Breathe Redux
by Edmondia Dantes

Disclaimer: They aren't mine.

AN: For Sam.

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It's actually kind of a pity how much this sucks. He wasn't quite expecting it to - wasn't quite sure how things would work out - but for all that it's good to get out of that smoggy city and back into the heavens again, it does suck, and D won't admit that he's miserable.

"Well duh," Ten-chan says, and sticks his fingers in the batter, dancing back with a triumphant grin before he can bite him. "You're depressed too."

Totetsu eyes him for a minute, contemplating kitsune barbeque, then gives a mental shrug. It's not like D will notice, and even if he did, he wouldn't care. "I'm not depressed," he counters, and gives the batter a taste-test of his own. Needs ginger. "The count's just being stupid."

"We're all getting very fat from your not-depression," Ten-chan drawls, "and you can't eat all of us."

"I could eat some of you," he says, offering him a narrow-eyed glare. "Pass the ginger."

"I'm just saying that it's normal," Ten-chan says, and dutifully forks it over. "And even if you can rationalize it to yourself - 'cause it was the right thing for the kid, I guess - the count's different."

"Being stupid," Totetsu corrects, pressing root to grater with slightly more force than is necessary. "That man isn't worth it."

"The kid too?"

"...there are worse humans," Totetsu says, and presses down harder.

"Well, that's the problem for you both, isn't it?"

"Neither of them should have been involved in the first place."

"Mmm," Ten-chan says, and slides off the counter to peer over his shoulder as he scoops up the shavings and dumps them in the bowl. "But they were."

He ducks before Totetsu can brain him with the spoon. "And now they're not," he growls, "so it doesn't matter."

"Sure it doesn't," Ten-chan says, and Totetsu decides to ignore him and focus on mixing the batter to the perfect texture, delicate and fluffy and spicy-sweet for the baking. "But it can't be undone no matter how far D runs."

"He'll get over it," Totetsu says, and deliberately does not whack him with an errant elbow. "He'd have to eventually anyway."

"...if you said that to him," Ten-chan murmurs, "I think you might make him cry, even though he'd deny it and get pissy and then pretend it never happened."

"He's wasted enough tears on that man."

"You didn't cry for Chris?"

He stares down at the batter. It's perfect. Once the baking's done, the count will smile again, for just a little while.

"No," he says, "Pon-chan cried enough for the both of us."

"Ah," Ten-chan says, and drapes himself over his shoulder. He doesn't even flinch when the bowl smashes against the wall, and Totetsu hates him for that.

"...you gonna clean that up?" Ten-chan wonders after a while, eying the sticky mess that's slowly starting to ooze down the wall. The count will pitch a fit when he sees it.

"No," Totetsu says. "I want it to stain."

"Ah," Ten-chan replies, and his grip tightens just a little.

Totetsu closes his eyes and just breathes.

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