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No-one made it worse. No-one opposed staying civil. Clarice was glad for that small mercy. She didn’t know either Bart or Jennifer well enough to know if they were the type to stay reasonable, but it looked like Kizi had picked the people she traveled with well.

Kimiko took the tissue. Wiped her face. Then suddenly moved forward and hugged her.

If Kimiko had been just a tiny bit slower about it, Clarice might have punched her on reflex. As it was, her hands were partway up when she realised what the intent was. Even then, for one chilling moment, Clarice expected Kimiko to stick something sharp into her gut or back. If ever there was a time, it would be now. Clarice shut her eyes tight for a moment. Waiting.

Nothing happened. No stabbing. It was just a hug, same as Kizi.

This time Clarice didn’t cry. She awkwardly patted Kimiko on the back. Still wary, still uncomfortable. After a few seconds she stepped out of the hug. She did offer Kimiko a tentative, awkward half-smile that didn't quite reach her eyes.

“Uh. Sooooo...”

Clarice shifted awkwardly before looking around at everyone. She swung her good arm awkwardly. It brushed the air freshener can sticking out of her belt. Clarice looked down at it with a frown before resting her hand on it.

“So. What now?”

Clarice knew what she wanted to do. But she didn’t know what they wanted. Or what sorts of danger they’d be willing to get into.
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Why We Fight · The Storehouse