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Kimiko got exactly the reaction she had expected. Fear and anger. It made sense and she didn't begrudge them for it. But at the same time it still hurt to be treated as a monster again. Only Caleb had treated her as a real person. Clarice, one of her best friends, still shielded Kizi from her, as if she was a feral dog that looked like it was about to strike. That was all she was now to people, a threat, a danger, something to run from and have nightmares about. The feeling of shame returned.

Up close Kimiko could see that Clarice was injured, her arm had either been shot or stabbed, she didn't know which exactly. It didn't really matter. Even with that Clarice still tried to sign something, it was a gesture Kimiko appreciated and a sign that Clarice still saw her as a friend a little bit. The question was simple, blunt and delivered without emotion. Kimiko picked up on all of it, how could she have missed it? All of the signs every member of the group displayed showed nervousness. Whether they realised it or not they were sending a simple message to her loud and clear.

She wasn't welcome.

Kimiko began to raise her hands to form a response to Clarice's question when Jennifer lunged forward, moving to stand in front of a discarded gun Kimiko hadn't noticed on the ground. For a split-second she froze froze and her eyes widened. But when Jennifer didn't pick up the gun, she took a small step backwards and continued to raise her hands, this time in a placating gesture. If any of them did move to pick the gun up she was ready to run.

She didn't want to fight.

She also didn't know what to say, revealing herself had been a mistake. She should have stayed out of sight and moved on. Kimiko wished she had.

Once nothing further came from the group Kimiko began to sign.

"I wanted to..."

She stopped and tried again.

"Clarice was crying and..."

She couldn't find the right words. It was difficult, difficult to be there for someone when she wasn't wanted. Instead she decided to answer Clarice's question as honestly as she could. She turned her focus more onto her friend.

"I was scared and I was angry."

She wanted to tell Clarice about Caleb. Kimiko didn't want her to think she had been hiding it but she couldn't bring herself to do it. The memory was still fresh and painful. Kimiko lowered her head and took a shaky breath, regaining her composure before she continued.

"I just saw you crying and wanted to see you and maybe help."

It all sounded so childish out in the open, but it was the best reason she had. Truthfully she didn't want to be in front of the group anymore. She wasn't ready for interacting with others. But she waited for Clarice's reply all the same, keeping her eyes on everyone else, making sure they didn't try and attack her.
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Why We Fight · The Storehouse