Shinsengumi Kekkonroku Wasurenagusa 5 – Toudou Heisuke
CV – Shimono Hiro
It had almost been two years since the Ikedaya Affair . The world is changing at an incredible speed. It seems that people’s hearts also change when the world does. The Shinsengumi moved to a new headquarters and new men replaced the old. At the same time, a split gradually began to form amidst the group which should have been as one. Perhaps that was something unavoidable, or perhaps it was a punishment for surrendering to the peaceful days.
Where do I belong? Why on earth am I hesitating about the path that I believed in? I’m sure that I will lose many things someday. I prepared myself to lose something precious long ago. However, it may just be a selfish wish of mine to make sure that you alone are not hurt. As I look up at the sky, I think to myself – no matter what happens to me, I want you to smile until the end.
It’s no good. I can’t concentrate. I don’t know why I had to catch a cold. But I suppose it’s no surprise since I slept by the door on a snowy day.
Oh, it’s you. You made some porridge? Sorry for the trouble.
Ah, wait a minute. I’m just going to get up.
Hmm? What are you holding out the bowl for? Aren’t you going to feed me?
Ahh. Come on, hurry up.
It’s good. Thank you.
Hey, does it seem like I’ve got a fever? My nose is really runny and I can’t concentrate.
What do you think?
I thought I might have one.
You’re right. I’m feeling cold and my body is tired.
It’s strange that I’m feeling hungry though.
Hey, feed me some more.
I’m so cold!
I should lie down? You’re right. I suppose I’ll do as you say for now.
Ah, are you going already? Isn’t it okay for you to take care of me all day instead of looking after the other men? I’m not trying to be selfish though.
Hey, come here. Got you!
This is alright, isn’t it? I feel like we haven’t had many opportunities like this recently. I haven’t had enough of you. Let me feel you completely today.
I would keep holding onto you like this if I hadn’t caught a cold.
Alright, alright. I know that I’d be training right now if I wasn’t sick. But it’s alright for me to want you to myself sometimes, isn’t it? Even though I know it’s part of your job, when I see you talking to other men… How can I put this… I feel frustrated.
Well, I know you’re not interested in anyone else though. So today you’re all mine…
Ah, now that I think about it, colds can be passed onto other people. I guess now isn’t the time to have you sleeping beside me. I’d actually like to kiss you now, but I’ll have to hold back. You can go now.
You didn’t want to leave me? You look like you don’t.
Hey, I’ve worked up a sweat. It feels bad to have my clothes sticking to my body. Will you wipe my body?
You’ve got a cloth with you, haven’t you? Please do it for me.
Thank you. It feels a lot better now that you’ve wiped it. But I want you to wipe my chest and back too, not just my neck.
Take off my clothes.
You’ve seen my body before, haven’t you? We’ve taken a bath together, right? There’s no need to get embarrassed now. My clothes feel so cold, that it might raise my fever.
Why are you looking away? You’ve got to look what you’re doing when you’re wiping off sweat.
You’ve got tears in your eyes. Are you that embarrassed? Look even more closely at my body.
I feel cold without my clothes on.
Hey. I want you to warm me up.
Not like that. Don’t cover me with the quilt. Isn’t it supposed to be good for people to warm each other with their body heat?
Oww! Would you normally do that to someone who’s sick?! You made me go dizzy just now!
You’ve got a scary look in your eyes! I was only joking! Just now, I said you might catch my cold anyway. Don’t get angry.
Alright, I’m sorry. I’ll behave myself. I thought that was a good opportunity…
You’re going already? Don’t leave someone who’s sick all by himself! I was pretending to be well earlier…
Tch. It’d be nice if she spoiled me a little more.
I’ll try to get better soon.
 Ikedaya Affair – An armed encounter between masterless samurai employed by the Choshu and Tosa clans and the Shinsengumi.
Hey, can I come in now? Have you got some free time?
I see. Let’s do some shopping in town then! I’m done training and haven’t got any missions, so I’m not busy. You looked after me the whole day, so I thought I’d buy something for you this once.
Your eyes lit up! You’re so cheerful!
I’ll be waiting at the entrance, so meet me there when you’re ready.
Kyoto’s always so lively. I’m always expecting lawless men to turn up while I’m walking around, but it seems so peaceful when you see it like this.
Right, we walked around Edo like this before, didn’t we? You insisted that you’d lead the way but you got completely lost!
Don’t get so angry about it. I thought to myself that you were cute. That was the first day we held hands too, wasn’t it?
Hey, let’s hold hands again. This time we’ll be doing it as real lovers.
Alright. Don’t get lost.
So what would you like? Don’t hesitate to say it.
Huh? Bean paste buns? You dummy! That’s not what I meant. I want to buy you something that will last, like a hairpin or a hand mirror.
There must be something!
Ah… There really isn’t anything?
It does seem like you’ve got everything you need. In that case, I’ll look for something. There are plenty of shops. I’m sure I’ll find something that suits you.
Alright, alright. We’ll buy bean paste buns on the way home too.
Jeez, you really do like sweet things.
I don’t think I’ve ever given a woman a gift before. I don’t know what’d make you happy.
Huh? I suppose so. I can’t really help it. This is the first time I’ve felt like I wanted to give you one.
Huh?! I’m not blushing at all! You’ve got it all wrong! Jeez.
Hmm? Wouldn’t this be good? An obidome  with a bell attached to it.
At the moment all you’ve got is an ordinary rope and it doesn’t stand out. The butterfly design and bell on this one looks colourful and pretty.
It won’t get in the way while you’re working either. It looks like it’d suit you too.
How about it? Do you like it?
I see… Then see what it looks like on your sash.
Yes, it looks really good. Don’t I have a pretty good eye for these things too? We could look at the other shops too, but you seem to like this one, so it’s alright if we get it, right?
Wait a minute. I’ll go and pay for it.
Here you go. I like your smile. When I see you looking happy like that, I’m glad I gave you that gift. All we have to do is buy the bean paste buns now.
The sky is getting dark. How about we go home soon? We could stay together longer if it was summer though. Why are the winter days so short?
Ah, I hope summer comes soon. I don’t even like winter anyway. It’s cold and it’s difficult to walk when it snows. It affects our missions too. You think so too, right?
Huh? Hey! What are you standing there for?
You were looking at the obidome? You can do that when you get back to the headquarters, can’t you? Put it away.
Jeez. Something like this always happens as soon as you’re out of my sight.
Let’s hold hands.
Right… Hey. Did you know that there’s a rumour about a frightening demon which appears around here? It targets women who are alone and kidnaps them away somewhere. You’d be an easy target for it. You don’t mind if you get attacked?
You don’t? You should at least be a little scared!
Please don’t go wandering off by yourself. Stay by my side, got it?
If you understand, then everything’s alright.
 Obidome – A small accessory that is threaded onto the obijime (the rope attached to a kimono sash).
Ah… I’m so sleepy!
Hmm? What’s the matter?
Why are you so surprised? Sorry I called out to you suddenly.
Did you just finish having a bath?
You’ll get cold if you wander around now. Go back to your room quickly…
Hey… What’s with that look on your face? You look strangely tense.
Hah! Did you remember our conversation about the demon and get scared?
Haha! I was right, wasn’t I? You pretended to be brave back then, but weren’t you actually worried about it?
Don’t be so scared! It was just a joke to keep you near me…
Ah, it was nothing! Right! It’s particularly dangerous at night. The rumours say that once it sees you in town, it follows you all the way to your bedroom. Wouldn’t it be better if you weren’t alone tonight? Sleep in my room with me tonight so you can escape from the demon. Let’s go.
It’s really dark tonight. Is the moon behind the clouds?
I’m surprised you believe in stories about demons. Don’t be scared. You’ll be fine with me. Okay?
Do you feel better when I do this?
It’s alright. No matter what demon comes, I’ll protect you with my life. So don’t look at me with such tearful eyes.
I’m not going to be able to hold back.
Don’t look away. I might chase you out of my room if you do that.
That’s right. Good girl.
Hmm… Your heart is beating faster. Is it because you’re afraid or is it because of what I’m doing to you?
Don’t hide away. Let me see you.
Does that feel good?
Why’d I lick you? Well, I did it to protect you from evil spirits. A demon won’t come close if you smell like another human. Something like that, I suppose. Anyway, just surrender yourself to me.
Hey, do you believe in ghosts?
You don’t want to believe in them? Right, I guess you wouldn’t want to believe in something scary like that. I want to believe in them a little. I think that souls do exist. I’m talking about how people are unable to pass on and become ghosts when they have regrets in this world.
Right… If I become a ghost, then I’ll come and see you every day. You wouldn’t be scared, even if I was a ghost, would you?
Ah, maybe it’d be better to get reborn right away and see you again soon?
Why are you looking at me like that? I’m not talking about anything scary.
Were you thinking that I might die?
I see. I’m sorry.
All humans will certainly die someday. But don’t worry. I’ll continue to live together with you from now on. My dream is to drink tea and eat bean paste buns with you, even when we get old. That dream can’t come true without both of us being here, right?
So I’m going to protect you and make sure I won’t die either.
I’m sorry I changed the subject.
Your body has gotten warmer.
Hey, can I ask you one thing? I wanted to try this just once… Please lick me.
You don’t have to think about anything.
Sorry, I’m sweating.
Lick me here too…
Hmm? Just do it however you want. I’m just happy that you’re doing it. I’m so happy that I think it’ll drive me insane.
Look this way.
Yes, that’s enough now. Thank you.
I’m sorry though. It seems like I can’t hold back any longer.
I’m not going to let you go until morning.
Hey. Are you cleaning the garden again today? The headquarters is a big place, so the dead leaves just keep coming in. But don’t stay outside too long and catch a cold like I did.
Me? Umm… I was just talking to Itou-san . You know him, right? He joined the Shinsengumi as an officer when we came down to Edo.
Are we friends? Ah, come to think of it, I haven’t talked to you about Itou-san and myself before. When I was younger, I was a wandering samurai in Edo. I was helped out by Itou-san’s dojo back then.
I’ve known him longer than Kondo-san. We’ve known each other for a long time, so we trust each other. We have similar goals too. We often talk about the future of the country until morning. To tell the truth, I was the one who invited Itou-san to join the Shinsengumi. When we came down to Edo, I found the time to visit Itou-san. I introduced him to Kondo-san at the same time. It seems that Kondo-san liked him too.
I’ve mentioned this before, but recently I’ve been having several doubts about the Shinsengumi’s way of doing things.
I’m sure Itou-san will put those things right. I agree with the way he thinks too. But because of that, the Shinsengumi has now been divided into a faction for Kondo-san and a faction for Itou-san. Even I know that it doesn’t mean the Shinsengumi is doing things the wrong way. However, I feel as if it’s changed recently. No…perhaps it’s not the Shinsengumi that has changed, but I have instead.
Ah, I’m sorry! Things got strangely depressing.
Sorry for bothering you while you were cleaning. The Shinsengumi gave me a place where I can belong. I won’t betray them.
You’re going to make dinner soon, right? I’m really hungry! Give me something tasty to eat today too.
 Itou Kashitaro – He joined the Shinsengumi in 1864 and was admired by Kondo Isami at first, despite their different political views. After leaving the Shinsengumi in 1867, Itou was assassinated whilst returning from his visit to Kondo’s residence.
That was a good bath! Thanks for bringing me some clothes.
Having a bath when you’re tired really hits the spot! It would’ve been even better if you had joined me. But there’s hardly any opportunity for that because we don’t want anyone else to find out about our relationship.
Hey, where are you going? Are you going back to your room? It’s still early, so come to my room. I’m feeling hot after being in the warm water too long. Let’s cool down together.
Ah! The wind feels great!
Oh, the moon looks like a bean paste bun! That’s my favourite kind of moon. When I said that to Shin-san and Sano-san, they laughed at me for being weird. But I like it. I suppose that’s because I see it a lot when I’m with you.
Hey, Shin-san and Sano-san found out that there’s someone I’m in love with! Of course I didn’t say it was you.
Those two might already know though. They know me well and I can’t lie to them. That’s because we’ve known each other since we were at the Shieikan . We’ve always been together since then.
I’ve learned so much from them. Like how to fight with a sword and being able to tell what other people are thinking.
Right, Shin-san has taught me even more. Like how to seduce a woman. They’re good guys who care about me.
We made a promise long ago. We said that if one of us died, we would all cross swords with one another.
You think it’s a strange promise, right? But that’s not the truth of it. We just didn’t want ourselves to die selfishly. So as long as we have that promise, I’ve got to survive any kind of trouble.
When I remembered the two of them at the Ikedaya, I naturally thought “There’s no way I can die just yet”.
And now you’re here too. I promise that I’ll survive in this world for their sake and your sake. So can you make me a promise me too? That you’ll live with me from now on. It’s a promise, alright?
I love you. I want us to stay together forever.
It’s gotten cold. You must be feeling cold, right?
Let’s get into bed.
You dummy. Don’t go back to your room.
It’s alright, isn’t it? Let’s sleep together tonight.
I really like sleeping with you. Having someone sleep with me like this makes me happy. Come closer, so we can sense each other even while we’re dreaming.
 Shieikan – A dojo in Tokyo, where several of the major Shinsengumi members met one another.
Hey, I’m back! I got into trouble when it suddenly started to rain. Could you bring a towel to my room?
Alright, I’ll be waiting for you.
You got it for me? Thanks.
Ah, I got completely soaked. I should hurry up and take a bath.
I don’t look so happy?
Of course you’d notice.
One of the men was executed earlier. He was apparently communicating with the Choshu-han  in secret. Being a traitor in the troop, he was executed.
I don’t know whether he really planned to betray the Shinsengumi. But I can’t believe they executed him without even asking what his motives were.
It’s strange, isn’t it? Isn’t it just like not trusting your allies? Are the Shinsengumi regulations that important? I know that the Shinsengumi would be destroyed if they didn’t have any regulations. The Shinsengumi members should obey the regulations and be punished. But just how many men have died as a result of the Shinsengumi regulations?
Traitors are executed. That’s the way Hijikata-san does things. As long as we’re members of the troop, we have a duty to do that. But that man was killed cruelly. I thought of many things when I saw that happen.
Hey. I told you that the Shinsengumi was splitting up before, didn’t I? Recently, more men have been agreeing with the way Itou-san thinks. Itou-san is actually from the Joui  faction. He is different from the Shinsengumi who work for the shogunate.
Although we’re aiming for the same future, the recent negative behaviour of the Joui cannot be overlooked. They’re completely different from the Joui led by Itou-san.
And so Itou-san joined the Shinsengumi to correct that. But the more time I spend with Itou-san the less I understand myself. I wonder where on earth I should be.
Oh? I’m sorry. I ended up talking about something serious. Don’t worry about it. You don’t have to look like that. It’s nothing for you to worry about, you see.
Alright! I’m going to report everything to Kondo-san and the others. Thanks for the towel. Is the bath ready? I want to get in right after I’m done reporting. We can take a bath together if you want.
Oww! It was just a joke! Sorry I teased you.
See you later.
Make sure you keep warm too.
 Choshu-han – A clan that was an enemy of the shogunate and the Shinsengumi.
 Joui – Refers to “Sonno Joui” who supported revering the emperor and expelling foreigners.
Hey, have you got a moment?
Umm… You’ve already finished your work, haven’t you?
The weather is good today. Let’s go out for a walk together.
There’s something I want to talk about too. I’ll be waiting for you, so come to the gate later. See you.
The wind feels good. It’s gradually getting warmer, if only it would pass by spring and go straight to summer.
Is there somewhere we can rest?
Ah, let’s sit over by those rocks.
I like that sound. The sound of running water makes me feel calm. We’ve come to a river like this before, haven’t we?
Not this river, one in Edo. I remember what happened then really clearly.
It was the day you saved me. There’s no way I’d forget it. At that moment, I truly fell in love with you. You became more important than anything and irreplaceable to me. I’m sure that you mean much more to me than you think.
I’m not sure how to love someone else, so maybe I haven’t been able to tell you properly, but you’re the most important person to me. So there’s something I have to tell you no matter what.
I’ve decided to leave the Shinsengumi. I’m sure that you realised I would be leaving the troop. I’m going with Itou-san. We’re going to set up the Goryou Eji . Of course, there’s a possibility I might be executed. But I still don’t want to go against my own will.
Don’t misunderstand. I’m not planning on betraying the Shinsengumi. This doesn’t mean I dislike Hijikata-san. The Shinsengumi is more important to me than anything. I’m making this decision because they are important to me. Please understand.
Don’t look as if you’re about to cry. It’s alright. You won’t be in any danger if you continue to work for the Shinsengumi as a maid.
No. I’m not going to take you with me. The Shinsengumi and I will be taking different paths. I don’t know what will happen next. I can’t let you get involved in that. So you’re going to stay with the Shinsengumi.
You don’t want to? I’m telling you that you’ll be in danger! You’re a good girl, so I want you to do as I say. Please. It won’t matter if we are apart. Distance has nothing to do with the feeling of love. No matter where I am, I think of you and it’s as if you’re by my side. I belong to you. As long as you don’t forget that, our hearts won’t be separated.
I’ve already told Kondo-san and the others. I’ll be leaving the headquarters in a few days. I’m sorry for telling you this all of a sudden. But if I didn’t do it this way, then my determination would have faded. Please forgive me. Even if I’m gone, Kondo-san, Hijikata-san and the other men will all be here. You won’t be lonely! So everything going to be alright.
Come on, how much longer are you going to look like that? I told you that I love your smile, didn’t I?
Let’s buy something tasty on the way home. A new sweet shop just opened up. We’ll go there on our way back.
Come on, take my hand.
Ah, Shin-san went to that sweet shop before. He was really embarrassed to line up there.
Hahaha! It makes you laugh, doesn’t it? I was surprised because he doesn’t look like the type of person who enjoys sweets!
 Goryou Eji – A group created by Itou Kashitaro after he and his allies separated from the Shinsengumi.
I’ll take this with me, and this too. Alright!
Hmm? You’re still awake?
Yes, I was getting ready to leave tomorrow.
No, I don’t need you to see me off. You’d regret it if you did, wouldn’t you?
I told you not to look so sad. It’s not as if we’ll be apart forever.
We certainly won’t be able to see each other as often. It’s been decided that the men who leave to join the Goryou Eji won’t be allowed to associate with the Shinsengumi.
But you’re not one of the soldiers. I plan on writing to you sometimes. We’ll be apart for a while, but we might see each other around town. Are you still worried?
Hmm… Right! Look up at the moon when you’re feeling really lonely. When you’re lonely, I’m sure I’ll be feeling the same way. So let’s look at the same time as each other when that happens. If we do, we’ll be together, no matter where we are. That will be enough for us to feel as if we’re together. Alright?
Right! I told Shin-san and Sano-san about you.
Why? It’d be no good if someone made a move on you while I was away, right? It’s to keep things in check! I trust you not to look at another man, but you don’t know what everyone else is thinking, do you? So I talked to them and asked them to protect you. You don’t have to worry about that. I’ve got the preparations for it completely worked out too, haven’t I? Now I can leave the headquarters without having to worry.
Come here. I’m sorry for leaving you. I’m sorry I made this decision without you. But this is the path I’ve chosen. It was an important decision I made so that I could be myself. Please forgive me. I know we’ll see each other again.
When a new era comes, the things that have been natural to us will also change. We’re going to make Japan a better place. Then people will be able to live more freely.
If the barrier between the anti-shogunate faction and the Joui faction disappears, then there won’t be any more battles. I’ll be able to live with you again too.
It would be good for us to live together again. You can keep any animals you like so you won’t get bored while I’m out.
Right! We’ve got to have a big house for when we have children. I’d like to have one girl and one boy. I’ll play with the children while you make dinner. We’ll play games like tag and kite flying. Hide and seek too.
I’ve always dreamed of having a father to play with. I’m going to play with my children a lot. Just thinking about it is fun, right? I’m going to work hard to make it a reality. So just wait, okay?
Ah, you smiled! Okay! Now that I’ve seen that expression on your face, I can leave without worrying. It’s late, so let’s go to sleep. You won’t be able to work tomorrow if you stay up late.
Got it? Good night.
See you later.
Then I left the Shinsengumi and became a member of the Goryou Eji. Three days after I left the headquarters, Gesshinin  at Kodaiji Temple  became the base for the Goryou Eji. Despite what I said to you that night, we have not seen each other since then.
The weather gradually became warmer, the cherry blossoms scattered and summer came around. Just when I thought that my clothes had become heavy with sweat, the trees turned red, telling me that autumn had arrived. As I watched the leaves fall out of the corner of my eye, the season was suddenly changing to winter.
Hey, how long has it been since we last saw each other? I would most often look up at the moon and think of you on chaotic days. I wonder if you are well. I wonder if you’re smiling. I wonder whether you’re crying. I hope you won’t change. I was unable to send you any letters as I realised the split between the Shinsengumi and the Goryou Eji was deeper than I had first thought. Even if I did send letters, they would probably be destroyed and never reach you.
I will eventually have to face the Shinsengumi seriously. I’ll fight against the men who used to be my allies. I’m not completely prepared. Even so, I’ve decided that I will go my own way. That’s right. I’ve made a promise to myself many times.
 Gesshinin – A temple beside Kodaiji that was founded during 1617.
 Kodaiji Temple – A temple founded during 1606 in Kyoto by the wife of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, an important ruler of the Sengoku era (1467-1573).