Safe in his arms

Lightning flash just outside as rain pattered down harshly against the window panes and on the roof. First sharks, now storms, Kenichi grumbled. This was supposed to be a vacation. While it had its benifits such as swimming and what not, kenichi still could not help but shiver. He nearly Honoka that day. Thunder sounded, louder than he had ever heard. Making him jump. I better check on Honoka-

"Onii-chan...?" voice whispered timidly.

"Hmm... Honoka?" he questioned, yawning as he sat up, "why are you up?"

"I can't sleep." Thunder sounded again and Honoka squeaked with fright and hugged her brother. Kenichi was taken aback; while Honoka was clingy, it had been at least a year since she clung to him in fright. Kenichi sighed patiently and tilted her chin so she could look at him in the eyes. Kenichi looked into those sad violet eyes that were desperately trying to hold back tears and were failing. "Honoka, what's wrong?"

"I'm scared..." she whimpered, "I don't want that, I want to be strong. I want to be strong like Onii-chan... I want strength and courage like Onii-chan..."

Inside, Kenichi was crying. My baby sister is so strong!

He what he said Akisame Koetsuji only weeks ago how he needed strength and courage, he had never thought his sister would say those words to him.

"I'll talk with Koetsuji-shishou when you're my age," he told her gently, "Until then, while I'm still home you don't need to worry," Kenichi murmured, pushing aside a strand of hair from her face, "Onii-chan is here.. I will always be here for you..." He brought her close and placed her on his lap, like he used to do when she was little and sang her a lullaby he got off the internet. He had to ask, albeit reluctantly, Niijima to translate it. Niijima had blackmailed him for two weeks for being a good big brother but it was worth it. Honoka did not have to experience bullies like he had.

Thus he began in a low soft voice...

Little child, be not afraid
though rain pounds harshly against the glass
like an unwanted stranger, there is no danger
I am here tonight

Little child, be not afraid
though thunder explodes and lightning flash
illuminates your tear-stained face
I am here tonight

Kenichi dried her tears and smiled at her. Honoka stopped sniffling after awhile, remembering how he used to smile at her. It was among the few memories she had as a baby. Her big brother looking down at her from the side of the cradle and making funny faces so she would laugh.

and someday you'll know
that nature is so
the same rain that draws you near me
falls on rivers and land
on forests and sand
makes the beautiful world that you'll see
in the morning

Honoka's eyes drooped further as she snuggled closer to Kenichi's warm embrace. Though his muscles were getting harder, they held the same strength and she had searched for as a little child.

little child, be not afraid
though storm clouds mask your beloved moon
and its candlelight beams, still keep pleasant dreams
I am here tonight

little child, be not afraid
though wind makes creatures of our trees
and their branches to hands, they're not real, understand
and I am here tonight

for you know, once even I was a
little child, and I was afraid

He tapped Honoka's nose, making her giggle remembering all too well how scared he was – even now.

but a gentle someone always came
to dry all my tears, trade sweet sleep for fears
and to give a kiss goodnight

well now I am grown
and these years have shown
that rain's a part of how life goes
but it's dark and it's late
so I'll hold you and wait
'til your frightened eyes do close

and I hope that you'll know...

Honoka joined in then. Her brow touching Kenichi's.

everything's fine in the morning
the rain'll be gone in the morning
but I'll still be here in the morning

"I love you, Onii-chan," Honoka whispered as she fell asleep, feeling safe in his arms.

Kenichi draped his blanket around Honoka and himself before going back to sleep. There was going to be training in the morning but for the moment, Honoka was important. Honoka needed her big brother, and he was going to be there until she was strong enough to protect herself.