Grass gently crunched beneath the weight of heavy metal armor. Clanking lightly, Haro Kodani extended his hands outward toward the docking vessel as it hit the shore.
His hand was met with the tender, delicate hands of the Yukikage. Her fingers, child-like and slender, curling coyly above his larger gauntlet-covered ones, lightly brushing the surface before she met her own feet with the ground. Setsuka's boots met earth quietly behind her.
The rushing waves crashed gently in the background. Chirping birds sang quietly while the hushing rustle of leaves left the scene with a quiet calm.
Haro turned to her, his arm extended outwards towards the petite female. "Are you ready?"
Looking upwards and revealing her face to the sun from beneath the rim of her hat, she clutched the ring of flowers in her hand tightly before quietly nodding and slipping her hand around his arm and drawing herself closer to Haro.
Slowly, the group proceeded away from the grassy shores and onto the stone walkway leading up to the memorial at the center of this tiny island. It stood as a simple stone gazebo with flowering arches around the area. A singular tablet stood bathed within the warm sunlight of the tropics. The trio made their way up the set of stone steps.
She approached the slab of stone with cautious reverence. Shortening the length of her steps, she bent down to her knees to drop the ring of blossoming white roses at the base of the slab. Lifting herself up, she bowed before it reverently.
The group stood there for a moment. Seijitsu quietly stood as Haro and Setsuka watched.
"I shouldn't be alive for all that I have done." Seijitsu spoke, finally breaking the silence between the three. She glared down at the altar. The names of those who had died in Taki from the attack from Sasori Akasuna. Her eyes examined the kanji and katakana of each individual name.
Setsuka turned her lips downward at the corner. Shuffling her weight slightly, her heavy sigh was heard. "You're not perfect, Seijitsu."
White gold strands of hair blew in the wind as she looked down at the slab, her eyes unmoving. "So?"
"So, you're prone to make mistakes."
"My mistakes lead to the death of countless innocents... and here I am, Queen of the same people whom I lead to slaughter... all out of my own damned volition."
The quiet giant of Haro Kodani moved about awkwardly in his armor.
"I'm here for pennance, but I cannot even find peace in this moment." Seijitsu's lips curled inward. "I would think that pain like this would go away after a while. After I had acted on my desires, I had felt nothing when it came to remorse. They had meant nothing to me, and were not important in my grand scheme of things..."
Closing her hands together, her hands curled into fists. "When I had no cares for anyone else I was fine. No one was able to make me guilty. I was free." Biting down onto her lip, she frowned. "What makes it that once I finally recognize the error of my ways that the more I acknowledge my weaknesses and my short comings that the more they come back to haunt me?"
"Why is it that I was not plagued when I had committed the act and did not know? Why can't I just accept it and move on already? Because of choices I made in selfish desires, innocent lives, families, homes and futures were all ruined. And yet, now they look up to me as their queen and I am here languishing in agony and regret because they could not have any more of a clue who sits on their throne. What kind of sick world is this that I, I of all people would be granted the title of ruler for these people?
I who wronged them. I who betrayed them. I who has been stained with the background of many colors and roots that have been traced back to great darknesses..."
"There's nothing that could be said about me now without my title, honor or life being threatened if I were to tell the truth to these people. There's so many more desires for freedom from this accursed secrecy that makes me want my own life gone. These people do not deserve a traitor for a queen. What...what then, makes it right for me to sit back and allow them bow down to me in hallways and celebrate my coronation of all things?"
Her hands softened, weakening their grip from fists into limp, tired hands again. Warmth, itchy and cool when touched by the wind, trickled from her eyes downward.
"I want to tell them so badly... to be free of this lie that I feel myself living, Haro, Setsuka...I just don't want them mad at me."
Her voice drew to a hoarse whisper, "What... what do I do?"
Stepping forward, Haro grasped onto her shoulders and turned the tiny woman around to face him. His scarred and aging features still held onto the youthful spark of the young boy Seijitsu knew when they first met.
Her eyes shifting around, searching his for his answer as their eyes were in a deep trance-like bond.
Haro's hands gently clasped her's and squeezed tightly. "You do what you do best, Seijitsu: Heal."
His words had to sink in for a moment, her confused expression met only his solidity. "Yourself and then others, Sei. You know more than anyone else that a sick doctor is more the cause of a disease than the cure. Now... stop talking like this." Haro shook her hands gently as he grasped onto them.
Seijitsu's hands shook quietly with Haro's, her eyes watering still, although her eyes watched as Haro essentially guided her gently away from the memorial. She felt his strong presence behind her lovingly herding her towards the boat they got here from.