The look in her brother's eyes is one that leaves her heart split neatly in two. Still, she watches him go, eyes trailing behind him as he walks away, and does not say a word. When he vanishes, green jacket shading into the green leaves, her gaze stays on the spot far longer than necessary.
Her father finally says, "You will not follow your brother?"
"I have no brother," she answers, and rises to close the door behind him.
Her father nods, and does not move.
After a while Sakura walks, carefully silent, to the kitchen. Outside a smudge of smoke rises above the trees, spreading into the sunset colors of the sky and turning them dull and dirty. Sakura makes two cups of tea, taking her time and letting them brew just long enough. She adds a little sugar to her own, a taste her father has never gained. Since there are only two cups, she does not bother with a tray.
She knows what is going through her father's mind: a long-haired woman, two bells glinting in her hair, the hem of her kimono already scarred with fire and her face gone gray from the smoke, turning away and walking into the heart of the flames. That, and the son he has lost.
When she returns he is sitting against the door, his hands folded in his lap. He thanks her gravely and does not touch the tea.
The next morning, although she has not slept, Sakura washes her hair and puts on her finest robes, and then finds her father's good clothes as well, brings them to him, helps him dress. There are things to be done, after all. They will have to meet the new head of the family, and arrangements will doubtless need to be made for a number of funerals.
She doesn't sleep for several days. She doesn't dream of her brother and Kazuki, gone into a world of half-feared, half-desired dreams where she cannot follow, not with her duty wound about her and her family to consider. She is, after all, a Kakei.
The look in her brother's eyes is one that leaves her heart split neatly in two. Still, she looks him in the eyes. He doesn't answer her. He will not move, will not, after all this, go with her. The cold stone walls seem to mirror his cold face.
Makubex's eyes are tightly shut. "After everything you promised, you're still leaving. Sakura, I need you."
"You don't need me," she tells him. Almost truth.
He shakes his head, lips tight with pain.
She kisses them both and then walks away. It's raining, coming down in sheets and overflowing in the gutters, and the prickling she feels leaving Mugenjou only makes her colder. Before long she is soaked to the skin, and it is hard to ask questions with her words shaken out of her mouth by the shivers. She keeps asking. She's looking for someone who is quite distinctive, truly. It's not that difficult to find Kazuki; he's huddled in an alleyway, and he doesn't even look up when she sits beside him.
Makubex must be in pain right now, but she cannot comfort him. She remembers how he would look at her after a bad dream, his hands wrapped in her shawl and his eyes not quite meeting hers, but never straying too far, his hair floating around his face like a halo. He never had a mother. She can't imagine what it feels like, so she doesn't try.
When Kazuki does look up at her he doesn't seem suprised, but pulls her into his arms and they stay that way, sheilding each other, as much as possible, from the blowing rain. "I thought I'd never see you again," Kazuki said.
"Juubei stayed," Sakura says, and two words are enough for explanation. Kazuki's tears leave no mark on her sodden dress. She mourns for his loss.
She mourns, too, for her brother and Makubex, clinging to each other in the face of immeasurable lonliness, in a world that they have forgotten is not the whole of it, but still she followed Kazuki outside. She is, after all, a Kakei.