A small figure tiptoed soundlessly under the dense brush before her, the little girl sniffled miserably and fat tear drops splashed down her dirty face leaving trails where they had fallen down. Her large black cat ears drooped sadly and her tail lay limp and dirty curled around her feet as she hugged her knees to her chest. Her dark blue kimono was stained with dirt and bits of dried blood from her wiping her cut hands on her clothes, Saki licked her hands where the cuts and scrapes form the woods had already begun to heal, she looked down at her hands happy they no longer stung from the fall she had taken. She had run a long way from home; she had been curled up asleep on her mother’s grave as she had done so for the past year hiding when necessary but always returning to her mother even after near death beatings and threats on her life if she was seen. The young girl had woken up to a gang of the village boys trying to sneak into the grave yard; she normally would have ignored them and hidden behind the carved stone that marked her mother’s resting place, if she hadn’t heard a knife being pulled form a sheath, she was chased away by the boys as they taunted and jeered at her trying to grab her tail all the way. Saki sniveled again and whimpered, she longed to crawl into someone’s arms and just cry, but she dared not show herself in the village she had run to by accident. She had become afraid, afraid of humans who feared and despised her, afraid of demons who looked down on her in disgust and reviled her. Saki knew what she was, she was a half demon, and she had learned that the humans and the demons would never accept her. Loneliness and exhaustion took over the girl and she curled up wrapping her tail across her nose, the sky darkened as she dosed, not allowing herself the much needed sleep she needed desperately. Saki was jolted to full alertness when a cold rain drop landed her nose; tears filled up the half demon’s sorrowful green eyes as the cloud above her let the rain drop down in a spring shower, Saki shivered in the light rain and let the tears fall down her face again, nothing was going right for her. Footsteps lightly passed by her hiding place, fearfully Saki drew back into the brush as someone wandered about in the rain. “hey dummy you’ll catch a cold wandering out in the rain!” someone called form a distance, “don’t worry about me, besides this is the best time to find herbs…” a person answered, “this is when they’re freshest.” Saki remained silent, hoping the person would find their herbs and leave, she hardly dared to breath. But fate willed otherwise, a heavy rain drop slipped off a leaf hanging over the half demon and landed with a small splat on her nose, this made her sensitive cat like nose tingle and before she could cover her face she sneezed. Saki wiped the water from her nose, as she did the brushwood was parted slowly and a curious face peered down at her, “oh hello” the boy smiled, Saki inched away whimpering softly. The boy smiled sweetly you don’t have to be scared.” He said reaching a hand out to the little girl; Saki growled and tried to bite his hand as it neared. The boy pulled his hand away and blinked, Saki tried to push further back but wasn’t small enough to worm away under the bushes. “It’s okay…” the boy said gently, he kneeled down on the wet grass to look at Saki, “I’m a half demon too.” Saki looked hard at the boy, she hadn’t noticed the pointed dog like ears on his head, and he smiled and waved his tail to show her the silky gray fur. Saki stared in awe, she had never met another half demon before, she stared long and hard at the half demon boy, nothing made him seem harmful to her. He smile kindly and offered his hand down again, this time Saki accepted and crawled out of the brush to follow the boy down into the village. The boy was almost a whole head taller than her but appeared to only be maybe a year or so older, he had thick brown hair reaching his shoulders and shimmering gray eyes, he held Saki’s hand in his own and lead her to a small hut just outside the village. When they were inside Saki dropped onto the floor and pulled her knees to her chest, the boy sat down beside her, “my name’s Tsuzuki, what’s yours?” Saki looked up at Tsuzuki and blinked, she said nothing though so Tsuzuki tried again, “I’m part wolf demon, so what kind of half demon are you? You look like kinda like a kitty…” he trailed off as Saki dropped her gaze to the floor, he watched her shiver in her damp and dirty clothes. He leapt up suddenly with an idea in his head and raced into a small room. Saki watched confused, Tsuzuki then raced back out holding a large brown shirt made of cotton, “here, it’s kinda big on me so it will be big on you too but…you can wear it till your clothes are dry.” Saki gazed up at Tsuzuki and rewarded his efforts with a sweet smile; she took the shirt out of his outstretched hands, she placed it by her feet and peeled of her blue kimono. She dropped the wet attire on the floor and pulled the borrowed clothes on, Saki felt herself already beginning to warm up; Tsuzuki beamed happily, “you look really cute.” Saki smiled back, and then her empty stomach growled quite loudly reminding her of the past days with little food to grab on the run. The boy looked surprised for a moment then his lovable smile came back, “you hungry?” Saki nodded and stared up pleading with her big green eyes, Tsuzuki motioned for her to follow him. So she trailed Tsuzuki to a small table where he handed her some dried fish, Saki’s eyes widened at the sight of her favorite food. She devoured the morsel before her new friend could grab a hunk of bread to give her, Saki consumed that quickly too, she sighed contently as she small stomach was filled. Tsuzuki patted her head fondly, “bet you feel better now huh?” he asked, Saki nodded her head “is fish your favorite food?” he asked but Saki locked up and said nothing, remembering that she still wasn’t sure how much she could trust him. “You can sleep here tonight if you don’t have anywhere else to go.” Tsuzuki offered, Saki thought about the grave yard where she used to sleep, her eyes brimmed with fresh tears. The half demon boy saw the tears and wiped them away with his hand smearing the dirt on Saki’s face, he frowned slightly licking his thumb and cleaning the dirt of the little girl’s face till it was mostly clean, “there” he said once he was satisfied, “you don’t have to cry now, you’re with me.” Tsuzuki lead Saki into the room he had gone into earlier to retrieve the shirt and sat her down on the old futon there. Tsuzuki sat down next to the girl as she curled up beside him on the futon, “now will you tell me your name?’ he asked hopefully, Saki blinked slowly much as a cat does when its pleased but she still said nothing. He had taken her out of the rain, given her dry clothing and even fed her good food without poison in it. She had tasted poison long enough to know what that tasted like, but she still was cautious and still gave him the impression that she couldn’t or just wouldn’t speak. Tsuzuki sighed disappointed, “so what were you doing hiding in the bushes?” he looked at Saki, the girl sat upright on the futon next to Tsuzuki. She remained silent but shook her head slightly, she didn’t want to even clue the boy in to what she was hiding from, and after all who would care? “I’ve found that hiding up in a tree works better…do you like climbing trees?” Saki listened to Tsuzuki as he told her about himself and asked her questions along the way, he would pause hoping she would answer him then continue on when she didn’t. “I used to have parents but they left a long time ago and I’ve never seen them since, so where are your parents? Mine left when I was two or so I don’t remember very well…but I’m nine now how old are you?” Tsuzuki sighed to himself; he wanted the little girl to talk to him, since he hadn’t had anyone talk nicely to him in a long time. He too was used to violent and harsh words often followed by a beating at the villagers’ hands, but had survived his tormenting better than Saki had. Saki had locked herself away from the rest of the world, too frightened and distrustful to allow anyone to become close to her. Tsuzuki though was determined to bring her back out, “are you tired now?” he asked Saki as she yawned widely showing her tiny pointed fangs, Saki rubbed her eyes and nodded. Tsuzuki smiled, “let’s sleep then…maybe you can talk to me in the morning.” Saki didn’t answer but lay down on her side facing away from Tsuzuki; she let her eyes fall part of the way close but not fully. Tsuzuki yawned too and flopped down beside the half demon girl, “good night” he said only to be greeted with silence, although he heard nothing Saki was wide eye with shock, no had said ‘good night’ to her since her mother died. A smile spread across her face at the thought of having someone actually care for her; maybe…just maybe Tsuzuki was someone she could trust. Saki let her eyes close completely, she felt safe enough to sleep soundly with Tsuzuki’s warm back pressed against hers. Saki snuggled closer and fell into a peaceful sleep, one that she needed for such a long time.
When Saki woke the next morning she jolted up right, where was she? Her heart slowly settled down from a panicked hammering to a loud thud as she remembered Tsuzuki. She sighed in relief then pulled the covers back over her head, as she closed her eyes to try and sleep again she caught a whiff of something sweet. Saki sniffed, and again…it smelled good whatever it was and she thought about going to see what it was. Stretching out her arms and legs she felt nothing in the spot where Tsuzuki had slept, she figured Tsuzuki must be up cooking. She rolled over so she faced the doorway and stared at it for a moment before pulling the covers over her head once more. “Come on out you don’t want to spend all day in bed do you?” Saki peeked through the blanket at Tsuzuki thinking that actually she would like to spend all day in bed. Tsuzuki came into the room and pulled the covers off Saki who instantly curled up and growled at Tsuzuki. The boy looped his arms under Saki’s and hoisted her up, “come on I made breakfast!” he said, the half demon girls stood up on her own then, ears perked up at the word, Tsuzuki smiled and patted Saki on the head, “you hungry?” Saki nodded, “good I hope you like sweet rolls!” Saki’s eyes widened, her mouth watered at the thought. Tsuzuki turned to leave the room motioning for the girls to follow, but Saki didn’t do that, without hesitation she bolted past Suzuki into the kitchen. The half demon girls leapt to the table and snatched two sweet buns, one in each hand and began taking large bites out of them, “whoa slow down!” Tsuzuki warned her as she reached for a third while still munching on the second. Saki let a slight purr rumble up from her throat, and smile with bulging cheeks at Tsuzuki as she attacked her fourth sweet bun. The boy was beside himself with joy at the fact that he made the little girl smile once more, “do you really like sweet things?” he asked, Saki chewed her food and smacked her lips. Tsuzuki sighed, “So now will you tell me your name?” Saki blinked, he still wanted to know her name? “I’ll bet it’s a really pretty name!” Tsuzuki grinned and grabbed some food for himself; he got up and grabbed the blue kimono lying crumpled on the floor still inspecting the dirt and blood stains on it. “Too bad,” he mumbled “must have been a really expensive kimono too…is blue your favorite color?” he spread the blue fabric out so it could dry better, “I like blue a lot but I really like green and yellow is nice too,” Saki watched soundlessly as Tsuzuki made his way back to the table chatting happily to her, “sorry about your kimono, it looks pretty bad but I can probably make you a new one or something, if you like blue then I know where I can get some-” “red.” Tsuzuki froze and stared open jawed at Saki, “…………h-huh?” he managed to mumble out, Saki looked back at Tsuzuki, “red.” She said again a bit louder than before, the boy didn’t move for a heartbeat then he leapt across the kitchen and tackled the girl to the floor, “YOU ARE SO CUTE!” he squealed hugging Saki so tightly that she began to make gagging noises, Tsuzuki released her from his death grip beaming from ear to ear at his friend so happy that she had finally spoken to him. “So red is your favorite color?” he asked and Saki nodded. Tsuzuki squealed again, “Okay now tell me your name!” the girl blinked and hesitated, “…Saki…” she muttered the boy hugged her again so herd that Saki let out a yelp, he let go and scooted away to the opposite side of the table, “sorry…it’s just that…well,” he smiled sweetly, “you’re so cute Saki…and I love your voice so much.” Saki cocked her head to the side and Tsuzuki beamed, “okay.” She said and the boy sat on his hands promising he wouldn’t jump on her again. Saki settled down then and opened up a bit more to Tsuzuki, he had worn her hard shell away and won her trust, although she mostly spoke only one or two words Tsuzuki didn’t mind and he asked all the questions he wanted answers to. “So what kind of half demon are you Saki, do you know?” Saki nodded, she tugged on her black ears, “tiger-kitty.” She said proudly showing her friend her large velvety ears hoping to impress him, Tsuzuki was impressed. “Wow…” he mused, Saki giggled. “Hey can I pet your ears?” He asked, Saki blinked, the last time someone toughed her ears they had pulled the hard and tried to cut them off, but Tsuzuki wouldn’t do that. She leaned over to him and allowed the bout to reach out and stroke her ears with his fingers. When he was done Saki scrambled over and into Tsuzuki’s lap, she reached up and tugged very lightly on his ears, she knew how sensitive they could be and was very gentle. Tsuzuki let Saki rub his ears stroking the soft gray fur and giggling happily when she scratched him behind the ears, Saki then reached for Tsuzuki’s tail, Saki loved the silky feeling of his tail, it was so much better than stroking her own tail for comfort. Tsuzuki smiled at Saki, and she smiled back climbing out of his lap and sitting next to him. “So Saki,” Tsuzuki said, “I told you about how my parents left…so will you tell me about yours?” Saki stiffened next to the boy; he had accidentally hit a sore spot in the half demon girl’s heart, Saki stared at the ground wrapped up in her silence, Tsuzuki realized what he had done, “I’m sorry Saki, you don’t have to say anything if you don’t want to.’ His ears dropped in embarrassment and guilt, he had just managed to bring her out then he sent her back in. he hung his head till he heard Saki’s voice, “my mommy…” she chocked back a sob, “mommy died…” Tsuzuki put and arm around Saki’s shoulders, “but don’t you have a dad Saki?” the girl shook her head forlornly, “…I don’t…know…” Tsuzuki squeezed the girl’s shoulders fondly, “well you don’t have to worry anymore Saki I’m here and I promise I will never ever leave you.” Saki leaned her head against her friend and sniffed, tears welling up in her eyes, “really?” she questioned Tsuzuki, “really.” He answered firmly pulling her securely against him.