84 – Birds of a Feather
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Kai gently opened Tsuki's door and peered inside her room.

The cute young girl was lying on her bed, wearing a cozy pink pajama set and smiling at a tablet. Her light brown hair was messy, hidden beneath the fuzzy pink cat hood of her pajamas.

In short, she looked comfortable and content.

Seeing that, Kai smiled and lightly knocked on her door. "Princess? How are you doing?"

"Oh!" Tsuki put down her tablet and looked over at the door. Seeing Kai, she smiled and said, "I'm doing great, Daddy!" She looked back at the tablet and said, "Hana's gotten a lot better at dancing!"

Kai walked over to the bed and sat at the edge before leaning over to watch the stream on the tablet.

It looked like Hana was putting on a mini concert, the usual drab background replaced by a futuristic wireframe stage. With a wireless mic in hand, she sang and put on a show for everyone watching.

After watching for a bit, Kai nodded and said, "Not bad." He wasn't sure who was training her, but it seemed like John had found Rin some good instructors.

Tsuki frowned. "Not bad? She's great!"

Kai coughed. "I mean of course she is, Princess. Rin puts in a lot of hard work."

Tsuki nodded. "She does! So you should give Rin nee-san the proper credit, Daddy!"

Kai laughed, running a hand through his graying hair. "I'll make sure to remember to do so when I see her again."

"You'd better!" Tsuki huffed and went back to watching the stream.

Kai smiled as he did the same.

But then Tsuki paused the video and sat up on her bed.

Kai blinked and looked at her. "Princess?"

Tsuki frowned and then stared at Kai. "...Aren't you going, Daddy?"

"What do you mean?"

Tsuki tilted her head and said, "Aren't you busy? Daddy has a lot of work to do, doesn't he? I don't mind if you go." She smiled and said, "The pretty nee-sans from last time showed me how to cook, so I'll be fine! And Sakura nee-san told me what foods to eat to be healthy, too!"

A stab of pain in his heart. One that cut deeper than any knife wound Kai had ever felt.

Tsuki absolutely missed him. Even so, she was putting on a brave face... No, she was deliberately not being clingy and letting Kai go about his business. As if it was already enough to be able to see him once a day and asking for more was too much.


Kai quickly brushed his eyes and smiled. "You don't need to worry about that, Princess. From this point on, Daddy has all the time in the world to spend with you."

Tsuki's eyes widened and she jumped to her feet. "Is that true?!"

Kai nodded.

Tsuki hugged Kai and looked up at him. "You won't leave me alone in the house again or with those nee-sans? I don't mind, but... I really want to spend some more time with you, Daddy."

Kai's eyes watered again and he pulled Tsuki close, hugging her. "Of course, Princess. Just tell Daddy what you want to do and he'll make it happen."

"Then..." Tsuki shifted and buried her head in Kai's chest before quietly muttering, "Can we go see Mommy?"

Kai froze.

Tsuki shook her head. "I-It's okay if it's too hard. But... I miss her. A-A-And since she became an a-angel, I-"

Kai blinked away his tears, gently patting Tsuki's back. "Of course we can. I'll have my friends arrange things, and then we can go have fun in America and take pictures to show your Mommy. Does that sound good?"

"Mmhm." Tsuki nodded and then leaned back, giving a watery smile. "Daddy's the best! I love you!"

Kai didn't know how he looked at the moment, but he would bet good money that he had just as watery an expression as his daughter. "I love you too, Princess. Now..." He stood up, quietly brushing away his tears, and said, "Why don't you start making a list of everything you want to bring to show to Mommy? I'll go make some calls and get the other things ready for the trip."

"Okay, Daddy-! Ah! But after Hana's stream!"

"Of course." Kai nodded, giving his daughter one last smile before leaving her to finish watching the stream.

Walking outside of Tsuki's room, Kai headed over to the sliding doors looking outside and pulled out his phone.

While it was true that he needed to make calls to his subordinates to arrange the trip, there was another person he had to call first.

Swiping through the contacts, Kai clicked on one called 'Miracle Worker' and then held the phone up to his right ear.

The dial tone. Once. Twice. And on the third, someone picked up.

"It's not like you to call during something important. Did stragglers start targeting you or Tsuki?"

It was John.

Hearing the concern, Kai cracked a smile. "Nothing that drastic. But... I wanted to know if you needed anything from me."

"Well, I need you to stop calling me at bad times. I'm still helping with Hana's stream right now."

Kai blinked and then he coughed. "My apologies. I didn't realize you were the one running it."

"I can't let my daughters do everything for me now, can I?"

"Of course not. And that actually brings me to the reason why I'm calling."

Silence on the line. And then John said, "Oi. You aren't about to do anything heroically stupid like charging into the prison to try and kill Shin, right? And you're not about to say something like, 'my dear friend. Please, look after Tsuki for me if I don't return.' Because if you are, I'm duty-bound as your friend to show up and smack some sense into you."

Kai chuckled. "I'm grateful for your friendship, John. I truly am."

"That's not a yes or a no, man. Don't make me come grab you."

Kai shifted his phone to his left ear and said, "It's nothing that drastic. I simply want to bring Tsuki to visit her mother's grave in America and have a small vacation. But since we will be gone for a while, I wanted to ensure that my affairs were settled and that you didn't require anything of me in the meantime."

"Oh, that's it? Great. You do that. In fact, it's probably good for you to be out of the picture right now, and overseas is the best place to do it. I'm handling the fallout with Kiri and the others, but some random events could still pop up."

Kai nodded. "I thought that might be the case. Then everything is squared away?"

"Just go enjoy your vacation with your daughter, Kai. Ah, and I left a good luck charm for you and Tsuki to wear. Keep it on you two, alright?"

Kai blinked. "A good luck charm? I don't remember seeing-"

"I left it where you keep your knives. Should be impossible to miss."

"How do you know where I- Nevermind." Kai sighed and said, "I'll take a look."

"Alright. Now, I gotta get back to handling the stream and chat. Call me if you need something or want sights to visit in America... or a translator."

"*I will have you know my Engrish is paafect.*"

"And that is where you are dead wrong. But seriously, take care."

The call ended.

Kai shook his head and slipped his phone back into his pocket. After that, he muttered, "My knives, huh?" He glanced back at Tsuki's room. Seeing the door mostly closed, Kai nodded and walked over to the kitchen. With a light tap on the wall beneath the pantry, a segment of the wall flipped around, revealing an array of knives.

Surgical steel, ceramic, obsidian. Serrated, straight-edged, double-edged... A small armory of bladed weaponry was on display, neatly arranged in rows between wooden pegs.

And then, conspicuously hanging in the center of that all, were two necklaces with a folded note tucked behind them.

The first was a golden chain with a cute pair of silver angel wings. It was delicately crafted and the chain wasn't too long either. Just the perfect length to comfortably fit around a young girl's neck.

The second was a thick silver chain with four black angel wings, carved out of a mysterious dark metal.

Kai picked up the necklaces, holding both in his hands. The silver wings were warm, but the dark wings felt cold to the touch. But also, now that he held them, Kai saw that the two wings actually connected together, forming a full set of six wings with the four black ones surrounding the pair of silver wings.

"These must have cost a fortune..." Kai muttered as he examined the necklaces.

Did John really intend these as just good luck charms?

Kai frowned and shifted the necklaces over to his left hand before grabbing the notes. Unfolding it, he started reading.

[I noticed that you hadn't gotten anything personal for Tsuki yet. Geez, and I thought that *I* was a bad father. When you're done reading, take these and tell her you got the silver wing necklace as a gift along with a matching pair. Also that the design is to show that you'll always protect her and never leave her behind, alright? I'll beat you up if I hear otherwise.]

Kai sighed, a faint smile on his face. "You really are something else, aren't you, my friend?" He folded the note and tucked it into his pocket before resetting the kitchen wall. After that, he turned around and headed back to Tsuki's room.

If his friend was going out of his way that much to help him, it'd be rude of Kai to not abide by such a minor request.

Alfi's debut stream tomorrow! Would have liked to get to it today, but midterms are too OP. >_>

Might be a short prep chapter before then if I run out of time, but I'll try to get the stream chapter out within 12 hours after that. 

See you then!