“As if our lives were ever that simple, Tokio…” Saitou whispered. The tea his wife had made him warmed his hands, but he still felt cold. Unrest was building to the south, whispers of dissent from Satsuma…
“Husband…” her voice was low and Saitou refused to look at her, to see the pained expression on her face. “Your fighting is done, ne?” she asked him, again.
She tried to sound happy, for him, but Saitou just curled inward. What a harsh winter they had had. Tokio had gone into labor just a few months ago and Saitou felt useless, watching as other people had to help her bring their child forth.
The plum blossoms had begun to bud and bloom, though, the first sign of spring.
“There is trouble brewing, in Satsuma…” he said, he said it again, and again, and again and each time, Tokio would smile at him, looking so sad. Saitou kept his gaze focused upon on the shut shouji that blocked his view of the garden, where snow was melting from the trees.
“But… what about our son?” He didn’t want to look over, to see the tears welling in her eyes, but he could not just ignore her. She sat at the irori and Saitou shifted, his thick kimono rustling as he turned around on his knees, to look at his wife. Tsutomu was in her arms, so small, so dependant on them; Saitou hissed.
He had left one son to the world, it would have to be enough. “I have no intentions of dying.”
No, he had no desire to die, not for this rebellion, not because of Saigo Takamori. But, he would be a fool, to disregard the notion of death as impossible for him. There were so few of his kind of his left, after all, the last true Miburo.
“All right, husband…” Tokio smiled at him, a tear rolling down her cheek as she held their son close to her breast. “I understand. You must go, for the good of all of Japan…”
He breathed a sigh of relief at her permission, going to her, holding her and their child close as Tokio shook in his arms. His heart ached, torn from staying with his family and his pride and duty to protect Japan from more strife.
Saitou was as if a mountain, unmoving as he slowly eroded away, but Tokio was as if water, finding whatever path was necessary to reach the ocean.