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the sake of lethe

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"This isn't how I planned our last drink," Tenpou said. His voice was unexpectedly soft. They could both hear Konzen yelling, fighting, somewhere; but their fate was too clearly delinated now to bother struggling against.

"Me neither," Kenren answered, leaning back in his chair and regarding the wine suspiciously. "Sure doesn't smell like sake."

Tenpou put his hand up to Kenren's lips, thinking of cherry blossoms, of state dinners, of that time, once, years ago-- was it decades?-- when they took a bottle back to Tenpou's library and made love behind Tenpou's desk, Tenpou's hand over Kenren's mouth to stop the giggling. Never again, Tenpou thought, and for a moment he thought of getting up to join Konzen's fight.

"I'll find you," Kenren whispered. "You think some crappy drink's gonna stop me?"

"No," Tenpou answered. "I don't believe it will stop any of us." He put the wine to his lips-- then hesitated, and offered Kenren his cup.

Kenren nodded and stretched out his arm. Konzen's cries had finally subdued.

They drank from each other's cup; the liquid was bitter, but that was forgotten soon enough.

The kiss they shared as their memory faded was more difficult to wash away.