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For everyone, there is an action which creates great calm.  For Shiemi, that action is doing the laundry.  It is in the tedious motions of hanging sheets that she is able to forget her worries and focus on what she can do, rather than what she can’t.  Her peace is disturbed only when a sheet escapes her grasp and is carried away by the wind, but the calm returns when she turns to see that a certain person has caught the sheet—a certain person who brings with him a peace even deeper than that which doing laundry gives her.

“Thanks, Rin!”  His smile is contagious, and she finds it has infected her with a wide grin as well.

“No problem.  Want some help?”

Her response is obvious and swift.  “Always!”

Shiemi knows not in what action Rin finds his peace, but in the repetition of hanging sheets, with him at her side, she feels as though she is invincible.  However, even in peace, doubts creep in.

“I’m… not very helpful, am I?”  He looks at her as though she has said something completely outlandish, and she supposes she has.  Behind her smile, however, is hidden pain.  “I mean, I can’t fight at all.  I’m no good as an exorcist.”  She laughs, and hopes he doesn’t hear how bitter she feels.  “The only thing I can do well is laundry.”

A moment passes before he speaks, pausing with a damp sheet in hand.  “I don’t think that’s true.”  Now it is her turn to stare, carefully assessing his expression as he stares down at the bundle in his arms.  “You’re not useless.”

And she wishes desperately to weep, her doubts so easily refuted but so deeply ingrained in her soul.  She resumes her former actions in an effort to ease her heart once more, but her eyes still grow wet.

When his eyes land upon her hunched form once more, he bites his lower lip and then softly says, “You’re like a pearl.”  She wants to disagree, but he continues before she can do so.  “You’re… a precious treasure, hidden in something as mundane as a clam.”

A soft smile makes its way to her lips.  “Are you saying that I’m mundane, Rin?”

“Th-that’s not…!  I said you’re the pearl, not the clam!”

But she is laughing out loud, tears spilling down her cheeks as easily as rain, laundry forgotten as she takes his hands in hers.  “You’re ridiculous, but thank you.”

His cheeks turn crimson at the contact, but he still softly murmurs that it was nothing.  And she, for her part, cannot remember the last time she was this happy.