Nanere first picked up the knives when she was a little girl. She rammed one into the knee of her mother’s love. When he howled and swung, she slashed his arm.
When he was finally gone, still cursing her, she gently washed her mother’s face and applied salve to her bruises, then fixed her mother’s makeup for her.
“He was our next meal,” her mother slurred.
Nanere thought of the shipyards and dangerous work available for tiny bodies that could fit into the small spaces between mechanical parts. She hardened her face and stiffened her shoulders. “I’m our next meal.”
It wasn’t supposed to be his last kiss, the first time he reached out and took Tatara’s face in his hand, studying the way it made his eyes widen slightly and his mouth fall open, and the first time he’d ever kissed the only person that ever made him feel like everything was somehow worth it.
It wasn’t supposed to be Mikoto’s last kiss.
He opened his eyes from memory and breathed out smoke from his cigarette, something hard and angry burning in his gut.
This power is to protect.
Whoever killed Tatara was still out there. Not for long.