A/N: Another Kogasa story, there's something about this girl.

Don't worry, the next one will be about Cirno or something, hmmm... or maybe Alice.

Cloud Strider Presents:

Kazoku

The small store wasn't exactly abuzz with activity. One man decided that the day off he had coming up was an ample opportunity to take his daughter out shopping. They rarely went out together anymore, especially with the stories people were spreading around about the youkai. It seemed there had been more sightings lately.

No one went outside unless it was absolutely necessary, so the path to the store, and even the store itself, ended up being quite lonely. According to some locals you couldn't walk two steps without running into something that wanted to eat you.

Gensokyo was in a panic to say the least.

This man, this father, did not want his little Noriko to suffer any of that.

After all the times heading out to get supplies and not getting attacked he decided it would be best to let her have a little fun, especially since walking her to and from school every day wasn't exactly cutting it.

So off to a small human village they went, to go shopping for fun and not necessity.

After gathering a new set of clothes and some supplies he decided to get her an umbrella.

There weren't many in this store, and the largest human village was too far away and a much more dangerous walk.

Still, the fact that small luxuries like an umbrella were in a shop like this surprised him.

Two remained, hanging from in inconspicuous shelf in the back right corner, past all the farm supplies and tools, and on the opposite side of the store, away from the clothes and what little decorations were available. One was white, and looked rather pristine, like it had been conditioned to perfection.

The second was red, and looked like it would go well with someone showing off.

He expected Noriko to pick the white one, it was simple and looked nice.

What he didn't expect was for her to pick a third one, which wasn't even hung on a hook.

"That one! I want that one Daddy!"

He looked down at where she was pointing.

On the very bottom shelf, if one looked hard enough, they would see a small purple umbrella that looked just the slightest bit darkened from use.

It was by no means a bad umbrella, especially when he picked it up to check it. There were no tears, the handle was strong and firm, and despite appearing to already be used it seemed like it could last forever.

He smiled and ruffled his girl's hair, "Good choice sweety."

And he meant it.

The umbrella had escaped his notice completely, tucked into a corner and waiting for someone with sharp eyes to pick it out.

He looked back to the short and stubby man behind the counter and smiled, "How much for this one?"

"That old thing? Pfff, I think the boss found it in the middle of a street somewhere, you can have it for free."

"Really? Stuff like this seems hard to come by with the panic going around."

"No problem. That thing has been there forever, I'm surprised someone even wants to buy it."

"If you say so." He handed it to his little girl, who was about ready to burst at the seams from excitement.

"What's your name anyways?"

"It's..."

-Present Day-

"Hey... it's me again."

Kogasa smiled.

Her movements were gentle and slow as she knelt down to the grave in front of her, setting out some flowers.

The three graves were old and worn, but they still stood strong through the test of time, partially thanks to herself.

Looking at their cracked state she would probably have to replace the grave stones again, but it would be alright for the time being.

"I managed to get Sanae," she said softly, her face forming into a small grin, "She was so surprised, you should have seen it. I think I might have accidentally stolen her first kiss, but I don't mind that too much. I kinda started to admire her when she stopped being so mean to me."

She scoffed, "Jeez, listen to me. I sound like I'm lovesick."

She paused, letting her knees bend a bit further until she sat on her ankles. She kicked off her geta and let out a small sigh when she closed her umbrella.

She laid the umbrella gently in front of her, "You know, I talked to that glasses man the other day. He was really curious about which was the real me, the umbrella or the girl. I think it's both. He said it was strange if that was the case, because I could set it down places and even hand it to other people. I told him that I felt funny if it ever got too far away, so I try to keep it in the same room and close by when I'm outside. He started scribbling down notes and shooed me out of the store."

A laugh, "He can be kinda rude, but he seems really nice too, and Marisa seems to get along with him...

"OH! Marisa, my new friend... I haven't told you about her yet. She's this crazy magician with these awesome powers. I met her and Reimu back when Sanae beat me up, and I even watched her and Reimu fight Nue. I had kind of a headache from getting blasted up twice in the same day though. I'm glad though, if it wasn't for all that I wouldn't have met Sanae or Marisa. I ran into Marisa in the town not far from here. It's where you used to shop. It's gotten sooooo big now that it's the largest human village.

"There was this huge incident involving the humans, which is strange because it's usually youkai like me causing trouble. I talked to Murasa-chan earlier and she told me it was all because she sunk this man's boat a long time ago, and the descendent of that man got a bunch of people in the village all riled up about youkai. There was a group that chased Byakuren-sama and Murasa-chan all the way to youkai mountain, and then Aya came in and saved them.

"Then apparently Reimu got mad and everyone shut up," she said with a giggle, "I was knocked out and locked up the entire time though, pretty pathetic, huh? It's been a few days and me and Marisa have started talking, I've even been to her place, which is this totally awesome cabin linked to this huge underground cave with a bunch of weird mushrooms. I slept over, and the noises in the forest at night are actually really nice. I can hear owls and crickets. I think I even heard my friend Mystia flying around singing to help people sleep, she usually does that when she's bored and can't fall asleep."

She fell silent, her head cast down slightly.

"I... I really miss you guys."


"You know... purple was your mom's favorite color."

"Really?"

He laughed, reaching out to the door of their small home and pulling it open, "Yeah, really. You better take good care of that umbrella."

She grinned and rushed into the house, turning in the main hallway to face him and nodding firmly, "I will!"

"You're turning ten soon, huh?" He closed the door behind him.

Their home was very small, but it was meant for three people.

It currently housed two.

It was floored with tatami mats and had sliding doors, like every single home the man had ever seen in his life. However, this was the one where his family had started. This one was special.

"Consider that umbrella an early present."

She pouted, "I'm not getting a present for my birthday?"

He laughed, ruffling her hair as he walked past her, "I didn't say that, c'mon, let's get dinner started, make sure to hang your new umbrella in the closet."

"Kay!"


"Hahahahahaha! Get it if you can!"

"Stop it! Give it back!"

"Ooooo, look at the sky! It's all grey, you better get it back soon!"

The schoolyard was abuzz with chaos. Chatter of the children that spent most of their lives locked inside was all one could hear, and no one paid any mind to the small group near the edge of the yard. Three boys tossing around a purple umbrella while a little girl ran back and forth frantically trying to retrieve it.

Noriko ran for the boy at the head, whom it had been recently tossed to. He grinned and stepped back slightly, holding the umbrella above his head as she tried to reach for it, "Stop it, that's my umbrella!"

"It's just an umbrella, there's no need to freak out! I have like, three!"

With those words he opened the umbrella with a grin as a gust of wind blew, and released his grip on the handle.

It floated about towards the center of the yard until it collided with an adult, at which point the three children decided to flee.

Noriko hiccuped, tears already streaming down her cheeks.

It didn't take the adult, a stout looking woman, long to realize what had happened.

She quickly retrieved the umbrella, closing it back up before approaching Noriko with a gentle smile, "Here you go." She knelt down, "What happened sweety?"

"They... hic... wouldn't... give it back."

"Oh you poor thing. I have it right here. C'mon, we'll go talk to sensei and see if we can't get this sorted out."

Noriko clutched to the umbrella like it was a lifeline, nodding as the woman gently took her by the hand and led her back to the schoolhouse.


"Well look at that..." The man frowned, examining the hole in the umbrella as he set it on the small table in the dining room, "You walked home in the rain with this even though it had a hole?"

"Sensei was gonna let me borrow one, but I didn't wanna."

"I see..."

There was a small moment of silence.

"Well, I think I have some material good against the rain, and we can get purple dye at the market, we'll break out your mom's old sewing kit and get this patched up in no time."

"Really?"

"Really."

-Present Day-

Kogasa breathed deep and smiled softly, "Having all these friends, all these people I can talk to. It makes me feel like I have a home again, ya know? I was afraid that no one would like me because I'm a youkai, but Marisa likes me. She's a human, a weird one who can do magic, but still human. I don't know Reimu well, but she seems nice too, a bit rough though. As for Sanae... I don't really know what she is actually," she said with a giggle.

"She claims to be a living Goddess, whatever that is. She might transcend to Godhood when she dies because of her blood, but she just smells like a regular ol' human to me. I think she just likes to brag, almost as much as she likes blowing stuff up.

"Then there's Mystia. She's always all smiles, and her cooking is delicious. I think she's got all of Gensokyo addicted to the food at her stand. Humans and youkai are all clamoring to get her recipes, I don't know how she manages to keep it all a secret. She's probably just memorized everything, it's safer than writing it down and leaving it where someone can find it. I even heard people talking about a franchise. Don't know what it is, but it sounds great.

"She also introduced me to Cirno and Rumia. They can both be kinda dense, but I think they have a lot of potential. They remind me of myself when I was born. I didn't know what the heck to do, and I was going around blind and couldn't manage to surprise anyone, even kids.

"Cirno seems like she's gonna grow up to be really strong, which is weird because apparently a fairy turning into a full youkai only happens once about every bajillion years. Rumia's powerful already, but she has a bit of trouble controlling that power. I think she uh... I think she used to eat humans until Reimu came along. I try not to think about it too much though because Marisa said Rumia's been a lot nicer lately, and even going to school.

"School," she said with a frown, "Yeah, I remember school."


Fifteen year old Noriko sat in the very back of her new classroom, trying her absolute best not to stick out too much. She had always been quiet, but she had never actively tried to hide from people until that moment.

She barely heard her name get called for attendance.

"Here!" She said it quickly, not raising her hand as she did so. Out of nervous habit she started to chew on her fingernails, and eyed the purple umbrella leaning against her chair.

Class went by agonizingly slow, and lunch time came and went.

It wasn't until the end of the day that another student had bothered to approach her, "Yo," he said, waving his hand half-heartedly.

Noriko instantly felt the blood drain from her face, "Oh... I er... um..."

He was a good few inches taller than her, built lean but strong.

Her gaze fell on her umbrella again.

"What's your name again?" he asked softly.

"Oh... um... it's... Noriko, Noriko..."

"Hey Kaji, hurry your ass up, we gotta go check out the market!"

"Yeah yeah I'm coming!" shouted the boy towards the class entrance. He turned back to Noriko and smiled.

"Oh! You can just... call me Noriko."

"Bit soon for that, don't you think?"

A heat rushed over her face, "No... I mean..."

"Relax," he said with a laugh, "Okay Noriko, you can go ahead and call me Kaji. My surname is Tanaka. Let's get along well, okay?"

"...Okay."

"I'll see ya." He turned to walk away. When he reached the entrance of the class he smiled back at her, "Nice umbrella."


"A boy?"

"He's really nice," she said softly, tossing her rice about in her bowl with a frown, "Nobody else talked to me, and his friends are really lively."

The man frowned, leaning back in his chair, "I see... is he popular with the girls?"

"I... I think so."

A sigh, "Noriko, I think we need to talk."

"About what?"

The man seemed to flinch, "Erm... a lot of things."

"Oh, about... I uh..."

The man frowned and leaned forward, rubbing his temples.

"Well," she said softly, "I mean I just met him, and I guess... he seemed nice and all. I'll just have to see. I wish I was more confident."

"It's not bad for you to be talking to him, but that's not what I was talking about."

"I know," she grumbled, her face reddening, "I'm just saying that it's not even close to that yet, so can we please... put it off for now?"

"Alright." He seemed to breathe a sigh of relief.

"I don't know much about that stuff anyways, but I guess I know the basics. I don't want you to be worried about me too much Dad."

"Okay, just be careful."

"I will."

"And if you're interested bring him here to meet me, and we should meet with the parents as well, status is important too."

"D... Dad!"

"Okay okay," he said with a laugh.

-Present Day-

Kogasa smiled once more at the three graves. "She always kept me with her. If I could talk back then we would have been sisters. I think we were in our own way... just a little bit. Kaji was nice though. He would bring her lunch sometimes, and she returned the favor too. I think the whole school was in an uproar about it too. You even said you approved with almost no hesitation. I don't know if I was able to feel happy because I was just an umbrella, but every time I remember it all it makes me happy so... I guess having the memory counts for something."


"Grab everything you can man!"

"I got it I got it! Crap!"

There was a crash in the household.

"Man, don't worry about what you're grabbing, just grab a handful of shit and let's go!"

"What is that, an umbrella?"

"Toss it on the side of the road or something, get rid of that cage lookin' thing too!"

-Present Day-

"I don't remember much after that," she said softly, "I was alone for a really long time. Then... I woke up. I could see, I could feel, I could smell, I could touch, and then everything that I witnessed or was a part of from the moment I was built came flooding back to me. I was just an umbrella, and I was happy when my owners used me, but you were different Noriko-chan. I was your comfort, I reminded you of your Mom. I was with you for so long, and when I remembered that as a youkai I...

"I just started to cry." Kogasa brought a hand up, rubbing her eyes as tears began to spill forth, "Thieves, thieves separated me from you."

Through her blurred vision she saw those three graves.

'Noriko Tanaka, Loving Mother and Teacher.'

'Kaji Tanaka, Husband and Father.'

'Keiichi Tatara, Guiding Light.'

"I'm sorry I missed the wedding Noriko," she said softly, "You must have been so happy."

She smiled at Keiichi's grave, "Thank you for giving me that time with your daughter," she whispered, laying her hand gently on the grave, "It's not much, but I know you didn't have a son... so I took your name. I know your father was a smelter, I even started wearing geta*... kinda silly, huh? I hope you don't mind, I always thought of you all as family."

She grasped her umbrella and stood slowly, dusting herself off. "I better get going, I don't wanna be late, Sanae is waiting for me."

"My my."

There was the sound of a tear, like the hem of clothing coming undone. When Kogasa turned a woman much taller than her had appeared, a fan held over her mouth, but a clear smile in her eyes, "That was rather touching," she said.

Kogasa walked forward, took a deep breath, and wrapped her arms around Yukari, who seemed to be a bit flustered for a second before returning the favor. "Thank you so much for finding their graves."

"Uh... It wasn't that hard. There's no registry in the world that far back, but there's a reason I'm good at what I do."

Kogasa nodded, feeling the sting of more tears, "I miss them... I miss them a lot."

Yukari smiled and let out a sigh, resting her chin gently on Kogasa's head, "I know," she said softly, "I know all too well."

"I'm glad I wasn't ever broken. Having these memories, being able to think... it hurts sometimes... but I'm also happy."

"She was your sister... right?"

"... Yeah, yeah she was, and I miss her. I'm glad she was able to be happy."

Yukari smiled.


"How much for this one?"

"That old thing? Pfff, I think the boss found it in the middle of a street somewhere, you can have it for free."

"Really? Stuff like this seems hard to come by with the panic going around."

"No problem. That thing has been there forever, I'm surprised someone even wants to buy it."

"If you say so." He handed it to his little girl, who was about ready to burst at the seams from excitement.

"What's your name anyways?"

"It's Keiichi... Keiichi Tatara."

The shopkeeper frowned, "That's a strange name. You're family obsessed with smelting and smithing?"

Keiichi laughed, "Er... no, my father worked at the local smith as a smelter though. We really don't know where our name came from, but I think it's something to be proud of.*"

"Whatever you say buddy."

~FIN

*A/N- A Tatara is an old smelting furnace used in ye olde englishe Japan. It was the old school way to smelt iron and other crap, and is obviously not in use these days, you can look it up on wiki for details. Basically, Kogasa's entire name is a play on words and her theme in general.

Kogasa reads 'little umbrella' in kanji.

Her surname, Tatara, which she got from the Tatara family, is a play on her wearing those clogs, the geta.

People who used tatara's often wore geta to keep their feet away from the hot ground, hence Kogasa and her umbrella sporting them.

In this story's case it's a bit heartwarming that she took the name and started wearing geta I think.

It may be kind of cheesy, but I really liked the idea.