A/N: Looks like this fic is going to have at least 2 chapters. 😉 So here’s a bit while I prep for possible Hurricane Michael, sheesh, Murphy, enough already….
A bit more than a month after In the Cat’s Ear. Big brothers protect, yes – but little sisters have their own ways of looking after family.
Karin looked at the panoply of picnic items spread over the kitchen table with a sense of accomplishment. Ichigo should be home soon. Goat-Face was packed off to go complain to Dr. Ishida about kids wanting to avoid the ghosts for O-Bon. And Yuzu was in her element as supreme commander of the kitchen and chief planner of How to Meet Ichigo’s New Friends Without Scaring Them Out Of Their Lives.
Yuzu had actually written it down that way. Karin would snicker, but, well….
“Bento!” Yuzu declared, pencil poised over her list.
“Check,” Karin nodded.
“Cloth! Plates! Chopsticks!”
“Check, check, and check,” Karin declared, physically touching each object. With some of the prank-items Sandal-Hat had lying around, you could never be too sure.
Karin blinked. “…Soccer ball?”
“We’re going to have two boys there, you should bring it,” Yuzu said decisively. “Let ‘em roughhouse!”
Karin gave her sister a wry look. “Li’s not a teenager.”
“But he’s not that old, either.” Yuzu looked up from her list, serious. “You’ve seen him. He’s good at hiding it. Like Ichi-nii, on the anniversary. But sometimes Li just looks so sad.”
“And Kirsi’s shy,” Karin muttered. “The bad kind.”
“She keeps Li and Uncle Kuno between her and other people,” Yuzu agreed. “And she looks at pictures, but they always read things to her if someone writes it down. I don’t think she can see very well.”
“Not physical stuff, anyway,” Karin agreed, heading upstairs to round up a soccer ball.
Yuzu brightened. “You’re sure?”
“Pretty sure,” Karin called down, going through her gear for a ball that split the difference between worn out and school tournament shiny. There we go. “One of the local ghosts wandered into the market last time I got some milk. Mr. Kuno didn’t twitch, but Kirsi looked that way.” She scooped up the ball. “And Li… well. He kind of reminded me of me.”
“De-nial,” Yuzu giggled as her twin thumped back downstairs.
“Worked most of the time,” Karin grumbled. “I think he just doesn’t want people freaking out when he stares at thin air. You know, like Ichigo used to before he just gave up on normal?”