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Chasing the Wind

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She is not a tree, for a tree’s trunk is sturdy and strong, and only its branches sway, only its leaves quiver, as the wind passes through.

She is not a bird, for a bird can spread its wings and follow the wind, use it to glide, to descend, to soar.

She is not a kite, for the fate of a kite is tied to the wind, and wherever the wind blows the kite is forced to follow.

Instead, she is the grass, bending and twisting and twirling as the wind passes her by.

But the grass cannot move to catch up with the wind, so she must wait for it to come sweeping by her again so that she can feel its gentle caress.


She loves everything about Okita Soji.

When he smiles at her, when he tells her something in confidence, when he greets her in the morning and when he tells her good night, she thinks to herself: I love this man.

It’s not something she say aloud, but he knows anyway. Not the full extent, not the depth and breadth of the emotion she feels for him, but a little bit: the surface of it, a hand brushing through the tall grass, the tickle of the weeds against his palm. She loves him and she cares; that he knows this much has to be enough. It must be.

Because when he speaks so earnestly about their goals, when he talks of Kondo-sensei and the others, when he shows that he’s fully committed to all the things that are important to him, she thinks to herself: I will die for this man.

Not I want to, but I will, because she knows that when the time comes she’ll do anything to protect him. Anything at all.


It is with a heavy heart that she visits him at his sister and brother-in-law’s residence in Edo. When she is finally left alone with him, she touches his hair, the barest whisper of contact.

He doesn’t move.

“We’re retre—” she begins to say, but decides not to tell him of the Shinsengumi’s plans. It’s better that he get as much rest as possible, that he not be forced to worry about any of them.

But even she knows, as she brushes her lips against his cheek in a soft goodbye, that no matter how much sleep he gets, he’ll never improve. He is too weak, too pale, too ill to ever recover from thsi. Nothing she does will make him better again. Nothing at all.

“Okita-sensei?” she murmurs, and a moment later tries again, her voice hitching painfully in her throat. “Soji?”

But he doesn’t answer. He can’t.

Tears blur her vision as she realizes she can’t even give her life to save him, now. He will die here, in this room, in this very spot, and…

She will be left completely powerless as the wind passes her by one final time.