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Title: Ready For The Good Life
Fandom: Touken Ranbu
Characters: Kashuu/male!Saniwa, Yagen
Word count: 800
Summary: Horikawa is almost destroyed and Saniwa blames himself. Kashuu isn't sure what he can do but he wants to support his master.
Note: Set after Fog and Night.


Horikawa had to be carried off the field and straight to the infirmary. At least he was conscious and in one piece. Saniwa called over the nearest tantou to go bring Izuminokami to the infirmary. Apart from that he was saying little.

Yagen, who had finished treatment for light injuries sustained in an earlier sortie, stayed close to Saniwa, along with Kashuu. Saniwa was muttering something about troop replacements and resource stocks. He had been ready to turn in for the night, but the new limited-time field and its rewards had been too tempting; and he'd nearly lost a precious sword over it.

The auxiliaries were left without expedition orders that night, and some were ordered to leave their troop equips in the armory. There was some grumbling as everyone returned to their barracks for the night. The citadel had never before been in such sudden disorder. Gokotai, on duty, cleared the atmosphere with his artless good-humour.

Sunk in self-recrimination, Saniwa barely ate his light supper. Kashuu hung back from sitting with him. Just last night Saniwa had been there to comfort him after a bad day, but he didn't know how to approach. Yagen's earnest forwardness would probably be best. Kashuu's first defense for his emotions defaulted to light irony that probably sounded insincere. Yagen however was not beside Saniwa now, probably still outside on the armory matter, or settling the tantou in for the night like the big brother he was at the moment without Ichigo around.

Rather than loitering with indecision in the hallway, Kashuu wanted to bathe and then retreat to his own room. Something kept him sitting in front of Saniwa's door though. Just then Saniwa called out, "Kashuu, are you there?" To Kashuu it sounded like he hardly expected him to be there.

Kashuu slid the door open. Saniwa looked conflicted. After a moment, he gestured for Kashuu to come in.

"Would you mind if I had a little nap on your knees today?"

"Wha-- but I haven't even bathed yet..."

For all his easy flirting, when the situation was suddenly intimate like this Kashuu faltered. He blushed in distress. Just the thought of their places reversed from last night, gently combing through Saniwa's hair to soothe his anxiety--too unseemly for words, especially since he wanted to. Would he ever have dared with Okita...? A moot point, since he'd never had knees or hands at that time.

"Please?"

"Well, since you asked nicely I guess..."

Kashuu sat down beside Saniwa, and smoothed rough fabric over his knees. He'd hurriedly changed his dirty uniform for this kimono he often wore while doing chores.

While he rested, Saniwa didn't say any more to make a show of blaming himself, but Kashuu could feel his tension, could imagine the anger in his head. But hadn't they all some part in this? Why had no-one noticed that Horikawa's destroyed troops hadn't been replaced between sorties? Why had Horikawa foolishly kept quiet in shame at losing his troops again? He'd been in the rear, and their opponents had been strong enough to keep them all distracted. It wasn't a satisfying excuse.

Kashuu lightly laid a hand on Saniwa's head. "We all make mistakes sometimes, right?" Saniwa had said something like that.

"I shouldn't have ordered that sortie. Everyone was already tired. "

"But we're all here now, and Horikawa-kun will be fine."

Saniwa grumbled half-heartedly, but then settled down with a sigh.

Kashuu startled when the door opened, and Yagen came in. He'd been dozing while sitting up, his legs gone to sleep, and Saniwa on top of them.

"Have you eaten yet?" Yagen asked quietly.

"Not hungry."

"How about I get you some cha-zuke? It's no problem. You need to keep your strength up, too." His glance towards Saniwa implied enough.

Kashuu sighed, and then nodded. He didn't need an encore of how his low vitality was from his picky eating. "All right, but make it a small portion. I'm really not that hungry."

Worse than having too little to eat, was having too much and either forcing himself to sickness or seeing it go to waste. Yagen gave him one of those confident little smiles that conveyed perfectly that despite his childish appearance he had reason to be a reliable man of the house and older brother to a whole brood.

Yagen spread the blanket he'd brought for Saniwa.

"How are the ducklings?" Kashuu asked on impulse.

"Oh, they're fine. Horikawa is already recovering with Kane-san at his bedside; and Imanotsurugi's repairs were finished quick as usual."

"That's a relief," Kashuu murmured, his fingers nervous with the edge of the blanket at Saniwa's shoulder.

"Yup. I'll be right back with that supper, okay, so don't fall asleep yet."

Kashuu snorted. "I don't fall asleep when I'm on duty."

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