Three Cheers for 5 Years
"People are always needed, even if they don't know it-there are always those special someone's who wait in the background, ready to act as you pillars of support. I know this, and yet I'm still afraid, I'm afraid of being a burden to those I care about.
The main question that reverberates within my head is: Am I worth being cared for? I've done nothing for those dear to me, never really told them how much they mean to me, I've always told myself that I've shown it enough times for it to be clear. But who am I kidding? If I'm truly honest with myself, I guess the reason I've always held back is because I don't trust myself with others. How do I know that my actions don't just end up hurting everyone around me, that my true self will scare them away, and I'll be left alone? There's a part of me that recoils from the possibility of it happening.
That it is better to keep hidden, rather than ending up getting hurt through my own stupidity."
I sighed, closing the worn tattered journal, leaning back against the old Sakura tree situated nearby the Academy training grounds. I normally always came here whenever I needed to be alone and think, or whenever I became particularly nostalgic. This was one of those times. Glancing down at the small book in my hands, I ran my hand over the deep grooves on the front that formed a name:
A name that meant everything and nothing at the same time, one I should have forgotten long ago. It just kept getting in the way, causing me unnecessary pain. Just another dream wasted on you. I leant my head against the trunk of the tree, letting the calm breeze pass over me, causing some strands of my dark hair to fall over my eyes, as I gazed up at the overhanging branches. But at the same time, I don't want to forget what we had. She was my comrade, my friend, my Sister in everything but blood.
I chuckled slightly as I recalled the day we met. We had both originated from the same district, the 64th District of Rukongai to be precise. I had met Getsu when we were young teenagers, albeit in unusual circumstances. You see, the 64th District was made up of two main gangs, both on opposite sides of the town, the North and the South, and each lead by the strongest of those sides. Unsurprisingly, both Getsu and I weren't part of the system, since we both liked to do things our own way. It seemed we'd had more in common then we'd thought, as we had both decided to hijack the same trade route that the North leader had distributed to his side of the district.
After that, it became a rival competition at first, both of us attempting to prove our skills to the other, trying to get the best of each other. When one of these attempts almost ended in her death, having been trapped under a fallen tree branch on a collapsing wooden bridge, it became an unspoken agreement to stick together from then on. We'd been inseparable ever since, each of us having the others back.
It was during the harsh winter months of our fifth year together when fate decided to take her from me. Getsu was holed up in our shack where we lived with a terrible fever, I'd made it as sheltered as much as I possibly could from the harsh storm, but in the end it wasn't enough. I had been out scrounging for herbs, medicine, anything I could get my hands on that could have aided her in any way. I'd returned to a dark, quite shelter, and she just wouldn't wake up.
Clenching my fist, I gritted my teeth as I became plagued with the same thoughts that had plagued me all those years ago. I could have saved her, if only I had stayed with her to keep her warm. If I had kept her awake, she would have lived. I keep telling myself this, and yet-
'Hey Kensei! You gonna sit there all day? We're gonna be late for our briefing with the Freshman Class, if you don't hurry up!'
Startled out of my daze, I swung round, searching out the owner of the voice. A young man, about 5' 11, was leant against the other side of the tree where I was residing, peering down at my lone form. His arms were crossed and his eyebrow rose expectantly. Dark hair that had been cut short was ruffled by a sudden gust of wind, so that some loose strands had fallen and covered his right eye. Huffing in slight annoyance, he pouted and attempted to blow the rogue strands away from his face, sighing and giving up when they refused to co-operate. Focusing back on me, he grinned on seeing my dazed expression, his gaze landing on the small tattered book in my hands. I spotted his eyes soften slightly, but it was only brief before he was shrugging off the trunk and turning to saunter back to wherever he came from, but not before throwing one last remark over his shoulder: 'And by your flustered expression, I'm gonna take a wild guess and say that you forgot didn't you?'
Scrambling up and jogging over to him to match his steady pace across the grounds, I opened my mouth to give a witty retort, before he interrupted me,
'There's no point in denying it, judging by your expression back there, a briefing was the last thing on your mind'
At my sharp glance, he sighed and stopped walking in order to gaze out at the horizon, where the sun was just beginning to set. He must have glimpsed my confused glance, since he elaborated:
'It's that time of year again, isn't it?' He laughed slightly at my shocked look, clasping my shoulder with his hand, grey eyes sparkling with amusement, along with an intensity I couldn't place, 'Come on Kensei, I'm not completely ignorant, I've known you ever since we started at the Academy.' The amusement faded from his eyes, and he looked back towards the eastern sun, 'Plus, it's the first day of winter, I could feel the chill as soon as I woke up this morning, it signals her anniversary. You've always had an affiliation with the cold, ever since she left.'
He didn't say anything else, merely clapping me on the shoulder, flashing me a grin that immediately lightened the mood, before suddenly sprinting off ahead,
'Oi Kenny boy, let's see how slower you've gotten these last few weeks while I've been on my mission with the Gotei 13!'
My eyes narrowed, and I gave a low growl before sprinting off after him, fist raised.
'How many times do I have to tell you not to call me that?! It's Kensei, not Ken-Ken, Kenny or Kenny boy!' I growled even more when the sound of his laughter reached my ears. 'Shuuhei!' I yelled, 'Get back here!'
Damm that Shuuhei, he always knows what to say when I feel like this. He's always been the one to bring me back from the darkness of my memories. That in itself, should be enough of a resolve. The resolve to live each day with vigour, and the strength to protect my comrades that stand before me.
'People are always needed'
That was what she believed, what she had written. It's almost funny with how true that is. I can see evidence of that in the way Shuuhei acts with me. I can only hope that one day- that one day, I can return the favour.