Thankies to all who reviewed, and to all who have this story/me on your favorite/alert lists. Much lurve to you all.
Well, it has been fun, but this is the last chappie for this ficcie. Writing this was fun while it lasted, but I'm moving on to bigger and (hopefully) better things- my muses have been stirring and gearing up for a longer and more involved story with our favorite Shiro-chan, and stories like that tend to take up more time, energy, and imagination.
If you've enjoyed the brother-sister thing between Hina and Hitsu here, never fear, cuz I've still got a couple more Hitsu and Hina ficlet rough drafts stashed up my sleeve, so keep an eye out for them.
The magistrate stroked his thin beard. "You're such a good sister…and a good daughter. You two were seen in the village this morning…I hoped you told your father you loved him…"
She tilted her head to one side. "Why? W-what happened?" Her voice was light and innocent, full of worry.
He sighed again, shaking his head. His gaze dropped back to the floor. "Your father's body was found downstream this afternoon, along with several sake bottles. We think he was drunk. Hyourinmaru has been violent lately- once he fell in, he had no chance of survival. Especially if he was drunk."
He made tsking sounds. "It's such a shame…you poor kids…no mother, now no father…"
Momo placed a dainty hand on her nearly flat chest. "This has come as a great shock…I don't know how I'll tell poor Shiro-chan…but we'll be okay. I'll write to Uncle Ukitake; he'll take us in. He just adores Shiro-chan."
The magistrate gave her a watery smile. "Such a brave, brave girl."
Momo forced a weak smile and gave a little bow. "Thank you, sir. I should get back to Shiro-chan; he needs me." She bid the magistrate and his escorts farewell, then turned and went back into Shiro's bedroom.
Toshiro's thick, long, and dark eyelashes were open; his beautiful turquoise orbs were glazed with a glassy film from the fever. "Momo?" His voice was soft and hoarse.
Momo's smile grew stronger as she knelt at his side, taking his slim hand in hers again and entwining their fingers. "You're awake, Shiro-chan. You had me worried."
His pert nose crinkled as he stared up at her. "W-what's…going on? I heard…voices…" His teal eyes were bright with fear.
With her free hand, she stroked his hair and the side of his face. "Shh. It's alright."
"Fathers not coming home, is he?" Toshiro's lashes fluttered. Talking was sapping what little strength he head.
Momo looked away. "Hush, Shiro-chan." Her voice was a hoarse whisper.
Toshiro frowned and he licked his pink lips. "What happened this morning? Are you okay? Father didn't-" His voice rose in worry and his teal eyes widened. He struggled to sit up.
She squeezed his hand reassuringly. "It's alright, Shiro. Hush. Lay still." She tenderly stroked the side of his face until he calmed down. She tucked the blanket around him again. She didn't want the fever to come back.
"Momo. What happened?" His lashes were fluttering closed. The little energy he had was fading fast. Most of it was used up when he thought his worse fears came to life- that Father had hit Momo. Just sitting up took more strength than he currently had. Still, something wasn't right with her- he could sense it. He wanted to know, to reassure himself she was alright.
"That's between Hyourinmaru and me." She said quietly as he fell back into a drug-induced sleep. Shiro didn't need to know the truth. No one else did. Only two witnesses would ever know what happened. It was a secret between her and the river.
Thanks to all of you who've reviewed, especially those of you who've reviewed more than once. You're double the awesome. And if you're a lazy bum of a reader who hasn't reviewed yet, seeing as this is the last chappie and we- the reader and the writer- now part ways, how about leaving a lil review before you go?