Author's note: I couldn't think of another way to put this… without messing…

2019 AN: i've finally decided to edit this puppy. it's gonna be slow, a chapter every few days, but it will get done.


Act 295
Scene 2

He practically squeezed through the opening bus doors, muttering, "I should have paid attention to the time." He paused, shoving a college textbook into his bag as he ran down the street. "I'm just glad the professor gave me the extension," he suddenly growled as he turned a corner, "of course I wouldn't need it if that damn pork bun hadn't ruined my notes."

Too impatient to wait, he practically jumped into traffic, dodging car after car. "I can't be late. Can't disappoint them, not now."

Smiling as he rounded another corner, he finally stopped running, resting his hand on the elementary school gate, hunched over and panting. The bell ringing made him raise his head, "I made it." He stood as the children started running past him. Two voices calling out made him turn to the doors, smiling.

"Daddy!"

Scene 3

SPLASH!

"GYAAA!"

The door was violently kicked open; the giggling inside was easily explained as he stepped out. Head and shoulders drenched, bubbles in his hair, running down his face and piling up behind his left lens.

"GGRRR…" he stomped into the living room with Mokona's ears in a death grip, swinging him back and forth, spraying the room with bathwater and bubbles. Standing in the doorway, he raised him to his face, still shaking him back and forth, "You damn pork bun! Thanks to your little stunt, they'll be late for bed!" he suddenly throws him onto the couch; the creature lands with a boink in the corner.

As he turned to leave, Mokona smiled as he stood, ready to jump down.

"Freeze right there!" stopped him on tiptoe. His back was still to the couch, "You move one more inch before they're asleep – no alcohol for a month."

Mokona maintained his ballerina pose until he came back and started his homework.

Act 296
Scene 1

He stood in the kitchen, packing up their bento as the pipe fox spirit curled around his neck, cooing as it nuzzled his cheek. Smiling as he stroked its head, a sudden crash and two giggling voices crashed his mood, "Mokona, you better hope you didn't break anything! Girls hurry up, we have to leave in three minutes!"

He finished tying up the boxes, stepping out of the kitchen to find them as he always did: cleaned, dressed and ready to go. He could only laugh as they stood there, simultaneously tapping their toes at him as he pulled on his coat, got his bag.

Sighing, he turned to them both with a knowing look. "You all know it's pointless to keep trying this. Maru."

Hanging her head apologetically, the one with the pigtails stepped forward, holding her bag out, "Sorry Daddy."

He smiled at her, winking at both as he opened her bag, pulling out the black pork bun. Instantly fuming, he started shaking it again. "You should know by now you can't pull this off! I can tell where you are, even if I couldn't, one look at these two and I can tell they're up to something, besides it's too quiet and that only means one thing!" he suddenly pauses during his rant, throwing Mokona in the closet. "If you're so hell bent on going out, I'll find a nice scary date for you sometime today."

The girls laughed as Mokona started pounding on the door, crying out, "No monsters, no! Mokona will be good, honest!"

He was trying to stay angry, "Or maybe I should just send you to the spirit realm for a while, what to you think girls?"

"Scary date!"

"Spirit realm!"

He got both answers at the same time. "Maybe you're right… I should do both…"

The pounding suddenly stopped. "Mokona is sorry. Mokona will behave."

He smiled as he let the little guy out. "I should be back around lunch. I don't want to find a mess or that all the sake's disappeared, alright?"

"Okay," the magical creature cheered, already in his usual spirits.

He smiled as the girls kissed the pork bun goodbye as he unlocked the door. "Come on you two," he tried to usher them out.

"Papa!" they cried in unison.

Shocked, he slowly peeked around the door to find the girls each hugging a leg. Gaze going up the blue jeans, the loose green button shirt, finally stopping on those stoic eyes, that smirk. "Hello idiot."

He just turned away, forcing everyone back as he locked the door before turning to the girls, "Moro, it's your turn, right?" she only nodded as she took his free hand and Maru took her other. He jumped slightly as she took Dômeki's.

The short walk to school was filled in by the girls: what was going on in school, wanting to know what was for lunch, helping plan dinner. Stopping at the gate, they both turned to him. He just smiled as he handed over the bento. The pipe fox spirit peeking out of the wrap made the girls giggle, Dômeki quirk an eye as he simply stroked under its chin. Bending down to them, he chuckled, "Have a good day you two. I'll be here to pick you up."

The girls stepped forward, kissing both cheeks, "We love you Daddy."

He chuckled again, "Daddy loves you too," he replied, giving each a kiss before standing up.

They looked at each other before taking two steps over. Suddenly grabbing each of Dômeki's hands, they started pulling and tugging until he bent over too. "Bye Papa." They said before kissing him. Giggling at the looks on both their faces, they turned and skipped up to the school, occasionally turning back to wave.

He absently waved back until they went in, instantly turning away from him and starting down the street. Dômeki just followed, about a step behind, completely silent.

It was suddenly high school all over again.

"Stop following me."

Nothing.

"Leave me alone!"

"No." he actually answered.

"Why not?"

"There's something I have to tell you."

He stopped, immediately turning on him, poking him in the chest. "Why the hell should I listen now? After all that time at the shop I finally got some answers, started remembering. All thanks to that psycho! We finally stop the asshole, and suddenly not only do I get some crazy magical title, but the girls gain souls, the white Mokona pops up out of nowhere and Yûko declares she's leaving. Suddenly the shop disappears and I'm left standing there with two little girls curled up with the fox spirit and that damn black pork bun on my head."

He stopped yelling, turning away. "I'd just lost one of the two people I could actually depend on… I thought I could count on the other one to help me sort all this out… But you left. I asked at the temple, all they told me was you'd gone on some sort of trip, retreat, something… So I just did what I had to do. Surprised the hell out of me when Mokona told me Yûko'd left more than enough money to help out. So I've spent these last two years trying to raise those two, deal with Mokona, and get through college."

He sighed, realizing he'd turned his head toward him. "You said those exact words to me before our last 'job'. If you couldn't tell me then, don't bother telling me now, because if it wasn't important enough to say then, I don't want to hear it now. I don't care anymore." He turned back down the street, starting to walk away.

Being stopped by a hand grabbing his.

He yanked his back, almost jogging down the street when six little words stopped him.

"I love you. I always have."


2019 AN: just in case you didn't catch the publish date, this was first written way back in 2006 when the early volumes were published in the States, i gave up on holic and TRC when Sakura split herself in two and it got obvious the twist tying them together was going far out field. i skimmed a few chapters after the fandom revealed major plot points, and i have to admit it got worse imho.