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It was difficult to faze the sniper with how naturally cold and blunt he was. He kept his cool no matter what, but there were a few things that never failed to get to him. Ogata wouldn’t necessarily say he regretted killing his younger brother but there was just Yusaku’s philosophy that just continued to haunt him till this day.

if circumstances were different, we could have been good friends, even good brothers.

Whenever that line ran through his mind, his grasp on his rifle would tighten, lips thinning a bit more than they already were. But each time he would feel a gentle hand rest on his and Ogata would immediately relax, seeing your worried eyes trailed to his own. Silent conversations were common, so this was nothing new, expressions on your face flickering as you displayed the appropriate responses to whatever he said.

How you never failed to understand him so well annoyed him somewhat, but it would be the biggest lie he’d ever told if he said he didn’t appreciate an understanding person at least a little, and that says a lot for a trickster like him. Your hand would drift onto his, lacing your fingers between his which remained lax and giving his hand a reassuring squeeze, smiling softly before releasing him and going back to whatever you had been doing.

But tonight was different. Tonight was one of those nights that his entire being was filled with a genuine, strong and terrified panic, sitting up suddenly covered with sweat, breaths uneven.

Still he suffered from the memory of seeing his brother’s corpse, from the tightness in his chest whenever he mulled over it. Was this what was meant when someone said they atoned for killing by remembering all those individuals’ faces? But this was different, Ogata didn’t think of Yusaku’s face when he thought of him, he simply thought of a young man who held some sort of blood relation to him.

His younger half-brother, the flagman, his naive younger brother, his young and stupid sibling. And despite all these insults he tossed at Yusaku’s memory, he couldn’t help but scowl at the aching he felt so deep inside him. He shouldn’t feel this way about killing someone, he’s killed tens, hundreds of men. Ogata had no qualms with doing such a thing. And yet here he was agonizing over a single man.

His breathing began to lighten, evening out when once again he felt a kind hand brush over the knuckles of his own and Ogata glanced downwards to see your form lying beside him, bare, his marks coating your skin, painted across the canvas in the most beautiful yet repulsive manner.

But despite everything, despite how much he tried to push you away from someone like him who would only cause you pain in the end, you kept coming back to him, that same loving and fond smile always playing on your lips whenever he bluntly asked why you were still there.

“Ogata…it’s late,” your voice was groggy as you sat up beside him, taking his hand into both of yours, concern swimming within your eyes as you looked at him, his gaze still avoiding yours. “Was it another nightmare?”

“Yes,” he stated simply, not elaborating and you sighed. You pulled him back down onto the bed, leaning on his chest, finding a comfortable position before leaning over to him and placing a small kiss on his jawline. Ogata didn’t even spare you a glance, but you weren’t hurt. He was just like this.

“Do you want to talk about it?” There was the legendary question, the one you always asked, you kept asking, you wanted answered so badly, but never pressed when he gave his typical answer.

“No.” Ogata’s voice was harsh and distant, wanting to avoid the conflict entirely but you were having no such thing this time, frowning.

“If you don’t tell anyone about it, it’s going to weigh on you forever. I want to help you, Ogata. We’ve been like this for years, can’t you trust me?”

Trust. What a strange word, he mused, but still didn’t meet your stare as he thought. His long pause didn’t do him justice, though.

“…I guess that’s a no,” you hid your disappointment and sadness well, but this was Ogata. You couldn’t fool him.

“You’re right, I can’t ‘trust you,’” you flinched at his words, but he kept talking, even as your arms around around his form tightened. “I don’t feel trust. It’s not something I have the capacity to have.”

“…” You looked away from him, eyes focusing on anything but him, his expression so passive, as if what he said, being so hurtful, didn’t matter. As if it were as casual as speaking of the weather.

This didn’t matter to him. Not at all, and you’d known. You didn’t matter as much to him as he did to you, and you both had accepted this when you started to see each other. But that didn’t mean just hearing it wouldn’t shatter a good half of your world.

“However, I feel that at certain times, I can rely on you.” You blinked in slight shock. “I do not tend to feel that way around anyone, but you are…the exception. In some rare cases. But no matter how much or little I feel like I can rely on you, there are some things I’d like to keep to myself.”

You paused, absorbing his words, before leaning over him and kissing him, on the lips this time. It was short and kind, something he never responded to, but something always flickered through his dead eyes that kept you believing that maybe, just maybe he could feel all the things you felt.

“That’s fine, Ogata,” you murmured. “You don’t have to tell me, but I’ll always be here if you need me.”

For the first time in what had felt like an eternity, his eyes stared right back into your tired own and you smiled again, tilting his head towards yours and pressing your forehead against his. Ogata seemed strangely soothed by this gesture, actually closing his eyes as you did it, taking in the scent of him and you still smeared together across your stained skin. His shoulders loosened and he reached one of his arms around you and pulled you a little closer, shocking you. He’d never done this before.

A few seconds passed before you saw his breaths slow down and you couldn’t help but chuckle a bit at his antics. What a strange man. But you were fine with this. As long as you could feel his arms around you, gaze at his serene and peaceful face as he slept, kiss him without being rejected hatefully, you were happy.

He didn’t have to trust you to make you feel truly complete.

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he was truly the paragon of human beauty. even when he was carried into her tent, covered head to toe in nasty gashes and deep wounds, she couldn't help but admire how his face looked so calm and serene despite himself. she was always the one who treated his wounds, one of the only onsite doctors skilled enough to do so. bandages, stitches, bullet removals, she did it all.

she did it for the war yes, but above all, she did it for him.

every time he woke up, those icy and dead brown eyes of his would soften and grow kind when they caught her in their gaze, a light smile always playing on his lips when she hurried over to him, like she always did. but with each time he awoke in the familiar dull tent, she looked more relieved and happy to see him alive and somewhat well. each time, the warm tingle in his heart would grow stronger.

she propped his head up with such a gentle yet calloused touch, carefully helping him drink some water. her hands used to tremble with this action before they began to steady as time passed, having gained more confidence and a larger sense of security around him. he prided himself on that.

every time he left her depressing yet somehow comforting tent, he had a new scar or two. while he wasn't particularly fond of any of them, the knowledge that she had helped make sure it wasn't something worse made his chest swell with warmth and happiness. each one was proof of another time she had saved his life, sometimes even putting her own life in danger just to find his body and his alone to assure he would be able to get up tomorrow and smile at her again.

it was a cold december day when he once again found himself charging, taking his bayonet, eyes glazing over with pure rage and anger as well as desperation. he could feel each time the blade found its target, the sickening sound of sliced flesh and spattering blood so easily drowned out. it all became a blur as he forced his way through several trenches full of Russian soldiers without as much as blinking with each one he slaughtered.

but of course he was downed eventually. shot in his right shoulder and left thigh, he stumbled and fell to the ground, head heavily slamming into the harsh and cold ground, thankfully slightly cushioned by a few layers of snow. only when he was still did he finally feel the throbbing and pain from all his wounds. he was familiar with this feeling, this feeling of guilt and being such a burden when he saw a familiar pair of boots as soon as the battle ended.

she was always there, always watching over him. an angel and a demon, always somehow finding a way back to each other as the divine being struggled, carrying him back with all her strength, his body resting in his arms. she must have gotten stronger over these past months, years, with how noticeably better her body reacted to his weight. he watched as his blood stained her mostly clean, pale clothes and he pursed his lips.

he was stealing her attention away from things that were more deserving. he was a creature straight from hell, always managing to live in the end because the devil refused to let him rest. or perhaps god had been gracious enough to give him another chance each time his child saved the lowly being again.

she seemed to notice he was awake, his chestnut eyes having subconsciously wandered to her face, always covered in mud, dirt or blood somewhere. but even with that, she seemed to heavenly, she seemed so above him in every way. and yet she decided to favour him of all people. she smiled softly and reassuringly at him and he felt his breath catch in his throat, heart skipping a beat.

"you'll be okay, sugimoto-san. you're the strongest man i know, you'll never die from something this small," her voice was so smooth, so calm, so kind. rather than responding, he felt the corner of his lips curl upwards a little bit and he rolled his head so he could press his jaw against her collarbone, head comfortably resting in the crook of her neck. a quiet laugh left her and he swore that if she wasn't an angel, he should just die then and there.

not that she wasn't doing that already with how much she made his heart do back-flips.

no angel deserved to care for something as pitiful as he, but whenever he apologized, she would just shake her head like a disappointed mother and frown. "don't be. it's my job, and you're my favourite."

that had been months ago, but he had been mulling over that since then, a sense of paranoia and anxiety creeping up his spine. what if she wasn't fond of him anymore? what if she stopped favouring him so much? he would likely die, of course, but what he dreaded was the possibility of her leaving him. every time he was on the battlefield, he knew he was likely to find himself waking up in her tent again, with that endearing way she shuffled over to him to make sure he was alright. of course he was alright, he was always alright. he was with her, and that's all that he needed.

she carefully laid him down on his usual bed, quick to strip him of his uniform to assess his damage. "oh, thank god - the damage isn't as bad as usual today," she murmured, tracing her fingers across his skin, studying the redness surrounding each scratch. though she knew the bulletholes were there, she made sure to examine them last. he studied the way she scanned over his body, clearly noticing how his body shied away from her touch whenever her hands made contact with it but choosing not to say anything. "i'll go get some bandages, don't move."

he nodded mutely, too dazed to find the right words as that same feeling of butterflies fluttering inside him returned. he was old enough to know what this was by now, but he was convinced no hellspawn like him deserved someone like her.

he watched her return, a case in her hands which she rested beside his body, opening it and beginning to clean and bandage. as usual, he winced lightly, but didn't make a sound. this process was always silent, neither said a word, but he was fine with that. they were fine with that. it gave him time to see how perfect she always looked when her brows were furrowed, a near-pout on her lips as she did her best to aid his recovery. she dug in, carefully removing each bullet and he grunted in pain, feeling that lump of metal being pulled from his flesh.

she finally finished her work and wiped her sweating forehead with a sigh of relief, eyes trailing to his, which had been staring right at her the whole time. again, a smile tugged at her lips.

"you're usually asleep by now, sugimoto-san," she noted with a hint of playfulness and he chuckled with her, though his was much more tired than hers. "are you okay? mentally, i mean. you usually say something to me when i finish."

ah, that's right. he forgot that she had ample time to observe him as well. of course she knew his habits and attitude. he opened his mouth to speak, but thought a few more moments before anything actually left them. "i'm fine." his voice was raspy and quiet, but she frowned, leaning a little closer. he tensed a little, but his body scowled at him for using it after such heavy damage.

"i didn't hear you, could you say that again?" she asked, and he could feel her breath faintly against his exposed collarbones and neck. he nearly shivered. instead, though, after a long moment of hesitation, reached up a hand, which she hesitantly reached to take in her own as she did with many of her patience. instead of accepting it, however, he grabbed onto her arm and pulled her toward him suddenly, a sound of surprise leaving her lips before they were quickly covered by another pair.

her eyes blew wide, feeling his cold and dry lips moving against her own cracked ones, considerably warmer than his. he had already closed his eyes, his other hand weakly reaching up to touch her face and after a short second of uncertainty, she began to return the kiss, guiding his hand to her cheek, her own eyes fluttering shut. she smiled as they both drew away, taking a few breaths before she held his face gently and went in for another. his face had stained red upon feeling her body pressing against his, but his sore arms reached up and wrapped around her waist, pulling her closer.

she pulled away, dragging her lips to his neck, feeling his adam's apple bob up and down when he swallowed, his heartbeat quick and strong. she dug her face into the crook of his neck after a little bit just to calm the both of them down and so while he did whine a little, she just chuckled. he was about to jokingly complain, before his entire world stopped.

"you know i love you, right?"

his entire body froze, even halfway through sitting up, her hands resting on either side of him, effectively trapping him. his expression was one of pure shock and surprise, one she studied for a few seconds before he looked away with a bashful smile.

"...yeah, i...i love you too."

she murmured something under her breath in reply but he didn't hear and frankly he didn't care as she kissed him again, resting him back against the thin mattress.



he should have known, he really should have known this would happen.

his best friend's death should have been enough of a warning. nothing good happened to him without it having a crash landing. he could only watch helplessly as a missile flew over his head, broken from his rampage as a sense of dread overcame him. what was to come next was all too obvious.even though he knew in the back of his mind he couldn't do anything, he tried.

he ran as fast as he could, as fast as his legs could possibly allow. his comrades shouted, questioning why he was fleeing, but soon realized when a sudden explosion went off not too far from where he had made it to. several russians celebrated upon successfully hitting somewhere in the support, but all he could feel was emptiness. his run quickly devolved into disbelieving steps of a man who seemed to be sleepwalking.


was this really happening?

no, no...

he was just having a nightmare, right?


there was no way that that was her tent in flames, right?

no no no no no no no no no no no

he screamed her name as he ran into the fire, despite all common sense. the heat tried to consume him, but when he came across her body, he couldn't even find the strength to shout any longer. he felt...strange. he felt nothingness.

he felt blank.

like he wasn't human.

like he was some sort of dead man walking.

shaking, he took her form into his arms and ran back out again, ripping off his flaming coat and taking the coat of a nearby fallen soldier and putting out the fire that had taken to her as well. when it went out, he heard her breathing faintly, covering her face with the coat to ensure her eyes wouldn't be stung by the smoke.

"sa...saichi? is that you?" her voice croaked, a sound he flinched at. no, he didn't want this. "i'm not going to be with you much longer...i'm surprised you came back for me."

"of course i did!" he exclaimed, but she just smiled from under the cover of the cloth.

"i love you, saichi. forever and always. don't forget that."

"of course i won't," he frowned, pausing as he waited for a response. but nothing came.

fuck - no, no no no!

his hand hovered over the coat before he bit his lip, gathering his courage and ripping it off, seeing her in the state he didn't want to see her in.

she was still beautiful.

she was still divine.

she was still an angel, even as she died in his arms.

she smiled at him so softly he thought he would collapse as grief slammed into him, eyes widening as a tear slipped down his cheek. he fell to his knees with her lifeless body in his arms, holding it tight, so tight.

and he screamed.

what was the point of being immortal if the ones you loved were not?


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