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Disclaimer: I do NOT own Hakuouki or anything related to it.

Sanan's pen hovered above the blank page of his journal.

To be in this position was not uncommon, as one sometimes required a moment to gather their thoughts before writing them down. What was unusual was when that moment lasted for ten minutes with no end in sight anytime soon. At least for him it was.

Signing, he dropped the pen, removed his glasses, and massaged the bridge of his nose. Strange how the mind could be so full and empty, as well as tired and restless.

Despite the dark circles under his eyes, sleep would not come. The few occasions that it did were short and random. He was used to dealing with a large amount of physical and mental stress; his duties for the Shinsengumi demanded it. This was different.

His eyes landed on the notebook beside his journal. His free hand reached for the book, but he stopped. It would be a good idea to review the information they'd gathered so far, and the chance of it encourging him to rest was decent. It was also equal to the chance of it hindering his ability to rest. With that thought, he slid the notebook to the side.

A sigh caught his attention. He glanced over his shoulder, frowning in concern. Chizuru lay on her side, curled into a ball beneath the sheets. She seemed fine, but he could be missing something from this distance, with or without his glasses on, so he replaced the spectacles and picked up the candle before walking to the bed. He placed the candle on the nightstand and knelt by the mattress to get a closer look. A smile tugged at his lips. Nothing to worry about. She was peacefully slumbering.

Since their travels began, she'd been suffering from nightmares. His own dreams had been far from calm for a long time now, but he expected that, even deserved it. She did not. She was just an innocent girl who'd been dragged into a mess by himself and the rest of the Shinsengumi, as well as by her own family. What she deserved was a peaceful, happy life with someone who wouldn't hurt her. She shouldn't be with someone like him, yet she'd chosen him, and he was determined to give her the future she deserved. Nothing would stand in the way of that.

He caressed her cheek with the backs of his fingers. She mumbled and shifted in her sleep, a smile brightening her face. He leaned forward to kiss her forehead, and she sighed.

"You make me happy," he whispered as he cupped her cheek."And I will always strive to do the same for you. Until my dying breath."

Chizuru suddenly whimpered."Keisuke-san." Her eyes were tightly shut and she was fisting the sheets. It seemed his earlier worries had been confirmed.

Sanan moved his hand to grip the back on her head and pressed another kiss to her forehead that lasted until she woke up.

She gasped as her eyes snapped open. A quiet sob escaped her."K-Keisuke-san," she choked out, gripping the wrist of the hand that was holding her head.

"I'll never leave you behind, Chizuru." He would say that as many times as necessary. Even if he lost his voice, he would write it down for her until he could speak again and/or until his hand was too sore to write.

Chizuru choked on a sob after an unsuccessful attempt at speaking and desperately tried to wipe her tears away. Sanan pulled away briefly so he could join her in bed. Taking her hand, he entwined their fingers. She squeezed his hand as tears rolled down her face, and he kissed away a few of them. He put his forehead against hers, giving her a gentle smile. She closed her eyes and moved closer to him. Both of their grips on each other's hands tightened.

After a few minutes, she was able to stop crying. He didn't try to make her talk, just held her hand and stayed next to her, hoping that his presence would alleviate her pain as hers often did for him.

With a sigh, she untangled their fingers and snuggled as close to him as possible, one hand resting over his heart. He ran his fingers through her hair, making her sigh. She raised her eyes to look at him, teeth digging into her bottom lip. Grasping her wrist, he urged her palm further against his chest. Her gaze lowered again, and she curled into a ball.

Though he had initially decided to stay silent, the words escaped his lips before he could stop himself."You are my happiness, and I want to be yours."

She widened her eyes a little and looked at him."You already are," she said with a frown, as if it were an obvious fact."And you're more than good enough for me."

"Good enough," he echoed in a murmur, still playing with her hair."I'm not sure that's possible. And even if it were, it wouldn't be acceptable."

Chizuru seemed slightly amused."Hmm, always trying to push and break boundaries."

"I strive for nothing but perfection."

"You may be striving for the nonexistent then. That being said, I said you were more than good enough."

"Oh, I am so very relieved by that, my dear."

"You're impossible."

"It must be part of my charm."

"Only a small part."

He quirked an eyebrow."I'm uncertain if I should feel wounded or pleased by that."


"My thanks for the clarification," he said dryly.

She giggled when he tapped her nose with his index finger.

"You're just as impossible as I am, my dear."

"I have to be, in order to keep up with you. Otherwise, I'd get left behind."

He froze at her words and met her gaze completely. Realizing the effect of what she'd said, she opened her mouth, but he put a finger to her lips. The desire to repeat that sentence until he lost his voice returned, and he held her wrist even tighter.

"I know," she said simply, reaching to touch his face. Her fingertips tickled his cheek."I don't mind hearing it all the time as a reminder, but I haven't forgotten. I don't think it's possible to forget."

He kissed her fingers."Then let me repeat it for you again."

Taking her face in his hands, he drew her close so their faces were inches apart and whispered against her parted lips,"I'll never leave you behind, Chizuru."

She blushed."And now let me seal the deal again." She started to lean in, but he beat her to it by pulling her closer and closing the distance between them. She let out a mix of a sigh and moan as their lips met.

Sanan smiled. This was his happiness, and he would fight for it, for her, until the end of his life. And he knew that she would do the same for him.