Urufu leaned over on his side. “So, what are your plans?”

Plans? I wouldn't call them plans. “Dunno, man,” Yukio said. “We don't know what it's like in the downstream world. Going to school I guess.”

If Nakagawa listened at all, yeah, you're going to school al-right. Different schools for a year. If Himekaizen is still there in that world they should group you together there for high school.”

Yukio grimaced. Splitting up from Kyoko for a year wasn't his idea of fun. He stared out over the waves with one hand shading his eyes. “We've prepared for that,” he admitted.

Urufu's laughter had him look to his side again. Behind Kyoko Urufu sat up and grinned. “You agreed on a few hangouts and aliases?”


For a moment Urufu looked thoughtful. “Well, you're transiting for a reason. Your real plans, Kyoko?”

She smiled. “I'm having kids.” Then she sat upright. “Not at once! Yukio, I didn't mean it that way.”

It's OK. I know. We already talked about this.” Yukio smiled and looked out over the sea. A quarter of a century in a childless relationship, the last fifteen of them as a married couple, and Kyoko had almost never complained. He knew more than anyone else what a hole she carried in her soul.

Ten years or so. Then if he still wants...”

I do,” Yukio interrupted. “I'll look like fourteen, but I'm your husband since long enough for you to know.” Kyoko's words had hurt a little, but he knew how much she longed, and he also knew her fears of restarting their lives. “Urufu, what do you do when you're scared?” he asked to change the topic.

When I'm scared. There's always my bike, I guess,” he said and smiled.

You and your damned bike. You scared the hell out of us!


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