Declines and Swells (a ficlet based on “Hakuouki” media) —HaraChi

Author’s Note: Hakuouki is historically based, and as such one might look to history as a vague representation of what’s to come. Is history a spoiler for canonical deaths? You tell me. I will say that this story is canonically based and does includes a major character death. I cannot say who this warning regards, nor in which piece of media it finds purchase.

Please know this much before reading, that I might avoid the accusation of unannounced plot spoilers. ❤ This fic is based on information taken from the localized games, the original anime series, and the theatrical movies. It is based around one of my very favorite characters…

And now, without further preamble, onto the ficlet.

He finds it almost bittersweet as he declines against the tree.

“Reclines,” he’d like to think, not “declines,” but he isn’t ignorant; he knows he’s dying. If Shiranui’s face and unusually calm demeanor aren’t anything to go by, Harada is still speaking, but his words are threaded by pain, death’s bondage wrapped around his torso in false homage to the bandages he wore so long ago.

He hopes it appears splendid, this unexpected end.

Harada’s been a warrior far long enough to know the smell of it, to feel it as blood pools beneath his fingers. And when Shiranui says “it’s over,” they both know that he means far more than the battle just at hand…

“I should visit his grave sometime,” is a sentiment of enormous accident, and Shiranui’s not speaking of Takasugi anymore.

Harada didn’t ask for these things, though he feels he’d give them if their situations were reversed. He didn’t ask for Kyo’s respect. And he’s struggling now to keep himself together. He’s blinking because he knows what’s coming—darkness, an end to all the fuss he couldn’t bring himself to dream.

That potential domesticity. Three children playing in the yard and the swell of another on the way. He can see it, you know, see her—her hands tangled in his hair as he teases her about the laundry, walking his brood through the stalls downtown and chuckling as she worries over them…

But oh, haha, these things aren’t real. Funny how one’s mind plays tricks as the lack of light grows dimmer.

Shiranui asks him what he’ll do next, a last request guised in friendly conversation, so he thinks of Shinpachi, that lug. He’s waiting for him, after all, in Aizu. And with Chizuru taken care of by their Demon Vice Commander—now Commander?—he really only has one more concern; someone must tell his friend what’s been done this night.

They say it feels like floating, but it’s really more like drifting off. At the least, he thinks, it is truly only bittersweet.

After all, Kodo no longer plagues this world, plagues her.

And he would have died for that gentle woman from the word “go.”


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