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Kayo knew she had a bit of a bias about the subject, but Mirai was the most precious baby to ever exist.

Everything about him was adorable - from his chubby cheeks, to his long eyelashes, to his big infectious smile, to his pretty blue eyes… it was hard not to look at him and not immediately be endeared. Even when he was waking her up in the middle of the night with his wails, she couldn’t help but feel her heart swell with love. She loved holding him and playing with him and hearing him babble. She loved him. She’d be willing to die for him. She had no doubts in her mind about that.

But sometimes, when she felt sadder or less confident than usual, she couldn’t help but wonder…

Would these feelings of love she held towards her son last forever?

According to her grandmother, Kayo’s mother had doted on her the same way when she had been a baby. That still felt like a lie to her. Even years later, whenever she thought of her mother, all she could remember was being assaulted with a series of punches, kicks, and screams. Of being thrown into that cold shed as if she were nothing more than a piece of garbage. Of the hate she had seen in her mother’s eyes whenever she had glanced her way.

So to think that there had been a point in life when her mother had looked at her with any sort of love in her eyes was surreal.

But, if it was true… Kayo couldn’t help but wonder if the same regression would happen to her. After all, as much as she hated to think about it, she had her mother’s blood coursing through her veins. Would she become like her mother? Would she eventually grow to hate her own child? Would she harm Mirai the same way her mother had harmed her? The thought made her sick, but it was a possibility she didn’t want to overlook.

Granted, she could argue that she and her mother had drastically different circumstances. While she wasn’t excusing her mother’s action, even she had to admit, her mother had been given a bad hand in life. She wasn’t able to hold a stable job, her cruel boyfriend used to beat the shit out of her, money was always hard to come by, and her mother didn’t feel like she had any sort of support system she could rely on.

Kayo, on the other hand, had a good job, a husband who loved her, their income was stable, and she had plenty of people she knew she could rely on if things went wrong.

But who knew if any of that stuff would last? Life was unpredictable. Maybe something devastating would hit her and it would completely destroy her from the inside out. Maybe it would turn her into a monster, like her mother had become.

Maybe she would be a whole different monster than her mother. Maybe she would sink into a depression and wouldn’t be able to leave her bed to care for Mirai properly. Maybe she would grow cold and distant, someone who Mirai wouldn’t be able to converse with. Maybe she would be so mentally unstable, that Mirai would be afraid of her. All of these options were terrifying to her, because they were all possible.

She didn’t want to be those people. She didn’t want to repeat a cycle of abuse. The idea made her want to cry.

As she was stewing in these thoughts one night, idly rocking a sleeping Mirai in his crib, she flinched when she felt a hand touch her shoulder. Jerking, she looked up and relaxed when she saw Hiromi’s friendly face looking at her.

Immediately removing his hand, he quickly apologized in a hushed whisper, saying, “Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you! I forgot about the touching thing!”

Kayo was still not fully used to being touchy-feely. She still flinched at the slightest of touches. She was getting better, but she needed some time still. Shaking her head, she said, “It’s alright. I was just… thinking. Didn’t hear you coming.”

Kneeling down next to her, he gave her a smile and said, “Mm? What were you thinking of?”

Kayo bit her lip, her fingers clutching at her skirt tightly. Tears pricked at her eyes and she fought to hold them back, not wanting to seem so weak. Unfortunately, Hiromi saw and immediately panicked, saying, “I am sorry! You don’t have to tell me and-”

Kayo interrupted him and said, “Hey, Hiromi.”

Hitomi paused in his ramblings, saying, “Yes, dear?”

“Promise me something will you?” she whispered meekly.

“Of course!” Hiromi said earnestly, “Anything for you, Kayo.”

Kayo swallowed for a moment before she said, “Promise me, if you see me declining … make sure Mirai stays far, far away from me. Don’t let me turn into … her.”

Then, with that, she found herself breaking. She found the tears falling unbidden from her eyes. She knew she didn’t need to clarify who ‘her’ was referring to.

Hiromi tried to immediately comfort her, wrapping her in his arms, saying, “You’ll never be her, Kayo. You are-”

She knew he was trying to comfort her, but she shook her head, saying desperately, with a plead in her voice, “Please, please… just promise me! Please…”

Hiromi blinked at her for a moment, before he slowly nodded and said, “Yeah, I promise, Kayo.”

Deflating a bit, she whispered, “Thank you.”

She refused to let Mirai fall into the path she had suffered through.

She refused.