Blah. I really don't like this chapter. Anyway, I know it's been forever, but due to an awesome little reader (Sawahii), I'm going to try to write faster than I have been. |D
I really hope you haven't forgotten too much of what happened. A lot of it is really important and is just coming into play now. And sorry if the way I write them has changed (like in general tone and feel) because I really didn't intend for that to happen. My writing has just been changing without my knowledge. xD

Anyway, next up is Kaito! Lots of stuff is going to go down, but maybe not what you would expect. Stay tuned. ;D


Miku admitted as her hands attempted to mould the mound of soggy paper into a lantern, that this was not how things were supposed to go. Her plan had been to make a beautiful lantern for Kaito, not a mess of paste. It couldn't even be used to feed a fire! It was a mess. In a way, she should have known better. If she had made a wonderful lantern, or even a functioning one, then what? She's would have Meiko paint it in colors she didn't know how to describe? She would paint it herself? There was really nothing she could do and that was very bitter to admit as she sat there, covered in her failed project.

Her lower lip quivered a bit as she imagined how things were supposed to happen. How she was supposed to make a gift for Kaito and he would say to her,"Thank you, Miku. It's wonderful." And from those simple words, she would know that she had done a good job. It would have been something no one could take away from her. It wouldn't matter, though, if she was unable to achieve it in the first place.

"Why am I-" Miku began but cut herself off. She had never bothered with such thoughts before, never in her life, and she was not about to start now. She didn't need to dwell over what others had and she didn't; she was fine as is. She clenched her small hands into tight fists before spreading her fingers out again. She needed stay calm and find a way to clean the mess up without getting it everywhere. But how? She had no idea how spread out her project had become and she wouldn't even know if she had gotten it all.

"Miku," a familiar and warm voice called from the door way of the house.; it was Gakupo. "What are you doing?" It sounded like he was honestly concerned as he entered and approached her.

"I," Miku began but let the sentence fall. She felt so weak. So pathetic. Useless. "I tried to make a lantern, but it-" she couldn't finish her sentence.

She heard fabric rustle and felt a comforting hand placed on her shoulder. "It's fine, Miku. We'll go and get you one later," he said, his soothing words reaching her easily as he was crouched down next to her. "Now come on, we need to get you cleaned up." He carefully took her left hand in his right and helped pull her up to standing, ignoring the paste-like liquid that covered her fingers and allowing the messy cloth that protected her kimono to fall to the ground; it was a good thing her sleeves were tied back. His hands felt strong and were calloused from a life of work, but guided her as if she were a princess. It was a careful, secure touch unlike the warm and cautious touch Kaito held her hand with.

He guided her to her sandals, pausing to allow her to slip them on, before bringing her outside. He stopped just to the left of the door and said, "Here. I brought some water from the river and thought i might check up on you." He chuckled lightly as he crouched down with her and brought her hands to the bucket of clean water. "Who knew I would need it so soon," he added on, quickly rinsing his hand to rid it of the liquid paste.

Miku washed her hands in the water, mixed feelings about Gakupo's presence running through her mind. She was grateful that he had appeared, yes, and wasn't concerned that he entered the house without invitation since the village as a whole worked to take care of her, but she wasn't sure what to think of what he said. "We'll go and get you one later," she repeated in her head. She had worked so hard on it, trying to make it as beautiful as she could, but he brushed it off.

No, he didn't mean for it to sound like that. She knew him better; Gakupo was the type to kindly consider other people. The proof was in that he was helping her, right? She nodded her lightly as she finished washing her hands clean. "Thank you," she said as they both rose to their feet again. "I suppose it was silly of me to try something like that, huh?"

He didn't reply right away; instead, he took her hand again between both of his. "It's not something you need to worry about," he began, his soothing voice reaching her again, "You know Lola always makes extra lanterns."

Her lips twisted into a weak smile. "That's right," she said absently. Was it really just about something so materialistic?

"Come on," Gakupo started, one of his hands returning to his side while the other remained to guide her again, "We need to go see Luka for the masks." He began walking into the village, Miku being pulled along closely, and added, "Everyone but that odd guest will be wearing a fox mask. I rather like it, don't you?"

"Yes," she replied easily, though she was unsure of it. It was interesting that everyone was getting together like that, but why did Kaito need a different mask? He was part of the village too, even if they didn't know it. There was no need to separate him from everyone else like that. Maybe she could convince him to reveal his identity later? If she did that, then everyone would feel whole again, of that she was sure. Her natural smile appeared on her face as she was led by Gakupo. Everything would be perfect.

Suddenly, they stopped walking. "Here, Miku. Just wait here in this chair and I'll be right back," he said, placing her hand on the back of it so she would know where it was. Of course, she wasn't sure where she was, but she trusted him.

"Where are you going?" she asked curiously, sitting down while facing where she heard come from.

"I need to get a surprise for you," he said smoothly, his voice leaving no room for any other questions. His footsteps over the dirt ground could be heard moving away from her amongst the noise of other people. Since everyone was busy preparing for the celebration, she was unable to tell where she was from sound alone. Again, it wasn't something to be concerned about; she trusted Gakupo and knew that he would come back for her. All she had to do was wait and behave.

She had done it so many time before, all throughout her life, that it was as easy as breathing.

To just sit in her chair.

And wait.

"Rin, that is such a nice ribbon!" she hear a girl say with excitement. It sounded like Lily; the girl did always enjoy materials of great quality. To be complimented by her meant one had only the best.

"Thank you!" Rin replied, her tone clearly saying she enjoyed the flattery. "It is my favorite." Both of the girls were, from the sound of things, stopped in front of her just a bit away.

Miku bit her lower lip lightly. She wanted to join in and talk to them since it was something she wasn't able to do often, but what would she talk about? Would they even want her talking to them? No, perhaps she should take the risk anyway. "What color is it?" Miku blurted, louder than she expected.

There was pause before Rin answered, "It's white." She sounded confused and Miku didn't blame her. After all, it was an odd question for a blind girl to ask.

"Ah, I mean," she tried, looking for a different question to ask. "What is it made from?"

"Silk," Rin replied flatly, almost defensively. Why had her tone taken such a change? Did she not want to talk?

"It must be really pretty," the blind girl tried again, confident that this attempt would strike up a good conversation, "Did you make it yourself?"

She listened as the girl made a low, short huffing noise. "Don't play these games!" she shouted suddenly, "Just say it if you know already!"

The quick noise of shuffling dirt indicated that she had run away. She didn't understand why the younger girl had left so suddenly; it made no sense to her at all. "Did I say something wrong?" she asked, the hurt obvious in her voice. Was she really that uncomfortable to talk to? That different from everyone else?

"Ah, Miku," Lily began with a strained tone. It seemed that she didn't know what to do either. "She's probably just stressed out because of the festival. Don't let it get to you." Miku smiled softly and nodded, truly taking in what she was saying. Rin was a cheery, fun loving girl; it probably was just the stress of preparation getting to her.

"Well, I'm gonna go make sure everything's alright, okay? See ya later," she said before leaving the blind girl, too.

Although she was surrounded by working people, she was left alone. In her own little chair, she was left to do the one task that could be entrusted to her, the one thing she could do without fail: sit and wait quietly. She placed her hands together on her lap, trying not to fidget. She had been able to wait so easily in the past, but not any longer. She itched to do something; go somewhere; talk to someone. What had changed to make her feel this way? When had waiting become such a chore...? If only Kaito was there with her.

Maybe then everything would be all right.