"I see you're as flexible as ever, Hotaru."

"Hi, Shishou. What can I do for you?" The Silent Warrior asked as she was in the middle of a back bend. Kazuma walked over to her and sat down beside her. He walked his fingers over her curved middle. "Hey, Shishou! I'm ticklish! Stop it! Stop!"

Hotaru fell on her back laughing as Kazuma tickled her mercilessly. She pushed him off of her and sat up, wiping the tears her fit of laughter had brought on.

"God, Shishou." She laughed softly. "You're still just a big kid."

"And you're still too young to be acting like you're older than me." Hotaru looked away, her happiness and laughter gone. "You remember what happened back then?"

She didn't answer right away. "…not…all of it…I know I killed him…I think I killed him…but I can't remember…all I remember is a splash of crimson…and the feeling of warm blood on my skin…can't tell whether or not if it's his…or if it's mine…"

Kazuma hugged her like a father would and felt his yukata dampen as she clutched the gray cloth. He stroked her hair, trying to reassure her. He couldn't let her go this time. She and Kyo needed each other in order to heal. And that healing had to happen under his roof, where the pair were the happiest in their lives, where HE raised THEM-their real home.


Yeah, I know-it's short but it was either this or nothing at all. Got it? Good.