The pain that racked his body through the long grueling night of intense surgery had gone unnoticed due to the anesthesia that Sojiro used on him. However, his mind had experienced a lot in its slumber.
He had awoken to a darkened room with a camping fire ablaze in the center, four wooden log benches flanking its sides. On one of the benches was an older mid thirties male ninja of Nikkousato that looked oddly similar to Gen except less built and more swimmer like in form. The man was clean shaven and had a high fade top crimson colored hair line. He looked away from the fire up and into Gen's eyes giving him a feeling of his soul being pierced as the man did so. Wordlessly Gen went to sit on the log to the man's left and stared into the fire, where was he? What was he experiencing?
As the young man sat in front of him the man spoke after a few long moments, "Genkumaru Iwamura.... It's not your time yet boy. Don't give up while you have so much going for you and people that care for you. An Iwamura doesn't surrender...", his words trailed off as he stopped watching Gen and focused back on the fire. Within moments Gen would respond to the man after digesting what he had heard, "I don't think that is a problem anymore.... I did what I always do and destroyed what bonds I had left a short while ago. The woman I love... I treated her as some prize worth earning like a trophy, and my best friend... I let him down in a horrible way, I was supposed to support him and we were going to grow together, but I messed that up too. The only thing I am good at is destroying everything in my path. I was never meant for the pleasures in life. But I didn't surrender and that is why I am here now I think...", his own voice trailing off as he looked deeper into the fire and saw images of his very early childhood as a new born, things he had never known or could be capable of remembering.
Moments passed before the Man spoke again to Gen, this time with a gruffer more stern tone, "What are you prattling on about? Your only good for destroying? Such a petulant child. You create hope, and faith in others with your actions, but what you lack is hope and faith in yourself boy.", pausing for a moment he then continued with increased vigor, "I never expected you would grow into such a pain in the ass, I am surprised anyone can stand being around you as you are. If there is one thing you need most right now, its to strengthen that resolve boy! How else do you think you will become the "Shield" of the people? Your hopes and dreams? No, you need to start with the first person you are the shield of, yourself.", his words sunk into and tore through Gen like a knife through butter. They were close to what Kannagi and Sojiro had told him. They were the same private thoughts he had for weeks. He wasn't who he needed to be.
Shuffling on his log for a moment he closed his eyes, a tear falling from his face both here and in his real body, which would most likely have gone unnoticed by those who were keeping him alive. Tilting his head up he opened his eyes and was graced with the same night sky as on the first night he met Kannagi, the beautiful moonlit atmosphere of that moment now swirling and circulating through him. Speaking to the stranger that had berated him so and seemed to know everything about him, "I have a lot to work on to really be worthy huh? Kannagi had told me a long time ago to forgive myself and only then would I begin to heal....", the man would cut in at that moment, "This Kannagi sounds like she is wise beyond her years, you should listen to her, she at least knows more then a muscle head who can't see past himself.", with every truthful word spit from the mans mouth it tore away at layers of hate and resentment that Gen had piled up over the years. He knew the man was right about everything. Continuing to speak again Gen's voice had more confidence, "Your right... Sojiro was right too. I didn't even stop to consider him, I am like a boulder falling down a cliff, once I have momentum I can't stop.", laughing softly and rising he formed a fist in front of him before speaking again, "No more! I am done running from myself. I Genkumaru Iwamura forgive myself. I will strive to be the shield I know I am, and I will go the distance and be there someday!", with a new fiery resolve burning in him the campfire blazed ever higher and began to brighten up the darkness that shrouded the area.
It was then that the man spoke for the final time, "My son... Be a strong ninja who others look too in time of need, and never be the one that causes others to turn away. Above all channel your strength into good ideals and people. Your mother and I are proud of you and what you will become, alas its not your time yet.", and with a sudden and strong movement the man rose from his seated position and grabbed Gen by the back of the neck casting him into the fire.
With a sudden gasp Gen awoke and attempted a stiff rise as he tried to lift his torso unsuccessfully from the surgery table he found himself on. He had lived? Where was Sonin? Where was he? Looking around the room he saw the two people he loved most in this world, together, something he wasn't sure if he would ever see again. It dawned on him what must have happened after the Sonin fight went sideways. When he fought with every step towards the village and collapsed he must have been saved by the two of them, no doubt Sojiro's medical arts and Kannagi's excellent skill and supportive nature seeing him through the worst of it. Relaxing he resumed laying flat on the operating table and extended his right hand out towards Kannagi as he spoke to both of them, "I am sorry. I don't think I ever apologized truly for what I did that day. Sojiro... Kannagi... Thank you for saving my life.", tears swelling up and leaving his eyes, as they cascaded down the sides of his face and pooled on the table, "And I don't just mean tonight, I mean thank you for saving me from who I was and the shell of the life I had before I met the two of you. I have never belonged anywhere... But when I am with the two of you I feel like I actually have a place in this world and I am maybe not just an unbridled weapon.... That maybe I am capable of having a life worth living.".
Closing his eyes for a brief minute and realizing he was extremely sore, like he got hit by well.. himself, he spoke again, "I hope that you can forgive me for being so foolish... I ran into someone from the bingo book last night while I was on the Kataki road outside the village, I had decided to take some time to think about all of this and was on a walk to clear my head when I ran into Sonin - The White Fox. I tried to do my duty and honor the village by apprehending him... He is terrifyingly strong and he was headed here and I tried to stop him... He told me something while I was fighting him, he said that the village... the village couldn't be trusted. ", stopping from a small surge of pain still hosted in him, he then continued, "After his finishing blow I almost gave in. My spark flickered out ad just as I was about to say goodbye to this world I thought about all of you and saw my life flash before my eyes. My last thoughts were about Sojiro and you Kanna... I couldn't leave here with so many things unsaid and in the state we were in. If it wasn't for you guys, I wouldn't be here, I wouldn't have made it back to the village.", centering himself he spoke softer, "Sojiro.... will you fetch an Anbu or the Kage? I think they need my report even though I do not know what will happen from this now..", finally going silent he smiled softly as he looked up towards the ceiling and then over to Kannagi ,"Kanna....", the words he wanted to say escaped him and so he simply just looked at her with a soft expression on his face.