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Peaceful Sleep

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Ookanehira, for a very, very long time, was the rarest, strongest sword in this citadel. And he was treated as such. He lived a very cozy life, especially considering he was the seventh sword to be welcomed into the citadel. He was cared for well, and it shows, and he loved it.

Then Juzumaru Tsunetsugu appeared. Since Juzumaru was the newest thing, as well as being a Tenka Goken, he was pampered and treated practically like royalty. Uguisumaru would attempt to reassure Ookanehira saying he was still the strongest, but Ookanehira, always, never listened. He avoided Juzumaru like he was the plague, wanting nothing to do with him at all. Unfortunately, the saniwa saw this, and wanting their best swords to attempt to get along, sent them on a sortie together. Ookanehira hated it. It was a simple one, one that two or three swords could do alone, especially a Tenka Goken and Ookanehira. It was simply for Ookanehira to explain the ropes to Juzumaru, how sorties worked, and the like.

They failed, nearly dying, because of Ookanehira's absolute refusal to work with Juzumaru at all. When they arrived at the citadel, Ookanehira, not as injured as the other, reported to the saniwa and got mad scolded. Deflated and forced to the infirmary, he tried to ignore Juzumaru entirely, but couldn't, as Yagen would consistently have to work on him -- that's how bad off he was. He couldn't ignore him, especially with the saniwa telling him to get along with him or he'd be taken off of the teams altogether.

"Please try to get some rest," Juzumaru said, across the room, breath ragged, voice barely audible.

Ookanehira was stunned into silence. He wasn't mad at all, was he? He tch'd and rolled over and went to sleep, though it was restless at first. When Yagen shook him awake in the morning - or rather, afternoon - he looked over to where Juzumaru should have been, and he was still there. Ookanehira declined the feelings of guilt that threatened to rise in his throat and left, tch'ing again.

The next time they went on a sortie, Ookanehira worked with him. Juzumaru smiled quietly and thanked him, but he still didn't seem mad that Ookanehira nearly killed them both. Ookanehira, quite frankly, hated it. Why didn't he get mad?!

Uguisumaru later explained to him, right when they were about to sleep, lying there in the dark together, that Juzumaru did not seem like the type to get mad; he said, he always seems like he's ready to forgive even the biggest slight against him. Ookanehira said he hated that explanation, threw a pillow at Uguisumaru, and tried to sleep (he did not - not when that stupid Tenka Goken was on his mind).

A few months passed. Strangely enough, Ookanehira had come to enjoy Juzumaru's presence. Uguisumaru joked that Juzumaru was like a sedative to Ookanehira, always managing to quiet him down when the other could not. Ookanehira did not know how to tell him it was because his heart got stuck in his throat every time Juzumaru spoke to him recently, so he left it at that.

A few weeks later, Ookanehira asked the saniwa to allow him and Juzumaru to go to the same era they had gone to the first time ever. The saniwa allowed it - after all, they were now both the strongest swords, so they could handle it. They were dispatched.

"How nostalgic," Juzumaru said, and Ookanehira thought he was standing just a little too close, but he didn't push him away.

They proceeded throughout the era as usual.

"Is this easier now or somethin'?" Ookanehira asked. They had only encountered a select few enemies, and although they were taken out easily, Ookanehira had remembered there being more of them.

Juzumaru simply smiled at him and said: "It's easy because you and I are together."

Ookanehira tripped, landing face first. Juzumaru, shocked, helped him up, and Ookanehira swatted his hands away, face all red. Juzumaru, not stupid, caught on, and he laughed. He swept the hair from Ookanehira's face and pressed a kiss to his forehead, then stood up fully, helping Ookanehira to his feet as well, though his legs felt like jelly. When Juzumaru tucked a piece of his own hair behind his ears, Ookanehira realized the other's hands were shaking, and that his face was also red. Ookanehira cleared his throat and turned away, and Juzumaru chuckled quietly again. 

They proceeded, once more, throughout. It seemed like nothing would be going wrong anytime soon, so they stopped for a break at a tea house. Juzumaru, as always, calmed Ookanehira, though he couldn't quite calm him down when they reached for the same thing and their fingers brushed together. Ookanehira was sure that he would burst at the seams, but neither pulled their hand away for a very long time, both frozen like that, though Juzumaru looked perhaps contemplative rather than downright embarrassed like what he must had looked like. It wasn't until a worker entered the room that Juzumaru pulled his hand away, leaving Ookanehira's hand outstretched stupidly. The worker didn't comment on it, but she must have guessed what was going on. 

After their break, Ookanehira got rid of the awkward (to him, at least...) silence between them by talking about anything and everything under the sun. Approaching the edge of the village and taking a step out of it, he stopped talking, however. Something didn't feel quite right, and he wasn't sure what it was at first. But the air above them split open, and his eyes widened. Almost immediately did the enemies come. He swore beneath his breath, brandishing his sword as Juzumaru did the same. 

After taking a few down, when they just would not stop coming, surrounded by them and his back to Juzumaru's, he asked: "Isn't there something funny about these ones?" 

Juzumaru, huffing and puffing, his elegance broken, nodded and confirmed it with: "There's another yari. Didn't you see, too? The sky - the sky was blue when they came." 

In fact, when Ookanehira looked back up, the sky was indeed blue, but an unnatural blue. Lightning crackled and thunder roared. He clenched his teeth and swatted another tachi away, then another. Juzumaru did the same, parrying with a yari. They broke center, backs edging away from one another to see if they could take a few more of them down individually. 

The yari pushed its blade down further and further, sliding it down Juzumaru's sword, until the wooden handle met with the hilt of the sword; the yari pushed, and Juzumaru, sapped of energy, fell to the ground, sword knocked from his hand. He watched as the yari reared up and struck down. 

Yet no pain came. 

Ookanehira had caught the wooden handle with his own blade. He pushed the yari away and sliced, and the yari dissipated into a spatter of blue smoke and lightning. 

At long last, it seemed to be the end. Ookanehira fell to his knees where he stood, a little bit a ways from Juzumaru, and sat back on his legs. The sword fell from his hands and clanged on the dusty ground. He was drained, completely and utterly, and it showed. Drenched in sweat, he almost cursed this human-like body for getting tired. Looking over at the other, Juzumaru seemed equally tired, but still, he smiled at Ookanehira, as if congratulating him on a job well done. 

Lightning struck the ground in between them, and a yari phased in where it had landed, pole raised, aiming at Juzumaru. 

Ookanehira did not hesitate. He leapt to his feet, grabbed his sword, and closing his eyes, swung with all his might. ... It did not feel like he hit the enemy, though it did hit something, hard enough to get lodged in whatever it was. Before he could open his eyes, he heard a gasp, and then a choked noise, and his eyes flung open, and his hands pulled his sword away, and then he let go of the sword, and for the second time that day, he fell to his knees, and Juzumaru was in his arms. 

Juzumaru looked up at him, opening his eyes. They were a light, light white, almost as white as the rest of his eyes, and although Ookanehira had wanted to see them dearly, he didn't want to see them under such circumstances. He heard the snap of a blade, and Juzumaru writhed in his arms, coughing up more and more blood with each passing second, dirtying his elegant clothes and beautiful face, and out of the corner of his eyes (he didn't want to look away from those mesmerizing ones of Juzumaru), he saw a tachi had stomped on Juzumaru's namesake. 

A shadow overcame him and Juzumaru, as Juzumaru clung onto him with desperate fingers. 

The shadow seemingly raised a sword.