Pairing: Kambei/Nasami (OC)
Fandom: SAMURAI 7
Word Count: 1151
Theme: #33 - Right now, I can't remember yesterday, and I don't care about tomorrow. This moment is all that matters.
Disclaimer: I don't own SAMURAI 7. I do, however, own Nasami (and likewise, she owns me). You are welcome to tell her tales, but you had better give credit where credit is due.
Inspiration: "Forever Yours" by Nightwish
Note: Set just after the end of the series. For more about Nasami (and especially her relationship with Kambei), go read my story 'The Sword of the Soul.'
The faint echo of music followed Nasami as she left Kanna, the rough singing of the peasants as they worked in the rice paddies. Even as heavy as her heart felt, she smiled faintly to herself as she walked, and tilted her head back to look up at the sky and feel the sun on her face.
"Where will you go?" Katsushiro had asked her, his green eyes dark with sorrow.
"Wherever the wind leads me."
It's strange, she mused to herself. For years, I wandered with others, until it felt strange being alone. Then for years, I wandered alone, and it felt strange being with others. I wander in and out of lives, leaving behind only shadows and memories.
"You will always be welcome in Kanna, great samurai." The farmers, every single one, had bowed to her before she left, and Shino was openly weeping.
"Please, sensei, take me with you!"
"The path of the samurai is not for you, Shino-san. Your place is here... whereas I... I have no place, and so I wander."
Her eyes were on the mountains in the distance, her thoughts already far away, when suddenly her hand dropped lightly to her katana and she came to a stop.
"Following me, Shichiroji-san?" she asked without turning around.
"Showoff," she heard him chuckle, and she glanced back over her shoulder to see him approaching her. "Someday you'll have to tell me how you do that."
She shrugged, but smiled and waited for him to reach her before she began walking again. "Years of practice. So how come you're following me?"
"In case you've forgotten, the Village of Respite is along this road." The blond samurai grinned cheerfully. "Besides, why walk alone when I can enjoy your company?"
"I'm surprised you're not traveling with..." Her voice trailed off, and Nasami looked away, but Shichiroji just watched her.
"I could say the same thing about you," he said softly.
She shook her head. "Shichiroji, I..."
"I know, Nasami-dono."
They walked along in silence for a while, each lost in his or her own thoughts, until at last the sun slipped over the horizon and the stars began to appear.
"Where do you intend to stop for the night?" she asked.
"Rikichi said they passed through a town along the road to Kanna," he replied. "What about you? Surely you're not planning to walk all night?"
She shrugged. "It wouldn't be the first time."
But Shichiroji said nothing - he only let his eyes wander down to her legs, where he could tell she was favoring her knee where she'd been stabbed by Hyogo not long ago.
Finally, she sighed. "Fine, I give up. We'll stop here."
He grinned at her. "Sensible as ever. Granted, I'm sure the sake won't be quite as good as at the Firefly House, and of course, the atmosphere can't hope to be the same, but you never know..."
That night, they arrived at a local inn, and Shichiroji charmed the young geisha at the entrance into providing them with two rooms.
"Worried all of a sudden about proprieties, Shichiroji-san?" Nasami teased as the geisha led them to their rooms, and the former pilot chuckled.
"I have my reasons."
They stopped at the first room, and Shichiroji slid open the door for her.
"I'm going to take a bit to get cleaned up, wash off some of the road," he told her. "Take your time."
"Thank you, Shichiroji," she said softly, and he bowed slightly and turned to leave. "And... Shichiroji?"
He looked back. "Hmm?"
Nasami looked down at the floor. "Thank you," she said at last. "You're right. I've become too accustomed to being alone."
"Not any more, Nasami-dono," he said with a faint smile.
Then he left, and Nasami turned to enter her room. But as she stepped inside and turned to slide the door shut, she stopped.
Sitting placidly in a corner of the room, a cup of sake in his hand, was the last person she had ever expected to see again.
"I'm sorry," he whispered. "But I could not just let you leave without speaking to you one last time."
"Kambei..." she whispered, her dark blue eyes wide as he set down his cup and stood, coming to stand before her. "I don't... what are you..."
"I am here to ask your forgiveness, Nasami. I know that for a samurai to speak as I am about to is wrong, and yet I cannot remain silent any longer."
"But... you left me behind in Kanna," she said, finally recovering from her shock. "I awoke and you were gone, without a word to me, or to the others."
Then words failed her completely as the samurai knelt before her.
"I left Kanna last night without saying goodbye, because I thought it would make things easier. There would be no awkwardness, no regrets... or so I thought. But with every step I took, all I could think of was you. And I damned myself for leaving you behind."
He looked up at her, his dark grey eyes earnest in the firelight.
"Don't go," he whispered at last. "I beg of you."
"I don't understand."
"I am empty without you." he told her, his hands reaching out to take hers. "I cannot bear to lose you. Not now."
"I... told him that if when dawn came, if you were upset with me for leaving, if he thought that you might care at all, that I would wait here for three days."
Tears filled the samuraiko's eyes.
The sight of her tears cut Kambei to the core, but he did not look away. "I know the vow you took, and your Clan would never allow a relationship such as ours to exist. But I had to tell you... I had to let you know that you are life itself to me before I let you walk away from me, as I tried to do to you."
Nasami's breath caught in a sob and she sank to her knees so that she faced Kambei directly, even as the tears spilled over. Instinctively she reached out, cradling his face in her hands, and pulled him to her for a desperate kiss. His arms went around her, hard, and for a long time, neither said a word while their lips and hearts spoke for them.
"Come with me," she said at last, drawing back for a moment and capturing his eyes with her own. "I have lived all my life as they have expected, I have earned the right to choose my own husband. If you wish to leave, and continue as ronin, I will not stop you, but if you are willing to join a Clan once more... and you will accept me as yours as I wish you to be mine, then..."
He had no answer to that but to kiss her again.