As Magatsu watches everything begin again, he realizes that he was never free in the first place.
He thought the first time he left would be the last he ever saw of Anotsu Kagehisa. He had become so used to being right - to knowing exactly what he was doing, to being more independent than he had ever felt in his entire life - that he was surprised to see his former leader and comrade in arms, especially in such a state of disarray.
The coffin he had been trapped in since childhood had finally sprung open, the nails rusted and broken, pushed out and away. For a few months, he had been free. He had been free from the chains of reason and guilt. The seemingly endless cycle of avenging the deaths of people he had once loved - first his sister and then O-ren - had ended with Shira.
But as he and Makie carried Anotsu back to headquarters, their leader's body fevered and shivering, with each step Magatsu took, he could feel the nails being hammered back in, as if they were being driven into his flesh. He could see his sister's mouth, curved into a smile, but nothing else of her face. He could hear O-ren's voice, her laughter ringing in his ears. He could feel Shira's bones tearing at his skin, the marrow dried out and dead.
And one night, as he was tending to Anotsu, still bedridden, he felt the other man grab his hand, and he could feel the cycle beginning all over again, rust falling from it as it started to turn like a gear in an abandoned piece of machinery. He had hoped that the memory of Anotsu standing in that garden, under that tree, looking more hurt than he'd ever seen anyone look, would be the last one he had of him. He had hoped that distancing himself from his once-leader would dull the pain he knew he would feel when Anotsu met his untimely death.
"It's good to see you again," Anotsu said, looking up from their intertwined hands to make eye contact.
"It's good to have you back."
The splintering of wood was deafening as the last nail went in.