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A Sudden Stop

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Before I start, I'll just drop two screenshots of the said scene in here to feed your imagination! 

 

 

 

Now please enjoy. (m_m)


 

Carefully, Ichiyo inhaled dusty air into his lungs.

It hurt.

Once more.

It felt even worse.

He bit his lip, tasting a bitter mixture of blood and dirt in his mouth.

But where was he? What was going on?

Next thing Ichiyo realised was his arm covering his face. It was slightly numb.

Another arm. He could barely move it, barely feel the wet ground under his fingertips.

 

That’s right… they were ambushed. Ambushed on the way to guard a border spot near the shelter where Japanese troops were setting up a base - a mission that was supposed to be an easy task set on still a rather peaceful region not rampaged by the ongoing war.

And yet they had walked straight into a trap.

Every single one of them.

He could only faintly remember the yell of his partner, the whistle of an ignited, incoming missile and how his own body moved on instinct, dashing to cover up the other..

He remembered telling his partner to run away, to cover himself.

And after that all he remembered was a deafening sound of explosion, the heat and the pain.

 

Lone gunshots echoed in the distance - the explosion didn’t stay unseen from the troops patrolling further away. Maybe there were also enemy soldiers near?

But...

 

If he was here…

Where’s… Riichi?

 

As a new wave of pain ran through his body, Ichiyo had to use all strength he still had left to stay still. Closing his tearing up eyes tightly he could only gasp for air with pained, short breaths and pray that his worst fear wouldn’t have gotten true.

Not yet, please, not yet…

 

He could hear crumbling noise and footsteps from somewhere near him. He couldn’t locate the sound properly as his left ear seemed to have lost the ability to hear. Maybe from the explosion, Ichiyo thought to himself as he tried to turn a bit, to open his eyes and see what was going on around him.

 

He saw a pair of feet running towards him, heard a familiar voice, almost like echoing from somewhere far away.

 

“Ichiyo!”

 

As Miyazawa had finally regained his consciousness after the flight the explosion had thrown his body into, he could only feel relief that his heart was still beating, that despite all injuries he had, he still could keep going on.

 

But the relief soon turned into a terror as he had realised the remains of what had once been the shelter, were now crumbled, shattered around. And what made his still beating heart stop momentarily was the dark-haired figure laying in the midst of all that.

 

A dark-haired figure that had his stomach and chest impaled by multiple shards.

A dark-haired figure that didn’t seem to move at all in the slowly widening pool of blood.

 

And so Miyazawa had forced himself to get up, despite the pain he felt on his body, despite the fact he could barely move his other leg, despite the bloody sputums he coughed out continuously.

Despite all that he forced himself to stay on balance and ran towards the other, not even bothering to care of the fact that there would be more to come.

He only saw Ichiyo on his eyes.

 

“Ichiyo! Ichiyo! Ichi...yo…”

He could barely hear his own voice through his painfully loud heartbeat as he stumbled among the rubbled ground, almost falling on his knees next to the dark-haired man.

Seeing the wounds disgracing Ichiyo’s beautiful face, the shards and burns destroying his body, Miyazawa felt like his heart, no, his world would shatter into pieces at that very moment.

 

“Ichiyo? Ichiyo, do you hear me?” Miyazawa felt his voice shattering already. A soldier wasn’t supposed to be like this. Not cry like this. This was wrong.

Yet tears were already falling, tears from the man who usually tried to hide everything within his heart.

The sight of his fellow soldier, his comrade, his partner, his Ichiyo, in such a state was too much for him.

 

Hearing the familiar voice now very close to him, feeling a warm, slightly blood-scented breath on his face, Ichiyo forced his eyes open. Through the blur of blood and pain he could feel something falling, dripping against his cheeks. The quiet sobbing of the dark-haired man above him was familiar. As Ichiyo recognized the presence, his heart was filled both with relief and pain.

 

Miyazawa was alive. But he had to see him in such a state, a state that had brought tears into his eyes. Tears that Ichiyo knew Miyazawa would rather hide from everyone.

 

“Riichi… I...” Ichiyo found his own voice hoarse and dry, almost inaudible as he now tried to force himself to get up, even for a moment. Immediately after he sat up a little and leaned against his arm, the pain struck through him again, making his arms give in and his body collapse backwards again. Miyazawa was startled by this and quickly caught his falling partner, holding his limp body on his arms, still swallowing the tears.

 

“Don’t try to get up, idiot! You’re going to die if you’re not careful!” Miyazawa found himself yelling through his tears, his fingers clinging on the torn fabric of Ichiyo’s uniform. This couldn’t be happening, this couldn’t be true! Before any of this had happened, before the members of their used-to-be theater troupe were sent to the field among the other soldiers, before all that he and Ichiyo had made a promise that after it all was over, they would meet again with the members of the troupe and continue spreading joy to people, to make the world a better place, one person at the time.

 

“Hang in there, please… if you die, what will I say to Saijou-san? Miura-kun? Others? Do you think Ozaki would be happy to hear you went and died here?”

Yet Miyazawa knew that his words couldn’t help the situation, no matter how much he yelled, no matter how much he cursed or cried out.

And that brought the terror even deeper into his heart.

 

“I… don’t want to die here… Riichi.” Ichiyo forced his arm to rise, just to get to to touch Miyazawa’s teary cheek with his fingertips. “I still have so much … I don’t want to leave… this young…” his words broke into weak, frantic coughing and along it he could feel the shards on his body tearing his insides open more and more.

He wouldn’t last long.

 

He felt afraid, terrified. To think, that after all he had gone through, after all they had gone through, his journey would end like this. It was unfair, cruel.

The only thing bringing even a smallest spark of happiness into this was Miyazawa being alive.

But the tears his partner was crying tore his heart even more apart.

 

The world in his eyes was blurring continuously, darkening in an alarming pace. The end would come soon, sooner than he’d even be able to expect.

 

As tears rolled down his cheeks, Miyazawa couldn’t but watch as the life was drained out his partner, his precious Ichiyo. Holding the other’s fingers against his cheek, feeling his skin becoming colder every second, he knew all hope was lost already

He couldn’t but watch helplessly as the terror of the war became reality in front of his eyes.

Despite all the pain, the look in Ichiyo’s eyes became peaceful little by little.

He was slowly acknowledging his destiny, his fate that couldn’t be reversed.

And that was the most painful thing to Miyazawa.

He knew that nothing would help Ichiyo any more.

He knew that he would be left alone. Alone in a foreign land, without the one he cherished the most.

 

“Hey… don’t look like that... Riichi…” Ichiyo whispered, trying to force his usual smirk on his face. “It makes this… even more painful. Someone as beautiful as you… shouldn’t stain their face with tears.”

 

“I’m sorry I couldn’t do anything… I truly am…” Miyazawa mumbled in between his tears, trying to keep his own trembling body still, refusing to let go of the other. “I didn’t want it to end like this, what will I even do without you…”

 

“... you will live, Riichi. You will live for me too... you will spread joy with your songs and dance… right? You will do your part so no war will rage after this one...” feeling his time was running out, Ichiyo forced a smile once more on his face. “One day, we will meet again and we can talk all… about the things you’ve done. I will be looking forward.”

 

“I… I will. I will do my best…” Miyazawa bit his lip and pulled Ichiyo closer to him, cradling his partner in his arms. Hearing a car from somewhere far away, knowing it could either be enemies or comrades, he looked into Ichiyo’s eyes one final time. “I… will never forget you, Noboru Ichiyo.”

This was the first time he had called Ichiyo with his first name. He never had the courage before, no matter of all they shared.

“I will… see you, Riichi.” The final smile on Ichiyo’s bloody lips was genuine, that of a happiness before he slowly lost the grip of this world. As the pain finally drifted away, leaving only emptiness and peace, the last thing he knew was a gentle touch of Miyazawa’s lips against his.

And then he could finally let go.


 

Miyazawa wasn’t sure how much time had already passed. All he knew that he didn’t want to let go of Ichiyo’s cooling body, he didn’t want to give up the one he loved.

As the car stopped only a little away from him, he opened his teary eyes to meet whatever was coming to get him.

 

He didn’t expect to meet with a pair of familiar eyes darkened with pain of war.

The last time he had seen this man, a gentle smile had lightened up his face.

But the war had taken its toll.

And as he saw the body Miyazawa was holding, he sped up his steps while another, slightly younger man looked at them from the driver’s seat. His face was pale, terrified of the scene he saw.

 

Stopping next to the two, taking off his helmet and kneeling down, the man looked Miyazawa straight into his eyes.

 

“Miyazawa-san… is he...?”

“... yes, Saijou-san. I’m sorry, I… couldn’t do anything…”