Love of a Thousand Cranes

BY : Kuronohime
Category: +G to L > Hakuoki
Dragon prints: 89
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters used for my own devices in this story. Hakuoki is (c) Idea Factory, Studio Deen and Sentai Filmworks. I make no monetary profit by publishing this story.

A/N: I know I'm super late to join the party, but I just recently finished with the Hakuoki 3DS game. The Hijikata ending was a bittersweet one for me, and I couldn't help but to be left wanting more romance. Like, more lighter and erotic romance in contrast to the deep, brooding and melanchonic stuff that was in the game. So, to fanction, it is!


***
 

A vanity table was a luxury Chizuru Yukimura didn't have. And why would she have? She was the page of the vice-commander of the Shinsenhumi, organized task force of the Shogunate, and supposedly a boy. At least to everyone else except the captains of the Shinsengumi who knew her true identity. It had been four long years Chizuru had last worn a kimono or worn her hair up in a female hair fashion. Small shiver ran down her neck as nimble fingers ran against her scalp.

”Just a little more.” A female voice commented behind her back, sounding like the speaker was smiling as the fingers worked more fervously in Chizuru's hair.

Chizuru gave a small sigh of nervousness. The obi wrapped around her waist tightened her sigh more to a small hitched gasp. The prospect of dressing like a lady was enticing but from a practical view point male garments were far more comfortable.

A few gentle tugs of her hair later, the voice coming from behind her commented that she was ready. Chizuru felt her face flush when she was handed a small looking glass to appraise her transformation. From an errand boy to a young lady of a powerful descent. Chizuru slowly brought up the reflecting piece of glass to her face and was immediately mesmerized by what she saw. Weather worn, childish and somewhat plain features had been transformed by the power of lotions, colours and powders to rather attractive features of a beautiful woman.

”My goodness, Sen! What magic do you carry in those jars of yours! I hardly recognize myself!” Chizuru exclaimed and tentatively let her fingertips explore her changed visage.

The woman called Sen leaned over Chizuru's shoulders so that their gaze was met through the mirror. ”No magic. I only gave a drop of water to a flower ready to bloom.” The older woman winked.

Sen was the only female friend Chizuru had. Besides Sen's servants, Sen was also the only woman who knew of Chizuru's true sex. Well, there were quite many things Sen knew about Chizuru that no other living thing did. Like the fact that Chizuru Yukimura was a demon of an old and extinguished demon lineage and that Chizuru's heart had been captured by the human vice-commander of the Shinsengumi.

Chizuru admired her reflection for a while longer until she put down the mirror with a wistful smile.

”Thank you, Sen.” She almost whispered and continued with a more steadier voice ”Feels silly to wash my face after you spent so long... creating this.” Chizuru waved her hand before her face to accentuate her words. There was no way in hell Hijikata would allow Chizuru to walk around the base dressed as a woman. He had made poignantly clear that the only reason Chizuru was allowed to stay midst hundreds of men was if she at least dressed like one. Hijikata would probably disapprove Chizuru dressing up even if it was just in her own privacy, but Sen had convinced her to ”live a little”.

”Oh no, Chizuru dear, you will not be putting back on those ghastly provincial clouts of the Shinsengumi.” Sen little too blithely rebuffed Chizuru's words.

”What?” The young demoness wondered, her eyebrows rising inquiringly.

”You are going out tonight.” The older woman smiled and clapped her hands together in a manner that stated that the matter was decided.

Chizuru stood up from the small stool she had been sitting on and gaped at her happy-go-lucky companion. ”Are you out of your wits, Sen! Hijikata would never--” but Sen softly cut her off.

”I will talk to Hijikata. Do not fret, no man has ever told me 'no'.” Sen explained with a boastful levity in her voice. Somehow Chizuru did not doubt her skills of persuation even though she could not, for the life of her, see how someone as stubborn as Hijikata could be made to renounce his principles. Principles that plainly dictated that Chizuru was not to leave their base, at least not without the company of the Shinsengumi, and that she was to protect her true identity from the demons and ronin of Edo.

Before she knew it, Sen had already walked to the door of her room and left Chizuru staring dumbfoundedly at the closing shoji.

***

”Excuse me” A polite but firm female voice rang from the other side of Hijikata's door and before the vice-commander had time to invite her in, the demoness had already slid open the door and entered.

Hijikata laid down a piece of paper he had been just engrossed in and steered his icy glare at the intruder. He didn't seem too pleased with the interruption and curtly asked; ”Sen, what gives me the pleasure?” His tone, however, made plenty clear that it was no pleasure.

”Good evening, Hijikata-san. I apologize for my sudden intrusion.” Sen began and gave a regal nod to Hijikata's direction but the man's tensed shoulders did not ease up the slightest.

”I'm pretty hard-pressed at the moment. If you will, save pleasantries for later. What didya come for?” He commanded and turned the papers in front of him written side facing the table. An unconscious habit of a man who was constantly working with classified government documents.

”As you will,” Sen replied creating a polite but emotionless smile on her lips. Hijikata was a tough cookie, but Sen had never had problems handling these boneheaded, cocky bastards. ”I came to inform you that I will be taking Chizuru to my estate this evening.”

Hijikata's eyes immediately flared up with objection written all over his face. Sen softened her tone and commented to Hijikata's immediate worry she knew he was to voice next.

”Of course I will return her to you tomorrow, she will only be lent to me for the night. And naturally we will be escorted by my guards to assure our safety.”

Hijikata released a puff of air from his nose and kicked his legs against the wall to be pushed back on his chair from his working desk. He stood up and walked closer to face Sen.

”Why would you risk such a thing now? The war might break out any day and Edo is dangerous at night.”

Sen could have lied. She knew it would have made persuading him to let Chizuru leave more easy, but that would work badly with her underlying intentions.

”I am taking Chizuru to a demon marriage meeting, omiai, that is held at my Edo estate tonight. So, her departure cannot wait.”

The effect of her words had been pretty much what she had estimated them to be.

Hijikata looked briefly like he had been just spat at. A vein on his neck indicated that he was working intensely to not bellow at her.

”Absolutely not.” He hissed.

Sen smiled adoringly. Men were so easy to agitate it almost took all the sport out of it. Almost.

”I am not asking, Hijikata.” Sen announced, her smile still permanent on her lips, but her voice thick with ice.

When Chizuru had first disclosed her affections towards the vice-commander nearly two years ago to the older demoness, Sen's initial private reaction had been disappointment. Great demon linage was wasted on mortals, she thought, even though she never voiced that thought to Chizuru. But as Sen had grown to know both Hijikata and Chizuru over the years, her mind had grown accustomed to the idea of a demon loving a human. It was not unheard of, even if it was somewhat frowned upon in this day and age when demon lineages had declined and most demons preferred to not have anything to do with humans. Demon blood and heritage was more important to her kin than love or affection when concerning breeding. Love was a luxury many demons could not afford when their only goal was to produce children with as pure demonic blood as possible. The pool was not that vast to choose from. Nor that deep.

Every year the Japanese clans gathered together to present their viable youth for an omiai. Sen knew that Chizuru held no interest in such gatherings, but nonetheless, Chizuru deserved to see her options. Most of all, it would serve as an incentive for Hijikata to act on his feelings – had he any – for Chizuru, if he feared he might lose her to another man.

After all, Sen was a woman of tradition. It was a man's duty to announce his desire and intentions for the woman. A woman should never stoop so low as to beg a man for his affection. If Hijikata wanted Chizuru for him, he'd have to make his intentions clear. For the past few years, it seemed that either he had no such intention or he used his position, the war and whatnot circumstances as excuses not to make his feelings known. However it would play out, introducing Chizuru to the demon omiai would serve as an opportunity for Chizuru.

”You may command your subjects as you please, but I don't operate under your authority.” Hijikata dangerously narrowed his eyes while adding: ”Princess.

Sen no longer feigned politeness, but genuinely asked the Shinsengumi samurai ”Who are you to take happiness away from Chizuru if she so chooses to find it among her kin? Do you have a... particular reason to oppose her taking part to her ancestral omiai?”

”I don't trust them.” Hijikata snapped almost before Sen finished. ”I don't know enough about them. Your... kin.”

Sen knew he spoke from honest concern and made effort to speak in more amiable tone again.

”Hijikata-san. Chizuru may not have any family left she's blood bound to, but she's like a sister to me. I carry only her best interest in my heart. Do not think, not even for a moment, that I would give her to anyone not deserving. Be that demon, man or...” The princess demon gave a long and meaningful stare at Hijikata. ”Something in between.” She finished her sentence giving thoughtful stress to the latter part.

A bitter taste rushed to the vice-commader's mouth, all the curses he wanted to launch at Sen were stuck on his tongue as he came up with no counter-arguments. His eyes darted at the door and he thought no longer before storming out of his quarters. He wanted to know if this truly was Chizuru's will.

***

Torturous, trailing minutes had barely gone by, even though they felt like a bunch of small eternities, when the shoji of Chizuru's room was ripped open with such force, the screen violently clashed with the edge of the doorway and just hardly stayed in its railing.

Chizuru stopped her nervous pacing around the room and was met by a pair of violence-promising, death-oozing slanted purple eyes that in a blink of an eye flew open with shock and daze. Hijikata was leaning against her doorway, his shoulders drawn up in a defensive stance and mouth hanging slighly open for whatever cusses and curses he had readied for Chizuru. Slowly, his shoulders eased down and his stunned expression melted into something more unreadable. Mouth still gaping subtly he did not say anything, just kept his eyes transfixed on Chizuru.

”Hijikata...” Chizuru said, or more likely breathed, quietly. Hot redness crept up her neck to her cheeks under the wordless stare of her commander. Was he really that mad or was he just so taken aback by her transformation? The young woman bit her bottom lip tentatively and sheepishly peered at Hijikata under her midnight blue lashes. When her pleading and submissive gaze glided over his chest, to his neck, jaw and finally his eyes, Chizuru could have sworn the Demon Vice-Commander was sporting a blush on his own face, as well. She could not be certain since his tall frame blocked the light coming from behind him and the light of her room did not reach his face.

”I... I...” Chizuru tried to explain. What? She didn't know exactly and that is why her words failed her. Her heart raced a little faster and she had to turn her eyes away from the man gorging her semblance. His silence was as bad, possible worse, than what his yelling would have been. It left Chizuru uncomfortable and... tingling.

Like on cue to break the strange tension that hovered in the air, Sen appeared from behind Hijikata to announce that their carriage had arrived.

Hijikata was startled out of his trance and nimbly pushed himself away from the doorway. Just as quickly he had stormed in he stormed out. Not saying a word and slamming the shoji to his own private room close behind him.

Sen watched after him bemusedly and reached an arm out for Chizuru. ”Come.”

Chizuru tried to search for Hijikata with her eyes, waiting for him to pop out behind a corner and come yelling at her how she was out of her mind if she though she could leave. When he did not, she hung her head low in a state of stupor and followed Sen to her carriage waiting outside.

***

Hijikata stood leaning his back against the door. Panting and gasping for air he hadn't realized he had held. His fingers ran across his face and hair. What the hell?! He let his arms limply drop to his sides. He really had wanted to yell at her for being an idiot. He had planned on trying to convince Chizuru to not go, trying to reason that is was a naiive idea to go to a lair of demons. What he had not planned was being completely stripped of his intellect by seeing her. Sure, Hijikata had always been aware of Chizuru's fine features and delicate physique. Truthfully, he was amazed that most, or that even some, of the Shinsengumi men still thought that Chizuru was a boy. When she had first come to them back at Kyoto, she was like a squirrel of a dry summer – boyish lean figure with a childlike mien, but still obviously a girl. Hijikata hadn't exactly spent much time mulling over her looks since. Chizuru was Chizuru.

But that woman he had just seen... Hijikata swallowed to moisten his dried throat. He didn't care if she had painted her face or put pins and flowers in her hair, she was still the same Chizuru regardless, but... For the first time, had been forced to actually see her. Chizuru was a woman. Not just Chizuru, who really wasn't a boy or a girl. And that woman earlier... How she had looked at him, like he was a man, not just the Demon Vice-Commander she respected and listened to. No. She had looked at him like a woman would look at a man. Her gaze had been as powerful as touch on his chest and face. Hijikata could feel the heat returning to his face. He got a hard-on from that gaze.

Raucous noise cut his train of though as Nagakura's voice commented from the hallway ”Oy, was that just Chizuru leaving?”

Hijikata fisted his hands and cussed under his breath. He had still intended to stop Chizuru from leaving. He had just needed... A moment to gather his... Ah, fuck it. He needed a moment to let his boner die out.

”Hey, Hijikata, didya see her?” Nagakura's disbelieving laugh came closer to Hijikata's door. No doubt, his fellow captain was about to barge into his room and start to feast on the details of Chizuru's ass and tits being squeezed out by that obi she wore around her kimono. Well, Hijikata was aware of both of those things.

”Fuck off!” The Demon Vice-Commander barked and slammed the shoji shut on Nagakura's fingers as the other man attempted to open it. A loud screech of pain and a slew of cusses echoed in the halls of Shinshengumi.

 

***

Chizuru didn't know what she had really even expected. A formal tea party with some chikuzen-biwa playing in the background? Well, this was nothing of the sort.

Chizuru's eyes widened at the generous amounts of sake being poured, scantly dressed women that really made her feel like she had attended the wrong party and the overall slaphappy atmosphere. The demons really were not affected by the affairs of the humans and their wars. Precious gems glistened in the hair pieces of the women and all the sayas were draped with expensive golden details. The food, the drinks and the quality of their garments breathed wealth, riches and lack of knowledge of the hunger and scarcity humans were forced to live in this time of war.

The young demoness was forever grateful that Sen didn't leave her side. Especially when they had arrived late and some of the guests had had their fair share of sake. One particularly stunning woman clad in a strapless western-styled, Chizuru assumed, dress sat in the next table to Sen and Chizuru. The raven-haired beauty either hadn't noticed or simply wasn't bothered that her breasts were practically hanging out of that lower than low bustline of hers. But neither did her companion who didn't even try to be inconspicuous in the way he copped a feel of her thighs and ass. The recipient of those gropes actually seemed to be enjoying the forward attention she was getting. The woman tossed her head back and raspily laughed as the man's hand disappeared beneath her hemline. The embarrassed Chizuru tore her eyes away from the display only to notice that more and more of the couples around them were engaging themselves in similar activities.

The air was growing thick with... heat. Chizuru felt very uncomfortable and had it not been utterly rude, she would have asked to be taken back to the Shinsengumi fort. If Chizuru had been aware of the parable of Sodom and Gomorrah, she would have agreed that the demon gathering was nearing on the requirements.

”Uh.” She gave a small whimper and looked at Sen for support.

The older demoness laid her hand reassuringly on Chizuru's. ”If you feel at unease, we can retire for the night.” She kindly offered, sensing her friends nervousness.

Chizuru was about to nod her head when one of Sen's servants came around their table and waited some tea for them. Sen was about to order the maid away, but Chizuru stopped her.

”No, I... I could gladly drink a cup since they went the trouble of making it.”

Sen allowed the servant to place a tea setting on their table and waited for the servant to leave before addressing her words to Chizuru.

”This probably is not what you expected?” Not waiting for an answer she continued. ”Easiness and joy don't meet often in our lives. This is one of the few places my kind can come and feel safe, enjoy themselves even. Don't be discouraged by some of the things you might see here, my dear.”

The younger demoness didn't quite know what to say to that so she just solemnly dipped her chin in a small nod and covered her mouth with the teacup. If nothing else, the tea was pleasant as she could feel shincha notes hit the back of her tongue and create a warm pool in the pit of her belly.

After finishing her tea, the uneasiness she had felt since the beginning of the evening didn't quite leave her. Besides her mental distress, she was bothered by the lack of air in the dining hall. Her neck was damp with sweat and she was beginning to feel nausea dwelling in her in the midground between her mouth and stomach. After having tried to withstand as long as she could, she finally had to tug Sen's sleeve.

”I'm so sorry, Sen, but... I'm not feeling quite well.”

Having seen Chizuru go pale, Sen didn't even try to persuade her companion to stay even if it dismayed her greatly since Chizuru hadn't had the opportunity to talk to any of the formidable men.

”Would you wish to return?” She simply asked.

When Chizuru nodded, Sen didn't dawdle but immediately called one of her servants.


***

Chizuru began feeling increasingly unwell as the carriage approached the gates of the Shinsengumi headquarters. Not waiting for it to come to a full stop, Chizuru pushed herself out the car door and stumbled across the muddled yard. Heavy rain drenched her hair and kimono even though she ran only a few metres to the front door of the building.

Heisuke was on watch near the entrance and hurried to find out who had galloped to their courtyard in the middle of the night. First he thought the entrant was Sen, guessing on the carriage and the kimono the woman rushing out of the carriage was wearing. But the hair was different. Heisuke ran as fast as he could to catch up and upon closer inspection, he realized the woman was Chizuru.

”Chizuru! You alright?” He raised his voice against the deafening roar of the sky.

Chizuru nodded even though her pained eyes and waxy complexion betrayed her true condition. Heisuke had no time for further questions about her outfit or the time of the day as Chizuru heaved on the ground and was about to pass out. He swiftly caught her in his arms and hurried her back to her room.

He gently laid her on her futon and felt her forehead for temperature. She was burning to the touch.

”Chizuru? Chizuru!” He called out to her, worried. ”What happened?”

The sweating young woman didn't reply, only held Heisuke's hand tightly.

”Can't breath in this...” She panted. ”Help me... Take this off.” She asked and guided his hand to her obi.

Heisuke was so worried about her that he didn't even think twice before he began unfastening all the bands and laces that held the garment together. His fingers were flying on the clothes and practically ripped her obi off.

Chizuru took a deep, eased breath and wiped away strands of unruly wet hair from her forehead.

”Thank goodness... I feel so much better.” She sighed and managed a small grateful smile at Heisuke who was still frowning with eyebrows tightly knitted together.

”It's okay, Heisuke. I was only feeling queasy because of this damned obi. And well, the ride here wasn't exactly smooth. I think all the bumps in the road made my stomach uneasy.” She tried to reassure him.

”Why where you out in the middle of the night in that out---” Chizuru cut him off pressing her finger against his lips. Heisuke snapped his mouth shut in shocked reflex and tried to keep his eyes from falling out their sockets. Chizuru didn't move her finger from his lips and leaned a little closer to him. Without her obi, the kimono had loosened open and revealed a fleshy valley underneath her collarbones. A valley that was much more... fleshier Heisuke would have anticipated. He quickly turned his head away from the general direction of her cleavage even though Chizuru must have caught his stare. Surprisingly she didn't reprimand him.

A little tug of smile raised the corner of her mouth and her voice had grown a little hoarse.

”Could you be a dear and fetch me a wash basin? I'd go get one myself, but in my current attire...”

Heisuke involuntarily bobbed his head up and down as her small fingers slid softly from his lips to his chin. Chizuru leaned in a bit too close for comfort as she whispered thank you. Heisuke's feet dragginly moved away from her, willingly and reluctantly at the same time. Something was off with Chizuru, that was for sure.

***
 

A/N: Okay. Since this blew out to be a longer story than intented, I'm cutting it half in here. So, the rating will be picked up when I add the concluding second chapter. Stay tuned for that steamy lemony smutty goodness!



You need to be logged in to leave a review for this story.
Report Story