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In Your Care

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Sawada Nana dies young and alone and so very broken. Unknowingly sick on her husband's sky flame that has so thoroughly entwined with her dormant mist. To have him parted from her is spiritually akin to stripping the skin from her flesh. Every time he leaves her their one sided bond screams in agony. Worst of all she can't bring herself to care all that much, content in the illusion of a happy family. When darling Iemitsu brings his boss into their home she is open and gracious like any good wife.

 

Please please I'm good I'm loving why won't you just stay.

 

And when they leave they take the last thing that she has.

 

My baby they killed my baby what have you done he used to shine but now his eyes are dull dull dull

 

She looks at her little boy and feels nothing. His childhood clumsiness has now become an active hazard and the wariness from their neighbors is now a quiet loathing.

 

He is wrong dead why would they do this?

 

Nana knows she could accept this. Turn a blind eye as she has done with Iemitsu’s increasing absences.

 

Because she is a good wife and is content with what she is given isn't she?

 

Be swept away and never ever have to worry about a thing.

 

But if she doesn't have her Tsukun and she doesn't have Iemitsu then what is the point of anything?  

 

She doesn't want this. Doesn't want a too cold home and a too cold son.

 

Mama I'm sorry I should have listened why didn't I listen this man has taken all that I am.

 

One day Nana calls the child that she carried for nine months useless without thinking.

 

Why hasn't anyone stopped this her dead baby is more bloody and broken by the day.

 

She can't feel anything now between those rare phone calls from her beloved husband.

 

He has ruined her ruined their home ruined her son how dare he

 

So she just has to make a wish.

 

A bargain. Her life for another's because her husband has all that she is but her son oh her empty son is not chained yet.

 

She has to choose.

 

Condemn because they too will be unable to escape she will ensure it.

 

Find the very best person to fix her precious Tsukun.

 

There has to be a way there is a way she just has to believe.

 

She tucks her little boy in.

 

It’s the last time, she has to make it count for this dead dead child.

 

Lingers to do one last sweep of the house.

 

Everything has to be perfect a new beginning is a very special thing after all

 

She takes her best kitchen knife that has been sharpened to an elegant point

 

she will need it for the living will simply not do

 

and begins to walk with her dripping wrists.

 

The quiet click of the door shutting echoes in her ears the way her footsteps do not. Her Mama had told her stories about magicians, princesses, kings, witches, spirits, and Gods

 

and the one who would shelter them all and burn those who would harm what is theirs.

 

She has the Will of the Dying

 

no matter how her husband has twisted it around himself

 

and just needs someone more suitable than herself. 

 

The farther she travels, the more the world blurs. People she passes by become indistinct and gray. Her head is empty

 

always always empty

 

but for her search. It's only when her vision begins to blacken that she sees her and oh. Oh she will be perfect.

 

Tsukun will finally be fixed.

 

She just needs to make her wish

 

red has always been such a pretty color

 

and seal it with a kiss

 

because that's how to make a happy ending.

 

She thinks of her dead child and her empty house and suddenly they are there

 

ah right that's how stories work.

 

Already she is burning

 

too bright

 

and the other hasn't stopped screaming

 

really she will have to quiet down or Tsukun might wake up

 

but all she can do is sit and smile.

 

Her home will finally be a happy one

 

The sunlight that breaks through the curtains matches her in intensity for mere moments before the last of Nana’s strength leaves her.

 

“What a wonderful beginning to a new day,” Sawada Nana breathes as her glazed eyes flutter shut.

Chapter Text

When she wakes up it is with a quickly bitten off scream because–

 

shh Tsukun is still sleeping.

 

She spares a glance for her wrists where her new scars rest.

 

No no no not even at her lowest did she–

 

With frantic steps she makes a beeline for the downstairs bathroom.

 

Where is this it’s not–

 

The face that looks back at her is hers

 

Where are her glasses they should–

 

except her eyes are now more of a hazel

 

they have always been so ordinary why–

 

and her hair is a darker brown from sweat

 

what she hasn't had hair this boring since–.

 

The blank smile she has on her face freezes

 

she knows this face it–

 

as she looks and sees the face of her murderer

 

this bitch stole her first kiss damn it.

Chapter Text

Things seem to go by rather quickly after that. The panicked breath she takes ignites a blaze she has only felt at her most pissed off. The familiar ice and adrenalin that surge from her head on down leaves her clear headed but frozen. And kind of on fire.

 

What the actual fuck.

 

The death grip she has on the sink is a lot more colorful than a moment ago. Her white knuckled hands are covered in an orange so vibrant it makes her eyes water. Shades of indigo tipped in white dances merrily throughout. The only exception she sees is in the mirror. Her forehead has an added spluttering greyish flame that has all but died out. There is a relief in seeing the sickly flare fading but at its very core she sees flecks of an orange that she instinctively knows is not hers. The darker color is revolting on an instinctual level. Even worse is that It’s attempting to use the small bit of other that remains to consume her, spreading like a disease. With it comes a will that is as smothering as It’s invasive.

 

Everything she is rages at the distant presence that connects to the flame. It croons to the core of her to remain stagnant and never changing. To be devoted and never stray while it all but writhes with deceit. It’s only after she brings all that she is to bare that the flame splutters out and the whispers of grey join the rest of her in harmony. With a final shudder she is able to look herself in the eyes and see the swirling vortex of sunset that has engulfed them.  When the familiar sensation of a blackout creeps through her she quickly drops to the floor. The last thing she sees is her flames abruptly cutting out.

 

The next time she opens her eyes It’s with resignation. It’s always the worst when an episode happens while she is on her own. When she sits up to make sure she had managed to safely make it to the floor the wrongness of her situation catches back up with her. With a shaky breath that's more sob than exhale she shuffles over to the toilet just in time to be violently sick. Her stomach heaves and heaves as she is finally given the time to wrap her head around her most likely permanent situation. She's alone with no family or friends and has been violated so deeply by total strangers. Both of which were/are/have been inside her.

 

This is not her body. Oh god.

 

The thought prompts another wave of nausea but with nothing left in her stomach all she can do is dry heave and try to take deep breaths to let it pass. Sometime later she is finally able to pull herself to her feet. Giving her mouth a quick rinse in the now slightly scorched sink, she staggers back to the couch she had first woke up on.

 

With her head in her hands she grounds herself with the stranglehold she has on her too long hair. Various thoughts race in a mess of circles and expletives while she counts each breath in then out. The experience of both having killed and being killed leaves an emptiness that she doubts she will forget any time soon. Her head pounds as she tries to bridge the disconnect in her memories and that of...Sawada Nana.

 

Fuckity fuck fuck.

 

At least that goes a long way in explaining how the hell she got here.

 

The buzzing of her thoughts continues even as she stands and makes her way upstairs. The memories of Nana that rattle around her skull whispers of beginning the day with making breakfast but she has to confirm the entirety of her situation. The closer she gets to the door with a painted fish on it, the more uneasy she feels. Opening it brings a fresh wave of dizziness as she looks at the little boy sleeping in his bed.

 

Jerkily moving forward until her legs brush the edge of his mattress she hesitantly reaches out her hand to brush his messy hair away from his face. It’s then that the duel sensations of wrongwrongwrong and mineminemine war within her. She recognizes the first from the years she has of Nana’s life after what was probably Tsunayoshi being sealed by the Vongola Ninth. Withdrawing her hand, she tries to puzzle out the second feeling before she decides to just close her eyes and mentally fumble inwards.

 

After several minutes of feeling no discernable change she cracks an eye back open to see her hands glowing ever so faintly with orange sky flames and ever shifting patches of greyish indigo fucking mist flames what the hell that, now acknowledged, all but beg to reach out to shelter the boy in front of her. She takes a moment to be impressed by how Nana’s lingering will has ensured that she won't abandon the kid at the first opportunity before refocusing on the emptiness in front of her. The moment of distraction is enough to cause the faint light surrounding her hands to fade.

 

It really is unsettling how much she wants to make the disquieting feeling that Tsunayoshi evokes go away. Had it been as all-consuming as it was for the original Nana, she doubts she would have been able to care for him a month, much less the two years that Nana seems to have held out. It’s only the twist to her flames that continually screams to help what is hers that allows her to remain rationale in the face of such a uniquely repulsive presence. Nana's seeming disconnect with the world around her makes a lot more sense viewed in this light. She would have had to blind herself to pretty much everything in order to remain even vaguely civil to her own son. 

 

Refocusing on the boy in front of her, she belatedly registered that Tsunayoshi radiated a child's warmth where she expected a chill from his lacking flames. His cheeks still hold the chubbiness of childhood but even asleep there is a fragility to him that she knows is abnormal. Finally, she feels the lurking threat of tears settle behind her eyes. On frantic feet she retraces her steps and backs out of the room. Shutting the door with barely a sound, she makes her way downstairs and settles on a chair in the empty kitchen. Her mind is blank, her chest is hollow, and she has no idea what to do.

Chapter Text

The woman now known as Sawada Nana's saving grace is that her new life began during the break between school years. With no need to rush Tsunayoshi out the door or any other pressing matters she is able to take the time to curl up on herself and silently cry until her whole body aches. 

 

She has the life and memories of the previous Nana with the context and personality gained from the woman she used to be. She both is and isn't married, has but does not have a child, and is in way over her head with no support whatsoever. With little idea what else to do she searches out pencil and paper for the two most important lists she has made in either lifetime. They read as thus–

 

Short term:

Breakfast

Wake up Tsu-kun TSUNAYOSHI

Go about a normalish day

Play with him???

Lunch and dinner eventually

Bath and bedtime oh my God I'm a mother

 

Long term:

Get the fricking seal off

Buy all the parenting books (focus on single parenting)

Look into possible learning/ movement disorders

Eventual divorce how???

Guardians (and do I need them)

Job and Bills

Probably cry some more

 

Looking at what has already took her about an hour to come up with, Nana lets out an exasperated breath and calls it good. Grabbing the apron from the pantry she tucks the list in a pocket and prepares for her first hurdle. With the newly acquired knowledge of a Japanese housewife she manages the best looking breakfast she has seen outside of a restaurant. The feeling of envy of herself is a new one. She distinctly does not like it. The ease that she had in cooking a traditional breakfast prods at her broke college student heart. With the table set she wanders back upstairs to wake up her surprise son.

 

Haha this is fine, I’m fine, everything’s fine.

 

With more confidence than she really feels, she noisily reopens Tsunayoshi’s door and chirps out a chipper, “Good morning sweetheart!”

 

Ugh this face smiles all wrong

 

She really should have expected the tumble out of bed her sudden greeting prompted. The way big bleary eyes suddenly sharpen on her, no so much. Nana can see the confusion and hesitance all over his face once it’s the proper way up. The subtle flinch he gives when she reaches out to help him up is not promising.

 

Now is this because of how Nana has previously parented or hyper intuition bullshit?

 

Nana tries to give Tsunayoshi the space he seems to need while still shepherding him out of his room and down the stairs. When he begins to fall its only panicked reflexes that keep them both from going flying. The bewildered look she receives makes her heart pound and the hand not supporting her son clench. Helping him climb up onto the kitchen chair only seems to make him side eye her all the more. The uneasy silence that settles between them is suffocating.

 

“So Mama was thinking we could play in the yard today; does that sound nice?”

 

Her son finally looks up from the breakfast he is messily eating to give her a hopeful smile.

 

“Mama is going to play with Tsu-kun?”

 

Twist my arm why don’t you?

 

“Yes uh, Mama has been thinking a lot about how much trouble you seem to have day to day. I thought some games and stretches Mama knows could help.”

 

Why did Nana talk like this? Is it because Tsunayoshi’s so young? Can I please stop?

 

Tsunayoshi’s face falls into a pout before he seems to reconsider. He finally giving a grudging nod. Relieved to not have to deal with a tantrum already, Nana returns to her breakfast with a little more enthusiasm. When they both finish, she moves the plates into the sink for later washing then wipes down the crumb strewn table. After changing both herself and her son into clothes with more movement they head out to the backyard.

 

“Alright sweetheart we’re going to play follow the leader. If you have any questions or if anything starts to hurt let Mama know and we can work through it together.”

 

Nana starts out at a fast walking pace to see how Tsunayoshi handles a light jog. It doesn't go very well. Every third step has him tripping over himself and nearly taking her down along with him. By the time they have completed two small laps around the yard she has him slow to a walk which does nothing to improve his coordination. Seeing his frustration growing she reaches out and takes his small hand in hers to help keep him upright. It isn’t until they complete another two laps that she notices that Tsunayoshi hasn’t stumbled since she made contact with him.

 

Now that’s promising, it can’t be a long term solution though.

 

Moving on to bunny hops earns them each a couple bruises but as soon as they have contact again things smooth out to the type of trouble an average child should have. Crab and bear walks are slightly better if only because Tsunayoshi has all four limbs on the ground and can go as slow as he needs. With no way to move and hold onto him Nana sticks to his pace and concentrates on keeping her breathing steady. Trying to get a sedentary housewife’s body moving is a lot harder than she thought it would be. Deciding that that’s enough of a warm up she runs her son through the stretching routine that she had done as a little girl. By the end they are both achy but giggling. It seems to have helped that she struggled and made faces as much as he did.

 

Both mother and son head back inside for water and juice before Nana parks her kid in front of the TV with a couple toys while she works through the dirty dishes. She makes a couple sandwiches for lunch then grabs a towel to lay out in the living room so they can eat while watching a kid’s movie.

 

I guess Disney is multi-universal. Go figure.

 

Tsunayoshi lights up like she had just said that they were heading to an amusement park once she has laid everything out and plopped down beside him.

 

Huh is Kokuyo Land still running at this point? No focus Nana.

 

By the end of the movie Tsunayoshi is visibly swaying and Nana already feels exhausted. Nap time goes a lot smoother than she remembers it going for herself and her cousins. She takes the time she has to herself to search out any important paperwork as well as financial statements. The first gun she finds makes her sit with her head between her knees for a good ten minutes. She did not appreciate the attack of Japanese gun sensibilities. Especially when she had first handled firearms around the time she hit double digits and was particularly fond of her riffle. The knives make her think of the scars on her wrists which she mentally nopes and puts them all in an empty shoebox. When she finds the fifth gun she is distinctly unamused and promises to look into a safe as soon as possible. For the time being she unloads them all and sticks them on the highest shelf in her closest. She leaves one in a securely locked drawer in her bedside table because she is apparently now a mafia wife.

 

Son of a space whale what was Iemitsu thinking having these loaded around a curious kid. That’s begging for a hole in someone’s foot or worse.

 

Successfully locating what she wanted and more, Nana gathers everything together to look over later then wakes Tsunayoshi up for a somewhat late dinner. Desperate for something else to do she manages to locate some board games and they pass the rest of the evening working on counting and colors. She has never been more glad for those kindergarten internships in high school.

 

The first real hiccup Nana encounters is when she announces that it's bath time.

 

Well that’s the fastest I’ve seen him move yet.

 

“Tsunayoshi you get back here right now!”

 

It takes a lot more effort than she appreciates to corner the flailing boy and successfully dump him in the half full tub. When all is said and done she has a squeaky clean son and a thoroughly soaked self. Nana hustles him into his room with the promise of a bedtime story then heads back to clean up the trail of water she left and take a quick shower. Stubbornly ignoring the mechanics behind the shower itself, she dries off and changes into her own pajamas.

 

Nana ends her day in her sons bed with him snuggled into her side. She thinks of the stories she could tell him, the classics and those she had once had read to her many years ago. What she decides to tell instead is this:

 

Once upon a time there was a respected old King who decreed that all those not directly of his blood would live their lives in misery.

 

Years later there was a lonely little boy who lived in a small village. He had no friends and only his mother for family. One day he decided that if no one in the village would be his friend then he would search some out himself. The boy set out on his travels with a promise to his mother to return with many friends to fill up their large empty house…"

 

With Tsunayoshi soundly asleep Nana wiggles and twists until she escapes his hold. She notices that his face immediately becomes more pinched.

 

I'm definitely a comfort in some way to his sealed flames.

 

Gathering herself she presses a quick kiss to his forehead then heads for her own room. After tossing and turning for several hours she gives up on getting comfortable. She can’t escape the memories the room brings to the front of her mind. Most of which include crying for endless nights in loneliness and the acts performed in the bed she now lies on.

 

Nana leverages her trembling body up and goes to sleep in the guest bedroom.

Chapter Text

“Mama why don’t I have a Papa?” A young Nana rests against her mother’s legs as her hair is slowly braided before bed. With ever steady hands the strands are gently folded into place while her most important person hums a favorite song.

 

“Why so curious my precious girl? Is Mama not enough?” Nana’s focus remains fixed on her nightgown covered knees as she shifts uncomfortably side to side.

 

“The kids at school say I’m weird, that I would be normal if I had a dad like everyone else,” the little girl whispers. Tears build in her eyes no matter how quickly she tries to blink them away. She is answered by a contemplative hum as the end of her braid is expertly tied off and gently laid to rest against her shaking back.

 

“Well Mama was quite the trouble maker when she was younger. My family had a lot of expectations and I fought against them very often. It didn’t help that I was very clever in certain skills. When they told me that I was to be married before I finished my schooling I decided to play a trick on them.” She heaves a reluctant sigh and sits back in her favorite padded rocking chair.

 

Nana pushes herself up and into her Mother’s well-toned arms with much wiggling. “What kind of trick did you play?”

 

“A bit of a mean one if I’m honest but everyone else involved wasn’t the nicest in the first place. You see, Mama knew that the man that was selected was not the kind to treat a partner well. So while everyone else was preparing for a wedding I was planning how to create a happy life. It took a lot of practice but the day after the wedding I was able to make myself disappear and ensure that none of the not so nice people would ever control me again. You my darling were a very happy surprise.” She finished with a soft kiss to the top of Nana’s head where it had tucked itself under her chin.

 

“So I don’t have a Daddy because he was mean?”

 

“I suppose; Mama was not one to suffer fools more than anything.”

 

“Do you miss your family?” Nana’s sniffling had finally tapered off into the slow breathing of a child clinging to the waking world.

 

“My Mother and Father have ah moved on since I left them. I do miss my siblings at times. I was the oldest of five and they would often come to me for comfort more than our parents.” She was answered by a soft snore from her daughter. Muffling a laugh, she leverages herself up while keeping a firm hold on her daughter and begins walking towards the back of the house. “May you never find yourself trapped in a life not worth living my little miracle.” Unnoticed Nana’s hands tighten on her Mother’s loose nightshirt.

 

Sawada Nana wakes with tears in her eyes and an aching body.

Chapter Text

The day begins far better than the last. For one thing Nana manages to not hurl her guts out into a toilet within the first half hour of waking. It still takes her a while before she is able to flop herself out of bed and dress herself.

 

Why is everything I own so bland? I’ll have to go shopping for food and books and clothing soon. Don’t children also grow like weeds?  

 

Taking the stairs two at a time, she decides to make a simpler breakfast to spare her sore body to much work so early in the morning. Humming a nostalgic tune, she gives a little spin to finish setting the table. The small squeak she lets out is echoed by her poorly hidden son.

 

Really, Tsunayoshi should know better than to use a chair as a shield. I can plainly see his fluffy little head and everything.

 

“Hello love, how are you today?” The twitch and watery eyes she receives does not bode well for the rest of her morning. Taking a moment to study him, she crouches down to be on a more even level with her son.

 

“Did you not sleep well? Nightmare?” Spreading her arms causes her to be nearly bowled over by the now wailing child. Leveraging herself off of the floor and onto a nearby chair at least lets her better support the squirming boy. She tucks him into her neck and gently runs her fingers through his hair. Not knowing what else to do she begins humming again. She can’t really tell how well the melody her parents had once made up for her would translate to her new native tongue but it sooths her son and calms her down as well.

 

With slurred words and hiccupping breathes Tsunayoshi finally manages to force out, “Mama was gone but still there but missing and hurting!” The bolt of adrenalin that shoots down her spine is highly unappreciated and leaves her lightheaded. Nana glances mournfully at the prepared breakfast before hauling both her son and herself to the much more comfortable couch. She has a feeling this will not be an easy conversation.

 

“Well is Mama hurting right now?” The look she receives from her son is far more judging than she thinks she deserves. Puffy eyes stare pointedly at the empty space on the couch that should have been occupied by Iemitsu.

 

“Mama is always hurting.”

 

…Touché, Sawada Nana had been a very miserable woman who hid behind empty smiles and emptier words. Those feeling have no hold on her now because she has never felt the lack that supposedly came with a missing romantic partner. Her ‘hurting’ is now a very different beast.

 

Moving Tsunayoshi so that he now rests on her chest, Nana deepens her breathing until her son matches her pace inhale for exhale. It is only then that she starts speaking, “Mama…no I think everyone has heart hurts that they live with daily. How big or little they are can vary, and there are some that will never truly go away, but it’s easier when there are those that support you. It has been a very long time since I have had people like that.”

 

“But Mama has Tsukun!”

 

“I know I do. But it is the parents job to support their child, not the other way around. That you have had to do so until now makes me very sad.” A little untruthful since she was more angry than sad but it would work for now. Shushing her son before he could interrupt again she continues, “My own Mom was always there for me and although I had few friends they were loyal to a fault. That I have lost them all has been hitting me hard recently. I’ve decided it’s about time that I stop waiting for your father to choose our family when he has long ago chosen his work. If we must be a family of two then we will be but I refuse to keep ignoring our suffering. That is a promise that I make to you now, I promise to try my very best to care for you and love you. I’ll probably mess up, sometimes spectacularly, but I am done feeling like a piece of myself is missing and want to ensure that one day you will no longer feel that way as well.”

 

She has long since joined her son in near silent tears, her gaze fixed to the ceiling. The short arms that wrap around her in an almost choking embrace is not surprising. The repetition of the promise she just gave and the steely look in her son’s eyes very much is. She swears that for the shortest of moments the brown flashes a brilliant orange. The smile that breaks out across his pudgy face when she feels her own eyes flash is far more stunning.

 

It is only after he resettles against her chest that he asks, “What does spectacularly mean?”

 

The helpless laughter that follows is only redoubled when both of their stomachs protest the food that they have both abandoned. Swinging her pouting son up onto one hip she heads back to the kitchen to attempt to salvage their long since cooled breakfast.

 

May one live in interesting times indeed, she thinks near hysterically.

Chapter Text

Nap time can’t come quickly enough. Nana is reluctant to take Tsunayoshi to the nearby park so they spend the gap between breakfast and lunch quietly coloring in the backyard. When he begins to fidget, she grabs a ball for them to pass back and forth. The smiles he gives her grows more confident as she tries to encourage him rather than critique or laugh at his flubbed catches. He still gets frustrated with his inability to regularly catch and throw his ball so Nana hustles them both back inside to make lunch.

 

Pulling out a dust covered step stool, Nana sets her son up at the sink to rinse the vegetables while she cooks. Making sure to give a thorough demonstration she hands over the scrub brush and ignores the faces Tsunayoshi pulls at the ‘icky veggies’. Looping back around she gently points out the spots he missed then takes them over to the counter to chop them. Knowing better than to let her coordination challenged kid anywhere close to knives she moves the stool over to the table so he can sit and watch while she finishes up. Her long sleeves fall past her wrists and she couldn't be more grateful for the barrier between her line of sight and the marks now adorning them while she handles sharp objects. Mother and son wage a silent war over the consumption of carrot chips but the secession of dipping sauce ends the conflict without bloodshed.

 

Once Tsunayoshi is squared away in his room, Nana heads back to the guest bedroom and closes the curtains as securely as she can. Settling into a comfortable position she lines up both a jug of water and a fire extinguisher. The documents she found had stated that the house is completely paid off and she would rather not burn it to the ground no matter how tempting the thought is.

 

The methods she knows for accessing flames come with either physical or emotional desperation. There is also the Vongola mystery pill that can be popped like candy. Lacking one option and being unwilling to risk herself with stupidly dangerous stunts she needs to think of something that will allow her easier access to the spiritual fire.  (Un)luckily she has already ‘unlocked’ the ability thanks to her death at the hands of the original Sawada Nana and the devastation of realizing her current situation allowed her to bring them forward again. Now she just needs to figure out how to pull it off without the traumatic trigger.

 

Deciding to start as small and easily hidden as possible she removes her socks and sticks her legs straight out towards the end of the bed. Feeling very silly she concentrates on her toes and imagines the nails turning a dark shade of blue. After almost fifteen minutes of no noticeable change she scowls moodily at her feet. Her right pinkie toe seems to darken the slightest hue. She scowls harder and both of her biggest toes turn paler. Nana is not amused when her brain presents the thought that she scared them.

 

Standing up to pace back and forth across the carpet in frustration, she spares her feet the occasional glance but mostly focuses on the mental image of her painted toe nails. Finally closing her eyes, she continues counting out her steps so as to not run into a wall until she begins to feel dizzy. Blinking her eyes open she searches out the clock to see that an hour has passed. Concerned, she looks at her feet and sees them obscured by a low hanging mist. Kicking one foot up reveals that her whole right foot has turned a vivid neon blue from toe to just past her ankle. Giddily swaying to the side to look at the full body mirror to see her eyes glowing the faintest indigo. Unfortunately, the color is standing out so well due to her ghostly pale face. With quickly dwindling strength Nana throws herself back onto the bed just in time to pass out.

 


 

 

Nana wakes up to Tsunayoshi poking her in the cheek from where she lays sprawled out on the rumpled blankets. Blinking dazedly, she takes in his teary eyes and blotchy face and immediately feels guilty.

 

“Sorry buddy, I didn’t tell you I decided to change bedrooms did I?”

 

When all she receives in answer is grabby hands she reaches down and hoists her son up onto the bed next to her. She is about to rejoin him in sleep when she suddenly bolts upright and glances around the room. The mist she last remembers clinging to the floor is gone but her feet are still the eye searing shade of blue. Unable to fully leave the bed with Tsunayoshi clinging to her waist, she tries to will away the color with little success. If anything they seem to start glowing faintly. More exasperated than annoyed, she gropes around until she finds her discarded socks and pulls them up well past her ankles. Having hidden her blatant use of otherworldly powers, Nana curls around her son for another hour or two of sleep before having to get them both up to in time for dinner.

 

The next time she opens her eyes, it is to the feeling of suffocation. Peering downward she notices that Tsunayoshi had managed to curl up right on top of her chest and looks very content with his position. Rolling him off earned her several grumpy noises which finished in a long whine. Laughing softly, she prods at him until he wakes up enough to shoot her an adorable glare.

 

“C’mon honey we gotta get up. Any longer and we’ll both have trouble sleeping tonight.”

 

Nana lets Tsunayoshi climb down on his own then beckons him to follow her to the living room. She manages to unearth a set of LEGOs and leaves him to play while she prepares dinner. They have naturally spread everywhere by the time she calls him to the kitchen table but she decides that clean up can wait until after they’ve eaten. The meal passes quickly as she asks about what he tried to build and the adventures he went on. Leaving the dishes to soak, she follows to help him clean up his mess. When the floor is clear Nana figures that any blocks they missed will turn up the next time she vacuums.

 

Turning on the TV to a kids channel works to distract him until Nana can finish cleaning the kitchen and steer him towards bath and bed. The addition of bubbles goes a long way in keeping her dry enough to go straight to tucking her son in and continuing his bedtime story. When he is fast asleep she goes through her own nightly routine only to groan at her still stubbornly blue feet.

 

Do I have to overpower my previous want in order to make it go away? How do you dismiss a manifestation of your own imagination that you have imposed on reality?

 

Deciding to leave it until tomorrow Nana heads to the guest bedroom to finish looking through the gathered finances. Bank records showed chunks of money being deposited in her account monthly which has already built up to quite a large sum thanks to the previous Nana’s frugal spending. At least she knows that she will have a cushion to fall back on no matter how things end up. The fact that it is completely unearned only rankles a little. The woman she had once been had always been one to take every advantage presented to her. Like all things, pride must be balanced against practicality. Mentally labeling the whole business as child support she sketches out a rough outline for budgeting which takes the rest of her free time. Groggily pushing her finished work aside, she spares one last glare at her misbehaving feet then turns over to clutch at the multiple pillows she had arranged around herself.