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Reimeiroku_souji
One interesting thing about Reimeiroku is seeing the same event from different aspects. ;)

Point of View: Okita Souji
Characters: Okita, Kondou, Hijikata
Time point: Okita Route Ch5.</font>

When having fever from measles, Souji had a long dream - a flashback of his childhood in Shieikan.
Please read Chapter 5 before this one. It's interesting to see this from Kondou's POV and then from Souji's. Kondou thinks in an optimistic way, while Souji's version shows more of the darkness in him, and elaborates his feeling towards Hijikata.



Kondou: I should be leaving. I'll come again tomorrow and see how you're doing. Behave and take a good rest.
Souji: Yes. I understand.
Kondou: That a boy. See you tomorrow.
Kondou-san left, smiling. Without him, the room suddenly became so quiet. I felt like I'm not in the same warm room a moment ago.
Since Kondou-san especially reminded me to, I should take a good rest. I lied down in bed... and started coughing.
It's already the 7th month of the year, but I felt so cold from the fever. Not just coughing, even swallowing became difficult because of the lesions in my mouth. Can I really cure from this? Will I die here without anyone knowing? With these thoughts plaguing me, I fell asleep. In the high fever I had a dream of the days I came to Shieikan.
*7th month in lunisolar calendar spans late July to early August.

*****

I got punished by the older pupils a lot. It might be due to my attitude, my gloomy expression, or whatever reasons they came up with. They called me to the dojo to "straighten me up".
It seemed to annoy them more since I won't cry like other kids do.
Older pupil 1: Oops. I slipped.
Souji: Ah...
Older pupil 1: Excuse me for knocking over your meal. Well, it's your bad for being so slow anyway.
The older pupil looked down at me with enjoyment.
Older pupil 2: Too bad there's none left, 'cause we ate them all. We have nothing more to waste on a useless freeloader. Why don't you eat those off the floor? Aren't you hungry?
It was annoying to do as he says, but hunger was a problem I can't solve without making some sacrifice.
With my hands I grabbed the barley and rice from the floor, and started eating them.
Older pupil 1: Hey, hey! Don't really eating those! What a gluttonous kid.
... Shut up.
Older pupil 2: This is what you get because of your impudent attitude. Be aware of your position.
Shut up, shut up, shut up!
Older pupil 1: But what a poor thing. His parents died, and his sister deserted him. Not to mention spending all day doing chores in a dojo like this. How pitiable.
Words like "poor" and "pitiable" hurt more than sarcasms. But I won't let them see that. I won't let them get the amusement them want. No matter how they hit and kick me, I won't cry.
Older pupil 2: What an unlikable child. You never know what he's thinking.
Older pupil 1: Come to the dojo after you're done eating. We need to straighten you up.
Souji: Yes.
I nodded. The older pupils grinned and left in content. I was left alone. In the quietness, their words came back to mind, "What a poor thing. His parents died, and his sister deserted him."
My sister deserted me. I've always thought so, ever since she left me in this dojo. Being unneeded, she dumped me here and she's not coming back for me.
"Do as the sensei tell you to," she said. But even if I do, and practice sword as hard as I can, she won't come back.
A stinging pain filled my nose. And a mixed feeling of loneliness, sorrow, and frustration filled my chest.
If father and mother lived, I wouldn't have to go through these.

Kondou: Souji, are you done eating yet?
The door was opened. Standing outside was the young master of this dojo, Kondou Isami. He's supposed to be very strong. But since he's smiling like an idiot all the time, he didn't look strong from any angle.
Kondou-san seemed to be surprised from seeing my meal scattered on the floor.
Kondou: What... in the world happened?
What happened? Why can't you see for yourself?
I got irritated with Kondou-san for asking about such an obvious thing. But it's too troublesome to explain. So I answered coldly.
Souji: ... I accidentally spilled them.
Kondou: Accidentally spilled?
Souji: Yes. I will clean these up nicely. Don't worry about it.
I continued eating the rice on the floor. Kondou-san watched, seemed to be speechless.
What's wrong with you? If you have no business here, just get out. How long are you going to stand there? Or is it that fun to watch me eat off the floor?
With these thoughts in mind, I stared at Kondou-san. But he didn't seem to mind.
Kondou: I see. Be careful next time. Did you get burned by the soup?
Souji: I'm fine.
Kondou: That's good. By the way, there's some leftover rice. I brought you another rice ball. You should eat more since you're still growing.
Frankly, that was uncalled for. But the hunger was hard to bear, so I decided to accept it. But as I reached for it...
Kondou: Hold it, Souji. What are these?
Kondou-san noticed the bruises on my arm, and grabbed my wrist. I tried to draw back, but his grip was strong so I couldn't get loose.
What's wrong with you anyway? What does bruises on my body have anything to do with you?
Kondou: What happened?
I drew back my arm in haste, and hid the bruises.
Kondou: What happened? Did someone hit you?
What happened? Why should I explain that to you? Your "I'm on your side" attitude disgusts me.
You're helping me because I'm a pitiable and poor thing? Think whatever you like. There's nothing you can do.

Souji: I tripped. That's all. It's because I'm clumsy.
Kondou: But...
Aah enough! Leave me alone. What good would it do if I tell you? What can you do?
Although I wanted to talk back, it's too troublesome to argue with this man. So I spoke with my head hung low.
Souji: Thank you for your rice ball. Since I must go weeding later, may I be excused now?
There's nothing you can do. Get it? Then get out of here.
Kondou: I see. Sorry for taking up your meal time.

A few days later, Kondou-san witnessed the older pupils punishing me, and reprimanded them.
But I didn't feel like thanking him. It was just his self-satisfaction from playing the role of a nice guy.



Then one day, I was looking at the direction of my home.
Kondou: ... Souji.
Hearing his voice made me sick. Why must he bug me when I wanted to be alone? The way he called my name in such an ingratiating voice, like he's the one who understands me most, really disgusted me.
Kondou: What are you doing here? Are you feeling lonely because you missed your sister?
Lonely? Who? Me? Are you saying I still love the sister that deserted me? Knock it out.
Kondou: Perhaps Mitsu-san can't come by since she's busy with her daily life. If you write her a letter and tell her, surely she'd show up in Bon Festival and New Year. Better keep practicing kenjitsu so you don't get her worried...
What are you talking about? She doesn't care about me at all. She's glad to get rid of a hindrance like me.
What kind of happy life had you lived that made you so optimistic?

Thinking about this made me more irritated. I wanted to hurt him, make him suffer, and give him a taste of what I feel. So I spoke, in a rejecting way.
Souji: My sister deserted me.
Kondou-san was surprised. Well, what do you expect? Do you want me to say "I'll study hard for my sister" or "I miss my sister"?
I'm not going to say that about a sister who dumped me. I'm not that good-natured.

Kondou-san pressed my shoulder harder, and spoke in a serious tone.
Kondou: Souji, Mitsu-san didn't desert you. How could anyone desert her lovely little brother? She has her own life. And she can't leave you in the old house by yourself. It must be a difficult decision for her to leave you here.
What in the world are you talking about? What do you want from me, after telling me these?
Are you telling me to be considerate since she's having a hard time? Why should I, after what she did to me?

Kondou: Although it's lonely to live far away from your sister, everything in life must be a meaning. For you to be left in our care, there must be a meaning to it as well. So don't curse your fate. Instead, think about what you can do with what your fate offers you. Isn't that what being a human is about?
Now that's a fine speech. Sounds like it's taken down from some magnificent book. Do you actually believe that?
My parents died, and my sister deserted me. What could that possibly have any meaning?
If there's someone who decides fate, he must've hated me a lot.

Fed up with Kondou-san and his nonsense, I was filled with the urge to wipe that optimistic smile off his face.
Souji: Kondou-san, you warned the older pupils not to beat me, right?
Kondou: Huh? Yes, I did.
Kondou-san replied like a blockhead. I continued, ready to give him a good blow.
Souji: Would you do me a favor by not doing that again?
Kondou-san was stunned. I bet he didn't see that coming.
Kondou: Don't do that? What do you mean?
With an urge of being harsh, I want to put more pressure on him. What would his face be like if he sees these?
In Kondou-san's case, doubtlessly he'd realize it's his fault. He'd be surprised, and blame himself.
Thinking of this made me glad. Although it's less than one percent of what I suffered, it made me glad that I can make him suffer. The moment I pulled down my collar and exposed my chest and arms, I heard his gasp.
Yes. These were all wounds from the older pupils. On top of that, these were done after Kondou-san warned them. They hit me with wooden swords, over and over, at places hidden behind the kimono and not easily seen.
I saw the bitter look on Kondou-san's face. It seemed like it's him who got beaten.
I felt great.
Without showing any emotion, I told him monotonously.
Souji: The day after Kondou-san warned them, I was called to the dojo and beaten with wooden swords. "How dare you tell on us!" They say. Although I said I didn't, no one listened. Because of the needless thing Kondou-san did, I got beaten more severe than before.
Souji: I don't recall asking for your help. It's annoying. Please leave me alone.
I turned and left. Kondou-san seemed to be shocked and didn't move.
Now do you understand? There's nothing you can to do help me. Take your self-importance somewhere else. I don't need anyone on my side.



Shortly afterwards, because of Shuusai-sensei's idea, I'll be having a practice match with the older pupils.
The older pupils seemed to be happy to have a chance to beat me up in public, and practiced harder.
I don't want to get beaten for nothing. What ever it takes, I want to hit them at least once.
But the difference in physique is huge. I see no chance of winning.
Kondou: Although it's lonely to live far away from your sister, everything in life must be a meaning. For you to be left in our care, there must be a meaning to it as well. So don't curse your fate. Instead, think about what you can do with what your fate offers you. Isn't that what being a human is about?
For some reason, his words came to mind. Why would I recall his words at a time like this?
Those were words from that useless man, who's nothing more than a goody two shoes!
Think about what I can do with what fate offers me? What can I do? My parents died, and my sister deserted me. And I can't fight back because the older pupils are so much bigger than I am. I have nothing. What can I do?
Although I feel like protesting to Kondou-san's words, there's another thought.
If I don't do anything, I'll remain a loser. I'll never be freed from being "poor" and "pitiable".
I don't want that.



In the match, I took a hit. It's not deep, but the bleeding wouldn't stop. The blood blocked my sight.
Kondou: Call off the match! Someone go get some ointment that stops bleeding!
Souji: I'm fine! I can still fight!
Kondou: But you're....
Souji: It's just a small cut. Nothing serious.
I wiped the blood with the back of my hand, and pled desperately.
Souji: So please! Let me finish!
To me, it's not just a practice match.
It's an important match serving as the first step to seeking a way to climb up, and to find my way of living.
If I can get a hold to something in this, I'll be able to make a difference. I got this amazing intuition.
Kondou: I see. But if there is further danger, I'll call off the match.
Souji: Thank you very much.
That was the first time I thanked Kondou-san from the bottom of my heart. I used to hate him so much, but at that moment he's like a buddha in my eyes.
Kondou: Begin!
I swang the wooden sword up with full strength.
Kill! This thought, like black flames, burned inside me.
How dare you hit me again and again! How dare you kick me! How dare you call me pitiable!
Someone like you... someone like you should be killed!
I'll hit your head until you bleed like I do. I'll break your arms and legs, shatter your bones so you can't stand!

The older pupil dropped his sword.
Finally! Finally my chance has come!
He tried to pick up his swords, but I saw his movements clearly. With my full strength, I aimed at his solar plexus.
After hearing his moan, I kept hitting. My mind was blank. I couldn't think.
He beat me up all the time. He mocked me and called me a useless freeloader.
I didn't do anything. Why did he do all these cruel things to me?
Therefore, it's alright to kill him, right?

I couldn't recall how many times I hit him.
Kondou: Souji! Enough! That's enough! Stop it!
I heard Kondou-san's voice. I felt him holding my shoulders. But my mind was still numb and I had no idea of what's going on.
Kondou: Stop it. You've already won. So please, stop it.
Souji: I... I won?
Kondou: You've done well. You're really... really great.
Kondou-san held me tight in his arms. His voice was shaky. His eyes must be teary.
Why? I've pushed you away, said you're annoying and "leave me alone". And there were more mean words I didn't speak out.
I tried to make you feel miserable like me. How come you never scold me? Why do you praise me, and tell me I've done well? You even held me in your arms.

Souji: Kondou-san, your kimono would get blood-stained.
But he didn't let go of me. Instead, he held me even tighter.
Kondou: It doesn't matter. With the small body of yours, you've worked so hard.
I felt warmth inside me.
Had my father lived, would he hold me and praise me like Kondou-san does?
Souji: Kondou-san had never called me a "poor thing".
Kondou: Eh?
Souji: That's what the older pupils and the neighbors all say. "You're so little, yet you lost your parents, and your sister dumped you. What a poor thing." But Kondou-san had never called me that. And you trusted me, allowing me to fight to the last.
That's something no one around me had done for me.
Souji: Even if my parents died, and even if I can't see my sister again, there must be a meaning to it. That's what Kondou-san said. I think now I get it.
Kondou-san taught me how to get up and fight, and not be taken as a weakling to be protected.
He taught me there are things that even I could accomplish, so never give up.
Souji: I'm here to become stronger, for Kondou-san's sake.
It's the first time I met someone who wouldn't betray me, who I can trust with all my heart.

*****

Souji: Um...
It took me a while to wake and realize it was a dream.
Souji: What a dream of fond memories.
I rolled on the bed, enjoying the aftertaste of the dream.
That's somewhat wasting time. Since the fever went down, I should be able to get a better sleep.
No. Kondou-san would be here soon, so I better get up and wait for him. When I was thinking...
Kondou: Sorry I'm late. Degeiko took longer than expected.
The one I longed for appeared.
Souji: Ah... Welcome, Kondou-san.
Hijikata: How are you feeling? Has the fever one down?
Souji: Hijikata-san is here too.
Hijikata: Don't give me that indifferent look. We're fellow disciples, after all.
Kondou: Toshi was worried about you. When I got home yesterday, he kept asking about how you're doing. Since he's so worried, I invited him to come and visit you together.
Souji: I see.
Why is Hijikata-san here? I don't want to talk to you. I only want to talk to Kondou-san.
Hijikata: Many pupils aren't coming because of the epidemic. So there aren't many things to do in the dojo anyway.
Kondou: The disease carried in by the foreigners? I heard there's no way to prevent it.
Hijikata: Staying away from the ones infected and from places people gather seemed to be the only solution.
Kondou: This is worrisome.
Souji: Please be careful too, Kondou-san. If you fall sick, what would Shieikan do without you?
Kondou: Me? I'm too healthy. There's no need to worry. However, I'm more worried that even requests for degeiko decreased. The future is so grim. What will become of this country?
Kondou-san's gloomy looks got me down too. What should I do? What should I say to lighten him up?
Politics or the direction this country's heading... that's too difficult for me. I couldn't find anything right to say. I tried to come up with something to cheer him up, but...
Hijikata: Don't be so pessimistic. When the world is stirred, there's chance for us to lift up from obscurity. A hero only stands out in a turbulent age, right?
Kondou: A hero that stands out?
Hijikata: I'm talking about you, of course. Like I said before, you deserve more than being a master of a small dojo.
Kondou: Nah. I already said I'm not that great!
Kondou-san laughed with embarrassment. His happy face was so different from when he's talking to me.
Although I love his smile, I feel a pain in my chest.
Whatever I say, whatever I do, I can't make Kondou-san show that smile.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Nov. 19th, 2011 03:22 am (UTC)
I just started reading these in the summer and i just wanted to let you know how much I love your work. Translating this means so much to me and I'm sure it means a lot to everyone else too. I love Hakuouki and especially Okita :p Thanks You, Your Awesome
riya_chan
Nov. 19th, 2011 05:27 am (UTC)
The last few lines are heart breaking! Thanks once again.
(Anonymous)
Nov. 20th, 2011 09:31 am (UTC)
aww...poor souji...when all he wants to do just to make his beloved Kondo-san smile...yet everything he's done seems to backfired on him (looking back at Tonouji's and the sumo wrestler cases). You have my sympathy for 'hating' Hijikata-san, Souji...I guess I understand such feelings...when you really tried to make the one you love to smile but there is nothing you can do. And then suddenly someone else had done it...T-T
uchihaxsarah
Dec. 10th, 2011 11:19 pm (UTC)
As always, thank you for translating this
Who would've thought that the teasing childish souji went through such life? and his relationship with Kondo!
It's really interesting to see this from his point of view.
I felt sorry for him towards the end of this though (when Hijikata was there). I totally understand why he acts the way he does now.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )