Play 21: Weird Twins

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I placed the tray on the floor as gently as I could. "Here's the medicine."

I was quite shocked when Hijikata told me about his family's occupation—they manufactured medicine. I couldn't tell from the demon commander's face, so I guessed people couldn't just judge from their looks.

"Give that to Souji and Heisuke." The man didn't look up to acknowledge me. "And Sanan-san, while you're at it." He said that last sentence more quietly, but Sanan caught that.

"Oh? Do you really think I need this?" His eyes narrowed slightly, his face unreadable. "My injuries have already healed."

I looked away, trying to hold back my sigh. Why was he so stubborn? Everyone was worried for him, so he should just take the medicine.

Souji had thought exactly like me. Turning to Sanan, he said, "Just give it a try. They say this stuff works on just about anything." I nodded in agreement as I prepared the medicine and hot sake for the three men.

Sanan rolled his eyes in exasperation, but reached over to take his portion. I handed over gladly as I met eyes with Souji.

He was recovered, yes, but his hand wasn't. It would never work again. I glanced down, feeling a little sad for Sanan, and tried to blink pity away. If he knew, he would throw a tantrum again.

"Man, that Ishida Powder with hot sake is the best!" Nagakura burst out, almost scaring me. "I'm so jealous of you guys!"

"Then why don't you have some?" Heisuke gestured as he brought the cup to his lips. "You're still hurt, aren't you?"

I glanced at his left hand. It still looked wounded, but he was acting like a tough guy, training like always and patrolling frequently. I'd heard that he had somehow convinced the demon commander that his wounds weren't as bad as Souji or Heisuke's.

"I would never have thought that Toudou-kun or Okita-kun would return from a fight injured." Inoue sighed concernedly, eyeing at the both of them.

"That's only because it was so dark in there!" Heisuke tried to retort. "It wasn't a fair fight, okay!?"

I held back my giggle as he explained in vain about the events that night, how he was in a disadvantage and all. Harada laughed about it, and Nagakura decided to turn his attention to Souji.

"I heard one of 'em got away from you," he smirked cheekily. In response, Souji smiled quietly.

"It won't happen again."

That sentence sent chills down my spine as I passed the medicine and sake to him, avoiding eye contact. Soon everyone shared their stories of what had happened at the Ikeda Inn that night. I decided to take that moment to leave the room for a breather.

I was happily hanging out in the backyard when I felt my hair standing. That familiar feeling...it had to be someone staring at me.

"Who's there?" I managed to squeak out. I was rather afraid—after all, it might be the Choshu soldiers, deciding to attack the headquarters of the Shinsengumi while they were all injured and unwell.

"Over here, miss!"

I turned to the direction where the voice came from, and took an automatic step back. Two small children were sitting on top of the tree next to me, one smiling down at me, the other glaring.

"Who are you?" I choked out. "Why are there kids here in the Shinsengumi..."

The children hopped down from the tall tree as if it wasn't a big deal. The girl had chestnut brown hair and green eyes while the boy's blond hair shone under the sun, his red emotionless eyes piercing into me. They were holding hands, and they looked about ten years old.

"I'm Yuri, and this is Eri!" The little girl's pure smile made me feel even more suspicious of them. "We're twins!"

"A..are you now?" I backed away. "Well, I think I'll go fetch someone..." I whipped around to leave when the boy grabbed onto my pants.

"Can't leave." His soft voice was almost as emotionless as his eyes. "Need to talk."

I frowned. These two kids were beyond suspicious now. I looked back at the main room and wondered if I should drag them to the leaders of the Shinsengumi.

"What's with these kids? Let me go!" I tried to walk, but for some reason the boy managed to hold onto me with an iron grip. I was rooted to the ground.

The girl pouted. "Aw, we're no kids! Do kids have strength like Eri?" She tilted her head in an almost innocent way. The boy beside her shook his head slowly, and she continued, giggling. "We're almost a hundred years old now!"

I stopped to look at them in disbelief. Hundred years old? They must had been playing some role-playing act thing. I snorted, not wanting to waste my time fooling around with these hateful kids.

"If you're hundred years old, I'm a thousand-year-old fox." I rolled my eyes and tried to pull the boy's hands off me. Yuri pouted again.

"Hey, listen to me!" She looked like she was about to cry. "We want to help you out, but if that's how you treat us..." She trailed off, wailing, and Eri let me go. He patted on her shoulder soothingly as I watched those crazy kids.

"Wow," I said. "You guys really know how to act." Now that I was free, I proceeded to walk to my room when Yuri stopped crying.

When she spoke, her previously cute voice was low and serious. "We know you well." I turned at her sudden change and winced. Those eyes...Were they so green before? "You can refuse us when you hear us out. We're here to help you, Akamine Jun."

The sound of my family name caused my eyes to widen. "Wh...What? Akamine?" I gulped at the eyes that seemed to be able to read my mind. "How do you know my real name?"

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