It's strange to realize that something small, like a paper cut, can hurt as much as a bullet.
She's curled on her side, hugging her excess blankets to her chest as she sleeps. It's a kind of peacefulness he is certain he will never find in his own life, so he has come to content himself with hers. Her breathing is soft, quiet, and through her nose.
His expression shifts, the corners of his lips turning down as he watches her through the small opening between her shoji and the wall. Moonlight streams through the window, illuminating the loose waves of her hair that lie around her. She sighs quietly in her state of restfulness, perhaps enchanted by something she can only see in her dreams, and tucks her head closer to her arms.
He closes the paper screen softly before making his way to his own room.
Things like that—little things—like the way Misao chooses to sleep—bother him. He doesn't really know why. She always slept with her hair in a braid. She always slept flat on her back with her arms spread out. She always breathed through her mouth.
How many times had he comforted himself with the fact that she was at the Aoiya, snoring away as only Misao could, while he and the others were looking for a place in the world? She would grow up safe, there. She could live a normal life. She would never have to search for a place to call home. It was something they all wanted for her, for their little Misao. She deserved a future.
A million little things are different, now, he thinks, staring blankly at one of the four corners of his room. A million little things have changed.
Time has passed. The woman sleeping in the room down the hall is not the same girl he left so many years ago. He realizes this.
But it still hurts, in the way only little things can.
There isn't much to explain, here. Change is something that refuses to remain unacknowledged. That doesn't make it any easier to accept. This was written for the 365Drabbles community on LJ.