Sei woke to the sound of Akesato humming quietly somewhere nearby. She rolled over and rubbed the sleep out of her eyes. Akesato was sitting by the window, stitching at a magnificent blue-and-gold kimono laid across her lap.
“G’morning, Akesato-san!” Sei yawned.
“Oh, good morning, Osei-chan!” Akesato said, looking up from her work with a smile.
“What’re you doing?”
“The hem of this tore on something sharp a few days ago. I think I can repair the rip so it doesn’t show. I hope I don't have to buy a whole new kimono."
Sei pulled herself into a sitting position. “Do you have anything else that needs sewing?”
“A few things. It’s nice to have the time to take care of these things while you’re here.” Akesato smiled at her, but Sei’s mind was on a different track.
“Why don’t you give me some of the other things? If I work on them too, that cuts the work you have to do in half!”
Akesato stared at her a bit blankly.
“It’s not like I have anything else to do but wait for the three days to be up, so it’s no trouble," Sei added.
“Osei-chan, ah…” Akesato paused, searching for words. "I didn't know that you sewed."
Sei blinked at her. "Well, of course I sew— oh!" She grinned. "Don't worry, Akesato-san, I can sew! In fact, everyone at headquarters says it's just like having a girl around!"
Sei and Akesato both burst into giggles, and Akesato stood up to retrieve a bundle of garments from her lacquered chest.
"I wonder what the other girls would say if I told them that Seizaburo-han was spending his time here helping me with my sewing?" said Akesato as she handed half of the bundle to Sei. They both giggled again as they settled down to their mending.