Chapter Forty-Three: Healing Bruises:

"I don't get you," Tsuzuki said. "Why didn't you fight back?" Anna shook her head.

"I don't know myself," she said. Her lover wiped up the remaining blood.

"You don't know?"

She gave him a small shrug. "I can't say. It was as if my body let it happen." Tsuzuki didn't like the sound of that. Is this the Mother's doing? She really wanted to break Daisuke's shield. Every time Anna suffered trauma, the shield broke down a little bit. The shinigami pressed his lips together. Both knew the given situation, but could he tell her the cause?

"Something wrong?" Anna asked. Tsuzuki glanced back into reality. He dug in his brain for a softer way to voice his concerns.

"Anna-chan," he said. "Have you noticed any changes since she punched you?" She shook her head.

"No," she said. Tsuzuki breathed out in relief.

"Good," he said. "Good." Anna raised an eyebrow at him.

"Why?" she asked. Tsuzuki looked up.

"Excuse me?" he asked.

"Why would I feel any changes now?"

Tsuzuki's stomach dropped. "Anna-chan," he said.

"What?" she asked.

He steadied himself for the next line. "Could you stay calm as I tell you this?"


Tsuzuki mentally prepared himself to come out with it. "I met your kitsune."


"I don't know how it happened, but I saw her locked up and now she's trying to escape from the shield."

Anna's mouth moved to form words, but no sounds came out. "When?" she finally asked.

"A few nights ago," Tsuzuki replied.

"And she's trying to escape now?"


Anna glanced away at her feet. "Shit."

"Are you aware of the cause?"

She nodded before letting him clean and treat her forehead. "The shield cracks when my body suffers serious harm, right?"

"Uh-huh, that beating may have added onto the damage."

"But, I don't feel any different."

"Yes, that's what I'm afraid of." He examined her face. "That should do it for now. You'll heal up nicely. The bruising wasn't as bad as it looked."

"Felt like it with the diamond on her ring."

"Yeah, I can see the imprint on your chin here." Tsuzuki poked on the wound.

"Ow," Anna mumbled.

"Whoops," he said. "The marks under your eyes will heal in a few days."

"It's a good thing she had small fists."


Anna's mind floated to another question. "Asato-kun."


"When are we going to tell them?"

"I already explained the incident to them on the phone."

"No, I meant those three days we took off for my birthday."

Tsuzuki froze as he put away the medical kit. "Oh�" His tone sounded so quiet. Anna peered at him.

"You're not ashamed, are you?" she asked. The shinigami shook his head.

"No, no," he insisted. "Of course not!"

"Then, when can we tell them?" she asked. Tsuzuki gave her a little smile.

"Soon, dearest," he whispered. "Soon."

"You promise?" Anna asked.

"Yes," he whispered back. The man gave her a small kiss on her nose. She smiled at him. She had good man in her life. To have and to hold, in sickness and in health.