Not the last chapter after all; that is, unless there's no interest shown in it and I get few reviews. I wound up making more stuff happen. Tell me if you like it.

Dear Miss Kim,

I'm writing to apologize for the damage done to your dog last week when you came to meet my brother at home. I hope his leg has knit well. Also to apologize for any distress I may have caused you in connection with my brother's absence. Please don't hold any of this against him.

—Shuichi Minamino

Older Brother—

All missing you very much, with the exception of Sung Cho. I've finally made up all the coursework I missed in the autumn, though your grades were delivered the other day and you beat me again, and the dog is fine, thank you. Even Cho-chan admits that the silly thing did take you by surprise and do his level best to chew your face off. I say again, I never knew he had it in him. Mom and Dad have joined a gym together, and they're somehow adorable, going off in their little running shorts and T-shirts, with water bottles roughly the size of Pluto. Dad actually said something the other day about living long enough to see grandchildren. I didn't know what to do with my face for a second, I was so embarrassed. Ah, I'm still a kid, aren't I? I know you're using that irritating older-person smile right now.

Mom wants me to tell you that you shouldn't stay away just because the foxes in stories always leave after they're found out. She entreats you very prettily to come home; you haven't been since you dropped me off and made a clean breast of everything in October. It's the holidays now. Come on. (Covertly I add: I heard her talking about invoking a geis supposedly laid on spirits in exchange for hospitality after they're found out, to get you home for Christmas. She's been doing research. I haven't the first notion whether such a thing really exists, but if it does it has you pinned nine ways from Wednesday, given you lived with her for eighteen years. I suggest you come for a visit before she actually tries it? Out of family feeling and goodwill.) Come now, Kurama, you are sorely missed. Don't be a spoilsport. The family cat says hello.

—Shuichi Hatanaka

Dear Miss Kim,

I write to extend my hearty congratulations on your engagement to my younger brother. I'm sorry to be unable to tender them in person, but I will certainly appear at the ceremony. I owe you every thanks for overcoming your dislike of me enough to invite me to it. I can recommend a florist.

—Shuichi Minamino


Sorry to leave a note instead of being here to make breakfast, but I just couldn't help myself from running down to the newlyweds' house to help them put it in order, and you were sleeping so peacefully, just like when you were a boy. Weren't they beautiful yesterday? I'll say it another hundred times before I'm through, and cluck over the wedding photos when they arrive. I suppose I must be turning into an old woman, I do seem to go on so these days. Your brother and that sweet Sung Cho will have to give me some grandchildren before I'm too old to spoil them properly. There are nice fresh anpan in the coldbox, and fruit and milk where they always were. Feel free to demolish as many wedding-reception leftovers as you like, but the important thing is to have a healthy breakfast.



YuWoo, brother-in-law,

You will be welcome in our house to see your new nephew whenever you wish to come. It was never my intention to keep you away. My Shuichi has even made the joke that he will leave a window open for you to creep in by, if that suits you better; I think I will restrain him to putting a light just behind the glass. Consider that light an invitation. Our son is beautiful, and we named him beginning with a 'Ku.'

In all sincerity,

Sung Cho Hatanaka-Kim

Older Brother—

Thanks. Thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks. Thank you very humbly and effusively. I don't know how we can ever thank you properly. We were afraid we'd never see Kuuhiko again. Ransom or no ransom, police or no police. I don't think anything could be more terrifying. So I'm glad we had you.

I even made that bad old pun, you know the one, maybe, I hope you'll forgive me since it turned out to be true and all: 'Kurama ki-tsune,' and you did come. Out of the sideways-driving snow like that, with silver hair getting mixed up with the snowflakes, and Kuuhiko wrapped in a blanket. Actually, I nearly didn't recognize you. I'd been expecting your usual looks. And here I am rambling, not making any sense and going on about the wrong things when the point was to thank you. Since you will go off like that the moment people turn their backs. You could have stayed for coffee or tea, do stay for coffee or tea next time you're in the neighborhood, accept a dinner invitation more often than once a year. There was definitely no need to feel awkward because of your appearance; even if we minded it normally (alright, Sung Cho would mind normally) it was probably instrumental in getting Kuuhiko back safe, and even if it wasn't we wouldn't have minded. We wouldn't have minded if you'd had three heads. (In which case would I have three older brothers?) Hope to see you again before next Christmas.

Thank you, thank you, thank you,

—Shuichi Hatanaka

No need to thank me. We're family.



If you would please refrain from leaving messages pinned to the front door, and definitely not pressed into the butter or concealed inside of melons, except as birthday-presents, and even then I would appreciate it if you would leave the butter alone. It pleases no one but Shuichi and Kuuhiko, and is very awkward to account for to visitors. There is a postal service. Please at least pretend to use it. Or you could show your face. I'm not particular.

In your debt,

Sung Cho Hatanaka-Kim


I chiefly aimed to please Kuuhiko, who I thought needed cheering up after his kidnapping, but if you require it I'll tend toward the discreet. In any case, I'm going to be away for a while. No time to write more than a few lines, but please give my regards to your husband and son. Regards,

Shuichi Minamino

Fox, tell that frigid bitch who the human brother you saw fit to introduce the oaf to saw fit to marry to watch her tongue around Satoshi, or she'll regret it at length.

Family gossip, Hiei? Ms. Sung-Cho says, for her part, that you had better watch your tongue around Kuuhiko if you ever again happen to be visiting your sister at the same time my nephew is visiting yours. I'm not entirely sure how you managed to offend, since you've never been a notable user of obscenities, so shall we assume the trouble was over racial slurs on both sides and agree to avoid them in the future?


The Offices of the Honorable Potentate Mukuro wish you to be advised:

I'll agree if she will, I suppose.

Thank you, you have been warned.

Thank you for your choice of writing paper last time, Hiei. The day wouldn't have been the same without it. Has Mukuro's secretary noticed your petty larceny? Ms. Sung Cho promises to keep a civil tongue in her head if you do. I'm going off on business soon, so I can't broker that agreement if it needs enforcing. Incidentally, Satoshi and Kuuhiko are apparently having some kind of uncle contest, and due to the wealth of material provided by Kuwabara's voluminous storytelling, Satoshi is winning.



{The Offices of the Honorable Potentate Mukuro wish you to be advised:

That isn't why he's winning.

Thank you, you have been warned.}

[The following appeared in the ads section of the MaShinBun, the most widely circulating newsletter in the Makai, the week of March 9th, in between a product promising the renewed usefulness of vestigial gills or wings by daily application and an offer to pay interested professional treasure hunters twice the going rate to investigate a promising cache-map.]


[The following ran a week later. Ad space in the MaShinBun is very expensive and sold by the square quarter inch.]









Dear Hiei,

Yuusuke says to tell you that Kurama needs to come home asap, his mother looks to be in a bad way. Not so bad that I've gotten a memo, but even that might happen soon. Could you pass the message on?



Dearest Brother,

Mr. Kurama's mother isn't well. He's needed urgently at her side. I was going to write you anyway, but Mr. Kurama's brother called and was nearly begging, and Kazuma is looking upset now, and I'm upset myself. Please, tell him she's asking for him.

Sincerely yours,


The Offices of the Honorable Potentate Mukuro wish you to be advised:

Why does everyone assume I know where to find that confounded fox? I don't.

Thank you, you have been warned.

Chapter summary and author's note, for those who want them:

A while after the Shuichis came home and explained things, Sung Cho and Shuichi H. were married and produced Kurama's nephew Kuuhiko. One winter some years later, he was kidnapped, and rescued ultimately by Kurama as silver fox. Hiei was outed as Yuukina's brother, Yuukina married Kuwabara, and Hiei also has a nephew, whose name is Satoshi and who plays with Kuuhiko, because Kurama introduced Shuichi H. and Kuwabara to one another. Sung Cho and Hiei have come into some friction. And now everyone is running around trying to contact Kurama because Shiori is sick, but he's incommunicado somewhere in the Makai.

Kuuhiko's name isn't written with the same opening kanji as Kurama's, just the same pronunciation (and even that is a long 'oo' instead of a short one), but it's still an excessive little flattery on Shuichi-otouto's part, and a nice gesture on Sung-Cho's to bring it up. Newspaper messages were coded because as few people as possible should be let in on the fact that Youko Kurama has this huge gaping weakness sitting around, so 'Youko Kurama, come home, your mother's sick' was not an acceptable form of public message. Don't know who exactly informed Hatanaka Shuichi of this. Maybe Yukina, she's cannier than she sometimes seems. I love Mukuro's office letterhead. Hope Gawain and I aren't the only ones. Ffdotnet destroys formatting, though. Please review!