Story: Cat Paws and Bee Wings (chapter 3)

Authors: bleeding.blade

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Chapter 3

Urahara Kisuke wasn't surprised when Yoruichi arrived at his shop several days after the battles had begun. While everyone else had fretted and worried, he had been certain the purple-haired woman would eventually return.

What had ended up surprising him (and he took great pride in never being startled) was the figure that had walked in the door with Yoruichi. It had been more than a century since he had last seen her, but there was no mistaking the younger woman. After all, Soi Fon had practically been Yoruichi's shadow in those decades long past.

The second surprise of the evening followed shortly after the first. Soi Fon had looked up at Urahara, had nodded at him, and had said his name with complete civility. "Urahara-san. It's been quite a while." It was not the greeting he had anticipated from the younger woman. From what he had known of her, he had expected cold fury - if not outright hatred - for his role in Yoruichi's exile. He had tipped his hat at her in mute response.

"We can talk tomorrow, Kisuke. Right now, Soi Fon and I could use some food and rest."

Urahara nodded. The questions could wait a little while longer.


Later that evening, Yoruichi awoke and found the sleeping mat next to hers empty. Looking up, she found Soi Fon sitting by the windowsill, polishing a small rectangular object. Soi Fon's head tilted towards her; in the dark, she caught a flash of the younger woman's smile. The voice that carried through the dark was gentle.

"You should get some more sleep, Yoruichi-sama. Your body needs it to heal."

Yoruichi stood up and settled herself closer to the younger woman. "It's hard to sleep again after having slept so much."

Soi Fon chuckled. "Maybe this will help." She put the harmonica to her lips; the first bars of a famous French ballad began to play.

Yoruichi lifted an eyebrow. Since yesterday, there had been no end to the surprises coming from the younger woman.

"And who taught you to play that?"

Soi Fon paused the melody briefly. "A street musician." Then she resumed, slowing the tempo to a wistful lullaby.

"Street musician, huh?" Yoruichi smiled at the response and closed her eyes. Falling asleep again wasn't as hard as she'd thought...


Soi Fon looked down at the face cradled in her lap. She remembered another moonlit night like this, ages ago, when Yoruichi had fallen asleep in her arms. They had made a promise then, one they hadn't been able to keep. She felt the old, familiar rush of pain and sadness, but allowed the emotions to wash over her. She had learned that as long as she didn't struggle against her feelings, no matter how unpleasant, they eventually passed.

Besides, there was joy to be found here too, along with the hurt and the sorrow. She found it in stroking Yoruichi's hair and in listening to the sound of the older woman's breathing. Tomorrow, the old distance would reassert itself. But then again, there was always a chance that tomorrow would never come. What Soi Fon had was the present, and what she had in the present was good.

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