When the metal cut deep into his chest and neck and cheeks, when he saw the look of disdain on Kaoru's face just before he hit the floor, all he could think was Oh God I hope my dad doesn't see this.

The first time he remembered coming home battered and bloody was the day he fell off the jungle gym on the playground. His face had it the gravel with a heavy thud and when he pushed himself up he tasted blood on his teeth. He walked home with a limp because his leg had gotten caught in the bars on the way down and when he walked into the restaurant, his dad did a double take before handing the work over to his assistant and calmly pulling him into the kitchen.

He was sat on the counter and his torn shorts pushed up to reveal his scraped knees. His father tipped his head back to check his nose and mouth, while Yamamoto tried to explain what happened with his mouth full of blood and drool.

"You just busted your lip," his dad said with a laugh before grabbing a towel and wetting it in the sink, "You'll be fine."

He wiped his nose on his sleeve as his dad gently cleaned his knees, and couldn't help but think that they didn't sting as much anymore.

His second baseball practice in fifth grade resulted in him getting knocked out cold from a ball to the back of the head. His coach had sent him home early, and when he passed by his dad on the stairs to his room, he noticed the knot swelling under his hair.

"Rough day?"

"Yeah, forgot my helmet," Yamamoto laughed a bit, and his dad smiled.

"I'll bring you some ice. You'll be fine."

Later that night they played Samurai Warriors on the Playstation with a bowl of popcorn between them and a cold compress held against Takeshi's head with a jumble of medical tape so his hands were free. His dad never won a match and he knew it wasn't because he was letting him win, but he still felt better anyway. The next morning he woke up to find his helmet pointedly placed on top of his school bag and he laughed all the way down the block.

When he was thirteen they went to visit his mother's grave on New Year's. He tripped on the stone steps leading up to the cemetery and tore the skin from his hand. His dad washed it in the faucet on site and tied his handkerchief around it to keep it clean. Then he ruffled his hair and picked up the flowers he brought with them and went to where the family marker was.

They stood there for awhile, not speaking as the smoke from the incense slowly curled up into the chilly air. Then his dad gave a loud clap and a laugh before putting his arm around Yamamoto's shoulders and pulling him into a half-hug.

"We'll be fine," he said softly, and Takeshi nodded.

The floor of the locker room is cold and it's slowly getting harder to breathe. He closes his eyes and thinks that maybe, this time he won't be fine.