It's lunchtime, yet neither Natsuki, nor Hana are here yet. I suppose they got distracted on the way back from Akito-san's. Natsuki is terribly indulgent of Hana, so much so that I am almost afraid should Natsuki ever move in. Hana realizes this of course, with all the cunning that only a six-year-old child can possess and takes advantage of her mercilessly. I can curb her from time to time, but sometimes I find it far too adorable how the two of them interact and simply watch.

I still sometimes find it hard to believe that I can watch this—my life—and that it is real.

It was hard at first, of course. I had spent so long telling myself that loving Natsuki was wrong and twisted, that I could not begin to fathom how to walk the road set in front of me. Yet, there was Natsuki by my side to support me. Hana's cheerful smile and affection for her newly acquired playmate also served as great motivation. There was Akito too, of course, however slow he was to come around. I do not think I will ever like him, but I will be grateful for the aid he has given.

When I think of how many times I wrenched myself away from Natsuki, how many times I walked away, how many times I said goodbye, and then realize that I wake up now lying next to Natsuki, my exact feelings are hard to describe. Words fail miserably at conveying it.

I can only be grateful that despite everything, things did finally fall into place. I had been so set against it in my head, so stubbornly steadfast on the idea that people do not change.

Natsuki brought that up once a couple of weeks ago, teasingly, as though to show me that I had been wrong all along.

"It's not change," I had simply said with a smile. "It's Evolution."


Shizuru stood outside her house waiting and watching the road. They were late, which was normal, but it still seemed to irk her. A few more minutes passed before, to Shizuru's relief, she finally saw a figure walking down the sidewalk. All her irritation at their tardiness was forgotten at the sight of them. Hana was sitting on Natsuki's shoulders, grinning and waving her hands around enthusiastically as she told some story.

Hana practically vaulted off of Natsuki's shoulder when she saw Shizuru, running the rest of the way and throwing her arms around Shizuru's waist.

"Mommy, mommy! Guess what? There were puppies in the park when we were coming back from Uncle Akito's house and Natsuki let me pet them!" Hana gushed enthusiastically.

"Natsuki-san," Shizuru correctly gently, patting Hana on the head.

"But Natsuki said it was okay," Hana pouted. "She said she doesn't like being called Natsuki-san."

Shizuru raised an eyebrow in Natsuki's direction. The other woman averted her eyes surreptitiously. Shizuru smiled then, then crouched down slightly so she could speak with Hana face to face.

"Well then," Shizuru said thoughtfully. She paused for a long moment. "How about Natsuki-mama?"


The look on Natsuki's face, Shizuru thought then with a smile, was just about worth everything they had gone through.