It was always curious watching them. Jasper had puzzled as a child, that hands could really be that interesting, that they could hold the interest of these two such intelligent adults for so long. He remembered, very early on, watching his mother and Cyrus, sitting in two armchairs in the living room next to each other, with a table between them, reading, not looking at each other, and below the table, their fingers would be entwined.

He had always imagined that they were carrying on some secret conversation, talking in some way that only they could understand. Hikari always looked so peaceful when they were like that, so calm. He wondered, always, why she didn't look like that all the time, why only during those moments, when she was just barely touching that tall, silent man, did she look so particularly content?

He found her one afternoon, when he came in from playing with Anshar in the backyard, napping in the sunlight, stretched out on the chaise lounge in the library. She had a book open on her chest, and the light surrounded her like a golden aura. One hand was hanging out over the edge, next to her face, the other stretched over the cover of the book. He padded in, and stood next to her, looking at her hand. What was so special about it?

He reached out, gently pulling on her, stretching her hand out to examine it.

Blue eyes fluttered open. "Hello, Jasper."

"Hello, Mom." It was only recently that he had begun calling her "mom" instead of "mommy", and she smiled wryly. She still had moments of disappointment at the change in title, but she mostly took it in stride.

She straightened her hand, and pressed her palm against his. "See how different they are, Jasper? You'll have big hands when you're grown up. And you have my fingers already, you're lucky. They're elegant, and they'll be even more so if you can stop biting your nails." She drew his hand to her mouth and pressed a single kiss to the tip of each finger. "I suppose you picked that up from me."

He was silent, mesmerized, as she spoke to him, teaching him the language of touch, all without once opening her mouth to talk.