* Hanaai has had a month to mourn the death of her husband by now, and is much more calmer in general, though still sad, of course
* Gyoshoku has mapped the house very well by now and can move around pretty confidently, but is still a little wary about going outside alone, as such, he is sitting in the open door, meditating, to take advantage of the fresh air
* Hanaai got Kumiko to babysit her children and is going to find Gyo now
* Gyoshoku has gotten back into the habit of meditating every day, and of practicing his martial arts, the shrine has relieved him of all duties, but continues to send his portion of the offerings
* Hanaai finds him, sitting in the door
* Hanaai smiles slightly and walks closer slowly, not wanting to disturbe him while he's meditating
* Gyoshoku senses her aura approaching and brings himself out of meditation, turns to "look" in her direction
<Gyoshoku> you were faster than I expected
<Hanaai> I guess I wanted to see you...
* Gyoshoku smiles a bit
* Hanaai falls to her knees next to him and hugs him
* Gyoshoku smiles wider and hugs her back
<Gyoshoku> hello, my sweet flower
<Hanaai> Hey dad... how're you doing today?
* Gyoshoku has been used to seeing Hana at least once a week, if not more, so this month seems long to him
<Gyoshoku> better... fine... as fine as I'm going to get, anyway
<Hanaai> well... that's good
<Hanaai> I've missed you
<Gyoshoku> I've missed you, too, little one
<Gyoshoku> more than I knew until just now
<Gyoshoku> I wish I could see your face
<Hanaai> I'm still me...
<Hanaai> though... I'm not really little any more, I don't think...
<Hanaai> I feel very grown up, at least... more so than I want to
* Gyoshoku sighs
<Gyoshoku> you'll always be my baby, but you're right, you're not a child
<Gyoshoku> you've survived an adult's sorrows
* Hanaai nods slowly
<Hanaai> at least I didn't lose you, too...
<Gyoshoku> my poor darling
* Hanaai can feel her eyes welling up, tries to blink the tears back
<Gyoshoku> it's not supposed to be that way
<Gyoshoku> the old are supposed to die and the young to live on, I'm sorry
<Hanaai> dad... don't apologise for living... please...
<Gyoshoku> alright, but I wish you could understand how painful it is for me to know I failed to save the man you loved
<Hanaai> I think I do...
* Hanaai sniffles and hugs tighter
* Gyoshoku hugs tighter back and then pulls away and smiles at her
<Gyoshoku> no more crying
<Hanaai> I can't help it...
<Gyoshoku> I know
* Gyoshoku keeps one hand on her shoulder and feels his way to her cheek with his other, wipes her tears away
<Gyoshoku> at least you have the girls, and they will always be a piece of him you can cherish
<Hanaai> Yeah... yeah... they are...
<Gyoshoku> how are they doing?
<Hanaai> well... they miss him...
<Gyoshoku> of course
<Hanaai> explaining death to a pair of two-year-olds...
* Gyoshoku frowns and nods
<Gyoshoku> hold on a second, dear, let's go inside
* Gyoshoku reaches over and finds his shakujou, uses it to help him to his feet and then steps back into the house
<Hanaai> do you need any help...?
<Gyoshoku> you sound like your mother
<Gyoshoku> no, not inside the house
<Gyoshoku> I have it pretty much figured out now
<Hanaai> well... you never have to doubt me being her child, do you?
<Gyoshoku> no, and I never did
* Hanaai wipes her eyes. "Good..."
<Gyoshoku> come on inside
<Gyoshoku> your mother left the kettle on, and warned me not to touch it
<Gyoshoku> so if you could pour the water, we'll have some tea
* Hanaai sniffles and then laughs slightly
<Hanaai> Yeah, I think I can handle pouring some water
<Gyoshoku> she's never trusted me in the kitchen, and she's certainly not going to start now that I can't see
<Hanaai> well... I've tasted your cooking, at some point
<Hanaai> and much as I like to idolise my beloved father...
<Gyoshoku> I have to cook at least once for each of my children to teach you that none of us is perfect *smiles*
* Gyoshoku makes his way to the table and sits on a cushion there, using the shakujou only minimally, but counting under his breath
* Hanaai goes about fixing the tea
<Gyoshoku> you should have seen me when I was first learning my way around again
<Gyoshoku> I mean, I thought I knew where things were
<Gyoshoku> but it's surprisingly easy to get turned around
<Gyoshoku> and your mother would make such a fuss every time I fell over something, heh
<Hanaai> ah, that's why she told me not to move anything...
<Gyoshoku> yeah, I'm afraid, it's the only way I can navigate
<Hanaai> Don't worry, I won't...
<Gyoshoku> I trust you
<Gyoshoku> but, well, until the girls are older, it's better they stay away
<Gyoshoku> I really want to see them
<Gyoshoku> and I will, when I'm more confident
<Hanaai> they tend to move around alot...
* Gyoshoku smiles "Of course they do"
<Gyoshoku> will you tell me if you notice me closing my eyes? I do it without thinking about it, but when I go out and meet people, I want to look as normal as possible...so I'm trying to remember to keep them open more
* Hanaai picks up a cup. "Here's your tea..."
<Gyoshoku> set it in front of me please, just here *points to a spot on the table*
<Gyoshoku> I have to keep place settings the same too, heh
<Hanaai> Ah, alright
* Hanaai puts it on the spot he pointed out to her
* Gyoshoku smiles at what he hopes is her face
<Hanaai> You're welcome
* Hanaai sits down next to him
<Gyoshoku> so, how are you, really?
<Gyoshoku> I know you put on a brave face for everyone...
<Hanaai> Heh... that obvious, huh?
<Gyoshoku> I've known you all your life
<Gyoshoku> besides, it's what your mother would do
<Hanaai> yeah... well... I miss him... it's like someone reached into me and ripped out my heart...
* Gyoshoku frowns and feels over for her hand, takes it in his
<Gyoshoku> I can only imagine...
<Hanaai> like... like I'll never ever be complete again...
<Gyoshoku> you feel as if your world has changed forever, and it has
<Gyoshoku> when I was a few years older than you are, I lost everyone I cared about in one day
* Hanaai blinks at him
<Gyoshoku> it's... it's not exactly the same, because they weren't my soul mates, but they were my family
<Hanaai> oh... yeah...
* Hanaai squeezes his hand
* Gyoshoku squeezes back
<Gyoshoku> it was devestating, and even though other things grew in my heart, nothing has ever filled the hole they left
<Gyoshoku> nor should it
<Gyoshoku> if we could replace people, they wouldn't be special
<Gyoshoku> all I can tell you is that it will never stop hurting, but you will stop feeling it all the time, until one day it's an awful feeling that happens once a day, and then less often
<Hanaai> ...it doesn't feel like that right now...
<Gyoshoku> I know
<Gyoshoku> you think about him all the time right now, and that's normal
<Hanaai> I try to keep myself occupied, and still...
<Gyoshoku> everything reminds you, ne?
* Gyoshoku nods
<Hanaai> I try to focus on the girls... and they remind me of him the most... I try to clean the place... and everywhere, I can see him
<Gyoshoku> my poor little girl, I wish I could speed up time for you
<Gyoshoku> unfortunately, this is a world of loss
<Gyoshoku> it's easy to tell you to be thankful for what you still have, but much harder to feel it
<Hanaai> yeah... I am thankful... but... it doesn't help with the pain...
<Gyoshoku> nothing anyone can say will do that
<Gyoshoku> nothing you can do will take it away
<Gyoshoku> you just have to live through it
<Hanaai> yeah... I know...
<Gyoshoku> I've started so many times to write a letter of condolence to Dai and Kai... well, dictate one, anyway... but I don't know what I can say that will be adequate
<Gyoshoku> just like I don't know any magic words that will help you
<Hanaai> No... nor can any words get you to regain your vision...
<Gyoshoku> my loss is a small one compared to yours
<Gyoshoku> at least, it seems like it should be
<Hanaai> It's still a big one...
* Gyoshoku shrugs
<Gyoshoku> I'm trying not to let it get me down
<Hanaai> I know...
<Gyoshoku> don't waste your sympathy on me
<Hanaai> putting on a brave face for everybody?
<Gyoshoku> heh... maybe
<Gyoshoku> or maybe just deciding that it's better to heal and learn to cope than sit in my imposed darkness and waste my life
* Hanaai hugs him again
* Gyoshoku hugs back
<Hanaai> just like I have to do, huh...?
* Gyoshoku kisses her cheek
<Gyoshoku> you are the daughter of the strongest woman I know... and you're too like her to give up on life
<Gyoshoku> people laugh when I say that about your mother, but she's lived through things that have worn other people down
<Hanaai> she is strong...
<Gyoshoku> yes, she is
<Gyoshoku> though she'd deny it
<Hanaai> tell me, please... more about how strong she is...
* Gyoshoku sits back on his heels and thinks for a moment
<Gyoshoku> did she ever tell you about what happened after little Himura died?
<Hanaai> I don't remember...
<Gyoshoku> she doesn't talk about it much
<Gyoshoku> but I thought maybe she'd have told you
<Hanaai> no... not that I remember, no...
<Gyoshoku> then I will tell you now
<Gyoshoku> as you know, it was before either you or Amida were conceived that he was born
<Gyoshoku> it was never an easy pregnancy because we were on the road when we found out and conditions weren't the best by any means
<Gyoshoku> we got back before the last few months, though, and I tried to make her rest
<Hanaai> make mom rest...
<Gyoshoku> but there was a house to take care of, two young children, a half wild youkai and a hanyou growing stronger by the day to tend to, and I had work
<Hanaai> heh... not easy to rest among that...
<Gyoshoku> Saku-chan tried to help as much as she could, of course
<Gyoshoku> and other people helped as well, friends from the village
<Hanaai> Saku-chan's great...
* Gyoshoku smiles a bit
<Gyoshoku> but I never felt good about it, your mother wasn't gaining enough weight, she seemed tired all the time and far too pale
<Gyoshoku> so I was very happy when he was born, and both of them came through it just fine
<Hanaai> poor mom...
<Hanaai> I thought he was stillborn...?
<Gyoshoku> no, he lived... lived for 7 hours
<Gyoshoku> and when he died, in her arms, she would not let go of him
<Gyoshoku> I begged and pleaded with her to let me take him, perform the rites, but she wouldn't let him go
<Gyoshoku> she held him like that, to her chest, all night, and neither of us slept a wink
<Gyoshoku> and then, the next morning, when the sun came up she called me over
* Hanaai nods slowly
<Gyoshoku> she kissed his forehead and placed him in my arms, told me... told me she knew she would meet him again in the next life... asked me never to speak of his short life, of what she thought of as her failure to keep him alive... and I haven't, not before today
<Hanaai> oh... poor mom...
* Hanaai sniffles
<Gyoshoku> and then asked for Aiko, and I never saw her cry for him again
<Gyoshoku> I knew her heart was broken, but... for Aiko and Maruppe, for me, I'm sure, she just went on
<Gyoshoku> I'd catch her staring sometimes, fingering a baby garment, or putting away one of Aiko's dolls... but she never let it stop her
<Hanaai> She is strong...
* Hanaai takes a deep breath
<Gyoshoku> I asked her about it, much later
<Hanaai> what did she say?
<Gyoshoku> she told me that she had cried, but only when I was asleep, and that her consolation was knowing that there would be others... she relied on you and Amida, even before she knew you
* Hanaai nods and hugs again... is rather clingy right now
<Hanaai> well... I'm glad if I helped her, then...
<Gyoshoku> you did more for her than I could and you weren't even born yet
<Gyoshoku> she didn't want me to mourn too much, I think
<Gyoshoku> she was always more careful of my feelings than her own
* Hanaai nods
<Gyoshoku> there are other stories
<Gyoshoku> so many times I thought she would break and she was my strength instead
<Gyoshoku> that's the kind of power you have in you, Hana
<Hanaai> I don't know if I'm that strong...
<Hanaai> I guess... I guess I'll find out
<Gyoshoku> you are, darling
<Gyoshoku> I've seen it in you
<Gyoshoku> you will be as strong as you have to be for those little girls
<Hanaai> I can't leave them all alone in the world, heh
* Gyoshoku hugs her tightly and then turns and picks up his tea, sipping it slowly
<Gyoshoku> of course you can't
<Gyoshoku> it doesn't mean you can't take time out for you, though
<Gyoshoku> I hope you will rely on us more than your mother did on me
<Gyoshoku> we're strong enough to take it
<Hanaai> Alright... I'll remember that
<Gyoshoku> good girl
<Hanaai> Maruppe... was here... visiting you, last time he came through... wasn't he?
* Gyoshoku sighs a bit and sets his tea down
<Gyoshoku> hai... sort of
<Hanaai> sort of?
<Hanaai> he was sort of here?
<Gyoshoku> he was here, it was only sort of a visit
<Hanaai> hmmm... alright
<Gyoshoku> did he at least stay and talk to you?
<Hanaai> a while, yeah...
<Hanaai> he brought another girl... did someone tell you yet?
<Gyoshoku> he told me
<Gyoshoku> has she had the child yet?
<Hanaai> no... she's expecting any day now, though...
* Gyoshoku nods and sips again
<Gyoshoku> what's she like?
<Gyoshoku> pale and thin like the others?
<Hanaai> heh, no... or, not quite as much so as the others
<Gyoshoku> that's good, I guess
<Hanaai> I mean... she's not dark-skinned and fat, heh
<Gyoshoku> it's hard to tell before the baby comes
<Hanaai> but she's got a bit more colour, and a bit more weight than the others did...
* Gyoshoku nods
<Hanaai> and she really seems to enjoy helping out at the teahouse...
<Gyoshoku> wow, that's a change
<Hanaai> she's a good cook... not very talkactive, but... nice
* Gyoshoku hmms
<Gyoshoku> well, maybe his taste is getting better with time
<Hanaai> maybe he'll even find the right one eventually...
<Hanaai> though she'd have to be, like... as perfect as mom...
* Gyoshoku sighs
<Gyoshoku> good luck with that
<Gyoshoku> he all but told me not to hold my breath waiting for him to settle down
<Gyoshoku> I don't know who he's trying to hurt more sometimes, me or himself
* Hanaai bites her lip
<Hanaai> sometimes... I wish I knew what it was... all this... why he's so mad...
<Gyoshoku> it doesn't matter...
<Hanaai> it doesn't?
<Gyoshoku> would it make any difference if you knew?
<Hanaai> he's been gone... nine years... that's half my life...
* Hanaai sighs
<Hanaai> I don't know... maybe it wouldn't
<Hanaai> and if you don't want to tell me... or don't think it's necessary... I trust your judgement
<Gyoshoku> I don't
<Gyoshoku> not about him
<Hanaai> stop talking in riddles, dad...
* Hanaai realises her tea is going cold, and drinks some of it
<Gyoshoku> fine... what do you want to know?
<Hanaai> I don't know... *bites her lip*
<Gyoshoku> I can hardly answer a question you don't know
<Hanaai> I guess... I want to know why he's angry...
<Gyoshoku> because he thinks I betrayed him
* Hanaai frowns slightly
<Gyoshoku> because I lied to him about who his parents were...
<Gyoshoku> sort of
<Hanaai> you did?
<Hanaai> I didn't know you told him anything about them...?
<Gyoshoku> I didn't
<Gyoshoku> and that was the lie, because I knew them
<Hanaai> so... because you didn't tell him anything about his parents... even though you knew them... he thinks you betrayed him?
* Gyoshoku sighs again, wonders if he should just... come clean entirely
* Gyoshoku finds this a lot more difficult than anticipated
<Gyoshoku> that's... well, it's not all of it
* Hanaai nods slowly and then realises he can't see it
<Hanaai> yeah... I kind of guessed...
<Hanaai> you don't have to tell me the full story, if you don't want to, dad
* Gyoshoku rests his head in his hand and leans his elbow against the table
<Gyoshoku> you should know... you're not a child anymore
<Gyoshoku> I just... I do so like you thinking well of me
* Hanaai hugs him
* Gyoshoku pats her back
<Hanaai> mom knows about it, right?
<Gyoshoku> she does
<Hanaai> and she has forgiven you?
<Gyoshoku> she has
<Hanaai> then so can I
* Gyoshoku takes a deep breath
<Gyoshoku> you remember the... uh... the girl, Kurousagi
<Gyoshoku> well, remember her name anyway
<Hanaai> yeah... a... kuromiko, right?
<Hanaai> at the time you and mom met?
<Gyoshoku> she worked with Kagai, did a lot of his dirty work
<Gyoshoku> and I wanted to save her, you know? I'm telling this all backwards *sighs*
<Hanaai> heh... you were always a hero...
<Hanaai> so... so she... she's his mother?
<Gyoshoku> and I'm his father
<Hanaai> but he... is younger than Aiko...
<Gyoshoku> *deep breath* hai
<Hanaai> what happened to her?
<Gyoshoku> she died
<Gyoshoku> she escaped from prison and died after giving birth
<Gyoshoku> and no, I didn't have my way with her in prison, if that's your next question
<Hanaai> no... I wasn't going to ask that...
<Hanaai> she escaped while fully pregnant?
<Gyoshoku> yep, she was resourceful
<Gyoshoku> and stupid
<Gyoshoku> terminally stupid it turned out
<Gyoshoku> ok, that's not fair, she wasn't stupid so much as... incredibly selfish and prideful
<Gyoshoku> and no one thinks they are really mortal when they're 15
<Hanaai> she was fifteen?
* Gyoshoku sinks lower
<Gyoshoku> she, uh... she had this facination with me
<Hanaai> well... you're an interesting character
<Gyoshoku> I guess...
<Gyoshoku> we met when I went to find out what had happened to the other monks
<Hanaai> that was... Kagai's doing... right?
* Gyoshoku nods
<Gyoshoku> and probably hers
<Hanaai> she was there with him?
<Hanaai> oh... right
* Gyoshoku nods again
<Gyoshoku> and there she was, fragile and delicate and deceptively comforting
<Gyoshoku> this was before I really knew your mother at all
<Gyoshoku> and after that she kept... appearing
<Gyoshoku> she'd say she was being held against her will, she faked her own death, she made me think she was carrying my child... she loved to torture me
<Hanaai> a pathological liar
<Gyoshoku> and all this time, I'm falling in love with Kumiko, which I think only made her more facinated
<Gyoshoku> so, there comes a time when I decide to help a youkai break free of Kagai...
<Gyoshoku> it was dangerous and stupid and he died later anyway, but at the time it seemed right
<Hanaai> yeah... you told us to always do what seems right...
* Gyoshoku chuckles wryly
<Hanaai> so... you were helping this youkai break free...
<Gyoshoku> your mother was pregnant with Aiko at the time, and I was afraid to leave her, but time was short and everything seems so immediate when you're young
<Hanaai> oooh, wait
<Hanaai> wasn't that something with Saku-chan, too?
<Hanaai> I heard about it, some time... I don't remember, though...
<Gyoshoku> so I helped him, and in the process drained away all of my spiritual energy
<Gyoshoku> somehow, Kurousagi found out I was the one who had orchestrated the attack against her master, so she decided to punish me
<Gyoshoku> she was very skilled with mind manipulation, and I was powerless to fight her, being as drained as I was
<Hanaai> oh... that's... gods
* Gyoshoku swallows hard and takes a deep breath
* Hanaai puts her arm around Gyo
<Gyoshoku> it was a long time ago
<Hanaai> still... that's just...
<Hanaai> I guess I do see why Maruppe'd be upset, now...
<Hanaai> kind of, at least
<Gyoshoku> he was conceived through deception, not love... it's not something anyone would be proud of
<Gyoshoku> I never held his parentage against him, though... and neither did your mother
<Gyoshoku> we loved him...
<Gyoshoku> but he can't see past his hurt
<Gyoshoku> maybe it would have been better never to tell him, but he kept looking more and more like me every year
<Hanaai> yeah... he does
<Hanaai> his eyes are the only thing that doesn't really look very much like you...
<Gyoshoku> they look like hers
<Gyoshoku> there were sure to be questions
<Gyoshoku> and I didn't want him to hear it from someone else
<Gyoshoku> no one but a few of us know what really happened
<Gyoshoku> most people, including your uncle, just assumed I stepped out on your mother, though she was polite enough never to name me as the father
<Hanaai> but those suspicions were... probably not helped by the fact that you brought him in and raised him as your own, huh?
<Gyoshoku> there were certainly some raised eyebrows
<Gyoshoku> and I always meant to foster him away
<Hanaai> what happened?
<Gyoshoku> once I held him... surely you remember what it's like to hold your child for the first time
<Hanaai> of course...
<Gyoshoku> he was so small and frail... and he wouldn't eat
<Gyoshoku> so... I brought him home... I figured I would find him a nurse in the morning...
<Gyoshoku> I never should have brought him here
* Gyoshoku nods
<Gyoshoku> she told me she couldn't let him go
<Gyoshoku> I should have insisted, but I wanted to keep him just as much
<Gyoshoku> it was wrong, and I was weak... he'd have been spared so much pain raised away from here
<Gyoshoku> but then, who knows, he might never have been really loved
<Hanaai> yeah... it's a hard situation...
<Gyoshoku> I had a thing for taking in orphans anyway
<Gyoshoku> but my own son? I couldn't stand it....
<Hanaai> heh... Saku-chan and Seisui-chan, huh?
<Hanaai> that scar you have... on your chest...
<Hanaai> was that the time you got it?
<Hanaai> I think Sakuchan said something about a certain houshi-baka cutting up his own chest while she was off nearly getting killed by other youkai, some time...
* Gyoshoku smiles slightly
<Gyoshoku> I did this so she would never be able to manipulate my mind again *puts his hand over the scar*
<Gyoshoku> and it allowed me to capture her
<Hanaai> and mom... has her necklace, huh?
* Gyoshoku chuckles
<Gyoshoku> I can't believe she still wears it
<Hanaai> it's the first thing you got her, right?
<Gyoshoku> not quite
<Gyoshoku> the first thing I got her was a cherry
<Gyoshoku> but the second, yes
<Hanaai> you GOT her a cherry?
* Hanaai has grown up as Gyo's daughter, can't help herself
* Gyoshoku laughs
<Gyoshoku> I'll have you know I climbed a tree and retrieved it for her
<Hanaai> that's very impressive, dad
<Gyoshoku> oh yes
<Hanaai> tree-climbing is, after all, so dangerous
<Hanaai> or so you told me when I was three and following Amida everywhere
<Gyoshoku> for you at the time, it was quite the peril
<Gyoshoku> though, to be honest, when I climbed that tree, it was mostly to keep Seisui-chan busy...
<Hanaai> no matter how high I climbed, it seemed you could always get me down again without even having to stretch particulary...
<Gyoshoku> you have to remember that high is a very relative term
<Gyoshoku> anyway, the necklace was the first thoughtful gift I gave her
<Hanaai> yeah... I know
<Gyoshoku> but I never expected her to wear it this long
<Hanaai> then again... you didn't expect her to want you for life, either, did you?
<Gyoshoku> though, even I must admit, I was a hell of a good time back then *teasing smile*
<Hanaai> well... I wouldn't know about that
<Hanaai> not being born then
<Hanaai> but I know you're a good horse
<Hanaai> and a very tall one
* Gyoshoku makes a horse noise
* Hanaai hugs him
* Gyoshoku hugs back
<Hanaai> I love you, dad
<Gyoshoku> and I'm constantly amazed by it
<Hanaai> and this... with Maruppe... doesn't change that in any way
* Gyoshoku hugs tighter
<Gyoshoku> thank you for saying so
<Hanaai> Always, dad...
<Gyoshoku> Amida knows, he asked me years ago
<Gyoshoku> I guess it's just Aiko now, and she'll never ask me
<Gyoshoku> I think she still blames me, somehow
<Hanaai> those first kids you made weren't as perfect as us younger ones... they're so stubborn, ne?
<Gyoshoku> watch out you don't jynx yourself
<Gyoshoku> it was that they grew up together
<Hanaai> I know... I'm being silly
<Hanaai> it's in my blood, I think
<Gyoshoku> I wouldn't doubt it
<Gyoshoku> I'm just saying, watch out... twins don't get any easier as they get older
<Hanaai> I trust you...
<Hanaai> also... I do know my fathers in law, you know
<Gyoshoku> how are they, by the way?
<Hanaai> sad, of course...
<Hanaai> but very supportive... of eachother, and me...
<Gyoshoku> have you figured out if Mai and Tai are mind talking yet?
<Hanaai> Heh... I think they are, yeah
<Hanaai> I'm not fully sure, yet, but... the signs are there
<Gyoshoku> well, I guess that's good... I mean, it should cheer their grandfathers up
<Hanaai> yeah, heh
<Gyoshoku> they've been dying to know for ages now
<Hanaai> they keep offering to babysit them
<Hanaai> and I know they always have work to do, heh
<Gyoshoku> very talented, those two...
<Gyoshoku> I never knew what they saw in that slayer, either, but, to each their own... or.. um... to the two of them, anyway
<Hanaai> heh... well...
<Hanaai> maybe they saw everything good that'd come from it... like...
<Hanaai> like my husband... and our children, in turn...
<Gyoshoku> I suppose so
<Gyoshoku> and she wasn't a bad person
<Gyoshoku> just never someone I thought of as... interesting
<Hanaai> heh... some people'd say mom isn't very interesting...
<Hanaai> which shows what they know
* Gyoshoku chuckles
<Gyoshoku> alright, alright
<Gyoshoku> you win, as usual
* Gyoshoku smiles at her
* Hanaai kisses his cheek
<Gyoshoku> you know, I'm very proud of you
<Hanaai> I know
<Gyoshoku> and the latest letter from Aiko is here. your mother already read it to me, so if you want to take and read it, you can
<Hanaai> has she had the child yet?
<Gyoshoku> not yet, at the time of writing
<Hanaai> oh... alright
<Hanaai> I guess next time we hear from her, she will...
<Gyoshoku> I wish I could go and be with her
<Gyoshoku> I know your mother wishes the same
<Hanaai> then again... I also guess once we hear about it, you will waste no time in letting us know
<Hanaai> I know...
<Gyoshoku> I dreamed of her child... it's never something I've done before
<Gyoshoku> but I know this one will live *smiles*
* Hanaai smiles
<Gyoshoku> you'd better go before it starts to get dark
<Hanaai> yeah... I know
<Hanaai> I'll be back sometime soon, though
<Gyoshoku> and I'll visit you as soon as I am able
<Hanaai> even if it means letting the tailors take care of the girls
* Gyoshoku grins and hugs her
* Hanaai hugs back
<Gyoshoku> there are worse fates
<Gyoshoku> I love you, Hanaai
<Hanaai> and I love you, daddy
<Gyoshoku> take care
<Hanaai> and you
* Hanaai hugs him slightly tighter, then lets go and gets up
* Gyoshoku lets go and gets to his feet, walking her to the door
<Hanaai> I'm sure mom will be able to tell you even more about the girls, once she gets home
<Gyoshoku> I look forward to it
<Gyoshoku> send someone with her if it's too dark, alright
<Gyoshoku> she thinks she's stronger than she is
<Hanaai> and maybe about Suzume, if she managed to get her to speak...
<Hanaai> of course
<Hanaai> who do you take me for, some kind of irresponsible child of yo---
* Gyoshoku grins
<Gyoshoku> off with you before I decide to cook you dinner
* Hanaai reaches up, tugs at his collar until his cheek gets to the right height, and kisses it
<Hanaai> bye, dad
<Gyoshoku> bye, little one
<Hanaai> until next time
* Gyoshoku kisses her cheek in return and then stands up again
* Hanaai heads off, feeling slightly better than she did when she got here, actually :)
<Hanaai> I'll say hi to the girls from you?
* Gyoshoku is very happy she visited, and hopes he managed to cheer her
<Gyoshoku> you'd better
* Gyoshoku waves and then heads back inside
* Hanaai walks off!