Hello, all! I am a bit behind on my fanfic-ing thanks to that ever-so-lovely combination of school and work, but I finally found some free time to write! I would like to thank everyone again for reading, reviewing, and enjoying my other fics and would like to say I am enjoying everyone else's as well!
It had been almost 5 years since Astral had recovered his lost memories and was able to rescue Astral World. By doing so, he was granted his dream of retaining a physical body. One that could touch, see, smell…everything he had ever wanted. He chose to remain with Yuma while still residing over his homeworld; he could not bare the thought of leaving the boy after all Yuma had done for him and how much they cared for each other.
He was both fascinated and disappointed by how much the boy had grown and aged while Astral himself had stayed the same. What would happen in the very distant future? Astral shuddered to think. Even though Yuma had insisted they would always be together, Astral at times wasn't so sure.
Astral's thoughts were interrupted by a soft crying in another room. He looked over to the bed where Yuma and Kotori lay, obviously too entranced by sleep to hear the slight noise. Astral floated over to the room across the hall, positioning himself in front of the white crib and smiling.
There lay little Emiko. A blessed, beautiful child. Just as her name described. Astral reached out a hand to gently touch the little girl, but quickly stopped himself. She stared up at him and smiled. Emiko was now almost 5 months old, but Astral had yet to truly interact with her out of nervousness. He thought that the child would be frightened by something so otherworldly like himself even though Yuma and Kotori insisted she wouldn't.
Yuma's physical and spiritual connection to Kotori enabled her to see Astral as well. This trait was passed along to Emiko as she was a direct descendant of Yuma. Astral had been overjoyed by this discovery; as much as he loved Yuma, he longed to interact with other humans. He recalled his first true moments with Kotori. The girl was awestruck, running her gentle hands over his features with both fear and fascination, then standing back to observe him as if he were a dress she were considering buying.
Then there was Emiko. Astral remembered when Yuma first announced to him that Kotori was pregnant. Astral was unsure as to what this meant, and forced Yuma and Kotori to explain in full detail the "process" in which it occurred. Yuma's face had turned as red as a tomato but he reluctantly agreed. Astral had then suggested maybe he could try this "process" with Kotori, which promptly earned him a slap in the face from said girl.
Astral was snapped out of his daze as Emiko's crying grew louder.
"Astral?" A sleepy voice called from the doorway. "Is Emiko alright?"
Astral turned to find Kotori entering the room and approaching the crib.
"I believe so," he answered. "But…I didn't want to make things worse."
Kotori smiled. "You're not going to hurt her, Astral. She likes you, remember?"
Astral thought back to the experiences he had had with the child.
"I don't believe throwing wooden objects at one's head insinuates liking them." Astral responded.
Kotoro laughed as she picked Emiko out of her crib and moved to sit on the sofa in the corner.
"She's just a baby, Astral," She said "She doesn't mean it. She's just playing."
Astral sighed. "If you insist."
"Come here," Kotori said, patting the space next to her. "I want you to hold her.""Oh, no," Astral shook his head quickly. "I couldn't."
"Astraaallll…" She whined. "Come on!"
Astral cautiously sat next to the young girl and eyed the baby in her arms. Emiko suddenly reached out her arms to Astral. Kotori lifted her gently towards him.
"Hold out your arms," She instructed. Astral did as she said. "A little more…there you go."
Astral smiled down at the little girl and she smiled right back. Emiko reached up a hand to trace the jewel on Astral's shoulder. He felt a strange tingle as her fingers met his skin and looked over at Kotori, who was also smiling. The baby started cooing softly and nestled herself further against his blue skin. Astral took the time to examine her more closely. He knew she would grow and change just as her parents had and although this saddened him, it also gave him something to look forward to. He had silently vowed to always protect Yuma, then Kotori, and now Emiko. Astral gently stroked her cheek with his finger. He was in awe of how soft her skin was; it was as if he was touching cotton. Astral then leaned down and placed a kiss on the top of her head, then yelped in pain as she grabbed onto his earring.
"Oh, Emiko!" Kotori cried lightly, gripping Emiko's hand and unwinding her fingers from Astral's earring. "No, no! Sorry about that, Astral.""Hey, aren't you forgetting someone?" Yuma joked from the doorway. He joined the three on the couch and patted his daughter on the head.
"Aww, Emiko," He began, "You love your uncle Astral, don't you?"
The baby cooed with delight in response. Astral had not taken his eyes off of her the entire time. He couldn't believe she was not afraid. He recalled Yuma being frightened when first seeing him. Kotori was also a bit taken aback. But not Emiko. Yuma was right. She seemed to love him. Astral concluded it was because the little girl didn't know humans were supposed to be afraid of otherworldly things.
Astral gently began to run his fingers through the girl's bushy black hair. Kotori brought up a hand and rested it on Astral's shoulder. Yuma wrapped an arm around his wife's waist.
It was then Astral realized that for the first time in his life, he was part of a family.