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Daijoubu?

April 24, 2013

We’re sitting down by the fire, eating beans out of tin cans. It’s not very tasty at all, but it’s warm and filling. I managed to find a few cans of cider. She doesn’t much care for the alcoholic taste, but she doesn’t want to argue with me and drinks it obediently, always sneaking glances at me. I get the feeling that she admires me quite a lot.

“Onee-chan… daijoubu?”

Her voice breaks the heavy silence like a gunshot and I flinch slightly, jerked out of whatever daydream I was enveloped in. The question is sincere, her voice concerned, and I realize that my face has arranged itself into an introspective frown. I shake my head to clear it and try to manage a smile.

“Daijoubu da, Hana-chan. Shinpai arimasen.”

“Honto desu ka?”

“Mmm.”

We share a moment of friendly happiness as she is reassured. Her sister is okay. This is all she cares about.

It is strange that we are so close. We are so far apart in age – I am 26, she is 16 – and we were born to different fathers. Yet the bond is incredibly powerful between us. She is so young and yet so very powerful; she took to the buzzing as a bee to honey, whereas I can still feel my body trying to reject it at times. Sure, she avoids the actual “magic” part and only uses the power to channel herself into weapons to keep herself safe, but still.

She gets up and brushes some fallen leaves off her colorful sweater.

“Going to bathroom,” she says, giving me a wry smile. She would probably much prefer going somewhere indoors, but this night we’re sleeping under the stars. There are wards around us to shield us from whatever might roam these woods after dark, and I want her to get accustomed to less-than-ideal conditions. Tomorrow we will return to the town and seek shelter at the police station. So much to do.

“Don’t be long,” I reply. She grins and walks off.

The night is calm. Nothing dangerous seems to be close to us. I can feel my senses reach out in all directions, listening intently, looking for trouble. There is none. This night we will be safe.

Hanako returns and smiles at me.

“Bed?” she suggests, indicating the sleeping bags.

“You tuck yourself in,” I tell her. “I’ll only be a minute.”

“Oyasumi, onee-chan.”

“Oyasumi.”

She soon drifts away into a warm, dreamless sleep. I sit for a while, watching her calm face. Then I, too, crawl into a sleeping bag.

Yes, sister. Tonight, I am fine. Tomorrow… I hope I will be.

さようなら

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