Play 23: Walls Fall Apart

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"What are you doing here?"

I jumped to my feet immediately, still feeling dizzy. "Ah, nothing. What are you doing here?" I tried to redirect the question back to Souji. I must had been looking at him a bit too suspiciously, because he smiled like usual.

"You don't need to worry about me. I'm not out here making a plan to escape or anything."

I sighed tiredly. "I don't mean it like that..." I glanced at the sky worriedly. Would I be able to return home soon? Not only the semi-finals—I was also losing lots of opportunities to make my official debut.

"Really." Souji walked closer to me. "Well, that's good, I suppose. You are worried about something though. Something else."

I gritted my teeth. Was I that easy to read? No one knew what I was thinking back in the present. "It's nothing complicated, really. Just about my father..." I drifted off, still staring at the peaceful blue sky. Things had became really complicated though. To think that I had switched places with Yukimura Chizuru and ended up with the Shinsengumi because of Yuri...Not to mention that it might be a long time before I could even go home. I met his emerald green eyes before looking away, scared that he might see through me once again.

There was something that bothered me too. What did Yuri mean when she said that I would regret it if I fell in love here? I wanted so much to slam my head against that tree, but Souji was here. I didn't want him to think that I was some sort of insane person who he needed to get rid of as soon as possible.

"By the way," I cleared my thoughts away. "Are you an idiot? You should go back to your room and rest. You could catch a cold here." My grip tightened around the pouch in my hand. For a moment, I wondered if I should give it to him, but it would be quite unfair to Heisuke and Sanan, so I just shut up.

Souji's eyes widened by a fraction, not believing what I just suggested to him. My hatred for him must had seemed a little too strong or something. I coughed, trying to hide the blush on my cheeks.

"I'm not concerned about you or anything, but the Shinsengumi's probably lost if they didn't have you as the captain." I mumbled under my breath, half hoping that he wouldn't hear it.

"You were worried about my health, then?" I was almost sure that Souji wanted to chuckle. "Well, thanks. I'll try to stay out of the cold, alright?"

I tilted my head back so that I could stare at the sky again. "Do whatever you want." My heart had skipped a beat when I heard that from him. Okita Souji saying thanks? That was rare. If only I had my cellphone, I could record this moment...

Silence filled the air as we stood there. Souji was also looking at the sky, and I was dying to make any sound to break the awkwardness.

"The...sky is beautiful, isn't it?" I managed to blurt out. I cursed inwardly at how I started the conversation. Souji didn't say anything, so it was quiet all over again. I decided to take that as an agreement just to make myself better.

The breeze was calm, and I didn't want to move an inch. Suddenly I recalled the incident at the Ikeda Inn, and fidgeted uncomfortably.

"Hey, Souji." I cleared my throat. I thought it was kind of rude to speak without honorifics (or at least for this time), so I tried again. "Okita-san. I..." The words were stuck in my throat, and I cursed at myself. What was wrong with me? I just wanted to thank him regarding...well, almost everything, I guessed.

Souji burst out laughing. "Why are you so polite all of a sudden?"

I bit my lip. "I want to thank you, okay? I just thought it's not sincere if I don't call you that..." I really shouldn't have called him 'Okita-san'.

He stopped in slight confusion. "You want to thank me?"

"Y-yeah. Because of the incidents with Sanan and at Ikeda Inn..." I trailed off nervously. Was he going to laugh at me again? I was wondering how to react if he laughed when I felt a warm hand on my head. I glanced up at the smiling Souji, shocked, and felt the wind picked up. My hair fluttered along with it, but I wasn't taking any notice of it.

I was too busy staring at Okita Souji.

There was something wrong with me. I mean, if I was right in the mind, I wouldn't think that Souji was...

I slapped myself in the face to snap out of it. I really needed to go home—the more I stayed here, the more weird thoughts I was starting to have.

Souji was chuckling in front of me. "You're weird."

My jaw dropped. "I know that, but you didn't have to rub in my face!" My cheeks were burning so much I could cook something on them.

"Don't worry about the incidents. What Sanan said was right, and I chose to protect you at the inn." Souji smiled. I looked down, partially feeling guilty and strange. Seriously, what was wrong with me? Did I need a doctor? Or some kind of psychiatrist? Or psychologist? Wait, isn't it the same thing?

I was considering whether I should slap myself again when Souji tilted his head backwards. "It's a beautiful sky today, isn't it?"

I wanted to point out that I had ask the same question just now, but decided not to. I looked at the sky and sighed in contentment. "Yes, it is."

Maybe it wasn't the time to admire skies, but I was exhausted from thinking too much. I didn't want to think of anything—for now, I wanted to enjoy my short time in the backyard with the person I hated the most.

Maybe I didn't actually hated him like I thought I did.

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