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The pizza did not go down well. That was overselling it a bit but Caleb wasn't impressed that it was a vegan. Kimiko had forgotten about that detail due to everything else that had been happening. He took the disgust in stride though, spinning it off into another joke. This time Kimiko couldn't help herself and her body shuddered as she laughed.

Laughing wasn't something she did often, in fact she tried to avoid it as much as possible because people always reacted with shock or surprise. It was the combination of her body making all the movements and actions for laughter but no sound coming out so because of the reactions she always tried to contain it. Caleb had managed to break her down though and the relief of just being with someone she trusted and liked helped loosen her up. She stopped quickly however and took Caleb's hand to stand up.

It was reassuring to have physical contact with someone that didn't involve violence or the imminent threat of it. It brought into stark focus how wrong everything had gone and how quickly. Caleb's grip helped set that off, something tangible that she could rely on. Someone whose company felt removed from everything around them.

She knew she didn't deserve what he was giving her. Not after everything she had done. But she was happy to abandon any worries and enjoy the feeling of being taken by it all. It was the closest she had come to Wu-wei since she had woken up. She didn't want to do anything to break the harmony they had found.

Then Caleb asked about the nodachi and Kimiko's smile dropped away, as her hand left his.

"Yeah," She paused, hands hanging in mid-air as she thought about how to answer. "It was part of the prize."
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The Lagniappe · The Hunting Cabin