Grow and heal
Relationship: well that all depends now, doesn’t it?
CW: implied combat, mention of bruises, allusions to physical injury, MC is canon divergent
Word count: 871
A/n: this is the first of two tales that spun in my head regarding the “trial by combat” convo between @ikemenfics and I. Posting mobile and all the silliness that comes with it. Break attempted.
“I’m really uncomfortable with this.” Hideyoshi huffed as he finished attaching the chest piece. “Do you have any idea what you’re getting in to?"
"Quit your nagging, Yoshi.” Ieyasu gripped from the doorway. “Maybe he’ll knock some sense into her.”
You look at yourself in the mirror. The armor sits differently than your used to but the feel isn’t exactly uncomfortable, just unfamiliar. It felt like being in borrowed armor rather than your own, which you were.
“Thank you both for your concern.” You said equitably as you looked around, “I assure you, I know exactly what I’m doing. Perhaps you should be more concerned about your one eyed warlord."
"Nobu is with him.” Hideyoshi was not mollified but realized a stubborn streak when he heard one. “We’ll be back to get you when everything is ready.”
The men exited leaving you alone with your thoughts. As you slowed your breathing and narrowed your focus, a memory surfaced.
It was a gorgeous day. The clear, cloudless sky stretched on forever. The sun was bright and the temperature comfortable, but not overly warm. A pleasant breeze brought with it the smells of spring and the music of Azuchi’s bustling marketplace. You laid down under a tree on a hill enjoying a rare, lazy moment.
“Have you ever been in love, lass?"
Your bark of laughter was harsh, and a little more than self-mocking. "No.”
The silence stretched for another few minutes before Masamune s poke again, “Why?"
"Because I have a pretty hard and fast rule, Masa. If I am going to fall in love, the person had better be able to beat me in combat.”
You watched as he processed that information. A range of emotions flitted across his face before he focused on you again.
“No one has beaten you in combat?” there was something different in his tone.
“No one has tried.” you answer simply. This was a long standing source of amusement between you and your friends back home.
“Are you,” you realized he was looking at you as if he was assessing you, “Are you any good?"
Your lips quirked up in a smirk. "I’m no samurai, but I can hold my own.”
He narrows his eyes and his tone holds a bit of disbelief. “What weapons can you use?"
"Longsword, shortsword, shield, halibard, bow,” you shrug, “I can use them all without hurting or making a fool of myself. I am most comfortable with a sword and board though."
"Sword… and board?"
"Shield. It’s what we call it when you fight with a sword and shield.”
Something glimmered in the depths of his eyes. “No one had tried? Does your prowess scare them, or are they not confident enough to try?"
You shrug. "I don’t know. I’ve heard ‘I don’t want to hurt you’ enough times that I’m not disappointed anymore.”
“Lass, if you challenge someone, you’re going to get hurt.”
“Masa, love hurts. Over the course of a lifetime together, you’re going to hurt each other. The difference between this and that is you can see these bruises. The question is the same: Are you strong enough to come back together after fighting and make it work? Are you strong enough to heal through the hurt and grow?”
Masa lifts your hand and places a kiss on the fingertips. His gaze meets yours with an intensity that steals your breath and you almost miss his next whisper. “I accept your challenge. Three days. In the training grounds.”
You nod mutely.
As you exhale your next breath, the door slides open. You raise your eyes to see Mitsuhide standing there. Something in your stare stops him a moment and he smiles.
“The mouse has teeth! Color me impressed.” He steps forward, leaning an odd looking item off to the side and begins to remove your forearm armor.
"You can hardly wield a tedate with that arm guard.” He interrupts.
His smile widens as mischief twinkles in his eyes. He uncovers the object he brought in, a rectangular shield with steel riveted to the front. "Your 'board’ my dear. I can hardly have you blocking Masa’s blows with your forearm the way Hideyoshi would.”
You heft the shield and let Mitsuhide set the straps. It still feels “different” but an excitement you didn’t realize you’d been missing flows through you.
“Now you’re ready, little mouse. Shall we face the dragon?"
Your answering grin nearly split your face.
The training grounds were surrounded by the lords and a few retainers. Ieyasu already had some tinctures and poultices set out. You stepped onto the training grounds and all eyes were on you on the opposite side of the sands in blue and gold armor, complete with crescent moon motif, stood the first man to meet your challenge. The only man who didn’t balk or give you platitudes when you voiced what it would take to win your heart. No matter what happened in the next few minutes, no matter who remained standing or lay in the dirt, you knew one thing for certain. Date Masamune knew he would leave you with bruises and he was strong enough to stay with you and grow while they healed.