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Author's Chapter Notes:

Yo! So the pressure of school and the desire to write conflicted so much that I had a really jumbled mind. I took down the original story and tweaked the plot some, so you'll still see a lot of what was at the beginning of the original posting in the beginning of this one as well! I was able to develop my plotline a lot more, so enjoy!

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.


     Rie paced the floor of her dormitory as she awaited Jason's return. It had been a month since the random terrorist attacks had begun around the world, even striking in Houston, Texas where she currently lived. They took everyone by surprise with no warning or explanation, disrupting millions of lives.

     "There are already talks of the next steps that the government will take in response to recent events....hysteria is high in all corners of the world."

    Taking deep breaths, she placed her hand on her swollen midsection. The anxiety she had been feeling since the first night of bombings took place in Texas rapidly built up, creating a consistent thump that set up shop at the base of her neck. Between the sounds of the television news reports, and the shouts of people in the streets calling for a roundup of non- Americans, she had no idea how she was going to make it any longer.

     Banging sounds resonated throughout the dormitory as she took a seat on the edge of her bed. She knew that this happened to be the international student floor of the residence halls, and she knew that she wasn't the only one in fear. Her cellphone rang, the muted sound sent her on a wild hunt to find it as she flipped over her comforter. Fumbling with the device, she closed her eyes in hope of hearing Jason's voice on the other end.

     "Rie? Are you still in the dorms?" The sound of her Swedish neighbor greatly disappointed her.

       "Yes. Yes I am." The pain she felt in her chest grew as she took a deep breath, wanting to hang up to make sure that she didn't miss a call from her boyfriend.

     "Things are bad, Rie. We are all terrified of what's going on out there." She didn't need to know what she meant, as the chants became louder. "Please come stay with us. We've all gathered in Paolo's room. Who knows what could happen right now, but one thing is certain. We need to be together just in case."

    Shaking her head furiously, knowing that Karla wouldn't see, Rie immediately denied the request." I can't. Jason went to find water for us. There's no way I can leave now." She hadn't had any type of liquid in two days now, and the life she held in her stomach desperately called for its thirst to be quenched. The pregnancy had been a surprise for her and Jason, as they had become entangled with lust and young love, they were just trying to figure out the right step to take before all hell had broken loose a month ago.

    "Rie...Please, we just want to make sure everyone is safe. They have five policemen posted down there, and I still don't feel secure. We just want to make sure everyone is together and accounted for." Karla begged for the young woman to heed her warning and come be where all of the international students could protect and support each other.

    Pulling her phone away to see she had less than 5% left on her battery's life, she had to rush Karla off the phone.

    "Karla I'm so sorry but I just can't leave. He'll worry about me as much as I'm worried about him right now. I have to save what little time I have left on my battery. I ...I have to go."

    "Rie! If you don't come, then I'll come for you!" Karla gave her the ultimatum. "For all you know, he could have left to safety on the other side with them!"

     "He would never!" Rie screamed."He's not like that. Not at all."

     "But Rie...they want to -"

      "Jason is not them!" Hanging up the phone, Rie shook as she went back to her deep breathing. She knew that Karla meant the best, but she couldn't handle the idea of Jason being grouped together with the American citizens who had become enveloped with hysteria.

    Jason was not them.

    Jason was not them.

   Jason was not them.

    Rhythmic beating of metal could be heard as the riots outside began to take on a whole other nature.

   Jason was not them.

   Jason was not them.

   "Bring them out! Bring them out! Bring them out!"

   On shaking legs, Rie took to the window, pulling back the curtains slightly to take a glimpse outside. She could see a group of 20 or so individuals who seemed to be inciting the violent chant. They waved bat like objects in the air as their chant caught on with just as much vigor amongst the larger crowd.

    A hand on her should drew a blood curdling cry from her throat.

    "No no no no..." Jason covered her mouth with his hand as her chest heaved. Her eyes thrashed around within their sockets before they settled on the warm face of Jason. Her nails had begun to dig into his forearms, drawing blood beneath his long sleeve shirt.

    Tears streamed down her face as noiseless cries seeped from between his fingers. Drawing a large water bottle to her lips, he hushed her so that she would be able to drink.

     Gulping it down, Rie could feel her throat burn with relief.

     " Slowly...slowly...." With a sad smile on his lips, Jason watched as the love of his life drank. By the time she took a breath, a good portion of the water was gone. With horror, Rie began to apologize.

    "I ...I didn't mean to drink so much." She looked into Jason's eyes and could see the effects of dehydration were much harder on him. Tilting the bottle to his lips with care, he obliged to the water. With her hand on his cheek, Rie kissed him all over his face.

    "I was so worried...I didn't think I'd get a call from you in time."

    "Rie, we've gotta go. Now."

    "What?" Leaning back she blinked fast in confusion."We can't go out there.They're still down there." All of the American students had vacated the residence hall already, and anyone who left now practically had a red target painted on their faces.

     "Not for long." Closing his eyes, Jason squeezed Rie's hands to his face." We have to go. Now."

      "They're coming in...They're coming for us..." Her shock was written all over her face as she began to hear the shouting grow from outside. Jason began to drag her out of the room, grabbing her bag and jacket with him as he pulled Rie along.

    "I have to warn the others. They have to get out too." Rie put up resistance as Jason moved urgently. The yells of a hunt could be heard from the stairwells, telling them that their time was very limited.

    "Rie! I'm sorry but we just can't. I have to get you out of here." Jason tried to plea with her.

     "Jason, we can't just leave them...we can't."

     Jason gritted his teeth. He wasn't a heartless person, but his main priority was getting Rie to safety first. He had snuck back into the building just so he could get her out before the talk of storming the remained residents actually became reality.

    If he refused her pleas now, he knew that she would never forgive him for what would happen to the students they had both come to admire and care for throughout their years studying together. With a grunt, he ran alongside her to the hide out room.

    Living on the 12th floor, they had only a little advantage, but maybe if they could get there in time....

    Sliding in front of the door, Jason began knocking crazily. Rie called out to those who cowered on the other side.

     "It's me and Jason! Karla! You all have to get out of here now." Shaking, Rie looked around as the encroaching crowd's presence gave her goosebumps. Karla's pale face showed up in front of them. Others popped up too, just as bewildered.

    "What? But I thought that they weren't allowed in. I thought there were police guarding the entrance-"

   "Listen. What you need to think about is how fast you can run." Jason didn't have time to explain anything. For a moment everyone stood in silence as the weight of the situation over took them. The ding of an elevator brought the students from their stupor.

     In a harsh whisper, Jason set to take off, his hand crushing Rie's wrist.




     Rie dry heaved in the corner of the shattered building Jason had rushed them into weeks ago for shelter. He was right by her side, trying to coax her into drinking more water.

     "Please, drink too Jason."

      "Are you okay?" Instinctively, reaching to her stomach, Jason felt around the smooth bump. Through her thick and large clothing he could feel the faintest kick. They were now way past the safe period when they could have followed through with the planned abortion. He had begun keeping count of the time since the chaos had started.

     Week 33.

     With heavy hearts, they had agreed what would have been best for them as they were young and aspiring students. They had just come to accept their choice and planned to terminate the pregnancy before life had more or less stopped around them. The only thing that seemed to go on no matter what was the child growing to the point of ruining concealment within Rie's womb.

    While they had been on the run, the world had become a truly scary place as people scampered back to their homelands. Many ran away fast so that they didn't end up on the lists of the volunteer civilian round up groups. They weren't the most accommodating people when it came to finding your way back home. Rie crouched in the corner, wrapping her arms around her body the best she could as she began to remember home.

    All that remained for her there was her grandmother. When she was a young girl, she had seen her mother deteriorate from a childhood disease that took her life before she had even reached 30. Her father's life had been so dependent upon her mother's that a once gentle and loving man turned cold after losing half of himself. He had turned to drinking and slowly began to neglect Rie in all the ways that she needed him the most. He couldn't handle seeing her mother's eyes in her own, and soon enough he begged her maternal grandmother to raise her for Rie made life hard for him.

    He swore Rie drove him to insanity.

    Keiko had taken her in with warm arms and raised her to be an ambitious and driven girl. When she had graduated high school, an international knowledge exchange program was on the lookout for new candidates to embark on the 8 year journey to become a doctor with qualifications recognized on an international scale.

    And now that time was up along with her student visa.

   For the last several weeks, all she could think about was how everything she had worked so hard for was now wasted.

    All the time, all the work. Was her dream now dead?

    Staring off to the distance, Rie listened to the rustling of Jason's clothing as he stood up. They had been on the search for someone to draw up a marriage certificate...maybe fabricate the dates to before panic ensued... all so that they could finally come out of hiding and find treatment for the soon to come birth of their child. He had hoped that by being his spouse, there would be less of a chance of them being separated once the child came.

    "I've got another meeting with someone who could help us."

    "Why? The last 20 you've met haven't exactly helped." Rie's outlook had turned bleak long ago. "Some of them have almost gotten you killed."

    Rubbing the facial hair that decorated his face, Jason tried to keep up his faith as he had watched Rie's fall during this time. He knew that her strength was barely there, and someone had to be the strong one.

    "This one is it, I just know it." His genuine hope made Rie want to cry.

    Dropping his head to his chest, he kept his calm.

    "I'll be back soon. You know what to do." Covering her face, Rie knew that for the next countless hours she would be holed up there in silence until Jason came running back.

     "I love you. I love you with all of my heart Rie. I'd do anything for you. I'd do anything." When he got no reply, Jason slowly left.

    When Rie heard the deafening silence that was the empty room, she pulled out a small piece of paper tucked away in her sleeve. On it was a meeting place scribbled in charcoal.

   It was smudged a bit, but it was beyond valuable to her. Rising from her place, Rie wiped her face as she composed herself. Walking through the shoddy door, she left under the cover of the greay sky.




      "I see you've come." Rie nodded eagerly as the hooded eyes stared into hers from the crack in the door. A lean man opened it, revealing a room filled with immigrants from all over the world who had been left behind from the initial escapes. As she looked around, her hands fell to her stomach immediately.

    "Come, there's a seat here." The man who led her there was, Wan, a Chinese native. He had been the ring leader of keeping remaining immigrants in the city safe. Right now, he had 12 under his wing. With Rie, she became his lucky number 13.

    She had ran across Wan during one of her early secret excursions. She hadn't told Jason a thing about her days out. Not wanting him to worry about her.

    Or know about her plan to return to Japan.

    News was scattered during those times. But whenever she could come across any type of information about the current and future state of affairs she held on to it tightly. America wasn't alone as far as things went. Every nation called out to its residents around the world, demanding they return. The race to develop bigger and better defenses and infrastructure was real. All countries needed as many valuable people as possible to help further agendas. They were desperate.

   Rie spotted 3 other Japanese immigrants who remained seated together. It was a small family who had given her a look of solidarity and support the very first time they had met. With a greeting nod, she turned to Wan as he began to speak.

    "What I have to say is short and simple. Everyone has a way out within the next day. I'm talking about tomorrow morning." Sighs of relief rang in the room. There were people from India, to Russia, to Japan gathered there. They were all just as desperate to return to their families and loved ones.

    Rie's heart beat in excitement for the first time in months.

    "Here are all the addresses you'll need to make it to your meeting places. I've already informed all of my connections on just who they'll be looking for. After today, I can no longer help. I'll be far away too." With a small smile on his lips, Wan handed a piece of paper to Rie.

    "Take as little as possible with you... which I'm sure won't be hard for anyone here."

     "If there's any unfinished business left, I suggest you handle it by the end of today, because by tomorrow morning, each of these shipping points are heading out. With or without you."

     Rie held the paper tight to her chest.


    "There isn't much more I have to say to you all." Placing his hands on his waist, Wan looked out with glossy eyes. "I just wish you all survive in this hell." Many outpours of thankfulness filled the room as people stood, hugging each other. Rie felt gentle hands on her shoulders give her comfort as she held back her emotions.

    " Congratulations Mizuno-san." The woman before her grinned with happiness as Rie returned the gesture.

    "We're so fortunate to have gotten this far. I almost can't believe it." The woman hugged her son close to her body as she cried from joy. Her husband ran his fingers through his wife's hair as he looked to Rie.

    " I know I have no place to say this, but what will you do about your child?" They had figured out early on that the father of her child had to have been of another nationality. They had always seen Rie alone, and any mention of the father's whereabouts seemed like a sore spot to her.

    "What do you mean? Of course by the time she gives birth, her child will be seen as a Japanese national. They can't deny that when it's born on Japanese soil." His wife asserted the fact that throughout all of this craziness, the spewing of nationalism and xenophobia, what remained at the root of every nation's decree was their plan to protect their citizens.

    "Everything will be fine, Mizuno-san. I promise you. We don't have much longer to wait. So just hang in there, okay?"

     Rie had already made up her mind as to what she would do once her child was born. She couldn't keep it...she just couldn't.

     "I've been doing my best this entire time." Laying her hand on the other woman's she watched how she gripped her son to her. A sudden emotion overtook her, was it good or bad, she wasn't sure.

    "I'll be looking for you in the morning. Please be safe so that we can all meet."

     "We promise. You do the same Mizuno-san." Leaving them to rejoice alone, Rie approached Wan.

      "I want to thank you for all the trouble you've gone through for me." Shaking his hand, Rie squeezed tightly displaying her gratitude.

    " There's no need for that. It wasn't any trouble."

     "But still...." Wan was a man in his 30s, and yet the wrinkle at his eyes added a decade. Rie wouldn't be surprised if they all showed up after the attacks.

     "I have my wife and parents to look forward to seeing once again. Knowing that there were others out there who longed for the same thing made it really easy to extend a helping hand to making sure they too could feel happiness in times like these.

    "You wanted to be a doctor, right?"

    "Yes. Yes I do."

     "I've heard about all of the countries rushing to build up forces in every field imaginable. I have no idea what they all have planned. But I do hope that you get to finally have your dream."

    Patting her on the shoulder,  Wan leaned closer. "And no matter what. No matter what kind of hateful things you may hear once you return home about the world, I hope you never forget that dream. I hope we all never forget that dream."

    "Everyone needs something to hold on to right now." Rie spoke softly.

   "That's right.  I guess this is goodbye for now, but hopefully one day, I'll hear about you and your greatness." Taking a step back, Wan gathered his belongings as he said his goodbyes to the rest of the people there. Quietly, Rie slipped out.




      Jason looked to the sky. He had lost track of time as he met with an official who could draw up the papers he needed to keep Rie by his side. He had been wrapped up in thoughts of the life he needed to build for them. There were so many things he needed to do.

    And now, one of them could be checked off his list.

    Holding back his grin of excitement, he raced back to Rie.

    Rie hadn't slept a wink since she had come back. She had eaten some of the food Jason had found for them over the time, to hold over the pangs of hunger she felt. She was curled up on her side when she first heard Jason's footsteps.

   I'm so sorry.

      Lifting her head at the sound of him, she was met by a kiss to her temple.

      Her heart tugged with his display of enthusiasm.

       "You found someone." The words fell out of her mouth like rocks. Completely misreading her shock, Jason hugged her tightly as he planted another kiss on her neck.

     "I found someone who will take us in the morning. A quick ceremony and all we have to do is sign the certificate." Wetness met his cheeks as Rie's eyes overflowed.

     "I'm so happy too." The tighter Jason held her, the worse she felt.





     Rie tried to lift Jason's heavy arm from her shoulders. Looking at her dirtied watch, she knew that the sun would rise in less than 2 hours.

    "Where are you going..." Drowsily, Jason kept his eyes closed as his hand drifted to rub her bulging belly.

     "I... I have to go to the bathroom." Before he could begin caressing her stomach, Rie lifted his hand from her, scooting away to stand up.

     Rolling onto his back, he opened one eye. Looking up to her he told her to be careful.

      "Don't forget to flush." He joked, their bathroom were the bushes right outside their window.

      "You better have put the seat down, or else." They're normal jib was hidden with remorse as Rie leaned back down for one last kiss.

     Jason sighed contently.

      "I love you." She whispered.

      "Of course you do."

      Her throat became tight. He had no idea what was about to hit him.




        "Remain quiet and everything will go as planned." The American pilot who was risking his neck to for these secret transportations had been punctual and brief when Rie and the family she was to travel with arrived. Anyone who hadn't been evacuated during the government mandated times were subjected to harsh screening. The process was said to have been extensive and frightening, and so many people objected to going through with it, so they simply ended up having to go about finding their own way out.

     Rie felt a small hand reach to her in the dark crowded space. She looked down in the dark, and knew that the small boy who had promised his parents to not cry, was now shaking with fear as he reached for her for comfort. He wondered if he realized that it wasn't his mother's hand he gripped. Maybe any type of warmth was enough for him.

    With a silent breath, Rie captured his hand in both of hers, softly running her fingers over the back of his hand to let him know that she was there, and he wasn't alone.

  A strong kick from her abdomen reminded her of the motherly acts she would never get to experience herself once she returned. At first she had thought of finding a nice family who she could pass the child off to. But what if its features are too noticeably different? Would that cause others to turn away from taking on a child who was bound to dredge of questions of how it came to be? Rie began to wonder if she should have just remained in the States, it would have been easier to pass off a mixed race child there...

   She had no time to wonder about the what- ifs right about the future. She needed to focus on what she knew now.



      Jason rocked back and forth.

      He had searched like crazy for Rie the moment he woke up and realized she was no longer there.

     She was gone. Letting out a large screech, he sobbed until it felt like his eardrums would burst.



    "Welcome, Miss. What seems to be the issue for you today?" The nurse at the front desk stood as she watched a pale Rie walk towards her.

    "Labor...I'm in labor." Rie gripped the desk as another contraction coursed through her. The past week in a half that she had been back, she hadn't been able to figure out the plan for her child. She had watched couples as they walked down the street, trying to imagine what kind of people they were, if they desired a child, and by how far they would go to have one.

     Each day she hesitated when she thought she had found the perfect candidates. She had even considered finding a major shrine or temple and leaving the baby to be find there by someone else.

   And yet here she was at the hospital, unable to have gone through with any of her choices.

   "I'll have to have your name ma'am and we will get you to a room as soon as possible."

    Before she spoke, she racked her brain for an alias to use. The first name that came to mind was her mother's. If she wanted to be in the health field, there was no way she could have her real name floating around at a random hospital. Even though this hospital was just outside of her hometown it seemed to be in complete shambles and could be a safe place for her to be for now. She hoped that the unorganized and hectic state of everything would work in her favor and allow her to disappear without leaving a trace.

   "Takamura Rin."

     Throwing her head back, she bared another pain.



     Rie rummaged through her bag, searching for her tattered wallet. She hadn't had any real money in months, but she knew that she had kept a few yen as a memento of home while she was away. She had the equivalent of 20 dollars on her.

   "Please, let this be enough." She prayed to the heavens. Moving gingerly, Rie was mindful of her soreness as she reached down to the quiet bundle lying on her hospital bed. She shared her room with three other patients, all who snored through the night. On swift feet, she moved towards the door, opening it and closing it with ease. Her room was close to an exit, within just a few feet she could make it out. She heard small grunts and moans coming from her arms. Peeling back the blanket, she watched as the soft downturned mouth began to quiver. On instinct, Rie lowered the shoulder of her top, guiding the hungry mouth to her bosom, halting what was sure to be a cry to give them both away.

    As carefully as possible, she moved down the hall with her head down as she passed by those too busy to pay attention to her. She didn't raise her eyes until the moment she felt the night air against her skin.

    "There's only one place I can take you...Yui." Soft eyelashes fluttered against red cheeks. Showering kiss after kiss upon the child's face she had fallen in love with the moment she saw her, Rie regretted the careless thoughts she had about getting rid of her.Pulling the covering back over the child's face, Rie was on her way to take her to the only place Yui deserved to be. Where she could be raised and loved no matter what.




   The beginning...

    Keiko by her window, looking outside to the dark sky, she noticed it had begun to lightly drizzle. It was another sleepless night for her, and this time she was so sure she would be able to rest for once. She had been riddled with worry for her granddaughter, Rie. She hadn't heard from her in so many months; had no idea how she was doing or where she was.

     It nearly broke her heart.

     She could imagine her granddaughter standing before her at the window, smiling, she reminisced.

     Rie came closer and closer out of the shadows of her imagination.


  "Rie? Is that really you?" An elderly Keiko rushed to her door upon hearing a sharp knock from outside. She had prayed every night that they were apart that Rie had stepped closer towards her dream of becoming a doctor. After all, that was the reason why she worked so hard to travel to the United States. Then for the world to fall into such disarray as it had, she had worried for that dream.

     Rain glistened in Rie's long dark hair. Bangs clinging to the sides of her round face that had matured, yet still held the same childish features that a grandmother could never rid her mind of, no matter how old the child would get.

      "I'm home."

      "Yes! You sure are! Let me hold you so that I know this is not a dream." In the midst of her excitement, Keiko pulled the young woman to her chest tightly, slightly swaying as she cried tears of joy and thanks for her safe return home.

        "Quickly, you should get out of this rain and come inside. I'm sure everything is how you remember it to be."

       "Oba-san..." Rie's eyes dimmed as she addressed the woman who had taken care of her since she was a little girl.Keiko remembered the first night Rie had come to live with her. The girl's eyes glistened with sadness and Keiko's heart called out to ease it from her. Taking her in had been such an easy choice to make, as Rie was the spitting image of the daughter she had lost many years too soon. Raising Rie provided Keiko with a chance to relive those memories, and make fresh ones that could feel the void of being a childless mother. She had promised to not let the potential within her granddaughter go to waste, and now here she stood before her as a beautiful young woman who's successes in life were just getting started.

     "I pray that those tears come from happiness, I could really use a piece of that right now."Caressing her cold face gently, Keiko glanced bulge between them.

       "These must be the only things you were able to carry with you." Tears came to her eyes as she thought of the struggle Rie had to have gone through to come back to Japan.

       "I'll take that off of your hands, you just go ahead and get dried off. I can only imagine..." Feeling a warm lump, Keiko's hands stilled around the material she held.

     Her heartbeat raced as she reached towards the corner of the folded sheet.

     "Rie?" Her voice shook as her hands involuntarily pulled back the top of the blanket, bit by bit. She could see the movement of a small face as it turned from side to side, and heard the beginning sounds of an infant's cry. She too felt as though she would cry. The more she revealed of the very real baby before her, the more she could see Rie's dreams slipping away.

     "What have you done...?" Keiko gasped as she came eye to tearful eye with a whimpering child whose small hands fidgeted with her light brown face.

      "All my life you've done nothing but helped me by giving me your all, grandmother. I thought that by now I could begin to return the favor and go on to be a good child that could make you proud. I have to ask you again for your help. I know that my presence here is be nothing but a burden for you now, but please, I need you more than ever." Rie's body sat in a hunched over form as she spoke. Her entire body trembled as rain began to pelt her even more.

    Keiko was speechless as confusion rushed over her entire being. Falling to her own knees she began hitting Rie with her fists as hard as she could. Only her strength she had gained just from the sight of her granddaughter was completely drained now as just lifting her arms consumed too much energy to barely tap Rie.

     "Stupid stupid girl." She cried out loud. Mixed in with her own sobs was that of the baby that wasn't meant to be.

      Not at a time like this.




       Silence filled the small room as Rie held her daughter close to her chest. Around them both were tightly wrapped towels Keiko had brought for them, to kill off the chill of the rain outside.

      "She's my precious baby, grandmother. From the moment I found out that she existed there was questioning that falling through with a pregnancy was impossible. But then, everything changed so fast and I couldn't do what I thought was the most responsible thing at the time."

     "What would have been responsible of you? Rie you threw away your responsibilities the moment you allowed yourself to be lured away from your goal! You bring this child into the world with such a miserable situation for the both of you." Reaching over to pull away the blankets that covered the child's face, Keiko sighed from the depths of her heart.

     "My dreams would have been interrupted whether or not I had her, oba-san. " She referred to the attacks. Looking up, she saw the knowing look in Keiko's eyes.

     "Her father is a black man, isn't he Rie?" Keiko asked quietly. The small waves at the nape of the child's neck paired alongside the light brown skin that her mother continued to stroke delicately told her all that she needed to know.

     Rie pulled the child closer to her bosom, letting her warmth envelop her.

      "She's a haf-"

      "Please!" Rie begged softly for her grandmother to not finish her sentence.

      "You understand that she'll only have challenge after challenge to face here, don't you?' Keiko's hands drifted back into her lap as she looked to her granddaughter's face to find understanding. "And where is the father, Rie? Why did you come to me alone with this child?"

    Rie could hear the accusations wrapped in her grandmother's words without her voicing them.

    "He wanted to marry me. He wanted to marry me and become a family. I couldn't...I couldn't agree to that. I had already lost my schooling. I knew that there would be positions I could look for here, but if I had agreed to be his wife, I would have had to truly give up everything, and I just couldn't do that." The firmness in her voice told Keiko that she defended the man with love.

     "I'm a selfish person. I hurt him, I hurt her, and I'm hurting you just for making such a request that goes beyond a simple favor. But I just can't give up the dreams I've had all of my life.Even with everything that's going on, there's still a chance for me."

     "Do you think your dreams can still exist?" Keiko groaned as Rie's back straightened instantly.

      "I can't let them go. If I let them go to raise her, I'll never be a good mother. There's no way that I could be good enough for her if I give up on myself right now." Rie's tearful gaze made her eyes burn as this was a thought she had fumbled with for the longest. She had been thrown into a daze trying to figure out what she was to aim for in her life, and no matter how hard she tried to place her daughter as the target, she couldn't.

    "You raised me well, right? I always had your love and your attention, Oba-san. I never went without feeling that kind of warmth that every child should feel. I hadn't felt it since mom died." Tear flowed freely down her cheeks, dripping onto her quiet child who reached for her breast.

    "You pushed me to always do my best, and to always be a good person. But I can't be a good person to her right now." Her throat burned as she clutched on to her daughter even more. "I'm so sorry. I don't know how to ever tell her how sorry I am."

     Keiko's eyes closed as Rie continued on.

     "That's why I came to you. You're much stronger than I am. You know how to love better than me. I knew that taking her anywhere else would just say that I never loved her enough, but grandmother... giving her to you is the extent of my love. This the greatest love I could possibly show her because I trust you more than anyone else. More than myself."

     Afraid that her grandmother's silence meant rejection, Rie was prepared to beg even more.

      "Please. Please! I'll send all the money that I can to take care of her and anything that you need. I'll--- I'll---"

     "Don't say another word, Rie." Keiko's soft tone halted Rie from progressing further into hysteria.

       Looking onto her grandmother's grayed head Rie waited with abated breath.

      "I'll have raised three children and only have given birth to one in my life." Keiko sighed with a small smile.

      "Oba-san? Are you sure?" Rie shook with anxiousness as Keiko touched her cheek.

      "What else is there to do now? Her life is our responsibility, isn't it? You may not be able to give her what we expect a mother to give, but seeing how much it hurts you to admit that you're not enough for her instead of doing something drastic that would have harmed her, you brought her to me. That tells me that as a parent, you're giving your all."

        "How do I say thank you at a time like this?" Rie's voice cracked as she laid a kiss upon her daughter's head.

    "I believe saying thank you is enough." Keiko looked down to the child between them. "Isn't that right?---"

     "Yui. Mizuno Yui." Rie filled the empty space with Yui's name.


      "Yui-chan." Keiko smiled down at the new member of her family.

Chapter End Notes:

Basicall this is one of those 0~0~0~0~0~0 concepts that I've always wanted to try

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