"Quietly, Now" by Bambina

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Since I noticed that there was an utter lack of our favorite Brazillian samurai's presence, I decided to change that. Went through four drafts prior to finally settling on this one, which turned out to be more angsty than I originally intended. :( sorry no happy endings allowed God, I wanted to write more than this but I'm supposed to be studying and I wanted to make the prompt deadline in time and it's poorly written I know and ughhhhh so if the ending seems rushed I completely agree; I may take the time to continue to this story or leave it as a one-shot depending on the reception and/or if I can decide on a more suitable ending.

Please enjoy my first fic and hopefully many more to come! ♡
To your credit, your composure never once falters when they soberly inform you of his defeat and subsequent demise. Not even a twitch of your muscles betray your collected features, nor even a single downturn of the lips or watering of the eyes signalling that your worst nightmare had managed to come true. Just a curt, simple "thank you, soldier" and a dismissive nod perhaps executed too quickly. With a salute, they promptly take their leave of your presence. Of course, they are not aware of the fraternization between the two of you -- no one was, and you are alone in your thoughts.

You wait until the door closes shut. At first, you are suspended in a state of complete shock but then the realization that he is simply gone sends you down to your knees. The metal that encompasses your flesh-and-blood body makes a deafeningly harsh clang against the concrete. For a few brief, blessed moments, you are numb. You feel nothing besides the reinforced metal on your skin; see nothing but the cold grey blur of the room, unforgiving in its monochrome likeness; hear nothing but the buzzing in your ears. You almost don't even taste the silent tears that slip down your face.

And then the despair consumes you.

You find yourself wracked with a harrowing sorrow so profound that it eats away at your very core and dominates every rational thought. You cannot help it; despite fully trusting in his abilities, despite fully trusting in him, he was still cut down like a common animal. You had truly expected him to return like he always did, smile at you like he always did, tell you you were foolish for worrying like he always did. And the sheer weight of the thought that the sound of his voice would never welcome you again grips your heart with an iron fist.

You did not get even the privilege of saying goodbye, for there were too many preparations to attend to and arrangements to partake in. And even then, you could not risk raising suspicion and dare break the tacit of fraternizing with comrades (no matter how maddeningly loud it left you screaming on the inside). Oh, how you had longed to go after him and finally show him that you really did care about him beyond the playful banter and the politics and that he should avoid unnecessary danger if not for his sake than yours. But alas, you were not afforded a chance to do so and the regret gnawed at your conscience.

You fall forward, hands grasping at your face, the force of your sobs tearing through your body, your still all-too-human body like his. That is why when you cry, tears fall instead of the artificial fluid that runs through the body of cyborgs and that is why when he was cut down he bled. Bled and bled until he could bleed no more.

"Sam..." His name breathlessly leaves your lips over and over again as if repeating it will somehow bring him back or ease the pain but it simply accomplishes what holding the naive hope for his return did: nothing. Your hands move down to your arms, gripping them in an effort to still yourself. You rock back and forth, breathing raggged. How pathetic you looked, right then, wallowing in your own self-pity. An unshakeable captain of Desperado, as iron-willed as they came, reduced down to nothing but a broken woman...

You did not know how long you sat there, silent as the tears ran down and the sobs died in your throat. Eventually, you willed yourself to stand, bracing a hand on a nearby pillar for support (unneccessary as it was; your enhancements handled the brunt of your movements). Apparently, you had still not recovered from your lament: you stumbled forward as you tried to walk, landing on your knees once more. You were in no position to function with the constant thought of him hanging over your head, let alone walk into battle...

Battle. Your eyes fixed themselves onto the floor as your mind reeled. Sam went into battle and... that cyborg...

You gritted your teeth and swallowed the anguish and picked yourself up off the ground like the pitiful creature you were. You had to get back to your duties -- if that cyborg was enough to down Sam then he would certainly be enough to down you as well, and you sure as Hell weren't going down easily (although it seemed any fighting spirit within you had long since diminished). Not until you've exacted your own vengeance.

You don't remember how you made it to your quarters, only that you stepped through the door. With a dispassionate stare, you take a cursory scan of your room and its lack of meaningful possessions and suddenly feeling embittered by the bareness. Despite everything -- the big paycheck, the fancy gadgets -- you barely had anything to call your own, save for the skin on your back and the hair on your head. Even your weapons and body enhancements were provided by Desperado, which left even your own physicality indentured to them.

Come to think of it, perhaps the reason as to why you enjoyed his attention so much was because that was the only thing you could own, if only for a short period of time.

At the back of the room, a window is halfway open and a slight breeze tousles the curtains, which only seems to amplify the emptiness within the space. Pushing the thought away, you crossed the room to where your weapons were mounted on the wall, taking them into your hands and sheathing them. In a better time, the weight of your weapons sent a thrill through your spine; now, it only makes you weary. If you perish in the upcoming battle, you think decidedly, then so be it.

You prepare to leave, but it is a strong gust of wind that brings your attention back to the ajar window. You do not know what drives you to do so but you cross the room once more and reach out an arm to close it when you take notice of an almost nondescript object on your nightstand that had not been there previously.

Your arms fall to your side when your mind finally registers the sight.

It is a clipping of a callow cherry blossom, beautiful and subtle and striking all at once, purposefully and meticulously placed upon the dark mahogany.

A final gift from a man who was unable to say goodbye for a woman who he knew worried too much.

A flood of emotions hit you all at once. But this time, the pain is now melancholy and you feel something different entirely - closure. You close your eyes and recall his warm smile, removed of all the mockery and arrogance he showcased to others and full of affection he showed only to you. Even from the grave, you muse, he was still looking after you.

The tears come, but this time they mingle with a smile.

"Thank you."

When you leave the room, the window remains open and the wind carresses the curtains into a graceful dance. And through the gauzy fabric, the sunlight peeks at a single, thriving blossom.

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