this writing focuses on a moment between my golden kamuy character se kilduff and ogata hyakunosuke, taking place early on in their relationship when they were both still apart of the 7th.

"Why am I covered?"

The question is blunt, sounding almost indignant, as it escapes Ogata's mouth. The man is presently located on stony floor, pushing himself up on his hands to properly sit. A black fabric is strewn over his side: the material bunching and creasing before slipping off him entirely due to his movement. Ogata's eyes fixate on it for a moment, narrowing as if they were trying to sear a hole into the cloth. Then, they flit to the figure sitting across from him in the small cave: his vision fighting to adjust to the harsh sunlight streaming in from the entrance.

Several hours earlier, Ogata and Se - a 7th Division army nurse - had gotten caught in a violent snowstorm while out on their joint mission, causing them to hurriedly seek cover inside this small hollow. It was a rather modest shelter, but it did its job decently enough in keeping the two safe from the elements. Ogata's redheaded travel companion had insisted on keeping first watch. She could see how exerted the man was from leading the both of them through the snow - even if he would never admit it himself. He reluctantly agreed after a little more pressure from Se, clearly not very happy at the prospect of leaving her on guard duty. Well, it'll only be for a few hours at most. He had thought as he hunkered down onto the chilly, gray floor, sleep starting to claw hungrily at his eyelids. I'll take over in an hour or so...

But that would never happen; once Ogata drifted off, curled up against the cave wall, there he would remain til morning. Se could've woke him, but she simply didn't want to. She knew he must've not had many chances to sleep very deeply, so the nurse was determined to let him get it for once. A faint warmth squirmed inside her chest as she watched his breathing grow slower and slower while he sunk farther and farther into dreams.

Se currently has her back to him, but as she hears his voice, she slowly turns her head to meet his eyes (only after jolting a bit at the sudden noise). Offering a small smile, the woman's voice is tired yet genial as she speaks.

"Someone's well-rested." A hand comes up to her face as she looks back at him, elbow shifting to rest atop one knee so she could lean into her palm. When she registers Ogata's curt question - and realizes he's seemingly not in the best of moods - her smile drops a little. An awkward heat prickles her cheeks as she flicks her eyes away from him.

"I thought you might've been cold after you fell asleep, so I gave you my cloak."

Ogata's expression hardens at Se's reply, his hand moving to take up her cloak in his fingers. The dark piece of clothing is soft, nearly silky, but not very thick; the material slipping easily between his calloused digits as he rubs at it. Attention flitting from the cloak to her face, his next inquiry complies with the sharpness of his tone.

"Am I supposed to be thankful?"

She says nothing at first, her back still facing him while her cheek stays pressed into her hand. But then, her head tilts sideways into the palm a little more, fingers brushing further up her face as she does so.

"You don't have to be thankful, no." The nurse's voice is heavily plain - but also somehow soft. Very, very soft. "I did it regardless of if you were going to be thankful or not."

Body tensing up, Ogata's lids pull back slightly at the unexpected calmness of her response. He expected her to be surprised by his curtness, maybe angered or hurt - but not this. Not indifference. A huff pushes past dry, cracked lips: the soldier's breath coming out as a small, faint white puff in the cold air. He takes a brief pause before speaking again, as if he wasn't entirely set on pushing it - not even for Se's sake, but for his own. Ogata was determined to conceal the fact he was managing to feel bothered by the nurse's words.

"Then why do it?" He sounds genuinely confused underneath his apparent exasperation, like she had just spoken gibberish at him. A sneer begins to twist its way onto his face as he goes on. "You want me to believe you work out of the "kindness of your heart", Kilduff? Do you really find that to be convincing enough for me?"

"...Yes?" Se finally turns to regard Ogata again, her expression now entirely bewildered by his question. She doesn't even seem to care for his obvious irritation; her lips already curling up into an amused smile at the perceived absurdity of his suspicion.

"Is it so hard to believe that people... do nice things, for no reason other than to just do them?"

"Yes, it is. Because that isn't how people work." If Ogata sounded chilly before, he was downright icy now: stating the words with a sort of venom in them, his eyes almost crushed to slits. It's like this had been building up in him for some time... perhaps advancing with each and every considerate gesture Se had offered him, no matter how small or fleeting. "We don't waste our energy being 'nice' for nothing; we always have our reasons. So, what is yours, nurse? What's your motive?"

Even in the wake of Ogata's biting coldness, Se can't help herself from finding this whole situation strangely comedic. With a shrug, she decides to crack a joke, her logic likely at least a touch clouded by sleep deprivation.

"I think the only thing I'm expecting back from you is my cloak itself."

A weak giggle rises from her throat, clearly entertained by her own remark. But Ogata doesn't amused. Contrastingly, the sniper's face flutters with frustration; he saw no humor in this conversation, nor did he want to try and find any. He suddenly rises from the ground, the aforementioned cloak dropping from his grasp with a small fwoosh, now reduced to a mere clump of cloth upon the floor. Wordlessly, Ogata slings his rifle over his shoulder and starts for the cave entrance, passing a visibly confused Se on the way.

"Hey- what- where are you going?"

"I'm taking a walk."

"A walk? What about the mission?!"

Se looks considerably more lost as she gawks at him from the cave floor, trying and failing to stand up herself: the heaviness of her exhaustion anchoring her body down. Ogata doesn't even so much as cast a glance towards her when he steps past the cave entrance.

"What about it?" He asks casually, though a hint of that same irritation glints underneath the surface of his faux calm tone. "I didn't mention anything about the mission, did I? I'm taking a walk."

Once he repeats himself, he's off; the fresh snow crunching underneath Ogata's boots as the man ventures back into the forest. The sound slowly fades into the distance, leaving Se behind, watching him leave with wide eyes. Then, as soon as his figure leaves her sight and the reality of the situation starts to set in, there's a loud groan of vexation let from her throat.

"Prick..." Is all she can think to mutter. Se turns away from the opening of the hollow, instead crawling over to the spot Ogata had previously slept in. She settles down on her side, huffing, and uses her arms as a makeshift pillow for her head. The extensive exertion from pulling an all-nighter right after trudging through a blizzard hits her full force, and she promptly passes out.

A good deal of time passes before a familiar shape makes its way back to the cave. The sun hangs high in the sky, rays strong enough to make some icicles adhered to the rock to drip steadily with frigid water. Ogata eyes one for a moment before moving inside the entrance. As he steps in, he immediately notices Se laid at the very back, and does nothing but stand there, studying the sleeping form of the nurse. Then, he finally starts to silently approach her. Ogata becomes automated in his movements all at once: an arm carefully tugging the rifle draped over his back to the front, naturally reaching his hand up to grip the weapon properly. He's posed as if he was suddenly in the heart of enemy territory, prepared to shoot. When he comes to a halt in front of Se - his footfalls painstakingly light - Ogata doesn't even seem to realize he's looking at another human being.

In one smooth, routine motion, Ogata brings the gun up to point it at her: barrel aimed straight at her head while the butt nestles firmly into his shoulder. Something comes out under the sniper's breath as he stares down at her through the sight, something he doesn't even catch himself. He moves a hand to quietly undo the Type 30 rifle's safety mechanism, his inky gaze entirely locked on her. As he peers down at Se, Ogata takes note of the pale, translucent clouds rising from her face with each even breath, which then subsequently quickly dissipate into thin air. In the morning light, it's harder hard to notice, but here - with the aid of his shadow looming over her - it was easily seen. He fixates on her, finger slowly hooking around the gun's trigger. The gears in his mind churn hard and fast as he mulls something over. The more he thinks, the more his finger squeezes onto the trigger. His eyes gradually narrow and his temple twitches with the intensity of his own thoughts, his hands tightening so hard on the firearm that they begin to ache.

Then, abruptly... Ogata drops the rifle to his side.

Letting out a great breath from his nose that he wasn't even aware he was holding, Ogata relaxes his shoulders and slings the weapon onto his back once more. He stands there wordlessly, looking apathetic while still staring down at the form of his slumbering travel partner. As he reaches a hand up to push his hair back, he realizes there's something unknown stirring inside him now; the feeling in his chest painting a picture of a mouse flailing desperately inside of a trap. It's completely foreign and he absolutely despises the emotion for its mystery to him alone. After a second of hesitation, he shuffles over towards Se's side, noting that her face was buried inside the crooks of her elbows. Almost on cue as Ogata crouches next to her, the redhead nuzzles further into the warmth provided by her own arms. Giving her one last long look, Ogata reaches a hand out beside him to gather her cloak he had discarded on the floor much earlier. Draping the fabric over the nurse's body and head, Ogata leans against the wall of the cave, sitting with his arms crossed, watching the entrance with blank eyes.

In her sleep, Se makes a tiny, muffled noise of contentment before she falls quiet for good. It was her turn to rest undisturbed.