Reading TK fic made me want to write TK fic. So this is fic inspired/based on fic. Wee! For full context of the story (not necessary to read this one), you can read "Redevelopment" by authoress clear as snow. I think this fic has lots of potential, it just needs a bit of work before it can really shine.

So. Necessary context: Youko has been ruling Kei for 85 years. clear as snow has a Youko/Keiki pairing. There you go. Necessary context.

Disclaimer: Because I don't want to get sued for pretending I own any rights to TK when I don't.

Had it really been 85 years already? It was so difficult to believe—the high school coward she had been had been pushed, threatened, and nursed into a strong person with a will to live and sympathy for so many people, and then that newly discovered person had then become a ruler and been made to learn politics, balancing the desire to help one person in favor of helping a nation of people with different wants, needs, and geography. She'd learned more about economics in one year than she had in all of high school. She'd become a ruler.

And in the fullness of 85 years of ruling experience, she still had much to learn. There was so much to learn about the dynamics of the social climate—The people had been children when she arrived in Kei were now grandparents, and still clung to some of the old traditions such as prostration, but their grand-kids had grown up in a kingdom transformed by her—she, Youko, was responsible for the fact that youma had become a threat to keep naughty children in at night instead of a genuine threat, most people in Kei had jobs, the refugees from other kingdoms had housing developments and as much opportunity for employment as the people of Kei. Special jobs had been assigned to people in the rare case of natural disaster, more hospitals had been built, scientific progress was being made to treat new illnesses, and the rate of starvation had gone down. That was the easy part. There is still discrimination, corrupt people running trade and sometimes even provinces. There was balancing the taxes she had to collect to pay for development of roads, hospitals, and research with how much the people were able to give—and how much people could give had to be averaged by town and was never completely fair. Changing the country was one thing. Changing people was another thing entirely.

And yet even with all this to worry about, Youko still caught herself daydreaming about comparatively trivial things such as romance, kids, and being an ordinary stay-at-home mom who only had to worry about cooking, cleaning, and making sure the kids did their homework. It was hard, sometimes, to remind herself that as a ruler she could never have any of that. Her only love needed to be her country, and its people her children. Sugimoto had promised long ago to live that kind of happy life for her. That promise still eased the ache a little, but over time it became less comforting. Sugimoto had died nearly 15 years ago now at the age of 87. Her parents had passed away 30 years before that. Asano had died only about two years into her reign.

Now she knew why so many rulers became either solitary or corrupt. Only the friends they brought into the palace would live on with them, and so if these friends were corrupt, rulers would be tempted to let it slide just to have their friends by their side, and the rulers who avoided that by keeping their friends out of the palace, lost those friends to the grips of death. She was thankful for having Rakushun, En-ou, Suzu, Shokei, and Enho there to support her. She could trust them to stay true. Right?

And then there was Keiki. Over the years he'd started to soften to her. Whether it was because she had become a stronger ruler and didn't need her wrist slapped as often or because he had become to like her as a person, she didn't know—although she couldn't help but hope it was more of the later than the former. It was hard to explain how she felt about him. She always felt a little lonely whenever she had to send him off to run important errands or other smaller tasks, even though she knew that she no longer required his help as much as she used to—it just felt strange not having him by her side. He was still a guide post for her and, as En-ou and Enki had said, he was her other half. Perhaps that was why she felt so strongly attached to him? In high school or middle school she would have instantly called it love, but after so long, she found it difficult to distinguish between love, companionship, and true trust. Was it love? If it was, would that change anything? Was it even permitted? And of course, would Keiki feel the same way?

These questions seemed to always lurk somewhere in the back of her mind—ignored most times, but in those unguarded moments of daydreaming, sometimes amongst that imaginary family circle, she'd see Keiki dressed in commoners clothes and holding one of the children a slightly bewildered look on his usually expressionless face, and another child braiding his hair and sticking flowers in it. It was a wonderful, calming thought, and would almost inevitably make her turn her mind to the possibility of romance again. One hundred and one years of life and she was still thinking about romance! How incorrigible! Suzu had already married Sekki, who had joined her at the palace along with his brother, Kosho. As sennin though, they couldn't have children. Shokei occasionally dated, but never with much serious in mind. Rakushun seemed too caught up in his studies for romance—although Youko wondered if that was just because he, like her, thought that wanting a family was selfish when there were so many people in Kei they had to worry about.

So all in all, it came down to this. Can a ruler over 100 years old allow herself a romantic relationship with the holy kirin she ruled with, or did her duty make such thoughts intolerably selfish? Well?

Was there even an answer?

A/N: So! I'm procrastinating again! Sorry to any readers who are still reading Waiting for Home. I really am working on the chapter! It's… almost 2 pages long? I'm bad. But after reading clear as snow's TK fic I got an inspired bunny, and since today is Friday and I only have a little homework due tonight, I let myself write fic. I do hope you enjoyed the read!

~Rio Azules