Shinsengumi Hiyokuroku Wasurenagusa 7 – Toudou Heisuke
CV – Shimono Hiro
Ah… I was given so much, so of course it’s heavy… But it looks good, so that doesn’t matter…
Hmm? Ah, it’s you! You were clearing up the dried leaves. This is perfect timing!
You see… The owner of a shop I always go to gave me some freshly caught sweetfish!
He had to close the shop up early today.
We don’t have enough for all the men, so it won’t be good for dinner, but since we’ve got them, it’d be a shame not to eat them, right?
Let’s use these dried leaves and grill the fish with salt.
Wait a minute! I’ll bring skewers and a flint.
Ah… I guess they should be done soon?
Yeah, they look alright.
Here you go. Try it.
Does it taste good?
Okay, here I go!
I’m surprised you were okay!
I burned my tongue, but the saltiness was just right!
It’s not the best time of the year for sweetfish, but your seasoning made them perfect!
Hmm? There’s a piece of fish on your face. You’re so clumsy when you eat!
Come on, stay still.
Hmm? It’s not like it had any bones on it, so of course I’d eat it!
Don’t be so embarrassed! We’ve done things a lot more embarrassing than that…
Oww! I was only teasing you a little! Don’t get so angry!
These really do taste good though. Since they’re so tasty, I’d like to share them with the other men after all.
Ah… You’re right. Will you give them out then?
Give them to the men who pass by, in the order that they come.
No, not everyone will be happy to get them from me, so I won’t bother.
Well, even though they’d be happy to get some fish…
How should I say this? Everyone has someone they’d rather not talk to.
You see… You’ve noticed that the atmosphere in the Shinsengumi has changed since Itou-san joined, haven’t you?
I thought it might just have been me…
But because of the recent incident at Sanjou, there were several men who felt uncomfortable about other men having been forced to leave the Shinsengumi. There are more men who are asking for Itou-san for advice about that, rather than Kondo-san or Hijikata-san.
It’s probably easier to talk to him since he hasn’t always been in the Shinsengumi. Because of that, the rift between the members of the Shinsengumi has grown greater. All the men are here because they love the Shinsengumi. No one thinks this situation is a good one.
I think there are a lot of different reasons things turned out like this. But most of the responsibility is mine, because I invited Itou-san here. Of course I don’t regret asking him to come here. I think the Shinsengumi needs him. But I suppose there are some men who dislike me for doing something unnecessary.
I want to believe that no one feels that way. You never know what other people are thinking, do you?
It’s fine. Explaining why I invited Itou-san here won’t change the way things are right now.
The troop captains understand that my actions were intended to help the Shinsengumi. If there are a few people who understand, then that’ll be enough.
Anyway, what I’m saying is that people will be happier if you give out the fish instead of me. I’ll leave the rest to you.
Hmm? What is it?
I don’t think things are alright like this. I don’t know what will happen to the Shinsengumi and its men next. Everyone shouldn’t have to keep worrying.
I’ve got to give my answer soon too. The shopkeeper who gave me that fish told me a chamberlain of the emperor had taken a man who escaped the Shinsengumi as his retainer. I began thinking that the Shinsengumi is an important place that accepted me, that I love more than anything. But I feel like I don’t have to stay here forever.
This has gotten a little depressing! I’m sorry a lot of things have been like that recently!
I promised that I’d talk to Itou-san now. I’ve got to go, so I’ll leave that fish to you.
Ah! It’s you…
You scared me, so don’t tap me on the shoulder so suddenly!
My heart is beating really fast…
It’s pretty unusual for us to meet by chance in town. Did you come here to go shopping?
It’s already evening, you know.
There were some ingredients that you forgot to buy?
I’m doing my rounds, like I usually do.
I spaced out for a while just now though.
Yes, there are children dressed up for Shichi-Go-San  walking around today, right? I don’t remember much about the past, but I was thinking about how we never celebrated anything in my family.
That’s what families normally do, isn’t it? So I guess I got a little jealous of the children walking around.
But I’m on a mission, so I shouldn’t be spacing out. Keep this a secret from Hijikata-san and the others.
Hey. Are you listening?
Huh? What are you saying all of a sudden?
You’re going to celebrate with me? All the occasions that’ll happen from now on? That’s impossible! We can’t celebrate Shichi-Go-San and Tango no Sekku  at our age either!
Or… Do you want to have children with me?
I was joking! Don’t blush like that!
You really do say some strange things.
But… Thank you. I laughed because it was so sudden, but I was happy.
Right, I’ve got to get back to my mission. What are you doing now?
I see. If you’re going back to the headquarters now, then we’re going in opposite directions. Make sure you go home before it gets dark. I’ll be looking forward to another good dinner today! See you later!
Celebrating all the different occasions in a year together… Every day would be fun if we could do that. I’m sure our children would be cute.
Okay, here’s the money. Thanks.
I actually bought one. Even though I don’t know when I’ll get to give it to her. Why am I doing this during my mission anyway?
But I’m glad there were still some left.
Right… I really will get back to work now.
Hmm? Did I drop something?
Oh? This is the bag that was attached to the netsuke.
Huh… No way… The cord for the netsuke broke?
Wait a minute! I didn’t buy it that long ago.
At that moment, I had a bad feeling.
I went pale and sweat slowly dripped down my forehead, onto my neck.
I thought I saw the carving of white plum blossoms on its rope, out of the corner of my eye.
It can’t be… Something couldn’t have happened to her, right?
This is strange. I should have caught up to her by now!
She hasn’t gone that far yet!
At the moment that I shouted, I heard the faint sound of your voice from one of the backstreets.
I trembled when I heard what sounded like a scream.
Is she here?!
When I hurried in the direction your voice came from, two figures came into my sight. You were there with one other person. I felt myself burning with anger at the familiar sight of the large man.
You… You’re the man from the Tosa clan who first cut down the notice board!
That’s right. When we tried to capture you, I was the one who gave the orders to follow you!
She’s a maid working for the Shinsengumi, who wasn’t involved with that incident! Get away from her!
You don’t plan on moving? Tch!
You can’t use your right arm anymore?
Ah… Come to think of it, I heard that Sano-san cut up someone’s arm pretty badly. So it was your arm, hmm?
First you ran away, now you’re taking things out on a woman, are you?
You don’t have a lot of balls, considering you’re a man! Trash like you shouldn’t act like a samurai!
Get away from here!
One of the men from the Shinsengumi was forced to leave the troop because of you! Trash like you wouldn’t understand the pain he feels!
I won’t forgive you! I definitely won’t forgive you!
You can’t escape now. Hurry up and come over here!
Let yourself be captured and then punished by Hijikata-san!
Stop! Don’t lay a hand on her!
Ah… It’s you!
What’s the matter?
I see… You can’t sleep either.
I was just about to go to your room.
I should have been the one to go to your room first.
There’s something I’ve got to tell you, but I didn’t know the right way to say it.
I ended up thinking about a lot of things and before I knew it, it’d gotten this late.
I’ve got to apologise to you for what happened today.
I’m sorry. I made you see something terrible.
You were reminded of what happened at the Ikedaya, weren’t you?
I shouldn’t have killed someone in front of you, no matter what the situation was.
I’m really sorry. I did something that hurt you.
Huh? You want to thank me?
I haven’t do anything to deserve that.
That man from the Tosa clan got a good look at your face by the river, didn’t he? I hadn’t realised that.
It was close to night time, so I should have taken you back to the headquarters before going back to my mission. I’m always making you have scary experiences, aren’t I?
I wouldn’t be surprised if you hated me. If there’s something that you want to say, then I don’t mind you making it clear to me.
It’s not like that? What are you talking about?
You see… You really look as if you’re about to cry…
Huh… You dummy! What are you talking about?
You shouldn’t be worrying about me killing someone else! You haven’t done anything wrong. Don’t apologise!
I think there must have been another way to stop him… Even though I did it to protect you, there was no need to kill him.
But when I felt that you were in danger, I just couldn’t think. I didn’t have a chance to do it.
Why are you holding my hand?
Ah… That was quite a while ago… The promise we made in Edo, hmm?
Of course I remember it. I said I would use my sword to protect you.
That’s right. If you got into any danger, then I would be prepared to kill someone else.
If I can protect the person who is most important to me, then I can easily abandon the pain…
But… Fulfilling my promise like that…
You really are a strange person. I was sure you would hate me, but the way you look at me hasn’t changed at all.
The way you hold my unclean hands hasn’t changed either.
Thank goodness. Thank goodness you’re safe.
I’m sorry that my only way of protecting you was such a clumsy one.
But no matter what happens, I’ll protect you until the end, even if it means giving up my own life.
Will you continue to stay by my side from now on?
I won’t be able to leave you behind after all.
 Shichi-Go-San and Tango no Sekku are both festivals which celebrate children. During Shichi-Go-San, boys aged 3 and 5 years old, and girls aged 3 and 7 years old visit shrines with their parents. On the day of Tango no Sekku, families with boys hang koinobori (streamers in the shape of carp) outside their homes and display dolls of famous warriors or other heroes inside.
Hey. Are you still awake?
Right… I’m coming in then.
You were just about to go to sleep, weren’t you?
I’m sorry for coming here at this time. There’s something I really need to talk about.
Yes. It’s something really important. It’s something you’ve got to think about too, so I wanted to tell you as soon as possible.
I was just talking to Kondo-san and Hijikata-san. I’m going to create a new organisation with Itou-san and his men. I’ve decided to leave the Shinsengumi. Several of the other men from the Shinsengumi are coming too.
Of course it won’t be happening right away. It’ll be sometime in the future. But I’ve got to start getting ready now.
I’ve already explained things to Kondo-san and the others. He kindly listened to what we had to say and we have an agreement with him, until we leave the troop.
There’s something I’d like you to understand though. I still love the Shinsengumi and I’m not thinking of turning against them.
I see. I’m glad you understand.
So… I want you to come with me too!
I was thinking that you should stay with the Shinsengumi. You’ll be safer here and most importantly, the Shinsengumi needs you too.
But I thought about a lot of things and I’ve made up my mind to be true to my feelings.
I’ll be more selfish if that’s what it takes. Of course, only if you agree with this. Will you consider it? I want you to stay by my side from now on.
If you’re with me, then I can become as strong as I need to be. You’re the most important person to me.
I promised to protect you forever too. But that’d be difficult to do if we were apart from each other. It might be selfish of me, but this is what I want.
Of course, if you come with me, then I’ll make sure to tell Kondo-san and the others about our relationship.
I found this at the shop where we bought the netsuke before. I thought I would give it to you one day, so I’ve had it with me all this time. Go on and open it.
Yes, it’s a comb. Let me tell you something first… I’m not giving you this as a reason to make you leave the headquarters. I’ve been thinking about doing this for the past year. It’ll be impossible to do while I’m still a member of the Shinsengumi… But… Will you be my wife?
Hey… Why do you look as if you’re about to cry?
Why’d you hug me all of a sudden? You surprised me!
Huh… You’ll go with me?
Wait a minute! Aren’t you answering too soon?!
You really felt that way? That you want to stay with me forever…
When you said to me that we’d celebrate all the different occasions in the year together… You were being serious?
I see… I didn’t think you’d thought about those words as much as you have…
I’m sorry for brushing it off as a joke!
But since I heard you say those words, I’ve felt even more strongly about wanting to be with you.
I want to do a lot of different things with you from now on too. That includes all the different celebrations during the year! I’m sure that we’ll enjoy anything if we’re together.
I’m glad… I can still be with you from now on…
I love you. I love you so much that I could never say it enough.
I’m so happy I could almost lose my mind.
From now on, you and I have to prepare to leave the headquarters, little by little.
I’m sure we’ll be busy. This will probably be the last evening when we can relax like this.
I want to show you that I love you.
Soon we won’t have to embrace each other in secret like this. I want us to be able to hold hands and walk together without having to hide when we’re outside.
Then I’ll tell everyone who passes by that I’m proud to have you as my wife.
It might be embarrassing, but just bear with it. I’m sure I’ll be really happy.
Come on, move your hands.
When I embraced you like this before, you still seemed so far away and I couldn’t bear that it wasn’t enough. But I don’t feel that way at all now.
It’s strange. I suppose this is what becoming a married couple is like?
Hmm? Your face looked really cute just now. I’m the only one who can see your face like this, aren’t I? I want to keep you all to myself.
You’re too cute. You’re all mine. I won’t let anyone else have you.
I’d never thought about being with someone else before. I was probably afraid. I suppose it was because I grew up seeing how my parents were. I thought that loving someone meant another person would end up getting hurt.
But that didn’t happen at all. I’m glad that I fell in love with you. I really feel that way.
Love is a strange feeling. Since the day that I found something to protect, the world looks like a different place. You’re the first person I’ve felt this happy about meeting.
I want us to live together soon. Then I can love you until you’re even more satisfied.
Hey. Come and hold me like you always do.
I love you. I’ll never let go of you. So don’t let go of me either.
In April 1867, we created the Goryoueji and left the Shinsengumi. I’m sure there won’t be much contact between us and the Shinsengumi from now on. That’s why I went to talk to Kondo-san and Hijikata-san so many times. From now on, there will be several misunderstandings between the Goryoueji and the Shinsengumi. However, no matter what rumours are spread, we will never do anything to betray the Shinsengumi. So please understand that we want you to believe us.
I wonder how grateful I should be towards two of them, who accepted everything and gave their agreement. No matter what happens, I’m going to carry out my own will together with the Goryoueji. This is the last thing I can do for the Shinsengumi, you see.
Hmm? Are you back?
Jeez! Where were you?
It’s pretty lonely when you wake up on your day off and your wife isn’t there!
Well, that’s alright…
Did you go into town?
As you can see, I’m lying in the sun on the veranda, while looking at the white plum blossoms.
It’s great how much sun this house gets.
Hey. You know when we went to buy the netsuke together, you said you thought that flower resembled me, didn’t you?
I really couldn’t agree with that. I think it was definitely more like you!
But this netsuke has a simpler look than the actual flower. I suppose it certainly looks more masculine.
This? There’s no way I could throw it out. The rope is broken, but it has a lot of memories. I heard that there’s someone nearby who’ll change the rope. I’ll use it again if it gets fixed.
White plum blossom, hmm… It really does suit you more than me. Well, I suppose we can just say it suits the both of us.
You’re right. If we have a child, I’m sure it’ll be like a white plum blossom.
Well, if we ever get to have a child, that is…
Hmm? We have one? Have one what?
You went to see the doctor just now? So you’re going to have a child?
Is that really true…?
Ah… I see… I see… We’re going to have a child…
What should I do?! I’m really happy! This isn’t a dream, right?!
Yes… It’s not… It’s not a dream!
I’m going to be a father?
Let’s do lots of things together as a family when the child is born! We’re going to celebrate all the occasions in the year!
But all of them is a bit too much… I’d like to have twins, a girl and a boy… Then we could celebrate Hina Matsuri  and Tango no Sekku…
I don’t know! Even though the chances are low, twins are possible… I’ve got to think about a lot of things!
Ah… How much are carp streamers and Hina dolls? They’re probably not cheap… We should start saving now.
Hey! Why are you laughing? I can’t help it! Of course I’d get excited if I heard something like that!
My mind is so full of thoughts that it actually hurts…
Thank you. It’s thanks to you that I can finally have a real family.
I’ll always take good care of you and our future child. I love you. We’ll always be together from now on!
 Hina Matsuri is a celebration for young girls. Families display a set of ornamental dolls representing the emperor, empress and their attendants, during the festival.