He's not really comfortable doing his homework up here in the lounge, where he can literally feel Hime's piercing gaze occasionally touching upon him, but unfortunately his sister demanded she be able to clean up their quarters tonight and it's getting too late to wait to do homework.

It's not like Hime is doing anything, really, she's just sipping her tea, as calm and placid as she always is- when she's not in the middle of a life threatening battle, that scary smile on her face that somehow assures him they will see things through. Flandre is by her side, also quiet, save for the occasional "Huuga" when Hime wants another cup.

Idly, Hiro tapped the pencil against his cheek, focusing on just breathing for a moment, trying to gather his errant thoughts together. It's not that the subject is hard, it's not even really an assignment, just a free exercise from a rather liberal minded and hopeful young teacher who asked 'what do you want to do with your life?'

The words sit bold at the top of his neatly lined and pressed paper, the question sitting out there for all the world to see.

It, Hiro thinks, is too big a question, even for someone who's already died, because he's never been the kind of boy with his head in the clouds, dreaming of something better. Trying to figure out a purpose to his life is just way too hard.

He coughs, throat scratchy and dry, parched. A little grateful for an excuse to procrastinate, he stands as quietly as possible, feeling kind of silly as he does so but still not wanting to disturb Hime's serenity, as she seems to treasure it so.

However, it seems his efforts amount to little, as her gaze flicks up at him, oddly questioning.

"Sorry. Thirsty," Hiro mumbles out, bowing his head, feeling slightly embarrassed for reasons he doesn't understand. He turns to leave-

"Then have some tea." He turned back to meet Hime's bemused gaze, for the umpteenth time unsure of how to react to his master's latest unpredictability.

Without waiting for a response, she inclined her head at the android next to her. "Flandre."

And with that unspoken command, Flandre hopped over, holding up her tray to him. Smiling awkwardly, Hiro pours himself a cup, taking extra care until he was finished. "Thank you, Hime," he says quietly, placing himself back down, preparing to get back to work-

"What are you doing, anyways?" Hime lifted her cup, leveling a questioning look at him from across it.

"Oh! Um... school work," he manages clumsily, half-blurting it out. "The teacher asked some silly philosophical question about what I want to do with my life in the future, like be a businessman or a doctor or..." he trailed off, realizing how much his rattled nerves had made him ramble on.

"And what do you want to do with your life, Hiro?" Hime questions, setting her cup down onto Flandre's waiting tray.

"Me?" Hiro blinked, staring into Hime's expectant gaze stiffly. Inelegantly, he rubbed the back of his head, smiling nervously, "Oh... I don't know. I've never really thought about it."

"You have no dreams for yourself?" she asks, gaze becoming a little more piercing. Her lips quirked into an amused smile. "Come now, you must have something. Don't you want to be successful or have a beautiful wife like all humans?"

"No... not really... I've never really thought about my future." Feeling caught, like a prisoner in a spotlight, Hiro froze, unsure of how to continue. My life doesn't mean much anyway, he wants to say. No parents to make proud, no special skills or talents I could refine and make something with, nor any physical attractiveness to feel confident about.

And anyways, he's a Blood Warrior now- what life could he really have, needing Hime's blood every three days or so?

Forcing out a laugh, he clenches his hands in the fabric of his pants, unclenching them immediately afterward. "Besides Hime, I can't live without your blood. There's not much future for a guy that will die if he's not around you all the time." It sounds oddly self-pitying, but that's the truth, Hiro knows.

Still, it seems to have been the wrong thing to say, because the room has suddenly become unusually chilly, and Hime's head is turned away, her body set in that same lonely posture she takes after a hard battle against yet another assassin sent by her siblings, as though she is bearing an invisible cross on her back that is slowly but surely crushing her down.

Hiro feels guilty, and he doesn't know why. "Hime?" he queries, leaning forward, about to question her sudden silence-

"Do you want to be free, Hiro?" she interrupts briskly, voice is unreadable, flat and toneless. "If there was a way for you to live without my blood, would you try it? Would you like a life just like any other human?"

"Hime?" he repeats, dumbfounded.

"Answer the question, Hiro," Hime says quietly, voice almost withdrawn, in a tone that carries whispers of regret.

And suddenly Hiro understands.

"No, Hime."

The brief fall of her impassive mask, the human surprise that widened her crimson eyes was oddly satisfying to Hiro, gave him the courage to keep speaking. "I wouldn't want a different life," he finishes, smiling genuinely. "I like serving Hime."

Hime stares at him for a long time, expression unreadable.

An expectant silence fell between them, and Hiro feels uncomfortable, almost wanting to take the words back.

Then, unexpectedly, she smiles right back, and he saw the sincerity in her eyes even as she spoke. "Flandre. More tea."

Hiro kept smiling at her for another moment, even as her smile faded and she sipped her tea with that same serene, unreadable expression as before.

Then, he turns back, and wrote down his answer to the assignment.

I want to follow Hime, to protect her, support her.

To stay be her side.