Raizo looked warily at the bundle of cloth being held out to him. Part of him wanted to simply dissolve into the shadows but he couldn't. Or wouldn't. He wasn't really sure. There was a tremor in his body that he knew no one else could see but he could feel it. In just a few minutes these people had undone something he had worked years to prevent. He was a ninja; stealthy, deadly, fearless and without weakness. This was a weakness but he found that it didn't bother him as much as it should have. In fact he had very little complaints about this particular Achilles heel. In fact he would wager that he liked it. He took the bunch from the face of someone that he knew he should remember but couldn't, his hands deceptively steady. He wasn't used to being gentle, it was foreign to him. But he was willing to learn.

"She has your eyes." He looked to Mika where she lay, clearly exhausted but happy. His eye flicked from mother to child, from his wife to his daughter before he responded.

"No…they're yours. She's everything like you, you'll see."

He didn't do anything but look for several minutes and was irrationally pleased that the baby stared back right into his eyes. He now understood the idiocracy that often overtook new parents, what with the counting of the fingers and toes and such. He felt tempted to do that himself and to be truthful it was only his pride that was keeping him back. When the bundle started squirming he was shocked into passing the baby to Mika. Who immediately took her and put her face to her breast. Raizo looked around the room and noted that the doctor and nurse had left. He leaned on the edge of the bed and watched as Mika nursed their baby.

"How does it feel?"


"No…being a mother?"

"Different and the same. I mean I feel like I've already been keeping her safe for nine months. But now she's out in the world I can actually hold her, see her…you know instead of just feeling her kick me. It hurt so badly and now I feel like I would do it all over again if I had to. I've never felt this happy, this complete. Like something was missing until now."

"Yeah? It's hard to believe you feel so strongly and others just abandon their kids to die…or worse."


"I'm not going to leave Mika, this is perfect, unexpected but perfect. Never felt this real before. Never thought a ninja could also be a father…you know a real father"

He bent over and kissed her before she could reply. Just a short touch to her lips and a small smile as he pulled away. He retreated into one of the corners and simply watched the mother and daughter interact. Mika had no qualms counting and recounting her fingers and toes.

"Koneko…I want to name her Koneko…that's the first thing I ever learnt in Japanese."

"Koneko…neko…I like it." He saw Mika struggling to get up and moved in quickly to take the child from her hands and set her in the hospital crib that lay next to the bed. They both watched as the child settled in to a deep sleep before turning their attention to each other. Raizo joined her in bed and put his arms around her gently.

"I'm so proud of you Mika, you were so strong. I was sacred for you…

Aogeba toutoshi wagashi no on

Oshie no niwa ni mo hayaiku tose

Omoeba itotoshi kono toshi tsuki

Imakoso wakareme, iza saraba.

Tagai ni mutsu mishi higoro no on

Wakaruru nochinimo yayo, wasuruna

Mi wo tatte, na wo age, yayo, hageme yo

Imakoso wakareme, iza, saraba.

Asayuu nareshini, manabinomado

Horaru no tomoshibi, tsumu shirayuki

Wasururuma sonaki, yuku toshitsuki

Imakoso wakareme, iza saraba."

It was a lullaby that he had only recently remembered from his early childhood and he had taken to singing it to Mika anytime she had trouble sleeping or simply needed to relax. He couldn't remember the exact translation but it was beautiful just by ear, whether you understood it or not. He closed the windows and turned the light off and finally was able to relax searching all the shadows as was his habit before turning the lights back on and allowing himself to drift off to sleep net to Mika, uncaring the he was still only in a hospital bed.