His heart almost stops when he feels her tense up and move to try something. Granted, the control she has over her reiatsu is superb, and only the tiniest fluctuation can be felt, but felt it he did.

And if he had, then so had Yama-jii.

He sees it with the eyes on the back of his head, sees her crumple and fall and barely keep from breaking, and it is all he can do to get there in time.

She gasps for breath in his arms, says nothing but trembles, shakes and looks like the frail almost child that she is.

He scoops her away, keeps her safe, and returns to the standoff. He would think about her, but there is no time to think when one's life dangles by a thread.


It is not until much later that he begins to wonder what it was that she had been thinking of doing.

An opening, whispers Katen Kyokotsu. She would have done anything for an opening for the two of you to use.

It is what you would have expected her to do.

An opening against Yama-jii?

His heart constricts with a painful, sinking clench.

He knows what it takes to get an opening, he knows what she thinks it takes to get an opening.

Yes, Katen Kyokotsu whispers, a low, slow hiss, dangerous and insinuating things he dare not imagine.

You know she would have done it if she could have.

She followed you there.

She would follow you anywhere.