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Setting her cup down onto the small wooden table, Minoriko yawns lightly. The day had been long and hard for her, and after that last little encounter with Kanako and Ryou, she was drained of her energy. Other than herself, two other people are in the bedroom, talking awkwardly as she watches them.
Tenma, who had to keep an eye on the kids, grew to be almost as exhausted as Minoriko had. Shizuha had her own child to keep an eye on, so she, too was somewhat exhausted. Without knowing it, all three of them wonder how weary Kanako must feel, having children and grandchildren to worry about.
As the two talk animatedly, Minoriko can't help but wonder how this family meeting will end. Though it usually ends the same every year, a few things had happened differently this year. Ryou calling Kanako out like he had, and the gathering of all four of the young adults had been very different this year. If things kept happening differently, then perhaps... Perhaps Shizuha could get another chance.
"What do you think, Miriko?" Crossing his arms, Tenma grunts a bit as he speaks, putting on that tough act that often wears at Minoriko's nerves. "Shizuha thinks that Hina will get the biggest cut this year, but I'm awfully sure that you'll be the one benefiting."
"Oh... Well, I guess that they're both likely results. I was thinking, though... This yea-" Deciding to slowly move into that subject, Minoriko raised her hand to her mouth and faked a cough for the sake of transition. "This weather is different, is it not?"
It was true. The weather outside was vastly different from that weather in the previous years. Even though it had been a bit harder earlier, it was still rain, which was rare to see in this area, during this season. The downfall, which had become light, had established a melancholy atmosphere in the mansion this night.
"Yes, it is a bit odd." Rubbing his neck, Tenma laughs rather loudly as he speaks. "Maybe it's a blessing from the shrine? This mountain could always use some more rain, so maybe the shrine god thought that she should get a friend to bring storm clouds through."
"That's an interesting way to think about it." Laughing smalley, Shizuha glanced from her sister to Tenma and back, noticing a bit of regret in their eyes. "...Maybe the shrine god thinks this rain will make those kids stop disturbing her peace."
Her intentions were clear to Tenma and Minoriko. She wasn't talking about all of the children, just Ryou. He has always been somewhat loud and obnoxious, though most of the family members grew used to that and later saw his good side, which really cared for his whole family. Shizuha was one of the family members that hadn't seen that in Ryou.
"Maybe so..." Glancing down at his cup, and then getting up to look in the teapot, Tenma began to furrow his brow in thought. "The tea is all gone... Shizuha, could you go get some more?"
"Oh, of course." Getting up and grabbing the tray, she narrowly avoids Minoriko's hand, which was reaching out so that she could get the new tea, instead. "It's fine, sis. I'll only be a minute."
With that, Shizuha left the room. After the footprints trailed off into the distance, Tenma started to stand and look at Minoriko, reaching into his pocket, intent burning in his eyes. Minoriko thought this was strange behavior, until she came to the realization of what he planned to do.
"...Minoriko..." Swallowing hard, he fiddled with the box in his pocket before showing it to her, and opening it up slowly. "...Will you...?"
In the box was a shining, gold ring, with a diamond set into it. When she first found out that Tenma planned on doing this some day... She didn't believe it at first, but once she remembered that they weren't really related, she started to believe that he would do this. Now, open before her, is the proof of Tenma's will, shining with the light from the lamps.
"Tenma... You know that we can't just..."
"It's fine! We'll run away together, and they'll never be able to find us..." On a knee, he bowed his head at an odd angle as he spoke. "We can leave Aya and Momizi to Ryou... I know that, when faced with ownership of those girls, he'll be capable of taking care of them in my stead... so..."
"...Ryou?" Shocked at his statement, Minoriko drew her fingers back as she turned the thought over in her mind. "...But, Shizuha--"
"She isn't competent. I hate to admit it, but they'd be better off with Ryou. He's a good boy, and honest, despite his appearance... I'm sure that he'll grow into a fine man one day, and that he'll damn me to hell for leaving..."
Holding the words in, she merely looked at the shining ring before her, thinking about all the things it meant. This ring shone with the promise of a happy future, but tears also shone in that future. If she took this ring, then she'd be selfishly throwing her family away, just to live with the man she desired...
...Reaching out, carefully and steadily... She took the ring, and wore it.