Crown of Thorns

The war was something that she never desired, but her birthright as a daughter of the Yagari family forced her to be a part of it. She killed level Est and slowly destroyed herself until the night her life was saved. Salvation was a distant dream, but maybe it was closer than she had originally believed.


3. A Moment to Rest

The smell of food being cooked woke him from his slumber. He rolled onto his back and stared at the ceiling. He didn't want to get up, but the smell was far to tempting. Rising, he wandered out into the hallway. Finding his way into the kitchen he paused in the doorway, watching Shiriko as she set the table before returning to the stove. It was a welcoming sight, one that he had missed.

"You're awake."

He startled slightly when she spoke, having been to absorbed in watching her. "Yeah." Pushing himself away from the doorframe, he walked to the table before sitting down. A plate was set before him and he looked up at his sister with a smile. "Thanks."

"You're welcome." She set down the second pate that she had made up for herself before returning to the sink. Scrubbing the dishes that she had dirtied while cooking, she glanced over her shoulder at Toga. "You can start eating."

"I can wait for you."

She shook her head and returned her gaze to the dish in her hands. In a few short minutes she had it scrubbed clean along with the other two dishes. Turning off the water, she dried her hands before going to take her seat at the table.

As he said he would Toga started to eat the breakfast that she had prepared for him. Like all of her meals were the food was tasteful. They ate in silence, neither speaking to the other. When he had finished, he sat back in his chair to wait for Shiriko. The moment that she finished he stood and picked up both of their plates.

"I can take care of it."


She gave him a look, but sat back down in her chair. After a time she stood and walked to one of the windows. There were birds in the yard, pecking at the ground as they searched for food. Behind her she heard the water stop running and glanced at her brother when he came to stand beside her. Her attention returned to the sight beyond the glass. The birds glanced up before as a group they took flight. With a sigh she turned away when they neglected to return.

"What is it Shiriko," he asked, touching her shoulder lightly.

"It's nothing. I'm just thinking." She offered him a smile before walking back to the table. "How did you sleep last night?"

He knew that she was changing the subject, but chose too not to press the subject despite the fact that he wished to do otherwise. "I slept fine. It's good to be home."

She laughed softly upon hearing his response.

"What's so funny?" he asked, raising an eyebrow.

"I'm sorry Toga. I just found your answer to be strange, that's all."

"Why would my answer be strange?"

"Because you seem to prefer to live your life as father does."

"I'm afraid that you thought wrong Shiriko." He walked towards her, closing the space between them. "Unlike father I don't fear this place and unlike him I have a reason to come home."

"I guess that I was wrong," she said. She looked away to hide the faint blush that painted her face. Stepping away from him she started to walk out of the kitchen, only to stop when she reached the doorway. "Will we be training together today?"

"No, I think I'm just going to take today off."

She gave him a strange look before laughing. "That mission must have been difficult. Maybe we could just go for a walk then."

Before he could agree she had gone, more than likely to her room or outside. Leaving the kitchen, he then followed the hallway to his room.


He left the quiet house and stepped outside. Walking a short distance he found her kneeling in the garden. Seeing him she smiled slightly before returning her attention to the flowers that she had been tending to. He leaned back against the tree, watching her as she worked. The garden had been a controversial matter. He could recall when their father learned of her thoughts to grow one. His father had rejected the idea, stating that there would be no time to tend to it. She had ignored him though and had planted it while both he and their father had been away. They had returned to the sight of a small plot of land that had been tilled with tiny sprouts growing from the dark soil. Their father had been silent and left it alone. Reflecting on her determination and the garden's creation, he was glad that she was so stubborn. The garden had grown into something that reflected the beauty of her person and soul.

Standing up from where she knelt, she brushed the dirt from her hands. "You look thoughtful Toga."

"I'm just thinking about the garden."

She looked back at it with a smile. "It's beautiful isn't it?"

"Yes, it is."

Turning back to him, she stretched her arms above her head.

Reaching out, he brushed the strands of hair that had been freed from her ponytail out of her face. "Did you want to go for a walk?" She nodded and with her at his side he started to walk out into the woods. It was quiet between them, but it was a comfortable one. He found himself watching her. She was smiling and it was a welcoming sight.

She glanced at him before looking away. They were nearing the sight of their mother's grave and she found her pace slowly.

He took her hand in his own before leading her away from the collection of trees that hid the grave from their sight. Her grip tightened and he almost expected her to walk to the white marble that held the remains safe, but she didn't and remained at his side. As they drew farther away from it her grip relaxed. "Shiriko."

"Yes?" she asked, looking at him.

The question, he wanted to ask her. He remained silent though and he shook his head. "Never mind."

"Oh," she said softly before turning away.

"I've had an idea Shiriko."

"What is it?" He didn't answer and she looked at him. There was an amused look on his face that she had not seen since they were little.

"I think that we should both retire in a few years and go somewhere."


"I'm not sure. I don't think that it really matters."

She laughed and shook her head. "We're hunters. We can't retire."

He stopped and she looked at him again. Touching her face lightly, he held her gaze. "I'm serious Shiriko."

"I…" She touched his hand and pulled it away from her face. "That's a wonderful idea Toga, but you know that we can't. Besides even if we could, I know that you wouldn't be happy." She kissed his cheek lightly before walking in the direction that led to their house.

For a moment he stood there before following her after several minutes. I would be happy though Shiriko.

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