It awoke him in the middle of the night; it was not the darkness, though it dribbled through the cracks in the floor, and the shoji that separated his room from the rest of the house. He slowly gained consciousness, and as was his style, he sat up and blinked the sleep from his eyes before listening intently for the sound.

There! It caught his attention easily, due to the loud volume, and it was then that he remembered.

She was pregnant, and it wasn't his child.

The statement shouldn't have bothered him, he knew. It shouldn't have bothered any man at all, except the father, and she insisted that she didn't know who he was- that she was too drunk, or that she hadn't cared at the time… Her excuses made her seem fragile, in a sense, as if she was partially ashamed of what she had done. And maybe she was… Maybe she regretted giving away her virginity to a man she didn't know (or didn't care to inform them about), and maybe she didn't.

But the fact of the matter was that it bothered him greatly. It made his stomach knot up, and his heart pound. His blood would come as close to a boil as it could get at the mere thought, just as it was currently doing.

Again, the sound came, and he knew what the sound was. Knew that she was screaming, and that Okon and Omasu were there, doing their best to console and encourage her at the same time.

The father, he thought. The father should be here.

He didn't know if that was why it bothered him so much or not- the fact that this man that had taken her had not stayed by her side- or if it was another reason entirely.

A young woman giving birth to a baby out of wedlock. A baby who had no father… he or she would only have a young mother, scared and alone as she was, and the people that she considered her family.

Would anybody want her, now? Would they want a girl who was not pure, who had a child already? He couldn't be sure.

The silence was broken again by her scream, her heavy-laden breathing, and her cries of agony and shame.

His heart pounded mercilessly against his ribcage at a tempo all-too fast for his liking. His eyes closed of their own accord, and he resisted the urge to cover his ears. He did not want to hear it.

After she had broken the news to them, she had avoided him- the exact opposite of what she normally did. He hadn't been sure if he preferred things that way or not, but as he caught glimpses of her in the house (she was not allowed in public as she was), he could tell how quickly the days passed due to how swollen her stomach was getting.

Had she been afraid of his judgment?

It would be fine. Things would turn out nothing less than good. But…did she know that? He had to tell her.

He stood, but stopped in his tracks, one hand on the shoji ready to open it, his last thought fading from his conscious as he heard a new sound- loud, and fresh in the dank evening air. The sound of never turning back, and of love and hope, and all good things:

A baby's crying.

Author Notes:

Just something random. I had the idea for this on the drive home from work.

Sometimes people make mistakes. And other times, people need to be told that everything will work out in the end, despite the mistakes they've made. This is dedicated to those people; in other words, all of you.

Thanks for reading. Feedback is much appreciated!