The Other Side of the Other Side

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"How was it?" Koudou asked when Kazama and the others returned later that evening. He was currently checking on his other patients, Satcho's wounded from the previous encounters with the Bakufu at Toba and Fushimi.

"Just as she said," Kazama replied with the hint of a smirk.

"Yeah, aside from watching that huge building go up in flames, it was really uneventful," Shiranui added with a shrug. "Where is she, still in bed? I wanna ask how she knew."

"I'm afraid that will have to wait," Koudou replied calmly as he finished putting his medical tools away. "She's resting now. She used up all her energy and wore herself out earlier. You can talk try talking to her again tomorrow."

"Tch, that's no fun," Shiranui remarked with a disappointed frown as he turned and walked off to find something else to do to pass the time. "I was gonna have her entertain me since I'm getting sick of being surrounded by all these sweaty guys..."

"She's only half oni. Her recovery rate is slower than ours," Koudou reminded him with a sigh, shaking his head. "She'll need to rest for a couple more days before she can have such a rowdy visitor..." he mumbled.

"Is her condition still that severe?" Amagiri asked.

"Well, her life is no longer in any immediate danger," Koudou replied, frowning slightly, as he started heading back to his room to put his medical kit away, "but the bullet didn't just pass dangerously close to her heart, she's recovering from a punctured lung as well. So she's only able to breath in and out half the amount of air she normally... Are you listening, Kazama-san?" he asked as he and Amagiri both turned to make sure the younger oni was paying attention, but the spot where Kazama had been previously walking behind them was now empty.

Amagiri let out a sigh. He must have gone to see her again. Ever since they had brought Miyagawa Sumiko back with them, Kazama had been acting like a child fascinated with a new toy. Even though she had been unconscious over the past two days, Kazama had often sat in the room they were keeping her in for the duration of what little spare time they had.

"And here I just said she wasn't up for visitors yet..." Koudou mumbled disgruntledly as he rubbed his bald head, jumping to the same conclusion as Amagiri.


SLIDE.

"Here kitty, kitty," Sumiko called gently.

"Hn?" Kazama said, pausing in the doorway as he watched Sumiko wave at a cat that was sitting on the porch just outside the room. He was surprised Koudou had left the outside door open after going on about how she was still recovering. "I had heard you exhausted yourself, but you seem to be in a lively enough mood now," he commented as he watched the cat respond to her beckoning and enter the room.

"It's an easy thing to do when you're recovering from a punctured lung," Sumiko replied casually as she reached out to pet the feline, which started rubbing up against her. "And sometimes having a long cry can be good for releasing pent up stress."

"You were crying?" he asked, furrowing his brow.

"Yeah, I've had a surprisingly emotional day. But for same reason I was crying earlier, I'm in a good mood now," she replied rather enigmatically. Not even a visit from her kidnapper/benefactor could dampen her spirits. "Is this the lord's cat? It looks too pampered to be a stray." She smiled as it flopped onto its side beside her and purred. "Look at you, you big softie. You like that, huh?" she asked it, grinning, as she stroked the bobtail calico's soft fur and scratched it under its chin.

"Hmph. You really like animals, don't you?" Kazama asked with a slight smirk as he watched her play with it and smile like an innocent child, completely letting her guard down around the feline.

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