Title is from Trilogy by H.D. and is thanks to corvid kindly providing me with bits therof. I'm horribly pretentious, aren't I? The first three had titles from the Bible; second three will use Trilogy, and third three ... well, probably Beatles lyrics. I mean. That's sort of pretentious, but not so much. And appropriate.
Emishi asked them to dinner with his family once. Makubex politely declined, making vauge and unconvincing (at least to Sakura) remarks about things he had to work on. So Sakura went alone, as he wished her to, although it did not seem quite fair.
Once upon a time Sakura had lived with her father and mother. They still lived, as far as she knew, although her mother had not been in the best of health when Sakura had last seen her and it was quite possible she had passed on. Sakura could not let herself mind this. Emishi's parents were dead and he knew it; he had watched them die. He was sorry for it, but he did not let it concern him overmuch. After all, the rest of his family was still there.
She offered to help prepare the food and was refused, by an old woman with eyes that still looked up to her, and that made her nervous. What did they think of her? She was, after all, one of Makubex's. So was Emishi, but he was family. Family was different. The children looked at her with open awe. Sakura tried to be humble, but humility was difficult in the face of such open admiration. Perhaps it was only appropriate that in this place full of strife they look up to one who had helped carve their little space full of peace; perhaps it was just as well that Makubex himself had stayed behind.
In Fuuga, they had appointed themselves defeneders of whoever deserved defending, but always they had held themselves above. Such was the way of things. Only for the four closest to her had she let herself fall into the role of the mother; someone had to, for behind the courage and valiant battles they were still children enough, all of them, to be afraid and alone. But for those who saw only the courage she displayed only her colder strengths.
Emishi at first tried to sit next to her but gallanty yielded his seat to a boy of no more than four, who had a wide grin and a tendency to eat with his fingers. She had to resist the tempation to pat him on the head. He was obviously proud of his spot, and boasted to her at length about his prowess at decapitating, crushing, and otherwise eliminating cockraoches. She agreed that he was very talented, and his grin got impossibly wider. When he got a little older, he said, Uncle Emi-han had promised to teach him how to use the dancing whip.
It was a good idea, Sakura agreed quietly, and tried not to think too hard about it. This was, after all, Mugenjou. Battle was a way of life, and this little clan that clung together so tightly had swung close to the edge of obliteration for lack of defenders before. Didn't she know? Hadn't she helped keep them safe before?
Afterward Emishi insisted on walking her back. He was smiling at everything, especially the bright full moon; Sakura wasn't suprised when his arm slipped around her waist. "A night like this," he declared, "really should be spent singing to the moon, don't you think?" She smiled and did not reply, and he shook his head ruefully. "Eh, but you probably have to get back. I won't inflict my singing on you." There was a moment of thoughtful silence. "Thanks for coming over."
Sakura took his face in her hands and kissed him, on each cheek. "You're welcome," she told him. He would understand. There was a lot that she wasn't saying, but for a few moments right now, they could ignore it all and watch the moon just as if they weren't watching it from inside a cage.
When she was alone again she took out an old box from underneath her spare blankets and unfolded the flag of Fuuga that lay there waiting for a day that she saw no reason ever would come again, and looked at it for a long while. Then she folded it away, and went to see if Makubex had waited for her.