chapter 4

Yukimura had finally found some relief when he leaned on the open window of his room , as usual he didn't listen to the sounds of the red light district awaking with the night preferring contemplating the moon as it rose slowly.

His heart was still putting him through great suffering at times and he put his hand over it, clutching the fabric of his kimono while a last unpleasant shiver went through him ... it somehow feels good to cry after all those years of holding up . But in return the backlash had been more violent, leaving the young man exhausted both physically and mentally. He was tempted to dismiss his client tonight.

The Oiran let out a deep sigh to calm down once again, reassured that , as the minutes passed, the attack were less long and violent ... he just regretted that Sasuke wasn't here . It only added to his confusion , thinking this situation and his stupidity had led him to argue with his friend , of course they were reconciled very quickly afterwards, but it was normal Sasuke chooses to keep his distances for some time . More than ever he needed him and Yukimura could not even blame t him that the other wasn't present as he had always been when he had needed it.

But basically was it not for the better? If Sasuke had been there to comfort him , not even a half hour before Yukimura knew he wouldn't had helped but begging him to help him escape , taking him far away from here, from this life of slavery, from this world which had always been too dark for him , from his feelings ... from Masamune ... from the pain having fallen in love with this man inflicted on him. It was after all what Sasuke had always wanted for him, even if he had stopped to offer since several years now.

It would have been so stupid, well at the same time he multiplied his stupidity lately. It would have been stupid in the sense that it would have rendered useless all he had endured until now, all why he fought for … Fill in his debt was what he had hung up to, he hadn't really looked any further ... living like a fugitive for the rest of his days ... it sounded more and more stupid the more he thought about it . And he remembered , he remembered how many times he had tried to escape as a child , he remembered why he stopped trying .

His attempts had cost so much for the brothel, the guards paid to retrieve him , the tax to the lord who overwhelmed the tenant for each day he missed, it was the rules here , and every sen that had been spent on educating Yukimura couldn't be reimbursed too because he wasn't working . Of course it wasn't his concern, since his only problem was to not being caught and find something to eat ... it didn't change anything because there was always someone to denounce him and bring him back. He was punished in more than one way . Because it was the other Oirans who paid the ultimate price and that was the hardest thing for Yukimura , the old tenant knew it, it was never him who was sold, it was never who ended up in another brothel which allowed mistreatment, beatings, perverse games and where they were worked until some died of exhaustion ...

" I hate to do this, I prefer to keep mine with me. " the old man had told him once , "But it's your fault, you force me to do that to them . If only I hadn't promised to watch over you ... " Yukimura didn't hear the rest , too focused on the teary gaze full of hate his two friends, the twins Aoi and Midori were trowing at him while they were being taken away... himself had had the same expression before.

Yukimura felt himself tearing again at this memory He never saw them again, and apart from Sasuke, he had never made others friends …

He swallowed them back , it wasn't the time, he still had a lifetime to let himself sink in that pain. Without him noticing, trough, Yukimura troubled train of thought deflected towards what awaited him tonight, thinking of the present time helped him to not focus on the past or the future .

A yes , Mitsunari was coming for another lesson of seduction. Mitsunari who was doing all that for his beloved ... did he had the right to envy him? Maybe he should sleep with the young man , he was beautiful enough after all, maybe Yukimura would get a little respite from it then.

This thought caused him to snicker darkly, really , he began to think like a true Oiran, sleeping around to forget ... this district may be wearing all those colors , all those lights , but here the air was stale and could darken the purest of souls. But he didn't intend to let himself be completely corrupted today , a young man was waiting for him and his help could help blossom a beautiful love, then he would do it , no matter how tired he was of all theses. He rose from his seat, looking determined .

Yukimura felt his warrior blood boiling slightly, it wasn't going to give up yet. He would help Mitsunari , and one he would buy back his contract himself and leave this place, maybe he would go see the world ? And maybe one day he would be worthy of Masamune love...

Mitsunari was waiting in the reception room , quiet as usual . When Yukimura threw his best smile , he didn't saw through it and responded with a slight movement of his own lips.

" Good evening Ishida-dono , I hope you didn't waited too long. " Yukimura said politely.

The silver haired young man shook his head. " Not in the least , I 've just arrived. " he observed Yukimura for a moment. "You look more radiant than in recent days. "

It was necessary to hide the distress that had so suddenly attacked him, but he was feeling better now, everything would go for the better. Still, it had been difficult to hide how much he cried.

"Really? Are you trying to compliment me ? I don't think I have taught you this kind of seduction yet. " Yukimura affirmed, a teasing tone in his voice .

Mitsunari reaction was fun to witness, he didn't even tried to hide the blushing on his cheeks as he tried to mumble something for his defense. "N- no, I wouldn't dare .. It- it's just a fact. "

"Thank you, I appreciate anyway. You also Ishida -dono , something seems to rejoice you." Yukimura inquired , feeling in the mood for small talk .

Mitsunari 's face lit up , Yukimura wouldn't have thought it possible to see such an expression on the young taciturn face . It was refreshing to see him like that, yet at this moment, Yukimura could not really be happy for it and his own expression became rather sullen. Why his traitorous mind had to once again remind him that everything would have been easier if he had fallen in love with Mitsunari in the first place ? It was a fact, Mitsunari loved someone else, so Yukimura wouldn't have other choice but to be satisfied with what he had , not like with Masamune where a part of him didn't want to be silent and still kept hoping that something real could happen between them. It was this part that made him suffer continuously , at least with Mitsunari , he would suffer for a while ... then would surely heal from it ... but it would be long to get over his feelings for Masamune ... or will he never get over them ?

"Your sense of observation honors you . My Lord Hideyoshi appointed me to an important mission. To finally be allowed to serve him to my fullest rejoice me. " Mitsunari said,suddenly pulling him out of his thoughts.

Everything Yukimura retained from this sentence was that Mitsunari would also go on campaign. Was it just him being delusional or everyone seemed to want abandon him alone in his rat hole?

"Oh . " was all he could muster. So much effort to put on a smile, and it all seemed pointless at this moment.

"I'll be back very soon, and I intend to take these lessons. " Mitsunari stated as if he had read the Oiran thought.

Yukimura 's fake smile returned to his face, though somewhat contrite , " I'm happy for you, but I 'm a little worried. I truly appreciate you so. "

Mitsunari back straightened and he tilted his chin . " You know nothing of my ability , fear nothing , no Hideyoshi's enemies can make him fall and their blood will nourish my sword. " he launched.

Yukimura nodded, he would have liked to retort something encouraging but he felt it wasn't necessary . However, Yukimura expression changed and he looked at the table between them when he eventually opened his mouth .

"I still hadn't had the opportunity to thank you for staying with me until I fell asleep yesterday. " he really had needed it but he had the impression of having Mitsunari serve him while it was he who was supposed to serve .

Even though he wanted it and needed it even more, he would never dare to ask the young man to do the same tonight ... Mitsunari had a relaxing effect on him he couldn't explain , even Sasuke couldn't get such a result. A rogue part of Yukimura shouted that it was because he felt Mitsunari similarity with the person he really wanted to be with .

The young samurai closed eyes, A triumphant air on his face, he breathed through his nose, before replying :

"It was a small thing, for I who hate wasting my time, I didn't for one second thought that this was the case. " he said with great honesty and looking proud of himself.

Yukimura didn't know how to respond other than showing a genuine smile this time, the first of the evening. A comfortable silence like the two enjoyed soon settled while Mitsunari reviewed the room decorations, wondering if something hadn't been changed, according Yukimura some time to reflect on a point which had well avoided so far, namely ,what could he teach his host tonight?

A sudden commotion from the hallway interrupted him. Mitsunari followed his gaze to the closed door , the sounds of struggle and heavy stepping reasoned in the floor. By reflex , Mitsunari looked at his side for the sword that would have been there, forgetting he hadn't bothered to bought it since he had seen Yukimura lingering eyes on it. He scowled. He had been too confident to part with his weapon ?

"Sir you cannot ! Don't make me bring the guard! " launched a first voice .

"It won't be long , I just want to say something to him! I assure you I'm leaving right after , I would pay for the damages. "

Mitsunari rose instantly under Yukimura astonished gaze . He knew that voice all too well. Yukimura rose as well to see who could cause such a stir . The Oiran was about to open the door when it almost virtually tore under the force with which the intruder had opened it and despite the two men struggling to restrain him the latter entered the room and rushed to the young samurai.

"Mitsunari ! " the young man cried, taking the hands of the aforementioned strongly in his.

The stunned air Mitsunari had transformed quickly into an expression of deep anger, tremors that restriction inflicted on his body couldn't be concealed ." Ieyasuuuu . " he hissed between clenched teeth.

" Leave us, I'll take care of it , I'll take him as a client for tonight. " without concession , Yukimura decides to intervene and shut the door behind the employees who had tried to restrain Ieyasu, the two men looked uncertain but responded conjointly with a nod.

However Yukimura was still left with a livid Mitsunari and another young man, who was able to enter without difficulty in the brothel and make his way to the room the farthest from the entrance. thinking of the damages and how he would have to explain this to the owner already gave him a headache . Maybe he'll send Sasuke to do it in his place ... That'll teach him not to be there when he needed it most.

A hand on each hip in an authoritarian posture, and with every intention to get answers from Ieyasu and know why the hell he had seen fit to interfere in Mitsunari affairs, Yukimura still took the time to detail him. Ieyasu had hair a shade darker than Masamune , they were short and reassembled in spikes on his head , clearing his forehead. His face was rather round but with a masculine jaw, his shoulders were broad and his yellow kimono with sunflowers patterns did nothing to hid how much he was muscular. Well, no one could deny that he was rather handsome and decidedly Yukimura seemed to gather them lately, just ... he was definitely not Yukimura type but he could easily understand why this young man had swayed Mitsunari heart. It was this kind of vibration that he emanated ... even if he made Yukimura thinking he was much like a tanuki.

"Gods be praised , I'm not too late. When Sakon told me that you were going to see the Oirans... I 'll move heaven and earth to prevent you from doing something stupid. You're someone virtuous Ishida Mitsunari , you're more worthy than a life of debauchery ! " He had started before Yukimura can do something. The Oiran winced , anticipating the Mitsunari burst .

"I- I would never let me go to debauchery ! And it had anything to do neither with you nor Sakon ! And I will kill him too for this comment ! " it was amazing to see that Mitsunari arguments seemed to lost all coherences but increased in volume as Ieyasu smile grew .

"Ieyasu -dono ..." Yukimura tried tentatively.

Ieyasu turned toward him, finally taking note of Yukimura presence, he raised his arms to stand between Mitsunari and the Oiran . "Don't approach witch, I'll not let you stain him! " something seemed to illuminate his brilliant amber brown eyes, he blinked . "You are a man? "

Yukimura crossed his arms over his chest, restrained the urge to roll his eyes preferring to exchange a furtive glance with Mitsunari who was grabbing Ieyasu biceps . "My name is Yuki . This district is the pleasure district, everyone had his own kind of want. " he replied nonchalantly , not forgetting to present himself, mocking Ieyasu .

Ieyasu glanced quickly between Mitsunari and Yukimura. " But Sakon told me ... that you ... you were seeing a perverted older woman who...did he fool me? " His confusion quickly turned into a radiant smile , this time he approached Yukimura and took his hands in the same way he took Mitsunari's . " I apologize for bothering you , my name is Tokugawa Ieyasu , in fact you seem to be a rather good person. I can feel it in you. " he stated, then he put a friendly hand on Yukimura shoulder.

Far from being embarrassed by the very touchy attitude the young man showed, the Oiran was pretty busy having fun seeing the brief expression changes that flowed like sand on Mitsunari face. Wasn't it a hint of jealousy he just saw? He vaguely heard him muttering between his teeth: " This damn player, if I put my hands on him ..." and found himself sorry for the poor man .

"Actually ... I ... I didn't want Mitsunari doing something he might regret latter, but I'm glad he formed new bonds instead." Ieyasu went on.

"Don't act as if I'm not here! " Mitsunari threw, eventually reacting at last, removing Ieyasu hand from Yukimura. " Don't go telling me I don't know how to take decisions alone! Yuki doesn't concern you ! I forbid you to speak to him , he helped me in a personal matter ! And I know you aren't here just to do what you say, I can feel it on you Ieyasu. You're lying ! I hate liars ! " Mitsunari was shaking him.

Ieyasu seemed sorry and ashamed of having been caught red handed. Yukimura could say that despite the fact that he hid himself behind a new smile. He rubbed his neck , thinking it was too late anyway. " I acted a little hastily , it's true. " he confessed , Mitsunari arched a brow sceptically. " The truth is that I refuse to let someone else have you... I couldn't stay without doing anything , right?"

Mitsunari stepped back, stunned by such a response, he sought again how to respond as the butterflies in his stomach had returned, as well as this irrepressible urge to hold Ieyasu that he would rather chop in half instead to no longer have to feel like this. The young man turned his gaze toward Yukimura asking with his eyes what should be done in such a situation.

The Oiran was still beside them, carefully observing their interaction, and sort of mothering them with hi eyes, what these two had was something precious. When he eyes encountered Mitsunari's, he motioned with his hand. "I think it's now or never. " he prompted .

Ieyasu couldn't understand the exchange between the two men, but he didn't miss the determination in Mitsunari eyes when he grabbed his shoulders ... was his time on earth finally over?

" Mitsuna - mhmmm ! "

He gave a start when the other hot lips came in contact with his. His eyes widened and he could only watch and doing nothing when a slight blush bloomed over the pale cheeks of the young man in front of him, he could see his half closed green eyes, and then as fast as it happened the contact was broken before thinking of reacting had reached his nervous system.

"I don't really know if it's a positive answer or not. " Mitsunari scowled as he wiped his lips with the back of his hand.

Yukimura shrugged without really knowing either way, and that's why Ieyasu understood that if didn't answered now, he would lose forever what he had been pining for. He grabbed Mitsunari emaciated face with his two large hands.

"I would never have dared dreaming of such a moment . "

And this time it was he who joined their lips, guiding Mitsunari in the procedure , the rest was more than sweetness and pleasure, when he felt his beloved eyelash touch his cheeks, when he prompted him to open his mouth into and deepened the kiss and their tongues intermingled, when Mitsunari grabbed his kimono, until the other insisted on being released, breathless .

"And I would have killed you without restraining myself if you had dared to have such a dream ..." Mitsunari sighed between gasping breath.

"Should I conclude that you agree to be mine? " Ieyasu asked, chuckling , bothered by the intensity of their kiss.

Mitsunari growled , ready to say yes, to say that he wanted more, so much more and that had been the point, moron ... but he was forgetting something , right? He looked up suddenly when he heard him.

"You seem to have many things to discuss, I'll arrange for the room to be yours for the night." Yukimura said , with the beautifulest smile he had sported since a while ago, it was good to see that he had helped to engender something as ... ah, he had no right words ... it was ... just as things should be. All jealousy he may have felt at that moment was deeply buried in the depths of his soul, he was sincerely happy for them.

"Yuki . " Mitsunari stopped him while he was leaving the room. " I still would ask for your help ... I think I would still need those lessons. "

Yukimura nodded slowly, understanding the roundabout way Mitsunari had to tell him he still would come to keep him company. The Oiran this time didn't felt like he would be abandoned. Somehow he knew in his heart that Mitsunari wouldn't simply disappear from his life ... when it would be so much easier on him if Masamune would simply do that now.

"My door will always be open for you . " hading a playful undertone in his attitude Yukimura added , "Maybe you could even bring Ieyasu with you too. "

Laughing again Ieyasu felt it was time to shut Mitsunari again with another kiss ... they had all night in private to discuss now ... yes for discussing , about things and more ...

Yukimura returned to his quarters with an infinitely lighter heart, though he struggled not to start yelling from overflowing feelings, preferring to internally express his feelings about the situation. His inner tiger struggled again in his cage and he didn't know how he would be able to calm down. For some reason , Yukimura was on fire and if it had been possible he would have rushed back to Masamune and challenged him to a duel, to fully externalize. He was now in a completely opposite state of mind than he had been earlier,maybe just letting everything out had actually been beneficial to him.

However, he was far from expecting to find Sasuke, who had finally returned, sitting waiting at the window where he used to sit to contemplate the moon when he could see it.

"You seem very thoughtful. " he began , soothing the storm that had awakened in him.

And indeed since the ninja was surprised by his friend entrance, even if did everything to not show it . "Hum, " he replied . "I was just trying to understand why you are so fond of watching the sky, now I wonder why I hadn't tried earlier. This is really relaxing . " he stated without removing his eyes from the sky.

Yukimura sighed and began to sit next to Sasuke, removing one by one his hair ornaments, he eventually answered. " Except that I usually contemplates the moon and at that time I would be surprised that it's still visible through that window . " he says.

Biting the bait, Sasuke pushed him gently, hitting his shoulder with his fist. "Are you done ruining my moment?" but the laughter in his voice betrayed his true state of mind .

This surprised Yukimura , Sasuke was rarely this thoughtful and even less inclined to show that he was in a good mood . "You are very strange , where have you been earlier ? "

The former ninja didn't answer the question preferring to position himself behind Yukimura, he began to untangle his hair with a comb. Could he really tell about his evening to his friend ? Could he tell him that wanting to have his heart at peace with what kind of man Masamune really was , he had once again begun to follow the man? Only that he been spotted by Kojuuro; and maybe that had been insidiously voluntary, he wasn't sure. Then instead of chastising him he had offered to have a lunch with him. Could he tell him that it had probably been the best meal of his life? They talked about everything and nothing all at once, and Sasuke realized that the meal was so good because Kojuuro had spoke to him with such passion about how he kept his crops, it had been so nice, they even laughed when they had come to talk about what kinds of children Masamune and Yukimura were. Could he also tell him that carried away by the little sake he drank, he had let himself cover Kojûro lips with his own, thus stealing his first real kiss? The fact that he had practically fled after that was his own matter.

Sasuke touched his lips with his fingertips. " I didn't know you missed me this much. And your room his more a mess than usual too, I can see that you need me. " he said in a teasing tone , eluding the question . Because no, he couldn't say that to Yukimura. How could he, when his friend was still trapped here in this world where men took what they wanted from him and left him, this world where he will never know what it's like to be loved with a sincere love ... ?

It was at that time that Yukimura hid a yawn behind his hand, pulling him out of his thoughts when he straightened . "Not as much as you wanted me to, I guess. " he said also teasing . " But I needed someone to go tell the owner not to hunt the man who came in earlier because I took him has a host and that no one shall disturb him and Ishida-dono . " He fell on his futon. "You're my personal servant after all, I 'm too tired . " the big grin on his face didn't escape his friend.

As small as it was, Yukimura always knew how to get revenge when he was upset. Well, it was time for Sasuke to go down and prepare himself for a long discussion. He let himself laugh silently before leaving the room.

" You know ... I have the presentiment that our destiny is about to change ..." He confessed what he came up with his deep thinking.

"Hmm." Yukimura responded, already half asleep.

Suddenly, his eyes widened open, Sasuke 's words have caused a realization in him. A smile grew on his lips. Whether this was destiny, why fight against it? It was true, he had no reason to protect himself from what Masamune wanted to offer him, and if he had to suffer in the end wouldn't it had been worth everything ?

Then he had to be honest with Masamune, he had to tell him the truth. Despite his shame , despite his fear of Masamune reaction, Yukimura had to tell him he was Oiran, that he was paid for sex ... yes because if Mitsunari had clearly shown him something it was that keeping being silent would not make the things advance. If Masamune should reject him after that he could only understand and accept it …

Although he resolved himself, Yukimura knew it wouldn't be so easy and now he was going to have trouble finding sleep.

Yukimura went to the dojo in the morning as promised, his good humor and his energy renewed, leaving the district just after the doors were reopened, they were closed at four o'clock in the morning to control the flow of visitors. He did go out with few employee who were going to the market place to gather some supplies for for the tea house, but not without a quick discussion with the owner wife. She seemed to sadden when Yukimura told him he was going to say goodbye to the friend he had recently made, but she soon had been wishing him a good day before reminding him again not come back to late.

So, Yukimura was ready, whether it was his last day with Masamune or fortunately there may be others in the future, he couldn't go back now. However, he froze when he saw Masamune and Keiji coming toward him holding two horses by their reins.

Which called out the Oiran the most was Keiji, though that began to be used to his strange wearing habit, even then Yukimura could still be surprised . At least the vagabond was always fitting in the colors he liked to wear. This time he was wearing an outfit more comfortable for long trip and wore a red braided rope belt, he also had some armor, especially at his legs and arms, white protections with black stripes resembling skins of an animal unknown to Yukimura . His trousers were wide and red while he had a coat with fur edges yellow on the outside and red one the inside, Keiji was wearing it by only one arm, the other side hanging at his hips. His torso was covered with a mesh -fitting like cloth black and red all with elegant floral patterns. For once Yukimura could tell Keiji was a pleasant thing to look at , even if the outfit was still very showing of ... well it was Keiji after all.

Masamune too wore something else. With much more simplicity, instead of wearing a white kimono, he just opted for a light blue one in addition to his usual hakama .

"Yuki- chan! " Keiji launched before anyone had time to do anything else.

At first , Yukimura was slightly disappointed not to be alone with Masamune as he had told him the day before. He still accepted it with a true smile when the tall young man grabbed his hands.

"I really wanted to say goodbye . " he almost began to cry .

"I wouldn't care if you had left earlier. You see. " Masamune muttered after they joined Yukimura. " Hey Sanada Yukimura. " he added , greeting the young Oiran.

"You 're so mean Masamune ! How could I leave without saying anything to Yuki-chan ? "Keiji said with crocodile tears emerging .

Seeing his attitude, Yukimura couldn't help but to hid his laugh behind his hand. " Hello Masamune-dono , are you leaving Keiji-dono? " it still saddened him somehow

Keiji ruffled his hair. "I'm a free spirit, and my journey is without end, but I know it still will be back here." he said taking a dramatic air.

Yukimura once again had to hold back his laugh after seeing Masamune eye roll toward the sky ... he was already feeling so good ... why such moments couldn't last forever ?

"I hope you will see beautiful things. Goodbye then. " Yukimura humbly bowed his head.

Making once again a face like he was about to cry, Keiji didn't resist holding Yukimura in his arms and that even when he could well feel the burning eyes of the dragon on his back. "My wish is more to meet beautiful people ," he said with a wink. Putting a hand on Yukimura shoulder, he leaned over to whisper . " And don't let Masamune escape from you, you are made for each other for sure."

The tallest young man began to walk away under Masamune impatient glare as he began to stomp his foot and Yukimura confused look, then he waved "See you next time my two lovebirds. " and he fled away, disappearing between the houses before Masamune has time to go after him.

Yukimura blinked suddenly wondering why he had left without his horse , then he at looked Masamune seemingly more calm once Keiji out of his sight. The one-eyed dragon was busy stroking the nostril of a black stallion with a keen eye which was staring at Yukimura, he was trying to appease him. Masamune had expected for Keiji to be troublesome as usual anyway, so why bother ? Still, he was inwardly proud that Yukimura wasn't in the least interested in playing the wanderer game.

" Hah ! He is so eager to go running , I kept him locked for too long, keep cool boy . " Masamune said with an air both authoritarian and calm that moved Yukimura ... poor him, he was so desperately in love with this man. " Hold this one, would you?" Masamune handed him a rein.

Yukimura had no choice but to accept the rein handed to him, it was connected to the snaffle bitten by a chestnut horse and much quieter than the black one amber but amber eyes but look just as fiery. Masamune began to go forward on the road followed by his animal, inviting Yukimura to follow him, it was at this moment that the youngest of the two started to panic. If this horse wasn't Keiji's, then Masamune didn't intended him to...?

Seeing a slight distress creep slowly across Yukimura face as he glanced over his shoulder, Masamune asked the obvious question. " Is this the first time you see a horse ? " if that was the case, it thwarted his plans a little but Date Masamune wasn't a man to renounce for so little. If Yukimura didn't know how to ride then he'll learn.

" Yes, well no, I mean, it was a long time ago and they were not so big , " Yukimura felt slightly idiot, but he had to know for sure. " He isn't for me, right?"

Masamune chuckled . " For now, yes, it's a loan. This is a horse Kojuuro selected especially for you. He wanted to apologize for yesterday, so take good care of it, okay? " Yukimura amused him, he was so cute .

The Oiran swallowed, somewhat relieved from not having to refuse such an extravagant gift, seeing that they were approaching the city gates, he stopped. " Masamune-dono , I don't have a pass allowing me to leave the city ! We can not get out! " He understood now why they had taken horses.

Masamune merely shrugged. " You really think they control all the people all the time ? Since when weren't you out of your little district ? " He scoffed.

Yukimura pouted, because yes , he sincerely believed that the guards at the entrance controlled all the passages because it was what he had always been told . He really didn't want to answer Masamune question, he hadn't yet gathered enough strength to admit that he was an Oiran and , as such , he was a prisoner of his district, of this town. He understood now that everything he had been taught only served the purpose to restrict him more, his mind like his body. "I - it 's been a long time ... I don't have a reason to go out that often. " He eventually said, head down.

Masamune arched an eyebrow, there was something strange with Yukimura but he let it go. His plans to show a glimpse of the country to the youngest was then more than appealing . " Trust me . "he asserted, taking Yukimura free hand in his.

Like every time he felt Masamune warm skin contact, Yukimura 's heart skipped a beat. Held in this way, he didn't even notice when they crossed the doors smoothly whit another group of people when the guards were busy controlling a farmer who was going to the market place, it was only when they were a few meters further down the road that Yukimura suddenly released the breath he was holding .

"I 've never been so far since ... ah ... the air is so different on the outside. " he already marveled about the countryside, the nearby forest, it hadn't been as dense in its memories. He felt like everything was different, the earth ,the sky , the sounds ... everything. And... it would be so easy now to never to return ... if only Yukimura could be selfish, he would accept that Masamune had just released him; well, at least he could still accept it for today.

"I have something to show you, but it's not close . You think you can ride ? " Masamune wasn't going to wait and was already mounted on his stallion as the animal beat the ground with impatience. He had happy smile on his face ... he exactly had the reaction he desired from Yukimura .

Determined not to be left behind, Yukimura nodded confidently. He tried to lift himself on the saddle, the docile animal moved only slightly , leaving Yukimura wobbling twice before he found equilibrium. "I think I'll manage. It's been so long that I hadn't rode a horse, but I guess it something that can't really be forgotten. " he stated with confidence. He patted the animal neck to thank him

"Hum. " Masamune answered, observing Yukimura. He really had warrior instinct, first when fighting and now on horse he quickly found the correct position. To say that Masamune hadn't somehow tried to test that would be lying. "All right then let's go lowly." Masamune stated, his stallion treading the ground and already eager to gallop.

Yukimura was uncertain, he threw a glance around him but met nothing but passers coming and going from the city that weren't even paying attention to them. Seeing his hesitation, Masamune insisted.

"Keep your feet to the stirrups, use your legs to give orders and the rein to guide , never let it go." his horse started a little trot around Yukimura so that Masamune can help him holding himself better, not that there was much to correct in fact. The young Oiran arched a skeptical eyebrow at the Masamune advice, because the samurai was holding his own horse very well with his arms crossed on his chest.

"I know." Yukimura insisted , actually dissatisfied that Masamune could think that he was incompetent, while he obviously struggled to get started.

His horse took a step , then another in which Yukimura held his breath , advancing became increasingly easy and his body got used to quickly take the appropriate curvature to withstand the ups and downs of the horse walk. After a few minutes , he heard Masamune stifle a laugh, before hearing the characteristic noise of a horse trotting, Masamune stood before him , forcing him to stop his progression.

"You're not faring badly, but who said we were going on the road ? " he nodded toward the thick woods that bordered the road . "You'll have to do better than that if you still want to follow me. Hah ! " He didn't wait for the other answer before launching his horse. The animal, too impatient and impetuous was soon going like an arrow.

First slightly worried seeing the dark and nonconforming aspect of the woods, Yukimura had no choice but to smile at the challenges as he launched himself after the one-eyed dragon. Not being one to turn down a challenge, especially from Masamune, Yukimura tried to catch him at a gallop pace. It was too much for his heart, he was so suddenly afraid that he nearly fell, it had been too fast, too sudden, the speed and movement of the horse too important for him to do adjust quickly. After taking a huge breath he regained himself, brought the animal back to a more bearable trot before refocusing. He saw that Masamune sometimes slowed his pace to wait for him, he didn't want to seem weak. Watching Masamune movements more closely, he tried to imitate him. Leaning towards the horse neckline, he clutched the rein in his hands, pressed the stirrups and took a deep breath and tried again.

The horse did the rest and when he caught up to Masamune, this one let out a satisfied laughter, proud of his student and happy that Yukimura meets his expectations more than he had hoped. He had finally found him ... he had never doubted it ... his eyes , his skills,the almost feral attraction he had for him ... Yukimura was the rival he had always desired. He was lucky and he knew few men always seeking adventure like him, had the honor to find their true rival and he almost missed his. Of course he still needed some more training , to be polished , but it was only a matter of time ... time Masamune would be more than happy to share with Yukimura .

"It's great Masamune-dono ! This speed ! This feeling of freedom ! I feel like I 'm going to fly away ! " Yukimura shouted .

Few short minutes galloping slightly and here he already was transported, Yukimura was also incredible Masamune thought. He wanted so much to push him even further, but it was also reasonable and to race a beginner in the forest was dangerous so he didn't prompt Yukimura to push his mount further. His men he had never really understood why he loved so much to go galloping in Oshu mountains. While it was so simple to understand when one listened carefully to his body. The feeling of freedom and fullness were never as pure as in these moments, without limitation, being one with the animal, without saddle, without rein. At that moment Masamune knew that more than anyone Yukimura understood, more than anyone else because he was like him, may be just a little raw around the edges but nothing that time could not refine ... Masamune would be waiting.

" Don't shoot , you're gonna bite your tongue. Dammit. " he merely reprimanded , swallowing back his desire .

Yukimura nodded, calming his enthusiasm. He made sure to keep his horse close to Masamune's while the morning sun disappeared, filtered by the high and dense foliage of the trees. The samurai guided the way through the lower branch and avoided the old stumps on a bumpy road not wanting Yukimura to be injured trying to experiment show jumping. Passing through the forest was a worthy short cut, at least he hoped so . He was certain that Yukimura had never seen anything other than his damn damn town and his district, as he was amazed by any new thing, that to say the littlest of the things he met. Masamune wasn't doubting he would love his surprise.

The young Oiran hadn't expected them to come out of the forest in less than ten minutes, from the other side it had seemed so thick he had thought almost it infinite, and he almost wished to lost himself in it with Masamune...

However, he soon forgot this idea when the light the day dazzled him, a great plain stretched before them, littered with rock and scattered trees. Suddenly he was strongly tempted to see how far he could go with the animal that had been entrusted. Could they reach the end of the world? Or the ocean maybe ? He dreamed of seeing the ocean that he had know about only from the tales of travelers and from the paintings decorating the tea house. He looked at Masamune board back , his hair windblown, his straight and imposing stature , he was much more charismatic mounted on his stallion, such a presence made him feel alive like never ... he wanted to see the ocean with Masamune .

"Would you like to race with me ? To make it fun, you see ? " Masamune called out.

Masamune hadn't spoken a word since they entered the forest other than warnings or precautionary statements. Suddenly hearing his voice lit a fire inside Yukimura,it was has if Masamune had hear his heart and responded to him within his soul.

"Yes!" he threw before even realizing it.

"Okay! Go straight ! The first one arrived at the river. " Masamune doesn't intend to hold back, nobody had ever beaten him in a horse race, and he wouldn't leave any chance to Yukimura . That didn't prevent to enjoy the challenge.

And that was all needed for the both of them to go all out. Masamune had more experience and knew he shouldn't push his stallion too soon, especially as the animal didn't take a break after their trip in the forest, he would do everything possible to keep himself going on the long run. Yukimura wasn't stupid either, he knew his lack of ability but he trusted his instinct,even it was his first race, trusting his horse was the right thing to do. The ground was fairly flat and the two adversaries weren't very far from the others, Masamune always having a little ahead , there was no way he was allowing Yukimura to pass him, he was too proud for that. Yukimura began to be as out of breath as his horse. The cavalcade was furious, he was hot and he knew that Masamune was also beginning to feel the effects of their mad race, who knows how long he could hold out at this pace . All he felt now was nothing more than an incomprehensible jumble of emotion, he felt dizzy, but he was smiling, which was dominating was pure happiness .

A huge boulder on the plain stood several meters before them, gray and steep, surrounded by a few trees protected from the wind . It cast its shadow on the green grass. A ray of sunlight pierced between two large pieces, probably a small canyon . This gave Yukimura an idea, if he couldn't win by his force and the animal speed, then maybe he could still impress by his strategy. The rock was not exactly in their path, but regardless, it would probably catch him the few seconds ahead he needed from Masamune. If he could overtake him if only for a few seconds then it would show him. That's why Yukimura rushed into the passage at the heart of the rock, wearing a triumphant smile.

Masamune was quick to note that he wasn't hearing the erratic breath of Yukimura chestnut behind him anymore. He looked around cautiously, looking over his shoulder . He was certain that Yukimura wouldn't insult him by hiding in his blind spot, especially because it was dangerous. The young Oiran was no longer behind him, he was certain of that now. Yukimura was out of his field of vision, leaving him no choice but to try to slow down to look if he just hadn't been too far away from him.

He saw the boulder on the right, had Yukimura bypassed the rock ? No, would have been doing nothing but to lengthen his way. Then suddenly he heard laughter before him .

"I did it! I overtook you Masamune-dono ! " he launched, proudly.

Masamune 's eye widened ... how did he ... ? Did he just came out of the heart of the rock ? Masamune smiled back, he had been fooled. Overconfident , he hadn't really paid much attention to the environment and continued to look right in front of him. Yukimura was skilled, that he had to concede again . If he hadn't slowed down , he wouldn't be currently seeing Yukimura ponytail in the wind, so elegantly mounted on his horse ... somehow that wasn't so bad.

However, Yukimura chestnut wasn't Masamune stallion and when he returned at full gallop, it was Yukimura turn to see Masamune back. With a pout he looked at him as a retook the first position with a smile. And something changed , Yukimura heard a distant laughter, Masamune back was no more dressed in blue but in red adorned by six golden coin, his hair were longer too, clearer, grayish even. Yukimura even swore he could feel a board chest behind him.

" Father ! Wait for us ! " sounded a disembodied voice in the distance.

"Yukimura ! " Masamune pulled the on his rein to curb Yukimura chestnut.

Dazed , the Oiran had the reflex to hold on to the animal mane when he almost collapsed, nearly falling over the neckline. What had just happened ? All he knew was that he chest was badly hurting, his heart was pounding and he had great difficulty breathing. Masamune soon forced him to dismount, and Yukimura knew that his legs wouldn't had held him up if Masamune hadn't been holding him.

"You all right ? I thought you were going to faint suddenly. You almost fell of your horse. " Masamune was rubbing his back to help him catch his breath.

Yukimura was sweating , his eyes widened, he looked at Masamune trying to understand what had happened ... was it ... a memory? Clinging to the edge Masamune kimono, Yukimura took great gulp of air, when he felt that his legs could finally hold him standing up, he laid his head against Masamune chest .

"It's nothing Masamune-dono ... it's just that ..." he hesitated , but he had promised to be honest with the young samurai . " Since our meeting, something strange his happening in me," he looked up at Masamune , their eyes met, fire against lightning. " Masamune-dono made me feel things I didn't know about before. I think it was just too intense," he confessed with sincerity, not knowing really what other words he could use.

Masamune responded by holding his chin. "That's why you were weird yesterday and this morning ? " it was more a statement than a question ,Masamune eye became softer, the storm that seemed to rage constantly in that blue eye seemed to calm down. "If you knew how much it's the same for me. I always want to kiss you so much, you see. " He said leaning toward Yukimura.

Their lips so close to one another, Yukimura had nothing to add other than the complying to Masamune wish . There wasn't any better moment for them other when their lips were joined, when he fully responded to the offered kiss, and when Masamune bit his lip to take him further he opened his mouth almost instantly. Resigned not to let his partner take over as he gained in experience, their tongues battled then like two warriors thirsty for new battles and all the rest wasn't even existing anymore. Yukimura knew that if they didn't stop now, he couldn't prevent Masamune to prompt further, but his mind didn't wanted him to, he didn't wanted him to stop now .

" Ouch! " Yukimura yelped , brutally separated from Masamune .

His salvation arose from his chestnut who just pulled at his ponytail, he couldn't let the two humans devour themselves in plain sight, they weren't the only ones with needs. The horse breathed heavily through his nostrils , snorting slightly to show his disagreement while both men burst out laughing.

"I think they are thirsty , they were pushed at there limit after all. " Masamune stated, stroking his stallion flank.

By mutual agreement , they led their horses to the nearby river . There the water was clear and shallow flowing gently along with the current, Yukimura couldn't see any fish in it, just the reflection of a willow which disturbed when the animals entered the water to cool off and drink.

"It was wonderful , Masamune-dono . " Yukimura whispered , his hand brushing Masamune's.

The samurai answered by intertwining fingers his with Yukimura's . " The kiss or the trip? " he asked slightly pretentious.

"Everything . " Yukimura answered, putting his head on Masamune shoulder . He closed his eyes enjoying the moment ... when his stomach growled loudly. Blushing with shame, he walked away from Masamune , his gaze shifty . "Hmm ..." he began , but found nothing more intelligent to say.

Masamune at first looked at him with incredulity before displaying his trademark grin when he whistled to call the horses back openly restraining himself not to laugh at Yukimura cute attitude... if only he could discover more about him every day, " I think it's well past lunchtime. But the ride is not over , not yet. " he hoped on his horse, taking care to wait for Yukimura and not to get carried away this time.

The odd couple continued on his way along the river further upstream where after a long node in the river, the waters became deeper and the two banks which previously had only a few meters between them were now separated by several kilometers. Yukimura could see the mountains and the dense forest on the other side , however what he saw before him was small boats littering the sandy shore . There were men who were preparing the boats, cleaning them. What was his astonishment when they saluted them at their passage.

They passed through a wooden gate and when they finally dismounted, Yukimura was blown by a totally different atmosphere. Women and men were busy in front of their wooden houses , some were waving sort of nets while others were hanging small fish to wooden fences to dry. Children were playing in the street, running and laughing freely without worrying about the rest of the world . None were richly dressed yet Yukimura could say they were much happier than any he had seen in the city even if he couldn't say why. Of course, the colors were duller but in return everything was truer, more natural, people here didn't needed to hide behind false pretenses . But that wasn't what surprised him the most. Each family he had met seemed to be accompanied by large birds with black plumage with a long neck ending in a fine yellow beak . Yukimura didn't wanted to look stupid by asking questions to Masamune but his interrogation should actually shown on his face because the dragon ended his suffering.

"We are in a village were they use Ukai to fish, it's with the help of these cormorants they catch their fish. " he said as he lead Yukimura through the village .

Yukimura seemed stunned , he couldn't believe either his eyes nor his ears. These people were really fishing with the birds help? It was true that he had seen a few cages in front of houses, and there was this woman who gave a small fish to a bird smiling all the while at it, while next to her a child was rubbing the belly of another one who seemed to enjoy it's treatment, he had seen nothing to restrain the bird, to prevent them to fly away . He didn't think it possible, the birds were wild animals, and somewhere he felt like them, he was kept prisoner and forced to work but at the same time it was so different. He couldn't escape , they could but the didn't wanted to. Was it because they were happy like that?

"I 'd really like to see how they do it." he said before preventing himself .

Masamune seemed pleased with what he had inspired in Yukimura , "You could if you waited after sunset, they go fishing in the fall of the night when the fish come close to the surface to feed. " He knew it would sting the the other man curiosity, he hoped to keep him longer for himself for once.

Yukimura shook his head dejectedly. " No, it's impossible Masamune-dono . I've duty to attend at night. People are counting on me. " he had hesitated for a second before answering , he knew that Mitsunari wouldn't be his client tonight and staying with Masamune was the thing he would have wanted the most in the world.

Masamune shrugged, at least he had tried , it doesn't mean he couldn't enjoy the rest of the day he had planned with Yukimura . He tied the horse to a fence next to a stall. Yukimura followed him as he sat on a wooden bench shaded by a large red parasol. Yukimura 's face lit up when he finally saw the front of the shop , with written in large letters that it proposed and finally a young girl dressed in yellow came out to greet them. His gaze turned to Masamune who seemed pleased too. The young dragon ordered tea for him and Yukimura and when he asked if he wanted to eat something he literally jumped when the other launched :

" Dango!"

And thus Masamune discovered despite himself that his companion had a penchant for sweets and which one were his favorites.

They exchanged a few words during their snack. Yukimura too busy enjoying his first dango prepared in a remote village shop while Masamune was plunged in deep thought . His tea seemed something fascinating at this moment. He had wanted to talk with Yukimura about the events of the day prior. He had to talk to him, but everything was so peaceful that he felt great remorse because he knew that the conversation would ruin the moment, still it was burning his lips.

Finally, he sighed, placed some coins on the bench and stood up without turning back to see if Yukimura followed. Pausing while his last stick of dango was an inch away to his mouth, Yukimura watched as the other man stood up.

" Masamune-dono ? " he tried.

When he got no answer, he put his stick back on the plate and rose in turn starting to trot to catch up the dragon. "Something wrong? " he asked, his concern growing as the other remained silent .

So before his silence, Yukimura had no other choice but to follow him until he stopped in front of a wheat field tanned by the sun. " That's why I'm fighting. They need it . " Masamune said as he entered the yellow sea of crops.

Yukimura could only watch as Masamune sank between golden wheat, the strands covering to his waist. He stroked the almost ready to harvest wheat with flat of his hand.

"Masamune-dono ? " Yukimura called hesitantly , not really wanting to break this moment were Masamune seemed to come from another world , bathed by the sun and caressed by the gentle winds. He found relief when Masamune turned to face him, a serene smile painted on his lips.

" Yukimura ? " he called in turn.

Yukimura at first opened his mouth to answer, but suddenly Masamune plunged into the wheat strands and the young Oiran couldn't said anything but a sort of muffled yelp seeing the other disappearing . " Masamune! " he exclaimed , throwing himself worriedly into the crop field.

Masamune was determined to make Yukimura par for his little trick from earlier when they were racing, and this wheat field had just given him the right opportunity. Crouching between the higher strands, Masamune knew that Yukimura couldn't see him approaching, then he only needed to sneak behind him and pounce ! Masamune jumped out from the wheat field forgetting that Yukimura alway had frighteningly good reflexes, Masamune barely had time to grab Yukimura waist and lift him before he punch him on the face. He twirled him in the air while letting his laughter explode. Yukimura, once the initial shock passed let himself go as well. They really looked like two idiots laughing out loud and falling to the ground, crushing the wheat strand in their wake. But was that important ?

Yukimura was still giggling when Masamune put a hand on his cheek , tracing his jaw with his thumb. "You're stealing my heart Sanada Yukimura . " Masamune stated carried by the momentum.

His own heart , Yukimura thought it was about to jump out of his chest. He had always known that somewhere Masamune shared his feelings but it was another thing to hear him say it aloud. His eyes began to painfully sting again . He sat down to breathe better . Masamune didn't take this as an offense, preferring to follow Yukimura, he straightened too. " That's why I want to share my dream with you." he said.

"Your dream? " once more Masamune had attracted Yukimura attention.

Masamune nodded, having the peaceful look he had when entering the wheat field. " All that, all these people , those who aren't living stuffed behind high stone wall , they have nothing but themselves, nothing to defend their loved one. While those who live behind walls are strong , armed , are housing wealthy Lords ... but where do their wealth come from,as they have neither fish nor river nor cormorant, do you know it? " Yukimura listened attentively, understanding just the difference between the two worlds that Masamune was trying to explain him. He shook his head negatively. " They simply took it from the weaker. They never knew when they suffer an attack , or when their families will be slaughtered and their village plundered , they just know that it'll happen. Still they'll lose their smiles forever when that time comes. " Masamune finished. He again lowered himself on the ground using his crossed arm as a cushion arms to support his head , looking at the sky, his gaze following a lonely cloud.

Yukimura knew it was going the way, but it just that he had never really though of it. But it was like that ... that was how war was... and the wars happened one after one another, it wouldn't stop. "It's to make me understand that you brought me here ? "

" In a way, yes, I want to show you so much more. And also because it's a beautiful place. Don't you think? "

Yukimura didn't answer, considering Masamune words. "You're fighting for them, right, the weak I mean? " Somehow it seemed so much like Masamune when Yukimura thought about it, but still he knew so little about this man in the end.

"I vowed to create a world where everyone can live smiling and for that goal I need to reach the top, you see ? " He said that as he reached his hand to the sky his open palm before closing it sharply in a strong grabbing motion.

Yukimura smiled sadly, it was a nice dream, but a dangerous one, he played with a strand of wheat running the seeds still in their shell between his fingers. "I's a beautiful dream , Masamune-dono . " he really thought so.

" Kojuuro didn't lie to you, I 'm leaving on campaign tomorrow morning. " Masamune went on , now that he had started he must go to the end. Yukimura turned once more towards him , scrutinizing the slightest change the mercury color of his eye. " I don't know when I'll come back . " Masamune finished.

The young Oiran didn't even open his mouth, he preferred to lay himself on Masamune , clutching Masamune kimono as he buried his nose in his neck and breathed, trying to print in his memory that smell he was so afraid to forgot. " But will you return one day, or will you forgot my existence? " Yukimura blurted out despite himself.

He felt Masamune tense under him. "Which fool ? Who put that idea in your head? " Masamune ran a hand through Yukimura hair forcing him to rose his head . "And when I just told you that I fell in love with you ? "

Yukimura clutched Masamune kimono harder. " But what does that mean in this case ? Why do you abandon me ? Why won't you take me with you ? Why you- " he exploded before even realizing it and Masamune had to shut him with a kiss.

The samurai , once the contact broken put his forehead against Yukimura's who had difficulty holding back more tears... yet he believed to have shred them all yesterday "We both know that isn't what you truly want . Right? "

And that was all it took for Yukimura realize how true it was ... from the beginning he was just afraid that Masamune was the right one, that their love would lead them to commit stupidities, that he would be the one to free him and that was had scarred him, made him anxious, because this was not how he wanted to live ... not like a common prostitute one bought for showing off, no, Yukimura should join Masamune by his own strength ... He simply doesn't wanted Masamune to look at him like nothing else but an equal ... then was it still necessary to tell him who he really was ... or was it better if Masamune never knew about him selling himself?

"Be certain..." Yukimura began , feeling the sobs shaking his body while his eyes shed no more tears . " That I would do anything to come to you. " it was better that way. No, he shouldn't give up on Masamune love and make them both suffer, he no longer had the right , it wasn't just him alone anymore... he just had to do everything to be worthy of such a man.

"I know you can do it. " Masamune answered before joining their lips one last time. "Because you're the one I chose. And I hope you can tell me your dream, let's make it an oath. "

Yukimura replied by passing all his feelings through their kiss. And he knew with certainty that at this moment that Masamune would always be part of his life, never disappearing and leaving him behind.

They came back in town before the night as promised, and although Masamune always regretted not being able to spend the whole night with Yukimura , he didn't let it show . This will probably be the reward for his victorious return he though to himself. Yukimura finally regretted not being able to tell the whole truth to Masamune , but it was better that way even though he knew he'll always regret it. He also felt even more stupid for his thoughtless words when Masamune promised to regularly send letters to inform Yukimura of is progress. He felt stupid because he hadn't thought of sending letters before, letters were indeed one of the only things that were left free to the Oirans of his rank.

They had parted with many promises and unspoken words close to where it all began in an empty and still sleeping red district, just beginning to prepare for the agitation that was coming. Masamune had returned to war and battles, his heart heavy with feelings while Yukimura had left to his own war and battles to come where he had his own fight to survive, but his heart was light, lifted by Masamune dragon wings.

Stopping in front of the brothel his home since his first destined meeting, he stopped to look at the sky as it was taking it orange and pinkish colors.

"Sasuke was right ... I also feel like the wheel of fate is about to turn soon. " he whispered.

" It's him! That the one who attacked me, he broke my arm ! " Shoot a voice that Yukimura had hoped never to hear again in his life.

He simply wasn't expecting the wheels to turn so quickly.

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