title: memory/fate
fandom: Peacemaker Kurogane, Prince of Tennis
characters/pairings: Hijikata/Okita, Tezuka/Fuji, Oishi, Eiji, Inui, Taka
rating: Teen
warnings: illness, oral sex
summary: Some things are meant to last...
notes: for Lulu, who spoiled me shamelessly for fic. for nana and aggy, whose fangirling really got me into pmk. it occurred to me that Sanada and Yukimura were also very like Hijikata and Okita (well, they're similar to tezzie and fuji, too... in ways...), however, that would make Sanada Yukimura's superior, and... i'm sure we all know how Yukimura would feel about that. ^_~ based on the pmk anime, because i haven't read far enough in the manga to know how it handles okita's death, etc...

He turned, not aware that he was awake until he became aware of being cold. His eyes slowly opened, coming to focus on the ceiling, cast in a soft bluish light.

He turned, and saw Okita laid out on his stomach before the open exterior door, naked, his hair trailing all over the place in an ordered and beautiful mess. Outside, the moon was shining brightly as fat flakes of snow drifted down to touch the frosted earth before succumbing to its heat. For a second, just a second, he was breathless from the perfection of the scene before him. But it was just a second, and he regained his senses.

"Souji!" He threw back his blankets, standing up, unconscious of his own nudity and only somewhat annoyed that Okita had undone his hair while he had slept. "What are you doing?"

Okita looked over at Hijikata, his eyes moving down Hijikata's body as his smile grew more wicked. "Hijikata-san! Look. It's snowing! Isn't it pretty?"

"Idiot," Hijikata muttered under his breath. He grabbed a blanket, and went over to the door. "It's cold out. Your health..."

"I'm fine," Okita said dismissively, his voice flinty. "Look. It doesn't snow here every year. Never know. We might fall in battle before the next snow." He pointed toward the falling flakes, his finger extended in a graceful arc.

Hijikata sighed heavily, and sat down next to Okita. It was too easy to pick him up, and pull him into his arms. Okita's slim body seemed to get slimmer with time, no matter how many times he swung his blade in a day. There was still muscle as hard as his own under that silky, pale skin, but... his bones were getting more prominent.

Wrapping the blanket around them both tightly, Hijikata looked away. He leaned over and grabbed the other two blankets he had discarded getting up, and he pulled the door to the outside shut, though at Okita's soft noise of protest, he didn't close it all the way.

He wrapped his arms around Okita, and pulled him as tightly to his body as he could. Okita was cold... every part of him was cold... "You're so spoiled. What am I going to do with you?" he muttered.

Okita's laughter was a tinkle of musical chimes. Okita pressed his face to Hijikata's chest, nuzzling. "Who knows? That's for you to decide, Vice Commander. Please look after me!"

Hijikata shook his head, but he kissed the top of Okita's head before closing his eyes again. He didn't say anything when Souji kissed his mouth, but he smiled, and parted his lips.

He slipped off his shoes, and even left his swords with Ichimura, so he could move without making any noise at all. Still, the house was unguarded. Probably to many, hunting down the dying Shinsengumi was unimportant.

He passed the room in which Okita's brother in law and sister slept. It was easy to find Okita's room. His deathbed.

The wheezing was constant now.

He slipped inside and closed the door. Okita looked as cold as death, but his chest was moving up and down, and there was a rattle that went with each movement. Before Hijikata took a step, Okita smiled.

"You could have just come during the day, like a normal guest," he whispered. Even that much exertion, though, caused him to start coughing, his chest heaving like sails in a storm, splatters of red blossoming on his sheet.

Hijikata rushed to his side, pulling him into his arms. "Souji!"

"Id... iot..." Okita sputtered as he coughed on Hijikata's shoulder. He tried to pull away, but his body was too weak, much too weak. "You'll get sick..."

"Do you think it matters at this point?" Hijikata said with a wry grin. "I'm leaving tonight, to go down with the Tokugawa we've fought to support."

Okita's eyes widened in terror, and his weak fingers grasped onto Hijikata's jacket. "Let me go with you. My sword..."

"Souji. You wouldn't even make it to end of the street in the condition you're in," Hijikata said, his voice cracking.

"I don't want to die like this. In a bed, so weak that night and day blur together and I can't know how much longer it will last..." He started to cough again, his whole body shaking from the force of it. His lips were stained red when he was finally able to stop.

Hijikata raised his chin, and kissed him softly, licking his blood away. "Die in peace, Souji. It doesn't really matter, does it? You die here, and I'll die somewhere else... doesn't matter if the end is death, anyway. Since there's no way out, just die here in peace, and I'll come and get you for the next life."

Okita grinned, finally giving into the painful laughter that caused tremors down his spine. "You'll come get me, Hijikata-san? Do you love me that much, you won't give me a moment's rest? Fine, fine, then. Come and get me. I'll be waiting."

"Brat," Hijikata said with a grin, kissing Okita's nose. "Say my name. If this is our last kiss, I want to hear you say my name."

Okita looked him in the eye, and then sighed, smiling sadly. "Last. I hate that word. Toshi, you promised you were coming to get me. This isn't our last kiss." He leaned forward and kissed Hijikata's lips, but he had to pull away quickly, coughing again. Hijikata held him gently, and laid him down, kissing his forehead. The sparkle of his tears blurred the image of Okita before him, casting a haze over him.

"Wait for me. You promised, my love." Okita couldn't speak because of his coughing, and Hijikata couldn't bear the sight of Okita's suffering for a second longer, so even if it made him a coward in his last act before his love, he got up and stole away, breaking into a run when he was out of the house which he didn't pause from, even after he ran past Ichimura.

Oishi had gotten up to deal with an unruly group in the back of their car, so Fuji slipped into the seat next to Tezuka, and buckled up. He was quietly reading alongside Tezuka when Oishi got back, so, sighing, Oishi sat down next to Eiji, who promptly pulled his earbuds out and leaned over Oishi's lap.

"Kyoto. Why didn't anyone tell me we were going to plain old Kyoto for our class trip?" He'd been whining about the same thing for the past two days, since he'd realized the class trip was upon them.

And as he had every time for the past two days, Tezuka just sighed. "Kyoto is an historic and culturally rich location for a class trip."

"Yes, I know that," Eiji sighed, sticking his tongue out a little at Tezuka, since Oishi, an aisle, and Fuji were between him and Tezuka, and Tezuka was somewhat facing the other way, reading. "That's why every Japanese grade school and junior high goes to Kyoto for their class trip. But we're in high school now, and it's our last year, and we should be going someplace fun, like Hawaii! Why was Hawaii shot down? Beautiful beaches... girls in bikinis..." he sighed cutely.

Fuji snickered a little at the face Eiji was making, but Tezuka just furrowed his brow and turned his page fussily. "Because we don't have the budget to send the entire class to Hawaii. As I've told you before, Kikumaru."

"I suggested a lottery system! It was brilliant! I mean, c'mon. The basketball team didn't even make it to regionals. Do they even truly deserve a class trip?" he scoffed.

"Eiji," Oishi sighed. Fuji lifted his book to cover his mouth. Eiji really was too cute. Tezuka scowled. "Anyway, the destination was decided by a simple majority vote. The class picked Kyoto."

"Why?" Eiji asked with wide-eyed disgust and confusion. "Why? There's no beach in Kyoto! No bikinis! How can yukatas compete with bikinis?" he demanded childishly.

Fuji grinned, putting his book in his lap. "Mm. Those girls from the Shinsengumi Historical Club campaigned, didn't they? They were quite persuasive, I understand."

"Historical Club? We have one of those?" Eiji exclaimed, seemingly horrified at the notion of a club that didn't revolve around a sport.

Tezuka scowled furiously at that, though. "They hardly qualify as a Historical Club. It's just a group of girls who watch anime and trade doujinshis." He put his book down and glared at them. "You do realize that there's no evidence that Hijikata and Okita even liked each other that much. It's all a romanticization."

Grinning, Oishi leaned down and whispered, "Tezuka's wanted to change the name of that club all year long."

"It should be interesting, though," Inui said, popping up behind Tezuka and Fuji. Taka leaned over, too, looking eager to join in from the awkward position of behind two of them. "It is our last trip, after all. And we are being allowed to tour one of the Shinsengumi headquarters. Those girls may be romantics, but you can't fault their powers of persuasion."

Fuji grinned from ear to ear. "They may have implied to the Shinsengumi Preservation Society that our class president was a descendant of Hijikata's." And they may or may not have gotten the idea to imply that from a prominent member of the tennis team who was a good friend of the class president, and therefore it was a reasonable assumption that he knew Tezuka's family tree. Maybe.

While everyone else, even Eiji, tried to swallow down their laughter, Tezuka made a face that demons envied. "Given the nature of their fantasies, they should perfectly well know that Hijikata Toshizo had no descendants. How utterly shameful, for our school to be represented by morons."

"Well," Fuji cheerfully attempted to make things better. "Our school is better known for its athletics than its academics."

Tezuka sighed audibly, and Eiji nearly fell out of his seat laughing.

It wouldn't take much longer for the train to get to Kyoto. It should be interesting.

"This isn't so bad, actually," Eiji declared in the gift shop, lifting up a sleeve of a Shinsengumi uniform haori jacket. "Even if there's zero chance of bikinis... But we might see something good since we're staying in an onsen. And I can't believe they let us play with the swords!"

"Let isn't really the word," Oishi sighed. "Eiji, try to remember that you're representing Seigaku here!"

They were taking shifts to tour the headquarters, so since their group had just finished, they were wasting time in the gift shop. Tezuka, however, was standing stiffly off to the side, looking uncomfortable. He'd been quiet through most of the tour, though with Tezuka, it could be hard to tell at times, even for Fuji.

"Eiji, the jackets are child sizes, you know," Oishi sighed. Taka snickered slightly, but he looked sheepishly at Eiji at the same time. Eiji picked one up and cried out too loudly.

Fuji was looking at Tezuka who was not looking at him, and that worried him most of all, so he didn't know what was happening until the pale blue fabric was being pushed to his chest. "Ah ha! This one will fit Fujiko-chan!" Eiji declared proudly.

As much as he used his stature and appearance to his advantage, Fuji couldn't claim to be thrilled to be publicly declared child sized, but he tried to swallow down his displeasure. "Eiji..." he started, but he was being triple teamed. Taka, apparently, had a deep desire to dress Fuji up, and Inui was probably taking down measurements. The next thing he knew, he was in a Shinsengumi jacket, being pushed in front of a mirror.

Actually, he did look good. Still, an odd sense of... something made him want to look away and take it off. He turned to look at Tezuka, but suddenly...

Tezuka ripped the jacket off of him, and tossed it aside. "This isn't funny!" he growled out.

"Te-Tezuka?" Fuji stuttered. His heart thudded painfully. It was like glass shards sliding over each other to form an image, like a kaleidoscope... He...

"Tezuka?" Oishi asked, brow furrowed. "What's wrong?"

"I don't think anyone was poking fun," Inui replied clinically, watching Tezuka like a scientist watches a rat for a response.

Fuji looked into Tezuka's eyes. In fact, he couldn't look away. He had never seen Tezuka looking terrified before, never wanted to... His heart hurt in his chest. He... knew...

Other people were talking, but he didn't hear them. It felt like things were in slow motion, being accompanied by the soundtrack of his pounding heart. Tezuka closed his eyes, and turned away.

They watched him leave without saying a word.

"Sheesh!" Eiji exclaimed, annoyed. "What got into him?"

Fuji felt a bit sick in his stomach. He smiled shakily at everyone, and waved it off. "You guys go on ahead. It's free time, right? So go shopping or something. I think you can still meet up with those girls from class 5. I'll catch up with Tezuka."

Oishi held his hand out. "Eh? Fuji? Is it ok? I can go with you..."

"Shouldn't you be watching over him?" Fuji asked cheerfully, pointing to Eiji. Eiji protested, but that was all the distraction he needed. He slipped away to where he somehow knew Tezuka would be.

That part of the grounds was quiet, since it wasn't part of any official tour. He moved quickly and kept watching for anyone else, since a Preservation Society member could find him and get angry.

It looked like a simple tatami room. The view wasn't even that spectacular, though it was nestled in the center of the complex. Tezuka was standing in the corner, looking down at the floor, his arms crossed over his chest, his fingers digging into his arms.

Fuji sighed, and went to stand in front of Tezuka. "You overreacted," he said simply.

"My head hurts," Tezuka complained softly, uncharacteristically. His eyes still had the same look as in the gift shop. That made Fuji's head hurt. "This place... seeing you in that jacket..."

Fuji laughed easily. "Tezuka. It's just a costume. It's not like I can really join the Shinsengumi anymore."

Tezuka looked away, biting his lip. "That's not the point. All day. Being here. This place, this. This was where, for the first time..."

He took a step closer, and put his hand on Tezuka's heart. "Sh. Come on. That was something else, wasn't it? Someone else. Don't tell me you've never been to Shinsengumi headquarters before, right?" He laughed, like it was meaningless.

Tezuka looked him in the eye, and Fuji decided he hated that fear. "Never before with you. S-Syuusuke." He felt his heart stop for a second. That was the first time Tezuka ever used his given name. His bottom lip trembled, and he moved another step closer to Tezuka, like he was begging to... "Syuusuke, don't get sick!" he wailed, and suddenly, iron-strong arms pulled him up, so his toes were barely touching the ground. "Don't get sick. Please. I can't..."

"Kunimitsu," Fuji said haltingly, because Tezuka used his name, but he fumbled over the syllables slightly. "Kunimitsu," he said with more conviction. "What are you talking about? I've always had good health. Remember? I never miss class or practice. I haven't been sick in ages. The last time was when Yuuta got the flu. That was before I started high school. Remember? This is our life. We use tennis racquets, not swords."

Tezuka's arms tightened around him, and he was being kissed. He couldn't say he didn't want it. They'd been dancing around this for ages. And what a strange reason to suddenly give in. Tezuka's kiss was rough and inexperienced and it made Fuji's limbs feel like rubber while his stomach churned. It made him... hungry. "I don't want to lose you," Tezuka said roughly.

"Then don't," Fuji insisted. His body was feeling suddenly feverish. He wrapped his arms around Tezuka, and tried to wrap his legs around Tezuka's waist, too. "Don't lose me."

They clattered to the floor together. It was nostalgic, and a bit strange. It was the wrong place and the wrong time. He couldn't think that, though, as he pushed Tezuka's underwear down his hip. They didn't have lube or protection, so they used their mouths on each other, the hands roving over each other's naked skin. When they were both spent, he curled up against Tezuka's chest, Tezuka's arms around him.

The room. It smelled different. Tezuka smelled different, too, but it was fine. It was better, even. He liked everything about Tezuka better.

Later, they had to dress quietly, and they nearly switched underwear. Fuji knew the pair he had were Tezuka's, but he put them on anyway. There was no more fear in Tezuka's eyes, and he almost looked like he might laugh. They slipped out, knowing where the back door was perfectly well, and they walked, their hands occasionally brushing against each other, to the place where they were going to meet for dinner. They were late, of course, and got teased, but he was with Tezuka, and there wasn't a teacher there who was able to censure Tezuka.

He wanted to go shopping, though, first chance he got. Things had changed. He had some things he wanted from the pharmacy, just in case.

Because he might be nervous, or maybe it was for Tezuka's nerves, Tezuka's hand would find its way to his knee under the table from time to time.

The next day, he loftily suggested that Hijikata would have been a gentle person, had he been born in a different time, and while everyone laughed, he smiled because Tezuka looked away and blushed ever so slightly.