A/N: I'm back on with this story for the simple reason that one, count 'em, one person is following it. So sue me. Plus, I'm bored. And I don't feel like updating the other one.

"Get up."

Hoshiko felt someone shaking her shoulder, gently but somewhat forcefully, as though they weren't used to having to be patient. She thought about waking up, but the soft lull of sleep pulled her under again, murmuring a lullaby in her ear.

The someone cursed sharply before shaking her again, less gentle this time. "Kuso*. Hoshiko. Get up, you lazy human."

"Eh?" Hoshiko mumbled, tiredness beginning to fade from her vision and making her more awake. "Tsukishiro-sama?"

"Who else would it be?" he snapped.

Her eyes cleared and she could see him hovering over her, his eyes serious and a slight frown dragging his lips downwards. His hair was still pulled back into its customary ponytail, and he still wore the same clothes, but in the hand that didn't hold his cane was a beautiful yukata.

It was a combination of sunset orange, peach, red, and every color in between, patterned with the discreet outlines of koi. Hoshiko sat up and rubbed her eyes, blinking at the baku.

"Tsukishiro-sama?" she said again, looking around to see, with surprise, that it was still night. "What's the matter? Do you need help with something?"

He hesitated, then, averting his eyes from hers. He almost looked embarrassed, which was unusual to say in the least. After a few seconds of silence, he closed his eyes, his eyebrows knitting together in an expression of frustration and he sighed.

"I've decided," he began icily, "that you spend too much time with me."

Hoshiko blinked. "Ah? What do you mean?"

He looked back up at her, his face unreadable. "You don't realize what I am to other humans. You don't fit. One day, Hoshiko, I'm going to leave. It gets boring, being in one place all the time. And when I leave, I won't take you with me. I want-"

He paused, as though he couldn't believe what he was about to say, "I want you to be a human."

Hoshiko stared at him for a moment, then laughed, albeit somewhat nervously. She shook her head, sending her pale blond hair in disjointed ripples from the mess she'd thrown it into from sleeping. "But I am a human," she replied. "You say so yourself, all the time, Tsukishiro-sama."

"No. You're not. You are not normal," he replied sharply. "You need to learn. Which is why…"

He looked to the side again and mumbled the last part. Hoshiko wasn't sure what to make of his behavior. It was like he was having an internal war over something.

"What's the yukata for, Tsukishiro-sama?" she asked carefully, pulling on it gently to remind him of its existence. "Which is why what?"

"I…I'm…taking you to the…festival…" he mumbled, his tone almost dangerous. It was obvious now that he'd rather go anywhere else. Anywhere but a place filled with laughing humans, and not a bite to be had of nightmares. "And that's why I have this…"

He stood up and turned to leave, quite suddenly, his expression full of thunder. Hoshiko felt that she couldn't make head nor tail of what he was trying to get at, but at the word 'festival', her heart lept. She'd seen it, sometimes, when she couldn't sleep; the bright lights, the laughter, the song, drifting up to her lonely room. But she had never asked him to go, knowing that her place wasn't with them, but here, to serve him.


"Put it on." He interrupted, tossing the yukata at her from the doorway. "We leave in five minutes."

The yukata flew through the air like a shimmering koi of its pattern and landed wispily on Hoshiko's head, sending a few stray hairs of hers drifting about. She looked at Tsukishiro for a moment, stunned. Why was he doing this? Of course, he'd said it was for when he left, but he really wasn't going to leave, was he?

Panic wrapped its icy fingers around her throat and she reached out for him, crying, "Wait! Tsukishiro-sama!"

He stuck his head back in, leaning on his cane for balance. "What is it?"

"I…I…" Hoshiko took a breath. "Thank you. It's beautiful."

He blinked lazily at her, not unlike a cat's blink, then pulled back to the hallway and called, "Five minutes, girl, or I'm leaving you here."

Hoshiko felt a faint smile tinge her lips. He's glad I like it, she thought to herself. She buried her face in the silken fabric and inhaled deeply, breathing in the strange smell of it. It was an act of kindness, she knew. They were rare, but they existed, and she treasured every moment of it.

"Yes, Tsukishiro-sama," she replied to the empty air. "I won't be late."

*Kuso= Dammit

A/N: Know your swear words, kids. I actually caught that one from DRRR. 8D It was a learning experience. I now can say, "dammit, Izaya" in Japanese. Woo. *waves small victory flag* I don't really like this chapter. It's necessary for the scenes that come after, but I it's my least favorite so far.

Their relationship is really difficult to accurately portray.