❀Returning to the place called Home || SanoxKuro❀
Sano listened carefully, paying attention to which ones responded to each name. The dark-haired one… Kohaku. The one who looked a bit more like himself… Takeshiro… And the daughter in his arms was Yue. He looked down at them with a smile. “You haven’t finished eating yet? Well I guess that should come before the grand tour.” He glanced up just in time to see Kuro’s worried glance. “Oh, I’m starved,” he assured her. “I haven’t eaten since yesterday morning. Came straight here from the camp.”
Sano entered the manor carefully, stopping the kids for a moment to let him remove his boots. He saw an elderly-looking woman ahead of them and assumed this was the lady named Nana Kuro had just told him about. He bowed his head in greeting as much as he could without spilling Yue from his arms.
He set her down once they entered a room with a table set for breakfast. He followed Kuro in, waiting for her to gesture to which seat was meant for him. It felt strange to re-enter his own life like this, but he didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes for some reason. It was short pauses like this when he wondered where the children slept and if Kuro had been sleeping alone in a double-sized futon… Once gestured to, he sat down with a slightly awkward smile. “Itadakimasu,” he said as he picked up his chopsticks. The food was much better than what he’d been eating at war, and that alone made him much more at home.
Oh jeez. He really should be resting after such a trip. No way the camp had been anywhere close to here. She simply sighed and put on a more serene facade as they entered their home. She followed Nana, or rather- was lead to the dining room via her boys. Once entering the room, the boys went to their assigned seat and after Sano lowered down Yue, she sat returned to sit by her two brothers.
“Itadakimasu~!” Chorused the kids, Nana and Kuro choosing to murmur it softly. The meal was eaten rather peacefully, and the vixen had to admit that eating with the family as whole felt.. Complete. Nice.
Ignoring how Kohaku would sometimes swipe something from Takeshiro. Though Yue kept them in line with her telekinetic ability in swatting their ears with their chopsticks. Something the girl learned to do in her mother’s absence, but she let it slide while finishing her meal. Her only response to the behavior was a faint snicker.
Once done, Nana rose up from her seat. “Well then, I’ll take care of these. I’m sure the children wish to show their Father around the house, yes?”
“Hai!” The children nodded, urging Sano and Kurohime to their feet. “Easy children, you just finished eating now. Moi, you shouldn’t be so hyper.”
“We’re just energetic~” Takeshiro grinned, his brother blinking innocently then, queing the same response from his siblings as they gazed at their parents. Ear’s down and tails swaying.
“Pleaaaase~~~” They cried, adding a purr to their voices. Immediately, Kuro’s own fox ear’s emerged from her dark hair as her eyes narrowed. “Oh no. No. Your not doing the kit-face on me. No. I invented that well before you three.”
“Buuuuut~” They continued, their eyes somehow sparkling as the vixen’s eyes twitched-her only sign of weakness. Dammit.
“Your father needs to rest. And you do want him to be well don’t you?”
They paused, turning to look at one another before looking murmuring softly to each other almost as if in conspiracy. Then, being selfish kids they were, they turned to look at Sano. “Pleeeasse. We’ll be suuuper quick.”
Our crazy anime challenge, day 16: Favourite red-haired character
Sanosuke Harada from Hakuouki
❀Returning to the place called Home || SanoxKuro❀
Sano looked past Kuro to follow her line of sight and saw three little heads pop out of the doorway, first looking at their mother, and then at him. For a moment he was simply stunned, staring into three pairs of eyes that were a mix of the slightly different shades of gold between his eyes and Kuro’s. Two boys and a daughter. Then they ran towards him, clinging to his legs. :Chichiue!” they had yelled, and he watched as they congregated around his legs. He stood frozen for a moment more.
A warm smile broke out across his face as he knelt down and hugged the three. “You’re all so big,” he whispered as he gave them a squeeze. “I bet you three have been a handful.” He patted their heads, finding their ears and tails just too precious. He looked up at Kuro, the smile still fixed in place, but his eyes were a bit sad. He didn’t want the kids to know that he didn’t know their names.
Finally, he stood up. “We should go inside and play. I want to get to know you three.” He picked up the girl and ruffled her hair. She looked the most meek of the three, and he wanted to make extra sure she got enough attention. “Show me around the place, hm?”
“We been good!” Insisted Takeshiro, his other brother nodding his head, while Yue simply hid her face behind her doll. Kuro had made sure the triplets would recognize their father via illusions she created-and an old sketchbook she had- for the day he’d return home. Much like today.. The look he gave Kuro didn’t go unnoticed to the kitsune, and in turn she gave a more somber smile.
Yue squeaked, her cheeks flushing when Sano had picked her up and lightly tousled her hair, but her tail gave a faint wag that meant she hadn’t minded much. She and the boys nodded, agreeing to show their father around their home.
“Hold it.” Kuro crossed her arms, eyeing the two boys. “Kohaku.” The dark-haired boy froze, ear’s flicking down at his mother’s tone. “Takeshiro.” The younger red-head flinched, smile coy.
“Did you leave Nana alone and ignore your breakfast?”
“Eh..? Ah..” Began Takeshiro, his elbow lightly nudging at his brother who in turn, shook his head. “No, A-ano. We heard hahaue scream.”
Kohaku took over then, nodding his head. The boys shared a link different from their younger sister, although all of them being triplets, they can each sense and tune into the other’s emotions. Two often comforting the other in moments of distress well, making their bond very strong and deep.
“Yue also wanted to make sure you were ok, ah demo, we know your fine.” added Kohaku, his younger sister nodding her head then looking at kuro, her voice soft. “Can Chihiue eat with us too..?”
“If he’s hungry enough.” She murmured, smiling over to Sano then, a faint flicker of concern in her gaze though. He was still a rasetsu, so would he be able to..? And while now he knew their names, and later on she’d have to explain why she’d picked them out, he would need rest. No doubt about that. The two boys tugged at their mother’s hand, urging her in with Sano in tow. “Then let’s eat~!”
“Hai hai,” She responded with a chuckle. At last, her family was whole. Something about that making her heart swell inside. “Ah, Nana is the caretaker here whenever I go to town or visit Chizu-chan. Was she the one who told you were I lived?”
The old woman greeted them from the hallway, bowing her head politely. “Irassaimase, Douzo oagari kudasai.” She then lead them to the dining room, another tray having been set Sanosuke.
❀Returning to the place called Home || SanoxKuro❀
The sun had only been up for a short time when he finally arrived, tucking the refolded paper in his jacket. He was tired. Ever since he left to come home, he had been walking endlessly. Stopping wasn’t an option for him. He had gone straight to Kyoto first. He could remember the feeling of dread quite well. Kuro’s home, where she had practiced medicine. The grounds had always been so well kept, and they were now overgrown with weeds. The house was too quiet, and Sano held his breath as he walked through, searching for her. Kyoto hadn’t exactly been spared from the war, and for a moment, he feared the worst. When he found the house devoid of anyone, living or dead, he left. This time, he ran. He had heard where Chizuru was staying and headed straight there, despite it being the middle of the night.
Chizuru had laughed at him. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost, Harada-san!” Those were her exact words. How rotten. Yet, his heart lifted at her laughter, because it meant she didn’t have bad news for him. She wore a mischievous grin, like she knew something he didn’t, while she drew him up a map. “She felt they needed the peace and quiet.”
He listened to her describe how to get to the village and stared hard at the map. He decided to walk now, exhausted from exertion, worry, and lack of sleep. He couldn’t stop, though, because he had to see her. When Hijikata had looked at him with a grim look and told him to return home, he barely hesitated. He had been away from his children for three years and most of his unit had been decimated. When Hijikata learned that Sano had been hiding a family, not merely a lover, he reluctantly told him to leave.
In the bright, sunny morning, the manor she was living in looked like a palace in heaven. If she was raising the children here, then surely they weren’t suffering. As he walked up the path to the house, he saw a figure standing outside. “Excuse me…” he called, hoping to ask if this was the right place. When he got closer, he could make out the elegant kimono, dark, long hair…
When she turned to see who was calling her, his breath caught in his throat. She was just as lovely as ever, his red bandage tied gently to her wrist as she covered her mouth with her hand. He was rooted to the spot until he heard the faintest whisper of his name, mostly lost to a warm breeze.
“Kuro…” He ran the rest of the way up the path, closing the distance between them in one breath, two. He hoisted her up into his arms, spinning her around. “I’m home,” he murmured as he looked up into her eyes. Once he set her down, he took her shoulders in his hands. “The children?” he asked curiously, looking almost like a child asking for candy. “How are the children? Where are they?”
She heard her name being called softly, the voice-his voice- restarting her heart as her brain struggled to process what was happening. Before she could blink, he’d closed the distance between them in a run, lifting her up in his arms and eliciting a shriek from her that turned into a laugh. She reflexively placed her hands on his shoulders to better balance herself. A laugh of both pure joy and slight disbelief. He was home! Home at last and back to her.
“Welcome home,” She whispered, letting a tear fall down her cheek as she rested her head against his temple. “Welcome home…”
After placing her down, she found herself giggling at his child-like expression as he asked the whereabout of the children. Naturally he’d be concerned for them as well and it made her smile as she took his hand and lowered it to her side.
“The children are fine Sano,” She answered, turning her head as the trio came out and peeked from the doorway. The three had heard a shriek from their mother, and like any kits-the boys more then anything- they wanted to verify that their mother was safe. However their amber eyes remained locked on the man whom she was holding hands with. It only took several seconds for them to start running towards their father, arms up-minus Yue who held a doll- and clinging to his legs.
Kuro laughed as their tails and fox ears emerged from their hair, their excitement too much to hide their fox-like features. Thank goodness for the kekkai she had around her home, it was only meant to make everything appear normal to any passerby. Which means outside of it, they saw three children greeting their father who returned from war.
Track: "Usuzakura No Yume"
Plays: 19 plays
It breaks my heart every time…
Rurubu Hakuouki - Travel guide for Bakumatsu-related places in Kyoto, Hino, Aizu, and Hakodate.
The book will include story, illustration, as well as food and travel information.