Author's Note: This was written WAY BACK - I think something like 4 or 5 years ago because I wasn't even pregnant with my son and he's almost four! Also, not edited.

BROTHER SQUARED

A Word of the Day Ficlet

By Kysra

WARNING: SPOILERS FOR Volume 2!

Sagami is seated overlooking the interior courtyard in perfect seiza practicing his calligraphy, the distant bleetings of his peers reaching him from the dining room on the other side of the building, the rustling of trees breaking the alternately boisterous, drunken voices.

Footfalls sound softly overlapping the cicada strains, and he pauses just as she rounds the corner and pauses herself. Misao smiles sweetly when she recognizes him and he nods in acknowledgement as she approaches and gingerly seats herself nearby, swinging her legs where they hang over the porch side.

"My lady." His voice is soft like a leaf dancing on the cool night breeze, but he prefers the music of her following giggle.

"Hi Sagami-san. Am I disturbing you?"

"Not at all, Lady Misao." And she isn't. He has awaited the opportunity for her company for so long, he finds that he looks forward to these little moments in between the danger and the planning and the . . . restraining of his lord.

She's still smiling quietly in that self-deprecating way of hers, as if she's trying to communicate friendship but dreading rejection at the same time. He has heard countless stories about her six-year old self for such a long time, it was nearly a shock to find a young woman; but at times like this, when she feels safe and wanted, he can see the wounded child Lord Kyo has described time and time again.

And just as his Lord, he wishes for nothing less than her complete and total protection and happiness.

"Hey Sagami-san? I've wanted to talk to you for a while . . . " There is a blush upon her cheek and her fingers are flailing in her lap, a tell-tale nervousness shivering along her skin.

"I'm listening."

"Ah . . . remember when you said you thought of me as a little sister?" He remembers the moment, how he had immediately apologized in his way for being so presumptuous. He wasn't the type to reveal so much in so little time; but Lady Misao was so genuine and innocent and open, he had wanted to make her smile, to make her feel that she was one with all of them.

He hadn't been lying when he said not a day would pass during Lord Kyo's ten year absense from this world that he would not hear a story of Lady Misao; and in that time, he had come to understand that the choice of Sagami for Lord Kyo's tutelage was not left to chance. He had been hand picked by Lord Kyo himself because Sagami already had someone to protect, someone small and gentle and nearly Lady Misao's age to care for. It was - possibly - Lord Kyo's master stroke of genius to date, for when Sagami swore fealty, and more, adopted someone into his family, he would defend them to death and beyond.

Without even trying to mask it, he aimed his kindest smile down on her. "I do."

She is momentarily stunned but shakes herself out of it in record time. "Well . . . that made me really happy. I've never had anyone like that before." She pauses to tuck stray hair behind her ear. "And . . . I was sort of hoping you would be okay if I thought of you as a big brother from now on."

His smile - usually short-lived and rare - remained, eyes gentled and soft. "I would be honored, my lady."

Her teeth gleam in the moonlight as she bites her lower lip in pleasure then beams up at him completely. "Can I call you 'Niisan, then?"

"Of course."

She squeals and launches herself into his arms, planting a short kiss on his cheek, before suddenly jumping to her feet and bowing low in respect. "I apologize for my outburst but . . . thank you so much! Niisan!"

Then she's running toward the dining side of the house, laughing gaily as she does so as he watches with a strange kind of resigned joy bubbling in his gut.

"Hoki . . . "

His younger brother's soft chuckle answers in the dark. "Should I call Lady Misao, 'Neesama', Oniisama?"

Sagami's smile vanishes from his mouth but remains in his eyes. "I think she would be pleased."

Word: Prescience