What a beautiful sunset. The sun slowly dipped below the horizon, painting the sky orange and red. In front of the deserted central terminal of Edo, there sat a figure on one of the steps, possessing distinct features: a pale-skinned young man with silver hair, dressed in bandage-covered attire with inscriptions. His crimson-red gaze seemed to belong to that sky. His name? Enmi, better known as Sakata Gintoki.
Since childhood, Gintoki had been fighting his internal demons. It was a constant battle between his insecurities, fears, and anxieties. It was just a matter of time before his other self-appeared. Looking at a puddle of water, he stared into his own reflection, which mirrored not only his appearance but also a dark labyrinth of negative thoughts and cruel self-criticisms. Gradually, he became his own executioner, fueling a downward spiral of self-loathing.
However, this evening would be different. Upon hearing the screams of the trio, he indirectly recognized those familiar voices. A tightness in his chest and a genuine smile appeared as he saw them as adults. Although he wanted to run and embrace them, he couldn't, as his self-blame for not preventing the spread out of fear of death spoke louder. When he heard them climbing the stairs, he put his plan into action: Amidst fallacies, he provoked himself with the intention of fighting in complete silence, only hearing the bokuto resonate in the area.
- You are weak, insignificant. You don't deserve the happiness you seek. You are dead weight, condemned to a lonely and miserable life.
Every word uttered by his subconscious pierced Gintoki's soul, reinforcing his insecurities and feeding his fears. He tried. In a desperate act, he tried to fight against this cruel manifestation of his own mind. He shouted words of resistance, but his voice seemed to echo only within himself. The more he struggled, the more the power of darkness seemed to increase. His reality was no different; he acted violently to bring himself down and convince him to help, but in the end, it resulted in a different outcome: death.
This was not the expected outcome, but now it was too late to lament. At least now he had a prepared grave and people to shed tears before it, even though no one would know about his true death. After revealing the truth, he sat back down on that step overlooking the sun. Exhausted and desolate, he realized he was alone. He faced his dark self for the last time, realizing that the battle was futile. He couldn't fight against himself. With a resigned sigh, Gintoki closed his eyes and accepted his fate. He felt abandoned by the world, betrayed by his own mind. And so, in the face of loneliness and the final twilight, he allowed emptiness to engulf him.
But as his life ebbed away, a seed of reflection blossomed in his mind. He realized that the battle he had fought throughout his life had been unfair. He hadn't been his own enemy; he was a victim of his own inner darkness. As the last breath escaped his lips, the distorted image of his dark self-seemed to fade away. He understood that the true challenge was to find the courage to face his fears, seek the necessary help, and learn to love himself.
The news reached the ears of the Shinsengumi. A creature of almost 1.80 meters was spotted entering the Terminal with a robot, and upon connecting the dots, they realized it was the so-called “Enmi”. Hijikata, who had never ceased to act as a police officer, took the initiative to search for him and recover Gengai's belongings at all costs. He embarked on his solitary search at the end of the sunset, where each step carried a strange sensation, like a shiver running down his spine. He unsheathed his katana without a second thought. He couldn't explain why, but something in that moment touched him. An unusual melancholy seized his heart. For the first time in a long time, Hijikata allowed himself to be vulnerable.
Finally, he found him. Finally, he found the idiot who had disappeared for over 5 years. Why didn't he feel happy? The answer was clear: the damn anguish took hold of the environment when Gintoki's lifeless body was found, abandoned on the ground. Every detail of the scene seemed to echo sadness and despair. His pale, lifeless face, the disheveled clothes, the helpless position in which he lay, everything contributed to an overwhelming sense of loss and loneliness, and witnessing it was not the best decision.
He threw his sword to the ground and ran towards the body, holding it in his arms. Gintoki's reddened eyes, no longer matching the surroundings, seemed to stare into emptiness, conveying a sense of hopelessness. His once lively limbs were now motionless, as if they had lost the battle against the demons that plagued him. Gintoki, weak as he was, opened his eyes and looked directly at Hijikata, as if he knew that his presence there had a greater purpose.
- You came too, Hijikata. I never imagined I would see you again. – Gintoki whispered words to Hijikata in a faint voice. The albino's frail voice echoed through the police officer's ears, deeply touching him. – It seems I ended up losing to myself... funny, isn't it?
He didn't respond. He was deeply moved. He had already lost Mitsuba to a terminal illness, and now Gintoki as well. Was it some kind of karma? He didn't know anymore. Neither of them could have their moment fulfilled by the police officer, not even a hint of love, sadness, or anger. Absolutely nothing. Every detail of the scene, every piece of evidence, brought forth the memory of a life cruelly interrupted. Sadness flooded his heart as the love he felt for justice and protecting people clashed with the brutal reality of – Gintoki's murder.
Tears began to flow, falling onto the albino's face. Gintoki didn't know how to act in this situation because it was the first time, he seemed so vulnerable. He closed his eyes, giving a relieved smile because he recognized this behavior since Mitsuba's death, and he knew, better than anyone, that it made him special. Hijikata would be the only person who would know about his death and also the only one who would shed tears at his grave. He was already satisfied with that. In a final dialogue, he bid farewell.
- I appreciate you coming to my deathbed.
- Shut up.
- I never imagined I would die in the arms of the biggest idiot of all, how pathetic. – He laughed. - Damn... I don't even know what I'm saying anymore.
- ... - He listened to every word with a melancholic gaze.
- I have one last request.
- Don't tell them. It would be too painful to see them cry... just like it was painful to watch you. – Gintoki smiled weakly, as if he knew his mission was accomplished. With a peaceful expression on his face, he closed his eyes and left this world behind. But the connection formed between them remained, becoming a catalyst for the transformation of the police officer. He ended the conversation by whispering two words. - I'm sorry.
And so, his story came to an end. As tears of sadness streamed down Hijikata's face, he felt a profound sense of relief. It was as if Gintoki, with his final words, had released something within him. The anguish of thinking he would die alone was now warmed by the officer's embrace. He felt grateful for having the opportunity to see him again and discreetly offend him. Hijikata rested his head on Gintoki's forehead, in a final sigh of hopelessness, crumbling into uncontrollable tears as his anguished cries echoed through the solitude of the place.
- Why did he...?
The albino's death, although painful and difficult to accept, also seemed like a “necessary evil.” An evil that would free people from the suffering that was the illness, allowing the world to return to what it was five years ago, with the help of his other self, which completed this for him, just as Hijikata fulfilled his final request. Therefore, Gintoki's death became a constant reminder for Hijikata that life is ephemeral and that every moment is precious. He found the strength to overcome the pain of loss, using it as motivation to live more authentically and fully.
Merci pour la lecture!
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