|EL : Maple Inn's second generation
Author: keithallen PM
Following the favor series, this story focuses on Nana's child Mariko, and Lucy's child, Kanae. And yes, many more to come.Rated: Fiction T - English - Friendship/Romance - Chapters: 69 - Words: 177,033 - Reviews: 38 - Favs: 20 - Follows: 14 - Updated: 08-19-12 - Published: 01-07-12 - id: 7720990
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Mariko gave a huff as she went into the laundry room, looking for clean clothes. There by the washer was the pile of laundry that should have been done. "Ohhh Kanae!" she growled. She loaded the washer got it started.
"Mariko, I don't have any clean shirts," Kouta Junior said as he walked in, bare chested.
"I know. Go check the clothes line," Mariko grumbled as she began sorting out clothes to go in next.
"Ughh," Kouta Junior said, and sauntered out with a roll of his eyes.
"At least today isn't a school day," Mariko said with a huff. But Kanae had agreed to do laundry LAST NIGHT!
Chika appeared in her nightgown. Sheepishly, she said, "Mariko, I think Mama Nana needs help in the kitchen."
Mariko took a single step out of the laundry room, then ran. She smelled the smoke as she saw it wafting out the top edge of the kitchen door.
In the kitchen Mama Nana hummed happily as she gathered the plates while behind her the pan on the stove finally burst into flames. With a cry, Mariko shot a mind hand out to pull the pan off the stove and dropped it in the sink. She opened a window and turned the stove off. Mama Nana was not only looking very old with her wrinkles and gray hair, but she was also acting like an old person.
Turning, Mama Nana smiled and said, "Good morning, Mariko!" Her smile faded as she asked, "What happened?"
Gapping at her, Mariko said, "Mama Nana, you forgot about the pan on the stove!"
Putting a finger to her lips, Nana said, "Oh... wait, that's right. Is the sausage done yet?"
Poking his head in the kitchen, Hisoka crinkled his nose and asked, "You burn something?"
Mariko shot him a glare. "I could use some help here," she said in a warning tone.
"Right, right, what can I help with?" Hisoka asked quickly.
"Help Mama Nana get the plates to the table, get her sat down to relax, then find Kanae," Mariko said evenly.
"Yeah, OK," Hisoka said. He picked up the stack of tableware. "I got it Mama Nana, come on, let's go sit down."
"But, I have to make breakfast," Nana said, looking confused.
"I'll get it, Mama Nana," Mariko said in a forced sweet tone.
Nana let Hisoka carry the plates and followed him out. Looking back at Mariko, who was getting out fresh pans and food, she asked, "Are you sure, dear?"
"Yes, Mama Nana, go relax."
They left, then Chika came in. "Mariko, I don't have any clean clothes," she said with a frown.
Mariko cast her her best attempt at a smile. "I know, dear. Please go ask Kouta Junior to check the clothes line for you, OK?"
Chika turned and walked out with a mumble of, "I wish Mama Yuka was home."
"Me too," Mariko said with a sigh as she got breakfast started again.
Mariko got good start on the food when Kouta Junior wandered in. "Hey, Mariko, nothing out there, but I found something for Chika. And what does it mean when the washer is buzzing?"
"Buzzing?" Mariko asked.
"Yeah, and it's spitting water on the floor."
Mariko ran back to find the laundry room covered with water. With a cry, she reached out and unplugged the washer. The noise stopped, but the water kept dripping out of it. She stepped carefully in and lifted the lid. The clothes were wet and soapy, but there wasn't much water in the tub. Grabbing a basket, Mariko pulled the wet clothes out, trying to think how she was going to get them done. Turning, she found Kouta Junior right behind her. He looked in and said, "I don't think it's suppose to do that."
"No kidding! Could you get a mop and clean it up?" Mariko asked a little more harshly than she meant to.
"What about breakfast?" he asked.
Mariko's eyes widened. "Just clean it up, OK?" she said, then ran back to the kitchen.
Mama Nana stood in the kitchen taking the pans off the stove. Seeing Mariko, she asked, "Why did someone else make breakfast, I did that already."
"No!" Mariko cried as Mama Nana went to put the half cooked food in a bowl. "Here, let me, please, Mama Nana."
"But.." Nana said vacantly as Mariko took the pans from her and put them back on the stove.
"Please, go relax," Mariko said pleadingly as she guided Nana towards the door.
Chika came into the doorway wearing one of Kouta's shirts that looked like a long baggy dress on her. Looking up at Mariko, she asked, "Is this really OK?"
"Fine for now," Mariko told her. "Chika, take Mama Nana in to wait for breakfast to be done, OK?"
Smiling at Chika, Nana said, "You are a dear child, Little Lucy."
"My name is Chika, Mama Nana," Chika said with a frown.
"Out, please," Mariko said as she gave them a gentle shove out the door. Once they were on their way, she returned to the stove. She also wondered where Hisoka had gone. And where in the hell was Kanae? She should be helping out here!
Mariko got the food ready and took it out to the table as Hisoka plopped himself down. She called for Kouta Junior and Kanae, then sat beside Hisoka.
"Hisoka, what happened to your face?" Chika asked.
"It's nothing," he said in a dull tone.
Mariko looked closer. She tapped him on the shoulder. When he turned to look at her, she saw his other cheek had a red hand mark on it. "What happened?" she asked.
Hisoka shrugged and said, "I guess I interrupted her dream. First she hugged me and kissed me. I finally got her awake, and she slapped me."
Mariko turned and yelled, "KANAE!"
"Why are you yelling?" Kanae asked, bleary eyed as she wandered in and sat down.
"Why did you slap Hisoka?" Mariko asked in a demand.
"I woke up, and he was kissing me," Kanae said defensively. "Don't you pay enough attention to him?"
"I was trying to wake you up, YOU started kissing ME," Hisoka said angrily.
Kanae frowned. "Ahh, OK I was dreaming I was with..." she that that sentence fall off as she blushed.
Kouta Junior came in and said, "Hey, Kanae, thanks for telling us the washer was broke."
"It is?" Kanae asked. She turned to Nana and asked, "The washer is broke? You should have told us, Mama Nana."
Mama Nana stared at her. "When did that happen?" she asked.
"Didn't you say you were going to start the clothes last night, Mama Nana?" Kanae asked.
Nana cast her a confused look. "I did?"
"Someone had to know it was broke!" Mariko said in a huff. "Who used it last?"
"You did, this morning," Kouta Junior said.
"BEFORE me," Mariko said, eyeing him. Shifting her gaze to Kanae, she said, "You told me you were going to do it."
"Yes, but Mama Nana said she was going that way anyway," Kanae replied.
"I did?" Mama Nana asked.
Balling her fists at her sides, Mariko said in a tight voice, "All right, after breakfast we're ALL helping to do the laundry. By hand." Moans sounded around the table.
Mariko stood at the sink, scrubbing clothes, then handing them off to Kanae who rinsed them in another sink and wring them out while the boys took clothes out to hang on the line.
"I'll help too," Mama Nana said and walked toward the sinks. She tripped on a basket and in catching herself, she put a mind hand down hard in the sink Kanae was using, cracking it. Water leaked onto the floor.
Kanae steadied Mama Nana. "That's OK, we'll do it," she said.
Looking at the sink, Kouta Junior said, "I think I know that happened to the washer."
"Ohhh I'm so sorry!" Mama Nana cried.
"That's all right," Mariko told her soothingly. Seeing Hisoka come back with an empty basket, Mariko eye him and said in a musical tone, "Hisoka, dear, could you take Mama Nana in to rest for a bit?"
"I'm not tired," Mama Nana said, casting her a look of confusion.
Hisoka noted Mariko's face. Her look said it all. It was a 'get Mama Nana out of here' look. "Hey, Mama Nana, let's go ummm, take a look at those flowers Chika planted," he announced.
"Chika planted flowers?" Mama Nana asked.
"Yeah, and she wanted you to see how well she did," Hisoka said as he gently took her hand. As he led her out, he felt a mind hand go across his shoulders as Nana steadied herself. He walked slow with her and watched their path, praying that she didn't trip.
In their room, Hisoka researched 'old age' cures on the web, and found a memory supplement that Mama Nana wasn't already taking. He noted this one down, then checked reports to see if it would react badly with any of the other supplements they made sure Mama Nana got.
The door opened and Mariko came in wearing her robe. "I got Mama Nana to bed. Find anything?" she asked.
Hisoka pointed to his note. "This is is suppose to help with memory loss. I can't find any good reviews on it that doesn't come from the company that makes it, though. Can the White Robes do anything for her?"
Mariko sat down by Hisoka with a huff. "No, they say it's her natural aging, Yukaita's will. They did warn me that if Mama Nana's mind gets worse, she may loose control of her mind hands and we may have to numb her permanently."
Hearing the sadness in her voice, Hisoka looked to see Mariko was on the verge of crying. He put an arm around her and kissed her. "I am so sorry."
Mariko threw her arms around him and burst out crying. "It's so UNFAIR!" she wailed.
Holding her, Hisoka said quietly, "Yeah, it is."
Mariko cried for a while, then looked at Hisoka with determination on her tear stained face. "We have to have a baby," she stated in a wavering voice.
Hisoka gapped at her. Slowly, he said, "But, we don't even graduate until next month."
Gripping his shoulders, Mariko said, "I don't care. I threw my pills away. Hisoka, we NEED a baby. Mama Nana NEEDS to see her grandchild now before she forgets... who SHE is."
"I don't think we can just decided to have a baby, and it will happen," Hisoka said cautiously. "I mean, there's no guarantee..."
Sounding like she was half-mad, Mariko gazed at Hisoka pleadingly. "We can do it! More times means more chances, right? So ... do me every chance you can. Every night, wake me up in the morning by loving me, take me in the kitchen, if we're out any quiet place you can find will do. I don't care if I'm in the mood or not. Just do it every time you're able to. I won't wear any underwear to make it easier..."
As she ranted, Hisoka felt her quivering and tears were running down her face. "Mariko!" he said, stopping her rant. His heart went out to her, she was scared that Mama Nana was slowly dying and this was her only way she could do something about it. "Mariko, that's not going to help Mama Nana," he said sternly.
Her lips quivering, Mariko whispered, "Please?"
Petting her face, Hisoka understood. Although it might not help Mama Nana, this was what Mariko needed. He gently kissed her. Mariko held him tightly and the kiss intensified. They settled to lay down to the sound of Mariko's mind hands ripping their clothes off.
Lucy was never so happy to walk over the threshold and into the Maple Inn. The past two weeks had been one headache after another. Lady Hakata's death had been tough. Learning that she was the new sect leader was even harder. She's managed not to strangle or splatter the smooth-tongued government men sent from Tokyo. She even agreed for a 'diplomat' to live in the village, and another representative to live here in Kamakura just to 'keep in touch'.
Her own people weren't a relief either. Some thought she should immediately step down and let a White Robe take her place, as custom had always been. Lucy was tempted, but Lady Hakata's words kept coming back to her. She held firm, and with Lady Azami as her witness, let everyone know that this is what Lady Hakata wanted.
The whole time Lucy was dealing with official matters, Yuka took full advantage of having Kouta to herself. By the time Lucy was done with her daily tasks long after the sun was down, she found Yuka already snuggled up to Kouta in her favorite position. Lucy still climbed in on the other side of Kouta, for she wasn't about to be left out completely.
It what seemed like a good idea at the time, Lucy had proclaimed that since nearly all White Robes were like a 'second wife' in many families, that they should be able to at least help raise their own children and be known as mothers. To be fair to these women who gave so much, she changed the law so White Robes could marry so long as there was another wife in the family to care for the children if something happened to them. The change in the law made her instantly popular with everyone, and she was accepted as their leader.
Lucy then found out Lady Himari was pregnant. To keep with her own decree, Lucy sat by a fuming Yuka while Kouta married Lady Himari. This of course train-wrecked Yuka's second honeymoon with Kouta, and she wasn't happy about it. The first few days after the wedding, Lucy made sure they both kept very busy to ensure Yuka didn't have the chance to try to strangle her or Lady Himari.
Lucy slipped off her shoes, mentally exhausted from what should have been a short trip. Kouta, looking as worn out as she felt, kicked off his shoes as he said in a tired voice, "We're home."
Mariko appeared and gave them a hearty, "Welcome home, Mama Lucy, Mama Yuka, Papa! Am I SO happy to see you! Hi Lady Himari! Are you going to spend the night?"
"I will be from now on, Yes, dear," Lady Himari said with a smile.
"Lady Himari is now one of your mothers too," Kouta explained. Try as he might, he couldn't keep from sounding happy.
Yuka cast Kouta an ice cold stare.
Mariko's eyes lit up. "Thats great! But... how? I thought White Robes couldn't marry."
"I made a change to the law," Lucy explained. "They can marry, as long as there is another wife in the family."
Yuka shifted her glare to Lucy.
Mariko gapped at Lucy. "You did?" she asked.
"I am now the leader of our people," Lucy explained.
"Really? That is very nice of you, Mama Lucy, Congratulations!" Mariko beamed. Running over to Lady Himari, Mariko hugged her. "Welcome to the family!" she said happily.
Kouta junior came to greet them, followed by Chika who hugged everyone. Both were also happy Lady Himari was going to live with them.
"Even the children," Yuka said in a huff under her breath.
"Hi everyone, welcome back!" Kanae called in a more subdued tone than her sister. She then added, "Let's keep it down, Mama Nana is resting."
"Sorry," Mariko said with a wince.
"It looks like you recovered well. Any problems?" Kouta asked Kanae.
"None, Papa. And Brother Junso even got his robes back," Kanae said brightly.
"And we kept the house clean, laundry done, and everyone made it to school on time," Mariko added.
Hisoka came from the hallway, walking beside Nana. "Welcome back!" he said cheerfully.
Nana frowned and asked, "Yuka, Lucy, I thought you were in the kitchen?"
Not seeing Nana for a couple weeks, Kouta noticed now how old she looked. Her face was bearing heavier lines, and her hair was completely gray. Those large breasts that used to be so high and round were deflating and had moved down almost onto her belly. "Nana, we went to the village up north," he explained patiently.
"Oh. I hope everyone had a good time," Nana said with a smile.
They cast forced smiles at Nana.
"Hisoka is helping Nana walk," Lucy said quietly in Kouta's ear. "She has a mind hand across his shoulders."
"We did, and how are you, Lady Nana?" Lady Himari asked.
"A bit tired, but I'm fine," Nana said. A smile spread across her aged face as she said, "It is a joy to watch little Kouta and little Lucy playing."
"My name is Chika, Mama Nana," Chika said indignantly.
Kouta petted Chika's pink hair and said, "I think your Mama Nana is only referring to how much you look like Mama Lucy."
"I know, Papa. But my name is Chika," she said indignantly.
"Hey Papa, I'm really glad you're home!" Kouta junior said as he came in, beaming Kouta a smile. His smile dimmed as he added, "We have some thing to .. work on."
"Something broke?" Kouta asked warily.
"Just a couple things," Mariko said wearing a half smile as she glanced at Nana.
"I better show you, Papa," Kouta Junior said, and motioned for Kouta to follow.
Kouta left with his son, wondering how much the damage was going to cost this time.
"You all must be hungry from your long trip. I'll go make some tea and snacks," Nana said.
"We'll do it, Mama Nana," Kanae said quickly.
"Yes, Mama Nana, you sit and talk to everyone, we'll take care of it," Mariko agreed.
For the first time in weeks, Lucy and Yuka looked at each other. They exchanged a sad glance. While neither spoke, each was sure the other was thinking the same thing. Unless something could be done, Nana didn't have much longer to live.
Kouta was impressed with what his boy had come up with for fixing the sink. He had removed the tile and held the under metal together with his mind hands as he filled the crack with a torch and solder. He had no grout to re-tile the sink so it looked nice, but it was functional. Kouta Junior had no idea how to fix the washer, though.
Looking at the cracked tub of the washer, Kouta asked, "So Nana did this by tripping, huh?"
"Yeah, Papa. She didn't mean to, but we saw her ruin the sink when she tried to catch herself. That's why Hisoka has been helping her walk."
Kouta shook his head. Nana really was getting much worse. He also knew that his children were doing everything they could for her. "Thank you, son. You are the best children I could possibly hope for."
"Thank you, Papa. But, what are we going to do to help Mama Nana?"
"I wish I knew."