Chapter 29

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Previously: "He's right you know," she suddenly said softly, earning confused looks from them. "His resolve is firm and strong if he's prepared to kill...maybe we ought to start thinking like that too...approach it in a different way. But adapt that ruthless thinking nonetheless. We're here to protect Kyoto so we need to be prepared to kill. If we're going to be soft, then we won't get anywhere."

"...What did Souji say to her?" Sanosuke thought as a frown settled on his face. He was sure his two other companions were probably thinking the same thing.

***

Nothing good would come to anyone who grew close to him.

They'd only experience pain.

So maybe it was best if Rin was angry and distant from him.

Because at least then he wouldn't hurt the person he wanted to protect the most.

Not more than he already did anyways....

***

A small boy sobbed relentlessly beside the corpses of a man and a woman. Judging my the uncontrollable sobbing, the couple seemed to be the little boy's parents.

An older girl held him close as he cried out with emotional pain. The words on his lips kept repeating. Calling.

He called for his parents, but to no avail. They remained as still and lifeless as the dead should be.

The boy's crying ceased abruptly as the two bodies were taken away. His body suddenly seemed to have gone into shock and acceptance at the same time as his big, green eyes cried silently.

Okita Souji sat on the ground in defeat, emptiness filling him.

Souji's head hung low as the memory resurfaced for some odd reason. Several years had passed since the death of his parents. The pain he felt had been filled with Kondou-san's love and companionship.

Yet the pain has suddenly returned after all these years.

"Why?" the man said as grief flashed onto his features.

The accusatory words of defilement that had escaped his lips in a fit of anger earlier still ran through his head. Perhaps those memories resurfaced to remind him of the pain Rin was probably feeling because of him.

After all, he wasn't able to protect his parents either...

Yet he had accused Rin of being unable to protect someone precious because of her lack of blood lust.

Souji let out a weak sigh as his eyes remained trained on the river below him.

********************************

As soon as Rin's foot crossed the premises of the Roshigumi's headquarters with Sanosuke, Shinpachi and Heisuke close behind, Kondou-san appeared before them with everyone surrounding him. His features had worry deeply etched into them.

"Did you find Souji?" he asked them. With a frown, the trio shook their heads as Rin's expression remained stoic and distant.

"Seriously, where did Souji run off to?" Heisuke sighed.

"He doesn't have anywhere else to go here in Kyoto," Hijikata started. "He'll come back once he cools down." The vice commander stood up and made his way back into the building, leaving the rest outside under the night sky.

"Yeah, he definitely ain't a kid. I bet he'll be back after he takes some time to chill," Sanosuke pointed out with a tired look on his face. His gaze momentary flicked onto Rin as he tried to decipher the expression on her face, but she gave away nothing.

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