," he said, smiling, though that was veiled in the darkness of pre-morning. "I'm the son of a soldier." All as if blood counted more than training.
"I'll be sure to live, Enoha."
That smile grew somewhat bittersweet as he gazed over at her.
"You... should be sure to live, too."
Katsuya wanted to free her. Enoha moved to go over to him, but doubled over as the remaining effects of blood loss made her head feel like a hollow gourd. "... This is unfair," she wheezed, "I should be doing this." Her face relaxed in surrender. "You better... you better live. And I..." She'll live for the both of them, for both their happiness. For her father, her mother. The people she met and risked her life for.
Her smile is wry. "I can't afford to die anymore."