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Abe no Masahiro has met his great-grandmother only once.

When he saw her for the first time, the smiling face before him wasn’t really hers, and the hands that held him in her lap didn’t really belong to her, either, but she was there all the same.

“Oh, Seimei, he looks just like you,” she purred, running her long nails through his hair.

The onmyouji laughed, “I was never as cute as this one, Mother. Don’t insult him.”

“It’s not an insult, is it, little one? Your grandfather was very cute, once upon a time. He’s gotten old, though, and rather impudent. Not cute at all,” the fox’s grin stretched ever wider, her fangs peeking out from behind human lips.

“Ah, how you wound me! But he’s more than cute, isn’t he?”

“Hmm? And what is that supposed to mean, Seimei? Don’t tease your mother.”

“He’ll be strong, as well.”

“For a human, of course he will. He’s got my blood in him, after all.”

“No, not for a human. He’ll be stronger than any youkai. Perhaps even stronger than me.”

The surprise-- and was that joy?-- that appeared on her face was a strange detour from the amused smirks she’d been sporting all evening, though it didn’t last very long. The toddler had taken that moment to reach up and tug on his great-grandmother’s hair, giggling and smiling as though the woman whose lap he occupied were as sweet and gentle as any other woman he’d met before.

“Well then, Masahiro, you had best live up to your grandfather’s promises, hadn’t you? Or else we’ll all be,” an inhuman, barking laugh stuttered out of her pale and slender throat, “quite disappointed.”

Their eyes met, and seeing his own reflection in her golden eyes, Masahiro knew.

He would not dare disappoint Great-Grandmother Hagoromo-Gistune.