It had seemed to be a day just like any other—the sun was laughing like a lunatic in the sky as always, everything was still in its rightful place in Death City and nothing even gave an inkling of a hint that something terrible, horrible, would happen in a certain household that day.
It's not as if he had been caught completely off-guard – he'd always known that this day would eventually come. She'd always been a smart girl and she was a curious one too so it had all been a matter of time.
But he sincerely would've preferred it to have been later rather than sooner. And exactly because of that it had completely blindsided him when she asked,
"I've always wondered… Why do you have that tattoo on your shoulder?"
This was just not going to be his day, he could already tell.
Black Star hated long stories. His own long stories doubly so. They dampened his shine, he would reason with his wife. So he avoided them like the plague and slipped his way out of them whenever possible.
However, under the deep scrutiny of his beloved daughter's green-blue gaze he had nowhere to run.
So he told her a story, older than himself, of a greedy bloodthirsty clan that went against the laws set by Shinigami-danna. A clan infamous for its avariciousness, for its cruelty and for its crimes against humanity. He told her an old story of a long-gone clan that had strayed from their path to follow that of the Kishin instead—to shame their own names and those of their successors. He told her how each and every one of them had been slaughtered by Shibusen when the matter had gone out of hand… and how he was the only one carrying the name of the Star clan to that day.
"So you got that tattoo when you were just a little baby?" the girl asked while cocking her head curiously to the side, looking at the object in question.
The young man followed her gaze to the star on his shoulder that seemed to glare back at him just as strongly as the first time he laid eyes on it, understanding the significance it held.
The little girl looked thoughtful for some time, obviously mulling something over in her head.
"Since daddy is the last of the clan and Ayame is daddy's kid… Shouldn't Ayame have got a tattoo of a star when she was born as well?"
Black Star blinked confusedly several times at his daughter.
"I can see why you'd be baffled in the presence of someone as big as your father, Aya-hime, but weren't you listening to me at all when I was explaining to you about my clan?"
He scratched his cheek thoughtfully, wondering if maybe he should leave any and all explanations to his wife, since she seemed to speak their daughter's language better than him.
The child huffed and started to pout petulantly, sending him childish glares.
"Daddy, you meanie! It's because I was listening that I am asking, of course!"
It took him some time to consider what she said but even afterwards, it made absolutely no sense to him.
So you couldn't really blame him that all Black Star could come up with as a retort to such a claim was a baffled, "…Eh?"
He already feared that his offspring did not have a logical bone in her entire body and that reason was just as quick to flee her…
"Well, you said that this tattoo signifies that the person belongs to the Star Clan, right?" She looked like there was a fire ablaze in her eyes. So he nodded dumbly, curious where she was going with this lecture of hers. "And you said you're the only one left from this clan, right?"
He nodded dumbly again, still not getting her point, if there even was one.
"Wanting the world to know whenever they meet me that my family has a long history, even to a clan so evil they had to be killed and still in such a clan was born a man as great as my father, a man greater than anyone, who surpassed even the gods… What's wrong with wanting everyone to know that?!" Her voice, which had risen in pitch and volume while her fervour mounted, dropped back to its normal state at the end of her tirade.
Ayame's cheeks had become dusted with an adorable pinkness while she'd become a bit too carried away with her ardency. She waited any kind of response from her father—anything would've done, really.
But he didn't nod this time, didn't blink, didn't even breathe for that matter. He didn't even seem to care that his mouth was agape at that moment, or even be conscious of it.
All he could do was stare wide-eyed at this little girl he had raised for six years of his life into someone he wouldn't have imagined would stand there in front of him that day, believing the things she did, saying the things she did with such strong and staggering conviction… and gape some more.
The raven haired young wife hummed a merry tune to herself as she set the groceries on the kitchen table.
She was feeling really great that day, so she had decided to spoil her husband and daughter silly to match with her own happy mood. For this reason cooking their favourite meals was a crucial point so she'd had to go shopping.
She unloaded the bags and put everything in the fridge to cool down for a while, after which she decided to seek out her family and see what they were up to.
The woman found the two subjects of her search in her daughter's room in a very peculiar position.
"Black Star… Ayame-chan… What's wrong?" She blurted out in a haste while she frantically looking her child over for any injuries.
Seeing Black Star kneeling on the ground, hugging their daughter tightly to himself and his face buried in her long straight flowing hair had made her believe that something horrible could have happened while she had been out.
When Ayame turned her greenish marine eyes to her mother, filled with just as much nonplus and helplessness, the parent was even more taken aback with the whole setting.
"I-I don't know what happened, mommy! I was just talking with daddy and then he suddenly started acting strange and—did I say something to hurt you, daddy? Are you alright? Hey, answer me!" The girl started pulling on her father's shirt to get his attention but he remained just as immobile as before.
Her gaze filled with sadness then and she averted her eyes to the floor.
"Did I make you mad, daddy…?"
Black Star shook his head then—showing signs of life for the first time since his significant other's entrance—and pulled his daughter even further into his embrace.
"Of course not, Aya-hime! Of course not…" His voice was faltering. "What you said… made me very happy. Thank you, Ayame! You make your old man so proud."
Tsubaki smiled, noticing what had been different about the soul frequency of her life partner that she had caught onto ever since coming in his vicinity.
The little girl puffed out her cheeks. "Daddy you're not old, don't say that!"
Black Star laughed and pulled away, patting his daughter on the soft haired head with a wide grin.
Throughout the entire exchange, the woman by their sides who had stayed quiet seemed to finally come to life again.
"I'm so glad that you two finally take some time together to get to know each other better!" She beamed brightly at the two of them.
"Momma, tell daddy he's not old!" the little girl complained adamantly, making her mother bend down to put a gentle peck on her forehead. The young woman then turned and did the same with her husband, smiling brilliantly at him afterwards.
"I'm glad… that you finally dealt with this ghost of your past that seemed to constantly hang over your shoulder."
He'd lived with her practically his whole life, so it didn't come as a surprise to Black Star that Tsubaki knew perfectly well what he and their daughter had been talking about even though she hadn't heard a thing of their conversation.
He smiled back at her and lifted the little girl from the ground by her waist, placing her on his shoulders. She squealed in utter delight.
"Whoa, Ayame is so tall the floor seems tiny!" She giggled and steered her father in direction of the kitchen.
But before they went, the man managed to call out to his laughing wife,
"Tsubaki, make an appointment for me."
She followed the silly duo for details, but not before letting out the sweet usual "Yes!"
The kids had gathered around in a circle around the Nakatsukasa heiress, mouths agape as they stared at the large star tattoo on her left shoulder.
"Wow, Ayame-chan, you got one of those?" one exclaimed, clearly impressed.
She posed proudly with her tiny fists on her hips and a wide smirk on her pinkish lips.
"Did it hurt?" another kid ventured.
The little girl grinned and proceeded to enlighten her ignorant kindergarten mates about the greatness that a small star on one's shoulder could signify.
Ayame didn't know even half of it.
Author Rant: I named the little girl Ayame because it means "Iris", a flower. How she came to bear such a name and how she even came to be is a different matter altogether though, for another fanfic and another time. ;) Also, on another note, I don't know if you guys know this, but in Japan it is conceived as "cute", I think, to refer to oneself in third-person. It's mostly something little children do, and the fact that I had the girl torn between talking childishly about herself and being more conscious of herself is not random either.
At any rate, I hope you liked this ficlet. I loved writing it and would love to hear what you thought about it. :D Feedback is always strongly encouraged.