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When Miyako gets a call from Keiichi after the concert, she really doesn’t expect him to tell her to not come home.

“Just don’t come home today, Miyako-san,” Keiichi said, it sounded like he’d been running.

“Kei-chan? What?” Miyako was used to most of this boy’s antics, but unfounded paranoia, unjustified fear, that was new.

“Please, please, please, just find a place to stay tonight,” he took a deep breath, sounding close to tears, “please,”

“Kei-chan! What’s wrong? Is Misaburou alright? Are you alright?” Miyako felt cold with fear.

Keiichi seemed to catch himself over the phone, and his breathing slowed down, “I don’t know if you heard the news, but there’s a snowstorm,” a pause, “it would be safer if you drove home the next morning” another breath, and added like an afterthought, “I’ll tell Mi-kun”

Miyako really didn’t know how to react to this Kei-chan, who couldn’t control his emotions, transparency apparent in his voice. Miyoko mumbled out an assent and went to go find Kiyomi-san, who was fiddling with the car keys, to share the news. If Miyako looked frazzled about the Keiichi’s apparent change in personality, he didn’t mention it.

 

They find a couple of rooms, at a rundown Inn, meant for wayward tourists, but it’s warm and it has a bar and really, that’s all Miyako’s ever needed. She wants to write off what happened with Kei-chan as paranoia, and Kiyomi-san says teenagers change, but Miyako can’t get rid of the feeling that it’s something more. There’s an itch in her gut, so she takes a shot, and calls her son.

“Hewwo?” He grumbles, the sound muffled by blankets, clearly asleep moments before.

“It’s me,” Miyako hears the rustle of the blankets, and smiles as she listens to her son’s antics. She hears mumbling from her end, and she thinks Keiichi must have stayed over.

“What?” he barked, gruff and hurt, and Miyako felt her heart crack a little.

“I’m sorry, for what I said before,” more rustling and the sound of breathing stilled, “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said what I did, you’re free to love who you want when you want, and where…I just worry so much, for you, and I didn’t understand, so I…” she takes a breath “I hurt you”

She hears mumbling on the other end, and it’s Keiichi that replies to her apology, “He says it’s fine, and that you should come home and say it properly in front of his face,” there’s a smile in his voice, and he sounds calm, and she feels a rush of affection for the boy who claimed Misaburou as his friend, as his own.

“Yeah, I’ll be home soon”

“Goodnight, Miyako-san,” Keiichi chuckles, “thank you for listening to my advice, is the hotel fine?”

“Who are you? Give me back my Kei-chan,” Miyako quipped back, cheeky, and Keiichi laughed, a grown-up’s laugh, full of a heady depth and Miyako wondered how a child could change so much in a day.

“Come home soon, okay?”

“Yeah, Goodnight, my adorable babies” Tousles were heard on the other side of the line, courtesy of her son, she’s sure.

“Just come home, goodnight, Mom” The line was cut, and Miyako cuddled under the blankets as the storm roared outside the window, taking comfort in the rattling glass, creaky wooden floorboards and the smell of clean fabric and day old perfume. It was so warm.