Posted Feb.17.19 at 03:00 pm

"Wow," Vlad said. "She looks happier than I've seen her in...I dunno, a long time."

The sun was setting, and everything had become sort of hazy around them. Vlad and Shinobu were walking a short distance behind Luu and Yoshi, watching as Yoshi laughed at something Luu was saying.

"Aw, kiddo," Vlad murmured fondly. Shinobu said nothing.

"I didn't notice," she remarked finally, flatly. "I didn't notice how upset she was, all this time. And what if I'd lost her because I didn't notice? I am--I am not meant for this, Vlad. Parenting."

Vlad shot her an almost alarmed look, and then replied, "Well if it's any consolation, Boss, I didn't exactly notice things were that bad, myself."

They walked in silence for a moment more, looking at Yoshi, who was walking beside Luu with her hands clasped behind her back.

"We'll just have to do better at looking out for her," Vlad said simply.

By the time they reached the white stone building they'd arrived from, it had gone all pink in the sunset. They climbed the shallow steps past a large statue of a long-tailed bird, which perched at the bottom of the steps, facing the building.