AN: This is a sequel/companion piece to Konoka's Doll. It's not likely to make a lot of sense (or any) unless you read that first.

o

Setsuna thought that her first memory was being under a tree.

It was cold, and the branches over her head dumped snow all over her.

Her hair and wings were hard to see under the snow. Setsuna had smiled and liked the color. She didn't think she was the sort of person who should attract attention.

Then she remembered that the color was an evil, wicked thing.

So the tree wasn't her first memory after all; it just felt like it.

ooo

A strange man found her and picked her up out of the snow.

Setsuna was afraid of him. He smelled like death. Someone like her—

half a person

—would fall easily if he decided to stop being nice. Larger people weren't usually nice, so she had to be careful.

But she couldn't really remember the mean larger people. When she tried, they were blurry.

And she liked something about the man.

She thought he felt a little like a home.

ooo

The man took her to a very large house and left her in a room while he talked to a scary woman with a large bird. He looked upset.

Setsuna tried not to worry. She curled up in the corner of the room and waited for him to come back.

The bird came back first.

It pecked her until she stopped holding her knees. Then it fluttered to her lap.

ooo

The man asked if she could help him with something.

He had a daughter at his house and she needed a friend and a protector.

Setsuna's heart did something funny when he said that.

She agreed to help.

ooo

They wanted to dye her hair. They said that it made people pay too much attention to her.

They wanted to change the color of her eyes too.

Setsuna let them. White hair wasn't much different than feathers, and white feathers were evil.

She didn't want the man's daughter to see that she was a mistake.

ooo

The man left her with the scary woman and a younger girl. He said that he had been away from home too long and he wanted to see his daughter.

He still looked upset.

ooo

She spent a lot of time with the scary woman's bird. It was friendly and liked her. The people in the big house didn't.

They all smelled like death.

It made Setsuna hurt. She didn't belong to either side, and they all knew it.

At least the man needed her. Maybe his daughter too.

And the bird was nice.

ooo

The bird's woman said that it was time to go see the man's daughter now.

Setsuna tried not to be afraid. If the man felt almost like a home, Konoka definitely would.

Wait.

She knew the name?

ooo

The bird stayed with its woman while they walked to the man's house. Setsuna wished it could stay with her. She was scared.

But she thought this might be okay. After the man left, a strange pressure had made her chest ache. The closer they got to his house, the less it hurt.

Setsuna missed him. And she wanted to see his daughter.

Something told her that nothing could be wrong once she saw the girl.

ooo

Looking at the big house made her chest and head hurt.

It was clearer and sharper than any of the memories she had of her family. She knew that this mattered—sometimes they didn't.

The bird chirped at her and Setsuna almost smiled.

Her heart felt warm.

ooo

The bird's woman and the other girl had to be announced. Setsuna hid behind them and stared at the girl in front of her.

She was pretty.

ooo

The adults left to go find the girl's father.

Konoka screamed for her.

Setsuna's eyes widened.

The warmth in her heart exploded.

o

"…Kono-chan?"